Enjoying Fall on my trip from Wisconsin to Maryland

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Writer friends…how do you decide what tense to write in?

past to present

My natural state of writing is past tense. It’s what I’ve written all of my books in.

I’ve been working with a writing professional on really nailing my first chapter in one of my manuscripts. She suggested I consider re-writing it from past tense to present tense.

home aloneYeah, it really scares me. But…I have noticed that most YA in particular is written in present tense. Really, the only one I’ve read relatively recently that is written in past tense is Eleanor & Park. I’m not opposed to re-writing in present, or even the amount of work it might take, but what a brain shift that would be.

mind blowSo my question is this…writer friends how do you decide what tense to write in? Do you tend to prefer a tense or a particular POV?

On being the token yank: More American than apple pie

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So I’ve been waiting all year for the item featured below to reappear in Cold Storage, a grocery store that carries lots of Western food. Then found out that select ones have had it all along, haha. Anyway, it FINALLY happened.

photo-15I was so, so excited. The price was a bit scary–like $6 a can. My lovely little sister just had to point out that she bought a can for $.88…. Us expats always get excited when our things randomly appear in stores. Besides canned pumpkin, my most recent happy discovery was Peanut Butter Captain Crunch.

So I’ve been baking lots of pumpkin things lol.

photo-16 (2)(Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. The one English friend who had the privaledge of trying them was a bit surprised by the mix of ginger and chocolate but liked it with “a bit of tea.”)

Non-American friends, the traditional way my family prepares it is to buy a can of pureed pumpkin, mix in two eggs, sugar, clove, ginger, cinnamon, and condensed milk, then pour it into a pie crust. Super easy. I’ve never made the pumpkin part from an actual pumpkin, but I’ve heard it takes, um, skill. You use a pie pumpkin, which is smaller than the kind we Muricans like to carve.

969158_10100356824633105_1454008998_n(No, I did not carve this one in Singapore. Not only would it rot in like three hours, carving pumpkins cost more than $20 last year…)

(North) American friends, you may not realize this, but we are pretty much the only ones that eat pumpkin pie or pumpkin desserts really. Non-Americans have heard of pumpkin pie in relation to Thanksgiving, a few may have tried it, but it’s not really a thing outside the US. One of my American expat friends used to live in London and she had a really tough time even finding pumpkin pie mix. To get to the bottom of North America’s general ownership of all things pumpkin, I googled “why do Americans eat pumpkin pie”. Apparently pumpkin is native to North America. Obviously, they finish growing around October/harvest time, which is why we eat these pies in the fall/winter. (Perhaps while watching NFL football haha) It didn’t become associated with Thanksgiving until the 1800’s.

So yesterday I made a pumpkin pie for my British friends. I even went out and bought the canned spray whip cream stuff–“dessert topping” with Chinese writing all over it but allegedly made in the good ol’ USA. It tasted fine, despite the general sketchiness of the whole thing.

So back to my friends. Once they figured out how to operate the “dessert topping” can (which apparently has a different spraying mechanism than in the UK), the pumpkin pie was a big hit. Or at least they said it was to make me feel good, lol. One friend suggested having it with a bit of tea (again) 😛

Bonus additional “more American than apple pie” food item: S’Mores. Yup. American. Made those for a few of my friends, too. They did not approve of using Hershey’s chocolate, but really it’s the only one that works. You have to have thin chocolate! So I think the pumpkin pie was better received.

…and all my friends back home are posting pictures of their seasonal pumpkin ales and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Jealous. We Americans love our pumpkin.

So pumpkin pie, more American than apple pie because apples grow e’erwhere. Pumpkins are our thang. :P.