Friday, November 06, 2009

Writing Journey: Sliding into Chocolate Homebase

It was the second week of August, and I knew without any doubt that I simply could not get a full manuscript of the chocolate cookbook to Covenant by the end of the month like I'd promised.

The thought was devastating. I'd never, ever missed a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise. I knew they'd be understanding, but I hated to disappoint them. I was disappointed in myself, even though I'd done everything short of moving mountains to get the book done in four months.

I sent an e-mail to Kathy, the managing editor, and to Kirk, my personal editor, explaining the situation and apologizing profusely. I said I could almost certainly have the book done in another six weeks, the first part of October.

Once again, Kirk proved to me that he's the best editor a writer could hope to have. His reply was something along the lines of, "We'd much rather have a quality product than a rushed one. Take the time you need."

(Have I mentioned that Kirk rocks?)

They hadn't decided on a firm release date, but they'd been toying with a possible Valentines Day release. The delay pretty much nixed that. So they penciled in a tentative fall 2010 release.

As soon as school started for the kids, I buckled down harder than ever, baking and cooking and otherwise chocolating (yes, it became a verb) all day long, every day. I'd plan out a strategy each day: which recipes I'd make and in which order, depending on what temperature the oven needed to be at and how long they took to bake, or if I needed to swing by the store for a certain ingredient.

While one recipe baked or cooled, I'd be at the computer typing up the results of a success.

Most of the time, the house looked like a flour, sugar, and cocoa factory had exploded inside. The counters and floor were scary. I did more hand washing and ran the dishwasher more times every day than ever before and still never caught up.

I don't have much memory of what we ate for dinner. My husband would walk in the door from work, see me bustling around in an apron, and asked if I was working on a recipe or actually making dinner. Usually, it wasn't dinner.

Life was utter madness. But I was going to get the thing done if it killed me. (I think it almost did.)

When I finished the actual recipes, I spent a week or so finishing up the other content I'd been working on periodically throughout the process: an introduction, explanations of ingredients, specific information on chocolate, a glossary, fun chocolate anecdotes and trivia, and so on.

That part, I must admit, was some of the most fun I had. (Possibly because it was, oh, writing.)

As the days went on, I gave Kirk a firmer date. I promised him that he'd have the manuscript by Monday, October 5th.

I thought that on that date, I'd be simply giving it a couple of final touches in the morning before e-mailing it off.

Instead, I was up late finishing the manuscript, working until I was happy with it.

But I made that deadline. I'm sure Kirk was long gone from the office by the time I submitted the manuscript around ten o'clock that night, but what I am tentatively calling The Chocoholic's Easy Guide to Bliss landed in his inbox on October 5th, as promised.

I celebrated not with chocolate, but with wonderfully salty chips and salsa.


Heffalump said...

Just thinking about the amount of cooking and choclating you did makes me tired!

Cluttered Brain said...

YUM! I can't wait to buy the cookbook!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

What an ordeal! Doing all the anecdotes and trivia must have been so much fun though. I would love that!

Helena said...

Yay! Whew!

wendy said...

Annette and her world of chocolate. Do you feel like you need to wrap yourself in silver foil paper with a little label coming out of the top that says...I need some salt and vinegar potatoe chips.

That book should be awesome. Way. To. Go

Sherrie said...

I really can't wait to get that cookbook. You must be sick of chocolate though...or can one ever be sick of chocolate?

Happy Mom said...

I can't wait to buy your Chocolate book!!!!


(Imagining your home as your blogged about the mess and stress involved in writing a recipe book on chocolate has been a blast!)

Carolyn V. said...

I can't wait for your book! Chips and salsa sounds like a perfect way to celebrate! =)

Sarah M Eden said...

Kirk is great, isn't he? My daughter made up a song about him... (it's very cute and she sings it whenever I mention "my editor").

Annette Lyon said...

Sarah, I'm going to have to hear that song next time I see you. Then we'll do a duet for Kirk. :D

Anonymous said...

Chocolating should be a verb. But chips and salsa? Yummalicious!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Yeah, Annette! I'm so happy to hear your chocolate baking and taste-testing is behind you for a while. I'm sure your taste buds are ready for some diversity. =) Congrats on your new book!

Cranberryfries said...

Oh good the ending to my cliffhanger. I'm glad all the chocolating got done. That verb reminds me of the spanish word for chocolate (sounds something like choco-late' ) and my daughter loves to sing that old song. Oct 5 must have been a glorious day. Chips and salsa sound like a great way to celebrate.

Julie Wright said...

I'm excited for your new book. Yes Kirk rocks, but so do you!


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