Monday, September 24, 2012

Michigander Monday: Glenn Shaheen

I'm pleased to welcome Glenn Shaheen to Michigander Monday!

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

Glenn:  I was born in Canada, but have lived in the United States since I was a teenager. Presently I am a doctoral candidate at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where I live with my fiancee, the fiction writer Laurie Ann Cedilnik. I also serve on the board of the Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc., an organization dedicated to the support and promotion of writing by Arab-Americans.

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

GlennPredatory is my first book of poems, and won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize in poetry. It was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press last fall. It's an analysis of the way we Americans have come in the past decade to let a fear of destruction consume us, the destruction of our nation, the destruction of our society, or the destruction of love. This fear is an obvious fallacy - it's conceited to think that any of these things would be destroyed in our lifetimes. That's the kind of thinking that the party has to end once we left, but that's almost never true - somebody did a keg stand and made out with a lamp as soon as we got in the taxi!

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Glenn:  I'm working on a second manuscript of poems right now, but it's very nascent. Right now it's about community and how individual responsibilities translate into social duties, though I could cut half the poems tomorrow. The working title is Great Southwest.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Glenn:  My only booked appearance this fall is reading for the Monsters of Poetry series in Madison, Wisconsin on October 12th. Nothing in Michigan until the spring I'm afraid!

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Glenn:  I loved Literary Life in Grand Rapids, but unfortunately they recently shut their doors. In Kalamazoo, Kazoo Books is terrific, and so is Michigan News Agency. Support your local bookstores!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Glenn:  The dunes at Saugatuck are fantastic, and I love biking the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail - I haven't made it up to the UP yet, but I hear that's gorgeous as well.

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

Glenn:  The first snow is always great! It's usually a surprise, even though you know it's coming, and you've forgotten enough about icy roads, shoveling the driveway, endless cold, etc, that it's sort of pleasant. The 12th snow is not as great.

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

Glenn:  I like poet Hayan Charara, who no longer lives in Michigan, but was born and raised here. I think he counts enough as a Michigander. Or Michiganian? I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on these questions! His books are The Alchemist's Diary and The Sadness of Others.

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

Glenn:  It is phenomenally beautiful here for about 10 months. Also, the amount of farm to table restaurants here is great - I thought I'd lose weight moving from Texas, but, ha ha, no dice. Too many terrific places to eat!

Debbie:  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"?

Glenn:  I've only been a Michigander for a year, so maybe I'm not the right person to ask. I've always said "Michigander" though, and my spell check seems to think the answer is "Michigander," so that's what I'm going with!

Debbie:  Glenn, we'll add you to the Michigander column.  Thank you for being here today for Michigander Monday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Workout Review: V. Method Cardio Vusion by Vicki Vara

V.method Cardio Vusion by Vicki Vara is a great workout.  It consists of three segments:  the first, a cardio segment, I would describe as (using a words-starting-with-V theme) “vigorous.”  Deceptively so: Vicki and her two assistants are petite and cheerful, and the 15-minute segment requires only small, light handweights, and yet it’s thorough and challenging.  The next segment, a 17-minute lower body workout, is “vicious.”  Well, not really; but after this segment?  Your. Hips. Will. Hurt.  The final section, at 14 minutes, is “varied.”  Primarily abs and core, but also with some leg work, this section rounds out a workout that’s more challenging than you might expect.

Couple of small quibbles.  First, a very minor (definitely a “might just be me”) issue:  The instructor is wonderful, but at times her voice/enthusiasm veers near the upper boundary of my cheerfulness tolerance.  A slightly more significant quibble (though still not a huge one):  unlike most workout reviews, the instructor doesn’t “mirror” the movements.  When she cues you for your R leg, she uses her own R leg.  Since I’m primarily used to the mirroring approach, this throws me a bit (especially in segment two, where the first few times doing the DVD I ended up facing backwards and couldn’t see the instruction).

But neither of these quibbles gets in the way of a great, thorough, challenging, and invigorating workout!  Highly recommended.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Michigander Monday: Sue Harrison

I'm pleased to welcome Sue Harrison to Michigander Monday!

