Monday, December 15, 2014

Remember Your Audience

". . . I think you get so caught up in chasing this dream in the beginning, that you lose sight of who you’re truly writing for. The children must come first."

Bookplate art by Carl S. Junge

*via Vivian Kirkfield on Picture Books Help Kids Soar

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fear Limits Creativity

"We try to stuff fear deep down and keep it hidden, but it’s always clawing its way to the surface. . . . Live with the fear. Embrace it. But also don’t let it stop you. Power through. Let the fear motivate you, not kill your mojo. Because I guarantee someone, somewhere is going to HATE your work. But are you going to let that one person stop you?"

Bookplate by Hiroshi Kawabe
courtesy Art-exlibris

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Killer Concept

"Good writing isn't enough. You need a killer concept.
A well-written story with a mediocre concept will get a rejection form every time. But a fresh, unique concept that needs better execution will get a revision request. And a killer concept that's written well? That's your ticket to a contract."
-Tara Lazar*

Bookplate art by Louis Rhead 
courtesy Scrap Old Book Illustrations


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eat Write Menu Days 26-30

Pilgrim Cat, by Carol Peacock and Doris Ettlinger

2014 Eat Write Writers' Menu

Below you'll find the meals for the last week of November. You can still carve out extra time for writing amid your pre-Thanksgiving frenzy. You're in the home stretch. Don't give up!

A New Look At Thanksgiving
If this is your first visit, you'll find tips and instructions on How Not To Starve During PiBoIdMo where you'll also find kitchen staples to complete the meal plan.
Just a reminder that many recipes can be found in their original states on my Writers' Menu Pinterest Board.

Assuming you're following the full menu, I've made a printable version of the shopping list and the information below, in case you don't want to keep referring back to this post.
Don't forget, the numbers in brackets following the grocery item tell you which day the ingredient will be needed. Use the numbers if you've deviated from the Writers' Menu selections.

Thanksgiving is Here!, by Diane Goode

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or constructive comments.
I'm thankful for this great community of writers. Have a fabulous holiday!

This is the Turkey

Writers' Recipes November 26-30

[26] Garlic Shrimp & Pasta, courtesy Food Network
20 to 25 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 1-1/4 pounds
2 tsp olive oil
4 Tbl unsalted butter, divided
1 Tbl minced garlic
1/2 cup white cooking wine or broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb cooked pasta

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over high heat. 
  • Spread shrimp in single layer in heated pan. 
  • Cook 2 minutes. Flip.  
  • Add garlic to the pan and cook about 30 seconds. 
  • Add wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cook 1-1/2 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Add pasta. Toss to combine. 
Complete the meal:
Serve with broccoli and garlic bread.

[27] Happy Thanksgiving!
Need more creative ideas? You can find 102 interesting Thanksgiving side dishes on Southern Living.

[28] French Bread Pizza, courtesy Finding Joy In My Kitchen
2 loaves French Bread
12 oz tomato paste
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups mozzarella cheese

  • Slice loaves into thirds lengthwise, and then in half to create thick slices.
  • Top each with tomato paste, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  • Top as desired. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Broil 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
Complete the meal:
Add a side of applesauce.

Note: You may need to start tomorrow's dinner in the slow cooker, depending on your amount of leftovers.

 [29] Turkey and Sweet Potato Leftover Casserole, courtesy Kalyn's Kitchen

Note:  If using raw ground turkey, follow the recipe link above. 
If using cooked sweet potatoes, after cooking onion, combine all ingredients on stovetop. Heat to boiling; simmer 20 minutes. Keep warm in slow cooker, if desired.

leftover turkey
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces 
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl Chili Garlic Sauce
2 tsp minced ginger 
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced green onions

  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. 
  • Saute onions in olive oil until soft, about 4-5 minutes. 
  • Add onions and sweet potatoes to slow cooker. 
  • Mix together soy sauce, chicken stock, sugar, brown sugar, Chili Garlic Sauce, minced ginger, and minced garlic. Pour into slow cooker. 
  •  Cook on high 2 1/2 hours. 
  • When the sweet potatoes are starting to fall apart, add the turkey, coconut milk, and green onion.
  • Turn heat to low, and cook 30 minutes more.
Complete the meal:
Serve with rice, corn, and green beans, or leftover vegetables from Thanksgiving dinner.

Note: Thaw steaks in refrigerator overnight.

[30] Steak Dinner, courtesy Stockpiling Moms
2-3 Ribeye Steaks
1 bottle of Steak Sauce
Steak Seasoning
8-10 red potatoes
4-6 ears of corn
Sea salt

  • Place steaks into bottom of slow cooker.
  • Heavily sprinkle steak seasoning of your choice.
  • Pour approximately ¾ cup steak sauce over steaks.
  • Top steaks with a sheet of  aluminum foil.
  • Spritz the top with cooking spray.
  • Place a layer of red potatoes on the foil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Add another layer of foil and cover the potatoes tightly to form a seal, allowing potatoes to steam.
  • Butter corn. Add salt and pepper. Roll tightly in aluminum foil.
  • Place on top of  potatoes in foil.
  • Cover and cook 6-7 hours on low.
Complete the meal:
Serve with a side of peas or leftover vegetables from Thanksgiving dinner.

The Memory Cupboard
Congratulations! You've arrived!

I hope these simple family favorites have left you plenty of time to prepare for Thanksgiving. Holidays are made for celebrating, not stressing out! Thanks for sticking with it.

May the time with family and friends inspire many new picture book seeds.

Friday, November 21, 2014

PPBF: The First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Book

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

A Thanksgiving counting story
by Laura Krauss Melmed and Mark Buehner
This First Thanksgiving Day
Written by Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Mark Buehner
HarperCollins, 2001
ages 4-6

1 Dressed in linen,
sitting in a tree,
dreaming of the tall, strong ship
on which he crossed the sea.

2 Dressed in deerskin,
gathering nuts below,
giggling as they tiptoe by,
too shy to say hello.

Holiday, Counting, Historical

This simple Thanksgiving counting book alternates between Pilgrim preparations and those of the Wampanoag. From one to twelve, the gentle rhymes lead the reader from gathering  food to feasting in this colorful picture book for the very young.

What I Love:
This may not be Laura's best book of verse, but  it is still charming and full of historical details. It's a perfect book to count down to the Thanksgiving holiday, to halt the headlong rush into Christmas for a moment of genuine gratitude.

Mark's illustrations are playful, and he packs them full of the details little readers will want to study. He includes animals to count, hidden pictures, and an elusive turkey on every page. Can you spot the cat hidden on the cover pictured above?

1. The book's hidden pictures and historical elements beg to be discussed.
2. Learn the history of the Wampanoag nations.
3.  Use a fun PDF from the USGS on animal tracks and casting them in plaster (like number 6 in the book!)
4. Cook up a clam stew (like number 8) from Taste of Home.
5. Weave your own upcycled paper basket (like number 10 in the book!) from Instructibles.
6. For a change of pace, try this cranberry pistachio biscotti recipe from All Recipes.
7. Check out these and other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Penny
Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Susanna

Did you find the hidden cat?
Hint: It's upside down!
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for November 21, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.