Eating Authors: Rachel Aukes

No Comments » Written on October 21st, 2019 by
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Rachel Aukes

If things go as planned, I’ve returned from a successful trip down to the greater D.C. area and enjoyed the company of many friends and fans and colleagues at Capclave, and now I am resting comfortably, basking in the experience. I won’t be sleeping in this Monday morning because there’s a nurse practitioner who is looking forward to jabbing me in the belly with a needle before 8am, and I hate to disappoint her.

Be that as it may, before my weekend began I prepped this week’s EATING AUTHORS post in advance because I didn’t want to leave you hanging. Alas, I failed to come up with a suitable segue, so I’m just going to come out and tell you that this week’s guest is Rachel Aukes, another of the talented authors sharing the ToC of last month’s The Expanding Universe 5 anthology.

Rachel writes both short and long, with stories that have made her a Wattpad Star and several novels series to her credit (including the Fringe series, the Colliding Worlds trilogy, and the Deadland Saga). As if that weren’t enough, she also writes about being a writer, as demonstrated by her latest work, The Tidy Guide to Writing a Novel.

When she’s not pounding out the words, she can be found flying old airplanes into the Iowa sunset. It’s unclear from her bio if her 50-pound lap dog flies with her, but I like to think so. Dogs deserve a little air time too.

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

RA: I love traveling and one of the things I love most about traveling is the opportunity to try new cuisines. I’ve had many adventures, some memorable for their flavors, some for the atmosphere, some for the company. My most memorable meal came from my first time at a Brazilian churrascaria.

I was on vacation in Rio de Janeiro with my husband and two friends. The concierge at the hotel recommended something that loosely translated into “barbeque,” which is a type of food I’d never, ever turn down. We walked for many blocks before we came to a nondescript, outdoor restaurant. We entered to discover what was a bustling buffet, which we enjoyed sampling (Brazil is famed for its variety of fruits).

Fringe Runner

A multitude of servers walked around tables, and each server carried a different meat that they’d slice and serve on the spot. I tried at least a half-dozen meats during that visit. Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and others I couldn’t identify. Fortunately, the serving sizes were small so I could sample so many. Every ten minutes or so, a waiter would stop by to wipe condensation from our water glasses. We sat there for what must’ve been hours, laughing over stories and gorging on delectable foods under a beautiful Brazilian night sky.

I’ve since seen churrascarias arise across the United States, and every time I do, I fondly remember the first churrascaria I visited. None of the churrascarias I’ve dined at since have had the magical perfection of that first restaurant, but I suppose if I returned to the same one, it wouldn’t be the same as I remember so perfectly in my mind.

It couldn’t be. A lot changes in fifteen years. I doubt I could even find the churrascaria again. And even if I could, one of the friends who’d gone with us has since died, the other has moved to Hong Kong.
And so I have no plans to return and will instead remember the perfect memory of good food with good friends.

Thanks, Rachel. I confess, I love a a good Brazillian steakhouse, though I rarely visit them. For me, the delight of the meal always carries the cost of a full night and day of meat sweats. Deliciously self-destructive.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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My Tentative Philcon 2019 Schedule

No Comments » Written on October 14th, 2019 by
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Philcon

In just a few days I’ll be away at Capclave, but in less than a month it will be time for Philcon. I have another trip that starts the Monday after Philcon, and so to conserve energy I’ll only be at the convention for a single day, Saturday, November 9th. If you think you see me there on Friday or Sunday, it’s probably not me but some alien doppleganger, so please take appropriate precautions. But on Saturday, here’s where I’m currently expected to be:

Saturday, November 9th
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. | Plaza III | Linguistics in Science Fiction
SF & F writers sometimes invent entire imaginary languages. Sometimes they imply imaginary languages with consistent names. Sometimes they even depict alien thought patterns on the basis of imaginary languages. How much is faking it and how much requires real knowledge?
with Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Aaron Rosenberg, abd Anna Kashina]

