Several questions bounced around in my head.
First off, was if it even feasible for me to do a chocolate cookbook on my own?
If so, what kind of angle would I take on it?
And if I managed to pull this whole thing off, could I get Covenant a manuscript as fast as they wanted it?
First things first, I decided.
I really couldn't think about it at all until after the blog tour for Tower of Strength and the LDStorymakers conference and Whitney Awards gala were all over. (Oh, yeah, and ironing out that little grammar book . . .) I just didn't have the brain power or the time to devote to yet one more thing right away.
But as soon as the dust cleared from the conference, I gave the cookbook some thought, and realized a few things.
The most important one was this:
Largely thanks to Mel, I really do know a few things about chocolate that the average Joe does not.
No, I'm not an expert (far from it!), but she's taught me a lot over the years. We sisters got together often around the holidays to make neighbor gifts, and it was always something to do with chocolate, of course. Over the years, I've made things that I never in a million years thought I could . . . things that were now demystified and things I now learned were EASY but just looked hard.
And then I'd go home and make them myself with my kids. I made one of those things for a book club I hosted. It was something insanely easy, but the ladies were so wowed they ooohed and awed. I was stunned and tried to tell them that no, really, this really wasn't a big deal, but they wouldn't believe me.
Then there was the time I made chocolate bark for the birthday of a gal I was the visiting teacher for, and she was blown away by it because the bark looked so amazing. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I made the bark because I was in a hurry and that it took me less time and effort than a batch of chocolate chip cookies would have.
So the realization that I actually did know a bit about chocolate was quickly followed up by the answer to the next question:
What kind of chocolate cookbook would I want to write?
Thinking back on my own experiences, the answer was simple: a book the takes the scary out of chocolate.
It would be a book that makes people realize that they, too, can make cakes and brownies and cookies and chocolate bark and dipped strawberries and all kinds of other things from scratch. Yes, you can. And it's not hard.
Really. It's not.
Plus, you can do other really cool things, like chocolate tulip cups, and those gourmet pretzel rods, and so many other neat things that look impressive but aren't hard. They really aren't.
So that clinched it.
I am a kitchen idiot, and if I can do it, so can anyone else. I said yes.
Mel agreed to help me out as my go-to person when I ran into walls. She helped find some recipes as a payback for some of the work I'd helped her with on the show. I had others willing to give me aid in other ways. I figured that when summer hit, this would be the Lyon Summer of Chocolate (not unlike the Summer of George . . .).
I knew Covenant was hoping for a 2010 release, either for Valentines of for fall, right before Christmas. I told them I'd do my best to get them a manuscript with 120 recipes by the end of August.
I took a deep breath and dug in.
That's when question #3 came to haunt me:
Could I get Covenant a manuscript as fast as they wanted it?
Sure, I figured. I'd have to work hard, but if I kept an even pace and did 30 recipes each month between May and August, I'd hit my target. I'd be right on time.
Murphy likes well-laid plans. They don't call it Murphy's Law for nothing.