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Monday, March 8, 2010

Luck of the Irish

March is one of my favorite months.

And not just because I love to watch my girls dance, and boy, do they ever dance their feet off around St. Patrick's Day!

I like March because it's lucky.

This is a street in Dingle....where you can bet if you feel lucky.

I have been very lucky in the past few weeks....and even without the trip to Dingle.

First, I won a basket from Jackee
(okay, so it was in February...but I won it because I said that I liked March.) Guess what was inside...The Maze Runner!! Been dying to read this book. (And the cover is green, in keeping with the March/Irish/Luck/Spring theme.) I think I'll fill the basket with wonderful things and pass it along to someone, so watch for contest details coming soon.

Second, I won a chance to talk with Literary Agent Mark McVeigh for 15 minutes.
It was a partial skype conversation, as in I got to see him, but he didn’t get to see me due to an unknown error on my end. (No, I did NOT purposely create the error so I wouldn’t have to clean my house.)
We talked about the types of clients he represents and some of his favorite books (he re-reads Charlotte’s Web once a year! Also loves Pete’s a Pizza and the Little Bear Books.)
He was kind enough to give me specific advice about my personal dilemma, that of being an already published author who thinks the time might be right to look for an agent. Mark was so personable and knowledgeable and really, the time just flew.
But for me, the most important thing I took away from our talk was how having an agent can really benefit an author, and I’m not talking about “more sales, higher advances” or anything like that (though I’m sure that’s a possible outcome.) I’m talking about the synergy of two people who love children’s books working together to create something new and exciting, then getting this new and exciting manuscript into the right hands.
When I hung up the skype (does that even make sense?) I was totally pumped up….the way you get when you remember how powerful/wonderful it is to even be a small part of the children’s book world.
Because the world of children’s books is the best place in the universe.
(Rumor has it that Mark will holding a similar contest in April. It is worth your time to enter!)

And third...(and this is a case of luckiest for last... except that I can't tell you yet.) But it is in no way related the the other two things...more details coming soon!

But I can't leave you just hanging without a little something, so I'm giving out the corned beef recipe. I guarantee you that it is the Best Corned Beef you will EVER eat.


So, basically, you just stick some corned beef in a crockpot with a little water (toss the seasoning packet...yuck) and cook it all day. Then (this is the magic part) you take the corned-beef out of the pot and place it on a baking tray (with edges) and smear the top of it with gobs of orange marmalade*. Lots. Then, broil it until the top is all bubbly and brown, slice it and stick it back in the pot to keep it warm.

Seriously, so easy, but the best. Something about how the citrus from the marmalade interacts with the saltiness of the beef. Who knows, but it is good!

Try it and let me know how it goes. Maybe I'll give you the recipe for the best corned beef hash in the world to use with the leftovers....except you probably won't have leftovers....


*A lovely, chic Frenchwoman gave me the recipe..."Ah, corned beef is terrible, but this least you can eat it."


Jessie Oliveros said...

I've never made corned beef before. Very exciting about winning that contest! I hope I have lucky things happen this month, too.

Yat-Yee said...

I love corned beef just the way it is, but I believe some high heat and citrus and make magic. Will try it this St. Paddy's Day.

Thanks for sharing about your conversation with Mark McVeigh. I didn't get a conversation with him, but I wouldn't know what to talk about if I had won it. I know, I know, he seems very personable and everything, but I get tongue-tied and very slow-witted during phone calls, Skype or not Skype and I think I'd just um-ah the time away.

You need to tell us the last lucky thing SOON> Or else.

(word verification: pearpor. You think some pear or liquor made from pear: as in pear port, would be good for corned beef too?)

MG Higgins said...

Thank you for the recipe. I like March, too, but mainly because it's my birthday month and I always feel best when the sun is in Pisces. I took a picture in Dingle of that dolphin wall last June! I'll have to post it -- although it came out blurry. Looking forward to your lucky news. How intriguing....

Kelly said...

That was so kind of Mark to give away his time and expertise like that! He is a nice guy, isn't he?!
That corned beef recipe sounds pretty delish!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oooo, I'm trying that recipe for sure. I love corned beef and I love orange marmalade. I think I might just faint in anticipation.
A very happy March to you!

Susan R. Mills said...

I love corned beef. I'll give this a try. I'm glad your skype with Mark went well.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Great post! Mark is such a nice guy. :)

Jane Yolen (in an email) said to me, that having an agent allows you to write (paraphrased). You don't have to worry about where your work goes, you can focus on your writing not your submiting.

Best wishes with your journey...You've got skills friend...

Myrna Foster said...

I've never made corned beef, but this recipe sounds yummy. Thank you.

And congrats on winning Jackee's basket. I've been meaning to pick up The Maze Runner, too. I've heard it's great.

Joanna said...

You are one lucky duck ;-)

storyqueen said...

Jessie-Well, you already ended last year very luckily...what with the new little darling and all. Of course March will be goo for you, too!

Yat-Yee-Oh, you crazy girl! Really? Trust me, the corned beef is better this way! And don't be nervous about skype...I was not very good at it, but it was still okay.

MG-Isn't it the coolest street in the world? Did you have ice cream at Murphy's?

Kelly-Yes, Mark is a great guy.

Tricia-You will LOVE this...and it could not be easier!

Susan-It was a fun conversation, even though I was pretty nervous.

Sharon-Wow, first you're skyping with Mark, then you're trading e-mails with Jane! (I love Jane's blog, she's the best)

Myrna-YOu'll have to try it! And I'll let you know about the Maze Runner. Reading it right after I finish Mysterious Benedict Society.

Joanna-Yes, a very lucky duck indeed...quack, quack, quack:)

Sharon Mayhew said...

Shelley--I think most people in the kids writing community are willing to help other writers who are trying to reach their goals. I've emailed Jane a couple times with questions, she's always responded. Lovely lady!

MG Higgins said...

Shelley, we had ice cream in Dingle but I'm not sure it was at Murphy's. It was toward the end of our vacation and I was on sensory/memory overload.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, glad your Skype convo went well. And I can't wait for your third lucky thing!!

Nisa said...

Mmm! That sounds delicious! I'm so glad you're having such a fantastic month. Can't wait to hear more!

storyqueen said...

Sharon-Soooo cool. Now I love her even more.

MG-If it was in Dingle, I bet it was Murphy's. (It is near the dolphin wall building....if I remember. It's been three years since I've been there.) They had weird flavors of things you wouldn't expect to be in icecream, but I can't for the life of me remember any of them right now...

Elana-Worth the wait, I promise.

Nisa-And we're only in the single digits in March!!

Kelly H-Y said...

Holy cow, I was going to post a story with that very title today, but then decided to hold it until next week! Too funny!
You HAVE been lucky!