October flew in on windy days and welcomed in November before we knew it. I think time has passed so quickly because we have been focused on the arrival of our new family member. Meet Mandy, our 12-week-old German Shorthair puppy. She is a darling with much energy and an equal amount of affection. She is keeping me busier than ever and, if I am to get much accomplished, causing me to create a structured routine for us all. Fitting in home chores, work, and writing will be challenging till Miss Mandy matures and settles in. I wish I had her energy!

Adventures in Writing

Editor Sally has begun providing me with great feedback on my manuscript of The Books of Rules, the first novel of my new cozy mystery books in The Railway Mysteries series. I enjoy this part of the writing process – adding depth and breathe to the basic story and expanding the development of the characters and setting. Revisions are both challenging and exciting.

Allowing time between the first draft and the beginning of revisions and additions is important in the writing process. It allows us to pause and reflect on our story, renewing our creativeness to extend beyond what we have already written. Once the first draft is down on paper, I feel free to continue the writing in a way that makes the story stronger, richer, and hopefully more enjoyable and exciting for you, the reader. Since this is my first foray in writing cozy mysteries, I am also learning a great deal about the structure and “rules” of this specific genre of literature. And, as always, research regarding the time in history, post-WW II, and the setting, Wales, continues!

Upcoming Book Events

Because of the current and ongoing global supply chain problems, it may be difficult to find items for Holiday gifts both in the stores and to receive them on-line in time for gift giving. But…..the good news is books ARE available and there is no greater joy (I know I am bias here), than shopping for books in our wonderful independent bookstores and shops. The atmosphere is festive, the selection is vast and there are books out there for everyone on our shopping lists.

I am making sure that the shops and bookstores that carry my books in The Lavender Meuse Series, have them in stock and available. My favorite bookstore, Village Books in Fairhaven, WA, can send any of my books to you (or any other authors’ books) in time for the Holidays!!

Gardening and Cooking

I am still harvesting potatoes, carrots, and onions from the gardens. Until the first frost, they remain in the ground where they stay cool and fresh, and I dig them up as needed. Thus far, our temps have been cool at night but nothing close to 32 degrees. The chickens LOVE the carrot tops, along with a sprinkling of dried worms, so hopefully the frost holds off till mid-November.


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (courtesy of daughter Taya)

The pumpkins are all harvested and on the porch. Except for the small pumpkin pie cuties that I use in fall cooking and baking. Here is one of my favorite fall recipes.

-2 c. dried penne pasta                                  -1/2 Tbls. bourbon

-1 c. fresh or canned pumpkin puree             -1 c. grated Monterey jack cheese

-1/4/ c. butter                                                -3/4 c. grated Swiss cheese

-1/4 c. flour                                                     -1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese

-3/4 c. half n half                                            -3/4 c. grated Parmesiano Reggiano cheese

-1 c. 2% milk                                                   -1/8 c. brown sugar

-Pinch salt                                                       -Nutmeg to taste n sprinkling of pine nuts on top

-Reserve 1 c. grated cheese mixture for top of pasta

Preheat oven to 375. Boil and drain pasta (al dente). Grate all cheese, mix, and set aside. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add flour and stir in milks. Cook and thicken stirring constantly. Add pumpkin. Mix in cheeses, salt, nutmeg, bourbon, and brown sugar. Warm and stir, seasoning to taste. Pour into casserole baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Bon Appetit!

**You can also scoop out the insides of a pumpkin, bake it for 30 mins. on a cookie sheet and then stuff it with the pumpkin mac and cheese and bake for another 30 minutes! Delicious and festive!

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