Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Little from Much . . .

. . . or how to turn 

 a great big pile of basil . . .

(and some garlic, Parmesan, walnuts, and olive oil . . .)

. . . into 11 (3 not pictured) small jars of pesto for the freezer.

Likewise, how to reduce a mound of kale and collards . . .

. . .  to a large bowl of blanched greens . . .

. . . that fit, tightly packed, into two quart sized freezer bags.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Looking for Love -- Or Maybe Just LIKES

In the past few days I've done a thing I really hate doing -- gone down my friends list on Facebook and asked people to LIKE my FB Author Page (Vicki Lane Mysteries.) That page is my official authorial site with links to excerpts from my books and my web site. And on the Author Page, unlike my personal Vicki Lane page, I stay away from politics (and baby pictures and dogs and cats and all that other stuff I talk about,) confining my posts to Things to Do with Writing.

Why, you may ask, why have I committed this egregious act of Blatant Self Promotion?

Well, at this moment, the manuscript (or its electronic equivalent) of my Civil War novel is in the hands of six different publishers. And while one likes to think that it is being judged on the merits of its prose alone, one suspects that the commercial side is being weighed as well. 

In short, it occurred to me that a publisher might wonder if I have any sort of platform on social media -- if there were people who might be interested in my writing -- i.e., potential book buyers. 

Yikes!  Maybe, I thought, I'd better ask folks for LIKES on my author page -- which has lagged sadly behind my personal page. 

So I began the process and have been really gratified by all the folks who've responded to my plea. (You LIKE me, you really LIKE me!)

It's one way of being proactive . . . and something to do while I'm waiting to hear if the novel finds a publisher.

 Of course I'll shout it out if anything good happens. But it may take a while. Things move very slowly in the publishing world.

At times like this, I find myself thinking of the saying (Robert Louis Stevenson) that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive . . . 

That's certainly true if there is nothing but rejection at the end of the journey.

But I hope that wont be the case.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Back to the Garden

Back to the garden that, thanks to John's efforts at keeping the wildlife out and spraying the greens with Bt, is now demanding that I come harvest some stuff. 

Since we've had a lot of rain (till recently,) the cucumbers are a great success, running up their trellis and out all over the area (and shading out the eggplant but that's my fault for planting it in the same bed.)

My baby sitting duties are mostly in the mornings and the afternoons are WAY too hot recently to tempt me out. 

When Nancy (my co-grandmother) and I switched shifts on Thursday, I made my slow and careful way down to the garden to see what was to be seen -- lots of cucumbers and greens, radishes and some jalapeno peppers. Also basil in sufficient quantity to think about making some pesto to freeze.

Above is a bronze fennel flower -- when it goes to seed, I'll save some for Italian sausage. 

Below is Tuscan Kale -- my favorite green. I sauteed some with colored peppers (from the store,) onions, and garlic and used the whole colorful mess as a topping for some store-bought fresh ravioli. And topped that with a lightly fried egg.

It looked spectacular and tasted great -- I only wish I'd taken  a picture.

I'll try to use Saturday and Sunday morning (when I'm not on Josie duty) to harvest more greens and basil and then to make pesto.

As always, the second half of July has brought our hottest weather. Our house, thanks to electric fans everywhere, is comfortable -- unless one attempts something foolish like vacuuming.

Afternoons are a good time to summon my untapped Tennessee Williams character and collapse on the sofa with iced tea (or, later in the day, gin and tonic) and fan myself with a magazine. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Get Your Head Out of the Clouds . . .

For writers in the Asheville area here's a chance to take a positive step toward improving your writing skills!

Registration is open now for the various terrific classes offered through the Great Smokies Writing Program and beginning as early as August 30. Go HERE for more information.

The class I'm leading is SYNERGY CENTRAL -- an advanced creative prose workshop offering students the chance to have up to fifty-four pages( eighteen pages at a time) of their work -- fiction, non-fiction, memoir, or any combination thereof -- critiqued by their peers and line-edited by the instructor. 

 There will be brief in-class writing sessions but the focus will be on responding to each writer's work with thorough and constructive critique. It's been my experience that the synergy emerging from groups like this can inspire, energize, and propel a writer to the next level.

The class will meet at The Asheville School on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:30, beginning August 30.

This could be the start of something big!