Friday, May 22, 2015

FOODFIC: I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore

When we first meet our hero – Number Four – he’s Daniel James of South Florida. But not for long. You see, Four is literally the fourth of 9 Lorien Garde who are hiding on Earth from Mogadorian hunters until their planet is safe to return to. The methodical elimination demands that once #3 is killed, Four is up next. So within pages of meeting him, our hero Daniel must assume the new identity of John Smith and relocate to Paradise, Ohio, population 5243. The size of the town is important, not because it makes it easier for now-John to blend (it’s actually harder, since new people stick out like Dopey’s ears in small towns) but because it’s nearly impossible for the larger-than-believably-human Mogadorians to blend.

At least Four is not alone; he travels with his “father” Keeper Henri, who stays Henri in every town for simplicity’s sake.* And Henri didn’t choose Paradise because it’s homey; he prefers they not get too attached to anywhere or anyone since they may/probably might/most definitely will have to leave town on very short notice. So of course this is the one place over after 11 years of moves  that Four does make a deep personal connection. And, ironically, he connects with Sarah in the “homiest” place in the school – the home ec kitchen. They bond over cupcakes and shared stories and a mutual frenemy. It’s all more 15-year-old Four has ever known, maybe even hoped for, which is why we get that sinking feeling that the day she becomes too hard for him to leave is exactly when he’ll have to go.

But what if this time he stays? What if he stops running and tries to fight back? Perhaps that could be the recipe for a win…

*You have to think it’d be even easier for Four to call Henri “Dad,” but he never has, even though his birth father was killed along with the rest of his family in the wars on Lorien years ago.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

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:                                                 Twitter@CFFBooks                         Goodreads      
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

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:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

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 the Indies 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 (