One new book and three new one-day classes!

Panther Mountain, 30 September 2013Once, when I was ten years old and the proud owner of a three-speed Schwinn with a basket and a speedometer, I rode to the top of the biggest hill nearby and surveyed my surroundings. Pine woods, fields, farmhouses and barns, and the lonely two-lane road in front of me. Breaking my land speed record was the goal, so I stood up and pedaled as hard as I could down the hill. 5, 10, 15, 20, all the way up to 35 mph, with the wind roaring in my ears and my long hair blowing back (no helmet; this was back in the day). 

That personal land speed record, 35 mph pedaling as fast as I could, is what this summer felt like to me. Planes and trains and automobiles, bikes and kayaks and mostly, my own two feet, traipsing around the city and the country.

Now it’s fall. Time to take a breath. Time to survey the surroundings. Time for one new book and three new one-day classes!


Dear Sister is my new graphic novel for all ages, especially 8 on up. It’s a collection of letters and drawings from a brother to his little sister, beginning on the day she’s born and continuing for the next ten years, until he goes to college. This book was inspired in part by notes my own kids used to write each other, notes that were alternately horrifying and hilarious, and also by my own fifth-grade diary, which is filled with entries about my baby brother. Funny, tender, and honest, Dear Sister is my love letter to the sibling relationship.

Dear Sister is illustrated –amazingly so–by the talented Joe Bluhm, who’s one of the artistic geniuses behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I loved working with Joe on this book. I’ll be visiting upstate New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, southern California and the Twin Cities for Dear Sister. Please check my blog for details of upcoming readings and events – if I’m in your neck of the woods for any of them, I’d love to meet you.

To pre-order a copy of Dear Sister:

From your local indie bookstore
From Amazon
From Barnes & Noble


Do you have an interest in creative writing but haven’t yet taken the plunge? Are you a writer already, interested in exploring a new form or just taking a class for the fun of it? I’d love to see you in one of these upcoming November classes. Please join us!

Friday, November 2: Creative Writing Kickstart!

Location: Uptown Minneapolis
Time: 12-4 pm
Cost: $100, payable via personal check or this Paypal link.

Have you always wanted to write but aren’t sure how to begin? Or, are you a writer in need of an energy boost and a fresh start? This four-hour intensive Kickstart workshop will recharge your writing energy and help you develop a regular writing practice. We’ll do several brief writings and talk about various aspects of craft and process –maybe language, maybe flow, maybe dialogue, maybe tense and point of view, maybe some other things– in terms of what makes great writing great. 

The class is designed for writers of all abilities, experience levels and genres – so I forbid you to worry if you’ve never written before! Whether you’re a longtime writer in need of a boost or someone who’s always had an interest in writing but never known how to sit down and get started, the class is designed for you. Bonus: Weekly writing prompts will be emailed to you for one month following the end of class. Enrollment is limited to 15.

Saturday, November 3: The Art of Writing Picture Books

Location: Uptown Minneapolis
Time: 12-4 pm
Cost: $100, payable via personal check or this Paypal link

Do you love picture books? Have you ever wanted to write one? Are you curious how to go about it? Welcome to my one-day picture book writing workshop! In our intensive, fun class, we’ll deconstruct some classic picture books, talk about ideas for new ones, and go through all the nuts and bolts, such as how long can a picture book be? What’s the relationship between writer and artist? How do you write a picture book that children will love and adults won’t mind reading ten thousand times in a row? I promise it will be informative and fun. Enrollment is limited to 15.

Sunday, November 4: The Freedom of Form

Location: Uptown Minneapolis
Time: 12-4 pm
Cost: $100, payable via personal check or this Paypal link. 

When you’re stuck in a piece of writing, feeling lifeless, what do you do? Grind through, hoping desperately that a window will open? Give up? Take a break? Declare yourself a failure and slink off to drown your sorrows? I’ve taken a shot at all these methods, and none of them work as well for me as re-framing the work itself. I give myself seemingly arbitrary rules to work within, e.g., Write this scene as a series of text messages, or, Write this novel as a series of one-hundred-word passages. The freedom of assigned form is real, people, and it’s why novels usually have chapters, and picture books are usually under 500 words. It’s why enduring forms of poetry like haiku and sonnets and sestinas are still alive and thriving. In this workshop, which is designed for writers in all genres, we will play with form as a way to open up your writing, your mind and your heart to the freedom and creativity inherent in all art. We’ll complete some in-class writings, discuss published works and in general have a great and exhilarating time. Enrollment is limited to 15.

Thanks for reading, and happy fall to all.


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