You can also find River St. Press books at Barnes & Noble in Twin Falls.
Category Archives: Archives 2015
FAMILY RECIPES FROM THE SNAKE RIVER PLAIN
A grandmother’s special treat. A pioneer woman’s gingersnaps made for weary travelers. A cake from home comforting a soldier during World War II.
This collection is more than just a cookbook. It shares the stories behind the recipes. A family enduring washday and making soap. The wonder of lime Jell-O. How onions sustained a struggling family in Transylvania. There’s even an ode to fry sauce.
Heartwarming and entertaining, FAMILY RECIPES FROM THE SNAKE RIVER PLAIN shows what makes the Snake River Plain so special.
Watch for more details.
Beginning writers always want to know Where do you get your ideas? The answer is simple. Everywhere. I once read that by the time you reach age forty, you have enough life experience to write stories for the rest of your life, and I believe this is true. What you need to learn is how to mine that information and turn it into something interesting. Start thinking like a writer. Start asking the questions. What is he doing? Why? Will the results be good or bad? What’s going to happen next? What if?
Recently I spent the better part of a week in another state. It started with a long plane ride and ended with an even longer layover in Salt Lake City. I could have whined and paced. I could have stuffed my frustration with Big Macs. Instead, the writer in me came home with a suitcase full of ideas that may or may not turn into interesting stories.
On the puddle-jumper taking me from Twin Falls to Salt Lake City, I sat beside a man on his way to a dairy convention. He talked the entire time, and I learned that he was an Idaho transplant. So I wondered. What inspired him to move to southern Idaho? How did that impact family he left behind? Was he happy with his decision? Okay, the answers to these questions might be simple, but what if . . . he was the black sheep of the family and had a dark secret that kept threatening to come out. What if he changed his identify and moved to an obscure farming community several states away and met someone he couldn’t forget? What if he didn’t mean to fall in love? What if he didn’t mean to settle down or raise cattle, to which he had a deathly allergy, but there he was? The story possibilities are endless.
I was crossing a busy street in downtown Minneapolis. There was no park nearby. A small dog darted across the road and I watched it sniff its way down the block and around the corner. Where was the dog’s owner? What was the spotted dog doing in the middle of a busy street? What if the dog’s name was Sparky and he was having his own marvelous city adventure?
On the way home I had a six-hour layover in Salt Lake City. That gave me lots of time to sit and watch people. As a writer, the first thing I notice is what other people are reading. Which book, what author? Why? What if the man sitting beside me is a serial killer and he is reading a book called Clancy has a Gun? Why is the lady across the isle reading Alice in Wonderland? Is she planning a tea party with her granddaughter when she reaches her destination? Or the punk kid with his iPad. Is he reading or playing a game? What and why?
It’s really that simple. Story ideas are everywhere. All you have to do is sit back, observe, and ask What If? and Why?
I had lunch with a woman who is also a writer and throughout I was struck by her love of what she was doing. She had no bloodthirsty goal to be on the New York Times Bestseller list or climb the lofty heights of the Amazon ranks. She wasn’t out to make sure that her writing was on all the Nooks and Kindles in the universe.
She just loved what she was doing. She was happy, and her happiness was comforting.
I will admit to you I’ve fallen into that unhappy underworld when I begin to wonder why the heck I’m not selling millions, okay maybe thousands, of books on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble, or why Hollywood hasn’t optioned any of my stories for big screen or little one, for that matter. These are times when my ego takes hold like a rope. But as I’ve grown older I have learned that pinning happiness on those two things alone will lead straight to unhappiness. It’s like high school when you wish the cutest guy would ask you out or that you make the cheerleader squad. When those two things don’t happen, you are in high school hell. Thankfully, high school is over.
And please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not knocking ambition. If your only goal is to sell lots of books, then I wish you all the happiness. Damn, if my books do hit no. 1, I certainly won’t be sad or turn down the royalty checks.
But I’m not going to be holding my breath either.
I’m just going to keep on writing and learning how to become a better writer because that’s why I began all this in the first place. I love to tell stories and create characters. I love to have someone read my writing and feel a bit of the emotions I felt when writing the words. Or have them say, ‘Hey, I know what that’s like.’ I like to make them laugh, cry, feel scared, or rewarded. I like them to think. Mostly, I pursue what Harper Lee wrote in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
That gives me the greatest joy–giving people another point of view through my writing.
I’ve had my share of successes and I am grateful and lucky, but as in life, I have to realize there will always be people with more success and less success. People with more money and less. At times, I still have to work to keep myself out of that hades of unhappy writers, but it is getting easier and isn’t that something to be happy about?
Following is the link to the best list I’ve read about how to be a happy writer by novelist, screenwriter and game designer Chuck Wendig. Enjoy!
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
Feb. 28 is the deadline to submit recipes and their stories to a new anthology by River St. Press.
For fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry – a story up to 500 words. Recipes are not included in the word count.
You may submit more than one recipe. There is no entry fee. You retain all rights and may republish your story and recipe after the book has been released.
Use standard manuscript format—double-spaced, 12pt serif font Times, Times New Roman, or Courier New with one-inch margins. Poetry may be single-spaced. Please incorporate your submission into the body of an email or attach entry as a PDF file. No other attachments will be opened.
Include your name, address, email address, phone number and word count with your submission.
Submission deadline is February 28, 2015. We plan to release the anthology in the spring of 2015. Please send submissions to email@example.com. Please put the words “recipe anthology submission” in the subject line. We will accept email entries only. You can submit your entry here.
If your story is accepted, you will receive one printed copy of the book and special ebook offers for your family and friends.
January is a month for new beginnings. While everyone is setting goals and making resolutions, I have a few of my own I’d like to share. Years of writers’ conferences, workshops, and book signings have taught me what to do as well as what not to do as I try to present myself as a professional writer.
- Professional writers listen and observe. At workshops, they don’t talk unless they are the keynote speaker. They respect the presenter even if they think they know more than the speaker. They don’t hog the time or offer their opinions unless they are specifically asked.
- Dress appropriately. Professional writers don’t show up in pajamas even if they write most of their books in pjs. They pay special attention to their appearance and put their best self forward. They brush their teeth, comb their hair and wear clean conservative clothes at presentations and book signings.
- Be courteous. At book fairs, professional writers don’t shout out, “Hey you, buy my book.” Nor do they interrupt other authors talking about their own books by saying, “Hey, I’m a writer too.” Or “Hey, I take credit cards.” They wait their turn and are considerate.
- Don’t gossip or complain. Professional writers are mindful of what they say in public. They don’t gossip or burn bridges. They know that the writer they pan today may be the best-selling author they’d like a back cover blurb from tomorrow. They know that the writer they berate may be the person they may have to chair a committee with some day.
- Be on time. Professional writers realize that time is a precious commodity. They don’t make others wait. They call when they know they are going to be late and stick to schedules, no matter what.
- Continue to learn. Professional writers know that writing is an ever-changing industry and that what worked five years ago isn’t going to work today. They read, study, and attend meetings and conferences to stay current in their industry.
- Don’t brag. Professional writers check their egos at the door. They realize that everyone has an opinion or something to boast about. They don’t pontificate or shove their personal opinions on others.
- Be dependable. Professional writers keep their promises. If they sign on to do something, they do it. They are honest and reliable. They finish what they start.
- Exercise self-control. Professional writers control their emotions. They realize that writing is a subjective career. They know how to handle rejection. They don’t shout or scream in public if their feelings are hurt, or if they have a problem with another writer. They settle disputes privately with discretion.
- Be present and give your all. Professional writers believe in themselves and write even when the writing is going badly. They believe in the process and they always do their best, knowing that their audience deserves only the best.
And lastly, professional writers know the difference between work and play, and count themselves blessed that they get to do something they love every day. As you begin the New Year, put your best foot forward. Be professional and enjoy the journey.
The historical Idaho State Penitentiary was named one of the Most Haunted Places in the USA on the Places You’ll See site. A story about the penitentiary is featured in River St. Press’ book, HAUNTINGS FROM THE SNAKE RIVER PLAIN. In its second printing, the book will soon be available as an ebook on Amazon.com.
Check it out at