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Entries in Fundraisers (3)


There's no crying in baseball, just the occasional begging...

For funds and donations. In this case it's for girls' high school softball.

My daughter, Rissa, is on the first softball team ever at Great Falls Central, which is awesome, though it's challenging because they don't have existing gear and equipment. So they're doing the normal school fundraiser things like going door-to-door selling stuff and drumming up sponsors (I'm one of them) and they're also trying their hands at a kickstarter-like social media route--which I'm trying to give a lil' boost.

So, with that in mind I'm giving away personalized books. Here's the deal:

Donate $15 - Get a personalized paperback of Songs of Willow Frost.
Donate $25 - Get Willow and Hotel, both personalized.
Donate $50 - Get both hardbacks, personalized.

It's 100% tax deductible, filled with karma, and I'll cover the shipping. If you donate, just put a mailing address in the message screen and voila!

And in case you're wondering, Karissa's the one in the middle. Pink shorts. Big smile!


Two years hence

Hotel on the Corner of You Know What was published two years ago. Two years. That’s a long time in Bieber years. Little did I dream the Lil’ Book That Could would still be chugging away, with yours truly tagging along for the ride.

(My dear agent let me know that Hotel cracked the NYT top-10 again—which brings us to 40 weeks—without the inclusion of zombies, Jane Austin references, or references to Jane Austin zombies).

And so, the travel and travails continue.

Yesterday I popped over to Seattle for the day, which went something like this:

8:30 am – Arrived at SeaTac. Discovered that AVIS has upgraded me to a black Chevy Camaro (think Batmobile). The car was a leather-clad, bucket seat, time machine to 1984. Except back them I drove a Honda…

9:30 am – Stopped by the Wing Luke Asian Museum to sign stock and personalize a few invitations for their fundraiser. (Tom Skerritt, I hope you can read my handwriting).

10:30 am – Caught the Vashon Island Ferry. Cruised the island in my Knight Rider rental car. Popped by Café Luna and was flabbergastcombobulated to see an embarrassingly huge 4’ x 8’ cover of HOTEL plastered on the side of a building. Part of the King County Library System’s Book Cover Walking Tour. I wanted to take a photo but…just…couldn’t.

1:00 pm – Talk & Signing at the Vashon Library. There was one woman present that had seen me (3) times. She also had a chloroform-soaked rag, handcuffs, duct-tape and a gag. Eh, she seemed pretty harmless.

3:30 pm – Ferry again, back to Seattle, drove like the caped crusader to Bellevue. Checked into the Hyatt where I donned a new grey suit, pressed shirt with French cuffs, and a shimmering purple tie that Rissa picked out. (Yes, I occasionally rely on the fashion advice of a 15-year-old. No, the tie didn’t come from Hot Topic).

Author, Vince Flynn, doing his thing and doing it well.5:30 pm – Arrived at the Bellevue Library for the Literary Lions Gala, with Nancy Pearl emceeing, and Vince Flynn keynoting. Had a swell time, raising funds for the busiest library system in the nation. (Sorry Queens, maybe next year).

10:00 pm – Wandered back to my suite, realizing that people don’t normally drink at the library. Most people, anyway. Delighted that I was able to meet famed SF author, Greg Bear, who wrote Blood Music, one of my favorite short stories. The tale is about noocytes—microscopic bits of genetic material that become self-aware and take over most of the world. I wash my hands. Again.

Tomorrow I’m off to Orlando, then home for a day, then Tucson, then...somewhere...


Hi Mr. Ford,

My name is Alyah. I have to say your book was an amazing book even for a 7th grader like myself. It was bit difficult to comprehend sometimes, but Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was very mesmerizing. I was wondering if you would help me write a 2-3 sentence summary on your book? Because every time I try to write a summary it turns out to be an entire paragraph. I am not sure if I was looking close for figurative language, but I couldn't find any, would you please help me out? Thank you very much.


Hi Alyah,

I'm a sucker for homework help. How's this:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of the Japanese Internment in Seattle, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old Chinese boy, who is sent to an all-white private school, where he falls in love with a Japanese girl. It's a bittersweet tale about racism, commitment and enduring hope—a noble romantic journey set in 1942, and later in 1986 when the belongings of 37 Japanese families are discovered in the basement of a condemned hotel. 

If your teacher doesn't give you an "A", have her give me a call.


From the Halls of Literary Justice

A question that kept popping up on this last round of book events (13 in 9 days) was, “Did you ever imagine you’d be traveling this much?” The answer, “Not even if I were on the run from the law…”

My event schedule is somewhere between a traveling salesman and a drug mule. I checked into a hotel for the third time and half expected to find my dirty socks under the bed. (They weren’t there, I looked).

From the Halls of Literary Justice (otherwise known as Garth Stein's house). But I did have time for a few special moments, not the least of which was a gathering of Seattle7Writers and related authors. I think there were 22 of us? No spouses or kids, just a gathering of writers: Garth Stein, Jennie Shortridge, Stephanie Kallos, Erik Larson, Kaya McLaren, Boyd Morrison—the list goes on and on. (Not counting Jess Walters, Tom Robbins, Elizabeth George, Jim Lynch, Mary Guterson and others that couldn’t make it). The evening felt like a gathering of the Justice League—or at least the SuperFriends, with more wine and fewer capes.

And later I spoke to a gathering of teachers during an in-service day. I didn’t realize the extent of the program, which included a presentation by Tom Ikeda and the Densho Foundation as well as a tour of the Wing Luke Museum and the Panama Hotel. The thought of Henry and Keiko sparking such interest still amazes me.

Speaking of amazing, Unca Harlan called yesterday. Evidently the New York Times has sent a reporter to spend a week with him for some unknown, “Harlan Ellison piece.” All I can say is—about time. Write about him now, while he’s still spitting fire, rather than eulogize him decades later. Kudos to the Times.

And on an unrelated note, I bought Nelly tickets for Rissa's 15th birthday. The mega-selling rapper is appearing in Helena, Montana of all places, which speaks volumes about our current economy. Oops, gotta run, The Rolling Stones are playing the vacant hayfield behind my neighbor's barn.

Admission is a bag of zucchini.