Fall is certainly in the air here in the Pacific Northwest! We have had very little rain over the summer and the trees are rapidly changing to reds and oranges. The gardens, both flowering and vegetable, are tucking themselves in for the winter’s rest
Adventures in Writing
I completed the first draft of my cozy mystery, The Book of Rules, and off it has gone to Editor Sally. I am an impatient person and having sent it to her three weeks ago and hearing nothing back as yet, I go to a place of doubt. You know how that goes…….am I not hearing from her because she doesn’t like the story and can’t bring herself to let me know quite yet or am I just being impatient knowing that it has always takes at least a month or more before my wonderful Editor Sally and I begin this phase of our collaborative process? Of course I know the answer but I am still eager to hear from her.
Meanwhile, I have begun the second cozy mystery in what will become a series – The Railway Mysteries. The stories take place in the towns along the beautiful coast of southern Wales during the mid to late 1940’s following WW2. There are elements of history (always something I must include in my writing), and an array of characters I already love. The protagonist is a young woman, Drew Davies, just turning 21 years of age who works at the Swansea railway depot where her granda is the station master. Drew also cleans and cooks for the resident Vicar and mystery ensues when she discovers him in his bed and no longer among the living. Ah! Drew’s first case of sleuthing begins!
Upcoming Book Events
Last month’s events were wonderful, and many books from The Lavender Trilogy were signed and sold and wonderful people were met. Meeting new friends and visiting with ones not seen for some time, make all book events an adventure in connecting with people. Husband Terry accompanied me to the event at the Bee Merry Dalia Farm and he especially enjoyed the beautiful acreage full of flowers and watching the families enjoying the beautiful day.
And thank you to Habibi for a great event at their beautiful store in downtown Mt. Vernon, WA. benefitting The Voices of the Children. They will continue to carry all three of my historical fiction novels in their lovely store.
I was hoping to do at least two Holiday events but with COVID still keeping the safety of gatherings questionable, I will watch and wait and make that decision in the weeks ahead.
Book Readings and Recommendations
If you enjoy Paris, books, history, libraries, and WW2 intrigue, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a must read. I was so very sorry to reach the last page of this wonderful book and so grateful to have read this amazing story. Learning history through engaging characters and brilliantly developed plots is what historical fiction brings to readers. I highly recommend this book.
For my non-fiction read, I am perusing cookbooks. I have collected many over the years and received others as gifts. As fall approaches, my kitchen garden herbs are rapidly saying “au revoir” so I am drying many and using others in most everything I prepare. A book that is both informative and filled with wonderful recipes seasoned with herbs is The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld.
Gardening and Cooking
As the days and nights turn cooler with the sun rising later and setting earlier, the gardens are offering up the last of their bounty. And the chickens are molting like crazy! They are dropping feathers rather than eggs. Their coop and run are afloat with feathers of many colors which I rake once or twice a week and deposit in the compost bin. Egg production is down, and they have cut back on their food intake as they focus all their efforts on creating beautiful new feathers and preparing for the coming seasons of fall and winter. I love these sweet girls.
I have a very large woven basket overflowing with harvested onions from the garden! My dear friend, Dominique Dailly (yes, she is French, very chic and a marvelous cook), has a delicious recipe for French onion soup. Below you will find the recipe she is sharing with us. Bon appetit!
French Onion Soup
- 3 lbs. yellow onions 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 6 tbls. nsalted butter 1 ½ tsps.. freshly ground white pepper
- 6 tbls. Peanut oil Several fresh or dried bay leaves
- 1 tbls. Fine sea salt Several springs fresh thyme, wrapped in cheesecloth
- 4 tbls. All-purpose flour 8 thin slices baguette, toasted
- 2 cups chicken stock 1 lb. freshly grated Swiss Gruyere cheese
- Peel onions and halve them vertically. Cut the halves lengthwise into thin slices
- In a 10-quart stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Add oil, onions, and salt, and stir to coat the onions. Cook covered over low heat stirring occasionally so the onions do not scorch and just until the onions are soft but still pale – about 15 mins.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat the onions. Immediately add the stock, wine, 4 quarts water, the white pepper, thyme springs and bay leaves. Bring just to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered for 30 mins. Taste for seasoning.
At this point the soup can be refrigerated in a covered container and be reheated the next day for final preparation steps below.
- Preheat the oven broiler
- Ladle the soup into individual overproof soup bowls. Top each serving with a slice of toasted baguette. Cover the bread with a thick coating of grated Gruyere cheese.
- Place under the broiler. As soon as the cheese begins to bubble, serve this delicious soup. Enjoy!