How to Survive a Book Release

I’ve carried it in my heart for months, even years. I’ve gone through travail to bring about its birth. And now, it’s time.

Am I really ready for this?

Will I survive the release?

Oh, what fun and excitement surrounds the release of a book. That is, if you call taut nerves, almost overwhelming nausea, and gut-wrenching anxiety fun. It’s all part of the routine. Kind of like strapping yourself into a monster rollercoaster you’ve never ridden before. You have no idea where it’s going to take you, or what twists and turns you’ll endure along the way.

So, are you ready? No?

That’s why we’re here. In order to have a great book release, you need help. This month at Inspired Prompt, we hope to give you ideas and point you in the right direction to get that help.

The Inspired Prompt crew and contributors have been there (and done that), either with our own releases, or helping other authors. We’ve served on numerous teams, written reviews, and held the hands of the releasing authors. We know the drill and have learned some lessons along the way. Lessons we will now share with you, dear readers.

  • Speaking engagements – how important are they? What do you talk about? How do you find them?
  • Setting up a “street team” – your encouragers who come alongside and add their strength to yours in the marketing process.
  • Utilizing Facebook parties and Facebook Live
  • The benefits and importance of Blog Tours
  • Marketing Resources
  • Working with traditional publishers
  • Dealing with sales tax

Our toolbox is fully packed for November. I hope you’ll join us on Mondays and Fridays for our regular posts. Please send us your comments and suggestions.

The crew and I are so thankful for you, our readers. Our prayer is that you will be inspired and encouraged and that your eyes will be opened to new possibilities along the “write road.”


Writing Prompt: Write an opening paragraph for a new story using these three words: birdsong, autumn, concrete. Have fun!

Click-to-Tweet: Are you ready for your book’s release? In #November @InspiredPrompt provides writers with great ideas, suggestions, and how-to’s to help make it a success. #BookRelease

Farewell to October

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away—
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October,”
in The Queries Magazine, October 1890 – courtesy of Quote Garden

And so October is on the wane. This final, eventful week will pass in a rush of activity for most of us. November is upon us and Ho! Oh no! Just a few more weeks to prepare for the holidays.

What a month we’ve had here at Inspired Prompt. I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts and added a few books to your TBR pile. Jennifer’s resources post should have you well supplied with the best in writing help. I have a few of those on my desk, ready to help in a moment of need.

As we leave fair October behind and gird ourselves for that which lies ahead, let us hear from you. If you’re a follower of our blog, what has helped you this year? What would you like to see more of in the future? Please leave us a comment and let us know, because you are the reason we’re here.

The goal of the Inspired Prompt blog is to educate and inform writers, with an emphasis on new and Indie writers. We provide clear, basic information in four areas: how-to, marketing, encouragement, and our “signature” prompts, thoughts, and ideas. We hope to inspire writers/authors to reach for and attain their personal best.

Inspiration. Encouragement. Education. Those are what we strive to present to you, our readers, to share what we’ve gleaned and learned along our own “write road.” Some of you are about to launch into the NaNoWriMo season. If so, I salute you. It’s a great challenge for a writer. And I would like to issue some challenges of my own:

  1. Focus on the positive.
  2. Write with abandon.
  3. Nourish the joy of writing.

November’s coming, and with it, a brand new theme. Join me here on Friday to find out what’s coming up in November besides NaNo, pumpkin pie, and turkey. Together, we’ll learn more about this wonderful calling—the path of the writer.

Click-to-Tweet: Inspiration. Encouragement. Education … are what we strive to present to our readers, to share what we’ve gleaned and learned along our own “write road.” #amwriting #inspiration

Writing Prompt: Begin a story using the photo below as inspiration. Remember to answer the questions: who, what, when, where…

Image by Matthew Morse from Pixabay

Black Bean Bonanza

by Rhonda Dragomir

Hubby will be home in 30 minutes, and 30 minutes after that, we will rush to mid-week service at church. Hmmm—what’s for dinner?

I’m a planner, not a pantser—for my novel writing, that is. For meals? I’m the take-out queen. Since quitting my job to write full-time, those last-minute forays out for dinner are cost prohibitive. Whether I like it or not, I need to think about dinner in the mornings instead of 5:05 p.m.

One ally in my meal-prep war is my trusty Crock-Pot®. It was a wedding gift, and it didn’t quit working when I set it on the stove and accidentally turned on the wrong burner. It works just as well on three feet instead of four. I’ve been married 41 years and my husband still likes to tell that story!

I’m fond of dump-and-go recipes, but I also don’t want to turn into a stereotypical overweight writer who can’t squeeze through a doorway without using Crisco. I’ve created a delicious, healthy, quick recipe that helps the bottom line. Literally.

Black beans are a fountain of good health. High in protein and low in fat, they also have loads of fiber. This dish is vegan friendly, gluten-free, filling, and versatile.

Most recipes begin by soaking dried beans, but canned beans are more convenient. Another boon is that canned beans cooked slowly have lower amounts of the undigestible sugars that turn you into a rootin’ tootin’ clown of the solo rodeo.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 4 cans black beans, drained (I like Member’s Mark Organic Black Beans from Sam’s Club, only $10 for a package of 8 cans.)
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (Leave this out if you like kissin’.)
  • 1 medium sweet onion (Dice and pitch; no need to sauté. I hate fancy French cooking lingo.)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (Say “cilantro” out loud ten times as you chop—it’s relaxing.)

Throw all the ingredients in the crock pot, cook for 6-8 hours on low, and they’re ready. I’m OCD enough that I don’t like bean juice contaminating my other food, so I drain them first. If you find they are too dry, you may leave the liquids from one or two cans.

Do you want to spruce up your beans? Try these add-ins:

  • ½ pound taco-seasoned ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons jalapenos or diced bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

You may serve the beans as a main dish because they have so much protein, or you may use them as a side dish for other meals. They are delicious tucked in a burrito, added to a taco salad, or mixed with rice in a traditional African or Caribbean recipe. When serving, try these beautiful garnishes:

  • A dollop of sour cream (Say dollop out loud as you add it, just because it’s a fun word.)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (Can one have too much cilantro? No, I say—NEVER!)
  • Chopped green onion
  • Shredded cheese, any flavor
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • A spoonful of salsa (Just a spoonful of salsa makes the black beans go down, come on, sing along!)
  • Your favorite red hot sauce (Add as much as you dare.)

My final advice? Even if your family does not eat these all in one meal, they freeze well for later consumption (To clarify, I’m using the word to connote eating, not tuberculosis—I write historical romance).

If I am to be completely honest, when my pantser genes kick in, I’ve made these on the stove top at the last minute. The onion is still crunchy, but variety makes life interesting.

Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, I wish you healthy eating and happy writing!

Writing prompt:  How many “b” words can you slip into one sentence with the words “black beans”? Share your sentence in the comments.

Click-to-Tweet: Author Rhonda Dragomir is fond of “dump and go” recipes, so her Black Bean Bonanza #crockpot meal is perfect for writers. Just don’t forget to plug it in. #cooking #amwriting


Rhonda Dragomir and her family live in Kentucky horse country, in the idyllic small town of Wilmore. A graduate of Asbury University with a degree in Social Work, she is a committed pastor’s wife and Bible teacher. Rhonda is also an award-winning writer, with published works in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and Spark magazine. She also wrote an opinion column in her local newspaper for four years, in which some views garnered national attention.

Rhonda and her husband formed The Dragomir Group to offer websites, typesetting, and design services to writers. She also writes a blog, Find the Pony, building a platform for a career in traditional publishing. Her newsletter Writers LifeHacks, shares tips and insights to encourage other writers and simplify the writing process. Rhonda has won many writing awards, including being named the 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc.

Media

Websites:             www.rhondadragomir.com (Author site)

www.dragomirgroup.com (Writers’ services)

Blogs:              www.findthepony.blog (personal inspiration)

www.writerslifehacks.com (tips for writers)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Rhonda.Dragomir.Author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/RhondaDragomir

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/RhondaDragomir

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/RhondaDragomirAuthor/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6rst96IuXBwt7oy3unLU8g

LinkedIn:            www.linkedin.com/in/rhonda-dragomir

Cooking in the 18th Century

 By Sheila Ingle           

My visiting of historical sites in SC, especially the outdoor kitchens, has given me a renewed appreciation for my modern kitchen.

Perhaps you have seen the large cast iron skillets and pots hanging over the coals; a large three-pronged trivet holds one of the pots off the coals. Others hang on large iron swinging crane. Close by are long utensils, like ladles, spoons, knives, tongs, and slotted ladles.

Do you remember the children’s rhyme?

“Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old; Some like it hot, some like it cold, Some like it in the pot, nine days old.”

Often a stew or soup would cook for days. Adding more vegetables and water made it last.

Empty?! You took all the cookies!
They were crying to get out of the jar… Cookies get claustrophobia too, you know! ― Charles M. Schulz

I like to bake, and cookies are some of my favorites. During this Revolutionary War period in our history, cookies were called cakes. Mothers passed down good receipts, we call them recipes, to their daughters. Ant there were a few cookbooks available.

In The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, 1747, by Hannah Glasse, this recipe is entitled “Another Sort of Little Cakes.”

A pound of flour, and half a pound of sugar, beat half a pound of butter with your hand, and mix them well together, bake it in little cakes.

3 1/2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1/2 lb butter

Blend butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add flour till it turns into large crumbs.   Press into pan.  Bake 30 minutes then score to the size of pieces you wish.

An earlier version of “Another Sort of Little Cakes” is in The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith, published in 1758.

Take a pound of flour and a pound of butter, rub the butter into the flour; two spoonfuls of yeast and two eggs, make it up into a paste; slick white paper; roll your paste out the thickness of a crown; cut them out with the top of a tin canister; sift fine sugar over them, and lay them on the slick’d paper; bake them after tarts an hour.

Originally published in London in 1727, The Compleat Housewife was the first cookbook printed in the United States. William Parks, a Virginia printer, printed and sold the cookbook believing there would be a strong market for it among Virginia housewives who wanted to keep up with the latest London fashions—the book was a best-seller there.

Perhaps her use of the word “compleat” in her title can be found in her words on the title page.

“Being a collection of several hundred approved receipts, in cookery, pastry, confectionery, preserving, pickles, cakes, creams, jellies, made wines, cordials. And also bills of fare for every month of the year. To which is added, a collection of nearly two hundred family receipts of medicines; viz. drinks, syrups, salves, ointments, and many other things of sovereign and approved efficacy in most distempers, pains, aches, wounds, sores, etc. never before made publick in these parts; fit either for private families, or such public-spirited gentlewomen as would be beneficent to their poor neighbours.” (Believe it or not, you can order a copy of this historical jewel on Amazon.)

Since fall is almost here, I start thinking of gingerbread. I love the smell of it baking. The whole house announces cooler weather is here.

Looking again at Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple, here is her version.

Take three pounds of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound of butter rubbed in very fine, two ounces of ginger beat fine, one large nutmeg grated, then take a pound of treacle, a quarter of a pint of cream, make them warm together, and make up the bread stiff; roll it out, and make it up into thin cakes, cut them out with a teacup, or small glass; or roll them out like nuts, and bake them on tin plates in a slack oven.

And if you would like to watch a video on making gingerbread in the 18th century, this little girl is precious. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Z2qwyHcPo

On this cloudy Saturday morning, I am going to make some oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. It is that kind of day.

I believe Cookie Monster said it well. “Home is where heart is. Heart where cookie is. Math is clear: Home is cookie.”

Click-to-Tweet: “Take three pounds of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound of butter rubbed in very fine…” –an 18th century receipt (recipe). @sheilaingle1 talks about baking “cakes” via @InspiredPrompt


Sheila C. Ingle

A graduate of Converse College with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Sheila Ingle is a lifelong resident of S.C.

Her published books, Courageous Kate, Fearless Martha, Brave Elizabeth, and Walking with Eliza focus on the bravery of Patriot women living in Revolutionary War South Carolina. Tales of a Cosmic Possum, not only shares Ingle family history, but also South Carolina and cotton mill history.

Serving on the board for eight years of Children’s Security Blanket (a 5013c) organization that serves families that have children with cancer; she is the Board Chairman. She is also a member of Chapter D PEO, where she served as vice president and chaplain; Circle 555(a local women’s giving group), where she has served on the grant committee; and a board member of Spartanburg County Historical Association, serving on the Walnut Grove Committee.

Sheila is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonists, Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, and Magna Carta Dames and Barons.

Married for forty years to John Ingle, they have one son Scott. Besides being avid readers, the South Carolina beaches are their favorite spots for vacations.

www.sheilaingle.com

Twitter: @sheilaingle1

Facebook: Sheila Ingle, Author