Another year has slipped away and we take stock of what we have accomplished. There are always things we wish we had done during the year. But in looking back, I see two things I did this 2013 that make me most proud. Now I can say, “Wow! You really did get that done”!
I have been planning to write a children’s cookbook for quite some time In fact I started one about five years ago but I ran out of time to test the recipes and do all the work involved and life got in the way. I knew my next book project would be another apple cookbook and that I would use some of the research material I had used for my two previous cookbooks. And I really wanted the cookbook to be healthy. So many apple recipes use lots of sugar and flour. Some of my orchard customers said that many apples really don’t need much sweetening. They were ready for a new apple cookbook for their customers, they told me. I took it from there.
What helped me reach this goal was a firm determination to get it done this year. This meant I had to set aside time each day, week, and month for work on this project. I set goals each week and worked toward meeting them.
When you’re a writer you have friends and family always asking what you are working on now. You can’t just say, “Oh, another book.” They want to know more because a writer’s life is supposed to be exciting, right? They don’t want to know that you have tried three different apple recipes and threw them out because you weren’t happy with any of them. You have to come up with successes, such as “I’ve just finished the first chapter on using apples in salads and here is a wonderful apple macaroni salad I want you to try.”
I used guidelines for the recipes. The recipe had to be low sugar/no sugar. They couldn’t have more than 1/2 cup sugar, max. In the section on “Healthy Food Practices” I stress cutting out refined sugars. I’ve used three natural sweeteners instead of the refined sugars. Most of the recipes have little or no sugar, but two cake recipes use up to 1/2 cup sugar, depending upon the sweetness of the apples. (No artificial sugars are used). That’s the fun of working with apples, as the flavor of different varieties means there is some leeway in the amount of sweetening to use.
Since I’ve published a number of books for myself as well as other authors, I knew I needed editors, proof readers, designers, and printers. For this I leaned on some individuals I’ve used before and was familiar with their work. For others, I took a chance on them to help me with the title and book cover design. I love a suggestion a reviewer gave me after the fact – she commented that I should have titled it Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes Kids Love. She said some of the recipes need adult help, which I realized and noted that working in the kitchen requires adult supervision. Maybe for the second printing that is what I’ll name it. I also like the title Apples – Naturally. So many different ways of giving “it” a name, but when it comes down to it, only one title goes on the book and it is Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids.
All spring and summer I worked and tested recipes. Finally, the recipes were written down, the additional comments made, and the last draft completed. I sent it off to the book designer, back for another re-read, and from there it went to the printer. From the printer it went out into the world. I had some pre-publication information out so I began sending out books ordered. In September, right at the start of apple season, the books were out and ready for more distribution. Mission accomplished.
But, we writers and publishers always say, writing the book is the easy part. Now the work begins – it needs to get exposure and be noticed. Needs to make it’s mark on the health of children. And it needs to accomplish it’s goal of helping children have fun using apples in many different ways.
My second accomplishment I’m most proud of this year is selling my Mercedes by myself, through Craigslist. Have owned this great car since 1998 but it was time to sell. This was done in the parking lot of Walmart (with friends near-by) with the paper work done at Burger King. Not recommended for everyone, but it worked for me.
I hope all of you have something you are very proud of accomplishing this year. Would love to hear your story.
Wishing you a prosperous and fulfilling 2014!
New book: Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids