Friday, February 22, 2008

News From Country Cookin' Mollie Bryan

Hello Friends!

I'll be leading a workshop at Stone Soup Books in Waynesboro on March 15, 10-11 (or so). the focus of the workshop is "Writing Memoir, Essays, and Columns, " which is kind of a lot to cover in an hour or hour and a half . ;-) But I think it should be fun. I hope to give participants some unique and fun writing exercises. If you have writing to share, please bring it along. This workshop is completely free of charge and will be lighthearted. I hope to see some of you there.

On other news, my contract for the second Mrs. Rowe book was held up because I asked for some changes, but it is on the way (or so I am told). The MRS. ROWE'S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIE is due in July. But I want to have most of it done before the girls are out of school. We have a tester on board and things are rolling right along. (The tester, Kate Antea, is a pastry "cook" and a dear friend of mine that lives in Colorado.)

I am exploring another Virginia food book, which would have even more history in it than the Rowe book. More on that when things finalize.

In the meantime, the spring issue of Grit will have a pie article I've written for them--the photos of the pie are beautiful. I wrote that article months ago! And to all the Virginians on the list, Virginia Living's April issue will publish the Mary Johnston piece that I wrote well over a year ago.

Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley
A Narrative Cookbook

My website:
[Pie tester! Now THERE's a job my guidance counselor never told me about! --Janis]

Monday, February 11, 2008

Susan Tyler Hitchcock featured at California Literary Festival

From the Long Beach, CA, Press Telegram:

Literary women write on in L.B. [Long Beach]
720 people from across U.S. attend L.B. event; seven authors give talks.

By Kelly Puente, Staff writer

LONG BEACH - Each year on Jan. 2, Long Beach school teacher Phyllis Greenberg makes a dash to the post office.
"I know the day is coming and I get prepared," she said.

Greenberg was one of hundreds of women who scrambled to send in their invitations last month for an annual event so exclusive, only 720 people are permitted, and hundreds more are turned down.

"It's a fight every year," said Long Beach resident Judy Jacobson. "But it's so worth it."

Women from across the country packed into the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday for the 26th annual Literary Women Festival of Authors.

A celebration of women writers and readers, the day-long event sells out every year and has attracted best-selling authors such as Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Kingsolver and Sue Grafton.

Organizer Judy Ross said those hoping to attend must send in their invitations on the same day received, or they probably won't get in.

"The event has become so in demand, we don't like to advertise," she said. "The entire thing had been through word of mouth."
Although a few men could be found in the crowd Saturday, the event has always been overwhelmingly attended by women.

Founder Harriet Williams started the festival in 1982 after she learned that her son's reading list from Wilson High School had only three women authors.

Since then, the event has become massively popular with women readers and writers alike.

This year's lineup of seven writers ranged from Pulitzer Prize-winner and best-selling author Geraldine Brooks to Bo Caldwell, whose debut novel, "The Distant Land of My Father," won Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.

Speaker Andrea Barrett, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of six novels, said the festival's almost fanatical attendance is contrary to reports that Americans are reading less every year.

"When you see such a large number of passionate readers in one room, it makes you feel like everyone is reading," she said.

Long Beach resident Wendy Zeh has attended the festival for the last 10 years largely for the camaraderie and inspiration.

This year, Zeh said she especially enjoyed author Susan Tyler Hitchcock's candid accounts of her life and the writing process. In front of a room of more than 300, Hitchcock regaled a time when critics blasted her nonfiction novel, "Coming About: A Family Passage."

"It hurt, but I was blessed with an overwhelming abundance of self-confidence," Hitchcock said, as the crowd laughed.

Zeh said it's that type of intimate atmosphere that keeps her coming back.

"You're surrounded by hundreds of women like you, who love reading," she said. "It's a special day."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Superb Book Launch Party for Sleeping With Ward Cleaver

Jenny Gardiner's next book should be "How to Promote Your Book." Last night, a few hundred of Jenny's closest friends (in other words, le tout Charlottesville) gathered upstairs at the Paramount Theater, where Jenny and husband Scott hosted a fantastic book launch party for Jenny's first novel, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver. By the time I arrived, the book-signing line snaked out the door, and people were snapping up multiple copies.

The food was so good, I wondered who the caterer was. I was thinking how lucky Jenny was, to get this kind of support from her publisher. Turns out, Jenny and her friends provided the food and drink, and the entire wingding was the author's undertaking. There were clever decorations using the graphics from the cover of her book, and the volunteer waitstaff sported matching aprons and pink rubber gloves which evoked the June Cleaver, early-'60s zeitgeist so intrinsic to Jenny's novel.

The evening was a huge success, and I have no doubt that in a few hundred Virginia homes this Sunday afternoon, people are chatting in person or online with their friends about Jenny's book, and curling up with a copy of Sleeping With Ward Cleaver and enjoying every minute of it.

My hat is off to Jenny (that would be a pink pillbox hat) for talent and creativity that extend well beyond the pages of her book.