Thursday, November 18, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tracy Lawson, Author of Counteract

It's a Small Price to Pay for Safety

Tommy Bailey’s got a high school football player’s appetite. He’d happily inhale anything that isn’t red-hot or nailed down.

But it’s not up to him what, or how much, he gets to eat.

In Tommy’s reality, domestic terrorist attacks are so common that grocery stores have been shuttered in the name of public safety. With few businesses licensed to carry food products, you can’t just stop at a gas station’s quick mart and pick up a soda and a bag of chips. The Essential Services Department, created by the government to protect the U. S. food supply against tampering, makes weekly food deliveries and dictates what everyone gets to eat.

Sure, it’s a big job to handle food distribution for the entire country—but when Tommy wants tuna salad, he’s got to make it with Thousand Island dressing, and he wonders why he never seems to get peanut butter, jelly, and bread at the same time.

It’s not just a food problem. People have lived with the threat of terrorism so long they’ve given into fear and stopped protesting the myriad government-mandated Restrictions that supposedly protect them. Nearly everyone works from home. Shopping centers, movie theaters, and malls are closed. Pro sports teams play in empty stadiums. Schools have state-of-the-art security, and they’re in the process of phasing out extracurriculars and team sports.

Yet the terrorist attacks continue. 

Tommy’s got bigger problems than trying to create meals like he’s on an episode of Chopped. He’s down to his last dose of the government-issued antidote that protects him from the effects of a lethal terrorist gas-strike, yet he takes pity on Careen, whom he’s just met, and shares with her. 

Without enough antidote, the teens expect to die. Instead, they go through harsh withdrawal symptoms and come to realize the terrorist attack was a sham. The antidote was never meant to protect them—it dulls their thoughts and makes them easy to control. As they search for the truth, Tommy learns his parents, who recently died in a car accident, were leaders of an underground resistance group that’s fighting to overthrow the government. Will Tommy carry on his parents’ crusade and try to expose the truth—even though he could be the next target? 

It may sound like this series is meant to mirror the events of 2020—but I started writing the first book in the series in 2010 and released the fourth and final volume in 2017. My vision of what would happen if people gave into fear and begged the government for protection proved eerily accurate. The food shortages that plague the nation in the second and third books in the series are just some of the parallels you’ll find.

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

You can find Tracy here:

Twitter @TracySLawson

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Friday, November 12, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Shirley McCann, Author of The Morgue


I love staying at motels, hotels or bed and breakfasts. Although I’m widowed, my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren live with me. I love having them here since I hate being alone at night, but it’s still nice to get away once in a while.

Cooking has never been my thing, so anytime I don’t have to do it is a huge treat for me. I always take plenty of tea bags (for hot and cold) and make my own brew in the room. There’s also plenty of late-night snacks in my arsenal.

One of my favorite places to visit is The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. Not only is the place reportedly haunted, but they have a restaurant inside as well as a bar. For breakfast I usually sit at a corner table, eat my biscuits and gravy (who doesn’t like biscuits and gravy?) and peruse the room for one of the famous apparitions I’ve heard about.

Dinner is usually a pizza from the bar, which I’ll take back to my room and watch television while I eat.

I just finished a Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, where I shared a room with two other writer friends. We ate most of our meals at the motel restaurant, which is famous for its Possum Pie. Thankfully, it’s not actually a possum pie. Just a super-rich chocolate dessert that is to die for.

My friends and I are always on the lookout for places to eat. At least once a month, we get together for lunch to talk about our lives and writing. Although Covid stopped that for a time, we’re back at it and having the time of our lives.

A new favorite we just discovered is in Marshfield, Missouri. It’s a small-town restaurant with a friendly, welcoming staff. Grillos, you’re #1 in my book right now.

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

You can find Shirley here:

Twitter @ShirleyMcCann

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Thursday, November 4, 2021

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tonya Macalino, Author of Into the Hare Wood

In The Gates of Aurona series, every meal is a secret code for young Hannah and Cameron Troyer as they navigate a world of grown-up worries they don’t fully understand.

When I was a kid, the code told you who had money by how processed their sack lunches were. Nobody talked about it, but everybody knew that the kids with Kraft and Quaker tattooed on their snacks had cash. And the rest of us didn’t.

Now food signals are a little more complicated.

At the opening of Gates, the Troyers have just come off a long period of unemployment and the family is still really struggling. On one hand, Mom can’t make her homemade mac and cheese, but they can afford the stuff in the blue box. On the other, they can’t afford store-bought snacks and gummies, so Mom makes peanut butter and honey dip for their carrots and celery.

After a run-in with a dragon, Starbucks is a major splurge that makes Hannah and Cameron just as nervous as the dragon did.

And when their tormentor, a cranky Bronze Age sorcerer strikes too close to home, the kids know things are serious because absolutely nothing in the grocery bag next to the brand-new camping gear in the trunk is homemade.

If they were scared before, now they know their parents are, too, and that’s even more terrifying.

Every meal is message about the state of their newly tumultuous, magic-riddled lives, but it’s also embedded with a more important meaning:

I love you and I will always take care of you…

no matter what life throws at us,

no matter how bad things get.

No matter what.

And that’s a message we can all use sometimes.

If you are craving comfort food, each book in The Gates of Aurona comes with a free mini cookbook for members of my Reader Group (Sign Up HERE). From the neighborhood’s multi-ethnic potluck to the Troyer’s campfire specialties, readers can recreate the magic from this completed chapter book series! (Recommended for grades 2-6.)

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

You can find Tonya here:

Twitter @TonyaMacalino

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Tonya Macalino lives in that space Between—where the crossroads of past and present tease the senses, taunt the almost-memory. Haunted by story, she seeks it in the shadows of the landscapes of history and in the blinding glare of what-may-come, both alone and with her family of children's book authors: Raymond, Damien, & HelĂ©na Macalino.

For adults, Tonya's national award-winning supernatural thrillers, The Shades of Venice series, combine the mythic surrealism of Pan's Labyrinth with the thrill ride that is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

For children, Tonya's highly acclaimed urban fantasy adventures, The Gates of Aurona series, remind readers of the magical family secrets from Spiderwick Chronicles as well the legendary call to heroism of Chronicles of Narnia and the Dark Is Rising.