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Do You Have A Budding Author In The Family?

Do You Have A Budding Author In The Family?

While not all avid readers turn into writers, most writers start out as avid readers. If you have a young family member who can’t get enough of books, who seems to gallop from the first page to the last, who wears out her or his library card, and whose bookshelf is crammed, you might possibly be harboring a budding author.

Encourage her or him.

Most young authors have vivid imaginations and have no trouble thinking of a subject to write about, but if your author-in-training’s imagination is slow to ignite, you can strike a spark with some suggestions. Here are a few:

Write a “Cinderella” story in which the main character is a boy, not a girl, who meets a princess, not a prince, at the ball.

Write a story about the child or children of a famous storybook character. Again, Cinderella is a good example: Cinderella’s children, or Cinderella’s daughter.

Write a story focusing on a character in a story who isn’t the hero or heroine of the original story. Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood tales would be an example.

Write a tall tale in the style of the Paul Bunyan or Mike Fink or Pecos Bill stories.

Write a “mash-up,” in which you mix two genres: Cowboys in outer space would be an example.

Of course, not all writers write fiction. Your future author may be a budding nonfiction writer. If that’s the case, he or she can try his/her hand at one of these activities:

Write and “publish” a family newspaper, reporting on the family news. (Wouldn’t Grandma and Grandpa love to get a copy?!)

Interview a family member who has an interesting story to tell and write an article about it. It could be the time Dad’s canoe overturned on a wilderness trip, Uncle Ronnie’s experiences in the Vietnam war, the time Mom was in the bank and found herself in the middle of a robbery, forced down on the floor and threatened at gunpoint, how Cousin Kimberley won the science award, or how Aunt Marian became the first woman on her town’s police force.

Your young author can also write short biographies of famous people by looking them up on the internet, reading about them, distilling what he or she has read, and then writing a lively, short bio that would appeal to other kids his/her age.

Of course, journaling is an exercise in writing, and while diaries are often thought of as girls’ territory, journals are for both sexes. For that matter, even diaries are not really strictly for girls. Such famous male writers as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, and Samuel Pepys kept diaries as well. But whether the young writer thinks of his/her reporting as keeping a diary or writing a journal, writing the day’s or week’s events in an interesting fashion is good practice for any writer, but particularly one more inclined toward nonfiction than fiction.

Do you have a budding writer or potential writer—one who loves to read (or maybe lives to read), or one who makes up stories “out loud”? Encourage him or her!

When Not Getting What You Want Is A Blessing

When Not Getting What You Want Is A Blessing

Sometimes we’re lucky and we don’t get what we want.

My affinity for writing evinced itself when I was very young. I was writing poems, stories, even a play from the time I learned to spell C-A-T. Everyone cheered me on—family, teachers, family friends—and assured me I was going to be a writer when I grew up.

But that wasn’t what I wanted. Broadway beckoned—and not scripting plays but acting in them. Starring in them. I had my heart set on being an actress.

A health issue put the kibosh on my dreams of, as they sang in Showboat, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage.” It was not to be. In my junior year of high school, it became abundantly evident that I was not going to be able to follow my dream.

Ironically I didn’t fall back on a writing career right away. Although I continued writing for any publication that would allow me to see my words in print, including a stint doing what today would be called interning for the local weekly paper, I didn’t dare to dream of earning a living writing. I didn’t think I was good enough. And I didn’t have a Journalism degree. A writing career for me? Impossible.

I wouldn’t dream that big till later—much later.

In fact, it wasn’t until the early nineties that I dared try to get a book published—and succeeded—although I was writing (and selling) short-form stuff long before that.

And now? Now I have over 100 published books to my credit, I write for clients (anything from ads to promotional scripts to business reports to web copy—not to mention ghostwritten books), and I edit. I have edited books, magazines, business materials, and more.

And I totally love what I do. I feel blessed—blessed that I can earn a living doing work that I so much love. (Is it even right to call it “work” when I so much enjoy what I’m doing? If it’s labor, it’s a labor of love for sure!)

How fortunate I am that I didn’t get what I wanted. When my friend Rev. Glo prays for something, she always says, “That or something better.” That’s what I got: Something better. I didn’t get the career I wanted so long ago—but I got something far, far better.

And I’m eternally grateful.

Great Reads Launches New Website

Great Reads Launches New Website has launched a new website built by the graphic design team at PhotoGraphics in Stuart, FL. The new website makes it easier for visitors to surf and/or purchase products.

New products have been recently added such as the Bumbler themed tee shirt and coffee mug. We hope to continue to grow our merchandise to give the public more options to by. Please stay tuned!

Stuck With Leftovers?

Stuck With Leftovers?

“Leftovers? Ugh!”

Is that what your family says—or what you yourself think—when you have leftover meats and try to serve them re-warmed the next night?

EASTER’S COMING…and if you’re serving the traditional lamb, it would be a crying shame for anyone to dis the leftovers with the price of lamb what it is today, at least in most of the U.S.

So…what to do with the leftover lamb? Or, for that matter, with any leftover meats?

I have the answer in my cookbook, Stealth Leftovers. Of all the cookbooks I’ve written (a number of which are for sale on this site), Stealth Leftovers is my total fave. It’s got recipes for creatively utilizing lamb, ham, beef, pork, chicken and turkey…even hot dogs.

Here, see for yourself. Here’s a majorly delicious recipe from Stealth Leftovers that will help you with your leftover Easter lamb:


The lamb and spinach form a perfect marriage, and the other ingredients complement them perfectly. Sour cream (fat-free is fine) can be subbed for the yogurt if you happen to have some on hand.

2 cups cooked lamb, cut bite-sized

2 tablespoons butter/butter sub

1 medium onion, chopped small

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup chicken broth/stock or vegetable stock

1 tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 cup plain yogurt

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and add the onion. Sauté for two minutes and add garlic. Continue cooking till light brown. Add the remaining ingredients except the yogurt, stir well, and cook for 12 minutes. Add the yogurt, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook another 5 minutes. Serves 5.

If that recipe intrigues you, you’ll want to know that there are plenty more super-yum recipes in Stealth Leftovers. And if your family are spinach-haters? Or if chicken, beef, pork, or ham graced your Easter table? Check out the other recipes in Stealth Leftovers.

You can’t go wrong!

~ Cynthia MacGregor

Cynthia MacGregor at Liberty Book Store

Cynthia MacGregor at Liberty Book Store

Author Cynthia MacGregor held a book signing at Liberty Book Store, 330 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL.  The book signing featured Roundtable’s Illustrated children’s stories Octopus Pie and Ants in his Pants, 20 copies of which were sold for the event.

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