I was looking for something new to add to my Halloween recipe collection when a friend gave me the idea of a scary eyeball cake, after I made a yogurt and berry cake that ended up looking rather...bloody. I started experimenting with a way to create one. I had the berry cake portion that makes the exterior of the eyeball figured out. It was the interior part of the eyeball that was causing me problems.
Previously, Ohio SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) existed in only two areas of Ohio. The northern region and the central region of Columbus. Cincinnati started a group some years back, but it was still too far a drive for most Dayton area writers. Now Dayton has started a group of it's own. With the Cincinnati and Dayton groups (still a part of the central region,) more writers than ever are able to participate in SCBWI.
Here's an article all about it.
In mid-July, my 6-month contract ended with my agent Mary Cummings. Unfortunately, she was unable to find a home for my PB biography she represented during that time. I never got much feedback from the publishers about what might need revising, so I'm going to let it sit for a while. I have a few ideas rumbling around in my head, but I'm working on other projects and don't want to get distracted from them.
Meanwhile, I decided to send out OCTOPUS CAPERS to agents. Specifically, to male agents. This manuscript previously had luck with a male editor. It seems that guys get my writing. It worked. Within three freakin' days of submitting to him, I signed with Stephen Fraser of Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency!
Here's to another round of submissions!
Everyone has certainly heard of the mummy of the boy King, Tut. This book includes him, of course, but also discusses the discovery of many more mummies that are not as well known. Full color photographs of the subjects are included as are interesting "factlets" throughout. I am happy Kerrie has agreed to answer some questions about her upcoming book and about her writing life.
This is a very serendipitous moment. Here I am visiting the Johnson Space Museum in Houston, Texas right before Christmas. My husband and I have been here all day and are just finishing up by looking at the art gallery of various pieces depicting different moments in space history. I'm looking at the detail of this quilt of the Hubble photograph "Pillar of Creation." It's a fairly famous photograph, and one of my personal favorites of all the Hubble photographs. I call my husband over to look at it when my phone pings. I give a quick glance down to see who it is. It's the agent who previously asked to read my non-fiction manuscript about Nancy Grace Roman, "Mother of Hubble." She asked for a revision, which I completed and resubmitted just four days earlier. I'm nervous about what this e-mail will say. Will it be, "Thanks, but no thanks?" I go over to a chair to calm myself and accept whatever the news. Luckily, this e-mail indicates that the agent wants to represent me! An agent that I really want, wants me! I can't believe it. I am literally looking at a Hubble artwork and I get a literary agent for the biography about the woman who made the Hubble happen. I can barely keep from jumping up and down right there.
There is more to this story that makes it even more eery, like it was written in the stars all along. My horoscope said I would receive shocking news that day. I told my husband and he poo-pooed me, but after the news came he said he'd never doubt my horoscope again. Well, I should hope not! And Merry Christmas to me!
Update: I learned just a few days later that Dr. Nancy Grace Roman died on Christmas Day, at the age of 93. There will be a memorial service held for her which I hope to attend.
But there is one last bit I don't want to forget. The agent, whom I have since signed with, asked me to get the answers to two more questions from Nancy Grace for the revision. I e-mailed Dr. Roman and received an answer to one, but never for the other. I was still hoping to get an answer when I learned of her death. But I think it is completely marvelous that in the last response I got from her, just before her death, she spoke of the beauty of the pictures the Hubble was sending back to us. She included this beautiful description.
“When stars get very old, they blow up like a balloon and shed their atmospheres. This material makes beautiful clouds around them. These are my favorite pictures from the Hubble but I cannot pick one.” – Nancy Grace Roman
It's Thanksgiving and I've already prepared my menu and bought my ingredients. Then the romaine lettuce warning comes out. I throw away my romaine. Now what? I go to the grocery and the produce shelves where the lettuce usually sits is virtually empty! Well, there are 3 sad looking bags of shredded iceberg. I grab one of them. What else can I find? I think about the packaged salads but they are also gone. No, wait. There is one Asian mix and one Asiago Kale that has brussels sprouts, kale, and radicchio in it. I grab that one. What can I add? I grab a tub of baby arugula. The tiny leaves are a similar size to the ones in the kale mix.
I head to the dairy section and find a tub of blue cheese. In the nut section I find a package of pecans. I head back to produce. I think I need something fruity. A pear. Good. And what's this? It's a container called Juicy Gems - fresh pomegranate arils. I think back to my trip to China last Christmas. Definitely in season and they'd be pretty. I grab one of those. I also grab a bottle of raspberry walnut dressing. I think I'm good to go!
I am a huge fan of the British Baking Show. To me, it is the perfect example of how a show can both inspire bakers and demonstrate how competition doesn't have to be nasty. In fact, the bakers not only often help each other, but cheer each other on. Plus, there is no prize money. Simply the honor of being the final baker is enough. Of course they get that fabulous cake plate and beautiful bouquet as well. And there is none of that sappy story line of what one will do with the money once one wins. No forced drama. It's a pleasure to watch. The outdoor tent in some beautiful England location is charming. No Hollywood stages anywhere! There was even a challenge where the final bakers had to go outside to a firepit to bake pita. Fantastic! The judges give tips on how to fix the various problems that occur. The bakers are eager to learn and benefit from the advice. Over ten weeks, the bakers become friends we cheer and worry for. When a season ends, I mourn until another season finally airs. As an American, I have learned so much from watching this show, and I've learned quite a bit of British lingo as well.
The good news is that the judges occasionally have specials in which they demonstrate some of their prized recipes. This one is a chocolate and cherry loaf recipe Paul Hollywood featured in a Christmas special. And it is delicious!
2 medium potatoes
8 slices bacon (I also used sausage)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped small
1 green chili, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
8-oz cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1 package instant sausage gravy
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
I've been swamped for quite a while. Not only with the fun vacation stuff, but also with the less fun stuff life throws at you. I spent the beginning of the year doing a post-grad semester with a Hamline adviser I had always wanted to work with. I chose Gary Schmidt who I hoped would work with me on a revision of a YA Historical Fiction novel. Luckily he agreed, and I concentrated on that course through April.
Also, I finished up a revision of my biography about Nancy Grace Roman and began submitting it to agents.
While awaiting the final comments from Gary about the last pages of my book, my sister and I scheduled a mini-cruise to the Bahamas as our yearly "sister trip." I looked forward to that immensely and we had a fantastic getaway.
The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland, which ranks it alongside the Redwood forest in California and Mt. Everest. Rod and I had the privilege to visit this magical place this summer during our travels around the British Isles. If you've never heard of it, you're not alone. I had only heard of it indirectly through the telling of an old Irish folktale about a couple of giants.
I am a writer of Children's and Young Adult books. I received my MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, and am an active member of SCBWI. I also have my MLS in Library Science with an emphasis on children and happily worked as a Children's Librarian for nearly 20 years. One of my favorite activities was reading books aloud to kids, especially to school-aged kids. Like the kids, I enjoy having stories read to me, so I listen to many of my books on audio and serve on audio judging committees.
Another favorite activity is creating fun snacks for library programs, friends, and family. I do that a lot and continually search for more ideas.
I have a very large Russian Blue mix cat named Bosley from the shelter, and a rescue dog named Prince Albert. He's a Cavapoo, which means he's part Cavalier King Charles and part poodle, and adorable. I am married and live in Dayton, Ohio with my husband Rod.
You can find more detailed information about me by clicking the link below: