Friday, September 7, 2007


It shouldn't take me three days to finish my proofs, but it did. The first day I read them and let the comments and queries sink in. The next day I took care of the small matters--getting rid of repetitive words and changing awkward word choices.

Today I tackled the details that take longer and more thinking power. I checked on a timing query that the copy editor maintained must be wrong because of circumstances in the first Piper Reed book. Of course, she was right. I found a new fictional name for a movie star(that took longer than you'd believe) and considered describing jambalaya. Also I decided what Piper got for Christmas. I'd merely mentioned that she opened her presents. Good suggestion, Marianne.

Sometimes I hold tight to what I want to remain in the book. When I do that I write STET over the word(s). For example, it seems every book I write, I mention ice tea. Maybe it's a Louisiana thing, but my family has always called the drink ice tea. The copy editor informs me each time that it should be referred to as iced tea. I think I've given in once or twice on that one. Today, I don't know if it was the way the temps dropped and the rain fell(Can stubbornness be related to the barometric pressure?), but I decided that I would write STET over ice tea. I felt kind of smug about it actually. Then a wave of insecurity came over me, and I googled "ice tea" just to make sure. Turns out there were over two million sites listed. I felt smug again.

This is stepping to the side a bit, but I have to share my favorite "ice tea" story. Usually I prefer my tea unsweetened. The only exception was my grandmother's sweet tea. I could never get mine to taste like hers. One day she and my grandfather were visiting and I asked her, "What brand of tea do you use to make yours so delicious?"

"I use any kind," she said.

I showed her the box of Lipton teabags.

"That will do," she said.

Under her watchful eye, I boiled the water, took it off the stove and added the tea bags. She nodded. So far so good.

I poured the tea into the pitcher. "That's fine," she said.

Then I began to measure the half-cup of sugar and she gasped. "Oh, no honey. You need more than that." She dumped my measly portion in, then added one and a half cups more. Two cups of sugar. I'm certain that if my grandmother was still alive, she and Paula Deen would be mutual admirers.

In honor of ice tea drinkers everywhere and in memory of my sweet grandmother, here's:

J.P.'s Sweet Tea

In a large sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil

Take water off burner

Add 8 teabags

Cover and let sit for five minutes

Add four cups of cold water

Pour into pitcher

Add two cups of sugar

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