Thursday, January 23, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Elaine Calloway, Author of Windstorm



In my worldview, pizza and beer go together just like peanut butter and jelly. When my friends and I would dig into a meaty concoction filled with sausage and pepperoni, our favorite brews always accompanied the choice. This pairing wasn’t about flavor or the palette; pizza and beer were simply a known pairing.

When I went on a trip to Napa Valley to do some research for my book Windstorm, which has winery themes, I was surprised to find dozens of pizza places within Napa Valley, all of which served wine with their pies.

While I’d never heard of such a thing, I quickly discovered that Napa Valley does not have ordinary pizza…and they certainly don’t have ordinary wine.

Skewered shrimp and tomato pizza? This pairs well with the Sauvignon Blanc from a specific winery.

Spinach and artichoke pizza with grilled mushrooms? Try a sweeter wine such as Riesling.

Duck pizza braised with barbeque sauce? Try a Merlot.

For every type of pizza, there was a wine to accommodate.

And what I learned as I explored historic wineries with ornate d├ęcor is that it’s not just about pouring a red or white glass of wine. Wine to the local Napa Valley folks is a mini-Siesta, a means of connecting people, a means of slowing down and living in the present moment.

We rush through our days, hectic-filled with responsibilities and appointments. And yet, Napa Valley has figured out a way to take a breather, relax, and appreciate the little things.

Next time you’re in the mood for pizza, check out Napa Valley and enjoy a glass of vino with your choice.


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


You can find Elaine here:







Elaine Calloway writes paranormal fiction with a Southern twist. Windstorm is part of her Urban Fantasy Elemental Clan Series, which has a total of 5 books. She is currently working on a 10-book Southern Ghosts Series and Book 5, Kentucky Reign, will be released Spring of 2020. To follow Elaine’s book updates, join her readers list here: https://forms.aweber.com/form/83/1228819183.htm

Windstorm Pinterest Board:
 https://www.pinterest.com/elainecalloway/windstorm-book-4-elemental-clan-series/

Thursday, January 16, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Sandra Bolton, Author of Key Witness



When Abe Freeman left New Jersey and his Jewish roots for the enchanted land of New Mexico, he discovered that new adventures can be more than romance and danger. There are also those of the culinary kind. Leaving his matzo balls behind, he had his first food encounter in a small town diner just west of the Texas border. When the waitress asked him if he wanted "red" or "green" on his enchiladas Abe, puzzled, settled for what she called "Christmas", a serving of both red and green chile served atop two cheese enchiladas and accompanied with a generous serving of refried beans and rice.

That was only the beginning. His introduction to Navajo Police Officer, Emily Etcitty led him to try such delicacies as mutton stew, fry bread, Navajo tacos, and, reluctantly, blood sausage. Although their relationship started off rocky, the food adventures continued to grow. On special occasions such as ceremonies, kneel-down bread, made of mashed corn and baked underground in corn husks, was served. As a legacy of commodities, Abe also discovered that Navajo homes always had such staples as SPAM, white flour, and strong black coffee on hand.

Once he found out what he was eating though, he did draw the line on one delicacy served to him by Emily's brother, Will. Fried up nice and crisp, Will insisted that Rocky Mountain oysters were delicious. If you don't know what they are, imagine the leftovers of lamb castration.

During the course of my three-volume Emily Etcitty mysteries, Abe encountered a multitude of new taste delights, such as green chile stew, tamales, and carne adovada, but he never lost his love of latkes with sour cream and applesauce.


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



You can find Sandra here:




Thursday, January 9, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gordon Bickerstaff, Author of Deadly Secrets



In the thriller Deadly Secrets, Gavin Shawlens is scoffing a pineapple to save his life. In a desperate scene, Gavin is poisoned, and he turns to the power of the pineapple. How can the humble pineapple save him? The popular fruit contains a smart component normally involved in the ripening process; an enzyme called bromelain.

The medicinal properties of pineapple were known over 600 years ago by South American Indians who found magical healing properties and pineapple became a symbol of good health as well as a gift for friends and strangers. Pineapple flesh was used as a digestion aid and as a cleansing agent to improve skin texture. Warriors prepared a poultice using pineapple flesh for serious wounds and a 'bandage' from pineapple leaves for superficial cuts.

Another regular use of pineapple by the Indians was to overcome painful bellyache that accompanied feasting on meat. Consumption of meat 600 years ago was much greater than that of today. After a successful hunt, a hunter might eat more than 1kg of meat at one sitting. Such an indulgence would strain the digestive system.

Even today, meat impaction is common in the emergency room of a general hospital. The medics call it 'steakhouse overload', and it is often caused when lumps of meat are trapped in the gut. Treatment is simple, and involves the patient drinking a precise formula solution of protease such as bromelain at regular intervals over a set period of time.

In Deadly Secrets Gavin uses his understanding of pineapple constituents to save the day, and it is amazing how certain foodstuff can provide health benefits. Pineapple researchers have found that bromelain may be useful in treating blood clots, which are responsible for heart attack and stroke. Others, in the cosmetic industry have evaluated bromelain skin-peel preparations to improve skin texture.

Although a great deal of research is still needed on the mechanisms by which bromelain exerts its various effects, it is clear that pineapples and, in particular its component bromelain, have potential for supporting healthier living.

What other secret health benefits are hidden in our food?


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



You can find Gordon here:





Friday, December 20, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jessica Tornese, Author of Linked Through Time



Kate Christenson has lost her appetite. After traveling back in time and taking the place of her aunt Sarah, there isn't much of her new life that is even remotely appealing. Landing in the midst of her father's childhood days, a time when her aunt was still alive, Kate finds herself flat broke and living the life of a farm girl in rural Minnesota. When there are times to eat, Kate has to fend off one of her 10 brothers and sisters for just enough to get by.

Kate discovers quickly, her newfound meals aren't McDonald's burgers, or even a Pizza Hut pizza. Landing on her plate could by anything from freshly shot venison to a 4-H raised rabbit, a chicken newly beheaded out of the hen house or an annoying red squirrel who spent one too many nights in the attic.And seriously, how can anyone be expected to drink milk that came from a rusty bucket and sat beneath the steaming mass of a smelly cow? The only drinks Kate wants come from the cold refrigerated world of her favorite supermarket.

Kate realizes her privileged days are gone and the meals are only one  of the many challenges Kate must learn to navigate this bizarre new world.

Once she realizes that she has traveled back in time to just before her aunt's untimely death, Kate's new fear is centered on how much she can alter fate. Her aunt's death was ruled a suicide, but the more time she spends in the past, the more Kate is sure her aunt was murdered.

Whatever penalties she faces for the mistakes she's made, Kate is willing to pay almost any price to get back to her real time and place. Even if it means eating a little squirrel.


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



You can find Jessica here:






Jessica Tornese’s debut novel, Linked Through Time, was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University-Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She continued her first novel and turned it into a time travel trilogy, following up with titles Lost Through Time, and Destroyed Through Time.

Jessica is married and has three children. Her family moved from Minnesota to a small town on the east coast of Florida, where Jessica teaches at a private school and hopes to continue writing.

Friday, December 13, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Elizabeth Schechter, Author of The Rape of Persephone



Half a dozen pomegranate seeds are the reason it’s in the 50s today here in Florida.

At least, that’s what the mythology would have you believe. According to the Greek Myths, Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds while in the Underworld, and was therefore doomed to spend eternity there. However, the Gods compromised for the sake of the human race, and instead of eternity, Persephone has to spend six months as Queen of the Dead before returning to the surface and bringing Spring with her.

(Yeah, I know there’s more to it than that. This is the simple, let’s start an essay explanation, not an in-depth anthropological examination of the roots of the Kore figure in various cultures.)

The whole “don’t eat that!” warning shows up in different forms throughout time. There are dietary rules and strictures in most religions, and almost all of them have some cultural or historical reason behind them. Those beliefs are reflected in our stories – don’t eat the food of the dead, or you’ll be trapped in the realm of the dead forever. Don’t eat anything offered you by the Fair Folk, or you’ll never see the mortal realms again. One side of the mushroom makes you bigger, and the other side makes you smaller.  You can eat anything in the Garden, except the fruit of that tree right there (which by the way, wasn’t an apple. It might have been a quince. Or a pomegranate.)

When I wrote The Rape of Persephone, it was with the intent of turning the canonical myth on its head. There might have been an anonymous prompt involved, but I can’t really remember. What was important was that when you’re doing a pastiche of a story everyone knows, you have to keep the high points. Which meant that, while what brings Persephone to the Underworld was going to be entirely different, what keeps her there had to be related to food.

So I played with it, and we ended up with Haides, who comes to the mortal realms with a mission that I won’t reveal here because spoilers. And he finds Persephone. Persephone here isn’t a shy young maiden picking flowers. She’s an aggressive and arrogant young godling, and very much her father’s daughter. Haides taking her to the Underworld isn’t so much as kidnapping as it is imprisonment. But once he gets her there, he has to keep her there. So when she wakes up, he invites her to dine:

He dodged the thrown kylix, wiping wine from his arm as he shook his head. "A waste of good wine, my dear. There's a fine meal laid. Will you join me? Will I have to watch out for flying lamb?" He gestured toward the door, and tried not to smile as she scowled, then stalked past him. When Haides reached the next room, he was unsurprised to find her seated in his own chair at the head of the table, picking at a dish of lamb, yogurt and pomegranate seeds. She looked up as he came in, smirked at him, and popped a piece of lamb into her mouth.
"Are we changing roles, then?" Haides asked, amused. He took what should have been her seat, pouring himself another measure of wine. He sipped it as he studied her. Arrogant little godling. She had no idea what game she was playing.
She'd learn.
"Why not?" she asked, picking up a piece of bread and tearing off a chunk. She took a bite, then picked up another bit of lamb. "And I won't be staying. I'm leaving as soon as I finish."
"Then by all means, help yourself." Haides waved his hand expansively. "It's a long walk back to the world above."

Notice that I worked the pomegranate seeds in there?

I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind when I put that lamb, yogurt and pomegranate seed dish on the table, but there are several traditional Greek recipes that include lamb and yogurt. The lamb would have been coated with the yogurt, which would have perhaps been mixed with spices and wine to thin it out. Then the meat was either roasted, or sealed in a clay pot, which would then be put into an oven. Yogurt tenderizes the meat, and when you roast the meat, the sugars in the yogurt caramelize and form a crust. Also on the table were bread and wine, two staples of the ancient Greek table. Not mentioned here, but common found on the dinner table of an Ancient Greek nobleman, would have been eggs, cheese, olives, figs, and vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots. So we can presume that when Haides encourages Persephone to eat and enjoy herself, that there was a wide variety to choose from.

The question, though, is why did she indulge? In the original myth, Persephone knows not to eat the food of the dead, and has to be tricked in to doing so. Here, though, she goes willingly to the table, even going so far as to steal Haides’ place at the table – something that isn’t at all accurate. Ancient Greeks reclined to eat, a practice that the Romans continued. If I’d written the scene accurately, she’d have stolen his couch.

Going back to the question – why does Persephone eat? She had to have known the consequences, especially since there’s earlier scene when Haides invites Demeter to visit him:

"You're welcome in my realm, Demeter. I'd look forward to your visit. And I lay a fine table."
Demeter hesitated, then shook her head. "You'll understand if I refuse the invitation?"
Haides nodded. "I understand. Then perhaps I'll see you again when next I come above."

Clearly, Demeter knows the risks. It’s not a stretch to think that she taught her daughter. So why does Persephone ignore those warnings? I’ll admit that it’s not something I gave much thought to when I wrote the scene. Rereading it, and thinking about it, I’ve realized why.

She doesn’t think the rules apply to her.

You see it in her behavior all the way through the story. She’s the daughter of Zeus. She’s a goddess. She can do whatever she wants and her actions never have consequences. She is, as Haides’ muses, an arrogant little godling. One who is fated to meet her match over bread, black wine, and lamb in yogurt with pomegranates.


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


You can find Elizabeth here:






Friday, December 6, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Emily Mah, Author of Chasing Sunrise



In a recent interview, someone asked me why I hadn’t set my latest trilogy in my hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico. After all, it’s an interesting enough place. Why had I chosen the neighboring town of Taos? My answer was and is that I wanted to write about the three cultures of New Mexico, and while they are present in my hometown, they’re more pronounced in other towns in the region. New Mexico was settled in three waves and these three cultures remain to this day.

The first arrivals were, of course, the Native Americans, and the modern Natives of the region are Puebloans. Many of the dishes adopted by Spaniards are variations of Native Puebloan cuisine. The second wave were the Spaniards, and the third wave was us Anglos. (The term refers to our most common home language, not our race. I’m a mix of Chinese and Italian heritage myself, and yet indubitably Anglo).

My main character, Liana Linacre, is a wealthy girl from Southampton, New York, who is ripped from her comfortable life when her father is murdered. She also has a rather big secret and nobody left to trust when she’s shipped to Taos to live with her aunt. On her first day of public high school, Liana meets two best friends, Amy (Native American) and Gina (Hispanic). One of the first things these two do is take Liana grocery shopping with them in preparation for making tamales.

In New Mexico, as in many parts of Latin America, tamales are traditionally made around Christmastime, but Amy’s family has delayed the tradition so that they can honor it once her older brother is back from his deployment. Liana is thrown into the deep end of New Mexican culture.

Later that week, she joins her new friends to make tamales and sees a Native pueblo for the first time, coming face to face with one of the oldest cultures on the continent. She also meets Amy’s mother, who is a trauma nurse and a state senator (New Mexico has a lay legislature). The family makes tamales in an assembly line operation, which Liana does her best to keep up with.


Tamales are a mix of masa dough, which around here is a cornmeal dough, and spiced meat, often pork, chicken, or beef. These ingredients are wrapped in a cornhusk and are most commonly cooked in a stovetop steamer or instant pot. (Amy’s family uses casserole dishes, steamer racks, and a water reservoir to steam them in their traditional horno.) Eating them around Christmas time may be the tradition, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying them any time of year!

The friendships Liana forges over tamale-making are what ultimate save her at the end of book three. I won’t give spoilers, but suffice it to say, her new friends are willing to go to the ends of the Earth and beyond for her.


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




You can find Emily here:









The Sunrise Prophecy Trilogy


Liana Linacre thought she was in love, but what began as her fantasy romance ended with a curse that threatens her life and everything she loves. Orphaned and alone, she barely escapes the dark forces that want her soul.

Corban Alexander belongs to an ancient order of vampire hunters and wants to kill everyone who is demon-touched. He knows that the creatures who want Liana dead will find her again before long.

Liana must fight if she wants to live, while Corban must decide if he can love a girl who made the one mistake he believes is unforgivable.

No one, mortal or immortal, has ever won against the evil that plagues Liana, but if she and Corban can work together, they might just defy the laws of the universe.




Corban Alexander has a dark side, and ever since a chance encounter with Liana Linacre, a girl he was supposed to protect, it's darker and more addictive than ever. Every minute of every hour of every day he fights to resist succumbing to his worst instincts. If he doesn't, he will fall, and gain the power to scourge and wreak havoc upon humanity, feeding off their pain. It would take a legion of angels to stop him.

So when he learns that Liana needs help once again, he knows he is the last person to provide it. The problem is, no one else is willing.

Corban must return to the side of the girl he loves, and pray that he is strong enough to save both her and himself.



Angels are falling all over the world and earthquakes and tidal waves are demolishing the major cities. Vampires are proliferating in the chaos, and a deadly, demonic plague is spreading like wildfire.

Liana thought her battle to keep from turning into a vampire and stay human was personal, but prophecy says she's the only person alive who can free humanity from demonkind. Others have been called before, but none have succeeded, and she is the last. If she can't win this war, nobody can.

The pressure is on her and her faithful friends: Corban, the ex-angel and possible boyfriend; Amy, the anthropology-student-turned-loremaster; and Gina, the jeweler-turned-supernatural-weaponsmith. The four of them plus an army of soldiers drawn from across all the human realms must journey into the demon realm and close the portal once and for all.

But when the fallen discover their plans, the battles begin, and Liana finds herself alone in a strange realm of immortal demons who live in perpetual night, under a sky studded with stars. While her friends fight to reach her, she must decipher the prophecy and figure out how to free both Earth and herself from dark forces that could rend the very fabric of the universe, and destroy all creation.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gina Tang, Author of The Beijing Family



Weird Chinese Eats or Nutritional Medicine?

The world eats a wide variety of food and sometimes they are strange to someone. The Chinese definitely have their share!  When you have over 5,000 years in history, one can only imagine the variety of things the Chinese picked up along the way that are considered edible or delicacies.  Even more so when the country has seen its episodic moments of famine in history and relied on non-traditional sources for protein and nutrients in order to survive.  Sometimes a trip into a Chinese supermarket or even a traditional medicine store in the "Asian" parts of town is an experience to be remembered. 

Here are a few of the examples of strange Chinese eats as featured in The Beijing Family book series:



What the heck is a grass jelly drink?  Grass like in the green stuff that grows on lawns? And now it's in jelly form for a drink? Oh heck no! Actually grass jelly is made from boiling aged and slightly oxidized grass, but it's the stalks and leaves of Mesona Chinesis, a member of the mint family.  It is rich in calcium and fiber. Grass jelly relieves heartburn, constipation, abdominal bleeding and diarrhea. After cooling the liquid to a jelly-like black consistency, this jelly can be cut into cubes or other forms and mixed with sugar or syrup to make drinks or dessert.





In Book 1 of The Beijing Family,  the elderly Grandma Moh makes traditional Chinese medicinal tea made from ox penis! 

Ox penis sold in a local street market 


In traditional Chinese medicine, ox penis is believed to increase one's virility, energy and sexual prowess. Chinese athletes have been known to eat deer penis to heal injuries and other ailments. In Jamaica, cow cod soup stewed with vegetables is considered an aphrodisiac. In America, rocky mountain oysters are bull’s balls – battered and deep fried.

Is it strange to eat such things or is it nutritional medicine? Do the Chinese prevail in these bizarre eats and why?

To learn more, please visit this link:
https://thebeijingfamily.blogspot.com/2017/11/wierd-chinese-eats-or-nutritional.html


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



You can find Gina here:





Thursday, October 31, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stuart Aken, Author of Blood Red Dust




Food; ‘You canna live wi’out it, Jim.’ SciFi fans will recognise Scottie from Star Trek here. But food is rarely discussed in the genre.

I began Blood Red Dust as a one-off story about a possible future on Earth if we fail to stop climate change. But I ‘spect it just growed,’ like Topsy and became a trilogy. The other two books are traditional, but Blood Red Dust is unusual with its mix of ‘reports’ gathered from multiple sources to fit the mood of the time in which it’s set.

Mars, where most of the story is set, is a hostile environment where food will be a problem for a long time if we ever make it there in person. For the first colonists it’ll be the stuff they eat on the International Space Station until they can grow their own. Ain’t no fancy eateries on that there red planet!

Madonna, a brilliant colonist specialising in robotics, enters the mess room late one morning, ‘I fixed myself a coffee, well, what passes for coffee here till Anni’s got a proper handle on growing the beans.’

Later, in a report from Anni, a genius botanist, the group discusses fantasies, ‘I miss…a warm Mediterranean taverna, with ouzo flowing free and white wine cooling in carafes on chequered table tops. Olives laced with oil and garlic. Seafood caught from the sea that morning. Honey drizzled over pure white yoghurt.’

As the story progresses, food improves and group doctor, Zaphod (yes, named after the character in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) includes it in his report: ‘We’ve eaten: a delicious meal of sweet potato, fresh root vegetables and simple roast chicken, followed by fresh fruit salad. The only ingredient missing was wine.’

Including food in a story helps give atmosphere and lets readers appreciate setting. Like clothes and sex, it provides clues to how characters live, and is therefore essential, even if sometimes a little sparse.

My characters have a little more on their minds than what to eat, as they’re battling lunatic extremists as well as the hostile environment, but they do love food and it brings a bit of humour to the story, too.


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



You can find Stuart here:





Friday, October 25, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Louise Wise, Author of EDEN & HUNTED



I’m not much of a cook. My abilities in the kitchen are somewhat a joke in my family’s household. I love food, though, and eating out, trying new foods, is an absolute treat. But it isn’t just the food it’s the backdrop, the feel—the entire ambiance that must be just right. Get that wrong, and you could be eating cardboard.

Jenny, Bodie and Matt, the characters in Eden and Hunted (a two-book series), lived in a modern, futuristic world where anything they ever wanted was at a touch of a button, had no problem creating fantastic food in a beautiful setting. They could never have dreamed that their privileged life would end where they had to fight for their lives, pillaging for food and in Jenny’s case, using her body just to stay alive.

The three were astronauts and on a mission to explore the uninhabited planet (Eden). Their assignment was to set sensors into the planet’s crust, collect rocks and plant life, gather information on the animal, marine and birdlife and return home. A journey that would take several years. It had been planned with precision with the three trained meticulously. Except they were too reliant on that ‘touch of a button’ logic where technical glitches just do not happen in 2056.

Subsequently, Jenny was abandoned on the planet, and Bodie and Matt were left trying to survive in a broken space craft.

Left alone on Eden, Jenny finds a crashed alien spaceship and its only survivor, and food becomes the least of her problems.

But the setting, oh the setting:

In the distance, a truculent flood of water gushed over a high wall of rock with such force it left her breathless. Airborne droplets gave birth to such an unusual rainbow that she was entranced: a pale green arch, lined with pastel reds and yellows. The presence of phosphorescence caused the green to shine. Tall reeds in oranges and reds grew from the surface of the river, spreading feather-like tentacles over the water’s surface.

The setting is perfect for good food, and Jenny did her best with the natural food that grew on the planet. Naming the feasts she prepared was less adventurous though, she still had ‘bacon and eggs’, ‘spaghetti Bolognese’ and ‘ice cream’ but while they may have looked similar to the real thing they definitely tasted differently!


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


You can find Louise here:









Louise Wise is a British author from the Midlands in England. Her debut novel is the acclaimed sci-fi romance titled EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013. 

Writing under the name of T. E Kessler the forthcoming, JELVIA: NOT HUMAN series is themed on the above Eden and Hunted books and have mature themes. HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO book 1 and SURVIVING HER DOMINATE book 2, and book 3 SPIDER will follow in 2020. Wise chose to use T. E Kessler to differentiate from her non-erotic books, which include:
EDEN (sci-fi romance), HUNTED (sci-fi romance), A PROPER CHARLIE (romantic comedy), OH NO, I'VE FALLEN IN LOVE! (dark, comedy romance), and WIDE AWAKE ASLEEP (time travel, romance).

Wise enjoys writing comedy and finds a place for it in ALL her books. She has written numerous short stories for women's magazines such as Take a Break and Woman's Own.


Blurb for Eden #1

Imagine yourself stranded.
With no way of getting home.
Ever.
You’ve no communication, no shelter, no food.
No weapons.
Now imagine this place is another planet.
Then you realise you aren’t alone after all . . .


Blurb for Hunted #1

Jenny's from Earth. Fly's from Itor. By a quirk of fate they met. She tamed him and they fell in love.

Now, they live an idyllic life away from the wolf-like people and savage tribes of Neanderthals that prowl Eden. But things are changing outside their little kingdom. The wolf-people are disbanding and someone, or something, appears to be hunting the Neanderthals.


The signs are there that their world is changing—only they fail to notice straight away, and when they do, they don’t have much time to prepare.

Friday, October 11, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Beem Weeks, Author of Strange Hwy



Melanie is the ten-year-old POV character of my short story called "Monster," found in my collection entitled Strange Hwy. She’s going trick-or-treating with her older sister Millicent and a pair of neighborhood boys. As the older sister, Millicent has a knack for cheating the younger out of the good treats. And by good treats, I mean the chocolate bars and Skittles—those snacks a girl won’t mind spending her allowance on when it’s not Halloween.

Millicent hates jellybeans. Her idea of being a good big sister is to convince Melanie to trade off her chocolate for jellybeans. But Melanie hates jellybeans as well. And as the younger girl grows older, wisdom sets in. She’s no longer compelled to capitulate to her sister’s ideas where candy is concerned.

The story unfolds around the house at the end of the block. This is where the monster dwells—a man with a history. Of the four kids in the group, Melanie is the only one who dares approach the front door, seeking a treat, hoping she doesn’t become a victim of the monster. But there’s a twist in this tale. The monster is not who or what we expect him to be. And since Melanie is the only child to dare ring his doorbell, she’s the recipient of a grand chocolate bounty.

There is a morsel of reality in this piece, in that I, as the older brother, often tried to swindle my younger brother out of the good trick-or-treat snacks. I hated jellybeans as a youngster. They were easy to pawn off on my brother. When my brother reached an older and wiser age, he no longer cared to make those trades I’d once convinced him were worthwhile. However, I found a silver lining in being stuck with jellybeans: they’d last well into the next year. I’d still have Halloween candy as late as February or March. Jellybeans or no, candy is candy to a kid.


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



You can find Beem here: