Saturday night I was part of a band of merry revelers who joined forces to throw our friend a potluck birthday party. I was charged with making the birthday girl’s favorite side, Twice-Stuffed Potatoes––a classic.
This path of aging has its drawbacks but it carries with it a suitcase filled with wisdom. I’m at a stage where life is about surrounding myself with people I respect, those I love and who love me back––hiccups and all. Above all, I like hangin’ with folks who make me laugh.
Tacking on the years, as well, is liberating. I’m far better adept at shrugging off negative energy.
One of many random ego-bashing examples: A decade or so back, after selling my specialty food store and beginning to write for the newspaper, a negative comment from a reader shattered me. And they were right. I wasn’t a trained chef; how dare I write a food column. Maybe I was, indeed, a poseur.
On the other hand, I’d been in the trenches of the food industry most of my life. Maybe I should go online and defend myself. I kept quiet yet fantasized ways of retaliation that only hurt my spirit in the end. When writing The Welcome Home Diner, it was easy to channel that angst when my protagonists were faced with damaging Yelp reviews.
Coping with negative book reviews is a topic that often comes up in writing circles as misery loves company––alongside a glass of Cabernet. More seasoned authors have helped me adjust. If one publishes a book, one must expect public scrutiny and take the positive with the negative.
OK. Easy to say. But this is what truly works for me: When feelings of negativity and doubt step in: I step out of the strangeness and do a kindness for another. Then, my energy is re-balanced. A bit woo-woo, perhaps, but the gesture is manna for my soul. Do any of you have special ways of coping when the dark forces invade?
Sure, negative reviews still sting (and drop ratings), but my psyche is better armored to shrug them off. Even learn from them. What a concept (-: I write from my heart, fingers crossed my books will be matched to my reader’s taste, and damn the torpedos.
Yesterday, the very first review of The Ruby of the Sea was released by the woman behind Novels & Latte (on Facebook) and Wild Sage Book blog (on Instagram). My cast and setting found its way into just the right hands. Here’s an excerpt from her review:
“Allow me to begin by saying~ very few books will wake me in the middle of the night and whisper, “It’s time to experience more.” This book was more than whispering to me, it was touching my heart. Truly.” For the full review, link to my FB Author Page.
Which leads me to my latest Book News. Ta-da! The Kindle version of The Ruby of the Sea is, at last, available for preorder, to be released on Feb. 5. Note the nifty little preorder button in the right sidebar. Not a Kindleite? Physical copies will be available on pub date, as well.
But I digress. back to the recipe.
These are forgiving spuds. Not only did they allow me to make them a day in advance, by accident I froze them overnight in our malfunctioning cellar fridge. Oops. I was concerned about the texture of the skin when thawed and then reheated, and worried the creamy interior would be compromised. Would a graininess emerge? Alas, they were delicious after the abuse, and perfect alongside the grilled lamb chops and roasted asparagus. I enjoyed them cheesy, but feel free to reduce or omit the cheese, if desired.
Here’s a link to another stuffed potato favorite, which incorporates spinach into the recipe. They are both, truly, yummy, make-ahead sides. I’m quite sure one of them will show up again–maybe I’ll sub them for the expected sweet potatoes over Thanksgiving? Perhaps not. At my Thanksgiving table, expected is the operative word, guarding tradition with a razor-sharp eye.
For more festive, seasonal recipes, tap the Holiday Ball on the side.