Sunday, July 24, 2011

Christmas in July with Samuel DiMatteo and Kristin Johnson

The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter

Authors:  Samuel DiMatteo and Kristin Johnson

Illustrator:  James Borgett

Published:  April 2011

Publisher:  Outskirts Press, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-4327-6450-0

Genre:  Juvenile Fiction

Available in paperback and kindle

These Golfing Geese Are About To Ruffle Some Feathers 

Meet Sami DeMani, a
Canada gander with a legendary golf game. He’s on track to win the prestigious Waterfowl Tour — and put his nemesis, the ruthless Pete Swan Lake, in his place once and for all. But right as Sami prepares to take a critical swing, a surprise scare changes everything — ruining the shot and putting Sami in the hospital. What happens next dashes any hopes for golf glory — or does it? No longer able to play, Sami throws himself into coaching his nephew, Myles, in the game he loves. Then the golf pro hatches a plan to help his nephew win a tournament with the aid of the specially designed Gooseneck Putter. This breakthrough device has the potential to change everything — including the confidence of the golf prodigy who uses it. But none of them are prepared for what’s about to occur as the tension rises on the course. Along the way, Sami and Myles will learn a powerful lesson regarding sportsmanship, perseverance, love, and what really matters in the game of life. A heartwarming and inspirational tale, The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter is about the power of golf to boost self-esteem, change lives, and bring a community together.

Sami DeMani, the main character in The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter, is a Canada gander golf pro.  He is a gander who is a sure to win the Waterfowl Tour Championship trophy.  This does not sit will with his competitor, Pete Swan Wake.  When an injury ends Sami's successful golfing career, he designs a special gooseneck putter and goes on to coach his nephew, Myles. 

Can Myles win the next tournament? 

The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter is full of interesting characters.  Not only are there geese and swans who golf, but there are also squirrels who are commentators, a Norfolk Terrier who happens to caddy, and beavers who have an eye for business.  The world of golf has been taken over by an interesting cast of animals.

The wonderful illustrations, done by James Borgett, definitely add to the overall fun of the book.  To the left is just one of the many pictures you will find in this book.

I have to start out by admitting I'm not a big fan of the game of golf, but this was a fun book to read.  It's an inspirational book full of valuable lessons about sportsmanship, perseverence, self-esteem, love, and about bringing a community together.  Although the main readership is middle grade readers who are interested in the game of golf, I think this book will be enjoyed by golfers and non-golfers, both young and old.

Samuel DiMatteo, author
James Borgett, illustrator

Samuel DiMatteo spent 22 years as a mechanic for Proctor & Gamble. Since retiring, he has been a watercolor instructor, prize-winning photographer, poet, model maker, and Yoga Laughter Leader. He lives in River Grove, Ill.

Kristin Johnson is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Master’s in Professional Writing program. She is an author, journalist, screenwriter and award-winning poet/short story writer whose stage productions have been honored by the Palm Springs Desert Theatre League. She lives in Hawaii.

On Vacation? Take your Characters With you?

by Samuel DiMatteo and Kristin Johnson

Those vacation photos aren’t just for Flickr, Facebook or the family custom calendar.

And that summer travel destination can actually pay off in more ways than just that fabulous tan.

When on holiday accompanying my husband to Chattanooga (it was a holiday for me, not for him), I was inspired to visit Chattanooga and Chickamauga National Historical Site in Tennessee and Georgia. At the time I was working on a Civil War project and needed photos as well as inspiration.  I actually have replicas of Confederate and US dollars that I bought in the gift shop.

More importantly walking the battlefield sparked my imagination. Could the characters have lain in wait for the enemy here? What would that be like? Was the weather as clear and warm as when I visited or was it raining?

When we planned a trip to Asia this summer (I just returned) for a conference, I decided to combine the Asian holiday with research for a project. Thanks to my husband’s previous travel experience and thanks to my network of friends, I sketched out two research trips in Cambodia and Indonesia.

You can do this too, even if your trip is the annual family reunion. Your summer vacation may be in France or in the Catskills, Cancun or Bangor, Maine. (Lucky you—Bangor is Stephen King’s hometown.)  However, there’s a story on every corner.

In-between listening to Uncle Fred reminisce about the Depression era (there’s a story to be found there too), you can explore the local points of interest. Hike around the Devil’s Kitchen Campsite and imagine a spooky adventure story. Talk to local rangers and trail guides: what unusual or bizarre stories can they tell? For example, say your middle-grade hero/heroine is escaping wild animals, bank robbers, or a wild orphan gang of kids. What survival advice can these experts give?

Even a drive down a country road or a trip to visit Grandma can spark something. You might observe a woman that picks up bottles from the side of the road and decide this is perfect backstory for one of your characters. You might walk the neighborhood with Grandma and truly observe the area—the houses, the people, strange character quirks that you can weave into one of your novels. Maybe your novel needs the nosy neighbor with the barking dog and a collection of laundry soapboxes from the 1930s.

My travel tips for taking your characters on vacation or encountering new characters:

1)     Pack a digital recorder. I like to use my Echo LiveScribe pen for recording my thoughts (and you may hear great dialogue in the background) or capturing interviews you’ve arranged.
2)     Whenever possible, caption your photos with a specific event: “Bob’s Hiding Place,” “The Old Courthouse where Becky’s dad went on trial after being falsely accused of robbing the Pony Express,” “Tibbets’ Haunted Tree,” “Where Lupe Lived,” “Kenji’s Samurai School.”
3)     You will probably be on your own for some of these trips, but having your children (if you have them) present can help. Ask, “Would this make an exciting setting for a book?”
4)     Every place is an opportunity. Don’t just go to national chains, for example—go where the locals like to eat. (The exception to this is Asia. Asians love McDonald’s.)
5)     Don’t be afraid to ask the names of food and places in different languages. For example, in French you would say, “Comment appelle t-on ca, s’il vous plait?” (What is it called, please?) Ask your interviewee to write it down. “Pourriez-vous √©crivez pour moi, s’il vous plait?”
6)     When seeing a place you’re researching, try to imagine it through the eyes of your character. Where would they go? What would they do?
7)     Get the names, addresses and contact information for everyone you interview formally. Don’t be afraid to contact them and ask, “Is this accurate?” You may make some new friends!

P.S. Don’t forget to save your receipts! As self-employed contractors, we are always looking for deductions. If you write and sell a short story, for example, based on your experiences in Mexico, the hotels and airfare are a write-off….just remember to save a copy of that invoice and check.

Today's daily giveaway is a $2.00 MuseItUp Bookstore gift certificate.

It is available to U.S., Canada, and international


Laura Ann Dunks said...

Excellent advice about finding your characters and bringing them on holiday with you! Thanks


Marlena Cassidy said...

This is great advice! Thank you!

And The High-Tech Gooseneck Putter sounds ridiculously cute and adorable for all ages. The cover alone makes me want to read it.

Chelle Cordero said...

I really do like the idea of seeing new places through my characters' lives.


hotcha12 said...


BarbaraB said...

This concept is very funny. Looks like a good read. I have some young cousins who love golf. I'll tell them about the book.

Annalia Marie said...

I like your idea of traveling with your characters. My mom is a writer and gets her ideas from people and places too.

Cheryl said...

Superb article. I've been trying to remember to pack my digital voice recorder more often. It sure would come in handy sometimes.

Wishing you the best,



Susanne Drazic said...

I noticed that I spelt a word wrong. : ( Where I put the word will, I should have put well. Sorry about that!

I want to thank everyone for stopping by to check out the blog post and thank you for leaving comments!

Samuel DiMatteo and Kristin Johnson, I'd like to thank both of you for participating in Christmas in July!


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