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I came upon this last night while writing an email to somebody and linking to  Insiders’ Guide to Richmond, VA–my first review on Amazon. I can honestly say I don’t know the guy, but agree with him wholeheartedly. I suppose it’s possible that the guy is my editor’s cousin.

Richmond is real, but doesn’t quite know it. Perhaps that’s part of its charm.  I had my shot at framing the real Richmond when I wrote Insiders’ Guide to Richmond, available at BN.com or  Amazon.com and in bookstores around the country and Richmond’s fabulous local gift shops and bookstores (Fountain Bookstore, Chop Suey Books, Book People) soon:

They just had to have a statue somewhere

 I wrote the durned thing so I’m responsible for much of what’s in the 312 page book–though I had little say in the cover and little control over the maps, including the screw up on the Richmond Overview map where Chesterfield County is missing its field. Sigh. [And I just found out today, Sept. 23rd, that a local photographer, Al Wekelo, took both photos on the cover and unfortunately Globe Pequot didn’t give him photo credits. Groan.]
It could have been worse–because it was for a while.  The first I heard about the cover was that it was a cityscape–snooze–and not the river shot I had suggested, but I was just the lowly work-for-hire writer, so what could I do? Months later my editor mentioned in passing that it wasn’t a cityscape after all, but “some statue.”  Apoplexy set in immediately. This is Richmond we are talking about. Statues mean war here.  I could see all my hard work framing Richmond as a dynamic, artsy, outdoorsy, historic town gone with the wind, so to speak….

I calmed down a tad when he sent me the cover shot of the George Washington Equestrian Statue in Capitol Square, but still not happy. Ok, not Monument Ave, so that was a relief, but it read as dull and static, and I knew most people would think it was one of those Confederates on Monument Ave. and think Richmond was the same old racist place it used to be.  I pushed back hard.

After several back and forths wherein I told them they were making a big mistake, and that of course, statues are static and Richmond isn’t, I heard there was a slight chance that they might use another photo. After a nerve-wracking weekend I got the image below from my very kind editor–the Poe Museum garden. Still not the river, and I wasn’t happy that they took out “and Emancipation” in the little sticker on the front…and there was one other slight problem.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and all that, but one wrong word can be bad news. Let’s just say you should click on this and look carefully: IG_Richmond poe

You see one capital, you’ve seen ’em all? So now I can say I’ve not only changed the face of Richmond, I’ve changed its name.  What a coup. Happy to report they straightened out the city confusion after I mentioned it.

But those Connecticut Yankees weren’t done messing with me yet. Unbeknownst to me until the advance copy arrived at my door the other day, they had switched out the photo of TJ’s State Capitol for a cannon that I bet a million dollars isn’t even in Richmond. Hey, I tried.  Who knew there was this much intrigue involved in putting together a travel book? And we haven’t even gotten to the part where all the foodies will have my head for not including their favorite spots….

I am now the proud owner of an ISBN of my very own.  Actually none of that previous sentence is true since the aforementioned ISBN that’s attached to the yet-to-be-published (or finished, truth be told) Insiders’ Guide to Richmond is a work-for-hire project, so I don’t own a vowel, much less a number associated with it, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble and all the rest are listing the book as an actual  book that will actually be published Sept. 1, so they must know more about the work habits of my editors than I do.  ISBN-13: 9780762760206. Such a nice number.

The disconcerting thing about being named Maureen Egan is that an unsuspecting reader could think I wrote Healthful Quantity Baking by Maureen Egan and others, Chocolate Cherry Tortes and Other Lowfat Desserts and Low Salt, Low Sugar, Low Fat Desserts. That doesn’t sound like me at all. That other Maureen Egan could ruin my reputation before my next book comes out: Really Bad for You, but Damned Good Baking in Large Enough Quantities to Kill Everyone You Know. I just did some baking last night, ostensibly to welcome friends back to our neighborhood, but really so I could shove oatmeal chocolate chip raisin bars into my mouth for breakfast. With fruit on the side, it’s almost not the worst thing I could have eaten, except that as of yet, I haven’t gotten around to the fruit.

I’m back!

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