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This week has been a BEAR! I had Monday off, and the rest was, is and shall be packed full. Waa, waa, waa, could I have some cheese with this whine?

Anyway, yesterday we went to Orbis Farm Retreat Center with the Woman’s Literary Club of Corydon which, contrary to the sound of our name, is a pretty rowdy crowd. Helen and Betty, the owners, are members of our group, and great additions they are, too! The center is gorgeous. I took a buncha pitchas, but I DON’T HAVE TIME to purty ’em up and post them, so that will have to wait for another day. Meanwhile, they have pictures posted on their site, linked above.veg pie

Yesterday, I said I might post pictures of my veg pie, so here that is. One evening, I roasted some vegetables: carrots, celery, yellow squash, zucchini, red potatoes, yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans. I cooked them in my stovetop smoker, but in the oven would be okay. I first coated them in garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and herbs. Okay, so that was the veg. We ate all the red and yellow potatoes, but had lots of the rest left over. Had them for a couple of days wrapped in flour tortillas with pepper jack and/or blue cheese. So I decided to finish them up in a pie. I meant to make gravy or put some cheese in, but I forgot, and it was just as well. They had such a lovely mix of flavors it was just right as it was, and the lack of liquid kept the crust from getting at all soggy.

veg pie doneI use the store-brand prepared crust, the kind in the dairy case that comes rolled up two to a box. I made the mistake of unrolling the crust BEFORE I let it warm to room temperature, so it cracked. Oh, well, it let out the steam, right? I meant to do it, right? Okay. Dumped what was left of the veg into it, folded it up, buggered up the edge and called it “crimping” and shoved it in the toaster oven. Baked it at 350F for around an hour, checking frequently after the first 30 minutes.

Charlie and I split it between us and STILL had some left over, but we’re pretty light eaters. I also boiled some green beans, new red potatoes and onion from the garden. I made my favorite salad, which I got from Chef Joe Barkson of World Wide Recipes:


  • cucumber
  • mint
  • feta cheese
  • lemon juice
  • salad oil (I use olive)
  • salt & pepper

Slice a cucumber and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and fresh chopped mint. Mix oil and lemon juice–2 parts oil to 1 part lemon juice–and pour over cucumbers. Salt and pepper.

I could eat this every day!

Now I must rush.


writing prompt: If you could go to a retreat center, what would you hope to accomplish?

Church this morning, but I like church, so that’s a freebie. It’s a small congregation, and Disciples of Christ are next door to anarchists, so it hangs pretty loose there. I love the hymns, I love the socializing, and God’s there as much as anywhere else. And if I don’t agree with something in the sermon… well… I’m DofC–I don’t HAVE to agree with it. We do Christ, we do conscience. Cool.

I say the day is free, but I hope to use it to work on my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes. If I can get them all done today, the whole week is free. THAT would be something to lalala about.

Mom and I went to an open house for supper last night, so I didn’t get to cook. The other night, I boiled some our-garden potatoes and farmers’ market cabbage and had plenty left over. Tonight, I think I’ll reheat that and put some smoked sausage (store-bought, alas!) with it. Maybe make some more cornbread.

I would love to bake some more bread, but it’s been so ungodly HOT! It’s supposed to cool down this week, so maybe I can get up and bake in the morning.

There was a piece in the paper this morning about bloggers pulling down $800/week by touting products. I wish. Sometimes I SOUND like a commercial, but here is official notice that I’m not: I WISH. I just stand on the ground and watch my money sprout wings and fly away and shout, “Hey! Where you goin’? Hey!! Come back here and answer me when I’m talkin’ to you! HEY!” So if you ever see some crazy lady standing around shouting at nothing you can see, it’s probably me calling after my long-lost cash.


writing prompt: How do your main characters spend Sunday? If you have no main characters, invent one and follow him/her through a Sunday, typical or not typical for him/her.

Cold last night, chilly today, but BEAUTIFUL. The sky is clear and richly blue, and I have nowhere to go until I take Mom to the doctor for a regular checkup after lunch. Imagine you see mecrocus-mix dancing. Imagine I can dance.

I had a headache the past two days and part of last night, but it’s <whisper> gone for now </whisper> so I feel wonderful by comparison.

I didn’t go to the Southern Indiana Writers Group meeting last night because my head hurted and I was very very tired. Meh. I know I missed a good time and a great meeting.

So this morning I’m supposed to be working on my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes, and I’m blogging, instead. Well, well, to work I go, and I do love it.


Writing prompt: What do you do to postpone work? Stop it!

Three happy things happened yesterday:

  1. I got a refund from a hospital I had overpaid by $20 about nine years ago.
  2. I got an email from a reader of World Wide Recipes who said he loved my Culinary Chronicles.
  3. Tony Burton, editor at Wolfmont Press, sent this:

DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND made the Top Ten bestsellers for 2008 for the IMBA (Independent Mystery Booksellers Association)!
1 – Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files, Simon & Schuster
2 – Tana French, In the Woods, Penguin
3 – Brent Ghelfi, Volk’s Game, Picador
4 – Lorna Garrett, Murder is Binding, Berkley
5 – Louise Penny, Still Life, St. Martin’s
6 – tie
Christopher Fowler, Full Dark House, Bantam
Leonie Swann, Three Bags Full, Flying Dolphin
8 – Tony Burton, ed., Dying in a Winter Wonderland, Wolfmont
9 – Clare Langley-Hawthorne, Consequences of Sin, Penguin
10 – Jacqueline Winspear, Masie Dobbs, Penguin

Note position #8!!!

That, my friends, is the IMBA’s list of bestselling titles for 2008,
for softcover books.

It’s SOOOOOO cool to see a book from Wolfmont in there with
books from Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Berkley, Bantam…
and not at the end of the list, either!

Here’s the link to the page:

Wheeeeee! Today, it’s worth being alive!


writing prompt: Go to a bookstore, real or online, and pick out ten books at random. Create a character with that list as his/her top ten favorite books.

My husband is outside, cutting up fallen tree limbs. We’ll have plenty of firewood this winter. Those winds took down a lot of deadwood, and a lot of wood that wasn’t dead until it went down. It’s weird, seeing what looks like bushes where no bushes were before, and knowing it’s really green leaves on fallen branches. I go to my mother’s every evening and she watches out the door until she sees my porch light go off, so she’ll know I got home without being mugged by a possum (we look out for each other), and she can’t see my light now because a broken tree trunk is in the way.

I’m trying to catch up with the writing I couldn’t do because there was no power here or in town and my laptop battery didn’t last long enough to do much. Yes, I remember how to write in longhand, but that doesn’t help much if a lot of your reference material, your medium and your market are all computer/online.

I still haven’t finished my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes for this coming week. It’s what I should be doing right now, instead of playing catchup with my blog. But I NEED my blog–I NEED it! I’ve come to depend on this as a jump-start for my writing day. It primes the pump–gets the words flowing.

And now to work!


writing exercise: write three paragraphs about recovering from a natural upheaval, large or small, without using the phrases “in the aftermath” or “in the wake”.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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