Yarn Along

:: knitting: it’s all about the process isn’t it? I’m getting there, but it’s just a few stitches at a time… Still working on that cowl.

:: reading: not very highclass maybe, but I can always claim it’s research 😉 I’m rereading the Bridal Quartet by Nora Roberts and loving it.

:: writing: almost finished the proofreading for my latest book, and almost done writing that concept story too. Than there is one more big deadline to catch. Some very exciting new possibilities are opening up for me, but I can’t say anything about that yet.
So I’m very, very busy writing these days. It’s like writing is my job… Isn’t that great?


I don’t like endives. 
That’s an understatement. It’s actually one of the very few vegetables I really don’t want to eat. But we do, since the rest of our little family does like it.
When I started my little vegetable garden it was rather late in season. So I did a bit of research to find out which vegetables still could be sown. Spinach, lettuce, corn, carrots, kale and… endives. I could have ignored that last one, but that would have been childish, I thought. And I doubted this very first try at sowing and growing would succeed, so I happily added a row of my least favorite vegetable.
The seed was good, the weather was great (for growing veggies that is), the soil was just right. Or something like that, I don’t know. I just know it grew very, very well.
So now we eat endives twice a week. At least. There’s a lot of it and I don’t want to waste good home-grown food. We eat it raw, cooked or stir-fried. With potatoes, rice of pasta. 
I’m getting used to it. And I love that I really grew it myself, that I can go out to the garden and harvest veggies for diner, that I have been able to do that for months now and all that from one little bag of seed.
But I still don’t like endives. And that’s an understatement. 😉

Yarn Along

on Wednesdays: Ginny’s Yarn Along (adding a bit of writing into the mix of books and yarn)

:: knitting: after reading another blog in the Yarn Along, I remembered I don’t even like scarfs. Last winter I wore a cowl and I loved how that felt. So I decided to start knitting a cowl with that yarn.

:: reading: printing proofs of my new book. The final round and the hardest part, since I really need to let go of it now. I’m supposed to dot the i’s, not to rewrite parts I suddenly don’t like.

:: writing: still working on the concept story. It’s a different way of writing and sometimes hard, especially since I decided to let one of the recurring characters go through something. I have very little room to make that story work, but I’m getting there. It’s a learning experience.

In my kitchen

Some things are so easy to make that you can’t imagine why you didn’t try it before. Like making chickennuggets. We’ve missed them since we turned glutenfree, but I’ve been thinking about making them myself for some time now. Last Friday I finally got my act together. It worked. It’s so easy. And it tastes great! Even my husband, who doesn’t really like chickennuggets, loved them, since these still have the taste and texture of real chicken.
Recipe? Well, it’s too easy actually, but I’ll try to explain what I did.

Cut up chickenbrest
Beat an egg and put the pieces of chicken in it
Mix breadcrumbs (I used this*) with spices to taste and cover the chicken with it
Fry in oil (I used a deepfryer), about 10-12 pieces at once. I did them 2 minutes first, and then all of them together for another minute.

(*of course you can make these with normal breadcrumbs. It’s still additive free and you can use free range chicken)

Doing nothing at all

This Saturday afternoon, we were sitting at our roof terrace and trying really hard to relax. We both had been working the whole morning and now we wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather and just do nothing.
But we couldn’t. I was knitting. That can be very relaxing, but not when you’re thinking that you need to hurry up since there’s so many more to make. And he was looking around, seeing a lot that needed to be done, but lacking the energy to actually do so.
So, after a frustrating hour of “we need to relax” we decided to go for a ride. We drove to the beach (not the nearest), top down, windows down, wind in our hair. We drank some coffee and had an icecream. I said we couldn’t leave without actually seeing the sea, so we climbed up the stairs. And he said we couldn’t leave without actually standing in the water, so we climbed down the stairs. And then we drove back again, the wind blowing and clearing our minds.
It was great. It was exactly what we needed. It was very relaxing.