12:00 p.m. – 01:00 p.m. | Executive Suite 623 | Readings: Three Authors
This year, in its infinite wisdom, Philcon is meeting the demand from its author guests by cramming them in threes into the hour-long Readings slot, referring to it as 20 minutes each, but ignoring the need to end before the top of the hour or allow time for audience members to get settled in the venue. So, more like 15 minutes each. Maybe. Foolishly, they’ve made me the “moderator” of my time slot, which means I get to choose the reading order. I”m telling you now, I’m going first, so show up on time. And then, please stay for my fellow authors who got stuck in the same time slot as me. Thanks.
with Michael A. Ventrella, and Elektra Hammond

1:00 p.m. – 200 p.m.| Crystal Ballroom Promenade | Signing
Much as with the readings, the convention is this year packing three authors (instead of the usual two) into the signing slot. No problem. I’ll be there ready to sign all the things. I should also have a nice assortment of books for you to purchase, in case you forgot to bring me something to sign (I’m helpful that way). In particular, I expect to have copies of the relaunched titles in the Amazing Conroy series. They’re very shiny. You want one of each. Really.
with Michael A. Ventrella, Jay Smith Hodges

And that’s it. I asked the kind folks in programming to keep it light for me as I don’t know how much energy I’m going to have and they came through.

My current plan is to slink off from my signing to have a late lunch with an old friend, and then maybe come back and chill in the lobby for a while (assuming I have sufficient spoons). Seriously, the lobby is the place to be. All the cool kids are there. Join us.

Eating Authors: A. M. Scott

2 comments Written on October 14th, 2019 by
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A. M. Scott

Last month I had the privilege of being part of ‘The Expanding Universe 5 anthology edited by Craig Martelle. Not surprisingly, it has a definite Military-SF slant and many of the authors who contributed to it have done tours of service, quite a few in the Marines. An indie anthology, I’d not encountered most of the authors previously and it’s opened me up to a huge number of new books. Naturally, I began reaching out to these authors, inviting them to share a memorable meal.

Which is your segue into this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. A.M. Scott put in twenty years with US Air Force space operations. It’s proved to be good background, as she’s traded real world satellites for fictional spacecraft. She’s the author of the Folding Space Series, currently at five books and counting.

Under other circumstances, I’d tell you that she’s an active volunteer in Team Rubicon, but she’s about to do so far more eloquently than I could.

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

AMS: Narrowing down to just one memorable meal is challenging. I could write about my childhood Easter dinners, roasting a whole lamb on a spit and hunting Easter eggs with my extended family. Or eating the fabulous, cheap food in the restaurants just outside Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey where I was deployed at the turn of the century. Or the incredibly fresh and delicious Kiwanis Club Halibut Fry on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where I got to watch a missile launch, and then squealed and hid like a little kid when I spotted one of my previous bosses there, the woman I so affectionately call the “Wicked Witch of the West, PhD.” Or any number of meals in the backcountry of Colorado, Alaska, Montana and other western states with my husband of twenty-six years, the Amazing Sleeping Man. Or the dining experiences Chef Loreli cooks up in my novels–I’d love to actually eat one of those!

Lightwave: Clocker

But my most memorable meal was a little over five years ago on a picnic table in the smoke-filled air of Pateros, Washington. I don’t remember what we actually ate, only that it was warm, bland and filling, served in a white styrofoam container from a Red Cross van. In the summer of 2014, much of Pateros burned to the ground in a wildfire. Earlier that spring, I’d joined a fairly new volunteer organization called Team Rubicon–and yes, it’s named after the river Caeser crosses. Team Rubicon (TR) started in 2010 after the Haiti earthquakes. A couple of Marines wanted to help the survivors, but being Marines, they didn’t want to wait for any of the traditional disaster relief organizations to get started–they wanted to help now. They found a few other folks, loaded up a bunch of medical supplies, got to the Dominican Republic and from there, to Haiti. You can read the whole story on their website at https://teamrubiconusa.org/story/. Those Marines did a fantastic job and decided military veterans and disaster relief were a perfect match. They were right. We know how to get stuff done, we’re used to austere environments, and we’re built to serve.

