Monthly Archives: October 2013


I skipped my food blog yesterday—sorry. So, to make up for it, I’m sending you an invitation to request a copy of my family’s favorite dish from the Christmas even Seven Fishes Dinner–squid in tomato sauce over linguini.

Just comment with your email and I will send it.


Worth repeating


My review of the book, Teaching with Story is worth repeating–so I will, this time with a view to being read by parents, not just those who are homeschooling!

adding the cover photo too–

Buy This Book–story performers, librarians, teachers

Review of Margaret Reed MacDonald’s New Book–by Joan Leotta

Teaching with Story

Classroom Connections to Storytelling
by Margaret Read MacDonald

Jennifer MacDonald Whitman

Nathaniel Forrest Whitman

August House $24.95


You can judge this book by its cover because it delivers exactly what it promises and the names on the cover provide a pedigree of storytelling that is beyond compare and lives up to its reputation within the covers of this slim volume.


I could use dozens of adjectives to describe how this book will enrich your storytelling in the classroom (or as a professional, your ability to craft programs and grant requests that will cleave to current core content requirements. But basically there is not much more to say than the simple statement that this book does it all, does it well, and teaches what it does by example within the book and by example in its very writing.


Margaret Read MacDonald is one of the premiere folklorists and storytellers of our time. She is equally at home on stage and with her pen, She shares her story finds and technique tips generously. Her coauthors in this book are a testament to that skill and her example. Jennifer is her daughter and Nathanial, her son-in-law. Both of them are teachers. So, MacDonald brings her years of experience as a librarian, writer and teller on stage and in classrooms and joins it with two teachers whose love of story and sharing story come from her example. They contribute their expertise in the daily life of a classroom and curriculum. The combination is electrifying. I found myself wanting to underline every other sentence. It’s a book to read, to mark for future references, to enjoy.


The structure of the book, as well, teaches, It starts with a story–Grandfather Bear is Hungry, and uses the thread of that story’s lessons throughout the book’s chapters on Community, Character, , Communication , Curriculum and Cultural Development, and beyond. In addition, she gives us other stories to share and teaches how we can find our own stories to share. This is a book that belongs in the hands and heart of everyone who loves a good story–parents, teachers, librarians, professional story performers. Have I left anyone out? If so, loan your copy of the book to them. They will enjoy it too.

Please check out my author page:

A Lesson from Vox for Friday October 25

Stephanie Ciccarelli, voiceover maven and Author of Voice Acting for Dummies, has given me permission to share this bit of advice from one of her recent emails. She is aiming at voice artists, but the advice is equally applicable to story performers and writers:

When we accept a job we need to think of these things:

Job Requirements

Job requirements from audition flowchartAre you able to fulfill the client’s artistic and technical requirements? VoiceMatch scores aside, some of the criteria a client has may be more specific and go beyond what our systems can match for.

At this stage, you’ve got to think like an agent and evaluate opportunities at this level objectively. To do this, you have to know your voice and its capabilities. Be honest with yourself both in terms of your artistry and technical skill. You will also need to balance this information with your own personal interests and desire to pursue the opportunity should you meet the project’s artistic and technical requirements.

This area may very well be one of the hardest for talent to master because everything looks so good! Every role, script and project presents fresh opportunities, copy and inspiration to tackle. Let’s not forget though that time is finite. With this truth in mind, you may need to pass on opportunities that look like fun but may not at this juncture be income generating.

Job Budget

Job budget, audition flowchartLike any good businessperson, you’ll need to consider whether or not the actual doing of the work within the client’s budget is in line with the fees you would charge for the job. In other words, would you be able to cover your own costs doing the job at the rate a client has stated or for within their budget range?

Although it may seem like this would be a pretty cut and dry consideration, even seasoned voice over professionals may be interested in a job that might have a budget lower than what they would typically work for and struggle with whether or not they should submit. Sometimes a piece of work strikes a chord with you and the budget plays second fiddle to your personal interest and desire. Ultimately, it’s your call.


Lastly, do you have the time to devote to the work? Are you able to send in a read for consideration? Check your calendar! Time is one of those limited resources. If a client needs the work to be done by a certain date, you need to have an opening in your schedule that accommodates that need. This is of particular importance for jobs where a client participates in the creative process.

If you can’t complete the recording or have it delivered by the time a client requires it, this is one of those situations where it is better to err on the side of caution and pass on the audition. Not all jobs require that you are working at a certain time of day but some do, especially if it is an ISDN session or one where you need to be directed.


Let me know if you’ve found this helpful!

With warm regards, Stephanie Ciccarelli

Cookbook review in sun news today

Check for my review of cookbook with foods to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Not quite done

am working on a book review that I think is useful for parents as well as teachers and professional tellers.

The book is Teaching with Story

the authorship tells the advantages of setting a good example.

Margaret Read MacDonald ( a personal hero for her superb writing and telling skills)

and written it with her daughter Jennifer read MacDonald Whitman and son in law, Nathaniel Forrest Whitman.

Look for this book. Review will appear in the blog later this week.


My first appeareance at Bookclub!

My first appeareance at Bookclub!

Readers of my book Giulia Goes to War at Carolina Shores Book Club!
What wonderful people! They were a kind group of questioners and had a little reception for me too!

No photo

No photo of this dish–it looked very pretty, but taste was marginal. Thank goodness we used a high quality pasta to make the pappardelle with almonds–flavor was minimal (Perhaps I should have jacked up the garlic and tomatoes????).

We enjoyed the smooth Colavita pappardelle tho–good with even minimal addition of flavor from the condimento!

DeCecco, DelVerde, Colavita–great names in pasta (dried) –always use  the best–that are not boutique


Book Review–A book to lead you in new directions–voiceover

Voice Acting for Dummies

by David and Stephanie Ciccarelli

Paperback $24.99 list,  $16.81 on Amazon and $13.99 on Kindle

Many story performers think about doing voice-over. It seems like a natural. doesn’t it? We make our living by using our voices, so do they (voice-over artists). We work from stories, they work from scripts. Oops. Maybe not so similar here. We work on stage with a live audience and interact with the audience often. They work alone in a studio (except for the technical folks). Very different.

Our work is not dependent on the technology. Theirs is all about technology plus voice talent, each making the other better, each contributing almost equally to the quality of the finished product. Yikes!  For two years I’ve followed an outstanding Voiceover professional group on FB– vox.  Canadian spouses, David and  Stephanie Ciccerelli are the owner and voiceover mavens who operate a blog and FB page as well as a voiceover business. Their FB site is a forum about issues in recording, opportunities for work, every and any issue you can think of that might arise in the field of voiceover. 

Stephanie’s personal almost-daily shout-out to the community, to make us feel like we, her subscribers are a part of a community, not simply a loose conglomeration of job seekers, is her almost daily , “What are you eating for dinner tonight? And then she tells us what she is making for her family. Of course, being Italian-American myself, I strongly relate to this approach to inclusion.

It was no surprise to me after following them for two years, that the “Dummies” franchise reached out to them to write the book on Voiceover. They graciously sent me, a silent and non voice-over member of their community, to review. I ,looked at it from the perspective of someone who may want to start in this profession, without taking a $300-500 weekend course in it. (Many friends have told me that such courses are really just a way to make connections, too quick to learn the basics of a new profession even for those of us who use our voices in work all the time.)

My conclusions is that if you are considering the voiceover career track,(pun intended, voiceover folks!) then buy this book! Stephanie and David bring common sense and comprehensive information to the task of helping others learn  how to do the thing that they excel in–step by step. They are as comprehensive in technique as they are in technology. So many little tips and references besides! Technology will inevitably need a  “catch up”, but the information they provide will give a base from which you can ask questions to see if the newer equipment is what you want or if older models will serve your needs for start-up. If you are considering the voice-over business at all, start with this book–at around $25 (less on Amazon), it’s a bargain and a marvelous one at that!


Thanksgiving–not just for one day

Today, October 14, is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Actually, every day should be Thanksgiving Day.

Cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in yourself and pass that on to your children–glass half full–give thanks daily for what you have and for the opportunities to do for others that God will place in your path that day.