Saturday, August 10, 2013

Losing yourself in a fictional world

Writers should read--seems a simple enough thing. I learn a lot by reading other writers' mysteries--they give me ideas, they make me think of things I could do in my books, and they reveal some things I seriously want to avoid. But I don't read much these days--it's partly a matter of time and partly, as I think I've said before, that it's hard for me to move from one fictional world to another. So when I'm writing, I rarely read--though it would probably do me good to read non-fiction.
The last few days I've been caught up in novels--Julie Hyzy's Grace Takes Off, which smoothly does something I've worried about: she takes a series character out of her normal setting, at least for part of the novel. I've wondered--can I send Kelly out of Fairmount on a trip? I may just do it when I get back to the work in progress. Now I'm in the midst of The Little Black Book of Murder, by Nancy Martin, who has created the wackiest ever blueblood family of sisters from Bucks County, now fallen on hard times. Watch for a review, but it too is a good read, and I'm stealing time to go back to it. And thoroughly enjoying losing myself in someone else's fictional world.
I did take time to cook today, which always relaxes me--German potato salad, which will have hot dogs in it, for tomorrow night. I'll serve corn and baked cabbage--shh! Don't tell my guests about the latter. Cooked cabbage is coming back into vogue but some people may not react well. I changed the menu partly because one of the guests said he loves spinach salad, doesn't eat cooked spinach (I had a delicious dish of polenta with cooked spinach in mind). But I also changed because I'm pushing hot dog ideas in order to publicize Danger Comes Home, with its Bun Appetit haute cuisine hot dog cafĂ©, and I need a picture of this dish for a blog. At least the appetizers--Gouda and crackers--and the dessert--ice cream with raspberry appertif/chocolate sauce--should be hits.

For myself tonight I made an abbreviated version of salade Nicoise--with hard-boiled egg, avocado, roasted green beans, and Tonnino tuna packed in garlic olive oil. Tonnino is a brand of tuna I've just discovered (and my pocketbook wishes I hadn't)--several interesting varieties, like one packed in olive oil with oregano. For tonight's salad, I sprinkled it with capers, drizzled a bit of the oil from the tuna over it, added a bit of salt and pepper, and squeezed lemon juice over all. So good. Sometimes it's fun to make an elegant meal just for you. First time I've roasted green beans, and they were great.
Happy weekend, everyone.

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