November 10, 2023


New Picture Book from Provision House 

Engages Critical Thinking Skills

Elves in the Böökhouse is a puzzle of a children’s picture book.... written by Ryan Petty with illustrations by Vera Kulikov... is about a group of Elves who take over a curbside library (aka a böökhouse) — or do they? Are they there, at all? 

Do the Elves exist, in fact?

[Note the grappling hook at the roof peak and the rope hanging down across the böökhouse window. Not to mention the glow of firelight inside.]

No Elf is ever seen and the question of whether the Elves exist or not... becomes something a little girl named Raye (aka the heroine) and Tummy (her cat)... don’t quite see eye-to-eye about. 

They have no choice but to decide for themselves each day as they refresh the stock of books on the library's shelves — replacing those the neighborhood children borrow. 
Clues are evident — but how should they be interpreted? 

And with what consequences? 

The children you get to read to will, likewise, have to make their own decisions. As the story ends, be sure to ask what they think and why. 

It’s the best part of the book — no lie.

November 08, 2021


Edmonds, Washington
November 8, 2021

Dog Hero Story Becomes Novel in Verse

Fast-Paced Epic Poem Tells Story
of Cross-Eyed Malamute
Who Defends "Un-Hunted" Backyard
From Predatory Coyote

"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights...."
-C. S. Lewis

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story...."
-C. S. Lewis

New Middle Grade Book for Adults, Too

In fewer than 17,000 words with 23 illustrations, Kodiak & The Un-Hunted Place: An Alaskan Malamute Battles a Coyote for the Heart, Soul, and Future of the World... 

...tells the story of a big, cross-eyed dog—a sled dog without a sled—a family pet who rises as a hero to fight a predatory coyote for the territory of his backyard. And becomes in the process, not only the protector of the many rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks who live in his “Un-Hunted Place”—and the pride of his human pack—but in a deep, true sense, becomes himself.

Kodiak is thus a classic coming-of-age story... but one with unusually high stakes... about adversity faced to the point of battle... and the growth that results from discovering and being true to one’s nature. 
The author’s use of storytelling tools found in free verse poetry, rather than slowing things down, speeds readers toward an ending at once inevitable—and a complete surprise. 

Written for kids, ages 9-12 in middle grades 3-6 (kids transitioning from being read to... to reading on their own), Kodiak is equally for young adult and young-at-heart readers who enjoy dog- and animals-in-nature stories—and who don’t regard them as childish. Books like Pax  and The Art of Racing in the Rain, Wind in the Willows  and Watership Down may not be direct matches but they rhyme.

Kodiak is published with 23 illustrations by Vera Kulikov and available from Amazon in Ebook, Print, and Large Print editions. (Libraries source through Ingram.) A future audiobook is contemplated. Says author Ryan Petty: 

“Kodiak & The Un-Hunted Place is meant to be read aloud. In fact, part of the revision process involved me recording it, then playing it back and editing and re-editing in that way through several drafts. The discipline of listening to the narrative read-aloud against the backdrop of silence helped me find and preserve the depth of the story and eliminate the occasional phrase too hard to say... and transform the whole of the story into something more entertaining and fun to read—a better experience for readers one very much hopes to delight.” 

# # #

New from Provision House:
Kodiak & The Un-Hunted Place
Ryan Petty, author / Illustrated by Vera Kulikov
Publication Date: October 15, 2021
Distributed via Amazon and Ingram
Ebook: $4.99             ISBN 978-0-9354460-09-8
Paperback: $12.99     ISBN 978-0-9354460-10-4
Large Print: $21.99  ISBN 978-0-9354460-11-1

For further information contact: 
Ryan Petty

September 17, 2016

What He Did in the War (World War II)

Ryan Petty

The other day I stopped at a Tacoma, Washington, McDonalds (the one on W 6th) for breakfast. 

There were several old men having coffee and I got into a conversation with them. One of them was an old guy in a WWII Veteran ball cap. 

As I prepared to leave, I asked him about his service, wanting to thank him for it. 

I asked where he’d served .

In the fashion of the Greatest Generation, he said only, “Europe.”

Then I asked him what he’d done there, if he didn't mind telling me more.

He said, “Omaha Beach.

March 17, 2016

Quotation from J. K. Rowling - From Her Harvard Commencement Speech, Published as a Book Titled VERY GOOD LIVES

Ryan Petty

There’s been a spate of commencement addresses, repackaged and sold as hardcover gift books. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

The best of them are inspiring, as they should be. Certainly, this includes VERY GOOD LIVES: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J. K. Rowling (Little, Brown and Company, 2015).

Here's my favorite quote from her speech:

“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.”

J. K. Rowling has, of course, demonstrated her capacity to help readers do this. 

It's a power writers have, when we do it right. 

March 14, 2016

George Orwell on the Losses We Suffer from Pretentious, Unexamined Phrasing

Ryan Petty

George Orwell’s posthumous collection of essays, WHY I WRITE, is a marvel, published by Penguin Books in its Great Ideas series. 

Here’s a passage I marked from the title essay:

“It is easier - even quicker, once you have the habit - to say In my opinion it is a not an unjustifiable assumption that rather than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences, since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.

-George Orwell

December 14, 2015

Book Review: Diamonds Discovered in BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear... by Elizabeth Gilbert

New book by the author of Eat, Pray, Love is getting lots of attention.

I didn’t read it so much for the grand theory of creativity (which it offers) as for the fun to be found in its narrative.

Big Magic delivers a good time.

I read it the way tourists hunt diamonds in the roadside mines of Arkansas - occasionally finding sparklers to carry home.

Here, then, are four gems by way of review:

Elizabeth Gilbert describing fellow poet, now deceased, Jack Gilbert:

He became a poet the way other men become monks: as a devotional practice, as an act of love, and as a lifelong commitment to the search for grace and transcendence.

Elizabeth Gilbert revealing a bit of herself and her brush with inspiration:

Most of my writing life, to be perfectly honest, is not freaky, old-timey, voodoo-style Big Magic.... Most of it is not fairy dust in the least.... But sometimes it is fairy dust. Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of writing, I feel like I am suddenly walking on one of those moving sidewalks that you find in a big airport terminal; I still have a long slog to my gate, and my baggage is still heavy, but I can feel myself being gently propelled by some exterior force.

Elizabeth Gilbert describing the books she has written:

That’s what my books are to me: souvenirs of journeys that I took, in which I managed (blessedly) to escaper myself for a little while.

And, finally, Elizabeth Gilbert saying this:

If greatness should ever accidentally stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work.

Every once in a while, reading Big Magic, you find gem stones like these. Put them in your pail as I did. Carry them home. Savor your memory of the good time you had in their discovery.

November 16, 2015

Words to Think and Write By... from Author Ursula K. LeGuin

Ryan Petty

Author-itative Quotations 1 & 2

I particularly like these passages found in the essay, “A Matter of Trust,” from the book, The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination by Ursula K. LeGuin:

I have enormous respect for my art as an art and my craft as a craft, for skill, for experience, for hard thought, for painstaking work. I hold those things in reverence. I respect commas far more than I do congressmen.


People who say that commas don’t matter may be talking about therapy or self-expression or other good things, but they’re not talking about writing. They may be talking about getting started, leaping over timidity, breaking through emotional logjams; but they’re still not talking about writing. If you want to be a dancer, find out how to use your feet. If you want to be a writer, find out where the comma goes.

A wonderful essay with more to discover by reading it in full.

November 08, 2015

Kent Haruf - a Favorite Author

By Ryan petty

Our Souls at Night, his final book

I stood in a line at our public library for several months waiting to read this book. Maybe it was the anticipation, but when it was my turn, I found it brilliant, vivid storytelling with the ache of authenticity and presence and no small bit of wonder.

Kent died late last year.

The New York Times published an obituary on December 2, 2014, probably the only one they’ve ever published for a resident of Salida, Colorado.

Kent Haruf was by day a college professor at Southern Illinois University but spent summers writing in the small town of Salida he called home.

As surely as any science fiction writer, Kent invented a special world and held it in his steady gaze and  populated it with stories. His world was the made-up town of Holt, Colorado, on the high plains an hour or two northeast of Denver.

Each story, in the four books of his I’ve read, takes place in Holt but involves different characters leading lives that only lightly intersect. There are cross references enough between the books for consistency’s sake (so that the world of Holt holds together) but it’s like you’re looking into the heart of a prism through each of several different facets and you can feel the prism vibrate with an energy you cannot explain.

For his third book, Plainsong, Kent Haruf was nominated for a National Book Award.

And it became and remained for many weeks a bestseller.

He wrote and published six novels in all, so I still have two to go. I think each of the four is a work of art for the thoughtfulness of every word choice he made and the accumulation of each of its sentences and the way each book grabbed me with character-revelations that remain etched indelibly in my mind.

All four of the books have been about Holt. Not just in Holt but about it as though it were itself another character.

I don’t know yet if this will be true of the other two novels (and I don’t want to be told or to read synopses - I’d rather find out by reading the books themselves).

Over the next few months I plan to read both of them - slowly to make them last.

The Kent Haruf books I’ve read:

Plainsong (1999)
Eventide (2004)
Benediction (2013)
Our Souls at Night (2015)

The two I’m looking forward to:

The Ties that Bind
Where You Once Belonged

He also collaborated with photographer Peter Brown on a work of nonfiction: West of Last Chance (2008).

October 16, 2015

Regarding the Poet Walace Stevens

"One of the sanctions of the writer is that he is doing something that he needs to do."

Thus spoke Walace Stevens, who crafted a poem I’ve always enjoyed puzzling over: "The Emperor of Ice Cream," available here.]

Stevens was a lawyer turned insurance 
executive, living in Hartford, Connecticut (the “insurance capitol of the world") when in 1955 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its wake, he declined an offer to teach at Harvard. 

Iwould have interfered with his insurance-related duties.

Thanks to David at The Passive Voice ( who recently shared a more extensive Stevens quote with his readers, revealing the shortened version I've used here. And to the Wallace Stevens article on Wikipedia, which I turned to to refresh my memory.

October 02, 2015

Self-Publishing Triumph - “The Martian” by Andy Weir... Movie Opens Today

Big Day for Sci-Fi Lovers, Self-Publishers, Friends, Family & Fans 

A lone astronaut is believed dead and left stranded on Mars....

In most communities, the premier showing of “The Martian,” a film starring Matt Damon, is today's matinee in the suburbs.

The good news is: That’s a lot of theaters.

Andy self-published the The Martian book in 2011 and it grew into an Amazon bestseller almost immediately by word-of-mouth.

He sold the book rights to Crown Books in 2012; and the movie rights to 20th Century Fox.

Ridley Scott directs the film.

I don’t plan necessarily to review it; but I cannot wait to see it. 

Bright and early this morning, on the brink of his great success, I just want to say...

Way to go, Andy Weir!