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

Sue:  I was born in Lansing, Michigan. My family moved to the Upper Peninsula when I was four, and I’ve lived there ever since, except for a brief sojourn in Colorado. When I was 10 years old, my teacher pinned one of my (very poor) poems to the bulletin board, and I decided that if I was good enough for that lofty honor, I was good enough to write books. I started writing regularly and finally had my first novel published when I was 39. (Steep learning curve!) I met the love of my life in first grade when he chased me to the monkey bars. We married when we were 19, put ourselves through college, and when we were 22 began our family. We have a son and daughter, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, and another daughter in heaven. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was 5 and faith is still the center of my life. Things I love in addition to my Lord and my family? Walking outside after a hard, cleansing rain. Talking to flowers. Hearing the loud tick of a comforting old clock. Reading a great book in a quiet house. Popcorn at a movie with my husband. Riding a slow horse. Buying a fun pair of shoes. Knitting socks. Jumping into warm, blue water with a scuba tank on my back. Writing, writing, writing!!

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

Sue:  My first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, was published in 1990 by Doubleday and was a national and international bestseller. It was selected by the American Library Association as one of 1991’s Best Books for Young Adults, a crossover from the adult market. My other novels include: My Sister the Moon, Brother Wind, Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, Call Down the Stars, and Sisu. My novels have been honored as main selection and featured and alternate selections of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs and book clubs in Europe and South America. SISU, a middle reader’s book, was selected as a National Accelerated Reader’s Book. My novels have been published in more than 20 countries and in 13 languages.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Sue:  I’m excited to be writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. I have two novels currently with my agent, Rachelle Gardner, and look forward to future possibilities for publication.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Sue:  My future appearances include:

Saturday, September 29, 2012 -- International Society for Key Women Educators, Delta Kappa Gamma, Fall Retreat, Bay Mills Community College, Brimley (Michigan) – Talk and weaving demonstration: “Weaving, an historical perspective,” six thousand years of fabrics. Two presentations: 11 – 11:45 a.m. and 12:00-12:45 a.m.

Wednesday, April 25, 2013 -- 6:30 p.m. Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain (Michigan) Presentation, reading, discussion.

Monday, June 5, 2013 -- Stalwart Presbyterian Women: Ladies Night Out. Northwoods Christian Camp, Pickford (Michigan) – Keynote speech. “All Wrapped Up.” Discovering Your Eternal Gifts.

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

Sue:  I’ve had the privilege of visiting many Michigan bookstores and libraries, and no matter where I am, I find great joy in meeting and talking to the book people who staff those facilities and make it possible for readers and writers to have the joy of living within the glorious stories of books. Whatever bookstore or library I’m in at the moment is my favorite!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Sue:  Although I love many places in Michigan, from the big cities to the wilderness, my favorite has to be my little hometown of Pickford in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Pickford is a farming community full of good, honest people, the place where my heart lives no matter where I travel.

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

Sue:  I love any kind of celebration that features the good things that people do.

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

Sue:  Wow, there are so many, but I’m going to highlight a young man who came into my life this past year. Ron Riekki, Upper Peninsula native and author of the bestselling novel, U.P. is the editor of a Wayne State University Press Anthology that will highlight the work of Upper Peninsula authors. He put much time and talent into gathering the stories for this anthology and wrote a grant to put these authors on the road for an Upper Peninsula book tour to small town libraries. He’s won numerous awards for his deep, heart-wrenching and often hilarious stories, poems and plays, and yet his focus is on highlighting the work of others.

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

Sue:  I love that Michigan is a maritime state. The world needs to know about the unique fresh water seas that cradle the state and have a huge influence on its weather, its economy and the mindset of its people.

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"?

Sue:  I hate to mess up your tallie, Debbie, but I usually refer to myself as a Yooper!

Debbie:  Yooper it is!  Thank you, Sue, for joining us for Michigander - er, make that Yooper - Monday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Michigander Monday: Kenneth Kraegel

I'm pleased to welcome Kenneth Kraegel to Michigander Monday!

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

Kenneth:  I grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana, very near the Michigan border. There was always some mystique about Michigan. It was where people went to go hunting, fishing, skiing, and camping. When you crossed the state line the number of trees doubled and it felt like you were entering a rustic paradise. Now that I live here some of the mystique has worn off, but not all of it. I really enjoy living here.

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

KennethKing Arthur's Very Great Grandson is my first book. The illustrations are done with ink and watercolor, the story is done with the English language. It came out this July from Candlewick Press.

