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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!

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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.

BTS_DeepValleyBookFestivalPRESS

Deep Valley Book Festival

Deep Valley Book Festival–Betsy-Tacy Society Calendar of Events.

The Deep Valley Homecoming is coming up at the end of June. Author Melissa Wiley (whom I met at ALA in San Diego a couple years ago) will be a featured speaker. This will be fun. Check the above calendar. Book Festival/Book Fair is Sunday at Sibley Park. I’ll be selling Chasing AllieCat, Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All, and Girl Meets Boy Because There are Two Sides to Every Story.

BTS_DeepValleyBookFestivalPRESS

 

IfI Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

IfI StayI almost forgot to review this book. I read it several months ago. I figured that I should read such a popular YA book and see what all the fuss is about. With all the buzz about the movie version coming out, I read it in the summer. Since it wasn’t on the “required reading” list I made for myself for sabbatical, I didn’t write about it.

I did think this was beautifully done, and I do see what the hype has been about. It’s a great love story, primarily, and it’s a terrific plot twist: the girl-in-a-coma watching the scramble to save her life after the rest of her family is killed. She replays her life, and falling in love, and has to make the decision whether to live or die. It’s a good story, and it’s certainly a good love story.

Since I’m writing a YA love story right now, it’s something for me to consider: what makes a good one work, how does the author suck us in so we don’t want to put the story down? I Gayle Forman does it well!

Still, this wasn’t my favorite book, and I won’t read it again. I like the character far more many YA love story heroines, though. So I guess that means I liked the story.

 

AWP Panel

AWP: Our panel, “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Writing for Children and Young Adults,” seemed like a success. At least we had a good time. It seemed as if our audience did. At least there wasn’t much shuffling, squirming, and reading of programs while we were talking. :)

Heather Bouwman organized us and moderated the panel. My buddies from my writing group, Shelley Tougas and Kirstin Cronn-Mills, and I joined Sheila O’Connor to fill out the panel.

We all are used to talking in front of groups, so we were surprised by how nervous we were beforehand.

I wonder if everybody who gives presentations runs over what they forgot to say or wish they had said during the program. I do that in school, too, but then I get to see my students again in a few days, so I can add or correct or fix what I missed. There’s no second chance when it’s a conference.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to say is that I think every writer should write poetry, even if he or she never publishes any…It’s such a terrific exercise in conciseness and paying attention to language and lyricism. I think writing for kids uses those skills, absolutely and entirely.
I never felt that as fully as when I wrote Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All for the “Other Side of Myth” series published by Capstone. That book started out as a longish lyrical poem and then condensed itself into the snarkier voice of Medusa in which it was published.

Anyway, AWP was fun, and I had a grand adventure with my two buddies. We were reduced to uncontrollable laughter several times.
We became the Three Musketeers of Vehicular Safety (in our cab to the airport), and the Three Musketeers of Row 19 (in the aircraft). Yeah, we tried to be reasonably quiet. Not sure how well that worked. But we had fun.