Monday, August 23, 2010

Release Party Photos

Last week, I promised release party pictures. I'm a bit late, but here they be. Party-goers ate a Dizzy Fantastic cake, brought by my mother-in-law; played the Dizzy Fantastic Board Game; listened, attentively (or patiently?), as I read from Dizzy, fighting traffic and wind noise all the while; bought books, and had me sign them; and won prizesy. (See me and my pretty wife, Debbie, giving those prizes away? There were bookmarks, Angry Red Bees, and a signed copy of Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle.)

Below, see if you can spot my mom, a family full of some of my very favorite readers, and my twin brother Patrick, who's also a writer. You'll see Janet, too, my new favorite bookseller.
Thanks to every family member, friend, and reader who came out. And gargantuan thanks to Ben Smith and Glaciers Cafe, who hosted the event. I know all involved had wonderful time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hop on the Straddling Bus

People--children and adults--often ask writers where their story ideas come from. I certainly don't know the answer to this question. They come to me as I write, as I mow the lawn, as I drive my car, as I'm talking with some person I just met or have known all my life. They just pop into my head ready to be explored.

It's why I ask my English students to free write most class periods. It's why I urge (and yes, require) them to brainstorm on a topic before beginning a story, essay, or poem. A person never knows what she can remember, invent, or connect; it's a magical, unpredictable thing, human imagination.

I was reminded of how wonderfully innovative human beings are as I read about China's "straddling bus" idea. It will look something like this (courtesy of

The passengers ride above traffic and the train glides on tracks running parrallel to the highway. It's an eco-friendly (solar- and electricity-powered) mode of transportation that reduces traffic congestion. Looks like something out of Spielberg movie, right?

I have no clue if this straddling bus will work. People seem confident, though. I just think it's another example of humans using their imaginations. I know that the idea for this straddling bus came from the same place as Spielberg's science fiction and storywriters' plots. And if it came from there, maybe it can take me there, too. It's a bus, after all.

The cost of a ticket is time--allowing myself time to brainstorm.

It's thrilling, isn't it, living in a world full of such wondrous ideas? Next time you sit down to write, whether it's an essay, a story, or anything else, remember the straddling bus. Hop on that bus. Join me on a trip to that place called Imagination, where gosh-wow cool ideas reside.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Release Party

Thank you, friends, family, and all other readers who celebrated with me yesterday afternoon. I sure appreciate your support. Signing books makes me feel almost like a real author.

I'll post pictures later this week.

Thanks again,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reading Minnesota Blog


Take a look at the Reading Minnesota blog (featuring Minnesota authors) this Friday. By 6:00 am, the blog will feature . . . me. (I suppose you expected this, as you're reading my site.)

The link:

Along with divulging information about me that perhaps even I don't know, the Reading Minnesota blog will announce my latest exciting news: that, just last week, I signed a contract for Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth, my second novel. This one's probably for readers between the ages of 10 and 14. More on Skipping Stones in the coming months, as it hops toward publication.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Thanks, HPR!

I don't have much time to write now, after a fun-filled day at my favorite summer camp, but I do want to say thanks to everybody involved: directors, counselors, and of course campers. You all know how to make a guy feel special.

Keep reading.