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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 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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.

0 Comments on FOODFIC: Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige as of 7/11/2014 11:01:00 AM
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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jennifer Bogart, Author of Liminal Lights

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22063642-liminal-lights



What do the characters in my book eat? Well, the humans are typical teenagers, so we get to see them enjoying a number of things: smoothies, fruit, sandwiches… nothing terribly exciting.

But the Liminals? Well, now that’s a story all in itself. According to Liminal Lore, when they were first created, they didn’t eat anything. They just flitted around from place to place, using up their energy without a care in the world. Unfortunately, that didn’t go well for them. It didn’t take long for their wings to slow, their spirits to sink, and their little tummies to start rumbling.

Except – it wasn’t their tummies that were rumbling, it was something deeper than that. You see, Liminals are made entirely of energy. Their little faerie-like bodies are composed of sunshine, children’s laughter, adult tears, and most importantly – creativity.

My son tells me they are evil little creatures who suck out your soul and regurgitate it. That’s not altogether true. They have an important, symbiotic relationship with humans.

Since they don’t have any magic of their own, and they need it to survive, they cultivate the creativity inherent in kids, harvest it, and manipulate it into something usable – something called talent or skill or intelligence. 
When they’re finished, like any craft project, there are scraps left over. The Liminals simply help themselves to what humans don’t need. It’s a small price to pay for things like technology, medical cures, music, and art.

Of course, there’s always something that is a little bit greedy waiting in the wings. Something that doesn’t want to wait for energy to mature, and takes more than it needs… This is the thing that hides under the bed and goes bump in the night… These shadows consume more than they give, and the Liminals do their best to protect humans from their greed. But sometimes the Shadows eat more than their fill.


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



J.M. Bogart believes there’s a spark of magic in every person, regardless of age or background. Her upper Middle Grade novels are written with bright and imaginative youth in mind. She hopes to provide fun and appropriate content combined with challenging language and concepts for readers drifting in those precocious middle years.

You can find her here:


                                                Twitter @JenniferBogart               Blog

And Liminal Lights, published by Morning Rain Publishing, 
is available as an ebook at these online retailers:

Amazon               Kobo               Google Books 


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13. FOODFIC: Shards & Ashes - Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and More!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14811468-shards-and-ashes



Asking me as a writer to choose one short story from an anthology to blog about it almost as difficult as asking me as a parent to name my favorite child! So let me begin by saying that since this collection brings together the work of pretty much every big writer in YA today, every piece is terrific.

That being said, I chose to focus on Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr, not so much for the obvious reasons (her name headlining the cover plus the “eat” right there in the title), but because I haven’t yet read her Wicked Lovely series.*

Now, since the stories from authors whose books I’ve read previously – Margaret Stohl, Veronica Roth, Kelley Armstrong  – were written in their recognizable styles, I do feel like I have a good idea now of how Marr writes as well. And it’s gruesome. Or might I say gruesomely good. Because the detail is so fine that it will both put you right into the middle of the scene, as well as reclaim your senses hours later.

Here, let me show you:
In Eaters, there’s a vat for storing bodies that “[looks] remarkably like a cross between an aquarium and one of the coffee dispensers at every church dinner [Harmony] remembered.” Can you see it? Horrific, right? But that’s not what I found to be the most disturb/gusting thing in the story.

No, I awarded that honor when I read how Harmony and Chris came to be partners in the war against the Nidos (devotees of the new god on Earth, Nidhogg), and I got a glimpse into Chris’s back-story:
The fourth [bottle] had a good inch of liquid – hopefully gin – in it. Unfortunately, it also had a cigarette butt floating in it. He paused, shrugged, and lifted the bottle to his lips.

Blech! That moment is so clear on so many sensory levels – sight, touch, taste – that there is no doubt that this character was devastated by the loss of his first partner. Yup, if we were playing Meta-Me and the prompt was “rock bottom,” Marr would absolutely be the uncontested winner.

Of course, there are many other facets to the story – action, love, family dysfunction, dystopia – told with equal detail, but none resonated more strongly with me than that foul taste. I mean, even the dead corpses floating in giant serving vessels I could get past – maybe because they were unreal to get to me. But I can too easily feel exactly what an old soggy Marlboro stub sloshing around in a mouthful of gin would feel like. And I. Just. Can’t. Sooo awful…ly well-written. ;)


*I read awhile back that Wicked Lovely had been optioned for film and, whenever that happens, I try to hold off on the book until close to the movie premiere to best compare them. However, in this case, I’m still not seeing production schedule or predicted release date, so I may have to just start reading. ;)

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14. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Chantal Boudreau, Author of Magic University

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12634232-magic-university



Flavouring Fantasy
by Chantal Boudreau


                Food isn’t necessarily the first thing that you think of when you think of fantasy... or the second thing... or the third or fourth thing.  In fact, superseded by monsters and magic, warriors and weapons, it may be ignored altogether in the typical fantasy novel. 
 

Understandably, food isn’t likely to play an integral role in the usual fantasy plot, which is why there is little focus placed on what and how things are eaten in many fantasy stories.  But considering world-building is the cornerstone of fantasy fiction, and food is often a factor of ceremony, culture and social interactions, it makes sense that the concept of who tends to eat what and when be addressed as part of the backdrop of the tale.  Fantasy writers often describe religions, political systems, architecture and flora and fauna.  Food is just another way of flavouring the fiction.


This can be an especially useful tool if the fantasy in question is based on existing myths or cultures, as a means of highlighting this connection.  For example, if the fantasy touches on the Middle East, one might expect to see figs, goat cheese and falafel, or if it is a northern tale, the writer might have characters feasting on seal or caribou meat (or the fantasy equivalent.)  In my novel Magic University, which finds its basis in medieval Europe as is common to many fantasy novels, the typical fare is ale, bread, smoked meats and cheese, and fruits or vegetables one could expect to see growing in the average European garden.


Researching this component of a story is not that difficult in today’s day and age.  You can even find books that specifically discuss what might be eaten in a fantasy setting, such as What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank by Krista D. Ball.  There are also cookbooks available that are based on existing fantasy series, such as Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home (Otik’s spicy fried potatoes is a favourite of mine) based on the Dragonlance series or Nanny Ogg’s Cookbookbased on the Discworld series, just to give you a few ideas.


It also makes sense to include examples of food and drink as part of both plot and character development, giving the writer another means to an end.  For example, in the opening scene of Magic University (the first book in my Masters and Renegades fantasy series), there is a small skirmish between Reid Blake’s imp, Stiggle and the dwarven competitor, Shetland, which is instigated by food.  The function of the scene is two-fold.  It creates a tension between Stiggle and Shetland that persists throughout the novel, allowing for later scenes of discord that exist mostly for comic relief.  It also introduces Shetland’s obsession with food and drink, part of his character development which shows itself again several times in the story.


Food can be used to distinguish one setting from another, as well.  A grubby pub for commoners will have very different items on the menu than an upscale tavern intended for higher-class patrons.  Along with a description of decor and existing customers, a description of the food and drink being offered and served can help set the tone of the establishment.  In Magic University, each competition Way Station is being hosted by a different wizard, who provides refreshments that match their personality.  The variety of food and drink found at each Way Station not only tells readers something about the Way Station attendant, but also adds to the particular ambiance of the Way Station.


Along with general plot and character development, food can also provide an opportunity to flush out the more unusual plot elements and distinct characters.  A fantasy novel may contain characters with very particular feeding needs, something that adds to the novelty and fantastical nature of that character.  One of my characters in Magic University, Ebon, is a person who exists trapped between two dimensions due to an accident that occurred when he was apprenticed to a Renegade wizard.  Rather than feeding the way most people do, he draws his sustenance from magical energies, draining power from magical spells or items in the process.  As he puts it: “I still appreciate a good meal, on a purely aesthetical level.  It is just something that is unnecessary.  I draw my energy from other sources.”  I even include one scene where his feeding needs interfere with his goals. 
 
            As you can see, there are many reasons a fantasy writer would want to incorporate food into a story.  If you’ve never really contemplated the role food can and does play in well-written fantasy, you may want to give it a go.  Consider it food for thought.


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


Chantal Boudreau is an accountant/author/illustrator who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.  Fervor, her debut dystopian novel, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by Elevation, Transcendence, and Providence.  Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by  Casualties of War and Prisoners of Fate.


You can find Chantal and her books here:

Word Blurb Blog                  Scribd

Twitter @chantellyb13           Amazon

   Facebook Fan Page           Goodreads



 

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15. FOODFIC: The Here and Now - Ann Brashares

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18242896-the-here-and-now


April 23rd just came and went. Now, for me that didn’t mean a whole lot – soccer practice for one kid, baseball for the other, baked haddock for dinner in-between.

For Prenna James, however, April 23rd is a very special anniversary. It marks the date she and her Postremo community traveled back from the year 2098 to 2010 in an effort to fix whatever it is that goes wrong in the time between that unleashes plagues unto the future.

The Here and Nowbegins in 2014, with Prenna having had 4 years to adjust to her new time. And adjust and learn to blend, she has, heavily incentivized by the knowledge of the fate that will befall her at the hand of her groups’ leaders if she does not. We learn their strict code of conduct as recited by Prenna’s peers at the annual “anniversary ceremony,” which is not only a quite un-joyous occasion, but it’s not even followed by a celebratory meal! Prenna and her friends are on their own to grab dinner from a nearby Chipotle – again, normalcy by necessity.

