Thursday, June 23, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Auden Johnson, Author of The Sciell

In the Merging Worlds series, you get to know different kinds of non-human characters. You meet the Del’Praeli in Book 1: The Sciell. They’re a race of beings that use the power in Darkness and can become shadows. Because they’re so connected to the Darkness, their bodies are a bit different. They don’t need to eat and sleep every day. They can’t handle “human” food. Shade Harrellite, one of the main protagonist, got sick after eating bacon.

So, what do they eat? Raw meat. Their bodies can take cooked meat but they don’t eat it often. They prefer the taste of raw meat. As for drinking, they only do water. They live on a river. Water is easy to gather. The Del’Praeli make an alcoholic beverage called Subfusc. It’s the only thing strong enough to get them drunk. Shade’s the only Del’Praeli, in many years, who consumed something other than meat, water and the occasional glass of Subfusc.

Food provided a good bonding moment for the protagonists, Shade and Vayle. They’ve been separated for five years because Shade went away to live in a human city. The Del’Praeli are isolated from the rest of the world in a village called Raesul. Although Vayle could visit Shade in the human city, those that ruled Raesul wouldn’t allow him to see her as he pleased. Shortly after Shade returned, she and Vayle found themselves sleeping outside in the forest. Shade, in her excitement, offered to cook meat over the fire. Vayle had no interest in cooked meat but he agreed because it had been awhile since he saw Shade so upbeat. They were both happy because they were together, just enjoying each other’s company.

I’ve been trying to figure out the inspiration behind that scene. I wrote it maybe 5 years ago. At that point, I hadn’t done any cooking or bonding around the campfire. Most writers have a scene or two (or five) that just comes out of them from wherever ideas are born. Maybe my characters are alive in another world and they’re whispering their stories to me. ;)

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

You can find Auden here:

Friday, June 17, 2016

FOODFIC: Redeemed - P.C. & Kristin Cast

Be forewarned: this post is one giant spoiler. Not of this book, actually, just the 11 that preceded it. ;)

Obviously there have been many changes since this series began, some more predictable than others. Zoey Redbird is no longer just a fledgling; she’s actually a High Priestess now. Or she would be if she wasn’t in jail for killing two men. (Yes, sweet and kind Zoey! But hey, there have been 10 full books since we were introduced; she even says curse words sometimes now!) And since she’s in human jail, she’ll most likely die there when her body rejects the change.

During this incarceration, she’ll surely have visitors, but Heath won’t be one of them as he’s no longer Zoey’s boyfriend. And he’s dead. Well, not all the way dead – he’s sort of been reincarnated, but more in a HoN way than the traditional sense.

On the friendship front, Stevie Rae is still Zoey’s bestie, as is Aphrodite!?! Clearly they’ve both evolved over the course of the series as well – one is now also a High Priestess and the other is no longer even a vampire! You’ve got a 50/50 shot at correctly guessing who’s gone which way. ;)

Besides those original friendships and loveships that readers have been following for 7 years, there have also been cast changes (staff and family, allies and enemies), scene changes (schools and islands and other-worldly realms, oh my!) and conjuring of all sorts of magick – new and old, light and dark.

But one thing has remained constant. (Okay, two things – you know Grandma Redbird wasn’t going anywhere.*) Even in prison, Zoey’s still craving brown pop. It was her beverage of choice when we first met her, and it’s still the first thing she wishes for when served super-runny eggs and beef-jerky-hard bacon in her cell. The only question is: will she be drinking it with her last death-row meal, or using it toast her success at the conclusion of her story?

That’s the one thing I’m not going to spoil, folks. ;)

*She’s of course Zoey’s first jailhouse visitor, toting a picnic basket stocked with her signature lavender chocolate-chip cookies

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Ginae Lee Scott, Author of Looking Through the Water

In my novel, Looking Through the Water, when I glanced back into the story, my main character experienced many types of situations with food. I honestly had not seen this before preparing for this blog post. This alone has been fun reflecting on my purpose of the significance of the meals Cassie has had.

During the summer months off from school, Cassie was left home alone while her parents went off to work. Her mother had left chores for her to do, and while being such a young age of seven, Cassie did what she was told to do, all the while taking care of herself also. Cassie was great at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and not a burden to others in the neighborhood who would have loved to help her.

My favorite meals are the cookies and ice cream treats at the neighbors, - who through their kindness, I believe, - Cassie received those special times around food that all children should have. And not that the food was sweets, but the togetherness of the meal with others.

Mrs. Vashon, an elderly neighbor, shared her food with Cassie amongst her beautiful garden, that backdrop brought forth the title of this book. Cassie finds part of the beauty in this world looking through the water.

Food in Cassie's home was a opposite side of the spectrum. Her mother had to wrestle with herself to bring forth a peaceful meal, so for the most part meals prepared by her could have the opposite affect in Cassie's life. With the emotional bursts of her mother and the chores to big for a young girl, I believe meals at home were very difficult for Cassie.

The beauty of this novel is that Cassie found the beauty in this world, she was wise beyond hers years and she shared what she learned and saw with others.

It's always wonderful to hear back from readers, I love the interaction talk about this novel. There is a readers book club guide in the back of the book. As the author, I want to tell you this story landed like a movie in my mind so much so, that I had to write it. I experienced a character coming alive while writing too, which is an amazing experience for an author.

After the book was done and edits were going on, I saw so many things from my own life on the pages that it was a healing balm for me. Cassie is a lovely, beautiful child, and I wish I had been more brave like her.

Be blessed today,

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

You can find Ginae here:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stacy Juba, Author of Fooling Around With Cinderella

Since my characters work at the Storybook Valley fairy tale theme park, they get to have lots of yummy park food like fried dough, caramel apples, popcorn, and best of all the baked gingerbread men and cinnamon doughnuts from the Little Red Hen Bakery. Jaine gets lots of perks from being the park’s marketing coordinator and temporary Cinderella.

Her sexy boss Dylan is a whiz at making homemade lemonade from his years of working at the park as a teenager. He likes to offer Jaine freshly squeezed lemonade when he needs a favor. But he does have a romantic side also, and arranged a private picnic in the woods for their first date. Jaine couldn’t believe the assortment of crispy breads wrapped in parchment paper, savory biscuits and homemade preserves, cold meats and cheeses, a container of Greek style pasta salad, plump green grapes, fruit skewers, and brownies.

For more about the Storybook Valley menu, check out Fooling Around With Cinderella!

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

You can find Stacy here:

And find Cinderella here:

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What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella's toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom. First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Charles W. Jones, Author of Circus Tarot

“Get your Cotton Candy! A token a fluff!” the man in the red-and-white-striped suit yells, though he doesn’t need to raise his voice as he walks the fairway; the Ladies and Gentlemen flock to him wherever he is. His completion is the midget peddling popcorn, and his brother, Six of Poles, who sells roasted peanuts. Of course, he sells more Cotton Candy than the combination of both his rivals.

Cotton Candy, after all, is the food of the gods. In World Circus you can live your entire life eating nothing else. Though your tastes may change for a moment, craving the saltiness of fresh popped corn, or the earthy meat of the peanut, you will always return to the main staple.

During periods of being “flipped”, the stomach won’t grant the sweet floss access to touch its lining, allowing only raw flesh from a fellow member of World Circus inside. Then with the blink of an eye, the condition rights itself, and the patron craves nothing else but Cotton Candy.

The children who come to the Circus, swarm around him, jumping and reaching for the delectable treat. Gripping the white, paper cone, their faces disappear behind the bright pink or blue fluff, before they giddily scatter inside World Tent to watch the show.

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

Find the author and his books here:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Audrey Kalman, Author of Dance of Souls

Taste Will Tell
by Audrey Kalman

I’ve always loved both writing and cooking. In fact, I once wrote and published a cookbook. That was back in the days when “self-publishing” meant photocopying and comb binding the pages.

The combination of books and food—or literature and gustatory experiences, if you want to be fancy about it—is a natural one, and food seems to work its way into my writing often. A scene from my novel Dance of Souls brings two characters together for a home-cooked meal:

Roxanna had cooked him pollo mole—her mother’s recipe, with nothing from a jar or can. She had toasted and ground the nuts herself and softened the fruit (although she had used the blender and not the metate her mother would have used), hoping to demonstrate to Mr. Candine that in some dishes, albeit not in the case of coffee, ample emotion could compensate for a less-than-scientific approach. He had even helped her in the kitchen as they drank Corona straight from the bottle—another concession by Mr. Candine to his steadily slipping standards. Indeed, the dish had been a great success and they had both eaten more than was strictly good for them.

You could hardly find two more mismatched lovers; their attitudes toward food reveal their differences. Roxanna, the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, is searching for her place in suburban California and has latched onto a fundamentalist church as a way to stay connected to her past. Cooking is part of her heritage and childhood, something she does as naturally as breathing.

Mr. Candine is a displaced mid-westerner, a religious fanatic with delusions of grandeur and some very peculiar ideas about the world. He also teaches middle-school science. His fussy precision—really just a way for him to maintain the illusion of control—makes itself evident when he cooks and eats. (The mention of coffee is a reference to the scientific exactitude he brings to the task of brewing his morning joe.)  It’s a great testament to Roxanna’s feminine wiles that she has gotten him to loosen up enough to drink beer while helping her cook, and straight from the bottle, no less!

How a character relates to food, cooking, and eating reveals a great deal about who they are and their motivations. I wonder what it reveals about authors…

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

You can find Audrey here:

Audrey has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pen and has been editing professionally for more than twenty-five years. Her novel What Remains Unsaid is scheduled for publication in 2016 by Sand Hill Review Press. Her previous novel, Dance of Souls, appeared in 2011. Many online and print journals have published her short fiction and poetry. She lives in northern California with her husband, two sons, and two cats, and is at work on another novel. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Sharon Ricklin Jones, Author of the Ravenswynd Series

In Greek mythology, Ambrosia is considered the food and drink of the gods. It is often depicted as bestowing longevity or immortality upon whoever consumes it. The Ravens (a secret society of vampires) use donor blood and call their ruby-red liquid Ambrosia. This nectar is life sustaining on its own, but contrary to popular belief, vampires also eat solids. Because of their heightened senses, the Ravens are acutely aware of how things taste, and take much pleasure in consuming a wide variety of foods. Fortunately, these ravenous vampires do not gain weight.

In book 1 (Ravenswynd Legends) Elizabeth believes she’s just met the man of her dreams. Before she can get to really know him, she receives an invitation to a clandestine party – where legend has it – is hosted by vampires. The invitation promises a good time, good food and drink, and the choice to become “one of them”. She, her twin sister Melinda, and best friend Fiona, decide to attend, and as you can imagine - their lives will never be the same. Vampires also have an appetite for changing things…

Champagne flows freely. Platters of sizzling hot fillet mignon, (grilled to perfection, juicy and rare) are served, along with baked potatoes, baskets of hot, buttery bread, salads, and chocolate fudge cake. Everyone’s having fun…at first.

But the evening grows ominous, and chances are, they may never get home; Melinda is getting drunk, Fiona's gone missing, and a nightmarish clown is stalking Elizabeth. But even more terrifying - this sinister vampire thirsts for much more than what's flowing through her veins…

Book 2, Ravenswynd Dreams, opens with a romantic and mouthwatering honeymoon.

Upon entering the suite, Elizabeth notices the sweet scent of fresh fruit: grapes, strawberries, cherries and mangoes, apples and bananas. Also, a gift-basket containing a bottle of champagne with a variety of crackers, sharp cheese, smoky sausages, and dark chocolates. (For needed nourishment…later on.)

