Sunday, June 9, 2013

Contest! Win an autographed copy of Grumble Bluff!

Fans of Grumble Bluff have been asking for the sequels for years....and I'm sorry that they aren't published, yet.  Oh, to have time to devote to this project!

In one of GB's sequels, Katherine Anne and Greta start an 'anti-bullying' group at their school.  This group is called "STEERS", an acronym for "Students Tolerating, Encouraging, Enriching and Respecting Students". A kind of play-on-words...BULLies...STEERS...

Hey, the girls are only 13 years old!  What do you expect?  Heh...

Speaking for myself, I'd love to see junior high schools and high schools promote just such organizations, devoted to teaching tolerance and empathy between well as 'survival' techniques, i.e. what to do when you're bullied or what to do when you see others being bullied. We have 4-H, Scouts, Sports Clubs, Year Book and Drama Clubs, but what could be more important than eradicating bullying? Every child deserves to attend school unmolested. And every child needs tools to encourage self-confidence and self-like, as well as learning how to safely and effectively extricate themselves and others from dangerous or degrading situations.

In order to get folks thinking about this subject, I thought I'd hold a little contest.  Just submit a suggestion for naming an anti-bullying group at your local school.  On July 4th I'll throw the names into a hat and draw one out.  The winner will receive a copy of Grumble Bluff, autographed to the recipient of his or her choice.  It's that simple!

Below is an email received 3 days ago from a new fan of Grumble Bluff:

"I have to say and I told my girls, it would have to be the most beautiful, entertaining and all time best book I've read. Honestly I'm not saying that... for any other reason except that it was. It had me in fits of laughter and in tears. You deserve so much for writing a book like that and I think school kids should read it as apart of their curriculum if only for the "Bullying"aspect."
Deb in Queensland, Australia

And except from Ashes at Grumble Bluff:

I jumped off the Rommels’ porch, cut around to the back of the house and started running as fast as I could across their back lawn and up the hill that rose behind it.  Arms and long legs pumping I flew, up towards the ancient pine tree that stood at the top of the mound that overlooked Greta’s home.
            Of course, she was already there – hands propped on her knees as she caught her breath.  I heard her laugh at me as I slowed to a stop.  It was a good sound, that laughter.
            “Beat you again!” she crowed.
            “Yeah, but you cheated!  I had to stay and exchange recipes for tuna casserole with your mother before I could leave!”  I plopped to the ground beneath the pine tree and leaned against the pitchy bark.  If I’d tried that run last September I would have dropped dead of a heart attack long before I reached the bottom of the hill.  Now, I was only pleasantly winded.  
            “I’ll bet she can’t even cook!”  Greta sank down beside me and made a face.  “I didn’t handle that very well, did I?” she asked quietly.  I elbowed her affectionately.
            “You surprised me.  I didn’t know you could be so…witchy!” I grinned.  “And here I’ve been telling people how polite and nice you are!  Hah!”  I tried to keep the moment light.  Lord knows she’d had few enough light moments, lately.
            “I shouldn’t have hollered at her.”  Greta began sifting orange pine needles through her fingers.  The air was warm and smelled of pungent ferns and pitch and soil.  Briefly, I longed to be home at Grumble Bluff; my own private woodland sanctuary.  Problems always seemed more manageable at Grumble.
            “She’s a big girl.  She can handle it.”
            “Actually, she’s tiny, isn’t she?  I can’t even remember her, really -- but I never pictured her being so small.  I guess that’s where I get my size.”  Greta was whippet-thin and about five inches shorter than I was, but she was still taller than her mother.
            “Let’s just hope your chest grows bigger than hers did!” I giggled.  “She might as well have Hershey’s Kisses taped under her shirt!” 
            “Shut up!” Greta smacked me in the shoulder and giggled back at me.  “I’m going to have massive bosoms, just you wait and see.  They’ll be even bigger than yours, if you can believe that!”  We loved poking fun at each other because we were comfortable in our affection.  It was different than when other people made fun of us.  We’d both been through plenty of that.      
            We sat quietly for a few minutes, listening to the lazy sounds of the birds and hearing the occasional noise of traffic as it passed in front of the house.  Finally, Greta spoke.
            “What do you suppose they’re talking about?” she asked.
            “I think Gram and Gramps are giving her the ‘old what-for’.  I think they’re telling her that they love you and they want you…and she can just forget about taking you with her.  That’s what I think!”  And hope and pray...
            Greta scooped the scattered pine needles into a big mound in front of her.  Her hands were busy but her mind wasn’t focused on what they were doing.  She was thinking about her mother.
            “‘Pamela Grimes’, she said.  I guess that means she remarried.  So I have a stepfather.  Yuck.” 
            “Oh, man,” I said, the thought just hitting me.  “Maybe you have brothers or sisters, too!”  That worried me.  Again, I was being selfish.  But I knew how much Greta had longed for siblings.  She doted on my younger brothers, Greg and Duncan, and had often said she was envious of me because of them.  If Pamela had other children – brothers or sisters to offer Greta – would that make her want to go live with her mother?  I couldn’t compete with real live siblings.  And that’s what I suddenly felt like I had to do; compete.