Tag Archive | food

The Surprising Thing People Like on my Pinterest Boards

This is just a sort of funny post this week about what I think is interesting and what others actually think is interesting. I love Pinterest and have 38 different boards. It’s a great place for me to put all my writing efforts, boards for my books and then the multitude of other things that interest me greatly – most of which have to do with food, inspiration, holiday inspired food, clothes, food for my favorite book characters, magical and haunted places, and more food (see a pattern here?)

Ham & Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites

Ham & Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites

But what has been the single number one pin that has been getting a lot of repins and likes recently? This one appetizer I pinned once. And yes, it has to do with food and no, I haven’t made it yet, but plan to! Easy Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites. To be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure it would be good. I mean, it’s just ham, cream cheese and a dill pickle. It seemed “too easy” but I’ve read the reviews about it and people seem to love it. What do you think? Would you make it? Here is a link to the pin, which will link you to the recipe if you’d like to try it! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/76139049921284996/

If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, please come here and check out my boards. https://www.pinterest.com/elysesalpeter/

Do you use Pinterest? And, if so, what do you use it for? I’d love to hear how it works for you.

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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!

Embrace Your Fears…

fearI was talking to someone recently who always wanted to travel the world, but they were too uncomfortable, or too scared, to do it. Maybe it was the strange foods, the different languages, the media fear that perpetrates the news that they’re going to die if they leave their safe little haven. It’s probably all of the above, but to let fear rule your life will get you no where.

I write books. I’ve written them for years, but only in the past three years have I started to publish them. Why? Fear. Fear that people would laugh at me, fear that it’s not the “Great American Novel” and I’ll be ridiculed, fear of no sales, you name it. But one day something in me clicked. Maybe I got more mature, but I finally said “so what if it’s not the great american tale? I’m not Hemingway and I’m not trying to be him.” I recently read John Locke’s book on how he sold a million e-books and one thing really stuck with me. I need to stop worry about creating a book that is going to become a classic and write something fun, entertaining, engaging and will take everyone out of their everyday lives for just a little bit of time. If I’ve been able to accomplish that, it’s a success. That was a relief to read and I’m embracing it. (Not that I don’t want my books to get wide acclaim, and not that I won’t put out the best novel I can, but let’s take it one step at a time).

Me talking to the kids at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

Me talking to the kids at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

Other things that scare people? Strange foods, daring situations, presenting in front of people… my feeling is, that if any single part of you wants to try something, you should try it. If fear is the motivating factor getting in your way, and nothing else, then you need to fight it. I tend to put myself in uncomfortable situations all the time. I go to events by myself because I want to try new things and sometimes other people won’t go with me. I spoke to children at two Deaf Schools, Mill Neck Manor and St. Joseph’s, about my YA thrillers and my Sign Language was not the best, but I tried. I feel like putting yourself out there is the only way to grow. Even a book signing is slightly terrifying. Strangers coming up to you to discuss something that you’ve put your heart and soul into.

Honestly, it’s easier to sit in our homes, hide in our beds, exist in our safe little worlds – but that is not life. Life is meant to be lived and I implore you to live it. Share your artwork or writing, go to karaoke, jump out of that plane, try sushi, octopus, escargot. Pick one thing you’ve always wanted to do and then do it. Or, make a bucket list and see if you can click things off of it – even if it takes years. I did one below:

My first Tae Kwon Do Tournament - waiting to do forms. I look tough, but I was SO NERVOUS.

My first Tae Kwon Do Tournament – waiting to do forms. I look tough, but was SO NERVOUS.

My bucket list that I made seven years ago:
Get my black belt and participate in a tournament (five years later – GOT IT)
Get a book published (seven years later – SIX are out!)
Try new foods (joined a Gastronaut crazy eating club)
Travel the world (went to Alaska this summer and have plans for Italy in less than three years!)
Jump out of a plane (I still have not done this – I admit it, I’m terrified)

Now I realize I need to make another one and I’ve been thinking hard on what I want to put on it.

So, what’s on your bucket list that you’d love to do, but are scared to do? Let us know – maybe we can convince you to try!

Twitter: Why it Does More Than Simply Sell Books

Come follow me @elysesalpeter

Come follow me @elysesalpeter

Today’s blog is about the power of twitter. Many writer’s only media platforms include using Twitter and Facebook to promote their books. I never see them talking to people, just at people, and I think that’s a huge mistake and missed opportunity. These same authors get frustrated when they don’t get a lot of sales with this strategy and they come to the conclusion that “twitter really doesn’t help with book sales, at all.” I tend to agree, to a point. I believe twitter offers writers amazing exposure and I believe it holds the key to so much more that they haven’t even explored yet. Here’s some interesting things I do with twitter that have nothing to do with me just posting a “read my book” link.

#1) WRITING GAMES: On Fridays there is this awesome cool hashtag called #FP, which stands for Friday Phrases. What you do is simply type that hashtag in the tweet and WRITE a short story all in that same tweet. It is so much fun and offers a lovely way to get the creative juices flowing. And you’ll read other great entries and you can comment on them, building some cool relationships. Authors love nothing more than feedback and they appreciate it so much when you comment. Here are the two I offered this week:

#FP The child pulled her Grandpa along. “Just a little further Papa.” She led him to an open grave. He shook at her next words. “We’re home.”

“What’re you chewing?” I asked my 3 yr old.” “Orange gummies.” He licked his lips. “Mommy!” My 10 yr old cried. “Where’s my goldfish?” #FP

What’s great is that if people following the thread like it, they comment, you get retweeted and you might gain some new followers, too! Super fun. If you’d like to learn more about Friday Phrases, click here: http://fridayphrases.com/

#2) REVIEWS: This is harder, and more time consuming, but I look at all the threads and see the reviews that bloggers do. If I think they tend to review books like mine, I’ll start my research. I will follow them, then go to their webpages and start the process of writing them an email to see if they’d like to review one of my books. While time-consuming, it’s a great way to reach people I never would have met before and get an honest review from someone validated.

#3) FOOD: I love to talk about food. I wanted to do something different once for the holidays and the most amazing thing happened when I posted “Help, I need suggestions.” There are people from ALL OVER THE GLOBE on twitter and one woman told me her grandma’s recipe for a holiday dish called “Lobio,” which is Georgian Green Beans in Walnut Sauce. I made it for Passover and it was SO GOOD. Here’s the recipe to serve 6:

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 pound light-skinned walnuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt

Directions

1. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the green beans, return to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking. Reserve.
2. Place the walnuts and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and puree to a paste. Transfer to a medium-size bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, and vegetable stock and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Reserve.
3. Arrange the green beans on a serving platter. Drizzle decoratively with the walnut sauce and garnish with additional paprika for color.

#4) SLANG: In one of my books, there is an older gentlemen from the UK. I have been researching British slang and including it in the book. I then appealed to my #UK tweeps and started asking questions such as “Can my character say Gawd Blimey and Bloody Hell?” Or “What does Stone the Crows” mean? I can’t tell you how many people chimed in with what are BETTER ways to say what I’m trying to get across. How some of my phrases were just regional or simply not used any longer. What an amazing resource these people were and I never would have gotten these honest answers in a quicker fashion. I can read as many internet British Slang sites as I want, but when I have someone living there, right now, telling me “how it really is” – that is invaluable.

#5) INTERVIEWS: I had an author interview right on twitter! How crazy is that? #writerskaboodle will help you do an author interview and for 1/2 hour straight people come on, along with the moderator, and ask questions about you and your books. What a great way to answer your reader’s questions, live, via tweets.

#6) COMMUNITY: That’s right. Community – this wonderful world is all about people engaging with each other. This morning I posted about how I had no idea what to post for my blog today. Within minutes, people from all over the globe offered suggestions and I realized, “OMG, twitter really isn’t all about selling my books,” it’s about building a community of like-minded friends who can all engage and help each other.

So, my advice to writers is get out of the mindset that you are only using twitter to hustle your books. Have fun with it. Engage your followers. Ask questions that you really want the answers to. You will be surprised at how much more you get out of this wonderful resource.

If any of you use twitter differently, I’d love to know! And please come on over and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/elysesalpeter