LORI DEGMAN and JOCELYN WATKINSON: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway


Plate of Cookies





I love featuring folks who are old friends…and I also love featuring folks who are new friends – and today, I get to do both. Lori and I have met in person several times, at conferences and for lunch or dinner when I’ve visited family in the Chicago area. I’m a long-time fan of her books! And I’m thrilled to get to know Jocelyn better! Plus I love that they collaborated for this story! In addition, they are collaborating for the giveaway…a signed (by Lori and Jocelyn and illustrator Marcus) copy of TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS: A CANADIAN ADVENTURE…and the giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses!!! Fantastic!!! So, if you’d like a chance to win a copy, please make sure you leave a comment (maybe you can tell us where the next Travel Adventure for Monsters should take place) and please share the post on your social media!

Lori Degman is the award-winning author the picture books: Travel Guide For Monsters (illustrated by Dave Szalay, 2020) and Travel Guide For Monsters Part Deux: A Canadian Adventure (co-written with Jocelyn Watkinson and illustrated by Marcus Cutler, 2023), Like a Girl (illustrated by Mara Penny, 2019), Just Read (illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov, 2019), Norbert’s Big Dream (illustrated by Marco Bucci, 2016), Cock-a-Doodle Oops (illustrated by Deborah Zemke, 2014) and 1 Zany Zoo (illustrated by Colin Jack, 2010). Lori was a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and now writes full-time. She loves doing school visits and presenting at writing conferences. She lives with her family in Vernon Hills.
To learn more about Lori and her books:
Website: www.loridegman.com
Twitter: @LoriDegman
Instagram: @loridegman
Facebook: @LoriDegmanAuthor

Jocelyn Watkinson is the author of The Three Canadian Pigs: A Hockey Story (illustrated by Marcus Cutler, 2022) and Travel Guide For Monsters Part Deux: A Canadian Adventure (co-written with Jocelyn Watkinson and illustrated by Marcus Cutler, 2023). Jocelyn is an ex-pat Canadian living in California with her husband, son and golden retriever, Sinclair. When not fussing over stanzas and rhyming couplets, Jocelyn likes to play soccer, play board games, craft anything from cross stitch, to string art to refurbishing old furniture all while sipping on a hot cup of tea. 
To learn more about Jocelyn
Website: www.jocelynwatkinson.com
Twitter: @JoceWatBooks
Instagram: @jocelynwritesinrhyme
Facebook: @jocelynwritesinrhyme

ME: Welcome, Lori and Jocelyn! Thank you for stopping by to chat. I know everyone is excited to learn more about you both and about your new book, A TRAVELER’S GUIDE FOR MONSTERS: PART DEUX – A CANADIAN ADVENTURE.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child? 

LD: It’s lovely to be here, Vivian! I loved Maurice Sendak, PD Eastman, Dr. Seuss and the Little Bear books! I wasn’t a huge reader because I read so slowly, but once I read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, I realized I love mysteries and started reading more.

JW: Thank you for having us, Vivian. I was heavily into Nancy Drew and the Babysitter Club series, both original and Little Sister, and would often be reading in the cold hockey arenas while my brother played hockey. For picture books, my favourite growing up was But, No Elephants by Jerry Smath and The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman. I also vividly remember reading Rosa, Too Little by Sue Felt and It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw. 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing? 

LD: I wish I’d known about the whole kidlit community! I started writing in the early 90’s and there was no internet, so I didn’t know any other authors – I was just on my own! I remember reading about SCBWI in a book I found at the library, but I was so broke at the time, I couldn’t justify spending the money to join. I would never have been published if it weren’t for SCBWI and my writer friends!

JW: I feel like I am still pretty new to the writing game! I started writing in 2018 but really was misguided until I joined SCBWI in 2019. But, what I know now vs. when I first started writing is that the community is so large, there are so many resources out there, you just need to know where to look. There are also a lot of people who want to help and guide you (evidenced by this collaboration!) so look for opportunities to learn from those who are more experienced. Take classes, listen to webinars BUT also try not to spend TOO much on joining everything or it will quickly become very costly! Listen, learn, observe and be creative! 

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper? 

LD: I typically write at the kitchen table because it has a big, southern-facing window and I love natural light. I just made a new office for myself upstairs that also faces south, so I hope I’ll enjoy writing there as much or more than the kitchen. There are fewer distractions up there for sure! No snacking to avoid the hard work when I get stuck!

JW: For Mother’s Day/my birthday in 2021, I was gifted my writing nook; a small outside patio that served no function until we added some comfy chairs, plants and string lights. It’s a wonderful spot to write on cool summer evenings! 

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes? 

LD: I don’t have a regular writing time – I’m too haphazard for that! I always hope I’ll get a great idea or be inspired to write when I have free time. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to write and not having the time to do it! When I’m busy with something else and I get a brilliant (very subjective) idea, I usually send it to myself in an email or say it in my phone recorder so I don’t forget.

JW: Having a full time 9-5 job and a full time job as a mom, I write whenever I get a chance. I also keep my notebook and a stack of sticky notes handy at all times to write down a rhyming couplet, a funny title/book idea or even just a funny word I’d want to use in the future. Then when I find myself with a couple of quiet hours, I collect all my notes and get to work. 

ME: Why do you write for children? 

LD: I write for kids (and their adults) to make them laugh (most of my stories are funny), or to inspire them with stories like Just Read and Like A Girl. I used to love reading picture books with my kids and I love the idea of parents and other adults reading my books to the kids in their lives!

JW: I would argue that I write for children but also the grown ups that are reading to them. I enjoy a groan worthy pun and a good joke that might slightly go over a kiddo’s head but that the grown ups get a good chuckle at. I love when I find a book that my kid and I love reading together, and typically it will have that element to it. Humour creates happy memories for a child and their readers and is such an easy way to connect generations. 

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.

LD: When I present at schools, I talk with the students about perseverance and how, if I’d given up after all the rejections I’d received (I show them my huge roll of rejections), I’d never have gotten published. I encourage them to stick with whatever they have a passion for and to work hard at it! The same is true for other authors – don’t let the rejections stop you – keep learning and writing and submitting!

JW: You don’t have to have the same career for your whole life! If you find something you are passionate about when you get a bit older, you can always switch gears and go for it! Just like Lori said, don’t give up!

I loved tag-teaming with you both! Thank you for sharing your insights and inspiration for us to keep following our passion. And I know there is still a sweet surprise to be had! Take it away, Jocelyn!

JOCELYN: We think it is more than fitting to have a cookie recipe that has maple syrup as an ingredient when talking about a Canadian themed book! We hope you enjoy these Maple Snickerdoodles! (Recipe by A Latte Food Blog). 

Maple Snickerdoodles
By: A Latte Food Blog/Michelle

Prep Time
1 hr 20 mins

Cook Time
10 mins

These soft and chewy maple snickerdoodles are so easy to make! The pure maple syrup flavor adds a sweet twist on the classic snickerdoodle recipe! These are sure to be a total crowd pleaser!


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon


  1. Cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in maple syrup, vanilla extract, and egg; beat until well combined.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, and slowly incorporate into the wet ingredients.
  4. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.
  7. Roll dough into about 1 1/2″ balls, and the roll in cinnamon sugar. Place 2″ apart on the baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until tops have cracked and the cookies are set.

YUM!!!! These sound delicious. When we lived in Connecticut, we had three big maple trees in front of our house – and when the kids were young, we tapped the trees, hung buckets, and collected the sap. My idea was to make my own maple syrup. And I did. But I also sacrificed my Jefferson Pine kitchen table and chairs because the varnish on the furniture melted with all of the steam generated by the pot of sap constantly cooking away on the kitchen stove.
Word to self: That’s why they had special sap houses or sugar shacks to prepare the maple syrup…it’s not really supposed to be done in your kitchen.
But I will say that we had wonderful maple syrup…and the kids loved when I left the pot boiling too long…it takes about 1 second to go from perfect maple syrup to perfect maple candy.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I’m looking forward to next week when I go to Boston on Wednesday for the launch of Rick Wiggin’s new book, POLLY SUMNER: Witness to the Boston Tea Party. Stay tuned for that book birthday post on Monday and more information about the book event.

20 thoughts on “LORI DEGMAN and JOCELYN WATKINSON: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

  1. What a great book idea!
    Lori, I can relate to the frustration of wanting to write but not having the time to sit down and do it. I love the idea of writing down fun words on stickies or in the phone apps. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great interview!.Congratulations Lori and Jocelyn! This book looks every bit as amazing as the first. I look forward to reading it. Maple Snickerdoodles…Yum!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a dual citizen (US & Cdn) and living in Ontario, I’m looking forward to reading these “travel guides” with my new granddaughter, especially if we get to take holidays together.
    And thanks for the recipe. How Canadian! Maple syrup in our favourite Christmas cookies!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. LORI & JOCELYN: As someone who is something like 3/4 Canadian, with Canadian maple syrup running through my veins, I am ECSTATIC about your book! It is DEFINITELY one that MUST be PROMINENTLY displayed on my bookshelf!
    VIVIAN: OH, I LOVE your homemade maple syrup story! TOO FUN! But I think I’ll stick with making these maple snickerdoodles INSTEAD! THANK YOU for ALL the INSPIRATION, ladies!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. If the monsters keep heading north they’ll reach Alaska…I’ll keep an eye out for them. I’m looking forward to trying that cookie recipe, too!


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