Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grandpa’s Soft Molasses Cookies


The following is a recipe from my children's novel, Ride a Horse Not an Elevator:

Grandpa’s Soft Molasses Cookies

 "So I lifted the lid to the freezer and took out one of the big plastic cookie boxes. Wrong box—it contained the molasses cookies Grandma always had ready for Grandpa.” (Chap. 7)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 and 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon

¾ cup (6 oz.) evaporated milk

¾ teaspoon vinegar

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

 

Sift flour with soda, salt and spices. Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly; Add egg and molasses. Add milk and vinegar mixed alternately with dry ingredients. Mix well. Drop from spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until done. Cool 1 minute before taking off cookie sheet. Store in airtight container. Yields 4-5 dozen.

For more information, contact me, Lisa Saunders at saundersbooks@aol.com or visit: www.authorlisasaunders.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ride a Horse Not an Elevator 2nd Edition Includes Children's Workshops



Ride a Horse Not an Elevator is a test of young courage. Lisa is a chubby city girl searching for friendship and excitement. She leaves home, and the elevators and bullies of a big apartment complex, to spend a summer in the country at her grandparents’ farm. Culture shock! Accompanied only by her loyal beagle, Donald Dog, Lisa faces a summer in a very different environment with its own challenges and dangers. Using an outhouse is the least of her problems! She is terrified of her new pony. Lisa’s grandfather is injured by a charging cow and needs her to ride the pony to get help. Remembering Grandma’s lesson about how love overcomes fear, she pushes herself past her anxieties to ride alone and obtain the help he needs.
Also includes recipes from grandma’s kitchen.

Reviews:

“A ‘warm fuzzy’ in paperback form. It is a tangible tale for storytelling that provides a springboard for discussion between children and adults.” Ruth Zwick, Educational Director, Sentinel Publications
“A special treat for children and adults!” Mary K. Henderberg, Editor
Wayne County Star
 
Ride a Horse Not an Elevator is a refreshing tale of a young city girl lucky enough to still have grandparents living on a farm.  Using the horse as a magnet, we have tied Lisa’s story of life’s lessons in this child-friendly setting to agriculture, the care of horses and horse nutrition, to human nutrition and good eating habits, fitness and exercise.” Jeannie Griffiths, Cornell Cooperative Extension Horse Specialist, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University

Now available as an e-book as well as paperback, you can read the introductory material of Ride a Horse Not an Elevator by clicking on the "LOOK INSIDE" feature on Amazon.

My children's novel, Ride a Horse Not an Elevator, is used by Cornell University in their "Horse Book in a Bucket" 4-H program (see how 4-H members can present the educational "no preparation required" program on page 6 of the following newsletter: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/4H/horses/ubt/ubt_summer12.pdf).

I have just revised Ride a Horse Not an Elevator to include some of the horse/human fact cards from the "Horse Book in a Bucket" program plus some writing tips for children (the novel also includes recipes from Grandma's kitchen). I can present the "Horse Book in a Bucket" program myself, but I do focus more on my novel and the process of writing. If there are any horse enthusiasts wishing to present the program or have me present it, please contact me directly at: saundersbooks@aol.com.
 
 
I am looking for low/no cost ways that children can learn more about horses so I can make recommendations to their teachers about how the children can find out more from "real" horse people (ones that might be able to bring in a bridle, saddle, etc.).
 
I can forward you the fact cards and bring my "Bucket" of horse supplies and book to any school. Here is an excerpt from my novel where I describe the "Horse Book in a Bucket" program:
 
 

HORSE BOOK IN A BUCKET”

 

The following reduced images are samples of information cards, worksheets and teacher’s answer keys from  Cornell University’s “Horse Book in a Bucket” program—a bucket that includes educational materials for children, such as the novel, Ride a Horse Not an Elevator, toy horse, mane comb, breeds poster, containers of oats, corn, and soy bean meal, and a horse coloring poster.

 

Ride a Horse Not an Elevator is a refreshing tale of a young city girl lucky enough to still have grandparents living on a farm. Using the horse as a magnet, we have tied Lisa’s story of life’s lessons in this child-friendly setting to agriculture, the care of horses and horse nutrition, to human nutrition and good eating habits, fitness and exercise,” said Jeannie Griffiths, Cornell Cooperative Extension Horse Specialist, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University.

 

The Horse Book in a Bucket” program, targeted at youth in the first through third grades, was created at Cornell University by the Department of Animal Science. There were many collaborators in this project, including the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, industry leaders, financial sponsors and more.

 
For more information about the “Horse Book in a Bucket” program, contact Jean T. Griffiths, Extension Horse Specialist, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, at: jtg4@cornell.edu, 607-255-2857.

If you would like to have Lisa present her book and the "Horse Book in a Bucket" program, contact her directly at saundersbooks@aol.com

A letter Lisa received after presenting Ride a Horse Not an Elevator on Thursday, July 11, 2013:
"Dear Lisa,
The children in the summer program really enjoyed your presentation of your novel, Ride a Horse Not an Elevator, and receiving an autographed copy. That aspect especially did a great deal to help them feel connected on a personal level to the whole writing process.  Thank you so much for giving your time to them and sharing your expertise."
Susan R. Bailey, Development Coordinator, Riverfront Children's Center, Inc., Groton, Connecticut: http://www.riverfrontchildren.org/about.shtml
To see Lisa's other work, visit: http://www.authorlisasaunders.com/

Other Children's Workshop Information:
RIDE A HORSE NOT AN ELEVATOR STUDY GUIDE
 
Lisa Saunders is the author of the novel, Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator. Does that mean she wrote the story or does it mean she drew the illustrations for the story?
Although Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator is based on true events and real people, Ms. Saunders calls it a novel. What is the definition of a novel?
What does “fiction” mean?
What does “non-fiction” mean?
Stories usually have at least one problem and a solution. What were some of Lisa’s problems?
 
How were these problems resolved and/or how did Lisa decide to think about things to feel better?
 
Lisa was caught between two worlds—her grandparents’ farm in the country and her parents’ high-rise apartment in New York City. Where do you think she belonged?
 
What are the definitions of “plot” and “theme”?
 
What is the plot of Ride a Horse Not an Elevator?
 
What is the theme of Ride a Horse Not an Elevator?
 
What did Lisa’s mother ask Lisa to do before taking the long car ride with her uncle to upstate New York?
 
Have you ever regretted not listening to your parents? Explain a time you wish you had listened to them.
 
YOUTH WRITING WORKSHOP
 
by Lisa Saunders, author of Ride a Horse Not an Elevator
 
I have enjoyed writing stories ever since grade school—but sometimes my stories got me into trouble because I liked to write real and imagined stories about people I knew. Try to avoid writing about the people in your life unless you get their permission or you know they will be pleased by what you write!
While attending Suffern High School in New York, I joined the school newspaper and wrote a humor column about real events at school. But when I ran out of things to say, I decided to major in Business Management and Marketing instead of writing at Cornell University.
After my children were born, however, I had a lot to say again, so I started writing stories in form letters and sending them to my family and friends to tell them about some of the funny, scary, or sad things that were happening in my life. I later shaped those stories into articles and submitted them to magazines.
I joined a writers’ group that met in someone’s home. We shared what we wrote with each other and made and received comments to make our stories better. I wrote and rewrote my stories with the help of teachers and friends, plus I took a writing class at Rockland Community College in New York. (I got my first full-time writing job because of the connections I made in the class.)
The ideas for my children’s novel, Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator, came when my then first-grade daughter, Jackie, asked me what it was like to ride a horse and go to my grandparents’ farm every summer. I showed her photographs, which helped me remember what happened. I put those photographs into a photo album and wrote little anecdotes to go with each one. To help me remember even more about that time in my life, I called my parents, aunts and uncles, and my grandmother who was still alive. I even called a veterinarian to find out what my grandparents’ dog would have been like after his leg was amputated.
When I wrote Ride a Horse Not an Elevator, I incorporated many of these events into one summer and included the true stories of my:
 
●Great-grandfather who invented a mechanical bed that
 rode on railroad-like tracks
●Great Aunt who hid her Twinkies in the dishwasher
●Grandfather who hid his false teeth in his front pocket
●Uncle who only carried pictures of cows in his wallet
●Great Uncle who wouldn’t wash his own face
●Donald Dog, my beagle who was afraid of everything,
 yet was the hero in my dad’s fairy tales
●Ornery pony that threatened to buck me off
●Grandmother who taught me to see the humor of it all
 
 
Children Writers
 
You can start publishing your stories now. My daughter Jackie got her first short story published in a local newspaper when she was nine years old. She is now working as a professional writer in Washington, D.C., at a large, national organization.
 
You can work on your writing skills by publishing a newsletter to mail or e-mail to your friends and family. Or, find someone who wants to be your pen pal.  You can include the stories you write in school, plus you can tell them things that happen to you. Keep your stories in a notebook. Sample topics to write about:
 
·        What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
·        Were you ever injured? What happened?
·        Did someone ever save your life? What happened?
·        What was the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
·        What are some of funniest things that have happened to you?
·        Have you ever taken a long car ride? What did you do to keep it fun?
·        Do you have pets? Do they ever do anything that gets them in trouble?
·        Were you ever afraid of something? How did you overcome your fear? If you haven’t overcome it yet, what steps are you taking to deal with it?
·       Do you know how to do something like catch a fish, bake cookies, or sew a travel bag? Can you write down the directions so someone else can do it?

 
HOW CHILDREN AND ADULTS CAN GET PUBLISHED
 
1.     Build your portfolio:
The easiest way to get your thoughts into print and begin gathering "your" audience, is to submit letters to the editor (don't forget to include your hometown when you do) and to submit stories to those free weekly newspapers and monthly magazines you see lying around. They are short staffed and welcome free stories with a good photo or illustration (only send images that won't violate anyone's copyright).
 
2.     Call local editors directly, offering a story for free:
I finally began earning money as a freelance writer when I called a Rockland County, New York, magazine offering them a story I did on a friend in the area who beat the Guinness World Record time for paddling down the Mississippi River. The editor replied, "That sounds very interesting, but we have a limited budget and won't be able to pay you." I assured him that was fine. I just needed to get my foot in the door. Later, that magazine offered me the chance to write the feature story, "The 7 Wonders of Rockland," for which I was paid. When a developer read it, they contacted me with the offer to write even higher paid articles about the towns where they were building. Although the magazine and developer were paying me to write on a specific topic, I was still able to share my personal insights and "voice" within.
 
3.     Contact editors by name at national magazines:
It's almost pointless to send a query letter to an editor without addressing it directly to them. You can find an editor's name by flipping through the pages of the big general books such as, Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market; The Young Writers Guide to Getting Published by Kathy Henderson, the Writer's Market and Literary Market Place, which are probably available at your library or local bookstore. I've always found the updated contact information by sitting on the floor of bookstores and libraries and skimming through magazines looking for the current editors, or I call publishers to find out who the submissions editor is. Read children magazines such as "Skipping Stone," "Stone Soup" or "Cicada" to see what kinds of stories publishers are looking for.
 
4.     Write a query letter that grabs an editor’s interest right away:
The next step is the query letter, which introduces you and your work to a publisher. I've had the most luck when I simply jump right into my story, hoping to catch their interest in the first sentence. For example, the following query letter landed me a publisher for my memoir, Anything But a Dog! It began: "Inevitably, most kids ask for a dog. And who can blame them? Dogs like Lassie adore you, keep you warm when you're caught in a blizzard and drag you out of burning buildings when you're unconscious. But by the time we're adults, we've learned the truth: dogs urinate on your new wall-to-wall carpets; dig holes in your leather recliners to hide their rawhide bones, and bite your neighbor's kid. So when my seven-year-old daughter Jackie asked for a dog, I said no. Our younger daughter Elizabeth was disabled and wouldn't be able to protect herself from a frisky animal. But I did make Jackie a promise: 'If God brings a dog to our doorstep, you can have it.' In the meantime, I offered her a hamster..."
 
5.     Learn how to use a digital camera:
Magazines and newspapers need images to make their pages come alive—and many have had to lay off their photographers. Offer to provide images with your story, and if that's not possible, suggest images they might want to consider. In my historical story, "The Hanging of Henry Gale," I wrote to the magazine: "After reading the article about the Revolutionary War in your June issue, I thought you'd be interested in my story, 'The Hanging of Henry Gale.' My ancestor Henry Gale was a captain in the war who later became a leader in Shays' Rebellion. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to hang. I can submit a photo of his headstone and suggest an illustration of Shays' Rebellion from the New York Public Library image database."
 
6.     Get out from behind your computer and meet writers and editors:
Join writers’ groups or form your own. Your local library may know of groups already meeting. Sometimes getting a story published is simply a matter of “who you know.”
 
7.     Share your work with your family and friends:
My first story accepted into a national magazine was a result of my sister-in-law meeting the editor at a party.  My sister-in-law  mentioned to the editor that I had written a short Christmas story about my disabled daughter. The editor was thrilled because she still needed a story for her December issue.
 
8.     Give readers what they want--but stay true to your voice (or your soul):
When you write, write from your heart—share your soul. Don't write what everyone else is writing. When you share what you are really thinking, your readers may just find a kindred spirit in you. Try to write every day, such as letters to your family and friends, or in a journal.
 
Lisa Saunders Can Help You Get Published
 
Lisa has written a free e-book, “How to Get Published.” She is also working on the soon-to-be released softcover book, The National Guide to Self-Publishing Books and E-Books (for free). Visit her website at www.authorlisasaunders to learn more.
If you would like to have your story published in a book of short stories by other young writers, have your parent contact Lisa Saunders at saundersbooks@aol.com for more details.

 


Monday, March 30, 2009

Ride a Horse Not an Elevator



A chubby city girl visits her grandparents’ farm where she tries to find a friend and overcome her fear of horses.

Ride a Horse Not an Elevator is a test of young courage. Lisa is a chubby city girl searching for friendship and excitement. She leaves home, and the elevators and bullies of a big apartment complex, to spend a summer in the country at her grandparents’ farm. Culture shock! Accompanied only by her loyal beagle, Donald Dog, Lisa faces a summer in a very different environment with its own challenges and dangers. Using an outhouse is the least of her problems! She is terrified of her new pony. Lisa’s grandfather is injured by a charging cow and needs her to ride the pony to get help. Remembering Grandma’s lesson about how love overcomes fear, she pushes herself past her anxieties to ride alone and obtain the help he needs.
Also includes recipes from grandma’s kitchen.

EXCERPT from Chapter Three:

My mother sighed and then smiled as if she knew something Uncle Jim didn't. "Okay, but you'll be sorry!"
With that, Uncle Jim and I drove off.
Donald Dog rode in the back with some clothes and packages, and hung his head out the window. As we picked up speed, his ears flew back and his lips quivered when he faced the wind.

"Lisa, I don't know this area so I'm going to need you to be quiet until I figure out how to get out of the city. O.K?"

"Okay." I was glad to be quiet. That meant I could dig into the huge bag of gum balls Uncle Jim had bought me. I chewed one gum ball until the sugar coating was gone. I wanted to spit it out to chew on a fresh one. "May I eat another gum ball?"

"Go ahead. But please, I really need you to be quiet so I can concentrate."

"But, Uncle Jim, what do I do with my old gum ball?"

"Spit it out the window. I just can't worry about it now," Uncle Jim snapped.

Spit it out the window? That sounded like fun! My parents would never have let me do that! I carefully aimed my lips toward the window and spit my gum through it. The wind quickly grabbed it and flung it backwards. I chewed another gum ball. As soon as it lost its coating, I again spit it towards the window. I repeated this several times. I was keeping busy, just like Uncle Jim hoped I would.

Once Uncle Jim and I were on the open road driving away from the city, he relaxed. I had almost chewed through all my gum. "Uncle Jim, I have to go the bathroom."

"Well, you'll have to wait until I find a sign for a rest room."

"But Uncle Jim, I have to go really bad--now...I can't wait!"

"All right. I'll take one of these exits. Maybe we'll find a gas station or something."

I could barely stand the ride, I was so uncomfortable. When I turned around to check on Donald Dog, I was horrified. Donald's head was happily hanging out the window, but stuck all over him and the back seat were chewed up wads of gum! The gum I had spit out had been swept right back into the open window behind me. It was all over the seats and Uncle Jim's clothes. Donald Dog had been stepping on it and grinding it in. What was Uncle Jim going to say about this!

Reviews:

“A ‘warm fuzzy’ in paperback form. It is a tangible tale for storytelling that provides a springboard for discussion between children and adults.” Ruth Zwick, Educational Director, Sentinel Publications
“A special treat for children and adults!” Mary K. Henderberg, Editor
Wayne County Star
Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator is based on a true story and is part of Cornell University's "Horse Book in a Bucket" 4-H program. To have Lisa present her book and the "Horse Book in a Bucket" program, contact her directly at saundersbooks@aol.com To see her other work, visit: http://www.authorlisasaunders.com/