Slider’s Son update!

Slider’s Son To be published this Septemeber–2017!  North Star Press!

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

At the tail-end of the Great Depression in small town, North Dakota, Grant O’Grady wants nothing more than to be a major league baseball pitcher. Everything changes when he realizes the danger his best friend faces. Hatred threatens to destroy Grant and his friends from the inside out. When Grant and his dad, Sheriff Slider O’Grady, find a man murdered, life as they know it unravels, and Grant has to help fight the prejudice of the era toward his best friend (his catcher) who is half Mandan Indian.

Grant comes to grips with the power within himself—to hate or not to hate, to be a friend, and to stand up for what he hopes is right.

We’ve done what appear to be the final edits. We have a BOOK COVER–soon to be revealed! We have blurbs for the back and inside the front cover…It’s real, and it’s happening soon–seven months from yesterday!

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!

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.

Birthday Ride

The year I turned 50, I decided I needed to ride a mile for each year of my life. Since my birthday’s in June, it’s a reasonable thing to accomplish, even if it rains. I’ve kept up the tradition, and it’s perhaps the best tradition I’ve ever started. This year meant 58 miles.photo-139photo 2photo 1The thing I like best about this tradition is that it’s me out there, by myself at least a good portion of the time, celebrating my own life. It doesn’t depend on anybody else doing anything for my birthday. Nobody else even has to remember my birthday. I just go out and celebrate being healthy enough to ride.  I have many friends at this stage of life with cancer and other illnesses, so I don’t take this lightly. It also makes me grateful that I’m this old and love my life. I like being with me, and I can enjoy that.photo 4photo 5 As my character Slider in Slider’s Son says, “Never turn into somebody you don’t want to spend time with.” So, that’s what I do. This year, these were some highlights.

First excitement: Geese crossing the road in front of me.

I thought I’d ride the Lake Crystal loop (almost 40 miles) and then join the Flying Penguin group (at right) at 10. Since I’ve been gone ten days, I hadn’t internalized the idea of local flooding and road closings, so I got to the Judson Bottom Road (crucial for the Lake Crystal loop) and and the road was closed (second two photos). The Minnesota River has actually converged with the Bottom Road. It’s quite a sight.

Minneopa Falls outside of Mankato are ROARING.  I took that in as an extra loop to get my miles. The best part of the ride, however, was riding with Gianni (Jon) Anderson and the Flying Penguin guys. That part if the ride flew by, with laughs and a fast descent. So happy Bill Durbahn is healthy enough to join that ride and keep up just fine! We also found Sibley park closed due to the river coming up to the road. But we do what most cyclists do and simply moved one traffic cone so we could ride through anyway.

What is it about cyclists and “Road Closed” signs? I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s an invitation to go explore exactly how far I can go and to view the problem!  Anyway, I got my 58 miles (actually 61), and I plan to keep riding my birthday miles as long as I’m breathing.

Medusa, Historical fiction, South Africa, and other thoughts

Medusa!
I revised my Medusa book for Capstone press. It’s Medusa’s side of the story–with my Greek mythology obsession, it was a FUN book to write. It’s moving fairly quickly through the editorial process, but I still don’t know when it will be out on the market. I really like how the story turned out.

I think it will be in 2013, which means, at least, that I have had a publication in 2009, 2011, 2012, and maybe 2013. That also means I gotta get CRANKING on revising Slider’s Son so there’s a chance it come come out by the end of 2014!!!  I’ve also got some tips that this is not such a bad time for historical fiction as the last few years. Don’t know if that’s true or not, but I want to go with that thought! I have a three-day weekend. Maybe I can dig in and get something done. I’ve written so little this year since school started. It’s easy to get disheartened, but at least I have great classes and students.

I’m teaching The Power of One in my South Africa Humanities class. I have been wondering for several years why the author Bryce Courtenay moved to Australia for the rest of his life. I JUST found out, doing some research, that it’s because while he was a teenager, he started a school for Africans. Blacks were NOT supposed to learn to read under Apartheid, and he was labeled a communist as a result, and exiled from his country at age 17. Holy smoke. No wonder I love this guy. He just died three months ago. I’m sad I didn’t make a pilgrimage to go meet the man. –>

Back to the grindstone. 

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.