This week, a very special cookbook has come into the world: A LITERARY TEA PARTY, by Alison Walsh, founder and cook at Alison’s Wonderland Recipes. Yes, it’s exactly what you think – a collection of recipes inspired by classic novels and perfect for afternoon teas. Alison and I have been following each other’s blogs for some time; and after she invited me to write the introduction for the cookbook, I knew I wanted to have her stop in for a guest post. So here is Alison, with her tips on planning a fun and delectable tea party.
Tea has been my drink of choice since before I was old enough to work the tea kettle, so it’s no surprise that tea parties are my favorite way to socialize. Four years ago, my bachelorette party was a quiet Irish-themed tea party held with a few friends at my mom’s house, and it’s still one of my fondest memories. I’ve hosted a few teas of my own (and a hot chocolate party!) and even wrote a literary-themed cookbook on the subject.
What is it about tea parties that charms me so? For one thing, I love that they’re designed to facilitate rather than impede meaningful socialization. It’s so much easier to talk in someone’s living room over a cup of tea than in a noisy, crowded bar or restaurant. I also love how, despite having a reputation for formality, tea parties can be as fancy or informal as you want (think high tea in an English manor versus a child’s imaginary tea party with plastic cups and teddy bear guests).
Does anyone else feel like November zoomed by? Again? It feels that way every year, first with Thanksgiving and now Christmas approaching fast. And while November was relatively stress-free, I’ve been struggling to keep up with blogging because of changes in my work circumstances. I’m not sure how this impact the blog in the long term. But since I’m planning to take an annual holiday hiatus from blogging soon, the time-off might be a good chance to think about what changes, if any, might be needed for 2018.
But I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself, shouldn’t I? 🙂 So let’s turn our attention away from what may be ahead to what we can already be thankful for. As always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments. But for now, I’ll share with you the things that made me happy this November!
I’ve been near-bursting for weeks to share this news with you. And now I can finally say that (*drum roll*) I’ve written the introduction to a literary-themed cookbook!
A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and Book Lovers Everywhere is written and compiled by Alison Walsh, the “chef” of the literary food blog Alison’s Wonderland Recipes. It will feature over 50 recipes of finger-food savories, breads and scones, desserts, and homemade beverages from tea blends to punches and hot cocoas – all of which can be served for afternoon tea or other festive gatherings. The best part is, all of the recipes are inspired by foods that appear in well-known novels such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and (of course) Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Summer ends tomorrow, and what a busy season it’s been. Traveling, sightseeing, getting a head cold (OK, that wasn’t fun, but it did happen), and through it all I managed to get a lot of writing and reading done. So despite the busyness, it was a productive and satisfying summer. 🙂
Without further ado, let’s launch into the Creativity Corner for a recap of what I’ve been writing and reading, and other related happenings, since the end-of-spring edition in June.
Summer has been playing ping-pong with our weather here in Massachusetts. Some days it’s sunny, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, and
disgustingly very humid. Other days it’s rainy and hovering around 70. (Though there have been glorious days in between, often with good timing for my Cape Cod trips. *smiles*) And personally, my month of July mirrored that fluctuation. Without going into detail, it went back and forth between contentedly quiet and productive, to stressful and tiring. 😐
So I’m partly glad that July is almost over, especially since it means the NYC trip is getting closer. (Yay!) It also means that today marks the next installment of What’s Making Me Happy. (Double yay!) So I’m linking up once again with fellow DIY MFA columnist Leanne Sowul and sharing five things that made me smile when I needed it most this past month.
Is anyone else having a hard time believing that May is almost over? Gosh, was it busy. Not in a bad way, either. But in between writing, work, trips to Cape Cod, and life in general, I also worked on the online photo album of my Iceland trip that was one of the promised GoFundMe perks. (FYI: If you’re one of those donors, I hope to have the link ready within the next week or so. Sorry for the delay!) As a result, I’m on a social media hiatus (except for Goodreads) until the photo album is done, and then things should return to some sense of normalcy.
So what kinds of things made me happy in between all of May’s busyness? Would it surprise you if some of those joys are lingering reminders of Iceland? 😉 And as always, feel free to share the things that made you happy this past month in your comments on this post.
I owe it to myself to do a What’s Making Me Happy post. February was a tough month. Despite the joy of a new writing project and the hope-excitement for the upcoming Iceland trip, it was also a month of stress, fatigue, and a resulting illness. So lately it’s been a challenge to maintain any sense of contentment or confidence in… well, anything, including writing.
But February wasn’t all gray skies, cold temperatures, and pessimism. In fact, several things about the past month did lift my spirits. So today I’d like to celebrate the sounds, sights, flavors, and places that made me happy over the past month. Let’s start with…
Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.
I’m starting this post with a confession: While I’ve managed to keep up with my own blog-writing, I’ve been so burnt out from the past month’s busyness that I’m struggling to keep up with reading other blogs or replying to comments. I’ve also been dealing with stress from (without going into too much detail) expected and unexpected sources. Some days were great, but others… Yeah.
I hope this is temporary, though, since I still have one big event around the corner: My friend’s wedding (the one where I’m a bridesmaid) is this coming Saturday. Maybe once things calm down and I have some time to rest and regroup, I’ll feel some semblance of my normal self. But I just wanted to let readers know what’s going on, since you guys deserve my honesty.
But I really can’t complain. August was an awesome month on its best days, and it ends with much that I’m grateful for. This will make more sense as this post goes along, so let’s start with…
If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my #WIPjoy Tweets during the month of June. This meme is a month-long challenge led by YA sci-fi and fantasy writer Bethany A. Jennings; and for every day of the month, writers answer a specific question and share bits about their current work-in-progress (WIP). Participants can also take the meme to Facebook, their blog, and other social media outlets they
The “index” image for #WIPjoy June 2016, courtesy of Bethany A. Jennings. Click to view a larger version.
This was my first time participating in #WIPjoy, and it was a lot of fun! It especially gave me a chance to learn what other writers are working on, get a taste of their writing style, and cheer them on as they work on their drafts. Now I’m even more excited to read some of those stories when they’re published someday!
And what I did I share for #WIPjoy? The Keeper’s Curse, of course! (It IS my only WIP at the moment. *lol*) So, I thought I’d share a collection of my #WIPjoy Tweets here with you. This post doesn’t contain all of my Tweets from the challenge – but it does feature some of my favorite questions / answers, and several of the excerpts I shared. Feel free to share any feedback in your comments, or “like” or “retweet” any of the linked Tweets. 😉 Enjoy!
Leona Henry @ Leona’s Blog of Shadows nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award a while back. (Thank you, Leona – and sorry it took so long!) Leona is a Turkish-born fantasy writer who now lives in Finland and is preparing to publish her debut novel series, The Coin of Liberius, via Reamwalker Publishing Group. If you like dark epic fantasy in the vein of George R.R. Martin and R. Scott Bakker, then keep an eye out for Leona’s upcoming works. 😉
Here are the rules for the One Lovely Blog Award:
- Thank the person who nominated you. (Check!)
- List the rules and display the award. (Check!)
- List 7 facts about yourself.
- Nominate 15 others bloggers and notify them of their nomination.
So, let’s see what facts I can share with you today that I haven’t shared here yet. 😉 Continue reading