Tag: Book Updates


The Adventure Continues!


What a weekend! I hope everyone is refreshed and relaxed for the upcoming week because it is going to be a BIG one. Tomorrow, I am scheduled to meet with my agent to plan a publicity campaign that involves an expanded book tour. Right after I meet with Krista, I get to have lunch with the graphic designer who will be creating the book trailer for Seven Stones. Just writing that makes me feel professional and cool. ūüėČ

I also have some pretty fabulous updates to share from over the weekend. In addition to meeting my writing mentee (she is fabulous. I am really looking forward to working with her!), I was contacted by several bloggers and businesses who are interested in reviewing and carrying Seven Stones. Getting those emails absolutely floored me. Thank you to everyone who has helped get the word out! A big shout out to everyone posting pictures on Facebook of them reading my book, writing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Twitter, or just letting me know that they are enjoying the read. It makes my day to see those posts, and I do a happy dance every time!

Shane and I also have¬†been fortunate to have another friend come visit us this week.¬†So far, I’ve done a pretty good job balancing school, writing, fun, and¬†what I call The Book Stuff.¬†One thing that really helps keep us sane (and well fed) is our giant¬†slow cooker. I could write an 80’s love ballad for that thing. It is beyond awesome to be able to throw ingredients together, completely ignore them¬†for 8-10 hours, and then come home from work to a delicious dinner. Because we¬†have company, I decided to whip out¬†one of my favorite recipes: African Chicken Peanut stew.

My version was adapted from this recipe. I mainly added more peanut butter, omitted the heat for Shane, and adapted the cooking time for a slow cooker. I like to serve the stew over a bed of brown rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled (in my case, piled) on top. African Peanut Stew is one of the most requested dinners in the House of Lee. Enjoy!

Julia’s African Chicken Peanut Stew

4 chicken thighs, skin and excess fat removed

1 medium or large yellow onion, diced

A 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes

1 quart stock (vegetable or chicken)

2 cups peanut butter, chunky

2 Tbsp ground coriander

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 bunch of fresh Cilantro, chopped (for serving)

Easiest Directions Ever

1. Chop everything and add it to the slow cooker

2. Add stock and diced tomatoes

3. Submerge the chicken thighs whole

4. Turn slow cooker on Low and ignore for 8-10 hours (5-6 on High)

5. When the time is up, remove chicken thighs. Shred the meat from the bone with two forks. Discard the bones (or save to make stock) and put the shredded chicken meat back into the stew.

6. DEVOUR! Serve over cooked brown rice with fresh cilantro heaped on top. I like mine with some sass, so here’s when I add cayenne pepper.

Suggested Pairing

This dish pairs well with old friends and a board game nigh

Happy Monday!



Lunch with The Publishers!


Phew! After a long, glorious day, I am finally back in Bemidji and ready to blog. Today, I drove down to Brainerd to have lunch with my fabulous publishers and plan the final touches for the book release party. Some topics we discussed:

  • A new cover design
  • Book Release Invitation Postcards (when they are going out and who is getting them)
  • Preorders
  • Agents
  • The Sequel
  • Contacting booksellers
  • Reviews

We met at Prairie Bay–my absolute favorite restaurant AND consequently where Chip, Jean, and I met. *Cue flashback music and dissolve* It all happened three years ago…

Chip and Jean (owners of RiverPlace Press) were speaking at a publishing panel¬†hosted by Prairie Bay. While they were talking about their company and giving aspiring authors tips on how to get published, I just kept thinking, “I have to introduce myself to them.” After the rest of the panel finished speaking, there was a “meet and greet” mingling part of the event. I took a deep breath and marched myself up to them, being as charming and sophisticated as humanly possible while totally freaking out and trying not to hyperventilate.

This is about how cool I felt.

This is about how cool I felt.

I introduced myself, my book idea, and somehow managed to form full sentences. I told them that I loved the sound of their publishing house and wondered if they could give me any tips on how to get my unfinished manuscript published. For reasons I still cannot fully comprehend, they said, “Sure. How ’bout we meet up for coffee sometime?” I almost passed out.

A few weeks later, I met Chip and Jean at Coco Moon coffee shop in Brainerd. I was dressed in heels, a business jacket and matching skirt, and clutched my synopsis in my awkwardly sweaty hands. They came on bikes and wore jeans. We talked about the publishing business, my aspirations as a writer, and my writing background. Then came the question: “What is your book about?” Luckily, I just happened to bring that sweaty synopsis. After reading it and listening to me babble, they asked me to send them the first few chapters. I emailed it to them as soon as I got home.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on my manuscript and obsessively checked my email. Nothing. “Idiot. As if they would actually publish your book.” At this point, there may have been a lot of binge ice cream eating. *Cue 80’s music and montage of empty ice cream cartons and chick flicks* One day, one glorious day, I received an email from RiverPlace: they wanted to see the whole manuscript. I went into hyper speed. I finished writing and the first round of very rough edits and sent the completed manuscript of what¬†would become Seven Stones to RiverPlace Press.

*End of flashback*

Which all lead to today! The location is booked: Prairie Bay, where our story began, is going to be the venue for the party! We will be accepting preorders in the next few weeks (don’t worry, I will announce the SECOND it becomes a reality), and invitations will be sent out toward the end of February! It is all falling into place! SO much more to do, and so much to plan for the book tour after the release, but I am beyond grateful for the amazing opportunities I’ve been given. Thank you for supporting me and sharing this epic journey to becoming a published author!

Happy Monday!