Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wrapped up the Rodeo

OK - tired and happy. Bought a pink sweatshirt for me and a silver glittery t-shirt for our daughter. Sold a bunch of books. Talked to a bunch of cowboys, moms, and a few bull riders. Feet hurting - everything else is good. Til next time. . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reno Rodeo Minutes

So I've spent three days in the indoor arena at the Reno Rodeo selling books with Sundance Books our independent bookstore in Reno. The Sundance folks have been great and are featuring several local authors at their table. I have a great view of the arena from our perch by the restrooms - and have seen a whole lot of drill teams and roping.

Highlights? Getting a signed Reno Rodeo poster from my friend Stephanie Long who painted this year's beautiful artwork which I posted here. Having a young cowboy run up to the table saying, "There it is, Dad." His father explained that they'd just bought Bull Rider for him and then the boy said, "It's really good. I read fifteen chapters last night!" Now that makes my day. There was the older gentleman who tipped his hat to me today, reminding me of my grandfather, and another one who examined Bull Rider and then declared. "Who is this person, Williams. I've never heard of him." So I held out my hand and said, "Pleased to meet you, sir, that would be me." We had a good laugh. There are the parents and sisters of service men and women in Iraq who have said they are glad someone is talking about the war - and the giggly little girls who pick out their books based on the prettiest horses on the cover. It's a pretty good gig.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bloggin' and Rodeo with the Class of 2k9

June 18th is my day to blog for the Class of 2k9 so head on over there to hear about our group, our books, and the Reno Rodeo -
Check out our website too - Or if you are in the area, stop in at the Reno Rodeo and look up the Sundance Bookstore/Writing the West table in West Hall (the indoor arena.) We're right next to the ladie's room so we're hard to miss! Rosanne Parry (Heart of a Shepherd), Terri Farley (Phantom and Island Stallion series) and Chris Platt (various horse themed books) will be there with me (Bull Rider) signing their books.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Two More Books from The Class of 2k9

My family all met in Oregon this last weekend and I did finish a book - The Road to Tater Hill by Edie Hemmingway. This is a middle grade novel about a sixth grader named Annie who spends summer with her grandparents in the mountains of North Carolina. Except this summer (1963) her father is serving in the airforce in Germany and her mother has just given birth to her baby sister, Mary Kate, who died before Annie could see her, or her mother could even hold her. This is no surprise - you'll find out on the first page. But what is surprising is the tender story, you'd have to say poignant, of a girl who is grieving alone for a sister she will never know. If Annie's substitute "rock baby" doesn't touch your heart, then you are a cold, cold person. I loved Miss Eliza, the mountain descriptions, the jam making and the weaving lessons. Read this book and you'll be thankful for your family and thinking about taking a trip to the real Tater Hill. I had an advance copy so you can preorder Edie's book (I'd suggest it). It will be available in early September.

It's been a few months since I read Fran Cannon Slaton's historical middle grade novel, Where the Whistle Blows. This one debuts this week in book stores and has had great reviews and buzz. Fran's novel is set in the mountains of West Virginia in the 1940s. Jimmy Cannon chronicles each Halloween, which happens to be his father's birtday, from the time he is twelve until he is eighteen. In these six years the steam locomotives that have been the life blood of his town are being phased out, his father is aging, and Jimmy gives us a snapshot of his world from Halloween pranks to championship football games to stunning accidents. When the Whistle Blows celebrates life, death, change, and friendship in a very special way. Fran is offering a drawing for an Advance Reader's Copy of When the Whistle Blows right now at our Class of 2k9 blog. Visit and leave a comment to enter.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Eagle Blue

From 2001 through the present I've spent some time in native communities - researching books, working with school kids, interviewing elders and people who are advocates of native language and culture. This certainly hasn't been a full time occupation, but it's been enough time to change my outlook on a few things, and to inform some of my writing. I've become a better listener. I also blow off some stuff after taking time to think about it. Hmmm.

This week I read the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I'd heard it was good and it won the National Book Award, after all. But award winners aren't always my first choice in reading. But this was a good decision. I really loved the book. It rang true and although sometimes the character seemed as stylized as the cartoons in the book, I loved the experience of reading it, and of stepping into someone else's world through this funny/sad/crazy novel.

Rewind to a couple of years ago when I got an Amazon message telling me I should order Eagle Blue. It is a non-fiction documentation of the Ft. Yukon Alaska High School basketball team's try to win the State Championship. I knew how committed some of the Indian kids I've met are to basketball, so I ordered it. I have to say, I didn't finish the book and I can't find it now. I think I gave it to someone - but not before I'd read a few chapters while I was traveling and not before my husband, who doesn't read much, read it. If you like sports and if you want another portrait of life in a native community, pick this one up too. It's by Michael D'Orsy, 2006. I wish I could find it to finish. Never expect to finish a book while you are traveling - at least if you are me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cyber crazy

OK so it's eight o'clock and instead of eating I'm trying to figure out how to unfollow my own blog which I asked to follow totally by mistake. I did "unfollow it" after reading two or three help pages and tabbing back and forth. Am I that -computer illiterate? Don't answer that. And then I had to figure out how to find the blog I wanted to follow - that took another half hour of trial and error. So then I hated that little head that they give you as a "follower" if you don't have a photo on file - and it wouldn't TAKE the photo of me - is that a hint? And I uploaded me and the Bronz Fonz and decided that was too weird. Tried some wild horses and my goats - wouldn't talk those - thought the photo of Fred (dead and beloved Golden) was too sad, and that Ralph (very alive and happy black lab) didn't show his best side. So FINALLY I decided on Reno Balloon Races - one of my favorite activities ever. So that's the blog. I'm more knowledgable than I was but my husband is probably as hungry as I am and that will take some undoing. Off to buy dinner. The chicken is still frozen. And to read - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I may be the only person who hasn't read it. But not for long. Peace out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Good Book

I don't seem to read as fast as a lot of bloggers but then I don't seem to blog as often either so maybe it evens out. About two months ago I read Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Neesha in New York in January and then I had to wait until the book came out to read it. I wasn't disappointed I love this book. It truly made me feel like I was living inside someone else's skin for the day or two it took to read it . Here's my synopsis: Samar is an Indian American (as in South Asian Indian) living with her mother in New Jersey - just like any other American teen aged girl. Except she doesn't know her mother's family or much about her heritage at all - until on 9/11, after the twin towers fall, her Uncle Sanjeep who she barely remembers shows up at their door. He wants the two of them to reconnect with their family. As the world changes around her and prejudice against turbaned people like Uncle Sanjeep bubbles up, the flap copy says, "Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge the two worlds and make them both her own." I say, pick up Shine Coconut Moon. It's a special book.