Inspiration – Spicy Chicken

I’ve really been getting into the writing groove on my next novel, tentatively titled “The Field”. This one’s targeted at an older audience and my teenage children and their friends are a HUGE source of inspiration and source material. A recent dinnertime conversation is definately going to be crafted into a scene. My son had posted on Facebook that the next day was ‘spicy chicken sandwich Tuesday’ and we got to talking about the chuck wagon meat cycle in the dorm cafeteria from when my husband and I were in college. The meat would first appear as a hamburger patty and be fairly edible. The next day it would arrive as salisbury steak covered in gravy and on the third day it would be converted into chuck wagon stew which we were afraid to eat. They also served yogurt as an entree alternative – yogurt was fairly new on the culinary scene at that time – which is what I went with most of the time (and gained the freshman 10 pounds). At my kids’ high school, the spicy chicken next shows up as an oriental spicy chicken dish and then later as spicy chicken balls. Amazing how history repeats! Except that my son loves all the variations of spicy chicken! Look for the spicy chicken sandwich evolution in “The Field”.

Snowpocalypse

What I love – Snow Days! Tomorrow will be the third snow day for my kids – a new record I think. I will have to venture out tomorrow, but I’ve had two ‘gift’ days at home. I’ve made the most of those days, too! My girlfriend and I spent time each afternoon knitting, drinking tea and talking. A rare treat. Getting to each other’s house was a bit of an adventure, though. My house sits on a little rise and I slid from my door down to the sidewalk – at least I was still on my feet and not on my rear. My friend wiped out right on her front stoop, but was fortunatley unhurt. Of course, I’ve also been reading. At any given time I am in the middle of reading three or four (or five or six!) books. I started using Audible on my Kindle to listen to books as I do a lot of driving, so my capacity to devour books has increased. Right now I am listening to MOCKINGBIRD by Katheryn Erskine and read by Angela Jayne Rogers. It is a middle grade book about a girl with Asperger’s dealing with her brother’s death. It is a stunning book and Angela Jayne Rogers gets the ‘voice’ of 10-year old Caitlin so exactly right! I also recently finished MARCELO in the REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork which is for high schoolers and is about a boy with something like Asperger’s, although it is never clearly defined in the book. It, too, is an excellent book and both give a voice to children with learning disabilities. I found it very interesting to get into the head’s of Marcelo and Caitlin as they navigate the ‘real world’ without grasping many of the emotions and nuances that the rest of us feel. I’m almost finished with MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, this year’s Newbery winner. I love the supernatural aspect of the gypsy ‘Diviner’ and that it deals with the first World War and the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. A little history lesson as we enjoy a terrific tale.  For adult titles, I just finished HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls, a ‘true-life novel’ about her grandmother’s remarkable life in Arizona, which I really enjoyed and now have to read her other book THE GLASS CASTLE. In the que are THE GIRLS FROM AMES, for my bookgroup and AN OBJECT OF BEAUTY: A NOVEL by Steve Martin as an audio books on my Kindle. So many books to get to! What are you reading?

Ernie in a jaunty jacket from Lands' End

Signs of Spring?

Cardinal

Robins under the feeder

I took these pictures on Sunday afternoon after I came back from a long walk with the dog. It was cold, but sunny and the birds were out in force singing. The cardinal is in the tree I see outside my office window and the robins are in the backyard under the feeder. Do robins fly south for the spring? I’m not sure, but there were at least a dozen in the yard and it gave me hope that Spring is on the way. The crazy Indiana weather had me fooled, however. Tonight, Monday, we are in the middle of an ice storm! They’ve already canceled school for tomorrow – my kids are very happy about that – and my dentist called earlier today to cancel my appointment for tomorrow as the office is closed. Perhaps I’ll have some beautiful pictures of ice covered trees to share tomorrow. I wonder where the rabbit I saw in the yard this morning will be tonight?

Young Hoosier Book Awards

My first ever blog post is about something very exciting – Indian Summer is under consideration for the Young Hoosier Book Awards program for the 2012-2013 school year! Being selected would be a great honor and would get Indian Summer into the hands of students all across Indiana. I attended the YHBA Banquet last November and was fortunate to get to hear Nick Bruel, author and illustrator of Bad Kitty, which won in the picture book category for 2009-2010, speak about writing and illustrating. Not only can he craft a delightful and engaging tale and create lively and appealing characters, he is also a terrific speaker. The authors of the winners in the intermediate and middle-grade categories could not attend, so Nick had the podium all to himself. I was so impressed that I bought several of his books for my two nephews. If  you would like to submit a recommendation to the YHBA committee for Indian Summer, you can download a form here http://www.ilfonline.org/clientuploads/YHBA/BookNominationForm.pdf

2011 is off to a great start!