It is about a six-year old named Henry Alfred Grummorson. He is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King Arthur. Henry very much wants to have adventures like his famous ancestor, so he goes off in search of adventure. He encounters a Dragon, a Cyclops, and a Griffin, but to his utter dismay, they all turn out to be friendly! So he heads for the sea where he encounters the Leviathan, who "of all the living beasts is the most to be feared...."

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Kenneth:  I am working on one with my editor and I have two that are waiting for some time to develop.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Kenneth:  Reading at Pooh's Corner in Grand Rapids on September 17 at 10:30.

Reading at The Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, IL on September 22 at 11:00.

Reading at the Barnes and Noble in Mishawaka, IN on September 29 at 2:30.

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

Kenneth:  Pooh’s Corner is an excellent children’s bookstore in Grand Rapids. Schuler Books and Music is a wonderful independent bookstore. They hosted my book launch at one of their stores in Grand Rapids and did a very impressive job.

As for libraries, my favorite library is the Spencer Township Library in Gowen, MI, where my mother-in-law is the managing librarian.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Kenneth:  My wife, son, and I went backpacking on North Manitou Island earlier this summer. We hope to go back soon. It was beautiful. I would also love to go on an extended trip to Isle Royale someday.

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

Kenneth:  Well, ArtPrize is a great event in Grand Rapids. But my favorite events are probably the various fruit seasons - strawberry, cherry, blueberry, peach, and apple. As well a good snow in the winter and an all-night rain in the summer.

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

KennethMarie Catrib has a very popular restaurant in Grand Rapids, before she came here she had a restaurant in Houghton. I don’t know her personally, but I am always impressed with the warmth and joy that she conveys. Plus her food is very good.

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"?

Kenneth:  I have only heard Michigander. So that must be what I am.

Debbie:  Ken, we'll add you to the Michigander tally!  Thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Michigander Monday: Kerrytown BookFest

Michigander Monday has the day off today for Labor Day, so I thought I'd use the slot to draw your attention to the Kerrytown BookFest, happening this coming Sunday, September 9 in Ann Arbor.

It's a fabulous event and I'm thrilled that I'll be a part of the day's activities -- I'll be doing a storytime at 12, with a repeat at 12:30; and at 4 I'll be on a "Path To Publication" panel with Ruth McNally Barshaw, Amy Huntley, and Jennifer Allison, moderated by Sarah Zettel.

For a full activity schedule, click here.  There will be authors, bookmakers, publishers, editors, storytellers, presenters, and more, including:
  • Jennifer Allison
  • Doug Allyn
  • William Anderson
  • Randy Asplund
  • Natalie Bakopoulos
  • Ruth McNally Barshaw
  • Abby Bennett
  • Barbara Brown
  • Jonnie Bryant
  • Trudy Bulkley
  • Jon Buller
  • Brianne Burgoon
  • Benjamin Busch
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Alyse Carlson
  • Jeremiah Chamberlin
  • Patricia Clark
  • Jim Daniels
  • Nicholas Delbanco
  • Michael Delp
  • Deborah Diesen
  • Jack Driscoll
  • Vicki Engling
  • Loren D. Estleman
  • Dan Ewald
  • Kerrie Ferrell
  • Meghan Forbes
  • Debra Golden
  • Lorna Goodison
  • Joe Grimm
  • Bryan Gruley
  • francine j. harris
  • Alexander Scott Hemenway
  • Haley Hoard
  • Tom and Cindy Hollander
  • Caitlin Horrocks
  • Jim Horton
  • Amy Huntley
  • D.E. Johnson
  • Philip Kadwell
  • W. Todd Kaneko
  • Kate Kehoe
  • Julia Keller
  • Julie Kramer
  • Katherine Larson
  • Annie Martin
  • Peter Morris
  • David Erik Nelson
  • Kelly Nichols
  • Heather O'Neal
  • Chad Pastotnik
  • Ann Pearlman
  • Eileen Pollack
  • Laura Pershin Raynor
  • Stephanie Rowden
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Diane Seuss
  • Brian Short
  • Kevin Spall
  • Larry D. Sweazy
  • Keith Taylor
  • Bill Upton
  • Tim Wendel
  • Howard White
  • Marianne White
  • Katherine Yung
  • Sarah Zettel
See you Sunday!