Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist


Cookbook Writing, Marketing, and Photography Retreat with Holly Herrick and Beckie Carrico Hemmerling

Cracking the Cookbook Code – Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography  + Wellness Retreat with a Generous Dose of Fun

Personal chef and blogger extraordinaire, Beckie Carrico Hemmerling and I, award-winning author of nine cookbooks,  will be hosting a food/cookbook writing, marketing, and photography retreat at Folly Beach on March 29 – April 1, 2019.

Our small group (up to eight attendees) will indulge in  a few days of enlightened fun on the beach edges of Charleston, SC, eating delicious food and learning new skills. Beckie and I will teach our guests how to become better food writers, stylists, photographers, and published cookbook authors drawing from our collective reservoir of knowledge and professional experience.  One-on-one consultations,  signed copies of The New Charleston Chef’s Table, a guided tour downtown, wellness walks, and sumptuous lodging at a private beach house are just some of what our guests can expect. Non-writing friends and family are welcome to join at modified prices. Read all about it on the link below.

We hope you can join us! It’s going to be educational, fun, and delicious. And, it’s typically a beautiful time of year in Charleston.

Cracking the Cookbook Code. Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat


Writer’s Block

After nearly 20 years playing the writing game, I should not be surprised by the pervasive and prolific stereotypes that are out there about what writers do and how writers live. Yet, when someone I trust and respect said to me (in so many words) earlier this week, “You should get a real job,” I was stunned. I was so stunned that, in spite of my pride, I cried. And, just for some Victorian fun, he threw in “….or marry a rich guy.” Ummmm, last I checked the year is 2012 and I proudly wear a well-earned badge of independence which I have no interest in surrendering to anyone, rich or poor.

All this got me to thinking it may be time to take a reality check on writing misconceptions  and  what writing, at least for me, is not and what it is. Let’s begin with the not’s. It is not about sipping cafe au lait at a Parisian cafe, sporting a beret and scribbling mindlessly on a note pad. It is not Carrie Bradshaw going to glitz and glam parties in NYC, seemingly every night, wearing $800 shoes. It is not sleeping ’til noon every day and slipping in a couple hours of work here and there. It is not glamorous, it is not easy, and it is not another name for dilettante. And, finally, it is not just about the writing – there are contracts to pursue, books to promote, blogs to write, platforms to build, and lots and lots of editing.

Writing cookbooks, ultimately, is very hard work.  It is long days in the kitchen creating and testing recipes, and that includes the shopping before and the clean-up during and after. It is sitting down and doing the job, not just dreaming or talking about it, which requires extreme discipline.  It’s long periods between royalty checks and reaffirming  conversations with editors and agents. In short, it’s tough!

But, the reason I do it is because I love it and it’s one of the things, besides cooking, that I do best. I can do the cooking in my cheerful kitchen with my best friend and dog Tann Mann at my feet, and I can do the writing in my cheerful office over-looking my pretty garden while listening to the sounds of the neighborhood kids laughing or a distant dog barking. As wonderful as all of that is, it doesn’t touch the satisfaction of holding each new book for the first time, or hearing from appreciative readers about their favorite recipes.

These are the things that make my job utterly worthwhile and very, very “real.” I am very thankful to have it.

Cracking the Cookbook Code Retreat

Join me and blogger, chef and author Beckie Carrico Hemmerling March 29 – April 1, 2019 for Cracking the Cookbook Code, Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat. Limited to only 8 people, we will have a blissful few days in a beautiful, relaxing setting with like-minded souls, eating delicious food and having a wonderful time. Click for details.

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