This week

:: I found out that taking pictures daily is not really easy anymore
:: I’m still planning to get back into that habit
:: I walked, face first, into a big cobweb three times (at the same spot, that is one stubborn spider)
:: we enjoyed some lovely summer evenings
:: we celebrated our 22nd anniversery
:: I tried to ignore the red leaves on our cherry tree (I know, it’s september and fall is coming, but our summer just started in August)
:: I decided to try the concept of “a cupboard a day“. (I don’t know if there’s an english equivelant of this) I really like browsing those blogs and seeing what just 15 minutes of straightening things out can do. So far (I started yesterday) it seems to work. I felt good about tidening just one thing and it’s not too overwhelming to think I need to do one more today (instead of wanting to tackle “everything”). I don’t think I’m feeling comfortable posting pictures of it though.

Yarn Along

I’ve always wanted to play along in Ginny’s Yarn Along, but I never really did. Since I already planned to do “writing news” on Wednesdays, and Yarn Along is in fact about yarn and books I thought I’d try to incorporate the two (I’m all about incorporating, integrating and mixing up these days) .

:: knitting: at this point there’s nothing (!) on my needles. I started a scarf with this lovely soft yarn, but on the wrong needles (too thin, the texture felt all wrong and I’m not sure I would be able to make a long enough scarf that way), so I frogged it. I’m going to start over with thicker needles soon. I love this yarn.

:: reading: the reason why there’s no knitting to show is that I have been reading a lot this week. I finished three books, but only one of them is available in English: Obedience by Will Lavender (not visible on the picture, though it is there, beneath the other two). I loved the puzzle and the way he worked out the plot, but I have to admit I had a hard time getting into the story. I would have loved a bit more depth in the main characters. Still, it was a fun read.
The other books were by Marelle Boersma and Wilma Hollander. The first is a thriller about illegal surrogate mothers, the other one is a romance novel. I  loved them both very much (I’m a big fan of both of these women). Wilma writes short stories in English so if you want a taste of her writing, you can visit her here.

:: writing: I have some deadlines approaching fast. I’m working on another concept story and when I finish that I will be working on my new book, a sequel to Incognito and Dilemma (it will be a trilogy, how great is that?). Also my editor and I are working on the final proofing of the book that is coming out this November. Busy times…

Manuscripta 2012

wit my publisher, Larry Iburg

with Wilma Hollander

This weekend we had Manuscripta in Amsterdam, a big event marking the start of the book season. I was going as a visitor, but the first thing I did was visiting my publisher’s booth. After I finally arrived, that is, because the road I needed to follow was closed and my navigation system insisted that I was going further and further away from my destination when in fact I was very close right before I decided to turn around. Ahem. And then, after I asked for directions, it pretended it had known all along where we needed to go. I really don’t like that thing.
Well, anyway, Larry and I talked a bit about my upcoming books (one in November, and two in 2013 again) and I met the owner of the publisher that is cooperating with him to publish books in bigger print for people with poor eyesight. I knew he was going to do two of my books, but now he told me he wanted to do all my books. Yes!
Next to my publisher’s booth Wilma Hollander was signing her new book. We’ve been connecting through the internet for years now and last Wednesday we met for the very first time at a mutual friend’s house. It was fun to see her again though and I wish we could meet once more before she returns to her home in Greece, but the fun meetings she planned are either on the wrong date or too far away for me.
Anyway, we talked a lot, I met a few other writers and we talked some more. After an hour or so I decided to go and visit some of the other buildings and booths. I did a workshop writing ‘ikjes’ (very short anecdotes that are published in a well-known newspaper here), listened to a presentation about strong brands for writers and publishers (though I wished he had shared more tips and less numbers), saw Arne and Carlos, the designers of the knit Christmas balls, and visited the kitchen where someone talked about eating from your own garden (which is not very common in the Netherlands yet).
I had a fun little talk with a man that was promoting some book about concurring dilemmas. He asked me if I had a dilemma. I told him no (I actually think I’ve got it now), but he insisted I must have one. So I acted smart and showed him the book I wrote called Dilemma and we talked about that for a while.
A small step for mankind, but a giant leap for me, since I have so much trouble actually telling people I am a writer. Bringing my books (and business cards and even a little folder showing my books) was a first for me, but I reminded myself that no-one had to know if that was silly. It wasn’t. I even left my new book and a folder with a newspaper that may do a review on it.
Then I returned to Wilma to say goodbye and ended up chatting for another hour. I returned home exhausted, but with renewed energy to actually start this book season myself too.