Friday, July 21, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Cory Putman Oakes, Author of WITCHTOWN



There are few things I take more seriously than books and food. Put those two things together and I really go nuts. When I was writing my young adult novel, WITCHTOWN, a lot of my writing research revolved around food.

WITCHTOWN is a story about a sixteen year old girl named Macie and her mother who travel between witch-only towns (called havens) robbing people. They must ingratiate themselves with the folks at each new haven they arrive at, and one of their methods of doing this is trying to assert their spiritual superiority by maintaining a raw vegan diet.

I decided to try raw veganism for myself so I could write about it more realistically. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was thirteen so I figured it would be no big deal – I figured wrong! The idea behind raw veganism is that you eat no animal-derived products at all, and no food that has been heated above 104 degrees. Unlike vegetarianism, which is really just about substituting different protein sources into your diet, raw veganism requires a completely different approach to shopping, preparing, and eating food. I committed to the diet for one full week. You can follow the whole story over on my blog (Starting here on DAY 0: http://www.corypoakes.com/news-and-events/in-the-name-of-writing-research-my-raw-vegan-adventure/) but the highlights included: rampant cheese cravings, raw “lasagna,” a new appreciation for raw vegan desserts, raw vegan date night with my (carnivorous) husband, and victory pizza at midnight on Day #7.

To make things more interesting for my raw vegan main character, I had her develop a friendship with Gayle, the Witchtown baker. To make Gayle (and her bakery) as real as possible, I spoke at length with a wonderful pagan food blogger (http://recipesforapagansoul.weebly.com) who helped me to come up with all sorts of delightful (NOT raw vegan) baked goods to torture Macie with – including Gayle’s signature scones. (The recipe is on my website: http://www.corypoakes.com/books/witchtown/recipe-gayles-lemony-thyme-scones/) They are lemony, herby, and totally perfect for the Summer Solstice (or whatever special occasion you happen to be celebrating). I make them all the time!

I also really got into pagan holiday recipes. I’m most proud of my Summer Solstice cakes and pies (they’ve become an annual tradition in my house). But I also love the mini pumpkin pies I made for Autumn Equinox one year, and the wassail and Yule Log cake I did for Winter Solstice.

In short, the research for WITCHTOWN was as fun as it was delicious and it’s left me with family traditions and recipes that we’ll continue to enjoy for years to come – as well as a book I’m really proud of. I hope you enjoy reading about the food in WITCHTOWN just as much as I enjoyed writing about it!


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



You can find Cory here:





Thursday, July 13, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Holly Robinson, Author of Folly Cove



Nothing Brings People Together Like an Eiffel Tower Cake...and Other Fictional Follies
By Holly Robinson


A confession: I am not a cook. My husband is the cook. In fact, he won me over on our first date because he took what looked like a wilted spinach leaf, a solitary egg, and a piece of yarn—okay, maybe not yarn—and made me a delectable omelet.

Me? The first time I cooked for him, it was lasagna made with no-boil noodles and a jar of no-name red sauce. But he married me anyway, God bless him.

However, the best thing about being a fiction writer (other than working in your sweats most of the time) is that you can be an expert at ANYTHING. In the six novels I have published so far, I have been a painter, a potter, a DJ, a real estate agent, a construction worker, a secretary, a PR executive, a competitive equestrienne, a sheep farmer, a therapist, a backpacker in the Himalayas, and—wait for it—a fabulous cook!

Of course, doing all of these jobs requires a combination of real life experience (I took pottery lessons and horseback riding lessons) and research. Cooking is the toughest thing I've ever written about in a novel by far, since I'm the sort of person who is likely to text her husband emergency questions like this: “Should I have taken the plastic wrap off the chicken pie before I put it in?”

For my newest novel, Folly Cove, I was pushing every envelope by having the characters not only be great cooks (these three sisters grew up in an inn, after all), but ace bakers, too. This meant researching the sorts of foods typically served in historic New England inns (prime rib or lobster, anyone?) and how they were made.

And, as a bonus, I had these three sisters organize a birthday party for their mother, Sarah, despite the fact that Sarah has not always been the most loving mother and has some pretty dark secrets, starting with the fact that she is not who she says she is...

The cake had to be as extreme and elegant as Sarah has always seemed. And the birthday party had to have a theme. Finally it came to me: one way of outing Sarah's true identity (and age) would be to have a party based on her favorite movie, An American in Paris, which came out the year she was born—or did it?

And, since the movie is set in Paris, of course the cake had to be shaped like the Eiffel Tower, and big enough to serve lots of guests. Amazingly enough—or maybe not, given how much you can find online these days—I discovered more than one recipe online. Here's one of them:

Did I actually try making the cake myself? Sure. And you can guess how that went.


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



You can find Holly here:




Friday, July 7, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stephen Penner, Author of A Lack of Motive



Hello, everyone. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Shelley Workinger for inviting me to her blog.

My latest novel, A Lack of Motive, is book #8 In my David Brunelle Legal Thriller Series. These books are set in Seattle, but for this most recent installment, I moved the action to Bellevue, an affluent suburb across Lake Washington from Seattle.

I've lived In Seattle for over 20 years now, and have watched as the city has changed from a smaller, sea-based community to a corporate, high-tech hub. But there are still remnants of the old Seattle hidden, almost out of sight, between the shiny new glass-and-steel skyscrapers. So when my hero, Dave Brunelle, meets an old flame, I knew where they were going to dinner. In part, because I'd just eaten there myself.

Dave's old flame, Victoria Cross is rich, much richer than my public servant protagonist. When they decide to catch up over a potentially romantic dinner, he lets her pick the restaurant. He expects a pretentious, overpriced eatery atop one of those office towers. Instead, she directs him to "The Crab Bucket", one of those hidden pearls of old Seattle, tucked between luxury condos that now block its once pleasant view of the lake. And that's when Dave falls for her again, realizing she may be rich, but she's authentic--and not afraid to eat crab in front of him.

...but does it work out? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.

My books often feature restaurants and cafes. Like a lot of authors, I enjoy exploring the relationships between people. Most commonly, I do this through dialogue, and nothing goes with dialogue quite like a cup of coffee or a good meal. And when one character invites another to a favorite restaurant, it not only shows what that person likes to eat, but it can often reveal what the person is hoping for the relationship. Dave has been taken to cheap diners, fancy restaurants, and now "The Crab Bucket". Each of these places was inspired by a restaurant I've been to myself, and more often than not, my visit was for reasons similar to those of my hero. That's probably why I like writing those scenes so much.


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


You can find Stephen here:





Friday, June 30, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jeff Chapman, Author of The Black Blade



Howdy. Jimmy here. I'm the narrator and protagonist of The Black Blade. As a rule, I don't cotton to using highfalutin words like protagonist, but the author says I have to so I'll do as he requests. I reckon it's like my grandma used to say, if you want your green beans to taste like beans, you got to use the proper sized canning jars. My grandma was mighty particular about her canning jars. And her canned green beans always tasted like green beans and not, well, something else. Well, enough literary criticism talk. What in tarnation is literary criticism anyway?

Orville and I are a pair of hucksters. I like to think of us as showmen, giving folks some entertainment to leaven their dull days with good humor. Orville's the master huckster and I'm his apprentice. In The Black Blade, we get ourselves into a heap of terrifying trouble in the weird west. Orville thought we could make a quick and tidy profit helping this strange old man with a knocker haunting his house. I didn't trust the old man's looks, but a team of horses couldn't hold Orville back when there's gold glittering ahead. The old man proved himself as rotten as I speculated. The first talk of food was whether we were going to become food. The old man locked us in a cell with this monster that was a cross between a pig and a wendigo. Nasty piece of work was that creature, and he seemed awful hungry. The old man finally told us what game he was up to. To save Orville from the pig-man, I had to go questing for some enchanted blade. I'd like to share the whole story with you. It's mighty entertaining, but the author says I can't.

The author says I'm supposed to talk about some of the vittles we partake. When Orville and I are out on the trail, we make do with beans and some bacon, if we've got some. Orville complains I'm not too good at beans but I don't see him offering to cook. We wash our meals down with coffee or some good ole cool spring water, if we can find some. Saloon food, like meat pies, are cheap as can be, but I've heard from a reliable source that the barman adds extra salt to everything. The drinks ain't so cheap. And for some cotton-pickin' reason, every time I darken a saloon, I'm served sarsaparilla. I don't mind sarsaparilla, but there's nothing like a hearty beer to wash the trail dust from your parched tongue. We might be adding a new member to our partnership, a second apprentice. The girl's name is Isobel, a little firecracker if there ever was one. She helped me find the black blade and get out of more than a few dangerous scrapes when I figured my goose was cooked, including a shapeshifting coyote that I figured was about to turn me into a meal. According to Isobel, her mama taught her to cook everything from squirrel legs to calves liver. I reckon we might have some more variety to our vittles in the future. Thanks for listening. And if you find yerself at a fair, stop by our tent and let Orville the Oracular tell your fortune.


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



You can find Jeff here:




Thursday, June 15, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome April Michelle Davis, Author of A Princess in Disguise



Princess Margaret has never been forced to be hungry in her life—she has never even been limited to a small selection of food—that is, until she selfishly decides to run away from the palace the night before her father is set to announce whom she would be marrying.

After Princess Margaret leaves the palace, food begins to play an important part in building relationships. Around meals, the atmosphere is a time to connect, learn, and reflect.

Princess Margaret’s first meal outside the palace is with Huntley, a commoner, in a local tavern run by Ackley, a good cook of local foods. Princess Margaret has only had meals served in the palace dining room or that had been brought to her room, so the atmosphere of a tavern, the smells of unfamiliar foods, and even the process of selecting what foods to order from a menu are all new to her. Princess Margaret wants to experience the food that her people eat so when Huntley orders shepherd’s pie, she is surprised and delighted by the smell and taste of the dish.

The food adventures do not end with trying new foods. During the first days at sea, Wes, one of Huntley’s crew members, teaches Princess Margaret how to cook a pot of stew. He shows her how to prepare the meal, how and when to add spices to the stew, and how to taste it as it simmers and cooks—an intimate time between two new friends.

While cooking and having a conversation with Wes, Princess Margaret realizes her people are poor and many must steal food to survive in her father’s kingdom. Cooking time also becomes education time for Princess Margaret, which is ironic because she has been taught by the best tutors, and now by these poor, common fishing men who have had little to no formal education.

In another scene, Huntley offers the chicken-killing job to Princess Margaret since she has expressed that she is strong and can perform labor same as a man. The conversation held as this task is performed teaches Princess Margaret that her people often barter for foods.

Food becomes not simply a form of sustenance for Princess Margaret, but also a time for learning more about the people she will someday lead, and this connection helps her discover her true self.



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


You can find April here:






Thursday, June 8, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome D.H. Nevins, Author of WORMWOOD



Hey everyone. This is Kali Michaels, the main character from Wormwood, a pretty intense post-apocalyptic story. Thanks for letting me pop into this blog so I can talk a bit about food and what we’ve been eating around here. Trust me, I have a very strong appreciation for this subject. Wormwood‘s author, D.H. Nevins, really turned things upside down on us—you know, avenging half-angels destroyed the surface of the Earth—so for anyone who cares to survive, the acquisition of food is pretty darn important.

Truth be told, when it comes to palatable food, I’m luckier than most of the survivors I’ve come across. The first person I saw since this mess began was a rather desperate man named Eric (and I say he was the first person, because the first being I ran into was Tiamat, one of them, so he doesn’t count). I found Eric within a small copse of trees, anxious to cook what little food he could find over a small bank of coals. He was using battered piece of corrugated metal as a frying pan of sorts, and on it was a mouse and two slugs. I know, it sounds horrid. But when you’re starving—and he was—those disgusting morsels of food are worth fighting over.

But like I mentioned before, I was fortunate. I had no need to challenge Eric for the sake of a meal, having acquired significant supplies from Tiamat. Ah, Tiamat. My Nephilim tormentor. Of course, he had known what was coming, he was one of the ones who caused it, so he had stockpiled quite a quantity of non-perishable food and other supplies before The Cleansing. And because he claims I have some kind of purpose, he won’t kill me. Yet. So yeah, long story short, I have a bunch of his supplies, loaded on one of two horses I have with me. Food to keep me alive. For now. Right, so essentially, Eric’s meagre meal was safe from me.

The next survivors I saw were two young boys, fighting over a frog. I mention this because, yeah, the frog was meant to be food too. Can people even eat frogs? I don’t know. But everyone’s desperate. My trail mix and dehydrated chili are sounding pretty delicious now, right? And the coffee Tiamat made for me over our camp fire? Well, that was downright extravagant.

I know it can’t last. Some day, the food will run out or the Nephilim will finally succeed in killing me. But in the meantime, I’ll thankfully enjoy the subtle metallic flavor of canned oranges. Then I’ll savour the subtle range of tastes when I eat rehydrated vegetables. And when I sleep, you can be sure I’ll be dreaming of chocolate ice cream.


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




You can find her here:





Friday, June 2, 2017

FOODFIC: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson



Page 261. That’s the pivotal point where the two main characters meet.

Mikael Blomkvist: crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, and Lisbeth Salander: 24-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age – and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it.

Mikael has been hired to research the 40-year-old disappearance of a wealthy octogenarian’s 16-year-old niece, Harriet Vanger. When he realizes that he needs help with the convoluted archive work, Herr Vanger actually recommends the researcher he hired to look into Mikael. Now that’s a set-up for a good meet if I ever read one!

Mikael arrives on Lisbeth’s doorstep unannounced, rousing her from a hung-over lie-in. She’s disheveled and bewildered; he’s curiously amused.

And all I can think about is the bagels.

Filled bagels, brought by Mikael: one with roast beef, one with turkey and Dijon mustard, and one vegetarian with avocado.

Well, now I have to stop reading and hit up Google, because I have no idea if “filled” means the bagel is cooked with a filling, like a stuffed bread, or if it’s simply a bagel sliced open and “filled” with meats and/or veggies like a sandwich. Of course, I find all sorts of pictures and recipes for both types and no definitive answer as to which kind is in Mikael’s bag. I even watched the movie to solve this important (to me, at least) secondary mystery, but Daniel Craig never unwraps the white deli paper! I finally decide to just assume these bagels must be the sandwich type, because hot, baked-in avocado sounds disgusting. And I need to get back to the darn book. ;)


Anyway, they meet at last! There are bagels, coffee, compliments and confessions…and the first taste of how these 2 characters play off of one another is so delicious, readers should be prepared to devour the rest of the story in one sitting. ;)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tony Riches, Author of the Tudor Trilogy




In the first book of the Tudor Trilogy, set in England in 1422, we find Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty, in Windsor castle watching a royal banquet.

A fanfare of trumpets is followed by a procession of liveried servants carrying silver platters piled high with choice meats, which they take to each guest in turn, waiting while they help themselves from each platter, picking out tasty morsels with their fingers, the sign of good manners.

As well as cuts of beef, veal, pork, mutton and venison from Windsor Great Park, the guests are served with rare salmon, fresh river trout, eels and crayfish. The centrepiece of the banquet is a whole roasted peacock, served dressed in its own iridescent blue feathers, plucked and replaced after the bird had been cooked, its beak and feet gilded in gold leaf.

Even the wine goblets used by the guests follow rules of protocol, with the queen and top table drinking from gold plate, the next most important using polished silver and the lesser nobles provided with pewter. Servants are ready with flagons of wine as soon as any goblets are empty, so before long the buzz of polite conversation has taken on a raucous undertone.

A bishop calls them to order and the queen makes a short speech, thanking everyone for attending. Then there is another fanfare of trumpets and four page boys enter, carrying a model castle over a foot high, made entirely from sugar and complete with a miniature Royal Standard flying from the top. It is placed before the queen and the guests applaud as the young king smashes many days of hard work to pieces.

Owen watches as the banqueting guests become even more rowdy. Several of the younger lords, already looking the worse for drink, argue loudly about the merits of hunting stags or boars. He has learned it is best for servants to remain invisible, particularly if they are Welshmen.



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



You can find Tony here:









Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time.

The Tudor Trilogy is based on actual events, from the earliest days of the Tudors to Henry Tudor becoming King of England after his surprising victory at the Battle of Bosworth.

Friday, May 19, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Deborah Lawrenson, Author of The Lantern



Food is a vital part of Eve and Dom’s sensuous life in the South of France. The naïve translator and the worldly older man connect on an instinctive level that seems - at first - set apart from the bleak realities of the lives they are both trying to escape. They fall in love and move into a crumbling Provencal hamlet, set apart on a hillside, where they lose themselves in the heat and light, in music and the imagination – and the fruits of the landscape.

That summer the house and its surroundings became ours, a time reduced in my memory to separate images and impressions: mirabelles, the tart orange plums like incandescent bulbs strung in forest green leaves, a zinc-topped table under a vine canopy; the budding grapes; the basket on the table, a large bowl; tomatoes ribbed and plump as harem cushions.
                                                               
Simplicity seems extraordinarily close to hedonism when you find deep red “harem cushion” tomatoes the size of two fists in the markets of Provence. The tomato salads that Eve and Dom make with them is one of the most delicious and simple dishes known to man: sliced with onion and a handful of ripped basil, then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It takes minutes to assemble and then all you need is a baguette, newly baked with a light crust from your favourite boulangerie in the Rue des Marchands in the town of Apt, to mop up all the juices.

Eve picks the mirabelles and wild plums that grow on the trees at the hamlet, and makes tarts and English crumbles. In September the first walnuts fall, and she stores them to attempt Tarte aux Noix, or to add to chicory and blue cheese salads. The figs from the tree in the courtyard intrigue her.




    It was one of those days so intensely alive and aromatic you could hear as well as smell the fig tree in the courtyard. Wasps hummed in the leaves as the fruit ripened and split; globes of warm dark purple were dropping, ripping open as they landed with sodden gasps. 
    The pulse that pumped out the sweet, heady scent was quickening as I bent down to pick the fallen figs, then pulled them apart to find insects were already drunk on their scarlet hearts.                                
                         
Eve prepares a bed of good fresh lettuce dressed with a tangy vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Then she tops slices of bread with local goat cheese and fresh thyme from the garden and bakes in a hot oven with some slivers of jambon cru -Parma ham - and halved figs (perfect ones picked from the branches), each spread with a little clear honey. Everything cooks together for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese looks done. Delicious!




As their idyllic summer turns to winter, the lavender fields and vineyards now rows of stubble, the couple make traditional cold weather casserole dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon, beef slow-cooked in red wine, and the Moroccan-inspired Lamb Couscous, simmered for hours with almonds and apricots, aromatic cinnamon and nutmeg and hot chili and coriander. They don’t know it, but they need to keep up their strength for the shocking discoveries that are about to destroy their dream world…


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



You can find Deborah here:





Thursday, May 11, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jodie Pierce, Author of Vampire of Brazil



So, I am both a traditionally and self-published Author. I write vampire romance and have dabbled in vampire erotica. Think I got a thing for vampires? I knew in high school that I wanted to write. I wrote for the school newspaper and yearbook. I constantly had one of those black and white composition books with me with a story I was working on. I was writing juvenile romance and was unhappy with it but didn’t know what to write about.

In waltzes my college freshman friend. He handed me a book, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (someone I’d never heard of but once or twice). After reading the book, I knew I had to go with the vampires I had come to love over the years. In 7th grade, at a sleepover, the girls’ mom came in with the movie Lost Boys and this started my fascination and research involving vampires.

I also loved the research aspect! If my book is set in a place I’ve never been, I thoroughly research the area, sights, people, clothes, food, etc. in order to give my readers a better idea of life wherever I’m writing about. Plus, if a person from that location reads the book, they aren’t going to find discrepancies.

I was a background investigator for a while so I think that’s where my love of research came from. My hubby and I met online and don’t think for a minute that I didn’t run a background check on him the day after we met because I really liked him. Luckily, nothing came back on him but he did have four kids and I always swore I’d never date anyone with kids but I’d already fallen in love with him so…too late…lol!

In high school, I lived in Brasil (it’s how they spell it in Brasil) for six months as an exchange student and at sixteen, I was very young and impressionable. At home, in high school, I was a no body but in Brasil, I was what I considered to be famous. Everyone wanted a picture with me, to talk to me (in Portuguese because at the time, very few Brazilians spoke English…hence the reason I translated the book into Portuguese as well). In setting my books in Brasil, I can give the reader a better description of the area, people, food, activities, etc. which I find, when reading, very helpful. A few of my books are set in Brasil, along with my latest, Vampire of Brazil.

Every morning, the bread cart would come around and everyone would run there and buy their fresh bread for the day. My favorite was the bread with requiljao which is like a cream cheese but better and a little runnier than regular cream cheese. Sweets like Brigadeiro (mini chocolate truffles with chocolate sprinkles-my favorite) and Bolo de Coco (coconut cake) were my favorite. Every day, on my way home, I would stop at the newspaper stand and pick up a Diamonde Negro candy bar and it had become my favorite. The national pop was Guarana but every once and a while we would stop at a café and have cafezinhas which was really, really strong coffee. It came in mini tea cups so I had no room for cream or sugar. Typical dishes with the family I stayed with were Feijoada (rice and black beans-eaten several times a day), Arroz e faijao (a different spin on rice and beans) and my favorite was Maionaise (potato salad with veggies and spices).

Whenever we went walking down the beach, we always stopped at the hot dog truck and the coconut vendor. The coconut vendor would cut off the top of the coconut with a machete and stick a straw in the coconut and we would drink the fresh, all natural coconut water (this was LONG before it was so popular in the states).

Now, I’m married to a man who went to culinary school so I don’t have to do much cooking (good thing…lol). Our deal is whomever cooks, the other cleans. This leaves me time for writing. I get to, in each time I include Brasil in my stories, get to re-live my wonderful time there which I still hope to return to one day.

I absolutely, place people I know characteristics into my characters in my stories. I also do the horrible and kill off the people I gave those vary characteristics to because they start to remind me of that person and the horrible past. I usually look up the meanings of names and give those traits to my characters. It’s kinda my little inside joke with myself!

My latest vampire book was Vampire of Brazil (which is printed in English and Portuguese - I translated it). My very last book was a memoir about being Bipolar called Inside My Head. For my Brasil book, I even went about finding pictures to represent important aspects of the story. I used a real Brazilian and Rio de Janeiro cemetery in the background for the cover making it more authentic.

I loved the food of Brasil. My personal favorite was pizza because they made it with white sauce (another thing they were ahead of from the states), chicken, corn, etc. and it was amazing!!!! The brigadeiro was my favorite dessert where things could get a little deceiving. I thought I was going to eat a piece of cake with the frosting in the middle. When I got it in my mouth, it had been bread with tuna salad in the middle. Imagine my surprise?!

Well, it’s time for my sign off. Thanks for having me and indulging me in the long post!!

Keep Reading!
Jodie Pierce


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


You can find Jodie here: