Category Archives: book giveaway

Mike Malbrough: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

head shot

MIKE MALBROUGH

Hip, hip hooray for another incredible 2017 debut picture book author/illustrator. Please welcome our Will Write for Cookies guest of honor.

Mike Malbrough was a freelance graphic designer, comic book artist, performer and teacher with a career spanning two decades before beginning his career as a picture book author-illustrator. He is an active teacher and mentor for young artists in his community, and has received several awards and honors for his work with children and teens. Mike lives in Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, two adventurous kids, and a cat named Agnes who hates him.

cat on desk

Mike, I’m so excited to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

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

MIKE:

I was always enamored with the work of Mercer Mayer, especially how his creature characters crowded the pages in PROFESSOR WORMBOG IN SEARCH FOR THE ZIPPERUMP-A-ZOO. And of course Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Suess and Ludwig Bemelmans. I also remember the HENRY books by Mark Taylor and Graham Booth always being around.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

MIKE:

That having terrible ideas and writing even worse sentences was just part of the path as opposed to a cosmic sign that you should never write. Putting that stuff down on the paper/ screen is important to getting somewhere as a storyteller.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?

MIKE:

I am constantly in flux, like I am trying to tune in a radio. I gravitate towards whatever gets me somewhere. As an author and illustrator, I interchange disciplines fluidly. Sometimes I can “write” quite a bit by designing a character’s clothes or setting, but there are times when just pounding the keyboard gets me there faster.

storyboard and illustration

ME: When do you write? Set schedule? When the muse strikes?

MIKE:

Early morning at a coffee shop is the best time to plow through a first draft. I haven’t quite exited the world of dreams while having enough caffeine in me to work quickly.

ME: Why do you write for children?

MIKE:

I think of storytelling, and art in general, as a call and response, a dialogue. You “see” certain things in the world and then reflect those back through your creativity to a certain audience. The things that I find fascinating and fill me with a sense of love and wonder radiate strongest in the world of children, and I find that the work that I find most pleasing to do resonates with the hearts and minds of young people.

MarigoldBakesCake_interior_1

ME: Mike, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?

MIKE

My advice for writers: It’s never too early to take it seriously. Also, it’s never too late to take it seriously. And lastly, you should never take it too seriously.

MarigoldBakesCake_interior_2

I LOVE THAT ADVICE, Mike! We’ve got to buckle down and do the writing and rewriting, right? But we also have to find joy doing it and have fun with it…like kids. And it is NEVER too late. EVER!

If you’d like to find out more about Mike and his work:

www.mikemalbrough.com)

Twitter: @studiomalbrough.

Now dear friends, Mike has a very special treat recipe for us. Take it away, Mike.

Kourabiedes

A traditional Greek shortbread cookie, that is dense and delicious. The texture is amazing. Have some with tea!

Ingredients should be at room temperature.

Bake at 300 degrees for 22 minutes. Makes 2 ½ dozen.

 

2 ½ sticks of unsalted butter

1 cup superfine sugar

2 egg yolks

1 ½ tbsp. brandy

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

Whole Cloves (optional)

1 package 10x confectioners’ powdered sugar

 

Beat butter and superfine sugar in a large bowl with electric mixture at high speed for 15 MINUTES, or until light and fluffy. (Should have a white pearlescent look when ready.) Don’t skimp on the time it makes a difference. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula occasionally.

Add egg yolks, brandy and vanilla. Add flour, ½ cup at a time. If dough is too heavy, work it by hand. (Dough should be soft but firm.)

Break off walnut-sized pieces. Shape into crescents and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Insert a clove (optional) in each crescent.

 

Bake in slow oven (200 degrees) for 22 minutes or until pale brown. (Color should not change too much.) Remove cookies from oven and place on a platter. Cool. Remove cloves. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar. (The cookies will look like a mound of sugar.) Store in a metal tin with a tight-fitting lid.

WOW! These look amazing! I think I am gaining a pound every week with all of these fabulous treat recipes. But it is worth it, right?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment today…it will give you an entry into the giveaway of a copy of MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE. And for another entry, make sure you comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of the book.

Marigold_COVER

And, if you have a little extra time, why not hop over to Amazon and/or Goodreads and leave a review for Mike and all of your favorite authors and illustrators. It will mean the world to them!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hello Goodbye Dog PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday. Actually, for me, every day is a perfect day for reading a picture book. And today we have one that will win everyone’s heart. It’s brand new…not even out yet…and I was lucky enough to get a copy of the F&G’s…but if you leave a comment on this blog post today, you might win a copy of the real thing.

But before we talk about today’s featured book, we need to announce the winner of Susanna Hill’s giveaway from last week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post. And the winner is…

SANDY PERLIC!!!!

Congratulations, Sandy! I’ll send a joint email to you and Susanna so she can mail your prize to you.

And now it’s time for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick.

hello goodbye dog cover

HELLO GOODBYE DOG

Written by: Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by: Patrice Barton

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (July 2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Friendship, pets

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

For Zara’s dog, Moose, nothing is more important than being with his favorite girl. So when Zara has to go to school, WHOOSH, Moose escapes and rushes to her side.

Hello, Moose!

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed at school and Moose has to go back home.

Goodbye, Moose.

But Moose can’t be held back for long. Through a series of escalating escapes, this loyal dog always finds her way back to Zara, and with a little bit of training and one great idea, the two friends find a way to be together all day long.

Why I like this book:

  • Great text and page turns
  • Wonderful illustrations
  • Full of humor and heart
  • Perfect launch pad for discussions about relationships, friendships, and how animals help us

RELATED ACTIVITIES

PAPER BAG PUPPET – DOG

bag-dogPhoto courtesy: http://www.dltk-kids.com

Just give me a group of young children, a stack of paper bags, and some scissors, glue, markers and construction paper – we’ll be happy for hours.

And to make this adorable dog puppet, that’s all you’ll need.

For detailed instructions, go here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/pets-dogs.htm

Other activities:

Check out your local library…ours has a therapy dog that comes once a week to listen to the children read.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of HELLO GOODBYE DOG. And there is more picture book awesomeness afoot!

Tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies post has a special giveaway…a Picture Book Manuscript CRITIQUE from author Maria Gianferrari. DON’T MISS IT!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Carole Gerber: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

CAROLE GERBER

I’ve connected with amazing people on this kid lit writing journey. Some I meet at conferences. Others join Facebook groups where I’m active. Many are my critique buddies. And once in a while, authors reach out to ask if I will review their books and new friendships are formed. Our Will Write for Cookies guest emailed me because her newest book was launching…and I’m so glad she did. What a special lady she is! Here’s just a bit from her website:

Carole Gerber is a poet and children’s book author living in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Not only is she the author of nearly two dozen picture books, early readers and chapter books, but she has also worked as a high school and middle school English teacher, an adjunct professor of journalism at Ohio State, a marketing director, editor of a company magazine, a member of creative teams at an ad agency and a hospital, a contributing editor to a computer magazine, and – finally! – as a freelance writer of hundreds of elementary textbooks, magazine articles, speeches, annual reports, and patient education materials.

 Besides being a “Jill” of many trades – or more precisely – one trade (writing) with many incarnations, she is also the wife of Mark, the mother of two grown daughters, Jess and Paige, and “Mimi” to Sara and Tyler, Paige’s children, and to Joanna, Jess’s daughter. Plus, she also sponsors half a dozen children at a time through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children of all faiths in more than 100 developing countries. 

Carole, it is an honor to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

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

 CAROLE:

I read all the Louisa May Alcott books. Jo was my favorite character. I also read all the stories in a set of books for children that my parents bought. It was called “The Young Folks Shelf of Books,” and categories included adventure, poetry, history, and various others. In high school, I used to check out a book every morning before home room and sneakily read it throughout the day. Our school librarian, Maxine Finkbine (isn’t that a memorable name?!), was impressed by my appetite for reading but feared I was a slacker about my studies. She was right!

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

CAROLE: 

I now know that the first idea isn’t necessarily the best idea – and that rewriting is far more important than writing.  After teaching school for two years, I returned to college and earned a master’s degree in journalism. Afterwards, I held a variety of writing jobs that included marketing director, ad agency writer, churning out textbook ad copy for McGraw-Hill, teaching newswriting and covering conferences for Ohio State, and writing feature articles and annual reports. As a freelancer, I also wrote dozens of work-for-hire elementary science and reading books, which was my entry into becoming a children’s author.  From these jobs, I learned that self-discipline and perseverance are essential for success as a writer.

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

CAROLE:

I write on a desktop computer, so that limits my movement. I haven’t yet found a laptop with a keyboard that feels as substantial as my Dell desktop. My office is now located near two big windows and a glass door in our walkout basement. Before he sold it, I had an office in my husband’s software company. I drove to work there five days a week for 20+ years when I freelanced.

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

CAROLE:

After an early breakfast and a walk, I drive to my local Starbucks for my morning fix –  a grande chai latte – which I try not to drink until I sit down at my desk. Some days I spend a few hours writing. Others, I just read emails and enjoy my latte before heading outside to work in my flower gardens or run errands. Since I no longer need to make a living as a freelancer, I rarely have deadlines except those I self-impose.  

ME: Why do you write for children?

CAROLE:

I spent most of my career as a journalist writing for adults, and I find writing for kids to be far more creative.  I enjoy the playfulness! For example, my new book, A BAND OF BABIES, tells in verse the story of the newcomer who arrives at daycare and leads a group to a nearby grocery, where they wreak havoc. Refrain: “Thump-a-thump. Toot-toot. Whee! Babies on a shopping spree.” Jane Dyer illustrated and the babies are adorable! Amazon editors named it among its “Best children’s book picks for June.” Another reason I write for children is that pre-readers love to hear their favorites read again and again. Young readers will often reread them on their own.  Children grow intensely attached to books, and that should warm our hearts. They literally love our words and pictures!

SchoolVisit041212

ME: Carole, if you have any special tips or thoughts for writers, teachers, parents…please share.

CAROLE:

Publishing is a competitive business. Many wonderful manuscripts never make the cut. I describe the process as sewing a lovely garment and then trying to find the perfect fit for it.  Some of my books have been sold by agents. Others were accepted by publishers who take direct submissions. But most of what I write will never be published. Sob! It’s true! Rejection is the rule, even for those of us with many books to our credit. When you get rejected, whimper a bit but don’t take it personally. Revise yet again, if you need to, and then jump back in. If you want to be published, you must continue to submit – and so must I because, for the first time in several years, I have no in manuscripts in production. Sniffle.

Thank you so very much, Carole. That is GREAT advice! Write, revise, submit, repeat!

Dear readers, let’s join in a big round of applause for Carole…the insights she shared will help all of us. And if you’d like to find out more about Carole and her fabulous books:

www.carolegerber.com

And guess what? We are not done yet! I know you are all waiting for a sweet treat.

French Bread Pudding Cake

pudding cakePhoto courtesy (and you can find a gluten free version of this pudding cake here: http://cookituppaleo.com/french-toast-bread-pudding/

This bread pudding cake separates in baking to a soft custard sauce below and soft chocolate crumbs on top.  Makes about 8 servings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients

2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate*

1/3 cup butter

3 large eggs (separate yolks and whites of 2 eggs)

1 ¼ cup granulated white sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

½ tsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups fine soft bread crumbs from day-old French bread (use Cuisinart to make crumbs)

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. *(Instead of chocolate squares, you can make the equivalent by following the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa box. (1 T cooking oil and 3 T cocoa powder = 1 chocolate square.) Cool butter/chocolate mixture.
  2. Separate 2 eggs, putting whites in one small bowl and yolks in a larger bowl. Set egg whites aside.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and one whole egg.
  4. Into the beaten yolks, stir in these ingredients in this order: 1 cup sugar, melted chocolate and butter mixture, salt, vanilla, milk, and crumbs.
  5. In the small bowl, beat the 2 egg whites with an electric mixer. Add ¼ cup sugar to form stiff peaks.
  6. Use rubber spatula to fold beaten egg whites gently into chocolate mixture.
  7. Spray Pam in bottom and sides of a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Pour batter into baking dish.
  8. Set dish into a large metal baking pan. Fill baking pan with water so that 1 inch surrounds the baking dish.
  9. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Remove pudding pan from water pan. Cool to room temperature. Enjoy!

 

Dear friends, if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of Carole’s lovely new book, A BAND OF BABIES, please make sure you leave a comment. And if you’d like to thank Carole for her insights, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Book reviews are so very important in this business.

Thank you all for stopping by…and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate

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