Darcy Pattison, Highlights Founders Workshops, Kurt Vonnegut, Linda Sue Park, Sacramento Book Review, The Mighty Quinn

I Am At a Workshop, But I Am Still Posting — and a Giveaway of The Mighty Quinn

Thought for the Day:


Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” ~Kurt Vonnegut~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I find great stuff, then don’t always get it posted here in a timely manner, but I still think this is worth reading. A blogger took Gandhi’s 10 Rules for Changing the World and gave them a writerly bent. Click HERE to see this.

HERE you will find a terrific post on injecting humor into your writing. We could all do a little more of that, don’t you think?

Something else I meant to post long ago: A Darcy Pattison interview about her book, Start Your Novel — Six Winning Steps Toward a Compelling Opening Line, Scene, and Chapter. Click HERE to see it! 

I meant to post last week. I really did. But our grandson Gehrig was in an all-weekend baseball tournament and it took until rather late on Sunday for his team to win the championship! WooHoo! So I got home too late to post. Anyway, I promised a giveaway of Never Say Die by Will Hobbs, and I am happy to announce the winner is Kathryn Fitzmaurice! Yay for Kathryn! I know she has sons, so she probably really loves boy books. If you don’t know Kathryn, she is a most amazing author of middle-grade books. I have reviewed three of her wonderful books (HERE, HERE, and HERE) and interviewed her (HERE) on my blog. She has a blog of her own that is well worth your time (HERE). Oh, and did I mention I am a HUGE FAN of her work? Great stuff. Anyway, Kathryn, I will be sending your book this week. If you didn’t win, read on. There is another giveaway.

Linda Sue Park
Kirby Larson

I am presently in Northern Pennsylvania at a Highlight’s Founders Workshop called Whole Novel Historical Fiction. Since I had so far to come, I came in a day early, and this morning had breakfast with people from both this workshop and the one on Building a Novel that just finished today. I am a little starstruck. This morning I had breakfast with
Linda Sue Park and Kirby Larson! I don’t mean I was in the same room with them. I sat at the same table and talked to them both for quite awhile. The Highlight’s Foundation really puts on great workshops and always have top-notch people as instructors. Anyway, I have much work to do while I’m here, so I will make this short. My next post will be after the workshop and will tell some about it.

Tonight I am posting a review of a middle-grade book, The Mighty Quinn by Robyn Parnell that I wrote for the Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review a while back. I will be giving away a gently-used ARC of The Mighty Quinn.  I think it is a very instructive book for writers to read. My review follows.  To have a chance in the drawing for this book, just be a follower of my blog (if you aren’t one, look to the right and become one) and leave an interesting comment.

“And so for the first time in a long time Quinn asked Matt a question. Giving Matt an opportunity to open his mouth was usually the last thing on Quinn’s mind.


If an elementary school child is looking for a book about child abuse, about bullying, about the new kid at school, about the importance of saving the environment as well as the importance of zero population growth, dealing with prejudice against people of color and prejudice against immigrants, how to deal with nasty comments, how to deal with pesky little sisters, learning about religious tolerance – well, you get the idea. This is a book about everything, and it is all over the place. It has a huge cast of characters young readers will need to keep track of and so many mini-plotlines that the reader is likely to feel caught in a spider web that all those plotlines seem to weave. The voices of the fifth-grade characters often sound much more adult than can reasonably be believed and sometimes sound much younger. The length of the book at times seems interminable. Only the most persistent of elementary children will slog through the entire thing. Add to it all occasional rather juvenile drawings that add little to the story, and all in all, there is little to recommend this book.

Don’t forget to check out more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books on Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog by clicking HERE.


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