Friday, December 31, 2010

Mittenlit's 2010 List

I was pleased to see that Bill Castanier included The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark on his list of recommended 2010 Michigan books.

But that's not the reason you should head over to his Mittenlit blog.

Instead, you should head over to Mittenlit because it's a really great blog, with daily updates about Michigan books, authors, and literary events.

So bookmark it, add it to your feed, and visit Mittenlit often!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Workout Review: The Hollywood Trainer Cardio Sculpt

I count on variety (what with its "spice-of-life" reputation) to keep my interest in exercise from lagging. The library's DVD shelf and my Netflix queue ensure a steady rotation of new workouts in my morning routine.  But there are a few DVDs that are reliable standards I return to again and again.  One of my current favorites in this category is The Hollywood Trainer Cardio Sculpt, with Jeanette Jenkins.

The workout runs about 45-minutes, and it includes cardio segments plus toning with handheld weights.  It's an extremely thorough workout that hits pretty much every major muscle area, upper and lower body.  The pace is steady -- you won't get bored -- but not too fast or overwhelming.

I never know whether to call a workout "tough" or not, as it depends entirely on your fitness level.  I have a feeling I experience more "tough" workouts than your average exerciser, given that my own fitness level is, er, a work in progress, with plenty of room for improvement.  But for me, this is a fairly challenging workout.  The first time I tried it, by the end I collapsed on the floor in a heap and did not get up for five days.  More recently, I can finish without collapse, but it's definitely not a workout I can just go through the motions with.

More reviews are available here and here (as you can see, some folks love the DVD; others are not as impressed; but this tends to be the case with all things...) and Jeanette Jenkins' site is here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Brag & A Link

First, a little bit of good news for Mr. Fish and his pals:  The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark received a "Gold Seal" from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, in the "Books for Preschoolers" category.  Gold is not the highest level of honor ("Platinum" is one level up), but it's still nice to be noticed.  Click here and then scroll down for the entry.

Second, though yes it is nice to have one's own books noticed, ultimately what matters to me is not that kids and families read my books but just that kids and families read books!  With this in mind, I found the Forbes article "A $5 Children’s Book vs. a $47,000 Jail Cell — Choose One" by Steve Cohen to be extremely compelling.  I hope you'll read it.  (The article starts a bit down the screen, so just scroll to get to it.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Firefighters Were Harmed In The Baking Of This Bread

I was the first rendered bankrupt in this afternoon's cutthroat game of Bookopoly (despite having bookstores on The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath).  So I wandered into the kitchen.

This is not a good thing.  I am the reason one should regularly check the batteries in one's smoke alarm.

Still, I mean well.

So, with these best of intentions in mind, I unearthed a recipe, "Harvest Grape Loaf," that I first made for a family Christmas dinner way back in high school.  This was a few years ago ("a few years" in this case meaning "several decades").  It's an easy but charming recipe, fragrant with cardamom and nutmeg, and impressive in its presentation.  To wit, the loaf before rising:

And just before baking:

And fresh out of the oven:

It's a deceptively easy celebratory bread, one that I always associate with Christmas and family and love.  I really should bake it more often.  Slathered with butter, there's nothing better than fresh bread.  Baking and eating it today was a satisfying end to the holiday season.

And if I can bake it without incident, anyone can.  So if you'd like the recipe, just let me know.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's That Time Of Year

Christmas is just around the corner.

Here at my house, we’ve got home-baked cookies enough to last us till spring; we’ve got Santa excitement; and we have the glorious joy that comes of love and luck and complacency. As we count down to the big day, I feel humbled by it all, and I number my blessings over and over. What a happy and lucky woman I am! I am grateful beyond words for my family and my friends, and for the unique but comfortable place I have found in this crazy world of ours.

But even in the midst of my heightened awareness of my own good fortune is my perpetual awareness of the challenges and hardships that life can present. I know that in the course of many years lived and many paths traveled, for many there is the sobering surprise of dark corridors and unwelcoming places. This can be true no matter the time of the year: for many, this is true especially due to the time of year.

This blog of mine has many visitors, some of whom I know and love, others of whom I’m somewhat acquainted with, and many of whom I’ll never even know stopped by. Given this, it’s a shot in the dark to know who might read a given blog post on a given day.  But just on the off chance that you – be you a friend, be you a stranger – just on the off chance that you, reading this now, might need to hear this, please know that no matter what is on your plate for the holidays, you – YOU -- matter. And if you are not in a good place right now, know that whatever pain you may have, whatever worries you may have, you, YOU, will get through it.

If you are alone this time of year, and it all starts to be too much, please don’t let yourself lose hope. Seek a welcoming place – amongst your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community. This is your world, and you belong here. You matter! Don’t ever let yourself think otherwise.

But if you are sinking, for whatever reason, know that there is help

If you are in crisis, or even close to it, and you don't know where to turn, please pick up the phone: 1-800-273-8255.

If you talk, you will be heard.  And it will help.

And no matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what is on your plate, no matter what the holidays mean to you, please know that I send you Peace and Love and my best wishes for Great Joy for us all.

I will catch you after Christmas, everyone. May Santa be good to you.  May Santa be good to us all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Poetry Friday: Breaking Trail

Breaking Trail

I arrive later than usual,
a bit distracted.
I’m surprised to find the five-day-old snow
has not been cleared.
Seriously? No one could be bothered to plow?

But there’s a path of sorts, of stomped down snow,
from walkers earlier in the week.
It rings around an approximation of the paved trail.
Just walk there, I tell myself.

But that’s not the actual path, says another part of me.
See right there? It arcs too wide. Misses completely.
That’s grass peaking up through those bootprints, not pavement.

What’ll it hurt to follow it? It doesn’t have to be exact.
You’re being compulsive. You think too much.

Thinking’s got nothing to do with it.
You know the path well enough. Walk where it IS,
not where someone else imagined it was.

Oh, shut up. Aren’t walks supposed to be meditative?

Why don’t you shut up yourself, and meditate on doing things right?

I move forward on the bootworn path,
hoping for a little quiet.

Then comes a small voice,
at the very back of my head.

You know, you don’t have to walk on the path.


I SAID… You Don’t Have To Walk On The Dang Path!

I stop. Or nearly do.

You could walk right across the middle, you know,
straight across the park.
You could walk in a spiral!
You could go on a crazy walk.
Like a dog chasing a squirrel.
Just look at all that snowy space,
where there aren’t any footsteps.
could walk

Meditative? Yeah. Right.

I continue forward on the bootworn path.
One lap. Two laps. Three laps. Four.

It’s finally quiet.

I’m all done.

It’s time to go.

But as I walk out of the park, it hits me:

If I were to look back right now
there would be no place I could point to confidently and say,

“There. Those. Those are my footsteps. Mine.”

The small voice clears her throat.

Thoroughly self-conscious and awkward,
I turn around and walk back to the trail.
I step off, into a small, untraveled snowy place.
I stomp, and I leave two of my bootprints behind.

Satisfied? I say.

Sure. Yeah. Whatever.
The little voice goes quiet, and then leaves me alone.

But I begin to think,

as I turn and make my way back,

that I’m pretty sure

I haven’t heard the last of her.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recommended Babies

I hope you'll allow me to indulge in a little bit of baby-pride.

First, a reminder.  Please take a moment to sign up for my Michigan Notable Books reading challenge.  It's me doing my small part to help encourage folks near and far to read books by Michigan authors.  Whether you live in Michigan or somewhere else entirely, all you have to do is look at a list of twenty books and pick a couple that you're willing to give a try to, and you could win a really great prize!  Easy, fun, and a nice distraction from the windchill.  (That's what's known as a win-win-win.)  Click here for the details.  I've got about a half dozen participants so far (some signed up in the comments; others have emailed me) but I'm aiming for 50 -- yes, 50! c'mon, we can do it! -- so please do sign up -- yes, YOU, if you haven't already! -- and then encourage a book-loving friend or two or ten to sign up as well.  Thanks.

Now, for the bragging bit.

My and Dan Hanna's two fishy books have come in for more than their fair share of kind mentions in blogs and on lists of various sorts.  I am thoroughly grateful for this!  But my and Tracey Dockray's bad-tempered babies have been a bit more under the radar.  Yet I have a real soft spot for those grouchy protestors, and wish they were crawling into more homes.

So I was very pleased to run across The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade included on a "Great Books to Give as Christmas Gifts" list put together by the Richland County Public Library.

Gosh, yes, the book would make a great Christmas gift, wouldn't it?  :)

OK, end of shameless self-promo segment...

But really, I'm just happy to have the baby book be noticed.  It's available in many libraries, so if you're looking for a book to share with a little one, please don't hesitate to check it out!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Michigan Notable Books Reading Challenge

Update as of 1/1/11:  Between the folks who have signed up in the comments and the folks who have emailed me, we're getting quite close to my goal of 50 participants!  But we do need a few more to get there.  So go ahead and sign up, and/or spread the word.  You won't be sorry - there are lots of great books to read on the list!
Now back to the original post....
- - - - - - - - - -

I tend to prattle on in my blog entries (word count of each blog entry generally exceeding the word count of my three books combined), so let me give you the executive summary first:

As a small show of support for Michigan literature, I’m doing a “Michigan Notable Books Reading Challenge.” If you’re willing to commit to reading at least two of the books on the 2011 Michigan Notable Books list, you’ll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to a Michigan independent bookstoreDetails later in this blog post.  Note: You do not have to live in Michigan to participate.

Now, for the Prattling On part...

I always look forward to the release of the Michigan Notable Books list. The Michigan Notable Books list is the Library of Michigan’s annual selection of up to 20 Michigan-related books, each written by a Michigan author or about a Michigan topic.

Followers of this blog know that I believe we have more writing talent per capita than any other state of the union. Though my weekly “Michigander Monday” blog feature (profiling a different Michigan children’s book author or illustrator each Monday) went for a while on an unintentional hiatus (ah, Life, you do get in the way of blogging), I’m a firm believer in all things mittenliterary, for children and for adults.

This year’s Michigan Notable Books list is strong and diverse. I’ve read or gotten started on about half of the books on it already, and I’m looking forward to delving into most of the rest. The list has a wide array of writing genres, styles and topics; and taken as a whole it's a wonderful celebration of Michigan.

But the Notable Books program is more than just a list of books. Many of the Notable authors participate in the Michigan Notables spring tour, so if you live in Michigan there’s a good chance one or more of the authors will be coming to a town near you. If that’s the case, please take advantage of the opportunity! You can show support for your local library (which, coincidentally, is a great place to find these books!!), and for the writing talent of Michigan, by attending one or more of the tour events.

In addition, there’s usually a public reception for the Notable authors in the spring. I assume this will be the case again in 2011. I’ve attended this event in the past, and it's a very nice gathering. Many of the Notable authors are present for the reception, so if you attend, you can mingle with wonderful writers and get your books signed. Usually one of the authors delivers a talk. I heard Christopher Paul Curtis speak at the Night for Notables a couple years back, and more recently I heard David Small and Bonnie Jo Campbell. If you live in the Lansing area, I highly recommend attending this function – it’s definitely worth the ticket price.

Given what a great program Michigan Notable Books is, and given that I like to do what I can to encourage folks to read books by Michigan authors, I’d like to offer up a Michigan Notable Books Reading Challenge.

If you’re willing to commit to reading at least two of the Michigan Notable Books, I will enter you in a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to the Michigan independent bookstore of your choice. (Winner names the bookstore.)

To be entered in the drawing:
  • Sign up by no later than January 31, 2011.  You sign up by commenting on this blog post; or, if you’re blog-shy, by emailing me:  deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com
  • You do NOT have to read the books by January 31. You just need to indicate your intent by then.
  • Double Your Chances: If you’re willing to spread the word about this challenge, I’ll enter your name in the hat twice. Just indicate so in your comment below (e.g. “I’m in, and I’ll link to this; tweet about this; Facebook this; make a 'Read Michigan' sign for the snowman in my front yard; and/or get a 'Michigan Notable Books' tattoo.").  Note: it's a maximum of two entries in the hat, even if you get the tattoo. (Note 2: No, I don't want to know WHERE the tattoo is.)
  • You do NOT have to tell me which books you plan to read. Just pick two that you haven’t read yet.  You can change your mind about which ones at any time.
  • You do NOT have to live in Michigan to participate – in fact, I think it would be wonderful for more non-Michiganders to become aware of Michigan’s contribution to the national literary scene.
Other important details:
  • You do NOT have to tell me if you do not finish and/or if you don't love one or both of the books that you choose to read.
  • You DO have to thank me profusely if you do love one or both of the books that you read.  I get all the credit.  Not the talented author who wrote it, but ME.  Thanks.
  • As of Feb. 1, I’ll enter all names of challenge participants in a drawing, and I’ll announce the winner by no later than February 15, 2011. (OK, so it’ll probably be Feb. 2 when I announce; but I’m building in a time cushion in case I get carried away with Groundhog’s Day festivities. One never knows…)
  • One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to a Michigan independent bookstore.
  • Winner chooses the bookstore, but it needs to be here in Michigan and independently owned. (Those of you out of state, remember, most bookstores have online purchasing options and can mail order to you.)
Ideally, I’d like to have at least 50 participants in this challenge, so please spread the word. But given that my blog readership consists of pretty much, er, my Mom, if I were to get even just 5 or so committed participants, I’d be thrilled. So if you’re reading this, please thrill me. Sign up!!

Regardless, though, of how many of you choose to participate, I hope that all of you will take a look at the Michigan Notables list and read several or even all of the books. In the words of the Guindon comic strip, “Michigan: Cold nose, Warm heart.” It may be the season of cold noses, but you can show your warmth by Reading Michigan!

Without further ado, the 2011 Michigan Notable books (click here for the official, annotated list, with descriptions of each book; and head over to Bill Castanier's wonderful mittenlit blog for more about many of these books and authors):
  • Apparition & Late Fiction: A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch (W. W. Norton)
  • Blues in Black and White: The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals by Michael Erlewine, photographer Stanley Livingston and designer Tom Erlewine (University of Michigan Press)
  • Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation by Steve Lehto (Chicago Review Press)
  • Detroit Disassembled by Andrew Moore (Damiani/Akron Art Museum)
  • The Detroit Electric Scheme: A Mystery by D.E. Johnson (Minotaur Books)
  • Eden Springs: A Novella by Laura Kasischke (Wayne State University Press)
  • Freshwater Boys: Stories by Adam Schuitema (Delphinium Books)
  • The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster)
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson)
  • A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir by Godfrey J. Anderson, Gordon Olson (editor) (William B. Eerdmans)
  • Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan's Copper Country by Alison K. Hoagland (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Picturing Hemingway's Michigan by Michael R. Federspiel (Wayne State University Press)
  • Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City by John Gallagher (Wayne State University Press)
  • Sawdusted: Notes from a Post-boom Mill by Raymond Goodwin (University of Wisconsin Press)
  • Sixty to Zero: An Inside Look at the Collapse of General Motors and the Detroit Auto Industry by Alex Taylor III (Yale University Press)
  • The Sweetness of Freedom: Stories of Immigrants by Stephen Ostrander and Martha Bloomfield (Michigan State University Press)
  • To Account for Murder by William C. Whitbeck (Permanent Press)
  • Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams edited by M.L. Liebler (Coffee House Press)
  • Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson by Lawrence M. Glazer (Michigan State University Press)
  • You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face-Blindness and Forgiveness by Heather Sellers (Riverhead)
Congratulations to all of the winners!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Couple of handy book lists in today's newspapers.

First, the Michigan Notable Books have been announced.  This is a great program that highlights books by Michigan authors and/or with Michigan settings.  I'll have a longer post about Michigan Notables later in the week (and possibly a Notable Books reading challenge); but for now, here's the link to the list.

Second, the Grand Rapids Press has a gift guide of books by Michigan authors.  (Full disclosure: two of my books are included in the list, so I probably shouldn't be linking you to it; but eh, what the heck - why have a blog if not for the shameless self-promotion opportunties it provides? ;)  Fiction, history, memoir, mystery, kids' books, and more -- find the list here.

Other than having to put down your book periodically to go shovel the drive, it's a great day for reading in Michigan.  So start a fire in your fireplace, stir up some hot cocoa, and settle in for the afternoon with a good book!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo for Slackers. Join Me?

Many of you are no doubt familiar with NaNoWriMo.  Participants in NaNoWriMo spend all of November working assiduously to complete a first draft of a novel within the calendar month.  From the NaNoWriMo web site:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.  Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.  Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Online resources and even in-person events aim to keep participants' motivation high during the month.

I've occasionally considered participating in NaNoWriMo, but never have, and realistically probably never will.  There's the fact that November is an awfully busy month already; plus there's the fact that I've learned through experience that trying to fit my writing output into a tight timetable usually backfires on me.

However, I did recently embark upon a new writing project, and I happened to begin it on November 30, the very day that all earnest NaNoWriMo participants were setting their pens down and breathing a satisfied sigh of relief.  The thing that I am writing is shaping up to be a longer work*, for an adult audience (i.e. not kidlit), and ideally, I'd like to have a first draft completed before winter is over**  But I've learned over the years that everything I do takes me two or three times more time than I think it will.  So eleven months is probably a better estimate for my completion timeframe.

Which puts me at (calculators, ladies and gentlemen....) exactly November 1 for a "please put your pencils down" date for this project.  That's Nov. 30 - Nov. 1, which is, conveniently, NaNoWriMo's calendar opposite.  I think of it as an alternative NaNoWriMo, and I dub it...

NaNoWriMo for slackers!



