Thursday, March 14, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome S.K. Whiteside, Author of INHERITANCE



Laissez les bons temps rouler

Whew! We certainly let the good times roll these past few weeks here in New Orleans. The struggle is most definitely real! Whoever thought that Daylight Savings time should be a thing should be killed (I want my hour back!). To make matters worse, us natives are just coming down from Mardi Gras: weeks of drinking, partying, parades, debauchery, and food.

Food.

I admit, when I was first asked to include something about a dish or food in my post I was a bit intimidated. I write about many things but food is NOT one of them. Then I thought about where I lived and all of the food.

Food. Glorious Food.


New Orleans has beautiful architecture (albeit, complicated street names) and a rich (yet haunted) history…both key reasons why I chose to make home as the setting for my Inheritance series and its surrounding world. But New Orleans wouldn’t be the mecca that is without the staple of its food.

Delicious Cajun and creole food. If you are a health nut, New Orleans is not the place for you. New Orleans food is savory, rich, decadent, and smothered with things like sugar, liquor, sauces and gravies.
 
While many of my characters aren’t really pressed to eat the local cuisine (they prefer more metallic tasting nourishments), characters like Malachi engulfs it. A fallen angel, Malachi is not very sociable and can be a bit snarky as a means to keep others from getting too close. He made New Orleans his home over fifty years ago because it was the perfect place where he could be himself unabashed and be alone without anyone noticing him, or the fact that sometimes he talks to dead people. What he didn’t anticipate was falling in love with the city and even more so, the food. He prefers all things sweet and decadent (Bananas foster, Bread pudding and rum sauce, pecan candy) but his favorite?

None other than the New Orleans King Cake.



What is a king cake? Sweet, cinnamon bread covered in icing and sprinkles on top. Sounds simple but trust me, not everyone can make a good king cake. Some are filled, some are made from cake, some are made from donuts. The variations are so many that every year during carnival New Orleans holds the ultimate King Cake tasting festival. Winners get bragging rights for the next year. Some makers only sell during Mardi Gras which makes the demand for their cakes that much bigger. 

Malachi however, is a man of tradition and only has eyes for the Randazzos king cake. Which sucks because they are only open four months out of the year. Every year he tries to stock up before they close but the cakes never last the week and all he is left with is a void and small bit of shame for his gluttonous ways.

If you are ever in New Orleans during Mardi Gras be sure to grab you one…or two…or five. Who knows, Mardi Gras was just last week, you may be lucky enough to catch an order before they close until next season!


Manny Randazzo’s                     Sugar Love Cakes


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



You can find SK here:




Thursday, March 7, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Grace Wynne Jones, Author of The Truth Club



The Truth Club is not the kind of book where people go to lots of expensive restaurants or spiralise zucchini, they are far more preoccupied with trying to sort out their personal lives, which is why comfort food is frequently mentioned.

Sally Adams, the main character, is a journalist and likes munching a biscuit, especially if it is covered in chocolate.  Some months after a rather grand wedding she has left her husband, Diarmuid, because their views of love and marriage seem so different. (“I love sweet things, Diarmuid prefers savories.” As I say this I realise it pretty well sums up my marriage.  she reflects in Chapter Seven.)

A carpentry teacher and biology student, Diarmuid has become somewhat obsessed with some mice he's keeping as part of his studies, and often lovingly gives them mature cheddar cheese.  Diarmuid himself has a fondness for Turkish Delight confectionery, and almond biscuits which Sally stocks up on for when he 'pops round'. (They are 'keeping the lines of communication open.') But, usually, Diarmuid prefers savories. Sally and he met at a party where they ate 'big plates of spaghetti bolognaise'.

When Sally meets Nathaniel, a very tempting and understanding stranger, he invites her for a Chinese meal at a special place he knows, only it's  closed and it seems they'll have to opt for takeaway fish and chips. The dinner is ditched when Diarmuid phones demanding that Sally meets him. He has seen Sally and Nathaniel together.

But the resulting conversation isn't as fraught as it might have been. Diamuid announces, I have chocolate cake at home. A lovely big chocolate cake....A cake with lots of icing.  Since he had sometimes spoken of marriage as a cake that doesn't need icing and Sally  feels that icing is very important, this is a very seductive declaration. Perhaps cake can bring them back together?

Though Sally has quite enough conundrums on her plate, including a perplexing and distant relationship with her sister, her beloved Great Aunt Aggie adds an astonishing request to the mix. Aggie wants Sally to find her sister DeeDee who went missing many decades ago. Is DeeDee, for some reason, a black sheep? Why is it that the family hardly ever mention her? Aggie tells Sally that DeeDee loved Marble cake and wanted to visit Rio de Janeiro, which isn't that much to go on.

Thankfully Sally has some great friends who try to ease her complications. Fiona, for example, is happily married and expecting a baby and has a great job...though things aren't quite as they may seem on the surface.  When Sally visits her beautiful house Fiona offers her wonderful food. My parents are rather like Fiona in that they regularly acquire seductive foodstuffs and then get their guests to eat them. Without guests a packet  of high-grade chocolate chip cookies could last them a whole month.  Sally thinks in Chapter Five.

Would you like some lasagne? It's delicious. We got it from that swanky new deli. The chef is Italian. Fiona says in Chapter Three. Sally says yes because I am now in comfort food territory. Any time I'm with Fiona, I eat far more than I should, while she pecks at salad and radishes.

When Sally's eccentric pal Erika tries to drag Sally to the cinema Sally insists they both stock up on confectionery for it is a known fact that if only one person buys a packet of sweets she will spend the first half of the film trying to get the other person to eat it. But Sally's beautiful stranger, Nathaniel, is in the film queue, a woman is by his side and Sally doesn't want to face him. Instead they have singed pizza at Erika's house. I have never eaten non-singed pizza cooked by Erika. 

When Sally, Erika and Fiona make a somewhat desperate quick trip dash to New York, each wanting to flee their worries, cake again provides comfort. The waiter arrives with the cakes. They look gorgeous, like ornate and luxurious hats with strange, delicious things poking out of them. The chocolate ones are virtually sculptures. Erika briefly forgets her almost unbearable grief and decides she wants the meringue, which is stuffed with fresh cream and raspberries and tiny chocolate truffles.

Goodness, typing that even made me feel hungry. I really do like a nice cake myself!

And I also really like a tasty review the book received from the Evening Herald: If ‘The Truth Club’ were a dessert, it would be a tiramisu.... 


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


You can find Grace here:





Thursday, February 28, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome P.D. Workman, Author of Tattooed Teardrops



When Shelley invited me to guest post on her blog about Tattooed Teardrops, I told her that the book didn’t really mention much about food, and perhaps one of my other books would be a better choice. On sitting down and reviewing it, however, I identified a total of 23 scenes in which the characters were eating. No, not very many mentions of food at all…

Although some of the later scenes may be a little more unusual (such as a public fight in a mall food court, the armed robbery of a convenience store for munchies, or feeding a portion of a cranberry-orange muffin to a kidnapped dog,) I wanted to pick an early scene to introduce the book to you.

Tamara has just been released on parole after being in juvenile detention for three years. The transition is not an easy one, and she finds meals with her new foster family particularly stressful. She’s lived a very regimented life for the past three years, eating in the juvie cafeteria at strictly appointed times with rigid rules of behaviour, and family meals are a big change. In this scene, she has just been introduced to the rest of the members of her foster family, including her foster father, at her first dinner in the home. There are seven people around the table. Most of the dishes are not identified, other than a casserole, but Tamara doesn’t have much of an appetite.

Tamara nodded, looking down at her empty plate. Her stomach tightened and it was suddenly hard to breathe. The only men that she had been around for three years had been guards, doctors, and administrators. The last man she had lived with before that… her foster father, Mr. Baker… that had been a bad scene. A very bad scene. Tamara swallowed. She tried to slow her breathing, but it just made her breath louder in her own ears. She was sure everyone would be hear how loudly and quickly she was breathing.

And later in the scene:

She watched everyone else chow down, and conversations flowed back away from her again. Tamara watched for the appropriate time to leave the table. There was no end-of-dinner bell anymore. She had to relearn all the social graces. How to judge the end of a conversation. When one could politely leave the dinner table. How long she could look at someone before they decided she was being too aggressive. It was like living in a foreign country. 

