First review of “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent #Camping” is in!

The print version of my glamping  book is slowly making its way to my Kickstarter Backers – they were sent to me in small boxes 10 at a time spread out over a 2 week period – weird. It’s been fun to see people post on social media as they receive the book in the mail.  The ebook version has already been emailed out to all Backers, so if you didn’t see it, please check your SPAM folder! The book is on sale at Amazon and customers are starting to order it.

I’ve been on pins and needles wondering what the reaction will be. Will they think it was worth backing? Was it worth the wait? Is it helpful? What will they say? Arghhh…the insecurities that devil authors. Or at least, this author.

I just received my first review of the book on Amazon, and I’m really surprised. It appears the person bought the book as something of a joke.

first review of book!
What a great review! I’m really pleased that they liked the book and found found it useful.  Hopefully more people give my book a try and find it helpful and fun to read. What more can an author ask for?

We have a winner!

You voted for your favorite cover art and we have a winner – The cover that had the view of looking out of a tent onto a grassy field!

However, it only won by one vote. That was close. So I gathered up the comments you left about what you liked and didn’t like about both top vote getting covers and took that to the designer, Kit Foster.

Using the winning cover as a base, we made a few subtle adjustments that incorporated elements from the second, the one that had all the photos on it and the more ornate font.

And here’s the result! (Click to enlarge)

Final Cover



The most notable change is the font used, we went with the font from the runner up. Other changes are more subtle. Like the bottom of the martini glass fading away rather than being seen through the title area.

The back of the book will have one or three of the photos from the runner up cover design along with the blurb of what the book is about.

So thank you for voting(Those who were Backers and were able to vote) and know we are getting very close to a publish date! As in 2 weeks close!


Sneak Peek at Chapter three of luxury tent #camping book

Still pushing, pushing, pushing to get get the book design finished. Ericka is finishing up Chapter three and I think it is my favorite chapter! Each chapter in the book is set up to showcase a specific style and camping group. Chapter one is very romantic, the most girlie look in the book, and it’s geared for a couple not quite ready for a full camping experience. Chapter two is very modern and focuses on designing around a single bold color. The gear is perfect for a single person camping alone or with a group. Chapter four shows how to design around a theme, in this case a decade, but it could as easily be a favorite tv show or a hobby. The chapter shows a family camping together and the tips and suggestions are family friendly.

But chapter three? Oh chapter three, you are lovely. The chapter shows a couple camping together but the look is more tailored, with a hint of safari. It’s a perfect mix of luxury and melding in with your surroundings. Like the rest of the book, it’s also very practical. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the pages from chapter three.

The next update should be three possible cover art designs which only my Kickstarter backers are able to vote one. Which ever one they pick is the one that will be the cover for my book. After all, they’re the ones who made this book possible.


Sneak Peek at Chapter 2 of Field Guide to Luxury Tent #Camping #glamping

The book, Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping,  is really moving along now and it looks like we’ll have a proof copy in our hands on December first. Then we check for typos (because there’s always typos) and print quality, make final changes, and BAM! it’s ready to send out.

I’m continuing to reshoot any product shots that may be legally problematic. I absolutely don’t want to infringe on anyone’s intellectual property rights (unethical!!!), but still feel the attorney is being overly cautious.  Better safe than sorry, though, right? As we just got our first snow – hopefully it melts right away – time is of the essence. In fact, I hope to wrap up all non-recipe shoots by the end of this weekend. Then I can do the recipe and cocktail shoots all at once (hmmm…maybe I should have a party? Why let good food and drinks go to waste) and call photography 100% done.

So what’s chapter 2 look like? That is why you’re reading this update, right?  Here are two pages from chapter 2. The first shows a product that not only works well and is attractively designed, it’s a product with a heart. The second page is one that reoccurs in each chapter and is called Elements of the Style. This is where I point out how you can achieve a similar look, but tailored to your tastes. Chapter two is a very modern and minimal look and these elements reflect that style.

Please let me know, truthfully, what you think of these pages. I’m looking for feedback as YOU are my target audience for this book.  As soon as chapter three is done, I’ll post more pages. We’re on the home stretch!

Sneak peek at Chapter 1

You: So, Cara, how’s the book going?
Me: Pretty freaking great, thanks for asking!

It’s been “interesting” at times (last week’s lesson in publishing your own book was an advanced course in Intellectual Property law. Yay?) but the project is firing on all cylinders. Ericka, the interior book designer, and I are one the same page – har, har – and she’s started the design for chapter 2. Chapter 1 looks amazing! I’m so pleased with how it looks and the emotional feel of the design. But why talk about it when I can show you!

Sample spread from Chapter 1 
Sample spread from Chapter 1

Chapter 1 is the most “fluffy” of all the chapters, but it’s a good way to ease into the idea of luxury tent camping. To get readers’ minds prepared to dream and be open to thinking about camping in a whole new way.  As other chapters are done, I’ll post more sneak peeks. I’ll also keep you up to date on how we face, and over come, new challenges.

My latest challenge came when I showed an attorney the first chapter. He flipped through it and then said, “You can’t use the photos on pages X, X, and X. Or well, any photo that shows a manufactured product.”

Wait….what? Those were photos I had taken of products I was reviewing in the book or were of things like, ummmm, tents. How do you show camping without showing a tent. Or a screwdriver on a table with a wine bottle? Or a lighter for the campfire?

I’ve been researching the basics of Intellectual Property (IP) law since I knew I’d be showing, and talking, about really good camping products in parts of my book. Mini product reviews. From what I could find, I should be in the clear as long as I took the photo, was showing and talking about the product as part of a review, and put in a disclaimer in the front of my book that I don’t have a relationship with the company, they own the rights to their copyright/trademark, etc. etc. etc.

The attorney begged to differ. He said that while, in the past, that may have been true, companies are getting more and more lawsuit happy anytime their product is mentioned or seen in any type of medium. Review blogs are being sued. Even when the review is favorable. Companies like TechCruch are getting ‘cease and desist’ letters for articles they have written that show a photo of the product they are talking about or the company’s logo. Not many of these IP lawsuits are winning, but a self-publisher/author like myself can’t afford the minimum $50,000 up front it would take for me to defend myself.

To make a very long, painful, and frustrating story short, we came up with a plan that would minimize, but can’t eliminate, my exposure to IP lawsuits. I’ll have the disclaimer in the front and the back of my book. About 1/8 of the photos are being reshot to show the product without showing the company. (OMG I need to beat the snow and hard freeze!) Logos are being removed in background items. For specific product reviews, I’m contacting the company and getting written permission to show their product. There are other things I’m doing, but you get the drift. Then, when the book is finished, I’ll need to have the attorney look over the book one more time.

This has been a learning process. This is just one example of the 101 things a self-publisher thinks s/he knew all about before s/he started the book, but really didn’t. I’ve been sharing the information on Intellectual Property with other authors so they can be better prepared before they take their first photo. After all, sharing is caring, right?

And that reminds me – anyone want to be my model for the outdoor portable shower shoot? It’s on the IP reshoot list and I’m sure it’ll be fun as all get out now that the temps are about 50 degrees during the day! 😉

Camping That Doesn’t Suck

My Ignite Minneapolis Presentation is tonight!  I’m nervous, excited … and still sick.  But my presentation is only 5 minutes long so I should be able to hang tough for that long. If you want to watch it live, it will be streamed here:

Just hit refresh, starting at 7pm central, until it pops up. I’m on after the intermission, around 8:30 pm central.



That’s the first slide in my presentation. I’m not sure what it says about me or my marriage that when I woke my husband up this weekend and asked him to take a picture of me pretending to poop in the woods, he didn’t even blink. Or even ask what it was for. I think he’s learned to just roll with about anything.

As for the book, I’m a full week behind getting it off to my editor. This illness, going on it’s second week, had really knocked me down. But I’m proofing it now, and hope to send it off to Kathryn this afternoon or tomorrow morning.  Then, if it ever stops raining, I can finish the shoots and send it off to Chris for interior design. Fingers crossed, folks, for tonight (that I don’t make a fool of my self) and for getting the proofing done on the book!