(which is just as easy to say as the original).

[Or I suppose it could be NaNoWriElMo (ElMo = Eleven Months).  Or AlNaNoWriMo (Alternative NaNoWriMo).  Perhaps we need a dedicated NaAcCreMo (National Acronym Creation Month) to get us started.]

But whatever you want to call it, I'm giving it a try.

I won't be posting my word count, tracking my progress, or providing any updates at all, given that none of those things would be in keeping with the keyword "slacker."  But I did want to mention what I was doing in case any of you would like to join me in NaNoWriMoFoSla.  As with my Lazy Person's Reading Group (session one; session two; session three - oh, yeah, it only met once...), though you're welcome to chime in in the comments section if you'd like, all you really have to do to join is nod at your screen.

And then, all you really have to do is write, slowly but steadily, until November.

So uncap those pens.  And Go!

*I hesitate to come right out and call it a novel manuscript, because the word "novel" implicitly sets forth the idea that I will someday be sending it around and seeking publication, whereas even the mere distant future prospect of submission -- and all the ego-crushing rejection and frustration involved -- is enough to shut down my creativity immediately.  So no, it's not a novel manuscript.  It's just my work-in-progress.

**My motivating technique of turning the furnace off and not turning it back on until I've met my word quota is weather dependent.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Poetry Friday & Friday Reads

I have no poem to share with you today.  But I did read a heartachingly beautiful poem earlier this week.  You can find it here, at the end of the post.

In other poetry news, the children's blogosphere poetry round-up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.  Click here for the round-up.

And it's Friday Reads today!  So tweet, post, or just chat with someone about what you're reading lately.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upcoming Story Times with Deb Pilutti and Sue Thoms

The Eastwood Schuler Books is the place where my writing group and I meet periodically for biscotti, er, the hard work of critiquing, and so I'm very pleased that Deb Pilutti, illustrator of the new book The Twelve Days of Christmas In Michigan (written by Sue Thoms) and author-illustrator of The City Kid And The Suburb Kid will be visiting there this Saturday at 11 AM.  Grab a kid and head on over to meet Deb!  Details here.

Meanwhile, also this Saturday at 11, Sue Thoms will be at the wonderful bookstore Literary Life in Grand Rapids.  Click here to learn more.

Deb will also be at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor Thursday, December 9, at 6:30 for a The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan reading and book party.  Details here.

Fun children's book creators in fabulous settings -- lots of opportunities to take yourself and a small one to a great bookstore in the very near future.  What could be better?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Are You Reading Lately?

I recently wandered into Twitter (@debbiediesen), and though I’m not sure I’ll stick around there (I’m neither hip enough, interesting enough, nor socially savvy enough to really find a comfortable place in the Twitterverse), for those who inhabit it effortlessly Twitter is a dynamic and interesting place full of lively conversations and exchanges. There are lots of ongoing features and memes, and one I particularly like is “Friday Reads.”

The idea behind Friday Reads, launched and grown on Twitter by Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven), is to take a moment every Friday to share with the world what you’re currently reading. Given that this occurs on Twitter (where posts are limited to 140 characters), there’s no pressure to get into reviewing, critiquing, praising, or panning. It’s simply a nice opportunity to engage in a little water cooler talk about what’s on your reading stack.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea. The more we talk about our reading interests, the more we are apt to notice how integral and crucial books are not only in our own lives but in the overall life of our culture. Taking the opportunity to casually but regularly engage in “what are you reading” conversations in the public sphere helps elevate and highlight the importance of books and reading to us all.

So, with all this in mind, I thought I’d take a moment to do another blog entry (as I do every month or so) on what I’ve been reading lately.  My recent and current reads (some finished, some just started, some halfway through...) are:
(Note: Even though I’m a children’s book author, just FYI none of these books are kids’ books. I do read those, too, but lately my reading has trended more grown-up. Tends to ebb and flow.  Who knows, next month might be all Dr. Seuss...)

Anyway, now that I've told you mine, perhaps you’d like to take a moment to chime in in the comments about what you’re reading.  Or maybe this Friday you’ll want to participate in Twitter’s "Friday Reads" (use hashtag #fridayreads), either on Twitter or over on the Friday Reads page on FaceBook. Or, better yet -- if you don't already -- perhaps you will take the opportunity a couple of times each week to have a “what are you reading?” conversation with a friend or co-worker.

When you promote and encouraging reading by making it a discernible part of your online and offline life, it's good for us all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One of my favorite quick bread recipes of all time is the Penzeys Apple Bread recipe.  You can find it several places online, including here; and you can find Penzeys Spices here.

Feeling inspired to bake it?  Just be sure that right around the time you put this apple bread in the oven you give me a call, so I can head on over.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching Up...

A few things I've meant to blog-post about, but have neglected to until now:

  • Bill Castanier was kind enough to interview me for a piece earlier this month in the City Pulse.  Click here for the article, "Making Time For Rhyme."

  • Chris Singer of the great web site Book Dads did a nice review of The Pout-Pout Fish.  Click here for the review, and then click here to nose around the site.  (You can also find Book Dads on Facebook - click here.)

I think there are some other links I meant to post, so I may have another catching-up post later in the week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Very Good Reason To Mark Your Calendar for the Kerrytown BookFest 2011!

This blog ostensibly deals with children’s lit, especially children’s lit by Michigan authors and illustrators. But as any of you who’ve followed JTC for more than 2 minutes know, when I’m not in total blog-neglect mode, I do tend to wander a bit. In other words, it’s total eclectic-lady-land here: children’s lit blog entries alternating with bad poetry, workout reviews, random observations, short rants, long rants, and the occasional recipe.

But I think I’m somewhat on target with this blog entry, am I not?

That is, though it’s not pertinent to children’s lit, it does connect to the Michigan literary scene, yes?

Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  But truth be told, this blog entry is really just an “I’m screaming because I’m so excited!” fan post!

(One tries not to be so excitable, but, well, there it is.  Excitability in a 43-year-old may not pretty, but it does happen.  Avert your eyes and carry on as best you can...)

And just what, you may be wondering, is the cause of my excitement?

Louise Penny will be at the 2011 Kerrytown BookFest!!!!!!

I hope you’re already familiar with author Louise Penny. If not, you should know that Louise Penny’s novels are utterly absorbing. I’m a mystery reader in general, but I read her novels not just, or even primarily, for the mystery and plot. It’s her characters that pull me in. They are real people to me – people I’ve met and gotten to know. People I think I should include on my Christmas card list before I remember, “oh, yeah, they’re not real.”

But really...

They are.

Read her books, and you'll know what I mean.

Anyway, this is all to say:  You absolutely must mark your calendar now for the next Kerrytown BookFest. Sunday, September 11, 2011 in Ann Arbor. Be there! There will be something for everyone*, but more importantly, there will be…

Louise Penny!!!!

To keep posted on all the latest Kerrytown BookFest guests, please see their web site, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.  I look forward to seeing you there.  I'll be the one stalking, er, enthusastically following Louise Penny around.  :)

- - - - -

*This past September I had the pleasure and privilege of being one of the many guest authors at the Kerrytown BookFest. The 2010 author line-up included authors for all reading interests and genres, and the 2011 line-up is sure to follow suit. Many of the 2010 authors (including me!) plan or hope to be back, and many new ones will be added. For reference, the 2010 authors were:

Doug Allyn; Eric Alstrom; Steve Amick; Jennifer Armintrout; Toby Barlow; Ruth McNally Barshaw; Marybeth Bayer; Barbara Brown; Marlee Brown; Bonnie Jo Campbell; Mark Crilley; Deborah Diesen; Loren D. Estleman; Colleen Gleason; Gail Griffin; Bryan Gruley; Steve Hamilton; Susan Kathleen Hartung; Amy Huntley; Steve Klein; Arie Koelewyn; William Kent Krueger; Steve Lehto; Mardi Link; Steve Luxenberg; Thomas Lynch; Donald Lystra; Ellen McCarthy; Craig McDonald; Michael Glenn Monroe; Heather O'Neal; Ann Pearlman; Sharon Pomerantz; Lev Raphael; Kristina Riggle; Nicola Rooney; David Small; John Smolens; Keith Taylor; Debbie Taylor; Wendy Webb; Judge William Whitbeck; and Michael Zadoorian.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bedford Branch Library This Afternoon

The Writers on the River Book Fair is today!  This year it's at the Bedford Branch Library in Temperance, MI.  Event details here, and full line-up of authors here.

It runs noon to three.  Hope you can make it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do you live in the Jackson, MI area?

If you're near Jackson, Michigan tomorrow, be sure to stop by the Ella Sharp Museum for the opening reception for "Blue Moon Over Michigan," an exhibit of the Michigan landscape art of Bev Tippmann, Carol Hatfield, Vivian Schilling, and Susan Miller.

The reception runs from 2-4 PM on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the Ella Sharp Museum, 3225 4th St., Jackson, MI.  You should definitely go see these fabulous artists!  I've got two Susan Millers hanging on my walls, and I love them.

The exhibit runs through January 22.  More info here.  And Susan's site is - go take a look!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 PAL Award

Mr. Fish and his pals are pleased to be the recipient of a PAL award!

Play On Words, the site of speech language pathologist, writer, and toy consultant Sherry Artemenko, M.A., C.C.C., recently announced the 2010 PAL Awards (Play Advances Language).  The awards were given to toys, games and books that engender language-advancing play.

Happily, The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark was one of the books chosen for the award!

You can read more about the award here; and the full list of 2010 PAL Awards can be found here.  And then be sure to nose around the Play On Words site, as there are lots of great articles and blog posts you might enjoy reading.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pop Quiz!

Sharpen your pencils for a pop quiz!  What do the following authors all have in common?
  • David Anthony
  • Albert Bell
  • Michael Beres
  • Laura Bien
  • Melba J Boyd
  • Matthew Brandeburg
  • Tori Carrington
  • Charles David Clasman
  • Suzanne Courtney
  • Sarah Cunningham
  • Deborah Diesen
  • R.A. Evans
  • Michele Howe
  • Amy Huntley
  • Darla Jaros
  • Ken Jaynes
  • Chris Kruse
  • Stacey Lundgren
  • Donald Lystra
  • Gail Gaymer Martin
  • Vernadine Merrick
  • Tara Michener
  • Sarah Miller
  • Gregg Milligan
  • Halah Mohamed
  • Jim Mollenkopf
  • Deb Pilutti
  • Sheri Repucci
  • Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
  • Jacqui Robbins
  • Jeffrey Schatzer
  • Nancy Shaw
  • Shirley Steinman
  • Frank Stiles
  • Susan Collins Thoms
  • Sara Velasquez
  • Jan Wahl
  • Jane Wells
  • Lisa Wheeler
  • Jennifer Whipple
  • Wong Herbert Yee
Give up?  Here's the answer:

You'll find us all this Sunday afternoon at the Monroe County Library System's Writers On The River Book Fair!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mr. Fish is Geeked!

Isn't this great?  It's a poster from the Clive Public Library in Iowa.

Thanks, Jenna, for sending it.  I definitely return the sentiment:  I geek libraries!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Author visiting Michigan

Laurel Snyder, author of children's books, poetry, and more, will be visiting Michigan this week.  She'll be at the Jewish Community Centers of Metro Detroit this coming Sunday, November 7, at 10:30AM and 4PM.  If you're in the area for her visit, be sure to attend!  Details here, and more information about her books here

Friday, October 29, 2010

Poetry Friday: In The Path

In The Path

It is not, as it turns out,
a dead body.

Just a drunk.

Just a falling down, passed out, Friday morning drunk
who landed one pint of vodka short
of the park bench.
He lies on his side
in the chilly fall sunshine,
curved and curled
like a mammoth sleeping child.

Thick wrinkles blanket his face.

But his eyes --

--when they flutter open, ever so briefly, --

show a disarmingly



My head shakes.
Should not those eyes

be mineshafts to darkness?

Gateways to hardship?  Windows to pain?

Has he not
a story?

He must.

He must.

He has a name, after all.
The paramedics know it, already,
when they come to cart him away.
Surely, he's not just a drunk.
I am flawed enough, and ever so old enough,
that I know this by now.

Do I not?

Do I not?

And yet I'm relieved

to the very soles of my sturdy walking shoes

when the path is cleared

and I can carry on
once again

as if no drunks

ever dare to pass out

in the bittersweet glory

of the midday sun.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Michigander Monday Bonus Feature: Laurie Keller

Laurie Keller has been with us previously for Michigander Monday, and today I am delighted to have her back for some Q&A about her latest book.  Laurie is a fabulous and unique talent, and her new book is marvelous fun.

Debbie:  You new book, Birdy’s Smile Book, is wonderful! Tell us a little about what inspired you to write it.

Laurie:  I wanted to write a book on smiling because I think it's something we don't think about that much yet smiling is something that can affect any given situation in a positive way. It's such a simple thing but it can really make a difference in how we relate to others -- strangers, friends, teachers, classmates, family, bill collectors, llamas, doughnuts -- I'll stop now but you get the idea. Birdy was the first KID character I ever used in a book thus far. I named her Birdy after my friend's next-door-neighbor who is nicknamed 'Birdy'. She was always telling me amusing stories about Birdy and when I decided to use a little girl character for the smiling book, I knew I wanted to name her Birdy because of her.

Debbie:  According to Birdy, someone who studies laughter is called a gelotologist. Is this really true?

Laurie:  It's TRUE! It comes from the Greek word gelos which means laughter. Gelotology is the study of laughter and humor and the effects of both on our bodies. Who knew?! I sure didn't until I started researching smiling and laughing. I still wonder though, like Birdy does, what someone who studies Jello© is called.

Debbie:  Birdy says if she were a food, she’d be cheese. You?

Laurie:  I'd be popcorn. It's one of my favorite foods and I think it'd be fun to experience the popping process.

Debbie:  Name a vegetable that makes you smile (I’m guessing it’s not broccoli).

Laurie:  Hmmm....I'll say onions. They're supposed to make people cry but onion is a fun word to say. It's got kind of a built-in rhyme: UN-YUN. And they sure smell good when they're cooking which makes me and my nose smile.

Debbie:  One of Birdy’s smiles travels all the way to Timbuktu. Where’s the furthest one of your smiles has traveled?

Laurie:  Well, the furthest I have personally traveled to deliver a smile is Thailand and Viet Nam. Who knows though where it has traveled from there. I did see a smile the other day when I was in Georgia that looked vaguely like mine so maybe my smile is working its way back to the states by now.

Debbie:  Top five things guaranteed to put a smile on your face?


*dogs riding in cars with their heads out of the windows

*my 5 year-old niece

*Christopher Guest movies

*my cats

*walking in the woods
(those were the first 5 things that popped in my head when thinking about that question so that's what I'll go with for my answer)

Debbie:  Will we be seeing more of Birdy?

Laurie:  Maaaaaaybe. I thought it would be fun to do a Birdy's Breakfast Book -- discussing the importance of eating breakfast. Though that may be a bit hypocritical of me because I rarely eat breakfast. BUT I have heard time and time again that it's very important for KIDS to eat breakfast so they don't run out of fuel before lunch. We'll see...I have a couple other ideas for Birdy...stay tuned!

Debbie:  I definitely will!  Laurie, having you here today has put a big smile on my face.  Thank you for stopping by!

To learn more about Birdy's Smile Book, click here; or view the trailer here.  And head over to Laurie's site here.

And keep smiling!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetry Friday: Clearing Way

Clearing Way

The young one

says goodbye to the living room shelf units

as if losing an old friend.

“Why?” he asks,

with all his heart,

“do we have to get rid of them?”

“Because we’ve had them twenty years,”

I want to say.

“Because I’m tired of the same old big, bulky shelves.”

I feel a sigh billowing up inside me.

“It’s just time for a change.”

But I say nothing.

I watch him dust each shelf carefully.

The new owners

are on their way,

if they’ve found the right crossroads.

It won’t be long now.

These shelves,

that have sat immobile all his life,

are moving on.

“I’ll miss you,” he says

when he doesn’t think I’m listening.

And suddenly,

I’m right there beside him,

my whole soul knowing

how hard it is

to say goodbye.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last three appearances of the year

It's been a busy fall!  I've had a wonderful time traveling to bookstores, schools, and libraries to share my books with kids and families.  But all things must come to an end, and I'm down to just a handful of events before I take a break from traveling for a while.

I've got a story time in Grand Rapids this Friday, and then my last story time of the year at Schuler Books Eastwood Towne Center on November 4 at 10:30 AM.

In addition, I'll also be at the Writers on the River Book Fair on November 14.  This is a fabulous event, with a ton of great authors (full line-up here).  Stop by if you can - there's something for everyone!

This is a good moment to pause and express my great thanks and gratitude to all of you -- kids and parents; grandparents; librarians; booksellers; teachers; and more -- who have been so welcoming to me at libraries, bookstores, schools, and book fests.  It's an honor and a true privilege to be a part of the book-life of children.  Thank you for letting me share in all that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Doesn't this cover put a smile on your face?

It's Laurie Keller's latest book.  Click here to learn more about it, and here for a past JTC interview with the fabulously creative Laurie Keller!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poetry Friday: Bare Branches

Bare Branches

It’s fall. I know this because

the ants have stopped coming into my kitchen.
No more earnest invaders case the joint for spills and spatters
as they hatch a plot to drive me mad.
late in the game,
is mine.
The ants have marched off
to wherever it is that ants go for winter.
Dead, or dormant, I know not, and do not care.

