Thursday, October 3, 2019

Reader Spotlight: Rebecca Herzog + DMC Challenge


Rebecca Herzog is a stay at home mom of two kids (9 and 2) and two pets (bearded dragon and tarantula). She’s passionate about learning new things, cheesy jokes, and Halloween. As you might expect, she leans toward writing creepy and funny things as well. (She’s tried writing more serious fare, but it never felt right.) Read Rebecca's creepy poem "Dolly" HERE or peruse more of her work, plus book reviews and assorted ramblings, at her blog Sloth Reads.

Becky's superpower is research. She loves to learn all sorts of things and will often do deep dives into a topic that interests her. I was intrigued by these diving expeditions and asked if she could give me an example of a topic she might have delved into recently. Her response was impressive enough that I wanted to share it verbatim:
I am currently writing a spooky middle grade novel about a doll that comes to life. I always thought that dolls were kind of creepy, and I wanted to learn a bit more about how bone china dolls were made. So I researched how they'd grind bones up to make a paste and that 50% of the bone china is actual bones. Then I jumped to a fear of dolls being called pediophobia. And before I knew it, I'd learned that the first film with a scary doll came out in 1928, and that E.T.A Hoffman's stories from 1816 are considered the first creepy doll stories in literature. Once I go down the rabbit hole, something that should have only taken me 5 minutes can turn into a much longer dive.
Whoa. Like I said, impressive, right?

A book that Becky recommends everyone should read is Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but ask her five minutes from now and she might give you a different answer.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a few more answers right now!  Let's start with five of her favorite things.

"Frankenkid" © John Herzog

Becky's five favorites:

  • Favorite color: green 
  • Favorite word: cogitate 
  • Favorite artist: my husband (
  • Favorite music: folk music and movie scores
  • Favorite monster: werewolf

Poetry is —
. . . so hard to do well, but fun enough to keep trying.

How did you come to poetry?

I saw a twitter post for the Madness Poetry tournament back in 2017 and discovered the Poetry Friday community through it. I hadn't really written any poetry before then, so it has been a lot of fun to learn.

Why do you write?

I write because I have so many interests. I've wanted to be an astronaut, a wilderness survivor, a biologist, a monster hunter, an archaeologist, a circus clown...the list goes on and on. Writing lets me wear each of these hats whenever I want. 

How does poetry fit into your life?

I have young children, so finding time to write my poetry is tough. In the summer, I write from 9:30PM-1:30AM and my husband gets up with the kids. During the school year, I try to get up at 5AM to get some writing in before getting my daughter and husband off to school.

Courtesy Herzog Family

Describe three of your writing habits.

1. Must have a drink nearby (usually water or Cherry Coke Zero),
2. I like to know exactly what I am writing before sitting down to work, and
3. I like to listen to white noise if the house is noisy.

When you’re feeling stuck, what gets your creativity flowing?

Whenever I feel stuck, I will usually start writing in stream of conscience. This keeps the inner critic from getting louder while I wait for the wheels in my mind to catch again and I can continue whatever it was that I was writing. For bigger moments of stuck-ness, I like to get outside and skateboard or roller skate.

What have you chosen as this month's ditty challenge?

Monster Fears. 

Most everyone is afraid of monsters, but what are monsters most afraid of? What scares a werewolf? A swamp monster? etc.

As an example, here's a poem I wrote about "Frankenkid"—John's illustration shown above. 

Frankenkid Goes to the Dance

Bet you think I'm scared of fire
But there's something much more dire

The music starts, I need to move
But I can't seem to find my groove

It's really hard to feel the beat
When you have someone else's feet

© 2019 Rebecca Herzog. All rights reserved. 


So who's ready to jump into this month's challenge with both feet?

Ronel Reyes

(You never know what you might find!)

You'll find the padlet embedded below. Add your poem about something a monster might fear at any point during the month or scroll through to check out what others are contributing.


By posting on the padlet, you are also granting me permission to feature your poem on Today's Little Ditty. I'm not sure how often I'll be featuring poems from reader challenges, but I want to keep my options open. :)

If you have not participated in a challenge before, please send me an email at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can contact you, if necessary.

In the lower right corner of the padlet you'll see a pink dot with a plus sign. Click on it to open a text box. I find it works best to type your title on the title line and paste the rest of your poem where it says "Write something...". Single click outside the text box when finished. This board is moderated to prevent spam. Once your poem is approved, it will appear publicly.

Remember to include your name as author of any work that you post!

TEACHERS, it's great when students get involved! Ditty of the Month Club challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn about working poets and authors while having fun with poetry prompts. Thank you for spreading the word! For children under 13, please read my COPPA compliance statement in the sidebar to the right.

BLOGGERS, thank you for publishing your poems on your own blogs–I love that! Please let me know about it so I can share your post. Also remember to include your poem (or a direct link to your post) on the padlet.

If you prefer to open this padlet in a new tab, click HERE.

Made with Padlet

Please join me in thanking Becky for being with us today. The life of any Halloween party, I'm thrilled to death to have her here for this month's DMC festivities!

If you would like to be featured in a future reader spotlight, I invite you to complete this form.

You'll find last week's wrap-up celebration of all-about-me acrostic poems (inlcuding some terrific late additions) HERE. Feel free to continue adding to the collection if you'd like.

Cheriee Weichel introduces Vancouver children's poet Bob Heidbreder and hosts this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Library Matters.


  1. So, Rebecca sounds like pretty much the coolest person ever, not to mention the coolest mom. So cool to see your spotlight on her!

  2. So Dahling Rebecca, it's been enchanting getting to know you more–love your spider earrings and what a fun family you have. I often have a similar problem with those deep dives, but what amazing paths and info they lead one on… All the best with your mg writing, and thanks for the monster challenge. Thanks for sharing more of Rebecca with us Michelle–Rebecca's a perfect pick for October. And I love the family gathering pic and loch ness monster too!

  3. I ❤️ Becky's Frankenkid! Her husband's illustration is charming, too. Great prompt.
    Becky's doll research is fascinating! I'll bet her book is scary. I was just trying to remember who scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid, and Lois Duncan comes to mind. I can picture the library and where the books were!

  4. Oh, my totally stinkin' FUN! Becky, it was really great getting to know you a little. By any chance have you watched any Great British Baking Shows? This season, a lady named Helean bakes EVERYTHING with a Halloween theme. This interview reminded me of her and how Halloween is such an inspiration to folks. Love your challenge. I'm off to ponder. Frankenkid is pretty much perfect!

    1. I watched a bit of the Great British Baking Show, but I hadn't seen any that were Halloween themed. A tradition in our home is to watch Halloween Wars on food network every October. There are teams of three that use cake, pulled sugar, and carved pumpkins to make some amazing displays. Love it.

  5. Hilarious! What a fabulous challenge and what a great example! I'm still working on my name poem, but maybe I should set that aside for this one. : )

  6. "Frankenkid" shows what happens when you love learning all about monsters, like Rebecca. That creepy doll idea makes me shiver just reading about it. What fun for scary October! I love Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, too! Thanks, Michelle & Rebecca!

  7. Thanks, Michelle, for the opportunity to share a bit more about me. And thank you to everyone for your kind words! I cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with for the challenge.

  8. Hahaha--"someone else's feet" cracked me up. So fitting for a child-friendly monster poem. Thanks for the poem and the challenge!

  9. Thanks for helping us get to know more about Rebecca, and for sharing your fun Frankenkid poem.

  10. Ha, funny poem, Rebecca! I always thought Frankenstein couldn't dance because he had two left feet. (har!)

  11. What a great twist for this month's challenge! I am a fan of the rabbit hole as well. I think that's a common characteristic of curious writers.

  12. Fun interview. It's good to learn more about Rebecca. And what a perfect challenge for the month!

  13. What a great interview! Thank you, Michelle, for helping us get to know Rebecca better. And thank you, Rebecca, for a perfect October challenge. BTW, have you read Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz? There are some pretty creepy puppets (similar to dolls, right?) in that book. I think you'd love it!

  14. What a fun challenge! I'll enjoy this one. And it is so good to get to know more about you, Rebecca. I love what you learned on the dive about dolls. How creepy!

  15. Fun challenge and a really fun poem. I'm going to have to think about this one for a while. Thanks for the post.

  16. Michelle, I found this deep dive into Rebecca to be eye-opening. While I have swapped with her before and aware of her talents, I found a bit more about her through you. This is the perfect month for a creepy challenge so I am in. Rebecca, your face paint costume is a real shrieker! I look forward to reading more about your creeping WIP.

  17. So nice to learn a bit more about Rebecca, and what a fun challenge to tackle!

  18. I love Rebecca's definition of poetry and will tuck away her challenge to try later this month. Thanks for another great interview!

  19. A challenge oh so gruesome....I had to write a twosome! HA, HA, BOO!

  20. spook tackler inervue

  21. These are all so wonderful! I am sorry that I haven't been able to respond to everyone's comments, but I am really enjoying reading your poems.