Category Archives: Will Write for Cookies

Will Write for Cookies: Lori Degman PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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LORI DEGMAN

Many of you know that I’m a lover of rhyme and a fan of rhyming picture books. So when Lori Degman agreed to participate in Will Write for Cookies, I was thrilled.

Lori Degman writes in rhyme, most of the time – but not always.  She is the award winning author of  1 Zany Zoo, illustrated by Colin Jack (Simon & Schuster, 2010 – Winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest, Illinois Reads featured title, and South Carolina Picture Book Award Nominee); Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, 2014 – International Literacy Association Honor Book); Norbert’s Big Dream, illustrated by Marco Bucci (Sleeping Bear Press, 2016); and the forthcoming Just Read (Sterling, 2018). Lori lives near Chicago – home of the World Champion Cubs! (She says she is sorry about the plug, but it’s been such a LONG wait!) 

Before we begin with the Q&A, I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of Lori’s newest picture book, Norbert’s Big Dream, so please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end. How about telling us what your biggest dream was when you were a kid.

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Lori, I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

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

 LORI:

My favorite picture book authors & illustrators were Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, PD Eastman, William Steig, Shel Silverstein & Else Holmelund Minarik. 

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

LORI:

I first started writing before the Internet existed (I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty old) so I’d never heard of SCBWI and I had no idea there was a whole kid-lit community out there.  I think, if I’d known about SCBWI, it wouldn’t have taken so long to get published – or maybe it would have, but I’d have had more fun along the way!

 zany-zoo-cover

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

LORI:

I always write on my laptop – I type faster than I write and I don’t usually have trouble reading it later.  I flip-flopped my living and dining rooms and now my dining room table is by the front window, so I can look outside while I write.  I’ve become a bit of a Gladys Kravitz (the <40’s can look her up), but that’s part of the fun!

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

LORI:

I do my best writing in the morning – unless I’m totally inspired, then I can write anytime!  I still teach full-time (this is my last year!), so I do most of my original writing in the summer and on breaks and I mostly revise during the school year.  Sadly, I go for long stretches when I can’t get any writing done – but that’s going to change in June. 

ME: Why do you write for children?

LORI:

The main reason I write for kids is to make them laugh and instill a love of books!  When my sons were young, I read to them all the time and they loved the funny books best.  I really wanted to write books I could read to them that would make them laugh! (unfortunately, they were in their 20s by the time my first book was published).  I love knowing there are kids reading my books and hopefully enjoying them! 

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ME: Lori, 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.

LORI:

My advice to aspiring writers is to join SCBWI, get into a critique group with writers whose opinions you value, write – write – write, and don’t give up!

My advice for parents and teachers is to let kids focus more on story-telling and less on the mechanics for their first drafts.  There’s always time to go back and clean things up!

Lori, thank you so very much…it’s been an honor to have you here!

And for all of you who want to find out more Lori and her wonderful books or get in touch with her:

Website – http://loridegman.com/loridegman.com/Home.html

Blog – http://loridegman.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lori.degman

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LoriDegman

Okay friends…you know what they say…it’s not over until the cookie recipe is shared!

LORI:

I’m not a good baker – I think it’s because I’m not precise enough, so the desserts I make are usually no-bake or things that don’t rely on precision.  The closest thing to a cookie that I make is called a Cheese Blintz Roll-up.  I make them every year for Thanksgiving and they’re gone in minutes!  I don’t have any pictures of them and I didn’t want to make a whole batch because I’d eat them all, so I found a picture that looks just like them on the website Amish365.com. 

cookie

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1 egg yolk

¼ cup sugar

¼ tsp lemon juice

1 large loaf of white bread

1-2 sticks of butter

¾ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350. Cut the crust off the bread and flatten the slices using a rolling pin.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, egg yolks, white sugar and lemon juice.
  3. Spread the mixture over each slice of bread and roll up the bread to enclose the filling.
  4. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  5. Melt the butter and brush it on all sides of each roll and then roll them in the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  6. Place the rolls on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least three hours. Cut logs into thirds after frozen and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

OH MY GOSH! I’d make these immediately, but I am missing several of the ingredients…white bread, butter, cream cheese…not my usual fare…HOWEVER…I think I need to give this one a try…it sounds somewhat decadent, rich, and…perfect for a long night of revision.

And while I’m enjoying one of these treats with a cup of tea, I’ll be reading your comments and then Random.org will choose the winner of a copy of Norbert’s Big Dream. Don’t forget to share what YOUR biggest dream was when you were a kid.

Dear friends, thank you for spending your time with Lori and me…next week I’ll have another wonderful guest as I turn the spotlight on one of the debut picture book authors of 2017: Andrea Loney. Don’t miss it!

Will Write for Cookies: Duncan Tonatiuh PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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DUNCAN TONATIUH

This summer I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia. One of the most compelling presentations was from the incredible Duncan Tonatiuh. Lucky me…he was also one of my Round Table mentors. You can imagine how thrilled I was when he said he’d been willing to participate in Will Write for Cookies.

 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City. His artwork is inspired by Pre-Columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, nowadays.

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I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of a copy of Duncan’s newest book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos (click here to read my Perfect Picture Book Friday review). Please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end.

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

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

 DUNCAN:

 I remember reading and really liking Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also remember liking a book in Spanish called Macario by B. Traven. When I was about eight years old, I really enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read all the ones they had in my school library.

In terms of illustration I was really into comic books and anime. That is what got me interested in drawing. I collected Spider-Man and X-Men comics and I would watch a cartoon about warriors called Knights of the Zodiac and another one about soccer called Captain Tsubasa.

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

DUNCAN:       

It takes time to build a career. When I was first getting started as an author-illustrator, I also taught, tutored, painted houses, walked dogs, baby sat and did other odd jobs to make ends meet. It was frustrating at times to take on certain jobs because I had to, not because I was passionate about them. As I published more books though, more people became familiar with my work. I started to receive more recognition for it. Nowadays I dedicate myself to writing and illustrating full time and I am able to support my family doing so. I feel very lucky that I get to do something I love for a living.

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ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?

DUNCAN:

I like to write with a pen on a notebook before I type on the computer. My favorite place to write is the library, but often times I find myself writing on a bus or a plane.

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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?

DUNCAN:

I am definitely a night person and I get most of my writing and drawing done at that time. When I am able to, I like riding my bike to the library in the morning. I like to write and draw there for a few hours. In the afternoon, I type out what I wrote and I scan my drawings so I can start revising my work.

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ME: Why do you write for children?

DUNCAN:

I want children of color, especially Latinx children, to see themselves in books. There is a very small number of books where they can do that. I want them to feel proud of who they are. I hope my books help them know that their culture and their voices are important.

 dear-primo

I also want non-Latinx children to engage with my books. I think that when kids learn about people different than themselves they realize that we are all more alike than different regardless of our skin color, religion, physical abilities or sexual preference. If children learn about and care about people different than themselves through books, they are less likely to be afraid of others or have prejudices towards them when they are adults.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Duncan! And books like yours DO help! Thank you so very much for participating in Will Write for Cookies…this was so much fun!

 To find out more about Duncan and his amazing books or get in touch with him:

Website: http://www.duncantonatiuh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DuncanTonatiuharte

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duncantonatiuh

And now for the sweet treat that ends all of our Will Write for Cookies posts. Duncan wanted to share his favorite Ria cookie made with walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate…plus other deliciousness…the cookie is made by his cousins who own the fabulous Sweet Poppy in Hudson, NY…but unfortunately, the recipe cannot be shared…HOWEVER, I urge you to check out their Facebook page and if you live in the area, please give them a call and order some. https://www.facebook.com/sweetpoppyhudson/

sweet-poppy

But we knew that everyone wanted something special for the holidays. I found a traditional Mexican wedding cookie recipe to share…and believe me, you won’t want to wait for a wedding to make and eat these…they are PERFECT for the holidays! Many thanks to Bernie at AllRecipes.

mexican-wedding-cookiesPhoto courtesy: http://allrecipes.com/recipe

They are as easy as 1, 2, 3. You will need: 1 cup butter, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp water, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup chopped almonds, ½ cup confectioner’s sugar.

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds, mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Find complete details on ingredients and instructions here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15542/mexican-wedding-cookies/

 

And now, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Duncan’s book. Why not share the title of your favorite folktale?  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…please don’t forget…Susanna Hill has posted the FINALISTS FOR THE HOLIDAY WRITING CONTEST…hop on over and read the 12 stories and VOTE for your favorite.

Joan Leotta: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

head-shot

JOAN LEOTTA

One of the best things about this writing journey is that I get to meet so many incredible travelers. But no matter what genres they write, they want to share their words with the world.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since her own childhood. She is a journalist, playwright, short story writer, poet, and author of several mysteries and romances. She has seven books in print at the present time. Simply a Smile is a book of short stories, each inspired by an object. She often uses this book to teach short story writing to middle and high school students. Read the rest of this entry

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