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1. 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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2. 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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3. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest David Hill, Author of At Drake's Command


The year is 1577. Our unlikely hero, Peregrine James, is a young cook sentenced to a lashing for the crime of being an unwelcome suitor to his master's daughter. Despite the stripes on his back, however, Perry convinces the charismatic sea captain, Francis Drake, to accept him among his crew. Soon he is aboard the Pelican, the flagship of a fleet of five small vessels ostensibly bound on a trading voyage to Alexandria—although everyone is sure their real destination lies elsewhere, wherever there were Spanish or Portuguese ships to rob.

As the assistant cook, Perry is the “least boy” aboard the Pelican. Unfortunately, he is disliked by his immediate superior, Lancelot Garget, who assigns him every menial duty—scrubbing pots, “shifting” salted meat, plucking chickens, fetching ingredients from the orlop, mucking out the livestock pens—and much chopping and dicing and scraping. There are sixty-seven boys, sailors, men, and gentlemen sailing with the Pelican, and each is entitled to a full pound of beef, pork, or mutton per day, with cod or ling served on Fridays, not to mention equal portions of vegetables and biscuit. The work is never ending.

This is the natural of things in any kitchen or galley, of course, and Perry never thinks of complaining. What irks him, however, is that Garget “cannot abide foreign flavors, particularly the stink of garlic” and insists on food plainly cooked in the style “my mother taught me, God rest the good woman.” Growing ever more tired of Garget's signature dish, boiled beef and onions, Perry is overjoyed when he is transferred temporarily to the Benedict, the smallest ship of the fleet. Finally he has a galley of his own and may cook as he likes. His welcome, however, is not warm …



EXCERPT


The Benedict was commanded by Tom Moone. He was a hulking giant several inches past six feet in height, with placid brown eyes and a stillness of expression that encouraged you to believe him to be slow-witted although I knew him to be a professional killer of high intelligence.

“Where is Garget?” he asked Bartelmyeus Gotsalk.

“Drake would not part with the man.”

“No surprise there. Lancelot is too fine a cook to surrender.”

“Drake swore the lad here would do as well. Let us take heart, captain, at least he is not Artyur.”

“Truer words were never spoken. I have been experiencing curious intestinal twinges since breakfast and I am not looking forward to supper. Artyur! Artyur! Where the devil are you?”

“Here,
meneer.”

“This is Peregrine James, who is to be your superior until Hogges is back on his feet.”

“Let him return to the Pelican,
kapitein. I need no assistance.”

“You have it wrong, Artyur—you are to assist Mr. James, do you understand me?”

Artyur was a Hollander of about my own age. His head was almost perfectly round and he cut his hair in a line above the ears and shaved his cheeks and neck clean, a style that emphasized the globular nature of his cranium. Artyur’s features were in constant motion and he could not keep his hands still and he was always worrying the joints of his fingers.

“Aye,
kapitein,” he muttered sadly, “I understand all too well, ja. You did not appreciate the morning porridge.”

“Pepper does not marry easily with oatmeal.”

“And what of the
taart?”

“In the future remember that the flavor of sugar should overpower that of salt in sweet pastry. Now no more argument, Artyur. Provide Mr. James all courtesy.”

My first challenge, I realized, would be to find Artyur harmless work since he was sure to do me injury through incompetence, if not through malice. It was plain that he resented my presence aboard the
Benedict and coveted my station.

“Be so kind as to peel twenty onions,” I told him, “followed by an equal number of carrots. Wash a couple bunches of celery. Cut each vegetable into pieces the size of your knuckle.”

Ja ja. Which knuckle? The first one or the second?”

“The knuckle does not matter. The point is for the pieces to be uniform, so that they cook evenly.”

Going below, I found a haunch of beef that had been rinsed of salt and was ready for cooking. I butchered it into square chunks and began browning the meat in bacon grease as my mother had taught me, guiding my hand with her own as we turned the sizzling cubes with a wood spoon, murmuring, “
Mira, mi hijo. Pay attention so that all sides receive equal color. Es muy importante.” Without Garget breathing over my shoulder, I was also able to skim off the impurities that would impart a bitter aftertaste if allowed to remain in the liquid. Frying together some butter and flour until golden, I employed this mixture to thicken the broth instead of using a paste of water and flour, which was quicker but brought nothing to a dish except a raw taste and a muddy color.

“I am done,
ja,” stated Artyur, giving the last carrot a couple chops before sweeping it from the cutting board into a bucket with the edge of his knife. “What now?”

“Fetch eggs, sugar, milk, raisins, and stale bread. A cup of sack, too. We will have pudding for dessert.”

When Artyur left to get the required items, I carried the bucket of vegetables to the iron pot in which the stew was simmering. Some premonition, however, prevented me from tossing in the contents all at once and instead I added the ingredients handful by handful.

This allowed me to intercept the dead rat hidden among the carrots, onions, and celery before it fell into the stew.

Artyur’s strategy was obvious. He planned to publicly discredit me before Tom Moone and the rest of the men.

More saddened than dismayed by this evidence of perfidy, I tossed the rodent overboard without advertising that I had discovered it. I figured my silence would lead Artyur to suppose his intrigue remained undetected, and it did. He shot me a couple sideways glances and then began whistling happily while stirring the pot, no doubt anticipating my upcoming humiliation and his consequent elevation to my position once I was disgraced. I did not doubt he was composing a rousing speech to recite when the rat was sighted in the stew.

“How is the flavor?” I asked as I finished kneading the old bread with the sugar, eggs, and milk and began to press the dough into a greased tin. “Is more pepper necessary?”

Nee, nee,” Artyur answered. “I believe there is ample.”

“Taste it to be sure.”

“I have done so, ja. All is good.”

“Lift your spoon, Artyur.”

Ja, meneer?

“Lift your spoon from the stew, place it to your lips, and tell me whether additional seasoning would be appropriate.”

Artyur regarded the spoon as if he had never encountered such a utensil before and had no inkling why the thing was in his hand. Finally he brought it to his mouth, hesitated briefly, and flicked out the tip of his tongue. “Very good,” he said, obviously relieved that his unwelcome addition to the recipe had not soured the dish. “Excellent. Now, Artyur, please take a generous helping, chew it thoroughly, and inform me if the meat is tender.”



Thanks for stopping by to share you food for thought, David! 

 

You can find David here:




1 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest David Hill, Author of At Drake's Command, last added: 3/16/2013
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4. FOODFIC: Maggie Vaults Over the Moon - Grant Overstake



Maggie Vaults Over the Moon retells the story of Maggie Steele, a gritty farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas, who pours her broken heart into the daring and dangerous sport of pole-vaulting. Kirkus Reviews says the novel “…exudes sweetness; in some ways, it feels as if it takes place in another era, as it lacks the dark edge seen in other popular YA stories…”

A morsel of this story’s other-era sweetness can be tasted in a nostalgic food scene in which the stressed and grieving Steele family takes a break from a long day’s harvesting to savor a fresh, home-cooked dinner – transported from the farmhouse kitchen to a half-cut Kansas wheat field.

I chomped the buttery corn and chewed the fried chicken clean off the bone, wiping my hands on my napkin. Looking out from where we sat, I could see about a third of the wheat field had been cut.
“We still have a lot of work to do before dark, but we’ve made a good start of it,” Dad said.
Mom and Grandma took our empty plates and put the leftovers back in the basket. There was easily enough food left over for a hungry teenager, but if anybody else was thinking about Alex, they didn’t say so.
Even as full as I was, I still felt empty. But I kept the feeling to myself.

Now just before that scene, heroine Maggie Steele, for the very first time in her life, drove a fully-loaded grain truck from the wheat field to the Grain Valley Elevator, eight miles distant on the county blacktop. Driving the huge truck was a chore that her older brother, Alex, had always done, but that was before Alex and his friend Caleb had both been killed in a car crash one month before. 

On the way to town, Maggie made a driving mistake and barely managed to keep the fully-loaded truck from overturning on the highway. She arrives at the elevator shaken and frightened about taking her brother’s place on the family farm, but sits down to dinner with family members who seem to believe that if they don’t acknowledge who’s missing, everything looks, tastes, and smells as if all is okay. Maggie indulges her sense but isn’t fooled. After what she experienced on the highway, she knows everything has changed. And even a heaping plateful cannot fill the empty space she feels inside.

My years spent as a newspaper reporter in Kansas wheat country provided most of the scenes in the story. And while I'd heard-tell about harvest field dinners like this, I'd never seen one. Today, even the smallest towns have a place where Maggie could pick up some hamburgers and fries on the way back to the field, and so they do. Womenfolk like Grandma who felt compelled to fix such big dinners are mostly gone. Moms like Maggie's now work in town or drive the big grain trucks themselves. 

I heard from an older reader who especially liked this scene because he'd experienced field dinners just like these, with clean linen napkins, cold metal tumblers and everything. He said Maggie touched him so deeply that he cried when he finished reading it, because he didn’t want the story to end.

As for me, I felt like I needed to write this scene into the story because I wanted an eating event that went beyond the kitchen table and took on the feel of a mythic meal. I wanted you to taste the goodness, and believe that there really is a place called Grain Valley, Kansas, with a golden wheat field like this one – where your Grandma still fusses and fills your plate with fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, and Oh! fresh-baked bread, buttered with love. Where you, too, can taste the sweetness again.

Thanks for sharing your food for thought, Grant!


Former Miami Herald Sportswriter Grant Overstake is a lifelong participant in the sport of track and field who competed in the decathlon for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the author’s premiere work of sports fiction, and is now available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com.

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5. 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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6. 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

0 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome Luke Murphy, Author of Dead Man's Hand as of 3/13/2014 2:49:00 PM
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7. Please Welcome Guest Kent Whitaker, Author of Chow Line




The Passing of a Smoker

A sad thing happened this past week. I lost a friend in the barbecue cookbook and culinary writing business. My favorite old, rusty, tired and trusted smoker suffered a massive rust blow out and will have to be retired. The piece of cooking equipment was lovingly referred to as “Old Smoke” in my circle of barbecue and grilling buddies. Alas, Old Smoke is moving on to that great barbecue cook out in the sky.

I knew this day was coming. Ally and I spent a weekend the year before last working on Old Smoke in a revitalization effort. We sanded, patched, bolted and tightened. I even put on a new coat of black grill paint. Old Smoke looked great but deep down I knew that it was just a short term fix. I bought the barrel type smoker years ago and it has been my standard “go to” cooking unit since.

My dog Moses, or Big Mo, and I have spent countless evenings sitting in our lawn chairs watching the sun set and keeping an eye on Old Smoke during a rib session. You can solve many of life’s problems while scratching your golden retrievers head and chatting with your wife and son. At times the night air would be filled with a tantalizing mix of Braves baseball on the radio and wisps of hickory smoke. And yes, Moses has his own lawn chair.

I’m going try one more time to repair Old Smoky. I know it will be a lost cause… but I feel the need to make an effort. It’s owed to Old Smoke to at least try even though the outlook is not bright. As of this writing the decision on having a wake is still up in the air. If I have one, I know my friends will come over; if not for Old Smoke… then for the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Ally knows this is a tough loss for me. She told me that Old Smoke could go on to help other smokers and grills hidden behind our back yard shed. Each serves a different purpose. One is for charcoal grilling, one is for tailgating, and the gas grills are used for different events. A handle from Old Smoke could go to use here, a grilling-grate could be used there. “It’s l

3 Comments on Please Welcome Guest Kent Whitaker, Author of Chow Line, last added: 6/1/2012
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8. FOODFIC: Please Welcome RaShelle Workman, Author of Sleeping Roses





Everything goes with food. We celebrate birthdays, promotions, engagements, weddings, breakups, death, and everything in between with some sort of refreshment. It's the glue that makes a gathering, big or small, work. 

In "Sleeping Roses" Sophie Berkeley is a woman on the edge. The edge of life, love, and possibly death. The pivotal moments always seem to happen to her around food.

She spills her secrets to her best friend over a Cobb Salad “...her heart torn to shreds like the lettuce leaves in her salad.”

Her best friend tells her to talk to a divorce attorney over chicken marsala “...I haven’t been this full in a long time.”
 
She hears a funny childhood memory about the man she's falling for over soda at the food court “...I'm talking foundation, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush and lipstick. The whole nine yards.”
 
Over a dinner of garlic chicken, Sophie's best friend drunkenly confesses. “...Lookgirlie. I'mthemotherlyone, notyou. Stopbugginme anlet's eat.”


Life wouldn't be the same without food. If you'd like to read more about Sophie, and her life, click HERE, and check it out.



Thanks for sharing your food for thought, RaShelle!


If you'd like to learn more about author RaShelle Workman,
visit her
Amazon page,
find her on
Facebook,
check out her
blog,
chat with her on Twitter @RaShelleWorkman,
or find out her latest interests on
Pinterest.

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9. FOODFIC: Please Welcome L.B. Clark, Author of the Jukebox Heroes Series


Food is an important part of life, and not only because it’s the fuel that keeps our bodies running.  Meal times can double as social events, business meetings, or celebrations.  Food can be a part of exploring new cultures, breaking the ice, showing affection, or comforting ourselves – or others—when the world gets us down.

All of the books in my Jukebox Heroes series mention food.  Even the short stories in the series mention food or eating.  This isn’t a surprising fact, as most books and stories do mention food; as I said, it’s a central part of our lives.  What is surprising to me, as the author, is how prevalent food and dining is in the series and how many different roles food plays in the books.

The first book, The Hand of Fate, takes place on a cruise ship where food and drink of every description are available ‘round the clock.  In one scene, the main character, Dylan, and her best friend, Elizabeth share conch fritters at Margaritaville in Key West while they get to know Dylan’s love interest, Brian.  This is an instance of real life working its way into my writing, as my best friend and I discovered a love for conch fritters at Margaritaville (though it was the one in Orlando rather than the one in Key West).

In the next book, Call Out, the conch fritters make another appearance.  When Elizabeth, Brian, and Brian’s friend London go to Key West to investigate Dylan’s disappearance, the man helping them – Ashe – sends Brian and Elizabeth after food so that he can talk to London alone.  Though they don’t go to Margaritaville, they buy conch fritters along with Cuban sandwiches. 

In the next book in the series, Everything You Are, food is talked about in a little more detail and plays a few more roles.  Elizabeth’s brother and her boyfriend make her a special meal of pecan-crusted chicken and four-cheese mac-and-cheese as comfort food when she’s going through a rough patch. 

Later, her new friend Chris brings food to her apartment late one night when he comes to talk to her about what’s bothering her; he shows up with just the right food, proving that he’s been paying attention.  He falls asleep on her couch, and she brings him breakfast the next morning, her favorite scones and a mocha, like he’d had once before when they’d gone for coffee—proving she’s been paying attention, too.  

And when Elizabeth goes to visit London in LA over New Year’s, she has a gourmet burger topped with Port sauce and Stilton cheese at a restaurant I love there, Umami Burger, giving readers the tiniest peep inside of Hollywood (I’ve made Port and Stilton burgers at home, too.  Though they aren’t the same as Umami Burger’s, they are very good.  You just reduce Port in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minute, then drizzle the sauce over the cheese-topped burger). 
 
In the latest book in the series, Storm, food once again plays a large supporting role.  My favorite food-centric scene in this book involves a surprise picnic of maki rolls and plum sake from my favorite Austin-area Asian restaurant, Origami.  In another scene, Elizabeth’s friend Seth wants to get her mind off the things troubling her, so he makes her get dressed up and takes her out to a nice restaurant where they eat dessert first and follow it up with appetizers in place of an entrée.

‘What are they eating?’is a question that many readers never think to wonder, but it can be an important one.  What a character chooses to eat or where they choose to dine may seem to many to be unnecessary details, food and dining choices and the roles they play can give the reader a lot of insight into the characters’ personalities, motivations, and even their relationships with other characters.

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


You can find L.B. here:



2 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome L.B. Clark, Author of the Jukebox Heroes Series, last added: 12/13/2012
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10. FOODFIC: Once - Mian Mohsin Zia





ONCE---Ask Me Anything, Not Love by Mian Mohsin Zia (www.mianmohsinzia.com)

"This novel will leave you wanting a sequel as this love story must continue. Mian Moshin Zia writes from the heart. As the story is peppered with poetry you will find yourself returning to read them again and again." -- Reviewed by Readers Favorite

What would you do if you hurt the woman you loved beyond what is in human nature to forgive? That is the problem that Morkel has to overcome.

As the celebrated author, 'M---, No Time for Love', Morkel has vowed to never write a love story, or a story with a female protagonist. A staunch bachelor, Morkel is set in his ways; he has vowed to never fall in love. However, during a holiday in Kiev Morkel meets a 'person of interest'; someone who will change his life forever in all aspects, especially food-wise.

Food for thought is what Morkel learns from Maya. A girl with singing soul and a pure heart who values everything in her life, even the food she eats. One day Maya brings pumpkins for Morkel to show him her love. You can read for yourself what happens then…

I brought these pumpkins for you,” she removes a lunchbox from her bag. “I told you that I would find some way to thank you for your help.”
I smile back, the more open she is with me the better my novel will be. “Thanks mate,” I take the lunchbox from her and open it.
“You are welcome.” Before I can eat the pumpkins, a hand touches my wrist, stopping me. “First pray and then eat.” I am astonished, but before I can say anything, she bows her head and clasps her hands together. “Dear Lord, thank you for your love and kindness today. You give us strength and nutrition. As we sit in your presence at this bench, bless our food and bless all those gathered here.” I watch her while she prays. At the end of the prayer, she turns her head towards me, and I immediately clasp my own hands and close my eyes so that she does not realise that I was only listening to her pray and not praying myself. I am honestly not fond of pumpkin, but these are luscious and I eat them with great enthusiasm.

Morkel remembers that one moment with Maya and the pumpkins, and the prayer before starting to eat, forever. It makes him enjoy pumpkins as well, and he learns the value of prayer in his life.


Author’s website:  www.mianmohsinzia.com
 
ONCE Book Trailer:
http://www.mianmohsinzia.com/p/o-n-c-e.html


Thank you for sharing your food for thought, Mian! 

1 Comments on FOODFIC: Once - Mian Mohsin Zia, last added: 12/21/2012
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11. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest Samantha Stroh Bailey, Author of Finding Lucas





Finding Lucas centers around Jamie Ross, a 32 year old associate television producer for Chicago’s sleaziest daytime talk show. She’s just about ready to end her toxic five year relationship with her bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend and head off on a hilarious and life changing hunt to track down the love who got away. And Jamie wouldn’t be the fiery and sassy woman she is without her beloved and holistically nutritious family.


Jamie is a coffee loving carnivore and the total opposite of her health conscious mother, Leah, a crystal healer and colonic herbalist who shuns coffee, meat, sugar and anything chemical. Jamie, on the other hand, craves anything that Leah thinks might be bad for her body.


I created these two diametrically opposed eaters because of my own struggle to eat healthier and make sense of the organic world. I have always believed that everything is okay in moderation, be it meat, cheese, coffee and sugar. However, it’s interesting that my husband and many friends are vegetarians, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law grow their own food and have chickens to lay eggs and most of my loved ones are very aware of what they eat. In Jamie, I created a food rebel.


Growing up in a warm, loving and toxin free environment, Jamie always felt like she didn’t quite belong. And without her daily dose of caffeine, Jamie would never make it through the day. Navigating a difficult childhood with parents unlike any others in her suburban neighborhood, Jamie ate spelt bread and soy milk for snacks (in the 90s!) and distanced herself from her family as much as she could.


Food plays a major role in one of the most talked about scenes in Finding Lucas when Jamie, her stepmother, sister and Leah are all having lunch with Jamie’s boss, Andrew.


"Do you want some tea, Andrew?" Katie asks as she pulls five mugs down from the shelf.

"Do you have any coffee?" he asks.

Four heads swivel to look at him in shock.

"That word is blasphemy in this house. No caffeine, no sugar, no meat. But there is a vast assortment of tea," I tell him.

"Um, sure, tea would be great then. I feel so damn good. I haven't felt this loose in," and he rubs his chin, "huh, years. I haven't felt this relaxed in years."

"That's funny. David does that," Leah says to Andrew with interest.

"Dad does what?" I ask.

"Rubs his chin with one hand when he's thinking about something."

"Oh, that's just one of my little habits. I also grind my jaw like Jamie."

"Do you have a navel ring like Rachel's?" I ask.

"No. But I do have a tattoo on my hip. Katie saw it," he says and winks at Katie who flushes with pleasure.

Where did Mr. Charm come from? Jeez, he is just full to the brim with surprising character traits.

"Could I have some tea too, please?" I ask.

I don't want to sit at the kitchen table and chitchat about Andrew's tattoo because before he knows it, they'll have convinced him to take off his pants to show them. 

"Of course, love. Katie, mix in a little of that mulch we bought. Jamie's color needs some perking up," Leah says and peers at my pores.

"Just plain tea, please."

I move my face back so she'll stop inspecting me. It's embarrassing.

How people eat relates to how they see the world and their place in it. Jamie just wants to find hers. And though she goes through a major transformation and comes to appreciate her family more than she ever has, you’ll still never find her without a cup of coffee plastered to her lips.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Samantha!


                    You can find Samantha here:
Samantha Stroh Bailey                    Goodreads 
Twitter @PerfectPen                         Facebook


And Finding Lucas here:

Amazon                 Kobo

6 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest Samantha Stroh Bailey, Author of Finding Lucas, last added: 2/7/2013
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12. ‘Guests’ and ‘hosts’

By Anatoly Liberman


The questions people ask about word origins usually concern slang, family names, and idioms. I cannot remember being ever asked about the etymology of house, fox, or sun. These are such common words that we take them for granted, and yet their history is often complicated and instructive. In this blog, I usually stay away from them, but I sometimes let my Indo-European sympathies run away with me. Today’s subject is of this type.

Guest is an ancient word, with cognates in all the Germanic languages. If in English its development had not been interrupted, today it would have been pronounced approximately like yeast, but in the aftermath of the Viking raids the native form was replaced with its Scandinavian congener, as also happened to give, get, and many other words. The modern spelling guest, with u, points to the presence of “hard” g (compare guess). The German and Old Norse for guest are Gast and gestr respectively; the vowel in German (it should have been e) poses a problem, but it cannot delay us here.

The hostess and her guests

The related forms are Latin hostis and, to give one Slavic example, Russian gost’. Although the word had wide currency (Italic-Germanic-Slavic), its senses diverged. Latin hostis meant “public enemy,” in distinction from inimicus “one’s private foe.” (I probably don’t have to add that inimicus is the ultimate etymon of enemy.) In today’s English, hostile and inimical are rather close synonyms, but inimical is more bookish and therefore more restricted in usage (some of my undergraduate students don’t understand it, but everybody knows hostile). However, “enemy” was this noun’s later meaning, which supplanted “stranger (who in early Rome had the rights of a Roman).” And “stranger” is what Gothic gasts meant. In the text of the Gothic Bible (a fourth-century translation from Greek), it corresponds to ksénos “stranger,” from which we have xeno-, as in xenophobia. Incidentally, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the best Indo-European scholars had agreed that Greek ksénos is both a gloss and a cognate of hostis ~ gasts (with a bit of legitimate phonetic maneuvering all of them can be traced to the same protoform). This opinion has now been given up; ksénos seems to lack siblings. (What a drama! To mean “stranger” and end up in linguistic isolation.) The progress of linguistics brings with it not only an increase in knowledge but also the loss of many formerly accepted truths. However, caution should be recommended. Some people whose opinion is worth hearing still believe in the affinity between ksénos and hostis. Discarded conjectures are apt to return. Today the acknowledged authorities separate the Greek word from the cognates of guest; tomorrow, the pendulum may swing in the opposite direction.

Let us stay with Latin hostis for some more time. Like guest, Engl. host is neither an alien nor a dangerous adversary. The reason is that host goes back not to hostis but to Old French (h)oste, from Latin hospit-, the root of hospes, which meant both “host” and “guest,” presumably, an ancient compound that sounded as ghosti-potis “master (or lord) of strangers” (potis as in potent, potential, possibly despot, and so forth). We remember Latin hospit- from Engl. hospice, hospital, and hospitable, all, as usual, via Old French. Hostler, ostler, hostel, and hotel belong here too, each with its own history, and it is amusing that so many senses have merged and that, for instance, a hostel is not a hostile place.

Unlike host “he who entertains guests,” Engl. host “multitude” does trace to Latin hostis “enemy.” In Medieval Latin, this word acquired the sense “hostile, invading army,” and in English it still means “a large armed force marshaled for war,” except when used in a watered down sense, as in a host of troubles, a host of questions, or a host of friends (!). Finally, the etymon of host “consecrated wafer” is Latin hostia “sacrificial victim,” again via Old French. Hostia is a derivative of hostis, but the sense development to “sacrifice” (through “compensation”?) is obscure.

The puzzling part of this story is that long ago the same words could evidently mean “guest” and “the person who entertains guests”, “stranger” and “enemy.” This amalgam has been accounted for in a satisfactory way. Someone coming from afar could be a friend or an enemy. “Stranger” covers both situations. With time different languages generalized one or the other sense, so that “guest” vacillated between “a person who is friendly and welcome” and “a dangerous invader.” Newcomers had to be tested for their intentions and either greeted cordially or kept at bay. Words of this type are particularly sensitive to the structure of societal institutions. Thus, friend is, from a historical point of view, a present participle meaning “loving,” but Icelandic frændi “kinsman” makes it clear that one was supposed “to love” one’s relatives. “Friendship” referred to the obligation one had toward the other members of the family (clan, tribe), rather than a sentimental feeling we associate with this word.

It is with hospitality as it is with friendship. We should beware of endowing familiar words with the meanings natural to us. A friendly visit presupposes reciprocity: today you are the host, tomorrow you will be your host’s guest. In old societies, the “exchange” was institutionalized even more strictly than now. The constant trading of roles allowed the same word to do double duty. In this situation, meanings could develop in unpredictable ways. In Modern Russian, as well as in the other Slavic languages, gost’ and its cognates mean “guest,” but a common older sense of gost’ was “merchant” (it is still understood in the modern language and survives in several derivatives). Most likely, someone who came to Russia to sell his wares was first and foremost looked upon as a stranger; merchant would then be the product of semantic specialization.

One can also ask what the most ancient etymon of hostis ~ gasts was. Those scholars who looked on ksénos and hostis as related also cited Sanskrit ghásati “consume.” If this sense can be connected with the idea of offering food to guests, we will again find ourselves in the sphere of hospitality. The Sanskrit verb begins with gh-. The founders of Indo-European philology believed that words like Gothic gasts and Latin host go back to a protoform resembling the Sanskrit one. Later, according to this reconstruction, initial gh- remained unchanged in some languages of India but was simplified to g in Germanic and h in Latin. The existence of early Indo-European gh- has been questioned, but reviewing this debate would take us too far afield and in that barren field we will find nothing. We only have to understand that gasts ~ guest and hostis ~ host can indeed be related.

There is a linguistic term enantiosemy. It means a combination of two opposite senses in one word, as in Latin altus “high” and “deep.” Some people have spun an intricate yarn around this phenomenon, pointing out that everything in the world has too sides (hence the merger of the opposites) or admiring the simplicity (or complexity?) of primitive thought, allegedly unable to discriminate between cold and hot, black and white, and the like. But in almost all cases, the riddle has a much simpler solution. Etymology shows that the distance from host to guest, from friend to enemy, and from love to hatred is short, but we do not need historical linguists to tell us that.

Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins…And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears here, each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of blog@oup.com; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.”

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Image credit: Conversation de dames en l’absence de leurs maris: le diner. Abraham Bosse. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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13. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest Chloe Jacobs, Author of Greta and The Goblin King





The heroine of Greta and the Goblin King has had to put up with a lot of changes since she ended up in Mylena: land of ice and snow…not the least of which is the slim-to-none access to food. 

She realizes pretty quick that when the world has been frozen for hundreds of years, there really isn’t a “growing season”. Food is a really expensive commodity, especially fruits and vegetables

However, there are a few things that will grow in even the harshest of environments, and Greta becomes an expert on finding them and making the most of them. Winter berries and tubers. Even some of the different needles and greenery will add some taste to soups and teas.

Mushrooms are one of the things Greta is almost always able to find, especially after a new frost forces them to fruit. Dandelions will also grow pretty much everywhere—that’s why they call it a weed. Granted, they won’t have the bright yellow tops on them during the winter, but the roots are long and the leaves are hearty. They’ll be bitter but still pretty edible and the roots can be ground up and roasted for coffee, or fried up with some oil and other flavours until they soften up. Fennel and horseradish and other winter-growing root vegetables will also do okay in a place like Mylena.

So while it’s never easy and food definitely isn’t plentiful, the harsh environment Greta lives in isn’t exactly a wasteland. There are hidden gems beneath the surface…much like the hidden gems within Greta herself. She’s tough, but worth a chance! 

Thanks so much for having me, I had a great time today!           ~ Chloe Jacobs  


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




You can find Chloe here:






*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING
While trying to save her brother from the witch three years ago, Greta was thrown into the fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.

To survive, 17-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil being knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the boys she finds stranded in the woods will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back . . .

1 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest Chloe Jacobs, Author of Greta and The Goblin King, last added: 2/15/2013
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14. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest L.Leander, Author of Inzared




The year is 1854.  Inzared Romanoff (better known as Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders) is entertaining a guest at her campsite in the woods.  There is a bright red and yellow Gypsy wagon called a Vardo parked nearby and a big black horse grazes in the meadow.  Inzared is a great cook and pretty good talker too.  Let’s eavesdrop on the conversation: 

Squirrel Stew and Dumplings

“Hi, my name is Inzared Romanoff.  Wasn’t always that way – grew up Bertha Maude Anderson but never was too fond of that name.  Always sounded plain and I wanted something fancy.  Was raised on a poor dirt farm in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina.  Dreamed of travelin’ and seein’ the world someday and now I have.”

“You see, in 1849 the circus came to Brower’s Gap, the town about three hours down the mountain – the place we traded and sold our eggs to the local storekeep.  Whole band of Gypsy circus performers came in and we got tickets to the show.  Never saw anythin’ so amazin’ in my life.  ‘Course, I was only sixteen at the time.”

“Sorry, I’m gettin’ away from the subject.  Do that a lot.  Pull up a chair to the campfire.  We’d love to have you stay for supper.  Timmon, that’s my boy, was out huntin’ earlier and came back with a couple of squirrels.  He’s already got ‘em dressed.   I make one of the tastiest stews around – my Ma taught me.  Here, let me show you how it’s done.”

“Here, you can help me take some of the meat off the bones.  Been boilin’ the squirrel for about an hour.  Should be tender by now.  Start on this here pan and be sure you get all the little bones out.  I’ll mix up the dumplin's.”

“Good job.  Put the meat back in the pot, won’t you?  There should be plenty of liquid but if it looks too low you can add a little water from that pitcher over yonder.   Looks good.  Now, I’ve been mixin’ flour and a little milk with a pinch of salt and some lard.  If they’re over mixed they get soggy and tough.  There, that should be just right.  See?  You just drop a big ole spoonful into the boilin’ stew and cover the pan.  After about a half hour or so it’ll be done and ready to eat.”

“Want to help me make a cobbler?  Emily found an apple tree and brought them back this morning.  You can help me peel the apples.  I’ll mix up the rest.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, stoke up that fire under the pot so the stew keeps boilin’.  Thanks.  Ok, now where were we?  Oh yes, I make a mighty fine cobbler.  A little butter, some salt and flour, baking powder and soda – but the secret is buttermilk.  I’ll make the dough.  Drop the apples in the bottom and stir in the sugar and butter.  There, that’s fine.  I’ll just add the dough on top and we’ll put a cover on it.  It goes on the side of the fire that’s burnin’ steady but not too high.  We’ll leave it there about an hour and we can have a pot of fresh coffee and the cobbler for dessert.”

“Don’t that smell good?  Makes your mouth water.  Let’s get some plates and utensils out.  The kids should be back shortly, I can hear ‘em laughin’ out yonder.  We don’t get much company for dinner.  Nice to have you here.  Where’d you say you were from again?  Never had squirrel stew?  Well, I’ll be.  You’ve got a real treat in store.  And I can guarantee you’ll love the apple pie too.”

“Just in case you want to make some squirrel stew of your own I’m goin’ to share it with you – and the fruit pie receipt too.  Y’all can come back any time – I sure enjoy the company.”

Squirrel Stew: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1848,157173-250195,00.html


Thanks for stopping by to share you food for thought, L! 
 

L.Leander is an author, freelancer and award-winning songwriter.  Her first novel, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders was published in June of 2012.  The second book in the series, Inzared, The Fortune Teller is slated for publication in early 2013.  The author has also published a short non-fiction series titled 13 Extreme Tips for Writers, targeted to the beginning writer.
 

Ms. Leander manages a blog titled L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews that offers book promotion to Indie Authors.  The author currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.


You can find L. Leander and her books here:

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders by L.Leander

Video Trailer for INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders:  http://youtu.be/lQHtsFQGAP0

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing by L.Leander

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an eBook by L.Leander

L.Leander’s Website:  www.lleander.com

L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews: http://lleandersreviewsandinterviews.wordpress.com/



@lleander11



Google+: https://plus.google.com/100076816458862731821

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15. Virtual Book Tours December 15thTour

Well, we're off again.

This is our third tour and it starts December 15th. Below is the schedule of Hosts and their Guests. We hope you drop by to see what's going on.

Host: Dr. John F. Murray / Guest: Elysabeth Eldering
http://drjohnfmurray.blogspot.com
Host: Dianne Sagan / Guest: Joyce Anthony
http://www.diannesagan.wordpress.com
Host: Harry Gilleland / Guest: Rosanna Ienco
http://harrygillelandwrites.blogspot.com
Host: Lanaia Lee / Guest: Dr. John F. Murray
http://lanaialee.blogspot.com
Host: Joy Delgado / Guest: Dianne Sagan http://zooprisepartyfiestazoorpresa.blogspot.com
Host: Lillian Cauldwell / Guest: Harry Gilleland
http://lilliancaldwell.blogspot.com
Host: Karen Cioffi / Guest: Lanaia Lee
http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com
Host: Kathy Stemke / Guest: Joy Delgado
http://educationtipster.blogspot.com
Host: Linda Ballou / Guest: Lillian Cauldwell
http://lindaballou.blogspot.com
Host: Lea Schizas / Guest: Karen Cioffi
http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com
Host: Patricia Crandall / Guest: Kathy Stemke
http://patriciacrandall.blogspot.com
Host: Nancy Famolari / Guest: Linda Ballou
http://nancygfamolari.blogspot.com
Host: Rosemary Chaulk / Guest: Lea Schizas
http://rosemarychaulk.blogspot.com
Host: Sharon Poppen / Guest: Patricia Crandall
http://sharonpoppenauthor.blogspot.com
Host: Suzanne Lieurance / Guest: Nancy Famolari
http://www.suzannelieurance.com
Host: Vivian Zabel / Guest: Rosemary Chaulk
http://VivianZabel.blogspot.com
Host: Boyd Hipp / Guest: Sharon Poppen
http://boydhipp.blogspot.com
Host: Dehanna Bailee / Guest: Suzanne Lieurance http://www.thebackroomat.dehanna.com
Host: Margaret Fieland / Guest: Vivian Zabel
http://www.margaretfieland.com
Host: Ransom Noble / Guest: Boyd Hipp
http://www.ransomnoble.wordpress.com
Host: Luigi Falconi / Guest: Dehanna Bailee
http://luigifalconi.blogspot.com
Host: Dwight Rounds / Guest: Margaret Fieland
http://dwightcrounds.blogspot.com
Host: Anna Maria Prezio / Guest: Ransom Noble
http://prezio.blogspot.com
Host: Crystalee Calderwood / Guest: Luigi Falconi http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com
Host: Rosanna Ienco / Guest: Dwight Rounds
http://rosannaienco.blogspot.com
Host: Elysabeth Eldering / Guest: Anna Maria Prezio
http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
Host: Joyce Anthony / Guest: Crystalee Calderwood
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog/

Please come back on the 15th to visit with my guest, author Lanaia Lee.

Karen

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16. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Mike Angley, Author of the Child Finder Trilogy



First, let me introduce myself: I retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Air Force in 2007, following an exciting and dangerous 25-year career as a Special Agent with the OSI (Office of Special Investigations). 13 assignments around the world, including 5 tours as unit Commander, made me a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. I put my writing ambitions on hold until I retired, then happily signed a contract to publish my Child Finder trilogy. The first 2 books have each won national awards; the third and final installment, Child Finder: Revelation, will be released November 1st

My debut novel, Child Finder, introduces Air Force OSI Special Agent Patrick S. O’Donnell, who discovers (reluctantly) that he has a unique gift to find missing children. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam quickly pulls him into a Top Secret under-world community that leverages his skills for just about everything but finding the abducted. It’s a tale of double-crosses, sinister government agencies at work, and people driven by their own agendas, like FBI Agent Vicky Desantis, who couldn’t care less that Pat is a happily married man and devoted father. In this scene, she tricks him into meeting her at a safe house to discuss “urgent business,” but he finds himself walking into a romantic dinner she’s prepared for him. Although he protests being fooled into coming, he allows the flirtation to play out:

He sat down and watched Vicky move from covered tray to covered tray, deftly putting together a seven-course meal of French foods, the names of which he couldn’t even pronounce. They laughed and chatted away throughout the meal, finishing first the bottle of Dom Perignon, and then a vintage 1966 Bordeaux from the A. de Luze & Fils St. Julien vineyard in France.
                “It’s from the year you were born, Patrick,” she said as she poured his glass and then caressed his hand as she set the bottle down

You’ll have to read the book to learn what happened after the meal!

In Child finder: Resurrection, Agent O’Donnell is back with a few former team members – the ones who weren’t jailed or killed in the first book. In book #2, Pat and his team discover that he’s not the only gifted psychic in the world; enter a cunning serial killer whose skill set seems to outpace even O’Donnell’s and who will stop at nothing to get to Pat and kill him. Yet, there is a moment of peace in the story: on Easter morning, following mass, Pat takes his family to the Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club for Sunday brunch. Having been to these brunches at that particular club, I can attest to the splendid spread I describe in the following passage:

     &nb

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17. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Laurie Boris, Author of The Joke's On Me!



Get a Load of These Tomatoes!


I come from a long tradition of bubbes and balabustas, those Jewish grandmothers and housewives who take it as a personal insult when you refuse their food. Food is love, after all. Food is comfort. That’s what my protagonist in The Joke’s on Me, Frankie Goldberg, is first looking for when, after her life in Los Angeles falls apart, she gets in her cherry red Corvette convertible and drives home.

“Home” is Woodstock, New York, and her mother’s bed and breakfast. Guests returned year after year for Sylvia Goldberg’s fresh-baked rugelah, homemade jam, and thick slabs of French toast made with challah bread. But the joke’s on Frankie. Her sister, the serial divorcee, has moved in and taken over. The family B&B is becoming a holistic health spa, and unbeknownst to Frankie, she is about to become its chef.

She loves to cook, as do I, but unlike me she has worked professionally, as catering assistant to the stars—a little moonlighting while she is failing at her chosen career as a stand-up comedian.

But Frankie and her sister Jude, a couple of hot tomatoes together again after a long and awkward estrangement, spell a recipe for disaster.

Yes, there are a lot of tomato metaphors in this book, too, which was the reasoning behind the cover design. This is one loaded fruit, a veritable cornucopia for fiction writers. Frankie grows tomatoes in her garden and gives them away for good luck, although they used to be considered poisonous. But some cultures call them “love apples.” There’s also a pivotal scene involving marinara I won’t tell you about.

Overall, I loved peppering this novel with food. Not only because I love food and cooking, but since food represents so many things, it’s a great way to reveal character and advance the plot. Like when Frankie takes her recalcitrant teenage nephew to McDonald’s to get him to open up.  Or when she tries to put the moves on a former high school crush by making his mother’s signature dishes. Or when she seeks to win an argument over her stubborn sister with freshly baked biscotti as a bribe.

Something is always cooking in the Goldberg’s kitchen…


4 Comments on Please Welcome Guest Blogger Laurie Boris, Author of The Joke's On Me!, last added: 8/5/2011
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18. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Janet Beasley, Author of Maycly




Maycly (book 1 of my 6-volume Hidden Earth series) is the epic fantasy tale of Iona, an Earth girl who never questioned her trust in SUL (Sorcerer of Unequivocal Leadership, Creator of the planets Earth and Maycly) until she develops multiple chronic illnesses, loses her wealth, and is forced to deal with the mysterious disappearance of her last 3 living family members. Her story explodes when a very special puppy shows up on her doorstep, taking us on a journey to the captivating world of Maycly. This novel has it all: twists and turns, monumental battles, illustrations of never-before-seen flora and fauna…and recipes.

Maybe I should take a step back here and tell you how the series came to be. As a child, I was always in the kitchen baking with Mom and Gramma; I was also involved in 4-H, as well as open-class county fair bake-offs where my baked goods placed within the top 2 most of the time. This led me to work in a restaurant, from which I resigned when the owners sold the business, not wanting to work without my original crew. When I left there, our family recipe for Gramma Hildie’s Doggie Delights was handed down to me so I could continue the legacy. Yup, that’s right – gourmet dog treats. Now, being the creative person I am, I couldn’t help but grow those original 2 flavors into 11, then develop 4 different styles. 

Next thing I knew, I had people treats entering my bakery as well; all kinds of original-recipe muffins, brownies, cookies, etc. found their way onto my shelves. So I took the next step by laying out the menus, plans, and venues for 4 very differently styled restaurants. But stacking chronic illnesses brought my dream to a screeching halt. I was devastated that all my hard work would fall by the wayside, but I knew that I couldn’t give up – I just had to find a new way to go.

That’s when I turned my creativity to epic fantasy writing. It wasn’t until nearly completing my first novel, Maycly, that I realized I should use all of my work on recipes and restaurants in Maycly’s world! So when the novel comes out (if it hasn’t already by the time this posts), readers will enjoy not only a great story, but also get my never-before-released recipes and menus! 

Many established fans have asked, “Will Gramma Hildie’s Doggie Delights be included?” and my answer is, “Yes! Along with many other favorites, like the Best Darn Brownies Ever and Cotton Candy Muffins.” The series will feature not only an original plot, but original recipes from the bakery to the bark-ery; each new Hidden Earth novel will bring

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19. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Adrianne Ambrose, Author of What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader

 
What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader is the diary of Elaine Rewitzer, an eleven-year-old comic book loving geek who tries out to be a cheerleader.

Food is often a source of angst for tween girls like Elaine, but the excerpt I'd like share is not about her own food issues, but her grandmother's. Elaine, her mother, and sister are trying to please her paternal grandmother who has some very specific ideas about a proper Thanksgiving dinner:

12:02 p.m.
         Usually Grandma doesn’t eat Thanksgiving dinner with us. She only shows up later in the evening to have a slice of pecan pie. She doesn’t like pumpkin. I think she usually has dinner with my dad first, but she never says anything about it. That’s fine by us, because then we can have whatever we want for dinner just as long as we hide the leftovers before Grandma comes around. Sometimes we don’t even have a turkey because none of us really like it that much. One year we had Chinese food.
         This year Grandma said she was coming for the whole dinner and everything. No offense to Grandma, but she’s making things a lot more stressful than they have to be. She’s insisting on a full Thanksgiving dinner with linen napkins folded perfectly and a matching tablecloth and everything traditional. That includes a big turkey with stuffing, yams, rolls, green bean casserole, peas, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, whipped cream, and cranberry sauce. It all has to be homemade. Nothing can come from the store or out of a can. Mom tried to get out of it by saying, “That’s too much food for two women and two girls to eat.” But Grandma was really stubborn about it. She said, “I want my granddaughters to know what it is to have a real, traditional American Thanksgiving.”

4:25 p.m.
         A real, traditional American Thanksgiving is a lot of work. The turkey is so big, Mom had to get up in the middle of the night to put it in the oven so it would be done in time. Amy and I had to peel a mountain of potatoes, set the table, help with the pies, and keep an eye on the oven because our timer doesn’t work. Grandma just got here, and she’s already complained about everything. Stupid stuff like:
         1) Our tablecloth has a stain on it. – Just a tiny one and you can barely see it.
         2) Cranberry sauce from a can is tacky.
         3) We don’t have proper, matching water glasses.
         4) Amy should know how to set a table properly. (I told Grandma that’s she’s only five, but she said, “That’s no excuse.”)
         There is a bunch of other stuff, but it would take too long to list everything and I’ve got to get back to helping Mom.

5:18 p.m.
         I’m starvi

1 Comments on Please Welcome Guest Blogger Adrianne Ambrose, Author of What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader, last added: 9/21/2011
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20. Please Welcome Back Guest Mike Angley, Author of the Child Finder Trilogy




Have you ever bitten into a slice of blueberry pie and heard the taste?

How about sniffing a flower and seeing the aroma as a brilliant flash of light in a color you can’t describe?

People whose senses overlap and intertwine like this are called synesthetes, and the protagonist in my Child Finder trilogy has synesthesia in a big way. Air Force Special Agent S. O’Donnell is a synesthete, but he’s also a gifted psychic with an uncanny ability to find missing children. Very often, these two synergetic gifts work together to enhance his child rescue operations.

In Child Finder: Revelation (the conclusion to the trilogy, due for release Nov. 1, 2011), Agent O’Donnell will need to muster all the clues his synesthesia and mind-reading skills can offer. Here’s a short synopsis:

          North Korean terrorists stage a brazen attack on the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, nabbing his twin daughters in the assault. The eight-year-old girls are powerful psychics with amazing extrasensory gifts, which is why the North Koreans abducted them. Only one man can rescue the girls: Air Force Special Agent Patrick O’Donnell, the government’s top agent with psychic abilities of his own that will prove crucial in locating the Ambassador’s daughters deep inside North Korea. But there’s more…
         There’s a mystery about the twins that has both the President of the United States and the Pope rattled. No one is telling O’Donnell what it is, but one thing is abundantly clear: he must rescue the girls and bring them back to America with an urgency he’s never experienced before.
         Will Agent O’Donnell be successful in rescuing the Ambassador’s daughters? Will he be able to unravel the intrigue between the Oval Office and the Vatican? Perhaps O’Donnell will receive a revelation that will explain everything…maybe even something he wishes he never knew.

Here’s an excerpt from the novel that showcases O’Donnell’s synesthesia and psychic ability working in conjunction:

         His scenes twisted and twirled together. He tried to see with his ears in this dream, or feel shape from the odor his nose sniffed, or even hear color and taste. Right at that moment, as he stood in Kim Jong-il’s dining room, the smells from that night at the Jordans’ dinner party hit his brain. The pungent, red pepper cabbage kimchi smacked his neurons at a high rate of speed, causing his brain to hear the hot pepper taste. It sounded sharp and loud to his tongue, not as rounded as it was during dinner at the Jordans’.

There

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21. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Andrew Carlson, Author of Sue's Fingerprint




Ever since we were kids, we’ve had our likes and dislikes when it comes to food.  We’ve tried many things growing up, and by adulthood we’ve pretty much separated the food we like from the food we don’t like.  But what happens if you’re an adult and you don’t know what you like?  What happens if you’ve not tried many things in your life because you just arrived on the planet?  That’s what characters experience in Sue’s Fingerprint.

What do I mean by ‘just arrived’?  Eleven people are cloned—exactly copied—from other people by an alien goo that suddenly appears on Earth.  (You’ll have to read the book to get the details.)  The clones arrive with no prior knowledge and no prior memories. (No clothes either!)  Without any past experiences, the clones have to learn about themselves and the world around them, including what foods they like and don’t like.

I tried to make the discovery of food a noticeable theme in Sue’s Fingerprint.  It’s not the most important, but it is a key aspect of personal discovery for the clones. While ‘contained’ by DHS on an unused military base, the staff members assigned to observe and assist the new people help the clones discover what foods they might like.  Their first lunch at the base is pizza.  Consensus:  cheese pizza is boring.  But they do like sausage, pepperoni and deluxe.  For dinner, they experience PB&J and the roof-of-your-mouth stickiness it offers.  They also learn about popcorn; “I want to see how popcorn pops itself inside out.”  The clones agree that popcorn is fun and delicious, especially with lots of butter.

When the staff members at the base suggest burgers for dinner, Sue explains that she already had a hamburger and didn’t like it.  It was too sweet from the ‘stuff’ she had on it. 
“You know you can change the stuff you put on hamburgers, right?” a staff member asks her. 
“You can???”
“You can put just about anything on a burger.”
So the clones have a dinner of sliders with many topping options so they can try different combinations to decide what they like.  And what does Sue like best?  Mustard.  Onions, pickles and cheese are good too.  She also likes the spicy heat of salsa.

During all this new food exploration, one clone, Sue, decides she’d like to try cooking. With guidance from the staff, she begins to experime

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22. Please Welcome Guest Blogger Sheri McCartha, Author of Caught in Time





    What if you were a time traveler and went back a thousand years into the past? How much of a concern would food be for you? What present-day foods would you miss the most? In my novel, Caught In Time, my main character, Rowyna, travels back into Alysia's Medieval past, and sure enough some of her earliest thoughts are about the food. Would they have chocolate?

Excerpt:

     When she had been told that she would go back into the past, she had considered the problems of language, culture and dress, but she hadn't counted on missing certain things so much taken for granted.  Comfortable transportation, cold refreshments, proper sanitary conditions, central heating, eatable food, and just being safe were a few things that came to mind. Now she wondered about something as simple as the food. How did they keep the food from spoiling in this primitive place? How about ice cream? What about chocolate? They can't not have chocolate! Rowyna's body took a lurch at the memory of her favorite vice.

     Rowyna is invited to dine with the king and is expecting an intimate dinner, but instead arrives at a large banquet where the food is used as a barrier between them and a distraction from her purpose. The king puts her at the far end of the table and a myriad of guest between them. Then he demonstrates his wealth and power by the abundance of food that he offers everyone.

Excerpt:

     Dinner arrived diverting his attention. It was an elaborate affair that started with fresh sturgeon eggs from the Andalusian Ocean along with an assortment of crisp crackers. In addition, around the edge of colorful goblets dangled succulent shrimp from the Eastern Sea and inside each goblet was a piquant dipping sauce.
     As each guest finished, servants slid a large dinner plate before them. Steaming platters of food, balanced on fingertips of servers, moved in a dance around the table, dipping from time to time to fill a guest's plate.
     One large plate contained a Great Hen stuffed with rosemary and surrounded by an array of colorful honey-glazed fruits. Another contained tender slices of bovine stacked next to mounds of mashed potatoes oozing with butter that puddled at the center, each looking like an erupting volcano. Dishes of spicy carrots and onions, baskets of fragrant bread, bowls of cooked cabbage and other hot vegetables floated around, weaving in and out and landing on filling plates. Drinks and wine flowed freely. Soft tones plotting secret meetings mingled in with loud conversations of highborn guest that were trying to attract noble notice.

     It turns out that chocolate is also the king's favorite food and the banquet is finished off with a large chocolate cak

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23. Near-Death Experiences, Star Trek, and Me by guest author Devin O’Branagan

They say to write about what you know. When I was young, I had a near-death experience. Back then people didn’t understand much about the phenomenon, but I knew something extraordinary had happened. The search to understand the event fueled a lifelong spiritual journey.

After Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books published my first two paranormal thrillers, I wrote a novel about near-death experience told from the perspective of a young boy who drowns, has an NDE, and returns with a mission. Although Threshold is told from three alternating points-of-view: the boy, his teenage sister, and a Native American shaman, my literary agent didn’t believe it would be suitable for an adult market because the primary POV character was a tween. She also thought the subject matter too mature for a young adult market. Disheartened, I stashed the manuscript and—like a hidden and forgotten treasure—recently rediscovered it. I dusted it off, did a bit of updating, and the novel was released in November. The market has changed since I first wrote the book—YA readers have matured, and adults have embraced younger protagonists in popular fiction. Threshold hit Amazon’s Metaphysical Fiction Bestsellers List within three weeks of release, and reviewers are unanimous in their opinion that it is my best work yet. I believe that’s because I really did write about what I know.

When I died, I did not interpret the tunnel of light as a wormhole. Nor did the guide on the other side resemble Q, the omnipotent character from the Star Trek franchise. In trying to figure out the meaning of it all, I did not reflect on profound Star Trek episodes. Cole, my young protagonist, invokes Star Trek imagery because it is what he knows.

Following my NDE, my own spiritual journey took me through a variety of faiths and magical traditions, and many of those are touched upon in Threshold: shamanism, Wicca, mystical Christianity, and the Jewish Kabbalah. The novel is a tale about the lightside threatened by the darkside. This is because shadows follow Cole back through the wormhole, and terrible things begin to happen.

Threshold is a paranormal thriller about life, death, faith, courage, sacrifice, and the transformative power of love.

~ ~ ~

Cole pulled Shiloh up short while he tried to get a fix on his location. They were on the shore of Deer Lake, the lake’s frozen surface looming gray before him in the early morning light. His grandparents lived in Johnstown, which was across the lake and beyond by ten miles. He remembered their house from family gatherings prior to his mother’s disappearance and was sure he could find it again because Johnstown was a small town. He decided that braving the bitter weather was a small price to pay if the journey finally closed the case of his missing mother.

Cole and Shiloh were near the river that fed the lake, and he could see the bridge which crossed it. As he urged Shiloh to turn in that direction, the sharp sound of splitting ice ripped the air. Horrified, Cole realized that he had misjudged the lake’s shoreline—the recent snowfall and wind-driven drifts had completely changed the landscape. Shiloh reared up in fear and caught Cole off guard. The horse bucked, Cole flew off, and he hit the split ice with such force that he crashed straight through to the freezing water below. Before he had time to react, a fierce undertow from the river captured and swept him away from the hole, deeper into the lake. Through t

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24. Please Welcome Guest Blogger David Farland, Author of Nightingale


Read his thoughts, view his exciting trailer,
and enter his contest!



Abandoned at birth, shuffled from foster home to foster home, Bron has never known how it feels to belong, be cared about, or cared for. His bleak childhood is perhaps best instanced by his latest foster mother's hoarding of all delicious and nutritious delicacies, relegating Bron and his 8 foster siblings to pathetic pancakes - food that's about as bland and unnourishing as it gets.


When, at 16, he's kicked out of Melvina's house - allegedly for stealing peaches to eat - and sent to live with the Hernandezes, he's afraid he'll have to eat burritos at every meal - the Mexican equivalent of the pancake regime he's been stuck with. But instead he finds every food a delight, from barbecue chicken to omelets filled with fresh tomatoes, sharp gorgonzola, smoky ham, and pine nuts. And Olivia Hernandez nourishes his spirit as well by recognizing something special in Bron - that he is something her people call a "Nightingale," a create not quite human.


As part of his new foray into self-discovery, he meets the Weigher of Lost Souls - an ancient woman with marvelous powers - on an elegant houseboat where he's served a gourmet vegetable lasagna made with sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, and some of the world's rarest mushrooms. The food whispers to Bron that he is about to enter a world that is richer and more exotic than anything he has ever dreamed of...and one that he may never return from.


Because despite all the delicious wonder this new world has to offer, Bron still needs answers to the mystery of his birth: What am I? Where did I come from? He must now risk his life to defeat the epic forces that have combined to claim him, to tear him from the only home, family, and girlfriend he has ever known.


Sound good? Looks even better! The book trailer is made up of art, animation, and music that is actually taken from the enhanced novel, setting the tone for the story. 

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25. The Characters Within guest post by author Janice Grove

First off I want to thank Jennifer for allowing me to guest post on her blog today. It takes a lot of courage to let someone you haven’t met do that – I’ll try to be on my best behavior. I say try only because I have been able to lock myself in my office, but I know for a fact that David will go to any lengths of messing with me including pick the lock and then claim his brother Micah needs me for something. My kids? Oh no, they aren’t MY kids… sigh… but you’d think they were considering how often they’re either running, screaming, or tapping their feet in annoyance in my head. No, David and Micah are just a few characters who live along side everything else going on in my over active brain. Yes, it is very crowded at times – why do you think I allow David the opportunity to polish his lock picking skills? ;)

As you can see, my characters are very much a part of me. I don’t know if it’s the same with every author, but I can tell you about my experiences and leave the determination of my sanity for your perusal at a later date. Right now, we can jump right in to the subject at hand – I’m quirky, not actually insane. Most people might argue the point, but I’m not most people and since it is my *ahem* quirkiness we’re pondering, we’ll go with my point of view which goes something like this…

I’ve always had another life going on in my head. I’ll admit it. Whether it was a case of my real life wasn’t that engaging, or I wasn’t impressed with the current affairs of things, I don’t know. However, what I do know is that my family and friends would often give me looks of concern, unsure whether I’m one of those children or not. Oh come on, you know the ones… they’re usually the ones that eat paste, color on the walls and insist they’re a cat just because they can. The ones where all the mothers gather together and shake their heads while muttering, “That child just ain’t right!” Okay, the last part probably happened more than once, but I never actually ate the paste (it was more like a quick taste), I was too obsessed with trying to stay in the lines so why would I have colored on the walls, and being a cat? One time… once to make a friend smile and it haunts a person! *ahem* Carrying on…

When you’ve basically had more interaction with imaginary timelines and characters than real people and events, you really start to wonder about your own stability. Which is probably a main reason why I write. No, I don’t think I should be fitted for a nice tight white jacket with buckles (not for this anyway), but I do accept the reality that society doesn’t seem to appreciate the delicate balance of someone who can live in multiple worlds and alternate universes simultaneously. Can we say extreme multi-tasking? Yes, I thought so. So, what is the classification of someone bound to bring to life the worlds and stories residing in one’s head? Do we really need one? If we need one, then who chooses the distinction between the right world and the wrong world we create? I don’t know about you, but any world I’ve jumped into at the time is the right one, if for no other reason than I get the chance to tell a story of someone else’s making. Oh, you think I’m the one creating these stories? *laughs* You’re cute!

I’ve been asked several times what method of writing I use, and each time I’ll get a blank look on my face, blink a couple of times, and then say in the most intelligent of ways, “Uh… fly by the seat of my pants?” Yeah, you can imagine the stunned looks I get at times but it’s the truth. I hate outlines, always have. In sch

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