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Several friends have sent this link my way, knowing I would totally relate. (Click the link! You’ll thank me!) I had much in common with that child, and the mom is like my mom. She used to let me dictate stories to her:

…until I was old enough to write (and self publish) on my own:

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.

The Horsemaster's Daughter 2008 reissueI can’t watch the footage of the horse race. You know which one I mean. No wonder I prefer to stick with fiction. It’s so much more manageable than reality. The Horsemaster’s Daughter is just hitting the stores now. There are chills and thrills in this novel, but I promise, no horses were harmed in its creation.

I love the new cover art. It’s nicer “in person” than online. There’s a muted quality to the illustration and a nice antique-y matte finish. There’s a pale cast to Eliza’s skin which brings to mind all those vampire covers that are so wildly popular these days–not that this is a vampire book. I’m not normally a fan of green in cover art, particularly green foil lettering, but this is eyecatching and beautiful. It’s a good fit thematically, too, since the book is about redemption and renewal.

The one bit I’m not so fond of is the shoutline at the top of the back cover copy: “An unbroken horse, a broken man, an estate that needed her.” What a strange and awkward phrase. I hope people will read right past that. (For the record, the author almost never writes the cover copy.) With the exception of the shoutline, the book’s description is spot-on. Reading over it reminds me of how much passion and tenderness I had for the characters, back when I was writing this book.

By far, my favorite feature of this new edition is the inclusion of a coupon good for $2 off Just Breathe, my upcoming book. Clip it out! Make note of the very limited time offer–it has to be used between August 26 and September 2.

Today’s guest blog is by my friend and fellow writer/editor, Lori. You can meet her, Aubrey and Pam, and many other literary luminaries at the upcoming conference.

Aubrey, Lori, PamThe last weekend in April used to signify my daughter’s birthday was approaching. Now it means the annual Field’s End Writers’ Conference. Aubrey’s birthday is still at the tail end of April; we just have a new way of celebrating it. Last year was our first Field’s End experience. We stayed the night at the Clearwater Casino Resort – a treat for us. Not only did we get meaningful girl time, but Aubrey was especially delighted with the hotel’s accoutrements. We still have the fun cell phone video clips of Aubrey showing off the hotel room. The spinning chair in front of the vanity was particularly exciting.

At the actual conference, Aubrey was initially cowed at being the only young person in a roomful of adults. But the Field’s End participants are a very friendly lot, so Aubrey soon relaxed. We were lucky enough to land at tables with speakers Garth Stein and Robert Dugoni. They helped draw out Aubrey – and everyone else. Bob Dugoni “escorted” Aubrey to the first break-out session. Her workshop tastes ran differently than mine, and she evidently didn’t feel the need to cling to my side the entire day. When we did get together, I was impressed with how well she sat still. An entire day is a long time – thank goodness for Malachy McCourt! Even though she couldn’t remember how to pronounce his name, she asked me recently if he would be there again. Aubrey took away ideas from each speaker, but it was Mr. McCourt’s presentation she found most enthralling. No surprise! Later we had a grand time purchasing books and getting authors’ autographs and personalized messages. What a delight to see Aubrey bloom into a young woman and a creative presence. There are many, many things we learned that day and which remain part of who we are a year later. This year Aubrey told me that she would like to go back to Field’s End for her birthday (and she gets that this means not much else in the way of birthday presents!). So register, we did.

Aubrey’s writing interests are strong and deep, although she’s still not sure she wants to be a writer. But as some of the Field’s End participants reminded us, a writer is not something you become, it’s something you are. Thus, Aubrey is a writer, and a good one. She’s taking honors classes this year (sixth grade) and scored 100 percent on her most recent Reading WASL. Her Writing WASL score was close behind. She counts attending the Young Authors Conference at Skagit Valley College nearly every year during elementary school as one of her writing-related accomplishments. Children’s book author George Shannon is a frequent presenter, so she was excited to “know somebody” at Field’s End last year!My mom, Pam, has never thought of herself as a writer, but she is certainly skilled. She chose (was there much of a choice in those days?!) to be a mom, wife and homemaker. While I was at the UW, she earned her A.A. from Everett Community College. I always knew she was an excellent proofreader and organizer, if you will, of written materials, but I recently realized that she’s also a talented writer. She can deftly describe her own and other people’s feelings and motivations. Mom would disagree (LOL). Once she decides to believe in her skill and channel it to a specific project of her own, look out! For now, she is helping to research and write a book with her brother.

I’m actually writing the children’s chapter-book version of the same story. Although I’m an on-again, off-again kind of fiction writer, I’m still very committed to this story. My preference is to fix and organize words rather than to originate them. That’s the editor in me. My mom recently showed me a progress report from my first-grade teacher. I wanted to be a nurse, teacher, hairstylist and editor. How crazy is that? What six-year-old kid knows what an editor is? I evidently figured it out, and it has stuck with me. My mom plans to join us this year. Aubrey’s okay with sharing a bed with me, although I offered to have her and Grandma bunk together because Grandma’s skinnier than I am and will take up less room. We’ll see what happens.

It’s not long now until we return to the garden of the gods at Kiana Lodge, host to the Field’s End Writers’ Conference. I should ask Aubrey how many days until our adventure begins. She’ll know. Aubrey & Lori at the Field’s End conference

“My mother is a poem I’ll never be able to write

though everything I write is a poem to my mother.”

Sharon Doubiago, Hard Country

 family 1961

 

2007

Thanks Mom. I love you.

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