New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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Review of CHIME.In and Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway

November 8th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea






Head’s Up: I was compensated for this post. I was paid by BlogHer to learn the ins and outs of Chime.In, and to moderate a BlogToBooks community room at Chime.In for one week. I was not given a Kindle Fire (kind of bummed about this), but I have one to give away to you. For free.


November 14, 5pm pacific: This contest is now over. Thank you to all who entered. A (randomly selected) winner will be notified by a member of BlogHer via email, and once I’m informed who that is, I’ll let you know. have a wonderful day, and thank you for playing along at home!

I’ve been asked to share my blog-to-book story. I haven’t really written too awful much about it because it still doesn’t seem real. I can not believe that I have books, real books, with my name on them. And one of those books spent six weeks on the New York Time’s best sellers list and now because of that I can refer to myself (although it’s probably better to let others do so, because of the whole vanity thing) as a NYT best-selling author.

that’s kind of cool.

I didn’t plan on ever writing cookbooks. I wanted to be published, and I wanted Totally Together to come to life— which it did, but not until I proved myself with the cookbooks.

The cookbooks came about after I emailed the Rachael Ray Show in February, of 2008 (my slow cooking challenge year) and wrote something obnoxious like: Ack! I just made the very best creme brulee in the history of the universe in my crockpot and I am the most wonderful crockpot cook and you should have me on your show to let your audience know how I awesome I am!

and then they actually called. I was filmed at the end of March, in my home, and in-studio, and the episode aired in July. I signed a confidentiality agreement to not discuss the show until we had a set airdate, and because of this I was quite determined to fulfill my resolution. I also became quite convinced that you could do anything in a crockpot: playdough, yogurt, shrinkydinks, candles, soap, tamales, and cheesecake. But not hardboiled eggs. Don’t do those.

After the show aired, publishers began emailing. I had four offers to sort through, and I chose the best one, with help from my literary agent.

This is not normal.

The normal route is a much longer, much twistier road. With potholes. And detours.



I started writing Totally Together 10 years ago, when my oldest was still a baby. I started by doodling notes and creating charts. I wrote and rewrote my opening chapter (by hand) while pregnant with my second daughter. After talking with friends, I felt confident enough to try to get it published.

I was determined to find a literary agent all on my own, and I did. It took me 2 years.  I sent out dozens and dozens of query letters (with a self-addressed-stamped-envelope) to agents I found listed in the Writer’s Guide to Agents. I sent them out in batches of 10, and everyday received back a new reject letter. Most were form letters, many just had a NO written across my query. A few were “the good ones” with a hand-written word of encouragement here or there.

And then I stopped querying. We moved. I began working at a “real job.” I stopped daydreaming about writing books.

The day I opened an email from a real, legitimate agent asking if this book was “still available,” I felt weak in my knees and I almost puked. I signed on the dotted line, and expected to hear good news.

I didn’t. My agent sent the rejection letters in batches, about once a month, with a post-it note attached to the top reminding me to keep at it; to not get discouraged; these things take time. And boy did it. She queried on my behalf for almost two additional years before we got an offer.

a measly, piddly, offer.


I met my deadline, turned in the transcript, and waited.

and waited.

and waited.

And then the publisher terminated the contract. The economy had turned—- they didn’t see the market for this book, and bowed out. I was able to keep the money they paid me (it wasn’t a lot), but I was back to square one.

and quite discouraged.

and then the crockpot thing took off.



Now. We are here to talk about Chime.In, which is a new social media site. What I like about Chime instead of Twitter (I’m still not on Facebook. Don’t laugh.) is that you can decide what you want to be notified about—- you can opt in to threads that you are interested in and not be notified each time someone you are following makes an announcement. or Chime. whatever.

not that I don’t want to know that you had broccoli in your teeth all day, even when you went to the bank—–

but if I only want to be alerted if people are talking about gardening, or publishing, or HOW TO GET THE BABY TO SLEEP PAST 5am, I can. and I appreciate that.

Right now, I’m mostly interested in helping as many people as I can figure out how to get published (traditionally or non-traditionally) and am currently only following the BlogToBook community BlogHer set up on Chime.In. I am fascinated by all things publishing right now, and have spent many more hours than I’d like to admit reading up on marketing, querying, royalties, ebooks, and contracts.

