Read, Eat, Drink–Weekend Roundup



I loved seeing the lively debate happening on last week’s post about the need for an author platform. Is it just nonfiction writers who need to be concerned about platform? Or will the platform-pressure rise for fiction writers as the industry changes?

My guess? I see platforms becoming increasingly important for even fiction writers over the next few years. Look at the new crop of mega stars like John Green and Maureen Johnson–they’ve mastered the art of authentically connecting with fans. And this idea of “authentically connecting with fans” is really what platform is about. It’s not about shameless self-promotion, building a sales page for your book, or really, about selling your book at all. It’s about caring about the people who read your work, wanting to get to know them, and relishing your conversations with them. The Economist captured the new authorpreneurship movement well last week:

Authors are becoming more like pop stars, who used to make most of their money selling albums but who now use their recordings as promotional tools, earning a living mainly from concerts. The trouble with many budding writers is that they are not cut out for this new world. They are often introverts, preferring solitude to salesmanship. Readers these days want to get to know the creators of the books they buy. Diffident authors may feel uncomfortable with getting so close to their fans. But only the likes of Ms Lee can afford to stay mysterious.

Writers often feel like they don’t have the right personality to “build a platform” and “sell their work.” But if you care deeply about affecting the world with your writing, and if you genuinely care about the person on the other end of your words, then you’re missing out on a whole world of fun and personal growth by not chatting with those people. If readers love your work, they’ll love you. So get out there and say hello!


Baked Hot Chocolate

Oh, man. Look at that gorgeous chocolate-y goodness. I’ve been day dreaming about this recipe for Baked Hot Chocolate from the Wall Street Journal since Jarrett first sent it to me a few weeks ago. It’s gloriously gluttonous and dangerously easy–the only two qualities that will ever convince me to turn on the oven and bake something.

With just 4 ingredients, and about 20 minutes of hands-on time, the recipe makes a thick hot chocolate that then bakes up into a cake-like dessert. The top is slightly crispy and you have to break through it to find the oozing chocolate center–it’s like an elevated, ultra-easy chocolate lava cake. Serve it in your cutest mugs and garnish with whipped cream or a peppermint stick, and you’ll be just minutes away from chocolate heaven!

Find the full recipe here.



Stepping aside to let Jarrett tell you about this incredible cocktail he made last week:

I often make fun of Maria’s tastes when it comes to cocktails—she pretty much only likes vodka- or gin-based drinks (she even resisted gin at first until she met Jack Rudy and his tonic). Slowly but surely, however, I’ve tried to work dark rums into our cocktail repertoire, and so far the results have been promising! This week we made Planter’s Punch, based off a recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Cocktail Parties book (which has some awesome appetizer/drink combo recipes if you’re having company over). Here’s the recipe:

2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
soda water

Add the grapefruit, pineapple, and lime juices as well as the simple syrup and rum to a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 15-20 seconds, then strain into a collins glass (or mason jar, if you’re ballers like us) filled with ice. Top off with soda water and stir. You can add a piece of the grapefruit peel for a garnish.



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