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Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 Things I Love . . .


  1. My husband's arms around me.
  2. Hearing that someone loves my child.
  3. A sincere compliment.
  4. Lunch dates with friends.
  5. Accomplishing a goal, big or small.
  6. A clean house.
  7. Fireplaces.
  8. My faith.
  9. Chocolate covered cinnamon bears.
  10. Appreciation.
  11. A book that makes me think.
  12. Soup.
  13. Movies.
  14. Believing someone else's life is better for having me in it.
 Happy Valentines Day. May you have love in it.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baked Alaska Events!

For the last 7 years and 12 books, I have done "Opening Night Parties" at local bookstores to celebrate when each book is released. These events are published in the paper, advertised like crazy online, and have included food, drawings, door prizes--the whole nine yards. With the Sadie Hoffmiller series, the title recipe for each book has been served at these events. I had 11 triple layer devil's food cakes complete with chocolate curls on top. I made about 30 pounds of blackberry crumble and hired the local high school's culinary services class to make 16 pumpkin rolls. It's been a labor of love, I have loved it, but, dang, if it hasn't required some manual labor on my part. Not only making the items (other than pumpkin roll which I hired out and tres leches cupcake that was made by Lois Blackburn) but also the shopping for the items, the transport, figuring out how to keep cold things cold and hot things hot. I still have 150 banana split boats in my cupboard because I had to order 300 of them, I once had to beg some lids from my local McDonalds because I'd bought the wrong size in Salt Lake and the RIGHT size happened to come on their McCafe's (I searched half a dozen fast food places and gas stations before I found the right size) and I have leftover napkins for every single book; yellow, red, pink, green, purple, orange, blue--you get the idea. It has been fun, I've had fabulous helpers (my kids, my friends, my sister Cindy) but Baked Alaska posed a bigger problem than I'd faced with the other books.

Ice cream needs to stay frozen. Meringue does not travel well. IF the ice cream melts, the meringue slides right off. IF the transport is too bumpy, the meringue slides off. IF the meringue slides off, it's a mess and it can't just be put back on. I would need a way to store ten to twelve frozen baked Alaskas, but not in my deep freeze because that would be TOO frozen. I would have to transport them without destroying them and then keep them frozen enough to serve, and I couldn't stack them on each other. I spent a great deal of time trying to resolve these issues and make a plan, I even developed a baked Alaska cupcake that seemed easier, and is delicious, but so time consuming to make and difficult to store that it too had to be rejected (though the recipe is in the book, and it's really yummy!). In the end, I could not envision a result with the baked Alaska desserts that didn't end in failure. There were a couple other considerations for me as well:

When we served banana splits for Banana Split's release, a couple came to the event who also happened to work for the Health Department. They informed me that in order to legally serve food at such an event, I needed to have proof of a food handlers permit, and I needed a provisional certificate of some kind from the health department that certified that I was following proper technique when serving this food. There's a rather hefty fine associated with not having followed these protocals, but they didn't turn me in, just gave me a warning for next time.

When Tres Leches Cupcakes came out, the woman who had come up with the title recipe offered to make the cupcakes (she has proper certification). But that wasn't available to me this time around.

The other consideration is that my attendance has gotten lower with each opening night. In the beginning I used to get about 200 people, at the last one I probably had 100. I think in part this is because life is just so busy, I think it also has to do with the fact that I'm doing an opening night every six months and it's kind of lost it's 'punch.' Now, having the opening night has never been about selling as many books as possible, it's more about me having a chance to celebrate the book and I get to visit witht readers I only ever see at opening nights. But, still, with attendance getting smaller and circumstances getting more complicated and Baked Alaska feeling impossible to serve to a crowd, I decided to explore other ideas and I came up with something I hope will be successful.

Instead of doing one signing in my local community and serving the title recipe, I'll do five signings in five different stores across the Wasatch Front and have some yummy treats that are easy to transport. Here's a list of where I'll be and when I'll be there on Saturday, February 16th:

UVillage Deseret Book – 10:00 am-11:00 am
1076 S 750 E
OREM, UT

Fort Union Deseret Book – Noon-1:00 pm
1110 FORT UNION BLVD
MIDVALE, UT

Layton Deseret Book – 2:00 pm-3:00 pm
754 N MAIN
LAYTON, UT

Ogden Temple Deseret Book – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
339 EAST 2250 SOUTH
OGDEN, UT

Brigham City Seagull Book – 6pm-7:30pm
725 W 1200 SOUTH
BRIGHAM CITY, UT

The first four signings are just 1 hour but I get to finish in Brigham City, which is fitting since they have given me such great support in prior openings. I'm looking forward to the chance to see a lot of fans in one day and since I'm doing less signings throughout the year, I'm hoping people will come out for this one. I'm looking forward to doing something new; changing things up and seeing how it turns out. I'll let you know how it goes :-) or, better yet, come see me and find out for yourself!

I started getting emails yesterday (February 8th) that people were finding Baked Alaska in their local stores. You can also order it online at deseretbook.com or Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. The ebook versions for Kindle and Nook are on their way and it will be on audio, both MP3 and CD within the next week. I hope you love it. You can also buy it in paperback AND ebook, as a combo.

If you'd like to read the first chapters, go HERE. Recipes will be posted on the 16th.

Thanks for all the great support, the series has continued to grow in popularity and I could not be happier with where I am in my career. I owe that to my readers who have laughed with Sadie, rolled their eyes at Sadie, and, ultimately, cheered her toward victory! I hope you enjoy her latest adventure.