Jenny, Part Two

Pardon my breaking this post up into two posts!  But Jenny’s answers are so long that WordPress could not handle it in one post! I had to break it up right in the middle of the juiciest part.

JG: …(See previous post.) Many authors were cut from their houses, many book options canceled. It’s been unfortunate for readers because they are being offered a smaller and smaller selection of authors from which to choose, and of course it’s been quite unfortunate for authors who have seen their slight potential to make careers as writers dwindle down to nothing. The good news is digital publishing , I hope, can eclipse this deficit and enable authors to sell their own books and find their audience.

Wow, long answer to your question!

3. What are you working on now?

JG: see above answer. I’m busily reformatting several books I’ve written and preparing to upload them digitally for the Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. It’s time-consuming because I am just about as clueless as they come when it comes to technology, and you have to be very exacting (not one of my strong suits–long ago when wallpapering, my husband lamenting the wallpaper wasn’t plumb accused me of being “Mrs. Goodenough”…my argument was it was an old house and the walls weren’t plumb so how could the wallpaper be?!). I also have several books in various states of completion that I am itching to get back to once I get these books uploaded.

4. Along with being so prolific in terms of your writing, I also know that you’re a mom in a very busy family. Any thoughts on what it takes to write and be a mom and the whole “juggling” issue?

JG: It’s not easy. I have friends with babies who are trying to write and I don’t know how they do that. Of course when your kids reach an age at which they need to be driven all over the place, it’s not much easier. I did often lug my laptop with me and write while sitting in the pick-up line at school, while sitting at soccer practices, etc. I learned to be very adaptable because my priority has always been my kids and my family. And if I was working at my computer with everyone around, I learned to be able to hone my focus in order to avoid distractions. When it’s all said and done we will continue to beat ourselves up for not giving either the kids or the writing the appropriate amount of attention, but we do the best we do, right?

5. Okay. You knew this was coming, right? If you could be a pie, what kind would you be and why?

Oh, girlfriend, at the end of my first chapter of my novel SLIM TO NONE I include my mom’s recipe for Banana Cream pie. It is nirvana, and if it wasn’t such a pain to make I’d be wallowing in it daily…

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Thank YOU, Jenny. Don’t forget to check her out on Twitter and Facebook. You won’t be sorry!

Interested in Writing a Cookbook?

If you have a burning desire to write a cookbook, stop by the Augusta County Library, Fishersville, Va., 3:00 Sat., July 25, and I'll be speaking about writing cookbooks and introducing my new book MRS.ROWE'S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIES. I'll also be selling the books and signing them. In the mean time, here is a great article about writing cookbooks. My agent, Angela Miller, is quoted in it and listed as one of the agents at the end of the article. 

New Book

Okay. I am in an awkward space, sort of still promoting my first book, "Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley," and beginning my next cookbook project. I should be getting the contract from Ten Speed any day. I am thrilled to be working with them again—this time on "Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pie," a great title, yes? But both books work together, so it’s not as awkward as it could be.
There are, as usual, plenty of projects on the horizon. I am still working on my essays that I hope to compile into a book and still longing to do more work on Mary Johnston. My article on her in Virginia Living has been pushed to March. Getting that article published is the first step to generating more interest in her.
Well, I am off to the restaurant this morning for a meeting about pie…can’t beat that.

Signing at Stone Soup Books, Waynesboro!

Hope to see some of you tomorrow afternoon at Stone Soup Books, Waynesboro, Va. I’ll be signing books from 4 to 6. I am also going to have a sign-up sheet for people who are interested in taking a writer’s workshop with me. I am in the planning stages with Stone Soup about offering something there.
If you haven’t been there yet, it is a fabulous independent book store that sells both used and new books. It located in a big, rambling, old house and in the back is an exquisite cafe. OKAY. That is where the food writer belongs. 😉 They will have me set up at a table, where I can chat with customers and smell the incredible food being cooked and baked.

Book signing

Next week, Saturday, November 3, Mike DiGrassie and I will be signing the Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley at Sam’s Club in Charlottesville, Va., 1-3. Please stop by!

where the journey is

Okay. I think this is a good place to step back and ask where this blog is going. It started as a chronicle of my experience in getting a cookbook published. I wanted to give a clear picture of the whole process. It’s ventured into other areas. And I think that’s okay. I thought I’d update you on a few things in regards to the cookbook-area of my career. The Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley is now in a second printing. It’s done pretty well and gotten some great reviews. I sent out my second cookbook proposal in late spring. Because it was another Mrs. Rowe book, Ten Speed has first right of refusal. We are still waiting to hear from them. The last we heard they are interested, but want to put another spin on it—a spin I could be very excited about.
In the mean time, I am still promoting the first book. I have two appearances coming up. Also, I am working on another book proposal, along with lots and lots and lots of articles.
So this is what happens after the book is published. A little bit of attention can help build you a platform, which is the buzz word in publishing these days. But you have to work it. It seems that nobody will call you and say "Hey I really like your book. Would you like to write something for me?" (Surprising, isn’t it? It also seems that folks who you personally send your book to could say thanks for the book, but I have received very little of that. I am beginning to wonder if most of them even received my book. I didn’t expect gushing, but common courtesy never hurts.)
Almost all of my freelancing has taken a turn to food. I am still writing about parenting and doing profiles, when I can. I have an article about Mary Johnston coming up in Virginia Living. I hope that will help me sell more profiles.
So that’s where I am. I will strive to keep you posted.

Fun information from Amazon

Someone at Amazon has a really cool job analyzing books. I wonder if it’s just a computer program of sorts.  They have a new feature called concordance, which sort of analyzes the text of certain books. It will tell you the most frequent words used in the book, for example. The text is also run through several different systems that say what reader level the book is on. I thought this tidbit really puts my job as writer in perspective. 😉










Fun stats
Words per Dollar (the Mrs, Rowe book is $24.95) :          
Words per Ounce:          

Friends along the way

One of the best things about this publishing a cookbook experience has been some of the really wonderful, creative, talented people I have met along the way.
Angela Tunner and I really connected on the "writing a cookbook while raising children" thing. She is an amazing and gifted person—as is clear in her new book. "SIMPLY SUMMER, GOURMET MEALS MADE DELICIOUSLY EASY WITH TIP FOR ELEGANT LIVING is a small, paperback book (easy to hold in your hands, filled will wonderful, easy-to-make recipes. She also offers numerous tips for shopping, life in the kitchen, and cooking (or NOT cooking), and doing it all with a certain measure of style and elegance. You can find out more about Angela and order her book at You’ll see when you visit
her site that she is truly the Renaissance Gourmet—writer, photographer, artist, cook, and MOM.
On another front, Ed Anderson, the California photographer who took photos for the Mrs. Rowe book, has kept in touch with me and offers encouragement along the way. I was fascinated watching him take photos during the time he was in Virginia. But what has held me in awe of him is his eye for what makes a truly artful photograph. You just need to look through the book to see what I mean. There is one photo of hanging pans, in particular, that illustrates what I mean.  Who would even think to take a shot like that, let alone, make it look so grand? Check out his website
Here is one of his photos he sent to me recently with the note,  "Happy August."


This photo is courtesy of Ed Anderson, the photographer.

A Chef’s Table

The Mrs. Rowe cookbook is featured on a A Chef’s Table this week. It’s a nationally-syndicated radio show and really, really fascinating. I love the way Chef Coleman pulls the stories together. I was interviewed months ago for this and am excited and flattered to be on it. Check it out at You can figure out from there when you can listen to it on a local NPR  station.