Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice by Peggy Lampman (VBT, guest post, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT



I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Peggy Lampman who answers...
 
What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?

PL:  In my case, “thing” should be “things”. In a nutshell, those things were honing my craft, finding the time, overcoming my fears, finding an agent, and learning how to self-publish my book.

Since childhood, I’d always imagined that I’d write a book. Through adolescence, I kept lengthy journals alongside ideas for stories. I didn’t, however, have the maturity or experience to turn those over-written, angst-burdened pages into a book anyone else would care to read. Bleeeech! Little did I realize, it was then I held what was most illusive to a new writer: time to spare and no concerns about survival funds.



In college I took a bad piece of advice: I allowed my parents to convince me switch my creative writing major at the University of Michigan to communications/journalism. I did this mostly out of fear; I needed a “real” job.  That decision derailed me from following my passion, and a different study focus hindered me from honing my craft. With a demanding job followed by owning a business and raising children––finding the time to write stories proved illusive.

That’s not to say I wasn’t writing. I learned the power of creative spin working in Manhattan at a Public Relations firm, and, after returning to Ann Arbor, I had a food by-line in a newspaper and wrote for a dot com.  I also owned a specialty food store for 20 years and have maintained a food blog for six years. (www.dinnerfeed.com) But a story was in me; did I have what it took to let it out?

There were experiences in my life that changed me, and there would be no closure until I wrote about them, expressing these feelings in a novel. With the support of my family, I quit my job, hunkered down and began to dig. I wrote about what I know, and the truth I’ve found as I wrote this book helped me defeat despair; to get to the pain and pull myself out. At last I wrote a book that I could be proud of.

The query to agent process was the next challenge. After piles of rejections, I landed an excellent agent, Wendy Williams, perfect for my genre. I thought I’d made it––until she tried to sell it to one of the major publishing houses.  Although my project was rejected, I received pages of excellent feedback indicating that my novel had promise.

I spent another year rewriting the novel based on the feedback I’d received.  This time around, I decided to self-publish. I was ready to begin my second novel and I didn’t have the time or desire to go through the selling process. I had the new manuscript (once again) edited twice, found an award-winning book cover artist, Derek Murphy, to design my cover, and self-published the book through Createspace. As luck would have it, Kindle had just implemented a program where authors are paid for every page read in the Kindle library. Seeing that readers are engaged in tangible numbers, is soul gratifying.


I would love hearing from you, and welcome you to learn more about my story: http://dinnerfeed.com/simmer-and-smoke-a-culinary-tale/


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Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice
by Peggy Lampman

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GENRE:  women's contemporary fiction

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BLURB:

A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what's worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart


1. ASSEMBLE INGREDIENTS:

Shelby Preston--a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia--escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes--an Atlanta newspaper food writer--may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion. 

2. SIMMER:

Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good. 

3. SMOKE:

Chasing desires and ambitions, the women's lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders--some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what's really worth fighting for.


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EXCERPT


Mallory

Memos from the edge, self-help hieroglyphics, throwaway lines galloping off paper, most of them unfinished. These are the words I should have said to Cooper the day he left, bade farewell, adios, arrivederci—however you say goodbye. Itchy, my dearest friend, is returning a platter and will ignore them, assuming they are recipe scribbles. But if these tourniquets had a voice, their banshee wail would rant, rage and scream, shaking the foundations of Atlanta.
    
Dearest Cooper. What a splendid feast you made of me. A sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper, you chewed me up then spit me out. Was I that abhorrent?
           
Visceral, grisly, teeth-gnashing words; much better script. I write, post, then return to my cutting board. Chopping furiously, I collect, examine, and discard words much too ordinary to assuage my grief. Words...words...I need more words; what words can I write that will ease the pain of what you’ve done?





   
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.







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GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here





39 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Personally, I am about to read Carol Berg's "Ash and Silver" and Susan Arden's "Too Hot to Handle", among other things, lol. Thanks for visiting, Mai!

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  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Reading Addict.I've never written across a sunset before and am delighted to be doing so!

    To answer the above question, I just finished Jonathan Franzen's book, "Purity", which I loved. Quirky, high-concept plot; well-written and engaging. I just received an advance to write a second novel within the year (with lot's of food-talk) and it will be set in today's Detroit, now in the throes of a food renaissance. I expect I will be spending lots of time reading (rather dry) articles in Detroit papers about that.

    I downloaded several books based on culinary themes, such as Eight-Hundred Grape and Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. I think I will read those next for inspiration. Thanks for the question, Mai T. Have a lovely Tuesday!

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    1. Great to have you here, Peggy! Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us. I appreciate you taking the time to interact with my visitors and wish you luck on the tour!

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  3. I loved reading your comments. I enjoyed the blub about your book. It sounds really good.

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    1. If you'd like reading more for free, check out the "look inside" feature at:http://www.amazon.com/Simmer-Smoke-Southern-Tale-Spice-ebook/dp/B0128KSSLW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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  4. I hope to read this book.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    v_theberge@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks for popping in, Valerie and good luck!

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  5. Maybe the journalism major was a blessing in disguise? I know some creative writing majors who felt that a certain style was imposed on them...

    --Trix

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    1. That is a VERY interesting thought. No style was ever imposed on me except to write simple, efficiently and keep the facts straight. What style?

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    2. It's all in your perspective, isn't it, Trix? Thanks for dropping by!

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  6. Replies
    1. Happy you think so, Rita! Thanks for the visit.

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  7. How has owning a specialty food store for 20 years influenced your writing?

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    1. It's said that one should write about what they know and have lived. I had sooooo many crazy experiences and met such a motley group of folks, I received enough material for a dozen books. I drew my characters in Simmer and Smoke from those 20 years. Great question, Catherine

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    2. Thanks for taking the time to visit and ask a question, Catherine!

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  8. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. It definitely piqued my interest.

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    1. Thank you, Kelsey! That was my intent and I'm glad it did the job! Peggy

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    2. Glad to hear that, Kelsey! Thanks for dropping by!

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  9. Sounds like a great book-LOVE the title and cover!

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    1. Thank you Betty. I like it too! Lake Union Publishing is buying the book (as well as giving me an advance for a second book) and may be changing the name and cover. I suppose it could be a bit edgier but it is gratifying to me to hear that you like it. Thank you! Peggy

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    2. Good to see you, Betty! I think it is a lovely cover.
      (and congrats, Peggy!)

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  10. Sounds like a book I'll enjoy reading, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Victoria! Thank you for coming by!

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. When you were growing up did you think you'd be a writer?

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to ask a question, Barb. I hope Peggy gets a chance to come back and answer!

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  13. Really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and reading the post, Nikolina!

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  14. A perfect recipe for a great story.

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    Replies
    1. Good point, Mary! Thanks for popping in!

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  15. What are the hardest scenes to write??

    Betul E.

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  16. Enjoyed the post and the excerpt, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

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  17. I enjoyed the entire post. Thank you for sharing your book and the giveaway!

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  18. I enjoyed the entire post. Thank you for sharing your book and the giveaway!

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