Friday, September 21, 2012

Why Do We Travel?

This week, I gave an interview about the book that started it all, Signature Tastes of Bellingham (at Village Books, don't go anywhere else for it!), and the writer, Jessica Verner and I crafted the captures our motivation perfectly...

Why do we travel?

For some, it’s a break from a well-known daily routine.  For others, it’s the triple thrill pleasures of planning, experiencing and remembering.  No matter why, when we do strike out and see a new place, we always bring something back.  The airport tag on the luggage stays attached until the next trip.  The coaster from that funky little bar gets tacked to the corkboard in our cubicle.  All of it, a visual reminder lest we forget.

Here in Bellingham, that very notion has taken root in the form of a cookbook.  Well, maybe not so much a cookbook as a “Culinary Postcard”.   A recently transplanted firefighter, Steven W. Siler, came here and saw with a visitor’s eyes things that made Bellingham special: the people and the food.  So he went out and heard the stories.  He gathered the recipes. And he photographed almost everything. Rarely the food, but the sights and the people caught red-handed in the act of being themselves. And from that, the Signature Tastes of Bellingham was born.

And while the City of Subdued Excitement is a unique place, it’s not the only place that’s special.  That firefighter knew they were everywhere.  So that notion that began as a simple homage to the city has now become not just a nationwide, but an international effort. Its purpose is to capture and share those wonderful sights, those incredible tastes and intriguing places that define the area.  Thus, the Signature Tastes series of “culinary postcards” was born, to become the one takeaway that visitors and locals alike can embrace when they start a sentence with “…Remember that place?...”.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Southern Gift of Gab

Yes, I live in the Northwest.  And yes, I stick out like the first topless bikini on a beach.  Wait, you mean ya’ll don’t wear seersucker, pastel shirts (love me some mauve) and straw hats here? And don’t say “ya’ll”? Oh well.

But my own inimitable nature is one that allows me to start a conversation with a stranger, a stranger’s dog, and on one occasion, a beautiful transvestite who was being deported (I didn’t see the handcuffs). For this I thank my Southern-ness.  Years spent apprenticing in the company of skilled conversationalists who know no fear has served me well.

I mention this, because today, in the space of three conversations, I was able to score a television interview, a radio interview, and a production meeting for Signature Tastes (the television show). All unplanned, all unsolicited, and truly a result of the Southern Gift of Gab.

So please, don’t be afraid to engage your fellow man or woman.  They have a story, and Facebook is proof enough that a whole bunch of folks want to share that story.  And it makes for a hell of a good story at times. Now about that beautiful transvestite…

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Don’t Need Books For A Book Signing

Slade Weston making some great Apple-lachian Brown Betties

This weekend, Steve Weston had his launch party for his stellar book, In The Wild Chef, in Boise, Idaho.  The only hitch? No books. That’s right.

We had ordered them from the printer. We knew it was a tight deadline, but we thought we could make it.  Alas, one day late shipping, one holiday, and UPS closed on Saturday (really???), and all we had at the signing was the proof copy, and last minute samplers printed at Office Depot (which cost twice as much as the books. Ugh!).

And it went off perfectly.

Steve had his support network of friends, associates and others there at Sierra Trading Post to support him.  He had wicked cool t-shirts to give away. And he and friends prepared 4 recipes from his cookbook.  God it was delicious. We gave away free $25 gift cards. And a good time was had by all. On the way home, we stopped by Barnes & Noble to show them the sampler. They ordered 25 books.  Sweeeeetttt…

The result? In The Wild Chef bumped from #37 to #19 on Amazon. 

Which shows that with support and goodies, you don’t even need books at a book signing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It’s 3 AM I must be lonely…

Yup. The clock isn’t exactly stuck at 3, but its making an interminable march towards it.  Am I lonely? How about alone instead?  Me and 3 AM are becoming fast friends, though.  

I am almost asleep…right on the edge…slipping…

Into another idea that lights up my brain like a phosphorus grenade.  In this case, it’s an extension of the Signature Tastes brand into 200 new markets.  Because I don’t have enough to do, right? So here I am, mapping out a production and distribution plan, sending out emails and inquiries and creating mock covers and such. No wonder people think I am a bit crazy. You would think so too if you saw my timestamps on my emails.

It will be successful, this I am sure of.  Because it woke me up from almost-sleep.  Your subconscious is always working, and once you get into that frame of mind where you are absorbed by your work, it will come through in spades for you.  Couldn’t it do it like 9 a.m. with a fresh CafĂ© au Lait instead? Apparently not.

But that is my life. I chose this, remember Siler?

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this anything in the world.

Except to maybe not see 3 AM for a few days…