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Eating Authors: David Gerrold

No Comments » Written on April 19th, 2021 by
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David Gerrold

Yesterday was a delightful spring day and today is promising more of the same. I anticipate finishing the rough draft of a novel by noon and then moving on to the polishing stage over the next several days before being able to send it to my Typo Team. It’s a day for relaxing in the afternoon upon my hammock with my faithful dog snoozing at my side. And it’s a perfect day to bring you a great treat for this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, a novelist and screenwriter whose work I have enjoyed for as long as I’ve known about science fiction. I refer, of course, to David Gerrold, who in addition to taking home the Hugo and Nebula award for “The Martian Child,” is known far and wide for his contribution of tribbles (or as we say in Klingon, yIH) to Star Trek, and the Sleestak to Land of the Lost.

But David’s contribution to the field is far more than these bits of popular culture. He is responsible for some truly incredible SF series including The War Against the Chtorr, Star Wolf, and The Dingilliad. He’s written more than a dozen standalone novels (a quick shout out for my personal favorite, The Man Who Folded Himself) and short collections, edited several anthologies, and don’t get me started on his nonfiction works including multiple volumes of an insider’s view of the sausage-making of Star Trek.

A few year’s back, David was the GoH at a convention in northern California, and I’d managed to convince the concom to bring me in as a special “Language GoH.” I mention this because I had the privilege of hanging out with David for several hours. He was kind and welcoming and generous. I like to think I played it cool and managed to avoid going all fanboy in his presence, though I probably did note that he and I had graduated from the same university in the San Fernando Valley.

David still lives in the Valley, and nowadays the focus of much of his delight is a beautiful grandson. Fortunately, the child has to sleep sometime and I like to think it was one during one of these naps that David sent me this meal.

LMS: Welcome, David. When I asked you to share your most memorable meal, you shorted among several before arriving on this perfect choice. I’m delighted to have you sharing it now.

DG: Sean moved in with me when he was only a few months past his eighth birthday. Because he’d been moved around so much as a foster child, he was uncertain about this placement. As happy as he was to finally have a dad, it was hard for him to believe this was real and permanent.

But that changed quickly. By the time he was approaching his eleventh birthday, he had turned into a bright and enthusiastic boy, with a very playful attitude — and a deliberately impish streak.

The Man Who Folded Himself

Early in the summer, we had a visitor from New York. I’ll call him Ron. He was auditioning to be a more permanent part of our lives, so we had him come over for a spaghetti dinner. As I set out the plates, Sean asked if he could demonstrate his special way of eating spaghetti. I said, “Yes,” and proceeded to set up the video camera, because I knew what was coming.

I started the camera and said, “Action.” Sean buried himself face first into a plate of spaghetti and growled his way through it like a hungry puppy. He laughed. I laughed. Ron did not laugh. He wasn’t prepared for that level of outrageous silliness. He was appalled in that way that only a very proper New Yorker can be. He got up and left.

That was the night that Sean and I realized that Ron didn’t get slapstick comedy. He didn’t get silliness. And without that level of stooge-ness, he couldn’t be a closer part of our lives. Later on, he did find a partner better suited for him and we wished him happiness. Sean hasn’t gone plate-diving since then, but spaghetti night is still a silly adventure.

A few years from now, I will be showing that video to Sean’s son. I expect him to laugh like crazy — and imitate his dad.

Thanks, David. What glorious joy! As far as family traditions go, I hope this one will endure for many generations.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Eating Authors: T.S. Valmond

No Comments » Written on April 12th, 2021 by
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T.S. Valmond

I confess, I have been loving the spring weather, in large part because I have used it as a goad to get out and walk most every day (except when it rained or the temperature did a backslide into the 30s, but that was only a couple times), which has also meant more dictating, and so my productivity has been running high.

Having proved to myself that I could manage five miles a day several days in a row, last Thursday I decided to mix things up a bit. As I wrote in one of the Barsk novels, just because a thing can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Five miles a day left me feeling tired, mentally and physically, for the rest of the day, and though my body bounced back by the next morning, I decided I could try stepping it down to just four miles a day for a while — and that doing so was not any kind of “quitting” and I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. The experiment has been going for a few days now and there’re still data points to gather, but cutting back seems to be working.

But what I’m not cutting back on are these weekly EATING AUTHORS posts (ooh, nice segue!). This week’s guest is T.S. Valmond, an indie author who is equally at home writing both fantasy and science fiction. Last year she began lending her space opera talents to the Cadicle universe, teaming up with Amy DuBoff to create the stand alone series, Verity Chronicles (a great point to jump into the larger universe, by the way).

Shelina lives in Alberta, Canada with a husband and a dog and amazingly successfully divides her loyalties between Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly. I would offer to teach her some Klingon, but I’d hate to upset a delicate balance. She’s been a professional sign language interpreter, a missionary in Central America, and an actress all over the state of Minnesota (where she grew up and went to school). She tends to work in that venue common to many writers, the coffeeshop, but if you hope to catch her in her natural habit don’t plan on sleeping in. She’s an early riser and has finished before many have even started their day. Fortunately, you’ll be able to get some coffee.

LMS: Welcome, Shelina. So tell me, what’s your most memorable meal?

TSV: My most memorable meal?

That’s like asking someone which one child is their favorite. Or in my case: which chocolate is my favorite. Answer: the kind I get to eat.

Well, if I have to choose, I’m going to need a little help, so I called up my bestie and asked her if my favorite meal happened with her.

Exodus

All of my favorite meals have a memory attached, so it’s difficult to choose just one. However, just like a pleasant memory, meals are meant to be shared, so when I asked her, here’s the one we both remember.

Back in 2005, I had such a wonderful trip to Italy on my own that my bestie decided she wanted to join me and we set off trying to recreate the marvel that was my first trip.

It didn’t happen. I mean, nothing was the same. It’s so different traveling with another person. Not just the agenda, but the things that interest you change when you have someone to help you choose which path to take.

One thing that didn’t happen on my first trip was a visit to Tuscany. Traveling alone has its benefits, but it can be lonely, especially in small towns where you don’t know anyone. Besides that, I didn’t have enough time to see everything on the first visit.

My best friend had ideas of her own, and Tuscany made the list. She did all the research and found an amazing villa where we could stay, and every night they had a special dinner menu they prepared using produce from their vineyard.

Here’s what our first night at the vineyard looked like:

The Courier's Code

“Would you like to order a wine?”

“Yes please, Two.”

“Two?”

“Yes, two.”

Out comes two full bottles of wine.

“Oops, did I mention my Italian is a little rusty We’ll have just the one bottle then.”

Next, come the bread and cheese. They offered us a pesto spread for our bread that made everything taste good. Or was it the wine, I’m not sure.

After that they served us the next course. This particular evening was a ravioli stuffed with more cheese and I think a little potato. The sauce was amazing and we’re already getting full.

My friend: “How many more plates are there?”

Me: “I’m pretty sure there’s going to be at least two more.”

My friend: “Oh my!”

The main course arrives and we’re barely able to fit in a couple of bites, but the meat course was an herb chicken seasoned to perfection. How can we say no? It’s hard after getting through half a bottle of wine already.

Then the salad course comes, and they brought us a bowl of fruit with it as if there’s any room for healthy at this point.

The Guardian's Code

When we’re about as full as we can be, they offer us a shot glass of dessert wine. We’re at the bottom of our bottle, but it’s not done yet.

But it’s included with the meal, so we agree. There’s a choice of a clear grappa-like wine that hits you hard like a punch to the face. There’s a rich dark sweet that’s like a shot of cold medicine. Then there was the sweet rose-colored blush that was just right. We chose that one once we learned the difference.

Though the two of us ate until we had to loosen our pants, at the table next to us was a family of four from Scotland who were eating us under the table. They were friendly and invited us up for a visit if we were ever in the neighborhood.

The best thing about that place was we finished a meal and bottle of wine every night we were there and never woke up sick or hungover. That’s a win-win if there ever was one.

If you ever get the chance to visit Tuscany, Italy, there’s a little B&B in a city with an abandoned castle. Don’t worry about how many trains it takes to get there. Take a tour of the town and walk up to the local castle before you check-in. You’ll want to work up an appetite for the meal you’ve got coming.

If you get there and you find me working on a book, don’t be afraid to come up and say hello. I’m the one sitting outside with the laptop.

Thanks, Shelina. I’ve always wanted to visit Tuscany. I don’t usually indulge in wine or spirits, but perhaps I would have to make an exception. When in Rome… oh, wait, that’s a good 175 miles away from Tuscany. Oops.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Eating Authors: Glynn Stewart

No Comments » Written on April 5th, 2021 by
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Glynn Stewart

The previous week got away from me, and it’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, knowing it will post in a mere 16 hours or so. I somewhat overdid my activity this morning with a 5.5 mile walk and 4,000 words of dictation on the current work in progress, both good things, but now I’m wiped out and flat on my back. My dog had joined me on the bed and is showing his support by snoring (he may actually be asleep or just faking it).

But the show must go on, or in this case, the blog post. So without any pretense at a segue let me introduce you to this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, none other than Glynn Stewart, a writer who boldly crosses the line between Science Fiction and Fantasy and then turns arounds and erases that line before moving on. What do I mean by that? Well, as just one example, in his hugely popular Starship’s Mage series (currently at 13 books), FTL is possible, but only because it uses magic! But if you’re looking for more traditional, straight up Space Opera, Glynn has you covered there as well. Some of his other series include Scattered Stars and Duchy of Terra, with more political intrigue and alien armadas, pirates and slavers, than you can aim a blaster at.

Glynn lives in Ontario, Canada, where he traded in a life as an accountant for the glorious existence of a full time author. Nothing against accountants, mind you, but I think he made the right choice.

LMS: Welcome, Glynn. Tell me about your most memorable meal.

GS: The dinner we had just after I proposed to my partner. We were staying at the Chateau Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains, a beautiful faux castle on a lake in the middle of the mountains. Since I’d just proposed and they’d said yes, we decided to celebrate by having dinner at the top tier restaurant in the hotel — expensive, but it was definitely a celebration!

This restaurant, of course, is positioned to give an absolutely incredible view of both Lake Louise itself — a sheet of ice about to break up at the time — and the Rockies. The view, the ambience, everything about the place and the day is spectacularly memorable.

Starship's Mage

The menu was priced about as you’d expect, with recommended wine pairings that we decided to skip, but we did have the chef’s specialties. This was venison for me (which previously I’d only had made/ruined by myself) and a vegetarian tart for my partner. From the conversations we had, the tart was even more of a specialty for the chef than the venison steak. The chef was determined that when a vegetarian or vegan came into their restaurant, they would get a real specialty of the house, not just something thrown in to have a vegan option on the menu!

While we had declined to order the wine list, we had told the servers we were celebrating our engagement. So they surprised us between dinner and dessert with a pair of wine glasses with Prosecco and blackcurrant liqueur on the house! While this was delightful and tasty, the most memorable part was that they had, entirely accidentally, perfectly matched the tone and color of the fire opal in the engagement ring!

We’ve moved to the other side of the country since and haven’t managed to make it back to Lake Louise at all, but we still have fond memories of the hotel and especially of that dinner!

Thanks, Glynn. And kudos to that chef for their commitment to providing a top of the line meal to your non-meat-eating partner. Surely that was an omen that the relationship was destined for greatness.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Eating Authors: Stephen Cox

No Comments » Written on March 29th, 2021 by
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Stephen Cox

March is winding down, spring has sprung, Passover has indeed passed, and Pepsico has chosen to herald Easter Sunday in this time of worldwide pandemic with a Pepsi-Peep blend of über-sweet marshmallow soda. That last one has me truly horrified.

In less cloying news, I’ve completed my latest novel, Pirates of Marz, and sent it off to the Typo Team for their precision examination. With luck, the book will be available on Amazon the first week of April. Meanwhile, I’ve shifted my focus to writing Ace of Thralls, book three in my Freelance Courier series.

All of which means I’ll have published three books (and one short story) in three months. Not a bad first quarter. And speaking of first quarters, there’s a thread I follow on the online board of the Codexwriters website where novelists check in and encourage one another every quarter. I mention this because it’s where I encountered this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Stephen Cox, who recently finished his own novel and is waiting to hear back from editors (ugh, don’t get me started).

Stephen began writing his first book in 2012 and discovered how addicting it can be. He currently lives in London with his partner and two teenage children. He describes himself as a professional communicator, a science PhD dropout, a recovering poet, a Quaker, and a human. These strike me as more than adequate credentials for a novelist. Don’t call him Steve.

LMS: Welcome, Stephen. Talk to me, please, about your most memorable meal.

SC: I was determined that our last family holiday would be taking my son and daughter to the States. The year he went to university. The plan was not just NYC and DC, which the kids wanted, but small-town USA too. We loved Seneca Falls, and ate salt beef sandwiches in a real American diner, with people we had seen in the shops and the museums popping in for their coffee. Storekeepers chatted. A lovely day.

Then there was the day we visited Corpse, New York, for a chow stop. We chose it on a whim.

Our Child of the Stars

Not its real name, a one street settlement with a diner and a pizza place. Too small to have a strange little museum or a singular local pride — “Third largest earwax collection in the State.” Four bored teens with bikes stood guard at one end of the town.

There was no one else about, unless driving through. It was a late lunchtime, the pizza place did not open till evening, and the diner was empty. Three staff looked at us as if we had crawled out of the black lagoon.

We checked they were open, as the unlocked door, open sign, and staff doing nothing implied they were.

They wiped down a table with something that could have stunned Godzilla, a stink so bad we had to move table. That was a mistake — they wiped that one too, only this time in a worse temper.

We ordered. American service staff can switch on small talk with ease. Nothing. Any colder in atmosphere and I would have looked for a polar bear. I wondered if we had run over their dog and they were too polite to tell us.

We’ve had better burgers from a rusty van by the side of the road. The chef’s salad was water-soaked lettuce with a single sliver of julienned carrot about an inch long.

Maybe it was the burgundy pickup we were driving? The car hire people made a mistake and upgraded us, so we toured rural New York in style.

A Child of Two Worlds

We had seen Confederate flags as we drove. In New York. An election was coming.

And then it struck us. How would you know if you were in a Stephen King novel?

No one driving through stopped here, even for gas. It was summer but no child played or demanded ice cream. The Stars and Stripes flew here but not bright and optimistic like it had been in other places. Everything was resentful, waiting, A film set. A trap.

You may visit Corpse, but you won’t leave.

What’s in the burger, my son asked. Or who?

We started to think of Sweeney Todd. Of green tentacles in cellars… An ancient curse.

We got the giggles, traded jokes in whispers, and that just worsened the mood.

They had run out of ice cream for the pie. This had to be a parallel universe. No smile was cracked, no questions asked. We tipped. We wanted to get out alive.

The teens and the bikes were still there. Waiting for orders.

Leaving, the town shuddered to be rid of us, and the unwritten story played on…

Thanks, Stephen. Speaking only for myself, I have to say, I’d have tossed cash on the table and rushed back to the rental car as soon as the lack of ice cream became apparent. Pie à la mode sans la crème glacée isn’t just unfashionable, it’s demonic!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Xina Marie Uhl

No Comments » Written on March 22nd, 2021 by
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Xina Marie Uhl

It’s been a good week with such highlights as my lowest ever Kappa/Lambda ratio — down to 2.94 from the insane, yeah-you’ve-got-cancer score of 1,607.26 of eighteen months ago (normal range is 0.26 to 1.65, so I’m still high) — as well as the news that Soup of the Moment had been nominated for the Cóyotl Award for Best Novella of 2020.

I’ve also been spending time reflecting on that phrase of Zen wisdom: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” In the midst of all of the turmoil in the world — separate from my own special pile — I’ve been finding it very helpful to just breathe and do the things I know to do, day in and day out, because being who I am is enough.

And now with that brief slip into philosophy behind us, let’s get back to EATING AUTHORS. This week’s guest is Xina Marie Uhl, a fellow member of the International Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors (IASFA.org), an organization dedicated to the development of SFF authors through shared opportunities, camaraderie, and targeted philanthropy (among other things). Or more pragmatically, they’re the folks who bring you the monthly batch of free books from their members (you can sign up here).

Like so many of us, Xina occupies that space that exists between longing to be a world traveler and surrounding herself with ever more dogs and cats (and maybe a few other critters), a balance that is maintained by the realities of being a freelance writer for assorted educational projects. Her fiction covers a wide range, everything from romance, fantasy, historical fiction, westerns, and humor. And don’t get me started on her cat book.

LMS: Welcome, Xina. What stands out for you as your most memorable meal?

XMU: My favorite meal of all time took place about 18 years ago, on the dry and dusty plains of central Turkey. My husband, daughter, and I were on a vacation of a lifetime, from experiencing Istanbul’s colorful markets and winding old streets, to sailing the vivid blue sea and marble cliffs of the Sea of Marmara. Being an ancient history aficionado (read: nut), I was keen to visit Turkey ever since I heard that it contained more Greek ruins than Greece itself. I was especially keen to see the archaeological dig of Çatalhöyük, one of the largest and most significant early human settlements in the world.

City of the Dead

We drove through farmland and empty long roads, and my daughter – about 13 years old at the time – complained that she was hungry. We were certain we would run across a market or restaurant on the way to the site, but we just kept getting further and further from civilization. At last we came to the site, a great dig covered by temporary shades, and sporting a small museum. We had expected there to be a number of other visitors, and a full staff, but when we went to the door, we found it locked.

A caretaker came rushing up to us and promised to open the site as soon as the afternoon meal was complete – and would we join him? Thinking of my daughter, I said, “Yes!” even though my husband, who tends to be less outgoing than I am, looked uncomfortable with the idea. The caretaker led us to an outdoor fire with several other men, and a delicious smelling rack of chicken. Fresh, organic – and probably killed that morning. We sat around the fire and feasted on heavenly, barbequed chicken, seasoned with a little salt and pepper. The scene, the company, and the mouth-wateringly good meal, made a wonderful impression on all of us.

Once we finished, the caretaker, true to his word, opened the museum and the dig for us and we toured it by ourselves, enjoying the ancient earthen homes, some of which included terracotta burial vessels of children (so that the deceased would be forever in the home), and trying to decipher the ancient red pictographs. A highlight of my life!

Thanks, Xina. As tempting as it is to give in to my inner punster and riff on the irony of going all the way to Turkey to eat chicken, I’m not going to do that. Nope, not me, I’m above such things. But I might muse about the likelihood of your trip taking place over Thanksgiving.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Alina Giuchici

No Comments » Written on March 15th, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
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Alina Giuchici

The past week has seen a splurge of warmer days, resulting the banishment of the mounds of snow and ice all around, and the opportunity for me to take several long walks (sometimes with my dog and sometimes as an opportunity to dictate fiction). I’ve balanced those glorious jaunts with periods of fatigue, as my body still tires at any serious effort of exertion, which is frustrating but also a reminder that I am still pushing myself to discover my limits by exceeding them.

Like so many, my contact with the wider world is still limited to social media, but I am pleased to note a change there: fewer reports of loved ones affected by the pandemic and more reports of people receiving vaccinations. The US just marked a one year anniversary and approximately 528,000 COVID-related deaths. Sobering numbers that elicit a range of reactions. I’m lucky, I suppose. I don’t need to leave my home to write my books. My other medical travails have distracted me from the stresses most are experiencing. I can wrap myself in an illusion of normalcy, even as I continue wearing a mask, washing my hands, and practicing social distancing.

For me, part of “normal” is bringing you a weekly memorable meal from a different author, as I’ve been doing for ten years. This week’s EATING AUTHORS guest is Alina Giuchici, and I think she qualifies as different. Here are a few things you need to know about her: First, she’s from Transylvania, and I’ve included a wikipedia link in case you don’t believe me. Second, she likes shoes, knives, and chocolate. And third and possibly most importantly for our purposes, she writes Paranormal Romance Reverse Harem novels, which may well be the “nichiest” of niche markets.

Her most recent novel, Protecting Hades, will be released in five days on Saturday. It’s the first book in her new Chronicles of the Huntress series, which she describes as “a fantasy slow burn hellhound shifter reverse harem romance.” In other words, something for nearly everyone.

LMS: Welcome, Alina. Tell me about your most memorable meal.

AG: I am going to take a walk down memory lane and invite you with me to the whitewashed shore of the Adriatic Sea.

It was long time ago, right after the new millennium dawned on us. I found myself at a young age, with my heart full of dreams and my pockets rather empty like many other young people my age.

Protecting Hades

It was summer and together with my boyfriend from then and a few friends we decided to split the costs for fuel and drive down to the beach of the Adriatic Sea. It was long before Dubrovnik became famous for being the location where GOT was set. We made it there in my boyfriend’s old beat up VW Golf, I won’t forget that car, shifting gears was a nightmare because you never really knew what gear you where in. It was older than me and in need of either a lot of beauty treatments or retirement.

Like many other young couples we had a huge fight the second day after our arrival, and I ended storming away, with ten euro in my pocket and the wish to slap his face.

That evening I walked around and decided that it was best to make him worry about me and think that I spent the night somewhere else.

After walking up and down the beautiful sandy beach of Budva and wondering once again at the color spectacle of the sunset, my steps took me towards old town, a citadel built during medieval times that was now the heart of the party.

I was not feeling like staying close to the places with music, so I walked until I found a remote part of town. It looked as if it was a part where locals were mostly walking around because instead of being surrounded by all possible languages I was hearing people talking Serbian.

Magic Awakening

A small cozy looking hole in the wall restaurant that was showing towards the cliffs attracted my attention. There were a few guests but not too many. In a time before the smart phone, I sat down at a table alone. Soon after I sat, a young waitress came to pick my order. I settled for French fries and coffee because I was not sure how much the 10 euro in my pocket would stretch.

She returned, and brought also a plate of clams, with compliments from the chef. I looked around, all the other tables had clams too. She explained half in Serbian and half in a broken German that the chef is new and he tries a new dish and he wants honest opinions.

I never had clams before, but there was a moment between my grumbling stomach and the delightful scent of garlic and butter and sea that tempted me to try them.

Somewhere in the distance music started to play, and the night sky was lit by thousands of stars. The sea was this wonderful presence close by, I could hear the waves breaking against the cliffs.

I tried the clams, they tasted salty and garlicky, like summer, sunshine, and sea.

The cook asked if he could join me. He didn’t look at all like you would imagine a cook in a small greasy restaurant in a town in Montenegro. He looked like a cross between a sailor and a geek boy. He had a very strong accent that made it difficult for me to understand what he was saying.

Alice in Dystopia

I never asked his name, but he was from Australia, that’s why I had issues with his accent. He was traveling the world picking up the odd job here and there to finance the next part of the journey. I was fascinated by this guy who didn’t really care about money, all he cared for was the experience that he could get. We all collect something and memories are probably the ones that no one can take away from us.

We talked about the places he saw, but the beauty of the old world was not what impressed him most. He talked about people, about ideas, about the way you remembered someone because that person made you feel something that you never experienced before.

We talked about the dish, and I concluded that he did the most awesome French fries. He confessed that they were made from frozen potatoes. We had a laugh and I promised that I’ll take the secret to the grave. I think that I am breaking my promise just now.

The morning found us talking about this and that, and I even told the nameless cook about the fight with my boyfriend. He asked me if I still felt upset, if the night washed my negative feelings away. And then I understood that feelings come and go like the waves hit the shore, some are shaking us to the core but others bring new experiences from far away. We are never the ones that we were the day before, and I really really hate clams. When the first seagull flew over us, it dropped a small bomb on my nameless friend’s shoulder. He took off his shirt, looked up and said “It’s just a seagull doing what he does, it’s not a sign!”

Thanks, Alina. I have to say, I hope you’ll try clams again some time. Maybe the nameless cook didn’t prepare them right. Maybe that’s what the seagull was trying to tell you (and him).