There are a surprising number of food scenes to follow. Kraft Dinner and Kool-Aid at Sybil’s house. Burgers and fries at the mall. A non-alcoholic grape juice that is not what it appears to be. And of course, General Tso chicken and an orange cranberry muffin shared with the dog. Tamara’s reintegration into society doesn’t go at all the way she had expected.


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



You can find Pam here:










Winner of Top Fiction Award, In the Margins Committee, 2016

“I don’t plan on getting in any trouble.”
Tamara had thought that when she got out of juvie, things would be easier. But before long, it seems like her life is spiraling into chaos.
If she can’t prove to her probation officer that she is innocent of the allegations against her, she’s going back to prison, and Tamara just can’t let that happen.

Friday, February 15, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Vincent Zandri, Author of The Sins of the Sons



Hell Knoweth No Fury like a Hungry Gumshoe
Vincent Zandri

Jack “Keeper” Marconi, PI, is a tough man. He’s a gumshoe’s gumshoe who says what he means and means what he says, and he’s willing to back it all up with his fists if necessary. He is also a man who loves to eat and drink what he wants, when he wants. After all, his daily running/weight lifting regimen with his sidekick Blood, a 6’4” African American chunk of ebony granite, burns enough calories to keep him in tip top shape, even if he will never see 50 again.

When a potential client walks into Keeper’s downtown Albany, second floor Sherman Street office, he or she might find the muscular private eye feasting on an Italian submarine constructed of fresh ham, salami, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion slices, plus black olives, green peppers, all stuffed tightly inside a full loaf of freshly baked Italian bread. While washing this feast down with a cold Pilsner beer is always an option, Keeper is known to enjoy it with a glass of blood red Chianti, or even a double shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey, neat.

But allow me to back up a bit, to earlier in the detective’s day. As soon as the morning workout is finished, it is often customary for Keeper and Blood to hit up the local Dunkin' Donuts for two large coffees (no sugar, just milk for Keeper; black, no sugar for Blood), and a bag of half a dozen assorted donuts. Now, before you automatically do the “Cops and donuts” thing, remember, Keeper is a private dick and so is Blood. In fact, Keeper wasn’t even a real cop in a previous life. He was a prison warden and Blood was his inmate. Their relationship is a solid one. Brotherly almost. They can think one another’s thoughts. So when Blood opens the bag and spots a Blueberry Cake donut, he automatically hands it to Keeper. In keeping with the brother-from-another-mother mantra, if Keeper opens the bag and spots a chocolate frosted, he immediately hands it off to Blood. Such is the selfless nature of their crime stopping and hunger feeding relationship.

At the end of a long day of snooping and detecting, the likes of which you will find in the newly released Keeper Marconi novel, Sins of the Sons, Keeper and Blood will likely hit up a local watering hole called, Lanies Bar (which you will find in North Albany, off Albany Shaker Road…look it up. Terrific wings and steaks). Blood doesn’t have to ask for his dirty vodka martini from one of the bartenders. He or she will drop what they are doing to start on a shaker of them as soon as they see the big man approaching the glass entrance. Keeper, on the other hand, will drink a frosty domestic beer and maybe a Jameson back. Lately, he’s been enjoying the new IPA Jameson for its bite, which seems to remove much of the chill from his bones in mid-winter. Keeper will also order one of the amazing homemade soups Lanies prepares such as the Tuscan chicken with its red sauce, white beans, chunks of white chicken meat, and kale. Or a New England clam chowder so thick you can stand a spoon inside it. And he’s been tempted in the past to trade in his .45 sidearm for a bowl of the chicken and rice.

Come dinner time, when Blood and Keeper have parted, the former warden will retire to the first floor of his Sherman Street building, pour another couple of fingers of Irish whiskey, open another cold beer, and put a pot of cold tap water on the gas stove to boil. While the water heats, he’ll spin a Blue Note jazz record on the old turn table, curse himself for having sold his vintage Roger’s drum kit for some badly needed cash, and set his sights on preparing one of his famous pasta dishes. While he’s fully capable of stirring up a mean bolognese of fresh ground beef, salt and peppered to taste, and prepared in a sizzling skillet along with a full clove of garlic, chopped onion, and imported olive oil (if it ain’t nuclear green it’s not fresh enough for Keeper), he might choose instead to prepare a linguini with white clam sauce and fresh Maine quahogs. Sometimes, he’s satisfied with a spaghetti pomodoro, but only if he has fresh tomatoes, basil, and grated Romano cheese lying around. For starters he’ll prepare a fresh garden salad of iceberg, onions, black olives, and tomatoes, drowned in a simple dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar just like his mother and grandmother used to prepare. Desert will be one last whiskey or perhaps a glass of Chianti.

It’s not easy cooking for one’s self, the lonely private eye often finds himself thinking. But then, eating and drinking as well as possible is as much a part of his life as hunting down the bad guys. And God knows, hell knoweth no fury like a hungry gumshoe.


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



You can find Vincent here:







Vincent Zandri is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling ITW Thriller Award and PWA Shamus Award winning author of more than forty novels and novellas. His Keeper Marconi series has sold more than 300,000 copies by three different publishers. Sins of the Sons, the newest novel in the series, is released on February 8, 2018.

Friday, February 1, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Bobby Nash, Author of 85 North



The road trip snacks of 85 North!
Bobby Nash

We all have them.

If you work as a writer long enough, you will find yourself with a drawer (or in modern terms, a computer file folder) full of unused stories that, for one reason or another, never found a home to call their own. Sometimes it’s because of publisher or editor rejection; other times it happens because projects stall or publishers go out of business. It happens. Things do simply fall by the wayside.

Whatever the reason, things happen, and some stories fall through the cracks.

It’s a crazy business we’re in, isn’t it?

85 North is a collection of stories I wrote over the years that fell through the cracks, as it were. Every story in the book was contracted by a publisher at one time or another, but never made it to the published page for one reason or another. There are a couple of exceptions. When Falstaff Books asked about publishing this collection of stories, I added a couple of previously published pieces to round out the set.

The title story, 85 North, deals with a road trip that takes a decidedly strange turn when a routine gas stop turns out to be anything but routine. It’s also loosely based on a true story. Once the story goes into full horror mode, I embellish a lot, but the inspiration for the story has its roots in the real world.

The one thread that holds all of the wildly different stories in this collection together is that they all revolve around a trip. Sometimes that trip is straightforward, having to get from here to there, but some of the trips are to the past, the future, toward danger, away from danger, and toward bad decisions.

And what do you need on any good road trip?

Road snacks!

Pete, Robert, Bethany, and Jill were inseparable during their high school years. Now, with college separating them, the gang takes one last road trip together, delivering Jill to her new home for the next four years. It’s also Pete’s last chance to tell her how he feels about her. Or is he already too late?

Food plays an important role in the story.

We open in the boys’ cluttered apartment, empty pizza boxes and take out containers everywhere. Ah, the life of a college student, back when we could survive on pizza, beer, and two hours of sleep a night.

The Sidewinder is a bar and grill they end up in on their last night in town before the big road trip. The sidewinder is that college town hole in the wall with greasy burgers, cheap beer, and heavy battered, deep fried onion rings with ranch dipping sauce. My mouth waters already at the thought of it. As good as the food is, what really draws crowds to the Sidewinder is the music. Local and regional acts flock to Athens, Georgia. You can sometimes catch national acts for the price of a bar band. It’s a music mecca.

Once on the road, we get the antithesis of the Sidewinder. It doesn’t have a name, but there is a diner attached to a gas station. This part of the story is true. We took the exit, which we realized wasn’t often traveled dur to the grass growing through the pavement. We crossed the bridge to the gas station and diner, the only thing on the exit.

While one friend pumped the gas, the other two of us headed toward the bathroom.

This is where things get weird.

To get to the restroom, we had to go through the diner. No worries. As soon as we crossed the threshold into the packed diner, all sounds ceased. It became eerily quiet. The diners all stopped eating and watched as we crossed the diner. No clinking silverware against plates, no nothing. It was like something out of a horror movie. If Rod Serling had been sitting at one of the booths, having a smoke and sipping on a steaming hot cup of coffee, I would not have been surprised.

After our bathroom stop, we retraced our steps as they watched us walk out. Once we were back in the gas station part, the sound of people eating resumed.

As I said, eerie.

Suffice to say, we beat a hasty retreat.

That wasn’t the end to the weirdness, but I’ll save that part for when you read the book. I can only assume that the diner was serving traditional American breakfast fare like eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, orange juice and coffee, but I was too focused on getting the hell out of there to pay that close attention. Ha! Ha!

We had considered grabbing a bit at the diner when we got off the interstate, but that option was quickly discarded. Thankfully, we had packed the usual junk food snacks and drinks so we were good until we reached our destination and could get a proper meal.

After that trip, I’ll vowed never to go on a road trip without a full stocked cooler again.

Bobby Nash
On The Road Again


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



You can find Bobby here:







An award-winning author, Bobby Nash writes novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a variety of publishers. Bobby is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers. On occasion, Bobby appears in movies and TV shows, usually standing behind your favorite actor. For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at www.bobbynash.com, www.ben-books.com, and across social media.

About 85 North:

ROAD TRIP! There are many roads along life’s highway, paths taken or not. You come to a crossroad. Do you turn left? Do you turn right? And can you live with the consequences of that decision?

85 North is a collection of tales from Award-Winning Author Bobby Nash that heads off the beaten path into roads not yet discovered. From superheroes to robots, 85 North is full of tales of action and adventure for the modern world and beyond.

Buckle up. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Published by Falstaff Books (http://falstaffbooks.com)

85 North is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more. You can read 85 North FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.


Friday, January 25, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Mark Noce, Author of Between Two Fires



Dark Age Dinners in Between Two Fires

Thanks for having me here, Shelley! Today I’m blogging about the medieval meals that would’ve been enjoyed by the characters in my novel Between Two Fires. Set in Wales around the year 600 AD, there definitely were some culinary facts that I had to research and make sure to keep straight throughout my book.

One of the most apparent aspects was that this was before the Age of Discovery, which meant no New World foods. That means Medieval Wales had no sugar, no tomatoes, no corn (maize), or anything else that originated in the Americas. Due to the limited international trade of the era, tea from the Far East and coffee from Arabia were also unknowns at this time in Western Europe.

So what did they eat then? Plenty of meat and dairy for starters. In a country where the grass grows green and thick, it makes a lot of sense to raise sheep and cattle. That means milk and mutton for sure. But much of the landscape was still very rural and wild by our modern standards. Which meant vast forests with lots of game, such as wild boar and deer. In addition, the wet climate means that things like leeks and onions often grow wild, providing key ingredients for soups. Although not everyone might have been aware that such greens were essential for keeping away scurvy, it certainly added to the overall health of the local people.

Liquor was also very important. Many people distrusted water, not understanding how waterborne diseases were spread. So fermentation was a way to combat this. Cider actually would’ve been the most common, as apple orchards had been planted since Roman times and possibly earlier. The Picts in the far north supposedly even fermented heather into a type of ale. There would’ve been some wine imported from the continent, but this would’ve been for the church and aristocracy only. In addition, beer would’ve been brewed, probably darker varieties. 

However, bread was surprisingly rare. People certainly raised grains, but not in the numbers we are accustomed to today. Plenty of rye and oats were grown, as they faour poorer or rain-soaked soils. Wheat and barely would’ve been reserved for the best, most fertile patches of ground. Although mush, stirabout, and oatmeal may have been common, actual milled bread would’ve been more of a noble’s meal, rather than a peasant’s. In fact, well into the late medieval era, even when bread became common throughout Britain, Wales in particular saw limited bread production. So much so that some Welsh considered it a “Saxon” food at times.

Cheeses and other dairy products would’ve been common. Fruits would’ve been harder to come by, mainly due to the climate and spoilage. Apples were usually pressed into cider for this very reason. They don’t keep long. Whereas a barrel of hard cider will be good for a long, long while.   

To learn more about my novel (and the foods in it), I’ve provided a brief blurb about Between Two Fires.

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.


I’ve also written a sequel to Between Two Fires, entitled Dark Winds Rising. Both novels were published via St. Martin’s Press. To learn more about my work, check out the links below. Thanks again for having me here, Shelley!


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



You can find Mark here:




Thursday, January 17, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Ottilie Weber, Author of Family Ties




The scent of sweet and cinnamon drift from a country club kitchen. Abby is working at a country club as a waitress with her friend Cory. Dealing with people is not Abby’s strong suit as she is usually equipped with her sarcasm and ready to ‘just tell people how it is’ attitude. However, when Lucy, a chef at the restaurant, makes her specialty cinnamon rolls, Abby can almost tolerate her job.

After years of her family’s history instead of fairy tales like every other child Abby thinks she is far too old to think about those stories. One night she is trying to leave work, her friend Cory drags his feet so she decides to leave without him. On the way home though she is kidnapped and brought to another country. Cory is left feeling with the guilt of not simply walking his friend to their neighborhood. Abby is now being held against her will in a mansion.

The rose-colored glasses don’t last long with her capturer. She soon learns that he is after an unfinished deal with her family and his all those years ago. As she is plotting her escape, she learns that her dad had the story wrong about her great-great grandmother Emma.

Cozy up with a warm cinnamon roll to read about a person who isn’t as sweet as one. Family Ties is a young adult novel that is told by three different point of views, Abby’s, Cory’s, and Emma’s. After all, a story doesn’t have one side.



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


You can find Ottilie here:




Thursday, January 10, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gabriel Valjan, Author of The Company Files



In The Naming Game, I introduce readers to a bygone era of Hollywood history and intrigue, which includes the seductive glamour of fine dining and drinking in Los Angeles of yesteryear. I mention Musso & Frank, where Chandler, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and West sat, drank, and scribbled. While I don’t have readers sample from the French-forward menu that Musso & Frank still uses, I did mention the Windsor, the restaurant Ben Dimsdale owned for four decades before he reinvented it as an Asian fusion eatery.

At the nearby Cocoanut Grove club at the Ambassador, two of my characters meet for drinks. She has an Old Fashioned, while he enjoys a lesser-known libation called The Stinger, which is brandy with crème de menthe, a concoction that she thinks is the “upper-crust choice of either flyboys or college men.” Seduction and strategy afoot, the two leave the nightspot for dinner at the Mountain Palace (now Yamashiro) in the Hollywood Hills. The meal they enjoy is one I researched and was on their menu in 1951. I also describe how the restaurant had been built as a replica of a shogun’s villa.

No story about Fifties LA would be complete without a tip of the fedora to its underworld and the clubs that gangsters like Mickey Cohen frequented and infiltrated. The Trocodero was show-and-tell for the stars. They went there to see and be seen. Writers hung out at jazz clubs or more low-key places with their own kind, like Schwab’s on Sunset. I have a meeting between writers at Slapsy Maxie’s, which became Billy Gray’s Band Box, one of the earliest places for stand-up comedy on Wilshire in LA.

If two ladies in The Naming Game spent “forty-two dollars for filet de boeuf forestiere or, in English for the masses, larded tenderloin sauced in olive oil and served with a garnish of bacon and diced potatoes”, the boys got into the soup on the Strip at a property Charlie Chaplin used to own, and the restaurant was famous for its hobo steak and a signature dessert called the snowball, which was vanilla ice cream encrusted with shredded coconut.

When Terry and Walker aren’t sweating scripts to meet Jack Warner’s deadlines, they enjoy fast food from Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. Cagney and Bogart make a cameo. Readers learn why Jack Warner fired Rin Tin Tin, and how much he loathed Harry Cohn at Columbia Studios. Cohn had set up a Mexican food stand on his lot to lure writers away from the WB Studio. Note: the infamous scene with the horse’s head in The Godfather was allegedly based on retaliation against Harry Cohn’s for refusing to cast Frank Sinatra in From Here To Eternity. John Marley who played Jack Woltz had not been informed that a real animal and blood would be used, so his screams were real.

Although the majority of the story takes place in LA, part of the action happens on the East Coast, like Jack Marshall, Walker’s boss, calling the shots. Readers will have a power-lunch with Jack at Ebbits, a landmark DC grill, where there was “plenty of cigar smoke, and plenty of sorrows tipped back along with the famous oysters.” The establishment has hosted Presidents, lesser politicians, and the theater crowd for a century, and is rumored to have been a watering hole for CIA and FBI agents back in the day. Ebbits is still open to customers.

Whether it’s Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name. The right name. I hope you enjoy the story, the locales, and history in The Naming Game.

Cheers and Bon Appétit.


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


You can find Gabriel here:






Thursday, January 3, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Derek Thompson, Author of STANDPOINT



Thomas Bladen, a spy worth his salt
Derek Thompson looks at his main character’s relationship with food.

Not all spies are suave and sophisticated. Thomas is smart, sardonic, and rough around the edges. He works for Britain’s Surveillance Support Unit – loaned out to any government department that will have them, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Other departments call them floaters – it’s not a term of endearment.

Although Thomas works for the SSU in London, this son of a Yorkshire miner has never lost touch with his working-class roots. He’s a man who eats to live rather than living to eat.

A meal out with Miranda, the epicentre of his complicated love life, runs to tuna steaks and red wine. But it’s Miranda who knows how to make his mouth water.

“We never got to dessert,” she said, slinking past him, with an overnight bag over one shoulder and a carton of vanilla ice cream in her hand. 

In the office he functions on vending machine coffee and chocolate bars. Out on the streets with Karl, he favours a ‘greasy spoon’ café for a sausage and egg sandwich on white, no ketchup. Sometimes it’s a fry-up; surveillance work demands patience, vigilance, and calories!

Further conversation was parked as they made their way through a meal fit for a king — a king who enjoyed mushrooms, eggs, tomatoes, sausages, bacon, toast and beans. 

Karl managed to cram sausage, bacon and beans into his mouth, and still talk. 

Thomas found that a conscience wreaked havoc on his appetite so he played safe with a large mug of tea and a meagre two eggs on toast. He jabbed at the eggs so that they bled yellow and swept the plate with toast, sluicing the yellow into ketchup.

Keeping unsociable hours, Thomas relies on takeaways, usually Chinese food or an Indian curry – the hotter the better. Or else he throws together whatever’s in the kitchen.

A cheese omelette with bacon bits in it and bread that was only good for toasting. 

He left her to it, put the kettle on and dug something resurrectable out of the freezer — two portions.

He’s not a serious drinker because it impairs his judgement. And for Thomas, nothing matters more than being in control.

They agreed to share a bottle of wine — her treat. He quickly got into the rhythm of their non-date. By dessert he’d noticed her legs again. 

When Thomas and Karl need a neutral space to talk things through, they head over to a pub for shandy and crisps (potato chips in the US). Man, they lurve crisps!

The only time when Thomas seems to eat a two-course meal is with Miranda’s family, where it’s a traditional British Sunday roast dinner or pizza and salad, followed by dessert. You could say he’s a traditionalist. Even when he goes back up to Yorkshire to see his family for his annual guilt trip, the good is usually wholesome and uncomplicated: fish & chips — a feast for the prodigal son. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_and_chips


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



You can find Derek here:







STANDPOINT by Derek Thompson
Book 1 in the SPY CHASER series
Assignment: Customs & Excise

THE WRONG MAN IN THE RIGHT PLACE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Thomas Bladen has been living a double-life for two years. He’s a Civil Service photographer in London, but the Surveillance Support Unit has a much wider remit. It’s staffed by ex-forces personnel, careerists, and Thomas. He has an eye for details that other people miss and a talent for finding trouble – a combination that was never going to bring him an easy life.

When Thomas witnesses a shooting on a routine surveillance operation and uncovers a web of deceit and treachery that people will kill for, can a good man hold the line without crossing it?

When Thomas uncovers a sinister secret that threatens both the UK and the European Union, his life and the lives of those closest to him will never be the same again.

Monday, December 31, 2018

FOODFIC: Book Menu for 2019



Aaand maybe some old ones, too. ;)

No, I didn't fulfill my 2018 Reading Resolution, but that won't stop me from creating a new menu for the new year!

Here's the jist of what I ordered, finished, and left on the table:

STATUS: Started, Didn't Finish
STATUS: Never Started

STATUS: Started, Didn't Finish

STATUS:Started, Didn't Finish

STATUS: Never Started

STATUS: Finished!

STATUS: Finished!

STATUS: Never Started


So I'm going to keep those undigested reads on my list for 2019, as well as add these tasty new morsels:

People Kill People – Ellen Hopkins

Rich People Problems – Kevin Kwan

Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger

The Friendship Test – Elizabeth Noble



Please let me know what's on your 2019 book menu,
and good luck to us all in our reading endeavors!