Thursday, May 16, 2013

Revenge of the Dust Bunnies - Mike Kalmbach

Revenge of the Dust Bunnies

by Mike Kalmbach
illustrated by Christopher Osman

Book 1 of the Spooky Snacks series. "Scary short stories with a silly twist!"

Best for 4th-6th grade students. Perfect for fans of Goosebumps!

40 pages
Paperback: 5 B&W illustrations and 2 games
Ebook: 5 full-color illustrations

Don't clean your room!

Dust always seems to collect in strange places: on your dresser, behind the TV, and under your bed.

It's not random. There's something sinister going on. A hidden group is behind this.

And they have a plan.


Mike Kalmbach grew up in a forest near Lake Michigan. Spending his summers chasing wizards and battling evil ogres, Mike has always had a creative mind. He'll often share stories from his past, and some of them are even true.

After time dragged him from childhood, Mike moved into freelance editing, helping other authors improve dozens of stories. During the daylight hours, he writes software to help with genetics research. He leads the Rochester MN Writing group and often speaks on topics from writing and editing to engineering and robotics.

Luckily, Mike now has two sons, so he has plenty of excuses to set down the pen and play. He lives in Minnesota where he, his family, and a band of pirates can still be found battling ogres, dust bunnies, and even the occasional dragon.


Author page:

Exclusively on Amazon


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Mighty Quinn, illustrated by Katie and Aaron DeYoe

The Mighty Quinn

by Robyn Parnell
illustrated by Katie and Aaron DeYoe

Ages 8 & up
Quinn Andrews-Lee feels anything but mighty, and faces a dismal school year. His little sister outshines him athletically and socially, and he yearns for a service award his peers disdain. Not to mention charismatic bigot Matt Barker's goal in life is to torment Quinn and lure his friends to the dark side. When Quinn reports an act of vandalism, he finds himself accused of injuring Matt. Neally Standwell, a free-spirited new kid in Quinn's class, helps Quinn deduce who hurt Matt, but Matt would probably die—and would definitely lie—before admitting the truth. Through events both comical and poignant, Quinn and Neally solve the right mystery just as everything seems to go wrong and thwart a bully without becoming one in turn. And at the end of the day, the fabled ability to belch the entire alphabet might very possibly trump any award ever presented at Turner Creek School.

Katie and Aaron DeYoe met while studying graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Though they are both full-time graphic designers, they spend most of their free time drawing, doodling, painting and printing. They also enjoy riding their serendipitously matching red Schwinns around Minneapolis.

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Twitter: @aarondeyoe   @hellokatieevans 



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bullwhacked - Kathy Cohen


by Kathy Cohen

Retired bullrider Cooper Lydell is finally happy. After years of living in his truck, and eating more cheeseballs than he cares to count, meals are coming regularly. Sheets and pillowcases are the norm, too, and he’s got his eye on some property in Montana…all thanks to his very successful bullrider son Tommy.

And then, suddenly, Cooper is BULLWHACKED.

Son Tommy is gone . . . with a sexy blonde in a red Thunderbird. No more meal ticket, no more hotel rooms, no more RETIREMENT.

Cooper begins a grim search for Tommy, aided by a herd of his friends. Soon someone is following him. Then there’s a murder.


Kathy Cohen has lived in northern Virginia, Germany, Omaha, and the Washington D.C. area. She currently resides in Minneapolis. With a degree in English literature and some non-fiction credits, she has recently completed her first novel, Bullwhacked.

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Why I picked the rodeo circuit for my setting: I wanted to use something that was distinctive, but something I knew at least a little about. I grew up showing quarter horses in the Midwest, and my stepfather is a very good horse trainer. We went to rodeos for entertainment and marveled at how really dangerous the sport is. My stepfather once lent a pair of chaps to a contestant who was then killed in the arena. He felt too awkward to try to get the chaps back, under the circumstances.  

I thought it would be interesting to use such a dangerous sport and yet find some humor in it. Bull riders are pretty macho guys, so I thought I’d try to show something less stereotypical to readers.  I’d like to add that training and showing horses isn’t like lounging in a recliner and watching the television either. My stepfather suffered a fractured pelvis, brain trauma, and many lesser injuries over the years, and I had one side of my face kicked in by a horse. Thank heavens for plastic surgeons!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jacqueline the Great! Runs for President by Christin Berger

Jacqueline the Great! The Pirate Captain

by Christin Berger

It is election time in the U. S. and Jacqueline has decided to run for President! It is her birthday and she has turned the birthday party into her opportunity to campaign for President in what promises to be a tight election. Jacob comes over early to help her set up only to find out that he is the Vice Presidential nominee! Will she win the election? You will have to read it to find out!


Christin Berger has a deep and abiding love of books and has been writing stories and poetry since she was a child.  Her passion for writing is second only to her passion for spending time with her family.

