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Results 1 - 25 of 81
1. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Milda Harris, Author of Adventures in Funeral Crashing

Imagine this: peanut butter, bananas, ice cream, and milk blended together to utter perfection. That's right. I'm talking about a peanut butter banana milkshake. Yum. No, actually that's not a good enough word to describe that miraculous blending of flavor. It doesn't quite do it justice. At least, that's how the heroine from my Funeral Crashing Mystery Series, Kait Lenox, feels. 

That awesome concoction is her favorite treat. She calls it heaven on earth. She likes her peanut butter banana milkshake from one place particularly, a coffee shop called Wired. Even a murder mystery can't deter her from them. She is that obsessed.

I'll admit it. I get cravings for a peanut butter banana milkshake every once in a while too and I had my own brief fixation with them. That's why it made its initial appearance. I was participating in the 3 Day Novel Contest when I started Adventures in Funeral Crashing and I was writing what I knew - that peanut butter banana milkshakes rock!

From that initial idea, the milkshake took on a life of its own in the story. Kait can't stop talking about them. It's her go-to comfort food and beverage of choice when it shows up on a menu. She even uses it to compare how great something is and the only thing that can beat the phenomenal bliss of a peanut butter banana milkshake from Wired is a kiss from her crush, Ethan Ripley. It must be true love then, right?    

Kait's love of the peanut butter banana milkshake has evolved, though. In Adventures in Funeral Crashing Kait gushes about them endlessly and drinks them whenever the opportunity presents itself, but in a later book, Adventures in Murder Chasing, you learn that there's more to the story than her love of a simple milkshake. She used to share her passion for them with her now ex-best friend, Ariel. It was their thing to go to Wired, drink them, and gossip...until their friendship ended. Their complicated friendship/ex-friendship spans the series and their dual love of peanut butter banana milkshakes is just a piece of their story.

So, now we have the milkshake's backstory. This brings up an interesting question. What will be the next chapter in the journey of Kait and her peanut butter banana milkshake love affair? What does the future hold? Will she be able to find one when she heads off to Paris in the next Funeral Crashing book or will a mystery get in the way? More importantly, who will be sharing that milkshake with her?

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

You can find Milda here:

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2. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Kim Hornsby, Author of The Dream Jumper's Secret

Maui Takeout and Home Cooking

I love to mention what my characters are eating in my novels. As an avid reader, I appreciate the mention of food in the storyline, especially if it gets me salivating. That’s the sign of a talented writer.

The Dream Jumper’s Secret, the second book in my Dream Jumper Series, begins on Maui in late May but the story soon goes to Carnation, Washington, a small town forty minutes east of Seattle, where May and June are customarily cool. There, meals are eaten at home, around a table, and menus are based on meat and potatoes. Both Jamey’s father and Tina’s parents have Anglo Saxon backgrounds and are over seventy-years-old, raised during a time when dinner included – meat, vegetable, starch—with little regard for cholesterol.

With the weather and the chef’s background factored in, here’s what Tina and Jamey eat in The Dream Jumper’s Secret:

On Maui we have Tina and Jamey (a brand new couple) eating teriyaki chicken, mango smoothies, cold beer, and mostly takeout. Tina has never had an interest in the kitchen as a business major and scuba shop owner, so she grabs food on the go. As a bachelor and a former soldier, Jamey is used to this too.

In Carnation, breakfasts consist of Canadian bacon, (I had to get that in there, because I was born and raised Canadian), fried eggs, and always coffee. Lots of coffee for Jamey. He’s a former Special Forces soldier! Lunches in Carnation tend to be cold cut sandwiches and homemade potato salad. Dinners are creamy clam chowder, stews, vegetable soup, or beef barley soup, all made from scratch. Jamey and his father sit at the old wooden table and slurp soup, using chunky homemade bread to clean their bowls afterwards.

At Tina’s family’s house, on Mercer Island, Washington, her mother and father eat meals in the formal dining room. The Greene’s have a housekeeper, Millie, who does the cooking. They dine on Chicken Cordon Bleu, Pot Roast with basted potatoes and carrots, and Roast Chicken. But, one night Tina goes to the local Chinese Restaurant and brings home Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice and Broccoli Beef, which is eaten informally.

When the story heads to Afghanistan, Tina finally shoves a hamburger and greasy fries with ketchup into her mouth. Then, she washes it all down with a chocolate milkshake from the Kandahar Airbase chow tent.

At the end of all my books, I include at least one recipe, and in The Dream Jumper’s Secret, I published Pops’ Seafood Chowder and Millie’s Pot Roast. It always makes me happy when a reader emails me to say they tried the recipe and loved it! Or, if I’m asked to speak at a Book Club and the hostess has made the recipe. I’ve had teriyaki chicken and mango salsa many times.

If you’re interested in The Dream Jumper Series, you can find my books at www.bit.ly/kimamzn on Amazon, or comment below for the chance to win your choice of the 3 ebook Dream Jumper Series or my Christmas Box Set of 8 Books, Criminal Christmas, with Ann Charles and Alexa Grace.

Comment question: What’s the last thing you ate?

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

You can find Kim here:

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3. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guido Henkel, Author of HUNTED

Food plays such an elemental part of our lives that I am often surprised how little of it is shown in fiction, and even in movies or TV shows. I mean, after all, didn’t we just have breakfast, and then lunch, and now we’re eating again? There are days when it feels that our entire being revolves around nothing but food. And the worst part is that after a few hours it is depleted, and the cycle starts all over again. For cooks it must be a devastating feeling to have labored over a good meal for hours, only to have it gobbled down in a few minutes without any further pay-off, knowing that it was a rather vain attempt to stop the hunger, because before long, we’ll be have to have at it again. In the real world, food is king, not money!

A while back my editor returned one of my manuscripts to me with the general comment “I love that Jason Dark and Siu Lin always have these conversations over food.” It was only then that I realized, yes, my characters do sit down to eat and talk about things. As a writer, for me, it’s always a nice set piece that gives me a backdrop that I can make as rich and detailed as I want to, or relegate it to the background if I desire.

While I have sit-downs in my stories where the characters eat sumptuous dinners—it seems to make Jason Dark’s deductive juices flow—I also use food as coloration. Like a throw-away line. He may just walk past a stall in a market place and grab an apple and share it with his companion Siu Lin, or he purchases fish and chips from a street vendor while being on the run to solve his current supernatural mystery. Naturally, rice dishes are also ever-present, as my character Siu Lin prefers her diet more Asian.

Drink is equally important, I believe. Not necessarily booze, but the general consumption of liquids. My Jason Dark mysteries play in Victorian England, so the generally accepted notion is that everyone drinks tea, but in a twist of fate—or was it just my imagination?—I decided to make Jason Dark a coffee drinker—a preference handed down to him by his father, like many other things. At the same time, as one would expect, Siu Lin is a tea drinker, though not of the British Earl Grey variation necessarily, she prefers the Lapsang and Jasmine teas of her homeland of China.

While I find that I never pick food scenes consciously, they seem to be part of my writing fabric. This is, perhaps, most noticeable in the series’ first book, Demon’s Night. When readers meet Jason Dark for the very first time, his introduction takes place at a breakfast table where he eats with his live-in sister in-law, as she points out a particular newspaper article to him, which ultimately leads to him investigating the case in question. As I said, I did not write this scene with the conscious desire of wanting to write a “food scene.” To me it simply felt natural. A beautiful morning, sunlight falls in through the window, fresh rolls on the table and a cup of steaming coffee, the aroma filling the air. It is homey, and the perfect counterpoint to what just happened on the previous page—yes, as you may have guessed, the previous chapter involved a few people getting killed by some strange creature.