Yet I imagine them…

gathered deep in the earth…

their ant faces wrinkled and heavy with beard:

and each of them,
recalling kitchen glory days.

The melted popsicle puddles.

The cookie crumbs.

And all the bright sunshine

that came

before fall.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Couple Of Nice Reviews

A couple of nice blog reviews just came out, at sites you might enjoy visiting.

Bianca Schulze of the great site The Children's Book Review has reviewed The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade.

An excerpt:  "The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade is a thoroughly entertaining reminder for parents to savor every moment with their youngsters—babies don’t stay babies forever."

Click here and then scroll down for the full review.  Click here and then explore for everything else the site has to offer.

And Pragmatic Mom at the Pragmatic Mom site has reviewed The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark.

An excerpt:  "It is a rare occasion when my husband raves about a picture book...  So when he told ME to blog about this book because it’s GREAT, I have to say that I stood up at attention (figuratively as I was reclined in bed), and took note. "

Click here for the full review.  Click here to read more of Pragmatic Mom's posts; you can also find Pragmatic Mom on FaceBook.

I'm very grateful for the reviews!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Have You Been Reading Lately?

Update 11/28:  Those of you looking for new reading ideas, I've finished this stack and a few more besides and now have a new "What Are You Reading" post up (including some thoughts on Twitter's "Friday Reads" feature).  So if you're looking for some new ideas for your reading stack, click here for my new post.  Or really, just head over to your library and browse the shelves like you usually do.  [Cue the "so many books, so little time" soundtrack...]  Then be sure to comment in with your latest suggestions. I'm always looking for something new and interesting to dive into!  Thanks.

My poor neglected blog.  I've been quite busy lately with lots of storytimes and book events, including trips to great bookstores like McLean and Eakin in Petoskey and Literary Life in Grand Rapids.  More events are on the agenda for the next month or so, and then I'll settle into a no-event stretch over the winter.  My regular blogging will probably resume around that time.  Till then, it will continue to be spotty.

But as a placeholder for now (and to prevent dust bunnies from forming under my blog), I thought I'd do a quick blog entry about what I've been reading lately.  I hope you'll take a look at the links for these books (some are kids' books, some not), as you might enjoy reading them.
Currently on my reading stack (many of these selections inspired by meeting a bunch of nice authors at GLIBA), are:
What's on your reading stack?  What else should I add to mine?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The talented, fabulous, and one-of-a-kind-wonderful Shutta Crum has a new book out!  Thomas and the Dragon Queen has been receiving well-deserved glowing reviews.

Stop by Shutta's blog for a chance to win a free, autographed copy!  But before you do, stick around here for a moment, as she was kind enough to stop by for a Jumping The Candlestick blog interview:

Debbie:  Shutta, what's the first thing you remember writing?

Shutta:  The first bit of “creative writing” that I remember well was a scary poem I wrote in the 6th grade. I don’t remember any of the lines. But I do remember that it was about coming down some dark stairs where something was waiting at the bottom for me. And I remember how impressed my parents were by the poem. I had to read/recite it to many a bored relative! One good thing I must say about my upbringing; Mom and Dad were always so proud of us and gave us praise—when we deserved it! That stuck with me, and I remember trying to do well so I could hear that pride in their voices. On the other hand, if they thought we weren’t giving any endeavor our all, they let us know that, too. Overall, not a bad way to be raised, I think!

Debbie:  Indeed!  Shutta, where do you do most of your writing?

Shutta:  A boring answer to this one, I’m afraid. Mostly I write in my office on the second floor of my house. It’s a small bedroom that has been converted. I do have a playhouse (see photo) but I seldom do much writing there. The problem is, I go in there to write but get ensnared by the hammock and end up snoozing instead! It’s a dangerous place for me to be when I am on a deadline.

Debbie:  I love your playhouse!  I'd love to move in to it with a year's supply of books to read.  Speaking of reading...  What book is next up in your reading stack?

Shutta:  Not sure. I like surprises and sometimes I just pick up something and get sucked in. I did just finish Mockingjay and then passed it on to my hubby. I don’t think this third installment is as well written, or thought out, as the other two, however. But sometimes it is difficult for an author to tie up all the loose ends, and still keep a sense of suspense and freshness—especially when the first volume in a trilogy is so startlingly fresh. I also felt this way about Pullman’s Dark Materials series. The Golden Compass was so new, so different, that the second volume only barely managed to continue to be fresh. By the third volume we’re in a war and all the loose ends have to get wound up. Collins seems to have had the same problem with her final volume in the Hunger Games series.

As to the next thing to read . . . hmmm . . . let’s see. I’ve got a history of King Arthur here, a book on Celtic history, a book on dying with natural materials, and two new teen novels. One by Scott Westerfield, and one by Nancy Werlin. Which should it be?

Debbie:  That's a tough choice!  I think you might just have to close your eyes and grab one.

One last question:  September is fading away, and nothing says autumn in Michigan like a cider mill. At the cider mill, what do you head for first: a fresh-baked doughnut; a glass of cider; or a caramel apple?

Shutta:  Definitely the cider! Donuts and caramel apples are too sweet. I like a good crisp, slightly acidic cider, served VERY cold. Yum!

Debbie:  Shutta, thanks for stopping by!  I hope all my blog readers will head on over to your blog and sign up to win!

For more information about Shutta, read her previous Jumping the Candlestick interview (part of my sorta-weekly Michigander Monday series) and then head on over to her web site.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We have a winner!

A big thank you to everyone who participated in my book giveaway contest!  Thanks to you, our President now has some fun suggestions to round out his rather serious To Be Read pile.

Last week, I promised to announce the winner on Friday.  Since I'm four days late, I'm announcing four winners!  Judging was hard (I honestly couldn't decide), so instead I tossed all the names in a hat and drew at random.

Our four winners are....

Pragmatic Mom

Please email me at deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com to let me know how you'd like your book made out, plus provide me with your mailing address, and I'll get that off in the mail to you.

Thanks again, and keep reading!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Final call!