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Ryk E. Spoor

No Comments » Written on March 8th, 2021 by
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Ryk E. Spoor

Having grown up in southern California, I never understood people’s fascination with weather, and it wasn’t until my grad school days in Manhattan, KS, that I truly experienced the full range of phenomena that defines winter. Even so, that expression about how March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, still doesn’t make any damn sense to me. Nothing about cold temps, ice, snow, hail, and freezing rain says “lion” to me. On the other hand, the atmospheric prognosticators are declaring that much of this week will be spent in the sixties, as opposed to the twenties of the last several days. I hope their lamb-like forecasts prove to be true. I still have a lot of leftover ice and snow piled up and I’d welcome an end to its mocking presence.

Warmer weather would also mean I’d have more opportunity to take walks, which in turn means I could dictate more fiction. I’m eager for both, even if my stamina for the former is still not what I’d like it to be. It’s my hope that getting back on the trail will take care of that problem.

No segue this week (blame the weather), but I’m very happy to have Ryk E. Spoor as this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Ryk credits his start as a science fiction author to publicly insulting Eric Flint — a strategy he does not endorse, though he made it work. As a result, he began publishing with Baen Books, both in collaboration with Flint and his own solo novels. The rest, as they say, is history.

LMS: Welcome, Ryk. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

RES: My most memorable meal? It’s a hard choice. Over the years I’ve become something of a foodie, and I have therefore quite a few memorable meals. Most of those are good, a few memorable for stunning badness – like the highly-rated and highly-expensive steak house in New York that served me what might possibly be the worst steak I’ve ever had, burned black on the outside, raw on the inside.

The Mask of Ares

Let’s focus on the positive, however. Even then, it’s a hard choice, ranging from the first meal that my future wife prepared for me (a massive feast of multiple seafood dishes) to a fantastic dinner at Yono’s with Maria of Flights of Fantasy, Tony Daniel of Baen, and David Weber.

But I think that for the most memorable of all, I have to go back to 2006, when Kathy, Chris, Gabriel, and our baby Victoria traveled to California to visit some of my relatives. On one of those vacation days, we were at Hermosa Beach, walking and wandering for quite some time, and getting hungry, and we saw this sign ahead: Club Sushi.

Now, I glanced online today and see that its ratings today aren’t good (and it may not be in business any more), but this was 15 years ago.

Grand Central Arena

The four of us walked in (well, Vicky was wheeled in in her stroller) and found that fortunately there was no wait if we were willing to sit at the bar. Being tired enough to accept any kind of seating, we did so, and were presented with menus. Vicky was easily pleased as at that point she was basically living on salsa, which they had. The boys both liked sushi so they got California rolls.

Kathy and I ordered multiple types of sushi. This was my first encounter with what became one of my favorites, the Spider Roll (soft-shell crab), and we tried a lot of others; They had Uni, which Kathy had a hard time finding back home. I can’t even remember all the things we sampled.

The standout of the entire meal, however, was when our server suggested we try a special they had that week: Kobe beef ginger-soy ribs. Those familiar with beef know that Kobe (usually actually Wagyu here in the USA) is extremely pricey, but one tradition I have on vacation is that I do not pay attention to prices; I’m here to have fun and pinching pennies isn’t fun. So we tried it.

Phoenix Rising

Kathy took a bite. I took a bite. The two of us chewed, then looked at each other in absolute stunned amazement. I took another bite, and then both of us had the same comment: “I never knew beef could taste like that.” I got a second plate of them, even though I was by that time getting pretty full.

That was also by far the most expensive meal I ever paid for myself (at least for many years, until I was taking out my by-then six person family who were now all old enough to eat full-size meals). And it was worth it. I don’t think it’s too much to say that that single meal was responsible for making me really start learning about food, especially the proper preparation of good cuts of meat, and discriminating between the different qualities and uses of those cuts. Kathy and I would bring up that meal to each other ten years or more later, as a yardstick for “and that was a good meal.”

So that, I think, is my most memorable meal of all.

Thanks, Ryk. Having experienced the sublime glory of kobe beef during the Yokohama worldcon a few years back, I can confirm several points: 1) you’ll never look at beef the same way again, 2) the price will make your head spin, 3) the cost is worth it — or in the words of Gary Trudeau, the pension fund was just sitting there.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

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Eating Authors: S.B. Divya

1 Comment » Written on March 1st, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
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S.B. Divya

The temperature has warmed up, the snow has turned to rain, and my days of shoveling have likely come to an end this season. A glorious gift created by a fan of my Barsk novels arrived in the mail. I’ve received my second COVID shot. The deadline for Nebula nominations has come and gone and now I’m anxiously waiting to see if I’ve landed on the ballot again. March has come in like a lion on lockdown, and there is a faint promise of spring in the offing. Life is good.

And while we’re all still living in the pandemic world — still not able to enjoy a Chinese buffet or congregate live with colleagues and fans at a convention — we nonetheless find ways to celebrate as best we can, when and where can. For me that means cheering on this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest on the occasion of the release of her first novel tomorrow.

I’ve known S.B. Divya for years, though our paths only cross at conventions. She’s a past Hugo and Nebula finalist. If memory serves, we first connected over academic specialties — she has degrees in Computational Neuroscience and Signal Processing, which in turn led me to seek out her fiction, and I was blown away. The fact that we share similar views on the Oxford comma was just icing on the authorial cake.

Divya is also co-editor of Escape Pod (alongside with Mur Lafferty). She does amazing things with short stories and her collection, Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse And Other Possible Situations, is available from Hachette India.

She’s the real deal, and the epitome of the science fiction author of the future right here today. Go purchase a copy of Machinehood , because I promise you you’ll be seeing it on award ballots next year!

LMS: Welcome, Divya. What stands out as your favorite and most memorable meal?

SBD: Before I get to describing my favorite meal, let me set it in context. I am married to a serious gourmand. Back in college (we’re both tech nerds who went to Caltech), we bonded by learning to cook together, I out of necessity as a vegetarian in a non-veg friendly dorm, and he out of enthusiasm. Being starving students without much money, we treated ourselves to meals out once a week, usually some hole-in-the-wall place in Pasadena, which lucky for us had (and continues to have) a vibrant food scene. I was exposed to a great variety of cuisines thanks to him and even tried meat for the first time.

Machinehood

After we graduated and got jobs, we expanded both our horizons and our budgets. At some point, many years and many wonderful meals later, my spouse learned about molecular gastronomy. It became his dream to eat at Alinea, a restaurant in Chicago. At the time, we had a young child, and we lived in Southern California. There was no way we were getting to a high-end place like that, so I filed the idea away under “dream/bucket list.”

In 2015, as a newly published author, I decided to attend the Nebula Conference in Chicago. Not only was I interested in this small, professional gathering, but I had several family members to visit in the area. Whenever I traveled for work, my mom would look after my child, and this trip was no exception. That’s when I had the idea to bring my spouse along. He could relax while I was at the conference, and one night, we could finally dine at Alinea, just the two of us. Naturally, he was 100% on board with this plan.

Rum Time

I was a little apprehensive that the restaurant would be very formal and stuffy after learning that they had a dress code. Coming from a “California casual” culture, it didn’t bode well. Luckily, my fears were unfounded. The formality ended at the couture, and the meal itself was a divine gastronomic experience. Dishes were not plated so much as delivered in whimsical fashion — on a slice of tree trunk, or a concrete slab, or in a glass orb — with accessories like flowers and smoked herbs and hunks of hot coal. The staff were relaxed and chatty. We were invited to explore and play with our food. And dessert was an edible balloon that we had to pop — all over our faces! — followed by an edible “painting” on a mat placed over our table.

Since that night, we have tried to recapture the same magic at other restaurants, but none has ever come close. Not only was Alinea’s food delicious, but the way in which it was presented created a magical experience. It hasn’t spoiled us — we still love to eat at local hole-in-the-wall places — but our visit to Alinea has become the gold standard by which we measure every other special dinner.

The restaurant in its original form no longer exists, having been remodeled and reimagined in 2020. In a way, I’m glad. As the old saying goes, “You can’t go back again,” and I’m pretty sure we’d never recapture that same level of joy, one that we’d earned over decades of exploring food together.

Thanks, Divya. What is it about Chicago and the range of incredible and unique restaurants they possess? Any time my travel schedule brings me to that city I have to immediately inform my wife so she can begin the process of booking reservations. There’s still a list of places we long to visit, but which require more than six months lead time to lock in a table. It’s on our list o’ things to do when the world reopens.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro