Category Archives: Dessert recipe
Well, bless my boots! We are back again with another special interview!
This time, we’ve got Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy in the house…or should I say barn!
My thanks to author Alayne Kay Christian for lassoing the main character in her brand-new chapter book, SIENNA, THE COWGIRL FAIRY: TRYING TO MAKE IT RAIN (Clear Fork, 2017), and convincing her to set a spell and answer some questions. And, when the interview is over, you can mix up a mess of yummy chocolate bark wth the recipe Alayne shared.
ME: Howdy, Sienna! Many thanks for riding over. We are a curious sort of folk, so we’re going to shoot some questions at you.
- What is your favorite Cowboy saying?
SIENNA: Pa wins the belt buckle for wise ol’ cowboy sayings. I reckon they each strike me when the time is right for it to make sense. One that makes sense to me a lot of the time is “It’s better to ride and fall than never to ride at all.” One that he is always pounding into my noggin is “Always ride toward what is right, even if it means riding alone.” I think I like ridin’ towards what’s right . . . most of the time.
- What’s the one thing you can’t leave the house without?
SIENNA: One thing? That just ain’t fair to ask. I feel naked without my hat, so I reckon I’d say my hat. My ma always says a proper fairy never leaves home without her fairy dust. And I say a proper cowgirl never leaves home without her lasso. If a cowgirl fairy has her lasso and dust, she can do just about anything.
- If you gave yourself a nickname, what would it be?
SIENNA: My pa calls me Sunshine and I like that just fine. If I had to pick another, it might be Spunky Sal.
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
SIENNA: Ma says I’m precocious. That means I’m smart, talented and talk good, too. She also says I’m stubborn. She and Pa taught me to know my own mind, so I don’t know why she acts like my stubborn ways is a bad thing. Puttin’ Ma aside, the three words I would choose are determined, outspoken, and delicate on the inside. Read the rest of this entry →
WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT, INSPIRATION, INFORMATION
What a joy it is to connect with those in the kidlit community! I’d seen Melissa’s name as a participant in many of the challenges. I’d read her comments on blog posts. And when I discovered she had a new chapter book series launching, I knew I’d want to invite her to be my guest.
Melissa Stoller is the author of the debut chapter book THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND (Clear Fork Publishing, July 2017); the debut picture book OLIVE’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Clear Fork, March, 2018); and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: THE LIBERTY BELL TRAIN RIDE (Clear Fork, April 2018). She is also the co-author of THE PARENT-CHILD BOOK CLUB: CONNECTING WITH YOUR KIDS THROUGH READING (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, an Admin for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and an Assistant for Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy. Melissa writes parenting articles, and has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy. When not writing or reading, she can be found exploring NYC with family and friends, travelling, and adding treasures to her collections.
ME: I’m so thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Melissa!
MELISSA: First, I’m so honored to be chatting with you on your Will Write for Cookies Blog, Vivian! I’m a huge fan! You are the sweetest cheerleader for the KidLit World and I love your #50 Precious Words Writing Challenge. Also, I have benefited from your excellent critiques. I hope to meet you in person one day soon!
ME: I really appreciate your kind words, Melissa…and I’m sure we will meet…maybe at a conference one day soon!
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
MELISSA: I had so many favorite authors and books when I was a child! I loved the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (I still love a good mystery). I also enjoyed The All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor (I still enjoy inter-generational family stories) and Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hillary Knight (Eloise is the classic precocious imp! My children and I loved the Eloise Tea at The Plaza in New York City). And of course anything and everything by Judy Blume! All these stories and more informed my own writing style. Read the rest of this entry →
WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
ME: When do you write? Set schedule? When the muse strikes?
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?
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.
ME: Mike, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?
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.
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:
Now dear friends, Mike has a very special treat recipe for us. Take it away, Mike.
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.
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!