Team Rubicon

There were some hiccups along the way, and still are, that’s the nature of volunteer organizations. On my first Team Rubicon deployment in 2014, the leadership at Pateros had no idea I was coming. I showed up at the Red Cross shelter where they were staying, totally clueless and bewildered. One of the other volunteers told me to pick a cot and what time breakfast started, then went to bed at 8:00 pm–I really wondered what I’d gotten myself into. The next morning, I followed the crowd through breakfast and to the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Pateros. I was assigned to Disaster Assessments, and spent the day driving through a scorched, blackened landscape, where cars melted into puddles and houses were nothing but piles of ash. I talked to disaster survivors who’d lost everything they owned. In the following days, I helped clean up some of those sites, sifting through the ash for valuables and keepsakes for the homeowners, and I helped the command staff keep everything organized. I met a lot of great people. I had the best coffee, ever, made on the picnic tables at the FOB by the IsraAid folks working with us. And I too, went to bed fulfilled and exhausted at 8:00 pm every night for the next week.

On my last full day there, a couple of the guys who had been a part of Team Rubicon almost from the start sat down next to me at lunch. I’d talked to them a little during the week, but they were both in leadership and busy trying to keep everything organized. The twenty or so volunteers at those picnic tables ate, joking around, tossing insults and putdowns like military people always do. At the end of lunch, Breaux and Jordan said, “Hey, AM, you’re the only Team Rubicon member we know from Montana. Want to be the State Coordinator?” I said yes!

Lightwave: The Sisters of Cygnus

In 2014, there were ninety-eight members in Montana. It’s been a really challenging job but we’re now at 432 volunteers in the state, and over 100,000 nationwide. Team Rubicon Global has teams in Canada, the UK, Norway, Sweden, and Australia, and there are more countries in the works. We help disaster survivors with cleanup and help communities to prepare for disasters with mitigation operations across the US. TR has the only US volunteer-based World Health Organization certified medical relief team. We’ve got a huge effort going in the Bahamas right now and another in Houston. I’ve personally run multiple operations in Montana, including filling over 100,000 sandbags in Missoula last year to help homeowners along the Clark Fork River. I’ve deployed to North Carolina to run a chainsaw, removing downed trees from homes, Houston to pull the muck of floods out of houses and to Colorado for multiple operations and events. I’m fortunate to have the capability and TR training to help survivors during the terrible aftermath of a disaster.

I also have friends across the country and the world, and TR friends on Facebook I’ve never met in person. But I know them–those Greyshirts, both military and civilian, are part of my TRibe. The TRibe that makes the food at my most memorable meal completely irrelevant. And I can’t wait to join them on another operation, because the PBJs or MREs won’t be memorable, but the people I’m eating with, my TRibe, will be.

Thanks, Anne Marie. I have no problem being convinced that MREs aren’t memorable, but PB&J? C’mon, we’re talking the pinacle of comfort food! Full disclosure, in recent weeks I’ve discovered the incredible, ready-to-go “Uncrustables” from Smuckers, and I am replete.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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Eating Authors: Clara Martin

No Comments » Written on October 7th, 2019 by
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Clara Martin

Earlier this year, I took on the role of mentor for another writer, Brian Thorne, and together we’ve been working on two different series of books. Despite the surprise change in my health status, I’m still hoping you’ll see the first results of these efforts before the year’s end. I tell you this because it’s a segue to this week’s EATING AUTHOR guest. You see, Brian recently brought Clara Martin to my attention. Like Brian, Clara is a veteran, and just a few weeks ago released her first novel, Kingdom of the Northern Sun, the first volume of her Revolution series.

As she mentions below, Clara grew up as a Navy brat and perforce moved around a lot, both within the US and country to country. She ultimately jumped ship (see what I did there?) and joined the Army and attended the University of Virginia on an Army ROTC scholarship. After four years of service, she found herself medically retired. A civilian again, she became a Sexual Assault Specialist, a substitute teacher, and most recently a novelist.

But service still defines who she is. She’s volunteered on the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, the IMAlive Crisis Chatline, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. She’s also a proud member of Team Rubicon, a disaster relief nonprofit composed of veterans, first responders, and kick-ass civilians. And did I mention? 10% of the sales of this first novel go to IMAlive and Team Rubicon.

LMS: Welcome, Clara. Congratulations on your debut novel. But now, let’s get down to it, what’s your most memorable meal?

CM: When I was eleven, my best friend took me out to eat.

We lived in Japan at the time – Navy brat! – and Fumiko’s father owned a sushi bar. Fumiko, several years older than I, thought I needed to Experience Japanese Culture. So, one night she invited me to her father’s sushi bar for dinner.

Kingdom of the Northern Sun

I was a bit nervous, but gamely went along; I’d been learning Japanese and thought this the perfect time to practice it. We got to the bar, a small, brightly lit place, with a long counter running from one end to the other; we sat down, our reflections peering back at ourselves from the glass separating us from the cook; and Fumiko pointed out what she thought I should order on the laminated menus in front of us. I nodded, and, in my best Japanese, told the cook. He peered curiously at my face – and brought out a dish of raw fish, piled high on rice.

I swallowed. That wasn’t what I had intended to order. I thought I’d been getting steamed fish wrapped in seaweed roll. That had been what Fumiko had suggested… too late now.

Carefully, I picked a piece up with a chopstick.

And dropped it on my pants.

Thanks, Clara. As a huge sushi fan, I weep for that lost morsel. Such an epic tradgedy. It’s the kind of moment that can define a person’s entire life. Fortunately, this is why we have time machines. Oh, wait, never mind, sorry, I’m not supposed to talk about that.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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Eating Authors: Wil McCarthy

1 Comment » Written on September 30th, 2019 by
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Wil McCarthy

I suspect that the first time I met Wil was back in 2002 at the Nebula Awards in Kansas City, where his novel The Collapsium (the first book in what would become his The Queendom of Sol series) was a nominee for Best Novel.

Wil is very much a science guy. He’s the science columnist for Syfy, but probably has no control over the continuing production of Sharknado films. He also cofounded RavenBrick, a materials science company that developed thermochromic filter technology for managing solar heat gain in windows (as one does). Given that background, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the concept of “wellstone” from much of his fiction is also a real thing: Programmable Matter, physical material with the capability of information processing. Living in the future!

After a long absence from publishing novels, he returns, tomorrow, with a new book, Antediluvian, a time travel tale unlike any you’ve seen before. I’m quite excited to read it!

LMS: Welcome, Wil. What comes to mind as your most memorable meal?

WM: It was 1990 in Kagoshima, Japan, on the island of Kyushu. I had just visited the Uchinoura Space Center, one of two locations from which the Japanese launch rockets into space, and I was eating in a seafood restaurant (which in Japan is simply known as a “restaurant”) when I noticed they had fugu as an option on the menu. This was exciting and a little scary, as I had recently read Wade Davis’ The Serpent and the Rainbow, and was well aware that fugu was made from the most toxic parts of the very toxic pufferfish. Packed with tetrodotoxin, it was the raw material for a Voodoo witch doctor’s drug that could put people in a cataleptic state indistinguishable from clinical death, and sometimes led to actual clinical death. The Japanese, God love ’em, serve it as a delicacy at the fanciest of sushi bars.

Antediluvian

This takes years of training to do safely — the raw meat is so toxic that even touching it can kill you. However, these expert chefs have learned (presumably through horrific trial and error over a period of many centuries) how to detoxify the meat so that instead of killing you or putting you in a deathlike trance, it, you know, gets you high. Although deaths do still sometimes occur, and you have to sign a waiver in order to dine.

The dish was expensive (about a hundred bucks in 1990 — roughly equivalent to a new car today), and consisted of several distinct components: the sushi, the sashimi, the pâté, and the eyes. Fish eyes are gross; I’d eaten them before, but wasn’t eager to again, so I left those alone, and nibbled daintily on the rest of it, washing it down (perhaps ill-advisedly) with a Sapporo Light. At this point, I began to feel a little weird and paranoid, so even though I was there with people, I took out a pen and scribbled a note onto a cocktail napkin: “I HAVE EATEN FUGU. IF I APPEAR TO BE DEAD, PLEASE DO NOT BURY ME.” I spoke conversational Japanese at an idiot level, but couldn’t write it, so the note was in English. I slipped it into my front pocket, where any coroner would surely find it before commencing with the actual autopsy.

The Collapsium

Thus prepared, I set off with my group of associates to explore the town a bit. The fugu high isn’t one I recommend; as I walked down the sidewalk, I felt a peculiar sense of dissociation, almost an out of body experience. My body walked down the sidewalk, and my awareness floated along with it, physically overlapping but not actually connected. Worryingly, my lips were numb. I was capable of speech, but slurred a bit, as if I’d had a couple of stiff belts of whiskey, and I didn’t really want to talk. I didn’t really want anything.

Did I survive the experience? In this universe, yes, although I went to bed that night still feeling off-kilter, and awoke with a headache. Am I glad I did it? Definitely. Would I do it again? Probably not, although it’s worth considering that my most memorable meal was more than half my life ago. Maybe I’ve been living too tamely.

Thanks, Wil. I have to say, fugu makes my list of foods that I’m hard pressed to understand how or why someone said “hey, this would be good to eat.” Move over lutefisk.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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My Preliminary Capclave 2019 Schedule

No Comments » Written on September 28th, 2019 by
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Autumn has begun and so my thoughts turn toward the trip down toward the Washington, D.C. area for one of my favorite events: Capclave.

They’ve posted the “Preliminary” schedule and as such it could change. Likewise, having just started chemo, my own ability to safely attend is a matter of discussion in my household (I’ll be monitoring the next couple weeks of blood tests closely). But, as of right this moment, here is my schedule:

Friday, October 18th

5:00 p.m. | Monroe – Psychos
What is a psychopath and are they really running the world? Do psychopaths have an advantage when it comes to running countries and major corporations? What can we do about it? What if we developed an accurate test (as in Sawyer’s Quantum Night) to see who is a psychopath?
J. L. Gribble, Larry Hodges, Robert Sawyer, Michael A. Ventrella (M), and me.

Saturday, October 19th

1:00 p.m. | Washington Theatre – A Matter of Style
Some writers have a poetic flow to their writing, others do not, both work. They can include it from the first word on paper or insert it later. How flashy should your prose be? How can writers prevent the language from hurting the story? Which writers in the field have the most interesting styles?
T. Eric Bakutis, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow (M), A.C. Wise, and me.

4:00 p.m. | Monroe – Writing under Duress
Tips, cheats, and strategies to keep writing even after life punches you in the throat. General self-care for writers.
Kelly E. Dwyer, LH Moore, Diana Peterfreund, Jamie Todd Rubin (M), and me.

5:30 p.m. | Wilson – Reading
I’m sandwiched between Chuck Gannon at 5pm and Jack Campbell at 6pm, which sounds pretty awesome to me. As for me, I will probably read my short story “Crossing the Line” from the recent The Expanding Universe 5 anthology.
Come early, stay late. Bask in the SFness of it all.

8:00 p.m. | Atrium – Mass Signing
This is your opportunity to get my signature on something! And not just me, but probably many many others authors. But come see me first. Why? Because I asked you to. Thanks.
endless talent and beauty and also me.

Sunday, October 20th

11:00 a.m. | Eisenhower – Its a Narrative Matter: First, Second, and Third
There are challenges and expectations for each type of perspective. Discussion of the various points of view and which ones work best for individual stories. Why might an author choose to redo the story from a different tense?
Meriah Lysistrata Crawford (M), Robert Sawyer, Alex Shvartsman, K.M. Szpara, and me.

Again, all of this could change without notice (especially when Rob Sawyer realizes we’re scheduled to do two panels together and he activates that restraining order he has). But for now, this is anyone’s best guess.

In addition to all of the above, as my energy levels allow, I’ll probably be spending large chunks of the con just chilling in the lobby. Come on over and say hello.

Eating Authors: J.L. Hendricks

No Comments » Written on September 23rd, 2019 by
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J.L. Hendricks

If things go according to plan, I start chemotherapy today. As I understand it, the process involves ingesting and injecting sufficient vile poisons that, over time, will kill the cancer dead dead dead while not quite killing me. So, um, yay, right? It remains to be seen whether the side effects leave me bald, nauseated beyond redemption, and/or weak as a wet kitten. Those are all things I suspect I can put up with in service to the larger goal of beating the crap out of the myeloma that is trying to eat my bones.

But all of that remains to be seen, and it’s not what you came here to read about today. Nope, sorry, let’s move on, not even a segue, let’s just do it. Time to introduce you to this week’s EAITNG AUTHORS guest, J. L. Hendricks. She’s one of an amazing group of authors I’ve gotten to meet in the past year because of my association with Michael Anderle and LMBPN. Let me put this as simply as I know how: Jen is just good people. Really, that’s all there is to it.

Well, not all, she’s also a prolific writer with a USA Today Bestseller tagline after her name and multiple series to her credit. The latter include her Voodoo Dolls series (think Josie & the Pussycats in New Orleans with vampires, shifters, and witches), her seasonally fun Miss Claus books (who knew Santa Claus was actually a shape-shifting arctic wolf?), her Worlds Away Space Opera Sci-Fi series, and the FBI Dragon Shifter trilogy she co-wrote with J.A. Cipriano.

After serving in the army, going to college, and a career as a Purchasing Manager and Contracts Administrator (I’m not sure what she was purchasing or whose contracts she was administering, and if you want to know you’ll have to ask her yourself), she began writing in 2016. As if often the case with such things, she blames a cat for this.

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

JLH: I actually don’t know where to begin, or which story to choose. You see, I’ve traveled the world and have experienced so many fantastic meals with an unbelievable mixture of people. Family, friends, co-workers, and even vendors have all played a part of my varied and exceptional meal experiences.

A Ritual of Fire

One of my favorite meal experiences to share was in Taiwan. I was there on business, and the vendors took me and my co-workers out for seafood. The lobster we picked out when we first arrived was still moving when it was put on our table, but I didn’t know it until I put my hand out with a little fork to pick up a small bite of the lobster meat from its tail and it didn’t like it. When its claws tried to grab my hand, I shrieked and everyone at the table laughed with me. Then there was the time I was in Lithuania and tried a cultural dish called a zeppelin. It took me hours to get the fat coating my tongue off. LOL But the memory is still with me twenty years later. Then there was the borscht soup with the fish head and floating eye in the beat red soup. That was in Siberia 22 years ago.

But more recently I have experienced dinners with other authors in places such as Las Vegas and Edinburgh that did more than feed my belly, they fed my soul. Until the past few years, I had never found my tribe, you know the group that just understands who you are with only words and not by blood relations. But over meals with other authors, even when it was plain fare in a cafeteria on the University of Edinburgh campus, more than my stomach was filled. Sitting and sharing meals with others who understood where I was coming from as well as the struggles and celebrations of being a writer, had fed my need for acceptance and understanding in a way I never even knew was starving. There are many wonderful meals I’ve shared with author friends, some in steakhouses, and others in fancy 5-star restaurants, but the most memorable was in a Japanese Sushi bar in the middle of Edinburgh, Scotland with four other authors, only one of whom I had met in person before that trip.

New Orleans Magic

All five of us have different tastes and food requirements. One is a vegan, one has given up carbs, the other two like very different food, and then there’s me. I am doing a very strict and modified version of a paleo diet for health reasons. Even though I had eaten “off-plate” as one of my friends called it, I wanted to find something within my dietary restrictions while still providing a great experience for the rest in my party. We all were able to find something to eat, and everyone’s plates were not only appealing to our tastebuds, but also to our eyes. One in the party ordered the green dragon roll and when it arrived it really did look like a green dragon! (But, not to be confused with a green dragon shifter.) She let us all taste her roll, which was a version of a California roll with some seafood in it. It was fabulous. I had giant grilled prawns that were seasoned with butter and other spices I couldn’t quite place, but it went down very smoothly.

Title

Between the Japanese ambience and the camaraderie of my newfound tribe of friends, I was more than just happy. I was content with the food, I stayed on track for my eating program, and I learned more about my friends through their meal choices. And I think they learned more about me. When the meal was over none of us wanted to part company. So we ended up closing down two bars before we realized it really was time to go. But you know what? The very next night four of us met up again for a South African steak house! One in our party had left for home that day so we were down to four. And again, over a fantastic meal, we got closer.

It’s amazing what good food can do to bring people closer together and how much even a simple meal can turn an event into a truly wonderful experience. It isn’t so much about the food, as it is the people with whom you share the food. I hope the five of us can sit down together again for a fantastic meal, but even if we can’t all meet up again, I know we will remember the great times we had together over food and drink, especially the bubblegum and unicorn flavored ones!

Thanks, Jen. There is really nothing quite like dining with one’s tribe. Though, having experienced a zeppelin myself while in Lithuania, I doubt even the company of other writers could induce me to doing so again.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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Eating Authors: Barry J. Hutchison

No Comments » Written on September 16th, 2019 by
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Barry Hutchison

This is my buffer week. Last week I was trying to take it easy, convalescing following my surgery and bingeing on TV shows that had been piling up on my To Be Watched list. But now I’m in the last few days of what future-Lawrence might look back on with a wistful sigh. Later this week I’ll be meeting with my oncology team and begin chemo. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing, but it’s also a benchmark of sorts, and in this case one with a certain gravitas to it.

Which is all more reason to have Barry J. Hutchison as this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, because he knows how to bring the ridiculously funny. His Space Team series is so over the top that you’ll forgive him for destroying everyone on Earth in the opening pages of the first book. The thirteenth volume, All The President’s Space Men, was originally planned for an October release, but that may be delayed as Barry had a run in with a cow in late August, totaled his car and broke his wrist.

His humorous SF also includes series such as Dan Deadman, Space Detective and The Sidekicks Initiative (for those of you who want funny with superheros and less space). But lest you think he’s all hilarity and nothing else, please note that Barry also writes scottish crime thrillers under the name J. D. Kirk, the latest of which, The Killing Code, was released late last month.

LMS: Welcome, Barry. I’m sorry to hear about your wrist. And the car. And, well, the cow. But let’s not lose focus. What’s been your most memorable meal?

BJH: I suppose there are two answers to this question. Arguably the most memorable meal I’ve ever eaten was the one I had on a flight from the UK to the US when, aged 14, I first discovered my severe allergy to red peppers, and had to receive emergency medical treatment to stop myself choking on my own tongue and/or vomiting myself inside out.

But I prefer not to dwell on that one.

Space Team

Instead, I like to think back to the meal I had while a guest at a book festival on the remote island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. I was over for a few days to talk to kids around the island about my children’s books, and was staying at a big old manor house with a handful of other authors.

On the first night, we were invited to a big group meal. Like a lot of writers, I’m not a huge fan of large social gatherings full of people I don’t know, and because I was pretty tired, I tried to make my excuses. The host was having none of it, though, insisting I attend. And so, with teeth gritted and a stomach full of butterflies, I wandered down the ancient staircase and into the dining room.

The sight that I was met by stopped me in my tracks. An enormous banquet table was set up in the dining room, overflowing with fresh seafood caught earlier that day just off the island’s coast. Lobster, langoustines, clams, mussels, shrimp, crab – you name it, it was there. There was roast salmon, red mullet, rainbow trout, and several other varieties of fish, all expertly prepared.

The Killing Code

The chairs had been set out casually around the room, and the idea was that you could help yourself to this vast seafood buffet, then go and mingle with the other guests. In reality, most of us spent the evening camped around the table, hungrily stuffing the food into our faces, hardly able to believe our luck.

Dessert arrived at some point, too, and while we all initially resisted out of politeness, we soon descended on it like wolves, scavenging at the home-made pastries, chocolate cake, and other sweet treats.

I remember chatting to a lot of people and having some very interesting conversations, but can’t recall who they were, or what was said. Instead, I remember the smell of that fresh seafood bounty as I stepped into the room, and the feeling of relief that I had given in, and hadn’t insisted on hiding away in my room with a cheese sandwich and a can of Coke.

Thanks, Barry. I hope you’re happy. Your meal is going to haunt me every time I have to settle for a cheese sandwich.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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