Visit to Allentown

Allentown, PA is the home of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ Center where I read with a half-dozen other writers from the anthology, Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars. Happy Hours book cover The book-which calls attention to the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando-includes four dozen short-stories, essays, and poems about the role gay bars have played in building safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.  Proceeds of the book’s sales support LGBTQ youth-service programs.  Shout out to writers: Renee Bess (also the story collector for the anthology), Rae Theodore, Karen DiPrima who also read their pieces from the anthology.

Located on Maple street in Allentown, the center recently participated in a street name change and now resides on Bayard Rustin Way. Rustin is a hero of mine. See my bad photo of the street sign, below.

Bayaard Rustin SignMet one of the owners of indie bookstore, Let’s Play Books, in nearby Emmaus

The visit inspired me to listen to Billy Joel’s song. https://youtu.be/BHnJp0oyOxs

 

Writing to Kill; Dying to Cook

For me a really good day is if I can slam out a couple of thousand words of crime fiction; do a bit of outdoors sweating; and cook something yummy.

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My mother taught me how to cook. Over the years I’ve picked up a few recipes here and there to supplement the soul-food meals I learned at the proverbial mother’s knee.  I don’t eat those childhood meals very much anymore. To much: fat, salt, calories, cholesterol.  Although I do still make a mean mac n’ cheese.

Now, love preparing colorful vegetables.  I stick pretty close to chicken, fish, shrimp. Occasional red meat (although less and less each month). It’s difficult for me to resist starches (especially rice) and I’m a sucker for a chocolate cake.

I sometimes use the promise of dessert to keep my butt in the chair writing. The results-reward strategy works well for me.  Plus, I find cooking just as creative as writing. When I’m fluidly moving around a kitchen pinching, shaking, cutting, pouring, stirring; it is the same power as when I let go of the act of writing and allow the characters to speak through me.

Here are a few things I’ve cooked up of late (photos below): herb-breaded chicken breasts; tuna salad on spinach; beef tacos w/ beans & rice; sauteed shrimp (to accompany grits); red cabbage & green squash (I call this smurf & turf); six-veggie saute; and my latest book.

Breaded chicken breast

Breaded chicken breast

20160319_130536 (2)20170113_112633 (1) shrimp Smur-turf (2) veggies

JMWIW

Bon Appetite