Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bibliophile Brouhaha

I have been getting tired of talking about my own book stuff....feels like navel-gazing, but then comes along Bibliophile Brouhaha and knocks my socks off, and it makes me so happy that I'm glad to talk about it.

I tweet about the review, which shows up in my status on FB. Then sometime or another in the next 24 hours, anything I put on my blog shows up as a note. I'm baffled by the timing of this, but all I know is that I'm not in control of when it happens.

Anyway, this reader GOT the story, as Connie pointed out, and the review itself is fun to read, so I don't mind promoting it. Yippee!! Hot diggety dog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Zoe's review and the lovely Dodge's Review! YAY!

Great review on a fun blog at Zoe's Book Reviews.

The Lovely Kristin Dodge, of Books for Breakfast, has reviewed Chasing AllieCat and given it 4.75 out of 5! Yippee!! Also on BookBook...YAY!

"Any day above ground is a good day," right? Any day above FREEZING is a good day! Looks like we'll get there again. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Author Visit to Ballard East and Cambridge Public Library

Had a GREAT time in Iowa the past two days. Ballard East students were a wonderful audience: great listeners with smart, thoughtful questions. I loved spending time with them. So did Freya. It never hurts to bring a big bear dog along for an author visit!! First thing I saw was this huge sign (so big I had to take two pictures to get it in my lens)! And then, afterwards, Mrs. Fjelland's class posed with Freya and me. Freya looks as big as the whole class combined. Freya loves helping with author visits. I think she had as much fun getting loving attention as we all did!

What a fun day, and what great students. It makes me proud to have graduated from Ballard!

Then, Saturday, I was a guest at the Cambridge Public Library. Thanks, Janet Thorson, for hosting a delightful event. Great to reconnect with some old (as in long-time, not old as in ancient! :) friends. It was great fun, and we had a good discussion. I hope the world keeps supporting public libraries like the one in Cambridge!

Should I feel guilty for failing my students?

Should I feel guilty for failing my students?

Great article. Nicole Helget posted it, and I fell right in, reading it. Thanks, Nicole.
A tough controversy. It seems that it shouldn't be such a tough thing to do, but it is. Sitting in judgment of another's life--or a small section of another human's life and work--is indeed daunting. And what about being that "Encourager"?

Friday, March 25, 2011

To IOWA! and blog tour...

Off to Iowa to see Bill and Cathy and Steph and Ian and boys.

This afternoon I get to do an author visit at Ballard West Elementary. Can't wait. And better get going! Tomorrow, I'm reading at the Cambridge Public Library. Fun! Anybody in the area is welcome!
Freya has been invited to go to school with me. This will be fun, no matter how it goes!

Blog tour continues with this review on Words and Whisperings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mn DOT worker, Liz Taylor, Christopher Paolini, and oh, yeah, blog tour

Foremost in my thoughts is the Mn DOT worker who was lost in the flooding Minnesota River yesterday. Can't stop thinking about him and his mom...what more can I say...

Today, Liz Taylor died. Maybe this is the day I need to begin the story in the back of my brain reminiscent of National Velvet. I think I need to do that in her honor, even if all I get is a paragraph or two. (I have two other books to finish before I can throw myself into this one anyway).

So, Christopher Paolini has published the fourth book in his series. Inheritance. We'll all probably have to check it out.
Naughty Book Kitties is at it again, and it's his blogoversary, too.

Over and out. School calls. I answer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

SPRING! Theater, and Blog Tour continues.

Spring! Spring, spring!
Can anyone anywhere love spring more than Minnesotans and Canadians? It's not possible to be more grateful for melting snow mounds and the sight of bright green grass, is it?

And a bike ride outside (yes, I got one in this weekend in spite of an insane amount of work to do)!

Joe is on the block today on the Teen Book Scene Blog Tour. You can read his interview here at Reading Teen. And don't forget that you can click on the icon here to donate to "Give a Girl a Bike" through Global Giving. Every meaningful comment on one of the host blogs will result in a dollar donated, too. $50 buys a girl in India a bike, which means the difference between being able to go to school or not getting an education.

Besides trying to get a bunch of grading done this weekend, trying to finish my part of the Program Review for Liberal Arts and Sciences report, playing with Freya in the woods, and riding my bike, I went to two theater productions in the Twin Cities: "Annie" by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Middle School in Minnetonka, which was SPECTACULAR and made it hard to believe that it was all seventh and eight-graders on stage.

Five of my Humanities students and I went to the Guthrie on Sunday to see "A Winter's Tale" by Shakespeare. I'd never seen this play, or read it, which is sort of rare for an English major. I hadn't heard the best reviews about it, but I actually truly enjoyed it, and my students did too. We had quite a lot to talk about on the way home. The two time periods of the two acts made sense if we considered the first act to be about 1950, and sixteen years later put it smack-dab in the sixties flower children era.

At any rate, every one of my students can't wait to get back to the Guthrie, so it was worth every minute and every penny spent.

Oh, yeah, I also did a reading/book event at the Blue Earth County Library Saturday morning. It was small, but there were great questions, and we had a delightful discussion. Thanks, thanks, thanks to those of you who came, and to Jennifer Cassman for organizing it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gray day, but melting into SPRING

And it feels like spring. YIPPEE!! I intend to get a ride in OUTSIDE this afternoon, no matter how windy it is. I can't wait.

THEN, I'm going to Minnetonka to watch "Annie" at the IMH with my new friend Pamela, AKA Deborah. She's the advisor for the the IMH 8th grade book club that read Chasing AllieCat.
All the girls in the book club are in the musical, so this will be a blast.

TODAY, Sadie, Allie, Joe, and I are booking along on the blog/bike/book tour at Bibliophile Brouhaha. These bloggers have the best names for their sites, don't they?

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, but wanting to amend all I didn't do correctly with Jake Riley, and self-promoting, which is sometimes painful, I'm reading Saturday, 10:30 a.m. (March 19) at the Blue Earth County Library.

To follow that blog, go to Teen Book Scene. (Every comment on any of these blogs gives one dollar to "Give a Girl a Bike" so she can go to school--in India. If we buy three bikes, the rest will go to Japan.
You can still see the discussion on Kelly Hashway's blog, too.

NEXT Saturday, March 26, I'll be in Iowa at the Cambridge Public Library.

I'm seriously looking forward to both book events!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

It's my brother's birthday, which is entirely what I associate St. Patrick's Day with. I wear green for him even if we're both 100% Norwegian. tour goes on, and it's fun because I get to hear somebody new on Chasing AllieCat quite regularly. Hopefully, it also means Sadie, Allie, and Joe get to haul their bikes all over the country, too. Today, read the review by See Michelle Read. It's fun.

And, if your interested, I'm reading and signing books at the Blue Earth County Library Saturday at 10:30.
That's the corner of Riverfront and Main Street in Mankato.

April 26, I'll be at the Cambridge, Iowa Public Library at 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog Tour continues, and I'm reading at the BEC Public Library Saturday a.m.

On Kelly Hashway's Blog today. What a fun interview! Thanks, Kelly.

Tuesday's blog tour visit: a Review at 365 Days of Reading.

You can still find Allie's interview on A Good Addiction from Monday, too

Saturday morning, I'm reading and signing at the Blue Earth County Library on Main and Riverfront in Mankato at 10:30. If you seriously wanted to come to Barnes and Noble and couldn't, this is your chance.

The library always does a good job of hosting events like these, so it should be fun. I'll read some of the same passages, and some different ones, if you want to be a two-timer. Or if you're like me, and you just like being read to...come on down.

Speaking of libraries, stay tuned. I'm coming to Iowa...and will read at the Cambridge Library on Saturday, March 26, 10:30 a.m.

April 7, my buddy Kirstin Cronn-Mills and I will be the readers at the Good Thunder Series at MSU.
Just so you know.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chasing AllieCat on Blog Tour

It's Allie's day to shine. Check out Kari's interview with her on:
(Now isn't THAT a great name for a blog?)

Also, "Top Ten" list--Ten ways to bug Joe at Words and Whisperings by Caroline.

Remember, every comment on the tour site blogs results in a one dollar donation to "Give a Girl a Bike" through Global Giving. We're hoping to donate three bikes ($150) so three girls in India can go to school. Anything above and beyond that (We're shooting high) goes to Tsunami relief in Japan. Of course, you can go straight to the Global Giving website to donate, too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday, Friday

Last day of first week of Teen Book Scene Blog Tour for Chasing AllieCat. Three weeks to go.
Every "meaningful comment" on one of the Bloggers' sites results in a $1 donation to "Buy a Girl a Bike" through Global Giving. You can also go directly to the website and make a donation. A bike changed Allie's why not let the book change some girls' lives in India--where a bike can mean they actually can go to school?

If we get more than $150 worth of comments--enough for three bikes--then the rest will go to Tsunami relief in Japan, or whatever emergency is at the top of the need list in three weeks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On the Road

Sadie, Joe, and Allie (aka "This Awesome Chick") are on the road. Today, they're featured in a hilarious and delightfully written review by Brent on Naughty Book Kitties Blogspot. All part of the Teen Book Scene Blog tour. It's funny and worth checking out. Thanks, Brent!

KIPP: Gaston College Prep visit

Monday night, a much-loved and much-respected student from KIPP Pride High in Gaston, NC (Where Josh--um, I mean Mr. DoBell teaches) dropped dead during a pick-up game of basketball. The student body at KIPP has had its share of tragedy and sadness, believe me.

Tuesday, I was scheduled to visit KIPP: Gaston College Prep to talk with Ms Russell's students who had just read Chasing AllieCat. The visit went on as planned, though all of the senior high kids were too busy with more important emotions and helping each other through the grief to want to attend and talk about a book. UNDERSTANDABLE.

I watched these teachers and kids, from the standpoint of a visitor on the fringe, and observed them act in a way that rings true for their motto, "We are a team and a family."
It was an amazing day.

But the visit I had with the GCP girls and underclassmen was no less amazing. Everybody had stellar questions, and our time flew by. They asked me questions about the characters, and it reminded me why as writers, we MUST know our characters like icebergs: We know the WHOLE people in our stories, even if readers just see the top 10% (floating above water) that makes it into the story. We know the whole submerged 90% as well.

Here are some photos from that wonderful visit. Thanks, KIPP and GCP!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When I'm not writing...

"When I'm not writing" is the subject of my guest post on Zoe's blog as part of the Chasing AllieCat Blog Tour today.
I was just honest about what my life is like, and how I spend my time.

I certainly don't sound very profound, and I don't even think I sound interesting. Very strange--'cause I think my life is crazy-busy-fascinating. However, condensed into a couple paragraphs, it sounds rather lame.

Is that why "because it happened" is never enough reason to think something we write is interesting to the world? And of course we all think anything that happened to us is interesting because we were in the middle of it. Some people have bigger, more inflatable egos about that than others.

Sometimes writing what happened is fascinating, and truth is generally stranger than fiction. However, ruminating about this reminds me how sometimes we write lame stories 'cause they're our stories and we think the world would be interested...but we have to weigh what we say in the balance of what matters in the world. Sometimes our stories should stay in our journals and don't need to go out in the world.

Speaking of writing well, and making our stories matter, here's a wonderful post (which Rachael Hanel posted, thank you very much) about what we can learn about story from the film The King's Speech (which, if you haven't seen it, DO!).

And two last notes: the blog tour continues all through March. It's fun, no matter what, and at least more people who like books are hearing about Chasing Alliecat.

And last: I'm in North Carolina all week with my kids. It's balmy here. We walked with Alec (in the stroller) and Franklin (on the leash) in light sweatshirts. And it's snowing in Minnesota. Don't be too mad at me, but I'm GLAD I'm here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sadie, Joe, and Allie go on tour

Teen Book Scene is hosting a blog tour for Chasing AllieCat. Welcome to the blog tour!

Giveaways will include some copies of the book, bookmarks and retro A-1 Bike stickers., and string-backpacks with a Chasing AllieCat logo. Check out the schedule here: Teen Book Scene

TODAY, Sadie is being interviewed by Kristen.

See her review at Bookworming in the 21st Century. She gave Chasing AllieCat 5/5 !!!!!!
Thanks, Kristen!

Sadie, Joe, and Allie, are finally out on the road!

Breakfast in North Carolina

I had breakfast with Josh before coming to visit KIPP: Pride High and Gaston College Prep Middle School. Bfast: Eggs, GRITS, and WHITE bread. And Sausage. I can't remember the last time I had white bread.
A southern breakfast. When in Rome...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kelly Berkey's art and gallery opening

My good friend Kelly Berkey is in her first art gallery!
First, she made my awesome jewelry in this photo--both the necklace featuring the Chasing AllieCat book cover, and the funky peace earrings.

She also paints, so check out her art on her website/blog. She just finished my favorite painting of hers so far: "Aurora" which is going to the gallery show. I tried to copy it in here, but I couldn't, so you'll have to go to her blog to see it. She said she'll hang it in her living room if it doesn't sell, but um, Kelly, I think your hubby's out of luck. I'm pretty sure that one's going to sell.

Check out the Gallery off Broadway. The opening is next weekend. Congratulations, Kelly!

Friday, March 4, 2011

North Carolina

I'm in North Carolina visiting my kids. This is soooooo much fun.

I got a new laptop. A MAC. I just named him. Amos MAC. Or MacAmos. Anyway, I've never had a really good laptop before. I've never, ever had a fast laptop. I'm so happy with this computer, I almost cried tonight. I've never been able to do anything fast on the internet at home. This is incredible. Happy, happy Mac. Amos.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's below zero. It's Read Across America Day. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

It's March. MARCH. Spring begins. It's below zero. What is going on?

On a brighter note, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

In honor of his birthday, it's Read Across America Day .

Did you know that Dr. Seuss's And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street got 37 rejections before it got published? 37. Think about that, all you who write. I guess editors thought it would teach children to tell tall tales. Wow. I thought it was the best lesson ever when my son was in the tall-tale-telling mode. It helped us distinguish the two: fact and fiction.

Dr. Seuss, I love you!