Swallowing it Whole

What do you do when you know too much? No, I’m not talking about being the absolute expert at everything. Lord knows, most of us (especially me), are far from that. What I’m talking about is when your life skills, experiences and knowledge fill a big bag of eclectic mish mash, the contents of which very seldom, if ever, interconnect. Life’s junk drawer. 

I have a professional photographer friend who is also a builder and a champion fisherman. Another acquaintance is a math teacher, a tile dancer and expert volunteer. I once knew a woman who made clothes by day and stripped by night. Skills. Every single part of these people was an amazing skill and it made them all rather unique as individuals. The magic is in how they mesh all those abilities into one existence. Today I came across a woman who offered several different services within very similar industries; some as a staff executive, others as a free lance expert. She manages to stand on several different levels of a common need. Nothing conflicts but everything works. Genius. Absolute genius. 

I try that too. I’m doing my best to combine as many of my acquired skills under one heading … writer. Having written for the advertising, marketing and public relations world for so long, I was always working on some novel or another behind the scenes. Understanding the ins and outs of publicity, I’m doing everything I know to make my work visible. But, there was a challenge missing. 

When I became a chef, I thought it was such a drastic ninety degree shift I’d never connect things again. It was fun, it’s was massively creative, competitive and challenging and oh hell yeah, I loved every minute of it. But as this chef grew older, those three gallon stock pots got heavier and heavier. I knew it was time to return to the keyboard. 

So, how can I stitch my two loves together? And … how could I do it to create additional excitement for my Cold in California, vampire urban fantasy series? 

After a suggestion from a new acquaintance, it hit me like a salami to the head. A cookbook. But not just a cookbook, a Vampire Cookbook. 

Now things really have begun to weld together. My learned skills of research and development from the old marketing days stood at attention and things started to pop. Did I want to write a blood cookbook? After all, the only two vampire cookbooks I could find were either a joke book or a book using blood as the major ingredient for all recipes. Ew. 

See, I really wanted to write a cookbook for people who eat food, not suck blood. It seemed hopeless, but then I recalled some terminology that caught my interest before and now has me jumping for joy. Did you know there are Psychic Vampires? There are Emotional Vampires too. Now add to that the Husband Vampire, the Nosey Neighbor Vampire and the Cranky Sister-in-Law Vampire and now we’re cooking. 

The cookbook took on a form and life of its own. The narrative covers how these people, although loved and cherished, can suck the life right out of us. It follows the same tongue-in-cheek style of writing as Cold in California, and like that urban fantasy series, the cookbooks also with have a series. Kid Vampire cookbooks that will benefit children’s charities; one for College Student Vampires who need a little guidance in the food choosing, preparation and quality area; Bachelor Vampires who want to impress and get some. Yes, this could be a lot of fun! 

Who knows anything about writing a non-fiction proposal? Trust me; it’s a long, laborious, time consuming and utterly satisfying process. It’s like writing a business plan for your new, soon-to-be dynasty. I’ve got something here, I just know it. Aside from the duo-publicity potential between the Cold in California series and this cookbook series, I’m actually going to have a great cookbook with my own award winning recipes and a lot of playful narrative to soothe the savage writer within. Next: promotional plans, live demonstrations and tastings. Could life get any better? 

Now, you. Your turn. It’s a challenge and I’d love to hear what you come up with. Take all those separate, unique skills and abilities of yours and find a way to knit them together. Who knows, you may just create a product, writing genre or service no one ever thought of before. It’s what we writers do, right? 

We create!

About Deborah Riley-Magnus

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Since 2010, she had two novels released. In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author. Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Deborah has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years. View all posts by Deborah Riley-Magnus

6 responses to “Swallowing it Whole

  • sulci

    “It’s what we writers do, right? ” It’s not what writers used to have to do. But in this competitive day and age, with some many competing voices fro a smaller conventional literary market, we writers are having to get with the programme, get on message, and adapt to the new media.

    For my part I’m slightly in limbo waiting for some product to link to. Self-publishing is about 20% of the activity. I’ve starting laying the ground, 4 guerilla video readings (filmed on imovie in my mac and unedited) on YouTube have garnered about 400 views in just under a month – compare that with reads on peer review writing sites in the same period. I’ve given it the tweak of ‘guerilla’ to try and stand out from the crowd and stick in people’s memories – ‘oh yeah that loony tunes in the balaclava/bandages/stocking over his head’ (the stocking one will be up hopefully this w/e). When I’ve got a book to link to, I might have a small, but enthusiastic audience. then there will be 5 more guerilla readings from the book itself, this time linked to product – ie if you liked this sample, you can buy the book on Amazon …

    Then there is directing people direct to the book or to the vids. I can’t really be doing with blogs – haven’t got enough to say day after day and if you don’t put fresh stuff up people lose interest (which is why Debs is so damn good cos she works tirelessly). But what I’ve decided, is rather than me have to think up topics each day, I’m inviting visitors to leave a word, a name, a theme, a line and I will try and improvise (or ‘riff’ as I call it) a couple of paragraphs of fiction from it. I decided to do this as it was virtually what I did anyway while continually bumping my threads on writer sites anyway. It kept me amused, but now I can put it to use. To try and increase traffic to my blog and from there to the book.

    As part of someone else’s initiative on dec 1st, celebrating giving away creative work for free, I will be hosting a webchat for the first time, on the subject of reigniting the modernist project in literature. So now you can add panel facilitator as well.

    “who made clothes by day and stripped by night” – this amused me, as it represents the full spectrum of clothes! She makes ’em, she wears ’em, then she divests herself of ’em. Come full circle.

    Good thread Debs. Bests

    So there you have it. Actor, film-maker, improviser, as well as fiction writer.

  • Deborah Riley-Magnus


    Wonderful promotional activity.
    And, BTW, you can all get a look at those wonderful “guerilla videos” at


    Both are fantastic! Sulci (Author Marc Nash) is a real word master.

  • sulci

    Debs – every time you post a new blog I get an e-mail. Is that something you do manually, or is it set up that way automatically and if so, how do I do it on mine?

  • Deborah Riley-Magnus

    I think it has something to do with the RRS Feed (whatever that is). I’m forwarding all your questions (including the one about showing your avitar) to Natalie and hopefully she’ll have all the answers.

  • Cialis

    3PwFCr Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

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