Monday, November 30, 2009

The Business of Writing for Children, by Aaron Shepherd

The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids by Aaron Shepard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Business of Writing for Children, by Aaron Shepherd. YAY! I finished another new book! As the year draws to a close, I am conscious of all the different books I am in the middle of reading—all at once.

This is a short book, 110 pages. But it is jam-packed full of helpful information for writers or would-be writers of children’s books. I am a writer, but not a published writer, of a number of children’s book who hopes to become published. I found the book interesting and useful with lots of good examples of manuscripts, query letters, promotional materials and so, and good references. It’s a quick and easy read, but worth it.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Secret of the Cupboard

The Mystery of the Cupboard The Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads ATE MY REVIEW! I am so frustrated because I took all this time to write a nice review and Goodreads ATE it and spat out an empty window. Now I have to start all over and I have other things to do so I cannot write as thorough a review.

I liked this book very much and recommend it to anyone who likes children's literature and fantasy. It's spell-binding and enthralling.

Unfortunately, it is a sequel, and I hadn't read the previous books, and it referred back to them constantly. This got very annoying, but I guess that's not the author's fault. She probably assumed people had read the earlier books in the series.

Omri's Mom inherits a house that belonged to her Uncle Frederick, who she never knew. Turns out it previously belonged to his great great aunt who was the first to call back the little people. But her journal, which he finds as the roof is being rethatched, reveals a terrible secret or two.

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Apple Cranberry Pie, from Scratch

This is a recipe for another blogger whom I am trying to convince to make her own homemade pies. "Easy as pie takes on new meaning with store bought pie-crusts. Homemade is cheaper and more environmental, but the store bought pies out to give some courage to TRY IT!

1)gather everything you need: fruit (in this case, apples and cranberries--I like to sue a variety of different kinds of apples. But ANY one kind will work--and they still taste good even if they aren't the freshest. Fresh is better of course. Here I have Granny Smith, Macintosh, honey crisp and several others. If possible, take the pie crust out of the fridge 15 minutes ahead (or so) to warm it slightly. Do not take it out too early.

2)Spread one piece of pie crust and cut each apple in half, one by one.

3)Then quarter them

4)remove the cores--be sure to get the little pricky thing out

5)Peel the pieces. Try to remove as little apple as possible with the peel, but get all the peel off, if possible

6)spread the pieces evenly on the bottom of the pie dish, on top of the crust

7)If adding cranberries, cut each one half--why--because otherwise they will float to the top and not spread their yummy tartness properly

9)I like to put the cranberries into the holes left by the apples

10)3/4 cup sugar is enough for a normal pie, but add more if you like it sweeter. As each layer is completed, sprinkle on a light sprinkle of sugar--this helps keep the apples from browning--or you can dip them in lemon juice.

then add another layer of apples.

and more cranberries, more sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon.

After the pie is full of apples and cranberries, add the rest of the sugar with a large heaping tablespoon of flour mixed in to thicken the juice (this is optional) and more cinnamon. Youc an also add nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, in small amounts. (opt)

put the top crust on and make vent holes for the steam. Seal the top and bottom crust.

put it in the oven with a tray underneath so if it boils over and leaks, it won't get on the oven. Bake at 375 or 400 about 40 minutes--set the timer for 30 and then check it every little while. Watch the crust. If it is browning too much, put it on a lower shelf, and/or cover the edges with foil.

The pie is done in 40-45 minutes, usually, when the crust is browned but not burned and the filling has been boiling.

You can also make quickly little pie things by just tossing some apples or other fruit on dough with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a little cinnamon, or use a small oven proof bowl.

A word about the leavings. PLEASE---Feed them to the chickens or pigs or COMPOST THEM. It is unenvironmental to toss them in t he trash where they will sit in a landfill forever.

Of course, you do know that if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We went to Seven Lakes State Park for a walk, after dropping off PB at choir girl's in Clarkston.  After we walked (woods crawling with hunters!), we were sitting int he car facing the lake eating lunch (we'd packed ahead) and what should we see but a whole flock of bluebirds and they hung around a long time--we got to watch while we ate.   But why were they still THERE?  Why haven't they flown south?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  We're grateful for a chance to see bluebirds!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CBS News Investigates Rape-Kit Backlog | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

Rape Kit Backlog Story:  What a shocker. and how horrendously sad for all rape victims. And what a danger to other women that these men are out loose!  Thanks to RAINN and to congressional allies for putting this front and center. from LT

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #10) Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Could a book that is slow-paced where little happens, compared, say to a Douglas Preston/Lincoln Childs crime novel, be a good book? In this case, very much so. This is a relaxed, slow-paced, pleasant, cheery and inviting novel about Precious Ramotswe, the proprietor of the Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. It's the tenth book in a series, and I read it out of order, but I enjoyed it anyway. I thought it had a loose end, or I would have given it 5 stars instead of 4. It's an internationally best-selling book. It takes place in Gaborone, Botswana, where the AIDS epidemic is the highest in the world. Many people referred to in the book ate "late." But life goes on, and there are problems with the football team being on a losing streak, so the lady detectives, who do not follow football (in this case, soccer), are hired to find out why. And the tiny white van bites the dust and Violet tries to steal a finance and a woman named Lily has a problem with too many husbands. All of this is quietly addressed over tea and various goodies. What better way to address problems? And do the ladies succeed in solving problems? I don't believe in spoilers! You'll have to read the book to find out. Suffice it to say I enjoyed it very much. It was a postive educational experience.

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This was my 49th book of the year--So I will hopefully be averaging about a book a week by the end of the year--maybe a little more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful, loving, safe and healthy holiday if you
celebrate, and if you do not, I hope you are having a wonderful,
loving, safe and healthy life.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Anise or Fennel Salad

This is not a glossy Food Photo, it's from our dinner yesterday. On
our real table. And the photo is wholly unmanipulated! The salad had
baby spinach, carrots, mushrooms, yellow pepper, fennel (anise) bulb
and feathers, and one strawberry quarter. I served it with homemade
balsamic vinegrette. It was excellent. Anise (fennel) is very mild
and crunchy.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

company on a nice day and illegal leaf burning

I like my company, but hate being stuck inside on a nice day.  I went out to cut up strawberries for shortcake and discovered a terrible stench--the neighbors two doors down are burning leaves int heir cooker--raking them and throwing them in so it looks like they are barbecuing.  Grrrrr.  Stinking up the neighborhood, polluting the air and the leaves should be composted.  DUH!