Several scrumptious meals will be consumed. On a night out on the town they enjoy jellied ham hock, a glazed leek and mushroom tart, and for the main course - rack of lamb with a crispy herb crust, Boulangère potatoes, and butternut squash. They drink a fine bottle of Chablis, and for dessert - hot fudge sundaes smothered in rich chocolate and warm toffee. The honeymooners will also feast on a delectable lunch that includes savory lobster for two, a bottle of red wine, and five-layer chocolate cream pie for dessert. I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering now.

I bet you didn’t know that vampires love chocolate. After moving to the UK and meeting the rest of the vampire society at Ravenswynd, Elizabeth is pleased to learn this fact. She often finds the cook whipping up batches of chocolate mousse or Tiramisu cheesecake for dessert. She also discovers a little known secret: immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her dreams become real-life nightmares, and she finds herself up to her neck in a mind-bending abduction…

In book 3, Ravenswynd Visions, an enchanting trip to the Hebrides brings magnificent sights, and more luscious foods. Not only is the lodge’s fridge stocked with a basket of plump strawberries, Hebridean handmade chocolates and a bottle of fine Italian wine, Elizabeth is surprised to find that their violet-eyed prophetess, Sibelle can cook. She serves fresh fruits, bacon and eggs, grilled tomato, toast and marmalade, with cups of steaming hot English tea. On the side - tall glasses of Ambrosia - a most delicious donor, of course.

She also serves them a disturbing prophecy in the form of a rhyming riddle. This fills Elizabeth with a dreadful sense of foreboding; she knows that Sibelle is never wrong. And sometimes evil returns when you least expect it…

In book 4, Ravenswynd Destinies, a tasty breakfast includes fresh fruit-stuffed cantaloupe: each half filled with oranges, apples, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries, topped with honey- yogurt dressing, and on the side - scoops of fluffy scrambled eggs and ham.

At an elegant restaurant, Lizzy orders pan-fried Gressingham duck breast with star anise and blood-orange sauce – (It’s a real thing!) This comes with potatoes Dauphinoise and chef’s vegetables. Her husband orders the Prime Scottish sirloin steak (so melt-in-your-mouth divine, that Lizzy wishes she’d ordered it as well.)

Alas, there is more to our story than food. A forbidden trip to the U.S. enrages a clandestine ring of Vampire Hunters, putting everyone in danger. There’s another mystifying prophesy. Heart-twisting and astonishing revelations will change everything…

* * * * *

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for though, Sharon!

NOTE: Book 1 of the Ravenswynd Series is FREE everywhere.

Find Sharon and the books here:

Friday, May 6, 2016

FOODFIC: Iqbal - Francesco D'Adamo

13-year-old Fatima works in a carpet factory, bonded to master Hussain Khan to pay off her family’s debt. Khan keeps the total amount owed on a slate beside each child worker's loom, lightening the debts by one rupee for each full day of satisfactory work. When all the debt lines have been erased, the children will be free to go home. Fatima, who’s been indentured to Khan for 3 years (and to 2 other masters before him), doesn’t know which chalk marks represent her running tally and which spell out her name because she never learned to read.

Her entire young life consists of carpet-weaving: a work day that runs from sunrise to sunset, opening with chapatti and dal half an hour before dawn, served by the master’s wife in one large bowl to be shared amongst the 14 child laborers. They do break for a lunch of chapatti and vegetables, but, as Fatima relates, break lasted an hour…hunger a good deal longer.

And in the early days, she dreamed of home, including the sweet laddu my mother made with chickpea flour, the desserts and almonds that we ate on feast days. But those memories have faded over the years, and the hopes the children now share with one another are not for sweeter food, but for sweeter dreams. Or even any dreams at all. Fatima’s grandmother once told her that to have no dreams is the worst fate of all, and so the children compete every morning by making up fantastical sleep adventures from the night before.

Those false dreams were truly all they had to live on until Iqbal arrived. Iqbal, who was two years older than Fatima with eyes sweet and deep and [that] weren’t afraid.

It is Iqbal who crushes those pretend dreams as well as the children’s hopes that their debts will indeed someday be erased. But he replaces those fantasies with a real hope – that one day they will run away from the factory. A dream that Iqbal swears he will bring to fruition. And that may actually sustain them far better than that forgotten sweet laddu.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome C.M. Keller, Author of Screwing Up Time

When Shelley asked me to write about the food in my Screwing Up Time series, I was excited.

Probably because I’m a foodie and so food plays an integral role in my time travel novels. Henry, the main character in my time travel novels, is always dealing with food. If it’s not because of his mom, a dyed-in-the-wool, organic health food nut, who serves tofu-turkey for Thanksgiving or his sister Kate and her midnight trips for fries and Whoppers, it’s the food he encounters while he travels in other times and places.

After all, how can you visit the Middle Ages and not experience eel pie or a cockentrice (a combination of a pig and a chicken sewn together and cooked)? Because let’s face it, cockentrice is cool. And eel pie is just weird.

But food is more than setting and characterization. It’s also part of what drives the story. Even in our real lives, food is part of the plot. At holiday times, we come together to share a meal. Engagements happen over candle-lit dinners. Even many religious ceremonies like Communion and Passover involve food. So too, food helps drive the plots of in the Screwing Up Time series. In Screwing Up Babylon, a monkey with the aim of a Yankees’ pitcher in a pendant-winning year nails people with limes in Babylon. And when the beast is tamed with candied orange peel, Henry discovers the key to rescuing a woman from the harem. Or in one of my favorite scenes from Screwing Up Alexandria, Henry steals a mug of Sumerian beer so he can mix up a time travel elixir and save the woman he loves from being sacrificed.

Oddly enough, the food in my novels often drives the plot of my own life. Because if I’m going to write about ancient beers, candied orange peel, and eel pies, I have to know how they taste. The beer was great. Candied orange peel is delicious. And eel pie…okay, I didn’t really make eel pie. But I ate smoked eel, which is probably close enough, and it was surprisingly good.

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

You can find Connie here:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Wendy Jones, Author of Killer's Cut

Scotch Pehs and Tattie Scones

Scots and food are inextricably linked. Long cold winters mean that hot, high calorie food is enjoyed with relish. Scotch broth thick with barley and brimming with vegetables, and stews made with the best Scotch beef are staple fare. Fodd that warms 'the cockles of your heart', or 'sticks to your ribs' as my grandmother would often say.

Italian immigrants brought fish and chips to Scotland and so began a love affair with all things deep-fried. Fish, dipped in batter and then fried to golden perfection, is served with fat succulent chips. Scotch pehs are also a much loved delicacy. Peh is the local Dundee word for pie. This is short cut pastry filled with spicy minced beef and dripping with grease. The pastry crumbles in your mouth and mixes with the mince causing a flavour akin to ambrosia.

The Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie Mysteries are set in Dundee. Shona and her team work long hours and the food they eat to fuel them is integrated throughout the books. In fact they eat a lot. Bacon rolls feature regularly with huge Scottish morning rolls filled with several thick rashers of bacon. Tattie Scones are another Scottish breakfast delicacy particularly enjoyed by Sergeant Peter Johnston. These are flat, made from potato and, you've got it, fried.

Dundee has had a long relationship with India due to the jute that came in to the ports. Therefore Indian curry is widely available. Shona's favourite food is anything from an Indian takeaway therefore she often orders it in for the team to enjoy.

Some of the best cakes in Scotland are made in Rough and Frasers bakery in Dundee, as are the pehs. Therefore, Shona often nips in to buy cakes for the team. They say an Army marches on its stomach; well, so do the police. They do in my books anyway.

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

You can find Wendy here:

Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer's Cut is the fourth book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series.