Archive | February 2016

When A Novel Compels you to Cook…

It’s no surprise to many of my friends how much I love to cook. It goes along nicely with “how much I also love to eat.” Eating is one of my favorite things to do. Not an easy hobby for someone always trying to watch their weight, but the fact is, I love food. I love everything about it. The smells, the textures, the chewing. I’ll eat snails, beef tartare, sushi, kimchi, anything weird or smelly is not off-limits. I’ll be honest, I’m not partial to bugs, but besides that, bring it on!

ingredients listed in the novel to use

ingredients listed in the novel to use

That said, I was compelled to make a dish for my family after I read Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s novel, Crimson Shore. There’s this great scene where the main character, Aloysius Pendergast, is really upset about the food choices for dinner in The Chart Room Restaurant. (I don’t blame him – everything is deep-fried) He goes storming back into the kitchen and proceeds to teach the cook how to make a version of Filets de Poisson Bercy aux Champignons, which he calls Filets de Sole Pendergast. It’s this great sole dish with mushrooms and wine and cream and all this good stuff. I put my kindle up and simply made the dish along with Pendergast teaching the cook. There were no measurements for me to use, but I’ve been cooking long enough that I had an idea of how much of each ingredient I needed.

Filets de Sole Pendergast

Filets de Sole Pendergast

Result? The family thought it was delicious. The authors unfortunately did not specify any side dishes in the novel for this dish, so I put it over a mix of basmati and wild rice and served buttered broccoli on the side. I felt that this was in line with what the character would enjoy eating. The family ate it all up!

Have you ever been compelled to make a dish you read in a novel? I’d love to hear!

Do You Have a Muse for your Main Hero? How Pinterest can help!

Kelsey Porter

Kelsey Porter

If you’ve written a book, do you have a muse for your main hero? Someone you picture in your mind and they are the vision that pops up every time you write about what your character is doing? I do. I am a visual person and love to “assign” people to my characters. The only problem with doing that is over time, those characters age and if you have publicly posted a celebrity, well, time does go on and they may not always look like the person you envisioned. Still, it helps to have someone concrete in your head so you always stay consistent with the character.

I created a Pinterest page, by book, to capture my characters and various topics in the novels. In The Hunt for Xanadu, I found my muse for Kelsey Porter. It is of a young Serinda Swan (though the photo above is actually Jessica Lowndes, who could be Serinda’s sister, so since it LOOKS like her and the image is so sexy and beautiful, this photo worked). For most other scenarios, Serinda is my “it girl” with her combination of tough/sexy girl, and she is how I imagine Kelsey appears. Only problem with showing a photo is that she may not be what other readers feel my character looks like. When you publicly put your vision out there, it might not jive with other people’s interpretations. Which is probably why people get so upset when casting directors cast characters readers don’t feel “fit the bill.” (I have a YA Series called FLYING TO THE LIGHT and FLYING TO THE FIRE and I showed my daughter my vision of the main character and she BALKED. I thought this boy was adorable and she said that is completely not how she envisioned him. Hmmm… he’s nearly a straight out description from the book, so not sure of the confusion)

On my pinterest pages, I found all the characters for my novels and some are actors and some are models. I’ve been able to locate various pictures of all of them and have been able to use their photos across three different pinterest boards so there is complete consistence.

Here is the Pinterest board for THE HUNT FOR XANADU. Click Here:

This board is so helpful, because in this book I reference many buddhist themes, various ceremonies and some of my own experiences with the foods I discuss in the book. I have a girlfriend who realized I never had butter tea and took me to a great Tibetan Restaurant in Queens and we tried it. I explain my experience here: (now you get to see and hear me in action!) For those who have read book #2 in the series, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, I have a pinterest board here too!

So, do you have a muse? Or do you simply keep an image of the characters in your head? Love to hear.

Sorry for the Absence…

backSorry for the little vacation I took from my blog. This might seem like a bit of a lame excuse, but WordPress changed the layout on me and for months I could not figure out how to create a post without causing me some stress. I wanted the original layout that I had been using. Normally when I get stumped by technology, I set out to conquer the challenge and find the answer. I tweeted wordpress for help, emailed their helpline and nothing, so instead, I took a little break. I had other things to do, nothing was ready to be published or promoted and my day job was keeping me super busy. But today, after playing around, I found the original appearance and so I jumped on it to say hello to everyone.

But, I have not been idle all this time! I have completed Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter Series. I’m so excited and I really think people will enjoy it. (my two beta readers have told me it’s the best in the series!) I was going to release it myself, but I have to wait just a bit more time… you see the first two books in the series are sitting right now at a publishing house with an editor for consideration. If she does pick them up, book #3 will be hers first. I know it’s a huge long shot, but I’ve always had a dream to have a big house represent my novels, so I’m going into this “cautiously optimistic” and if they don’t want the book, then I’ll publish it myself. I’ll know the answer most likely within the next month.

So let me tell you a bit about it and give you a sneak peek at the cover designed by Laura LaRoche! THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU FINAL

Book #3 is titled THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU

Behind every myth and legend… is a measure of truth.

On the heels of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, Kelsey Porter returns to NYC with her world turned upside down. Her brother has turned on her, her boyfriend is missing, and she’s left with a mysterious manuscript no one can decipher. It’s not until she goes searching for the elusive legend of Bigfoot at a Buddhist Monastery in Alaska that she finds herself, yet again, thrust into situations that seemingly are beyond her control. Why are children suddenly missing across the Pacific Northwest? Where did Desmond disappear to? And, are these mysterious creatures in the woods really Yetis? It’s these questions she pursues and they bring her full circle back to Buddhist spiritual mysteries, and this time it’s not her life that hangs in the balance, but the lives of an entire civilization.

If you’d like to purchase the first two novels in the series, feel free to click here:

UK Amazon: