Book Club and Berry Picking


Last Thursday, I was invited to a CT book club to discuss TGWIG. It’s really cool to sit down with readers and talk about the characters and the story.

The hostess had every make a “ghost” or “supernatural” themed food item. We had ghost white pizza with olive slices for eyes, mystery meatballs, shrimp cocktail, antipasto bread, risotto balls, and a magic cheese ball.

She even made a delicious blood orange cocktail for the event too. I should have taken pictures but I totally forgot in the moment.

One member read it in two days which was awesome to hear. Another mentioned how she planned to share it with her granddaughter and it gave them something to talk about. It was an incredibly fun night!


I finished proofing the ebook ARC for Highway Thirteen to Manhattan. Which meant I got a full day off.  I only checked email and Facebook that day.

Mom and I headed to Lyman Orchards for an afternoon of berry picking. We arrived at the end of strawberry season and the beginning of raspberry season.

We managed to scavenge a couple pounds of strawberries and easily picked 4 pounds of raspberries.

At the strawberry patch, Mom and I discover we have completely different approaches to picking. She moves quickly up and down the row, scanning the plants. I crouch down and slowly and methodically search through the leaves for hidden gems. So while I move 20 feet, she cover a mile in twenty minutes.

At one point, I look up and she’s in the same row as me, but on the other side of the field.

Then I notice this brother and sister picking together, sharing a basket and talking as they meander around searching for strawberries. Evidently, their berry picking methods were a match.

Ma and I are completely incompatible. Her methods seem haphazard to me and she finds my method extremely frustrating.

I had to laugh that berry picking together for us was picking berries in the same field.


Ma picking strawberries


Lyman Orchards strawberry field


My strawberries and my canteen


A very hot and sunny selfie


My raspberries


Raspberry field


Ma and I picking raspberries “together”


the view


raspberry bush

When I was a little girl, we used to have blackberry bushes growing in our yard. Every summer, Ma and I would spend time out there picking them. And catching fireflies. That’s what summer always meant to me.

Picking the berries reminded me of how much I loved it back then.  I found it incredibly relaxing to search for berries and pull them gently off the branch. Sometimes they fell right  into my bucket.

I was in a long sleeve shirt and pants because I hate sunlight. This was super helpful because raspberry bushes have tons of thorns. I only got cut once. I heard a guy a few rows over yelp a few times about the thorns. Ma was in shorts and a T-shirt. She got scratched up way more than I did. Then again it might be our differing methods.

We spent almost two hours in the fields in the early afternoon. It was in the eighties and the sun beat down on us. There was a slight breeze that came far too infrequently. I was drenched in sweat. I considered that my work out for the day.

We stopped at Guida’s on the way home for a bacon cheeseburger and vanilla milk shake to replenish my depleted energy. There are no photos because I inhaled it.

What did you do this weekend? Anything relaxing?



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23 Responses to Book Club and Berry Picking

  1. LOL! Yes, I’d say you got your workout, Kourtney. Despite your different techniques, I’m sure it was fun spending time with your mother.
    Unfortunately not much relaxing this weekend, but I hope to over the long July 4th holiday.

    • My thighs were killing me for two days. I could barely bend or do stairs. It was a lot of fun. We laughed so much. LOL. That’s when my work picks up again. Ah the ebbs and flows of writing. 🙂

  2. Ally Bean says:

    I haven’t been berry picking in years! If memory serves I approached the project more like you do, than like how your mother does. I’m detailed-oriented with a need for depth, so sticking with one plant until it’s de-berried [a word?] seems to me the only way to pick berries. No gallivanting up and down the fields for me. 🙂

  3. What fun! I have it a little bit easy–there are wild raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry bushes in my backyard. I just checked them all yesterday. Not quite ready to be picked, but the fruit is there! I search for the hidden gems, too, Kourtney. Those are often the best picks. The birds can’t get to them as easily so they have a chance to really ripen! 🙂

    • We used to have a yard full of blackberries. Sigh. I do miss those days. Luckily the berry farm has a berry hotline you can call to check on the berries. 🙂 LOL. Thanks for supporting my berry method. I did find lots of hidden strawberries and raspberries that way. 😉

  4. Lori says:

    I think it would be so fun to listen to readers discuss my book. Do they see the characters as you meant them to be? Do they see things in our characters you hadn’t thought of before? Did they get out of the plot what you hoped?

    That’s funny how you and your mom had different methods of picking. You went picking berries together, but really weren’t picking berries … together. I can see how you just accepted that you did it differently and went your separate ways. I like that. My mom and I would probably argue about it, and my mom would tell me how I was doing it “wrong.” Hahaha.

    My weekend was tedious, and they will continue to be so for a while. We close on a house we bought this week, and it needs remodeling. We are paying workers, but there is so much to pick out and keep track of, not to mention packing and moving. While I’m glad we will finally have our own house instead of renting, I’m not looking forward to the mess ahead. I will have to keep my eye on the day we’ll be settled.

    Not that you needed to know all that, but you asked about the weekend, and I tend to go one. 😛

    • It’s really interesting to see what questions they have. Most of the time, they are curious about my research and where the names came from and what inspired the story. They like to connect me as a person to my story world.

      LOL. We had a blast and we both got to do it our way. “Together” took on a much broader meaning. Not necessarily the same row but the same field. 😉

      That’s a major long term project. It will all be worth it, but the getting there can be a long journey. Wow. I’m sure it has fun moments, but it’s always a lot of work. Hope things keep going well with all that!

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Haha, I have no doubt I’d pick berries like you. Slow and methodical–that’s my method. Hubs would definitely approach it more like your mom. Just goes to show, there’s always more than one way to approach something!

    • I felt like I accomplished so much more. I did try Mom’s method and I found no berries for ten minutes. I hated it! But it worked great for her. LOL. There are many ways to get there. As long as they fill your basket with berries, keep at it!

  6. diannegray says:

    I love the food that was served at the book club meeting, Kourtney! What a great idea 😀
    And the berry picking sounds like a great workout with the bacon cheeseburger and vanilla milk shake being a very fitting end to a hot day! 😀

    • I love it when a book club makes it a themed night. I Skyped with an LA book club that met for The Six Train to Wisconsin–all Austrian food served! My thighs were so sore I couldn’t do stairs for a day without groaning. I love a good milkshake and burger after hard work. 🙂

  7. carlamcgill says:

    Wonderful outing and description! A great memory to savor. 🙂

  8. Sounds like a fun and interesting few days Kourtney and a well-deserved day off 🙂

  9. Sun and strawberries! Now that’s summer.

  10. Wow that is a lot of Berries.. 🙂 and you are looking good Kourtney.. I am late arriving I know, I have been picking few berries my self.. 🙂 xxx Hugs to you my friend Sue

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?