Posts by Lawrence:

Planning for November

Written on May 13th, 2020 by
Categories: Freebies
20 Books Vegas

Between battling cancer, recovering from chemo, and oh yeah the whole COVID-19 craze, I haven’t traveled far from home this year and don’t expect that to change any time soon. No appearances, lectures, readings, or coneventions. Obviously, I’m not alone in this.

Lots of people have come up with creative solutions and stopgaps. I’ve participated in Stu Segals’ virtual Strolling with the Stars, both as the designated guest and as a viewer of many others. I spend at least three mornings each week sitting in on live interviews of luminaries within the indie publishing community. To no one’s surprise, various conventions have decided to go virtual (a big example being the Nebula Conference later this month), and even my monthly writers’ workshop group has shifted to meeting on Zoom.

At this point, I suspect the only event I’ll be physically attending this year is the annual 20BooksTo50K conference scheduled for November — assuming that in six more months the world will have stopped burning quite so much. It’s three very full days of brilliant presentations focused on the indie business side of writing — as opposed to other professional writing conferences I’ve attended where the emphasis is on craft — from marketing to managing cash flow, cover design to blurbs, pros and cons of KU vs. going wide, newsletter onboarding and general care & feeding of one’s subscribers, back lists and sell through, and on and on.

Flash Drive

Before those three days of presentations, there’ll be a day of industry professionals making themselves available for conversations and questions. Representatives from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Microsoft, Podium, Tantor, DreamWorks, Findaway Voices, Publisher’s Weekly, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, Reedsy, BookFunnel, StoryOrigin, Cover Artists, and so many more. It’s going to be a crazy wonderful opportunity to make some serious connections (and have the following three days to expand on them).

But wait, there’s more. On the fifth day, there will be an Indie Book Fair. I’ve already reserved a table (well, half a table). I’ll be there with a good assortment of my titles, and while I’ll be only too happy to sell them, I’ll naturally sign anything that people bring in. These kinds of events can often be very “hit or miss” bur I’m expecting a huge response because of all the lost opportunities for fans not being able to travel to conventions this year.

Flash Drives

Which is why I wanted to do something special. Something different.

Which is why I arranged for some custom flash drives. What you’re seeing in the images on this page are basically credit card sized (52mm x 83mm) flip drives, the bit that plugs into the USB slot snaps up and unfolds from a hinge and you’re good to go.

I’ve had these made up by the fine folks at usbmemorydirect.com. They feature an image of the Amazing Conroy on one side and the logo of my publishing imprint, Paper Golem, on the other.

My plan is to load up the drives with copies of my books and give them away during the Indie Book Fair on the last day of the 20 Books Vegas conference. Mind you, I have a limited number of these flash drives, and when they’re gone that’s it — unless it’s a huge success, in which case I’ll make more for other conferences in 2021. And… now that I think about it, I’ll probably hold a couple in reserve as a giveaway for the folks on my mailing list.

And that’s my travel plans for the rest of 2020. I hope to see some of you in Las Vegas, and if you are coming out (I should mention the conference is at Sam’s Town) then I hope you’ll come by for a flash drive full of my fiction.

Eating Authors: Bard Constantine

Written on May 11th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Bard Constantine

A few hours after this posts, I’ll be on my way to the hospital for my first “maintenance” visit. There’ll be some bloodwork and an quick injection and probably a few questions and explanations as we lay out what will become a new regimen of regular tests and follow-ups to ensure that the new chemo is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and to be able to recognize the first sign of any returning cancer.

Which is to say my life is an endless adventure. I have to say that because it’s my segue into this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Bard Constantine writes adventure stories. He refers to himself as a “neo-pulp” author, as demonstrated by his Havenworld universe, where stories jump traditional genre lines from dystopia to teen angst, cyberpunk to weird west. The common elements are of course action and adventure.

His most recent book is The Gunner Chronicles: Fire and Brimstone, and at first glance you might assume it’s a typical western with a ruthless gunslinger right out of central casting. But you’d be wrong. This gunman inhabits a post-apocalyptic west, which naturally means the book is also going to serve up mutants and cyborgs and… well, you get the picture. Adventure!

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

BC: On my tenth anniversary, I took my wife to Vegas. It was something we’d wanted to do for years — not for gambling and party life, but to spoil ourselves rotten and take in the spectacle more than anything else. So we took the flight in the heat of June, arriving in the morning and resting until the evening because it was just that hot. We stayed at the Wynn, which was just what we were looking for to get that luxurious Vegas type of feel we were going for. I can say a lot about the fantastic buffet there, but that’s not the story. In fact, the meal in question wasn’t at the Wynn at all.

Title

It was at the Stratosphere.

Now renovated and renamed the Strat, the casino hotel wasn’t much to brag about when you walk in. It was an older joint, with all the tackiness you expect — lots of hawkers inside trying to con you into condo tours, bus tours, and the like. The main draw is the tower, where visitors can sit in the observation decks, eat a meal at the revolving Top of the World restaurant, and take in the entire city and everything around it for miles. And if you’re brave enough, you can even get on one of the insane rides built to terrorize you.

We were there for the view and some breakfast, so we dined in the Top of the World. Because I was in Vegas, I went for a lobster omelet and just for kicks, a gin martini to wash it down. Sure it was still morning, but I was in Vegas, baby. Looking back, it seems corny as hell, but it was all about being in the moment. I was in a restaurant with a revolving view of what looked like the entire state, celebrating ten years with the woman I loved, and I was in Las Vegas. Every time I think about it, I smile. And oh yeah: the omelet was to die for. That’s pretty much all you want from a dining experience, anyway.

Thanks, Bard. Eggs, lobster, and gin. The breakfast of champions. At least in Las Vegas. I’m sure your server didn’t even blink.

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: Nibedita Sen (Astounding Award nominee)

Written on May 4th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Nibedita Sen

May has brought better weather and increased stamina. These have combined to allow me to take longer walks (up to a mile now) which in turn has created opportunities for self-hypnosis as well as quality time with my dog. The healing continues. Life is good.

May also brings the first of what I hope will be several of this year’s Astounding Award finalists to this blog. Of the six nominees, Sam Hawke and Jenn Lyons have previously shared meals. I’m still hoping to hear from R.F. Kuang, Tasha Suri, and Emily Tesh. Meanwhile, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest is Nibedita Sen.

Nibedita is no stranger to food, ranking its importance with anime in her life. She writes short fiction, as well as co-edits Glittership, a queer, SF/F fiction podcast. All in all, she’s having a pretty good year, racking up not just the Astounding nomination, but Nebula and Hugo noms as well.

LMS: Welcome, Nibedita. What’s your most memorable meal?

NS: As a lover of food, and immigrant from a culture where food is key to identity and affection — and also as a writer who works food into pretty much everything she writes — it’s very hard to choose a favorite meal from all the good ones I’ve had! Here’s a pretty special one, though.

GlitterShip Year Two

I moved to the USA for grad school in 2015. This meant going from Calcutta to the Midwest, so the culture shock was, as you can imagine, quite extreme — particularly when it came to food. Or flavoring. Or the lack thereof. I’d also never lived away from home before, and never really had to cook for myself, since my mother and grandmother were both excellent cooks who handled keeping the household fed. Stuck in a tiny college town in Southern Illinois, I learned real fast to appreciate how a dish could be a culinary jewelry box of memory and identity. The first time I made shorshe chingri — prawns in mustard-seed paste — I cried at the smell, and then breathed it in too deep, which made the mustard sting my eyes and sinuses, which only made me cry more.

When I next got to visit home in the summer of 2016, I’d been away for a year, during which I’d sorely missed both my family and the food I grew up with. My mother, anticipating this, had prepared a spread of several traditional Bengali delicacies that she knew were my favourites. Two in particular. Kosha mangsho, which is goat meat cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness in rich, dark, oily gravy. And ilish macch bhaja, thin fillets of hilsa fish fried crisply in mustard oil and green chilis, along with their eggs and internal organs, the latter of which are cooked down to a blackened consistency bursting with umami bitterness. Both dishes were served over hot, plain white rice with salt on the side. I like to write about food, but I don’t think I can do justice to that meal, save to say that it tasted of love — and of home, and of memory, and my city, and my people.

