Wrestler of Words & Spinner of Tales


This Is Dedicated to…

So, I’m in the throes of writing the dedication for THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS (Winter 2019). I’ve decided that each of my children will have a book dedicated to them. No sharing. Problem: who gets the first book? DOH! Am I going to have to […]


I’m so happy to break out this gnome pen again to sign a couple more contracts with Page Street Kids! Recently, my second picture book was announced. NOVA THE STAR EATER will see the light of day in spring of 2019! This idea popped into […]

2018 Goals!

This is neither a book nor a pie, but I need to put my 2018 goals out into the ether. It helps me be more accountable. Do you feel the same, or do you like to keep your goals to yourself? Either way, writing down your goals plants the carrot. The carrot you will chase to achieve what you want. You’ve got somewhere to go–a direction–so get going.

Here are my goals for 2018:

  • Write 12 new picture book manuscripts (with the help of 12X12! Love this community!)
  • Finish editing my middle grade novel, have alpha/beta reads, finalize and send to my agent
  • Sell one book (A pie-in-the-sky, but why not?)
  • Create an author website
  • Go to at least three kidlit conferences
  • Continue to share my knowledge of online/Twitter contests with others pursuing agents/publishers
  • Do at least two guest blog posts or Q&As (I had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer of For the Love of Kidlit about being a debut picture book author. Here’s the blog post, if you are so inclined. I really loved her questions. So, I’m half way to this goal!)
  • Read 24 novels and 50 picture books, and keep track of my progress on Goodreads
  • Write reviews for the books I enjoyed and continue to share the love for my fellow authors
  • Continue to volunteer with Austin SCBWI and support those who love to write for kiddos!
  • Practice self-care and work in writing exercises for me

Feel free to share your goals or poke fun at mine or whatever! Here’s to writing it up in 2018!

Review: AFTER THE FALL by Dan Santat

This one punched and then karate chopped and then maybe pile drove me right in the feels. AFTER THE FALL by Dan Santat is incredible. The beautiful arc for Humpty Dumpty plays out with ease, as he battles his fear of heights from the infamous […]

More Bits of News!

Almost exactly a year ago, I conjured up an idea. An idea for a picture book. It was the title that jumped into my head, and I had to do something with it. But what? The first drafts were laughable, snortable, and not in a […]


Who, who is ready for a who, who-dun-it? Mystery solved–you are! Go grab a copy of WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE (Margaret K. McElderry Books) by Jason Gallaher and illustrated flawlessly by Jess Pauwels. Whobert Whover is a charming and slightly oblivious (OK, a lot oblivious) owl detective on the lookout for his next case. And that is when he spots Perry the possum. The subtle humor from the play on words and whimsical visuals will keep the kids giggling and trying to help Whobert who, who seeks to solve the mystery of what happened to poor ol’ Perry. I mean seriously, poor Perry.

WHOBERT WHOVER is super funny, endearing, and clever, and so is its author. Can we talk about the name Whobert Whover? I mean, come on! Just the best name ever for this owl, who, who is more like Inspector Gadget than Sherlock. And could Whobert look any more perfect? Nope. Just nope. Enjoy this read with your kiddos or find a class to read to. It’s a joy! Speaking of class, Jason is offering a school visit give-away. For more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3h-nHIeb3c

Now, if this book were a pie, what would it be? Hmmmm. I’m inspired by the illustrations to go more fall-like, more earthy with this pie. Also, I think I need some complex flavors to keep the palate guessing. See what I did there? It’s a pie mystery, folks! OK, it can’t really be a mystery, because I have to tell you what’s in it. So, the grand unveiling…(DRUM ROLL!)…I’m making a spicy apple fig pie with a nutty crumble topping. YUM YUM! Go bake it and bring yer forks!

Pardon the photo, folks. I’m a writer and a baker, not a photographer. 🙂



Fig Compote

8 oz dried figs, stemmed and sliced

1/4 cup cinnamon imperials (yep, the little candies)

Juice from 1 orange

1 1/2 cups of water

Apple Filling

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin

3 large Fuji apples, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp orange zest

pinch of salt

1 tbsp flour


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup almond slices


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

For fig compote, combine figs, cinnamon imperials, orange juice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until figs are softened and the consistency is syrupy. Set aside.

For the apple filling, combine apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, orange zest, and salt in a saute pan. Cook down the apples until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the liquid into a clean saucepan and set aside apples. On medium-low heat, whisk in one tablespoon of flour into the reserved liquid to make a roux. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat.

Combine the fig mixture with the apple filling in the saute pan. Pour the roux on the fig/apple mixture and combine. Pour the combined mixture into a pre-made crust. (Click here for my crust recipe.)

For the crumble, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and almond slices into a food processor. Mix on high until combined. Sprinkle on top of filling.

Put the pie in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes (to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom). Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Feel free to serve warm with some vanilla ice cream…droooool.

A Bit of News!

Hi all! I don’t know where the past few months went. My kids have grown inches since I last updated my blog. INCHES! OK, so I’m being dramatic. The slippery slope toward summer and then the summer months themselves can be somewhat busier for a […]

Review: THE YOUNGEST MARCHER by Cynthia Levinson

My sons and I had the pleasure of going to the book launch for author Cynthia Levinson’s newest non-fiction picture book THE YOUNGEST MARCHER (for ages 5-10). We sat as Cynthia read the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, who at age nine marched to protest […]

Review: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU by Cheryl Keely

First, I must apologize for the long pause between posts. I was sick all last month and am just getting back on my feet. I’m more than ready to read great picture books, offer a review, and bake. Onward, folks, onward!

So, let’s talk bridges. They’re connectors, and they’re fascinating. Bridges can be beautiful, simplistic, majestic, rickety, and/or powerful! Throw a train on one of those bridges and my boys are captivated. That is why I am reviewing HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU by Cheryl Keely and illustrated by Celia Karmpien (Sleeping Bear Press).

This book takes us through a lyrical journey about all types of bridges — literal bridges, such as wooden covered, moveable, those joining neighborhoods, and others connecting countries. Then there are figurative bridges, such as backbends, rainbows, and the bridges we make holding hands. The simple flowing text warms the heart and takes us on a journey from one page to the next. On many of the book’s pages, there are notes about the various illustrated bridges, so your little fact junky can get immersed in details about where the most famous suspension bridge is and why it’s painted orange, for example.

I loved the factual concept of this book tied in with the underlying message about building bridges between me and you and you over there and you way over there. Let’s stay connected.

If this book were a pie, it would be a blueberry blackberry pie. But not just any blueberry blackberry pie. My youngest (currently a 7-year-old) said, “Mom, you need to make a dough bridge over the blueberry blackberry ocean. You’ve got to.” And to that I said with my best Barney Stinson impersonation, “Challenge accepted!”


Blueberry Blackberry Pie

(Use the crust recipe in my previous blog post.)

4 cups blueberries

2 cups blackberries

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

This one is easy! Preheat oven to 450 degrees. For this pie, I dumped all the above ingredients into a saucepan; stir often while it simmers on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then pour it into an unbaked crust. Top the crust with a lattice or fully cover (make sure to add vent holes). Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then turn down the oven to 350 and bake for 40 more minutes. Let cool and serve.


The name of this book seals it for me. I was laughing before I even opened it. Is that an homage to Star Trek I spy? Spock on. I had three picture books staring at me. I read all of them in one go and debated […]