Feel free to check out any book in my Jason Dark series, or give the latest release, Hunted, a try, and see how many food moments you can spot in the book.

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

You can find Guido here:

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4. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Dianne Harman, Author of the Cedar Bay Cozy Mysteries

A Foodie’s Evolution From Reading About Food To Writing About It!
By Dianne Harman

Food, cooking, entertaining? Oh yeah! How does the song go? Something like, “These are a few of my favorite things!”

I started writing cozy mysteries a year ago as a way to integrate my love of food and dogs. I had previously written three books in the suspense genre, but I really couldn’t integrate the dogs and food much in them, although readers have told me that when they read Coyote in Provence, they gained ten pounds just from the food descriptions!

When I would mention that I was interested in writing cozy mysteries, people told me to stay in the suspense genre, and that it would really dilute my brand if I changed genres. My husband and I were at the Enchantment Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona a year ago. I’d had a wonderful breakfast in bed and made a few notes on my iPad. At that moment I decided to write what I really wanted to – books about food and dogs. I started Kelly’s Koffee Shop the morning after we returned and a year later I’ve published a book a month, all cozy mysteries and all having lots of food, recipes, and dogs. The three cozy mystery series, Cedar Bay, Liz Lucas, and the latest, High Desert, have really caught on. Evidently my readers have enjoyed the because each of the books has been a best seller in cozy mystery culinary books and animal books, plus Amazon has named me as on of their most popular authors for seven months.

Why food? I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in it. Cooking and trying out new recipes has always been one of my favorite things to do. I’ve been fortunate to have attended cooking classes and schools at a number of places here in the United States as well as in France, Portugal, Thailand, and Italy. In fact, one of the books, Murder at the Cooking School, is a loose rendition of the week we spent at a cooking school in Tuscany. The recipes in that book all come from that experience, but fortunately we didn’t encounter a murder!

My husband was a California Senator, and we entertained so much (read that as me cooking) that one of his advisors suggested we do fundraising dinners. I cooked five courses, and he charged $1,500 a person. They became so popular we had to do them back-to-back nights because we couldn’t accommodate all the people who wanted to attend. Trust me, that’s every politician’s dream!

One of my fondest memories of those times was when one of the guests who is a well-known California lobbyist asked my husband if he would give him the name of the caterer who had cooked the meal because he’d like to hire the person for his next event!

The recipes in my books are all from my personal collection and have been prepared by me for years. Many are from family members, because I’m not the only one in the family who likes to cook. Mother-in-law recipes, sister-in-law recipes, and my mother’s recipes are all in the books.

I’ve read that cooking for people is a form of showing love. I think that’s a charming thought and hope all of you are giving plenty of love!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and bon appetit!

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

You can find Dianne and her books here:

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5. Please Welcome Tamar Hela, Author of The Wrong Fairy Tale

What Do Aliens Eat?

If you were a dinner guest of magic-wielding aliens, what would they serve you? And, being that these aliens live in an enchanted forest, what type of food is available to begin with? Those were some of the questions I asked myself while writing my second book, The Wrong Fairy Tale. After a few brainstorming sessions, I came up with what I thought was the perfect answer—but we’ll get to that in just a bit.

Food can play a very important part in the setting of a novel. I think about Little Women, when the girls finally have quite the feast for Christmastime, but instead choose to give their bounty to a family in need. Or, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes to mind, where Edmund gorges himself on Turkish Delight when the queen uses it as a bribe. And who could forget Anne of Green Gables, who is so eager to try Raspberry Cordial and everything ends in disaster?

In my novel, The Wrong Fairy Tale, important information is given during mealtime. Our heroine, Alex, not only has to digest key details recently revealed, but foreign food as well. She and her friends have been miraculously transported to a magical forest filled with aliens (the Alfara) who look like elves. And in order to be a good guest and not offend her hosts, she must try the dish set before her: Prakova. Prakova, which I made up, of course, is an Alfaran delicacy. On the outside, it looks like a white, feathery crab, and on the inside, the meat is pink and tender. When Alex braves eating something alien, she is delighted to find that it actually tastes great—potential crisis avoided, thank goodness.

In our own lives, food plays an integral part of every day living. We often gather around the dinner table for holidays, celebrate a marriage at a reception with food and drink, or spend quality time with loved ones around a hot meal. Food brings us together. So, it’s only appropriate that food becomes part of a fictional story. I think that when used properly, the food a writer places in her story can actually make things more interesting. After all, as a reader, if I can smell and taste what the character is smelling and tasting, I can better relate to that character. I can put myself in their shoes and feel like I’m there. It’s a writer’s job to transport the reader, so why not use food as part of the process?

How about you? Do you like reading about food in a story? Does it help to give you a better visual, or is it simply unnecessary? 

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

You can find Tamar here:

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6. Please Welcome Peter Golden, Author of Wherever There is Light

Here’s the truth, and I rarely share it with anyone. I’m one of those people who gains weight if he looks in a bakery window. I’ve been known to stare longingly at a carrot cake or pecan pie, then go home and try on a new suit, only to discover that, amazingly, the pants are now too tight in the waist.

How does this happen? I don’t know, but it’s been going on since childhood, and the result is that I’m on an eternal diet.

Except when I write—

For some reason, writing about food doesn’t seem to add extra weight, and because part of my new novel, Wherever There Is Light, takes place in Paris right after World War II, I let my imagination run wild. Here are a few excerpts:

          If, as les existentialists claimed, existence was meaningless, then it made sense to begin each day with dessert, a plan that Julian put into action by devouring a pain au chocolat at one of the busy cafés in the square outside the Sorbonne.

I especially enjoyed writing this sentence because my usual more fare is more like fruit and granola without sugar—or flavor, if you ask me. Ah, but one of those flaky, rich chocolate filled croissants...

Of course, after eating a breakfast more suitable for a parakeet, I’m a bit peckish by noon, so it’s downstairs I go for a—you guessed it—a banana.

Then I head up to my office and sit at the computer, where I indulge myself:

          In the rainy light the houses below the top of Montmartre were gray and brown with orange chimney pots, and after Julian commented that it looked exactly like the print of the van Gogh painting that Kendall had hung in her Greenwich Village apartment, it began to rain harder, and they ducked into a café for coffee and macarons.

Are you hungry yet? I am, and so it is time for my main characters, Kendall and Julian, to eat dinner.

          The dining area at Dans le Vent was redolent with cassoulet—a garlicky aroma rising from the bowls of sausage, confit of duck and pork shoulder, sweet onions, tomatoes, and plump tarbais beans that were slow-cooked under a crust of bread crumbs and tasted like the coziest starlit autumn night you could remember.

I enjoyed writing this passage. Not that I felt full, mind you, but I didn’t gain an ounce, and I’ve always loved to dream.

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

You can find Peter here:

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7. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Kim Golden, Author of Snowbound


I am a foodie. Its just that simple.

A good risotto makes my heart sing. A perfectly pan-seared fillet of sea bass? Pure heaven. Belgian chocolates? Verdicchio di Matelica wine? Caciocavallo cheese? Red wine flavoured gelato? You betcha.

Its not just gourmet delights that tempt my tummy. A good bowl of cheese grits or fluffy pancakes with maple syrup? Yup, Im in. A chocolate chip cookie? Yes, yes, yes! I love good food. And my hips are proof of it.

So its not so surprising that when I write, my characters also love good food. In my holiday romance, Snowbound, Mia and Jake both have childhood memories triggered by food.

For Mia, so many of her memories of her deceased grandparents revolve around food. Back at her grandparents house for the first time since her grandmother died, a neighbours visit reminds Mia of the holiday baking her grandmother used to do. The pumpkin pies and applesauce cakes that scented the house with cinnamon and vanillathe pound cakes and butter cookies the sticky buns and fresh donuts for the Christmas caroling practiceall of these remind Mia of Grandma Ruth and make her long for her grandmothers comfort and love.

For Jake, the South African photographer whom Mia initially sees as an interloper, his memories of South Africa are also bittersweet. Whenever he thinks of Cape Town and his life there, he is reminded more of what he lost. But what still reminds him of his childhood and his parents, is the stew his mother used to make for him, potljiekosa layered stew often made with lamb, pork or cured beef. One evening, he makes it for Mia, not expecting the unwanted guests whod turned up earlier.

Even during the snowstorm that throws them together, food and strong cups of coffee bring them together. Throughout the novel, food elicits memories for Jake and Mia and eventually helps them make new memories together.

Ill be giving away an autographed paperback of Snowbound and a $15 Amazon gift card. To enter to win, like my author page on Facebook and then tell me: which food brings back cherished memories for you? Leave your food memory in the comments here. The person whose food memory really speaks to me will be the winner! :)

The giveaway runs from 25 July until 3 August!

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

You can find Kim here:


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8. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Michelle Zaffino, Author of The Love Quad


Cookies & Cocktails in The Love Quad, a teen novel by Michelle Zaffino
Released March 2015 by In the Stacks Publishing

In my teen novel The Love Quad, Emma's in college, so she's into cookies and cocktails. Which means - Sugar!

Emma actually bakes Nigella Lawson's salted peanut chocolate chip cookies in the book, partially because she needs to use baking as a distraction, and also because she wants to bring them to a guy named Spencer who she has a crush on. Here's the recipe:

Nigella Lawson’s Favorite Cookies

6 ounces unsalted butter
1 packed cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup salted peanuts
Melt butter, cool. Beat in brown and granulated sugar, then mix in vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder and soda. Fold in chocolate chips and peanuts. Refrigerate cookie dough for 20 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with a Silpat or other genius nonstick liner.
Shape the cookie dough into disks about 2.5 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Place cookies on baking sheet about 1½ inches apart. Bake until golden brown around edges and cracked and chewy in the middle, about 15 minutes. Cool for three minutes on sheets then remove to wire racks. Makes 20 cookies. Enjoy!

Things with Spencer and Emma don't work out romantically, because Spencer turns out to be gay, but they end up best friends anyway. They start hanging out at the radio station where they both work, and at clubs where Emma deejays. One of their favorite bevs to imbibe is a Zipper cocktail.

Here’s how to make a Zipper: 

Combine 1 shot of vodka and 
1 shot of Chambord raspberry liqueur 
over ice, then fill with 7up. 
If desired, add a lemon garnish.

Cheers!—Michelle Zaffino

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

You can find Michelle here:

Buy The Love Quad and the prequel How Good It Can Be:

Apple iBookstore                Google Play                Barnes & Noble

Amazon Kindle               Smashwords

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9. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Amelia Gormley, Author of STRAIN


Scavenging in the Post-Apocalyptic World

The worst of the plague has passed. The vast majority of the world’s population is dead. Sure, there are still cannibalistic zombie-like creatures roaming around, but for the most part it’s safe to venture out of seclusion and thank God it is, because your carefully hoarded supplies are almost exhausted and you’re in real danger of starving to death.

But that’s okay, because assuming other survivors haven’t gotten to them first, grocery store shelves are loaded with non-perishables that no one is going to need. So you arm yourself with a small arsenal and make your way to the nearest supermarket. So far, so good. No plague victims to infect you. No cannibals to eat you. And you’ve managed to evade the other survivors who would shoot you just on the off chance that you were after theirsupplies.

The store is dark, of course; the grid collapsed months ago when all the people keeping it up and running died. But you have flashlights and batteries. The windows and doors are intact, so it hasn’t already been looted. So you break in and slip inside.

And that’s when the smell hits you.

All that meat. All that fish. All that dairy and produce. All without refrigeration for the last several months. The milk jugs have exploded because the milk inside has fermented. Flies are all over; the rotten meat in the butcher’s counter display is infested with maggots. Mealmoths flutter everywhere; all the flour and oatmeal in the bulk bins and grains that weren’t in airtight containers are full of weevils.

Cans and some of the boxes are intact, but first you need to brave the rats you hear scurrying around in the dark. And you don’t have much time to do it, because sooner or later those cannibals are going to find you. Better hurry.

But let’s say your hideout was rural. Plenty of farmland, but protein might be a problem. But hey, cows and goats survived the plague too, and there are deer to hunt, right?

Terrific. Do you know how to butcher the carcass without nicking the intestines and tainting the meat? Do you know how to preserve the meat you managed to butcher, or will most of it rot before you have a chance to eat it?

Or maybe it’s ten years after the plague, and you’ve had to leave your refuge and all your supplies behind. Only now the non-perishables in the grocery store (the ones that survived the rats and looters) have, well, perished.

These are the sorts of scenarios I had to consider when writing my post-apocalyptic novel Strain and its prequel, Juggernaut and their upcoming sequel, Bane (all available from Riptide Publishing.) It’s easy to imagine that there will be plenty of non-perishable food around in the event of the end of the world, but the logistics of survival are a lot more complex than one might imagine.

Juggernaut takes place immediately before and after the world-ending plague, while Strain is set ten years later. For Strain and Bane, I had to imagine a world in which all the grocery stores had already been ransacked, and most clusters of survivors have already begun to relearn farming and herding livestock. Preserved meats—salted, smoked, jerky and so forth—would be common. For those who didn’t have supplies and know-how to preserve fruits and vegetables, produce would largely be a treat for the warmer months. This is why, sometime around the last major ice age, human beings evolved to be primarily carnivores.

Yes, you read that right; the claim that humans evolved as omnivores is actually quite misleading. We have the ability to eat vegetation and we require certain nutrients that are mainly found in fruits (such as vitamin C, lest we develop scurvy), but our digestive systems are actually far more similar to carnivorous animals than to omnivores. So in Strain, there’s more of an emphasis placed on seeing the characters eating fresh and preserved meats.

For Juggernaut, the logistics were quite a bit more complicated. I was dealing with characters who were still immediately accustomed to having endless quantities of food available to them with just a quick trip to the market. They wouldn’t know or have had time to relearn anything about farming or animal husbandry. Luckily the libraries will likely have gone unlooted and there will be books to read to learn about the subject. It will just take time.

But, for the most part, farming is a little more intuitive, and easier to accomplish for people who are still largely keeping themselves sequestered to avoid contagion. They wouldn’t dare venture out to hunt or try to round up the livestock that had managed to survive the neglect of not being fed and cared for by humans who had died. The survivors would probably focus most of their animal husbandry attempts on chickens, who are portable enough to make the journey to safety with the people in question. Their eggs could be a primary source of fat and protein and they’re small enough to maintain in quarantine pens and small enclaves of survivors.

Alas, gourmet cooking is likely to be an art form that will likely die out with most of the population. Fare will be simple and straightforward. Surviving takes enough effort without diverting energy to producing complex or time-consuming meals, especially since most cooking is going to happen over open fires. The electric grid, we’ve already established, has collapsed, and natural gas pipelines will only last as long as there are people to maintain them as well. Once they lose pressure, that’s gone too.

The same applies to the water supply. The only places that will have running water or indoor plumbing are places that have windmills to power pumps that will pressurizes pipes from in-ground wells. The digging of latrines will have to be strategic and most people used to indoor plumbing won’t realize that. We can probably anticipate a “second plague” of people dying from problems with sanitation and inadequate/compromised food supplies.
It’s almost enough to make one want to start stockpiling supplies and become a survivalist, isn’t it?

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

You can find Amelia here:

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10. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Katherine Gilraine, Author of the Index Series


How do people spell togetherness? What do they usually have on the sidelines while discussing anything in the world, from personal to politics? The answer is a four-letter word: food.

We don’t generally think about what part food plays within the story, but it’s something that we do need to consider as part of a matter of course in our writing. With all the time that we invest into building our worlds, building our characters, crafting the plots, we need to consider what sort of meals the people that we authors create use to come together.

Think of your everyday meals at work. Think of what a person would eat if they were traveling, or sitting down with family. What does one order on a date?

For myself, personally, the meal I love the most is seafood dynamite at this one sushi place I like. It’s a concoction of shellfish, topped with mayonnaise and cheese, and baked. Sounds very heavy, but it’s not; it’s an appetizer dish barely 4” in diameter. It is, however, delicious, and I love little more than hunkering down with it after a long week at work.

I’ve not quite paid attention to food as I wrote it in the books, but I always went with whatever seemed to be the most natural thing. A quiet, cozy dinner in a private dining room, just to friends and family - roast chicken and vegetables, red wine. Comfort food. A cozy private dinner, and yet to one of the characters, Kataria, who has never felt like she was part of a family, to feel as such was something new. For all the comfort of a family meal, she is not altogether yet part of the family that she was born into, and for all the comfort of everyone else at the table - her sister, the people who were right alongside with her sister - she is the one feeling like the odd girl out.

It brings the next part of the food equation into the table: drink. A lot of people drink. A lot of people drink different things for different reasons. Some don’t drink at all. But it’s just as important as the role that food plays.

So let’s take Kataria for an example. After the end of the fourth volume of The Index Series,Kataria is every bit as shaken up by the Battle of Earth as anyone else. Unlike her sister, however, she never felt like she had a safety net to work through the psychological after-effects of the battle. Her sister, Arriella, stops sleeping and barely eats, which directly impacts her work. Conversely, Kataria is determined to keep everything together, and this turns her to the well-known comfort of humans: alcohol.

However, regardless of how Kataria feels when she’s alone, which is evident by the lowball after lowball that she knocks back to dull out everything she doesn’t want to think about, there is always a place for her at her sister’s dinner table. Whether it’s exotic pear champagne from another world, or just simple chicken and veggies, she is welcomed and accepted - regardless of whether or not she feels as such. She, like anyone else sitting down at a new dinner table, just needs to be brave enough to take the first bite.

Katherine Gilraine, wishing a bon appetit. 

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

You can visit Katherine here:

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11. Please Welcome Staci Greason, Author of The Last Great American Housewife


Kate, the heroine-in-training in my novel, The Last Great American Housewife, has a good life – a husband, two kids, and a house in the suburbs -but then her mother dies, and nothing is right. Her good life suddenly feels empty. She hunts, desperately, for something to satiate the hunger. At first, Kate shadows elderly women home from the grocery store. Making certain these women get home safely gives Kate a reason to get up in the morning. But then she is arrested and her days once again are void of meaning. She wishes she had a different life.

One night, over chips and salsa and too many margaritas, she meets a beautiful young college student and poet named Jeremiah. He looks at her the way her husband Nate used to when they were younger – filled with desire.

They meet in the middle of the afternoon at Norm’s on La Cienega. With their legs pressed against each other under the table, they share a slice of cherry pie. The sticky filling is too sweet, the crust, buttery and flaky, and the young man delivering the bite isn’t Nate. For that moment, the pie is all that Kate can taste. She is full. She is a different person - beautiful, carefree and daring. Not a wife and mother wearing elastic waistband jeans on the verge of forty. But after the last of the syrup has been scraped from the plate, all that remains is a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.  The ardent suitor is just a young boy with long hair who writes poetry and can only be loved in another history. Kate is empty.

The question of what sustains us and what is sustenance is at the heart of The Last Great American Housewife.  Most of us live under the delusion that happiness lies somewhere outside. If only we had the perfect husband, the perfect kids, body, car, job, enough money, time, freedom (whatever we think would fill that hole) then our happiness would be fed.  Is our environment responsible for filling our need for self-love, confidence and happiness? Or must we learn to feed ourselves?

Eventually, Kate climbs a tree by the mall to save it from being torn down.  Living on the platform, she quickly learns which foods can be sustained from the heat, wind, cold, birds and squirrels.
Things a housewife can eat up in a tree while hiding from her family include:
Granola Bars
Dark Chocolate
Beef Jerky

That is, unless it rains.  Then she’s pretty much stuck with Gatorade and apples.
Forty feet above the earth, Kate finally discovers the best recipe for happiness:  facing oneself. And when she climbs down, she is no longer hungry.
Except for thin crust pizza with white sauce, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes. Served with a nice Chianti.

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

Staci Greason starred on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, as the late Isabella Toscano-Black. She created the hit weekly food column "Dishing" for MODE magazine, and was the author of the popular blog Anxiety: a Love Story as well as the novel The Last Great American Housewife (optioned by Rockinghorse Productions). When she isn’t writing or hiking, she loves to coach fellow scribes at The Write Muse (www.thewritemuse.biz).

You can also find Staci here:

Twitter @StaciGreason                    Facebook                    Amazon.com

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12. Please Welcome Alisse Lee Goldenberg, Author of Bath Salts


Canned foods, freshly grown vegetables, arctic goose, caribou, and fish all caught and hunted by the characters are what is being eaten in the zombie novel Bath Salts. It is the middle of the zombie apocalypse and two women living in Toronto, Canada see the reality of the situation around them. They pack up friends and family and run off to the heart of Nunavut where they set up a compound built out of two tiny trailer houses surrounded by a metal fence.

There, they now have to focus on survival. Naturally, the subject of food comes up a lot. Food, is a basic necessity for a person to live, and as such, the characters don’t want to merely get by. They set up a hydroponics shed in which they grow their own vegetables and fruits, as well as whatever herbs they can to make what they manage to trap and hunt more palatable. They keep a couple of mating gorals as livestock to provide them with milk and cheese.

The character of Ali takes on the role of mother for the entire group. She sees there survival as being about more then just living. For her, survival is keeping the humanity of the group intact. As such, she focuses on making their meals about more than just food. It’s about finding a way to make a birthday cake out of old cake mix and goose eggs. It’s about marking the holidays with the appropriate feast, substituting goose and caribou for turkey and roast beef. She sees the food she prepares as comfort and familiarity; something for the group to cling to and keep their spirits alive.

In contrast, An takes on the role of the hunter. She goes out, armed and ready, killing zombies and animals for their meals with relative ease. She believes that survival means staying alive, no matter what. Her attitude is reflected in her actions, and while she is a part of the group, her beliefs keep her as somewhat apart from it all. She will partake in their meals and their attempts to keep the past alive, but her heart isn’t in it like the others.

With two differing viewpoints, how will this group keep together, when their survival against bandits, zombies, and the elements counts on them being a team? Find out in Bath Salts.

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

You can find Alisse here:


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13. FOODFIC: Please Welcome R.S. Guthrie, Author of Honor Land


Though almost any food can arguably be freeze-dried, unfortunately the danger, fear, adrenaline, loss, honor, kinetic aggression, blood, and unavoidable death that accompanied each soldier in war could not. Still, the men in Delta Team Spiderman carried all of the above, freeze-dried or not.

Food in the middle of a hot war zone—and Delta Force troops, along with the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land Teams), were always in the most searing—could be found, if fortunate enough, in the form of standard issue MREs (Meals Ready to Eat—another arguable use of terminology).

The standard-issue, sealed number ten cans were filled with meat, vegetables, grain, breakfast, or dessert . Some examples of warfare delicacies were freeze-dried spaghetti, beef stew, stroganoff, and the infamous scrambled eggs that had the consistency of oatmeal (which was also available). There were also corn, rice, and a few more of the regular entrees, sides, and other necessities.

However, most MREs contained two-thousand calories, and Special Forces personnel required significantly more caloric intake to climb miles to acquire strategic positions in near-vertical, shale terrain, utilizing any object—a small conifer or rock or scraggly bush—to hide themselves on any given mission. Because of the risk of giving away such key, calculated locations, perilously bereft of cover, Special Forces teammates often survived mostly off super-calorie tubes of a Gatorade-like drink, a high-energy, high-calorie, pasty recovery concoction that could also be eaten silently from a tube, and (surprisingly enough) freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches, which unlike most MREs, could be eaten straight from the package (and were considered by all soldiers a delicacy). Fortunately they were also high in sugar and calories, so Special Forces teams always kept plenty on hand for mission deployment (and down-time eats).

In the Sheriff James Pruett novels (Blood Land, Money Land, and Honor Land), the hero is normally the protagonist, but Pruett takes a backseat in Honor Land as far as “heroes” are concerned. His godson and decorated Delta soldier, Kyle Yoder, has returned to the States to find he can only cope by living on the streets. Then, as if his post-war psychological problems aren’t ruthless enough on the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, he’s eventually accused of a quadruple-homicide that occurs just shortly into the usual revelry of Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Before he’s arrested, however, Kyle is allowed to live behind a kind Vietnam veteran’s restaurant, and the owner brings him what in his situation would be considered a wide variety of excellent food—much better than the MREs they carried in the sand-blown wasteland of the Middle East and the rocky terrain of Afghanistan.

Even living on the street in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Kyle is served a hot plate of whatever he likes from Papa’s Place. Retired Sergeant Mick “Papa” Rourke never brings his “guest” leftovers, either, but freshly-cooked biscuits and gravy, properly-prepared scrambled eggs with peppers and bacon, lunch-time sandwiches or a warm cheeseburger, and then for dinner a rotating assortment of main dishes of cube steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, city-famous fried chicken, and a whole menu full of delicious food (none freeze-dried).

Yet though Kyle never says so, only thanking his friend and fellow veteran, he does miss the freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches.

Whether the county lock-up serves any kind of ice cream sandwich is unlikely, and the food will be considerably worse than that to which he’s grown accustomed. Whether it is better than the MREs, and whether or not Kyle will be found guilty of the capital crimes, waits for the patriotic hero in the future. For the latter, only his godfather, Sheriff James Pruett, can mobilize the effort to find the real killers.

Unless the real killer is already in custody.

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

You can find Rob here:

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14. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Kelly Hashway, Author of The Monster Within

In The Monster Within, Samantha Thompson isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old. She died of cancer and was brought back to life by her loving boyfriend, Ethan. Now they’ve run away together to keep people from finding out what they’ve done. Assuming new identities and living on their own means fending completely for themselves. They live off crackers and bottled water for a while because they don’t have much money. That is until they both get jobs at a local diner. There, Ethan learns to cook while Sam waits tables. But even though they are able to eat good food, they both still have their quirky tastes. Sam dunks French fries in her vanilla milkshakes, and Ethan dunks his soft pretzels in his chocolate milk.
They aren’t the only characters who have odd tastes. Nora comes to the diner every day but never orders anything other than coffee. She drinks cup after cup after cup. And since she and Sam get off to a rocky start, the bitter coffee fits Nora’s personality perfectly.
The other side to this story is that Sam didn’t exactly come back to life as the girl she was before. There was a side effect. She has a monster inside her and she has to feed it in order to survive. And all the monster wants is to drain the life from other human beings, so Sam literally feeds on the life force of others—or she’ll die.
I never realized how much of a role food played in this book, but it’s pretty much everywhere. Throw in some witches and their aversion to salt, and food can pack a real punch in this story.

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

You can find Kelly here:

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15. FOODFIC: Please Welcome E.J. Fechenda, Author of The Beautiful People


Philly Food

When I set about creating Natalie Ross, my main character in The New Mafia Trilogy, I didn’t want her to be one of those girls who didn’t eat. She has a healthy relationship with food and part of the allure for Dominic Grabano, her love interest, is that he comes from a big Italian family that owns and operates several bars and restaurants in Philadelphia. In The Beautiful People (Book One of The New Mafia Trilogy) the date where Dominic first introduces Natalie as his girlfriend, takes place at his aunt and uncle’s restaurant. Like the old adage ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, Dominic plays out a sort of seduction with Natalie using food.

Franco fried up some calamari and brought a heaping plate over. Dominic dipped a piece in the marinara and popped it into my mouth. I had to close my eyes and savor the moment. The golden batter was light and flaky and the marinara had a bit of spice to it. I’d never had calamari like that before. Having an Italian god feed it to me wasn’t too bad either.

There are other dates where Dominic takes Natalie to a late night joint in Chinatown and to a five star restaurant his Uncle Al owns. All of these are places Natalie had yet to explore in Philadelphia and this is a way for Dominic to share his world with her. For example, the restaurant in Chinatown was a favorite spot where Dom’s parents took his family for dinner and he shares his childhood experiences with Natalie.

Not only is food used as a tool for character/relationship development, but it’s also used to showcase the regional culinary delights Philadelphia is known for.  Philadelphians are fanatical about their cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and hoagies (not subs or grinders).  I couldn’t write a series set in the City of Brotherly Love without mentioning the food. In fact, when I head down to Philadelphia for the Yo! Philly Author Event on May 16th, my first stop will be to grab a cheesesteak for lunch or maybe a hoagie? Decisions, decisions…

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

E.J. Fechenda has lived in Philadelphia, Phoenix and now calls Portland, Maine home where she is a wife, stepmom, and pet parent all while working full time. Crazy is how she likes it.
E.J. has a degree in Journalism from Temple University and her short stories have been published in Suspense Magazine, the 2010 and 2011 Aspiring Writers Anthologies, and in theIndies Unlimited 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology. In addition to writing The New Mafia Trilogy, she is working on The Ghosts Stories Trilogy. E.J. is a member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and co-founder of the fiction reading series, “Lit: Readings & Libations”, which is held quarterly in Portland.

E.J. can be found on the internet here:
Twitter @ebusjaneus (https://twitter.com/ebusjaneus)

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16. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Carmen DeSousa, Author of CREATUS


Without giving away anything about the Creatus Series, as that is part of the pleasure of reading a new book, I’d like to share with you what Creatus aren’t instead of what they are. And why I felt the need to share their story. And, of course, for the first time anywhere else other than the actual books…What they eat!

I enjoy reading almost all genres, but one of my favorites is a little-known genre called ‘magical realism’. I love when an author can take normal characters who live and work among us, but then give me insight on what makes their character special and why they have a story to tell in the first place.

Whether it’s about psychic abilities, soul changing, or even paranormal activity, the key for me is that it’s believable - or at least plausible in some sense.

Since the beginning of the written word, storytellers have shared myths about supernatural beings. However, over the centuries, these supernatural beings have morphed into tales of vampires, werewolves, and superheroes that are so outlandish I find it hard to pay attention, let alone believe.

Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy a well-written story about vampires and mythical creatures, but I crave a reason to believe. I want some reasonable basis for the story.

The idea of a person shifting into an animal form that's ten times the size of its human form, or a person having the ability to fly without the required body mechanics, makes little sense to me. But, I can’t discount that since biblical days, stories have amassed about sentient beings with superhuman strength.

CREATUS, from the Latin word meaning 'created' are the reason we believe in fairy tales—and monsters. Superheroes didn't come about by being bitten by a vampire, a werewolf, or a spider. Instead, perhaps the same superior being who created us created them, which brings us to the real questions: What do they eat? Why do the myths insist that supernatural beings drink blood or…ewwww…eat humans?

In the words of my lead male protagonist:

Humans don’t even smell like food. Believe me, if my kind really craved humans, the human race would have been extinct a long time ago.

Think about that! If there was such a thing as an immortal being that was nearly impossible to kill, and it craved human blood…how would we survive? Maybe for a little while, if it was an intelligent being that realized it needed to keep humans alive—to harvest. But if they were bloodthirsty… Well, I think that Daybreakers did an excellent job of showing what would really happen. Gross!!! ;)

Kristina’s mouth turned up a fraction, obviously proud with herself, but she held a full grin at bay. “I always thought you were a vampire or something.”

He cleared his throat, resisting the urge to laugh. “Vampires don’t exist. The dead don’t walk. And if you don’t have a heart pumping blood through your body, you can’t do any of the things that supposed vampires do.” He raised his brow, inquiring if she caught the gist of his comment. He’d always wondered how books and movies portrayed vampires as sensual and erotic when they purportedly didn’t have the necessary body functions required to make such acts possible. You didn’t have to be a doctor to understand that if you don’t have a heart pumping blood through your body, vital sexual organs aren’t going to function properly.

But what if the myths were just of another species, a species that was incapable of tolerating the toxins that come about when grains and meats are cooked at high temperatures? Did you know that? It’s true, the reason that many humans are on a raw food diet. At least we think those people are humans… What if they’re Creatus?

You can download all four books—698 pages!!!—for only
$5.99 on

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

You can find Carmen here:

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17. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Karl Fields, Author of Steths: Cognition


Steths: Cognition is set in a near-future version of America where a select few truly are judge and jury, hearing cases and deciding on guilt or innocence, as well as punishment.

Devin Chambers is among a rare group of humans with a trait called hypersensitive tympanic syndrome: the ability to hear heartbeats and, more specifically, the emotions within them. All he wants to do is play football, but his abilities as a Steth attract the attention of the Faulkner Academy, a prestigious boarding school. That’s because, in addition to being a school for regular students, Faulkner operates a secret training facility, preparing young Steths for the day they will sit in judgment of others.

Faulkner students are treated like royalty. The dorms have more in common with a five-star hotel, and the cafeteria features linens tablecloths and servers. It’s heady stuff for a guy who comes from a neighborhood where “the primary color is concrete,” and choosing the Faulkner lifestyle should be a no-brainer. But Devin is conflicted, especially when he hears innocence in a death row inmate’s heartbeat, a sentiment no one around him shares.

Each decision Devin makes presents him with another dilemma instead of a resolution until finally, whether the condemned man lives or dies resides with him. At one point, Devin’s stepfather, Marcus, enters the kitchen to find Devin helping himself to a frozen waffle and peanut butter. Marcus points out that this has been “thinking food” for as long as he’s known Devin.

Without giving up specifics (discussion of the Steth training program with anyone not in the program is forbidden), Devin confides in Marcus, and the two have a heart-to-heart over store-bought waffles. It's a far cry from the gourmet fare served up at Faulkner and a key moment in the story, as the stakes have grown incredibly and Devin's actions will have serious implications.

Many of us have a “go-to” food when something has us stressed or sad or anxious. By having this scene play out at the breakfast nook, I thought helped make Devin relatable at a key moment. Also, I was trying to show that despite everything that he’s experienced at the academy, he hasn’t lost who he really is.

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

You can find Karl here:

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18. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Christoph Fischer, Author of In Search of a Revolution


“Food in a war drama? That won’t be too exciting, will it?” I hear you say. Well, in a way it isn’t at first. Zacharias Nielsen, the hero of In Search of a Revolution gets no real taste of Finnish cuisine when he arrives from Denmark to join the Finnish Civil War in 1918.

He is young and full of enthusiasm and doesn’t mind the Army rations of fish, potatoes and bread, clearly not cooked with much love. For the sake of ideology, he can put culinary pleasures to the back of his mind and happily goes days without much food at all. His idealism easily survives that first crucial test.

After the war he lives with Raisa, a Finnish nurse, who finally introduces him to more traditional Finnish, Karelian and even Russian dishes. Finland had been a Grand Duchy and part of Tsarist Russia which influenced and enriched her menu. In Raisa's hands, Zacharias gets to eat a wide selection of dishes, most memorable are spicy meat stews and grilled black pudding with whortleberries. The cuisine however remains basic, since they are struggling with money.

When there’s no prohibition, they like their drink: beer, wine and vodka.

Raisa uses both, drink and food, to entice Zacharias and try to make him fall in love with her and her wonderful country. He is tempted, but it’s not enough.

All the way through the novel Zacharias misses the Danish pork stews.

“I miss the [Danish] bread the most,” Zacharias laments to one of his Danish friends in exile. “Your mother made the most amazing rugbrød topped with leverpostej,” he added. [That’s rye bread with liver pate]. “We had a cook but she always bought bread, and it was never quite as good as your mother’s.” Home sweet home begins with food and you can take the boy out of Denmark, but not Denmark out of the boy.

When he moves to Karelia the food there doesn’t impress him either (and nor do the politics and circumstances). It makes you wonder why Zacharias stayed in a foreign country with so many political changes and personal problems, and no leverpostej to speak of.

Somehow, however much you adapt, your mother’s cooking is always best.

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

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. The Luck of The Weissensteiners was published in November 2012; Sebastian in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. Time To Let Go, his first contemporary work, was published in May 2014, and Conditions in October 2014. His medical thriller The Healer was released in January 2015.

He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

You can find Christoph here:

ChristophFischerBooks.com                                                 Twitter@CFFBooks
WriterChristophFischer.wordpress.com                         Goodreads      
Facebook Fan Page                                                                    LinkedIin
Pinterest                                                                                         Google+

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19. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lorna Dounaeva, Author of May Queen Killers


My new novel, May Queen Killers, reads almost like a cosy mystery, but there is a psychological element and a pinch of humour at the heart of the story.

Mystery writer Jock Skone arrives in Fleckford, a small village on the English/Welsh border, where he instantly falls for tea-shop owner Sapphire Butterworth. Not long after they meet, Sapphire is presiding over the village’s May Day celebrations when she suddenly jumps down from her float and flees through the crowd.  Jock runs after her, but is unable to keep up.  Eventually, he trudges back to her tea-shop and a few minutes later, someone throws a brick through the window.

The mystery of the missing May Queen deepens as it is revealed that Sapphire was not the first May Queen to go missing. Jock and his new friend Dylan set out to solve the mystery over endless cups of Yorkshire tea and slices of Battenberg cake.  If you’re not familiar with Battenberg, it’s a light sponge cake made up of chequered pink and yellow squares, cemented with apricot jam and covered with marzipan. 

Sapphire’s tea-shop is 1950s themed, with tea cosies, fancy china and frilly table cloths.  By contrast, just over the road, is the Dragon pub, where Jock is staying. Its landlord, Neil would rather sit and eat a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, than serve his customers. And the only foods on his menu are microwaved shepherd’s pies and chips. I know where I’d rather eat…

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

You can find Lorna here:


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20. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Ashley Fontainne, Author of GROWL


Growl is a paranormal thriller set in the fictional town of Junction City, Mississippi. Southern food plays a major part in the story. In fact, the main character's family owns one of the two local restaurants: Newcomb's Diner. 

Sheryl Ilene Newcomb is only two weeks away from the start of her senior year at Junction City High School. She works part-time at her family's restaurant, is the head cheerleader of the Junction City Cheering Cats, has a steady boyfriend named Dane, and plans to leave the small berg once she graduates. Her grandmother (whom Sheryl calls Meemaw) shares cooking duties at the diner with the oldest living resident of Locasia County, Papa Joe. 

Papa Joe is also the last remaining full-blooded Choctaw in Junction City. His heritage and Sheryl's are key components in the story. The Choctaw belief in skin-walking (the ability to change forms) is at the heart of Sheryl's life story.

One of the major discussions about Sheryl's new abilities happens at the dinner table at her family's home. They are surrounded by fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, fresh tomatoes and chocolate cake as her entire family comes face-to-face with Sheryl’s new duties. The sense of a close-knit family, surrounded by a meal prepared by the hands of those who love her, hits Sheryl’s emotions hard, knowing it will be the last time things are “normal” for those she loves. Once the loving, comfortable moment is over, she drops the bomb on them about how her life, her destiny, will alter their perceptions about the world, and her place in it.

 In another scene that takes place at Newcomb's Diner, southern comfort food is offered to a very distraught woman who found her employer dead upon her arrival at work. When the death of this particular resident is discovered, the southern tradition of bringing platefuls of food to the remaining grieving family members as respects are paid, showcases the comforting abilities of a home-cooked meal.

Since the book also deals with the ability of certain characters to change forms into those of a gargantuan predator, human flesh is also on the menu!

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

You can find Ashley here:


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21. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Chris Galford, Author of As Feathers Fall


In The Hollow March, and its sequels in The Haunted Shadows series, the nation of Idasia is consumed with war. War means famine. It means thirst. It means struggle. Many of the people within are thus not able to count on reliable meals like the ones mentioned below—it is the plotters, the ones left behind, who have time for such extravagance. Rather, for those fortunate enough to find themselves along one of Idasia’s many rivers, a simpler meal of salmon and eggs might make a day or, for soldiers, scavenged berries and hardtack—a dry sort of biscuit that might once have been bread—or a simple repast of soup might have to suffice. By the time of the second novel in the series—At Faith’s End—even that can be hard to come by. Of course, all these people also live at a time when pure drinking water is less common than heavily watered wine—called Ramil—as the alcohol is used to guarantee anything untoward in the water is purged for drinking…

Drink up!

Basically, it can be a little hard at the moment to get a decent bite to eat in the Idasian Empire(follow the link to find a map of the empire for easy reference!). It’s not that the expansive nation suffers from a lack of creativity; just ask the cooks at Vissering Keep, for example. For them, in spite of the conflict ravaging the lands outside (and in fact, in part, because of it), there are no lack of important figures rushing through the premises at all hours, and they come from a people with large and varied appetites.

For these, lunch (Mittagessen, in the native tongue) is the greatest meal of the day, and it is swimming with flavor. It’s good to be the king, but it’s not bad to be a prince, a count, or even a minor lord, either, and here, in the halls of the Count Palatine Cullick, that phrase is brought to fruition in the form of sausages, bratwurst, and nearly everything pork-related braised to roasted, juicy delight. For those closer to the forests, or still with secure trade lines, boar and venison also make for a fine course at times. A smattering of carrots, cabbages, and layered casseroles add a touch of flavor to the side of such meals, but neither honey nor jam are likely too far from the eclectic mix. Coming from a temperate land pulling in its wealth from the great central and fertile plains of the continent, there is no shortage of things to consider.

These folk tend to like to draw out their flavor in more natural ways, though. While honey and jam are fine extravagances for zest, the most popular herbs are milder: parsley, thyme, laurel, chives and nutmeg tend to temper the natural tastes, while the garlic preferred in the southernmost reaches of the empire have yet to spread popularly beyond that coast.

Yet it is worth remembering a nation is not built merely on what those whom have plotted civil war from the highest strata of society digest. Rather, a society is sustained by the people at the ground level—people like the mercenary and exile Rurik Matair, or the soldiers of the Imperial army, as they wage war against enemies both abroad and within. In other words, those folk mentioned at the beginning of this article.

These differences in experience, though, are just the sort of things that add layers to the delectable world of Rurik Matair, the Cullick family, and all the myriad characters caught between them in the struggle for reason and stability in a troubled land. The plotting Cullicks dine on nothing but the finest, while those churning through the effects of their actions have little need for their hearty meals—they are a little more interested in drink, if it could take their minds off the heavy burden of survival for a time.

Hard to believe the world is in the midst of a renaissance, isn’t it? If only things would settle down, the culinary artistry would likely see its own revolution—but one can hardly control what revolutions will come slinking about the door when someone’s opened the bottle of human ingenuity. This is the world to which Rurik Matair finds himself, an exile for a crime he didn’t commit, hungry for a justice he cannot even wholly fathom, and joined in his particular meal of earnest revenge and self-doubt by a band of sellswords unaware of how their petty troubles put them at odds in a conspiracy of old families and the return of old magicks…

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

You can find Chris here:

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22. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Mark David Gerson, Author of The MoonQuest


Guess Who’s Coming As Dinner?

What do you do when you’re invited to dine with cannibals? That’s Yhoshi’s dilemma in an early scene in The MoonQuest, the first book in my Q’ntana fantasy trilogy.

Yhoshis gaze shifted nervously from Boldar, cleaning his second bowl of stew with a long black tongue, to the two massive cooking fires that danced at the far end of the hall. Loud crackling pops exploded from one, where a sapphire oval of oil-brushed pyan sizzled. A man-size cauldron bubbled into the second.

Do you eat what your hosts are eating? And if you don’t, do you risk finding yourself working up a sweat in one of those man-size cauldrons?

Yhoshi said little at first and ate less. He picked guardedly at the strange stew that filled his bowl, wrinkling his nose at the curls of aromatic steam that rose lazily from it. I devoured mine greedily. Served only on rare occasions, the lustrous orange-yellow concoction was one of my favorites, its naturally sweet broth an ideal base for the red bela nuts, green zanga fruit and elegantly thin strips of purple gelaaa that floated within.

The good news, as Yhoshi soon discovers, is that even though his Tena’aa hosts want everyone to fear them as vicious man-eaters, they are vegetarian…and gentle. They’re also terrible teases.

Gwillm bugged his eyes, bared his teeth and lunged. All color drained from Yhoshis face.

I had lots of fun with that scene, not only because Yhoshi needed a good prick to his ego. But when you’re fashioning a hitherto-unknown world from scratch, everything is made-up…including the food! And that’s great fodder for the imagination.

The MoonQuest and its StarQuest and SunQuest sequels are filled with exotic food and drink, among them the speckled tosti fish you can swallow in single gulp (raw, if that’s to your taste!); the stick-like tikinà fruit you crack open to get at its soft, crimson-seeded flesh, and the o’aka gourds that can be scooped out to make a sweet soup…the perfect accompaniment to your late-night Q’ntana Trilogy reading. As the old adage goes, “Oaka soup, sweet and red. Just the thing for after bed.”

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

You can find Mark here:

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23. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Rhiannon Frater, Author of Fighting to Survive


Breakfast tacos. The food of the gods. Delicious, hot warm flour tortillas filled with a variety of combinations of ingredients such as scrambled eggs, chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage), fried potatoes, refried beans, bacon, and cheese topped with real salsa. A staple of Texas cuisine, the breakfast taco is one of the foods that appear in my As The World Dies trilogy alongside peach cobbler, fried chicken, fajitas, and enchiladas. Since the trilogy is about two women surviving together in a zombie-infested apocalyptic Texas, I wanted imbue the story with the flavor of the state, both literally and figuratively.

Food is vital for life, but it can also be an essential instrument in storytelling.

One of my favorite scenes in Fighting to Survive (As The World Dies, Book 2), is an interaction that takes place as Jenni and Katie, our female leads, are on guard duty on the wall encompassing their safe haven. As they survey the grisly zombies below, Jenni happily chows down on her breakfast taco:

Katie wasn’t sure how Jenni could eat with that awful smell wafting up from below, but from her work as a prosecutor, she knew that abused women developed extraordinary coping skills. She’d seen how adept Jenni was at disassociating herself from bad things going on around her. Sometimes Katie wished she could do that, too, just step away from the horrible reality she now lived in.

Jenni eating in the gory presence of zombies serves two purposes: her breakfast tacos are a cultural reminder of the story stetting in Texas, and her disregard of the dead as she eats is a reminder that she’s acclimated to the dead world.

Besides, breakfast tacos are so good, how could you resist eating them?!

For a delicious breakfast taco recipe, click here.

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

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels.

Her latest releases are In Darkness We Must Abide (self-published), The Mesmerized (Permuted Pres), and Dead Spots (Tor).

She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

You can find her online at:

RhiannonFrater.com                             Google +

Facebook Fan Page                               Tumblr

Twitter @RhiannonFrater                    Pinterest

Goodreads Author Show                      LinkedIn

Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail dot com

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24. FOODFIC: Please Welcome M.K. Gilroy, Author of Cold As Ice


Detective Kristen Conner is always hungry so she covers the full spectrum of dining experiences in the Windy City! In fact, food is such a big part of what’s on her mind, I set up a Novel Restaurants Pinterest Board in 2012 to highlight Chicagoland eateries Kristen visited in Cuts Like a Knife and Every Breath you Take. With Cold As Ice releasing August 1, 2015, the board will soon have seven new restaurants, including Alinea, considered by many food critics to be the #1 restaurant in North America.

Is there a particular meal that stands out for Kristen Conner? More than one! After breaking up with a “sorta” boyfriend she, of course, runs into him when she’s out a week later with a “sorta” date—talk about awkward. In this case it was the Chicago Diner, which sounds (and looks) like a burger joint, but is a hardcore vegan restaurant in Lincoln Park. She insisted on going Dutch treat until she realized it is a cash-only establishment.

But don’t get the wrong idea. Our intrepid detective is definitely a meat-eater, with some almost romantic meals at Mortons and Lawry’s—two legendary downtown Chicago steakhouses—where she can put away as much “cow” as the boys.

Chicago is slowly but surely becoming known as a foodie town, which means that even local specialties, like deep dish pizza, are getting fresh new looks. Is that a good thing? Not to Kristen. She’s old school and the only pizza debate on her mind is Ginos v. Giordanos. (She votes Ginos East.)

So whether you are looking for white tablecloth dining or a hotdog with the works at Devil Dog, be assured, Kristen Conner has been there—and there won’t be leftovers.

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

 Mark “M.K.” Gilroy is a veteran publisher who has worked with major authors and acquired and created an array of bestselling books and series. When not writing Detective Kristen Conner novels, he creates book projects for publishers, retailers, ministries, and businesses as a freelance publisher.

Gilroy's debut novel, Cuts Like a Knife, quickly garnered critical acclaim from national media, bloggers, and readers—and hit #1 at Barnes & Nobel (BN.com). Gilroy is a member of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America. He holds the BA in Biblical Literature and Speech Communications, and two graduate degrees, the M.Div. and MBA.

Gilroy is the father of six children. He resides with his wife Amy in Brentwood, Tennessee.

You can find Mark here:

MarkGilroy.com                    Twitter @MarkGilroy                    Facebook Page

*The Kristen Conner Mystery series has moved to Sydney Lane Press and all three books, including Every Breath You Take and Cold As Ice will launch August 1, 2015. Under Pressure hits the market in February 2016.

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25. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Luke Murphy, Author of Kiss & Tell


Use Food to “Show, Don’t Tell”

I remember when I first started writing—the moment I decided to get serious about writing, to write with a purpose. When I first decided that I wanted to write with the intention of seeking publication, I bought a couple of books on the craft of writing to help improve my style.

One book I bought was Stein on Writing. The book is written by Sol Stein, who is an author, professional editor, playwright and an expert in communicating craft. One of Stein’s major points in writing fiction is to “show, don’t tell” when trying to get a thought across to the reader. So, with my new novel, KISS & TELL, I wanted to show the kind of character Detective Charlene Taylor is, through her actions and the food she eats.

A little about Detective Taylor:

Charlene Taylor is a single, twenty-seven year old women who isn’t a stereotypical lady or cop. She lives a carefree, singles’ lifestyle, makes her own rules, and will stop at nothing to succeed in a male-dominated career. To put it lightly, she’s the screw-up daughter who defied her cop-dad until one day surprised everyone by following in his footsteps.

She has a broken relationship with her family, drinks heavily and loves sex, but she is also very self-conscious about the food she eats. She is very strict when it comes to her routine of exercising and staying fit, so I needed to find a way to show her single, healthy, on-the-go lifestyle through the food she eats.

In order to do this, I needed to find a food that conveys healthy eating habits, but is also quick and easy to access for a detective who has no punch-clock or quitting hours.

I believe that I showed this on two separate occasions. In the first scene, Charlene has arrived home late at night from a crime scene. She’s hungry and wants something immediately before she opens up a file and starts working on the case again. In the second scene, Charlene has just had sex with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Andy.

Her favorite post-sex food is SUSHI. She has her favorite “sushi place” set as number ONE on her speed dial, ready for quick and easy access. Sushi is a very healthy food, and one that she can eat while reading over her case files.

Sushi is a Japanese food consisting of cooked rice combined with other ingredients like seafood, vegetables and sometimes tropical fruits. Ingredients and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is rice.

The main ingredients of traditional Japanese sushi, raw fish and rice, are low in fat, high in protein, carbohydrates (the rice only), vitamins, and minerals. Other vegetables wrapped within the sushi also offer various vitamins and minerals. Many of the seafood ingredients also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have a variety of health benefits.

No, I’m not a sushi eater, but my wife is, and I do recognize its nutritional value and how it works perfectly for my main character’s diet.

Charlene Taylor is a sushi lover

 Thanks for stopping back by to share more food for thought, Luke!

Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (Imajin Books, 2012).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

Kiss & Tell is Murphy’s second novel. He is represented by The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. For more information on Luke’s books, visit:

AuthorLukeMurphy.com             Twitter @AuthorLMurphy             Facebook Page

*          *          *          *         *

Back text for KISS & TELL:

With the death of her father…

Officer Charlene Taylor has received her dream promotion—working Homicide with the LAPD. Her first case is the high-profile murder of Ken Anderson, a playboy UCLA professor with a haunted past. A mafia kingpin, billionaire tycoon, cheated wife and jaded lover are only a few on a long list of suspects, all with motive and opportunity.

…all hope of reconciliation is lost.

Not only does she feel the pressure from media and her boss to solve her first case, but Charlene must also deal with her father’s murderer, the “Celebrity Slayer,” a serial killer who enjoys baiting her with his knowledge of her life and routines.

Can a rookie detective work two high-profile cases and still keep her sanity?

*          *          *          *         * 

Reviews for Kiss & Tell

“Luke Murphy scores big with this deep psychological thriller. Just when you think you've got things pegged, Murphy serves up another twist. Fast paced and fun, you won't want to put this book down.” 
-Tim Green, New York Times bestselling author of Unstoppable

“An intricately detailed and clever mystery featuring a tough minded but vulnerable protagonist with more than a few demons of her own. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end.”
-Christy Reece, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing To Lose

“Luke Murphy’s novel, Kiss & Tell, has lots of twists and turns, and police procedures where the good guy, in this case, Charlene Taylor, is not always good. The characters come to life with suspense, drama, explosive action, and an ending you never see coming.”
 -John Foxjohn, USA Today bestselling author of Killer Nurse

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