I’m happy to report that I am seeing the end of the tunnel on my covered wagon girl poetry collection. Here’s the set up. Emma Brown, from Martinsville, Indiana and her family travel through mud, dust, mosquitoes, and much more to get to their new home in Oregon. Each episode on her journey has a poem along with some nonfiction information to help the reader get some context. Yesterday, I laid out a 5-foot by 10-inch map with all of their stops along the trail, and found that I actually have more written than I thought I did. I still have about 10 more poems to write, but figuring all that out yesterday really helped me to see what needs to be done in order to finish.
I’m behind on my goal of finishing 5 new book manuscripts for my agent to start sending out, which I’d hoped to complete by the end of 2014. But this is actually turning into more of a middle-grade novella, so I guess I should be happy with my progress and the fact that I found a way to write something longer without freaking out. In the past, I’ve had several false starts on middle-grade novels. They’ve all petered out because I didn’t have a clear idea where my plot would end up. With this project, though, it’s pretty clear–she either gets to Oregon or not! My goal is that this book is somewhat like “Out of the Dust,” the fabulous novella written in verse by Karen Hesse about the farmers during the dust bowl in 1934-35. We’ll see how close I come to the mark.
In addition, I have two shorter picture book manuscripts in mind and two more poetry collections, both part-way done. Focus is the name of the game in writing freelance, especially with all of the busyness of the past few months as well as the crazy summer ahead. Now I see why my friend said she would limit her activities the summer she sends her twins off to college. Between orientation, getting Jacob ready to move into a dorm, and then move-in, my summer is pretty packed. But add to that a youth mission trip and trip with Scott and I’ll be glad things slow down come September.
Well, now that a) it’s warm enough to have fixed the grill; b) the grill is now working; and c) I’m eating lots of veggies, this recipe seemed in order. It’s pretty easy: throw together sliced/diced zucchini and tomato, add some sliced black olives, and toss with olive oil and seasonings. Throw the whole pan on the grill, and voila! yummy side dish!
The only thing I’d add (which was probably assumed, but you gotta spell it out for me) is to spray the cooking pan before grilling the veggies. My pan came out sorta black and in need of serious soaking, but the veggies tasted great!
Here they are, ready to go into the grill:
Don’t you just love grilling? If you don’t obsess about cleaning the grill too much, and just enjoy the smoky taste of the finished product, it is a quick, easy way to add a lot of flavor while not messing up your kitchen.
Along with the veggies, I made shrimp kabobs. Again, cooking spray is the name of the game. But first I marinated the raw, shelled and de-veined shrimp in paprika, olive oil, a little vinegar and salt and pepper. I soaked the wood skewers for awhile before threading the shrimp onto two parallel skewers. This made the shrimp easier to flip over. But…I should have sprayed the damp skewers because the shrimp was pretty much impossible to get off without just yanking it with your fingers. But hey, small problem for deliciousness!