My wife and I recently went on a real vacation together for the first time in well over a decade. Real, in this sense, means that our children did not accompany us. We even stayed at an adults only resort so we did not have the pleasure of other people’s kids either. The resort in question was on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We spent the better part of a week doing next to nothing. It was wonderful but I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that it took walking along the beach, feeling the soft sand between my toes, the gentle surf swirling around my ankles and the warmth of the sun on my back for me to fully realize just how much I’d needed that brief respite from reality. I’m back now and once again settled into my small home office in Upstate New York. The weather outside isn’t very Punta Cana-like but that’s okay. I’ve got my mug of hot chocolate, fresh from a Dominican cocoa bean plantation no less, and I’m all charged up and ready to go.
I have, for the past couple months, been in something of a writing funk. I’ve got two projects in the works. The first is my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook. The manuscript, if that’s even the right term to use, is complete, or was anyway, but I’ve been sitting on it for so long it now requires further revision. The other project is my third novel. It is, without question, the most ambitious and challenging literary journey upon which I have ever embarked. More on that shortly. With Super Bowl LI (why can’t we just say 51?) rapidly approaching, the sports world is all about football right now so let’s begin there.
Based on title alone, you might be led to believe that what I’m offering is nothing more than a carefully selected collection of game day recipes, not that there would be anything wrong with that. My Cincinnati Chili recipe alone is worth the price of admission, even without the companion beer bread. However, this volume is on a far grander scale. There are, in my humble opinion, two things most cookbooks have in common. They lack entertainment value, and they lack humor. My goal is to serve up Thanksgiving-size helpings of both.
That, as you have certainly already surmised, is an excerpt from the introductory material of “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food.” It is, as I’ve tried to explain, more than a cookbook. The recipes are great but it’s entertainment too and the presentation is really solid, at least in my less than humble opinion. You get 21 weeks of tasty tailgate-type treasures interspersed with mostly humorous reminiscences of games and seasons gone by. Good stuff, right? I think so; but here’s the thing. No one seems to care.
The biggest challenge for any independently published author is to get noticed. That’s especially true for fiction writers because there isn’t much you can put in the title of a novel that’s likely to come up in a keyword search. Believe me. That stuff makes a difference. And for that reason, my little cookbook has far more potential for commercial success than anything else I’ve written. In addition to football and food, I can tag it with search-friendly terms like NFL, cookbook, tailgate and/or any of the individual recipes. In other words, potential buyers could find my book even if they didn’t already know of its existence. That’s a good thing. However, I’ve mentioned this project on numerous writing forums. I’ve likewise sent the manuscript to a few perspective beta readers for feedback. The response has been… well, let’s just say nonexistent. I was really excited about this but no one seems to share my enthusiasm. I’ve started wondering if the idea wasn’t as great as I thought. That’s why I’ve been sort of dragging my heels in terms of getting the thing published. Cookbooks need photos, and/or videos if I go the digital route, and that translates to time and money. I’ve been reluctant to invest too much into something without at least the hope of some sort of return. That said, I do have faith in my efforts thus far and I’ve decided that, one way or another, “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food” will be available prior to the start of next season. I’ve said it and put it in writing so now I’ve got to follow through.
I’d planned on transitioning into my latest novel and the struggles I was having with that but, at this point, I think I’ve probably rambled on quite long enough for one blog post. I promise I will return to the subject soon and, if the mood strikes me, maybe even give you a sneak peek at what I’ve been up to. I was feeling rather… inferior for a while but I’m in a good place now and it’s full steam ahead!
If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.