Secret Plans Revealed

Last week, I told you about the new Membership team we are building to support my work. And I also mentioned that I had a new project to unveil that was for members only.

I’m writing a book!

If I were to make a list of the things I know for sure, that food is love would be one of them.

I have known that since I was old enough to know anything. That the secret ingredient in the biscuits Aunt Monty stood in front of the counter and rolled out every day of her life was pure love. That the tender pot roast after church on Sunday was as sincere a sign of my mother’s affection as she was capable of making. That I have never felt as at home in the world as I did all those years ago, in the fellowship hall of Emory Methodist Church, eating Miss VanHook’s chicken and dumplings.

So, I’m writing a book about that. It’s a cookbook, in the sense that it will have recipes, but it’s also a book of stories because the stories give meaning and context to the food. Think of it as a narrative cookbook, organized around 18 meals and 40 recipes.

Here’s the plan: Beginning Friday, July 1, people on the Membership Team will get an email with a link to download a PDF of a chapter of the book, and will get a chapter in their inbox every Friday until Friday before Thanksgiving.

Then, on Black Friday, the finished book will be available for purchase on the major platforms (print and ebook) but everyone on the Membership Team will get a free print copy in the mail as my way of saying thanks.

You can learn more about how to be part of the Membership Team and support my work (and get a free copy of this book) for as little as $5 a month here.

What I wrote this week:

I was at the beach for my birthday much of this week, which cut into my writing.

The Plan: Everything doesn’t happen for a reason.

Hot Dog Sandwiches: My favorite hot dog is not the best hot dog.

Membership Month: Where I tell the blog readers about the new Membership team.

Stuff I am into right now

I am back to walking every day (when the weather is nice, I like walking more than swimming) so I’m listening to audiobooks. For my walks, I like fiction from authors with strong stories and a large backlist, so right now I’m listening to a lot of Elizabeth George.

I read in batches. I was in a bit of a rut lately, but while at the beach I picked up another David Handler book, and remembered how much I love them. Just this morning, over coffee, I finished his latest: The Lady in the Silver Cloud. Back in April, I described the Handler books this way:

…you might like this series of books by David Handler. They are period pieces, set in the 1990s. The protagonist is a ghostwriter. He has a Basset Hound. He is divorced from a movie star, but it doesn’t seem to have taken. It’s as close as I’ve seen to capturing the essence of The Thin Man (one of my all-time favorites) in modern writing. Highly recommended.

And speaking of The Thin Man, while at the beach I found a used hardcover edition of The Novels of Dashiel Hammett, published in 1965, with lovely vintage cover art. Hammet practically invented the noir crime novel, and some say The Maltese Falcon is the perfect crime novel. I don’t know about that, but it is certainly high on my list.

And here in Jackson, they have a sauce they claim to have invented – it’s called Comeback Sauce (because it’s so good, you will want to come back…). It’s on everything – as salad dressing, to dip things in, and as an accompaniment with meat. Here’s as good a recipe as any, although everyone puts their own twist on it. It’s basically a localized version of remoulade sauce, but don’t tell them that.

Thank you for reading. This website is free and ad-free because of the support of my readers. Or, if you want to say thanks for this post, you can just buy me a cup of coffee.

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