May 16, 2014

Thank you!

Thanks so much to all of you who made the release of Spillworthy a success!

Everything during release week was so much MORE than I imagined it would be. The reviews were better than I let myself dream they'd be. Sales were better than I expected. Social media coverage was amazing. Local support continues to blow me away. Along with this, the amount of work involved in a book release has been much more than I pictured it would be.

It's time now to take a couple weeks to help the kids catch up with homeschool--and to get new animals settled in at our house--and to get ready for National History Day.

I'm reading some fresh work from a friend, re-reading some Flannery O'Connor, and working on a new story.

I'll be doing a book signing and reading on June 12th at 7pm at Caldwell Public Library. I hope some of you will be in town that evening and will come see me. I'd love to see you.

Life is good.

May 13, 2014

Available versions of Spillworthy

Spillworthy released on May 1, 2014 and there are currently four versions of the book available. Why the four versions?  Read on.

Amazon paperback, ISBN 0991381025 

This is the version I call fun-size. The book is 5" x 7.5" and was my first choice for all printings. The book is not available for distribution through Ingram in this size, so it's exclusive to Amazon.

Fun Size, 5" x 7.5"

Kindle eBook, AISN B00JZ6PHKI 

I'm enrolled in the Kindle Direct program through Amazon, which gives Amazon exclusive rights to distribute the eBook for the first three months.  There are significant advantages for authors with this program.

Kindle eBook

Hardcover, ISBN 0991381009 

This is the 6x9 hardcover with dust jacket.  I created this version especially for bookstores, libraries, and serious fans.  It is available through Amazon, but it's published through Ingram, so there's a bit of a wait.

Available through Amazon and Ingram.

Dust Jacket for Hardcover

Trade paperback, ISBN 0991381017

This is the 6x9 trade paperback (thus it is the same size and pagination as the hardcover version). Like the hardcover version, the trade paperback was created specifically for distribution to bookstores and libraries through Ingram. It costs more than the fun-size version because Ingram requires a greater discount for wholesale distribution.  When I typed in the price I wanted to charge, Ingram informed me I would be paying people to buy my book, which is not a very good business practice (and also not allowed). This version is available through Amazon, but there is a significant wait. For those purchasing through Ingram, it's a great option.

Trade Paperback




About the Book:

A Spillworthy is an idea so good, it has to be shared and ten-year-old Ulysses Finch doesn't let being homeless get in his way.  He scrawls his best thoughts on pizza boxes, releases them into the wild, and relishes every response.  After moving to Idaho, Ulysses finds Gem Rost's journal and dives into reading it. She must be a kindred spirit!  Or is she?


Catch and Release Results!

If you find a tagged book, please leave a comment!




In SPILLWORTHY, the main characters release words into the world to be read by others. In that spirit, we're having a Catch & Release Party to celebrate the release of this book into the world.

Starting May 1st, tagged copies of the book will be released into the wild at various places around the world.


Tagged Book #001, Released by Zehra, 

May 2, 2014, Horniman Gardens, London




Number #1 of @johannaharness 's book Spillworthy has been released 
& can be found near the Extreme exhibition in the @hornimanmuseumgardens ! Happy reading!


Tagged Book #002, Released by Linnie, May 11, 2014,

on the train from Groningen to The Hague.




Released on the train from Groningen to The Hague, wagon 9545, first class upstairs.



Tagged Book #003, Released by Mariam, May 2, 2014, Germany



"I gave my copy to my best friend's daughter Connie, 
who is a Middle Grade English teacher, because I think that 
Spillworthy belongs in every school library, and in classrooms."


Book Released by Johanna, May 5, 2014, Florence, Oregon




Copy of Spillworthy released at Periwinkle Station in Florence, Oregon. Ask for it at the counter! 


Tagged Book #005, Released by April, May 11, 2014, Kentucky


My thoughts for my releasable copy of Spillworthy were for a special neighbor.
As for the young neighbor, she is enjoying the novel, 
and looking forward to finishing it and sharing it with friends.


Tagged Book #006, Released by MaryBeth, May 6, 2014, Howell, New Jersey



Book 006 has been released at a Starbucks in Howell, NJ!



Book Released by Ezzie, May 4, 2014, Cambridge, Massachusetts



"SPILLWORTHY by @johannaharness instills hope.  
Released in front of Cambridge City Hall. #homeless #youth"  --Ezzie



Tagged Book #007, Released by James, May 4, 2014, Atlanta, GA



This Spillworthy was released in Atlanta, Georgia. This is at Pinckneyville Sports Park. 

From +James Huskins: "That would be #Spillworthy numbered release 007 :D 
Props to +Johanna Harness  for the spy grooviness !! My name is Worthy, Spillworthy." 

"Look for the MG'ers playing baseball near the flag pole. #Spillworthy007. It won't last long." 




Tagged Book #008, Released by Carla, May 2, 2014, Helena, Montana







Tagged Book #009, Released by Kristina, May 1, 2014, Jamaica


Tagged Book #009
"Your copy is in the possession of our lovely bartender, Amay. 

She started reading it but is giving it to her niece, Janeesa. 

It may never leave the island, but it will be passed to many, many Jamaicans."  ~Kristina



Tagged Book #010, Released by Kristina, May 2, 2014, Atlanta, Georgia



"Due to a change in itineraries, book 10 was released not in Brooklyn, NY, but the Atlanta, GA airport. 
So who knows exactly where Spillworthy #10 will land?"  --Kristina



Tagged Book #011, Released by John, May 5, 2014, Beaverton, Oregon


Spillworthy #11, released to the info kiosk inside Cedar Hills Crossing, in Beaverton, Oregon, near Powell's Bookstore.



Tagged Book #012, Released by Taylor, May 9, 2014, Texas




Spillworthy #12 released in Texas, to Taylor’s favorite teacher, Mrs. Elkins.  Awesome.



Tagged Book #14, Released by Elizabeth, May 5, 2014, Wilmington, North Carolina


Released along the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington, NC--near the Best Western!



Tagged Book #016, Released by Sara, May 5, 2014, Ithaca, New York




"#16 released into the cultivated wilds of Ithaca, NY. 
After I took this photo, I tucked the book between Virginia Woolf and Annie Proulx."  --Sara 



Tagged Book #017, Released by Angie, May 10, 2014, Reading, PA



Spillworthy #17 has been released! It's at the Goggleworks community art center in Reading, PA.


Tagged Book #018, Released by Linda, May 7, 2014, Rochester, MI



As a participant in the "Catch and Release" project, I released my copy of SPILLWORTHY in the RARA recreational center in Rochester, MI. The Rochester Avon Recreational Authority is a hub of activity for adults, teens and children. The building is home to the main office and the dance studios, and has two rooms with tables for students (and their siblings) to do homework while waiting for dance classes. They are teeming with kids just about every day. While I was taking this photo, there was a young lady watching me with great curiosity, and I have a feeling that, the moment I walked away, she would be checking out the book I left behind. I hope that she, or whoever takes the book home, will log in to Spillworthy.com and report that it's been caught!



Tagged Book #019, Released by Marty, May 6, 2014, Snellville, Georgia



Emory Eastside Medical Center, Snellville, GA.


Tagged Book #21, Released on behalf of Shari, May 11, 2014, Stonehenge, U.K.

At Stonehedge. Spillworthy Released In coffee shop.


Tagged Book #22, Released by Johanna, May 1, 2014, Boise, Idaho





This copy was left by the statue I affectionately call, "The Big Lincoln."

We left it there around 7pm and I tweeted, sent a message on Facebook, and also posted on G+.  

When we returned two hours later, it was gone.

This is so much fun!  Happy reading!


Tagged Book #23, Released by Johanna, May 2, 2014, Bend, Oregon



Today is the first day of the Spillworthy road trip.  

I consulted my twitter followers and we decided Bend, Oregon was the right place.

Book Released by Johanna, May 4, 2014, Newport, Oregon




Book #25 Released by Johanna, May 5, 2014, Newport, Oregon




This book was released at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon.

The finder of this book checked in on g+.  She will re-release. Yay!


Book #26 Released by Johanna, May 7, 2014, Newport, Oregon



Released copy of #Spillworthy at Yaquina Head Visitor Center. It was gone before I could get this posted. Awesome because a middle grade kid took it to a ranger not even a minute after we'd left the room. I heard the ranger's explanation: "It's a way of sharing books! Kind of like a geocache." Parent and daughter were both happy. Me too.



May 4, 2014

The Golden Hour

I was a child of the seventies. I grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock as the filler between Saturday morning cartoons. My school books were filled with bell-bottomed kids with long flowing hair.  I grew up when the "just say no" message was, "No, man, I'm not stoned. I'm high on life."

No one had invented car seats yet, so our parents crammed three or four giggling kids into the cubby hole at the back of our Volkswagon bug.  On a hot day, that cubby would get hot, so we'd go through the soft-serve ice cream place. By the time we got to our destination, we'd invented ice cream hair gel and my cousin's hair was spiked.

I didn't know a lot about Vietnam then, only that people came home injured and they often drank a lot. Right after one of my dad's friends came home, I remember being swooped up, sitting on his muscled arm, one of my hands in his.  A cigarette dangled from the corner of his mouth and he danced me around the room while Johnny Mathis sang, "When will I see you again," from the grooves of vinyl.

I was at the end of a generation that believed individuals had power to change the world, that just being alive was reason to be ridiculously happy.

When I think back on those childhood memories, seeing those sparkling eyes from my parents' generation, I'm struck by the fact that so many of those people are gone now. I remember when my grandmother's generation started dying, she kept obituaries in a notebook.  I was browsing through this odd book one day and asked her why she stopped collecting them.  She shrugged. "Most of the people I know are dead," she answered. She started to say more, but stopped.

Sometimes I get lost in my memories and her words come back to me.  "Most of the people I know are dead."

Time passes so quickly. I remember, like a dream now, one summer evening when I was eight or nine years old.  I'd fallen asleep lying on the shag carpet in front of the television set. All was still when I woke up--no television, no thrum from the swamp cooler--just birds chirping and frogs croaking, and the sounds of quiet conversation.

The room glowed with the last golden rays of the day. All the doors in our small house were open, and a breeze played in the curtains, making strange shadows dance on the ceiling.  Time seemed to stretch out forever as I lay there, listening.  My parents sat on the front step of our house, talking about their dreams.

They dreamed of a camper. Maybe a Travelall. Time to go fishing together. Maybe a first vacation.

My dad had been hauling milk cans since before I was born and he'd just sold his route. He hadn't had a single day off for more than ten years. He hadn't called in sick because dairy cattle didn't know what that meant.

"The kids are growing up," I heard my mom say.

"Your folks aren't getting any younger," said my dad.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have this window of memory.  Only yesterday I was the one saying, "the kids are growing up."  And now here we are in my mom's favorite spot on the Oregon coast and I can feel her here with us even though she's been gone for over a year.

I've been talking about dreams a lot lately too.

I released a book this week, a goal I've been working on every day since my dad died--over five years ago now. I've written six novels, but this is the first to make its way out in the world.

A few have asked me why I walked away from my agent, why I'm now so determined to control this path.

I suppose it's because I can now finish my grandmother's thought.  "Most of the people I know are dead now. . . and soon I will be too."

All those years ago, lifted and danced around the room by a Vietnam vet. . . I'm only now understanding how those eyes had seen death and, through death, had found life. This time is meant for dancing, for dreaming, for celebrating.

All our lives are spent in that golden hour at the end of the day. It's up to us to decide how to spend them.


May 1, 2014

Review from John Ross Barnes

A 60-second sketch,
in reaction to Spillworthy,
by John Ross Barnes
Review from John Ross Barnes:

"Ulysses, a ten year old homeless boy from Portland Oregon is transplanted to small town/rural Idaho. He leaves his journal in a tree with a twelve year old girl's journal. 

The conversations the middle-graders have through their written journals begins to reflect not only their own sad, colorful, and sometimes profound circumstances, but also those of others around them. 

Some of those others are in serious straits, and those in positions of authority seem unwilling or unable to help.

As sometimes happens in real life they are on their own, forced by the actions of others, and their own consciences to deal with what is beyond the pale.

Johanna Harness entertains us so well with an adventurous, yet totally believable story, that sometimes we might not realize just how deeply she is delving into the human condition, and some of the myriad ways we react both as individuals, and as a society to the all-too-human creatures of those depths. 

This book will teach your children and it will teach you, and the groove it will carve in your brain will be deep and wide, and you will have enjoyed the carving.

I tell you three times, this is one to pay attention to."