I would LOVE you to join me in Chiming this week over at the BlogtoBook community— if you have questions, I’ll try my hardest to get you answers. It’s November, which is known for National Novel Writing Month, and/or for National Blog Writing Month. I’ve done both. (the novel never made it….but I’d like to try again….)

Thank you!!!



ALSO, as a reward for reading my super long post, I’ve got a give away for you. A BRAND SPANKING NEW KINDLE FIRE. for free.

Please leave a comment below to be entered in the contest. This contest will run from Tuesday, November 8th 9am pacific to Monday, November 14th  5pm pacific.     A winner will be randomly selected, and will be notified via email. You can garner additional entries by joining Chime.In and participating in the BlogtoBooks community.

Click here for all the rules and fineprint.


Best of luck to all! Join me over on Chime.In!





680 Responses to “Review of CHIME.In and Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway”

  1. Best of LUCK!!!
    Thank you for all of the wonderful recipies!

  2. The post wasnt too long! Thank you for all that you do from the blog to the cookbooks

  3. Congrats on your achievements just encountered links to you today !! Excited about new reading now on my agenda !! Looking forward to an email letting me know I won the kindle Fire !! Hehehe. But Wowzers if I do I can read your books on it !! :) Thanks for the opportunity.

  4. my friend gave me your first cookbook a few years ago, and now your cookbook and website are my go-to for delicious, slow-cooked Gluten Free recipes. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Congratulations on persevering and finally seeing Totally Together come to fruition! And, p.s., made your Korean Shredded Beef Tacos for guests this weekend and they were a hit!

  6. Well it was a long post, but not too long I’d say.

    I am always looking for ways to simplify my life and what better way then to simplify my kitchen and gadgets. The rest of the house will follow all by itself, or at least I can pretend it will while eating my chocolate volcano cake and ignoring the mess.

    (I really hope I win, I was considering buying a Fire or new Nook color and passing down my ereader to my 7 yr old for christmas!)

  7. your totally together calendar has been a life saver as has your crockpot cookbook and blog. what would i do without these treasures?! thanks for all the effort that went into making them!

  8. I’m going to be honest. I skimmed. I’m totally here for the Kindle Fire and nothing else. So here is my comment and good luck to all entrants. :)

  9. I haven’t really gotten used to’s user interface, but I have hope for it.

  10. Now I feel better that it takes me forever to write anything. I hope I win!

  11. would love to win this!

  12. Your slow-cooker recipes have saved me! Delicious meals, when time is a minimum. Thank you! I would love to win this Kindle…and download your cookbook!

  13. I have been a huge fan of your crock pot blog for a few years now and have recommended it to a number of friends, including my gluten free friends! I’d love to win a Kindle Fire!

  14. Well, as a mom of two who crockpots a couple times a week, works a “real job” and secretly really wants to publish a book but have no idea how to even get started, I actually really appreciated the article. Even though I totally came over for the chance at a Free Kindle Fire. Anyway – congrats on your success, thanks for the recipes, and good luck in the future!

  15. Congrats on your success and the books! Very cool story!

    Thank you so much for the chance to win!!


  16. I’ve just discovered your website and am SO excited to try your slow cooker recipes! Thank you for sharing your cooking adventures with the world.

    Also, I agree with the above comment from Joey – thank you for providing this chance to win a Kindle Fire!

  17. Oooh, thanks for the opportunity! I have just discovered Totally Together after being a crock-pot devotee for years!

  18. I really enjoyed reading the story of how you got published. I especially enjoyed how you thought that by emailing RR that you would get on the show- and then you did! Brava!

  19. I just found your blog, and i already love it! Thanks so much!

  20. That wasn’t to long of a post. What a great story.

    And waht an amazing gift to giveaway!

  21. I’ve just discovered your Slow Cooking blog and I love it. Thanks so much!!

  22. As a 20-something year old post-graduate male, this blog has saved my life – or at least my eating habits. I often refer to my crockpot as my girlfriend. It’s been a serious relationship. Thank you Stephanie!

  23. This post wasn’t that long. I enjoyed reading about your story on getting published.

  24. Thank you for all of the great recipes.

  25. Love your recipes and your blog.

  26. i live to use my crockpot, and finding your bread recipes really spiced things up for me! now a chance to win a kindle fire! how could it get better? well, i am looking for a ‘next’ link to move through your year of slow cooking posts! thanks again!

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