Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oak Park, ARCs, and Nobody Owens

Last week I visited yet another school in Stillwater--Oak Park Heights Elementary. It was the last day of school before break, and the school's 1st- through 5th-graders were kind enough to listen as I read from Dizzy Fantastic. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

I have exciting news to share with you readers (if, indeed, I have any readers). My wonderful publisher, Cedar Fort, recently sent the ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth to the printers. They'll begin finding reviewers in the next couple weeks. Cedar Fort also sent me the PDF for this ARC, and I have to tell you that I've never been more excited about anything in my writing life. Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle is my first published book, it's inspired by my wife, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Skipping Stones, though, is the book I've been working on for six years. I hope you all find it to be as funny, thrilling, and dark as I want it to be.

Speaking of funny, thrilling, dark books: I just finished Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. The first chapter is a revelation--scarier and perhaps more engaging than any other book opening I've read. And the rest of the book is darn compelling, too. Gaiman seems to believe the same principle I do: always trust readers. Readers can handle frightening moments and difficult vocabulary as long as they know the writer's goal goal is to tell the story as clearly and engagingly as possible. Thanks for a great book, Mr. Gaiman.

Hope you're all safe and home for this holiday season.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

Minnesotans woke up this morning and the world was one giant Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake. Two feet of smooth snow covered everything: sidewalks, cars, even some house windows. I read just now that the Teflon roof of our beloved Metrodome collapsed under the weight of too much snow. I heard one man describe the stadium as "a big bowl with sugar in it."

A wonderful neighbor cleared our sidewalk with his snowblower. I still spent three full hours outside moving snow off our walkways and driveway. There's so much snow, though, that it wasn't always easy to figure out where to put it.

What a morning in Minnesota.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dizzy Flies to the East Coast


I knew when I signed my publishing contract that Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle would be sold in bookstores across the country, but it still floors me when someone lets me know they found the book somewhere far from here.

Here's a picture of my brother and my sister (the sister) with Dizzy in Baltimore.