Thanks, Nibedita. I am reminded that scientists working on teleportation are going about it all wrong. The ability of food to transport us home should be the first line of research. Even if it’s only a one-way trip, it will always be delicious.

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: Beverly L. Anderson

Written on April 27th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Beverly L. Anderson

Back when I was in grad school I studied winemaking. This struck my friends as odd because I don’t drink alcohol. But the wine was just a byproduct. The real purpose was for me to try and acquire patience. And it worked. I learned to appreciate that some things take time. That’s true of wine, it was true of research, and I find it’s true of writing. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to remember this important lesson when it comes to my own health.

This past week I’ve been pushing myself too hard. And while I have made incredible strides in my recovery from my bone marrow transplant, the one main area where I am still far from normal is my physical stamina. Naturally, I have been over-doing things, walking more than I should, even putting time in on the elliptical. And while it may ultimately prove to make me stronger sooner, it’s also been leaving me a creaky old man who looks like he’s been hit by a bus. Ooops.

None of which has anything to do with today’s EATING AUTHORS post, but I thought you’d want to know. Now then, let’s talk about this week’s guest, Beverly L. Anderson.

Beverly is probably best known for her Chains of Fate series, erotica with strong BDSM themes. She’s since branched out into the fantastic. Last January she branched out with Dark and the Sword, Book One of a proposed dark fantasy series, Legacy of the Phoenix. Which, when you consider her most memorable meal, makes a lot of sense.

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

BLA: I have to say the most memorable meal I’ve ever had was with my Dungeons and Dragons group. We went online and planned the entire thing based on old recipes that we found from medieval times or as close to them as we could get.

Dark and the Sword

We then had “dinner” in our game world while we acted out our characters attending this meal. It was a beautiful blend of food, friends, and fun, and I have to say I can’t think of something that sticks out in my memory more. When I think back on it, it always brings a smile to my face. There is nothing that can tarnish such a memory, and though time may erode the details, it will always be precious to me.

My D&D group fed my love of fantasy, world building, character building, and plot driven characters. I often wrote so much detail on my characters that our Dungeon Master would give me extra experience and I ended up ahead of the group. It was never dull, and everything we did will forever be a basis for my love of the worlds of fantasy. My fantasy writing echoes those days during late night game sessions, and even during that amazing and creative dinner. It is something that can never be recreated, and something that I will always remember.

Thanks, Beverly. It’s been decades since I played D&D — I was old school, the original three paper volumes. I wish we’d thought to have in-character meals. But then again, most of us were too young to drive and didn’t know how to cook, so it’s probably just as well.

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: Melissa J. Lytton

Written on April 20th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Melissa J. Lytton

April is no longer the cruelest month. Okay, sure, the weather (at least around here) has been crazy, with temperatures all over the place. But a week ago I heard back from my new oncologist with the results of blood work and biopsy from the end of March showing the efficacy of my bone marrow transplant could not be better. Short version: there’s no sign of bone termites in my blood! This means I move on to a maintenance regimen which will involve lower doses of Revlimid (lower relative to last fall’s chemo cycle), as well as ongoing vigilance in the form of regular blood tests and an annual bone marrow biopsy. Multiple myeloma is incurable (at least at present). My cancer will return some day. For now though, I’ve gotten a reset, and the chemo will help keep it at bay, and presumably slow its growth when it does come back.

None of which has much to do with EATING AUTHORS, other than to provide hope that I’ll be around to keep producing this blog for a good while. So, as we project into the future, let me segue into the past to tell you about this week’s guest, Melissa J. Lytton.

I first encountered Melissa nine years ago. They was doing layout and design for Hadley Rille Books, and Eric Reynolds had tasked her with my second novel, Buffalito Contingency. Email flew back and forth. We were working with some great artwork from Rachael M. Mayo, and Melissa applied her own skill and talent to lift it even higher. The end result was wonderful.

Melissa has her roots in Kansas, having done her undergrad work at K.U., where they were named the university’s first “Science Fiction Scholar” and took home the Edgar Wolfe Award in Fiction. They followed that up with an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and has since carved her own niche within speculative fiction addressing what they refers to as the realities of recovery (be it from addiction, trauma, or coping with disability), and all from a feminist slant. Yeah, this is not your typical, watered down stories of dragons or space ships, but rather a return to the use of the genre to make readers think.

LMS: Welcome, Melissa. Let’s talk about your most memorable meal.

MJL: Minot, North Dakota isn’t on most people’s radar, but it is known for a few things – a military base, a devastating flood, and a Wild West-style oil boom in the 2010s. The boom transformed the tiny college town into a competitive and cramped city, attracting thousands of people desperate to dig their way out of debt. People like my partner and I, whose bank accounts had slowly been bleeding out as we worked dead-end jobs in Kansas City. We leapt at the opportunity offered to us and struggled with the 14-hour workdays and San Francisco-esque rent hikes later.

During those four years of overwork, isolation, and negative-50-degree windchill, the meal that comforted me most was a bowl of hot Thai curry from Baan Rao. It was a major upgrade from the beans and rice I’d subsisted on prior to the move, but even compared to other curries, it was something special. It balanced its heat and tang without heavy amounts of sugar, something I’ve been hard-pressed to find in other restaurants, and the tofu was always perfectly cooked. My two go-to varieties were the Massaman and the red curries.

Echoes of a Dream

The Massaman was filling fare – chunky potatoes, carrots, and onions, swimming in a thick, spicy stew of peanuts and coconut milk. It was the perfect dinner the night the wind blew hard enough to slam a fast food sign onto the adjacent car dealership lot, Wendy’s smiling face pancaking several cars in the bitter cold.

The red was lighter, with basil, bamboo shoots, and bell peppers soaking in a thinner, but still satisfyingly rich, coconut broth. It made my nose run and burned out every tightness in my throat, be it from illness or rough emotion. Even in the middle of our hottest summer, I never turned down the chance for a bowl.

But it wasn’t just the food that made Baan Rao so special to my partner and I. As with most things, it was the people. We watched their business and family grow, cheered on as their delivery driver made his way through college, and marked every birthday and milestone with their warm-your-soul food. I celebrated my first university teaching position and the publication of my first book in that restaurant. When we missed a week due to travel, they asked after us. When we moved back to Kansas City, we said goodbye.

I miss that family-owned kindness just as much as I miss the curry. Especially now, when I’m following shelter-at-home orders and acclimating to a new course of treatment for a chronic illness, I crave human connection just as much as I crave good food. I daydream about chatting with my delivery driver and wrap myself in the sense-memory of a cleansing bowl of red curry, made just for me. Until that can be my reality again, I channel my anxieties into cooking new and comforting foods for the people I love.

After all, I know how much a good meal can mean during a tough time.

Thanks, Melissa. I miss that connection with food and place. The simple comfort of being a “regular,” having your usual table, and coming to know the owners and staff as real people and not just food service automatons. It’s waiting for us though, once we get past the current sheltering in place cycle. And having had it before, I know we can regain it or rebuild it as we go forward.

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: E. G. Bateman

Written on April 13th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Elaine Bateman

I see it every year in social media, and it fills me with delight every time. It’s a simple image of two chocolate bunnies. One has a bite out of its tail and the other has had its ears eaten. The first bunny says, “my butt hurts” and the other replies “what? I can’t hear you.”

Such simple pleasures take on more meaning of late, when people are under so much stress and yet still celebrating and observing major holidays. I hope you’ve managed to find such joy as is available. It’s there if you look. And I say this as someone who has been medically sequestered since early February (longer if you count the 15 days in hospital that preceded it), and even amidst all the cancer complications I still consider myself blessed.

And sometimes too, there is joy in doing the things you always do, which for me includes this blog. The list of Hugo finalists has come out and I’ve reached out to this year’s Astounding Award nominees (well, not, as it happens, the two who have already appeared here). I hope they’ll respond soon. But that’s somewhere in the future. Here and now, let me introduce you to this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, E. G. Bateman.

I first came to know Elaine from her presence on the LMBPN Slack channel, where she’s witty and wry and irreverent. Which is to say, she’s a hoot and a half. She’s also the author of the Faders trilogy. And she has a new book coming out on Wednesday, Legacy of the Shadow’s Blood, the first book of a new series co-authored with Michael Anderle.

Elaine lives in England and makes no apologies with regard to her fondness for chocolate. I wonder if she acquired any chocolate bunnies this past weekend and, if so, which part she bit into first.

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

EGB: Five years ago, my mum retired at 75 and planned a holiday she’d always wanted to take: A tour of Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. Her health wasn’t great so she asked me to join her on the adventure. The tour included a sunset horse-ride, followed by dinner at the ranch.

We were collected from Caesar’s Palace and driven out to the ranch. They somehow got my arthritic, 75-year-old mother and her short-fat daughter onto horses, and we rode out for 90 minutes through the beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

Title

Mum’s horse might have had a urinary tract infection because it peed fairly consistently throughout the ride. I’m not a horsey person but my horse and I came to an agreement whereby it would allow me to remain seated if I didn’t impose my Western imperialistic ways upon it, and just let it go wherever it wanted to. 90 minutes later, we were back at the ranch in one piece.

Mother and I supported each other and shared hip-related horror stories from the stable to the outdoor eating area. We filled our plates and staggered to a table. We enjoyed buttered corn-on-the-cob, giant baked potatoes and Jurassic-sized steaks. We chatted to our friends from the tour group, surrounded by walls peppered with tiny lights.

We moved from the chairs, out to a fire pit under the stars. We roasted marshmallows, made s’mores, and listened while two old cowboys played the guitar and sang country songs. One of them looked like John Wayne!

My mum’s no longer with us, but that meal, the horse ride and singing along under the stars in the Nevada desert, remain my fondest memory of her.

Thanks, Elaine. Now, thanks to you, I think I have a rule for a spelling confusion that has always plagued me: desert/desserts. The answer is clearly, the s’mores, the merrier!

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: William Hatfield

Written on April 6th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
William Hatfield

This may sound odd to you, but nowadays when I’m working from home (to the extent that chemobrain allows me to write and edit) I tend to do so while lying on the couch in my office. Don’t misunderstand, I have a perfectly fine desk in my office. But my office chair sucks. I really should replace it. Just sitting at it for a few minutes gives me a back ache. And this from the guy who used to sit in a hard plastic booth at McD’s for hours at a time.

So, yeah, I lie on my couch. I balance the bottom edge of laptop on my chest, and I type at a vertical angle. I’ve done it for years. I first got into the habit of it while lying on my hammock (and this was back in the days before solid-state hard drives, so I burned out several forcing the thing to whir along at other than 90° angles). What can I say, it works for me.

Speaking of hammocks, what with all the money I’ve been saving by not going to McD’s and ordering a breakfast sandwich and soda every day (my medical convalescence/isolation runs for 100 days and started February 10th, you do the math), I’m going to buy a new one. The plan is to get one with its own stand so I can set it out on the deck and not have to go far. Spring hammock writing weather is just around the corner.

Which is no kind of segue at all to this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, William Hatfield. Though, I get the impression that he’d enjoy a good hammock (maybe not for writing, but definitely for chillaxin’). You’ll find him down in Florida where, when not assaulting pianos in random bars, he divides his writing time between action/adventure science fiction (his Fists of Earth trilogy) and LGBTQ mysteries (the TNT series). As one does.

Bill kindly dropped in to share one of the most roundabout meals to ever grace this blog.

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

WH: Karen, my wife, is an environmental scientist. She worked in the water-sampling and testing industry for most of her adult life. Back around 2004, she heard about an opening at an environmental firm and water-testing laboratory in Savannah, Georgia. We decided to make a weekend getaway out of her interviewing for the job managing the lab.

We drove up there from Gainesville, Florida, and Karen did her interview, taking up most of Friday afternoon. By the time she finished, she was tired, and it was late afternoon, so we found a place that wasn’t anything special. In fact, it was so not special that I don’t even remember where it was, or what we ate. I think I had a steak.

Captive Audience

But we were in Savannah, which is known for its fine cuisine, wonderful eating establishments, delicious seafood, etc. So we wandered about Friday night for a little while on River Street. Saturday morning, we were back on River Street for shopping, eating, looking around, getting comfortable with the city, in case Karen got an offer.

We had lunch at some modest looking seafood restaurant on the dock, and I had a seafood bisque, lots of unknown sea creatures in it, very tasty.

No, this isn’t the meal I’m writing about.

Afterwards, we wandered up and down River Street for an hour or so. We looked at Savannah State University, whose colors are orange and blue, which was good news, since we both have drawers of UF Gator orange & blue clothing. We thought that might be a sign of a pending job offering.

I began to feel less than well, so we went back to the modest motel we were staying at in the midtown area, well to the south of the historical districts of downtown. Within twenty minutes of returning to the room, I was in the bathroom, trying to reduce my body weight to zero, using the two most obvious orifices to do so.

Recently, I’d had several bouts like this, but had thought it was either from tailgating before the Gator football game or getting over-heated. I hadn’t drank any alcohol, at least at one of the first events, but we were still trying to figure out what was causing this.

Duel Roles

This unfortunate recent development tended to mean being violently ill for about four hours, in an event that resembled the worse food-poisoning, intestinal flu, and morning after drinking too much, coincidence you could imagine.

The one thing I knew for sure, each time, was that I was dying. And at that point, it would be okay. If it only meant the gut-wrenching symptoms would end. I thought I might have seen my collarbone come out of my mouth at one point, and thought the end was imminent. This was followed by the worse migraine headache I’d ever had, except for the three previous events, and falling asleep for a couple hours.

Meanwhile, my wife had nothing to do but try and watch television, with the sound cranked up to try and drown the sounds of my dying. She later told me it didn’t work.

The frightening thing was, when I awoke, my wife was starving, because it was about nine in the evening, and so was I. I felt I was absolutely empty, and if I didn’t eat something, I would die of starvation and general gauntness.

But the idea of actually eating anything was frightening. I just knew if I did, it would most surely come back up. Or get on a bullet train that raced through my innards to get out the, um, back door.

But I was weak with hunger, and knew we both had to eat. But she wanted something simple, since the day was ruined, shot, and I had somehow turned into a whiny little…weak person.

Across the street, we could see that Golden Corral was still open. The day before, we’d joked there was no way we were going to eat there while we were in Savannah, home of the great seafood, and many, many chefs.

Tough Crowd

Long and short of it? We ate at the Golden Corral. My wife enjoyed her meal. I was afraid to eat anything spicier than cardboard. I settled on macaroni & cheese, some form of roast beef, and I believe I remember some buns or bread, along with a little ham.

The next morning, we meekly checked out and drove back to Gainesville, Florida. I think we were both relieved when the job opportunity didn’t pan out. We’ve never been back to Savannah since.

After four more events, we finally figured out I’d developed a late-in-life allergy to shrimp. We thought that might be it, after Savannah, but then I got sick twice when we would have sworn I didn’t have any shrimp.

It was some months after that, when I remembered that our neighbor and best friend Linda, who made such delicious dip I would use crackers like spoons to scoop it up, actually made “Linda’s Delicious Shrimp Dip”. I’d know that fourteen years earlier, when first introduced to it.

So, I no longer eat any shell fish, or anything that doesn’t swim like a fish, look like a fish, IS a fish, from the water. On a related note, I haven’t wished for death as a release, for over twelve years.

I have friends that ask “Don’t you want to know for sure if you’re allergic to crabs, lobster, or any of the other exotic seafood I won’t touch?”

Let’s see, do I want to try and eat something that may make me violently ill for at least six hours, make me wish for death as a release, and lose between ten and fourteen pounds, in a singularly unpleasant fashion? And no, it doesn’t stay off.

In a word?

No.

Thanks, Bill. That all sounds truly horrific. Also, I think it’s time you and Karen reconsider this Linda person as your “best friend.”

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: Barbara Krasnoff

Written on March 30th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs

Barbara Krasnoff

* * * Edited to add: I got it wrong below. Barbara’s mosaic novel is not forthcoming later this year, it’s been out since June of last year. Sorry about that. Or as the Klingons might say, HIvqa’ veqlargh. * * *

Today’s an exciting day. About the same time this blog posts hits the interweb, I’ll be getting ready for a bone marrow biopsy (my fourth in the past seven months or so). The purpose of this procedure is to check in on my new immune system and see if it worked and left me (at least for now) free of cancerous cells.

Naturally, I have a little anxiety about this, but only a little. Of bigger concern in our covid-19 world is that I have to go to a hospital for this and there will be sick people there. Likely not folks who knowingly have the corona virus, but who knows. I will have my N95 mask at the ready.

But let’s shift to a happier topic: As some of you will recall, last year I was among the authors invited to play in Chuck Gannon’s sandbox. The result was the anthology Lost Signals. I love reading books like this. It’s a chance to see the familiar from a number of fresh perspectives. That volume was my first opportunity to experience it for myself. And among the privileged authors whom Chuck had invited was Barbara Krasnoff, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest.

Barbara is a past Nebula award finalist, and probably most known as a short story writer, but she’s also written YA nonfiction and pays the bills as a freelance reviewer and technical writer. Her forthcoming book, The History of Soul 2065, is a mosaic novel that follows two generations of Jewish families. It’s going to blow your mind.

If you’re within hailing distance of Philadelphia, you can see Barbara live in a few months. She’ll be one of the authors reading at Galactic Philadelphia’s June event (assuming that by then we’ve moved past the current constraints imposed by the Corona virus pandemic).

LMS: Welcome, Barbara. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

BK: I have always been a fan of 18th and 19th century British literature — Dickens, Austin, the Brontes, Collins — and so after I graduated college, I decided to save up my money so I could take a trip to Great Britain. I got a job as an editorial assistant at a travel magazine, lived with my parents, and saved up for two years. Then I bid farewell to my job, bought an airplane ticket, arranged to spend the first three nights at what sounded like a reasonably priced London hotel, and went off on my adventure. I was 23.

On the flight over, I met a young woman a little older than myself. We hit it off immediately, and since she didn’t have any place to stay (her boyfriend had split up with her the day before they were due to go, leaving her only with the plane ticket), we decided to share my room.

The History of Soul 2065

The plane landed in London early in the morning. We shared our cab with an older couple — a husband and wife — who, it turned out, had reservations at the same hotel. The woman, obviously the more outgoing of the two, chatted happily with us all the way.

The hotel turned out to be a large, run-down, old-fashioned building that looked as if it hadn’t been refurbished since Edwardian times. We were surrounded by scarred, dark wood, seats with stuffed cushions curved by years of use, and a few lamps unenthusiastically pretending to light the lobby. I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d been greeted by a ghost; instead, the staff was made up of a group of not-quite-awake, resentful men who reluctantly showed us into what they called the tea room — equally dark, equally dusty. Our rooms, they told us, would be ready in about an hour. Maybe.

One problem: we were all famished. The food on the airplane (they were still serving meals on airplanes) had been practically inedible, and according to the staff, no restaurants in the area were open yet. The older woman waylaid one of the hotel staff and asked whether they had anything to eat. The kitchen is closed, he told us, but then admitted reluctantly that they could probably manage some sandwiches. Perfect! The woman immediately ordered enough sandwiches for all four of us.

Lost Signals

About 15 minutes later, the man came out with a small tray of tiny finger sandwiches — thin slices of white bread with the crusts cut off, with some kind of fish paste spread so stingily that you had to squint to find it. My friend and I stared at each other, dismayed. I felt like crying. Was this my welcome to my great adventure?

Luckily, the older woman wasn’t at all fazed. “This is ridiculous,” she said loudly, apparently unashamed to act the pushy American. “We’re four hungry adults, and this won’t feed a flea. Where is your kitchen?”

I was astounded at her chutzpah, but obviously the staffer felt he wasn’t being paid enough to argue with an apparently crazy woman and led her to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the two of them came out pushing a cart laden with thick ham and cheese sandwiches and a large pot of tea.

They were the most delicious sandwiches I think I have ever eaten.

Thanks, Barbara. Sometimes it’s good to be the ugly American, albeit maybe not so much in the current political climate. Then again, it’s not like most of us are doing any traveling in the near future.

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