Thought for the Day:
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.”
~ Octavia Butler ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Looking for an agent? NY Book Editors has a very helpful post HERE on how to land an agent.
Dialogue can make or break a story. Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers has a great post HERE that can help you learn to write really excellent dialogue.
Anne R. Allen has a great post HERE with 10 tips for writing a good first chapter.
Maybe it’s just me, but the world seems to be getting calmer by the moment. It’s nice to have leadership that wants to solve problems instead of make them and help people out who need it rather than making the world richer for the already very rich. But we still have the much-deserved impeachment trial coming up, and that will probably stir a lot up. Interesting that Trump’s entire legal term has resigned. It’s going to get more and more interesting, I think, and probably not in a good way. With gun-toting conspiracy theorists in congress, who knows what will happen. I will just keep hoping that sanity will prevail.
Last week, I offered a gently read paperback copy of Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk to one of you. This week’s winner is Ofmariaantonia. Congratulations, Maria! If you don’t know her, she is a writer and photographer who lives in Canada. If you visit her blog HERE you will find book reviews, photo prompts, and more. Check it out! Maria, I will get your book out as soon as I can get to the post office.
The book I’m featuring this week is another of the four books I won on Greg Pattridge’s blog, One Last Shot by John David Anderson. I have to admit, I probably never would have chosen this book if I had been out shopping. I mean, miniature golf is fun to play once in a while, but to read a whole book about mini golf? Nah, not my cup of tea, except … this really was my cup of tea! I love this book. Let me tell you about it.
Malcolm is a pretty normal middle-school kid. He has a lot of voices in his head, he does okay in school, he plays baseball because it’s really important to his dad, and he doesn’t have a whole lot of self confidence. His gets along fine with his mom, and she is always there for him, but she doesn’t really stand up to his dad. Malcolm would like to like sports, because that would really make his father happy. He tries to like sports, but he just doesn’t. He sits and watches games on TV with his dad, but that’s mostly because he wants to spend time with his dad, and that’s what his dad does. He plays baseball for three years, because that’s important to his dad, but he isn’t good at it and doesn’t enjoy it. So one day, when his dad asks if he would like to quit, he does. He knows his dad didn’t really say it to give him an out, but it’s an out and he takes it. When his dad takes him to play a game of mini golf, Malcolm beats his dad handily. Thus starts a new chapter to his life.
The next thing Malcolm knows, his dad has signed him up for a mini golf tournament and hired him a coach. A coach! It’s an old high school buddy of his dad’s, Frank, who, according to Malcolm’s dad, was a pro-golfer. It turns out that Frank is a pretty good guy and actually helps Malcolm to improve his game. One time when they are practicing, a girl shoots her ball into the area where Malcolm is working on his game. They get started talking, and she (Lex) is pretty nice. Frank gives her Malcolm’s dad’s phone number, and the next thing you know, she calls for Malcolm. She is pretty chatty and Malcolm is a good listener, and they become friends, something Malcolm hasn’t had a lot of in his life. And it’s a good thing he has a good friend, because things between Malcolm’s parents start to go south in a hurry. I know I haven’t represented Malcolm’s mother much in all this, but she is very present in his life, and a really good mom, but the book is more about the problems than the calmness. Lex and Frank both become really important to Malcolm in this turbulent time, and the stakes become pretty high for Malcolm as the story goes on. Don’t miss it. This is a really exceptional story.
John David Anderson seems to be very in touch with his middle-school self. The first-person point-of-view in Malcolm’s voice is pitch perfect. The characters are terrific, well-rounded and very real. The writing is great and there is a high level of tension through the story. Readers will cheer for Malcolm as he walks through a the field of land mines that families and school seem to lay for kids this age. This is a super book, and I hope you get a chance to read it. It has a lot of humor and a lot of heart.
I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.