Friday, November 19, 2010

Guest Blogger - Heidi M. Thomas

Today, we look at Heidi's second book, Follow the Dream, the sequel to her Cowgirl Dreams. I thank you Heidi for gracing my blog with your book about your grandmother's dreams of being a cowgirl.

Synopsis: Nettie Moser’s dreams are coming true. She’s married to her cowboy, Jake, they have plans for a busy rodeo season, and she has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rodeo in London with the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe.
But life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and unexpected family responsibilities. Nettie must overcome challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams, cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster.

Will these challenges break this strong woman?

This sequel to Cowgirl Dreams is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

Reviews coming in for Follow the Dream:
“I enjoyed Heidi Thomas’s bittersweet novel with its accurate depiction of the lives of cowgirls in 1930s Montana and its tender portrait of a marriage.” --Mary Clearman Blew, English professor U of ID, award-winning author of All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family, Balsamroot: A Memoir; Bone Deep in Language: Writing, Reading, and Place; Lambing Out and Other Stories, and Jackalope (Flyover Fiction).

In her poignant tale of Nettie Moser's diligent pursuit of a dream, Heidi Thomas gives a stunning example of what it means to "Cowgirl Up." Follow the Dream is a dynamic story of a woman's strength and determination that is sure to inspire as well as entertain.
—Sandi Ault, award-winning author of the WILD Mystery Series, including Wild Indigo, Wild Inferno, Wild Sorrow, and Wild Penance.

Follow Your Dream draws the reader into the lives of tough Montana ranchers, Nettie and Jake Moser. Dreams come and go, but their ranching life goes on with hardships and struggles for basic survival, but also with abiding love and humor. A wonderful story of courage and endurance. --Mary Trimble, award-winning author of Tenderfoot, Rosemount and McClellan’s Bluff.

5 stars A Dream Never Forgotten
By Dan A. Johnson -

This is the second novel written by Heidi M. Thomas that is loosely based on her Montana grandmother who grew up riding horses and competing in local rodeos. In the book, Nettie's childhood dream is to become a successful rodeo rider like her dear friend Marie. Follow The Dream begins when Nettie is invited by Marie to compete in a wild west rodeo in London, a chance of a lifetime. But fate has another plan for the newly married Nettie. The dream is put on hold, but never forgotten The story is set in Montana in the 20s and 30s. Nettie struggles with personal tragedy and the challenges of getting by raising horses with her husband. They face many droughts and blizzards, let alone the harsh realities of surviving in isolated rural settings. This book deserves a place on the bookshelf next to Ivan Doig's coming of age in Montana novels.

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.

Autographed copies of both books are available from the author’s website, from her publisher Treble Heart Books, and Follow the Dream is available on Kindle.

Be sure to follow the rest of the VBT Writers on the Move stops:

20th Marietta Taylor is featuring Dallas Woodburn
21st Robert Medak is featuring Kevin McNamee
22nd Donna McDine is featuring Elysabeth Eldering (Tis the season of giving - check out my article about giving the gift that never gets old).
23rd Shelby Patrick is featuring Martha Swirzinski
24th Mayra Calvani is featuring Heather Paye (wonder what my illustrator has in store for us this time)

Remember we are taking a break in December and January and will be returning in February, so hopefully you all will have a blessed holiday season. Wishing you all "Cowgirl Dreams"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review - The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
Written by Lori Calabrese
Illustrated by Chet Taylor

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade is a delightful story of Matt, a third-grader who finds a rare bug and is hoping to win the "Bug-A-Fair" with his unusual entry. The day of the fair, Matt has another bug that plagues him, and in turn the entire class.

I love how Lori has woven a common every day "bug" into this children's story of finding a rare bug for the school bug-a-fair and disrupts the whole class due to the bug escaping but everyone thinks he is just trying to make the whole class sick with his illness. With this being cold season, I can totally see how this bug would go around. The illustrations enhance this story that you feel sorry for Matt because he gets sent home before he can catch his real bug and enter it in the fair, but in the end it all works out well.

Anyone who likes bugs and creepy crawlers will enjoy this book. Lori's rhyming story is a delight to add to any library.

Product Details
Paperback: 24 pages
Reading level: Ages 4 to 8
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Incorporated (August 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936381052
ISBN-13: 978-1936381050
Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.3 inches

November 17
Raising Itty Bitty Bookworms

November 18
There's a Book

November 19
The Iron Bodkin

November 30
Into the Wardrobe

Lori's Bio:

Lori Calabrese is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was awarded DFP’s Best Children’s Book Award. She writes for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner and enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her website to learn more. Lori Calabrese has a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University in Queens, New York, and is a graduate of The Institute of Children's Literature and a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Lori currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons, and the family pets: two guinea pigs named Up and Down.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Skinks (lizards) and Snakes, oh my!!

Yesterday was critter day in my house. It's bad enough I have a mouse running around driving me nuts in the walls and stuff but the snake was the one that about did me in.

I had to pick my daughter up at the library after school and headed to the bathroom before I left. I turned on the light and almost stepped on the snake. I jumped back in panic mode at first and grabbed whatever I could find to kill him. It took me a bit of time but I found a sturdy oar standing in the corner of the hall area to smash him with. He didn't die too easily though; took me about 3 or 4 minutes to really make sure he was dead. I'm sure he was harmless and would have probably caught the mouse if given the opportunity but I do not like snakes and definitely do no like them in my house, in any shape or form, even though he may not be after me. I took him outside and I think Reeses got him and took him away somewhere because he is no longer where I dropped him. Did I mention I DO NOT LIKE SNAKES AT ALL!!!!

The skink on the other hand has been flitting around on some boxes that are behind my computer desk the last few days but yesterday he got brave and actually came on my desk and visited me on the tray where my laptop sits (very old desk with pullout tray for a keyboard but I use it for my laptop). I got him shooed away from the computer and the desk and I think he did escape to the rainy outside. He ended up going up the outside wall and under the plastic I have covering the bay window that lets in a lot of cold air, so hoping he made it up into the window area and found his escape to the outside.

I think the mouse must have known that I killed his enemy because he was partying in the wall behind my bed last night and driving me nuts. I even bought some mouse traps - those covered glue traps a few weeks ago and he has avoided them completely. As long as hee stays out of my bed and away from me I'm okay with it for now.

And a totally off note not related to critters - State of Heights was proof copy ordered today so hopefully that will be released next week for purchase. This is the fifth book in the series. So far this year, State of Reservations, State of Successes and State of Heights have (will be) released along with Train of Clues (the story that started it all) and my Passport Across America (a supplement to keep track of the books in the series or to use for a traveling companion). Next year, we will release State of Nature, State of Acceleration, and State of Imagination between January and June and two others later in the year (as of yet they are untitled, although a tentative title for book #10 is State of Production, but that will be after I finish tweaking the clues and run it by my friend who usually comes up with my titles; this particular title is because Benjamin got to hear the clues and thought some of them were pretty cool and State of Production was descriptive of the state in more ways than one). I do have a cover for State of Nature, which will be released in January. You can check out all the information on all books available now on my website. All orders placed from the website will be autographed copies except for the Passport Across America as this is not really a story, just an activity booklet to supplement the series.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Good News - Butterfly Halves

I wrote a story for young adults either last year or the year before that had been printed as an ebook, although it didn't win that contest. The first part of this year, I submitted the story to an anthology - a children's story anthology but it was rejected for that anthology asking if I would let them consider it for the faery anthology they were planning. Yesterday (Sunday) when I checked my email, there was notification that the story had been accepted for the anthology. So congrats to me for getting that story published again. Here is the cover that was attached to that story as an ebook:

Grant it, this won't be the cover, but my name will be getting out there in other places. When I have a cover for the anthology, I'll share it. From what I can tell, the publication date is slated for March 2011. Rebel Books will be the ones publishing the anthology. (Looks like the title is Rebel Wing and I'll share a cover when available.) I'll keep you all posted on the updates of the anthology - E :)