Slider’s Son! And is anyone else sick of paranormal…?

Slider’s Son will be published September 2017.is

I wish my agent George Nicholson were alive to see this happen. He “loved” this manuscript when he read it, and that meant the world to me since he never used that term with my other novels, although he certainly championed them.

I’m getting my ducks in a row–wait, no, I’m not getting them in a row yet, but I’m herding them toward rows–for publication in ten months. That means setting up some book events and making myself available for young writers’ conferences and book fairs, libraries, schools, and, and, and…and it means lots of work, which is exciting work and fun work. I love doing book events.

However, it also means lots of social media time and online promotion. THAT I’m not such a big fan of. But I’ll do it. I’m delighted that North Star Press promotes its own authors’ events. That gives me great hope. I’m excited to publish this book with them.

The BEST news right now is that I found out last week that I will be receiving a Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Grant (PLRAG) Mid-Career Artist Grant to help promote this book!  I’m excited. And GRATEFUL!

Okay, besides the excitement,  I sat down to write here because I just followed a thread of a YA book promotional publicity group, thinking ahead to that social media aspect of publication. EVERY, and I mean EVERY book in the top thread was paranormal romance, time travel, or dystopian. A few dozen books down, I found one realistic-fiction romance book. Is anybody else sick of paranormal romance and dystopia? I really do love historical fiction. That’s what I love to read, and that’s why I wanted to write Slider’s Son, based on true stories, but set in the 1930s. I’m following my own passion, and it’s not the trend right now, but that’s okay!

Okay, that’s my vent for the night. In spite of the vent, I really am EXCITED to have Slider’s Son out in the world!

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This is one of those books I’m embarrassed I hadn’t read before. That maybe in certain circles, I’d nod as if I’d read it unless asked directly. (Did I do that? I don’t think so, but I might have).

When I started it, I was a bit surprised, not knowing that it was a tall tale, reading like a legend about a kid with otherworldy abilities. But Maniac Jeffrey Magee has just that. Maniac is mythic, not only in athletic ability in any sport, his humility, his voracious reading, his avoidance of school, but in his wisdom and ability to bring diverse people together.

He’s a twelve-year-old orphan who wants a place and a family to call his own more than anything, but people keep dying around him, and he refuses to be the cause of trouble for people he loves. His town is sharply divided into East and West Ends–by race. Maniac is the only one who deftly runs between the two. He is the single bridge that gives the town hope of overcoming segregation, racism, and fear–all of which, of course, are based on ignorance.

I wish some administrators would read this. Maybe they’d realize that it’s not only people of color who are capable of crossing the race barrier. ManiacMageeI think some publishers need to revisit this, too, to remember that not only people of color can write effectively about races coming together.

Spinelli, Jerry.  Maniac Magee. Little, Brown, 1991.

Another rejection

Slider’s Son garnered its second rejection this week. “Not enough historical detail” is what Calkins Creek said. George is baffled by that (maybe more than I am, even), so he’s going to ask them what they meant by that. In the meantime, I’m going to spread in some more Depression-era details into the manuscript. I was mostly concerned with the character in the small town and making his life real. Guess I’ll try to make the national news come home to roost more than it does already.

I have some ideas. I’m going to add some of them this weekend.

I wish I could get a book right the first time. Or second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth. Wonder what it means that I have to revise at least TWELVE times before anything gets published.

It mostly means that I should do nothing but write and maybe I’d get a book done WAY faster (and be with my kids, and be with friends, and ride my bike, and play with Freya–oh, yeah, and teach and grade papers).

Oh, well. I’m heading out on my bike to THINK in a few minutes.

Slider’s Son

So, finally, finally, finally, with weddings and all the other stuff going on in life (oh, and there’s full-time teaching and paper-grading, too), I FINISHED editing Slider’s Son. It’s as good as I can make it until some editor tells me what he/she wants me to do with it.
I like the story. A lot. I sure hope some editor snatches it up fast, so I can have a book coming out in 2013.

This is the story of a 12-year-old boy growing up in North Dakota on the tail end of the depression. All he wants is to be a major league pitcher. His dad is the county sheriff, and there’s a murder in town… Lots of things get in the way of his dream…
I’ll keep you posted on how this manuscript does.

In honor of my dad

Thinking a lot about reading. How what we read affects us. Affects how we think. Affects how we view the world.

I just realized that all my main characters in the books I write are readers. Maybe that’s because I don’t really understand the inner workings of people who don’t read. Maybe it’s because I best understand people who do read.
At any rate, Grant–the protagonist–in the novel I’m working on now, is an avid reader. He’s also a baseball player who wants to make it to the big leagues. When I started working on this story, he wasn’t such a reader. He was too “active” to want to read.
Then I sat talking with my Aunt Ruby–my dad’s sister–who told me that my dad, Orland Fjelland–always had his “nose in a book” when he was growing up–that he read constantly. I knew my dad loved to read, but I’d never thought about him as a reading kid. I’d heard stories about using barrel staves as skis, sledding the hills in the timber in winter, swimming in the creek, riding bucking horses, riding the draft horses home from the fields, about sneaking away as a young man to ride in the rodeo…but I never thought about him as a voracious reader.
So in tribute to my dad, my character is now a voracious reader. And it’s been fun to figure out which books he would be reading in the mid-1930s.
Just wish my dad were still around. I think he might like this book. At least, I sure hope so. I guess I have my “ideal reader” for this one.