Saturday, December 29, 2012

EOY Super SAYNG! Taylor Swift


 

The Church of Taylor

If you haven’t been to a Taylor Swift concert, let me tell you – it’s an experience. Not just the production itself – elaborate sets, unexpected effects, even the large block of time in the middle of the show when she walks around the venue meeting the fans – but the feeling that surges like a current through the arena. Taylor’s fans bring almost as much energy as the star herself with their shirts and lights and signage…and the way they sing along with her every word. I’m talking every person, every word, every song, not unlike – and I say this without the slightest hint of facetiousness – a congregation.

Her music is catchy, yes – as is her personality – but I believe her lyrics are what speak to the devoted fans. Taylor has a gift for putting into words what every girl has felt at one time or another and, when she shares her experiences so poetically and so publicly, it truly validates and empowers all of her empathetic listeners as well.

Say there’s a boy at school you like who doesn’t know you exist, or a mean girl who’s spreading nasty rumors about you; you feel just a little less alone when you know that Taylor Swift has been there, too. Not that it’s just a teen thing; as an adult, I can both remember the intensity of those moments and appreciate how excellently Taylor is able to capture and express them.

And for the naysayers who think that’s easy to do, let me put it this way: she’s able to condense all of the events and emotions of a significant period of time, be it the length of a season or an entire relationship, into only a dozen lines of verse; it took me 3 books to cover one summer in my SOLID series!

So yes, I’m a fan of Taylor, and I’ve pasted below some of my favorite lines from her songs so you can see why: 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Mian Mohsin Zia, Author of Once





ONCE---Ask Me Anything, Not Love by Mian Mohsin Zia (www.mianmohsinzia.com)

"This novel will leave you wanting a sequel as this love story must continue. Mian Moshin Zia writes from the heart. As the story is peppered with poetry you will find yourself returning to read them again and again." -- Reviewed by Readers Favorite

What would you do if you hurt the woman you loved beyond what is in human nature to forgive? That is the problem that Morkel has to overcome.

As the celebrated author, 'M---, No Time for Love', Morkel has vowed to never write a love story, or a story with a female protagonist. A staunch bachelor, Morkel is set in his ways; he has vowed to never fall in love. However, during a holiday in Kiev Morkel meets a 'person of interest'; someone who will change his life forever in all aspects, especially food-wise.

Food for thought is what Morkel learns from Maya. A girl with singing soul and a pure heart who values everything in her life, even the food she eats. One day Maya brings pumpkins for Morkel to show him her love. You can read for yourself what happens then…

I brought these pumpkins for you,” she removes a lunchbox from her bag. “I told you that I would find some way to thank you for your help.”
I smile back, the more open she is with me the better my novel will be. “Thanks mate,” I take the lunchbox from her and open it.
“You are welcome.” Before I can eat the pumpkins, a hand touches my wrist, stopping me. “First pray and then eat.” I am astonished, but before I can say anything, she bows her head and clasps her hands together. “Dear Lord, thank you for your love and kindness today. You give us strength and nutrition. As we sit in your presence at this bench, bless our food and bless all those gathered here.” I watch her while she prays. At the end of the prayer, she turns her head towards me, and I immediately clasp my own hands and close my eyes so that she does not realise that I was only listening to her pray and not praying myself. I am honestly not fond of pumpkin, but these are luscious and I eat them with great enthusiasm.

Morkel remembers that one moment with Maya and the pumpkins, and the prayer before starting to eat, forever. It makes him enjoy pumpkins as well, and he learns the value of prayer in his life.


Author’s website:  www.mianmohsinzia.com
 
ONCE on Amazon:  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003Z9K55S
 
ONCE Book Trailer:
http://www.mianmohsinzia.com/p/o-n-c-e.html


Thank you for sharing your food for thought, Mian! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - The 14 Teen Authors of "We Are Absolutely Not Okay"

 
Our troubles become slightly more bearable once we discover we don't have to face them alone.

No one knows this better than the students of the Scriber Lake alternative high school in Edmonds, Washington; 14 of whom came together to compile "We Are Absolutely Not Okay: 14 Stories by Teenagers Who Are Picking Up the Pieces." (Available in both print and as an ebook.)

These young authors, each of whom has overcome obstacles (and usually more than one apiece), wanted to share their stories to give hope to kids facing similar difficulties.

Since they say it best, hear their stories and the motivation behind the book in their own words here:

Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

Friday, December 14, 2012

FOODFIC: Fateful - Cheri Schmidt




There aren’t a lot of surprises in Fateful. Character-wise, Ethan, our vampire love-interest, boasts the looks and presence of an angel, first appearing just in time to rescue her from a shadowy demon of a man in a dark alley. Ethan also drives a Jaguar that he has no obvious means of affording, as well as a perfect family of fellow non-humans who are graciously warm and welcoming to the very human and warm-blooded girl he brings home. All but Celeste, anyway, who’s harboring an unrequited love for Ethan and takes it out on Danielle.

Food-wise, too, there are all the standards; while Danielle is going to art school in London, she’s staying with her British relatives, who treat her to all the English staples:  fish & chips, bubbles & squeak, scones with clotted cream, and of course daily tea (which our heroine takes in the very decidedly wrong American way).  

But beyond all that has become so familiar to the genre, Schmidt does offer a unique take on the vampire diet; the vampires cook for Danielle, not just out of politeness to their human guest, but because they want her to describe to them the flavors

Danielle began to feel weird about eating alone as three vampires watched with interest. “Uh, I don’t mean to be rude, but why is my eating so fascinating to watch?”
Sophia answered, “I’m sorry, Danielle, it’s just that we had such a fondness for food, but it doesn’t taste the same as it did anymore. It looks like it should taste so delicious, because it is just so … wonderfully colorful.” Her brows pressed together as if she thought “colorful” may not be the best word to describe food, but it seemed it was all she could come up with. “The truth is ... an all blood diet gets horribly tiresome.” 

I hadn’t really considered the vampire palate from that perspective before, but it makes perfect sense…and makes their perfection slightly less enviable. Would I be able to give up the delicious smorgasbord that is human cuisine in exchange for the glory of immortality? I don’t know; I’m thinking even pizza-flavored blood would lose its appeal over, say, an eternity

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toastworthy Teens - Ikea Johnson

Ikea Johnson, Lifesaver

It could’ve been an episode on What Would You Do? On Ikea Johnson’s walk home from work, she encountered 2 women screaming and crying over a 3rd lying on the ground. The victim, who has Downs syndrome, had tripped on the sidewalk, fallen and hit her head, and now lay unconscious and not breathing in a pool of her own blood.

Without hesitation, Ikea ordered the two friends to call 9-1-1 and run into a nearby building for a defibrillator. Ikea then performed chest compressions and breath checks until paramedics arrived. I’m not sure which is more unbelievable – that Ikea is only 16 years old, or that, after performing the heroic feat, she just walked home to finish her homework as if nothing had happened!

Her guidance counselor, however, wasn’t surprised at all, noting that “She has that cool, calm demeanor that reacts to the toughest situations as if she was a seasoned professional.” In fact, everyone in Ikea’s life sings the praises of the varsity cheerleader and honor student, saying she’s a “model student,” “very rare jewel,” and “breath of fresh air.” One of her teachers added, “With students like Ikea, one does not worry about the future of our citizenry. We are all in better hands with young adults like Ikea Johnson.”

I completely agree. :)

For a good FAQ on CPR, visit:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/er/cpr.html


Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 

Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FOODFIC: Please Welcome L.B. Clark, Author of the Jukebox Heroes Series


Food is an important part of life, and not only because it’s the fuel that keeps our bodies running.  Meal times can double as social events, business meetings, or celebrations.  Food can be a part of exploring new cultures, breaking the ice, showing affection, or comforting ourselves – or others—when the world gets us down.

All of the books in my Jukebox Heroes series mention food.  Even the short stories in the series mention food or eating.  This isn’t a surprising fact, as most books and stories do mention food; as I said, it’s a central part of our lives.  What is surprising to me, as the author, is how prevalent food and dining is in the series and how many different roles food plays in the books.

The first book, The Hand of Fate, takes place on a cruise ship where food and drink of every description are available ‘round the clock.  In one scene, the main character, Dylan, and her best friend, Elizabeth share conch fritters at Margaritaville in Key West while they get to know Dylan’s love interest, Brian.  This is an instance of real life working its way into my writing, as my best friend and I discovered a love for conch fritters at Margaritaville (though it was the one in Orlando rather than the one in Key West).

In the next book, Call Out, the conch fritters make another appearance.  When Elizabeth, Brian, and Brian’s friend London go to Key West to investigate Dylan’s disappearance, the man helping them – Ashe – sends Brian and Elizabeth after food so that he can talk to London alone.  Though they don’t go to Margaritaville, they buy conch fritters along with Cuban sandwiches. 

In the next book in the series, Everything You Are, food is talked about in a little more detail and plays a few more roles.  Elizabeth’s brother and her boyfriend make her a special meal of pecan-crusted chicken and four-cheese mac-and-cheese as comfort food when she’s going through a rough patch. 

Later, her new friend Chris brings food to her apartment late one night when he comes to talk to her about what’s bothering her; he shows up with just the right food, proving that he’s been paying attention.  He falls asleep on her couch, and she brings him breakfast the next morning, her favorite scones and a mocha, like he’d had once before when they’d gone for coffee—proving she’s been paying attention, too.  

And when Elizabeth goes to visit London in LA over New Year’s, she has a gourmet burger topped with Port sauce and Stilton cheese at a restaurant I love there, Umami Burger, giving readers the tiniest peep inside of Hollywood (I’ve made Port and Stilton burgers at home, too.  Though they aren’t the same as Umami Burger’s, they are very good.  You just reduce Port in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minute, then drizzle the sauce over the cheese-topped burger). 
 
In the latest book in the series, Storm, food once again plays a large supporting role.  My favorite food-centric scene in this book involves a surprise picnic of maki rolls and plum sake from my favorite Austin-area Asian restaurant, Origami.  In another scene, Elizabeth’s friend Seth wants to get her mind off the things troubling her, so he makes her get dressed up and takes her out to a nice restaurant where they eat dessert first and follow it up with appetizers in place of an entrĂ©e.

‘What are they eating?’is a question that many readers never think to wonder, but it can be an important one.  What a character chooses to eat or where they choose to dine may seem to many to be unnecessary details, food and dining choices and the roles they play can give the reader a lot of insight into the characters’ personalities, motivations, and even their relationships with other characters.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, L.B.!


You can find L.B. here: