Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Healthy Oatmeal Cookie

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Oatmeal Cookie

Sugar-free, Dairy-free


  1. 1/3 C chunky almond butter
  2. 2 ripe bananas
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 2 Tbsp soy milk
  5. 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 2 1/2 C rolled oats
  8. 1 egg
  9. dash cinnamon
  10. dash cloves
  11. 1/4 C flour
  12. 1/2 C raisons


  1. In a large bowl, mash bananas with fork until smooth.
  2. Add almond butter, soy milk, vanilla and maple syrup and mix well. Add remaining ingredients, except raisons, and stir until well combined.
  3. Mix in raisons.
  4. Drop spoonful of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or until done.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Essence of Christmas

Is this the picture of Christmas that you embrace?
Yes, it's Christmastime! Year after year I hear people lament about wanting to slow down and enjoy what Christmas is all about. However, despite the slow economy, I see people packed into the malls and big box centers looking for gifts... and maybe that little gift for yourself (it's on sale after all). The closer it gets to Christmas, the more crowded and hectic it gets. How can we enjoy Christmas when we feel obligated to buy someone a gift, even though we have no idea what they would want.

This is when I am thankful for my upbringing. We never had much in the way of gifts growing up. Being a family of six kids, it was enough to keep us fed and in clothes. Christmas developed into a time with family. As adults, we have never exchanged gifts. Instead we get together to eat, play games and visit.

Now that mom is no longer with us, there are only three generations that gather. This year we plan to check our smart phones and iPads at the door. That will avoid the familiar scene of a room full of people all looking down at their personal devices, fingers flying. We saw that dastardly picture at Thanksgiving. Even seventeen-month-old Cyrus locked his attention onto an iPhone.

Do you feel the essence of Christmas? Revisiting the nativity story when the God of the universe became a helpless baby in a humble manger. Putting into motion His plan to bring redemption to a lost and waiting world. Have you taken the time to stop and embrace the peace and calm of resting in the Christ child? It's your choice.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Post Pitch Ponder

Enjoying lunch next door at Ironside Restaurant (Denise Aspinall with me).
The windshield wipers swished and clunked all the way there... and all the way home. But despite weather, the long drive and stand-still traffic, our time at Chronicle Books proved a well spent day. We milled around in the reception area, which serves as a bookstore, chatting and meeting others arriving to make their project pitch. I met photographer, Jane Paradise, who hoped to get her photo essay noticed, and a few others. It was a wonderful mix of anxious, creative people eager to pitch their project.

Once we received our time slot, we settled in to practice our pitches. They arranged the room with tables and chairs assigned to areas of publishing at Chronicle books, such as Lifestyle, Art & Design, Stationary and Children. There were one or two editors at each area with a large clock displaying the time. We had ten minutes to pitch and get feedback.

Denise had the first slot and received an "interested" response for her book Dogspirations—a book of inspirational short stories about her two dogs, Sammy and Benji. They asked her for a book proposal—Yay!

Trying to keep the manuscript dry
I went next and got a lukewarm response to The Prisoner of Carrot Castle primarily due to the length of my manuscript (900 words). After licking my wounds, I have regrouped and started working on revising/cutting my manuscript. I'll submit again once I've re-polished it.
E. Marie, me and Stephanie
Stephanie Huang Porter had a good reception of her delightful picture book Dinnertime at My House. The editor reviewing her story suggested some tightening and the addition of page layout marks before sending in for another review. Inspire writer, E. Marie Brierley, showed up to present her picture book, Stinger.

It was a fun day, but also a time that steels the mind of a writer to head back to the keyboard, revise and move-on. What is my top take-away from this experience? It's been whirling around in my head—I want to develop an iPad app of a picture book. Well, I am now focused on making The Prisoner of Carrot Castle into an iPad app. It'll be fun. I have a developer who will do the programming. I just need an illustrator. Do you know of anyone who wants to do the art for an iPad picture book app?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making a Pitch to Chronicle Books

Wednesday, December 8th, we embark on a road trip to San Francisco to pitch our book projects to Chronicle Books. "We" includes Beth Thompson, our fearless leader and all-around encourager for Inspire Christian WritersDee Aspinall, fellow dog lover and contributing author in The Dog Next Door; and Stephanie Porter, picture book writer and new to Inspire.

For the first time ever Chronicle is holding a Pitch for Charity. We pitch our books and toss a donation to Habitat for Humanity. Good deal for everyone. The children's publishing group will be reviewing picture books only. Good for me and Stephanie who have PB's to pitch.

I will be pitching The Veggie Chronicles: The Prisoner of Carrot Castle. Like a typical kid, Aiden didn't like veggies and his overactive imagination often transported him from dinner table to far away places. On one occasion he found himself a prisoner in Carrot Castle. Dazed and confused, he made a startling discovery. This fun story follows Aiden as he attempts to escape before he has to face the angry king of Carrot of Castle. Will the ugly, scary guard chain Aiden to the prison cell wall? Does he get found out as he hides from guards searching for him in the castle? Will Aiden have to face the angry King? Does Aiden eat his vegetables?

Those of us who labor at writing know it's not often we get an opportunity to submit our work to publishers much less get a one-on-one chance to pitch a book project to an editor. I'm practicing my pitch and hoping for success for our intrepid band of writers. Stay tuned...


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