Thursday note:  It was relatively late in the day when I posted this yesterday, and a few folks are just now reading this; so I'll give things till the end of Thursday as my deadline.  But I'm setting my alarm for midnight sharp to choose a winner!  (Er, OK, not really.  But in the morning...  :)
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Today's the last day to enter to win a free copy of The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark.  Click here for the details.

Also, if you're a nanny, or know a nanny, tomorrow's the last day to enter the "Regarding Nannies" giveaway being done in conjunction with my interview on the Regarding Nannies blog.  Head over here for more information (at the bottom of the post).

Good luck!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kerrytown BookFest Tomorrow!

The Kerrytown BookFest is tomorrow in Ann Arbor.  Tons of great writers and speakers -- click here for the line-up and here for the schedule.

I'll be doing a storytime in the children's tent at 3:00, and most of the rest of the day you can find me in Booth 65.

Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jeffery Schatzer's Michigan Reads Tour

Last year I had the great privilege of The Pout-Pout Fish being chosen as the 2009 Michigan Reads title.  I visited libraries and schools in a dozen cities last fall during the Michigan Reads tour.  Every visit was exciting and wonderful:  I met great kids, great librarians, great teachers, and more.  What a terrific and memorable experience!

This year's Michigan Reads book is The Runaway Garden, and author Jeffery Schatzer will be traveling around the state this month and next month.  Stops on Jeffery Schatzer's Michigan Reads tour include:  Petoskey Public Library, Peter White Public Library, Rudyard School Public Library, Hart Area District Library, Public Libraries of Saginaw, Detroit Public Library, Livonia Public Library, Howell Carnegie District Library, Marshall District Library, Kent District Library, Antwerp Sunshine Library and the Alpena County Library.  For more details, click here.

Congratulations to author Jeffery Schatzer and illustrator Jeffrey Ebbeler on the selection of The Runaway Garden as this year's Michigan Reads book!

Win a copy of "The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark"! Contest still going on.

With back-to-school and whatnot, it's been a bit busy around here.  So I haven't yet announced a cut-off date on the contest for a free copy of The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark.

Which means you can still enter!

Just go to the original blog post (click here) and make a suggestion for a picture book that you think President Obama should read, and to whom he should read it.

Have fun - remember, this a chance to suggest an enjoyable, quick read that will lighten up the President's very-serious-reading list a little.*

Cut-off date for entries is September 15.

- - - - - - -
*Of course, it will only theoretically lighten his reading list.  Seeing as my only connection to the Oval Office is a thirty-five-year-old "Presidential Medal of Fitness" certificate that I, and fourteen trillion other kids received in the mid-1970s, it's highly unlikely that our current Chief Executive will be taking any reading recommendations from moi.  Still, it's fun to think about picture books at the White House.  "Picture books: they make every house a home."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grouchy, Protesting Babies Now On FaceBook

Though Mr. Fish and his pals aren't (yet) on FaceBook, The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade book now has its own FaceBook page.

So I'm linking the "like" button here, as well as over in the sidebar.  Like away!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Michigander Monday: Matt Faulkner

(Before we get to our main attraction, a quick announcement:  My contest for a free signed copy of The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark is still going on -- click here for details.)

I am very pleased today to welcome the talented Matt Faulkner to Michigander Monday!

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

Matt:  I grew up in Arlington, Ma.- just outside of Boston. Kids liked hockey in Arlington. I liked hockey too but what I really liked was to read and draw. I also had a heck of a lot of fun hanging out at the local Boys and Girls Club - playing hoops, ping pong etc. (My Dad was Exec. Director of the joint so, it was like a second home to me and my brother and sisters.) Oh ya, did I mention drawing? I was and am mad for drawing. Mad. I drew and drew. Madness. I went to a college for art called the Rhode Island School of Design. Had a lot of fun there. They let me draw all the time! I have a teen age son named Gabriel - he likes to draw too. I have published over 35 books for kids. And…Tah Dah… I’m getting married in December to my lovely fiancĂ© Kris Remenar; author, great mom, children’s librarian and hottie scholar! Woohoo!

Debbie:  You and Kris are so deserving of your mutual joy -- hearty congratulations to both of you!!!!

Matt, tell us a little about your latest book.

Matt: My latest book is about the illegal imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII. It is loosely based on the experiences of my aunt Adeline and her daughter, Mary Asai. Adeline and Mary were illegally imprisoned during the war because Adeline’s father was Japanese. It’s a graphic novel and will be published by Disney/Hyperion in 2012.

Debbie:  What an amazing story.  Any other books and projects on the horizon?

Matt: I am working on another book with Laurie Halse Anderson. This one will be about Abigail Adams. I also have a manuscript that I’ve written that is about crazy rabbits who take over a town and eat all the burritos. That’s going to be fun!

Debbie:  Burrito-eating rabbits - I love it!  Can't wait to see that one.  Matt, do you have any upcoming appearances?

Matt: I have a show of my work at the Little Monsters Toy Store in downtown Lake Orion in January 2011.

Debbie:  How about your favorite places in Michigan?

Matt: I love Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. It’s so peaceful. Go there whenever I can! Also dig the Franklin Cider Mill. Dreamt of their donuts while I lived in California!

Debbie:  Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Matt: The Dragon On The Lake festival in Lake Orion! I rowed one of the boats in the race on Sunday, Aug. 29th! Very cool!

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

Matt: I really dig Glenn Michael’s mosaics and Balthazar Korab’s photos of Cranbrook. Another favorite Michigan person is Kim Santini, who paints portraits of animals, pets mostly but some wild as well. She has a great style and is a great support for other artists, young and older! And I am a big fan of Wendy Halperin/John Mooy and Sarah Stewart/David Small! There are so many cool Michigan people - not enough space for them all here!

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

Matt: There is a great deal of fantastic native American history in Michigan.

Debbie:  And finally, for our ongoing tally:  Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Matt: I’m a Michiganian. O ya!

Debbie:  Matt, thank you so much for being here today!