book review, Joyce Moyer Hostetter, K. M. Weiland, Kathryn Erskine, Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday, Seeing Red, Shannon Messenger, The Paradox of Vertical Flight

Seeing Red — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars, etc., and all that dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish, and play around. Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.”  ~ Douglas Adams, writer, dramatist, and musician ~
Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

K. M Weiland takes the mystery out of improving your writing. Click HERE to see it.  

This is an interesting post on the old pantser vs. plotter argument. Click HERE to see it. 

You can find a great article on writing historical fiction HERE. It is worthwhile reading and don’t miss the comments.


As you may have noticed, I didn’t post last Sunday. I am discovering I don’t always have the energy to get two blog posts out each week. Weekends are an intensity of baseball around here, and last Sunday, I was just plum tuckered (Hmmmm. Dialect sneaking in.) and couldn’t get a post done.  Forgive me for making you wait an extra week for the drawing for my gently-used copy of The Paradox of Vertical Flight. It was worth the wait for Jess@DMS. Now I have to tell you, Jess is a bit of a mystery to me. I know she is somehow involved with a blog called The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, but I can’t find any information about who puts the blog up. I guess they really are secret files! Anyway, congratulations to you, Jess. I will get the book out to you this week. 


A few months ago, I won an ARC of Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine. (Thanks, Joyce Moyer Hostetter!) It’s a book that had been on my radar for quite a while. First of all, I just LOVE the cover. It’s the kind of cover that would get me to pick up the book if I saw it in a store and knew nothing about it. I guess sometimes authors really hit the jackpot with the cover design, and I think this is one of those times. 


Red Porter is a twelve-year-old kid in a little backwater town in Virginia leading a pretty normal life when his father suddenly dies from a heart attack. His dad was Red’s idol, as fathers often are for boys that age, but Red’s dad was special. He could fix anything and was, of course, in Red’s eyes, perfect. Red’s mother eventually decides she needs to sell their home, which includes an auto shop and convenience store, and move with Red and his brother J. to live with relatives in Ohio. Red needs to find a way to make sure that move doesn’t happen. Red discovers a lot about his family and his neighbors and friends as he is trying to find a way to keep his family from moving. Remember, this is the South, so there are layers and layers of difficulties to be uncovered — bullies, racists, and a family history that is nothing Red might have expected.  

One of the things about this book that I found to be very special was the way Erskine manages to take us to the south through her language. I’ve been trying to pinpoint just what she’s done, but it isn’t easy. She doesn’t have pages of dialect full of shortened gerunds and contracted words. But there is a cadence, a rhythm that takes us to the small-town South.

Kathryn Erskine

Erskine seems to respect her characters and hold them in some esteem, but somehow she makes them all sound as if they are Southerners, especially Red who tells this story. This impressive use of language makes this must-read book most people also a must-study book for writers. 


I have a gently-used ARC of Seeing Red to pass along to one of you. All you need do to have a chance is have a U.S. address,  be a follower or subscriber and let me know that, and leave a comment. If you’d like to have extra chances, pass along the link to this post by tweeting or posting on Facebook or other social media or your own blog. Let me know what you’ve done, and I will put your name in the proverbial hat extra times. 


If you are interested in finding out about more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books, check on Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog. You can find it by clicking HERE. If all goes well, I’ll be back here with a picture book review on Friday.


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