Everyone Can Do Something

When I was at the Children’s Festival of Reading last summer, a young woman approached the booth with a child on her hip. She looked through the books, bought one of my children’s books, and commented that it was very difficult to find children’s books in Spanish (at that time all of my books were in English).

A couple of months later I was chatting with the husband and wife who do occasional landscaping for us. When I mentioned the encounter with the young mother and said I was thinking about having my books translated, Maria told me that when they moved to the US from Mexico, she used children’s fairy tales to help teach their daughter English. The child was already familiar with the story in Spanish, which made the tales a good teaching tool. She also said that I should take care to get a good translator; I asked if she would be interested and she immediately said yes. The result of our collaboration is now available on the website and directly from Amazon. I only have one more show this calendar year, but I plan to have copies available there as well.

The notion of helping young children to begin to learn the language of their new country was part of the reason I chose to do this. That idea has a lot of appeal to me for a number of reasons: although I am not bilingual myself, I recognize the value of that skill; also, I believe there is great strength in diversity and any small thing I can do to make new arrivals welcome is a plus as far as I’m concerned; and finally, I believe it is vitally important for parents to read to their children. That last point applies to much more than bilingual education, of course. One of my goals in writing children’s books is to help spark conversations between young children and adults; both sides can learn something from that kind of exchange.

It goes without saying that I would also like to increase the audience for my works. Since Amazon is an international company I would love to have parents in Spanish-speaking countries worldwide own all three books in their Spanish version. That may be a little optimistic, but you never know.

The catalog page on my website (housemountainviews.com) lists all my books, including the new Spanish translations. 

Thanks, Everyone!

Yesterday was a full, rich day. National Authors Day, celebrated for the first time here in Knoxville, was an all day event, starting at 10:30 AM and ending at 8:30 PM. Eight featured authors (a group I was pleased to be among; lots of talent in a wide variety of genres) gave readings and backstories at Union Avenue Books, one member of the team that brought this about along with the Authors Guild of Tennessee and the Knoxville Writers Guild. The noon program at WDVX, Wordstream, featured two poets in the first of a series honoring our veterans, leading up to Veterans Day. Difficult, powerful, and spellbinding. 

The reception following Wordstream for the featured authors was relaxed, casual, and very pleasant. Back at Union Ave, I was slated to read at 5:20 and made it through without falling down or forgetting to talk. My thanks to my friends who made it out through the biting downtown winds to listen in, and all the other guests as well. It was great to see such a good turnout.

Robert Gipe finished the day off in style at the East Tennessee History Center with a talk and a reading that had us alternately nodding in recognition of the authenticity of his writing and laughing out loud at some of the passages.

My thanks to the sponsors, the judges, the creative team, my fellow authors, and everyone who turned out for making this such a fine day.

Boone’s Story Continues with Chap 31 Podcast

In Chapter 31 of “Pushing Back,” released this morning, the news about Gamaliel triggers Boone’s memories of how he lost his brother Frankie. Overwhelmed by the thoughts of Frankie and how he left things with his father, Boone misses a promised visit with Gamaliel.

Even though he named his dog after his brother, Boone has been fighting hard to keep from thinking about Frankie’s death and how that changed his family in so many fundamental ways. It’s difficult for him to even remember what their life was like before the accident.

One of these days I’m going to have to write that backstory, the story of how things were before Frankie died. It’ll have to wait until Boone is ready to tell me about it, though; for a fictional character, he’s remarkably stubborn sometimes.

 

As always, you can find all the chapters at

housemountainviews.podbean.com

or by clicking the “LISTEN . . .” tab on my website, housemountainviews.com and choosing from the several options for following along.

If you like the podcast, please feel free to tell a friend that you think might also enjoy it.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jim

TV, Radio, and a Personal Appearance

I don’t quite know what to make of all this; for an introvert it’s exciting and scary all at the same time. In any case, it’s a busy time for me coming up, and I wanted to let everyone know:

Tuesday, Oct 29, 3 – 4 PM, WATE  — The Living East Tennessee show will have a feature on the National Authors Day celebration coming up later in the week, and I’ll be one of the guests. This assumes, of course, that one of any number of strange and unpredictable events on either the national or world stage doesn’t preempt the show. Stay tuned.

Friday, Nov 1, 5:20 PM, Union Ave Books, downtown Knoxville, National Authors Day — I’ll be talking about, reading from, and signing copies of my book “Pushing Back” along with the other seven featured authors. Presentations start at 10:30 AM and last most of the day. 

Sunday, Nov 17, 8:35 AM, WUOT — Jody Sims hosts the weekly Authors Page, talking about authors who have a connection to the state of Tennessee. Nov 17th is my turn.

One of the perks of being a featured author in the local National Authors Day celebration is that I get shelf space at Union Avenue Books for “Pushing Back,” the novel that got me into all this. After all, the holidays are approaching, and some people (including my wife Suzanne) have started shopping for gifts. If you’re interested, I’m sure you can request the other two books in the series, “Matching Scars” and “Keeping Secrets” if you want to own the complete set.

High School Reunion

For the last two nights I have been the plus one for my wife’s 50th high school reunion; she’s an alum of Maryville High School. It’s been interesting. In the group of close to 100, there were those who have stayed in close contact, those who have had essentially zero contact, those who stayed in the same neighborhood they grew up in, and those who came from across country.

A few thoughts:

The Capitol Theater in Maryville looks nothing like I remember from 40 or 50 years ago. Our Saturday night dinner/dance/program was held there, and had a lot more meaning for the alumni than it did for a plus one. There was a professional looking slide show of old photos, etc, a memoriam piece for the departed that was very tastefully done, a pitch for money for the Foundation that was mercifully low-key, and a pretty good buffet style dinner.

I knew all of my shoes have non-skid soles; they work well for a person of a certain age. Not so great for dancing if you want to do anything that involves sliding your feet. Of course, any skills I may have had on the dance floor are in the dim and distant past, so it’s probably a non-issue. Or should be.

I managed for the most part to avoid the subject of politics, which is usually good policy for an outlier like me in pretty much any social situation in this area. Some of the conversations I did fall into were pretty interesting, and only one was an organ recital (“you know I’m having some trouble with my heart, my lungs, my kidneys, my liver, etc.”).

All in all, for an introvert in a large crowd of people who mostly knew each other pretty well, it was a pleasant weekend. It was good to see Suzanne enjoying herself with friends and acquaintances from her past. Actually, that was the best part.

National Authors Day Celebration

 

I’m pleased to announce that I have been selected as one of the Featured Authors at this year’s National Authors Day event in Knoxville, “Celebrate Our Authors,” for my novel “Pushing Back.”

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The event will take place on November 1st in downtown Knoxville at Union Avenue Books and the East Tennessee Historical Society.

More details to follow in the next couple of weeks.

It’s very gratifying to have one of my works selected; I write because the creative process feeds me in ways that nothing else can, but outside recognition by a panel of judges who are respected writers is an honor in a class all its own.

Boone’s Story Continues with Chapter 25 Podcast

In Chapter 25 of “Pushing Back,” out this morning, Boone tries to figure out the mysteries of the laundromat and imagines what will he will say the first time one of his friends notices his scar from the bullet wound. His daily checks on Gamaliel continue, until one day when he knocks and there is no answer.

As always, you can find all the chapters here

or by clicking the “LISTEN . . .” tab on the website and choosing from the several options for following along.

If you like the podcast, please feel free to share this or pass the word on to a friend that you think might also enjoy it.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jim