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

Slider’s Son will be published September

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!

January 20, MLK Day

A good day to remember how important it is to make sure everyone gets equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal chances.

Is that realistic? No, and the longer I live, the more I see that level playing fields aren’t a reality. We can each do our best to make sure that we are not part of any system that perpetuates oppression, that students and any other people in our charge not only get a fair shake, but get encouragement and see what’s possible. But we can’t make sure that anyone gets a level playing field.

I had so much fun two Wednesdays ago (January 8) in Marshall, MN at the Southwest Cooperative Young Writers’ Conference. Students were eager and engaged. Freya and I had fun meeting students and spending the day talking about writing.

Then I wonder…how many of those eager young writers will publish the books they want to? Will working long hours, piles of other responsibilities, the need to keep bread on the table, keep them from realizing their dreams? Maybe, but some will reach their dreams, and having a dream is as important than being successful in many, many ways.

I’m a big Downton Abbey fan. I don’t watch live TV much at all, but I’ve caught up to season four on Netflix and Amazon Prime. It reminds me of the sharp divide of class. We pride ourselves that in the U.S., such classism doesn’t exist, but that’s a lie. If we think we have no such class divides in the U.S., we are living with our heads in the sand.

Look at what money can do without regard for its effects: Fracking destroys property, health, animals, and long-standing family ranches or farms because big oil and gas companies have the money to do so.  Frac-Sand mining is doing the same thing in Minnesota and Wisconsin because Fracking is such a big industry that the silica sand miners can get what they want, take the property or make it worthless, mine the silica, sell it for billions, no matter how many people the company tromps all over in order to do so.

Lime Township has been up in arms for most of two years, battling the new Jordan Sands processing plant and mines. What’s happened? The entire township full of citizens can’t stop the power of a big wealthy company with the potential to make billions more.

Class? Money? Yeah, my friends, I’m afriad it’s everywhere.
This could be very depressing, and if we let it, it is. However, the fact remains that we have to each do everything we can, to chase our dreams and to make the world as just and safe as possible. To fight injustice and the greedy destruction of our planet however we can.

If we don’t, then we are living with our heads in the sand.

South Central Service Cooperative Young Writers’ Conference

Yesterday (March 13), I presented at the SCSC Young Writers’ Conference for 7-9th graders. I did the keynote opening program about “From Here to There by Way of the Zoo,” subtitled, “Prairie-Dogging Your Way to a Story,” using animal metaphors to talk about patterns of writing to completion, and how we can use odd things we find in everyday life to weave together a coherent whole story. I think it went well–at least the auditorium full of junior high students was attentive the whole time.

Somebody threw up, but otherwise it went smoothly. 🙂  At leas I had fun. That should count for something, right?

Then I did three sessions on creating a character out of thin air, using an exercise I do in Creative Writing class. Each student makes up a story element (character, setting, problem, twist), puts it in the appropriate bucket, and then draws an element from each bucket. Weaving these different elements together is always the challenge, but can make for some delightful storylines.  It was fun, and nearly every single student in each session had a great start on a story by the time they left the class.

I did meet a lot of wonderful young teens, many of whom are excellent writers!