Harvesting our Stories

Today, I have a special guest for you. If you’re looking for a heart-warming story for the holidays, or a hearty vegetable dish for the cold weather days, then Lynne’s your go-to-gal. A huge welcome to my friend, romance author, Lynne Marshall.

Robena and I got the bright idea to swap blogs one week, which was great for me since I had revisions that needed to be finished by November 14th.  She agreed to talk about book clubs at my blog, and I, well, I was a little vaguer over what I’d blog about.  I knew I wanted to include a beautiful picture of some sort, and autumn is filled with beautiful scenes. 

Robena had also suggested I provide a recipe if I wanted. Snort. Well, if you know me, you know I like to keep things simple when it comes to cooking, so I hope you’re not looking forward to a long and intricate recipe at some point in this blog. Let’s just say I’ll do my best.

So what do the season of fall and writing books have in common?  Fall is the time of harvest, a time when grain, fruit, and vegetable crops are gathered in to take to market or to be stored.  Stories are created from gathering ideas that may have been growing for a season or more in our minds. We let our imaginations run wild, then we reap or edit the words into something manageable, something that has a beginning, a middle and an end.  And if we’re lucky, those harvested words may turn into a book that can nourish a reader’s mind as much as bread and vegetables nourish our bodies.

Farmers spend long hours doing backbreaking work during the harvest, and experience many perils in order to bring their annual crop to market.  Some years cooperate better than others.  They must remain vigilant as each crop is only a few bad storms or a long drought away from failure.

Writing is a different kind of backbreaking work.  We authors spend hours and hours hunched over in our chairs, fingers on the keyboard, facing the fear of one particular ultra scary drought – the empty computer screen.  What if the words don’t come?  What if our ideas dry up and we run out of stories? As farmers must ward off insect infestations, authors must constantly fight the nagging infestation of insecurity, something that can grab hold and cripple our craft.

Farmers put scarecrows in their fields to trick crows into leaving their crops alone.  Too often those smart black birds figure it out and eat to their hearts content.  Many writers hide behind their own scarecrows, showing a persona they are not completely comfortable with in public by calling themselves authors, while privately feeling an imposter, like that field scarecrow.  How long before someone figures out I’m just a phony who thinks I can write?

I’m beginning to depress myself, plus I think I’ve run that harvest metaphor into the ground. (Get it? Harvest. Ground.) So I think I’ll move on to the recipe portion of this blog.  I have a social media friend named Virginia Campbell who shares thousands of recipes.  Since we’re talking about autumn and harvest, I thought I’d post a recipe I first saw at one of her blogs:

Roasted Harvest Vegetables

1 small butternut squash, cubed

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

1 red onion, quartered

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato and Yukon Gold potatoes.  Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.  In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Toss with vegetables until they are lightly coated.  Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned. Serve on a large platter and enjoy your Fall Harvest veggies!

 Do you have a favorite fall meal or dessert you’d like to share?  I’ll give an Amazon gift certificate for my current book – ONE FOR THE ROAD – to one commenter.

 Lynne Marshall writes contemporary category romance for Harlequin in the Medical Romance and Special Edition lines and single title contemporary romance for The Wild Rose Press.  She believes it’s never too late to fall in love, and second chances should never be squandered. For more information, please visit: www.lynnemarshall.com





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26 Responses to Harvesting our Stories

  1. Well, that recipe looks easy and delicious. I love roasted veggies. We tend to have them more in the summer months, on the grill. And I get it when you talk about infestation of insecurity. I’ve never heard it put that way, but oh, so true!!

    • Hi Charlene – Insecurity is the biggest challenge for me as a writer. I often think “What in the world made me think I could do this?”

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ah – we’re live! Wonderful to be here, Robena. I look forward to reading some new fall recipes today. If our blog readers are true to form, I suspect we might be heavy on the dessert side. Fine with me!


  3. Robena Grant says:

    Welcome, Janet. I can see Charlene was up early. ; ) I may have a recipe to share later. Overslept today, so yeah, time to drink another mug of coffee and then hit the shower.

  4. Vonnie Davis says:

    Lovely post, Lynne. I like the analogy of harvesting and writing. I think most creative people have a strong degree of self-doubt. Look at poor Vincent vanGogh, who painted and painted and was never satisfied with his work. Perhaps it is that drive to improve, to outsmart our personal I’m-just-not-good-enough demons that brings forth something good after all.

    • Hi Vonnie – beautifully put. All I can say is, I’m still trying to outsmart that doubter who resides inside me.

      I took that picture at Yosemite in fall. If you’ve never been, Vonnie, you must come to California to see our beautiful National Park.

  5. Janet you’re too funny – and spot on. I think every writer hides behind their scarecrows of insecurity! The roasted veggie recipe looks yum – I ADORE roasted veggies. Plus the hot oven helps keep the kitchen warm, lol!

  6. Hi Christine! I’m glad you got a kick out of my analogy. I think we writers are all only one bad critique or rejection letter away from deciding our writing dream is a sham. The beauty, though, is we sit down anyway, and write that next book, and, well, sometimes something magical happens and people read it and say kind things about it. You know how that is, don’t you. 🙂

  7. Your blog definitely hit the right note–as writers we’re afraid of rejection, finding the next story, exhausting our muse, and letting people read the stories that have been brewing in our head. It’s still a shock to me to have a reader comment on my book. That’s a beautiful pic–it’s why I love fall! I have a recipe for stuffing, but it’s so chock full of calories that if I posted it, you would probably gain weight just by looking. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

    • Hi Melissa! I’m so glad I hit a chord with you. Yeah, us writers tend to think alike (not where are stories are concerned, but our feelings about writing).

      LOL about that stuffing recipe. Forget the bird and bring it on! 🙂

      I will be looking at Thanksgiving a little differently this year as I have now been officially put on medicine for my cholesterol. Sigh

  8. Oooo, that sounds yummy!
    This year I’m going to mash yams and toss in some pecans and cranberries with a dash or two of olive oil.
    I love to cook in the Fall!
    Thanks for the post, girls!

    • Hi Genella!
      That recipe sounds like a winner! Yum yum. I like to make my yam caserole from fresh potatoes too! I may have to try you recipe, though. My mouth is watering.
      Thanks for commenting,

  9. Gina B. says:

    Hi Lynne,

    What a great post! Seeing a story through from the initial little seed of an idea, and having it grow and grow until there’s a finished book definitely feels like harvesting. I love it when an idea takes hold and won’t go away. Those are the ones we have to harvest for all they’re worth!

    Wish I had some good recipes to share but I’m not a good cook at all… the proof: I’ve been asked to bring rolls to Thanksgiving. Hee hee. I’ll happily wash dishes afterward, though 😉

    The roasted harvest vegetables sound delicious!

    • Hi Gina!
      I’m grinning over the “bring rolls” for Thanksgiving. I never tried roasting a turkey until I was married and had my own family, and something made me think I could do it. Hmm. Sounds a bit like writing, doesn’t it?

      Keep fingers crossed for me to not serve dry turkey this year.

      Thanks for commenting.


  10. Dee J. says:


    Great post. You made me chuckle as I am less of a cook than you! WAY less! Loved One For The Road! Great book! You are the absolute real deal!

    • Hi Dee J!
      Thanks for the confidence in me. It really is a day to day challenge. I haven’t written much in a couple of weeks, and I’m very nervous I’ll forget how! 🙂

      FWIW – you’re the real deal, too!

      As are all of us hard working writers producing pages day after day. (except for me lately, but I’ll fix that soon!)
      Is hubby cooking the turkey this year? tee hee

  11. Calisa says:

    Wonderful post Lynne. I already have your book, but wanted to come check out the recipe. Mmmm thanks!

  12. Hi Calisa!
    Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you like the recipe. Thank Virginia C. for that one. I love roasted veggies, I hope you like them too.

  13. Robena Grant says:

    I’m so happy to have you here, Lynne. I’ve been amused by some of the comments and had to stop myself from jumping on and yakking away. But this is your party, so enjoy. Oh, and didn’t you have some new writing news to share with us? Something that came in since I drafted this post? Hint, hint. : )

    Also, I planned on sharing a recipe that is new to me, and one that I intended making for my vegetarian daughter. It’s a butternut squash and kale torte that also has potato and provolone cheese and onion all done in layers. It looks yummy in the picture. Ha ha. Anyway, I just finished telling my daughter by phone, and her response, “No, Mom! Kale is the most disgusting of vegetables. I hate kale.”
    Okay then.

  14. Ah, see, Robena, that was your first mistake – telling Anna it was kale. You shouldn’t have said anything and let her think it was Swiss Chard or something else green. 🙂

    Well – my news as of today is that I accepted another two-book deal with Harlequin Mills & Boon. I’ve had some amazing things happen within the last week. First I sold by proposal for another Harlequin Special Edition, then I had a completed Medical Romance accepted by Mills and Boon. Now, as of this a.m. I’m gainfully employed for another two books – three counting the rest of the Special Edition I need to write before February 15th!

    I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

    • Robena Grant says:

      You surely do! And super congratulations from me. I don’t know how you do it. The whole writing, rewriting, revisions, marketing and promotion, and starting on the next one requires a writer to be a professional juggler. Only the strong survive. : )

      • Oh Robena,
        I am so sick of pushing myself on people. That’s how it feels to market. We writers are natural introverts, yet we’re forced to do the complete opposite when it’s time to promote our books.

        Stop the marketing train, I want to get off!

        Hey – I’m about ready to draw a name. Shall I wait a bit longer?

  15. Janie Emaus says:

    I love roasted veggies. And I agree. Writing is back breaking work, but it’s worth the pain.

  16. OK, Robena – I have drawn the winner’s name – VONNIE DAVIS!
    I will contact you via e-mail to decide which form of ONE FOR THE ROAD you’d like – print or e-book.

    Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting. Thank you Robena, for inviting me to guest blog. I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving!

  17. Robena Grant says:

    Congratulations, Vonnie. I know you’ll love the read.

    Thank you so much for being my guest blogger, Lynne. This was fun.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, and I wish you a warm, loving, safe holiday weekend.