Thursday, November 26, 2015

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Axel Howerton, Author of Hot Sinatra

Coffee is God. Coffee is the Life-bringer.

Coffee is the be-all-goddamn-end-all.

The Alpha and the Omega. That’s what Cole calls it.

At least, that’s how I feel. Me and ol’ Mossimo Cole. We love our beans, man.

Do you know Moss? Tall, good looking dude, lots of tattoos, lots of scars, usually wearing this beat-up old fedora he got off of his grandfather. Lives next door to me. Right down the street there. Chicks dig Moss Cole. He’s one of those tall, dark, and soulful types. What Cole loves? Jazz and a fine ristretto pull.

I know. What the hell is a ristretto? Basically, a ristretto is the first half of an espresso. When you squeeze that water through the tightly-packed grounds of coffee bean dust, forcing it at temperature and pressure to work it’s way down through the earthy mantle of a fine grind, and flood out in a big muddy, a veritable Mississippi of shape and colour. The darkest, smokiest, velvet-smooth, dark chocolate magnificence. Coffee contains over a thousand aromatic compounds, and the best and boldest of them are at their peak when you use that first pull.

You dump that into a demitasse and suck it back, brother that’s a straight ristretto. Drop some water in like an Americano, and we’re talking a Long Black. Moss likes those two ristretto shots split with a lovely cloud of foamed milk. Silk and satin, that’s what he calls it. Baby, that’s Flat White right there. 

You better believed you’ve never had a coffee so rich, so flavourful, so damned exquisite.
I used to be a three or four latte-a-day man, licking the caramel scorch-ring off the bottom of a truck-stop pot of joe, if I was having an especially bad morning. Moss showed me the light. He showed me the way. That lady friend of his, the redhead with the stems like polished marble? Rosie.  That was her name. Hot stuff, sweet fancy Moses. Cup of coffee like bountiful naked angels pouring pure sunshine and rainbows straight down your gullet. Haven’t seen her around lately though. Ol’ Moss has been a little down and out. Looks like he’s been run up one side and down the other with one of those riding mowers. Maybe I’d best check in on him.  Been hearing a lot of Chet Baker and not much Satchmo coming out of his place next door.

First things first, I’m feeling a mite slow ‘n’low myself, better shuffle on down to the corner, down to the hipster coffee bar. They got a new girl there, Australian. Mossy says they invented the flat white. She says that too. Says her name’s Pie-Pah, but the tag says Piper. Doesn’t matter what they call her when she can pull a cup of joe like that, I tell ya.

I’ve got a nice crisp ten-spot with her name on it. Pie-Pah.  Of course, ten bucks won’t buy me two large (one now and one for later) plus one for Moss, and leave her with a tip. So I guess Mossy’s on his own. Unless he wants to spot me a cup later. Yeah, he’ll be good for it. He usually is. Right?
Nah. Better not chance it. I’m gonna need that fix later. Alpha and Omega. One now, one for later.

I ain’t gonna argue with the Coffee Gods.

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

Axel Howerton is the genre-hopping, punch-drunk author of the horror novella Living Dead at Zigfreidt & Roy, and the darkly funny detective novel Hot Sinatra, which was a finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. His newest novel Furr, available now from Tyche Books is a "modern gothic werewolf story that's part crime novel and part urban fantasy". Axel is the editor of the anthologies Death by Drive-In, Tall Tales of the Weird West and AB Negative. His work has appeared in places like Big Pulp, Fires on the Plain, Steampunk Originals, Night Shade, Dark Eclipse, Sleuth Magazine, and "The Big Lebowski" compendium Lebowski 101, as well as the anthologies A Career Guide to Your Job in Hell and Let It Snow.

When he's not on-duty as a hometown anti-hero, Axel spends most of his time roaming the untamed prairies of Alberta with his two brilliant young sons and a wife that is way out of his league.

            Hot Sinatra is a darkly funny detective novel featuring more coffee, music, romance and action than you can shake a dark chocolate Pirouline at. Available now in paperback, audiobook and ebook. $0.99 ebook sale December 5 – 9! 

You can find Axel here:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Milda Harris, Author of Adventures in Funeral Crashing

Imagine this: peanut butter, bananas, ice cream, and milk blended together to utter perfection. That's right. I'm talking about a peanut butter banana milkshake. Yum. No, actually that's not a good enough word to describe that miraculous blending of flavor. It doesn't quite do it justice. At least, that's how the heroine from my Funeral Crashing Mystery Series, Kait Lenox, feels. 

That awesome concoction is her favorite treat. She calls it heaven on earth. She likes her peanut butter banana milkshake from one place particularly, a coffee shop called Wired. Even a murder mystery can't deter her from them. She is that obsessed.

I'll admit it. I get cravings for a peanut butter banana milkshake every once in a while too and I had my own brief fixation with them. That's why it made its initial appearance. I was participating in the 3 Day Novel Contest when I started Adventures in Funeral Crashing and I was writing what I knew - that peanut butter banana milkshakes rock!

From that initial idea, the milkshake took on a life of its own in the story. Kait can't stop talking about them. It's her go-to comfort food and beverage of choice when it shows up on a menu. She even uses it to compare how great something is and the only thing that can beat the phenomenal bliss of a peanut butter banana milkshake from Wired is a kiss from her crush, Ethan Ripley. It must be true love then, right?    

