Monday, November 28, 2011

Michigander Monday: Allan Woodrow

I'm pleased to welcome Allan Woodrow to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Allan, please tell us a little about yourself.

Allan:  I grew up outside East Lansing … moved to Michigan right before first grade from sunny Southern Florida; I still remember my sister and I wearing jackets, freezing, while everyone else wore shorts. Mom and Dad still live in the house where I grew up, but I don’t get back as often as I’d like. I went to University of Michigan. Quite a few locals accused me of being a traitor to that other Big 10 school around the corner.

I wanted to be an author since elementary school, but it took me awhile to step up to the plate. Fear of rejection and the busy-ness of life are both to blame, pretty much equally.

Instead, I spent my career as an advertising copywriter and Creative Director, writing TV and radio commercials, and such. Wrote a little for TV and the stage on the side. Worked in and outside Detroit for big ad agencies. Moved to St. Louis for a brief spell, and then to Chicago.

When I finally set my mind to finally going after my life-long dream of being an author, it all happened quickly. From declaring I was going to write a book (my 2009 New Years resolution) to figuring out what book I would write (I had the resolution months before I had any good ideas), from writing it to finding an agent and getting a four-book contract … it all took less than a year. It was a bit of a whirlwind.

Debbie:  Wow!  Please tell us all about the first book in the series.

AllanThe Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless (HarperCollins) is the story of the world’s most evil kid. Zachary would do anything to join the Society Of Utterly Rotten, Beastly And Loathsome Lawbreaking Scoundrels, the world's most horrible gang of super villains. But first he must perform a truly terrible deed. With the help of his henchman Newt, Zachary battles the horrible Mayor Mudfogg and other felonious foes, not only to join SOURBALLS but to survive! Bwa-ha-ha! For ages 7-10.

Debbie:  Other books and projects on the horizon?

AllanThe Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless, Book 1, came out this past Spring. Book 2, The Stench of Goodness comes out this winter, Book 3 (SOURBALLS) comes out next Spring and Book 4 (The Undersea Lab) launches a year from this winter. Books 5 through 432 are under negotiations.

I just completed a non-Zachary book and my agent is in the process of sending it out, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Even with Zachary Ruthless books constantly being written, I have a number of books in various stages of disarray.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Allan:  None in Michigan, I’m afraid. At least at this moment. With Book 2 coming out this Winter, I’ll be planning some signings, but nothing definitive right now.

Debbie:  Do you have favorite Michigan bookstore?

Allan:  I haven’t lived in Michigan for awhile, I’m afraid. When I was a kid, I loved an old used bookstore in East Lansing called the Curious Book Shop. I would ride my bike there almost every week and buy old comic books and baseball cards with my paper route and snow shoveling money. I was the kind of kid who was always trying to earn money.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Allan:  There’s no place like home (hmmm, I should use that line sometime in a book. Has it ever been used before?...)

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Allan:  When people think of Michigan they often think of Detroit, and often those thoughts aren’t flattering, which is a shame. I lived outside Detroit for a number of years after college, and miss the area quite a bit. I love going home, too, and I’ve visited all sorts of places on vacation, from the U.P. to Mackinaw to Saugatuck. I’m constantly delighted at how eclectic the state is, from the metropolitan cities, to the beaches and small towns. Michigan is so many things, and so many of its people are wonderful. So for any non-Michigander: Detroit is only a small part of Michigan, so don’t pigeonhole it.

Debbie:  Finally...  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, what’s the better term:  "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Allan:  I grew up with Michigander, so I’m heavily in the gander camp.

Debbie:  Michigander it is!  Allan, thank you for joining us today for Michigander Monday.

To learn more about Allan and his books, please visit his web site and his blog, The Shelf Life.  You can also view a Zachary Ruthless book trailer over on YouTube to determine if you can laugh as evilly as Zachary Ruthless!  And you can find Zachary Ruthless on FaceBook.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Giveaways

Why bother with Black Friday shopping when you can just win a book instead?

Well, OK, I can't guarantee that you'll be a winner.  And in any case, you won't know today.  But what I can tell you is that there are currently two blogs hosting giveaways for my books.

First, you can enter to win a signed copy of The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade on the blog The Girl From the Ghetto.  You enter by leaving a comment on the giveaway blog post (click here); you also have the option of increasing your chances by doing additional things, such as sharing the giveaway link on Twitter or Facebook.  Deadline for entering is December 6 at 10 PM.

Second, over on the Memorable Children Books and Gifts blog, Mymcbooks, you can enter a giveaway for copies of The Pout-Pout Fish books.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on the giveaway post (click here).  Deadline for entries is December 10.  The blog also has an interview with me.  For the interview, click here and then scroll down past the bio to get to the Q and A.

Good luck - I hope you win a book!!

[Note:  Just so there's no confusion about where to leave your entry comments (that is, they have to be made on the blogs that are hosting the giveaways, not here), I've turned off comments on this post.  But the comments option should still be available on all other posts on this blog.]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Michigander Monday: Merrie Haskell

I'm pleased to welcome Merrie Haskell to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Merrie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Merrie:  I was born in Mt. Pleasant, lived in Harrison and Midland until moving to Sault Ste Marie while my mom finished her nursing degree -- before we moved to North Carolina for the subsequent 11 years. Then I came back to Michigan for college. I majored in Biological Anthropology at the University of Michigan, and promptly got a job in a library.  Because that's what you do when you don't go to grad school with a BioAnth degree, I guess.  Anyway, I got married somewhere in there, started and didn't finish library school, and wrote some books! I'm also a fifth-generation Michigander, if not sixth/seventh, which blows my mind since I think of the US as such a young country.  My namesake ancestor got married in Holland, MI in the 1840s (Merrie is a family name).

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

MerrieThe Princess Curse came out this fall from HarperCollins Children's Books.  It's an "upper tween" retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" set in medieval Romania.  I'm told it's also a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" but I swear that wasn't intentional.  The main character is an herbalist's apprentice who is trying to break the curse so she can join a convent and become a master herbalist--but things go awry.  As they do in fiction (and life).  Anyway, if you are a fan of YA or fairy tale retellings, don't shy away from this just because it's marketed to tweens!

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Merrie:  I'm under contract for two more books.  I'm just finishing up with the second book (not a sequel) with my editor, and starting work on the third!  The second will be another historical fantasy, this time set in Germany with dragon slayers.  The third is gestating, and doesn't want me to talk about it.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Merrie:  I'm on the verge of getting some scheduled, but don't have any yet -- but my website www.merriehaskell.com will always have the most up-to-date information.

Debbie:  Do you have favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Merrie:  I love Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor -- it's sort of the platonic ideal of an independent bookstore.  And while Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor is not solely a bookstore, I love it to pieces and do buy a lot of books there.  I also love Schuler's (I go to the 28th St. location in Grand Rapids all the time in the summer, since it's the closest bookstore to our cottage), since going there hearkens back to the early, pre-corporate days of Borders.  I'm so sad Borders is gone; they had become something other than what they had been, but in the beginning my love for them was unparalleled. Let's just say, an inappropriate proportion of the reasons I chose to come to the University of Michigan had to do with Borders being here.

As for libraries...  I have so many favorites, it's absurd.  First, of course, I love the library I work in -- the Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan.  It's old and it's big and it's got so much character. Some students here refer to it as Hatcher Graduate Labyrinth, which is spot on.  It's seriously the most fun place, and I learn new things about it every year.  Secret passages! Glowing floors! It's amazing.  I love my hometown library, Saline District Library -- it's just a great small town library. The wooded walking path adjacent to it is icing on the cake.  I spent all my childhood summers in Michigan, and those summers were made much happier by going to the Harrison, Gladwin and Midland libraries, and each of those has a special place in my heart, as well. (I had family in all three towns that I spent time with, and they would all succumb to my begging to go the library sooner or later!).

