Tag Archives: Trenton Lee Stewart

We have another winner!

Cindy Hoppes, commenter extraordinaire, has won The Observation Deck, by Naomi Epel.  I’ll probably get it in the mail Friday, Cindy.  I have your address.

Looking forward to: A Q and A session with novelist Trenton Lee Stewart of Flood Summer, Mysterious Benedict Society and Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey fame in about twenty minutes.  I have not read the former, but the latter two are wonderful about four quirky gifted kids and their adventures saving the world from adults under the leadership of the infamous Mr. Benedict.  I got a preview copy of the Perilous Journey at the Arkansas Literary Festival 2008 this past weekend and have kept the kids in thrall reading from it each night since.  Based on the length of their adventures and the size of the type, as well as the limitations of my poor eyes, even with new glasses, we probably won’t finish it until July or August (it took over three months to read the first book together) but it’s nice to have something meaty to look forward to every night.

As a writer, I also find that reading quality writing out loud each night, as Mr. Stewart’s writing most certainly is, is good exercise for my “ear.”   

Severe weather is expected tomorrow, in fact, most likely, a repeat of last Thursday except during the day.  Sigh.  I suppose we were due; we’ve gotten off pretty lightly in the last few years.  Of course, my other trusty go-to-weather guy, Mike Francis, would be on vacation this week, so I guess Brett Cummins will have to fly solo. Nothing against KATV, or KTHV, but you have to have one station you can anchor to while you switch back and forth and KARK, with Francis, Cummins and Jason Kadah is mine.

It all started with Mike Nicco, who’s now doing weather out in San Francisco (lucky him, except for the earthquake threat, nothing serious). I’m not sure how qualified he was but there was something about him I just trusted. Now Francis and Cummins, I’ve checked their stats and they completely know their stuff weather wise. They’re both degreed in meteorology.

I can’t wait until we’re through it, hopefully by Friday morning.

Take care, take cover and

Bye y’all,



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Arkansas Literary Forum. . .and, a contest!

The Arkansas Literary Forum, the annual online journal of Arkansas writing edited by Marck Beggs, has hit the wires, so to speak.  And what a liteary smorgasboard.  Great stuff from great writers, too many to list without repeating the table of contents.  A special section by and about Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, incredible art from Nancy Dunaway.  And, yes, a personal essay from yours truly and a story from my husband, John Vanderslice.  Check it out.

In the midst of workon my book, Burning Down the Garrett: Revising Creative Writing in Higher Education, I am knee deep in reading about every MFA program listed on the Associated Writing Programs website, with the goal of creating an honor roll of programs breaking the mold and spotlighting a few particularly cutting edge programs.  About halfway through the fifty states (with several big states to go, phew), I can make a couple of perhaps not-so-suprising observations, namely that: programs housed in schools of art tend to be particularly forward leaning, as are programs in universities that in or near cities (though this is not always true).  It’s the rural programs that tend to be more old school.  More on this as it develops. 

In other news. . .

It was a good weekend: crafting, bread baking, chili-making, flu-shot obtaining (we’re all covered now), library visiting, UCA football (we won although my son’s favorite player, Brent Grimes, didn’t get the kind of playing time he usually does), and cruising the Sunday holiday open house downtown.  In spite of the fact that I was fighting crankiness about heading off to a conference this week.  Not that I don’t love conferences once I’m there, but I miss my husband and kiddos.  Also, this is the beginning of my annual November push where I’m away from home three weekends in a row; National Writing Project conference, Thanksgiving in Fayetteville  (with some of my favorite relatives), then Memphis for the St. Jude’s marathon my husband runs in.  Even though the latter two are great family fun, it’s hard to be away three weekends in a row just before the Christmas season begins.  Keeping one’s clothes laundered, for example, is a particular challenge.  The only time of year when I wish I had more underwear.

I am looking forward to the book fair at the conference, though, and am leaving LOTS of extra space in my suitcase for all the goodies I will inevitably bring home.  This year I even plan to bring a poster tube for all the gorgeous children’s book posters the publishers give out.  Last year’s highlight was the advance reader ‘s copy of Trenton Lee Stewart’s current bestseller, The Mysterious Benedict Society.  Tell you what, keep checking back at this blog and next week I’ll post some particularly choice goodies and have a drawing among people who post on this blog from November 19-December 19.  Sound like fun?

I’m off to pack, even though I don’t leave till Weds. on an ungodly seven am flight.  Some years back, my very well-organized sister-in-law, Polly, pointed out that if you pack a few days before you leave, you avoid all that last minute laundry/allnighter/packing stress.  Although I will never be as organized as she is, I do take this advice to heart and find it really does make for a much better leave-taking experience.   

More soon, ta for now.



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