Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Unveiling my Book Cover!

Here it is, the final design for the hard cover book jacket of "Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie."

But wait, there's more. Check out the back!
It reads: “Beth Howard describes with warmth and wit how the bitter events in life are set off by the sweet ones — much like the ingredients of a good recipe. Making Piece is a moving account of love and loss.”

   –Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle

Yes, that's right! Jeannette Walls, after reading an advance copy, said something nice about my book! I am beyond thrilled and, yes, grateful for her kind and generous words and the fact those words will now grace my book cover.

Oh, and here's my new author head shot, which will be on the inside book flap. Thanks to photographer Kathryn Gamble for making look waaaaay more glamorous in the photo than I look in real life. In real life I am either dressed in my overalls with my hair in braids and no makeup or worse, when the pie stand is closed, I don't bother getting dressed at all!

The publishing date is April 1, 2012, but the book will actually be on shelves March 27. Three more months to go. You can pre-order it now from several booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books a Million. Thanks (in advance) for buying a copy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even If You Don’t Feel Like It, Make Gratitude Pie

Some of you know that H and I broke up. Some of you know that because I posted a blog last week telling the somber, gut-twisting story about how he drove away leaving behind only tire tracks in the snow and how I stood there sobbing in my bathrobe and boots, and how I spent the next hours and days waiting and waiting for the snow to melt, for those tell-tale tracks to disappear, because they kept reminding me of how he exited my life so abruptly.

Some of you also noticed that I took that blog post down. “You should put that post back up,” some of you wrote. “He took advantage of you. He was selfish,” others wrote. One friend wrote, “You should have been much harder on him than you were.”

But my mother’s voice reproached me. “That’s not charitable,” her age-old recording in my head kept reminding me.

Understanding that the definition of charitable is “kind or lenient in one's attitude towards others,” then yes, my mother was right. I also continued to hear my mom’s other lifelong reproach saying, “You tell people too much.” Based on my blog and my forthcoming memoir, obviously I ignore this voice 99.9 percent of the time. But in my heart I didn’t feel right about the “snow tracks” story. It wasn’t charitable and what happened between H and me didn’t need to be shared so publicly. I took the post down.

A few days later, my sister gave me an early Christmas present. A Gratitude Journal. It was not lost on me that she gave me this “thoughtful gift” in direct response to my excessive complaining to her—mostly about H. "Wah. Wah. Wah," is all I said over and over. (God, I can be such a whiner!)

The Gratitude Journal contains an introduction discussing how to be happy, how being grateful and expressing that gratitude is a key to feeling good about life. The author states that she wrote in her gratitude journal every day for six weeks and saw positive results, and that she really felt better. About everything.

Well, I wrote in my new gratitude journal one day—just one page—and the results were instantaneous. It was like I was a wind-up toy marching in the wrong direction and someone picked me up by the back of the neck, turned me around and set me moving in the opposite direction, the one away from the negative and instead toward the positive.
Gratitude -- and happiness -- can be found in the simple things,
like a spectacular winter sunset in Eldon, Iowa.
Of course I am disappointed and down about the sudden unraveling of my relationship with H (one week before Christmas, no less!) And unfortunately the break up dredges up deeper fears: I am afraid I will never find love again. And because I am still grieving Marcus I worry that I will never be a desirable partner to anyone. But now I can and will put a stop all that negative thinking and remember gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for! My loving friends, my close family, my scruffy dogs, my adorable (and affordable) house, my good health, my soon-to-be published book, and so much more. And, really, truly, I am grateful for H—for four months of great snuggling, laughter, hiking, traveling, my introduction to the South (and grits and biscuits), morning dog walks, shared meals, shared stories, wonderful companionship and friendship.
A full moon rising over my favorite cornfield is something to be grateful for.
And so, the blog post of last week will remain sealed in a vault. Moreover, I have told my friend, the one who said I should have been harder on him, “I have no reason to say anything unkind about H. He is a good person and in spite of our relationship not being what I had hoped it could be, he still gave me a lot. And I am grateful.”

Gratitude feels good.