Thursday, April 19, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome David J. Kirk, Author of Stone Signs

In the 3070s the world is certainly a much different place. Centuries before a global natural disaster had reduced the population to nearly 10% of its former number. This led to two-thirds of the United States being left uninhabited.

In this setting main character Dan Kelley, a young history professor, unintentionally discovers prehistoric cave symbols carved into the back of a uniquely crafted paving stone. The stone was created by a mysterious mason who years earlier buried similar stones mapping a peculiar course across the unpopulated prairie. Following these clues Dan was able to retrace his parents path and uncover details of their disappearance, which had left him orphaned at age four.

Does this new discovery offer any insight into his parents’ demise? What do these symbols mean? Does the stone map lead to their interpretation? What is the message?

To follow this buried stone path, Dan and his colleagues must venture out into the uninhabited prairie. In order to sustain themselves, they must hunt, gather and prepare their food out on the trail. The expedition members hunt for meat, gather roots and gather fruit to cook all on an open wood fire. They even discover stone ovens, left by indigenous peoples, to roast whole turkeys. It was your basic campfire cooking.

The role of food in Stone Signs is not what they ate, but the manner in which they did. The evening meal was not only a bonding experience, but a time to make decisions for the next day such as route of travel and possible hazards they would encounter, all leading to the exciting conclusion. Therefore, I frequently described their meals and mealtime conversations in detail in the story. Gathering, preparing and eating were communal and social activities. One might describe them as tribal. The expedition was dealing with ice age symbols and their meaning. This activity supported the metaphor of stepping back in time, to solve an ancient mystery by living and thinking like an ancient.

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

You can find David here:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Richard Gazala, Author of Blood of the Moon

This is an interesting exercise, to write about how food impacted the writing or characters in my international conspiracy thriller, Blood of the Moon. I’ve thought about it a lot since I was graciously invited to contribute to this blog. I’m a good cook and an adventurous foodie. So it puzzled me all the more that in the exquisite mayhem I’ve forced upon characters in Blood of the Moon and my other writing, none of it has been comestible. After due contemplation, I deem this was more than simple oversight. It was error.

One of a novelist’s critical tasks is making fictional characters resonate with fleshly readers. Characters are people. Real people eat, or they die. Sometimes they die because they eat. If a picture tells a thousand words so does a person’s favorite dish, or the one he’d rather starve than eat. Whether it’s in survival or pleasure, food is refuge. Without it there’d be neither writers nor readers. Accordingly, it’s due more respect than I’ve afforded it in my work.

This is particularly so given what food sustains. Everyone’s relationship with food, whether healthy or otherwise, is fraught with meaning far deeper than mere mastication. I’m not the only one of us perpetually umpiring internal infernal battles between eating to live and living to eat. And I’m not just writing about my daily bread in this instance, so the symbolism is potent. Food is not just fuel to propel us from station to station in the mundane world. Like any other power or privilege, food is as dangerous as it is divine.

Though the movie was but a loose adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novel of the same title, a scene at the end of the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever sprang to mind when I was approached to write a piece for this blog. After he saves the world from another of Blofeld’s abominable plots, James Bond relaxes with Tiffany Case in post-coital déshabillé in their suite on board the SS Canberra cruise liner. Posing as ship’s stewards, assassins Kidd and Wint wheel into Bond’s suite an opulent meal—Oysters Andaluz, shashlik, tidbits, prime rib au jus, and Salade Utopia. The wine is a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild ’55. And for dessert, says Mr. Wint, “…the pièce de résistance… La Bombe Surprise.”

     “Mmm! That looks fantastic. What's in it?” asks Case.
     Wint replies, “Ah, but then there would be no surprise, Madame.”

The surprise was the dessert’s secret ingredient—an actual bomb. Murder, concealed beneath a luscious coating of creamy custard ice cream.

Food is temptation. It’s luxury. It’s power. And it’s danger.

I’m currently working on Blood of the Earth, the sequel to Blood of the Moon. Beneath all the conspiracies, throbbing under the action and the chaos and the vengeance, the heart of Blood of the Moon is about faith and betrayal. It’s about the lies that hide in truth, and vice-versa. So too is its sequel, and much else of what I write.

Thanks to this exercise, as I write Blood of the Earth I’ll be mindful of the truth and lies in every morsel we eat. I’ll remember that every chef can charm with a fork as easily as he can kill with a spoon. That food giveth, and food taketh away. Primal stuff.

After all, Eve wasn’t evicted from the Garden until she bit the forbidden fruit.

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

You can find Richard here:

Copyright 2018, Richard Gazala

Friday, March 30, 2018

FOODFIC: Discovering Vintage New Orleans - Bonnye Stuart

Because I lived in NOLA for so many years, I can never pass up a chance to read what others recommend that visitors see and do in The Big Easy. Must-sees, must-dos, must-eats; I have to know each compiler’s picks. Of course, I’m most interested in which restaurants and bars top each list. #FoodFact. Or #FoodOpinion? Hmm. I’ll leave that here for digestion. ;)

Anyway, this guide points out all the old favorites, which makes sense as Stuart has chosen to focus on the “vintage” spots. Not surprisingly, I found I’d been to most (if not all) of the eateries and drinkeries and visitories she describes. I checked off everything from lunch at Commander’s to climbing Monkey Hill to drinks at the Old Absinthe House.

I’ve not, however, actually had absinthe. Yes, the popular depictions of “the green fairy” as “psychoactive” and “hallucinogenic” seem reason enough not to imbibe,  but the bigger issue was its illegality. Since I hadn’t been actively following absinthe’s “status,” it came as a surprise to me to read here that the Old Absinthe House is indeed now selling its namesake drink.

Now, it’s not exactly the same stuff – thujone, a naturally-occuring chemical in wormwood, must now be strictly limited, leading many folks to call it “absinthe refined.” But the essence of the spirit remains the same, as, apparently, does its flavor. “Anise” and “fennel” are not my usual go-tos for cocktails, so you won’t find me rushing out for a bottle, but the next time I’m in NOLA, I might have to make my way down to Bourbon Street to give it a shot. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Brooklyn James, Author of Jolie Blonde

Brianna Bentley Castille (aka Jolie Blonde) fancies lobster and lots of it, the more clarified grass-fed butter in which to dip the succulent sea fare all the better. As a hard-pressed prosecutor for Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the fork and veggies will have to wait. Just keep the protein-packed, vitamins/minerals-loaded lobster and butter coming, she’ll lap up the energizing essentials with one hand while the other works through cases and codes. Oh, and if you have a Sazerac, a Big Easy favorite, she favors it, too. Though keep the lemon peel for someone who has time for ‘garnish.’ If you’re interning at the firm, Café Du Monde is not a luxury but a morning necessity—two beignets and one café au lait heavy on the chicory, please.

Jolie Blonde, a nickname given her by her childhood sweetheart’s father, would invite you over for a bayou feast of gator, po’ boys, etouffee and sweet sun tea. Relaxed and at home she is, only when in the company of that childhood sweetheart.

This story of an average girl and the one twist of fate that made her extraordinary, Jolie Blonde is reinvented, an entirely new identity as Detective Gina DeLuca, at the wily hands of a hematologist, finding herself engulfed in a mysterious world of super blood (though a sci-fi/action-adventure tale, there are no vampires—i.e. no drinking/eating/ingesting of blood…blech) and super powers. Detective DeLuca doesn’t concern herself with beignets when a donut goes down just fine. And what grown woman, pray tell, needs milk in her coffee? Preferring it black and with the grinds, one may think she’s Greek! Finicky only about pizza, it’s nonnegotiable—margherita. Oh, and a beer—any beer—to wash it down.

In a series (The Vigilare Series) featuring aliases and identities, of course there is an alter ego, too. Vigilare—the one who watches over—who is she and why does she exist? The question both Brianna and Gina must answer to find themselves. Food’s good and all, but our antihero Vigilare subsides on retribution, her favorite dish to dole up…a kick-ass portion of just deserts!

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

You can find Brooklyn here:

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.

When she is not writing books, she can be found playing live music around Austin as part of an acoustic duo. Brooklyn has been in a Weezer video, met Harry Connick Jr. as an extra on the set of When Angels Sing, appeared in Richard Linklater's Boyhood for all of a nanosecond, and she was Mira Sorvino's stand-in on Jerry Bruckheimer's Trooper pilot for TNT. She most enjoys being a wife and mother, reading, dancing, working out, and a good glass of kombucha.

Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum. She serves as a Guest Speaker with a focus on awareness and prevention of Domestic Violence and Suicide.

Subscribe to her YouTube channel for music video releases. You can also find her music on Amazon, iTunes, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, CDBaby, and Pandora.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Karen Ann Hopkins, Author of EMBERS

There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.

Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.

While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live inside of a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicably drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between.

When Ember isn’t getting to know her neighbors, learning about her newly discovered powers, or battling creatures from darkness, she goes to the local high school and rides her horse on mountain trails. But she also spends a lot of time with her “Aunt” Ila, being taught how to live off the land. Ila is a Watcher with incredible powers and even though she could live in luxury anywhere in the world, she chose to settle down in a small cabin in the Appalachian mountains, where she grows all her own food. Respecting her ties to the earth and the animals that she exists with, Ila is also a vegetarian, so meat is off the menu in little valley surrounded by hills.

Ember has never eaten so healthy before, and she must adjust to a diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, eggs, and goat’s milk. Ila shows Ember how to tastily live off the land, introducing her to homemade wheat pancakes, omelets loaded with vegetables, a variety of casseroles filled with pasta, beans, squash and potatoes, and scrumptious tomato sandwiches. Ember leans how to grow, harvest, and can the fruits and vegetables from Ila’s gardens. And Ila’s storeroom is stocked full of their bountiful hard work. One of Ember’s favorite pastimes is sitting on the front porch with her mentor, sipping fresh grape juice, and listening to Ila’s stories. Luckily, Ila also has a sweet tooth and her grandest treat is a special chocolate cake that even a demon and a growler can’t resist.

For all of her growing appreciation for healthy eating, Ember is still a teenager and enjoys snacking on soda, french fries, and cheeseburgers when she gets the chance. And that’s not a bad thing. With the end of days approaching, she’s going to need all her strength for the battles to come.

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

You can find Karen here:

Karen Ann Hopkins is the author of the urban fantasy/dystopian YA series, The Wings of War, along with a mystery/crime thriller series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets, and the YA Amish-themed romantic Temptation series. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Connie Hambley, Author of The Charity

Food and the Art of Cooking Up Characters

All Irish are born with a love of a cuppa. Right? The deep rosy tones of Irish Breakfast tea are supposed to give respite in a hectic day and provide a moment of clarity where all ills can be cured and all problems solved.

Yeah, right. Guess again.

The “Irish Love Tea” is a broadly held stereotype many readers hold. Turning an assumption upside down allows me to surprise a reader and have some fun in the process.

My recently completed trilogy’s main character is Jessica Wyeth, a world-class equestrian with Irish roots. She was raised in the States, so her attitudes are distinctly American. She is strong, assertive, and independent. Oh, and she craves a great cup of coffee.

I’ll confess to playing on stereotypes, too with that old “Irish Love Pubs” assumption that flirts with cliché. Instead of drunken sots weeping into their whiskeys, I placed characters having crucial political conversations in back rooms or families enjoying a night of lively music together. Mining that cliché for details and facts and bringing depth to my scenes helped me avoid two-dimensional characters but, in the process of researching facts and settings, something surprising happened.

My story had layers I didn’t anticipate, but once I saw them, I knew I had to bring them to life.

I didn’t start out thinking I was going to write a trilogy, but each book had one little fuse that, when lit, exploded into another story. The Jessica Trilogy unfolds the story of a woman who uncovers the money behind a Boston-based cell of the Irish Republican Army. Each book encapsulates one distinct stage of her discovery. The Charity shows what happened, The Troubles explores why it happened, and The Wake answers how the characters move forward in a world turned upside down.

The Charity started as a love story, but the worlds surrounding my characters complicated their relationship . . . and that’s an understatement. I live in Boston, where generations of wealth impact politics and society in seen and unseen ways. Money and power drive good people to do bad things and I wanted to create a story where you questioned which characters are good guys and which ones might lure you with a cuppa then slice you with a dagger.

How readers view a conversation held over a cup of tea or one held in the back room of a pub colors their perception of the characters. Food, and the settings in which it is consumed, help me weave a web of deception.

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

You can find Connie here:

CONNIE JOHNSON HAMBLEY grew up on a New York dairy farm and all would have been idyllic if an arsonist hadn’t torched her family’s barn. Bucolic bubble burst, she began to steadfastly plot her revenge against all bad guys, real and imagined. After receiving her law degree, she moved to Boston and wrote for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Nature and other wonky outlets as she honed her skills of reaching readers at a deep emotional level with great research, laser-sharp focus on detail, and persuasive writing. Her high-concept thrillers feature remarkable women entangled in modern-day crimes and walk the reader on the razor’s edge between good and evil. Connie delights in creating worlds where the good guys win–eventually. Her short stories, Giving Voice and Black Ice won acceptance in Best New England Crime Stories: Windward (2016) and Snowbound (2017), respectively, published by Level Best Books. The third book in The Jessica Trilogy, The Wake, joins The Charity and The Troubles. Connie is a two-time winner of Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in New York City. She is Vice President and Featured Speaker of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime.


The Charity: Witness to a gang-style slaying, a young woman is hunted to stop her from exposing the money and the people behind a Boston-based terrorist cell.

The Troubles: Deceived by her family, a rebellious woman seeks to unearth how Northern Ireland’s Troubles are buried in her mother’s secret past.

The Wake: A shattered heiress’ family secret is exploited by her spurned lover to blackmail her into engaging in international terrorism.

Friday, March 2, 2018

7-Year Blogiversary!

Year 7 was a lucky one for me, as so many terrific authors stopped by to share their food for thought:

Jeffrey Beesler – Speed Demons
Eldritch Black – The Book of Kindly Deaths
Jenn Brink – Silver Bells
Carole Brown – The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Peggy Chambers – The Apocalypse Sucks
Jeff Chapman – The Black Blade
Debra Chapoton – Sheltered
Caroline Clemmons – The Texan's Irish Bride
April Michelle Davis – A Princess in Disguise
Steve DeWinter – Forgotten Girl
Brittany Hawes – Wicked
Cathryn Hein – The Country Girl
David Hogan – The Last Island
Holly Jacobs – Steamed
Jessica Knauss – Awash in Talent
Deborah Lawrenson – The Lantern
John Mefford – IN Doubt
Assaph Mehr – Murder in Absentia
A.G. Moye – Cronicles of the Marauder
Luke Murphy – Wild Card
Patricia Obermeier Neuman & Rosalind Burgess – Lethal Property
D.H. Nevins – Wormwood
Cory Putman Oakes – Witchtown
Laurence O'Bryan – The Cairo Puzzle
Jean Knight Pace & Jacob Kennedy – Grey Lore
Stephen Penner – A Lack of Motive
Tony Piazza – Murder is Such Sweet Revenge
Jodie Pierce – Vampire of Brazil
Rachel Rawlings – The Morrigna
Juli D. Revezzo – House of Dark Envy
Tony Riches – The Tudor Trilogy
Holly Robinson – Folly Cove
Patricia Sands – Drawing Lessons
Dina Santorelli – Baby Grand
Jack Scott – Perking the Pansies
Deborah Shilan & Linda Reid – Dead Air
Tricia Shiu – Please Hold
Ellis Shuman – The Burgas Affair

Then I dug into:

The Ice Maiden  Edna Buchanan
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

With so many great guests this year, I didn’t get to blog about every book I read. And, to be fair, not every read lends itself to a good FoodFic discussion, either because the food in the story doesn't jump out at me, or my schedule’s already full for the year, or a book’s subject matter is too dark or serious for me to lightly chat about here.

Anyway, below are some of the better books I read over the past year that weren’t reviewed here at BWATE?

And, as always, please feel free to suggest some great reads for me in the coming year. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome David Hogan, Author of The Last Island

Modern Greeks start discussing dinner after the first bite of lunch and start discussing the next day’s lunch at dinner. For the unwitting visitor or in-law, like myself, there is a single escape from this circle of culinary obsession: breakfast. In the morning, you’ll find yourself on your own, consuming some undiscussed but tasty yogurt, granola or figs.

This preoccupation with food separates modern Greeks from their ancient counterparts -- by very little. The works of classical Greece are teeming with meals, menus, and recipes. Here’s Antiphanes (408-334 B.C.) on how to prepare some choice dishes:

“Sea bass?”
“Bake whole.”
“Boil with fresh chopped herbs.”
“Salt, oregano, water.”
“A slice of tuna?”
“Bake it.”

What if you haven’t acquired the ingredients? What if you have to boldly venture to the agora in order to acquire them? In that case, Lynkeus of Samos (early 300s B.C) is your man; he tells you all you need to know in his aptly titled masterpiece, Shopping for Fish. (Spoiler alert: scorn the desired fish and fishmonger so contemptuously that you frighten off all the other buyers and then start bargaining.)

Fortunately for the Boston fireman who relocates to the poor and remote Greek Island in The Last Island, the people he encounters are overwhelmingly kind and generous, and he has no need to insult fish or fishermen. He’s offered syrupy cookies by a widow on the day he arrives and soon after learns how to ‘sun the octopus.’ With his stomach full, it’s his heart and conscience that need repair. That’s when he meets, Kerryn, an animal rights activist, who believes dolphins possess consciousness, intelligence and souls. But as his relationship with Kerryn deepens, her passion and convictions lead her to make a fatal decision that changes the island and both their lives forever.

The island will indeed change, as Greece itself is now changing. What will remain is the food, the delicious and simple meals of fish, vegetables, olive oil and wine that Homer, Aristotle, Antiphanes, and Lynkeus enjoyed, and which a lonely Boston fireman and you and I can still enjoy, and which for thousands of years have filled body and soul.

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

You can find David here:

David Hogan is the award-winning author of screen and stage plays as well as a novel.  His stage plays include the NPI award-winning Capital, Samoan America, and No Sit – No Stand – No Lie, which opened the ‘Resilience of the Spirit’ Human Rights Festival.  His screenplays include The Tractor King, Free Radical (with Frank D’Angeli) and Stranded (with Frank D’Angeli).

His debut novel, The Last Island, published by Betimes Books, was a Finalist in the 2014 San Diego Book Awards, an Amazon Contemporary & Literary Bestseller in the U.K. and reached #1 in Fiction at Amazon Australia.  Click here to order.

Friday, February 16, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Brittany Hawes, Author of WICKED

In the land of Esperance lived a Cursed Three:
A princess, a misfit, and Death’s small prodigy.

Though some have perished in this cherished land,
Awaiting final judgment, the Three are forced to stand.
Yet Esperance’s gnarled and withering hands
Still shall welcome you within.

To the Underworld’s depths we first must descend,
Plunge into liquid darkness at life’s end,
To find the little girl that Death has claimed,
Zenobia, princess of nothing, is now her given name.

Pulsating in the pitch black, her heart fights to beat,
Golden marionette strings tugging at her bare feet.
Follow after her to Death’s grand dining hall.
This is where we’ll witness Zenobia’s daily meal.

Picked by two guards made from yellowing bone,
Succulent berries rest on plates of precious stones.
Shimmering goblets of crystal are filled to the brim;
White wine aged for eons glistens by the rim.

Delicate pieces of meat jut up from a dish,
Picked clean of bones by bones sits the fish.
“These are the things on which a human must dine.”
Death’s orders must be dutifully followed by the line.

Now we go to a home coated by sugar and fear;
A home approached by none privy of who truly lives here.
Colorful gumdrops dot the brown wafer roof.
A sugary mansion calls to all with a sweet tooth.

Smooth licorice twists around pillars of fudge,
Taffy mortar makes sure that the house won’t budge.
Behind the rock candy sheets that are window panes
Lies a pair of great eyes wanting you to remain.

With nails and hair that all drip to the floor,
The Witch of the Woods hopes you’ll step through her door.
The price you must pay for a bite of her lair?
A trip to her cauldron after days of despair.

But if you are lucky and don’t see her house,
You still might be met by a girl like a mouse.
“Come see the treats that I have in store.”
If you follow, you’ll be seen nevermore.

So instead come with me to the castle of Livor.
Mind your step for there’s blood on the floor.
Chandeliers overhead and executions down below.
While their people run dry, the royals overflow.

Rounding a corner, we see a fine spread
On the long table surrounded by heads.
Here is where Princess Ruta and her father sit,
Picking away at the fallen, bit by bit.

Roasted pheasant and platters of spiced capercaillie,
Hot beef paired with mustard, butter, and honey,
Red wine spilling and surrounding the feast,
Bloodstained fingers maneuver with ease.

As you and the Wicked enjoy your grand meal,
Mind your manners lest you catch her steel.
The blade of the guillotine beckons from outside,
So be polite and open wide.

Finally, our frightening journey has come to an end.
Esperance bids you farewell—won’t you visit again?

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

You can find Brittany here:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Holly Jacobs, Author of STEAMED

Thanks so much for the invitation, Shelley!  I always love talking about books…and food!

I once had an editor tell me that my characters spent too much time eating.  As someone who enjoys cooking—and eating—I told her I didn’t think that was possible. 

Every book I write is a bit autobiographical.  I might not ever have run away from the world like my heroine in Just One Thing, but I have experienced loss.  I might not have ever given a child up for adoption like Pip in Carry Her Heart and Hold Her Heart, but I have discovered family I’d never met.  And I have never accidentally cleaned a murder scene, like Quincy in my Maid in LA Mysteries series (Steamed, Dusted, Spruced Up, Swept Up and this summer’s 5th book, Polished Off), but I do relate to her love of food.  And while I enjoy cooking, like Quincy I love having other people cook for me. 

I took a bite of the salad.
 “Wow,” I managed as I chewed.  This wasn’t head lettuce cut up in a bowl and slathered with ranch dressing.  This had greens, nuts and dried fruit, with some light dressing on it.
 Cal forked up his salad and didn’t seem overly appreciative as he chewed it, then asked, “What I want you to do is try to remember everything you cleaned, touched or moved at Banning’s house.”
 So, I tried to remember every step.  It was easier because I’d started going over all this for myself and my file.  I thought about telling him that.  After all, he’d made it clear he didn’t consider me a serious suspect.  But I still wasn’t positive I could trust him, so I simply worked at recreating the list, from picking panties off the ceiling fan, to steam cleaning footprints off the carpet.  When I mentioned the Mortie, Cal perked up.  “What was on it?”
 I shrugged as I swallowed another bite of the salad.  “No idea.  It was sticky and a sort of rusty brown color.  It was all over the base of it.”
 “I don’t think so, though I’ve never seen dried blood on a Mortie before, much less cleaned it off.  I polished the award, and then I put it on the mantle.  It was on the couch when I came in,” I added.
 Cal made a groaning sound and made a call on his cell.  “Test the Mortie for trace evidence of blood.”
 He waited and I ate undisturbed.  
 I’d moved from my salad to a plate of pasta that Big G brought back.  It was just as good.  I was trying to decide what all was in the simple red sauce when Cal’s phone rang.
 He picked it up, listened and said, “Okay.”  Then he clicked the button and set his phone down.
 He turned to me.  “It’s official.  You cleaned the murder weapon.”
 All I could think of was a wrinkled unicorn tattoo.

Poor Quincy.  She spends the first book, Steamed, in the (soon-to-be) five book series worrying she’s going to go to prison for accidentally cleaning a murder scene.  She’s worried that she’ll have to get a prison tattoo and realizes tattoos don’t always age well…which explains that wrinkled unicorn tattoo comment.  But she does meet Cal, who despite his frustration finds Quincy as intriguing as she finds him.  And she does visit her friend Honey (whose daughter is named Trixie…and all you Trixie Belden fans will recognize the pair) who’s also a cook, and is introduced to Big G and goes to Pattycake’s Pancake House.

So maybe that editor was right…there’s a lot of food in my books.  But there’s a lot of food in my life as well!  I just did a new Cooks and Books video.  It’s an ongoing, sporadic series I post online.  The newest one is about my easy-peasy Mexican Lasagna ( and how I tricked my young hockey-fan dinner guests into eating it.

Yes, I do the Cooks and Books videos because for me, food and books go together! Quincy feels the same way!

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

You can find Holly here: