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Above: my afternoon project…and my afternoon snack of cottage cheese and pineapple
I’m home!!! (Yep, you know Briana’s excited when she uses three exclamation points.)
If you’ve been following along much over here lately, you know that I embarked on some adventures three weeks ago. I sang with a choral ensemble based out of Lancaster, spent a week with some relatives in New Jersey (while proofreading my cookbook), then drove over to Holmes County, OH to talk with the company that will be printing my cookbook. My journeyings went wonderfully, and God was definitely with me every step of the way. Hopefully very soon you’ll be seeing some posts covering my trip in more detail!
I can’t describe to you how wonderful it has been to be at home and back to work today. I tried to keep up with blog stuff while I was gone, but I definitely have a few things to catch up on. Good thing I love my job! Before I left home I was working feverishly to get all my cookbook info sent to the publisher. While I was in Lancaster, my designer sent me a proof of my book (no pictures, just text) to edit, and I finished that part too! Now all I have to do is write up a few extra sections for the book – baking tips, biography, etc. This is the easy part! I’m just loving the fact that I can be at home and not cringing beneath a looming deadline. I feel like my blog has gotten a little neglected this summer, and I’m looking forward to picking things back up and moving on from where I left off. After all, I was a blogger before I was an author, and while I very much enjoy book publishing (once the deadlines are done…haha), my heart is here – on the blog. One of the reasons I love to blog for a living is because I get to be flexible and post whatever I want, whenever I want. If I’m hungry for brownies, I can make brownies and blog about them (after eating them…or maybe while eating them. In my pajamas.). While I was working on my cookbook I had a list of “cookbook recipes” that I knew I wanted to include, so I didn’t give myself much freedom to cook “in the moment.” Today I organized my recipe idea list and reveled in the knowledge that I can make any recipe on that list that sounds good to me at any given time. As of today I had over 375 recipe ideas on that list – next cookbook, anyone? 😛
This afternoon I spent some time in the kitchen. I worked on a full batch version of the Deep S single-serve okra brownie I posted while I was away. You know what? I enjoyed doing the dishes.
I also mixed up a yummy spice rub that I used on some bone-in chicken thighs for supper. Nothing could be easier – or yummier! The spice rub tasted a-maz-ing, and it will be appearing on the blog very soon!
Did any of you notice the random unedited ice cream sandwich recipe that showed up in your email inboxes earlier today? Just disregard that please…lol. I was editing the recipe and accidentally hit “publish.” Apparently I didn’t revert it back to a draft soon enough to avoid its being sent out to all my email subscribers. That recipe will be in my cookbook, and I may post it to my blog as part of some cookbook promotion in a month or so.
Speaking of the cookbook, I had a great meeting with my designer and sales rep on Wednesday. In fact, I spent all day at their facility, got a grand tour, worked hands-on with my designer for a little while, made some design decisions for printing, and just got a lot of my questions answered. It was wonderful to put faces to the people with whom I’ve been talking for the past few months, and from the look of their operation, my book is in good hands! If everything goes as planned, I’ll have a final design proof in hand in about two weeks. I’ll need to proofread it again and send it to the designer so she can make any necessary changes. At that point I should be able to open up a preorder here on my website so all you lovely people can get in on the excitement! (Preorder will probably open around the first of October, I’m guessing?) Since I’m putting a hard cover on the book for better durability and functionality, it’ll be a few weeks before the books can be printed and distributed, but I’m hoping to be able to have them shipped out around the first of December. Considering that my 21st birthday is on December 1st, I’m thinking that a published cookbook would be one of the best birthday presents I could have!
There are a lot of decisions involved in publishing a book! Paper, binding, cover – all of these were elements that I discussed with my designer and sales rep on Wednesday. I think we found a solution that will work well. Originally I was planning to use a metal twin-loop spiral binding because I don’t really like the look of plastic spirals, but I found out that my book is too big to use the metal binding. So plastic spiral binding it will be, but I think that might actually be a good thing because I’ve been told that metal spirals have a tendency to bend with use. Plastic is more forgiving. With a hard cover to give it support, I think the plastic spiral will work well. I just didn’t want a book that’s going to “wilt” when I try to store it upright on my countertop.
One story, then I’ll leave you. I logged almost 36 hours of solo driving time over the 3 weeks I was gone. I’ve found that I kind of enjoy traveling and navigating on my own, which is a good thing considering how much I had to do! 😛 Things went very well and my mini-van was a real trooper, but I did have one small scare. OK, maybe kind of a big scare. I came very close to running out of gas in Philadelphia. See, I left my cousin’s house in New Jersey on Monday to drive to Holmes County. I decided to take the shortest route and go through Philly to catch the PA Turnpike. I had never driven through Philly. Upon leaving my cousin’s house, I had about a third of a tank of gas left, and according to my calculations I thought I would easily be able to get through Philly and get gas on the interstate on the other side. I soon learned that it takes a long time to get through Philly! As I was driving through Philadelphia, the “Empty” light on my gas gauge came on. “Oh well, I’m pretty sure I have at least 40 miles left, and I should be out of here soon,” I thought glibly. But I drove, and drove, and drove, and there was traffic, and it just took a long time to get through Philly! Once I was on the interstate on the other side, I thought I would be able to get off at the nearest exit and get gas. Um, no. A) There are very few exits on the turnpike, and b) of the ones that are there, quite a few require EasyPass – which I do not have. So I kept driving. There were no available exits and no service stations. 30 miles on empty, then 35…needless to say, I was praying the entire time, and my prayers were getting more and more persistent/panicked. If I ran out of gas on the interstate, my mom would never let me travel on my own again! (OK, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but it wouldn’t have helped my cause.) Then I hit 40 miles on empty and I was sure I was a goner. Finally there was an exit that accepted cash, so I pulled off and went to the nearest gas station. I cannot begin to express my relief when I pulled up to the gas pump. I just sat there and thanked God – then called my mom and confessed. 😛 God really was with me every step of the way.
For the record, I don’t like the PA Turnpike.
I shall leave you now…and I want an okra brownie. I need to taste them after overnight refrigeration, and if they meet my expectations, you’ll be getting the recipe very soon!