Monday, April 30, 2012

I woke up thinking it was May. I'm glad it's only the last day of April.

The link to Laura's bookblog goes to the top of the blog, and she's busy reviewing other things, so I'm posting in her whole review. She made me so happy with this:

Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

It is summer in Mankato, Minnesota and Sadie is stuck spending it with her Uncle Scout's family.   Her only consolation is the mountain bike she brought with her and her goal to enter a race.  Then she meets an unlikely friend named Allie and they begin a unique friendship racing through the woods on their bikes.  Soon Joe enters Sadie and Allie's life.  Joe just moved to Mankato for the summer and now lives in Uncle Scout's very crowded house.  The three are fast friends and all begin training for a mountain bike race on the 4th of July.  That is, until they find the bloodied and beaten body of a priest in the woods and Allie disappears.

When Allie disappears,  Sadie and Joe realize they don't really know her at all, even though they rode together every day.  Sadie has no idea where Allie lives and she wouldn't give out her phone number.  Allie admitted her father is in prison but she never mentioned her mother.  Allie is one powerful, mysterious young woman and Sadie can't help but admire her strength and fortitude but she is really worried.  Thus begins the heart pounding race to find Allie and discover the true meaning of friendship.

Chasing Alliecat is a wild ride through the woods where the main characters are chasing a killer, chasing Allie and chasing their dreams.  The story is compelling and takes the reader for a daring ride through the pages.  The characters are bound to each other through circumstance, become life-long friends and protect each other through life's dangers.  In short, they ride through the chicken.  They do what they are afraid of, support each other and grow stronger.

Every once in awhile a book comes along where the reader has a lot in common with one of the main characters.  Allie is the character that I related to the most and we had so much in common that by the end of the book I was crying.  I can't give you all the details because it would spoil the book for you but know that Chasing Alliecat does not shy away from difficult issues.

Chasing Alliecat is a suspenseful mystery and a page turner.  My advice is to chase down this book.  It would make a great read for the gym while your riding the stationary bike.

Laura's BOOK SNOB Is here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thank you, Book Snob Laura!

Thank you, LAURA of the BOOK SNOB Blog, for the awesome review of Chasing AllieCat!!

American Indian Books for kids

I discovered this very cool website this morning, American Indians in Children's Literature, after reading avery disturbing article about some happenings in Tucson, AZ where literature of Native peoples and Latino literature has been REMOVED from the school. Read the whole article from ALAN here.  Scroll down to the third panel.

Labels like "promoting communism" and "divisive" have been thrown around. Ethnic studies has been thrown out and banned.

Banned from being taught in the classroom are authors like  Joseph Bruchac, Cynthia Leitich Smith (both of whom are in the Girl Meets Boy anthology), Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Michael Dorris, and many more. Read them all on American Indians in Children's Literature.

They've made this bill law, and are taking it to the extreme:

According to the bill: Section 15-112. "Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement" states

A. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in
 its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:
1) Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
2) Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
3) Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
4) Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as
(HB 2281)

Monday, April 23, 2012


is a very-much-fun book blog. Laura, the Booksnob herself (who also, by the way teaches Humanities like I do, so I feel much affinity with her besides the fact that she's in MINNESOTA!) has been so kind to feature me this month. If you scroll along the right side of her blog, you see Chasing AllieCat and Girl Meets Boy. 

Watch for upcoming posts and an interview! I've had fun with Laura! Her blog rocks!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Creative Life a la Sara Zarr

I won't be able to afford to go to this summer's SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference in Los Angles. I don't think I can afford the time away or the money--unless in the meantime, I land a big grant or a hefty book deal. Ha.

From my desk, however, I can enjoy some of the highlights. here's a bit from the keynote, Sara Zarr with FABULOUS tips about living the creative life. I put this link here partly so I can go back and remind myself about these pointers.

Teaching writing means mentoring more than writing...and that's how I make a living. I also am lucky enough to love teaching most of the time. I would love it all the time if grading didn't take so much time...time that could be writing time. But that's okay. Summer approaches, and I intend to be a selfish writer with my time all summer.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Slider's Son and the Loft, too

I just finished the final edit (for now) of Slider's Son and shipped it off via email to my agent. Now I wait to hear what George thinks of the rewrite.  I'm torn about this book: I truly do love the story, love "living" in the setting and with the characters...but I wonder even if the protagonist is twelve, if the story isn't more one that will appeal to adults than to kids...definitely not YA genre, but maybe more mainstream than middle grade. Very weird feeling. It's a murder mystery and a baseball story. A story of friendship and hate and tragedy and chasing dreams.
Bob Feller is the main character's idol. It's fun.

In the meantime, while I wait, and while I start another project so I'm cooking along on it by the time school is out, I have lots of grading to do, and at least one guest blog post to write...and I get to visit Maple River Middle School on Friday, and I'm reading at Normandale next Thursday the 19th and at THE LOFT on Saturday, April 21, at 2! YIPPEE!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Signs of Spring

Magnolia tree: in full bloom at the beginning of April. Is this really Minnesota?

Stuff going on:
Harvey Brooks is back in the hospital--but here in Mankato. Yesterday, he seemed better than Saturday, thank goodness. Pneumonia and  a couple blood clots by themselves are not good; together, they are very scary.

Editing Slider's Son. Wanted to send it back to agent by the end of March, but I guess I'll have to settle for the first week in April. Wearing my Bob Feller t-shirt for inspiration today.

Some good bike rides. Feeling sort of strong on the hills for the first time in a few years. A short ride alone now usually includes climbing the 99 east hill, and that feels good. Yesterday, a great ride with Lisa and Kate, with a long stretch into the wind.

Tom's 50th Birthday today. Running to Nicollet to get a roast to put in the crock pot for birthday dinner.

Our baby plants: we were WAAAAAAY late planting seeds indoors this year, but it's still gratifying to see the seedlings holding their little green heads toward the growlight.