Monster Truck show at the Lubbock Motor Speedway!

The boys, Lukas and Mikah, their friend Harley, Harley's dad, Harley's cousin Dylan, and I went to the MONSTER TRUCK show last Friday, a first for the Saldañas, and I can tell you what: it was loud and MONSTER FUN!!! Here are some pics:
Lukas and Mikah in the front left of 1/2 Pint
The Bounty Hunter 
(a side note: the fire truck in the back is all F 451: it doesn't put fires out, it lights 'em up. At the end of the night, this jet engine-powered and -fueled fire truck lit up and burned to a crisp a junked van, as part of the show; it was awesome! Not so very enviro-friendly, but it was FUN!!!)


The Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

You know, I was really looking forward to reading this title with my sons, Lukas and Mikah. But boy, what a disappointment it was. Here's why: the main character, the oldest sister of three is out and out disrespectful to her mother. I mean, brutally disrespectful, and I can't explain to my boys why this part of the story just wouldn't have made it into the book if I had been editing it myself. It wouldn't have made it if I had written it, as a matter of fact. Don't get me wrong: I didn't not read it to them. I've actually read it a couple times more than the original time, but as a dad I've stopped every time and made it a point to let them know this is just wrong how the girl behaves.

So people might argue that it's just a book, that kids get that it's in the world of make-believe, but if that were the case, why is it that most of these same folks won't support a book that is ugly to one minority group or another? They'd condemn a book that includes the N-word so fast, or anything about kids getting bullied, etc. I would, too, mind you. Because books to affect kids' thinking and behavior. I'm not gonna keep a book from my kids: but it is my responsibility to raise them in the way I know to be right, and so reading to them is key, but pointing out weaknesses and faults of any kind is just as important, if not more so.

This morning, my son Lukas asked if I'd already put this post up, because I'd told him I would. He was checking up on me, to make sure I didn't fail.

A Good Long Way: the next novel

So, my next novel, A Good Long Way, is coming out in October of 2010. Soon enough, but not soon enough for my liking. I wish it'd be out already, but that would mean that I wouldn't have been able to work on it again and again with Gabi V over at Arte Público/Piñata Books. Cleaning it up, and more, and more. I think we're done with revisions, and there should be galley already, though I haven't gotten a copy myself. I've been promised a copy soon. Pictured below. Go to Amazon.com or BN.com to pre-order your copies now.

Newly Finished Reads

I recently finished two mystery thrillers: James Rollins' Doomsday Key and Ted Dekker's BoneMan's Daughters. This was the first time reading both authors and I'm thinking I wouldn't necessarily feel out of sorts if I don't ever read them again. It's not that they're bad writers of the genre, or that their stories weren't interesting; it's more that I didn't feel like I absolutely had to get back to them once I'd put them down for the day. Usually I'll fall asleep reading a book I love, but not these. 

Here's what about Doomsday Key: two things: one, it's a bit too much like Dan Brown's DaVinci Code, with the religious ties and the attempt at revamping the religious traditions; two, Rollins shares too much of his politics. I mean, he, not the narrator, though in the guise of the narrator, preaches his agenda on various and sundry topics: the environment, DADT, religion, etc. As writers, I don't think we could ever write something we don't ourselves believe in truly. Our particular world views are our own, they distinguish us from everyone else, they define us, and we can't separate ourselves from them. But we don't have to shove these ideas down our readers' throats. To me, that's what so weakened Rollins' work.

On BoneMan's Daughter: it was a good enough read, but not extraordinary. Between the two, the more complex story belongs to Rollins, to be honest. Dekker's work was fair, but no more. I didn't identify, not even as a dad of three children, with the main character, Ryan. Too many coincidences to my liking. It could've been better if it had been shorter.