January 23, 2015

Ode to My Favorite Childhood Reads

I'm really not a short-story reader. Not a novella reader either. I don't even like really short novels. You won't find a book that's only 50,000 words long on my bookshelf unless someone has given it to me as a gift. Whether or not I'll actually read it is kind of a crapshoot, depending on my mood.

I don't know why I'm not a fan of the shorter story form. I'm well aware that it takes talent to write short and succinct. I'm not denigrating the short story or trying to say that people who like short books are wrong. Frankly, sometimes I wish I enjoyed shorter books. But whatever the reason, they're just not something I choose to read. 

The only exception to this "rule" of mine are children's books and stories. Among my favorite books of all time are the Childcraft books my parents bought when I was a kid. The set consisted of 15 volumes, and I loved them all, especially Volume 3, "Folk and Fairy Tales," which was filled with great stories that led me into a lifelong love of stories and the written word.

My favorite story of all from that book was called "Tom Tit Tot," a retelling of the classic Rumplestilskin. To this day, if open one of the books I can hear my mother's voice as she read the stories to me. 

A few years ago, a writer's group invited me to speak and presented me with a copy of "Tom Tit Tot" (an Essay on Savage Philosophy in Fairy Tale) by Edward Clodd published in 1898. The book contains the story and then explores variations and influences on the story. It's one of my more treasured possessions. 

But I digress ... 

I've read some of the Childcraft stories to my granddaughters and I love sharing these beloved stories from my childhood with them -- but even though I do my best, I have to admit I don't do the stories justice. Nobody can read these stories better than my mother did. 

For all those reasons, these books will always have a special place in my heart.

What are your favorite books and stories from childhood? 

Jacklyn Brady is a national bestselling author. She lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. Rebel Without a Cake, book #5 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

January 16, 2015

A Story to Make You Smile

photo by Jasper van der Meij
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of bad news. There's far too much of it out there to suit me. It's not that I want to hide my head in the sand and pretend that everything is sunshine and lollipops, but there's so much awful stuff, senseless junk and ridiculousness going on in the world sometimes I think I'm drowning in it. I'm feeling the need for something to lift my spirits.

Yesterday, my daughter told me about an article she saw on Facebook about a cat that saved the life of an abandoned baby in Russia. The story warned my heart, so I decided to share it with you in case you haven't seen it yet. You can see the whole thing here ... but in case you don't want to click through and see the story for yourself, let me sum up:

It seems that residents of an apartment building in Obninsk, Russia found a baby boy less than 12 weeks old inside a box that was meant for a cat that routinely hung out near the building. One of the residents heard what she thought was loud meowing and thought the cat might be in danger from a predator. She raced outside to save it and found the baby. The cat had curled up next to the baby to keep it warm.

This is a cat, but not the cat in the story
The baby was taken to the hospital, but the poor cat was clearly distressed. She followed responders to the ambulance and meowed in distress when they took the baby away. Apparently, she sat on the curb for a couple of hours, waiting for the baby to come back. Residents of the apartment building are now showering the cat with extra TLC and treating it like a hero -- which is only right.

So there you have it, your Friday Feel-Good. I hope it makes you smile.


January 14, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Estelle Jergens, cake artist at Zydeco Cakes, blogs about New Year's Resolutions at Killer Characters.

How do you feel about resolutions? Do you love 'em or hate 'em?