The Next Big Thing

My good friend and writing partner, Heather Haven, who writes the wonderful Alverez Family Mysteries, has tagged me to be part of a blog game of The Next Big Thing.

Now, I get to tell you about my Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book:

The Dragons of Graham

Where did the idea come from for the book:

A few years ago, when my girls were starting middle school, I was having a conversation with my daughter, Grace, on the way to school. She was talking about dragons and the idea hatched from there.

What genre does your book fall under?

“Dragons” is a middle grade novel, primarily for readers in the 8-11 age group. I guess you’d call it fantasy, too, since the school is infested with dragons.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I think my daughter Grace, would be the best choice for the lead, although the character of Rosie, her little sister is patterned after Grace when she was younger. As for the other actors, I’d love to cast it with local Mountain View kids. We have a lot of acting talent here.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Katie thought the worst thing that could happen in middle school was losing her best friend, but she didn’t know that she would have to deal with a whole host of dragons, too.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

“The Dragons of Graham” will be the first book published by my new imprint, The Wives of Bath Press, which I’ve begun with my writing partner, Heather Haven.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The initial draft didn’t take too long, but overall, almost five years has passed as I’ve worked on the book, rewriting and getting feedback. I promised my daughters that it would be published before the younger one graduated from middle school, so it has to be soon.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think my story is sort of a cross between “My Father’s Dragon” and The Magic Treehouse series.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wrote this book for my girls. I wanted to share my love of words with them.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

“The Dragons of Graham” is set in a real school, Graham Middle School, in Mountain View, CA. While the characters are fictional, I tried to make the story as real-life as possible.

Look for The Dragons of Graham to be available in time for Christmas, 2012!

Another Library Event – This time about History

Next week on October 30, Mountain View Library will be holding an Author Talk and book signing by independent researcher, scholar and author, Dr. Mirahmad Hashemifard. He will talk about his book “Understanding The Western World”(Shenakht-e- Donya ye Gharb).

Dr. Hashemifard is a medical doctor, educated at the University of Tehran. A practicing radiologist, he has been researching the roots of Western Judeo-Christian culture for many years.
This book chronicles numerous history-making events in Western civilation, from antiquity to the present day, from the view of not only history, but also religion, cultural, political and psychoanalytical aspects.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 7pm

Mountain View Library Community Room

Translation to Farsi will be available

 

Teen Read Week

Mountain View Library is in the middle of Teen Read Week, Oct 22-Nov. 2 (Actually more than a week). If you’re in 6th-12th grade, they’d love to have you sign up (https://ca.evanced.info/mountainview/sr/homepage.asp?ProgramID=21), read a book and write a short review.

Reviews should be at least three sentences about the book and three sentences about whether you liked it or not. Write as many reviews as you want and win prizes – every review will win something and the big prize is a $25 iTunes gift card.

Let’s hear what you’ve been reading!Image

The World Series is NOW!

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I watched the San Francisco Giants, my local team, win the first game of the 2012 World Series last night and I was ecstatic. There are few things more compelling than the games of October: the scent of fall in the air, the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bat.

Baseball fiction is a special experience for me, as well. I have several favorite baseball books on my shelves and I wanted to share a few with you. I know there are many more, so please recommend new ones in the comments.

An Old Favorite: “It I Never Get Back” by Darryl Brock, 1989

“Sam Fowler is taking a modern-day Amtrak home to San Francisco when an unscheduled stop somewhere west of Cleveland gives him the opportunity to stretch his legs. Instead, Sam finds that time has stretched and mysteriously transported him back to 1869.”

A veritable field of dreams, this book takes us back to the Cincinnati Red Stockings and lets us see the beginnings of baseball. I loved the old world charm of the story and the vivid characters and of course, the baseball.

A Real Baseball Story: “Wait Til Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, 1997

“Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950’s, this is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s touching memoir of growing up in love with her family and baseball. She recreates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant and Yankee fans.”

For Goodwin, it was all about the Dodgers. This memoir shows use her family through the lens of baseball and does it in a compelling and touching way. She writes “I was not just Doris Helen Kearns, but a Catholic, a resident of Southard Avenue, a Dodger fan, a Rockville Centre girl. Everything was wonderfully in order. But things would soon change, and when they did, I, too, would be different.” The book also has a number of photographs that help us re-live her story.

A Modern Miracle: “Money Ball” by Michael Lewis, 2011

In 2002, Billy Beane, the A’s manager, took a decidedly different path from traditional baseball. Short on funds, he used a different view of baseball statistics to sign the best skills he could buy on a limited budget. The ragtag collection of players were not ones that any pro scout would give a strong vote for, but together, they created a winning team.

Micheal Lewis writes so compellingly about business and finance, that he can find the magic in the numbers here. Baseball statistics, an often arcane and mystical science, yields up something amazing and the rests unfold as the season progresses. I really enjoyed rooting for this team and understanding what would go on to change the game of baseball.

Most Recently read: “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach, 2011

“At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.”

This book involves the mystique of baseball, in the form of Owen Dunne’s reverence for his ‘bible,’ “The Art of Fielding” by the fictional Aparicio Rodriguez. The philosophy that Owen finds in the book is at turns simple (“147. Throw with the legs.”) and majestic (“The true fielder lets the path of the ball become his own path, thereby comprehending the ball and dissipating the self, which is the source of all suffering and poor defense.”) The stories of the five main characters are all coming of age  experiences, regardless of their ages.

Berkeley comes to Menlo Park

 

'Telegraph Avenue' by Michael Chabon

‘Telegraph Avenue’ by Michael Chabon

 

 

Local author and Berkeley resident, Michael Chabon, will be speaking at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park on Thursday, Oct. 25th and reading from his new work, “Telegraph Avenue”
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As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there–longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart–half tavern, half temple–stands Brokeland.

When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples’ already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe’s life.

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves in Their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Summerland (a novel for children, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Maps and Legends, and Gentlemen of the Road.

Tickets are available now at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/275171

Mountain View Reads

'Talent Code' by Daniel Coyle

‘Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle

The City of Mountain View, in conjunction with Friends of the Mountain View Library, collectively reads a book each year. This fall, the book chose is “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. Another writer, who is also a parent, recommending this book to me, saying that it would give me new ways to look at my goals for myself and my kids.

You can find out more about the program here: http://www.mvreads.org/index.html

The next few events sponsored by Mountain View Reads Together include:

Tour the Computer History Museum

Saturday, October 20 at 12:00 pm
Computer History Museum

Silicon Valley is a hotbed of computer history! Take a tour of Mountain View’s own Computer History Museum. “Premiering in 2011, this exhibit celebrates the spectacular history of computing, from mysterious ancient devices to technologies of the future. Journey through 19 alcoves, each dedicated to a different aspect of computing and featuring an iconic object. Discover, in our multi-media displays, the back-stories, development drama, and astonishing breakthroughs of the gadgets, gurus and companies you love or love to hate.” (Computer History Museum website description)

When: Saturday, October 20, 2012 at Noon.
Where: 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043.
Cost: General Admission $15, children 12 and younger are free.
For students with a valid ID; Seniors (65+); employees of Google, Microsoft and IBM; and Active Military with valid ID admission is $12.

After the tour, plan to visit the gift shop for unique items or relax in the Cloud Café, which features freshly brewed coffee, local wines, and tasty bistro-style sandwiches and salads.
Tour of Freestyle Academy

Tuesday, October 23 at 1:00 pm
Freestyle Academy

Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology opened in August, 2006 for 11th and 12th graders in the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District. Students at the Academy learn a little differently than at traditional school, focusing more on creating multimedia projects that require skills in writing, photography, filmmaking, animation, and design. Now in its 7th year, Freestyle has won countless awards and helped students gain entrance into some of our most prestigious colleges and universities. Come visit this hotbed of talent on October 23rd at 1:00pm and watch a different version of school where teens develop artistic and technological skills through deep practice and expert coaching.

Directions:
Freestyle Academy is located just behind the Mountain View-Los Altos District Office at 1299 Bryant Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040. Park on Bryant Avenue and follow the path from Bryant past the district office. We will meet at entrance to campus, next to the Freestyle Academy sign. Please RSVP at http://www.freestyle.mvla.net/tour so we can prepare the teachers and students for the visit.