Good morning, Everyone.
There is a brisk chill in the air here on the south shore of Long Island. Winter is not far away. Get yourself a hot cup of coffee. Let’s catch up.
If we were having coffee together, I would tell you the week was cluttered. It started with nausea and the fear that I may have contracted The Bug, but after standing on the Urgent Care line for an hour and a half outdoors with my back to the wind, the happy diagnosis was a typical stomach bug; WHEW! This gave me the go-ahead to rest for a day, then pick up with helping my mom with all kinds of home business affairs, take care of the husband as he recovers from knee replacement surgery (the scar is unbelievably unnoticeable, and he is walking about nicely and can drive!), schedule needed appointments, start on Christmas card and calendar designing, and get back to writing.
If we were having coffee together, I would update you on the writing front. Although Becoming America’s Food Stories is out, the paperback version is having technical problems with delivery. I ordered two retail copies, but the big order to distribute to reviewers and my contributors is still in process. The eBook is instant. The special Black Friday $1.99 price will stand for another week or so. Daily Bread eBook version will remain at 99 cents for a bit as well.
Daily Bread has been on an upward ride this week. I had an amazing Jr. Bookworm Book Club Zoom event with Stephanie Larkin, publisher of Red Penguin Books, and seven middle-grade students from two neighboring school districts. The kids were fantastic, and Stephanie was a terrific host. I was so impressed with kids’ insight and thoughtful commentary. We had an excellent discussion for an hour and a half. I can’t wait to share it on YouTube!
Thanks to Sally Cronin and Debby Gies, Daily Bread was included in the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Children’s Cafe and Bookstore Christmas Book Fair. What makes this so exciting is that the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine hails from England, so now Daily Bread has an international presence!
If we were having coffee together, I would report that I got to go on a field trip to New York City Lower East Side armed with a list of questions, a camera, mask, and umbrella. I am researching Lillian Wald and the Henry Street Settlement House for Book 2 in the Becoming America’s Stories Series. I needed to visit the house. Group tours are not available yet due to the pandemic, but I did score a private tour with a knowledgeable young woman, Katie Vogel. She took me through the house, which was fascinating. Although updated for community activities, the archives, photographs, beautiful crown moldings brought out the essence of this historic landmark. Briefly, Lillian Wald founded the settlement house with help from progressive philanthropists. She began the visiting home nursing service, pushed for nurses and nutrition programs in schools, instituted community clinics, provided a place for labor and social activism to meet, and was a strong voice for peace, women’s suffrage, and addressing the needs of the poor. Henry Street Settlement House will play a part in my story characters’ lives.
Anyway, I had to forgo my usual train travel into the city and drove (thank God for GPS). After circling the blocks for parking, I surrendered to a garage. I had a wonderful visit. Seeing and walking through the house gave me a firsthand feel as to how people gathered and interacted inside and outside this historic landmark.
After the tour, I walked to Orchard Street to drop off Daily Bread and Becoming America’s Food Stories to the Tenement Museum ( a 10-minute walk). I am scheduled for the live Book Talk on December 8th at 7:00 PM EST (here is the link.). The bookstore and select tours are opened on a limited schedule.
From the Tenement Museum, I walked to Mott Street, where my story character, Lily Taglia, lived in 1911. It is no longer a sprawling Little Italy neighborhood as a bustling Chinatown is now occupying the shops and apartments. There is so much to do and see! Rain threatened. I needed to experience the walk from the fictional home on Mott Street to the real Henry Street Settlement House. I had walked around this neighborhood last year to see where the bakery could have been located, school and church. I love research.
As I walked, I imagined the children in my story running through the street, cutting through shortcuts in the park (Seward Park and the Seward Park NY Public Library was in existence in 1911) and finding a respite for play at the Henry Street Settlement House. The walk was a little over a mile, doable for kids in those times. I made it back to the parking garage just as the skies opened up to the forecasted rain. I managed to navigate out of the city and onto the parkway that led me home, with a treasure trove of information and experiences playing out in my head. Now I have to write the story.
Today, as the story mulls in my imagination, I have to take care of errands, pull Christmas decorations out of the attic, visit Mom, and attempt to get some cleaning chores done. First, feed the cat and pour another cup of coffee.
If you had purchased a paperback or ebook Daily Bread—Thank you!
Take a picture of you with Daily Bread, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Daily Bread Reader slideshow, coming for the New Year. Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
Have a good week, Everyone. Make it great.
Be well. Be safe.
Daily Bread is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself.
Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.
“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina