Whatever happened to April? It’s gone, and it it weren’t for my Instagram posts, I’d have thought it was just a figment of my imagination. I spent a lot of it writing (for news, see below), and foraging for morels in the woods. The happy guy in the photo is my friend Raf, also known as chef Rafael Vencio at Aubergine Bistro in Pittsburgh. Our schedules finally coincided to where we could venture forth and pursue his desire to find a morel in its natural habitat.
This is what we were hoping to find – a result of two respectable trips to parks in the Pittsburgh area:
The raging storm, near-zero visibility while driving out, gusts of wind, and sheets of rain didn’t deter us from heading into the woods. We had a great time and no regrets as we headed under the drippy canopy of trees with leaves so young, they provided almost no shelter. We were soaked within moments, the umbrella became a joke pretty much right away, and the hilly terrain grew treachery with sodden soil that slipped underfoot. Paths turned into creek beds. Their water chased us into the low, green undergrowth where footing was more secure, and where a generous number of morels had basked in afternoon sunshine only one week ago. First, we found some little black mushrooms, known as LBM’s for short because they are so hard to identify (That would be a technical term.) Then I found what looked a lot like deadly gallerina – and then Raf, in a stroke of luck, spotted a good omen: a perfectly formed, white Albus dimplosus (i.e. a golf ball. Also a technical terms.)
I pointed out the strange correlation that seems to link the occurrence of golf balls and morels, perhaps because the tulip poplar, a tree symbiotic with the morel mycelium, likes to grow near areas where people use fields and utility easements as impromptu driving ranges. “Hold onto it,” I said. “Ridding the woods of garbage is good karma.”
Just moments later, Raf spotted his prized morel:
We looked for more, despite dicey conditions. Once our shoes were as soaked as our hair, we made it to the car, only to find that a tree feel across the road while we were in the woods. (Which was, of course, no problem. We were on an adventure anyway.)
On the way out of the park, Raf spotted mushrooms growing out of the mulch. They seem to be a lovely ring of the oak-loving collybia, but I’m still verifying their ID.
Sometimes, you have to grab an opportunity for adventure by its wet, slippery horns. I bet you thought a park in the suburbs would be boring! Not so. It’s what you make of it.
Now I need your help! Tomorrow is Rafael’s birthday. Won’t you join me in a conspiracy, and flood his Instagram and FaceBook with birthday wishes? If you live in Pittsburgh, make sure to stop by Aubergine Bistro at the Smallman Galley before the end of May.
And now for some writing news:
- My Kate Pavelle spy suspense is with beta readers and will be coming out in late May or early June. This is a no-romance, female heroine historical from 1991 Yugoslavia, in the beginning of the Balkan War. I need a title, because the working title “Critical Timing” is just too generic.
- My Olivette Devaux/Mason Winters collab, “Like a Torrent,” book 2 of the Disorderly Elements series, is almost finished, and will go out to my ARC Team soon. If you’d like to be an ARC reader, and receive free books in exchange for a review, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There will be one more prequel before I re-release “Like a Phoenix,” so Phoenix is being bumped to Book 4 in the series. (This is what happens when you, the reader, ask for what happened before 🙂
- The audiobook of “Like a Rock,” Book 1, is out, but you probably knew that.
- Devyn Morgan has a nice novel out, “Sidekick,” which is on a $0.99 special for another 2 days, I think. The audiobook just came out.
I’ll try to write more often. For now, adieu, and may your feet stay dry while you hike in the wet, wild woods!