Ms. Berger sees childhood as a great adventure and grew up in a family that valued creativity and imagination.  Her love of both is evident today in her writing.  She will take you on a journey that will make you laugh and inspire you to re-discover the joy in parenting and play!

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Jacqueline the Great! The Pirate Captain

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Caldarian Conflict + Free Coffee at Dunn Bros!

I don't often highlight my own work on the Reading Minnesota blog. However, I wanted to share some big news for my first novel, The Caldarian Conflict. Read on for a coupon promo!

Caldarian_Conflict_Cover_finalThe Caldarian Conflict was selected for the Coffee & Books program at Dunn Brothers (currently there are only around 20 books in the program).  To get in, the book had to pass an intense review process to ensure quality. I'm honored that my book made the cut.

The four top-selling books each quarter are displayed in all Dunn Bros locations--over 90 locations nationwide. This could help The Caldarian Conflict find hundreds or thousands of new readers.

To celebrate the inclusion of The Caldarian Conflict in the Coffee & Books program, I’m running a promotion. The first 50 people to buy The Caldarian Conflict (in any format, print or ebook) will receive an additional 20% off! Use the coupon code “pirate” when you check out (without the quotes). Remember, this is only good for the first 50 customers.

However, that's not all. Besides the 20% off coupon, customers also receive 20% back to use toward a coffee purchase. Paperback customers also receive $5 back as a Dunn Bros gift card. That means that the real cost of the ebook is just $2.39 (normal price is $3.99) and the real cost of the paperback is just $5.36 (normal price is $12.95). You can't get a better deal.

Share this with your friends. The more people who buy The Caldarian Conflict, the better the chances are that the book will arrive in a store near you.

Thanks everyone, and don't forget to use the coupon code “pirate” when you check out!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Around the Writer's Block by Rosanne Bane

Around the Writer's Block

by Rosanne Bane

Procrastination and a lack of inspiration are things many people encounter in their daily lives, regardless of background or trade. But those who write—whether for pleasure or for a living—can be especially plagued by the woes of writer’s block, excessive self-criticism, and self-sabotage.

Enter AROUND THE WRITER’S BLOCK (Tarcher/Penguin paperback, $15.95, on sale Aug 2). In this singular book, author Rosanne Bane—who has worked as a writer for two decades—approaches the problems writers face in a new and innovative way. She tracks writer’s resistance to the source: your brain.

By utilizing the most recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, Bane outlines three habits and how to put them into practice to defeat writer’s resistance once and for all.


Rosanne Bane is a creativity coach, teaching artist, speaker and author of Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance and Dancing in the Dragon’s Den: Rekindling the Creative Fire in Your Shadow.

A veteran teaching artist of more than 20 years at the Loft Literary Center, University of St. Thomas, University of Minnesota and elsewhere, Rosanne has helped thousands of writers, artists and creative people of all sorts achieve their professional goals and make their creative dreams reality. She specializes in helping  creative people understand why it’s so hard (at times) to do the very thing they love to do and what to do about that resistance. Her books, coaching, classes and presentations show writers and artists how to stop feeling disappointed, frustrated and guilty. 

Rosanne Bane lives in Minneapolis with her partner and their two agility dogs, Blue and Kelda.




Ask for Around the Writer’s Block at your local indie bookstore. It’s also available at Magers & Quinn, Common Good Books, Reading Frenzy (print and ebook versions), Powell’s, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble (print and Nook versions) and Amazon (print and Kindle versions)

Dancing in the Dragon’s Den: Rekindling the Creative Fire in Your Shadow (1999, RedWheel/Weiser)



In your book, you talk a lot about motivation. What inspired you?

The funny thing is that I learned a tremendous amount about motivation from a completely unexpected source: my dog, Blue. (If you’re wondering, our best guess on Blue’s mix is Border Collie and Labrador, maybe some Husky.)

For the fun and the physical and mental challenge for both of us, Blue and I play agility [Editor's note: agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course] together. Blue has been in training since she was four months old. We go to class once a week and compete in trials four or five times a year.

Over the years, Blue and I have worked with some amazing trainers who all added to my understanding of my dog and myself. I never anticipated that so much of the training would be about me learning to get it right; I thought I’d be training the dog to follow instructions. Instead, Blue teaches me, and she is the most consistently observant, forgiving and loving of all my teachers. We’re a pretty good team, (though I still need training of course). Blue has earned two scrapbooks full of ribbons and over ten agility titles. (In case you haven’t noticed: I’m besotted with this dog. I can talk about dogs for hours, so I’ll stop now.

Brain science sounds difficult. How do you make your examples accessible to your readers?

When I talk with clients and students about how to motivate yourself to write or create, I draw on my experiences in agility to explain concepts like “rewarding approximate behavior,” “learned industriousness” and “oppositional reflex.” To reassure my clients and students that I know the differences between motivating people and motivating dogs, I include the latest cool things I’ve found in my never-ending reading in human neurology and then connect the dots between the theory and how to keep writing and creating.