Thursday, October 14, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Paul Levinson, Author of The Silk Code


Dr. Phil D’Amato – NYPD forensic detective, protagonist in my Phil D’Amato series, of which The Silk Code is the first novel – orders a refill of his large glass of orange juice, when Tesa Stewart, a professor of anthropology at New York University and an expert on Neanderthals, joins him for a crucial breakfast meeting at a bistro in Greenwich Village.

It’s too early for most people to drink anything with alcohol anyway, but Phil would have ordered the orange juice or some other non-alcoholic beverage even if this meeting were in the evening. His brain was his most effective weapon in his fight against crime and unclear perils, and he liked keeping it as clear and sharp as possible.

He would have ordered organic orange juice, if the bistro had it, but at least this was fresh squeezed, a delicious influx of instant energy. Tesa barely poked at the breakfast she had ordered, teasing at the edge of her poached egg with her fork. The case she was discussing with Phil was too disconcerting for her to eat.

But Phil drank his orange juice and smacked his lips. He found frightening things and the attempt understand them “among the most exhilarating feelings in this world”. And the liquid energy orange juice fueled his exhilaration and his confidence.

My daughter Molly, 12 years old when she first read The Silk Code, which I had accidentally left on the kitchen table overnight, said, “Daddy, Phil is just like you!”

Certainly true about the love of orange juice.


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



You can find Paul here:

PaulLevinson.net

Twitter @PaulLev

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Friday, October 8, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Cynthia Kuhn, Author of The Study of Secrets


While the English-professor-turned-amateur-sleuth in the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries isn’t much of a cook, she does have her share of happy food encounters. But I’m going to confess something here: I don’t always know at first why certain foods are in there. Some details that emerge when I’m drafting the novels are unexpected but reveal their place or purpose eventually.

For example, in the fifth book in the series, The Study of Secrets, Lila is on sabbatical in Larkston, away from her Stonedale University campus, and when she meets other characters from the new town at a local diner, they insist that she order the house specialty, a slice of pie. It’s so incredibly good that the next time she is at the diner, she’s the one who makes her two visiting friends order the pie, and they have a conversation about what makes the item so magical. 

Someone once asked me if I was hungry for pie when I wrote it. (I wasn’t.) But while I was writing the first draft, the pie showed up and once it was there, it felt right in both scenes. Lila’s initial pie appreciation establishes a sense of bonding with a new group of people, then later when she is the one who pushes the pie, it tells us something about her developing connection to the new community.

Elsewhere in the novel, there is a town tradition involving chocolate-dipped candy canes, something people feel so passionate about that they get into a shouting match during a holiday party planning meeting. I don’t know where that came from. I have never had a chocolate-dipped candy cane. But they popped up during the drafting and ultimately added a small but helpful sense of tension to the chapter, which I deepened in other ways during the revision phase.

These are very sugary examples, but please don’t worry—sometimes the characters have salads too!


Thanks for stopping by to share you food for thought, Cynthia!



You can find Cynthia here:

CynthiaKuhn.net

Twitter @CynthiaKuhn

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon



Cynthia Kuhn writes the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and the Agatha-Award-winning Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. She lives in Colorado with her family and serves on the national board of Sisters in Crime. 


Friday, October 1, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Dale Manolakas, Author of Hollywood on Trial


On a cruise across the Atlantic, an elegant chandeliered dining room hosts not only gourmet meals day and night—but also a serial murderer. In Death Sets Sail a group of writers on their awards cruise vie in a three-dimensional chess game of whodunit as writers die one by one.

In Death Sets Sail the amateur sleuths collide with death in raucous, fun, and gastronomically delightful crime solving antics. Through international waters and despite storms, jealousies, and corporate cover ups, body bags are filled and stuffed into the ship’s refrigerator. With the South Hampton landing looming, the murderer gets desperate.

In all my books, I take pride in describing the geographically unique and character-specific lifestyles, restaurants, wines, and foods. From Bakersfield Basque restaurants in The Gun Trial: A Legal Thriller to Los Angeles haute cuisine where elite attorneys expense account rare wines and gourmet meals in The Russian: A Legal Thriller and Lethal Lawyers: A Legal Thriller. 

In Hollywood on Trial: A Legal Thriller, there is a dynamic industry party at a Malibu estate on the ocean cliffs. It has gourmet food stations and bars where the party goers enjoy miniaturized portions from appetizers to deserts. In the swirl of holiday foods festivities, security fights with a stalker who accosts a starlet on the cliffs edge. 


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



You can find Dale here:


DaleManolakas.com

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon




Please enjoy all my books in audio, ebook, paperback, and large print on several platforms. (Now on Kindle Unlimited , Audible, & Findaway Voices)

Kallias Publishing presents a limited time FREE Audiobook:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeZBb17-6HE&t=31s

Portal to FREE Books at your Local Library or on the Author's Official Website:

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Author's YouTube Channel with Book Trailers:

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Friday, September 24, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jane Ward, Author of In the Aftermath



My maternal grandmother immigrated to the United States from Edinburgh and worked for years as a baker in the Boston University dining halls. When summer arrived, she would leave her husband and three daughters behind and pick up seasonal baking work in vacation resorts on Cape Cod. 

During my childhood, when her career baking days were behind her, Nana often visited our family, and at the drop of a hat would whip up a batch of what she called “girdle scones,” a quick bread that has nothing to do with foundation garments and everything to do with being cooked on a hot pan—a girdle, in Scots English—on top of the stove.

Years later, confident in the baking skills I learned from watching her, I followed in her footsteps and took a job as weekend baker at a neighborhood bakery. My day would begin at 2 a.m. with baking muffins and scones, and end between 10 and 11 after I pulled my beloved loaves of challah and white sandwich bread out of the ovens. It was a physical job that put my sleep schedule at odds with weekend family time. But I loved that job; I loved watching happy people head home with the delicious pastry I had made. 

In the Aftermath opens in April 2008, just as the Great Recession is about to do its worst to many homeowners and small business owners. These are the people whose stories I would tell. As I brainstormed small business settings for David and Jules, the husband and wife at the center of the novel, I began picturing them moving around a bakery similar to the one I had worked at years before. Yes, it was an environment I could write about with authority, but my decision was about more than choosing something familiar. I write to explore the nature of human connections, and the origin story of bread is also one of community.

Before the first brave souls looked at wild, grassy wheat and came up with the idea of grinding it into flour, turning that flour into dough with water and airborne yeasts, shaping this concoction into a cake, and then sticking it into fire, people roamed—rootless—and foraged to live. 

Once bread caught on as a reliably available food source, people were able to stop moving to find nourishment. They became farmers, bakers, consumers; they settled close to each other. Communities grew and people thrived. Around bread. Because of bread. 

In Jules and David’s fictional bakery community all those eons later, customers would have eaten good, crusty bread and everything else that owes its existence to society’s first humble loaf: scones and muffins, danish and croissants, cookies and brownies and cakes. In their best times, these bakers touched lives—sending sustaining food into people’s homes and bringing them joy. It is this same longing for connection - through work, through relationships – that guides the characters in In the Aftermath as they move through difficult times into a brighter future.


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



You can find Jane here:





Thursday, September 16, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Real Laplaine, Author of Deception People



Betrayed by Apple Pie

Deception People was inspired in the wake of 9/11, where literally hundreds of engineers and investigative professionals from around the world, people who had no bias or other agenda, objectively examined the attack, and concluded that the two planes did not, and could not possibly, under any circumstances, have brought down the Twin Towers with such precision. What they did discover was ample evidence showing that demolition style explosives had been secretly placed in the support columns of both buildings, and then carefully detonated to make it appear otherwise, bringing both structures down in their footprint, without touching another building; and moreover, that a 3rd building, 47 stories high, across the street, not even struck by a plane, also crumbled with perfect-demolition style, shortly thereafter, an incident which was explained away by the government, and yet, which few questioned or even challenged.

Deception People, while a thriller in of itself, presents a disturbing scenario, where another group of senior officials and their backers decide to repeat an act of terrorism, but this time, one that completely disrupts the nation through its digital platform – all of which seems relatively harmless until one realizes that airplanes will be crashing into one another or onto runways, financial systems will cease to operate, that tens of thousands will die in hospitals where equipment has failed, where transport services will cease thereby causing all manner of road and train collisions, and more.

One man discovers their plot and tries to expose it. Troy Evans, an unassuming graphic designer living in Minneapolis, has a special ability, one he has honed over the years. Surviving a near fatal accident as a young boy, Troy experienced his first out-of-body experience, and went on, over the years, to experience many, many, more. Now, as an adult, and still practicing his outings in secret, he happens across a hotel hundreds of miles away, and overhears a bizarre conversation where men are planning a massive terrorist attack on the nation.

Troy immediately reports the matter to Homeland Security, but soon finds himself under attack by the very people plotting the terrorism, people in high positions of government and the military-industrial establishment employed by the U.S. government, all of whom will benefit from the debacle.

Locked away as delusional and dangerous, Troy convinces his psychiatrist he is telling the truth, and together they run, trying to find someone who will listen, while evading a lethal team who are tracking them down, to silence them before they can speak up. At one point, they stop at the “Shack”, a diner in South Dakota, a seemingly safe haven where American apple pie could have been born, but unfortunately their presence there is soon discovered, and the net is tightened around them.

The question is, who will listen to what sounds like mere conspiracy theory coming from two fugitives on the run, and if anyone does, will it be in time to stop the attack?

While many choose to believe that 9/11 was entirely the work of Islamic radicals, Deception People presents another picture – those with an agenda, sociopaths who couldn’t care less if 3000 people, or 100,000 are killed, providing it aggrandizes their power and their bank accounts.


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



You can find Real here:


RealLaplaine.com

Twitter @Real0Laplaine

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Thursday, September 2, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lynn Lamb, Author of The Survivor Diaries


After living through a pandemic, there’s a good possibility you have considered what you would do if food supplies dried up or became otherwise unavailable. Having written the Survivor Diaries Series, five novels exploring how one group of neighbors survive a global nuclear war, these days I’ve been acutely aware of my emergency supplies, especially food and water.

Not surprisingly, that was the first thought for Laura Patton, the reluctant leader of a group dubbed the Villagers. With the possibility of being trapped in their home for three weeks after the initial bombs dropped, waiting for the nuclear clouds to dissipate, Laura had the forethought to collect drinking water in plastic eighteen gallon containers she had previously used as packing boxes. These water stores checked the first box of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

With the most important life maintaining ration in place, food and nutritional requirements were next on the list. Preparing for at least two weeks of quarantine, with no access to Instacart or Grub Hub delivery, the survivors were tasked with creating a food bank following the catastrophic first days of the apocalypse.

It was time for me as an author to firmly lace up Laura’s shoes and dig into researching dietary needs, ways of preserving food stores, and preparing meals sans electricity and gas. It was most important to me that these techniques were real-life tested, so I went about doing so, video recording my “Survivor Challenge.” I spent one day learning how to box a fire starter kit, make candles, and even fashion a beer can stove for heating coffee and water for rehydrated foods. You can check out the results, sometimes frustrating and other times hysterical, here: http://www.lynnlamb.com/survivor-challenge.

After escaping death in the rolling turbulence and hot ashes of bombs and the collapse of unstable buildings, the characters were left to tend to their wounds, and then wait for the worst of the radioactive winds to die. As they did so, they worried about their food supplies once their rations became depleted.

The Villagers found ways to communicate through ham radios and walkie-talkies while interned, discussing what comes next. When finally liberated from their confinement, one of the first tasks was to come together to share food and water. The family’s matriarch, Annie, headed a cooking committee to determine what foods would be easiest to prepare in bulk. Dried goods such as rice and pasta were first on the list. Other characters were tasked with forging through the wreckage of the town to find the location of a big box store and rummage through what remained.

Thus were the first weeks of life after global nuclear war. As weeks, months, and eventually years passed, the needs and skills of the Villagers grew and morphed. Growing sustainable food sources, at first for themselves and later for trade and the health of the population as a whole, became a priority.


Learn more about the life and death challenges of the Villagers in the Survivor Diaries Series as this group of determined neighbors face monumental obstacles on the path to what really matters in life.

So, what would you be eating at the end of the world?


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



You can find Lynn here:

LynnLamb.com

Twitter @LynnLambAuthor

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon



Have you ever wondered how you would survive a global nuclear apocalypse? Lynn Lamb imagined it into existence on the written page. And thus began her award-winning and best-selling literary career.

Lynn Lamb is the author of the post-apocalyptic Survivor Diaries Series, Opus of the Dead Series, The Oxymoron of Still Life, a short story anthology, and Mechaniclism, an apocalyptic, horror novella. Lamb was inspired by the characters in her hometown of Monterey, California. She holds a BA in Cinematic Arts and Technology and has worked as a scriptwriter and corporate filmmaker.

The Survivor Diaries explosive series and the Opus of the Dead’s chilling novels have made a big bang and a scream on the literary scene. Grab her incredible titles, and don’t miss out on this chart-topping author!



*Excerpts from Monte Vista Village, all rights reserved

Friday, August 20, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Anne Hagan, Author of Tennessee Bound



The Morelville Mysteries is a series built on the coveted morel mushroom that grows wild after wet spring rains and drains in the area of Ohio I now call home. Oh, you can try to cultivate them, but tromping about the woods to find them, then posting pictures of your haul on social media for your friends to envy before you lightly batter them and fry them is what makes them even better eating than the ones from the patch that always springs up behind Aunt Edna’s garage under the elm trees.

Morelville is a farming community near the heart of Ohio’s Amish country. Mushrooms of any kind, Amish fried chicken, and Amish wedding plates rule tables in little mom and pop restaurants across a three-county area. And pie. There’s always pie; sliced, whole or fry pies taken to go to eat from your hand.

Sheriff Melissa ‘Mel’ Crane grew up on a family farm where her mother still gardens and cans food to feed an army from fall through spring. They raised chickens for daily fresh eggs and livestock for meat. Neighbors share their bounty with each other, both ‘English’ and Amish, and there’s always room for another plate at the dinner table.

When Dana came into Mel’s life, Mel’s palate expanded. Dana’s Pittsburgh Italian upbringing and a long hitch spent in Chicago sampling all of its gastronomic delights made her a passionate if indiscriminate foodie. She’ll try anything once. Maybe two or three times. Mel’s more cautious, but she does an instant liking to Dana’s signature dish, chicken Cacciatore, a combination of meat and stewed vegetables she never thought she’d like.

In the later books of the series, our two heroines leave the confines of Ohio from time to time to relax in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Food is always on Dana’s mind, and she doesn’t hesitate to sample the fare at the pancake houses that attract teaming hordes of tourists in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, local beers, southern style barbecue and so much more. Mel’s usually game, at least she is for anything involving beef or chops. She doesn’t get to sample much cuisine in Tennessee Bound but that’s to be expected when you know what happens in the story. She’s going to have to make up for some lost table time after that trip south.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought Anne!



You can find Anne here:

AnneHaganAuthor.com

Twitter @AuthorAnneHagan

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Friday, August 6, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Sherry Harris, Author of A Time to Swill


Chloe Jackson moved from big city life in Chicago to the small town of Emerald Cove in the Florida Panhandle. She left behind deep-dish pizza and hot dogs, moving to a land of seafood and Southern food. Because she made a promise to a friend, she’s also gone from children’s librarian to part owner of a bar, cocktail waitress, and barback.

The bar Chloe works in, the Sea Glass Saloon, sits on a beach so white it looks like Mr. Clean comes by every night to tidy up. The water is a dazzling blueish-green shade – it’s no wonder the area is called the Emerald Coast. While the Sea Glass doesn’t serve food the delicious smells of barbeque and seafood waft over from the Briny Pirate, the restaurant next door. Customers order food from there all the time. Chloe’s favorite dish is called a Redneck bowl. It’s full of smoked pulled pork, black-eyed peas, cabbage, corn, rice, greens, and just the right amount of hot sauce.

Chloe lives in a two-bedroom, cement-block house that sits on top of a sand dune. The open concept living room, dining room, and kitchen all have spectacular views because of windows that run all along the backside of the house and lead to a screened porch. When Chloe is home, she loves to cook with fresh, local seafood that she picks up from her favorite market – Russo’s.

She buys shrimp for shrimp scampi, yellow fin tuna to grill, and has experimented with dishes from local grouper, amberjack, and wahoo – depending on what is in season. The only thing Chloe refuses to try is raw oysters – she thinks they look like something a whale would sneeze out.

Chloe has a knack for finding trouble. In A Time to Swill, the second book in the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mystery series, she’s swept out to sea in an abandon sailboat which she boarded because she thought she heard a baby cry. What will Chloe be hungry for if she makes it back to shore? Please read A Time to Swill to find out!


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


You can find Sherry here:

SherryHarrisAuthor.com

WickedAuthors.com

Twitter @SHarrisAuthor

Facebook Fan Page

Instagram

Books on Amazon


Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries.

Sherry is a past president of Sisters in Crime, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Sherry loves books, beaches, bars, and Westies — not necessarily in that order. She is also a patent holding inventor.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lynne Kelly, Author of Song For a Whale


My character Iris, a Deaf twelve-year-old tech whiz, is about to embark on a grand journey to track down the world’s loneliest whale. But first, she’ll need to fuel up. On her way to the assisted living center to pick up her sidekick grandma, Iris stops at the gas station. Since she lives in Houston, there are plenty of good Mexican restaurants around, but Carlos’s Gas ‘Em Up has the best breakfast tacos. This isn’t the kind of place that has all the food pre-wrapped in plastic. One side is like the ordinary convenience store you’ll find at most gas stations, but there’s also a family-run café that serves excellent Mexican food. If you’re unfamiliar with breakfast tacos, think of a regular taco on a flour tortilla, but fill it with breakfast food: scrambled eggs, cheese, maybe some bacon or sausage, and salsa. This morning, Iris orders her taco with eggs, potatoes, and cheese. She also orders a coffee. She’s never had coffee before, but it seems like an appropriately grown-up drink for a trip like this. After one bitter sip, she throws it away and goes back to the check-out counter for her usual chocolate milk. 

For the next few days, Iris and Grandma will be far from Houston and the gas station tacos. The whale she’s searching for isn’t swimming anywhere around here—they’ll have to hop onto an Alaskan cruise to get close to him. 

When I was writing Song For a Whale, I was lucky enough to be able to research the setting in person, though I live in the Houston area like Iris does. I work as a sign language interpreter for my “day job,” and shortly after I started writing the novel, I saw an assignment for a week-long Alaskan cruise, interpreting for three Deaf passengers. I got to do that again a year later, when I was revising the manuscript. In addition to being a lovely place to work for a week at a time, seeing the ship and the scenery really helped with the setting details I added to the story. Of course, that included food! After Iris’s first cruise ship dinner of salmon and mashed potatoes, she orders a crème brûlée for dessert. She has no idea what it is, but it looks like it’ll be worth finding out. She and Grandma are too full to finish their dinners, but magically find more room when the desserts arrive. Iris still isn’t sure what’s in crème brûlée, other than sugar and some sort of cream, but she decides it’s her new favorite food. 

The next day at the breakfast buffet, she’s overwhelmed with the selection, which is like “…every breakfast buffet from every restaurant I’d ever been in, all shoved into one place.” It’s not every day you can have a waffle, a pancake, and French toast all in one meal. With the help of her new friend Bennie, Iris quickly learns where to find the shortest buffet lines and the best places to sit and enjoy a plate of salmon eggs benedict and banana waffles. 

Grandma is ready for full-time cruise ship life, but Iris is more like me—ready to be back home after an enjoyable week at sea. I imagine she still loves her gas station breakfast tacos, but maybe makes her own version too, with some grilled salmon added. 


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



You can find Lynne here:

LynneKellyBooks.com

Twitter @LynneKelly

Facebook Fan Page

Instagram

Books on Amazon


Thursday, June 10, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Mary Kincaid, Creator of Hawk McCoy



My character Hawk McCoy is a seeking personality who has many adventures. Confronted with the eating habits of my grandchildren who will not try anything new I was prompted to write this story. I want to encourage children to try things and make up their own minds.

In Hawk McCoy: The Mutant Onion, Hawk explores the tastes of various superfoods, vegetables, that his mentor Nyssa Pentas  developed with his father, a plant genetist. He joins Nyssa as a Junior Botanist. The first requirement of being a junior botanist with his father’s lab are expressing his opinions about recipes after the daily taste test. His father and Nyssa work on increasing the nutrient value of four types of vegetables: artichokes, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and onions. While he tastes, Lima Bean Curry, Artichoke sauces, and peanut fritters, he develops a three-part scale to rate vegetables on the blog.

His ranking system designed to encourage everyone to try the vegetable recipes went like this: “One Hawk: take the one bite your mom insists on. Two Hawks: two spoonful’s because it is not that bad. Three Hawks: eat up: it will make you grow.”

Before his summer is over, he talks about vegetables on the radio, dances in an artichoke suit to attract tasters to Nyssa’s display, and learns to grow vegetables.

When Hawk, lured by the local ice cream vendor, Earl, with his two for one special, gives into his craving for hot fudge sundaes, he alarmed Nyssa. Nyssa coaxes Earl into being the only vendor for her special ice cream sauce. After tasting it Earl agrees to distribute the sauce and help Nyssa with an ice cream social that will encourage the community to name the sauce.

The sauce looks like it is created from some type of berry but is actually made from the Pen5, the mutant onion. This onion is bright pink with yellow striped leaves.  The bright pink onion makes amazing ice cream topping. The additional benefits are that it will eliminate many of the ailments that require over the counter drugs. It is a real threat to aspirin sales.

Hawk becomes a vegetable eating convert over the course of the story. He ends the summer no longer believing that mac and cheese is a vegetable. 


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



You can find Mary here:


Twitter @marykincaid2001

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon