Monday, November 8, 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

Saturday, 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.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quotation from J. K. Rowling - From Her Book (Harvard Commencement Speech) 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 (Little, Brown and Company, 2015).

There are two things I got out of reading this repackaged speech: 

The biographical detail that, prior to writing HARRY POTTER, J. K. Rowling worked for Amnesty International at its London headquarters; and

The quotation you will find below.

Though the conceit that failure is a mile-marker on the road to success has become shopworn, it may have been less so in 2008, when J. K. Rowling stood before the assembled graduates of Harvard and said what she came to say.

In any event, it’s J. K. Rowling we’re talking about and she handles her subject as ably as you would expect - particularly the part about the importance of the imagination.

Which is where I found my favorite quote:

“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 demonstrated her capacity to do this. 

Monday, 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, along with others for return reading:

“It is easier - even quicker, once you have the habit - to say In my opinion it is a not an unjustifiable assumption that 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. When you are composing in a hurry - when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech - it is natural to fall into a pretentious, latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”

-George Orwell

Monday, 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.

:o )

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On the Importance of Reading (and Writing) Bad Books

Tongue Slightly in Cheek, But It Gets Serious-er and Serious-er as the Essay Continues

Posted today at my companion web site:  with a link to another essay at 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Current Reading: Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir

I’m an optimist about this: her new writing craft book from Harper Collins....

I don’t think anyone’s better credentialed to write this than the author of The Liars’ Club and 2 other worthy memoirs. Mary Karr is also a professor of literature at Syracuse University where she teaches the art of memoir to graduate students.

Only about 10 pages in, and already I find this nugget worth carrying home:

"Any time you try to collapse the distance between your delusions about the past and what really happened, there’s suffering involved."  -Mary Karr

Read along with me?