Slider’s Son to be published in 2017!

Slider’s Son to be published in 2017!  North Star Press!

A murder! Grant O’Grady and his buddies smell something while playing baseball…It’s Big Joe’s body hidden in Grant’s best friend’s basement… Who? How? Why? The story unfolds…

Set in the late 1930s in North Dakota, Slider’s Son is the story of a boy named Grant who wants nothing more than to be a major league pitcher. Grant and his sheriff father discover Big Joe’s murder, and the story that unravels, leading up to the murder, causes all sorts of problems.

Grant and his buddies like to take a few risks. They sneak coal from the coal train passing through town to help heat their families’ homes during the Great Depression. Will they get caught? Or hurt?  One night, they climb the water tower for a thrill. Frank slips…and dangles. Another risky escapade could lead to crushing Grant’s dream of being a pitcher, forever. And who killed Big Joe, after all? Along the way, Grant has to help fight the prejudice of the 1930s toward his best friend (and catcher) who is half Mandan Indian.

This book has been done for a a couple years. It’s the first book I’ve written that my former agent, George Nicholson (RIP, my friend), said he loved.  At the time, George asked me to get some Native people’s endorsement that the book isn’t offensive in the world of Native Literature for young readers. I don’t think we’ll have a problem. I’m not trying to usurp anybody’s voice. I’m not pretending that I know how to write from a Native perspective. I just have a character whose best friend happens to be Native.

In the process of responding to my agent’s request, the Mandan Historic Village in Mitchell, SD, asked if they could keep a manuscript in their archives! YayI guess that’s a stamp of approval.

Grant’s idol is the late great “Rapid Robert” the “Heater from Van Meter” Bob Feller. The Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter Iowa asked me to come do a book event there. I look forward to that day!

FINALLY, this book will be out in the world in 2017, thanks to North Star Press! WhooHOO!! I’ll keep posting as I have more information.

Summer is zipping past

I haven’t felt like much of a writer this summer. With all the traveling I’ve been doing, my writing energy has been focused on composing the proposal for the NEH Grant “Bridging Cultures” which we are calling “South Africa as a Metaphor for the World: Stories that Help Eliminate Apartheid of the Heart.” 
I’m excited about the grant, and we are on the last legs of building it. 
However, there remains the fact that I have written almost nothing of my own fiction this summer, which is sad.
Inspired by my buddy Kirstin Cronn-Mills trek to Nebraska to gather research, and feeling as if I weren’t really a writer this summer, on a whim, I went to Mitchell, South Dakota, and visited the prehistoric Mandan Indian Village dig and museum, went through the George McGovern library, and the Pipestone Monument on the way back. I sort of felt immersed in my Slider’s Son story again, and can finally edit and fix, I hope. I found info about the Mandans in the first half of the 20th century that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else. Now that I know where to look, there are books I can use at MSU. But they didn’t rise to the surface the way I was searching.
I do love research. And in some ways, this was a spiritual quest as much as anything. Now I’m home, and I don’t want to go anywhere ever again. Just kidding, but feeling that way today.
Below is a picture of the stone “Oracle” at Pipestone. See the profile on the rockface on the right?