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 (

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Fayette Fox, Author of The Deception Artist

I love food, so it’s no surprise my debut novel reads like a well-stocked kitchen. The Deception Artist is told from the perspective of eight-year-old Ivy, who has a vivid imagination and lies so people will like her. Set in Northern California during the late 80’s, this sharp, funny story explores the dark heart of an ordinary family and finds out that make-believe isn’t just for kids.

Food plays an important role in my novel.

Budding friendships are nurtured in the school yard as grapes are traded for potato chips. During an astronaut game, green food coloring transforms Monterey jack into “moon cheese.” When Ivy’s brother is sick, she eats chocolate pudding in the hospital cafeteria, telling a stranger a ridiculous lie. At dinner, Ivy’s family eat retro classics like quiche, cheese pilaf casserole, and ham and zucchini skillet, while her parents argue. There’s a daring candy heist to cement a friendship, and an epic make-your-own-sundae party. Ivy and a friend hide under the kitchen table while Dad learns about souffl├ęs from a woman who might be getting a little…too friendly with him.

I got a big kick inventing strange flavor combinations for a character’s baby food business. In later parts of the book, pureed concoctions like Banana Garbanzo Bonanza, Citrus Spinach Surprise, and Chicken Cherry Chickadee, are crafted in the family’s kitchen.

Most of all, I loved writing from Ivy’s perspective, like in this scene between Ivy and Mom.

“Does every story have a moral?” I ask, putting the lettuce in the fridge.
“No, some stories are just stories.”
“But does every fairytale have one?”
“I don’t know, honey. Most do.”
 I try to figure out the moral of Snow White. Don’t be too beautiful? Don’t
               eat apples?

What’s a food related lesson you learned as a kid? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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

You can find Fayette here:


The Deception Artist has been shortlisted for the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award and Amazon’s Rising Stars Award.

The novel is available in bookstores, on Amazon 
and through Roaring Forties Press.

Friday, April 10, 2015

FOODFIC: Lailah - Nikki Kelly

When this story begins, Lailah is not in fact “Lailah” at all. She’s Francesca (Cessie), a vampire slayer, frozen forever at age 17. Fortunately she has the bone structure (and fake I.D.) to pass for 21, allowing her to take jobs at the sort of shady establishments where she is most likely to cross paths with the monsters she hunts. Less fortunate is that, as often as not, these encounters lead to her death. Yes, encounters, plural. And deaths, also plural. Yet Cessie is unfailingly reborn at 17.

And it’s only that immortality, along with the inhuman ability to heal from the non-fatal wounds, which confirms for her she’s in the right line of work, for she has no family to guide her. There is not one consistent person in her life/lives, unless you count Gabriel, who repeatedly visits her dreams.

Of course, when real-life Gabriel actually catches up with Cessie in present-day Wales, everything changes. First, he calls her by her given name! But he tells her nothing else of her original life, instead activating her ability to conjure up memories of her past herself. And the magic potion with which he does this is…lemonade.

He pours it for Lailah – real, fresh lemonade, nothing quite like it. The crisp, bitter flavor [dancing on her] taste buds with a clean, dry finish.

Yes, the author does describe the taste, though she needn’t have. We read the word lemonade and it immediately triggers sensory reactions in all of us. At the very least, we see the bright yellow (or perhaps pink) liquid, smell the sharp citrus, feel our mouths water and maybe our lips pucker. And most of us can readily conjure up a memory of our own involving this signature drink, just like Lailah, for whom the aroma [fills her] senses and, against [her] wishes, memories [begin] to cascade in.

With one sip, she remembers her past clearly for the first time. She sees that she and Gabriel have not only intersected in dreams, but in past lives. Decades of history between them and here he stands, as untouched by age as she. Now, the secret of youth for Gabriel, the angel of Lailah’s dreams, is that he really is an angel. But for Lailah, the answer is not as clear…

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Please Welcome John Dolan, Author of A Poison Tree

OK, this is going to be tricky. Unlike my wife Fiona – who is a complete foodie – I tend to view food the same way a car looks at petrol: fuel to get me through the day. Fiona tells me I’m an utter Philistine on matters nutritional, and I’m sure she’s right (she usually is). If I could simply pop a pill three times a day, I would. Chewing can be exhausting. I often forget to eat meals when I’m busy, and on such occasions it takes a hunger headache or rumbling tummy to drive me to the fridge.

Enough about me.

My protagonist in the Time, Blood and Karma series, PI David Braddock, is also somewhat careless of eating – since to eat, he would have to take the cigarette out of his mouth, and put aside the whisky bottle. As most of his adventures take place in South East Asia, when he does eat it is likely to be Thai dishes (with ‘rat shit’ peppers, as they are lovingly known by the ex pat community). The latest book in the series, A Poison Tree, is, however, set in Leicester, England. Not somewhere one would automatically associate with great cuisine. However, they do have some mean Indian restaurants and a few serviceable coffee shops – and it is there that Braddock tops up his energy levels.

One thing my anti-hero would NOT be eating, for sure, is humble pie. He’s way too self-absorbed for that.

Now where did I put those protein pills?

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

You can find John here: