Franken Berry ROCKS! Sharing the wealth ;o)

Yes. THAT Franken Berry. I grew up in a magical world where sugary cereal wasn’t unhealthy and letting your kids eat an artificially colored cold breakfast wasn’t a call for DEFAX and strawberry goodness was a princess surprise every morning that my General Mills employed father could produce a box of this delicacy on our kitchen table…


So when writing my first mainstream women’s fiction/contemporary romance, when I needed a way for a wounded woman to reach out to and connect with a hurting little girl who doesn’t think anyone understands what it’s like to be her, Fraken Berry became the first  pink, magical link between them. Sometimes it can be such a simple thing, a different kind of listening and understanding, that makes all the difference in the world. Christmas on Mimosa Lane is full of tiny windows like this. Connections where lives meet and deepen and share and maybe come undone just a bit more, so they can expand together and become more than they’ll ever be alone…

“Franken Berry?” Mallory blurted out, not above bribery. “When I was your age, it felt like Christmas morning every time I ate it. Strawberry flavoring and refined sugar and bleached corn flour…Crunch and sweetness that will make your back teeth smile.” And it could only be special-ordered from the manufacturer’s website a few months out of the year, since most stores no longer carried it. But for Polly, Mallory would break into her secret stash. “Ever had any?”

Polly shook her head. “My dad says healthy food only. I need to eat healthy to stay healthy.”

She stepped closer, and Mallory considered grabbing her. Except grabbing at kids who were hell-bent on running only made them more certain that they’d never be safe.

“Well there’s not a redeeming, healthy thing about Franken Berry,” she said, “no matter what the packaging says. In my book that makes it heaven in a bowl.”

The child was underweight. Eating anything sounded healthy enough to Mallory. As Polly’s nurse she knew there were no food allergies or preexisting medical conditions to be concerned about. And in the moon’s reflection Polly’s eyes were glittering at Mallory’s description of the decadent treat.

“Let’s live dangerously.” Mallory shrugged off her robe and draped it over the little girl’s shoulders. Then, catching a chill in only her matching flannel PJs, she led the way to the kitchen, turning on lights as she went. She checked once to make certain she was being followed.

Polly’s slippered feet skidded to a halt inside the door. She blinked at Mallory’s retro-looking, circa 1950s, pink and blue and green appliances. They were one of the few splurges, besides her Christmas tree, that Mallory had indulged in when she’d furnished the place. An early Christmas present, she’d rationalized. Actually, Christmas and Valentine’s Day and her birthday and maybe Christmas again. But the hit to her budget had been worth it. This room made her heart sing…

This is the early scene where my agent first fell in love with my book, I think. We share a craving for Franken Berry, you see, and for lost kids and emotionally wrenching writing. It’s also the scene in my very first draft where I realized I’d be writing a different, deeper, bigger book than I’d ever written before. Just gonig a little more interior and more honest and more real with my fiction than I had in a long, long time.

To celebrate this liberating moment and all things pink and sugary (and the October 23rd launch of Christmas on Mimosa Lane), I’m sharing the above mother load of General Mills Halloween-inspired cereals (yes, I know it’s not appropriate for a Christmas book, but Boo Berry and Count Chocula? Come on!) as well as a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate (yes, I’m a Montlake Author, so we’re going to be doing Amazon giveaways from now on… ;o) with some lucky blog commenters.

So, share your favorite childhood cereal (or adult cereal) memory in the comments for your chance to win. I’ll draw random winners the week of Halloween!



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90 Responses to “Franken Berry ROCKS! Sharing the wealth ;o)”

  1. CJ Snyder says:

    Wow! A blast from the past :) My kids thought I was the best mom in the world when I came home with Franken Berry cereal. Thanks for the sweet (pun-intended) memories. The book sounds wonderful–can’t wait to read it! Thanks, Anna!

  2. Skye says:

    My first favorite was Cap’n Crunch. Very crunchy and very sweet.

    But then someone came out with a cereal shaped like little yellow flying saucers and with a character who was an alien in a spaceship! It became my favorite and one time it actually provided me with a little alien character in a little spaceship toy. I cannot remember the name, but I would know it if I saw it again.

    I did enjoy Count Chocula from time to time, too, but it was the UFO cereal and the Cap’n that routinely graced our cereal bowls. Plus Cheerios for the parents. They never indulged in our sugar-infused cereals. Probably good, as they needed to actually pay attention at work. :)

  3. Amy S. says:

    My favorite ceral was Cookie Crisp. I also liked Pops and Honeycombs. I always loved reading the back of the boxes while I ate my cereal.

  4. M. J. C. says:

    I forgot about Boo Berry, Franken Berry, and Count Chocula. Your first cereal was Capt. Crunch. You ate out of the tray on your walker.

  5. Walt M says:

    I was definitely a Boo Berry kid, though I also loved Corn Pops (called Sugar Pops when I was a kid) and Super Golden Crisp (called Sugar Smacks when I was a kid).

  6. Laney4 says:

    I rarely ate breakfast as a kid. If I did, it was usually bacon and eggs on special occasions, but I DID eat Alpha-Bits a few times. As an adult, I now eat breakfast almost every morning, only now it might be one egg and no bacon, or toast, but occasionally I still eat Alpha-Bits. Go figure! I used to like Rice Krispies in the squares, but they seemed bland, even with sliced bananas in the bowl.

  7. Jane says:

    I loved Cocoa Puffs and Frosted Flakes.

  8. Pat Cochran says:

    As a child, oatmeal was what Mother made for us. As an
    adult, my favorite cereal was the sugary shredded wheat.
    Nowadays, I’m returning to my childhood days by eating
    oatmeal again. It is better for us diabetics!

    Pat C.

  9. Cheryl S. says:

    My very favorite was Lucky Charms. I was also known to eat Honeycombs straight out of the box as a snack. Yummy!

  10. Lisa Brown says:

    My favorite cereal as a child was Lucky Charms, always ate the marshmallows first :)

  11. Maureen says:

    There were no sugary cereals in our house so it was always a treat to sleep over a friend’s house where they had them. Captain Crunch was my favorite.

  12. Lynn Dobriko says:

    Sugar Pops were my favorite.

  13. Mary Lynn Hayes says:

    Frankenberry was one of my all time favorites as a child, when I saw it in the grocery store last week I couldn’t help myself, I bought a box! It’s just a delicious and nutrient-free as always!

  14. Felicia Plastini says:

    I was definitely coo coo for cocoa puffs. But I think as a child I loved frosted flakes the most! And I was just recently look for Boo Berry cereal, it seems you can only find ‘the good stuff’ at Halloween!

  15. The spooky cereals were always a favorite because you could only buy them around Halloween. I loved them all…but my good old standbys were Cap’n Crunch Peanut butter and crunch berries…and I still enjoy Life cereal, Mikey wasn’t the only one who liked it!

  16. Minna says:

    My favorite was Kellogg’s Frosties. I don’t think I could stomach them any longer, though.

  17. Naghma Husain says:

    my fave was lucky charms.

  18. Karen K. says:

    My favorite cereal as a child was Grandma’s farina. She cooked it in whole milk, with sugar and cinnamon, then added more sugar and milk before serving! Since she made it when we didn’t feel good, we were “sick” a lot!

  19. Diane Pollock says:

    I love(d) Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter!

  20. Suzy says:

    I liked Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes as a kid…
    Happy Halloween!

  21. chey says:

    My favourite cereal as a kid was frosted flakes.

  22. I remember mom calling upstairs to wake the 5 of us up so we would have time to eat before getting on the bus. My brothers and sisters would go down to eat some eggs and toast along with a big glass of milk. I was not like them at all! My very favorite cereal was Cocoa know the hot cereal “that can’t be beat”? I would wake up and go downstairs and smell the chocolate aroma, pour just a little bit of milk on my hot cereal, then add some sugar..mmmmm. I would then grab a cup of hot, black coffee. If I have time to eat breakfast today (40 years later) I still like to have my bowl of Cocoa Wheats and coffee. I don’t have my mom to make it for me anymore, but I have the memories.

  23. Pat Lieberman says:

    The only cereal I eat or ate as a kid was oatmeal. Never cared for cold cereal. I gave my kids unsweetened cereals – cherrios, etc and once in awhile Count Chocula, Fruit Loops or Kix.

  24. Martha Lawson says:

    Frosted Flakes all the way!! (Now, they are just too incredibly sweet tasting!) Thanks for the chance.

  25. Linda Shaffer says:

    Frosted Flakes & Pops

  26. Margo says:

    Definitely Fruit Loops. Gosh I love those sugary, multi-color rings. I would even eat the generic-store brand version of it – Fruity-O’s. It’s been my favorite since I was a child!

  27. Theresa N says:

    My favorite was Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with lots of sugar.

  28. kathleen yohanna says:

    My kids loved Cap’n Crunch and Frosted Mini Wheats.
    I still buy the Mini Wheats as a treat for myself sometimes.
    Thanks for reminding me. I was planning to go shopping tomorrow.

  29. sandra says:

    the kids and i both separate the marshallows from the cereal with lucky charms

  30. Joder says:

    Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries…actually just the Crunch Berries. I have many memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons with my family while sitting in front of the tv eating a big ol’ bowl of this.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  31. Gayle Oreluk says:

    I would get up at 4 am and have Wheaties with my dad before he went to work. I know its not a sugar cereal but I just remember always waking up and going in the kitchen. My dad would be having breakfast before he left for work. He would fix me a bowl to share.

    orelukjp0 at gmail dot com

  32. Debra Kelley says:

    I loved Freakies cereal! The Freakies lived by their freaky tree and I just loved the cereal and the commercial! The song’s going through my head right now ;)

  33. JackieW says:

    My favorite cereal as a kid was Wheaties cuz hey, it was The Cereal of Champions and it always had a picture of a champion on the front of the box…a champion skier, racer, football player, or movie star. As an adult I still like them.

  34. JOYE says:

    One of my favorite cereals was a bowl of Cream Of Wheat that my grandma fixed for us on snowy days. As an adult I’ve grown to like most any kind of cereal that comes easy to fix.

  35. Marcy says:

    Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter was and is still a favorite. I’ve even shared the love with my two boys. I also like Cinnamon Life. I eat them straight out of the box. Yummy!

    I can’t wait for the book to come out!

  36. Gigi says:

    My favorite cereals ( I had a few) was Peanut Butter Captain Crunch,
    Apple Jacks, sugar Smacks, Corn Pops and Honey Comb. I was raised on cold cereal during the late 60’s and the 70’s.
    Oh the things they have done to the old cereals like Sugar Crisp isn’t as sweet any more.

    Now I love Cracklin Oat’ Bran.

  37. Patricia G says:

    Raisin Bran with bananas if eating in a bowl with milk but for snacking dry I liked Corn Pops.

  38. Vickie Couturier says:

    i love boo berry,,was good back then an now too

  39. Kelly M. says:

    Cinnamon Toast Crunch was my favorite until I was about 8 years old and then we found out that I am really allergic to cinnamon. So then my new favorite became Count Chocula. I remember my big sis reaching it down from a high shelf and making a bowl for me.

  40. cheryl says:

    ok this dates me but I remember eating quisp cereal when I was a kid – it had the little alien dude on it.

  41. jay tice says:

    I love Trix–they are for kids.

  42. sean pynaert says:

    Just seeing the picture brings back memories of Frankenberry cereal!

  43. Wilma Frana says:

    What a great contest, I’d love to win.

  44. Pamela says:

    I always loved Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. So unhealthy, yet so yummy.

  45. misskallie2000 says:

    Frosted Flakes were my favorite but now Honey Nut Cherrios or plain cherrios with sliced banannas. I do eat more high fiber cereals now.
    My children like all the sweet cereals when they were kids but have grown up and eat healthy cereals without the sugar now.

  46. Rita Wray says:

    I grew up in Australia and loved Wheat Bix. A couple of months ago I found Weet Bix at Save Mart. They are almost the same as the Aussie cereal so I was very excited. I’ve been eating them like crazy, lol

  47. Jeanette Jackson says:

    I had two favorites..Frankenberry because I loved strawberries and Lucky Charms because I loved the little marshmallows.

  48. bn100 says:

    Congrats on the book! I like Rice Krispies cereal.

  49. Kirsten says:

    My best memories of cereal are eating Cream of Wheat with my dad. He passed away last Christmas so just looking at box makes me burst into tears but it has always been my comfort food. I remember teasing him because he always measured his water and C of W whereas I just guessed.. Maybe that was why his always tasted better or was it because he made it?

  50. Mary Preston says:

    I grew up eating mostly oatmeal. So when we had Kellogg’s Cornflakes it was such a treat.

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