Friday, October 28, 2011

Zompacolypse 2011 - GIVEAWAY HOP

Paranormal Wastelands

This hop, organized by Paranormal Wastelands, features some super blogs offering scarily super giveaways! Since I already reviewed my scariest read over there, and since my series isn't all that scary, I decided to emphasize the super with mine:

Winner gets Signed Copies of BOTH:
3rd (latest!) edition of "Solid"and "Settling," the recently-released sequel!

To enter to win, you must follow this blog and leave a comment/question,
along with a way to contact you.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow on Twitter
+1 Add to your "to-read" list on Goodreads

Giveaway runs from October 28 to 31st; last day to enter is Monday, October 31st, and winner will be announced Tuesday, November 1st.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FOODFIC: Please Welcome WJ Rosser, Contributor to The Spirit of Poe (Anthology)

Spicy Food in The Pit…

No, not the pit of your stomach, The Pit and the Pendulum, Edgar Allan Poe’s brilliant short story.  In it, an unnamed victim of the Spanish Inquisition is held in a dungeon pit.  He’s been tortured prior to his imprisonment and at first is fed bread and water.  There’s nothing exciting about the bread, but the second serving of water is drugged and that furthers the plot, allowing the poor man to wake up strapped down with the sharp-bladed pendulum swinging menacingly above him.  

The next dish, though, is interesting.  It’s oily and heavily spiced.  The tormentors give him this dish (just the kind of food I make for lunch) to torture him.  They’ve provided nothing for him to drink.  He suffers through this for hours or even days as the pendulum swings down.   The second purpose of his tormentors comes to light then.  The food attracts rats to make his imprisonment and impending death even more horrible.  Read on for Poe’s brilliant mastery of language:

For many hours the immediate vicinity of the low framework upon which I lay, had been literally swarming with rats. They were wild, bold, ravenous; their red eyes glaring upon me as if they waited but for motionlessness on my part to make me their prey. "To what food," I thought, "have they been accustomed in the well?"

They had devoured, in spite of all my efforts to prevent them, all but a small remnant of the contents of the dish. I had fallen into an habitual see-saw, or wave of the hand about the platter: and, at length, the unconscious uniformity of the movement deprived it of effect. In their voracity the vermin frequently fastened their sharp fangs in my fingers. With the particles of the oily and spicy viand which now remained, I thoroughly rubbed the bandage wherever I could reach it; then, raising my hand from the floor, I lay breathlessly still.

Interestingly, Poe choses the word viand here.  The word usually connotes something that is tasty and good.  Ultimately, the real evil of his torturers is revealed in that word.  They’ve used something good to create a terrible thirst and attract terrible rats.  The food, which has served two torture-driven purposes, now serves Poe’s.  The man, recognizing the horrible and aggressive appetites of the rats gets the idea that they can help him escape.  With the remnants of the food, he smears the bindings that hold him in place.  With the pendulum just seconds away from killing him, the rats swarm over him and eat through the straps.  He rolls away, free from the pendulum.

Of course, the narrator’s ultimate salvation comes at the hands of the French army a few moments later, but he was first saved from the pendulum by…food.

Edgar Allan Poe was a brilliant writer who influenced nearly every genre of literature.   Unfortunately, the house in which he began his literary career may not be available to the public any longer.  The Baltimore Poe House and Museum lost its financing from the city due to budget constraints.  Our upcoming anthology, The Spirit of Poe contains work from dozens of authors and poets.  You can support our efforts to save the Baltimore Poe House and Museum by preordering the book at 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some food for thought, WJ!

W.J. Rosser is a poet, storyteller, and novelist 
currently living in Orange County, California, with 
his wife and seven children. His work has been 
published in a number of literary journals, and he 
is the founder of Literary Landmark Press. 
A spirited rhetorician fully committed to reasoned 
argumentation as a means to reach the best 
conclusions, he can often be found in conversations 
with complete strangers attempting to provoke 
thought and avoid punches.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Wolfgang Pie, Author of Tusk

How cool is it to have a blog about food our characters eat? I love food! Thanks for having me on this fun blog. I love your originality. My name is Wolfgang Pie. I write fiction for young readers. Below is an excerpt from Tusk, an Ice Age tale about a brother and sister who lost their parents in a bear attack. Yikes! Gotta watch out for bears and sabre tooth tigers back then. So what did humans eat back in prehistoric times? Well, they hunted a lot and gathered a lot. We have it easy now. What about the cold winters when food was scarce? Our ancestors stored up food for the winter. What a chore cooking was back then. I’m doing good to click my stove to On. Not only did they have to start a fire but they had to kill their own meat and pick their own fruits and vegetables. And their pottery and utensils were crude objects. Well what on earth would two lonely Ice Age kids cook on their first night without their parents? Let’s find out.

“Tell me again about my name,” Flint says as she hands me another piece of reindeer meat on a stick. My mouth waters as I bite into the warm meat, thankful I can chew before telling her the same story I’ve told a million times.
“Well?” She elbows me.
I swallow and sigh. “This is good, Flint. Mawk taught you well.”
She smiles as she chews and I feel my heart swell. Life feels so precious now. I can’t lose my sister. I know already that I’ll die for her if I have to. I also realize how very much I love her and have taken her for granted. Now she is my world and I’m hers.
“Tell me.”
“When you were a baby, nearing your first winter of your life, you found some flint arrows. Mawk screamed when she saw you playing with something so sharp. Pawk kept his arrows high on a shelf but I’d been learning to carve sharper points and had forgotten to put my arrows up. For that, I received three lashings with the horse tail whip.”
Flint roars with laughter at this part of the story. I know it’ll last awhile so I take another bite and roll my eyes. But whatever keeps her laughing. I’ll tell the story another million times if it keeps her mind off our dead parents. Her laugh finally subsides to short giggles so I continue.
“To Mawk’s amazement, you begin to draw with one arrow in each hand. Pawk grabbed her arm and stopped her from taking the arrows when he noticed you were drawing sketches of the moon.”
“I was a very smart baby.”
“Pawk thought so.”
“And you don’t?” Flint kicks some dust at me.
“I don’t really think you were drawing the moon.”
“Then what was I drawing?”
“Just circles.”
Flint throws down her meat stick and crosses her arms, glaring at me in a way that makes me see Mawk in her features. And not in a good way, either. Mawk could be tough. The toughest mother I’ve ever met.
“You never told me that part. Why are you being so mean? You think I was a stupid baby and all that talk from Pawk about me having a special connection to the heavens is wrong?”
Her eyes fill with tears and I feel like the worst brother ever. “No. I do think you’re connected to the spirit world. I know I am and you’re my sister so it’s only natural that you would be too.”
She sniffs and her nose wrinkles up like it did when she was a baby, reminding me that she’s still so young. “Go on.”
“From then on, Pawk let you play with flint arrows and as punishment, I had to watch you and make sure you didn’t cut yourself. It was then that they decided to name you Flint since it was the first object you noticed.”
Flint claps like she always does at the end of the story and sticks another piece of raw meat onto her stick, waving it over the fire. “Now I’ll tell yours.”
“You don’t have to. I know how I got my name.”
“Then let’s tell spirit stories.”
“No. You get too scared and won’t sleep tonight.”
“Okay, then I’m telling your name story.”
“What’s for dessert?”
“Auroch milk and snow. Here.” She passes me the covered stone bowl with the frosty dish and I help myself to dessert.

          Thanks for stopping by and sharing
           some food for thought, Wolfgang!

               You can find Wolfgang at:

                        And Tusk at:

           Amazon            Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FOODFIC: The Pigman - Paul Zindel

I have to admit that I picked up this book for completely not literary/qualitative reasons:
1. The title, obviously
2. It was yellow, so it called my name on a dreary day
3. The author’s last name started with a Z (I’ve been known to drift toward the X-section because it’s my favorite letter, but it’s slim pickins over there)

Anyway, back to Pigman. It wasn’t until I got home that I saw this book was first published in 1968 (and re-released in 2005). Having not even been born in 1968, I worried about being able to connect with it. I shouldn’t have. Besides the rotary dial phone John and Lorraine make prank calls on that leads them to Angelo Pignati (The Pigman) in the first place, the heart of the story was dateless.

So, it wasn’t the food they talked about that caught my attention (like the school cafeteria’s Swiss steak, which John calls “filet of gorilla’s heart”). Nor was it what they did consume, which was both notable and sad: John drinks beer as often as he can in subconscious emulation of his alcoholic father (“Bore”), while Lorraine has to heat up her own can of soup for dinner while her bitter mother sits at the table and complains about what a burden Lorraine is.

No, they got me with the “Supercolossal Fruit Roll.” (And I just got you with it, too, didn’t I?) 

On Wednesdays, the day the cafeteria sells “sick, undernourished apples,” John gets all the kids to buy one, and then, in the middle of class, to launch them on cue because “34 apples rolling up the aisles sound just like a herd of buffalo stampeding.” Yes, I feel like I have to say that kids should be paying attention and not fooling around, but at the same time I have to credit his out-of-the-box thinking. And when John says he gave up that freshman “kid” stuff when he became a sophomore, I have to argue that he hasn’t changed all that much; he and Lorraine give Mr. Pignati a “purpose” much in the same way he did for those reject apples.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dream Destination - BLOG HOP

Welcome to today's edition of the BLOG-A-LICIOUS BLOG TOUR!
Today we're sharing Dream Destinations, so please visit LIFE THROUGH LUCYLASTICA'S LENSE before me, LORHAINNE ECKHART'S CHOICE OF GIVING after, and all of the other thoughtful bloggers on TODAY'S TOUR. Happy Travels!

I bet you think you know where I’m headed – a land of fabulous cuisine, possibly classical (Tuscany), perhaps exotic (Morocco), or maybe undiscovered (the Basque region straddling France and Spain that’s making headlines for avant-garde cooking, called “the last unknown great cuisine of Europe” by chef Mark Miller).

Actually, none of the above. The food tie-in for this post is that my dream destination looks good enough to eat:

St. Basil’s is what dreams are made of; it’s dominated mine since I was a little girl. This architectural marvel represents a fairy tale and fable come to life; imagine Hansel and Gretel stumbling upon a castle instead of a cottage. 

Obviously, I’ll visit more on my epic journey than just Red Square, or even Moscow. When (not if!) I finally make this personal pilgrimage, I plan to take in as much of Russia as I possibly can. And yes, that includes eating myself silly :)

Now, all I know* about Russian cuisine is that they invented Chicken Kiev, which I’ve found delicious in my American tasting experience, but could very well be a whole ‘nother beast in its traditional form, like Taco Bell vs. authentic Mexican food. Oh, and that they make a lot of vodka. The good stuff.

Not that it really matters what I know* (there it is again!) before I go; my vacation eating m.o. is to try everything local I can get my hands on, whether I know* (for the trifecta!) what it is or not. (My husband and I once made an entire meal out of the strange junk foods we found in a foreign convenience store!) So my Russian preparation will entail the usual mini-course: how to say yes, no, please, thank you, and what’s your favorite thing on the menu? I’ll have that :) Yes, that strategy occasionally leads to a bad meal, but I always return home full of experiences!

And, don’t tell anyone, but I might lick one of those onion domes if I get the chance :)

*By know, I mean heard and believed. This may, in fact, be completely untrue, but I don’t know what I don’t know. Ya know?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

FOODFIC: Please Welcome E.J. Stevens, Author of Legend of Witchtrot Road (Spirit Guide #3)

What are they eating?  That is a very good question.  The eating habits of Yuki and her friends lead to arguments, gag-worthy discussions, and fun-filled hilarity.

Spirit Guide series characters are quirky, fun, and somewhat eccentric.  I mean, heck, when you're a teen who smells the dead, it's not like your life is normal.  Yuki and her friends are incredibly close – these are some of the most loyal friends in all of YA fiction – but food is a major polarizing element in these books. 

Yuki is a Lacto Vegetarian.  She loves cheese (pizza anyone?), but doesn't eat meat.  She also smells the dead.  Spirits of the dead may not smell like corpses – ghosts leave behind a smell impression that relates to the person they were in life – but smelling the dead can still have a negative impact on a girl's appetite.  For example, when you're being haunted by someone that smells like vinegar, it's hard to eat anything except pickles and salt and vinegar chips.

Emma, Yuki's BFF, is a strict Vegan – no meat, eggs, dairy, or animal products. This includes honey. "Bee Oppression" is one of Emma's favorite rants.  Emma is a proud animal rights activist and her love of animals often enters into her lunchtime arguments.

**Information about the characters below contains spoilers for the beginning of
She Smells the Dead
, the first book in the Spirit Guide series.**

Calvin has a deep respect for all life, but he's a growing teen with a healthy appetite AND an emerging wolf spirit.  Being a werewolf is tough, especially when you discover that you're the pack Alpha, but craving meat while dating a vegetarian and hanging out with a chatty vegan can make meal times an even bigger challenge.

Simon is a werewolf with a wild streak.  He's trying to help teach Cal and Yuki how to control their paranormal powers.  That means LOTS of opportunity for confrontation about Simon's eating habits.  Emma and Simon argue about everything, but food is one of their favorite things to fight about.

Food fight!

Here are some fun, food related excerpts from Legend of Witchtrot Road:

Yuki attempts to stem a fur-flying werewolf fight with pizza...

     “I’ll treat for pizza,” I said.
     That got their attention.  Boys everywhere are the same.  Werewolves, humans, it didn’t matter—they all loved pizza.
     “Trying to win my heart, love?” Simon teased.  “A meat-lover’s pizza will get you…everywhere.
     Ugh!  I wasn’t really in the mood for Simon’s flirtatious teasing, but at least it meant he wasn’t too depressed by the accusations that Gabriel had been slinging at him.  It was amazing what some tomato sauce and melted cheese could accomplish.  If I were writing a goth girl’s guide to making peace, I’d have an entire chapter on pizza, the ultimate tool for conflict resolution.  Peace-zah?

…and Cal can even make eating rice something to swoon about:

     Cal greeted me with a smile and reached up to brush my hair back behind my ears.  I leaned in closer and closed my eyes.  Cal’s hands moved deeper into my hair as he brushed his lips against mine.  More.
     I waited for my second kiss, but instead, with a flick of warm tongue, Cal licked a patch of skin beside my mouth.  My eyes flew open in surprise to meet Cal’s smiling eyes and toothy grin.
     “Wha…wha…what?” I stuttered.  “I mean, why did you just lick my face?”
     I was totally confused.  Was this some kind of wolf thing?  If so, I was not liking this new development.  At least, I didn’t think I was.  Great, now I’m blushing.
     The skin around Cal’s eyes crinkled even more and he let out a laugh before leaning in to whisper in my ear.
     “Because you’re delicious,” Cal said.  “And you had a piece of rice on your face.”
     Okay, now I’m really blushing.  I could feel the burn of my cheeks as Cal’s voice echoed in my head.  Because you’re delicious.  He did not just say that.  No, wait, he did.

Read more food rants and yummy Cal kissing scenes in Legend of Witchtrot Road, available October 2011.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some food for thought, E.J.!

E.J. Stevens is author of the haunting collection of dark poetry From the Shadows, the chilling collection of paranormal poetry Shadows of Myth and Legend, and the young adult paranormal Spirit Guide series, which includes She Smells the Dead, Spirit Storm, and Legend of Witchtrot Road. She currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.  When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she can be found blogging at From the Shadows, a paranormal book blog, or hanging out on Goodreads and Twitter.