Category Archives: Genre
*Disclaimer – Photo of Anthony Bourdain is from Google Images*
I was saddened to hear about the death of food writer Anthony Bourdain. I enjoyed watching his television show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He traveled to places many didn’t go and he took his television viewers along on the trip. Bourdain visited with the locals and ate local food.
This is the same thing Clementine Paddleford did, except she never had a television show.
Both Bourdain and Paddleford traveled where they wanted to go, talked to whomever they wanted to talk to, and tasted the food they wanted to eat, then they shared the stories with viewers and readers.
Anthony Bourdain attended the Culinary Institute of American, became a chef, and a food writer. Clementine Paddleford had a degree in journalism. She never attended a culinary school, was never a chef, but she was a well-known food writer.
Sadly, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide and it was rumored that Clementine Paddleford tried, but failed. Let me say, there is no proof that Paddleford tried to commit suicide and family members said it was strictly a rumor.
What made Bourdain and Paddleford well-known?
They chronicled how people ate.
While I am pretty sure that someone is already thinking about or in the process of writing Anthony Bourdain’s biography, a biography of Clementine Paddleford has been written. It is titled Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate (NY: Gotham), 2008.
Excerpt: From Chapter 2
“In the late summer of 1921, Warren G. Harding was in the White House, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland, the U. S. Congress had just passed a quota on immigration, and Adolf Hitler became head of the Nazi Party. On the heels of World War I, isolationism was in and multiculturalism wasn’t even on the horizon. For Clementine Paddleford, newly arrived in New York City and the proud renter of a room in a boarding house at 520 West 122nd Street, on Morningside Heights north of Columbia University, this meant facing one of Manhattan’s challenges and figuring out how to conquer it: the subway.
“There she was, in homemade outfits Jennie had lovingly stitched from patterns Paddleford had picked, summer-weight wool suits, blouses with big bows at the neck, a tote bag at her side loaded with pencils and pads, the picture of a career gal of the day, and a greenhorn at that. At her first act of independence in the city, Paddleford enrolled in graduate-level-journalism courses at New York University, despite her proximity to Columbia. These met three evenings a week and required a long subway trip.”
Both How America Eats and Hometown Appetites are filled with recipes. One of my favorite summer beverages is from these books: Plumade.
6 small black plums, washed, pitted, and quartered
9 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2, 2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 lemon rind, grated
3 lemons, juiced
3 oranges, juiced
In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, stew plums in water until very soft and the liquid is a deep rose color, about 15 minutes. Strain juice, return to pot and add to it the sugar and cinnamon. Heat gently until sugar is dissolved, two to three minutes. Add grated lemon rind and cook three more minutes. Strain again. Stir in lemon and orange juice and serve in tall glasses with chipped ice.
Yields: 10 to 12 servings.
Welcome to my Wednesday Author Interview Series.
Today, I am interviewing Marjorie Mallon.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I’m a late bloomer, with a young outlook on life. I adore all forms of creativity: art, photography, music, poetry, prose, drama, etc. I can’t draw or paint but I wish I could! Instead, I enjoy taking photographs. I live in the UK in Cambridge with my husband and youngest daughter. My eldest daughter is abroad at the moment teaching English as a Foreign Language in South Korea and I miss her terribly. Family is very important to me and perhaps that is why I wrote a family-centered YA novel. But, please believe me when I say that my main protagonist Amelina’s dysfunctional, weird family is nothing like my own!
Q: When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
A: It wasn’t a conscious decision. I blame magic. One day I woke up and had this overwhelmingly strange desire to write. It coincided with a succession of visits from a stray feline who became Shadow, my black cat character in my book. I’ve never been the same since! I’m certain that beautiful, mysterious cat cast a spell on me.
Q: Can you tell us something about the genre of your books and why you write in that genre?
A: I write fantasy because life is too dull without magic. I’m drawn to horror, but I’m frightened to write it. The other genre that I long to explore in future writing is… crime writing — murder… but that scares the heck out of me too.
Q: Where do you get your ideas from?
A: A magical well at the bottom of my garden! I throw in a penny and out pops a fully formed idea! When the well is dry I go beyond the far reaches of my backyard and visit museums, art galleries, travel somewhere, or eavesdrop on trains. Also, I meet and greet a lot of visitors in my day job. One young man had an uncanny resemblance to a vampire! I’ve stored him in my memory bank for a future story idea! Recently I discovered a magical park which I’d never noticed before. It made me wonder could this be a prompt for a story?
Photograph of Garden is Copyrighted by Marjorie Mallon.
Please do not use this Garden Photo without permission from the photographer.
Today, I am interviewing Sheena Macleod author of Reign of the Marionettes, a historical novel set in the Highlands in Scotland.
Q: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
A: I live in a small seaside town in Scotland with my family, and two dogs – Lola a Dalmatian and Missy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. My working life was spent in mental health nursing, first as a practitioner and then as a specialist practitioner (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist). Around this time, I moved into nurse teaching, gaining an MSc in Advanced Mental Health Nursing and then a PhD. After taking early retirement from the University of Dundee, I combined my love of history with my passion for research and set out to write a series of historical fiction novels. Reign of the Marionettes, a historical drama based in Restoration London, is the first of these books and my first published novel.
Q: When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
A: I love to read and have since childhood. I became interested in the Highland Clearances and started researching the life of the Duchess of Sutherland – Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson-Gower – who is regarded as one of the principal agents involved in clearing tenant farmers from the internal straths and glens of the Highlands in Scotland to make way for sheep.
I traced Elizabeth Sutherland’s family back through the generations, trying to understand her background and role in the Highland Clearances. The main character in Reign of the Marionettes, Elizabeth Herbert, is a distant relative of the Duchess of Sutherland.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: From history. Fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: I write historical drama and enjoy including small details of the time. Despite writing historical fiction, I try to keep a current feel as if events are happening now.
Q: How are your books published?
A: Reign of the Marionettes is published by Dark Ink Press.
A short story, “Ghosts of Culloden”, was published in a fiction anthology in March this year by the One Million Project. Over a hundred authors from around the world contributed short stories to form three anthologies- Fiction, Thriller, and Fantasy. All proceeds, less costs of publishing the anthologies, will go to help Cancer Research UK and homelessness.
Welcome to the Author Interview Series. Today I am interviewing Douglas Debelak, author of The Ghostwriter Book series.
“The Ghostwriter’s Series is an epic tale, which purports to be the autobiography of God, or, as He insists, not God, but the Creator of our universe, a universe which is only one of many. ”
Douglas lives in western Pennsylvania.
Thank you for allowing me to interview you today, Douglas!
Q: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
A: I’m currently writing fulltime, refusing to acknowledge the term ‘retired’, since I’m working as hard as I ever did, just doing something else – which is, unfortunately, to this point at least, far less lucrative than being a software engineer.
I have a degree in philosophy, but, prior to that, I had once intended to attend seminary and become a Presbyterian minister. But, I have always questioned everything and believed that nothing should be considered off limits. And, certainly, God, if He exists and is all powerful, has no business being threatened by a few questions. But, the more questions I asked, the more I found that enough of what I had been taught and believed was untrue that I felt the rest was ‘questionable.’ I didn’t know if any of it was true. I left the church. I’m now an agnostic – I don’t know. But, I still have questions.
I currently live in a beautiful old historic house, in a wonderful historic neighborhood, with my wife.
Q: When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
A: I decided to become a writer shortly after leaving a Ph. D. program in philosophy, when I realized I had no interest in a career in academia. Writing seemed the best choice for asking questions and discussing ideas. I spent several years, writing stories and working on a novel, but when I needed to find a job to support a family, I taught myself to write software. I promised myself, when I could, I would return to writing, and now I have.
Q: Which writers inspire you?
A: Many writers inspire me, but I generally consider Steinbeck my favorite author, and East of Eden and Of Mice and Men my favorite works. Although I love Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and have read it many times over the years. And, there are so many more.
Q: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
A: I try to write every day in the morning. I pushed through the first three books, working eight or more hours a day. Now, I’m writing four to five hours, but spending additional hours trying to figure out how to promote my books and writing reviews for a group where there is a pool for other writers review mine. So, it is a full-time job.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your book(s)?
A: I feel more as if I discover my ideas rather than create them. Writing The Ghostwriter Series was often like watching a movie showing on the inside of my skull.
Q: What do your family and friends think of your writing?
A: Since my writing is personal, edgy, and often explicit, I think my family and friends are a bit taken aback. I tried to warn them.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?
A: That is was easier to write a book than to get the interest of readers.
Q: What do you hate most about the writing process?
A: Figuring out how to use social media to promote my books. I’d rather just write. There isn’t much about the writing process that I don’t like.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: Something that speaks to me and provides insights from a different perspective. Things that catch me off guard and make me laugh. Suspense. Struggles against adversity.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Don’t be afraid to write what is meaningful to you.
Q: Who designed the cover art for your book(s)? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
A: Michelle Arzu who works through Fiverr has designed my covers, although for the second two I spent many hours looking through stock images and chose the artwork myself and in both instances, she turned them into something far better. I wanted covers that would catch someone’s eye walking past a bookstore window or scrolling through Amazon.
Q: What book are you reading at present?
A: I’m currently reading At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails. Every once in awhile I get an itch to read philosophy again. Then, with enough wine, that itch goes away again.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I read, a lot and I hang out on my porch and drink wine with my friends. I keep telling myself I need to start playing my guitar again. I had a kitchen injury, which is no longer an excuse. It’s just inertia and procrastination.
Q: How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
A: Mostly I stick to simple names, except for those characters who I’ve decided not to give a name. I haven’t regretted any names. My characters quickly spit them back at me, if they don’t like them. If not, that’s on them.
Q: What is the hardest type of scene to write?
A: I’ve found most types of scenes easy enough to write, just not to get right. I re-write until I don’t feel the need to say anything differently.
Q: How did you come up with the title(s) of your book(s)?
A: The names of my books went through quite a process. The books spit their names back too and were more particular than my characters. When I finally came up with The Involuntary Ghostwriter for the first, the book was happy and so was I. The following two went through a process and the rejection of many titles as well, but everything fell into place once I decided to work with the ghostwriter theme.
Q: Give us a fun fact, or a few, about your book/series.
A: The central narrative thread of my series was in response to the song, One of Us, which was recorded by Joan Osborne in the 90s. “What if God was one of us?” So, I wrote an autobiography of God, as though He was one of us, i.e. “In the beginning… I was born.” But, as has been the case in the past, He used a ghostwriter and gave him no more of a choice than any who’d preceded him.
Q: What can readers who enjoy your book(s) do to help make it/them successful?
A: Buy them, obviously, then write reviews. Honest reviews. And, tell friends.
Q: How can readers learn more about you and connect with you (twitter, facebook, website, etc.)? Where can your book(s) be purchased?
A: I have a website: www.douglasdebelak.com
And, I have all the social media accounts, but I’m only active on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGhostwriterSeries/
The books can be purchased on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle editions, and are also available through Kindle Unlimited. They are also available through a local bookstore, City Books on the Northside of Pittsburgh.
Be sure to follow Douglas on Facebook and check out his books, The Ghostwriter Book series.
Sign up for my newsletter on the right hand side of this pa
The Writing Lesson
By C. Hope Clark
“Use the senses in every single scene,” I emphasized to the adult writing class, only for a rebound of clueless stares to bounce back at me.
A middle-aged, bottled-brunette lady who I’d heard had two self-published books to her name already, asked, “In every scene?”
I smiled and nodded. “In every scene. You understand show don’t tell, right?”
In rote union, the class nodded, but I could almost smell the insecurity.
“Get rid of passive voice and you’ve halfway mastered show don’t tell, right?” Don’t plead, I reminded myself. They’re trying to learn.
Half the people in the class had self-published books yet didn’t understand what I was trying to instill into their eager, storytelling brains. They looked to their left and right, seeking validation from seat mates, confirmation that others weren’t understanding either.
We sat in a library meeting room, the accordion doors opened to accommodate tables for 35 students. Nobody chatted amongst themselves, meaning I had their attention, unfortunately accompanied by their confusion.
No point in advancing to the next topic if this one hadn’t sunk in. Not a person to enjoy presentations, much less adlibbing on the fly, my pulse quickened. I scrambled for an alternative, a new angle, anything that could give these students an AHA moment.
A deep breath, or was it a sigh? I should’ve brought more examples. Maybe vetted the students somehow.
Feet moved. One chair scratched the floor as someone shifted. The librarian sat in the back, scrutinizing, sending another jolt of adrenaline into my system as our eyes met, hers querying, They’re waiting, before shifting uncomfortably off me.
A seed of a half-thought took root. “Everyone pick up your pen.”
They did, anxious to be proactive and not so lost. The librarian didn’t, but she watched with interest.
Impromptu on anyone’s part snares interest. Most of us can’t do it. I wasn’t so sure I had it in me, either, but what did I have to lose other than my credibility? I reminded myself what I always did when speaking to groups, a mantra that I didn’t readily tell other about. If this doesn’t go well, remember you’ll never see these people again.
“Write down five things you see,” I said. “Remember, you’re a creative person so don’t just say tables, chairs, walls, and people.”
To show how united I was with their effort, I grabbed a pad and wrote as well. Once done, I waited until half had returned their attention back to me.
“Now, list five things you can touch and how they feel.”
Eyebrows raised on that one, and they began stroking anything within reach. They saw where I was going, and the body language told me some clearly accepted the challenge.
Heads up again.
“List five things you hear.”
The room went silent. I had to laugh. Pens went to paper when I did.
“List five things you smell.”
Frowns all around. I closed my eyes and inhaled. Coffee, cologne, body odor. Was that paper? I recalled the air freshener in the bathroom next door and cheated, listing it. When I peeked out from my own reverie, others still had their eyes closed, sensing, too.
“Finally,” I said, “let’s do taste.”
Lips smacked, and I had to chuckle again. A laugh rippled across the tables. “List five tastes you had today.”
“Ahhh,” came the relief as pens met paper.
As people came back to life, I realized how much more relaxed I was. “Do y’all feel better?”
Nods and yeahs from around the room.
Shrugging shoulders for show, I sucked in a deep breath. “Wow, that was rather soothing.”
More nods. The librarian was practically tranquil.
And in that moment, I had a revelation.
As a nature aficionado, how many times had I sat at the lake and just chilled? Closed my eyes and attempted to count the types of bird calls? Told my four-year-old grandson to take in the smells, sounds, and feel of nature? Weeded my garden and taken the time to smell the dirt, the rotted leaves, the honeysuckle on the fence.
“What we just did,” I soothingly said to myself as much as them, “is a writer’s version of meditating. Take a moment to settle into a sense of nothingness when you’re writing, then fill it in with the senses, taking note of each one.”
“This is also how you can overcome the pressure of deadlines, writer’s block, and the discomfort of whatever scene you’re writing that won’t unfold to your liking. It’s also how you can challenge your sensory perception. Wherever you are, the mall, the kitchen, the job. . . take five minutes and meditate, for no reason other than to define your senses. All five of them.”
Palms out, I lowered them gently. “In each scene, step back and insert yourself into the setting. Do the exercise we just did. Because by you becoming the character in all this sensory detail, you write such that the reader can become the character. The reader smells, sees, hears, touches, and tastes. And with the least little attention also to passive voice, you–” and I paused.
“Show don’t tell,” whispered several people.
“Some kid would call that virtual reality,” said a man in the front.
What a keen observation. And I thought he hadn’t been listening. “And why can’t we do that as people, too? When we aren’t writing. When we need to settle into a scene and out of whatever road block or irritation it is we need to depart from as people?”
The class went on, and I wrapped up the lesson on constructing a scene. Time quickly expired, and before long I was shaking hands from thankful students.
“Best writing class ever.”
“I get showing now.”
“I’m going home and telling my teenager about this.”
Once everyone left, the librarian commended me, saying she’d be inviting me back.
I almost cried.
Then alone, the lights flipping off around the library, I exited to my car parked in the corner of the lot under a streetlight, stepping gently, not wanting to break the specialness of the evening.
Rather than telling the reader what’s going on, my students could now make the reader experience what the character does, when the character does it, tallying the stimuli in an attempt to reach some sort of summation about that point in the story.
But in delivering that lesson, I’d realized I could choose to fall out of any negative in any part of my world, and step into the scene of my choosing via the practice of a writing exercise. Not only could I write like this, but I could live like this.
And I’d just helped 35 other people learn to love life more, too.
And a librarian.
BIO: C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they never tire of spinning mysteries. www.chopeclark.com
Beneath an idyllic veneer of Southern country charm, the town of Newberry hides secrets that may have led to murder.
When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock – a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.
Forces to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it become clear that Slade is right.
One wrong move, and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands…unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed
Be sure to check out all of C. Hope Clark’s book on her website www.chopeclark.com
Sign up for C. Hope Clark’s FREE newsletter FundsforWriters and get writing tips, lists of contests, and so much more!
Purchase Books Here:
Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BYD5T4P/
Review Link (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/review/create-review/ref=?ie=UTF8&asin=B07BYD5T4P#
I hope those who read this blog post today will share with all your author friends.
I am looking for authors to interview in order to help them promote their books.
If you are interested, please contact me at cyannris at gmail dot com.
Here are two new books I think you will enjoy.
Newberry Sin by C. Hope Clark, available now.
The third book in the Battle Scars series by Charlene Newcomb, that will be available tomorrow, May 1, 2018.
Recently, I presented at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, Kansas, on Clementine Paddleford.
At the end of the presentation, I answered questions. Most of the questions I have been asked before. But, one question got me to thinking…”Why don’t you focus more on the fact that Paddleford had a tracheal tube and how hard it must have been for her to do her job with it?”
I do mention in my presentation that Paddleford had throat cancer and elected for a partial surgery so that she could continue to talk with a tracheal tube. I also talk about how hard of time she had re-learning to talk and getting used to the tube. It took her a year with many trips back and forth to the hospital and dealing with pain. The tube was held in place with a velvet ribbon.
Paddleford, herself, stated that because of the raspy whisper of her voice caused by the tracheal tube “people remember me.” She also said that the only things she couldn’t do, that she liked to do, was to play tennis and go swimming. Because of the tracheal tube she could not go on lecture circuit, the radio, or television. These are some reasons, she is largely forgotten about today. Otherwise, the tracheal tube never got in her way of doing what she loved: being a journalist-food writer. Paddleford traveled wherever she wanted to go, interviewed whomever she wanted to interview, wrote about them, turned in her receipts, and got paid.
So, who is Clementine Paddleford? She is the best known food editor, you never heard of.
December 28, 1953, Time Magazine declared Clementine Paddleford, “the best known food editor in the U. S.”
Here is the program from the Wilder Society Tea where I presented. They put together this booklet because they wanted to share the recipes of the food served at the tea with those in attendance. Recipes are from Paddleford’s 1960 book How America Eats.
Note, if you decide to make these recipes, remember they are from 1948 to 1960, and they are not as sweet as desserts are today. So, if you are looking to cut back on sugar, but still want a dessert, use one of the recipes below.
“Do not go gentle into that good night,” wrote Dylan Thomas.
This documentary allows us to think and even talk about mortality. It does not provide us with any answers, instead, it raises many questions.
Do we go gently or raging against the dying light?
Are we in denial?
Do we think we will live forever?
Why do we try to prolong life?
Should we try to create immortality?
What do we say when someone tries to talk about death?
Are we prepared for death?
Would your family know how to access all your online accounts once you are gone?
Does your family know what your wishes are for funeral arrangements?
And so many more questions. And of course, the biggest questions that no one has the answer to is: When am I going to die?
Even though this documentary is about death, it really showed me that is was also about LIFE.