Thursday, June 30, 2011


This hop, organized by Simply Stacie and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, features over 200 participating blogs offering book-related giveaways! We're all linked up together so you can hop easily from one giveaway to another; see the full list here: Freedom Giveaway Hop

Today I'm giving away 1 Signed 3rd (latest!) edition of "Solid" so you'll be all caught up for the release of the sequel on July 4th!

To enter to win, just follow this blog and leave a comment/question,
along with a way to contact you.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow on Twitter

Giveaway runs from July 1 to July 7; last day to enter is Thursday, July 7th.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FOODFIC: Forgive My Fins - Tera Lynn Childs

Before I even started reading, I was obviously dying to know what a mermaid eats. Okay, so maybe Lily Sanderson is only half-mermaid (and half-human) but tomayto-tomahto, just feed the girl already!

On page ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN (!?!), I finally got some food in this fiction…and it was worth the wait. Thalissinian (of our mer-princess’s home realm) delicacies include: mounds of scrambled eel eggs, toasted sea fans, strips of pickled kelp, and a variety of local fruit mixed with some land fruit. I loved the scrambling of eel eggs, and the kelp pickled in the briny sea – very clever.

Then Lily also tells us:And, if you love sushi – I dare you to name a mermaid who doesn’t love sushi – we have just about every variety of nigiri, maki, and inari you could dream of.” Of course my gut reaction to that was, Is it just me, or is that a little cannibalistic? Anyway, it’s really not the what that got me with the sushi as much as the how; she dips in her spicy tuna maki in thick ginger sauce. Underwater? However, I dutifully suspended my disbelief, and moved on. (Don’t ask why I could easily accept an entire undersea kingdom, but got so hung up on dip.)

But as soon as I forgot about the food and refocused on the romantic complications, Quince gets grilled tuna steaks! I struggled with that one for awhile until I remembered that at that point they’re on an island, so there could be some sort of flame-cooking apparatus, perhaps provided by Calliope, the couples counselor. (No, she has no relevance to this discussion, but y’all know my affinity for the name so I had to include it.)

Ocean-bottom line: “Forgive My Fins” served up some good fictional food and doesn’t need any forgiveness from me.

*Obviously, I timed my post to coincide with this week's release of the sequel: Fins Are Forever.

Friday, June 24, 2011

FOODFIC: Hot Scots, Castles, and Kilts - Tammy Swoish

I won’t lie – the reason I picked up this book was because my knowledge of Scottish cuisine is limited to haggis. And by knowledge, I mean I’ve heard the word, not that I know what it is. So I was expecting the story’s heroine, Sami Ames, to take me along on her trip to Scotland and tell me all about the food from the point of view of a teenage girl. Not quite.

What I got was a scene that certainly happens in real life and in books, though I wish it wouldn’t in both instances. Adan (the “Hot Scot”) takes Sami on a picnic and packs the food himself, including sandwiches filled with, at first description, unknown meat. But after Sami has the stereotypical panic attack over having to eat in front of a cute guy, then takes a bite that doesn’t make it all the way into her mouth and “realiz[es] what a pig [she is],” we find out that the mystery meat is ham. Of course

Well, my ham-and-dating history is quite different from that. When I first started dating my husband, I worked nights, and many times he’d pick me up and take me to this bar (Balcony Bar on Magazine St.) that had the best club sandwiches. I’d eat – and love – every bite of ham, turkey, and bacon without sharing a bite. And he told me that was one of the things he liked most about me, because he’d gone on awful food dates, including one where the girl just watched him eat. He thought she was totally insecure, he felt completely uncomfortable, and the only positive thing he could say about her was that at least she hadn’t ordered something and wasted his money by leaving it untouched.

That’s the kind of date I like to see in books – one where girls (characters and readers) are shown how ridiculous food obsession is. So I was thrilled when Sami finally caved into some toasted marshmallows and broke her “no eating in front of guys rule.” I don’t know if she came to her senses or, more likely, was scared sense-ful (rather than the more common sense-less) by the pending arrival of the ghost of Samuel MacKensie, but it doesn’t matter. The marshmallows made her happy, made her date happy, and made me happy, too!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Midsummer's Eve GIVEAWAY HOP

This hop, organized by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, features almost 300 participating blogs offering book-related giveaways! We're all linked up together so you can hop easily from one giveaway to another; see the full list here: Midsummers Eve Giveaway Hop

Today I'm giving away 1 Signed 3rd (latest!) edition of "Solid" so you'll be all caught up for the release of the sequel on July 4th!

To enter to win, just follow this blog and leave a comment/question, along with a way to contact you.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow on Twitter

Giveaway runs from Tues. June 21st through Fri. June 24th; last day to enter is Friday, June 24.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Dan Makaon, Author of Goodbye Milky Way - An Earth in Jeopardy Adventure

Should an author of fiction incorporate food into a novel? I don’t know of any studies done on successful novels that include significant references to food. Frankly, I can’t think of any novels I’ve read that use food in any deliberate way. Yet, for me, I would find it difficult to give depth to the characters I create in my novels, if I couldn’t use food. In my novel, Goodbye Milky Way – An Earth in Jeopardy Adventure, I use food scenes and references to enhance the reader’s visualization of the characters and their interactions.

What could I have possibly been trying to do with this exchange?
     It was hard to read his face, but Marla thought the Guardian genuinely enjoyed the chicken Marsala. She had ordered the tilapia.
     “My tilapia is delicious. How’s your chicken, Guardian?” asked Marla.
     “It’s quite good indeed. I haven’t had a Marsala dish in a long while. I’m impressed with the chef,” said the Guardian.

I intended it to make Guardian appear approachable, yet sophisticated; after all, he’s a technologically advanced alien. I didn’t want him to be uptight, stuffy, or unapproachable. Neither did I want him to be too cute and cuddly. With this and other passages, I tried to portray that extreme intelligence or extensive knowledge does not turn even an alien into an automaton who can’t enjoy the little pleasures of life and the joy of talking with friends. Aliens can have fun just as humans do.

Sometimes an author needs to establish an atmosphere to bring the scene to life. I find an effective method is to describe the aroma of food and the music that goes with it. On occasion, I add little hidden gems in my writing that go right over the head of some of the most discerning readers. Here’s an excerpt from Goodbye Milky Way that describes a few main characters reminiscing at a local restaurant in Rivera, Ecuador. What they’re eating is a gem.            

     “Give them a break, Tom,” said Marla. “They had never launched a configuration like that one, with five Delta IV’s firing-up simultaneously . . . They had over five times the number of things that could go wrong.”

     A flamenco guitar and a marimba played a mestizo tune, while aromas of sizzling steak, lomo salteado, and tronquito soup pervaded the air.

Of course any device can be overdone, so it’s important for an author to mix it up with verbal images that arouse the reader’s imagination. In particular, a character’s surroundings and his thoughts about the surroundings are important for developing an in-depth persona for each character. I believe an author should not forget that food and drink are not just basic necessities of life . . . they play a big part in defining us culturally and individually. Personally, I can’t imagine creating characters in a novel without including their eating and drinking habits.

Happy Reading,
Dan Makaon

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some Food For Thought, Dan!

You can find Dan at:

Friday, June 10, 2011

A World Without Books - BLOG HOP

Today's post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour: a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds, and locations. I definitely recommend the blog featured before mine in today's hop: RHIANNON PAILLE ; and the blog featured after mine (and host of the tour!): BLOG-A-LICIOUS BLOGS. Do stop by and say Hello, as several blogs on the tour are having giveaways and contests. Enjoy! 

A World Without Books Would Leave Readers Hungry! It'd Be Like…

Lady and the Tramp without spaghetti
City of Ashes without scotch
The Art of Racing in the Rain without pepperoncini
The Singer of All Songs without honey
Fat Chance without Oreos
The Killer’s Cousin without beef stew
A Game of Thrones without suckling pig
The Sefuty Tales without lamb
Halfway to the Grave without moonshine
Marcelo in the Real World without fish
Goodbye Milky Way without food tablets
Backstage at the White House without eggs
Skin Hunger without apples
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio without bacon slabs
My Soul to Take without mac and cheese

And But What Are They Eating? Without Food! 

Good Reads and Good Eats to All :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FOODFIC: My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent

I love that with everything high-school junior Kaylee Cavanaugh has going on, the girl still makes time to eat. It seemed like food found its way into practically every scene from pretzels and cheese fries at the movie theater where she works, to turkey and Italian subs with Nash when he tells her she’s not human (and neither is he), and chocolate cake at the hospital while they wait for Tod the Reaper. Not to mention “bean sidhe,” which made me crave red beans and rice every time it came up, although it has nothing to do with dinner. “Bean sidhe” is actually the Gaelic name for Banshee, someone who sings for souls at their deaths, which Kaylee discovers she is despite her absent father having tried to keep it from her. 

It’s only fitting, then, that for the front half of the book when she has no solid family unit, the food is all drive-through junk. Then her father finally makes an appearance and Kaylee makes him mac and cheese – comfort food for the man who should’ve always been there to comfort her, but wasn’t. Cooking the pasta sets the perfect backdrop for the confrontation-slash-reveal, right down to the sizzle of water sloshing out of the pot and onto the burner when she stirs too hard. I won’t pretend that Velveeta magically turns this into the perfect family evening, but there are brownies at the end, so how bad could it be? 

I will definitely continue reading this series to see what Kaylee does – and eats – next.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FOODFIC: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but one of my book clubs chose this title. I do my best to avoid books where bad things to happen to children and animals, because even the fictitious suffering makes me physically ill and stays with me forever (I’m talking to you, Stephen King, about the kid in “It” who put the puppy in the refrigerator – that scene’s been sitting in my gut like solidified Crisco for 15 years). So yes, there are hardships in Ryan’s story, but no, I’m not going to dwell on them when the author fought to focus her book on the triumphs of her family, not the tragedies. 

My favorite part of this book was when matriarch Evelyn Ryan, mother of 10 – really 11, if you count the alcoholic husband she also has to take care of – won a grocery store shopping spree with one of the 25-word, professional-grade contest entries she used to keep her family afloat. Evelyn’s approach to spree-day reflects her attitude toward life:
“Think big,” she says, telling the kids they’re not going to waste cart space on necessities like fish sticks. “I want you kids to taste chateaubriand, New York steak, lobster, and anything else you’re never tried before. Heck, I want to try them, too.”

And then I was floored by butcher Bob, with his “knife-scarred hands” and heart of gold, who cut flat slabs of beef and extra-long sides of bacon ahead of time for Evelyn to use to line the sides of her cart and double its capacity. I cheered for Evelyn’s winning outlook and her $411.44 haul of everything from filet mignon to caviar to frozen bonbons, but even more for Bob’s caring ingenuity. When people like Bob recognize how people like Evelyn are doing everything they can to take of their kids, then offer them a hand up just when it’s needed, it feeds the soul of all of humanity.