I Dig Edith Maxwell

I’m very happy to introduce to you my online friend Edith Maxwell, whom I believe I met during the 2011 April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. She has kindly agreed to share some happy news here, as well as a recipe from her forthcoming book.

For those who don’t savvy the lingo, “Locavore” means someone who eats locally (as much as possible) and CSA is Community Supported Agriculture (often meaning people pay a set amount per growing season for a share of a farm’s output). You buy into a CSA and get a box every week or two weeks or month containing your share of whatever is in season: fruit, veg, maybe eggs or meat or flowers, depending on the farm you choose. Click here for 10 Ways To Become A Locavore.

Now, take it away, Edith!

Thanks for asking me over, Marian!

I’m thrilled to announce that I have a contract for a cozy Local Foods Mystery series with Kensington Publishing. The first book, A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, was agented by John Talbot and is due to be released in Spring, 2013. I farmed and co-owned a certified-organic farm a couple of decades ago for some years, and currently eat locally with fervor, so the topic was an easy fit. I still have a small vegetable and herb garden, and am well acquainted with the language and tensions of a farmer’s life. I write about an organic farmer because that’s what I know best, and it seems that many people who really want to eat local food also prefer organic growing methods.

At the end of my farming days before I became a technical writer, I had written about two-thirds of a mystery novel set on an organic farm. I use much of the world I set up in that book, including Cameron Flaherty, the farmer-protagonist, in the current series. I’ve added a Locavore Club and a CSA and writing it with a fresh eye, but it has given me a head start on the first book. One of farm customers in the book has read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and has also vowed to eat locally for a year.

As for research, the local foods movement is all around us. I joined a late-season CSA in the fall to get a feeling for a large farm’s CSA practices as the New England season wanes. I shop at local farms and pick-your-own operations, and grieve when they close in November, although winter Farmer’s Markets have sprung up around the region, including in several towns nearby. My town has a brewery that makes a beer called Five-Mile Ale. It uses primarily ingredients from Massachusetts and at least one grown within five miles of town. There are also two wineries in neighboring towns, and a distillery in town. Boston is about to build a permanent Farmers’ Market that will feature only products from Massachusetts. You pretty much can’t turn around without running into local-food devotees.

A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die takes place in early June. The farming season gets complicated when Cam finds her recently-fired farmworker dead in her greenhouse with a pitchfork through the neck. When the police fail to make progress, Cam, a former software engineer, has to overcome her discomfort with social interaction to confront a local anti-immigrant militia and an amorous local chef before she finally tracks down the killer. The series will include recipes appropriate to the season in which the book takes place.  

I currently reside in Ipswich, Massachusetts, but am originally a 4th-generation Californian. I have two grown sons, and live in an antique house with my beau, our four cats, and several fine specimens of garden statuary.

Since childhood, I’ve written fiction, journalistic news and features, academic articles, essays, memoir, and now software documentation as my day job. Fiction is my passion, though. I’ve written two dozen short stories, with four published and one more accepted. My first finished mystery, Speaking of Murder, featuring Linguistics Professor Lauren Rousseau, a Quaker, is being considered for publication by several independent presses, and is a finalist in the Linda Howard Award for Excellence in the Romantic Suspense category. The sequel to Speaking of Murder is almost done, too.

Look for me as Edith M. Maxwell on Facebook, and @edithmaxwell on Twitter. I blog weekly at http://www.edithmaxwell.com/.

Here’s a recipe from the book.

Cam’s Marinated Asparagus

  • 1 pound farm-fresh asparagus
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice or wine vinegar (or a mix)
  • 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

1.Snap the bottoms off the stalks of asparagus and wash the stalks.
2.Place asparagus in a steamer (microwave or stovetop) with water and steam several minutes until just bright green. The stalks should still be crisp.
3.Plunge in cold water for one minute to stop the cooking, then remove to a colander.
4.Press the clove of garlic through a garlic press into a small bowl.
5.Add the mustard, herbs, and lemon juice or vinegar, and whisk to combine.
6.Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking as you go.
7.Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
8.Dry the asparagus with a clean dishtowel.
9.Place asparagus pointing the same direction on a plate, add the dressing, and roll the stalks to coat them.

Oh, my gosh, that sounds good! I can’t wait for the asparagus to come in and the books to come out!

WRITING PROMPT: Are there any foods that your main character will only eat fresh?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “I Dig Edith Maxwell

  1. Jane

    February 29, 2012 at 1:39pm

    A book deal!!??!!! Well, congrats.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Edith Maxwell

    February 29, 2012 at 7:26pm

    Jane and Marian, thanks! It’s very exciting. I’m heading out for a three-day solo writing retreat at a writers and artists retreat house in western Massachusetts. Can’t wait for the quiet and space to let a few thousand more words spill out. It’s the start of my week between the old day job and a new one, so a fitting time.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 1, 2012 at 8:02am

      Enjoy! I’ve only done one solo retreat, and it was MOST productive.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Nicholle Olores

    February 29, 2012 at 11:13pm

    Sounds good. Love to have that book too Marian. 🙂 Love your writing prompt again.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 1, 2012 at 8:03am

      Nicholle, my shelves are so full of books, I broke down and bought an eReader. Now THAT’S packed with books, too! 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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