Cooking For Publicity

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a blurb in my newspaper about the Z’Tejas restaurant holding a contest for using chile peppers in a dessert. Oooh! I like to cook and one of my favorite desserts is a frozen chocolate cinnamon mousse–chile peppers could only improve it’s rich chocolatey goodness. AND I could name it after my upcoming middle-grade novel: Jungle Crossing…Chill.

Why not?

I excitedly told my husband. He said, “fire potatoes.” Okay, so my first attempt at modifying a recipe with chile peppers didn’t go so well. A friend had raved about her chipotle mashed potatoes. Great idea, I thought, tossing an entire can of chipotle peppers into the potatoes. My husband had invited a colleague for dinner. You can imagine the gasps of pain, the call for water… the months, years, sure to be decades of teasing about my infamous fire potatoes.
Fortunately, dark chocolate is more forgiving. I had to keep adding chile powders to my mousse. With each peppery increase I passed along tastes to my family. Even my kids liked it better than the old version. When I reached the right combination of heat and sweet, I typed up the recipe, emailed it to Z’Tejas, and forgot all about it. 
Until I got the call–Jungle Crossing Chill made the finals. Yay! Tomorrow I will be making my dessert on Salt Lake City’s FOX 13 “Live at 11:00” show with the other two finalists. 
I’ve always thought that book promotion should involve chocolate!

Musing After My 1st Solo Signing

On Saturday I packed my book signing bag with my favorite pens, postcards for my next book (Jungle Crossing), chocolate kisses, SCBWI brochures, plus my cute new bookplates, and headed off to my hometown Barnes & Noble all by myself. Eeek!

First I have to say, if you’re going to publish a book make sure you have lots of friends. Every time a familiar face came into the store, I felt a sparkle of gratitude. Everyone from my writing group stopped in to say hello. Friends I haven’t spent much time with since our kids were toddlers bought books. And many, many of my husband’s colleagues came (having a well-liked husband helps too).

Most people avoid a book selling author like a communicable disease. My psychologist mother says I’m projecting, but I swear people wonder what’s wrong with a book that has to be babysat by its author. But there were plenty of people who did stop by to ask about the book, talk about writing, and buy books. That was pretty exciting! 
One guy did ask me for directions to the bathroom. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. Awkward! But I should’ve known. He was the same guy who came up to me and said, “You’re not Dan Brown” after seeing my book advertised next to the bestseller on the store’s front door. I’d thought he was joking then too. Scary thought: maybe he wasn’t. 
Two hours into my signing, I realized that I could cast the characters for a trilogy–in any genre–just using the folks shopping in the store (I’m talking to you, dude, with your pants around your thighs, screaming out, “People who read for fun make me sick!”).
But the best part of the day–I saw SO many people buying books, all kinds of books. Entire families crowded the store, groups of teen boys came in together, giggling girls, couples of all ages… All of them leaving with bags of books (some of them even included mine).
I’ll be signing again–with friends–at the Orem, Utah Barnes & Noble on June 23rd and for Girls’ Night Out at The Purple Cow in Tooele, Utah on June 25th.