Category Archives: Cookie recipe

Maria Gianferrari: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Critique Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

unnamed

MARIA GIANFERRARI

I’m so excited to introduce everyone to our Will Write for Cookies guest today, although many of you may already know Maria. And I’m jumping for joy because she has a book signing event in Keene, New Hampshire on August 20th…that’s only an hour away from me and some of my local critique buddies and I are going to take a picture book field trip and attend! Woo-hoo!

I grabbed a bit of info from Maria’s website:

 I write both fiction and nonfiction picture books, usually while my faithful companion, Becca, snores at my feet. I love nature and animals, especially dogs!

Most of my nonfiction picture books are about creatures in the natural world. I’m also fascinated by the subject of urban ecology, and the different ways in which wild animals have adapted to life and co-existence with humans.

Most of my fiction picture books contain dogs as main characters, and some cats too! I am most intrigued by the human-animal bond, so this is a topic that I like to explore in my fiction.

Welcome, Maria…I’m so excited to welcome you!

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

MARIA:

I had two favorite picture books that I read and read and re-read again: Scuttle the Stowaway Mouse by Jean & Nancy Soule, with illustrations by Barbara Remington, and Miss Twiggley’s Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox.

scuttle book cover

inside page of scuttle

Both stories are rollicking, rhyming read alouds. I love the whimsical illustrations for Scuttle, the wayward mouse who finds a home. And I still wish I could live in a tree, like Miss Twiggley, with a dog and some bears. That is my introvert dream come true. I still have my childhood copies!

 

twiggle book cover

inside cover of twiggle

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

 MARIA:

I’m not sure—I knew it was going to be hard, since there is so much rejection involved, but I didn’t know the extent of the joy it would bring, especially upon seeing life breathed into my words by the talented illustrators with whom I’ve been matched. That was and is beyond my wildest dreams!

coyote moon

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

MARIA:

Most of the time I write in my home office on my laptop while my dog, Becca snores on her nearby dog bed. I have a keyboard and a large monitor so it’s easy to see what I’m working on. I also like to write drafts by hand, especially when I get stuck, and I can do that pretty much anywhere. 

houdini

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

MARIA:

Every day starts with walking Becca, rain or shine, cold or heat (though I much prefer cooler temperatures). Then I usually write late morning, followed by a nap, and more writing and/or reading in the afternoon. I try to write every day, Monday through Friday, and take the weekends off to do things with my family.

ME: Why do you write for children?

MARIA:

I love their wonder and curiosity and ability to be present in the moment, something I continually strive for in life and in my writing. I write because kids are our hope, and our future. I also write for my inner child—the child who I was, and still am.

penny and jelly

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

MARIE:

I don’t have any new advice—it’s the same basic advice that everyone gives: read, read, read, and write, write, write! Don’t give up—it’s a marathon, not a sprint, full of ups and downs. And find a good critique group for support during the downs as well as the ups. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wonderful critique partners: Andrea Wang, Lois Sepahban, Lisa Robinson, Sheri Dillard and Abby Calkins Aguirre!

Thanks for letting me stop by, Vivian!!

WOW…it is me who is thanking you, Maria! And so is everyone else! I love that you shared those favorite books from your childhood…I think we had similar tastes! I also wanted to thank you for your generous giveaways this weekend…heads up, dear friends…leave a comment on yesterdays Perfect Picture Book Friday post and you are entered into the giveaway for a copy of HELLO GOODBYE DOG.

hello goodbye dog cover

And then leave a comment on today’s blog and get an entry into the giveaway for a PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE from Maria!

For more information about Maria and her books: http://mariagianferrari.com/

And the fun doesn’t stop here, folks! Maria is sharing something yummy!

brownie photo

BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIES:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease 11×14” baking pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks), melted
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup chocolate covered heath toffee pieces

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in microwave-safe glass bowl.
  2. Mix in brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Add in dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and heath pieces
  5. Pour into baking pan
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes

Enjoy!!

 

Before we say goodbye, I wanted to let you know that Maria will be heading out on a whirlwind BOOK BLOG TOUR in less than two weeks. There will be PRIZES EVERY DAY on the tour, so you don’t want to miss a single stop!

HELLO GOODBYE DOG BLOG TOUR!

GIVEAWAYS EVERY DAY!!

 

*Monday, July 24th:                                  Pragmatic Mom + THREE book giveaway!

*Two for Tuesday, July 25th:              Librarian’s Quest

Reading for Research

*Wednesday, July 26th:                         Homemade City

*Thursday, July 27th:                               Kid Lit Frenzy

*Friday, July 28th:                                      Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

*Monday, July 31st:                                   Picture Books Help Kids Soar

*Tuesday, August 1st:                              Bildebok

*Wednesday, August 2nd:                      The Loud Library Lady

*Thursday, August 3rd:                           DEBtastic Reads!

*Friday, August 4th:                                  Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

*Monday, August 7th:                               Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

EXTRA: August 25th:                                Kidlit411—Interview with Patrice Barton

 

Thank you all for stopping by to visit. I know we all appreciate the beautiful books Maria and our other authors write. And we can help our favorite authors by leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I hope you will do that for the books you love!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Susanna Hill: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

DSCN7064

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

 slhill65-dsc08664_2

SUSANNA LEONARD HILL

When I started blogging back in 2011, a friend steered me to Susanna’s website. “She loves picture books, too,” my friend told me. I hopped over and discovered one of the kindest, smartest, sweetest, most generous kid lit mentors in the world!

Her picture book writing class was the first one I ever took…what an amazing foundation she gave to me! Her writing contests are legendary. Her Monday Fun-day writing prompts and Would You Read it Wednesday pitch picks encourage us to exercise our writing muscles.

I met her for the first time at the NESCBWI conference in April…what a thrill to be able to give her a hug in person.

me maria and susanna

For those of you who may not know Susanna, I grabbed a bit from her website about page.

Susanna began writing as soon as she could hold a pencil. She used to lie on the kitchen floor and ask her mom how to spell things. She wrote her first book in 2nd Grade. It is called The Girl and The Witch and she will read it to you if she comes to visit your school!

pictures-from-old-dell-115

Her first published book was The House That Mack Built, released by Little Simon in 2002

And the rest is history. She has published almost a dozen more books…including the wildly popular Punxsutawney Phyllis series and has many more coming down the pike. I know you are all going to be thrilled with this post because Susanna wanted to share a bit about how she gets her ideas.

I’m excited to welcome her…take it away, Susanna!

Hi Everybody!

Thanks so much for stopping by Vivian’s blog today!

As many of you know, I have the privilege of visiting a number of blogs this month as I introduce some new books to the world.  Vivian kindly invited me to join her for cookies… an invitation I will never turn down  … and we decided that it might be fun to talk about where ideas come from. Read the rest of this entry

Patricia Keeler: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

PATRICIA KEELER

I connected with our Will Write for Cookies guest early this year and fell in love with her beautiful art and wonderful stories. (Plus, she’s an awesome person!) When she said she’d be happy to stop in to chat, I was thrilled!

Welcome, Patricia! We are so happy to have you here.

ME:  What was your favorite book when you were a child? 

PATRICIA:

My favorite book was THREE LITTLE HORSES. This is a wonderful story written and illustrated by Piet Worm. The little horses liked playing games that they dreamed up wearing their colorful thinking caps. An artist, wearing a tree suit, befriended them and took them to town. He disguised them in elaborate princess costumes and masks.  

 You might think this a strange story, but it made perfect sense to my six-year old brain and heart. My mother was a textile artist. She spun and dyed her own wool. She wove the yarn into sweaters and dresses. She also created beautiful wedding dresses. Her clients, the brides-to-be, would stand in the middle of our living room to try on their new gowns. Imagine the twirling, the billowing, the excited laughter and chatter.

 So of course little horses could go to town wearing princess masks and wearing princess gowns. Better yet, an artist, like my mother, provided them. I still have the book, and will occasionally pull it down and page through it just for the joy of it.

three little horses

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

PATRICIA:

I mostly write in my studio. First drafts are usually with pencil on paper. I write later versions on my computer. I often take these to my writer’s group, where I get constructive feedback. While it’s still fresh, I’ll often start improving the manuscript on the subway on the way home from Brooklyn.

 I’ll almost exclusively do my illustrating in my studio, although I’ll take walks along the Hudson River to work out content, design, layout and color paletteconcerns. After sketching a dummy of my story, I’ll start painting with watercolors. I’ll scan each page spread, and then combine images in Photoshop. I also incorporate elements of collage and photography. With LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL I created ocean waves and Lou Seal with encaustic wax. If you’d like to see more of this process, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evADOs7z068

V AT THE DRAWING TABLEHere I am at my drawing table.

supplies Here are some of the art supplies I work with.

And if you’d like to see even more of my art studio and my illustration approach, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9cCm4T1V0

This You Tube video shows me at work on my current project, SCOOP the ICE CREAM TRUCK, (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018).

ME: Why do you create picture books for children? 

PATRICIA:

One of my greatest joys is creating art for children’s picture books—art that shows the rich emotions of feisty, assertive little girls. I illustrate independent creatures who demand to solve their own problems and expect to enjoy the rewards of doing so.

 I’m especially interested in girls who run up playground slides, win watermelon-spitting contests, and dress in colorful layers. I love little girls whose voices are dainty-delicate but when they shout, trees bend back.

 When visiting parks and playgrounds I discover the unique characteristics of a child by noticing how a baby’s legs hang like noodles from a carrier, how a toddler in a diaper walks like a goose, and a child can bend in positions that are a yogini’s dream.

 My greatest challenge is to have a consistent character while keeping up with her ever-changing moods. Hair and clothes help keep the character looking like the same child, but over 32 pages keeping her 5 years old and not 4 or 6—or her look irritated, but not angry—is on me.

lizzie crash

 I want the world to be a place of true opportunity for girls. In my work I want to show that crying is a badge of courage, because she gave her all. Her hair and clothes are expressions of freedom, because they’re her own flag. And failure is a necessity, because she’ll never move forward without it.

 Little girls intuitively know these things. I want to create books that support them from the get-go.

V BEAHere I am at Book Expo America this May sketching Lizzie wearing everything she needs for her day at the beach on her beach tool belt!

 Now about those cookies, I’ve asked my wonderful husband, Francis McCall, chief cook, bottle washer, editor, my biggest supporter—and baker—to supply the recipe for the best cookies I’ve ever had, cookies I defy anyone to manage to only eat one and not go back for more!

 Grandmother Gera’s Almond Crescent Cookies

V HOT FROM THE OVEN

 

 1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound fine ground almonds

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add almonds.  Add 1 cup of the flour.  Add vanilla.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over this mixture and mix by hand.  Place a handful of dough on a floured board.  Roll out a log of this mixture 1 inch in diameter.  Cut off 1/2-inch slices.  Roll small crescents from the slices with the heels of hands.  Place the crescents on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  Slightly cool and remove.  Place in container and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.  Yield approximately 10 dozen cookies.

 yumYUM!

 

 Giveaways

 coverLIZZIE and LOU SEAL book

necklaceLOU SEAL necklace

 HURRAY! I can’t thank you enough, Patricia, for sharing all of these insights with us. And for your generous giveaways! And for the yummy cookie recipe…Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like…but these are melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness!

Dear friends, if you’d like to connect with Patricia or find out more about her many wonderful books:

LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, Sky Pony Press (why not hop over and write a review?)

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, Sky Pony Press (Spring 2018)

patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com

Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

WOW…what a post! Patricia has been exceedingly generous in sharing so much of her process…we even have the YouTube videos to learn from. You definitely don’t want to leave without commenting because I know everyone would love to win the book and necklace. And don’t forget, leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, and you’ll be entered in THAT giveaway for a copy of the book AND the earrings.

And guess what??? The goodness just doesn’t stop because we need to announce the winners of author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s giveaway!

A copy of Beetle Bop goes to….LESLIE GOODMAN

And a copy of 5 Little Ducks goes to…MANJU HOWARD

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Please contact me so I can connect you and Denise.

Phew! I think I need to grab a big glass of iced tea and a plateful of those Almond Crescent Cookies! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

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