But Prenna does remember a different sort of normal – she even describes this solemn anniversary as kind of like our Thanksgiving, but without the turkey and pumpkin pie. So we do know that some holiday foods remain traditional in the future from which she has escaped. Can we then assume all food in 2098 is essentially the same as we know it now? Because this story is told in Prenna’s current present, we know that take-out fried chicken with coleslaw is a common dinner for her and her mother. What we do not know is if that’s the result of the 4-year adjustment, or if such a period was never required culinary-wise.

So the scene I most want to see, of course, is Prenna’s first food experience on the 2010 side of the time-travel path, but chronologically that time has already passed. Or has it?

This is when Brashares shouts, “But wait!”* Because she’s found a way to show me what I crave. JBy shuffling in short letters from Prenna to her deceased future brother that date back to that April 23rd arrival, Brashares is indeed able to share glimpses of that 4-year gap, including a first taste:

Dear Julius,
I ate a mango. It’s a sticky orange fruit, sweet and sour, and it comes apart in threads, with a hard little skull in the middle of it. It is so good. Even better than pineapple. I think I would eat it even if you told me it was deadly poisonous.

Now I know one vital (to me, anyway) fact – there are pineapples in 2098, but not mangoes. And why is that? Is there something inherently different in the two plants? Or in the climes in which each grows? Does it have anything to do with our current era’s mass canning of pineapples but not mangoes? So that, in the bleak future that Prenna has seen, the only surviving fruits are preserved ones?

One short paragraph – one bite of fruit – leads to so many questions; imagine what the other 200+ pages stir up!

But before you start reading, you might want to go pick up some mango…while you still can. ;)


* Or But WATE, if you will. ;)  

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16. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Roxanne Barbour, Author of An Alien Collective

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20543038-an-alien-collective



In my world-building, both aliens and humans love food.  But that shouldn’t be surprising—food is the sustenance of life.  But it is much, much more than that!


Synopsis of AN ALIEN COLLECTIVE:


Cyn-Tia Silverthorne wakes up to find herself stranded on an alien planet.  She finds seven other teenaged humans and they are as confused as she is.  To Cyn’s delight, and some apprehension, twenty-four aliens (all teens on their own planets) have also been deposited: eight Temman, eight Irandi, eight Reannone.  Every day, supplies and instructions are delivered to their village for pickup by the managing committee—which consists of Cyn, Stire, Frakis A Kirba, and Tine Jana—one representative from each race.  After a time, the four races create a working collective, but they soon decide to rebel.  The Guardian appears and sends them on a series of quests, but the grand purpose of the experiment still eludes them.



In this novel, many of the plot points are triggered by food. 

For example, cooks from all four species gather in the new community building to prepare the first meal:


                I turned back to the kitchen.  Stire was listening to a discussion.  The stances of the participants indicated a disagreement.  I walked a little closer.
                “I am not going to let some alien watch me cook our food.  Cooking is a private matter.  We have many rituals we perform while we cook.  It is part of our religion,” said an Irandi.
                “That is indeed a problem,” agreed Stire.  He looked at me. 
Was I supposed to come up with an answer?  Probably, since the other cook involved was a human. 

My motivation for this scene was to point out the first of many battles the managing committee would encounter in their attempt to get the four races to work together. I also wanted to introduce the notion of uniqueness of culture, and food rituals were a not-so-obvious place to begin. 


Another excerpt:
 

                Just then, a male Reannone walked up to our table.  “You wanted to see me, Frakis?” he asked.
                “Yes, Gree.  Where have you been all day?”
                “Oh, I took a day off.  I’ve been working too hard at these menial tasks.  It was some alien’s turn.”  Gree seemed quite defiant.
                Frakis tapped the table.  “It doesn’t work that way, Gree.  We all need to pull together and get our village running.  We don’t know why we’re here, but we need to make the best of this situation.  And making the best of it means everyone contributes.  This is our life, for the time being.  We’re all taking turns at the tasks and, while I agree that most of them are menial, they’re necessary for our survival.”
                “Well, I’m not going to do any.”  Gree straightened his posture.
                Frakis glance at us before she replied, “Then you don’t get any food or housing.  That’s what we’re all working for.”
                Gree stared at Frakis for a moment, and then walked away.


I used this scene to plant my first seed relating to rebellion.  I wanted to show that while the members of the managing committee were working well together, not everyone else was having an easy time of it—which put further pressure on Cyn, Stire, Frakis, and Jana. Would the eventual large-scale rebellion lead to loss of food for everyone? Find out in AN ALIEN COLLECTIVE.


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


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17. FOODFIC: The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9361589-the-night-circus



I love carnival food. Who doesn’t? My favorite is the fries; they have that inexplicable something* that is somehow conjured up by every unique traveling show, yet can be found nowhere else on Earth.

Maybe it’s magic.

Now don’t tell me don’t believe; real magic is in fact the heart (if not the stomach) of this story. Magic that hides in plain sight by masquerading as trickery.

There is Celia, billed by the night circus as an illusionist, but who actually can alter reality; her show might involve tossing a coat into the air only to have the silk fold in on itself to form the shape of a raven and then fly away.

Marco’s similar, if arguably lesser, ability enables him to manipulate perception – closer to what we think of as stage magic, yet he needs no diversionary tactics since he can truly manipulate what one sees.

Unfortunately, their magical prowess doesn’t equate to psychic ability and the two don’t know that they’re actually being pitted against each other in a contest to the death – the arena for which being the circus that they travel within.

So there’s magic andmystery and romance, yet I can’t help but circle back to my favorite question: What are they serving at this magically real venue? More magic hidden in plain sight, of course! There are fantastically delicious cinnamon things – layers of pastry and cinnamon and sugar all rolled into a twist and covered in icing, as well as spiced cocoa with clouds of extra whipped cream on top. Completely expected carnival foods made exceptional with magic, but still believably real. The only hints at the unusual are the chocolate mice (not at all like the Harry Potter frogs) and the edible paper featuring detailed illustrations that match their respective flavors, which frankly doesn’t sound at all appetizing to me.

And therein lies perhaps the truth of it all: we think we want the bizarre, but we really just want the best-ever version of the usual. We have to be able to relate to it in order to accept it; we need to believe that we are seeing and tasting the exceptional but normal, because admitting that it’s supernatural, might make it suddenly untrue. As in, It can’t be magic, because then it wouldn’t be really happening. Since nobody wants that, we have to deny the magic in order to enjoy it. See? I need them to serve me magical food out of a real-looking fake kitchen cart so that I can savor the flavors without letting doubt and disbelief sour the taste. ;)


*Probably oil that’s been sitting in a fryer for 50 years and would be labeled toxic by a health inspector if one could ever catch up with the show. But I wouldn’t have it any other way; some secrets are better left unexamined. ;)

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18. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Katherine Roberts, Author of the Echorium Trilogy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1818287.Song_Quest



Would you eat a Half Creature? 
Guest post by Katherine Roberts

If you’re not a strict vegetarian, then you’re probably fine with eating animal flesh and maybe a bit of fish. But how far would you take that? Would you eat a horse? Would you eat your dog? Would you eat a mermaid?

Although I’m not vegetarian myself, I think I would find that last one difficult (I’d find the other two difficult, too – though if I were starving and someone served up the meat in a shrink-wrapped package, maybe I could do it!) On the other hand, mermaids don’t exist so that’s okay.

But I write fantasy! And one of the tricks of writing a realistic imaginary world is to ask this kind of question. So let’s suppose for a moment that mermaids do exist…

In my Echorium trilogy, you’ll meet several types of half creature: merlee (half fish, half human – our mermaids and also mermen), centaurs (half pony, half human),
quetzal (half bird, half human) and naga (half water snake, half human). Most people respect the Half Creature Treaty that forbids exploitation of half creatures. But at the start of the first book Song Quest, unscrupulous hunters are netting the merlee for their eggs and gutting the females to extract this delicacy before casting their bodies back into the sea. Think caviar, mermaid-style.

My imaginary world is policed by human Singers, who live in the Echorium (a bluestone castle on the Isle of Echoes) and use Songs of Power in the place of weapons. Alerted by the merlee’s cries for help, they set out to investigate taking with them two young novices – Rialle, who can communicate with half creatures, and Kherron who cannot. They follow the hunters’ trail high into the mountains of the Karch, where they discover the small green merlee eggs are destined for the young Karchlord Javelly, who is chronically sick… the eggs are supposed to cure him. In the Karch, the Singers discover another violation of the Treaty – quetzal are being kept in cages, waiting to be plucked and boiled for the lord’s table. This looks like a direct violation of the Treaty by the people of the Karch. But things are not quite as they seem. When Lord Javelly’s priests are discovered injecting the merlee eggs before delivering them to their young lord, the Singers must use their Songs of Power not only to protect the half creatures but also to save the life of the young Karchlord.

The half creatures in my Echorium books are based on creatures from our own myths. I gave them limited intelligence along with their animal instincts, and was fascinated by the question of whether they should be treated as low-intelligence humans or highly-intelligent animals. If human, then obviously eating them would be considered cannibalism and wrong. If animal, then maybe it’s more acceptable… provided you’re not vegetarian, of course! The equivalent squirm-factor in our world might be eating a chimpanzee (that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when our hero and heroine are served with a dessert of frozen monkey brains inside the original monkey heads has always freaked me out!)

In the end, I decided the half creatures in my fantasy world should be protected species and are not to be eaten under any circumstance. Do you agree?

***

The Echorium trilogy was first published by Chicken House/Scholastic. The first title Song Quest won the Branford Boase Award for best debut novel for young readers in 2000, and all three books are now re-available:

Song Quest - paperback (Catnip Publishing, UK), ebook coming soon.

Crystal Mask - Kindle ebook (special offer this weekend 99c / 99p)

Dark Quetzal - Kindle ebook (special offer this weekend 99c / 99p)



Katherine Roberts writes fantasy and legend for young readers. Her latest series is the Pendragon Legacy about King Arthur’s daughter (which also contains a mermaid, although they don’t eat her!)

Meet Katherine here: 




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

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19. FOODFIC: Enclave - Ann Aguirre

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7137327-enclave


It seems like every other book on the shelves these days tries to hook you with the line: For fans of the Hunger Games. Being a HGfan myself, I have had disappointingly huge success at proving that claim wrong.

Until Enclave.

Unlike the wannabe novels that take place in malls or high schools or other civilized venues, Enclave’s heroine Deuce is actually struggling to survive in a harsh environment – hers being, well, underground. Because in this arguably bleaker-than-HG future, the surface is no longer habitable and humans are forced to live in the damp darkness below.

The members of Deuce’s “society” have to eat what little they can grow in such conditions (mainly mushrooms) and what meat they can trap, the specifics of which I will leave up to your imagination, not only because it’s not hard to guess what sort of creatures must be scurrying into the traps, but also because the author herself never names those not-so-tender morsels.

And perhaps Aguirre makes such an omission because Deuce herself can’t name the critters, as the names of so many things were lost over the decades that’ve passed since normal surface life ceased to exist.

But names and words and language must have stayed alive through books, you might insist.

Not so much; when the people were driven underground from a great unexplained apocalyptic event, they left most everything behind. There is an archivist of sorts who keeps any book and trinket “artifacts” that the hunters discover while out patrolling the tunnels, but not only are enclave members not allowed to read or study them; “hoarding” any such items in one’s personal space is grounds for banishment.

No daylight, no fresh food, no individuality, no thinking, no hope…not that anyone still alive even knows such a concept anymore.

Ah, except Deuce’s new partner Fade, who grew up somewhere else and survived on his own until hunters brought him down to the enclave. Fade not only opens Deuce’s eyes to unimagined possibilities, but to what’s within her as well. And we all know that hope until needs one tiny seed to grow…




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20. 3-Year Blogiversary!


Anyway, below are most (I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few) of the books I read over the past year that weren’t reviewed here at BWATE?

And, as always, please feel free to suggest some great reads for me in the coming year. :)



T.J. Forrester – Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail
 

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21. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Luke Murphy, Author of Dead Man's Hand

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16256941-dead-man-s-hand



When I turned fifteen and started reading adult chapter books (Oh no, there is no way I’m telling you the year to show my age LOL), I always found myself asking the same question:

When do these characters eat, sleep, use the restroom, etc.?

There always seemed to be unanswered questions left by authors, those little things that we all do, but that rarely get mentioned in books.  It’s not that I want the author to go on and on about a character’s eating or bathroom habits, but some small mention would suffice.

So when I first contacted Shelley Workinger about a possible blog post, and she told me what her blog was all about, I thought it was a great idea. She was really on to something when she mentioned to me that a fictional character’s diet can really tell the reader something about that character. Some readers want to know these minor details.

My debut novel, DEAD MAN’S HAND, is an International bestselling crime-thriller that was released in October 2012. The novel takes readers inside the head of Calvin Watters, a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once an NFL rising-star prospect, now a fugitive on the run.

But for this post, I wanted to write about the new novel I’m currently working on, specifically the main character, detective Charlene Taylor.

To put it lightly, Charlene Taylor is a self-hating, alcoholic, one-night standing, tough but broken individual who never knew her father. She was the “boy” her father never had, and has decided to follow in his footsteps as a member of the LAPD.

So in order to demonstrate the kind of character Charlene is, I needed to really sell it with her diet and eating habits.

Charlene is an “eat-on-the-run” kind of gal. Grab a muffin or fruit on her way out the door. Living a fast-paced, almost carefree single lifestyle, she has take-out restaurants on her speed dial, and the local neighborhood sushi bar is familiar with her frequent post-sex phone calls for delivery. I felt that having a sushi restaurant on speed dial, where they are used to her “dinner for 1” orders, shows Charlene’s age (I think of sushi as a more youthful meal), health concerns (obviously sushi is a very healthy food), and her loneliness (ordering always for one and having it on her speed dial).

To me, this was the ultimate form of using food and diet to show who a character really is and allow a reader to make his/her own judgements and conclusions.

Food/diet is a very important tool that can be used by authors to “show” instead “tell” readers about a certain character and his/her traits.

My newest novel is still in the editing stages, but it has been a fun project.


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


Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.


Catch up with Luke at these sites:








Back cover text for DEAD MAN'S HAND

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don't fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
  



"You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out." 
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter


"Dead Man's Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn't read like one, 
but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice." 
—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower


"Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man's Hand is a fast, gritty ride." 
—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush

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22. FOODFIC: Divergent - Veronica Roth

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13335037-divergent


Beatrice is a girl after my own heart.

She leaves not only her family but her entire faction of society behind just because of the food.
Okay, that’s not the wholestory, but she does sarcastically say it after eating a hamburger (or circular pieces of meat wedged between round bread slices, as she describes it) for the very first time. Although her new peers are shocked by her life inexperience, Tris (as she now calls herself) is not embarrassed to explain that in her old lifestyle – Abnegation* – they believe such extravagance is considered self-indulgent and unnecessary.

She’s never had interesting cuisine, nor fashionable clothing, nor even a real friend because she’s never had any sort of free will to make choices or even have opinions; Abnegates live selflessly in the fully literal sense, as in no self. At all.

Of course, while that may be how society has required her to behave outwardly, it’s never been how she’s felt on the inside, which is why on choosing day she makes the drastic choice to join the Dauntless.** She’s certainly not the only 16-year-old to switch groups, but the resounding shock at her decision implies that her move is indeed the boldest.

What’s ironic is that much of her Abnegation upbringing helps her succeed at the Dauntless training, although she does feel constantly torn between acting selfless orbrave. And what she sees as a struggle, the powers that be view as duplicitous and uncontrollable. Divergents like Tris are not only a problem, but one that must be eliminated at all cost.

And that’s how we as readers find ourselves cheering for Tris to succeed – no, excel – at Dauntless training; we want her to not only reconcile and use both her bravery and her selflessness – sometimes even both in the same moment – but also to use her dangerous Divergence to upset a system that no longer serves the people.

Oh, and we’d like her to stay well fed, too. ;)


*Selfless
**Brave

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23. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Christa Polkinhorn, Author of the Family Portrait Series

https://www.goodreads.com/series/113336-family-portrait



One of the readers of my novels pointed out jokingly that my characters love food and wine and drink copious amounts of coffee. She is right! I enjoy reading food descriptions in novels and many of my characters like to eat and drink.

Food, the preparation and enjoyment of it, can be a powerful device in a novel. Eating is a very sensual thing and in our writing, we try to convey sensual experiences with words. We want our readers to be involved with the story and one way to do this is to let them perceive the world through the senses of the characters. Let them smell, hear, see, and taste. It brings the story to life and makes for much more interesting reading.

In addition, the way we eat, what we eat, like any other activity, can say something about the rest of our lives and hence, in a novel, about the lives of the characters we create. Here are a few examples of my novels where food plays a role in the Family Portrait trilogy.

The first book, An Uncommon Family, starts with six-year old Karla, eating an ice cream cone:

        Karla licked the crispy cone, trying to catch the sliding droplets before they hit the ground. The raspberry ice cream was a dark purple, her favorite color. … She turned around and peered through the window of the art shop, where her aunt was picking up two framed pictures. When she looked back at the sidewalk, her breath caught.
“Mama?” she whispered.
She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure—it must be her mother. She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trashcan, got up, and ran after the woman.

The above “ice cream scene” encompasses one of the books main themes: Karla’s longing for her mother. When a young girl tosses her favorite ice cream cone into the trash to run after someone, that someone must be critical to her life. The child’s action startles us and we are eager to know what happens. Seeing a woman who reminds her of her mother turns the peaceful enjoyment of her sweet into a heartbreaking chase after a phantom. As we find out a little later, Karla’s mother is in fact dead and the child hasn’t been able to fully accept her loss yet.

Later in the book, Karla tells her painting teacher and mentor, Jonas, about a dream that scared her and made her sad. Jonas knows just the thing that would bring some relief to Karla: comfort food or drink—a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream—which he lovingly prepares.

        Jonas poured the milk into the mugs, shook the bottle of whipped cream, and squeezed a dollop out of it. “Try it.” He handed a mug to Karla.
 Karla took a sip and licked some of the whipped cream off the top. “Good,” she said.
 They sat on the couch in the living room, sipping hot chocolate. Karla put her mug down on the table and walked over to the wall to look at a photo of Eva. She stood in front of the picture, seemingly absorbed, then turned around. “She’s very pretty.”
 Jonas nodded. “Yes, she was beautiful.”
 Karla came back to the sofa and picked up her mug again. After she took another sip, she gazed at Jonas with her large dark eyes. “Do you dream about her sometimes?”
“Yes, quite often.”

The scene shows us something about Jonas’s kindness and love of his student, and it introduces us to his own heartbreak.

Other food scenes in the book provide information about the environment and the seasons in Switzerland. The scent of roasted chestnuts in the old town of Zurich, a restaurant that serves fondue in winter, or, in summer, the refreshing taste of ice-cold gazosaor lemonade.

In the second book, Love of a Stonemason, Karla invites Andreas, her new boyfriend, a stonemason and sculptor, for dinner. It is raining and Andreas builds a fire in the fireplace. The scent of burning wood and the smell of cooking mingle, creating a sensuous atmosphere which leads to their first lovemaking. In the morning, they wake up hungry and Karla prepares a rich breakfast of eggs, bacon, bread, butter, and jam.

        Andreas scraped up the leftover egg with a piece of bread and licked his fingers. “This is excellent, by the way.” He pointed at his plate. “I could get used to this.”
       “I’m glad you like it.” Karla was amused by his appetite.

Here we get a glimpse of Andreas’ character. He is a sensuous man, somewhat unpolished but compassionate. He enjoys food and Karla, who is a talented painter and an excellent cook, knows the saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and prepares some outstanding meals. Another dinner scene gives us some insight into the characters of Andreas’ family, when Karla meets his mother, his aunt and uncle for the first time.

        It was only now that Karla noticed a third person in the room, a thin, quiet, unassuming woman, probably in her fifties. Andreas introduced her as his mother. She greeted Karla with a shy smile. After saying hello, she seemed to disappear among the other people. Karla was amazed how little mother and son resembled each other.
        Aunt Maria had prepared a typical dish of the area for lunch—coniglioand polenta, rabbit stew with slices of corn mush fried in olive oil and topped with parmesan cheese—as well as vegetables and salad. It was a very tasty meal, but Karla, who by nature wasn’t a big eater, constantly had to stop Maria from putting more food on her plate.
Cara, you’re much too thin, you have to eat.” Uncle Alois tried to put another piece of meat on Karla’s plate.
“Leave her alone, for god’s sake,” Andreas finally intervened. “You know, Alois, not everybody can eat as much as you do. You could actually do with a little less yourself. You must be twice as fat as when I saw you last time.”
“Don’t be fresh, young man.” Uncle Alois grinned. “Here, have some more wine.”

In the above scene, we get to know the family by the way they behave at the table. We see Andreas’ unassuming mother, we witness his kindly aunt and boisterous uncle showing their old-fashioned hospitality and we experience the playful bantering between Andreas and his uncle and we realize that Karla despite her cooking skills is a slender woman and modest eater.

In Emilia, the third book of the trilogy, a meal at a grotto in the south of Switzerland (grotto is a special kind of country restaurant), Andreas and his children eat out, since Karla, the mother, was visiting her ailing father in Peru. The youngest child, Emilia, wants to eat her spaghetti the same way her older sister does, rolling the strands on her fork.

       He (Andreas) scrunched his forehead and glared at Emilia. “What are you doing? Stop playing with your food.”
 Emilia, who had been trying to roll spaghetti on her fork, which kept sliding off, looked at him with big eyes, which quickly filled with tears. She was obviously shocked at her father’s unusually harsh tone. So was Laura.

An otherwise loving father, Andreas also has a temper and the tension that has been building between him and his wife brings out his angry side. The conflict in the family is made even more obvious during a meal, which is normally a time of sharing and relaxation.

In all these examples food is used both as a way to enrich and enliven a story as well as showingunderlying themes and giving us insight into the characters. 


Thank you for stopping by to share your food for thought, Christa!


 You can find Christa and her books here:




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24. FOODFIC: Jinx - Sage Blackwood

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15818254-jinx



The only problem with this book was me. Most specifically, my current stage of life, which revolves around small children.

I’m NOT saying this book isn’t for parents of small children, nor other adults, nor children. In fact, it has something for all of those people – wizards and witches, werewolves and trolls, new worlds and even new words (for me, at least!). *

No, what kind of grabbed my leg and wouldn’t let go was the stepfather/wizard/exchange-of-young-boy situation that launches the story. As a parent, I found it extremely difficult to witness even a fictional man selling a child to a stranger in the woods. And then the boy going home with said stranger had me practically yelling aloud, “Don’t go!”

That’s why I had to step outside of myself to continue reading; my personal concerns were blocking me from enjoying the story! When the stranger (later revealed as wizard) brought Jinx to his isolated home in the woods and served up what to the boy was a feast like he’d never before experienced (bread, cheese, pickles, jam, apple cider, and pumpkin pie), and my inner voice screamed, “It’s all a trick; he must be a pedophile**!” I had to silence it for good. (Okay, for 350 pages.)

Once I removed the mom-tinted glasses and went forth with the bright and clear eyes of a young reader, I loved every scene Blackwood showed me. Yes, I could just enjoy that hot cider without having it spoiled by the bitter taste of suspicion!

Better yet, I could see the world as Jinx did, with every person’s feelings expressed as colors and images around them. Turned out, Jinx had his own magic before he even met Simon the wizard – perhaps metaphoricizing the magic innate to every child that life/adults take away.
So the moral here is the same for people of all ages and stages: read this one as a child – better yet, with a child! – and just enjoy the magic. And the pumpkin pie. ;)


*Demesne. Look it up; I had to!
**Let me be clear: the wizard is NOT a pedophile, nor are there child molesters of any sort in this book.

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25. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Ksenia Anske, Author of Siren Suicides

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7111759.Ksenia_Anske



Darling Shelley invited me to guest post on her blog about food. Food my characters eat. Curiously, in my first trilogy, SIREN SUICIDES, there is hardly any talk of food except human souls, which is what sirens sing out of people, for, well, nourishment. But in my second novel ROSEHEAD a 12 year old American girl, Lilith Bloom, and her talking whippet Panther, travel from Boston to Berlin for a family reunion, and there they pig out on hearty German food, which is partially inspired by my own memories of traveling from Moscow to Berlin (I was 11) and marveling at the abundance of food unlike what I have ever seen in my life, considering the fact that while I devoured fat German sausages,  most Russians had to get food by coupons.



Upon arriving for the first time for breakfast, Lilith approached it uncertainly:

She expected breakfast to be the usual American fare, but what she saw made her gasp with glee. The table offered all kinds of jam, marmalade, syrup, and nugat-crème; plates of rolls, bowls of yoghurt, and trays of freshly made waffles that issued a delicious smell. 

In contrast to this, Panther tells Lilith that he eats mastiffs for breakfast, as a joke. You see, there is a vicious mastiff in the mansion, and, of course, there is an immediate rivalry between the two, although later Panther primarily eats raw steak, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, because both Lilith and Panther very much like Holmes and Watson, investigate the cause for the rose garden surrounding the mansion to behave strangely, and suspect it to be carnivorous, there are also many instances when Lilith is close to losing her breakfast, although she never does. She often skips lunch, her and her dog, traversing in the midst of foul smelling greenery, hoping to find the cause for both the stink and the noises the flowers produce. If it were me, I certainly would prefer to do said activity on an empty stomach.



There remains the case of dinners. On most days, exhausted and scratched all over (remember, this is a rose garden we're talking about), Lilith and Panther usually came back to the mansion to eat dinner, and, funny enough, Lilith requested breakfast for dinner, nostalgic of American food:

Can I please have breakfast for dinner?” She said to the housekeeper. “I’d like an omelet with cheese, American style, with bacon, sausage and blueberry pancakes on the side. Oh, and a bowl of steak for Panther.” 

They do, however, eat the typical German sausage, the bratwursts, and rostbratwursts, blutwursts, bockwursts, knckwursts, leberwursts, and, of course, potatoes, fried potatoes, potato salad,  potato pancakes and the like, with mustard. Well, now my mouth is watering from just writing this. Panther manages to steal the sausage right off Lilith's fork, all the while telling her (he is a talking dog, after all) that he would prefer squirrels, that he even dreams of squirrels:  

It was the most beautiful dream I’ve ever seen! I was chasing squirrels, a dozen fat juicy squirrels.” He rolled up his eyes. “Then I caught them, they tasted like— (He gets interrupted and sadly we never find out what exactly they tasted like.)



There are also macabre and grotesque references to unusual food images, like this one: 

Whatever happened to your beret?” Gabby asked suddenly. “I thought I saw you put it on this morning." 
Lilith inhaled, exhaled, and resorted to the only defense she had against her mother’s wrath. “Wild elephants ate it, mother. They thought it was a gigantic strawberry from Mars. In fact, the garden was full of them. Elephants, not strawberries. I’m dreadfully sorry we missed dinner. We watched them do a private ballet performance for us. In tutus. Right, Panther?” Panther raised his ears and flashed her a look that could only mean, Did you really say, elephants in tutus?


I think in all, I had fun writing in food choices into ROSEHEAD and playing with them. And now I will go make myself some German sausage, because all this writing about German food made me hungry. So thanks for reading, and bye. *opens the fridge*


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


 You can find Ksenia and her books here:





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