Archive for May, 2011

High Plains Book Award Finalist

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For is a finalist for a High Plains Book Award in the category of Best Woman Writer. I am very pleased to be in the running for this prestigious award, and I look forward to lots of good reading as I make my way through several of the other books (in various categories) that are also finalists.

Final Four and Home!

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The final four events of my Dakota Tour–two stops in Grand Forks, ND; an interview on South Dakota Public Broadcasting (radio); and a reading at Zandbroz Books in Sioux Falls, SD–are over, and I’m about to catch my flight home. I had the chance to hang with some good friends in Grand Forks, and I look forward to catching up with the Danz Brothers (Greg and Jeff of Zandbroz in Fargo and Sioux Falls) this October when we will all be at the South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood.

Here’s the interview on SDPB with Paul Guggenheimer’s Dakota Midday. It was a busy “Midday,” with our interview starting at 32:25 on the tape, and ending at 44:45.

Now I’m headed home, after one month, 17 events, and about 3500 miles of traveling. Several times, as I traveled along I-94 and I-29, I meant to take some photos of my favorite ND billboards, reminding me to “Smile” (I did), “Be Polite” (I tried), “Be Grateful” (I was, I am, more than I can say), and of course:

DAKOTA Wins IPPY Award

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The Independent Publisher Book Awards have been announced, and I’m so pleased to say that Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For has won an IPPY “silver medal” for Best Regional Fiction (Mid-West).

Throwing Stones

Monday, May 16th, 2011

What do you do on a sunny Sunday at “the lakes” (which refers to any and all of the 10,000-plus Minnesota lakes that lucky North Dakotans travel to on the weekend)? Well, Molly and I throw stones.

You're never too old (or too young) to throw stones into bodies of water.

Interview on WDAY Radio

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

This past Thursday was my interview on WDAY radio (Fargo, ND) with Christopher Gabriel, and what a pleasure it was to talk on the air with a good reader about Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For. Lots of good energy. There are two parts to the interview.

Pet Interlude

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Nothing about North Dakota here. Just some photos of pets (but more importantly, on this windy 45-degree day in Fargo, of a verdant spring background in Michigan).

Two dogs and a cat (ignoring the photographer)

Gentle Sammy, the good dog

LuLu. I know I've been gone a long time when I start to miss this one.

More Pix from Governor’s Residence Visit

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Here are a couple more pictures from this past Tuesday’s book club discussion at the North Dakota Governor’s Mansion, hosted by ND First Lady, Betsy Dalrymple. Thanks to Susan Stibbe for the group shot.

Two book clubs: Casselton and Arthur

BKM & Betsy Dalrymple

Book Clubs and the Governor’s Mansion

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

This past Monday and Tuesday were book club days. The venues were pretty different, from margaritas at Mexican Village with a Fargo club (made up of teachers, librarians, administrators, counselors, past and present, from Agassiz Middle School) to a luncheon and discussion at the North Dakota Governor’s Residence, hosted by ND First Lady, Betsy Dalrymple, but both were lively and lots of fun.

Agazzi Book Club (missing a couple of quick-exiting members)

Now, how did I get invited to the governor’s residence? First Lady Betsy Dalrymple, from Casselton, ND, and my sister, Ryma, belong to the same book club. Also in this club are high school friends and old neighbors and folks I’ve come to know pretty well over the years. So when they decided to read Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For, Betsy generously offered to host that month’s meeting at her Bismarck home. Even better, she invited another book club, this one from nearby Arthur, to join the discussion. And since this is how rural communities work, of course there were old friends to greet and new friends to meet. Better still, both of my sisters were with me, too. Even though there was a piano nearby, the Marshall girls did not provide the “special music.” It would have been the standby, Count Your Blessings, and it’s a blessing that we refrained.

Ryma, Betsy Dalrymple, BKM, Myra

I suggested, as the discussion began, that my invitation to join the Casselton book club for the day was a nice sign that they had forgiven me for insisting, some years ago, that the “classic” that they just had to read was Nabokov’s Lolita, which they uniformly hated.

“Not necessarily,” a high school friend dryly responded. I knew then that I was in for a fun discussion. Thank you all for being there, and for all of the good words. The group picture taken on my camera didn’t turn out, so if anyone has a nice picture from the day, let me know, and I’ll post it.

Big Things on Hills

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Do North Dakotans have a state-wide odd sense of humor? Or is it something about too much space around us that makes putting big things on hills seem like a good idea, just to break up the long view toward the horizon? If you’re driving on I-94 near New Salem, you will see this in the distance:

Something on that hill over there--but what is it?

It's the world's largest cow, of course. Or at least the world's largest Holstein.

Saturday was a good day to study the North Dakota landscape, as I began the morning with a drive from Bismarck to Minot (two hours), where I had breakfast with the ‘Pi’ Book Club. Fun to see a number of the women sitting there at the table with copies of my first novel, Mavis, as well as Dakota. They came with some great questions, too. I hope they had as much fun as I had.

Pi Book Club in Minot

From Minot I traveled to Williston, another two hours west. I made a quick stop in Tioga to say ‘hi’ to my cousin, Steve, owner of the Model Tavern, but I should have known he wouldn’t be around, as it was a good day for fishing. This is the cousin who had the pool table and the jukebox taken out of the bar because it was attracting too many customers.

Signs of the April 30 freak winter storm were still in evidence, including a number of snapped utility poles.

Poles snapped by late-spring storm, along Hwy 2.

In Williston I signed books at Chuck Wilder’s beautiful (and busy) independent book store, Books on Broadway, had a fun chat with Chuck and with several readers, and then drove the four hours back to Bismarck. That made it possible for me to head out on Sunday morning in time to get back to Cass County to have dinner (that’s the noon meal here, folks) with my mother on Mother’s Day.

Next up? Margaritas with a couple of Fargo book clubs this afternoon. Life is good.

Day Off in McKenzie County

Friday, May 6th, 2011

With no events planned for the day (yesterday) I relaxed with my sister and brother-in-law, Myra and Ron, in McKenzie County, which looks a lot like this:

Yes, that little bit of white in the background is snow.

No day in a farm town is complete without a trip to the local implement dealer “for parts.”

My brother-in-law wanted to know why I didn't stand in front of a real big tractor for this shot.

Tractor and air seeder (used for no-till farming). About 70 feet from front to back. $300,000 new, but you can get this used combination for $150,000.

Farming would have been a bit more difficult for the folks who lived in this homestead house.

From the 1890s, this is the deluxe model, made of sandstone, with a 15' by15' interior, and windows!