Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Quick Book Tease

Y'all just bear with me for a bit. There's going to be a lot of book promotion going on around these parts for awhile. My apologies if it seems like that's all I talk about, but a) I need to sell some books, and b) my excitement over finally being published still hasn't worn off.  

Today, I bring you something that The April Blake was kind enough to write for me. This was intended to be used as a foreword to my book, but ultimately the editors decided not to use it. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with all of you. I asked April if that was alright with her, and she graciously agreed. April was the only person who read my completed manuscript (other than the editors) before it was published. I'm very grateful for all of her feedback and comments. Here is what she had to say in the intended foreword. Hopefully it will give you a quick overview of what to expect, should you decide to purchase my book.

When one thinks of Columbia, South Carolina no special attribute sticks out immediately, since it isn't necessarily known for its genteel history like Charleston or Savannah; and it isn't known for the quirky counterculture like Portland or Asheville. But given its unique positioning two hours from the ocean to the east and two hours from the mountains in the west, and surrounded by acres of farmland both inside and right outside of city limits so we've got access to fresh seafood, orchards full of fleshy apples, and more types of produce than you can shake a stick at within driving distance of tens of thousands of hungry and eager residents of the wide reaching Columbia metropolitan area. Happiest of all are the chefs, farmers, artisans and fans of these ingredients who are quickly and happily rallying around is the very real idea that our fair city can be known for its passion and reverence for local food.

And who better to tell the tale of the history and the present of Columbia's food scene than the local food blogger Hungry Lady? Laura created her food blog to detail and share her tastiest meals after winning a contest where the prize was gift certificates to a lot of local restaurants. I came to know her through her food blog, and as a fellow local food writer we became friends, dining pals and blogging buddies. Though she doesn't have native roots in our proud Southern soil, she lays out a rich tale that showcases the same pride that any homegrown would present in bringing our colorful heritage and connection from the earth to our plates to the forefront- right where it belongs.

Woven throughout the chapters of Columbia Food: The History of Cuisine in the Famously Hot City are stories of the folks like local pig wrangler and Soda City market founder Emile DeFelice who have taken a grassroots approach towards getting residents to know what they, their children, neighbors, and community are putting into their mouths on a daily basis. You'll read relatable tales of chefs like Ricky Mollohan who worked his way from prep cook to owner with the dream of creating culinary masterpieces that are alive with flavor. On the dirtier (seriously, these things are covered in dirt before they make their way to our forks) end of the business of local eating, you'll learn about the families that use their hands and hearts to bring your food from seed to fruit, from sow to sausage.

Columbia Food: The History of Cuisine in the Famously Hot City is coming on the cresting wave of Columbia's food scene, detailing it in a way that has never been done before. Read it now and ready yourself as the knowledgeable one next time you find yourself gathered with friends, family or colleagues around the table at one of the places described in the book, eating the very foods that you know came from out of the backyard of this state.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Thought this Day Would Never Come

Y'all. I can't believe it. Publication day is finally here. My publisher got their stock of my book yesterday, and I got my copies in the mail this afternoon. The book looks so pretty!

I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been a bit of an emotional roller coaster to get to this point. At one point, I even almost decided to quit. But, my ever fabulous mother talked me off the proverbial ledge, and I pushed on. 

When I started this blog, I never thought, in a million years, that it would lead me to writing a book. It was an incredible feeling when I sent the draft to my editor. It felt even better when I sent in the final approval for printing. I stared at the proposed cover of the book for hours on the day it was emailed to me, grinning like a fool. And for everyday after that for about a week. I held printed copies of my marked up manuscript in my hands, approved photos, and gave my ok for publishing, but it wasn't real to me until I tore open the cardboard box this afternoon and held the finished product. It's still a bit surreal.

Right now, I'm lining up book signings and events, and I'm terrified. Terrified that people are going to read this book and think I'm a fraud, or that I forgot some hugely important player in the food scene (apologies in advance if that happened!). Also, I'm more than a little introverted so having to mingle with all of the people at these events is taking me way out of my comfort zone, and I'm having a minor panic attack just thinking about it. Just keep that in mind if I seem shy or nervous or twitchy or socially awkward when I'm talking to you. 

Everything about this journey and this experience has been a bit on the overwhelming side. I'm convinced that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and find that it's all been just a giant dream. But then I'm going to look on my dining room table (or really just the pillow next to me, because I am so not putting this book down), and realize that I did it. I managed to write a real book that people are actually going to buy, going to read, and hopefully going to enjoy.

I couldn't have done this without the support, encouragement, and general help of everyone in my life, including everyone who reads this blog. Thank you all from the very bottom of my heart. And if you could find it in you to support me a little bit more, I'd love it if you'd buy the book. You can get it from my publisher (The History Press), Amazon, or Barnes & Noble right now, and it should be available in stores next week. It'll also be for sale at all of the events I attend, so you can pick up a copy at those too. A full list of those are on the new website, so keep an eye on it for updates. 

Thank you all so very, very much.  Cheers!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Bit of Housekeeping

Hi Friends!

I know it's been awhile. I also feel like that's how I start every post I've made lately. I do promise it will get better. I'm almost done with school, and I've been feeling more inspired to write. Now if I can just get my budget in line with some restaurant-type excursions, we'll be in business.

Just a few quick things to bring to your attention:

  • I created a new, more comprehensive website, The link is in the top right corner of this page. Basically it's just a better way to keep myself organized, and to help with some book publicity. I'm still blogging here - if you notice, the blog page on the new site links directly back here - but the new site represents the "professional" persona of The Hungry Lady.  This is the first time I've done anything like that, so if you have some feedback on the site, I will happily accept it.
  • I'm starting to get some info on book release events and such. As it comes in, the information will be posted here, Facebook, Twitter, and the new site. I'm really excited about this thing, and I hope you are too!
  • I have a few posts sitting on the back burner that I haven't gotten to write up yet. I really will get better about that, I promise. But you can look forward to my visit to The Oak Table from Restaurant Week, tomorrow's brunch at Cafe Caturra, a random lunch at Taziki's, and next weekend's St. Pat's in 5 Points festival.
I think that might be it for now. If you want an actual invitation to the book launch, rather than just hearing about it via social media, shoot me an email with your mailing address, and I'll make sure you get one. I'd love for everyone to be able to make it!