All posts filed under: Being an Author

Sasha Martin

Save the date: Pop-up Book Club on Facebook LIVE

I’m hosting my first-ever Pop-Up Book Club on Facebook Live on Monday, December 19th at 8 pm EST (7 pm CST). We’ll be talking about my memoir Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness. Ok, so going “live” feels a little scary. But I also think it’s going to be mad fun. Here’s the deal: I want to connect with you in a deeper way. I’ve loved, loved, loved attending local book clubs. I go to people’s homes. We share food and wine. People cry. People laugh. I cry. I laugh.  I try to answer questions. We make friends. Facebook Live is the best way I can think of to bring this experience home to you. You can tune in from your couch, your bed, your kitchen – wherever you’re comfortable. During our live chat, I will answer your questions about my memoir and show you a few items I used during my adventure to cook the world. I’ll also have a quick stocking stuffer idea using items you probably already have in your …

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Bulgarian Memoir - Life from Scratch

Bulgarians read “Life From Scratch” & fall in love

It arrived one summer day in a nondescript, brown paper package reinforced with bubble wrap. We were on our way to the pool, I in my flip flops, she in her hat. “Keith,” I squealed (because squealing is still a thing that happens when joy doesn’t quite fit inside our hearts, the way it normally does), “Come quick.” Ava gave a little leap in response to my outburst, catching my energy in the way that kids do. Keith ran to us, his face a mix of fear – was something wrong? Was Ava hurt? But he read between the lines, between my big eyes and gaping mouth. He saw my laugh. This was good. This was very good. There, in my hands, was the Bulgarian edition of Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness. Many books never make a second printing, let alone a foreign translation. My toes began, very much on their own, to wiggle in gratitude. Lost in Translation The Bulgarian edition was put together by the lovely folks at Egmont Bulgaria, and …

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A book signing for children

Book writing for children: Laying foundations for peace

Creative writing is peace education. The process of creating a world on paper helps children understand the real world. When a child imagines themselves in strange situations – or better yet, when they imagine what another person would do in their story – they learn to “walk in other people’s shoes.” A question like “What would your character feel like in the desert, looking at up at a massive pyramid” gets at a deeper question – what is it like to live in another part of the world? Suddenly, a child who has put no thought into what it would be like to be born into a different situation is considering it. Creative writing helps children learn empathy. When done with care, creative writing is also a lesson in conflict resolution.  Writing exercises should be built around traditional story structure, meaning the children must put their characters in some sort of peril. If a character’s boat tips over, then the child must imagine a way to get their characters to safety. If two characters have a disagreement, …

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Life from Scratch book signing with Booksmart Tulsa

What really matters to authors

No one prepares authors for what can happen after they publish their first book. Of course they tell us lots of things in preparation for “magical” book launch day: Come up with a marketing plan (huh?); Pick out a favorite pen for signings (Oooo, how I adore my blue-ink fountain pen); Look presentable (learned how to use a curling iron at 35 years old – huzzah!). The advice is mostly the same whether you’re self published or going through a traditional publisher. None of this prepared me for what actually mattered to me as a first-time author. You see, I stopped checking sales early on after Life from Scratch came out. I couldn’t bring myself to care about statistics, weekly trends and blah, blah, blah.  Instead, I found myself running to my email and opening messages like this: I am in the middle of your book right now and I’m loving it!!! When I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about your story and your words all the time. We just started fostering little ones last August and …

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The greatest of gifts

The greatest of gifts don’t come in wrapping paper.  Sharing a loaf of just-baked bread with a friend, butter slipping into each steaming crevice. Washing the day down with a daring new drink – just enough to take the chill out of the air. And, above all, filling our hearts with gratitude for simple moments. These are the best gifts of all. Especially that last item – gratitude. With gratitude every moment is a gift. Gratitude fills up the giver and the receiver. Gratitude isn’t about whether the glass if half full or half empty. Gratitude is being glad there’s a drink there in the first place. I’ve had some half full and half empty moments over the last few years. I became best friends with my mom. She was a huge support throughout my twenties and when I began this blog. And then I wrote a book and … I don’t know. Everything changed. We spoke every day while I was writing – laughing and sorting out dates – but now she’s gone into …

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How obsessively cooking the world helped me face my past

Have you ever heard someone mutter “I just want to leave the past behind me”? When I started this blog, I thought it was about three little things: teaching my picky husband to look at food as an adventure, not an attack; raising my daughter with international perspective; and satisfying my own wanderlust. But when I began writing my memoir, my editor challenged me to dig deeper. She said something like: “Cooking the world, week after week, isn’t exactly a normal thing to do.” She sent me away to think about what my obsessive behavior was really about. The past kept coming up. The foster homes. The separation from  my mother. The search for an unconditional home. I soon realized cooking the world was not simply about the food. It was about finding a sense of belonging. But, no matter how many countries I cooked, I’d never find my place in this world if I didn’t make peace with my past. We all have struggles. I very clearly kept them off of this blog and, for the most part, …

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Living with my memoir out in the world

Between recipes and global tips I want to take a moment to pause, breath in, and thank you, my beautiful readers. You continue to welcome me as I tour the country and promote my debut memoir, Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness. Your warmth humbles me. You tell me it’s safe to cry with you – and good thing, because I can’t seem to stop. I did it in book signings, on live radio, and in front of live studio audiences. I did it when that one host asked me “What would you tell your ten year old self?” Tears streamed down as I choked out the words “Nothing, I’d just hug her.” If you read the book you know my ten year old self sorely needed hugs. Sharing my life story makes me feel naked on stage but I learned something amazing: when you’re willing to be vulnerable, so are your friends. We’ve cried together, you and I, sometimes without words being exchanged. Just a knowing look can be enough. Others have opened …

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On sending my book out into the world

They say writing a book is like having a baby. I’m not so sure.

My memoir,  Life from Scratch is due into the world on March 3rd, 2015. I started writing in 2013 and can assure you that the 2-year gestation period was one of the most challenging periods of my career. I am just now starting to feel the butterflies as early press pours in from Women’s Day, O Magazine, and Food and Wine.

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Why I’m terrified of telling you about my memoir

My dear friend Becky and I had been chatting over drinks for more than an hour when I suddenly mumbled “I’m terrified of telling my readers about my memoir.” The admission took me by surprise, as did the tears that spilled down my cheeks. I added, almost self consciously, “I don’t know how to tell them … isn’t that crazy?” I darted my eyes around R Bar expecting to lock eyes with frowning onlookers, but the only other patrons were engrossed with each other, the flush of new romance in their eyes. Truth is, I’ve been scared to tell you about my memoir for a long time. Sure: I’ve told you about the book casually – in a billboard announcement sort of way (clipped, chirpy, and relatively benign). But I haven’t told you in a pour my soul out through the keyboard sort of way. And – for better or worse – that’s the kind of announcement this book seems to require. My friend took in my tears, then said:  “Tell them the truth: that you’re scared; that you cried at a bar …

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Oh my gosh, the things I’ve been doing…

For the last two months I’ve been writing (and rewriting) my memoir. I’ve been going into work early. Resuming work after Ava’s bedtime. And I loved it. I especilly loved the letters L,M, and N. I loved the solitude of deep thought that comes with getting so buried in how to describe something that I cannot hear anything around me. I loved going through the manuscript and marking things “BORING,” and then coming back to those passages and trying to think of better commentary, fresher description, or new perspective. I loved crying through the tough bits, and laughing through the happy bits. Because that is human nature. That is my story. It felt good to embrace it – recognize it. Finally. I loved drinking too many “1 shot, decaf lattes,” right up until bedtime – and I loved that the bartenders at The Pheonix not only knew my order, they’ve dubbed their coffee shop/bar/restaurant/library my “second and third place” (according the Cheers, everyone needs a home, a place to work, and a third place). I also loved recipe testing. …

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