Hey, y’all! How’s your summer going so far? Mine is flying by too fast. I can’t believe July is almost over and August is just around the corner. In a few weeks, my home will once again be quiet, and my college kiddos will be heading back to their respective campuses. Though it’s exciting for them (and my grocery bill will dramatically decrease), I will be so sad to see them go. My house has been bursting at the seams with my children’s friends galore, camping out, cooking out, and just hanging out. Oh, how I will miss them. Can you relate to the empty nest scenario?
When I wasn’t in the kitchen whipping up dinners and snacks for my brood (or spending an entire weekend at the movies—yes, I did the Barbenheimer), I was busy working on various projects and, of course, promoting Where the Grass Grows Blue, which had some exciting news this month on multiple fronts.
For the third consecutive month, Where the Grass Grows Blue was on Red Adept’s Best Sellers list, this time for June. I’m so grateful to all of you who have supported and bought this book. Thank you.
Where the Grass Grows Blue went out on "tour" with Suzy Approved Books, being reviewed and highlighted by multiple bloggers and bookstagrammers. It’s garnering some wonderful buzz. Next month, it stays on tour with more stops along the way.
I did my first Audiobook giveaway on Instagram. I think I’ll be doing more of those in the future, but I’d love your feedback on what kind of giveaway I should do next. Post your suggestions at the bottom of the page.
I was asked to do a "Mall Talk" for the Mall at Green Hills. Now that was fun! I was being interviewed by a film crew next to the Apple Store, with shoppers going about their business. Lights, camera, action! I can’t wait to share it with you.
I went to my FIRST in-person Book Club, where they discussed Where the Grass Grows Blue. What a wonderful night with some incredible readers! And boy, did they ask some great (sometimes tough) questions. I loved spending time with these ladies. Also, if you are interested in Where the Grass Grows Blue for your book club, either in person or virtually, click here and fill out the form.
I found the cutest dress at Draper James’ Nashville store that just so happens to match my book cover. Hello, photo time! I need your help. Vote on which should become my new author headshot. Comment below.
I wrote a blog for Bookish Road Trip’s newsletter entitled "Traveling Around the Pages." To read it, subscribe to Wanderlust by clicking here.
But the two biggest moments of the month happened on the SAME day! Last week, I received word that Where the Grass Grows Blue won three categories in the 2023 Firebird Book Awards: Best Summer Beach Read, Best New Fiction (first time published), and Best Romance. It was also named Runner-Up in both Women’s and Southern Fiction. I was over the moon.
Later that day, I secured my first in-person book signing at Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, Kentucky, scheduled for Saturday, August 5th. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you there. I’ll be signing books and will have bookmarks, pens, and more blue "swag" items to give away.
To wrap up this post, I’m continuing my feature of sharing a recipe for a food I write about in Where the Grass Grows Blue. Recipe TWO is from Chapter 12—Amazing Gracie (the potluck scene).
“But one dessert stands out, the one Miss Sadie Reese has perfected over the years—the punchbowl trifle. Miss Reese has constructed her decadent masterpiece in her grandmother’s Depression-era glass bowl thousands of times. Golden yellow cake surrounded by layers of syrupy pineapple, maraschino cherries, and homemade vanilla pudding fill the bowl. To finish the masterpiece, she tops it with whipped cream made with a quarter cup of Maker’s Mark, her secret ingredient. No one in the teetotaling crowd knows about the bourbon, but they lap it up like hungry dogs, blissfully unaware of their sin. It’s so irresistible that Penny has two helpings of the morally corrupt dessert.”
-Excerpt from Where the Grass Grows Blue
Miss Sadie’s "Morally Corrupt" Punchbowl Trifle
1 box butter or yellow cake: follow instructions, bake, cool, and cut into cubes.
2 boxes of Jell-O vanilla pudding; follow instructions (or you can make a homemade version).
2 cans of cherry pie filling
1 can of crushed pineapple
1 batch of Miss Sadie’s Bourbon Whipped Cream (see recipe below)
1 cup of pecans (optional)
12 maraschino cherries
In the bottom of a punch bowl or glass container, place half of the cake cubes. Make sure they are against the sides. Then, spread half of the vanilla pudding over the cake, followed by ½ of a can of pineapple, and then one can of the cherry pie filling. Next, spread half of the bourbon whipped cream over the cherries. Repeat layer. Top with pecans and maraschino cherries. Chill for 1 hour, then serve.
Miss Sadie’s Bourbon Whipped Cream
6 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of powdered sugar
5-6 TBS. Kentucky Bourbon
In a bowl, mix the whipping cream and sugar for 2–3 minutes. Then, add bourbon and continue to mix for another 4-5 minutes, when it begins to form soft peaks.
Three Things I’m Obsessed With in July:
1). Barbie. Hello? It has all the world buzzing about my favorite childhood toy. Margot Robbie is so talented, and Ryan Gosling almost steals the movie as Ken.
2). Flower arrangements. Okay, I have the best husband. This month I received not one, but two bouquets. One was for our anniversary (lucky 13), and the other was just because. How can you not smile looking at these "girls?"
3. Project Runway Season 20 on Bravo. I’ve watched this show from the beginning, and it never disappoints. Christian Siriano is the PERFECT mentor for these talented designers.
Until next time...