Thursday, January 17, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Ottilie Weber, Author of Family Ties




The scent of sweet and cinnamon drift from a country club kitchen. Abby is working at a country club as a waitress with her friend Cory. Dealing with people is not Abby’s strong suit as she is usually equipped with her sarcasm and ready to ‘just tell people how it is’ attitude. However, when Lucy, a chef at the restaurant, makes her specialty cinnamon rolls, Abby can almost tolerate her job.

After years of her family’s history instead of fairy tales like every other child Abby thinks she is far too old to think about those stories. One night she is trying to leave work, her friend Cory drags his feet so she decides to leave without him. On the way home though she is kidnapped and brought to another country. Cory is left feeling with the guilt of not simply walking his friend to their neighborhood. Abby is now being held against her will in a mansion.

The rose-colored glasses don’t last long with her capturer. She soon learns that he is after an unfinished deal with her family and his all those years ago. As she is plotting her escape, she learns that her dad had the story wrong about her great-great grandmother Emma.

Cozy up with a warm cinnamon roll to read about a person who isn’t as sweet as one. Family Ties is a young adult novel that is told by three different point of views, Abby’s, Cory’s, and Emma’s. After all, a story doesn’t have one side.



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


You can find Ottilie here:




Thursday, January 10, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gabriel Valjan, Author of The Company Files



In The Naming Game, I introduce readers to a bygone era of Hollywood history and intrigue, which includes the seductive glamour of fine dining and drinking in Los Angeles of yesteryear. I mention Musso & Frank, where Chandler, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and West sat, drank, and scribbled. While I don’t have readers sample from the French-forward menu that Musso & Frank still uses, I did mention the Windsor, the restaurant Ben Dimsdale owned for four decades before he reinvented it as an Asian fusion eatery.

At the nearby Cocoanut Grove club at the Ambassador, two of my characters meet for drinks. She has an Old Fashioned, while he enjoys a lesser-known libation called The Stinger, which is brandy with crème de menthe, a concoction that she thinks is the “upper-crust choice of either flyboys or college men.” Seduction and strategy afoot, the two leave the nightspot for dinner at the Mountain Palace (now Yamashiro) in the Hollywood Hills. The meal they enjoy is one I researched and was on their menu in 1951. I also describe how the restaurant had been built as a replica of a shogun’s villa.

No story about Fifties LA would be complete without a tip of the fedora to its underworld and the clubs that gangsters like Mickey Cohen frequented and infiltrated. The Trocodero was show-and-tell for the stars. They went there to see and be seen. Writers hung out at jazz clubs or more low-key places with their own kind, like Schwab’s on Sunset. I have a meeting between writers at Slapsy Maxie’s, which became Billy Gray’s Band Box, one of the earliest places for stand-up comedy on Wilshire in LA.

If two ladies in The Naming Game spent “forty-two dollars for filet de boeuf forestiere or, in English for the masses, larded tenderloin sauced in olive oil and served with a garnish of bacon and diced potatoes”, the boys got into the soup on the Strip at a property Charlie Chaplin used to own, and the restaurant was famous for its hobo steak and a signature dessert called the snowball, which was vanilla ice cream encrusted with shredded coconut.

When Terry and Walker aren’t sweating scripts to meet Jack Warner’s deadlines, they enjoy fast food from Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. Cagney and Bogart make a cameo. Readers learn why Jack Warner fired Rin Tin Tin, and how much he loathed Harry Cohn at Columbia Studios. Cohn had set up a Mexican food stand on his lot to lure writers away from the WB Studio. Note: the infamous scene with the horse’s head in The Godfather was allegedly based on retaliation against Harry Cohn’s for refusing to cast Frank Sinatra in From Here To Eternity. John Marley who played Jack Woltz had not been informed that a real animal and blood would be used, so his screams were real.

Although the majority of the story takes place in LA, part of the action happens on the East Coast, like Jack Marshall, Walker’s boss, calling the shots. Readers will have a power-lunch with Jack at Ebbits, a landmark DC grill, where there was “plenty of cigar smoke, and plenty of sorrows tipped back along with the famous oysters.” The establishment has hosted Presidents, lesser politicians, and the theater crowd for a century, and is rumored to have been a watering hole for CIA and FBI agents back in the day. Ebbits is still open to customers.

Whether it’s Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name. The right name. I hope you enjoy the story, the locales, and history in The Naming Game.

Cheers and Bon Appétit.


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


You can find Gabriel here:






Thursday, January 3, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Derek Thompson, Author of STANDPOINT



Thomas Bladen, a spy worth his salt
Derek Thompson looks at his main character’s relationship with food.

Not all spies are suave and sophisticated. Thomas is smart, sardonic, and rough around the edges. He works for Britain’s Surveillance Support Unit – loaned out to any government department that will have them, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Other departments call them floaters – it’s not a term of endearment.

Although Thomas works for the SSU in London, this son of a Yorkshire miner has never lost touch with his working-class roots. He’s a man who eats to live rather than living to eat.

A meal out with Miranda, the epicentre of his complicated love life, runs to tuna steaks and red wine. But it’s Miranda who knows how to make his mouth water.

“We never got to dessert,” she said, slinking past him, with an overnight bag over one shoulder and a carton of vanilla ice cream in her hand. 

In the office he functions on vending machine coffee and chocolate bars. Out on the streets with Karl, he favours a ‘greasy spoon’ café for a sausage and egg sandwich on white, no ketchup. Sometimes it’s a fry-up; surveillance work demands patience, vigilance, and calories!

Further conversation was parked as they made their way through a meal fit for a king — a king who enjoyed mushrooms, eggs, tomatoes, sausages, bacon, toast and beans. 

Karl managed to cram sausage, bacon and beans into his mouth, and still talk. 

Thomas found that a conscience wreaked havoc on his appetite so he played safe with a large mug of tea and a meagre two eggs on toast. He jabbed at the eggs so that they bled yellow and swept the plate with toast, sluicing the yellow into ketchup.

Keeping unsociable hours, Thomas relies on takeaways, usually Chinese food or an Indian curry – the hotter the better. Or else he throws together whatever’s in the kitchen.

A cheese omelette with bacon bits in it and bread that was only good for toasting. 

He left her to it, put the kettle on and dug something resurrectable out of the freezer — two portions.

He’s not a serious drinker because it impairs his judgement. And for Thomas, nothing matters more than being in control.

They agreed to share a bottle of wine — her treat. He quickly got into the rhythm of their non-date. By dessert he’d noticed her legs again. 

When Thomas and Karl need a neutral space to talk things through, they head over to a pub for shandy and crisps (potato chips in the US). Man, they lurve crisps!

The only time when Thomas seems to eat a two-course meal is with Miranda’s family, where it’s a traditional British Sunday roast dinner or pizza and salad, followed by dessert. You could say he’s a traditionalist. Even when he goes back up to Yorkshire to see his family for his annual guilt trip, the good is usually wholesome and uncomplicated: fish & chips — a feast for the prodigal son. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_and_chips


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



You can find Derek here:







STANDPOINT by Derek Thompson
Book 1 in the SPY CHASER series
Assignment: Customs & Excise

THE WRONG MAN IN THE RIGHT PLACE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Thomas Bladen has been living a double-life for two years. He’s a Civil Service photographer in London, but the Surveillance Support Unit has a much wider remit. It’s staffed by ex-forces personnel, careerists, and Thomas. He has an eye for details that other people miss and a talent for finding trouble – a combination that was never going to bring him an easy life.

When Thomas witnesses a shooting on a routine surveillance operation and uncovers a web of deceit and treachery that people will kill for, can a good man hold the line without crossing it?

When Thomas uncovers a sinister secret that threatens both the UK and the European Union, his life and the lives of those closest to him will never be the same again.