Afternoon in the garden, late summer.

I can’t remember if I planted this, or if it just showed upon its own, but it’s pretty splendid. Illinois native, early goldenrod.

Meadow rue (thalictrum rochebrunianum) — blooming a little late this year, but I’ll take it. Six weeks of blooms in shade make this plant a treasure; one of my woodland garden favorites.

Feeling grateful to the people who told me a begonia hanging basket could handle a fair bit of shade and a whole lot of neglect…

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Afternoon in the garden, late summer.

Dahlias are starting to really get going…

Annual salvia, “Wendy’s Wish.”

Restless, despite being sick

Walked two blocks to Bed, Bath and Beyond, because I was restless, despite being sick; came home with apple cider pods for the Keurig (okay in a pinch, but real is definitely better), and a crackle candle with firewood scent — we’re all a little too tired for building a real fire tonight, but this will do me nicely for now, with the early autumn chill in the air. Maybe a fire tomorrow. Reading the Mormon homeschooler memoir, Educated, which is both beautifully written and heartbreaking. These children.



Looking ahead to next summer


We’re starting to look ahead to next summer planning, and the big questions are:

a) am I hosting a writing / creativity / food retreat in Sri Lanka, and if so when?
b) am I book touring with Benjamin Rosenbaum? (probably second half of July)

The main option of the retreat is after WisCon, so somewhere in the June 1-30 range. My tentative plan would be to serve as instructor and host for a 10-day retreat, but also spend some additional time either before or after the retreat with family, so we get some good Sri Lanka time when I’m not working.

So this is mostly a very early heads-up that if you’re the sort of person who might want to spend a fair bit of money on a tropical retreat with me and some other writer-types, speak now if you have a date preference. I’ll be working with Mandy Jayatissa shortly to select location, finalize dates, etc. and so on. You could also let me know if you want to be on the ‘notify me’ list for when it’s live. I have no idea how popular it’ll be, given the cost, but spots may go very fast.

Book tour stuff is going to be ongoing over the next year, much planning in the works. Pem Hessing is helping me put together a calendar.


Kickstarter timeline

UPDATE: Eep, the official launch date is going to be MUCH later, due to…well, I think it must have been a misunderstanding. It’ll be March 6th; we’ll be officially launching at FogCon, where I’m an honored guest. There will probably be some kind of party. The rest of the above still holds, though — Kickstarter editions will be available VERY shortly; we’re hoping to start shipping those out in about two weeks.

ORIGINAL POST: I think we’re finalizing the Feast timeline a little bit more. (Oh the tiny little delays all along the pipeline that add up to weeks and weeks….) This is what I have right now:

– September 15: soft launch for Kickstarter edition hardcover and paperback

– by October 15: e-book ready (hopefully) and sent out to Kickstarter backers

– between Sept 15 & Dec 15, I’ll have copies with me for local events, and when I’m visiting various places (Bay Area, possibly Farmington, CT, Montreal, possibly Madison, Los Angeles, Columbus)

– December 15: actual launch

– after Dec 15, more events, mostly TBD, but definitely including Seattle, Bay Area, Orlando, Madison — any media push will be aimed for after this point.

The main difference is that the Kickstarter edition costs more to print (POD instead of through an offset printer), so it’s a higher unit cost for me. But we can’t get the offset version faster, and in fact, if you want copies for holiday gifting, I strongly encourage you to get the Kickstarter edition! Don’t worry about a few dollars one way or another for me, please. 

If you are moved to leave a review on Amazon or elsewhere, that would be very much appreciated; I’m hoping some early reviews from the soft launch will build excitement for the actual launch.



Leveled up!

Yesterday, I felt like I leveled up in cooking — I made a batch of passion fruit marshmallows AND a batch of cashew milk toffee AT THE SAME TIME, and they both came out perfectly and nothing burned. Woot! (Yay for timers and exact measurements on candy thermometers.)

Making sweets for Cee Gee‘s art gallery show tonight — at least that’s the hope, if I can get the address to drop them off at!



Gluten free cookbook question!

Gluten-free cookbook question! So, I promised a gluten-free e-book of Sri Lankan recipes as part of the Feast Kickstarter. I thought I’d work on it over the summer, but no. That’s okay, I think, but I’m going to start working on it now, and expect to have it done by end of October. It won’t be a copy of everything in Feast, made gluten-free — more of a sampler.

Now, much of Feast already is gluten-free! Since Sri Lankan cuisine is more rice-based than wheat-based, that helps a lot. Wheat has crept into some traditional rice-based recipes, mostly because it makes dough softer, but we can just take it out again and go more traditional, so that’s easy.

So mostly, I think what I should do is:

a) choose the best of what’s already there and already gluten-free (in each section — appetizers, entrees, etc.)

b) take the wheat-infused recipes back to the rice-based versions, and then

c) come up with some extra recipes which will be exciting to gluten-free people — and that last step is where I get stuck.

What is exciting to gluten-free people? What kinds of things do you crave, that are then hard to find recipes for? I am looking forward to experimenting in the kitchen this fall, but pointers to the right kinds of things to develop would be very helpful!


A memoir, in its own way

Jeremy has delivered the final, indexed and fully designed, text of Feast of Serendib. I am feeling weirdly emotional about the whole thing. My cookbook makes me want to cry. I’m not sure that’s normal.

It’s a memoir, you know. In its own way, though not exactly the sort of memoir I learned to write in my creative nonfiction class. But I think I’ll send my professor a copy anyway…


Uploading the official ARCs

Okay, we’re now uploading official ARCs, eep. Will order copies for big review outlets, and for ourselves, and then will have hopefully only minor proofing edits before we’re ready to actually go to print. One thing that might change is the back cover — I admit, I don’t love having a photo of me there, but I think that’s probably just self-consciousness and I should get over it?

But on the other hand, I’m kind of hoping we get a nice review or two from a big outlet (or maybe a blurb from a famous food person — do I know any famous food people, or people who know famous food people?), in which case, we’ll be editing the back cover to make space for them anyway. So maybe best not to fret about it now…

Kickstarter folks, my plan is that you’ll get your SPECIAL ADVANCE COPY as soon as we proof the ARC. This will be a limited edition run just for Kickstarter backers, so you’ll get it in August, barring unforeseen complications. Everyone else has to wait to official launch in October, the poor saps. Your edition probably won’t have blurbs on the back cover, but I assume you’re okay with that.  Again, thank you!

(Heather Rainwater Campbell! Today, can you go through the Kickstarter rewards list, and make sure we’re all set to actually fulfill all the rewards? I need to make someone a scarf, for example, and I’d love to ship it to them in August, which means I need to get the yarn and get cracking on that ASAP. I’ll need to make curry powder, etc., so may need to order more spices. And IMPORTANT, we’re supposed to list the backers somewhere, and I don’t remember where…in the hardcover? In the ebook? Both? On the website…?)


Keeping the writing shed minimal and uncluttered

Quick housekeeping note — I’ve been trying to keep the shed as minimal and monk-like as possible, to be free from writing distraction, but it does need a few items — some gardening gloves and tools for stepping out and dealing with some bit that’s bugging me, mosquito spray ditto (although mostly, closing the doors at that point in the evening + fan + bug zapper seems to work), candles and incense for putting me in the zone, and a bit of yarn work for thinking & dreaming time.

It was all getting a little cluttered on that corner shelf (wish I had a before picture, but I am too lazy to take it all out just to photograph it for you), but I was restlessly walking around a few nights ago, went to Target, and found these bins in that little front section.

$3 for a pair of the grey rectangles, $5 for the basket, which is totally a steal. They have them in a few shades of grey (and the rectangles in a few sizes), and now I’m trying to think if there’s anywhere else in the house where we need organization. The baskets aren’t really sturdy enough to stand up to heavy daily use, but for light duty, perfect. The bargain shopper in me is v. pleased.