Friday, April 21, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome John W. Mefford, Author of IN Doubt



Have you ever participated in one of those silent auctions? You know the ones, where a charity offers up themed gift baskets, tickets to a sporting event or a concert, or, possibly, a chef-prepared meal by one of the top chefs in the country.

Well, that’s how Ivy Nash—the protagonist in my bestselling mystery-thriller series—happens to hit the food lottery in my latest novel, IN Doubt (due out on May 5). With her and her old / new flame, Saul, sitting at his kitchen table, they watch a famed chef personally cook them a meal that might normally cost north of five hundred dollars. They start with Texas gulf crab cakes, with tomatillo-poblano cream and jicama-tortilla slaw. And then they reach the main course: wood-grilled pork tenderloin, with jalapeno-charred corn, drizzled with Texas peach barbeque sauce.

Ivy, a former CPS Special Investigator in Texas, has never had much money. In fact, food is usually not much of a priority because all of her energy is focused on helping troubled kids. It’s her passion…her calling in life. But it’s because of that passion that lands her at this fundraising event—all the proceeds were donated to drug-addiction detox centers—hosted by a billionaire. She’d saved the man’s daughter a week earlier from being sold by his drug-addicted mom to some random schmuck in exchange for some crack. As is the case with all of Ivy’s adventures, IN Doubt plays out with no shortage of spine-tingling chills or those moments when you heart is in the back of your throat.

It’s kind of funny, really, looking at the plight of my protagonists. They’re all so very different, yet I can see how they and I share one common trait—our passion. Mind, of course, is writing stories that make you look over your shoulder and wonder about the person walking behind you. I don’t know about you and your passion, but I can lose myself in my writing. I’ll snap out of a four-thousand word trance, and realize I hadn’t had a thing to eat or drink in the last eight hours.

But when I type the last word on a manuscript and finish off that last change with my editor, that’s when you’ll find my wife and me celebrating. Like Ivy and Saul, we might indulge in a nice dessert: brown sugar Bundt cake with salted caramel and candied bacon. And then I dive right back into my passion…writing stories that evoke every emotion possible.


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



You can find John here:




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Please Welcome A.G. Moye, Author of Cronicles of the Marauder




In the near future; 100,000 light-years from Earth aboard the faster than light starship Marauder, Captain Neil Armstrong Andrews sat down for dinner to enjoy fresh vegetables from the hydroponics garden with vat grown artificial meat. After their narrow escape from the aliens that wanted to enslave them and near destruction of the Marauder, they were hiding doing repairs to the ship. I now present for your enjoyment, one scene in the story for you to get the flavor of dinner aboard the Marauder.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

"Captain, what would you like for dinner?" asked the female assistant cook.
"What are the crew having today?"
"The main choices are stir fry with rice made with artificial meat with fresh vegetables from hydroponics. Or spaghetti made with artificial meat meatballs, a salad and fresh garlic bread."
"I'll have a little of both."
"What would you like on your salad?"
"Thousand Island dressing."
"To drink with your meal?"
"Iced tea." she walked away to fetch Neil’s tea.
Glancing at the wall to his right, Neil still enjoyed the seascape painted there, giving the illusion you were dining on the beach.
Glancing to his left, Neil saw the long line formed by the crew to serve themselves, cafeteria style. They were quick about it. Being in space, everything was attached or secured in case of the loss of gravity.
Neil felt he was accustomed to the sudden appearance of a head resembling a praying mantis in front of him.
"Evening Captain." she said in her sing-song voice.
"Evening Poopa." She gave her smile-like feature and retracted her head. She could stretch her neck over twenty feet at will. When he first saw her, he thought her body was a giant walking stick from Earth with a praying mantis head. Neil soon learned she was very flexible with her twenty appendages; only ten or twelve were used for walking, the others were deft hands that could do multitasks at once.
"Hey Poopa, you should try this chocolate cake. It is to die for!" Noka shouted in his deep rumbling voice. 
Poopa never left her place in line, instead extended her neck so her head was just above the horse-like creature that yelled to her.
Neil smiled as Noka cut off a piece of cake with his fork and lifted it upwards to her. Her multi-prong tongue lashed out and cleaned it off his fork.
"It is tasty; I'll try some." Poopa sang.
Poopa picked up a tray, no plate, since she normally only ate the greens. Neil watched as she sniffed each food before using a utensil to place some on the tray. As always, they had two or three heads of cabbage, uncooked but sliced in four parts for her. It was her favorite food.
She took no more than a tablespoon of most things but took two whole heads of cabbage. Using the tongs, she picked out her other favorite greens from the salad tray before moving along. At the end, she took a couple of slices of cake before going over and getting a container of water.
All the tables for the crew were built picnic style with benches to sit on. Poopa was unable to sit in them so she went to the one end of the last table by the wall.
Neil noted that all the aliens tended to sit far away from the others as possible at the same table. Poopa was at one end of the back table by the wall. Noka had his pillow seat at the other end. A few humans sat with them, those that accepted the aliens as part of the crew. Most did not.
Neil smiled as his food was placed in front of him. He marveled at how the cooks could take the simplest foods and make them gourmet meals.
"Thank you," Neil said turning his attention away from the crew to his plate. 


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, A.G.!



You can find A.G. here:







Born in the cotton fields of Arkansas, started writing in 1987 when I got my first computer. Wrote long hand before that; my hayloft is filled with old stories. Published in 2011 after being prodded by my wife when she read the first of the Lightning in the Tunnel books. Currently I am writing Iron Hearts and Doomsday Rock while Saddle Spur, my first western, is in editing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Laurence O'Bryan, Author of The Cairo Puzzle



In early February, just gone, I spent three days in Cairo researching my upcoming mystery novel, The Cairo Puzzle.  Cairo is an extraordinary city, the largest between Mexico city and India, far larger than any in Europe.

Twenty million people in the metro area makes for a dense and bustling space, filled with beeping cars at all hours of the day and night. My main reason for going there was to get inside the Great Pyramid to visit the King’s Chamber, which I succeeded in doing. To see the small, claustrophobic main passage inside the pyramid in 360VR, possibly the first such view ever, click here.

We stayed in the Rameses Hilton, a stone’s throw from the Nile and a little down the river from the Antiquities Museum, with its unmissable treasures of Tutankhamun.

The giant self-service breakfast bar at the hotel served a tasty beef bacon substitute along with an array of almost every type of breakfast food you would find in any major hotel on any continent. There were lots of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern visitors filling the restaurant from early in the morning and plenty of coffee and fresh orange juice top-ups to get us started for the day.

But my favorite food item at the hotel was the lemon drink served in the lobby bar downstairs. My wife tells me that’s because they mix a lot of sugar with the lemon juice! See what it looks like below.


       
Apparently, this is a traditional drink in Egypt. I loved it. The hotel served it in style too, as you can see from the pic.

For lunch, one day, an Egyptian directed us to the Abou Tarek restaurant on El-Shaikh Marouf, in the heart of the city.



The Abou Tarek restaurant is famous for one thing; Kushari. This is a mix of rice, lentils, and macaroni with optional spicy tomato sauce or garlic vinegar, with a topping of chickpeas and fried onions.

I was hungry when I arrived so I ate most of mine quickly.

It was also about seventy degrees outside in early February and after a morning visiting the pyramids a good lunch was just what I needed. The amazing thing, for me, was that this dish was all they served in the restaurant for lunch.

You could get it topped with slightly different layers, but that’s it. That’s what you get at the Abou Tarek. The other thing that was interesting was the aluminum tables and the 1950’s feel of the restaurant. We ate on the tightly packed upper floor surrounded by tables full of Egyptians.

See the lunch we received below. The metal bowls in the middle of the table are the spicy sauce.



We also visited some western style restaurants and the hotel restaurant, but the most memorable food items on our short trip were the lemon juice and the Kushari.

I love visiting the cities I feature in my novels and eating with the locals. I’ve been to London, 

Istanbul, Jerusalem, Cairo, Nuremberg and San Francisco, where my novel coming out late in 2017 is based.

I enjoyed every second of my Cairo trip, despite the traffic we had to dodge through, the sandy dust in the air and the constant beeping from the streets, which reached us even in our tenth floor hotel room.


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


You can find Laurence here:








Laurence O’Bryan is a traditional and self-published mystery author, and the founder of the Dublin Writers Conference, which you can also attend online. See details about that here. For a 25% discount on all the options for the conference use this coupon code on checkout: shelley1

Laurence’s series of Puzzle mysteries starts in Istanbul. You can see that one on Amazon here. It was translated into 10 languages. He also founded BooksGoSocial.com, to help great books get discovered.