Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fall Favorites

So I’m a Miami girl with a hankering for fall.  From the colors to the foliage, apple cider to pumpkin pie–I LOVE this season.  Not sure how or why, but I do! 

And in our house, fall means the beginning of comfort food season.  Last night we went with an old Italian favorite, chicken Marsala and mashed potatoes.  Tonight it will be butternut squash and broccoli rabe lasagna.  Hmmm…  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. 🙂

I’m hungry already!!  So today I’ve decided to share the recipe with you all.  It’s not the healthiest item on the menu, but it is savory and oh-so-delicious, not to mention one of my husband’s favorites!  Check our recipe section for details.  Now fess up: what’s YOUR favorite fall recipe?

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The in-between

I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern Tennessee. A beautiful area, for certain, but I could barely wait to escape. College was merely a pit-stop on my quest to see the world.

No one was surprised when I fell in love with a Dutchman. They were even less surprised when I bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam, crammed all my belongings into a couple suitcases, and set off on a string of adventures that consisted of a map, a duffel bag, and a Eurail pass. I’d only been talking about doing so all my life. What surprised everyone, including myself, was that my European vacation lasted for twelve years.

And no, not all of it was vacation. Not even most of it. Life in the Netherlands turned out to be pretty much the same as anywhere else, filled with jobs and to-do lists and babies and mortgages, only in a place where people are freakishly tall and there are more bicycles than humans.

But Holland quickly became my new home, one that taught me to speak the language like a native, challenged me to adopt another culture as my own, and stretched me to limits I didn’t know I had. For me, Holland was like that crotchety old college professor you thought was being mean for mean’s sake, but who ended up teaching you the most. Ultimately, my time there taught me to stop and smell the tulips, and to bloom where my bulb is planted.

My family and I returned to the States ten years ago, and we’re still learning to navigate our in-between world, the one that straddles, not always gracefully, American and Dutch cultures. I’ve gotten used to the fact that Dutch people think I’m Dutch and Americans think I’m American, that I long for one country whenever I’m in the other, that spring flowers and rainstorms and the color orange make me homesick for a place that’s not technically my home.

Because even when I’m not there, Holland will always feel like a safe place to land.

Kim Boykin and The Wisdom Of Hair

Hey y’all, guess this is my introductory blog entry, so here goes. My name is Kim Boykin, and I’ve been writing down stories since I could hold a fat number 2 pencil in my hand. But my own fairytale began almost two years ago in New York City.

At 53, after helping my husband and my kids chase their dreams, I went to a writer’s conference and pitched my novel to four editors. A few months later, one of those editors, Leis Pederson, of Berkley Books/Penguin made my dreams come true and bought my debut novel, THE WISDOM OF HAIR (publication date 3/5/13.)

Including the amazing authors at Women Unplugged, I’ve met so many wonderful people on this writing journey. My agent, Kevan Lyon, is at the top of that list and I am so grateful that she picked me as a client. Leis Pederson, of course. It goes without saying I also owe a lot to my parents, who are normal and wonderful, which really sucks if you’re a writer. For some reason the world thinks if you come from crazy town, you’re much more interesting.

Lastly, I’ve been married to the same sweet man for thirty years. He doesn’t really get this whole women’s fiction thing, but he cheers me on  every chance he gets and is happy I’m living my dream.

Pretending

I never know what should go into a first official post. Do I tell you about myself? Act as if you already know me? Can I pretend I’m someone I’m not and tell a tale?

Ooh, I like that last option.

‘Sup? I’m Franco. I’m a big male with a bigger head and large muscles. I cook for a living, eat in my spare time, and I like to play football in the park when it’s dark. I live in a five-star hotel (because my family owns it, and I’m a sous chef in the kitchen), and my girlfriend Rita is the hot little maid from the fourth floor. I’m gonna propose. Got it planned for her birthday next month, and she . . .

Not Franco

Okay, in truth:

I’m Janna. I’m a modest word nerd with more shoes than muscles, I live in a comfortable apartment that vacillates between tidy and explosive, and I don’t like sports. I’m a single mom, a writer, editor, and all those other typical things: daughter, sister, friend, wannabe philosopher, arachnophobe.

I was invited to join Women Unplugged by Sharla, and I’m so pleased to be here. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and life with you, making new connections, and maybe, once in a while, pretending. (I’ll be a Wednesday poster, but since Dianne is away today, I thought I’d hop in to say hello.)

Thanks so much for having me!

Has It Really Been Twenty-One Years?

Twenty-one years ago on October 19, 1991, James and I were married in Oakland. This month has three other unforgettable events that happened in California.

On October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake (the World Series earthquake) hit Northern California, collapsing part of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, killing 63 people, injuring 3,757 others, and leaving 3,000-12,000 people homeless.

On the same day as our wedding the famous fire in the Oakland hills started, killing 25 people, injuring 150 others, and destroying 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartments and condos.

Another extraordinary October event (not for Californians but for our family) happened on October 21, 1998, when our daughter Allessandra was born and we took her home within hours and adopted her.

Wow!  I just had to share.

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