Eat, Drink & be Mary
One way I enjoy the fruits of summer into the fall is to pick my green tomatoes and bring them inside to ripen. They still have much better flavor than a tomato you buy at the store. My favorite way to eat them is Margarita Pizza. My autumn recipe uses pesto rather than fresh basil.
Spread pesto to cover the whole wheat crust. Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese, place slices of tomato on top.
I usually make two because I have a teenage son, and I love the leftovers reheated for lunch the next day.
Literature & History
I can’t wait to get my hands on the newly released second book in Y S Lee’s Agency series, The Body at the Tower. This time Mary Quinn investigates murder while disguised as a boy, a poor apprentice builder assigned to a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament.
Lee, with her PhD in Victorian literature and culture, gives us a suspenseful and resonant glimpse of a fascinating moment in history. According to Kirkus Reviews“…the sights, smells and grim lives of London’s poor are richly detailed….”
Though Mary and the clandestine Agency operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls are unrealistic to the time period, they provide a terrific story against a backdrop of accurate and interesting history. I was hooked on Lee’s first book A Spy in the House, when Mary goes undercover during London’s Great Stink of 1858. A smelly situation that really happened. Says Lee,
“It was a particularly warm year and the smell from the grossly polluted Thames became, quite suddenly, unbearable. People panicked. Those who could fled London for the country. And the Great Stink finally pushed the government into cleaning up the Thames and modernizing London’s sewer system.
We know the bare facts: toilets flushed right into the Thames, and Londoners pumped the water straight back out for cooking and bathing. People thought the smell made you sick – not germs. And future prime minister Benjamin Disraeli fled the House of Commons one day with a handkerchief over his nose, so evil was the stench.”
Ah! Those were the good ol’ days.
Lee plans to unveil the cover of yet a third Mary Quinn detective story soon. I’m hoping it won’t be the last. And not just because I won this tee at the twitter book launch of #2. Thanks, Ying!
This morning I woke up in a bad mood. Part of me rebelled against my morning routine of practicing yoga and meditation, rebelled against writing. Rebelled against even getting out of bed. But I had to drive my husband to the airport, so I got up.
Whenever the rebellious Mary pokes her head up, the judging Mary is never far behind. Before I am even concious of it, I condemn myself for not doing the things I should do, the things I want to do, the things that help make me my best self.
So, I sit in my favorite feeling bad for myself corner of the couch with my coffee and try to figure out what’s wrong. Here’s where I make the crucial choice. I sometimes continue down the path of questions like--What’s wrong with me? Why do I have such a hard time following through with things that are important to me?
This morning, the sadness and disappointment well up. I let them come. I don’t swallow the lump in my throat. I don’t ask questions of myself. I feel. I feel the weight in my shoulders, the pressure on my chest.
My agent submitted my book proposal ten days ago. I ignore the voice that says, “You expected an editor to just snap it up? You thought it was that good? Are you crazy, or stupid?
No, I’m not crazy. I’m not stupid. Yes. I thought it was that good. If I didn’t think it was that good, I wouldn not have spent the last three months of my life putting my heart, soul and time into researching and writing it.
I admit it. I’m disappointed. It hurts. The emotion washes through me.
Before I know it, I’m up from the couch. My bad mood is gone. The day stretches before me like a blank page. I don’t know what will be written, but it will be written well.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers in the blog comments, by email or social media.