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.


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.”

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.