Kristen D. Randle's Blog

August 1, 2012

I used my own, private random name picker—not one of the illiterate ones, but the one with the beard.

And we have two winners:

The Gardener:
Ariell Larson
Breaking Rank:
Patti Mason

There were so many entries, it was wonderful. Thank you all for your support. If you didn't win a book, I hope you still get a chance to read them. I've got links on the Workshop Blog to help you find them if you're inclined to grab one of your own. It's just a delight to me to be able to connect with...
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Published on August 01, 2012 18:11 • 214 views

July 26, 2012

Sorry, sorry – meant to have this done yesterday, but life stuck its oar in. So here we go:

I will award one of the new, very lovely and signed paperback editions of The Gardener to one lucky soul. And one new, just as lovely and signed paperback edition of Breaking Rank to another lucky soul. I dearly wish I could send everyone one of these obviously deeply organic books, but sadly, I cannot. Bills must be paid. SO – here are the rules:

Comment on this page, telling me which book you’d like, a...

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Published on July 26, 2012 13:47 • 72 views

March 15, 2012

This isn't, like, HUGE news. I mean, not for anybody but me. But the formatting has been finished for the Breaking Rank ebub – the format accepted by Barnes and Noble and the iTunes store.  (I am feeling my coding strength.)  The book isn't in the latter store yet because I still have to add their little special HTML touches, but it's hanging out at Barnes and Noble, just waiting to be sucked up and sent at the speed of light to anybody's Nook.  Same tiny price, as we care more about being...

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Published on March 15, 2012 15:29 • 107 views

December 15, 2011


I don't even know how to start this.  When I was little, we lived in L.A.  Everything was within walking distance.  The school, for instance.  Two blocks away – long sides.  An uncomplicated walk, it was not uphill and it never did involve snow—just sometimes torrential rains and huge, convulsing knots of drowning earthworms.

In the beginning, my mom walked to school with me.  By "in the beginning" I don't know if I mean my whole kindergarten year, or just the first time or two; my mom was an ...

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Published on December 15, 2011 10:34 • 128 views

June 30, 2011

A danged lovely read.

Written by Joni Newman, guest essayist ~

A few years ago as an undergrad I took a literature class that very nearly sucked all the life out of me.  The class included a plethora of post-modern literature.  It meant a semester with authors like Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison – authors that other people (re: not me) found genius because of their innovative writing techniques and mystical storytelling.  It also included spending a huge amount of time with a professor who, ...

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Published on June 30, 2011 15:05 • 65 views

June 20, 2011

One year, I made the mistake of agreeing to judge our state novel writing contest.  It shouldn't have been bad; there were only five or so manuscripts entered.  The first one I looked at  was all about "flatulence man," a superhero(I am not making this up).  One was a fairly creditable historical novel. But the rest of them were these stories about wanna-be writers meeting real authors and getting mixed up in steamy mysteries—or in what wanted, very very badly, to be steamy mysteries.

I sat...

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Published on June 20, 2011 11:38 • 56 views

June 16, 2011

The image I used above this column is wonderful.  But I had to search the entire internet to find any hint of who may have drawn it.  Finally found it with the artist's name "Warren" in Green, an Australian mag.  I can't believe it's been used by so many educators without the signature on it.  Warren, whoever you may be, this is brilliant.

To start with a simple declarative:

We are English teachers.

And what, exactly, does that mean?  French teachers teach French – that is, they teach the...

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Published on June 16, 2011 16:35 • 65 views

June 7, 2011

Once I saw this PBS thing about the Beatrix Potter story—how she'd inked her charming illustrations and written the stories to match and finally, bucking civilized behavior, actually found herself a London publisher to make all of this into books.  The thing in the story that amazed me and filled me with what was honestly yearning was this:  the relationship between publisher and artist; it was like the deliberate formation of family.  Beatrix didn't always hand her publisher something that w...

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Published on June 07, 2011 17:17 • 62 views

June 3, 2011

Once upon a time, somebody told the first story.

I'm sitting here, trying to imagine it.  Who it was.  Who she was telling it to.  What the world looked like then, and what the story might have been about.

Maybe it was an answer to a question, like, "Where did you come from?"  Or "Where did you find that Paleolithic deer?"  Or "How did you get that black eye?"

Or maybe it was a mother, telling her child about the night he was born.  Or more likely, making up something scary to keep him from...

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Published on June 03, 2011 13:34 • 54 views

You remember Tootsie?  That movie that had Dustin Hoffman in it – the one when he got the soap opera gig?  Yeah, well, there's this scene in the middle of it somewhere when he's talking to his buddy, and they're discussing this scene in a play the guy is trying to get produced.

"You know what's wrong with that scene?" (I"m going from memory here.)

"What, the necktie scene?  That's a great scene!  What's wrong with the necktie scene.  Nothing."

"It's the necktie.  The necktie is what's wrong...

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Published on June 03, 2011 11:50 • 67 views