Kait's love of the peanut butter banana milkshake has evolved, though. In Adventures in Funeral Crashing Kait gushes about them endlessly and drinks them whenever the opportunity presents itself, but in a later book, Adventures in Murder Chasing, you learn that there's more to the story than her love of a simple milkshake. She used to share her passion for them with her now ex-best friend, Ariel. It was their thing to go to Wired, drink them, and gossip...until their friendship ended. Their complicated friendship/ex-friendship spans the series and their dual love of peanut butter banana milkshakes is just a piece of their story.

So, now we have the milkshake's backstory. This brings up an interesting question. What will be the next chapter in the journey of Kait and her peanut butter banana milkshake love affair? What does the future hold? Will she be able to find one when she heads off to Paris in the next Funeral Crashing book or will a mystery get in the way? More importantly, who will be sharing that milkshake with her?

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

You can find Milda here:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Kim Hornsby, Author of The Dream Jumper's Secret

Maui Takeout and Home Cooking

I love to mention what my characters are eating in my novels. As an avid reader, I appreciate the mention of food in the storyline, especially if it gets me salivating. That’s the sign of a talented writer.

The Dream Jumper’s Secret, the second book in my Dream Jumper Series, begins on Maui in late May but the story soon goes to Carnation, Washington, a small town forty minutes east of Seattle, where May and June are customarily cool. There, meals are eaten at home, around a table, and menus are based on meat and potatoes. Both Jamey’s father and Tina’s parents have Anglo Saxon backgrounds and are over seventy-years-old, raised during a time when dinner included – meat, vegetable, starch—with little regard for cholesterol.

With the weather and the chef’s background factored in, here’s what Tina and Jamey eat in The Dream Jumper’s Secret:

On Maui we have Tina and Jamey (a brand new couple) eating teriyaki chicken, mango smoothies, cold beer, and mostly takeout. Tina has never had an interest in the kitchen as a business major and scuba shop owner, so she grabs food on the go. As a bachelor and a former soldier, Jamey is used to this too.

In Carnation, breakfasts consist of Canadian bacon, (I had to get that in there, because I was born and raised Canadian), fried eggs, and always coffee. Lots of coffee for Jamey. He’s a former Special Forces soldier! Lunches in Carnation tend to be cold cut sandwiches and homemade potato salad. Dinners are creamy clam chowder, stews, vegetable soup, or beef barley soup, all made from scratch. Jamey and his father sit at the old wooden table and slurp soup, using chunky homemade bread to clean their bowls afterwards.

At Tina’s family’s house, on Mercer Island, Washington, her mother and father eat meals in the formal dining room. The Greene’s have a housekeeper, Millie, who does the cooking. They dine on Chicken Cordon Bleu, Pot Roast with basted potatoes and carrots, and Roast Chicken. But, one night Tina goes to the local Chinese Restaurant and brings home Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice and Broccoli Beef, which is eaten informally.

When the story heads to Afghanistan, Tina finally shoves a hamburger and greasy fries with ketchup into her mouth. Then, she washes it all down with a chocolate milkshake from the Kandahar Airbase chow tent.

At the end of all my books, I include at least one recipe, and in The Dream Jumper’s Secret, I published Pops’ Seafood Chowder and Millie’s Pot Roast. It always makes me happy when a reader emails me to say they tried the recipe and loved it! Or, if I’m asked to speak at a Book Club and the hostess has made the recipe. I’ve had teriyaki chicken and mango salsa many times.

If you’re interested in The Dream Jumper Series, you can find my books at on Amazon, or comment below for the chance to win your choice of the 3 ebook Dream Jumper Series or my Christmas Box Set of 8 Books, Criminal Christmas, with Ann Charles and Alexa Grace.

Comment question: What’s the last thing you ate?

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

You can find Kim here:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Peter Golden, Author of Wherever There is Light

Here’s the truth, and I rarely share it with anyone. I’m one of those people who gains weight if he looks in a bakery window. I’ve been known to stare longingly at a carrot cake or pecan pie, then go home and try on a new suit, only to discover that, amazingly, the pants are now too tight in the waist.

How does this happen? I don’t know, but it’s been going on since childhood, and the result is that I’m on an eternal diet.

Except when I write—

For some reason, writing about food doesn’t seem to add extra weight, and because part of my new novel, Wherever There Is Light, takes place in Paris right after World War II, I let my imagination run wild. Here are a few excerpts:

          If, as les existentialists claimed, existence was meaningless, then it made sense to begin each day with dessert, a plan that Julian put into action by devouring a pain au chocolat at one of the busy cafés in the square outside the Sorbonne.

I especially enjoyed writing this sentence because my usual more fare is more like fruit and granola without sugar—or flavor, if you ask me. Ah, but one of those flaky, rich chocolate filled croissants...

Of course, after eating a breakfast more suitable for a parakeet, I’m a bit peckish by noon, so it’s downstairs I go for a—you guessed it—a banana.

Then I head up to my office and sit at the computer, where I indulge myself:

          In the rainy light the houses below the top of Montmartre were gray and brown with orange chimney pots, and after Julian commented that it looked exactly like the print of the van Gogh painting that Kendall had hung in her Greenwich Village apartment, it began to rain harder, and they ducked into a café for coffee and macarons.

Are you hungry yet? I am, and so it is time for my main characters, Kendall and Julian, to eat dinner.

          The dining area at Dans le Vent was redolent with cassoulet—a garlicky aroma rising from the bowls of sausage, confit of duck and pork shoulder, sweet onions, tomatoes, and plump tarbais beans that were slow-cooked under a crust of bread crumbs and tasted like the coziest starlit autumn night you could remember.

I enjoyed writing this passage. Not that I felt full, mind you, but I didn’t gain an ounce, and I’ve always loved to dream.

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

You can find Peter here: