A nice thing about dotting i's and crossing t's on a book manuscript just a few short months before its publication date is that you (I) (WE!!) have only those few short months to wait between its once-and-for-all completion and the day we'll get to hold it in our hands. Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home will be out on June 23. Forget "few." As of today, that's NEXT MONTH.

So, uh, would you like to see the cover?

It is the work of the very talented Alison Forner, and I could not love it more. When the e-mail with this cover attached landed in my inbox, I was so nervous, I couldn't open it. I forwarded it along to Eli with the message, "I'm sending this without opening. Please tell me what you think." Then, as soon as I hit send, I opened the file myself. Because as nervous as I was, I was even more curious. I stared. Maybe book covers are like newborns, where no matter how wrinkly, alien-like, and oldman-ish yours is, you think she's the most beautiful child in the world. Maybe - but I doubt it.

Stir is available now for pre-order, and some early reviewers have even started reading it and saying nice things. There is nothing about the previous sentence that doesn't blow my mind. And fill me head-to-toe with gratitude for you, you, YOU. Thank you, friends. Thank you. For helping me carve out a place to start, a place to come back to, where I could learn how to try and how to believe. My publisher is in the process of putting together a book tour with stops on both coasts and a couple in between. I sincerely hope you'll come out so I can meet you in person, and look you in the eye as we chat without this screen between us.

Stir's release date bounced around a bit, and while I'm quite content for it to be coming out just as summer goes into full swing - I don't know about you, but summer makes me hungry for books - it occurred to me recently that it's a little bit of a shame it won't be out until after Mother's Day. Because yes, yes, Stir is about illness, recovery, food, love, and beginnings in unexpected places. But, though I didn't realize it until my editor told me so, it is also very much about women and mothers: how the mothers and mother-like people in our lives take care of us, each in the way she knows best, how our mothers show us who we are, who we are not, and who we might become. "All these women!" my editor said, and she was right. She flipped through the pages on her desk and called them out: my mother, my stepmother, my great-great aunt, my grandmother, my mother-in-law. And, without giving too much away, one (lovable?) protagonist who, when disaster strikes, is juuuust beginning to think about what it might mean to be a mother one day herself. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed. 

So! How's this for a plan? If you'd like, please go ahead and pre-order Stir for your mothers. (And stepmothers! Definitely stepmothers. Amy is a hero of this book.) The book won't arrive until late June, but to the first 150 people who pre-order, I'll send a small gift that will arrive before Mother's Day next week. (Continental U.S. only, please.)

The gift is a set of five postcards featuring glossy photos of several recipes from Stir on one side, and your typical "I'm a postcard! Write on me and drop me in the mail!" design on the back. They just arrived today from the printer. The paper is thick and heavy and feels nice to write on and, if I do say so, the photos turned out beautifully. (The images in this post are three of the five designs.) I'll also include a personalized, handwritten card and package everything up so that it looks nice and pretty.

Here's what to do:

1. Pre-order Stir from anywhere you please, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, IndieBound, and Kobo, to name a few. You'll need your order number as proof of purchase.

2. Complete this short form

That's it! 

Of course, if you want the postcards for yourself, or if you'd like me to send them to someone without any mention of Mother's Day, that's more than fine by me. You can specify everything according to your preferences on the form. If you've already pre-ordered Stir (THANK YOU!! No, really, THANK YOU!!!!!), you're still eligible to receive the postcards. Just look up your old order number and you're all set. One more thing: if you do want the postcards for Mother's Day, I'll need your order in by 5:00pm (PDT) / 8:00pm (EDT) on Sunday, May 3, so that I have time to write all the cards, pack everything up, and get it in the mail in time. 

And away we go! Writing things down here makes them feel real. I know I've said it before. It's true. 


Rivka said...



So so so excited to read your story and see all those fantastic recipes in book form. Giddiness!

shari said...

Cannot wait to read this book. June can't come soon enough. xox

Amanda Hawkins said...

So, so glad to see this. June: My birthday months! Ordering now.

Amy said...

Yeah!!! A long time in the making. Congrats to the publisher in the family!!!

Donna said...

As I read your blog entry today, the words on your new book intrigued me. They sounded eerily familiar. I was so enthralled that I had to find the post where you spoke of your aneurism for the first time - back in 2009, perhaps before I was a subscriber. I read your words carefully and with compassion. You have been through so very much. As a fellow food blogger who suffered a traumatic brain injury nearly two years ago, I just found my courage to share my "story". I blog at www.theculinaryartist.com. Bravo to you on your book! How very exciting! I will be sure to get it.

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations - a huge achievement. May this book be the first of many.

Jo said...

Congratulations. You are amazing.

Jo said...

So exciting. Congratulations, Jessica. I can't wait for my copy to arrive.

Isabelle Hulm said...

Three cheers for you! Have pre-ordered all the way from Holland! xxx

Molly said...

Jess: you wrote a book! YOUR BOOK! And best of all, it's incredible. I'm so so so happy for you. xoxoxo

Gemma said...

Hooray! I can't wait to read it x

Love CompassionateLee said...

I'm so happy for you Jess, and I cannot wait to receive my copy of Stir in the mail. Happy Tuesday :)

sonya said...

Mazel tov on your first book! Lovely cover, indeed. Looking forward to reading it!!

Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket said...

I just finished reading Stir for review and just wanted to tell you how great it was. I hadn't seen your blog before reading the book, but I'm now looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful recipes and stories you have to share.

Laure Heysch said...

You're back, I'd almost given up hoping, this post has really made my day (I'd only been checking every few weeks lately, after so many sad "you were hoping"s greeting me time after time).
Welcome back, I'm delighted I get to read your beautiful and elegant writing again (sadly the recipes mostly I cannot make, too many vegetables and wheat, but I try to adapt them to my needs and usually find them delicious).

linda said...

hi jessica,

on august 4, 2009, i left a comment regarding your blog entry "the other side." i was amazed at courage and strength.

although we have not had an "email or comments connection" for quite some time...i have been quietly following sweet amandine & it is wonderful to read about your family growth & your soon-to-be released book stir! what fabulous accomplishments.
just watched your video on amazon...brought tears to my eyes...eagerly await the kindle edition of stir.
kudos to you jessica!

rayna gillman said...

Jessica, i'm reading a review copy now and can't put it down. Can't wait to finish the book and get back into the kitchen to try ome of the recipes. An amazing, riveting, yummy, journey.

Alison Borgas said...

Wow, I had no idea the history behind this blog... well done on this accomplishment! And I'm glad I kept coming back to check. ;)

Anonymous said...

My husband handed the Wall Street Journal across the breakfast table. He pointed out the review of your book. Read it. Went on Amazon and bought it. Started reading it when it arrived. Had to finish the latest jane Smiley. Am halfway through it now....wonderful! The story and the recipes! Thank you.

A Leniency Memo said...

After reading your book, which my married daughter handed to me and insisted I read, all I felt was..I want to be more.

Thank you for sharing your story. It changes things.

Gail said...

Hi Jess,

Just a belated "Congrats" on the book. I'm planning on buying a copy soon! The past year has been filled with trials and joys and I do miss your sister. Managed to get to Spain in September and spent two and a half wonderful weeks with Carolyn touring southern France.

Good luck with the book. I wish you and your family many joys. Give your sister a hug from me.