In The Writer's World

The State of the State

In western Oregon, summer has arrived with a couple of very warm days followed by some very East Coast thunderstorms. Rest and repeat. Today is the longest day of the year, so happy Solstice everyone!

Chicken Paprikash in Budapest.

I’ve made Chicken Paprikash twice since we returned from our Grand Tour of the Danube. The second time it turned out particularly well–almost as good as I remember it from Budapest. The secret is fresh paprika. I don’t think I’d ever had it before. It imparts a flavor that is distinct and warm and round. Very satisfying. What I was used to before I brought some home with me was bitter and off-putting, although I always admired its deep color.

The State of the Novel

Since last month’s newsletter, I’ve been under my rock working hard on the novel. Second draft completed. First pages out to my early readers. It truly feels, now, that I have something that’s going to work.

That does not mean the work is over. Far from it. There will be more drafts, suggestions taken into account. This is a process that goes on seemingly forever. And then when it’s done (months from now), I will pack it up and get back to Emma Golden. Much is brewing out in wine country.

Bridge of the Gods spans the Columbia River near where my new novel is set.

Everything else

And, I am listening to The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. There is a lot of testosterone in this novel. Some of the writing is downright terrible; other parts are good, but long-winded. I do love the insider stuff–or what I perceive as the insider stuff. And, if I have to drive somewhere, it’s good to have an option to the national and international news, which is horrific. There are no words for what is happening in our country. Makes cyberterrorism look like a day at the beach. Or maybe a portent of things to come.

But I digress. The book I enjoyed most during the past three months was The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George. It shows Barbara Havers at her finest, tap-dancing her way to fame and romance while she tries to get to the bottom of a murder her late-stage alcoholic boss doesn’t want her looking into. As usual, Havers treads the fine line between authority and her own instincts, and provides us with much-needed comic relief! Elizabeth George always delivers the goods.

Last but not least, the garden. Yesterday I trellised raspberries–and found a few ripe ones. There is no place like a garden to connect with all that is good and find respite from the world’s craziness.

Happy Solstice one and all!



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  • Leigh says:

    Loved to hear all your good news and updates Judy. Looking forward to your new book whenever it is published.

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