Emerging Out of the Haze and Still Writing

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Emerging Out Of The Haze And Still Writing

I’m emerging out of the haze of the past fifteen months; still writing, reading, teaching, hiking, and podcast hosting. Enjoying the May grey days before the onslaught of summer heat hits with a vengeance. My first artichoke pushed its way through leaves to make an appearance today, and my mouth is watering just thinking about how good it will taste with melted butter and fresh garlic.

The zucchinis have landed by the dozens and while I’m doing my best not to eat sugar, I may be forced (twist my rubber arm) to make zucchini bread, along with zucchini fritters, grilled zucchini, and soup.

But the pièce de résistance of my current veggie garden are my new potatoes. OMG, is there anything better than a new potato boiled with a sprig of mint and tossed with a teeny bit of butter, salt, and pepper? Homegrown anything is fabulous, but each time I dig up a few potatoes for dinner, I can’t help thinking I’ve struck gold. They really are that good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bookshop Podcast

If you haven’t tuned into The Bookshop Podcast yet, please do. I’ve added a Wednesday edition where I chat with specialists in the fields of two subjects dear to my heart; the humanities and our environment. On the past few Wednesday episodes, I featured a series of three interviews regarding The Aramont Library, a private collection of 1700 volumes recently donated to The Library of Congress.

This collection comprises literary first editions, illustrated books, exhibition bindings, finely bound author collections, and books by some of the most influential artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. It also includes rich examples from the livre d’artist movement of the 20th century. Did you know artists such as Picasso and Miró published books? Listen to the episodes here and here (the final episode lands Wednesday, May 12), to find out more about this fascinating collection.

In episode 37, I chatted with Ali Wenzke, author of The Art of Happy Moving and host of Happy Moments an Instagram Live weekly show. In her book, Ali writes about how to declutter for your move, how to get your home ready to sell, and how to live happily ever after in your new city. Ali is one of the first friends I made on Instagram and is a gem inside and out. I was a guest on Ali’s Happy Moment’s last week, you can watch it here.

In Italy…Virtually

For episode 28 I traveled (albeit virtually) to Turin, Italy, and chatted with author, journalist, editor, and critic Bruce Sterling. Bruce is not prone to giving interviews so I’m thrilled he agreed to be a guest on The Bookshop Podcast. I enjoyed hearing his stories and learning more about his writing and especially his new book Robot Artists and Black Swans: The Italian Fantascienza Stories (Tachyon Books).

Oh, and in case you haven’t yet subscribed to The Bookshop Podcast please do so on Apple Podcasts here, and follow on Spotify here. If you enjoy the podcast (which I sure hope you do!) remember to leave a review and check the five stars. This simple act will make this podcast host super happy and fill my heart with gratitude.

Still Writing

After a few years away from writing essays I’m enjoying the process once more, and if you’re inclined to take a listen, I read them at the beginning of the Monday episodes of the podcast. If you’re familiar with my books in The Creatives Series, Ignacio’s story is a work in progress. I’m taking my time on this project as his story intertwines with another; backstories weaving and becoming tangled, multi-layered characters, against a backdrop of dark history; just the way I like my stories.

In My Kitchen

I love my pressure cooker. Here’s my favorite vegetable soup recipe. Last year I discovered smoked paprika, and it’s changed my cooking. Smokey and spicy, a perfect combination.

Risotto cooked in the pressure cooker is delicious. I love butternut squash risotto, and whenever I’m unable to buy fresh butternut squash, frozen organic is pretty tasty. One hint is to leave out a portion of the frozen squash until after you’ve released the pressure and opened the lid. Pop it in and let it cook for a few minutes; there’s plenty of heat in the pressure cooker once it’s safe to open the lid. While most of the squash softens during the cooking giving a delicious flavor, adding a few pieces after cooking allows the squash to cook but not get mushy.

My dear mother-in-law, Bettelu, recently turned 96 and I made a cheesecake made from sweet meyer lemons picked fresh from our garden. With a garden full of fresh vegetables, how could I not create a vegetable galette? OMG, more deliciousness. I mean, pastry and veggies? What’s not to love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books I’m Reading

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know of my addiction to the Penderghast series by Preston and Child. I admit to having a slight character crush on the white-haired FBI agent. Anyone else feel the same way? Like with all series, the characters just get better with every book.

I’m inundated with books from authors soon to be guests on the podcast, and a shout out goes to author Kevin Winchester, whose writing made me a fan of southern fiction. You can find his latest book Sunflower Dog here. His music is fabulous too. You can listen here.

And then there’s Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague, by Maggie O’Farrell. I’ve placed this marvelous novel in a cabinet of favorites I call, “definite re-read a million times.”

TV Series I’m Watching

Since lockdown 2020, hubby and I have watched some fabulous tv series. We enjoyed The Durells in Corfu, Manhunt, The Bodyguard, Derry Girls, All Creatures Great & Small, Broadchurch, Doc Martin, Bridgerton, The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit, A Very English Scandal, Victoria, Fleabag, The Great British Bake Off, and 8 out of 10 Cats. Mmm, I sense a British theme.

Music documentaries included, Tina, Quincy, Amy, Linda Ronstadt, The Bee Gees, and Rolling Thunder Revue.

I highly recommend: Kiss the Ground, and Muscle Shoals.

Music

I’m back listening to the playlist I made while writing The Devil And The Muse. You can check it out here, and while you’re at it, subscribe to my YouTube channel. Hubby has another album (because that’s what we call them in our home!) soon to be released. Here’s the link to his music.

Gratitude

I’m super grateful for every scientist who made the COVID-19 vaccination a reality. On Mother’s Day, we gathered with friends and our eldest son for dinner, all fully vaccinated. We ate outside and enjoyed a view across the valley while eating great food with family and friends. Our first time in fifteen months.

 

Before I sign off…

Before I sign off, a reminder for anyone interested in buying my eBooks, they are available directly through my website  at 99c per book. Paperbacks and hardcovers are available at your local indie bookshop or wherever you buy books.

Hopefully, if the world keeps opening up, I’ll offer workshops in September. Email me if you’d like information: mandy@cricketpublishing.org

Be well,

Mandy x

 

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About Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly studied flute in Sydney, worked couture fashion in London, and has been a successful costume designer in LA, working with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. She’s danced the tango with Robert Duvall, sewn buttons on coats with John Galliano, and discussed the art of sobriety with Alice Cooper and Russell Brand.

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