Photo by Sybil Holland

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Exciting work-in-progress

January 25, 2018

Tags: Mercy Chefs, disaster relief, Work-in-Progress, Book proposal

Natural disasters dominated the headlines last year -- hurricanes, floods, fires and destruction in Texas, Florida, California and Puerto Rico.

Because of my work-in-progress, I knew that one man arrived on the disaster scene every time: Gary LeBlanc of Mercy Chefs.

Gary was a highly successful chef when in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he became convinced that victims and first responders in disaster zones deserved professionally crafted, restaurant-quality meals in the midst of their crisis. Others were on-site providing meals, but he felt he was uniquely qualified to do it better.

"Serving soggy green beans out of a can for 14 days... that's not loving on someone who has lost everything through no fault of their own," he told me.

I've been preparing a proposal for a book chronicling Gary's journey to relief work. Raised in New Orleans, he knew he couldn't just "send a hundred bucks and feel good about myself," when Katrina struck. Instead, he headed down there himself, with a mobile kitchen he outfitted in two days.

Gary's life story is a colorful one -- he was born into an old Louisiana family made famous by his great uncle, who pedaled an alcohol-fueled home remedy called Hadocol with the help of celebrities of the day, like Milton Berle and Lucille Ball.

When it came time to earn money, through a quirk of fate, Gary ended up working in a restaurant instead of a gas station. And he didn't work in just any old restaurant -- he landed at Commander's Palace, the famous restaurant owned by the illustrious Brennan family. While there, he worked under the tutelage of the famed Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme.

Recently, Gary and Mercy Chefs were featured on the national stage: Rachael Ray invited him onto her show, and even orchestrated a surprise visit with one of Gary's heroes, chef Jacques Pepin. You can watch the segment here .

If you feel moved to help out after a natural disaster, you couldn't do better than donate to Mercy Chefs. In the meantime, I'm on the hunt for a publisher. Contact me if you're a publisher who wants to know more or see the proposal.

An author's dream review

June 7, 2017

Tags: MMG Doctors, Reviews of MMG

Some of my author friends are strong enough not to read reviews of their books. Me? I read every single word of every single review. If it's out there, I want to know about it. If it's a good review, it makes my day. If it's a bad review, I just consider the reviewer's comments to be editorial guidance for me going forward.

The other day, I was fortunate enough to get one of those good -- and I mean, really good -- reviews. The reviewer's words brought me to tears! When I tell other people's stories in my books, I am eager for readers to love them as much as I do, and I am so grateful to hear it when they do.

The reviewer was writing about my book Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Doctors and this is what he or she had to say:

"As far as I am concerned, this is one of the best books I have ever read.... It demonstrates the survival of the human spirit and holds your interest because it is so richly woven. Each chapter truly holds you on the edge of your seat.... It is gripping in its pathos and suspense.... Ms. Kennedy is to be lauded for working so tirelessly on this incredible book. Highly Recommended!"

If you were that reviewer, I thank you! This kind of affirmation rarely comes an author's way. These are words I can live on for the rest of my life!

Time to stock up

November 2, 2016

Tags: Concordia Publishing House, Make It Shake It Mix It Up, Even the Sound Waves Obey Him, Science activities

Christmas is coming! My first publisher, Concordia Publishing House , is having a super sale. Buy a book for only $4? You can do it!

Even the Sound Waves Obey Him and Make It, Shake It, Mix It Up, are each just $4 each, a big break from the usual $11.99 cost.

These two books pair science activities with stories of the Christian faith. You know all those arts and crafts activities you did in Sunday school years ago? Well, I wanted to provide a different way for kids to remember the stories we learned. Kids like my son who were bored by arts and crafts, but excited by simple science activities.

"Sound Waves" is geared toward children from pre-school age to second grade and "Make It, Shake It" takes over from second grade to upper elementary grades. Any of the activities can be done at any age with the guidance of an adult. Both books use everyday materials you'd find around the house and give step-by-step instructions and a brief explanation of the science behind the activity. "Make It, Shake It" adds a memory verse to the faith lesson, as well as more detailed explanations of the science at work.

Follow the links on the book titles and head on over to Concordia's website to order these books as gifts for parents of young children. Grandparents enjoy visiting with grandchildren armed with activities everyone will love. Even the Sound Waves Obey Him and Make It, Shake It, Mix It Up are books that will bring hours of enjoyment to curious young minds.

And now for something completely different...

February 18, 2016

Tags: College search, College costs

The time has come in our household -- our son is going off to college next year. We've been preparing for this event for about two years. Really! Maybe it seems excessive to you, but here in the Northeast, the college search is practically an Olympic sport.

We're still waiting for final word on which college he'll go to, but in the meantime, I've written an article about the college search. It's titled The College Search: Ten Tips from the Trenches. You'll find it on my website through that link.

I was asked to share my thoughts by a facebook page that I've been following for a few years, Road2College. If you're in the thick of the college search, you might want to "like" and follow that page. They share really helpful articles about searching for, getting admitted to, and paying for college.

Admittedly, if I had more than one child, I might not have gone so overboard with this task. But these days, when high school counselors are suggesting that you apply to six or ten colleges, it's not the simple task it used to be. Didn't we use to just say, "I think I'll go here" and then go there?!? Maybe not, but that's how I remember it.

I hope you find my tips helpful, and especially that they save you from wasting time or following dead ends. You never know when you might come across that one bit of information that brings it all together for you.

New edition of doctors' stories

June 4, 2015

Tags: Book release, MMG Doctors, Guideposts offer

Wonderful news! Guideposts has re-issued one of the books in the Miracles & Moments of Grace series. The inspirational publisher has put out a new edition of Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Doctors, the second title in my four-book series of inspirational stories. The Guideposts edition is part of a two-book hardcover set. The other book is Miracles in the ER by Dr. Robert Lesslie, an emergency room physician and a best-selling author.

I'm so happy that the fifty wonderful stories told by these doctors are gaining an ever-widening audience! I enjoyed writing the book and I know you'll enjoy reading it. To order the set, head on over to the Guideposts store. The two hardcover books are being offered for $18.96... a bargain!

Book Chat... Save the Date!

March 23, 2015

Tags: Miracles & Moments of Grace, Book events

My latest book chat is coming up soon! The Hopewell Borough (NJ) Public Library, my hometown library, is hosting me on the evening of April 1st. Yes, April Fool's Day! The Wednesday Night Out event will start at 7 p.m. at the community room of the lovely, restored train station on Railroad Place. (more…)

Signed books for the holidays

December 5, 2014

Tags: MMG series, MMG readers

In my last post, I mentioned that during the month of December, my publisher is offering a 4-for-3 deal on books in the Miracles & Moments of Grace series. As they say on TV... But that's not all!

I would love to sign all the books you buy for yourself and your friends! Sadly, I can only live in one place. That doesn't mean I can't sign your book, though! My publisher has made up these lovely bookplates. They have a big, blank space for signing, and they adhere to the inside title page of the book. (more…)

Buy-3-Get-1 deal!

December 2, 2014

Tags: Survival stories, Stories of survival, MMG Survival

Just in time for holiday gift-giving! My publisher is offering a Buy-3-Get-1 deal on my Miracles & Moments of Grace series of inspiring true stories.

Here's the deal: Buy any 3 books in the series and get the 4th of your choice for free. The promo code is MMGGET1 and will be applied at checkout. (more…)

First edition sold out!

November 12, 2014

Tags: Survival stories, Stories of survival, MMG Survival

Good news! The first edition of Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories of Survival has sold out! Thank you to all my contributors and to my readers!

The second edition should be available in the next few days. In the meantime, you can find a few copies in online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and My publisher, Leafwood Publishers, is always ready to help you, too. (more…)

Mom tries an "airing out"

October 14, 2014

Tags: MMG Moms, Stories from Moms

Damaris Scalzi
A reader of Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms recently wrote to me with some encouraging words for parents of teens.

Damaris Scalzi was missing the communication she had with her son when he was younger. Now, as a teen, he was less willing to talk about his day. While Damaris knew this wasn't unusual for a teen boy, she wanted to restore some of the closeness they once had. Here's the approach she took, which she calls an "Airing Out." (more…)