Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leslie Peterson - Redshift Blueshift

REDSHIFT BLUESHIFT: The Pendulum of Time

by Leslie Peterson

The first aliens to arrive on planet Earth were the Dorts. They were amoebalike and frighteningly large, but they did favor us with the Theory of Transformation—a brilliant advance over prior attempts by theoretical and particle physicists to create the ultimate, Unified Theory of Everything; but like all great theories, even theirs had limitations.

Centuries after the first Dorts arrived, Laura Shane was born. She reinterpreted the Dort Theory by giving it the “finishing touch” of her genius. It led to the faster than light removal of miles-deep, cone-shaped plugs from planet Earth. The latest and largest such Cone carried a crew of thousands. It was named the Great Cone of Transformation.

Through his 3T Corporation, Ned Keller directed the creation of Cones. Despite Laura’s unease about her first voyage into space, she and Ned went together on the Great Cone’s maiden mission.

Two weeks later they were light years from home when Ned’s “boss,” Jack Lewis, arrived to inform them of an event on Earth with implications for their mission. Unfortunately his concern did not include awareness of what those implications might be; but they were already in peril. It was sabotage—the first in a series of calamities.

Before the final calamity began to close in on them (the “Big Rip,” set to destroy the entire local multiverse) and before Jack’s recent arrival, it was still teatime on the Great Cone. Laura and Ned were having a pleasant morning beside her pool. The story begins there, with our attractive young genius sipping tea and deep in thought about her bewildering circumstances and the unchanged perception of all the things around her. Ned was reading comfortably in a nearby lounge chair. Now and then he’d look up to speak of love, while shamelessly admiring her long and lovely legs.

Leslie Peterson lives in Plymouth Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree from the U of Minnesota and began a varied social work career in NYC after his MSW degree from the U of Utah. That was followed by several years working in therapeutic community settings within the Utah State Hospital. He later taught for six years (Associate Professor at Mankato State U, in MN), and then four years as program director for a large state hospital. There were many other professional activities during his thirty-seven years in that field. He likes to travel, write, read popular works on cosmology and particle physics, enjoys most forms of adventure and science fiction, and delights in visits with his daughters and grandchildren. REDSHIFT BLUESHIFT: The Pendulum of Time is his first novel.

Trafford Publishing

Friday, August 20, 2010

Papa - Figuring Out What Matters by Brent Olson

Figuring Out What Matters

by Brent Olson

“The book reads like a novel, each essay a short chapter in the life and wisdom-quest of this farmer turned professional writer. I enjoyed the writer’s range of tone and his clever creativeness; for just one example: the Christmas story of the birth of a baby in a barn, retold by a man who has served as midwife to animals, is sheer genius.” Bridget Connelly, Emerita Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley

The American Agricultural Editors Association, at their National Convention in St. Paul, awarded Brent Olson ( of Otrey Township, Big Stone County, the 2010 Award for Best Regular Column, for his work in Living the Country Life. The column that won the award is the last essay in his recently released book, Papa, Figuring Out What Matters.

Brent's second book of essays, Letters from a Peasant, won a Merit Award for Best Regional Book from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. The AAEA is a professional organization of writers, editors, and photojournalists who work in the field of agricultural media. This is his second AAEA Award.

Brent is also the recipient of the 2010 Upper Minnesota River Arts Meander Tributary Award. He is the first ever recipient of this award.

BIOGRAPHY (If you ask Brent Olson who he is, this is what he’d say:)

-When someone offers me help my instinctive response is to say, “No thanks, I can do anything.” It has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the years.

-I still say it.

- I once shot myself in the hand with a rifle while preparing for a Norwegian-Philippine-French Independence Day Celebration.

-I once took a group of other people’s children to stay in the ghetto of a third world country where our body-guard was a fourteen year old girl named Lauri.

-One of my books is in Pete Seeger’s bathroom.

-I know all of “Silver Tongued Devil" by Kris Kristofferson .

-I once harvested 235 acres of soybeans in 17 and 1/2 hours. It snowed that night and I
had three cups of coffee the next morning before I put my shoes on.

-I know that what Henry V really said at Agincourt was most likely "Let's get 'em boys." but Shakespeare's version always makes me cry.

-I can castrate thirty pound pigs by myself, 45 seconds per pig.

-I am fond of every Caterpillar mechanic I've ever met.

-I know what the ground temperature has to be to germinate a corn seed.

-I cry very easily when I’m alone.

-I spend most of my time alone.

-I once spent the night in a motel bathroom in Brainerd with a baby with the shower running and the light off. The baby had croup and the light switch also turned on the fan

-I once was locked in a church with twenty-five teenagers and at three in the morning told them a story that made eight of them cry.

-I cannot sing, but can prove that either "Thunder Road" or "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" is the best song in the world.

-I've buried four dogs.

-I can cope.

-I love my family.


“Brent Olson is a sneaky writer. These little essays are like dried tomatoes mysteriously hydrated; they keep expanding to be about the United States, the human condition, and how to live a just life.” Bill Holm

"Brent Olson has the rare gift of being able to see metaphors for life in the more mundane facts of his existence. These he presents with a type of humor and insight laced with deeply rooted integrity most often found in people who live close to the land by choice. He is a thoughtful, quiet person who ekes out an existence through farming while spending every moment walking in a form of schooled, yet wide eyed awe at creation and humanity. His essays center on the life he knows, but they are steeped in an understanding that there is a greater world around him and a greater purpose in everything he does. Brent is a man who enjoys the journey as much as he enjoys arriving, a person who deeply feels the ancestral vibrations of the land he farms, and one who finds overwhelming joy in the remarkably unremarkable day to day life in his small town. His writings reflect all of this and offer parables for living any person can relate to."
Cheryl Rainford, editor, Meredith Corporation

“I love it: from the front cover title and photograph to the last page where I’m laughing and crying with a farmer-philosopher who has written the best book of essays I have read in decades.

I love Brent Olson and his new book of essays, and not just because the cover picture of him with his granddaughter could be mistaken for a photo of my husband and our granddaughter walking down a dusty road, or even because Meron calls her grampa Papa, just as Felice does. I like the human being who shines through the pages.

Get me straight, Brent Olson and I have never met, I know him only through his essays since I am a faithful reader of his newspaper columns which appear in the Northern Star, my hometown paper sent from Big Stone County to my house in Berkeley, Ca. If I were still teaching rhetoric classes at the university, I would put this book on the syllabus. His mastery of the essay form made me recall my pleasure in reading Montaigne, who first used the term in 1580 when he titled his informal musings on himself and mankind, Essais. Brent writes firmly in this fine old tradition, and he’s a lot more profound than some of the other prairie philosophers I’ve read recently (e.g., Robert Bly, Kathleen Norris, even Meridel Lesueur and Garrison Keillor).

As I write these comments, the Sunday New York Times on the kitchen table has a front page headline piece (with a two-page spread inside) about meat production and sanitary handling through the whole global process of getting a piece of e-coli free protein to the table. Brent Olson’s juxtapositions of city v. rural ways makes for great comedy and biting satire in his essays. Beneath the humor, he offers serious cultural criticism and commentary. And I think that our whole country--largely disconnected from the barns and gardens and fields that Brent writes about with such intimate knowledge—needs to read and heed the words of a philosopher pig-farmer and to get in touch with the rural life he shares in all its gritty glory, redolent with the smells of life.

The book reads like a novel, each essay a short chapter in the life and wisdom-quest of this farmer turned professional writer. I enjoyed the writer’s range of tone and his clever creativeness; for just one example: the Christmas story of the birth of a baby in a barn, retold by a man who has served as midwife to animals, is sheer genius.”

Bridget Connelly
Emerita Professor of Rhetoric
University of California, Berkeley


-Big Stone County Commissioner

-On the first Board of Directors Northern Growers LLC, a forty million gallon ethanol plant

-First Board of Directors Little Rock Wind, a community based wind turbine development

-Leader of four international work teams, United Methodist Church

-Twelve years on Board of Directors, six as Chair, Holy Trinity Hospital

-Chair, Administrative Council, Ortonville United Methodist Church

-Eleven years as leader of youth program, Ortonville United Methodist Church

-Ten years on advisory committee, West Central Experiment Station, University of
Minnesota, Morris

-Married for 34 years, three children (all with college educations and no student loans)

-Columnist for “Living the Country Life”

-Correspondent for Successful Farming’s online magazine

-Columnist for DTN/FarmDayta Satellite News Service

-Syndicated Column, Independently Speaking

-Author of Letters from a Peasant, The Lay of the Land, A View from the Prairie, Still Whistling, the Only Sane Response to a Complicated World, and Papa, Figuring Out What Matters

-Merit Award, Best Regional Book, Midwest Independent Publishers Association 2001

-Second place prize in competition for best team story, American Association of Agricultural Editors, 2001

-Books used as curriculum at Moorhead State University and at Southwest State.

-Columnist for Agrologisk, the Journal for Danish Agriculture

-Keynote Speaker 2002 Rural Health Seminar

-Presented two manuscripts at White Nights Writer’s Conference, Hofsos, Iceland. 2001

-Board of Directors, Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council

-Minnesota Committee on Episcopacy, United Methodist Church

-Keynote Speaker National Convention of Rural Mental Health Professionals

-Instructor at the Sinclair Lewis Writer’s conference

-On the first Board of Directors and past president, Big Stone County Pork Producers

-Farmed in Big Stone County for 30 years

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle

Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle

by Andy Hueller

The kids at school call her “Chubby Debbie.” Her parents and teachers call her just plain “Debbie.” It isn’t until she discovers she can fly atop her white Thunderstrike bicycle that Debbie Fine knows deep down inside she’s “Dizzy Fantastic-Fourth-grade Superhero!”

Unfortunately, Debbie has a hard time getting anyone t believe it. Her parents are too busy running their ice cream shop, her brother just thinks she’s annoying, and not even her imaginary twin sister thinks Debbie’s anything special. Then again, only a fourth-grade superhero would be brave enough to befriend mean Mr. Wilson and his rabid black Labrador, T-Rex.

Just as life starts to go Debbie’s way, a terrible tragedy strikes that Dizzy Fantastic is powerless to stop, and Debbie has to figure out how to trust herself and her own abilities before she can save the day once more.

Andy Hueller’s delightful debut is the story for anyone who’s ever felt alone or misunderstood—or has ever dreamed of unlocking the superhero within.

Andy Hueller grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota. Throughout his childhood, you would have found him with his twin brother, the two of them riding their bikes to various sandlot baseball games (in backyards and tennis facilities, usually). If he wasn’t there, you would have found him lying on his bed reading novel after novel. And if you didn’t find him there, you just may have found him playing Barbies with his older sister. Hey—she’s older and bigger and bossier, and you’d do what she asked, too. He now lives happily in Minneapolis with his fantastic wife Debbie and their enthusiastic dog. He teaches English and social studies at St. Paul Academy and Summit School. Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle, for children ages 7 to 12, is Hueller’s debut novel.


Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle Release Party
Sunday, August 15th 2:00 pm
Glaciers Café
3019 Minnehaha Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406

The Valley Bookseller
Monday, September 6th Labor Day 12:00 noon.
217 North Main Street
Stillwater, MN 55082

Roseville HarMar Barnes & Noble
Saturday, September 11th 7:00 pm

The Bookcase of Wayzata
Sunday, September 19th 2:00 pm
607 Lake Street East
Wayzata, MN 55391


Cedar Fort, Inc.
Sheralyn Pratt, Public Relations Manager

Friday, August 6, 2010

Candace Simar - Pomme de Terre


by Candace Simar

1862 was a tumultuous year in Minnesota history. The youngest state in the Union, Minnesota was one of the first to send men to fight in the Civil War. With the men gone, women and children were left to fend for themselves. The Civil War drained soldiers formerly stationed in Minnesota military outposts leaving the state undermanned and unprotected. Budget woes related to war expenses caused payments promised to the Sioux by treaty to be very late. Indian Agents at the Lower Sioux Agency refused to hand out needed supplies until the gold arrived. The Sioux were starving.

The result was the Sioux Uprising of 1862, the largest Indian war in U.S. history. Because it happened between the bloody battles of Shiloh and Antietam, it was largely unknown. Its effects on Minnesota and the Sioux Nation still reverberate today. My historical novel, Abercrombie Trail, tells the story of Scandinavian immigrants caught up in culture clash and broken treaty. Although the government declared the uprising over in the fall of 1862, Pomme de Terre tells the story of settlers living in the western part of the state where raids continued through the following year.

"I read POMME DE TERRE with the greatest interest and enjoyment. It's a very vivid telling of this tragic American story. I've long been wanting something in fiction about the Great Sioux Uprising, and this book is the best I've seen." Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Lonesome Dove, Academy Award Co-Winner with Diana Ossana for the screenplay, Brokeback Mountain.

Candace Simar is a poet and writer from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. As lifelong Minnesotan and the grandchild of Scandinavian immigrants, Candace enjoys a passion for Minnesota history and how things might have been.

Her first novel, ABERCROMBIE TRAIL-a Novel of the 1862 Uprising, was released in 2009. POMME DE TERRE continues the story began in ABERCROMBIE TRAIL.