Friday, September 18, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Emily Deibler, Author of Rabbit Heart



“What are you eating?” she asked Linda, her voice sounding strange and painfully new. Linda wore a purple blouse and cream skirt that reached her ankles; the blouse matched her lipstick, perfectly done and shining.

Linda paused and looked down at her food, as if she’d forgotten about it. “An omelet.” She stood and, before Rachel could protest, took the full plate at an empty seat and handed it to Rachel. The fat omelet made Rachel’s belly squirm in a way she wasn’t sure was hunger or nausea, or some gross knot of both.

“Can I eat in . . .” My room. “In the bedroom?”

Without missing a beat, Linda said, “Of course.” And led her there. Rachel should’ve added “alone,” so her meaning was clear.

Sitting on the bed’s edge, Rachel poked the fat omelet. Thankfully, it didn’t bite. “It smells . . .” Weird. “Okay, I guess.”

Linda smiled. “We try to excel at okay.”


In chapter ten of Rabbit Heart, Rachel wakes up in bed. After a traumatic event, she’s been unofficially adopted by two people who live in a cabin in the woods. The good news is that this is the first time in years she has a stable home and people who care about her well-being.

The bad news is that she’s in a Southern Gothic horror novel, and they’re serial killers with questionable tastes in food. Hannibal Lecters without the fava beans and chianti. Sadly, there aren’t as many peach cobblers on the pie rack like my grandmother would make.

That late morning, Linda, acting kind, offers Rachel an omelet to eat. Accepting food from a stranger is an act of trust. Rachel is immediately wary of Linda, and their talk over the meal outlines the main conflict: Rachel’s need for love versus her loyalty to her morals. She’s horrified at what Linda and Marcus have done, but their need to care for her, including making sure she eats, leads her to compromise her moral issues with killing others. While Rachel herself doesn’t hurt anyone on purpose, she ignores any suffering, so she may have a good home.

Often for families, a breakfast offers a moment of bonding and connection, which is what Rachel craves. “You are what you eat” might be taken to a more literal extreme in horror, but food offers us a moment to sit with others or insight into others’ traditions and cultures, which are shared with us.

In the end, Rachel receives inclusion, which impacts her on an emotional level. She accepts what she’s given to eat. The question is whether she continues to accept it as the years go by.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Emily!



You can find Emily here:

EmilyDeibler.com

Twitter @EmilyDeibler

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon


Friday, September 11, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Carra Copelin, Author of The Texas Code Series



A Foodie Shares a few Faves

I’m a sixth generation Texan with my roots deeply embedded in the South. My great-great grandparents began arriving from Alabama and Tennessee around 1845 to Dallas and Bosque Counties, in Texas.

I don’t know if planning one’s life around food and meals is strictly a southern thing, but that’s the way it is in our family. In addition to the dinner tables being so laden with food that they needed sideboards, nearly each woman attending contributed her own special dish. For instance, at Christmas on my Mom’s side of the family, my cousin Bena Faith made the best cake donuts and a cake-like cookie made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and coconut called Hello Dolly’s. My grandmother, Meme, fixed a pan of meatballs and spaghetti (that none of us can reproduce) and a Red Velvet Cake to die for. The rest of us filled in with salads, etc.

My grandmother, CarCarr, my Dad’s mother fixed the obligatory turkey and a Piggly Wiggly Picnic ham cooked in a brown paper sack. For this dinner, my mother would bring corn cut off the cob and baked with lots and lots of butter. We had peach cobbler, pound cake, and fudge candy, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and green beans.

I decided, with my Historical Romances, that the heroines have at least one dish or item they were expert at preparing. For instance, in my book, Katie and the Irish Texan, Katie’s biscuits would melt in your mouth. She also whipped up a fairly irresistible Irish stew. Her hero Dermot found he couldn’t survive without her cooking or her special charms.



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


You can find Carra here:

CarraCopelin.com

Twitter @CarraCopelin

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon



Thursday, September 3, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Marianne de Pierres, Author of Burn Bright



The best thing about writing SFF is the fact that you get to make stuff up. I mean, whatever you want, really, as long as it fits the mood, tone and logic. It’s one of things I love most about writing genre. Your imagination is your only limit.

When I was writing Burn Bright [aka The Night Creatures trilogy]and the sequels, I wanted to create a sense that food was really a heightened sensation like everything else on Ixion, and I mixed up inventing foods with the very familiar: like goo-berry pie, black linguine and pink sauce, streaky bacon and red chilli beans, sweet oatmeal and wisp bread, rolled meats and honey-drenched pastries.

‘The [wisp] bread melted on her tongue like buttery air.’

I have no idea what wisp bread or goo-berry pie are, but I’d love to taste them!

In the real world of food, I’m a sucker for crisp streaky bacon, and a knock over for pastries and cakes. My Covid 19 guilty pleasure has been watching all the cake piping channels on Instagram. It’s kind of mesmerising – the things you can do with frosting!

Once, years ago, I made a passionfruit flummery dessert with toffee shards. I have such a strong memory of the dish that the toffee shards turn up in just about everything I have written since.

So, food in fiction was all going deliciously for me and then a few years ago, I developed a gluten intolerance. Now when I write stories, I’m much more mindful of what people can eat. I take care to vary my characters diets. It’s added a new dimension to how I think about food in my stories. I’m writing a dark fantasy fiction novel right now and have introduced “thin-fish” and “ropey” cheese. So far, there is MUCH less wheat bread.

I also really love to explore what the physical terrain of my books can actually produce for its inhabitants. You can’t grow everything, everywhere, and it’s engrossing making the decisions that affect it. What is the soil like? Is there much water? What’s the life cycle of the plant/animal species? How do you preserve food here? The world building that underpins the food consumption can be as fascinating, as having your characters eat it.

There are some great food-a-licious books out there, but a couple of my favourites are  Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series – she’s a sleuth and a baker; Livia Day’s Café la Femme novels. Go check the  out 😊 Bon Appetit!


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



You can find Marianne here:

mariannedepierres.com

Twitter @mdepierres

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon


Friday, August 28, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Doug J. Cooper, Author of BUMP TIME



When Shelley asked me if I thought my new scifi time-travel series, Bump Time, would be a good fit in her creative blog, But What Are They Eating?, I laughed. Not because I thought the idea outlandish, but because one of my beta readers teases me about the role food plays in so many scenes in the series. Before I illustrate, here’s the blurb for Bump Time Origin, which explains the premise of the first book:


On his twenty-fifth birthday, Diesel Lagerford is visited by a twenty-six-year-old version of himself. His look-alike spins impossible tales of their shared future, claiming they have dozens of “brothers” from parallel timelines who can visit each other using a T-box, a machine they bankroll with lottery winnings. He introduces Diesel to the incredible Lilah Spencer, the T-box operator, and Diesel falls head-over-heels in love. But during his travels across timelines, Diesel learns that Lilah will soon die under suspicious circumstances. Devastated, he joins his brothers in a race to save her.


Food can provide a natural setting for all manner of activities, especially for someone like Diesel, who loves to eat. While I sometimes include food because it’s appropriate to a scene (it’s noon, so they eat lunch), other times I use it to move the story forward. Below, I show an example. In this scene, Diesel is about to make his first time-travel jump. While he nervously waits for his brother to arrive to show him how, Lilah surprises him with breakfast:


Diesel saw a light come on over on Lilah’s side of the connecting door. Moments later, she stepped through carrying a plate in one hand and a carafe of coffee in the other.

She set the plate in front of him—scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast—fetched the coffee mug from his desk, and poured him a cup of steaming hot brew. She poured one for herself, pulled over a chair, and sat. “Eat before it gets cold.”

Diesel didn’t see any utensils, so he used a piece of bacon to heap eggs onto a slice of toast, and then took a quick bite from the yellow mound before it spilled off. It tasted delicious.


That scene sets the stage. This scene a few pages later, after Diesel has departed, advances the plot:


Stacking the breakfast dishes, Lilah looked around for the utensils, realized she hadn’t brought any, and smiled. He hadn’t complained or even mentioned their absence, showing the easygoing attitude she treasured in her friends and lovers. Taking the last corner of toast off his plate, she popped it in her mouth and chewed slowly while she nurtured the idea of doing something special for his homecoming.


And while the Bump Time series has many scenes involving food, my other scifi saga, The Crystal Series, a futuristic space adventure, also features food, though to a lesser degree. For example, we learn something about Sid, a main character in the space opera, with this simple line:


Sid attacked his food like it was an adversary to be defeated.


So there you have it. Food in the age of time travel and space travel, with more to come! 

Thanks for hosting me, Shelley. It’s been great fun.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Doug!




You can find Doug here:

CrystalSeries.com

Twitter @DougJCooper

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon




When he is not writing science fiction novels, Doug is professor emeritus of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut, and is founder and director of Control Station, Inc., a manufacturing plant optimization company. His passions include telling inventive tales, mentoring driven individuals, and everything sci-tech. He lives in Connecticut with his darling wife and with pictures of his son, who is off somewhere in the world creating adventures of his own.






Friday, August 21, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Carole Bumpus, Author of Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table

 


SO, WHAT ARE YOU COOKING?

Timing is everything. And, in my case, timing became a blessing! As I was preparing to test the traditional French recipes for my upcoming culinary travel memoir, Book Two of Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, a literal “shut-down,” due to the pandemic, arrived on my doorstep. The ability to go freely about shopping for ingredients at my favorite markets came to a halt, and I was faced with the prospect of an unmet deadline with my publisher. How was I going to get these nineteen recipes tested? No, my book is a memoir and not a cookbook, but I certainly wanted to provide accurate culinary directions to the recipes I provided.

Attempting not to panic, I wrote an SOS in my monthly newsletter, enlisting help from some of my followers, who were also sequestered at home. “Would you like to join me in my virtual test kitchen?” I wrote, not knowing if anyone would respond. But respond, they did. Within less than a week, I heard from over forty-five people, and sent out more than eighty copies of those nineteen traditional French recipes to be tested. 

Over the course of the next three months, there was a flurry of activity with masked Instacart and Uber drivers rushing heavily-sought-after ingredients back and forth from store to home. Bartering in grocery lines and trading up and down hallways was known to have taken place. I received notes, edits, and photos of completed recipes from as far away as England, France, and across the width and breadth of the U.S. All, like me, were under quarantine. And all, like me, struggled to find these simple, yet unique ingredients. And all, like me, realized that substitutions can be part of that creative force when it comes to cooking. 

As it turns out, traditional French recipes, better known as cuisine pauvre, or peasant dishes, are foods originally prepared from the simplest of ingredients—as long as they are available and seasonal. That is the norm. As this simple correlation dawned on me, I realized this experience was a blessing—it brought a better understanding and resonance to the very themes I hold dear in my culinary travel series: family favorites, traditional in nature. 

Within a few short months, all the recipes were tested and retested. Mission accomplished. I was able to compile the edits needed and accumulate photos of many finished dishes of which I featured in my newsletter. And most of all, I was able to add all of my virtual testers names to the Acknowledgement page in the back of my new book. Called Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book Two, it is due to be published August 18, 2020. Check it out, and bon appetit!


Thanks for stopping by to share more food for thought, Carole!


Photo by Chris Loomis


You can find Carole here:

CaroleBumpus.com

Twitter @CaroleBumpus

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon




Friday, July 24, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Luke Murphy, Author of Red Zone



Sandwich Guy

Although I have never been to California, my constant research for my novels based in Los Angeles has uncovered one very important aspect for my characters nutrition: LA’s deli scene is second to none in the US.

Call me old-fashioned, but I have always been a sandwich guy, a sandwich lover.

It started in elementary school, when my mother would put a sandwich every day on my paper bagged lunch—ham, bologna, tuna, PB & J, it didn’t matter. Maybe it’s a bread thing LOL. But my love for sandwiches has even continued into adulthood.

Growing up, born and raised in a small town, where there are no food chains (McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc.), gave me complete access to the freshness that comes from Mom & POP Shops. I don’t want fast-food sandwiches, or stale, processed meat—I want the real deal.

So it is no surprise that the characters in all of my novels, especially those who work in law enforcement, eat their lunches at local, Mom & Pop Shop delis. No fast food, or processed foods. They enjoy the freshness that comes in the form of both the meats and the breads offered at delis.

The variety offered at these delis is awesome.

Breads: Ciabatta, Whole Wheat, Sourdough, Rye, Pita, Multigrain, etc.

Meats: Chorizo, Pancetta, Prosciutto, Mortadella, Salami, etc.

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

I love the variety and options that come from fresh delis. And by the way, my characters love them as well.

Sandwich anyone?


Thanks for stopping by to share more food for thought, Luke!



You can find Luke here:






Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of two series. The Calvin Watters Mysteries: Dead Man’s Hand (2012) and Wild Card (2017). The Charlene Taylor Mysteries: Kiss & Tell (2015) and Rock-A-Bye Baby (2019).
Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006.
His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).
Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife and three daughters. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

Red Zone is Murphy’s fifth novel.

Back Cover Text:

The prodigal son…
Calvin Watters hasn't been back to USC since the day his scholarship and humility were stripped from the former running back. Calvin had cut all ties to the school, but now finds himself pulled back, when a woman's dead body is found on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum football field.

…returns home
Detective Charlene Taylor's new homicide case, a freshman cheerleader’s murder at USC, is complicated. Charlene knows that the USC football team is a close knit family, and getting inside the trusted circle, as a cop, is unlikely.

Calvin Watters is a game-changer…
When Calvin and Charlene meet up on the Coliseum turf, Charlene sees an opportunity to use Calvin to penetrate the Trojan family circle. Little does the detective know, Calvin is now an outsider at USC, no longer welcomed—with many who will go a long way to see the former football star fail.
Can Calvin and Charlene work together to uncover the truth, or will their egos interfere with what could be a powerful partnership?


Review Blurbs

"Luke Murphy ramps up the thrill factor with RED ZONE—an awesome, gotta-know-what-happens-next thriller."—Linda Castillo, NYT & USA Today bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series

"Well-drawn characters and an interesting premise—Luke Murphy is a mystery writer to watch."—DV Berkom, USA Today bestselling author of the Leine Basso series

"Red Zone is another winner for Murphy! Thrilling...riveting...a stay-up-all-night-read."--Kim Cresswell, bestselling author of Deadly Shadow

“Luke Murphy creates a gritty and compelling murder mystery with ‘Red Zone’.”—S.L. Shelton, bestselling author of the Scott Wolfe series

"Richly developed characters, snappy dialogue, and a plot to keep the reader guessing."--Peter Clement, bestselling author of the Earl Garnet series

Thursday, July 16, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lucy Burdette, Author of The Key Lime Crime



Long before I imagined I’d write a foodie mystery, I fell in love with Diane Mott Davidson’s series featuring caterer Goldie Schultz. Davidson didn't just dump descriptions onto her pages, food was part of her story. And I always finished a book wishing I could have been friends with caterer Goldy, sitting in her kitchen, tasting her food. Ten years ago I was delighted to follow in Davidson’s footsteps, signing a contract for a series of mysteries set in Key West featuring novice food critic Hayley Snow. It’s hard to believe the 11th book, The Key Lime Crime, will be published in August by Crooked Lane Books!

At one point, Hayley’s boss at the magazine she works for says this about a piece she’s writing: We’re eager to see how you’ll spin it so it’s not just a list of sandwiches and their ingredients.  And that makes Hayley worry: Did that mean he found my last round-up article lacking?

This of course is the challenge of every food writer whether writing fiction or nonfiction—how to write about the food but also make the piece about something bigger.  I try to make sure that food in my mysteries reveals something deeper about the characters who are eating or discussing it. (At the end I include recipes because it seems only fair to provide them after readers have salivated for pages and pages!) Here’s a little snippet from The Key Lime Crime to wet your whistle. Hayley’s recently married to police detective Nathan Bransford and her brand new mother-in-law is arriving in Key West unexpectedly. Hayley’s worried about hosting her properly:

Once we got past the initial awkward hellos, the evening should go by quickly. Nathan reported that Mrs. Bransford wanted to see the Christmas lights of Key West. So he had made a reservation for three of us on the last conch train that would ferry guests around the island to see the holiday displays. We’d have a cocktail and snacks at my mother’s place, then drive over to New Town to catch the train at the high school. Nathan was pretty sure he could meet us back at the houseboat for a light supper. Miss Gloria would attend all of the festivities, including the train ride, and mom, Sam, and Nathan, would join us for dinner. 
“What does she like to eat?” I’d asked him. “Even more important, what does she not like?” 
“She’ll like anything you make,” he said. “Food isn’t that important to her.” 
Which meant we were starting out light-years apart. Not only was I the food critic for Key Zest, I came from a long line of foodies whose life-long obsession was the next great meal. Food was love—that was our language. Obviously, she spoke some other dialect altogether. 


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



You can find Lucy here:







Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 18 mysteries, including THE KEY LIME CRIME (Crooked Lane Books,) the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a past president of Sisters in Crime and the current president of the Friends of the Key West Library.


About The Key Lime Crime:

With her intimidating new mother-in-law bearing down on the island and a fierce rivalry between Key lime pie bakers to referee, food critic Hayley Snow is feeling anything but festive…

 It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s and Key West is bursting at the seams with holiday events and hordes of tourists. Adding to the chaos, Key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his Key Lime pie extravaganza and contest. Hayley Snow can’t escape the madness because her bosses at Key Zest magazine have assigned her to cover the event. Every pie purveyor in Key West is determined to claim the Key lime spotlight—and win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City.

Another recipe for disaster—Hayley’s hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that his mother will be making a surprise visit. Newlywed Hayley must play the dutiful daughter-in-law, so she and her pal Miss Gloria offer to escort his mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island's holiday lights. But it's not all glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos--the unlikely trio finds a real body stashed in one of the elaborate displays. And the victim is no stranger: Hayley recognizes the controversial new pastry chef from Au Citron Vert, a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.

Hayley must not only decipher who’s removed the chef from the contest kitchen, she's also got to handle a too-curious mother-in-law who seems to be cooking up trouble of her own. 

"Charming characters, an appealing setting, and mouthwatering bonus recipes make this a perfect choice for foodie cozy lovers." Publishers’ Weekly, May 2020

“The well-described Key West setting nicely complements the foodie frame in this satisfying cozy, which is a natural for fans of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen mysteries.”
—Booklist

Thursday, July 9, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Angela Britnell, Author of The Wedding Reject Table




When I was asked to contribute to this fun blog it certainly got me thinking about how often food features in my writing! Most of my stories are trans-Atlantic romances, including The Wedding Reject Table, and food is one of the themes I often use as either a meeting ground or a clash between my characters. Until you’ve had a conversation at cross purposes about whether squash should be drunk or eaten you haven’t lived! That particular idiosyncrasy came up on one of my first dates with my new American boyfriend many years ago but you’ll be pleased to hear we overcame that and many other food mysteries and have just celebrated thirty seven years of marriage. He now loves Cornish pasties and cottage pie but still won’t touch cold quiche and although I love Southern biscuits and pecan pie please keep me away from slimy okra in any fashion. We all carry food memories from our childhoods and build on them throughout our lives so it’s always an interesting aspect to bring into a story. I will play up the differences in my characters’ attitudes towards food in parallel with their other conflicts. In Sugar and Spice Lily is an American celebrity chef and cooking, eating and researching food are her passions in life but she falls for Kenan, a British army veteran who views food as an unimportant necessity. Years of snatching meals whatever and whenever he could have made him largely indifferent towards what he eats. Finding a middle ground as far as food is concerned becomes a crucial part of their story.

The Wedding Reject Table is packed full of delicious food because the plot centers around British cake decorator Maggie who has recently formed the Two Hearts Catering business with her older sister. Their friend’s wedding is the girls first booking and one of the guests is Chad, a distant relative of the groom and a lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. When he meets Maggie she can’t resist a food analogy and mentally likens his voice to “a puddle of golden syrup melting over hot buttered toast.” No more needs to be said does it… Thanks to a pair of rambunctious little boys the wedding cake turns into a disaster and Maggie and Chad discover more about each other when he steps in to help find a creative fix to the problem.

During the book Maggie introduces Chad to several British specialities – some more successfully than others. While he begins to fall in love with her he also does the same with a traditional Sunday roast lunch, especially the Yorkshire puddings, and golden fish and chips eaten with malt vinegar by the seaside. But Scotch eggs? Even for Maggie he can’t stomach the hard-boiled eggs wrapped with sausage meat coated with breading and deep fried. When Chad describes the popular foods found in his home town and admits to an over-fondness for good fried chicken and Southern barbecue that adds another layer of understanding to Maggie’s desire to find out more about him. The promise of eating those foods together one day lingers between them.

In my upcoming book Summer in Herring Bay, due for release in July, Essy’s love affair with both Ruan and Cornwall deepens over many samplings of ice cream, always eaten with one of the crumbly chocolate flakes he addicts her to…along with a warning to keep well away from the greedy seagulls.

I think it’s time for a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sandwich sponge filled with raspberry jam…there I go again…


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



You can find Angela here:








Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties! 

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she's visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she's a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers. Her first novel Truth and Consequence was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 30 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Sue Coletta, Author of MARRED



In MARRED, Grafton County Series, I included a morning scene to show how a simple breakfast can bring a family together:

In the kitchen, I got the coffee made, scrambled eggs, and was frying bacon when Niko traipsed downstairs. “Good morning, my love.” Without warning, he dipped me and planted a big, wet kiss on my lips. Before I got my bearings back, he said, “Something smells good” and lifted the edge of stacked paper towels laid over a paper plate, stealing a piece of bacon. 

I tapped his hand. “Good things come to those who wait.” 

He crunched the bacon between his teeth, smiling like a young boy who’d gotten away with stealing an Oreo from the cookie jar. I’d missed him. Missed us. 


Haven’t we all experienced this at one time or another? The scene doubled as a way to show the characters’ relationship with their dogs:


After shoveling food in his mouth for a full five minutes, Niko’s hand disappeared under the table to slip Ruger a piece of bacon. 

“You know I don’t want him eating from the—” In the grand scheme of things this was minor. “Never mind.” I broke off a piece for Colt. He clasped it gently in his lips and trotted into the living room to savor the hickory flavor. Ruger took Colt’s spot next to me and opened his mouth as he did for his pain cookie. 

“Okay. Only a tiny one, though.” I set the bacon on his tongue. It disappeared in a millisecond and he reopened his mouth. This time I opened his Rimadyl bottle. 

As he chomped the pain cookie into small bits, he glared at me as if to say, “Hey, that wasn’t bacon.”


The short excerpt above also hints that Ruger’s an older dog with arthritis, which cues the reader to develop a unique image in their mind—and all of this stems from bacon. Food in fiction works that way. A simple breakfast scene can reveal a lot about the characters.

What they eat is also important.

In RACKED, Grafton County Series, Niko and Sage Quintano befriend their Italian grandmother-type neighbor, who insists Niko try her “Sunday gravy” (aka spaghetti sauce) and Sage devours a homemade cannoli with its crunchy tubular pastry shell filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, citron, and chocolate bits. Including traditional Italian foods speaks to the heart of the characters. 

Isn’t that one of greatest things about food in fiction? Not only do we relate to the characters and their food choices but what they eat reveals who they are.


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



You can find Sue here:








Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer. For three years running, Feedspot named her Murder Blog as one of the Best 50 Crime Blogs on the Net (Murder Blog sits at #5). Expertido.org crowned Murder Blog with the same honor in 2019. Sue also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog. 

In addition to blogging, Sue’s the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science. An active member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue’s the true crime author of Pretty Evil New England, slated for release Sept. 1, 2020 by Globe Pequot, the trade division of Rowman & Littlefield Group. For fiction fans, Sue writes two serial killer thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing). 

Every morning, Sue starts the day by feeding all the wildlife in her yard, but her favorite “pets” are her beloved crows who live free but come when called by name.




Thursday, May 28, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Julian Coleman, Author of CESAR



Is Cesar demon or vampire? True evil can be beautiful and beguiling, and he is truly diabolical. His raw masculinity is his lure, and he uses his charm to trap and prey on the innocent. 

There was no love in that face, or lust, only naked hunger. 

He is conjured up from Hell to deliver revenge onto Rachel, a powerful priestess.  However, he falls in love with her tomboyish sister, Angelina.  Rachel uses her powers to save her sister’s, life, but instead of returning her humanity, Angelina becomes something else, a vampire, priestess and zombie tribrid.

Cesar is undaunted in his pursuit. 

His food of choice?  Blood. 

Who knows better than newly turned vampires what it means to indulge in their macabre delicacy?  Initially the thought of drinking blood is repulsive, but the aroma of fear pumping through veins becomes intoxicating. The anticipation forces canine teeth to elongate and saliva to leak from the corners of  mouths.

Seduction is a necessary lure.  It is also part of the game of love.  And love is an essential weapon to dominate and control.  Imagine the horror of being sexually enamored one minute, and then drained as a mouthwatering buffet the next...by your lover.

As silent and as subtle as a viper. She cut her teeth on the cow’s throat and felt the hot blood fill her mouth.  The sensation on her taste buds was overwhelming, and her delight was wild.  When the animal fell, Angelina was on top of her, slurping and sucking and draining until she was sated.  She stood up with a loud and bloody belch.  Now she felt more than normal.  Now she felt omnipotent.  She looked at her hands.  The color had returned to her skin.

Blood is more than food.  As stated in Dracula, Blood is the life.


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



You can find Julian here:




Thursday, May 14, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Cheryl Colwell, Author of The Proof



While touring Tuscany, I was excited to come across the original “sword in the stone” located in Montesiepi. In 1185, the Pope ordered a chapel built around the miracle.  The story, as well as the amazing food and wine I tasted on my trip (most of which hasn’t changed in centuries), were inspiring. The result was The Proof, a time-split novel set between the twelfth century and today.

The story begins with starving artist, Gabe Dolcini, who can’t sell his paintings to pay his bills. His only option is to grasp his grandfather’s offer to come show his work in Italy. But Gabe has never met his grandfather. In fact, his family has refused to speak of the man except to say his insanity got his wife killed. I chose to use food and wine to showcase the emotional moment when Gabe and his grandfather, Count Louis Dolcini meet for the first time:


Louis raised his glass. “I bottled this Brunello from my vineyard in Montalcino the year you were born. I swore I would drink it with you when you were old enough.” He smiled, partially concealing a pained grimace. “It waited in my cellar perhaps longer than I planned but let us taste it and see what we think.” Gabe smiled at his grandfather as they tasted the wine together. Year thirty-four proved to be a magical number for the celebratory bottle. “Magnifico,” his grandfather whispered. He gazed at Gabe. “It was worth the wait.” 


They enjoy a plate of prosciutto, green olives and pecorino cheese, a salty sheep cheese I have grown to love, and later feast on savory risotto and pork stew. A dish I didn’t eat but included in the book was Louis’ favorite, wild boar. Of course, the staple wherever we went was espresso served strong and black. I received a few raised eyebrows when I doused mine with cream and sugar.

Over dinner, Louis reveals their family destiny to safeguard a sacred religious artifact called Il Testimento, the Testament, or the Proof, an object said to bestow courage and faith. Some believe it brings power. Exciting intrigue ensues as they battle a zealous religious group willing to kill for the object, as well as a brutal group that is trying to destroy it. The reader travels to various sites and meals around Tuscany as our hero (in current time) and his Templar ancestor (in the twelfth century) strive to outwit their enemies.

I tried to capture the historical mood prevalent in Tuscany, including their food and hospitality. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this story and its mystery.


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



You can find Cheryl here:







Friday, May 1, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Brian S. Converse, Author of Stone Soldiers



Food is an important part of the life of most people, besides providing basic sustenance, food plays an important role in social gatherings, religious ceremonies, and cultural identity. It can be even more important when you are part of a group abducted by aliens, which is what happens to a group of five humans from Detroit in Rajani Chronicles I: Stone Soldiers.

The main protagonist, James Dempsey, is a police lieutenant and sworn bachelor. His idea of an extravagant meal is having potato salad with his hamburger instead of fries (though sometimes he’ll have both). Yvette Manidoo has a more refined taste. She’s happy with freshly made organic meals and a glass of white wine. Gianni Moretti yearns for authentic New York pizza and can’t handle the Detroit version, with its too-thick crust. David Morris would eat at Burger King every night if it wasn’t for his girlfriend dragging him to other places. Finally, Kieren Gray is happy with a simple meal of falafel, hummus, and pita bread.

It all changes when they’re brought aboard the alien spaceship and wake up light years from home. Fortunately, the aliens in question were smart enough to bring fruits and vegetables from Earth to lessen the impact on their unwilling guests. The five humans find that their evening meal together is the only thing holding them together. All five are, to some extent, introverts who find it difficult to make friends, and without a common mealtime, they would spend the voyage isolated in their rooms aboard the ship, eating the fiberboard-like protein bars provided by their hosts. The feeling of isolation is a theme that runs throughout this first novel in the trilogy.

The aliens introduce them to a drink they call fernta, which is distilled from a fruit grown on their planet. This harsh liquor is a hit with David, who is the first to reach out in friendship to one of the aliens, finding that they although different in appearance, have many of the same feelings, worries, and aspirations as their human guests.


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



You can find Brian here:







Thursday, April 23, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jessica Winters Mireles, Author of Lost in Oaxaca



My mother was a terrible cook. It didn’t help that my father lacked an adventurous palette—to be honest, the only food he ever really enjoyed was the olive in his martini glass. She had a repertoire of about six meals that included spaghetti, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, sautéed chicken thighs, overcooked steak and fried ham with mushy scalloped potatoes. Once in a while, she would make her rendition of tacos—greasy tortilla shells stuffed with salty ground beef, iceberg lettuce and a splash of Tabasco.

My gastronomic life changed dramatically when I was a senior at USC, and I met my future husband—an indigenous man from Oaxaca, Mexico. Talk about food shock! Out the frying pan went my usual fare of mac and cheese, patty melts and hamburgers. In came carne asada, fresh avocado and cilantro, roasted chile pasilla salsa and handmade corn tortillas. For the first time in my life, I was introduced to a whole new world of flavor and heat.

Being married to a Oaxacan man for over thirty years, it’s not surprising that my husband has influenced me in my own kitchen. These days, it’s rare that I cook a meal that doesn’t include corn tortillas, jalapeños or black beans. It’s also not unexpected that my novel, Lost in Oaxaca would reflect the many facets of his Mexican culture—a central one being the incredible cuisine of Oaxaca.

My protagonist, Camille, is a privileged piano teacher from Santa Barbara who finds herself lost in the mountains of Oaxaca after she travels there in search of her missing piano student. After a disastrous bus accident, she is stranded on a small ranch where she is aided by members of the local indigenous community. There, she experiences her first authentic Oaxacan meal: caldo de pollo, a rich and aromatic chicken broth simmered with a variety of vegetables, including chayote, a light green squash native to the region. She samples crispy corn tortillas—lightly browned with just the right amount of salt. She also has a fiery experience with fresh salsa made with chile piquín—a pepper so hot that after one bite she thinks her head may explode.

Later, after Camille arrives in the Zapotec village of Villa Hidalgo Yalálag, the food only gets more delectable. She can’t get enough of the savory stewed chicken and rice smothered in spicy mole negro sauce. Then there’s the quesadillas con flor de calabaza—corn tortillas made from fresh masa dough, filled with melted quesillo cheese and stuffed with bright yellow squash blossoms freshly picked from the vine. For dessert, a clay bowl filled with hot Oaxacan chocolate is whipped into a bubbly froth with a molinillo (a traditional wooden whisk.) It’s the perfect vehicle for dipping in big hunks of pan de Yalálag, a delicious bread made with egg yolk and dusted with sesame seeds. Camille even gets drunk on the local mezcal, served to her in a jicara—a cup fashioned from a dried gourd.

The culinary delights of Oaxaca are unlimited, and I highly encourage you to book your next vacation there. If not, try out a local restaurant that offers Oaxacan fare. Or watch a YouTube video about Oaxacan cuisine, and try cooking a dish yourself.

But whatever you do, don’t let my mother make the tacos. 


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Jessica!



You can find Jessica here:








Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, JESSICA WINTERS MIRELES holds a degree in piano performance from USC. After graduating, she began her career as a piano teacher and performer. Four children and a studio of more than forty piano students later, Jessica’s life changed drastically when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two; she soon decided that life was too short to give up on her dreams of becoming a writer, and after five years of carving out some time each day from her busy schedule, she finished
Lost in Oaxaca. Jessica’s work has been published in GreenPrints and Mothering magazines. She also knows quite a bit about Oaxaca, as her husband is an indigenous Zapotec man from the highlands of Oaxaca and is a great source of inspiration. She lives with her husband and family in Santa Barbara, California. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Linda Bradley, Author of Maggie's Way



Food is a natural prop for this writer. It sets the scene. It elicits emotion. It’s the remedy for a broken heart. It’s a celebration, a bandage, and a vehicle to connect characters.

In Maggie’s Way, second grade teacher Maggie Abernathy spends a lot of time with pesky, seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre. They bicker. They bond, and yes, there’s food involved. When Maggie and Chloe bang heads and Maggie needs stitches, why wouldn’t there be Triscuit crackers involved? They have sharp edges! When the girls commiserate, Maggie’s got the pizza man’s number on speed dial. And after a tough day, who doesn’t want Rocky Road ice cream?

Food brings us together. It bridges relationships. It feeds hope and understanding. It’s a reason to gather around the table. In Maggie Abernathy’s case, table time is her opportunity to make new friends and embrace the past so she can live in the present.

When Chloe’s life seems impossible, Maggie breaks out a special menu…Diner Dinner for Downer Days: grilled hotdogs, homemade fries, and milkshakes.

Another one of Maggie’s favorite menu options is Lemony Shrimp Scampi with Orzo and Baby Spinach. This one doesn’t require antacids or an extra workout. (The original Food Network recipe can be found at https://bit.ly/2JgfuNg.)

Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 cups orzo pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite. 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.

Vinaigrette
Whisk together and set aside:
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup lemon juice (from zested lemons)
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Shrimp
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 large chopped shallot and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 pound thawed, peeled, deveined shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook until shrimp turn pink, 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from skillet and increase heat. Add ½ cup dry white wine, baby spinach and baby tomatoes (you choose how much). Scrape up the brown bits as you stir. Cook 1 minute until most liquid is evaporated and spinach is wilted.

Add the cooked pasta, shrimp, and vinaigrette to the skillet. Toss until all ingredients are coated. (Add reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta.) Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Literary or living, break bread, indulge, refuel, and fill-up for the next part of the journey. Regardless of what’s served on the platter, don’t forget the secret ingredient…love.

Enjoy!


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






Friday, March 27, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Teyla Branton, Author of the Unbounded Series



On the day I set foot on the path to immortality . . .

One minute Erin Radkey was in a burn unit without possibility of recovery and the next she awakes in a coffin covered with a gelatinous substance, her body perfectly healed. You might ask: Is this some remake of a vampire series?

The answer would be no. Erin has joined the ranks of Unbounded, nearly immortal beings whose quick regeneration is aided by the fact that they can absorb nutrients through their pores instead of having to ingest food. They can process organic matter and food molecules from the air without even thinking about it. Better yet, their bodies absorb only what they need.

Think of it! That means no more hunger pains, and for the most part no gaining weight—unless you really work at it, because not only is their metabolism off the charts, but regeneration takes a lot of energy. (Aside note: Since Renegade Unbounded are in a desperate battle with an evil faction of their own people over control of the mortal world and are also hunted by the only mortals aware of their existence, there happens to be a significant need for regeneration.)

How would you like to never worry about food again?

Well, the Unbounded in my urban fantasy still eat because, let’s face it, eating is fun. Just like the rest of us, they eat when they’re sad or worried or celebrating. But for those who previously loved to drink, their metabolism no longer permits intoxication. Even the strong stuff only gives a momentary buzz.

Then there’s the matter of the only way they can be killed and the whole locked-away-in-a-sealed-tomb issue, but we won’t go into that.

Here’s an excerpt where Erin uses what she absorbs to help her get out of a tight spot. Or does she get out?

With a growl, he launched himself at me, tumbling me backwards. I kept waiting for a miracle, for one of the others to save me, or for my so-called Unbounded talent to kick in and tell me what to do.
Nothing.
Sitting on my stomach, my assailant punched me hard in the face. Fury burst through my fear. I’d been burned practically to death, lost my best friend, held prisoner, separated from my family, trained till my arms bled, and finally rejected by a man who’d claimed to love me. I wasn’t going to let myself be kidnapped by a twenty-something idiot I didn’t even know.
I feigned semi-consciousness but was really absorbing nutrients from the grass I laid in, the trees looming above, the air I breathed. My assailant came to his feet, dragging me with him. In seconds, I’d be in that car, all hope of escape gone. There were no convenient rocks or heavy sticks nearby to use as a weapon. But there was the car.
Faking a stumble, I grabbed at him and used my body to ram him into the car . . . 

Would you choose to absorb nutrients like the Unbounded if you could?

Thanks for having me! Love to have you drop by my website and say hi.


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



You can find Teyla here:








Teyla Branton grew up avidly reading science fiction and fantasy and watching Star Trek reruns with her large family. They lived on a little farm where she loved to visit the solitary cow and collect (and juggle) the eggs, usually making it back to the house with most of them intact. On that same farm she once owned thirty-three gerbils and eighteen cats, not a good mix, as it turns out. Teyla always had her nose in a book and daydreamed about someday creating her own worlds. She is now married, mostly grown up, and has seven kids, so life at her house can be very interesting (and loud), but writing keeps her sane. Teyla writes urban fantasy (Unbounded series), paranormal romantic suspense (Imprints series), and science fiction (Colony Six series). She also writes contemporary romance (Lily’s House and Finding Home series) and romantic suspense under the name Rachel Branton.

Friday, March 20, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome L.M. Bryski, Author of Blood Chill



Would you like a coffee?’ Sonny asks Dr. Bhaima in Blood Chill as they sit to discuss a case.

How many conversations begin with an offer of a drink? Innumerable.

All over the world, we pause and bond over coffee, tea, or any other beverage. There’s usually a personal choice stated as we prepare to enjoy time together.

‘I’ll have a dark roast, two sugars, a pinkie width of milk.’ ‘Green tea, decaffeinated, with lemon.’  Sometimes, a donut is added. Iced and glistening, the sugary temptation waits beside our mug on a round white plate, silent witness to our ritual.

Then conversation begins. Or continues. We listen. We talk. We share. Sips of coffee add commas and pauses to our words.  Bites of bakery punctuate occasional open-mouthed laughter. It doesn’t truly matter what we’re eating or drinking. It’s partly an excuse to indulge in time together. The comfort of the ritual is what’s important: we serve nourishing conversation, spending time with each other.

In Blood Chill, the ritual of food, drink, and conversation comes when characters need a moment to pause and connect. In their world, a pandemic has already occurred. They have been through the rinse cycle of uncertainty and disease. They’ve come out the other side, still a community, connected and caring. Their society is still bonded, supportive, and sharing.

We’re headed into uncertain times in our current world. A virus threatens our way of life and how we approach each other. Social events and places feel riskier now. We look askance at any cough we hear. People think about social distancing, and prepare for possible isolation. We worry that the very thing sustaining us – human connection – is becoming dangerous.

Instead, we should make sure connection with each other isn’t lost. Our mental health relies on being part of a community, sharing and enjoying conversation. ‘It’s just coffee,’ and yet it’s not.

In the days ahead, remember to keep connections. Remember to reach out, listen, and talk with each other. Remember to share thoughts and feels, how life is going, and how the day has been. Modern times has given us the means to keep in touch, face-to-face as well as by text, email, and apps. Come what may, we will still spend time together, sharing moments of laughter and fun. We will stay connected. We will always have coffee together.


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


You can find L.M. Bryski here:






Friday, March 13, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Yvette Calleiro, Author of The One Discovered




Every writer pulls from his/her experiences and/or imagination to create stories. Depending on the genre, the percentage of each varies. As an author of the young adult paranormal series, Chronicles of the Diasodz, I pulled strongly on both.

My characters are Diasodz (DIE-uh-sodz). They are beings that spend their first 18 years as humans. Then, after a transition (of sorts 😉 ), they transform into Diasodz. Some of them inherit powers and tattoos that allow them to call upon a weapon. All of them live longer lives and can move between two worlds. Their purpose is to heal and protect humans, though most of them abandoned their purpose centuries ago.

There are two levels of Diasodz: the Altorus (warriors) and the Curatus (healers). Liana is one of my characters who is a Curatus. She has a connection to the earth and grows herbs in her own garden. She uses herbs, minerals, and various stones to help heal others. It was important to me to have a character like this because I am a strong believer in natural medicine. Whenever I don’t feel whole, I turn to holistic medicine first to try to ease my ailments. It’s only fitting that my characters feel the same way.

Diasodz have lived for centuries, so they were around when food was really food, before the artificial flavoring and the GMOs found their way into our stomachs. And so, they are healthier eaters than most humans. They stay away from sodas and fried foods. Every meal has fruits and/or vegetables as a main part. That’s not to say that they don’t enjoy food. They absolutely do. In fact, meal time is seen as family time, a time to reconnect. One of my favorite scenes in The One Discovered is when Sofia and Angel are sitting in front of an ice cream shop, and Angel reveals his powers to her.

My series begins with Angel and Ar’ch coming to Earth to find Sofia, who they believe is the savior who can prevent their kind from fading forever. Of course, Sofia doesn’t necessarily believe them. A few scenes take place at TGIFridays, where Sofia works as a server. In fact, those scenes truly show Sofia’s inability to control her attraction to Ar’ch (and his desire for her).  I chose this restaurant because I have great memories of hanging out with my family and friends there. My sister was a server for many years (at a different restaurant) so I knew enough about the job to write about it, and the restaurant was the perfect scene to have Ar’ch reveal himself to Sofia.

Throughout the series, my meal scenes play an integral role in shaping the characters and in plotting their next mission. Whether Damiana is sipping her chocolate martini while intimidating Liana in a dingy bar or Sofia is curled into Rafe as they watch a movie and eat popcorn, food finds a way into the scene. Who is Rafe, you ask? I guess you will just have to find out in The One Discovered (free on Amazon). 😉



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




You can find Yvette here:




Thursday, March 5, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Angela Silverthorne, Author of Cries of Mercy



Bring It All To The Table

These words rang true all my life. Coming to the table was an event.

I grew up in Georgia with an Irish grandmother and a Cajun grandfather. I could leave the blogpost here and many of you would laugh wholeheartedly. Each grandparent full of fire and stubbornness.

But at the table, all was laid aside except enjoying the tempting food – Southern fare and Cajun heat. I would salivate all day as spices and herbs filled the house and overflowed past the open windows to the swing set.

During the winter and spring, Southern fare graced the table. Root vegetables, greens, cornbread, and rich stews. But the summer and fall heated up with fresh seafood from Louisiana. Jambalaya. Ètouffée. Curried shrimp.

More important than all the delectable food was what coming to the table meant. It meant the richness of the food would overflow into satisfying conversation – the kind that makes you feel welcomed, wanted, and loved.

It was these concepts that I wove into my life as an adult and later into my novels. I wanted my children and grandchildren to know the depth of talk-enrichment. In my writing, it became second nature to offer this to my readers – bring it all to the table. Your joy and sadness, questions and answers, hurt and heartaches, imagination and humor, and often your weakness and disillusionment with life. It all spilled out and over a heart offered cuisine.

No one ever left the table hungry. No one ever left the table feeling alone. We brought it all to the table, our appetite and our need to connect with the deep, strong roots of family.

For many of my characters, getting this opportunity to share and revitalize their heart and spirit was a life changing experience. I understood. Bringing it all to the table has always been my offering to the feast. A time to fuel up heart, mind, and soul.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Angela!



You can find Angela here: