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Monday, December 8, 2014

My Best Review EVER

I recently visited a school to do two presentations and a writing workshop. Here's a student's recap of the day. I was totally blown away.

Student News: "Visiting Author Conducts a Writer's Workshop", by Student Grade 6*
Author Stacy McAnulty visited IHM on Tuesday, December 2nd and conducted three presentations.  She had an assembly with Pre-K – 2 and another with 3 -5.  For middle school, Mrs. McAnulty conducted a writer’s workshop for a few students who are interested in writing and authoring.

 I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in the program, and the experience was amazing. To start, the author talked to us about her desire to write, and treated us like authors. That was inspirational.  During the workshop we worked on many activities that she does to perfect her stories.  Creating a storyboard for our ideas was one of the activities in which we participated.  We had to think of one simple story idea and create eight boxes, which described the story through the actions and feelings of a certain character or group of characters at important points in the story. To get started, I used words from a 'word sheet' I had been given to describe the emotion/feeling the character was feeling at that point in the story. Then I drew a picture in the box to show the character’s action or reaction to what was happening.  For example, I had used "paranoid" to describe how a character was feeling in a very scary situation. Currently I am writing my second book and I used characters from the first book. When Mrs. McAnulty showed us how she did a storyboard for her novel, I knew that I was getting very helpful hints for my own writing. She shared about all the emotions that we will experience as authors, nervousness, rejection, and that we would need to learn patience.  It takes a long time to get your writing published, even when a publisher likes your work.

I honestly think and strongly believe that this was the best workshop or presentation that I have experienced.  I wish that more classes could be as hands-on as this session. One thing for is sure, all the tips and information Stacy McAnulty will help me to be a better writer. They were inspirational.  Who knows?  Maybe one of my novels will be published someday.  Thank you to the PTO for sponsoring the author visit and to Mrs. Ravel for hosting the workshop.  It was unforgettable.

 *I removed the student's name.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

German-Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cake

Last year I shared over a dozen cookie recipes as part of my Dear Santasaurus blog tour. This year, I'm moving beyond cookies. (And this isn't an official blog tour.) Through the holidays I'll be sharing my favorite recipes. These are my go-to foods for potluck and when entertaining. Nothing is too hard and it's all yummy.

 German-Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cake

Here's what you need.

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips
4 oz German chocolate
confectioners sugar

Here are the Directions!

Step 1:
Combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, milk, and oil.

Step 2:
Beat on low speed until mixed. Then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Step 3:
Grate the German chocolate and add to the cake mix.

Step 4:
Add chocolate chips. Stir the batter to combine grated chocolate and chocolate chips.

Step 5:
Pour into greased and floured pan. (Warning: I don't know if it's my pan or the batter, but this cake likes to stick. I need to a thorough job of preparing the cake pan. The non-stick spray does not work for this.)

Step 6:
Bake at 350 for 55 to 65 minutes.

Step 7:
I cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. I believe the original recipe says to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and place on a wire rack. It's your call.

Step 8:
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Thanks for visiting my page!

Now Available!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sale! Sale! Sale! Last Minute School Visits (November and December)

 I'm on sale!

I love talking to elementary school students about books, writing, and dinosaurs.  And now, for a limited time, I'm offering 50% discounts on my school visits. See my website for complete pricing details. (Take 50% off listed prices. There is no discount on travel expenses.)

As one media coordinator said...

"...her author visit is fantastic fun."

The following dates are still available:
November 17-20
November 25 - booked

December 2 - booked
December 3-4
December 5 - booked
December 8-12
December 15-17

Please contact me for more information. stacy (at) stacymcanulty (dot) com

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Random Questions with Marcia Strykowski

I'm very excited about Marcia's book. The buzz has been building and it's almost release day.

Available November 1st

“Strykowski lovingly captures seaside Maine and the travails of adolescence in her quiet, sweet-natured debut novel.” —Publishers Weekly

To learn more about Marcia and her books, check out her website

 7 Random Questions with Marci Strykowski

1-What’s the last book you bought?
 The Girls of Gettysburg, a middle-grade novel by Bobbi Miller. I’m halfway through and it’s a great read.

2-If you had to dedicate your book to a thing (and not a person), what would that thing be? 
Although it can sometimes be so stubborn, I guess I would have to dedicate my book to my computer, since without it, there’d be no books.
3-What’s an interesting tidbit readers might not know about you or your books? 
I won an amazing star-studded trip to SeaWorld by creating a prize-winning birthday card and then singing its greeting on the radio. While there I got to pat killer whale Shamu at her 1st birthday party--so much fun! 

4-If you could have any career, what would it be? (And it can’t be “author”.)
 Making music with a band or orchestra might be fun… 

5-Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset? 
Sunrise--the beginning of a brand new day.

6-What is the name of the protagonist in your work-in-progress?
Mateo is the name of the main character in my WIP. He’s a fourteen-year-old city boy with an interesting hobby. 

7-What’s your favorite word?
 I’ll go with piccalilli.

You Should Follow This Blog Tour

My critique buddy (and super-supportive friend) is embarking on a blog tour. Laura Gehl has great insight on writing and her books are hilarious. I'll be following along.

November 1: Booking Mama
November 5: Friend for the Ride
November 6: Teach Mentor Texts
November 7: Picture Books Help Kids Soar
November 13: As the Eraser Burns
November 16: Carrie On...
November 20: Write. Run. Rejoice.
November 23: The Children's Book Review
November 28: Geo Librarian
December 1: SHARPREAD
December 3: Susan Heim On Parenting
December 5: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)
December 9: Flowering Minds
December 13: LibLaura5

Friday, October 24, 2014

Doggy Dinosaur

I'm getting in the Halloween spirit... which means I'm dressing up the dogs and eating chocolate for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

7 Random Questions with the Author of Dear Santasaurus (Hey, that's me!)

Happy 1st Birthday to DEAR SANTASAURUS. I’m not exactly sure when this book was born. (When I got the idea in 2009? When I sold it in 2010? When the illustrator completed his work in 2012?) So I’ve decided to celebrate its pub date. DEAR SANTASAURUS hit shelves one year ago today. In honor of this milestone, I’m interviewing myself.

7 Random Questions with ME

1-What’s the last book you bought? 
The last e-book I download was I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. (I’ll probably finish reading it tonight, which is a bummer because it’s awesome and I don’t want it to end.) Last hardcover was What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. (I was hoping it would give the family some ideas for the kids’ upcoming science fair projects. No luck, not unless we won’t to blow stuff up. Still, it’s a FUN book. I even sent a copy to my dad.)  And the last picture book I bought was Bad Apple’s Perfect Day by Eddie Hemmingway. (Got that one signed!)

2-If you had to dedicate your book to a thing (and not a person), what would that thing be? 
My super-sized bath tub. A lot of good ideas come to me while soaking in that tub. I should probably dedicate a book to the shower too. So it doesn’t get jealous.

3-What’s an interesting tidbit readers might not know about you or your books? 

I always keep a Green Bay Packer’s roster on my desk. It’s my go-to for creating character names. I like to vary the year. I can’t just use the current season. In my upcoming Dino Files book I have the Crabtree family (Tom Crabtree, tight end, 2009-2012) and a boy named Aaron (Aaron Rodgers, QB, 2005-current).

4-If you could have any career, what would it be? (And it can’t be “author”.) 
Paleontologist or creative-writing teacher or screenwriter for The Daily Show.        

5-Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset?

Sunset. You don’t have to set an alarm to greet a sunset.
6-What is the name of the protagonist in your work-in-progress? 
I’m working on a middle grade and the main character is Luciana “Lucy” Adams. She’s a math savant hiding out in sixth grade.

7-What’s your favorite word? 

But. I use it ALL. THE. TIME. Like… I knew this questionnaire would be fun, but it took longer than I planned. I have leftover soup for lunch, but I’d really like a cheeseburger. I’m trying not to use the word but in every sentence, but it’s proving to be a difficult task.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

For The Love of Dogs

I love dogs. Currently, we have 2 BIG dogs. I'm lobbying for a third. ("Please. Please! I'll get a little one.") But it's just not in the cards for our family right now.

On a recent trip to animal shelter to do book-related research, the kids and I met this fella. His name is Rico. He's 10 months old and has lots of energy. He's a Chihuahua with a brindle coat. He's so ugly, he's awesome. If you know anyone looking for an ugly, hyper dog, pass this info along.

We also met these ladies. They are incredibly calm and gorgeous. Their names are Dora and Kora. (I hate the spelling on that one!) Hoping they get adopted together.
Kora and Dora
All these doggies are at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

7 Random Questions with Yvonne Ventresca

Yvonnes's book has me reaching for the Purell. We live in a world where a deadly outbreak can occur anytime and anywhere. It's an awful nightmare that's explored in her YA book PANDEMIC.

Now Available

To learn more about Yvonne, check out her website
And don't miss the link to a fabulous prize at the bottom.

 7 Random Questions with Yvonne Ventresca

1-What’s the last book you bought? 
I have a huge pile of books I bought and haven’t gotten to yet. The last book I bought and actually read was Gone Girl. I loved the plot twists.

2-If you had to dedicate your book to a thing (and not a person), what would that thing be? 
My dogs, Luna and Rocky. They keep me company while I write.

3-What’s an interesting tidbit readers might not know about you or your books? 
The stuffed animal, Milkshake, mentioned in Pandemic is based on my daughter’s beloved stuffed cow from when she was young.

4-If you could have any career, what would it be? (And it can’t be “author”.) 
Librarian! If I couldn’t be an author, I’d still love to work with books.

5-Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset?
Sunset. I’m not a morning person, although I’m trying to convert.  

6-What is the name of the protagonist in your work-in-progress? 
Ella Benton, El for short. In the YA psychological thriller I’m working on, she fears she’s being haunted or suffering from mental illness.

7-What’s your favorite word? 
“Treats” because it brings my dogs running.
Luna and Rocky

September is National Preparedness Month and Yvonne is hosting an Emergency Prep Kit/Pandemic giveaway worth over $70. The details on her blog:

Yvonne Ventresca is the author of PANDEMIC (Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing, May 2014), a contemporary, realistic young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a deadly flu outbreak. Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for kids: AVRIL LAVIGNE (a biography of the singer) and PUBLISHING (about careers in the field). You can find her at, on Twitter, and on Facebook.