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:




Friday, February 28, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Eichin Chang-Lim, Author of The LoveLock



As a prelude, let's define the meaning of "food" for this particular post.

Food is anything, and everything that you input into the opening cavity in the lower part of your face, that travels through the long tube of the esophagus, and that reaches the pouch in your tummy called the stomach!

Please remember that nutritional value is not a concern here.

**

So, the story began with Dylan saying, "Hey, Cheetos," calling her by the nickname that always made her toes curl.

Cheetos? 

Why does Dylan fondly call Violet "Cheetos"?

Their love and profound connection started during those tumultuous days, at the tender young age when they leaned on each other to endure the turmoil in the hospital when beholding their loved ones drifting away. Savoring the salty, spicy, crunchy Hot Cheetos eased Violet's sorrow and soothed her nerves. And Dylan understood immensely how much Hot Cheetos meant to Violet.

On that particular morning, Violet was about to give her twin sister bone marrow, in the hope of reclaiming Amber's health from rogue leukemia. Dylan brought Violet a bag of Hot Cheetos—her favorite! He playfully and intimately called her "Cheetos" to comfort her. She cherished it!

Death snapped Violet's sister and Dylan's mother away eventually.

The two families lamented the loss of their loved ones in their own distinct ways. Violet and Dylan thus disconnected from each other in their adolescence until they reunited in the first year of college. Their rekindled love led to a deep relationship.

"Happy New Year, Cheetos!" Fireworks exploded above them as the clock struck midnight. Dylan grabbed the back of Violet's head as they shared a passionate kiss. They're blissfully engaged, and all the preparations were ready for the eagerly anticipated marriage.

Yet, fate played a cruel joke on them. The brutal tragedy ripped them apart just days before their wedding. They went their separate way again!

Cheetos and OxyContin?

Violet was an aspiring actress. Her dream of being a film star was trashed when mental illness gripped her on the movie set. To resolve her imminent financial crisis, Violet became a stripper.

Each day, before the same old dog and pony show, she took a handful of OxyContin—her favorite ritual.
"I'm not taking drugs!" she said, consoling herself. "These are just painkillers. Plenty of people take these daily. Doctors prescribe them all the time. I'm okay."

The crunchy Flamin' Hot Cheetos numbed her tongue, the comforting warmth of the OxyContin washed over her guts, and the light sensation lifted her up. She floated away from reality. The news of Dylan's marriage crushed her. She needed to flee to a faraway realm, and Hot Cheetos and OxyContin were a fantastic combination!

Cheetos, OxyContin, and whiskey?

The hopelessness imprisoned her. The depression grabbed her like a giant hand from the underworld, dragging her down to the abyss. Nothing was left for her!

Violet purchased a small exercising sandbag from a sporting goods store, along with a couple of pairs of ankle and wrist weights for good measure. She also had half a bottle of cheap cooking whiskey. She packed them into an overnight bag with her beloved OxyContin and hot Cheetos.
Intoxicated and emotional, Violet had made up her mind.

With a single-mindedness, Violet drove toward the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

She twisted open the whiskey bottle and took several hot gulps. The burning sensation rushed down her esophagus into the pit of her stomach. She topped it off with a handful of Oxy. The floating sensation arrived . . . and she was ready. Let the final act begin!

**

No! Life is way too precious for her to end it that way!

THE LOVELOCK is a multi-award-winning love story. There are many dark moments and despaired emotional battles interwind through the characters. Nevertheless, the end is uplifting and inspirational.


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



You can find Eichin here:





Thursday, February 20, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lisa Black, Author of That Darkness




Forensic specialist Maggie Gardiner and homicide detective Jack Renner don’t eat much, because unlike me, they have nice, fit, svelte figures. Unlike me, they are able to resist ice cream, chocolate in any form, and Fritos. Unlike me, they are too busy with work…some might say obsessed…to pay much attention to what they eat or would like to eat. Very unlike me.

But food plays a significant role in their first outing, That Darkness. It begins as Maggie examines an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries—for Maggie at least—is the fact that no one has reported her missing. She and the detectives assigned to the case (including her cop ex-husband) are determined to follow every lead, run down every scrap of evidence. But what Maggie finds will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil.

Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he savors it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place.

When the girl’s captor/killer also turns up dead, Maggie runs down every fiber and stain and clue, including gastric contents. When I worked at the coroner’s office I hated gastric contents. Give me buckets of blood, air filled with lead and primer residue, dye stain and acetic acid and swabs of unmentionable body fluids all day long, but nothing struck the ick factor like gastic contents. And our examination couldn’t even be considered particularly scientific: we simply rinsed off the liquid and took a magnifying glass to the rest. Does that look like tomato to you? I think it’s a sliver of tomato.

This becomes important, because of the kind of killer Jack is. He doesn’t hate the uber-criminals he dispatches. He knows they’re just a product of their environment, so he sits them down and listens to their stories and treats them to their favorites--which includes ordering in from their favorite restaurants. And suddenly, through the examination of their gastric contents, he finds Maggie on his trail.

Food matters, in all sorts of ways!


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




You can find Lisa here:


















Friday, February 7, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jeri Cafesin, Author of Disconnected



Ever had a blind date?

While women are worried the guy is a psycho-killer, most guys are worried the woman will be fat.

I’ve always had a…complicated relationship with food. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when heroin addict thin was trending chic. My mother’s favorite actress was Audrey Hepburn, because she was, “So beautiful and thin!” The perfect woman when I was a kid had a 36” chest, a 24” waist, and a 34” hips. A 24” waist is a size 2, in women’s clothing. How many women do you know who wear a size 2? Not me!

As a writer, food plays a huge role in every story I weave. Often, as in my novel memoir, Disconnected, it’s a main character. Rachel sought what most women did—to be successful, married and in love, have healthy kids. It was hard enough attracting a man when she wasn’t heroin thin like most Hollywood women. But in the 1990s, finding a man wanting an equal partner instead of an arm piece, a woman beside him instead of behind him, seemed the impossible dream.

Then along came Lee…

And Lee was an overweight, weed-addicted gambler, who devoured food like he did most of life. Modeling Rachel’s father, Lee ate every meal as if it were his first, and last. He took her to great new restaurants, and late night cafes where they got intimate over fritters and pies. Flattered by his interest, and enamored with his charm and wit, she indulged with him. But Rachel was always fighting her weight, mindful of every calorie she ate. And it didn’t take long for her to figure out they’d be a train wreck together. But by the time she did, she was in love with him.

In every novel or short story I write, food is described intimately for the reader to partake in the eating experience. Readers smell each dish placed in front of the characters; feel the heat, or cold on their lips and tongue; then savor munching chewy, crunchy, or smooth blends of flavors and seasonings.

Consuming food is probably our most communal activity. Meals are often shared, as are treats like ice cream, and popcorn. And holidays are all about eating together. I write character driven stories. And sharing a meal is a great stage for revealing intimate details about the people at the table.


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



You can find Jeri here:




Thursday, January 30, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Elizabeth Blake, Author of Pride, Prejudice & Poison



My Jane Austen Society cozy mysteries are set in Yorkshire, England.  Erin Coleridge and her best friend Farnsworth Appleby are British, as are most of the other characters in Pride, Prejudice and Poison.  So they’re all eating English food.

British food was a joke when I was growing up in Ohio – think bland, overcooked vegetables, stodgy meat pies and gloppy, tasteless puddings.  By the time I was twelve, I had memorized the famous Monty Python sketch about spam.

No.  No, no, no.  That is not the Britain I know.  In fact, when I think of the United Kingdom, I think of the food.  We had fresh roasted vegetables and coconut shrimp skewers in Bath, grilled fish with ginger and duck pie in Oxford, smoked trout with endive in Edinburgh, and chicken tikka masala where it was actually invented in Glasgow – the Shish Mahal, and they have a charming origin story.  (By the way, chicken tikka masala is now widely considered one of the national dishes of United Kingdom.)

But what really blew me away on this visit was the glorious, buttery scones with a generous dollop of fresh clotted cream and homemade cherry jam, accompanied by a cup of proper builder’s tea – strong and hot and comforting like nothing else in this world.  The tea that will convince you god’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world, that the novel you just poured your heart into will become a best seller, and that your ex-boyfriend isn’t really happy with that willowy blond yoga teacher he keeps posting about on Facebook.  (And what kind of name is Cyprus anyway?  Does she think she’s a tree?)  The tea that got Britain through the bombing of London – and, you know, helped their tiny island nation save the world from fascism.  That tea.  (Spoiler alert: I use tea as a murder weapon in Pride, Prejudice and Poison, but it’s not a bad way to go in a cozy mystery, right?)

On a cold, rainswept day in October, with the kind of relentless downpour that is considered a “nice day” in the UK, we interrupted a thankless slog to Heathrow Airport to revive ourselves at a Morrisons Supermarket.  Morrisons is a British grocery chain kind of like our Stop and Shop – big, friendly, and surprisingly resourceful.

And they have a café.  Fresh prawn and mayonnaise sandwiches (that’s a thing over there), beans on toast (another thing), bacon and eggs, sausage and mashed, Dover sole with artichokes – whatever you can think of, you can basically get at Morrisons Café.  And tea.  Not a cup, but a proper POT of hot, steaming tea, with a flaky raisin scone with jam and fresh clotted cream for a POUND.  That’s about $1.25 (or about fifty cents if you’re reading this after Brexit.)

The lady at the counter was so nice she made me cry a little.  Because, you know, driving in England sucks and we were so exhausted.  Huddling over our tea and scones, we were so very grateful to this nation of kind, tea making people who are so good to weary travelers.

We don’t have anything like that in this country.  Let me repeat that: We don’t have anything CLOSE to that in this country.  If, god help you, you order tea and a pastry at Starbucks or Think Coffee any other café, chain or otherwise, you’ll be lucky to get a mug of lukewarm water with a soggy teabag that looks like your cat’s discarded hairball.  And if you could find a scone with clotted cream (you can’t), it would be approximately the same price as that pair of leather boots you put on layaway at Macy’s until your next paycheck.

So, yeah.  British food rocks.  Don’t even get me started on the fish and chips.


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



You can find Elizabeth/C.E. here:







Thursday, January 23, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Elaine Calloway, Author of Windstorm



In my worldview, pizza and beer go together just like peanut butter and jelly. When my friends and I would dig into a meaty concoction filled with sausage and pepperoni, our favorite brews always accompanied the choice. This pairing wasn’t about flavor or the palette; pizza and beer were simply a known pairing.

When I went on a trip to Napa Valley to do some research for my book Windstorm, which has winery themes, I was surprised to find dozens of pizza places within Napa Valley, all of which served wine with their pies.

While I’d never heard of such a thing, I quickly discovered that Napa Valley does not have ordinary pizza…and they certainly don’t have ordinary wine.

Skewered shrimp and tomato pizza? This pairs well with the Sauvignon Blanc from a specific winery.

Spinach and artichoke pizza with grilled mushrooms? Try a sweeter wine such as Riesling.

Duck pizza braised with barbeque sauce? Try a Merlot.

For every type of pizza, there was a wine to accommodate.

And what I learned as I explored historic wineries with ornate décor is that it’s not just about pouring a red or white glass of wine. Wine to the local Napa Valley folks is a mini-Siesta, a means of connecting people, a means of slowing down and living in the present moment.

We rush through our days, hectic-filled with responsibilities and appointments. And yet, Napa Valley has figured out a way to take a breather, relax, and appreciate the little things.

Next time you’re in the mood for pizza, check out Napa Valley and enjoy a glass of vino with your choice.


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


You can find Elaine here:







Elaine Calloway writes paranormal fiction with a Southern twist. Windstorm is part of her Urban Fantasy Elemental Clan Series, which has a total of 5 books. She is currently working on a 10-book Southern Ghosts Series and Book 5, Kentucky Reign, will be released Spring of 2020. To follow Elaine’s book updates, join her readers list here: https://forms.aweber.com/form/83/1228819183.htm

Windstorm Pinterest Board:
 https://www.pinterest.com/elainecalloway/windstorm-book-4-elemental-clan-series/

Thursday, January 16, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Sandra Bolton, Author of Key Witness



When Abe Freeman left New Jersey and his Jewish roots for the enchanted land of New Mexico, he discovered that new adventures can be more than romance and danger. There are also those of the culinary kind. Leaving his matzo balls behind, he had his first food encounter in a small town diner just west of the Texas border. When the waitress asked him if he wanted "red" or "green" on his enchiladas Abe, puzzled, settled for what she called "Christmas", a serving of both red and green chile served atop two cheese enchiladas and accompanied with a generous serving of refried beans and rice.

That was only the beginning. His introduction to Navajo Police Officer, Emily Etcitty led him to try such delicacies as mutton stew, fry bread, Navajo tacos, and, reluctantly, blood sausage. Although their relationship started off rocky, the food adventures continued to grow. On special occasions such as ceremonies, kneel-down bread, made of mashed corn and baked underground in corn husks, was served. As a legacy of commodities, Abe also discovered that Navajo homes always had such staples as SPAM, white flour, and strong black coffee on hand.

Once he found out what he was eating though, he did draw the line on one delicacy served to him by Emily's brother, Will. Fried up nice and crisp, Will insisted that Rocky Mountain oysters were delicious. If you don't know what they are, imagine the leftovers of lamb castration.

During the course of my three-volume Emily Etcitty mysteries, Abe encountered a multitude of new taste delights, such as green chile stew, tamales, and carne adovada, but he never lost his love of latkes with sour cream and applesauce.


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



You can find Sandra here:




Thursday, January 9, 2020

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gordon Bickerstaff, Author of Deadly Secrets



In the thriller Deadly Secrets, Gavin Shawlens is scoffing a pineapple to save his life. In a desperate scene, Gavin is poisoned, and he turns to the power of the pineapple. How can the humble pineapple save him? The popular fruit contains a smart component normally involved in the ripening process; an enzyme called bromelain.

The medicinal properties of pineapple were known over 600 years ago by South American Indians who found magical healing properties and pineapple became a symbol of good health as well as a gift for friends and strangers. Pineapple flesh was used as a digestion aid and as a cleansing agent to improve skin texture. Warriors prepared a poultice using pineapple flesh for serious wounds and a 'bandage' from pineapple leaves for superficial cuts.

Another regular use of pineapple by the Indians was to overcome painful bellyache that accompanied feasting on meat. Consumption of meat 600 years ago was much greater than that of today. After a successful hunt, a hunter might eat more than 1kg of meat at one sitting. Such an indulgence would strain the digestive system.

Even today, meat impaction is common in the emergency room of a general hospital. The medics call it 'steakhouse overload', and it is often caused when lumps of meat are trapped in the gut. Treatment is simple, and involves the patient drinking a precise formula solution of protease such as bromelain at regular intervals over a set period of time.

In Deadly Secrets Gavin uses his understanding of pineapple constituents to save the day, and it is amazing how certain foodstuff can provide health benefits. Pineapple researchers have found that bromelain may be useful in treating blood clots, which are responsible for heart attack and stroke. Others, in the cosmetic industry have evaluated bromelain skin-peel preparations to improve skin texture.

Although a great deal of research is still needed on the mechanisms by which bromelain exerts its various effects, it is clear that pineapples and, in particular its component bromelain, have potential for supporting healthier living.

What other secret health benefits are hidden in our food?


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



You can find Gordon here: