Wednesday, October 7, 2009

East, West, Home's Best

I do a lot of traveling for my work at Storey — to New York City several times a year to meet with TV producers, magazine editors, and radio hosts; to industry trade shows all over the country, to meet with authors or present panels to aspiring authors. Although I hate to fly (not afraid, I emphasize, I just hate what you have to go through to get on a plane these days), I really like seeing new places, exploring local neighborhoods, and sampling native cuisine.

Every year I go to the National Needlearts Association trade show in Columbus, Ohio, and before you say, "Columbus? What the heck is there to do in Columbus?" I will say to you one word: Jeni's. As in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio, where you can eat things like Salty Caramel Ice Cream or Chocolate Guinness Stout Ice Cream or Lavender Honey Ice Cream. It's the best stuff in the world, and you can only get it in Ohio. There's a wonderful farmers' market and restaurant in the North Market there, where the likes of Candi Jensen, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and I ate Greek food and Jeni's for every meal for three days.

I've just come back from a week in a part of the country I'd never been before: Raleigh, North Carolina, where I attended The Garden Writers Association annual symposium, and then went on to the Southern Independent Booksellers Association regional trade show in, of all places, Greenville, South Carolina. I loved both places, but Raleigh won out, mainly because it was warm and sunny most of the days I was there. Greenville was locked in a monsoon pattern my entire time there, but since 90 percent of that time was spent in a building chatting with booksellers, it didn't matter all that much. In Raleigh I got to see lots of our authors with whom I usually only share e-mails, and I was very honored to represent Storey on a panel presentation and discussion on "Secrets of a Book Publicist" with my colleagues Michael Taeckens, publicity director at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and Olivia Dunn, senior publicist at Timber Press. If you click on the link above, you'll see the three of us with our moderator Amy Stewart, author of the bestselling Wicked Plants and hostess extraordinaire. I hate public speaking almost more than flying, but thankfully, the audience was very kind and didn't scream "You lie!" at us. Here was my favorite dinner:

Peering over the top of the menu you can see Carleen Madigan, our acquiring editor for gardening, perusing her choices (she got fried chicken). This is the best North Carolina barbecue I had, with the peppery, vinegary sauce that is found in this region.

Before going to the Deep South, I had some meetings set up in Baltimore for a new cookbook we're publishing next spring, and since I had some downtime afterward, I took myself to Camden Yards to watch my hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, get absolutely skunked in a home game against Tampa Bay. But it's a gorgeous field, it was a beautiful night, and here is exactly where I sat:

Yep, that's right. I could lean over that wall and touch the grass right beyond the foul line past third base.

But honestly, this is my favorite sight on my way home from work:

It's in Plainfield, and right now it's beautiful in every light. I like to stop here and take five minutes to breathe before I head off to monitor homework, walk the dog, put some boys to bed, and knit for five minutes or so before I fall asleep.

— Amy Greeman, Publicity Director

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