Category Archives: Famous Authors

Winnie the Pooh—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

You can’t think of the famous author A.A. Milne without associating him with his sweet, much-loved bear, Pooh—and Milne hated that association. But, let’s start at the beginning:

First the good. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories happened because of Milne’s love for his son, Christopher Robin. Christopher became a character in his father’s children’s books as did Christopher’s stuffed animals: a bear, a piglet, a tiger, a kangaroo and a downtrodden donkey. Milne chose a forest near their home as the setting for his stories, and “The Hundred Acre Wood” became the enchanted forest in the Pooh books, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne’s books became wildly successful and brought fame to the otherwise unrecognized author.

Now the bad. Milne hated being cast as a children’s book author. He had written three novels, four screenplays, and 18 plays for adults, all forgotten due to the success of Winnie the Pooh. “A writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence” Milne said, and for him that meant a legacy as a great novelist or playwright.

And here the story becomes downright ugly. As an adult, the real Christopher Robin Milne resented being a character in his father’s books. In his autobiography, Christopher wrote, “(My father) had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.”

During A.A. Milne’s final years, Christopher rarely saw his father. The elder Milne suffered a stroke in 1952 and was confined to a wheelchair for four years until his death just days after his 74th birthday.

The Winnie the Pooh books continue to bring joy to children throughout the world, but few know the sad story of their author and his son, the real Christopher Robin.

If you want to read more about the real Christopher Robin and how his story ends, click on this link: “Christopher Robin Milne”.

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Are You a Courageous Writer?


Published by Shiloh Kidz, an imprint of Barbour Books

One of my favorite things about freelancing is the variety of project assignments I receive. Some, like 100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls—Unforgettable Tales of Women of Faith, require that I dig deep in research. I love the digging because I discover a trail of gems along the way.

While sifting through courageous acts of  women missionaries, martyrs and saints, I also unearthed thoughts about courage penned by well-known authors. I saved some to share with you:

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Courage is grace under pressure.”
― Ernest Hemingway

1d99af9a1e14ac6813b421a6fdaceaee.jpg“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

When I asked for your help, you answered my prayer and gave me courage.
— King David, the bible, Psalm 138:3 (CEV)

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
― Victor Hugo

Maybe you’ve lacked courage lately to work toward your writing goals. You’re not alone. Every famous author faced doubt and questioned whether or not to give up on his or her dream. BUT—each dug deep and found courage to go on—

It led to SUCCESS!

Think about what it takes to have courage. Then apply that to your writing.


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Filed under Encouragement, Famous Authors, Freelance writing, Inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

Trick-or-Treat, Author Style–Favorite Foods of Famous Authors


When I was a kid, Halloween meant trick-or-treating for UNICEF (The “United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund”). My church friends and I went door to door with our little orange boxes and collected donations to help needy children around the world. Generous neighbors dropped coins into our boxes and—bonus gave us treats. Afterwards, we went to our church, counted our donations and enjoyed a sugar-filled party. My favorite treat was anything chocolate.

What do you like to eat? Is there something you love munching on while you write?

According to Bon Appétit Magazine, Agatha Christie’s favorite food was cream, Devonshire clotted cream, a thick, butter-like whipped cream she ate with a spoon. When writing, she sipped cream—not half and half, mind you—from a huge mug with the words DON’T BE GREEDY written on its side. Her second favorite food? Apples. She ate them while taking baths.

Cooking_implements_2012_Morgan_photo_smallEmily Dickinson enjoyed baking. She made breads and cakes and, in 1856, she even entered her Indian and Rye bread at the Amherst Cattle Show bake-off taking second place. At home, she liked lowering from her window a basket filled with little cakes to  neighborhood children waiting in the streets below. She often scribbled poetry on the backs of recipes and food wrappers.

hemingway-headerErnest Hemingway was an avid fisherman. In his essay “Camping Out” he wrote “A pan of fried trout can’t be bettered”. He added his recipe: “Place the trout in the pan (this may require two batches, depending on your luck on the river). After 5 minutes, turn the trout and place 2 strips of bacon over each fish. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.” He was definitely a foodie, and some of his recipes live on in The Hemingway Cookbook by Craig Boreth.


Norman Mailer had an obsession with oysters, eating them and using the shells to draw on. Another favorite, Häagen Dazs Raspberry Sorbet, he even tried as a salad dressing saying that he preferred its taste to the raspberry flavor from a plastic bottle.

Are you a writer who loves coffee? I am. You’ll rarely find me writing without some sort of flavored latte on my desk. Coffee is an author addiction dating even to the time of Honore de Balzac (1799–1850). Not only did Balzac drink, on average, 50 cups of coffee a day, but he also snacked on whole coffee beans. All that coffee gave him stomach pains. He treated them by going on milk-only diets, but always he came back to his beloved coffee.

Victor Hugo, another coffee fanatic, wasn’t a fan of adding cream or sugar to his coffee Instead, he dropped two raw eggs into the steaming brew and chugged it down!
If that sounds good to you, give it a try:

Bon Appétit.
Or Treat?


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