Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Book Doctors, Algonquin, and Pitchapalooza 2012

Friends, fans, followers, I DID IT!  In front of a panel of judges and a room full of strangers, I pitched The Sabbatical Chef.  Oui, oui et oui!  Last weekend, I saw an article in the Durham Herald-Sun about  an event to be held at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.

Come, buy The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published:  How to Write, Sell It, and Market It... Successfully by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, aka The Book Doctors, and possibly get the chance to pitch your idea for a book to a panel of judges.

My ticket was #35 and halfway through the two-hour event, I started to lose hope.  I was disappointed big time at the thought that my name might not be called.  They were only going to call 20 would-be writers at the most to make a one minute pitch.  But it happened for me.  Now, truth be told, when I was in school, I was the nerd who wanted to go first and get it over with.  No worrying, no comparisons, just over and done.  But it wasn't a volunteer kind of thing.   And all of a sudden, I realized that my number had been called and I was to wait "on deck" for my chance.  I was sure that the judges could see my heart pounding through my bright pink Target sweater.  The three judges rounding out the panel were from Algonquin Books.  Truth be told, I was just thrilled to be in the same room as the staff from Algonquin.  Thrilled and shaking in my new Teva sandals that I bought a couple of days ago for my trip to France.  When it was my turn, I read my pitch, calmed by the knowledge that the Ex-Ex was in the room for moral support, received some great feedback from the panel...  a genre with lots of entries, who is The Sabbatical Chef?, is this fiction or non-fiction.  I had a really hard time admitting that it is non-fiction (please, who wants to read about my life?  Really?) but loved getting feedback from the pros.  French Dirt by Richard Goodman was mentioned by an Algonquin judge.  I read it several years ago and loved it.  Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes were also mentioned.  Just hearing their names when my book was critiqued was pretty cool.  I read everything in this genre I can get my hands on.  I walked out of the room with a date to talk to the Book Doctors for a personal 20 minute session and the promise of help to get this book out of my head and on paper.  Thank you-- merci mille fois-- I will get back to work on my book.  The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published will be a big help.  It's easy to read, funny, yet serious about the book writing and publishing business.  I am currently on the section devoted to the importance of social networking on the internet.  Here I am.  Tell your friends.  Send my link.  Read on, s'il vous plaît!

Here's the pitch--

The Sabbatical Chef is the story of a seemingly sensible woman who fantasizes about living in France, what happens when that fantasy becomes a six month reality, and the unexpected aftermath.  It's the mixture of a 40 year long love affair with anything French, the end of a 22 year marriage, two children who don't seem to need their mom anymore, an invitation to assist a chef in Provence with his cooking vacation business, a semester's leave of absence from the job where she works with a very angry ex, a postcard hinting at romance, a round-trip ticket to Marseille, and one suitcase.  It's giving up little league baseball for pétanque, sipping (or guzzling) rosé in place of sweet iced tea, and cooking with olive oil, mussels, and eggplant instead of Crisco, ground beef, and Hamburger Helper.  It's also the hard hitting realization that she'll never look or sound French (the best she can hope for is Canadian), that she desperately needs her children, and that she isn't as angry at her ex as she thought she was.  It's a cast of characters, a collection of recipes, and the (mostly) delicious adventures behind them.

And here's the celebratory glass of rosé and goat cheese salad enjoyed afterwards at Top of the Hill--
The Ex-Ex had beer and nachos.

Bon appétit, writers everywhere!  Write on!


14cyang (AKA ncacswimmer or "Cath") said...

Congratulations Mme E!!! That's so exciting!

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

Good for you! A true act of bravery. I think your story would make a fantastic book! I always pass Fly Leaf when I am in Chapel Hill to visit my daughter and always say I need to check it out. Now I really need to check it out! And I plan to dine at "Top 'O" as my daughter calls it next time I'm there. Sooo jealous of your yet another trip to France next week! Have a wonderful time.