Tag Archives: blogging

HAM!

Ham

A Savor the South Cookbook

By Damon Lee Fowler

ISBN:978-1-4696-3589-7

Retail: $20

 

This outstanding cookbook  series is coming to an end. However,  do not worry, as the series nears the projected finishing line of twenty books, there  is not winding down on quality. This next volume tackles an icon of the southern table, Ham and was well worth the wait

Author Howler is the skilled author of nine cookbooks and the editor and recipe developer of Dining at Monticello. He lives in Savannah GA.

 

Ham is discussed for all of its glory starting with the smokehouses of Thomas Jefferson , to today’s southern classics and to that glorious Italian version of ham, Prosciutto. Fowler takes us into the smokehouses where the very walls capture aromas and flavors of the hams and then, after years, bounce those accumulated scents and tastes back into the pork hindquarters that are hung inside each year.

 

While I worked at Mt. Vernon, we visited the smokehouse often. It was one of my favorite places on the plantation—I loved the scent of good food coming, carefully cared for, cured, into its own, to be presented at George Washington’s own table. When I cook ham, my own kitchen is redolent with the scent and flavors of history. It’s an aroma that brings everyone into the kitchen to try to cadge a bit of the outer ham “just to taste” before I slice and serve it.

Such is the continuity of ham in the south and anywhere this prince of pork products is loved and eaten. Fowler not only pays homage to Ham as a premiere food of the American South, he also recognizes it s place in other cultures and provides recipes from China, France, Italy and Spain and introduces us to their historic ham types and ways of preparing ham.

 

I read the front of the book with its history and terminology explanations with great interest. One could say I devoured it (except for the groaning sounds of those who hate puns.) As with the others in the series there are 50 plus, in this case, 55 recipes. Although, I cannot say I loved them all, most are wonderful and all of the recipes are explained so that both beginning and expert cooks can use them all with ease.

 

Why was I at odds with some of them ,especially with his basic baked ham? Simply because  I prefer my own (apple juice and cloves) way of  making it. However, his method is classic and  if you are new to ham, new to the possibilities of this fabulous meat, try his way.

 

Many of his other recipes will likely become classics in my own home. I especially liked his rendition of the Monte Cristo sandwich (an item that seems to be making a comeback in restaurants) and his ideas for combining southern classics—like his grilled ham and pimiento cheese sandwich. YUM! This recipe includes a very nice recipe for pimiento cheese as well. Classic ham biscuits, prosciutto and asparagus and lots of other ham and asparagus are just some of the other many delicious suggestions he offers (with full recipe) for using this most versatile meat. I could not help but chuckle as I read his recipe for ham bone soup—it called to mind the story of why cat and dog are rarely friends—all because of a fight over a hambone. Yes, even the bone, the leavings of a ham are worthy of use and can produce sublimely delicious offerings for your friends and family. Lunch, brunch, supper, soups are some of the categories in the book.  No desserts with ham—but then again, many lovers of ham (like my husband) will just as soon skip the sugary desserts for a second helping of whatever heavenly ham dish crossed the table as a main course.

As a side note, I am quite fond of the cover of this volume–I love the decorative red rose made from a thin slice of ham–says it all about the love affair the South (and I ) have with ham.

 

This slim volume is a very worth addition to the collection and deserves a place on your cookbook shelf.

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Good Things Worth Waiting For

Finishing Line Press has informed me that my book will be at least 8 weeks late–today is the day it was supposed to come out.

I just got my galleys on Monday and am sending them back on Tuesday the 17th, checking  and rechecking.

Please be patient!

 

 

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Red Face

I made a book club appearance in Raleigh yesterday. I put it on Facebook, I notified my book club by email–but I forgot to note it on my blog–oh dear!!!

Wonderland book club in Raleigh hosted me yesterday! Thanks to Alice Osborn and all who attended. Tho the photo is of short story book, we discussed Secrets of the Heart.
Thanks again, everyone!

Alice Osborn's photo.

Take a Tour with C. Hope Clark

One of the best ways to sell your books, or perform is to go where people love books and story performance–libraries.

As a writer, I have given talks on my books and on writing in various libraries but have never gone about planning a tour of libraries around a state. One of the best bloggers, and a superb author of three mysteries has taken her brand on tour in a big way. C. Hope Clark.

I have followed her newsletter for almost the entire time she has been writing it! She is definitely one of my writing heroines. Recently she offered to provide a blog entry for those of her fans who asked. I requested a blog on touring libraries , hoping it would help all of you, who like me, struggle with marketing. Graciously, C. Hope Clark responded affirmatively and send the wonderful how-to article below.

Thank you! And for those of you out there looking for something to read, do sample her Carolina Slade mysteries!

Authors Touring Libraries

C. Hope Clark

Authors have a deep respect for librarians. As a child, I saw librarians as gatekeepers; guardians to all the knowledge in the world. Today many think of the Internet as the gatekeeper to reading material, but the Internet cannot think, advise, or open doors to new worlds like a librarian. So when I’m asked to speak at a library, I jump at the chance, as should most authors.

But how does one land a library gig?

Library opportunities come about through a myriad of ways. No two libraries are alike, just as no two librarians think the same. As a result, there is no one way to acquire a library opportunity, but we can discuss several.

Know somebody. Believe it or not, this is the easiest method to receive an invitation to speak. The majority of my library invitations come about via regular library members who ask the library to feature me. Librarians know their customers and pay attention to their needs, and those familiar faces can break the ice easier than your cold call.

Librarians as Readers. Two library events of mine originated because the librarian was a mystery fan. Upon hearing about one of my new releases, they contacted me. Yes, your librarians are avid readers, so pay attention to their likes, too. Chat with them. They don’t bite.

Friends of the Library. Libraries usually have a Friends of the Library (FOL) group to assist the library in meeting the needs of readers. They are a nonprofit organization and love to assist with library events. Not only can they ease your entrance into a library’s inner sanctum, but they may also invite you to events of their own. One of the best presentation experiences in my writing career involved my role as keynote speaker for the Newberry County Friends of the Library in South Carolina. Consider joining all the Friends of the Library groups in your town or county.

The Library Family. Libraries belong to a county, city or regional system. In my state, the libraries are usually categorized in a county system. For instance, I recently spoke at the Surfside Beach Library in Horry County which contains ten libraries in its system. A library assistant at Surfside made contact with the other libraries, recommending me for their programs. Libraries will trust each other’s judgment, so ask a librarian you trust to put in a good word for you at other locations.

Send a Packet. Go to http://www.publiclibraries.com to find all the libraries in your state, then send them an introductory packet, requesting to be placed on their agenda. Make sure you give them great ideas on what you can talk about.

Why speak at libraries?
The reasons are many, even though a library may not purchase a large volume of your books. Let’s explore a few of them.

Librarians are trusted, and their recommendations carry weight to many readers.

Libraries can purchase your books, and requests for your book dictates how m any copies they buy.

Libraries can introduce a new author to the world. To prime that pump, donate one book and offer to give an appearance.

Libraries feature special programs. Ask to play a part, whether it’s a program that involves several authors or just you. Make suggestions. Let them know you care and want their programs to be popular and successful. Ask them what they need and see if you can fill that want.

How do libraries impact book sales?

Book sales may be difficult to measure, because sales don’t consist of how many books you sell at a speaking invitation. Sure, you may sell a handful at your face-to-face event, but there’s a residual effect that continues after you leave.

Avid readers talk to each other, and these readers congregate at libraries, at Friends of the Library events, at programs, and in reading groups. Ten people may attend your speaking event, but each of them may tell five others. And if the library doesn’t carry enough copies of your book, then those readers may purchase instead.

When someone reads one of your books available at the library, and falls in love with your story, they may then decide to purchase your other books in support of you or simply to have a book the library doesn’t carry. And they may then suggest the library stock the book.

How to afford a library tour.

Libraries are not wealthy. Some will compensate an author and others won’t. Here are a few ideas on how to set up and afford a library tour.

Connect via the Friends of the Library (FOL). They often have the deeper pockets, and if they sponsor your event, you might walk away with an honorarium or travel expense.

Start close to home. Connect with all the libraries in your region first, keeping expenses down. Gather great testimonials from those librarians to help you reach further.

Charge a per person fee. If the event you propose is strong enough, maybe including a meal, workshop, or other performance, you might suggest the library, or FOL, feature a more widely advertised special event and charge admission.

Sell books at the event. Clarify well in advance if you wish to sell books. Many libraries have restrictions in this regard, and knowing ahead of time can avoid miscommunication.

Libraries remember authors, and librarians recommend them to readers. Stand near the checkout desk of most library long enough and you’ll hear the person behind the counter suggest a book or author. As a matter of fact, at the last library event I attended, the librarian had read my books, and immediately gave me two authors’ names who wrote along the same vein that I did. Their minds are like the libraries themselves, with mental shelves of titles and topics at the ready, to best direct a reader to the best stories.

BIO: C. Hope Clark is author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series, covering rural crime the average urban dweller could never comprehend. http://www.chopeclark.com She is also editor of an award-winning website for writers – http://www.fundsforwriters.com – chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years.

Guest!!! Introducing the wonderful Sheila Boneham, writer and animal lover, on writing!

Sheila is an accomplished writer and animal lover. Sample her mysteries, sample her non-fiction books on animal care and other topics, share her insights into writing on her blog–and today, here on my blog! You can find Sheila blogging at http://sheilaboneham.blogspot.com/, at her website at http://www.sheilaboneham.com, or on Facebook at http:://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites.  PS–She has great photos too!

Thanks, Shelia

Tough Calls – Handling Gritty Issues in Cozy Fiction
 
by Sheila Webster Boneham
 
If you have read Drop Dead on Recall, my first Animals in  Focus mystery, you know that dogs and cats and other critters are vital  characters. After all, the series isn’t called Animals in Focus for nothing. In  fact, each book in the series spotlights a different “animal activity” and each  mystery hinges on an animal-related issue. Just as they do in real life, serious  issues can create major problems for writers.
 
 
In the first  book, Drop Dead on Recall, we meet animal  photographer Janet MacPhail and her Australian Shepherd Jay at an obedience  trial, where a top-level competitior keels over. Soon Janet, Jay, and their very  important feline family member Leo find themselves embroiled in a series of  murders that seem to be linked to breeder ethics (or lack thereof) and  cut-throat competitiveness. That infant puppy is my real-life Jay at one week  old.
 
In The Money Bird, coming in September,  Janet has her lens focused on retrievers training for AKC retrieving tests,  especially the handsome Drake and his almost-as-handsome person, Tom Saunders.  Drake, too, is inspired by the Labs I’ve owned and rescued over the years,  especially my first Lab, Raja, a big chocolate field-bred goofball. Here he is  with my beautiful Malcolm, who was one of the real-life models for Leo.
 
A number of  challenges presented themselves as soon as I began writing. First, this series  falls under the “cozy” umbrella, meaning that readers expect a few things.
  1. Murder and sex are  fine; graphic details are not.
  2. Adult humans may be  killed; children and animals may be threatened, but shouldn’t be harmed.
  3. Serious issues may  be presented, but soap-boxes should be kept mostly tucked under the writer’s  desk, not plunked down on the page.

 

Knowing these “rules” is helpful in some ways,  restrictive in others. After all, I’m writing about creatures and issues that  stir intense feelings in me as well as in my readers, and it isn’t always easy  to stifle myself. Many authors face this problem in fiction, where characters  and story (plot, if you prefer) are the real focus. So how do we strike a  balance? Not all of us do – I’m sure we’ve all read books in which the author’s  passion for some cause overshadowed everything else. If you’re like me, you may  have quit reading. I don’t like to be bludgeoned when I’m reading mostly to be  entertained.
 
On the other hand, I  do like to learn new things, and I have often read fiction that teased me into  looking for more information about something.
 
I hope I’m striking  that balance in my own fiction. In The Money Bird, wildlife trafficking  is the larger issue woven into the plot. It’s an ugly business, and I’ve tried  to present it in a way that will encourage people to learn more without  overdoing it. While I wait to find out whether readers think I’ve succeeded, I’m  working on the next book in the series. Activity and issue, you ask? For now,  they will remain a mystery.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
The Money Bird is available now for  pre-order. Autographed copies of Drop Dead on Recall, Rescue  Matters, and The Money Bird are  available from Pomegranate Books. You can find Sheila blogging at http://sheilaboneham.blogspot.com/, at her website at http://www.sheilaboneham.com, or on Facebook at http:://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites.