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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving

Well, it’s turkey time again and all thoughts turn to giving thanks. Here’s my list of top ten conventional (and some unconventional) resources that I, as a children’s book writer, am thankful for.

1. My Writer’s Group. Without their encouragement, insightful critiques and unwavering support I would have put aside my dream of writing early chapter books.

2. Panera’s Restaurant. Our morning critique group meets there and their egg soufflés are delicious (to hell with the calories!)

3. The Mount Lebanon Library’s Used Bookstore. The library now has an area where they sell used books. I can buy inexpensive books and support the library at the same time.

4. Post-It Notes. I keep a pad next to my bed so late at night I can jot down any story idea that pops into my head.

5. White Erase Boards. They make it so easy to draw storyboards. I can visualize my entire story and even throw in a few simple illustrations. Whatever isn’t working can simply be erased.

6. Rainy Days. Who wants to sit at home writing on a sunny day? Rainy days I sit in a cozy chair with a cup of tea and get to work writing on my laptop.

7. Slush Piles. For those of us who don’t have agents this is the chance to have our manuscripts read and with a little bit of luck (O.K. tons of luck) get accepted.

8. Rhyme Zone (www.rhymezone.com.) This is one of my favorite web sites. Even when I’m not writing poems I use it in my stories for silly nicknames that rhyme.

9. Munchies. Writing for children is hard work so to make it more enjoyable I keep a bowl of grapes or some other snack by my side. (See recipe below)

10. Grandchildren. A great source of inspiration and insight into what kids are doing and thinking nowadays. Plus they’re the light of my life!

Popcorn-Banana Munch Mix (Family Fun Magazine)

·       2 cups cheese-flavored popcorn
·       1/2 to 1 cup banana chips, broken into small pieces
·       1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
·       1/2 to 1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries

1.  Measure all ingredients into a big bowl (you can substitute your family's favorite snack food, if desired).
2.  Stir well. Makes 5 to 6 cups.

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