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Merrie:  Tough question!  I practically grew up in the Cedar River in Gladwin.  In it, not on it!  My family used to cajole me: "Come out, your lips are turning blue!"  "Come out, you're going to grow gills!"  I will always love the Cedar above all other places; you can't fight the nostalgia of happy childhood memories. I also spent a lot of time in Higgins Lake as a kid, and I miss it. I am also a huge fan of Gun Lake, where my husband's family have had a cottage for something like seventy-five years.  And of course Mackinac Island.  My mom worked there for a summer before I was born, and had such fond memories of it, so it always seemed like this mysterious, wonderful place, and I just love it.  Especially staying on the Island after the last ferry leaves for the night, and the whole pace and tenor drop a level, and you can see the locals breathe a little easier.  I mean, we're still tourists and we're still there, but it's calmer, and you get a brief sense of how it might be as a small town.  I have recently noticed that I have a huge attraction to tourist towns, which I have decided to embrace, and no longer deny. Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Saugatuck...  (And numerous tourist towns other places, too!)

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Merrie:  Even though I live in Saline, I have lived in or near Ann Arbor since I was 19, and have worked in Ann Arbor all my adult life.  And I, like most Ann Arborites, have a love/hate relationship with the art fairs.  Mostly love, at this point, though; I like to get over-priced street food with a friend and people-watch.  Delicious and educational!

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Merrie:  Well, even though I write children's books now, I started out in science fiction short stories, so most of my writer acquaintances are from the sci-fi/fantasy side of things.  So, I commend to you Jim C. Hines, who writes fantasy books and has a new series coming up that I believe is set in a library in the UP.  Jim and I have one of those "It's a small state!" stories, because before we met as writers, I used to play paintball with his sister-in-law.  And Saladin Ahmed, a fellow historical fantasy writer who just returned to Michigan after some time away.  And Pearl North, who has an amazing YA series about a library/labyrinth (a concept near and dear to my heart).  And I also have to commend our local small press, Subterranean Press, and the fine folks there are supporting really great genre work .  I have no affiliation with them, they're just cool people.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Merrie:  a) There's a lot more going on in Detroit than pictures of ruined buildings.  b) We're in the Eastern Time Zone!  Really!!  c) There is really nothing like a Michigan summer day on a lake.  Nothing like it.

Debbie:  Last question:  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Merrie:  Michigander, definitely!  My grandfather taught me Michigander when I was a little kid; he never looked kindly on that other word.

Debbie:  We'll put you in the Michigander column!  Merrie, thank you very much for being here today!

To learn more about Merrie, her book, and her stories, head over to her web site and her blog.  You can also find her on Twitter; and over on FaceBook there's a page for her book The Princess Curse.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Michigander Monday: D.E. Johnson

I'm pleased to welcome D.E. Johnson to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Dan, please tell us a little about yourself.

Dan:  I was born in Kalamazoo and have lived in West Michigan all my life, most of my adult life in the Grand Rapids area, though my wife and I are back down by Kalamazoo again.

I have three lovely daughters, all out of the house now, which is both good and bad. Good because it gives me the time I need to write while also holding down a full-time job, and bad because we miss them.

Up until five years ago, I was one of those frustrated people who knew they should be writing, but I’d never worked at it and so was even more frustrated when I did try. Finally I got off my butt and started learning the craft, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m a happy guy.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your books.

Dan:  I’ve got two historical mysteries out. Here is the cover copy for each:

The Detroit Electric Scheme (2010, St. Martin’s Minotaur Books)

Detroit 1910: When Will Anderson finds the body of John Cooper crushed in a huge hydraulic press, he panics—for good reason. The body is in his father’s electric automobile factory, in the department Will manages. Worse yet, Cooper is engaged to the woman Will loves, his ex-fiancée, Elizabeth Hume.

He runs, eluding the police but leaving behind his cap and automobile. Under threat from a blackmailer and with the police closing in, Will discovers that Elizabeth is in terrible danger. He follows her through the Detroit underworld, trying to save her and find the killer at the same time.

As the evidence mounts, Will gets closer and closer to the secret Cooper had been desperately trying to keep—a secret that could cost Will not only his life, but also the lives of the people he loves most.

Booklist named The Detroit Electric Scheme one of their Top Ten First Crime Novels of the Year, and it also received a Michigan Notable Book Award.

My new book is Motor City Shakedown (2011, St. Martin’s Minotaur Books)

Detroit, 1911. Seven months have passed since Will Anderson’s friend, Wesley McRae, was brutally murdered, and Will and the woman he loves, Elizabeth Hume, barely escaped with their lives. Will’s hand, horribly disfigured from the sulfuric acid he used to help save them, causes him constant pain, forcing him into a morphine addiction. He lives for nothing except revenge against the people who contributed to Wesley's murder—first among them crime boss Vito Adamo.

When Will stumbles upon the bloody body of Adamo's driver, he knows he'll be a suspect, particularly since he was spotted outside the dead man's apartment that same night. He sets out to find the killer, and the trail leads him to a vast conspiracy in an underworld populated by gangsters, union organizers, crooked cops, and lawyers. Worse, it places him directly in the middle of Detroit's first mob war. The Teamsters want a piece of Will’s father’s car company, Detroit Electric, and the Gianolla gang is there to be sure they get it.

To save their families, Will and his ex-fiancée Elizabeth Hume enlist the help of Detroit Police Detective Riordan, the teenage members of what will one day be known as the Purple Gang, and Vito Adamo himself. They careen from one danger to the next, surviving shootouts, kidnappings and police brutality, while barreling toward a devastating climax readers won't soon forget.

Reviews so far for Motor City Shakedown have been great. Booklist recommended the series to fans of George Pelecanos and James Ellroy, Publishers Weekly gave it a rave and a starred review, and The New York Times even said that the scenes of Detroit were “extraordinarily vivid, and best viewed from the seat of one of those very snazzy cars.”

Debbie:  Outstanding reviews!  Do you have other books on the horizon?

Dan:  I have a contract with St. M’s for two more books. Next up will be Detroit Breakdown, which will come out next fall. This one sets Will at Eloise Hospital, which many people from the Detroit area will be familiar with. It was Wayne County’s sprawling mental health hospital from the mid-1800s until the 1970s. Of course, mental health care was not exactly enlightened 100 years ago (though I’d argue it’s still not). That gives me license to put Will through more pain while he tries to solve a murder.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Dan:  New appearances pop up frequently. Check my website – dejohnsonauthor.com – for details.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Dan:  How about three – Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Kazoo Books in Kalamazoo, and Aunt Agatha’s in Ann Arbor. All three are independents fighting the good fight. Please, everyone, support your local independent bookseller!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Dan:  I know this makes me a freak, but my favorite place is where I am right now: sitting in my office at my computer.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Dan:  Two authors everyone should read: Bonnie Jo Campbell – she’s an amazing writer. Read her new one, Once Upon a River. You’ll buy everything else she’s written.

The other is Albert Bell. Albert writes a number of different things, including an outstanding Roman mystery series. His third in the series, The Corpus Conundrum, came out recently. The second, The Blood of Caesar, was one of Library Journal’s Five Best Mysteries of 2008.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Dan:  When they say Pure Michigan, they’re not kidding. There are still so many beautiful parts of the State, you could never see them all.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Dan:  Dang. I’ve wrestled with this. Michiganian has so much more dignity to it, but I grew up with Michigander, and I seem to be moving back in that direction.

Debbie:  No worries - for now, we'll put you in the "both" column!  Dan, thank you very much for being here for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about Dan and his books, visit his web site, D.E. Johnson, or find him on FaceBook.  You can even sign up for a chance to win an autographed copy of Motor City Shakedown (but act fast - deadline is 11/15!) and/or sign up for a chance to be a character in his next book (deadline is 12/31).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Michigander Monday: Wade Rouse

I'm pleased to welcome Wade Rouse to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Wade, please tell us a little about yourself.

Wade:  I am a bestselling humorist, whose work has been featured on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E!. USA Today has called me “a wise, witty and often wicked voice,” and the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic states that my memoirs are filled with “sparkling humor” and that everyone should “read Wade Rouse, especially if you value laughter and wisdom.” I am a regular contributor to Michigan Radio, one of the nation’s largest public radio stations, and live just south of Saugatuck-Douglas on three acres of pines and sugar maples in a knotty-pine cottage named “Turkey Run.” In fact, my partner and I fell so deeply in love with Michigan that we quit our jobs and moved (in the winter, no less!) from the city to more rural, small-town life (it’s the basis of my memoir, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream). I am a huge runner, I love caffeine, wine, Kashi, lip shimmer, as well as Michigan’s beaches and unique resort towns. I do not love the snow, however. I tend to go all Shining after a few months. Most importantly, Writer’s Digest recently named me the #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, “We'd Love to Have Drinks With” (I was just behind Ernest Hemingway, and just ahead of Hunter S. Thompson). Depending on how you look at it, that’s either a wonderful honor or a very sad one. (Personally, I equate it with winning the Pulitzer, especially since I’ll never win a Pulitzer).

Debbie:  Never say never!  Wade, please tell us about your books.

Wade:  I am the author of four critically acclaimed memoirs: America’s Boy (Dutton/2006), Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler (Harmony/2007), At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream (Harmony/2009), and It’s All Relative: 2 Families, 3 Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (Crown/2011). My current book is the hilarious dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship (NAL/2011), which features essays by some of America’s favorite humorists about their neurotic relationships with their dogs. I created and edited the project, and also contributed an essay. It features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, as well as nine New York Times bestselling authors and a Tony winner; and 50 percent of the book’s royalties are going to the Humane Society of the United States. I’m proud that my books have been national and IndieBound bestsellers, as well as “Books of the Year”, “Must-Read Picks” and “Breakout Books” by such places as Target, Barnes and Noble, (the former) Borders, Detroit Free Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Public Radio, the Grand Rapids Press and the American Library Association. It’s All Relative will be released by Random House in paperback this February, and my first memoir, America’s Boy, is being reissued this fall, which thrills me to no end.

Debbie:  What an amazing array of work!  Do you have other books on the horizon?

Wade:  Yes. A lot. I’m working on two memoirs, a novel and another “celebrity” anthology. In regard to the memoirs: My next book is entitled, THIS BLOWS! A Life, in Locks. It is what I’m calling the first-ever “hair-moir,” a memoir about my addiction to my hair (something to which I think most of us can relate). The book is a funny look at the styles – good, bad, sad – and Dippity-do’s and Dippity-don’ts of hair trends over the years. It’s also a deeper look at vanity and addiction, and the book juxtaposes my vanity against that of my mom, who had zero. As a hospice nurse who eventually battled cancer, she could have cared less how she looked, or whether she was wearing a wig. “A body is a body,” she always told me, “but a soul is a soul.” I’m also working on a book about our late mutt, Marge, titled One Final Walk: The Cross-Country, Ash-Scattering Odyssey of Two Men and the Rescue Dog Who Re-Taught Them to Laugh, Love and Live in the Moment. My partner and I are scattering Marge’s ashes in the 16 states she ever lived in, or visited, and recounting the lessons she taught to us. Michigan, of course, is featured prominently. It’s really a lovely tribute to her, and the power of animals, and loving unconditionally. I’m also working on a new celebrity anthology, which will also showcase humor to raise awareness, as well as a novel, both of which I’m playing close to the vest right now (although I’m not wearing a vest). I also speak and teach writing workshops around the country (http://www.wadeswriters.com/), am a regular contributor to Michigan Public Radio, and write two humor columns. I’m a busy boy, but I know it is a blessing to be doing what I love.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Wade:  I just finished a nearly month-long tour (NYC, Chicago, Milwaukee, lots of stops around Michigan) for Bitch, but I do have a number of others scheduled here and around the country, including:

-November 10 at the Fennville Public Library at 7 p.m. (Reading/signing)
-November 18, Forever Books, St. Joseph, 6-8 p.m. (part of town’s luminary holiday festival; will be signing books)
-December 10, Writing Workshop "Facing Your Fear and Finding Your Voice" at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids -- for event details, click here; for registration info, click here
-December 17, Barnes and Noble, Holland, Noon (Reading/signing)
(For complete appearances info, please see Wade's appearances page on his web site.)

I’m also doing some national appearances, including the mega Pulpwood Queens’ Book Club 12th Anniversary Girlfriend Weekend from January 12-15 in Texas. I’m leading the Tulsa Writes! program (component of Tulsa Reads!) in April. And I’m also leading a three-day writer’s retreat in my hometown of Saugatuck from May 17-20. For more, folks can go to my web sites, waderouse.com and wadeswriters.com

Debbie:  Do you have favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Wade:  Michigan has been incredible to me: The readers, the fans, the booksellers, the libraries. I truly heart the Mitten. I hate to name one, as I’ve been to nearly every one of them, but here goes (and forgive me if I’ve forgotten to mention one): Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord; McLean and Eakin in Petoskey; Brilliant Books in Sutton’s Bay; Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and Lansing; Forever Books in St. Joe; Reader’s World (and Barnes and Noble) in Holland; Singapore Books in Saugatuck; Barnes and Noble (and MacKenzie!) in Rochester Hills; Common Language in Ann Arbor. I hope to visit Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor soon.

As for libraries, I adore the Grand Rapids Public Library. It is beautiful, the staff is amazing, and I love doing events there.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Wade:  I love my hometown of Saugatuck-Douglas. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, as is Oval Beach and our local dunes area. I adore the Leland/Sutton’s Bay area, as well as Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Wade:  I live for the annual adult Halloween parade in Douglas. More fun than a human should have. I love the summer Ox-Bow artist events/auctions, where talented young artists get to showcase their work in Saugatuck. It’s perfection. I love the annual fall Blue Coast Artist tours in southwest Michigan as well as the annual Mt. Baldhead run here. And when they light the towns of Saugatuck-Douglas for Christmas, it is one of the most beautiful, special traditions I’ve ever experienced. Michigan has some amazing traditional events!

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Wade:  I hope folks know the amazing author Bonnie Jo Campbell, as well as the wonderful writer Kris Riggle. I am a huge fan of local Saugatuck painter James Brandess and writer Jacqueline Carey, both of whom are hugely talented and nationally famed. Matt Balmer, the chef and owner at Everyday People Café in Douglas, is as creative and talented on a culinary level as they come. The owners of Evergreen Creamery, which makes the best goat cheese I’ve ever eaten, live around the corner from us. Uncommon Grounds in Saugatuck roasts the best coffee and makes the best lattes (Caramel Silk rocks!) anywhere. And Crane’s Pie Pantry and Orchard in Fennville is an institution: Go pick some apples or peaches, or just pick up a homemade pie. All of these folks make Michigan magical.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Wade:  Perhaps the most stunning scenery in America. The most beautiful beaches, the most unique towns. And the state is home to some of the nation’s best colleges and universities. And the people: I’ve been blown away by their kindness, compassion, and love of Michigan. This is a special place, so do we really have to let others know?

Debbie:  It's the best kept secret in the nation!  Finally, last question:  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Wade:  Michigander. Totally. I was born in Missouri, so I was a Missourian. And I lived in St. Louis, so I was a St. Louisan. I went to grad school at Northwestern in Chicago, where I was a Chicagoan. Michigander just sounds right. Or maybe I’m just sick of being an “ian.” (And if any of you just said, octogenarian, I’m comin’ after you!)

Debbie:  Non-octogenarian Michigander it is!  Wade, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday.

To learn more about Wade and his books, stop by his web sites:  http://waderouse.com/ and http://www.wadeswriters.com/ .  And check out his blog at http://blog.waderouse.com/