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Welcome, hungry readers! I'm the author of the "Solid" series, but my blog is about food in books. No, not cookbooks - food in FICTION, mostly YA. We all talk about what the characters are doing and whom they're doing it with, But What Are They Eating?
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1. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lauren Clark, Author of Pie Girls

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22823484-pie-girls


As I was getting close to finishing my novel, Pie Girls, I planned an entire weekend taste-testing the very best recipes to include in my novel.  The Pie Girls storyline centers on Searcy Roberts, a Southern belle who has her life upended when her husband leaves her for another man. She returns home to Fairhope, Ala., where she takes over running the family pie business for her ailing mother.

During my Pie-tastic taste-testing weekend, I prepared 9 pies in three days for my two boys, my friends, and neighbors using my grandmother’s recipes. I selected something simple and sweet, something decadent and chocolate, and something light and tart to round out the selections—chess pie, chocolate pecan pie, and lemon sponge pie. All three recipes are included in the novel, along with my grandmother’s amazing-no fail pie crust recipe.

If you’ve never had chess pie, I highly recommend it. It’s a Southern delicacy that is simple to make, has a hint of caramel, and contains butter, sugar, eggs, cornmeal, and milk. Searcy, my heroine in Pie Girls, makes chess pie, along with many others, and discovers that she has a true talent for baking up desserts that delight. She transforms, eventually, over the course of many mishaps and unexpected challenges, from spoiled shopaholic to savvy business owner.

As anyone who bakes can attest, there is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from creating a lush, delicious dessert with one’s two hands. Similarly, the act of baking pies is therapeutic for Searcy, a task that helps her overcome her shattered dreams and move on with her life.

My grandmother’s blueberry pie is one recipe that I didn’t include in the book, but is one that I make often, and would like to share with you today. It’s easy, only takes a few ingredients, and is perfect for a weekend gathering or family supper. I hope that you enjoy it! 


Delicious & Easy Blueberry Pie 

1 qt fresh blueberries
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp tapioca
1 tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 (baked) Best Ever pie crust from Pie Girls or one Deep Dish 9” pie shell

Mix half of the blueberries, flour, tapioca, butter, salt, lemon juice, and both sugars in a saucepan. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Add remaining half of blueberries. Stir well. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill until set. Top with whipped cream if desired.


 Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lauren!



 
You can find Lauren here:







And her books here:

Amazon               BN               Kobo               Smashwords               iBooks

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2. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Nick Cato, Author of Don of the Dead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6625610-don-of-the-dead


SQUIDLICIOUS

Calamari is popular in many Asian and Italian dishes. In Italian/American culture, calamari is considered a rite of passage; when you finally enjoy it, you’re no longer a child, but on your way to having adult tastes. While many people have no problem eating squid when it is cut into rings and deep fried and drowned in marinara or hot sauce, those who are too timid to sample the mini tentacle clusters are missing the true flavor and auraof calamari.

In my debut novel, DON OF THE DEAD (2009 Coscom Entertainment), there are several dinner scenes, which is befitting of a gangster tale. Pasta is served at every meal, and calamari is too, sometimes to an absurd degree. One of the older mobsters is even nick-named Carl “The Calamari.” He eats calamari with every meal. He has been known to toss some rings onto his corn flakes, or stuff some fried tentacles into his roast beef hero. Rumor has it a dish of the prized seafood was placed between Carl and his wife on their wedding night. In the novel, side characters are seen eating calamari, and its presence in the background—I believe—helped to give much of the proceedings a genuine Eye-Talian feel.

As a kid, I was almost afraid to look at someone eating squid. It grossed me out. But when I entered my early teens, my grandfather told me one Sunday afternoon at the dinner table to “knock it off” and try a piece. I’ve been hooked ever since. And so are the characters in DON OF THE DEAD. Calamari is their treat. It’s the little side dish and neighbor to the main meal that keeps them focused, that helps them to feel everything is right with the world.

And in the New York underground, that’s an important state of mind to be in.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Nick!



You can find Nick and his books here:








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3. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Greg Carrico, Author of Apocalypstick

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13418049-apocalypstick



Thanks for inviting me to guest post at BWATE. Like most of us, this is super-busy time of year for me. I’m launching a new business this month, preparing for next month’s release of the 2nd book in my super-hero/horror series, Sand, and I’m writing an entirely new six-book series with my awesome new writing partner Jennifer L Oliver. But even with all of this AND the holidays, I simply had to do this post. Food Fiction? Two of my favorite things in one place? Brilliant!

If you are reading this and have never read any of my stories, which is a pretty safe assumption, I write dark science fiction and horror. My first title was a book called Apocalypstick, which contains two short stories about men who wreak havoc upon the world because of the unrealistic ways that they view women.

The first story is a post-apocalyptic tale about a man with extraordinary powers who tries to rescue a handful of humans from a monster-infested Manhattan. As you can probably guess, food is sort of a big deal in any post-apocalyptic setting, and that is equally true with this one. I’m going to leave it there for this story, because I wrote a novel based on "Killing Tiffany Hudson", and what the characters eat -or don’t eat- hints at the Big Secret behind the main character and her twin brother.

The second story in Apocalypstick, "Finding Home", is part paranormal horror and part psychological thriller, and food plays an important thematic role. The story is told in first person from the perspective of a very troubled man who wants nothing more than a happy, normal life in a place he can call home. Chaos and bloodshed ensue.

But along the way he eats! Each mention of food in "Finding Home" is symbolic of the character’s progress in his journey. This made sense to me because nothing says Home like food. At first, he is drinking cheap cola from a can and stale ham sandwiches from a cooler in a minivan he stole from his previous “home.” Later, after he identifies his next dream-home, he enjoys slightly better fare in a hotel. A BLT and fries from room service. Feeling optimistic with his goal in sight, he goes to a movie and has popcorn. Things are looking up!

Like many of us, he has little time for breakfast and grabs a couple of baked goodies from the hotel buffet. But the moment in the story when he truly feels like this new home and family are for him is when he observes a woman cooking dinner for herself and her husband.

It is a simple meal. Baked chicken. Some veggies. Rice. The non-descript food takes a back seat to the fact that this couple’s meal represents the kind life that our main character so desperately craves, but knows he will never deserve. He wants the intimacy of sharing a meal cooked for him by someone who loves him. Eating on trays in front of the television; tossing little bits to the cute dog at his feet: these things belong to someone else. These experiences can never be his.

Ever the optimist, he decides that he has to try and make it work. And if a few more people have to die in the process, well, that’s just how life goes. 

If you decide to see for yourself how this story plays out, you can get Apocalypstick for free from Amazon and most distributors, but be warned. "Finding Home" is creepy. It’s not graphic or gratuitous, but it will probably make your skin crawl. "Killing Tiffany Hudson" is more of an adventure story, and I expand the setting and lives of the characters in my novel Children of the Plague. My super-hero horror series, Sand, is set in the same world as a prequel, and so far includes Book 1: Shadow of the World, and Book 2: Phantom Drift, which will be released after Christmas.



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Greg!




 
You can find Greg and his books here:




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4. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Rob Carter, Author of The Language of Stones

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38079.The_Language_Of_Stones

Food is probably in everyone's top ten list when it comes to good things to think about, especially when you're hungry. So what better way to get further into your favorite novel than to consider what the characters might be eating? Willand, the young hero in my mythic history – The Language of Stones, was a lad from a village background with simple tastes. For him and the other people of the Vale, the staple diet was a late medieval pottage, or thick stew, that followed the seasons. In spring and summer there was the fresh bounty of all that a green and pleasant land could provide.

In the fall, mushrooms, autumn fruits, nuts and berries, would be laid up in storage along with the harvest of new grain. In the dark depths of winter came the celebration of the solstice when cured meats were eaten, along with trout from the stream and coneys from the warrens along with the odd hare or two. Meat was not in great abundance in the Vale, being eaten perhaps only two days in seven, but there was a pleasing variety -- ducks and geese, ham and beef, and of course mutton. Eggs and all sorts of dairy produce were available also. There is a scene in The Giants' Dance (volume two) where Will and Gwydion hide in the cheese store of a great house, though they have more on their minds than food. Drink, too, was nicely various, with each village inn brewing its own beer and ale, each household making its own country wines from whatever fermentable base was available, such as quinces and medlars and the berries collected from elder trees. There were beehives in the gardens of the Vale that gave honey from which mead was made. Occasionally an enterprising peddler would bring in a flask of something more exotic by the way of fire waters from the mountains of the North.

But the Language of Stones universe, being magical, has more than peas and pottage. As with the sumptuary laws, which banned common folk from wearing certain kinds of rich cloth, there were certain foods reserved for the gentry, the aristocracy and those of royal blood. For instance, no commoner could kill a royal swan, on pain of death, and the same applied to game in the royal deer chases. Steaks cut from the haunches of gryphons, fire-drakes and the like were rare delicacies that sometimes appeared at high table on feast days, but special magical butchery was required to preserve the eater from ill. The lore of plants was a complicated business and a wide knowledge of magical herbs was maintained by specialist wizards. Plants, or "worts", were the province of Gort, the "Wortmaster," and if his spells didn't always work properly he could use his stock of dried leaves to add flavor to his dishes.

Apart from the obvious difficulties with locating such animals as gryphons, this seems like an appealing way to eat and I keep thinking I should write a companion cookbook. One day...


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Rob!



You can find Rob and his books here:





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5. FOODFIC: Please Welcome J.L. Campbell, Author of Saving Sam


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18682174-saving-sam

Flaming or Fresh – Food to Please Picky Eaters

Part of the charm of reading is being immersed in the culture of another country, and with that in mind, my stories reflect Jamaica in various ways. There is the culture, the landmarks, the people, and of course, the food. Jamaicans tend to use the smallest excuse to have gathering where food is served. The island is filled with inhabitants from all the continents and so our cuisine is rich and varied.

Children are encouraged to eat specific kinds of food to encourage growth and we see this in Saving Sam, especially during the time he’s in a place of safety. Babies, toddlers and pre-teens often come to despise porridge because it is something they are fed from the moment they can have solid food.

Corn meal porridge is a staple that every Jamaican either loves or hates. It is also called ‘pop’ reputedly because corn meal cleanses the digestive system. This porridge is made through boiling corn meal in water for about twenty minutes, adding coconut milk and spices (cinnamon leaves, nutmeg, vanilla) and sweetening with condensed milk. Many Jamaicans also like corn meal pudding, a sweet treat.


Fruits are also not in short supply in Jamaica and the Otaheite or Malay Rose apple is a favourite of many children. Originally from Malaysia, this apple has been introduced throughout the Caribbean. The thin, edible skin varies from a reddish to rich purple colour.  The flesh is soft and juicy, and these apples can also be used to make a refreshing drink or wine. They are a wonderful source of vitamin C and contain antioxidants.
 
Whether it is prepared over a flame or fresh off a tree, there is always something to satisfy the reader’s palate in my Caribbean tales.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, J.L.!



You can find J.L. and her books here:

 
 
 
 

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6. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Wendy Callahan, Author of The Daemon Device

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20361566-the-daemon-device



It’s All About the Pastry



The blurb to The Daemon Device asks the question, “Just how much lemon cake does it take to keep Demetra happy?” The Enigma Enginepurports to “answer the perennial question: is there ever a wrong time to eat cake?” If you have ever wondered why there is so much pastry in the Aetheric Artifacts series, I am here to explain.


It all begins in The Chronos Clock, in which we meet Demetra Ashdown. Demetra is many things, including a drinker of tea and consumer of cakes. These traits seem quite dominant in her personality throughout the entire series. Why is that?


I think I must lay blame on Jane Austen for this. Or, specifically, adaptations of Jane Austen books as movies. It doesn’t matter which movie it is – if someone is distraught, tea is the answer. This is particularly noticeable in Ang Lee’s lovely production of “Sense & Sensibility”. The idea of tea as a restorative beverage and soother of nerves has stayed with me since then.


So in a fit of pastry-driven madness, I created Demetra, who believes any problem can be solved with logic, tea, and cake. Lemon cake is her particular favorite, and she mentions it in every book of the Aetheric Artifacts. She is not alone in her food obsession, though. Her closest friend and scientific sidekick, Simon, expresses a fondness for apple crumble during one memorable moment in The Chronos Clock when news of a clandestine meeting on Drury Lane results in an ongoing pastry punchline.


Who can blame her, though? Going on adventures and solving mysteries is hard work, and one needs energy to do it! Alas, Demetra’s fiancé, Francis, doesn’t stand for this. He prefers to go in, guns blazing, and not pause for tea or cake. Naturally, this makes for some comedic moments between the lovers. Demetra likes her sugar and she’s not afraid to say so.

If you were gallivanting from London to the countryside and back again, flying in an airship from one continent to another, or steaming down the Thames, wouldn’t you get hungry?



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Wendy!




You can find Wendy here:





 

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7. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lynn Cahoon, Author of Return of the Fae

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18063459-return-of-the-fae



In RETURN OF THE FAE, Book 2 of The Council series, Parris and Ty take off on a road trip to Cincinnati, Ohio to the stay at The Riverglen, the only magical specialty hotel in the downtown area.  Even though the hotel is warded against a guest using their magic to keep warring factions from using the facility as a hot zone, the staff members are skilled in the hospitality craft. Including those in charge of preparing the food guests ordered from the room service menu.


Parris brought road food along on the trip, munching on peanuts and Skittles during the drive up from St. Louis, but Ty disappeared before they could order real food. So she went crazy with the appetizers list for lunch and ordered one of each, hoping he arrived before the food either cooled or she ate her way through the trays of yummy-ness. The chicken fingers were to die for, but Parris loved the onion rings, their crispy outside reminding her of food from the best drive-in back home, The Hungry Onion.


Later, the couple ordered dinner and Parris had one of my favorite entrées of all time. Shrimp and grits.


With my recipe, I add crumbled spicy sausage, onions, and a touch of garlic to the mix before adding in a cup or so of whatever wine is open in the fridge. Then I let the shrimp steam on top while the grits are cooking. I just use the recipe on the box to cook my grits, with maybe just a tad more salt. Then as they’re finishing, I add a cup of various types of shredded cheese and a quarter cup of sour cream mixing until smooth.


Line a deep soup bowl with the grit mixture, then ladle the shrimp and sausage mixture into the middle with a lot of the pan drippings.


Heaven.

I’m sure the version the hotel gave Parris was just as yummy. And as fattening. Of course, as a witch in training, the one thing she’s realized is she never-ever has to worry about calories again. Now that’s one magic trick I’d love to learn. 



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lynn!




USA Today and New York Times best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.



You can find Lynn here:







Return of the Fae – Book 2 of The Council series

A witch in training, a hunter on the prowl, and a world in jeopardy. Learning the rules of being a witch takes years, but Parris McCall needs to master them in only weeks. Ty Wallace is going mad with his desire for Parris, but she’s a distraction in his quest to find Coven X before they take The Council and everyone he knows down. The couple searches for Ty’s missing mentor. Their only clue comes from a banished witch. Upon returning, a new life hangs in the balance.

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8. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Janice Bashman, Author of Predator

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22891926-predator

When Bree Sunderland went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly not to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Everything changes when Dr. Sunderland discoers that lycanthropy is not a superatural curse but rather a gentic mutation. When they return home, Bree's dad contiues his research, but the military wants to turn that resarch into a bio weapons program and rogues soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

It should be a bright spot when Bree's boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

While food doesn't play a huge role in my novel (I try to avoid scenes that involve food unless a key story element is revealed in that scene), there are several scenes in PREDATOR where food sneaks in just to help engage the senses: a smell of something sweetcaramel or maybe vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate ixed with the thick aroma of coffee.

The one truly significiant use of food involves Bree's visit to Liam's house before she flees Ireland with her dad to return home to the safety of the United States. Liam's mom offers Bree cold minerals and crumble (or biscuits, if Bree would prefer). She goes for the crumble, and Liam tells him mom to give Bree blueberry because it is Bree's favorite. This scene provides an opportunity for Bree to truly realize just how much she's lost in life, as well as gain information from Liam and his mom about the Benandati, a race of werewolves who fought against evil. If I tell you any more about the Benandati it will give away too much of the plot, so I have to back off there, sorry!

Perhaps most telling of all is that food only appears early on in the novel. As tension and suspense and action increase, food is the last thing on anyone's mind...


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Janice!



You can find Janice here:






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9. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Bobbi Carducci, Author of Storee Wryter Gets A Dog

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11398978-storee-wryter-gets-a-dog



When eight year-old Storee Wryter wants to convince her parents that it’s a good idea to adopt a puppy she has her work cut out for her. She already has an opinionated cat named Critique and a full schedule of after schools activities. Will she have time to properly care for a boisterous puppy?

To complicate matters, Storee’s friend and neighbor Kyria who brought the puppy over, not only wants Storee to adopt the puppy, but asks they train her as a therapy dog as well.

 Uh-oh added work and added expense.  The Wryter family needs to know a lot more about what they could be getting into before making a decision.  So, they invite Kyria’s father over for a meeting.

Like many meeting involving family decisions this one take place around the kitchen table.  Understandably, Storee is nervous and her parents are skeptical when Mr. Henry arrives.  He hopes to convince the family that taking on a new pet and one with a job at that, can be done without too much disruption. 

Mrs. Wryter wants her guest to feel welcome without conveying too much weight to the visit. A bowl of chips and some coffee do the trick. It’s the type of finger food one offers a neighbor who happens to drop by.  It’s easy to prepare, easy to eat, and easy to scoop away to signal the end of a visit.

Once the decision is made and Storee begins to train Addie, she uses puppy snacks to show approval when a lesson goes well.  Dogs and people understand that treats are a sign everyone is happy and when Critique watches and begins to follow commands too the pets begin to bond in unexpected ways.

In the end, when Addie is trained and Storee takes her into a school for the first time to work with children having trouble learning to read, Storee and her family celebrate what Addie has learned and how well Storee has met her new responsibilities.  When Kyria drops by she is invited to stay and enjoy a piece of warm apple pie and a merging of family and friends dedicated to helping others.


In this simple story for young readers the food could seem like a very minor element. But, it turns out to be just as important in creating bonds within this family as it does in ours.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Bobbi!



You can find Bobbi here:




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10. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lorraine Carey, Author of The Last Vestal Virgin


When you are raised in an America Italian Family home life is full of traditions. Two of the most traditions are family gatherings and food. Trust me, I was raised in one. Seems life was centered around food and family. And maybe more food. Christina Ciccone, the main character grew up on her mama’s spaghetti and meatballs. She loved Sunday dinners which consisted of spaghetti, hot garlic bread and salad.And of course there was always Neapolitan Ice Cream for dessert.


I mention Pizzelle cookies in the story. These fancy waffle cookies were served up for Christina’s elegant high school graduation party. Her mother and her Aunt Linda made them in the waffle iron the morning of the party. These are her favorite cookie.



Helen Ciccone, Christina’s mother learned the craft of making great spaghetti sauce from her mother. It was a recipe in the family for generations. The secret was to put pork into the sauce for great flavor and add a little bit of sugar to sweeten the sauce and take out some of the sour taste from the tomatoes.



Now, Darien Russo, the young man obsessed with Christina is hooked on fast food. When you are a paramedic and on the run all the time it’s just about the only option. His favorite fast food is a footlong Subway turkey sandwich and chips. He once ate four bags of chips while sitting outside of Christina’s house hoping he’d see her.



Jade, Christina’s BFF loves to come over at night and hang out with Christina in her room searching for paranormal topics on the internet. She loves to munch on  Caramel Corn while chatting.



Mysterious Mrs Silva, retired school teacher and chaperone on the trip to  Rome with Christina’s history club is a very refined lady. She loves her  Chardonnay with a fresh Caesar salad. She’s been known to throw a hissy fit it lettuce is wilted.



Mr Frescelli, Christina’s history teacher and bachelor is not much of a cook.  His evening meal consists mainly of a frozen dinner and a beer. One of his favorites is the Hungry Man Meatloaf Platter. He watches the History Channel while trying to grade papers.


For the Vestal Virgins, their specialty is making the famous ‘mola salsa’ cakes. These were a special wafer like cakes made of pelt flour,water and salt, then burnt in the turibulum which was a type of incense burner. The cakes were brought to special events and crumbled up and sprinkled over areas as offerings for the gods.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lorraine.

You can find Lorraine here:

LorraineCarey.com          Twitter @LosingGround1          Facebook          Goodreads

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11. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Andi O'Connor, Author of Redemption

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20898192-redemption



When I agreed to write a post for But What Are They EatingI must admit I was a tad overwhelmed. I am working on three different series simultaneously, and all three could easily have a post. So, how did I make my final decision? Well, there wasn’t any deep, thought-provoking way I went about it. To be honest, I did eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

*hangs my head in shame*

I suppose I really shouldn’t. I mean, we all have those moments, right ...... right?

Regardless of how I made my decision, I chose my short story Redemption from the series The Legacy of Ilvania. Because it’s a short story, I didn’t delve into what the main character Jae is eating. Nevertheless, what he eats, more specifically what he doesn’t eat, plays a crucial role in his life and greatly influenced what he is today.

At the age of sixteen, Jae’s parents sold him to the Mé’Draak.

A fighting force able to wield powerful magic, the Mé’Draak are Ilvania’s most revered defenders. Having a son chosen to join their forces is considered a high honor. But in the College where the recruits are trained, it quickly becomes apparent that the Mé’Draak are nothing to be commended. For the young boys aren’t students. They’re slaves.

Put in tiny, cramped cells and given thin rags to wear, they spend their days huddled against the damp stone walls, dreading the moment a key turns in the lock and they are taken to their session. Unlike a normal school, the boys don’t learn to call upon their magic through instruction. They learn through pain.

Twice daily, each student is taken to their session. Their trainer attacks them with lightning, the most common spell of the Mé’Draak. The boys quickly learn to raise their magical shields in defense, or they die. For those who survive the first onslaught, the attacks increase in strength until the pupil falls unconscious from the strain or they are driven to the point where anger and resentment take control. Defending is no longer an option. They turn their energy around and attack. They’re broken. They’re a Mé’Draak.

So far, I haven’t talked at all about food, but you can probably imagine what I’m about to say isn’t going to be pleasant. As I mentioned earlier, the food given to the boys at the College plays an integral role in their Breaking. In order for the method of training to work, they need to be completely demoralized. They aren’t given any kindness or compassion. They aren’t given time to socialize. But above all, they aren’t given food.

Jae grew up on a farm. He was used to hearty, simple cooking. But he was also one of eleven children and a poor family. Meals need to consist of a few cheap ingredients and feed a lot of mouths. Soups and stews were what his mother cooked most often. Potatoes, squash, and root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips transformed into hearty stews that somehow always managed to taste different. Sliced cabbage, potatoes, and carrots made a light soup which was one of Jae’s favorites. Squash pies were his favorite food in the fall, and for the hotter summer months, he enjoyed lightly fried squash and zucchini tossed with rice. Once a month, Jae’s father would trade some vegetables grown on the farm for meat from the local butcher. Jae looked forward to that time of the month with baited breath.

Jae was never hungry, but he also never truly knew what it was like to be full. Nevertheless, when he arrived at the College, he quickly learned what it was like to starve.

The Master doesn’t want the boys to be healthy. He doesn’t want them to be strong. The quicker they become weak, both mentally and physically, the quicker they will be Broken. He wants them to have no willpower left to resist.

Part of how that’s achieved is by feeing the boys next to nothing. Jae thought he was hallucinating when he was served his first meal—if you could call it that. A tiny wooden tray smaller than an average plate was plopped in front of him. On it was a half a slide of bread and a small cup of light yellow broth. No vegetables. No rice. No meat. Broth.

Jae devoured the food in seconds and spend the rest of the day reassuring himself the next meals of the day would be more substantial. To his dismay, he received only one more meal that day. And it was exactly the same.

Still, the Master realized there needed to be some concession on his part, otherwise the boys would die of starvation before he’d even have a chance to break them. Once a week, he let the boys receive three meals. The first two were the same as every other day; bread and broth. The third consisted of a slice of roasted meat, boiled potatoes, and a roll.

When Jae arrived at the College, he was fit and muscular. Five months after eating the Master’s prescribed diet, he was emaciated beyond recognition. If not for that one special meal a week, he would have forgotten the taste of food.

Food is an essential part of our lives. Many of us take it for granted and fail to recognize how much we depend on it mentally and physically. Redemption reminds us how easily that can change. How easily something affects us when it’s wrenched away. Does Jae learn how to survive the torture of the Mé’Draak? Can he continue to hold on to who he is before it’s too late?


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Andi!



You can find Andi here:





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12. FOODFIC: Noggin - John Corey Whaley

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18049084-noggin



Noggin starts with Travis Coates waking up. Not from something as simple as a nap, nor as extensive as a coma; Travis has been cryogenically frozen for 5 years. More specifically, his head has been on ice all that time, waiting for a donor body (and medical advances) to facilitate his revival.

Now youknow that I need to know how that old-mouth-to-new-digestive-tract connection works.  Well, we don’t get to see Travis ingest anything until his father brings him home. That first night back, Dad makes him eggs – which go down just fine – and no follow-up statements or inquiries are made to suggest any meal since the wake-up have gone otherwise. There’s no mention of any food or drink in the hospital at all, and though I know it’s possible for Travis to have subsisted there on IV fluid, they surely wouldn’t have discharged him without testing that new fused esophagus!

So I have to pause in my reading to flesh out the stages in my own mind: transitioning from an IV to water and juice, maybe moving on to Jell-O, then applesauce, brothy soups for lunch, mushy oatmeal for breakfast, etc. I imagine Travis graduating from one level to a denser, chewier one each day until presumably summiting at some clinical version of beef and potatoes. And all quite unremarkably, or we’d have been told otherwise, right?

Okay, now I can return to the story already in progress. And I find that, unfortunately, Travis’s social assimilation back into the world doesn’t go as smoothly as the digestive part did. Reconnecting with his parents is easy, sure, but his old best friends don’t even come to visit him in the hospital. Of course, they’re now 21 while he’s still only 16, so their lifestyles have certainly diverged. Travis hasn’t changed at all (except that he’s no longer battling the terminal cancer that forced him to opt for the radical surgery); he feels like he’s merely been asleep for a few days.

In stark contrast, his (ex?) girlfriend has moved on so far that she’s now engaged to another guy. Okay, I can see her reluctance to rush to Travis’s bedside, but what excuse could the male best friend have for staying away? Luckily (for us, not him, obviously) Travis is as confused as we are, so this progression is graciously served up bite by bite, making this Noggin’s bizarre premise quite easy for readers to swallow. ;)

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13. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Matthew Harrill, Author of Hellbounce

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22393422-hellbounce


My protagonist, Dr Eva Ross has had a scare; her husband has finally revealed himself to be a man of highly questionable moral judgement.

Checking in at a hotel, she gets directed to Moynagh’s, a bar on Exchange Street in Worcester, Massachusetts.


The barman indicated several taps. “Ales, from the motherland. Guinness, if that’s your thing. Several Irish whiskies. Most of this lot only drink Jameson’s. Not a lot of calls for anything else in this place. The only new drink we have introduced in the last ten years is the ‘Passion Plunge’”.

Eva could not help the grin that spread across her face at hearing the name. “Sounds perfect. What’s in it?”

“Sour mix, orange juice, ice, dash of soda and of course a double shot of Irish whiskey. I made it in honour of the charity event we always send a team to.”



Several elements here are important to me. First off, I love real places, and Moynagh’s is such. Second, I love a good cocktail, and so I had fun creating this. Third, Eva has just experienced emotions that are going to severely deplete any chance of passion, and is laughing at the irony. Lastly, I love to learn things. Did you know ‘whisky’ is from Scotland and ‘whiskey’ is from Ireland?

Food (or drink) for thought…


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Matt!



Matthew W. Harrill lives in the idyllic South-West of England, nestled snugly
in a village in the foothills of the Cotswolds. Born in 1976, he attended school in Bristol
and received a degree in Geology from Southampton University. By day he plies
his trade implementing shareplans for Xerox. By night he spends his time with his wife
and four children.



You can find Matt here:

MatthewHarrill.com                    Twitter @Matt_Harrill

Facebook Page                   Goodreads                    Amazon





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14. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stephanie Siciarz, Author of Away with the Fishes

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22402696-away-with-the-fishes



Kingfish in coconut cream, pigeon in pineapple, stewed plums. The delicacies that populate the picnics and pantries of Oh are as sweet and spicy as the island itself. Just ask Trevor Rouge, proprietor of Trevor’s Bakery, whose cold drinks and warm buns loosen the locals’ lips; or Captain Dagmore Bowles, who plies his one true love with cool cabbage salad to win her heart. Talk to the anonymous man (if you can find him) who placed an ad in the island paper for a girl with cooking skills worthy of marriage. All of them will tell you that guava tarts and macaroni pie wield the same kind of magic as Oh’s gossipy winds and fool-making moon.

In Away with the Fishes, the second— but standalone —installment in my Island of Oh series, it’s precisely the preoccupation with fish and fowl that drive the drama. Rena Baker, known for the culinary attentions that she lavishes on Madison Fuller, her boyfriend, goes missing. All the signs (when bent and twisted) seem to suggest that Madison has done her in. How else to explain the classified ad for a bride who can bake? Surely Madison seeks Rena’s replacement, and the Island Police are swift to deliver him his just desserts.

Then again, mightn’t Madison be telling the truth when he says he knows nothing of Rena’s whereabouts or of the ad? Mightn’t the ad, instead, be designed to ensnare Madison’s own sister, May Fuller, whose fish chowder and Christmas cakes are reputed island-wide?

Questions like these are just the sort of salt and pepper that add flavor to the workaday world of Customs & Excise Officer Raoul Orlean, who has yet to find an island riddle he can resist unraveling (though resolving them is sometimes a different matter). Raoul has no need for bakers’ buns or classified ads; his wife Ms. Lila’s fare is fine indeed. But mysteries, he cannot stomach. Lucky for him, thismystery doesn’t want for clues, and the clues want Raoul to investigate one cook to find another: old Mrs. Jaymes, cook and housekeeper to the long-dead Dagmore Bowles, might just hold the key to the Rena riddle. Now normally Raoul wouldn’t battle wits with a ghost, which is what old Captain Dagmore must by now be, but in the interest of island justice—and his own plain-as-noses-on-faces philosophical school—Raoul eats up the Captain’s tale. Exactly what answers lie therein, Raoul will have to sniff out.  And with a pinch of island luck, he might just do so before poor Madison’s goose is cooked. 


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Stephanie!



You can find Stephanie here:




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15. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Lorne Oliver, Author of The Cistern

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21642318-the-cistern



I asked the wonderful Shelley if I could do this write up and she graciously said yes.  Ten minutes later I wondered, Dude, what are they eating?  In The Cistern the main characters own and work at a restaurant, so it should be pretty simple.



I have worked in the restaurant industry for nearly 10 years and have always been amazed at the variety of the characters you find working there, as well as the crazy things that can go on, so I of course wanted to write something that took place mostly in and around a restaurant.  I had started a few ideas, mostly dealing with life and love, but none of it was really working.  I put the idea in a back file in my brain and went on.



A couple of years ago my wife got a part-time gig cleaning dealing with foreclosed houses.  The job was supposed to be simple:  take pictures of the building, inspect it, take note of any damage, clean it out and collect the cash.  House #1 had been abandoned for a year.  Going inside we were amazed at how much stuff was left behind.  Shoes, kitchen toys, a dining room set, kids skateboard, family photos, little kids drawings, one kids report card, candles…it was as if the family had to get out of Dodge in a hurry.  Right away the story ideas started churning.  What happened to the family?  Where did they go?  As we searched the main floor the ideas were bubbling and preparing to erupt.  Then we went into the basement.



If you read chapter #4 in The Cistern, Chrys and Spencer go to what they refer to as “The Creepy House” and pretty much do the same walk-through that my wife and I did.  And in the basement they find the same peculiar thing we did.


 
          “Ah, Chrys.”
     The hairs on her arms felt electrified at just the way her brother said her name.  He was already moving forward.

     Spencer felt drawn to walk around these inside walls.  There had to be a door or something.  There had to be a reason for them to be there.  He said, “This is a concrete room.  The walls don’t go up.”

     “What?”

     “They don’t go all the way to the ceiling.”

     “What?  Why?”




Here in Saskatchewan there are many old houses with cisterns in them.  They are basically reservoirs for collecting rain water that can be used for many household things that don’t need filtration and all that.  The tank at the back of your toilet is a cistern.  This one happened to be about 10’ on each side and 6’ high with a trap door on top.  The ideas burst through the damn.



I decided to put some old character ideas I had (it was actually a couple originally) but make them a brother and sister.  I brought back the restaurant idea and The Alcrest Mysteries were born.



Food is an important part to developing the characters.  Yes, I’m counting The Alcrest Gastropub as a character as well as the main ones Spencer (chef and owner) and Chrys (server and constant eater). It starts from Chrys adding hot chocolate powder to her coffee to what Spencer puts on the menu.  There are even a couple of bonus recipes in the paperback.  What they personally eat has not been completely delved into yet.  Restaurant workers are notorious for eating crap.  Spencer’s favorite late night snack, for instance, is Chocolate Frosted Pop tarts (toasted) and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.  Chrys, on the other hand, is also a dance instructor and jammer for a local roller derby team, so she tends to try and eat healthy.  Not to mention she rarely pays for her own food, so eating in their restaurant or others is a constant treat.



Chrys and Spencer are just regular people living regular lives amongst outrageous circumstances.  And, if you ask Spencer, amazing food courtesy of The Alcrest Gastropub.


Thanks for returning to share more food for thought, Lorne!


You can find Lorne here:







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16. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lori Otto, Author of Lost & Found

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20888295-the-complete-emi-lost-found-series?from_search=true

So, today on But What Are They Eating? we are going to change things up a bit:
But What Aren’t They Eating?
In my Emi Lost & Found series, there is one thing that the heroine Emi absolutely will not eat: chocolate.
You’re probably thinking, “Is she really a woman?  Is she even human?” The answer is yes to both questions.
In the three main novels, it’s mentioned on a few occasions that she doesn’t like or want chocolate.  It’s offered a couple times, but the reader never really knows the reason behind her distaste.
On a side note, here’s a little tidbit about my series.  The three novels that make up the bulk of this contemporary (yet atypical) romance series – Lost and Found, Time Stands Still, and Never Look Back – were released in the spring of 2011.  After readers finished them, one of the most common questions I got from people was about the chocolate.
A little over a year later, I got this crazy idea to write a prequel and release it in chapters on my website.  In Not Today, But Someday, everyone finally discovered Emi’s reason for avoiding the delectable treat.
First of all, it’s not an allergy.  When Emi was younger, on what she thought was her first date, she indulged in Raisinettes after the boy who took her to the movies dropped her off at the theater with his step-sister and continued on–by himself–to an arcade.
Later in the book, sixteen-year-old Emi has run away from her mother’s apartment, and has begged her new friend, Nate, to let her stay at his house for the night.  Confronted by his mom, Emi opens up about her own:
“She’s leaving my dad,” Emi says.  “I honestly don’t know how to deal with this.”  She takes a bite of the apple and chews it slowly, tracing the marble pattern of the countertop.
“I’m sure it’s not easy, Emily.”  Mom leans on her elbows on the island, attentive to Emi.  “Sometimes it helps to talk about it.”
I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.  “Mom–”
“He cheated on her.  I caught him,” Emi continues.  I look at her, biting my lip, allowing her to speak.  “He took his mistress to this restaurant.  I was there with some friends, and this woman’s laughter rose above the noise of the entire place,” she says evenly.  I can tell that emotions lie just beneath the surface, but I admire her strength as she continues.  “I watched her for a few minutes, thinking it was sweet how her date was feeding her fruit dipped in chocolate.  They had a fondue pot between them.  He held a cherry up by its stem, covered with chocolate, and fed it to her.  The chocolate dripped down her chin, and he stopped her from wiping it off with her napkin.  I was entranced.  It seemed so intimate.  I was imagining that being me someday.  I even nudged my friends and got their attention, showing them what I was watching.  And then her date leaned in and licked the chocolate from her face, eventually meeting her lips with his.  He kissed her for a long time, and one of my friends said, ‘That looks like your dad.’”
Mom has a distinct frown on her face, and she puts her hand on Emi’s arm.  Chocolate.
It’s all in her head, essentially.  No amount of craving for something she once liked will make her set aside the association of chocolate with her father’s infidelity.
Well, there are two cravings in my series that do, but… well, you should read the books to find out what they are!  
The prequel, Not Today, But Someday, is no longer on my website, but it is offered for free for your Kindle, Nook or iPad.  It is also part of the four-book Complete Emi Lost & Found series!  And if you read these and like them, there is a spin-off series available, as well.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lori!

You can contact Lori here:


And find her books here:
Amazon.com                                         iTunes                                         Barnes & Noble


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17. FOODFIC: Frozen - Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15850937-frozen



The dystopia created by Cruz and Johnston is pretty much what the title implies – a bleak world of cold and ice, insufferable to all but the heat-eliteof the RSA (Remaining States of America). You could even say the second social tier is comprised of hooved quadrupeds – the few remaining cattle who are nurtured in expensive temperature-controlled stables. The cows probably [live] better lives than most people, in fact.

Since clearly very few people are eating beef, the only meat available to the common folk consists of whale, walrus, or reindeer. Those who can’t stomach that are left with processed junk like pizza squeezers and Thanksgiving in a can. Like I said, bleak. And perhaps blechas well. ;) Either or both ways, the availability of food provides a great platform for revealing the inner-workings of the characters.

You see, we first meet Ryan Wesson as he is turning down a steak dinner. Or, more precisely, turning down a job offer he can’t stomach. He actually lets the food be sent back to the kitchen, knowing he’s in turn sending himself and his crew back to the food lines. But even in desperate times, he has an ethical fiber that he can’t shed, despite knowing he’d be warmer (and fuller) without it. Yes, he’s in the mercenary business, but his ex-military moral compass forces him to use his skills for protection and rescue. No, a contract to murder for hire is too much.

Now, in drastic contrast to Wes is the proposer of the next job he DOES accept – a girl who needs help getting out of the country ASAP... and who Wes instantly pegs as a liar and a thief.
Still, he agrees to take her to the “Blue” – a perhaps mythical realm where the sun still shines and the water still flows clear and blue, as does the sky – partially because he needs the money and the work doesn’t harm anyone, but equally because he finds Nat so intriguing.

And when Nat finds out mid-venture that Wes first needs her help to get his ship back – as in, he has a ship, he just doesn’t have it right now – she in turn finds herself falling for this Jack Sparrowish-rogue.

Will they make it to the Blue – if it even exists? And what will they eat when the get there? Good thing it looks like there’ll be another installment to this saga, as my hunger for answers was only partly satisfied. ;)

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18. FOODFIC: Welcome Serina Hartwell, Author of Hidden

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22382615-hidden---serina-hartwell


I first dreamt up the Hidden Saga many years ago, while at the bottom of my garden. It was a hot sunny day in the middle of August and I had a thirst that I just couldn’t quench. As I reminisce, I recall heading down with a glass of fresh orange and sitting for the longest time, just thinking, watching the water condensate around my glass and run down onto the table. Water – That was the only thing that I was sure of when I first made the decision that I really had something worth pursuing in Hidden. I had no idea where my story would take me, but it led me along a path that I’m still walking along and the elements became a focal point in Bronte and Bayer’s world.

When any writer decides to write, they have to start somewhere and that can be both scary and exhilarating all at the same time. With the first stroke of the keys, a new writer might have an idea of what they are going to put in their story, but it is very rare that a writer will wake up with a full book in their head, ready to go for their first attempt. When I started the only thing I knew was that I wanted to write a about a family with small children, who were inseparable and would grow up together, so I created Bronte and then Riley, who are best friends in Hidden.

Deciding to create a saga meant that I had to find ways to grow friendships, resolve woes and conflicts, while indicating that my characters had solid family backgrounds. One device I chose was to use food as the means of conveying this to my readers. Without considering its true attributes, food is often used as a means of building bridges, impressing those around us, or that special person in your life. It brings families and friends together, it builds friendships and representatives one’s status. Food is used in all manner of ways in daily life that we take for granted and I wanted to capitalize on that aspect in Hidden.

There aren’t many scenes in Hidden where I use food, but all the scenes I use it in are important, often spelling key moments or significant points in the storyline. I use freshly baked soft muffins and hot chocolate with marshmallows, when Riley goes to visit Bronte in hospital after her accident. I used the food to convey to my audience, not only that they are young, but that there needed to be an application of comfort applied to the visit. This is the sort of thing that we all like, but as teenagers, we tend to see them as too childish to order, and shy away from them. However a caring grandmother would make them to aid a granddaughter’s recovery and help sooth pain. Comfort food screams volumes to my audience that my characters are in need of some TLC. I also have Riley order a hot chocolate when he visits the café with his mother and receives bad news about Bronte. The comfort of the hot chocolate with its decadent luxury is there to soften the blow.

I use this device again later on, when Bronte leaves the hospital and is visited by her friends. Mrs Salvador bakes a cake with Bronte before her friends come round, this is to show how close she is to her grandmother. A shared activity of this nature immediately conjures up a whole host of imagery. My audience can draw upon this to gain an appreciation of the bond between Mrs Salvador and her granddaughter, therefore picking up the caring aspects conveyed by the scene, without me having to go into any detail.

When Bronte returns home from hospital, I throw a family get together with a huge welcome home meal. The size of the meal is there to represent the depth of feeling that her family has for her. Their measure of guilt thrown in there, is to compensate for the fact that they almost lost her in her accident and is characterised by the food put on the table to spoil her. I drew from my own childhood with this. I recall going to visit my grandmother, who lived in the next town. We didn’t drive, so immediately a visit to her house became an event with a degree of formality. I used to love the bus ride there and the fact that she always made a huge Sunday roast dinner with all the trimmings. That was back in the days when I used to eat meat and her roast beef and Yorkshire puddings were to die for, even if I did push the meat around my plate.

My grandmother always made Yorkshire puddings a little different to everyone else I know. They are usually huge crown shaped batters that almost climb out of the tin, but she made them so that they were flat, filling the tin that they were poured into. They still clambered out of the tin, but the walls made it the container needed for the meal. They were the size of dinner plates.

A Yorkshire pudding isn’t sweet despite what its name implies, unless it is made that way. It was meant to be a savoury batter that families used to make the food on the table at meal time go further. They were traditionally made for lower class families, whose incomes didn’t stretch very far, but once tasted, it doesn’t matter what your background, you’ll always want them on your table.

My grandmother used to take pride in telling me about how my dad and my uncles would have one each and how it had become a family tradition. Putting them on the plates, she would fill them with the rest of the dinner then pour gravy over everything. The trick was to eat them without the gravy pouring off your plate, not an easy task when you’re young. I could never get through a whole one back then and brought this memory with me to draw upon when writing Hidden – Book 1 of the Hidden Saga.

Ps. did you know that Trapped - Book 2, is coming soon?


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Serina!


You can find Serina here:


                                                    SerinaHartwell.com
 





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19. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Rasha Selim, Author of Stolen Gifts

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21559814-stolen-gifts


Food.  Such a small word, but holds a lot of meaning.  When I wrote Stolen Gifts, I didn’t start off with food in mind.  It is a paranormal mystery and romance after all.  However, as I plotted, food started to play a role in some scenes giving me a path for character development.

Food played a role in building the characters in the novel.  Writing in a first person POV presents several challenges for an author.  Readers are only in touch with the lead characters thoughts and actions.  They see other characters through the leads eyes, leaving a lot to interpretation.  The trick for the writer is to convey the true characteristics of secondaries through their actions.

Vanessa is the main character, but what novel is complete without a lead male?  In this case it’s Caine.  Since Stolen Gifts is in Van’s POV, I had to find ways to show readers Caine’s personality.  Van’s insecurities show through in how she views Caine, therefore distorting him somewhat.

I used food and touch to let Caine shine through.  For example:

  I must have made a sound as Caine turned around.  “Do you need any help?” I asked looking away quickly. 
“Nah, I got it under control, and it isn’t much anyway.  Have a seat and make up your tea.  The half and half and sugar are over there,” he said as he pointed to the counter.  Now I knew he remembered, I drink my tea with half and half, not milk.  It was a habit I picked up when I was eleven, visiting the UK with my family. 
“It smells good. You made bacon, my favorite.” 
                 He piled on three pancakes and several slices of bacon on a warmed plate from the oven and placed it in front of me.  He then moved the syrup and butter closer to me, then returned to the stove and made a plate for Garrett and placed it in the oven.

Van doesn’t see Caine for what he’s doing.  Even after an eight-year separation, he still remembered her preferences.  I wanted to show Caine’s provider nature.  I also wanted to show his attentiveness to her.  Van doesn’t see any of his actions as true to whom he is, but determines his actions as that of a caring brother.

Food can also play a sensual role in scenes.  Who hasn’t used food to win someone’s affections in some way?  The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, is a commonly-said phrase.  But what if the reverse was also true?  What if a man used it to gain…for lack of better word…entry?

Van misses Caine’s small hints, even though he is continuously dropping them.  In this scene things heat up between the two of them:

  The boy’s dinners were aroma infused and looked so good that I couldn’t resist taking some bites from Garrett’s Basil Chicken stir-fry.  Enjoying a stolen bite I closed my eyes and was lost in flavor.  I detected a new scent and opened my eyes to see a fork filled with Lime Green Chicken Curry. 
  Caine held up the fork.  “Do you want to try some of mine?”
               “Sure.” I wrapped my mouth around the offered bite, while he watched me, his eyes never leaving mine.
                 “Is it not too hot for you, Van?” Garrett asked.
              The moment was broken.  I looked to Garrett and mouthed a silent thank you. Caine was intoxicating, and if he continued this way I doubted I could restrain myself.  All I wanted to do at that moment was jump across the table into his lap and kiss him.  Garrett’s presence would not have been a deterrent.  But we have work to do and Caine was not interested.  

It’s too bad she didn’t see it for what it was.  Caine definitely communicates his desires and demonstrates his personality through these small moments. 
 
Food is part of our everyday lives, but with a twist is also part of relationships.  Dinner with a man or woman can be the lead to a great or horrible relationship.  We spend time talking over our plates, getting to know each other.  Lunch with the girls can be a soul building experience.  And food shared on one fork can be an invitation for so much more.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Rasha!


You can find her at:







Blog Tour for STOLEN GIFTS by Rasha Selim
May 26th – 30th, 2014
Sponsored by Gliterary Girl Book Tours
 
  








Back cover blurb:  

Whoever said you can’t go home again was right. My name is Van, and my life isn't exactly going the way I'd expected. I moved far from home, away from everyone I know and love to avoid having to reveal my Gift...a Gift so strong it scares me. A Gift so strong I know people would try to use me for their own gain, regardless of how much it may hurt me. A dear friend from my youth is getting married back home, and while I'm thrilled for her, I know what waits for me there--disappointment from my parents, and concern from my brother and friend. But worst of all, I have to face Caine, a man I have loved for as long as I can remember, who just doesn’t feel the same way about me. Somehow, Caine and I find ourselves in the middle of investigating the mysterious disappearances of other Gifted people. When the two of us are abducted, I have to decide if I am willing to use my Gift to save us, even though doing so will reveal my abilities to Caine. Little did I know that using my Gift is exactly what the villain is waiting for…putting both our lives are in jeopardy. 


Synopsis: 

Having a Gift is hard. Keeping the ability to read and manipulate minds a secret from family and friends is torture.

Vanessa (Van) Lyons is terrified of her very powerful Gift of Mind, and has been hiding it from her family since she was a child. Her Gift troubled her so much that she moved away from everything and everyone she knew to avoid the possibility of the truth being discovered. She's stayed away for a long time, making excuses for staying put in her charming little cottage in a small town far enough away to be a comfortable buffer. But an invitation to the wedding of her childhood best friend Kelley brings her back home...and forces her to confront all of her fears and emotions. It also forces her to be face-to-face with the man she has loved since they were young.

Caine Moore is a handsome journalist with a playboy reputation. Seen frequently about town or in the tabloid pages with a different beautiful woman on his arm, he has become a completely different man from the boy Van grew up with. Tension builds between them as he sends Van mixed messages throughout the pre-wedding festivities, confusing her and making her yearn for things she's spent a long time convincing herself she could never have.

Caine has been working on a story, and has seen things he shouldn't see. In his desire to protect Van, he inadvertently pulls her into an intriguing but deadly case that puts her right into the killer's path...   

Excerpt for Paranormal Fans

My Gift is a part of me. It lays dormant, wanting to be used and I have deprived myself for so many years. On the rare occasions when my control slips, and I use it, I feel whole. Denying it for so long was splitting my soul into two. I realized that I would have to learn a new kind of control. Instead of complete dismissal, I would have to use it on occasion to keep my mind and soul intact.

As the guard approached the door of our prison, I placed a Suggestion in his mind that he would believe what I told him. I wasn’t changing the way he behaved, just what he was going to perceive at that moment. He opened the door and stood in the archway.


Buy Links for STOLEN GIFTS 


Bio for Rasha Selim

Author Rasha Selim was born in Cairo, Egypt and was raised in both Cairo and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She moved to the U.S. to attend college and pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist. She left criminology behind to become the mother of three wonderfully active boys. Rasha has spent her life engaged with books and as stories of her own began to develop she knew that she had to get them down in print. She is extremely excited to be sharing her stories with the world. Rasha lives in upstate New York where she is blessed to be surrounded by her loving and supportive husband, children, great friends and incredible books.

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20. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lorraine Beaumont, Author of The Briarcliff Series

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15989458-gargoyle

What do my characters eat?


That is a good question. Well they certainly all have an appetite but food is not what they are really after.

They have a deeper hunger, one that drives them to do the unthinkable, the impossible… what they must to survive.


This kind of hunger gnaws at your belly, a constant reminder of something you crave that is just out of reach.

Yes within each of us, there is hunger, but is this hunger ever satiated with mere food?


That is the case with the Gargoyles in my book…they hunger as well but it is a different kind of hunger, one that fuels a need for vengeance, spurred by a centuries old betrayal. The hunger they hold inside torments them, shapes them into the creatures that they have become, and inevitably drives them to do the unimaginable to satisfy that very hunger.


If I were a Gargoyle, what would I eat? Interestingly enough I am sure that very same question has been asked for centuries. Unfortunately, it would seem there is still no accurate answer. But if I were a Gargoyle, awakened for a short amount of time, I guess I would eat whatever I could get my hands on. And in my Gargoyles' cases, since they are residing/awakening in New England they would probably enjoy the local fare, such as lobster rolls, clam chowder, or maybe even a Fluffernutters sandwich before they turned back to stone.

That’s what I would be doing. ;)



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lorraine!



You can find Lorraine and ALL of her books here:




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21. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Neil McGarry, Author of The Duchess of the Shallows

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13516027-the-duchess-of-the-shallows

Food, like water, is life, but how many eat simply to stay alive? Food does more for us than simply sustain life, and in fantasy fiction it can do the same.

When my coauthor and I set out to write The Duchess of the Shallows, we knew instantly that Duchess' past life as a baker was important. She is a baker by trade, because bread is food that is enjoyed by both commoners and high born, even if the food itself isn't any different. The "presence" of that food gave Duchess an air of being in two worlds at once, which factored heavily into the outcome of both that novel and the series in general. As bread is a food eaten throughout the real world we know, so it is eaten throughout the fantasy, fog-bound city of Rodaas. The selling of that bread took Duchess all along its winding streets and alleys, setting up a potential network of allies and contacts she would need to help her with the heist she planned. Finally, but how better to help readers connect with the hero than to have her triumph by the small knowledge of flour and yeast?

An unwritten rule of fantasy is that the details of the world-building must be "realistic", which among other things means that the food the characters eat must be something you'd expect to find in medieval Europe. I have never quite understood why it's "realistic" for a medieval-style world to contain dragons but not, say, coffee. Yes, yes, I know that particular beverage didn't make its way to Europe until the 16th century at the earliest, but dragons never got there at all and no one complains about that. So I ignore that rule because why not.

In my second novel, The Fall of Ventaris, two characters who are anything but wealthy buy and share an orange. Although one could argue that such a fruit was an unaffordable treat in their world, I liked the idea of two people walking through a crowded marketplace, tearing wedges from an orange they passed back and forth. There was a certain camaradarie inherent in that image, one that trumped any sense of "realism."

Food is an experience we all share, and there is something comforting about both the way food is prepared and the way it is served. Duchess uses bread-making to calm her nerves and clear her mind before braving the dangers of the estate of Baron Eusbius. Later in the series, a feast is a welcome interlude before the climactic events in the imperial palace, events Duchess herself has secretly engineered. Some of the food she eats there – ripe pears and spicy sausage – is familiar, and the some – like the exotic bataya – is beyond her experience, but all of it helps ground her before the dangers to come. She eats this meal with persons of power, and yet the ritual of eating together makes her feel a part of a group that, under normal circumstances, would not deign to be in the same room with something they think so ignobly born.

Fiction, to me, is as necessary to life as food, and food is as much of an adventure as fiction. The two together – well, for me they make something truly fantastic.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Neil!



You can find Neil and his books here:




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22. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Heather Grace Stewart, Author of Strangely, Incredibly Good

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22375683-strangely-incredibly-good


Strangely, Incredibly Good…Food!

Can your relationship with others affect your relationship with food?

Absolutely. For better, and for worse.

In my novel, Strangely Incredibly Good, the main character Katherine “Cat” Glamour is an emotional eater. Now, don’t assume that the book is all about women dealing with weight issues - no way. It’s one of the subjects the book covers, but it’s by no means its only theme.

By the time you’ve hit 40, I believe you’ve read & seen enough messages about how to eat and exercise right to last you three lifetimes. Enough, already! This book is meant as a fun escape for men and women of all ages. Okay. Glad we cleared that up.

At the beginning of the novel, Cat is unhappy with her life, and her weight, and the two - pardon the pun - feed off eachother. Cheesies and chocolate milk are her favorite snack.

Why did I choose those? They are my nine-year-old daughter’s favorite snack, besides candy. When I’m writing, I write what I know, and then make it about ten times larger than life.

So, Cat has been up snacking the night before, and when she decides to try to pull herself and her life together and start exercising on a Wii, it’s only natural a genie would appear from out of the Wii, right? Told you I like to make my stories larger than life.

Once Cat and Genie become acquainted (I’m not sharing that part, you’ll have to read the book!) the Genie, Eugene, criticizes her food choices:


“These are awful for you, you know.” He holds up a cheesie, carefully inspecting it. “I can’t believe you eat this crap. I lived on a farm when I was a boy, and one of my chores was making cheese. This is not even remotely close to how that tasted. This is so full of artificial, I think it could fly to Mars, visit the surface on one of those fancy rovers, return to Earth, and still look and taste the same as it did the year before.”


Eugene, as you’ll discover, is sweet, charming and funny. He’s no jerk. In that scene, however, I wanted to underscore how even nice people who “mean well” can make people who are struggling to lose weight feel small. Cat had just begun an exercise routine. She’d begun. That’s what matters, and yet, she was still met with criticism. When all that criticism builds up, it can immobilize and damage a person like clogged arteries.

Thankfully, Eugene soon realizes how he can help Cat, and becomes one of her greatest allies in her journey of self-discovery. Too bad he didn’t show up before her series of very bad dates, and very bad shakes. Cat is set up by her sister, Cici, on one of those dates, but the date is a total bust. I’ll let Cat explain the rest:



I didn’t think dating could go downhill after that. How much more hill was left bottom at that point, right? Wrong. Later that night, Cici apologized profusely by text.

<So sorry. Jeezus. Didn’t know he was such a jerk? Forgive me? xo>

<Know you meant well. Pls dnt bring anyone else 2our Cosmo dates. Want to drink in misery of being old and fat with sister.>

<Hey, I’m not fat! Or old! Bitch.>

I laughed out loud. I could handle talking about my weight with her, and it was never a competition. Though she was at a healthy weight, she’d been supportive, a participant, in fact, of all my attempts to lose weight, including the week I asked her to follow the latest craze and drink Spinach and Chick Pea Shakes with me for two whole weeks. She was such a sport, even buying the groceries for our little adventure, because I couldn’t afford everything. Such a sport, until 3 p.m. on Day Three, when I received this text from her:

<In crucial business meeting. Boss making presentation. Am filling up room with atrocious fart smell. Do I stay or do I leave?>

< Be heroic. Tell them to get out while they’re still breathing!>

I put my phone down on the kitchen table, threw my head back, and had the biggest belly laugh I’d had in ages. Tears were streaming down my face. Then Gram came in.

“What’s the joke?” she stood at the counter, making tea.

“Oh God, Cici and I have the farts. It appears these shakes make us fart.”

“I coulda told you that. Shit Shakes. That’s how they taste, and that’s what they make you do.”

“You think we’re actually going to lose weight on these?” I push my half-empty green shake glass away, feeling a little nauseous.

“I think you’re gonna poop a lot, get sick of the Shit Shakes, and fill up on all your favourite foods next week. That’s what I think.”

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

“Yea. I hate to say it but you’re probably …Ewww.” I’d let another big one out. They just kept coming and coming. I’d lost all control!

“I’m outta here, Fartsy. You’d better get a handle on that before you bed another man,” she raised her tea mug and nodded, as if to wish me luck.



This scene is one of my favorites from the book, and was inspired by some of the crazy diets I’ve tried with my sister. No, I’ve never had a Spinach and Chick Pea shake, and I never will. “Diet” is a four letter word for me now. I try to limit sugar and desserts instead of dieting. You’ll probably notice, though, that my characters have a love for milkshakes, and ice cream with sprinkles. Now you know my dessert weaknesses. Add some hot fudge, and I’m yours! 




Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Heather!


Heather Grace Stewart is best known for her poetry, which includes: Three Spaces, Carry on Dancing, Leap, and Where the Butterflies Go.

In 2012, she published the screenplay, The Friends I’ve Never Met, which has been well received on both Kindle and Kobo.

Her two non-fiction books for youth are part of the Warts & All educational series on Canada’s Prime Ministers.

She has written for a wide range of magazines, including Reader’s Digest and Canadian Wildlife magazine. Her regular column in the Queen’s Alumni Review magazine, Grace’s Grads, was created in September 2005.

Heather’s poems have been published in Canadian literary journals, newspapers, and magazines, Canadian, British and South African school textbooks, audio CD's, online journals, international print anthologies,
and in the British small presses.



You can visit Heather here:






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23. FOODFIC: Please Welcome St. John Karp, Author of Radium Baby

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17852853-radium-baby



My favorite ice-breaker on a first date is, "If you could travel back in time to any period, when would you go?" You can tell a lot about a person by how they answer. A lot of people seem to want to meet Jesus, which is legit, although they conveniently forget to set aside time to learn Aramaic first. My own choice would be the 1920s. They were in the middle of a post-war cultural revolution — it was the golden age of the silver screen, Dadaism was turning into Surrealism, you couldn't sneeze without hitting ten radioactive consumer products, and they spoke English. The sheer amount of cool stuff going down made it a great place to set Radium Baby. The only problem for an aspiring alcoholic like me is that it's also boom-smack in the middle of the American Prohibition.


But the characters in Radium Baby don't let that stop them. You could always throw a fuzz junket on bathtub moonshine, or else get a bit squiffy on giggle water at the blind tiger. My favorite Prohibition-era cocktail has to be the Sidecar — an intoxicating mix of two parts Cognac, one part Cointreau, and one part lemon juice, served with sugar on the rim. I drank at least four of these (I lost count) as research for this article, and I can confirm that by the end of the night I'd completely forgotten that it wasn't actually 1927.


The Sidecar may have been a bit frou-frou for Prohibition tastes, though, especially as it was a European cocktail and all those fancy brandies were hard to come by. Herbie Wise would have liked them, I think, because he has a taste for the finer things in life. What really fuels a public drunk like Adrian Ember, though, is gin. This makes the Martini the cocktail of choice for the adults in Radium Baby. You take your vermouth, shake it up in the cocktail shaker enough to coat the ice, then pour it out. Then you pour in your gin, shake it again, and pour. Garnish with green olives. I have a passionate love for salt, so the dirtier the Martini the better. Also, don't let any unlicked rube tell you it's one part vermouth to six parts gin — too much vermouth is the quickest way to ruin a perfectly good Martini. Winston Churchill said the best way to add vermouth to your Martini was simply to raise your glass in the direction of France.


While Ember and Wise like a tipple, Mrs. Cholmondeley is a die-hard teetotaler. Even she, however, seems to have her own unwitting crutch in the form of June Kennedy's Prune Remedy. This Prune Remedy was inspired by a few real health tonics from the time, but particularly Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. Pinkham's Compound contained a good wallop of "medicinal" alcohol, which garnered it an unexpected level of popularity in the Prohibition. There are endless testimonies in Mrs. Pinkham's advertising from housewives whose kids are driving them nuts, but after a bottle or nine of Vegetable Compound they feel right as rain. Pinkham's Compound still turns up in pop culture from time to time, in songs like "Lily the Pink", or as Ephraim's Extract in a recent episode of Quick Draw.


If your blood runs more towards the healthy side of things (and if it does, I can't think why you're reading anything I've written), then your 1920s self might have downed a few radioactive health tonics. Yes, people in the '20s were drinking radioactive water, often every day under the misapprehension that it would cure them of wambling trot or the strong fives. In Radium Baby Gloria drinks from a Revigator — a household radioactive tank which you'd fill with water to be steeped in healthy radioactive rays. For good measure these things would also leech arsenic, lead, and uranium into the water. Over three years one man in real life drank 1,400 bottles of a radioactive tonic called Radithor, and he swore it did wonders for his health right up until the day his face fell off. He had to be buried in a lead coffin.


Valerie and Alexander Pepperpot also partake of a goodly dose of radium in the form of a radioactive duck. The dish is a party piece that, when prepared properly, will create a chemical reaction that expels air through the duck's throat and makes it quack as it's being carved. There was a little truth-bending here on my part, but the recipe is real — only the recipe was medieval and the secret ingredient was mercury instead of radium. As far as I know there aren't any records of people dying from eating these mercury birds, but then I don't imagine they fared much better than the Pepperpots did.


For those who want to throw their own radium-themed wingding, I'd recommend against irradiating the local poultry. Instead, let me take this back to where it began — booze. A great radium-themed drink is the Grasshopper, a mix of one part cream, one part Crème de menthe, and one part white Crème de cacao. You wind up with a lurid green cocktail that is absolutely delicious. Here's mud in your eye, fly-boy.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, St. John!



Connect with the author here:





 

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24. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gilda Evans, Author of Girl Talk


http://www.gildaevans.com/author

Most of my audience knows me as an author and speaker, but few are familiar with my poetry.
  
My poetry is as diverse as my other writings – the meter, subject matter and innate rhythms vary greatly. The one I’ve chosen to share now is one of my earlier poems. It is freeform with a distinctly feminine subject.  It was inspired on a rather lonely, rainy day several years ago while I was contemplating the view from my window. I felt a most interesting swirl of emotions, that encompassed isolation, peace, sadness, hope and wonder all rolled into a kaleidoscope of feeling that came out on paper in the form you are about to read.

In particular, for the purpose of Shelley's blog I'd like to say that certain foods will inspire me to write. Which ones often depends on the mood of the day.  In this particular case, it was a hot cup of coffee with my favorite creamer, coupled with a fresh, warm buttermilk biscuit and jam.  Feeding my body certain things that make me smile helps me write with passion and from the heart.  And through my writing I feed my soul as well.  Perhaps that's this writer's personal meaning of "soul food"!

I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to receiving any comments you'd like to share. My sincere thanks to Shelley Workinger for allowing me the privilege being a guest on her blog!



A MOTHER’S LOVE
The sound of the rain pounds against the beating
of my heavy heart.
Would that it could be lightened…
By a soft, sweet voice,
a tender word,
a hand extended.
I watch the water meet the earth under a gloomy sky.
It matches the mood.
A tear rolls down my cheek
as I look up and notice the droplets
clinging to the needles of the pine,
and perched high in the branches of the weeping willow,
glistening like diamonds for the taking.
As if in answer to my plea, the wind gently moves the boughs
as a hoot owl sounds its acknowledgment.
One by one, the droplets fall
offering to me something precious,
something right there within my grasp
if I will only reach for it.
I am uplifted.
Nature beckons, and I feel the Mother’s hand
caress my chin.
“Do not be sad, daughter,” she says.
“I am here. I will guide you.
My jewels will adorn you. And
our hearts will be forever as one.
Rejoice. For when you are with me,
all is possible.”


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Gilda!


GILDA EVANS started her first business while in college at the age of 20, which she sold at a profit when she was 24.  Winning her first poetry contest at the tender age of 9 and her first essay contest at 10, writing and speaking have always been natural forms of expression for her.

Her first business was followed by two years of teaching lighting design at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.  The long and winding road then led Gilda to begin her stint as a television writer/producer/director, working for such venues as CBS, HBO, Showtime and Warner Brothers.  It was during this time that she also met and married her children’s father.  Twelve plus years and three Emmy and Ace award nominations later, Gilda left the TV industry to devote herself to her family.

Unfortunately, the happily ever after was not to be back then, and after a fourteen year marriage she found herself going through a divorce.  It was at that point she decided to reinvent herself and her career.  Her myriad of experiences comes to the forefront in GIRL TALK…a book series twenty years in the making whose time has finally come.  As Gilda likes to say, “I have a PhD in relationships from the school of life!” She is also working on a YA novel series, THE ALTERNATES. 


Connect with Gilda here:
www.GildaEvans.com Pinterest 

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25. FOODFIC: Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18053060-dorothy-must-die



Her name may still be Dorothy Gayle, but she is nothing like the girl you remember from that first journey to Oz.

She’s still wearing her trademark blue-and-white checks, but she’s traded in the farm-girl cotton for silk and chiffon in a style somewhere between haute couture and French hooker. Mm-hmm.

Oh, and she’s wicked now, too. Not in title, of course, as the official wicked witch collective is still around, but as defined by her nasty behavior. And speaking of titles, she’s given herself a bold one: Princess Dorothy of Oz, second only to Ozma, who for all intents and purposes is only (thanks again to Dorothy and her usurping of all magic in the realm) a shell of a person. Really this means Dorothy is now running the show, along with her trusty companions who have also all changed equally for the worse.

The Tin Woodsman now commands the army – human soldiers who’ve been mechanically and creepily modified much like himself – and doles out punishments like flesh-melting bubbles. The Lion rules the forest and also has a paw in penalizing those who’ve “wronged” Dorothy; when a guard merely looks at the princess, the “criminal” is charged with a wandering eye, which the Lion quickly flicks out with one crooked claw and swallows whole. And the Scarecrow’s the worst of all with his Moreau-like experiments on the citizens of Oz, as well as his draining of others’ brain fluid to inject into his own newly acquired organ.

See? Oz is almost unrecognizable.

But this is where the heroine – Amy from Kansas – comes in. Coincidentally (or not) a tornado also delivers her to Oz, where she can perhaps undo the damage wreaked by her fellow Midwestern predecessor. Before she can even acclimate to her new surroundings, she’s tasked to REMOVE the Tin Woodsman’s heart, STEAL the Scarecrow’s brain, TAKE the Lion’s courage, and finally KILL Dorothy herself. A tall order for a girl who was just yesterday struggling to survive high school!

To accomplish this mission, Amy is magically transformed by the wicked witches into Astrid the maid so that she may infiltrate the palace. Like the other servants, she is treated like a slave – working to the point of exhaustion and “lucky” to get a 15-minute break to snack on stale muffin bottoms, which are actually a rare treat for workers.

So, even though Amy initially had trouble reconciling the horror stories she was hearing with the storybook heroine she knew, and she had NO intention of ever murdering anyone, it’s not long before she recognizes that Dorothy has become a magic- (and muffin top-) hoarding fascist. And when some of Amy’s new Ozian friends fall victim to the ruby-shod tyrant, Amy’s unwanted assignment turns into a vendetta of her own.

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