Magic Muffins

June 07, 2008 | 1 Comment

I didn't have a muffin picture. This is a pie I made.I love my readers. I love the honest and heartfelt posts they leave on my message board. Like this one:

I just wanted to let Susan know how her recipe for “Morning Muffins” couldn’t have come at a better time. My son was diagnosed with Leukemia in September of 07. One of the side effects of all that chemo is constipation. Which is one more complication that we could do without. Your muffins took away that potentially serious problem (also tasting great!). He also has Down Syndrome so it is even more important for him to “move” things out! I shared one of those muffins with one of my sons nurses and she was amazed at how well they worked. She even commented to me later that she thought about my “Magic Muffins” when a few days later another patient was having to take even more drugs to try to help alleviate her constipation.

I’m so grateful that I found that recipe! I’ve made it so many times that I know it by heart. Thank you for putting recipes in your books!

In honor of Anne and her son, here’s the recipe. You can tweak it any way you like, substituting craisins or dried cherries, sunflower seeds, etc. I like to add craisins and grated orange or lemon peel sometimes. Enjoy!

Morning Muffins from the Sky River Bakery (from Snowfall at Willow Lake)

1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled and shredded carrots
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, flax seed, bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil. Add to the dry ingredients. Fold in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

casting my net

June 07, 2008 | 2 Comments

I sent this snap to a friend to convince him to bring his family for a visit this summer. Taken from my beach:

morning on Puget Sound

Not sure why I thought of this but I like the thought:

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
Sigmund Freud

Book Expo America part 2

June 05, 2008 | 1 Comment

More notes from the book show: The publishers’ booths are busy with signings, meetings and giveaways. I’m trolling for the best totebag on the block, and it’s a tie between the Stephenie Meyer black-and-red number and RWA‘s multifunctional bag with all the pockets and zippers. I meet the team of book people from Safeway stores; they were from the corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, CA. Wonderful folks who love to sell books in the grocery store. Erasmus said, “When I get some money, I buy books, and if there is money left over, I buy food.” Think how thin we would all be! News flash: Just Breathe will be in a bestseller slot in the chain when it comes out. Shazam!

A sales rep told me the Books-a-Million buyer loves the cover. Once again, affirmation that a great package is a huge incentive for buyers. Other account buyers visit the booth–Amazon, Costco, Newsgroup, Ingram. Librarians in droves–love these folks. Two guys from Shelf Awareness stop by.  A team from Publishers Weekly needing water, stat. Andy Cohen, president of Grade-A Entertainment, stops by to chat about his hit movie, “Untraceable,” with Diane Lane, and his new project based on Terry Brooks’s “Magic Kingdom” series. Here’s a  cell phone shot. I forgot my camera.

I meet with my publicist and PR people from my publisher, and learn Just Breathe will be advertised on ferryboats in Seattle. How cool is that? We talk about book groups, print ads, glossy magazines, newspaper reviews, online everything. I learn a new term: “shelter magazine.” There’s a postcard with a reading group guide that looks fantastic.

The children’s book publishers always have the fun booths. Toys, cupcakes, you name it. I always feel sorry for the booths with no people, like the Cultural Exchange of Lebanon. I sit down and enjoy a bottle of water with them, but I am clearly not the droid they’re looking for.

I have a delicious stack of advance reading copies. I’ll post a list later…

Book Expo America

June 04, 2008 | 4 Comments

Back from the show. Some quick impressions–

What’s not to like about a convention that’s all about books? Making books, selling them, publicizing them, selling them in all possible formats (known and unknown), collecting them, reading and reviewing them.

The convention center in downtown LA is festooned with banners. The biggest is the James Patterson banner the size of a billboard, which covers the outside of the main hall and is visible for miles. Inside, there are huge banners for huge books. If you’ve reached a certain level, you get a banner that’s probably 20×40 feet, hanging in the entry way–Ted Turner looking like the Marlboro Man, a big Baldacci thriller, Debbie Macomber’s book with a great tagline “Four women. Twenty wishes.”

The booths all feature backlit posters of cover art, ARCs, a steady supply of bottled water and hard candies. I catch up with writer friends I love but almost never get to see–Linda Lael Miller, Heather Graham, Kat Martin, Carla Neggers, Ridley Pearson, Catherine Lanigan (who remembered I once came to one of her signings pushing Elizabeth in a stroller; Elizabeth just got engaged), Brenda Novak, Brenda Jackson…They all get more beautiful as the years progress. At least we wear cooler clothes. We talk about books and book tours (thumbs down from most of us), pub schedules, cover art, travel in Ireland, and the eternal, inexhaustible topic–getting the writing done. So far, I’m sad to report, no one has revealed The Secret.

The RWA booth is its usual warm, friendly self, with free totebags and books by members to give away.

Watch this space! I’ll post more later…

Thar she blows!

June 01, 2008 | 2 Comments

“…with a hump like a snowhill! ‘Tis Moby Dick! No wait, ’tis…could it be? Isadora!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’m as excited as Captain Ahab to report that The Charm School, written ten years ago with the humblest of expectations of success, is now on the New York Times Bestseller list.

I take no credit for this. The book has been written and out in the world for a decade. This prize belongs to readers, for giving the book a shot. Thanks for reading it.

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