February 2023 Sale!

No Comments » Written on February 1st, 2023 by
Categories: Plugs
Ace of Corpses

If it’s February it must be time to put Ace of Corpses, Book One of the Freelance Courier series, on sale!

Beginning Sunday, February 12th and continuing through Saturday, February 18th, this ebook will be available for just 99¢ in the US and 99p in the UK (or FREE in KU) as part of an Amazon Countdown Deal.

Alas, as usual, Amazon only allows this kind of promotion in these two countries. Personally, I think it’s a huge snub to folks in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but until I achieve complete world domination, there’s nothing I can do about It. But rest assured, it’s on my list!

Be aware that it’s my intention to release a total of nine books in this series (three sets of three story arcs). I’ve already written and published the first set, and I’m working on Book Four right now. Yes, putting this title on sale is a shameless attempt to get you hooked and trick you into buying the other books. There’s I’ve said it.

Here’s the blurb:

To appease an alien senate, a newbie courier accepts what should be an easy gig: retrieving a misplaced corpse from a mausoleum world.

But the deceased is a planetary king, he’s not really dead, and he doesn’t want to go home!

Angela “Gel” Colson is not your typical Human teenager. She’s left her adopted father and siblings behind, scrounged enough cash to purchase a derelict spaceship, and started her own courier business taking jobs no one else wants.

All that may be true, but it’s not the real story. Gel only appears to be Human. She’s actually a mutant variant from a race of teleporting aliens who have hidden in plain sight for millennia. They don’t believe she can keep their secret. If she doesn’t convince them otherwise, they’ll resolve the problem by putting her to death!

Can she run her company, stay out of trouble, and not reveal her powers to outsiders? Not if the “corpse” has anything to say about it.

January 2023 Sale!

No Comments » Written on January 15th, 2023 by
Categories: Plugs

Way back in 2001, I wrote a short story about a stage hypnotist and his alien companion animal. It was only supposed to be a one-shot. Oops. Since then, I have returned to those same characters time and again, creating more stories, novellas, and novels, detailing their adventures and expanding their universe with a plethora of alien races.

You’d think that would have been enough, but no. Those books gave way to a spinoff, developing a minor character and giving her a series of her own. Enough already right? Nope. A year later, the first book of a second spinoff series appeared.

CONROYVERSE is a sampler, consisting of the first novels in each of these three series set in the same fictional universe. It also includes “Buffalo Dogs,” the short story that started it all. Here’s what you get:

BUFFALITO DESTINY (The Amazing Conroy)
Cleaning up Earth’s worst toxic waste site with omnivorous buffalitos seemed like a good plan, until ecoterrorists target the Amazing Conroy, stage-hypnotist-turned-CEO. Meanwhile, a tour bus of aliens is trying to convince him to embrace a mysterious purpose amidst ancient Mayan ruins.Now the fate of the Earth hangs on a single decision.Conroy will need all his hypnotic skills, the support of his best friend, and insight from his dead aunt, if he is to save himself, the buffalitos, and the planet. And just maybe, along the way, he’ll find his true destiny.

ACE OF CORPSES (Freelance Courier)
Angela “Gel” Colson is not your typical Human teenager. She’s left her adopted father and siblings behind, scrounged enough cash to purchase a derelict spaceship, and started her own courier business taking jobs no one else wants. All that may be true, but it’s not the real story. Gel only appears to be Human. She’s actually a mutant variant from a race of teleporting aliens who have hidden in plain sight for millennia. They don’t believe she can keep their secret. If she doesn’t convince them otherwise, they’ll resolve the problem by putting her to death!

SLICE OF ENTROPY (Pizza in Space)
Melody Wilder just needs to complete her dissertation and life will be perfect. Alas, that’s not going to happen. She hasn’t picked a topic yet, her undergraduate loans have been “un-forgiven” with a vengeance, the university is about to strip her of her stipend, her job, and her apartment, and a pirate-priest minotaur is systematically destroying all her hopes and dreams. Meanwhile, alien bear cub physicists are trying to extradite her best friend on charges of violating the laws of conservation of matter every time he makes a pizza! And things are just getting started.

For a limited time, from January 15th thru 21st, you can pick up the CONROYVERSE ebook for just 99¢ (or 99p in the UK) exclusively on Amazon (or FREE in KU).

In these times of global pandemics, weather disasters, and political stupidity, this is the kind of light, fun, escapist SF we all need!

My “Firm” Chicon8 (Worldcon 80) Schedule

No Comments » Written on August 12th, 2022 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags: , ,
Worldcon 80

The fine folks at Chicon8 have released a “for,” schedule and I have permission to share it with you. Things may change, but here’s the current plan. I’m still hoping to get a Reading, and that someone will come forward to set up the fan favorite Strolling with the Stars and that I’ll get to participate.

You may notice that all of my programming is over and done with by mid-afternoon. This is deliberate and I’m very grateful to the convention for accommodating my restrictive schedule. In theory, I should have more than enough spoons to do all these things (plus grab a restorative nap prior to going off to dinner).

Thursday, September 1st
2:30 pm | Randolph 1 | Relaxing Reads.
When the world is filled with stress, do you want low-stress, low-stakes novels? Our panelists discuss their favorite relaxing reads, and dig into what elements make something “cozy”. We’ll talk about how SFF stories that don’t revolve around action and saving the world can still be compelling reads, and invite our audience to share their favorites.
With Steven D. BREWER (m), Jeanne DeVore, Rachel Gutin, and Rachel Neumeier.

Friday, September 2nd
11:30 am | Crystal Foyer | Table Talk.
Small group discussion with me (I suspect advance sign-up is a requirement). Come by and we will talk about all the (Lawrence) things!

Saturday, September 3rd
2:30 m | Grand Hall I | Future Food.
Plant-based meat, golden rice, insect snacks, Soylent. We all need to eat, and that makes food an enormous market for innovation. Our panel considers which foods might become staples and which may become luxuries in the future.
With George Jreije (m), Elektra Hammond, P H Lee, Sara A Mueller, and Karl Schroeder

Sunday, September 4th
2:30 pm | Michigan 3 | The Art of Working With Illustrators and Cover Artists.
You’ve managed the writing, editing, and now just need your visual creative components. Does a cover artist also lay out the cover text, spine, and back cover design? Do you approach the same artist for all your visual needs, from covers to interior illustrations to logos? What are standard payment expectations and lead times for projects? Can’t you just do the art yourself, or with pictures you found online? Artists and publishers answer all these questions and more.
I’ll be moderating, and panelists include Stephanie hans, Esther Jones, Alex Shvartsman, and Alyssa Winans.

Monday, September 5th
10:00 am | Autographing | Signing.
I’ve written a bunch of books in the last couple of years. This is your chance to bring them so I can sign ’em. Plus, everyone who comes to the table gets a copy of my genuine Science Fiction Trading Card. Such a deal

It’s likely that some of the above will be in flux, and/or I’ll have supplementary information to share, but here’s where it all stands as this moment. If anything does change I’ll post an update.

April 2022 (what to expect)

No Comments » Written on April 4th, 2022 by
Categories: Plugs

I’m writing this on April 2nd (aka, Doctoral Day) but as I’m waiting on a couple links, I don’t expect to actually post this for several days. But lots of cool things (as relates to me and my writing) are happening this month and it seemed like a good plan to set up this page with all the relevant information in one place, so here we are.


Beginning on April 11th, I’ll begin crowdfunding a new collection, Transcendent Boston and other stories. It’s a very modest Kickstarter with a base funding goal of only $1000 (though if you want to push me to just under $42 million I suppose I’d be okay with it. There’s a variety of support levels and some nice stretch goals too. I especially like stretch goals because every supporter wins without having to spend any more money.

Many of the stories earmarked for the collection have previously appeared in specialty or share-world anthologies, and as such are now out of print. So the idea here is to take advantage of one of the perks of indie publishing and save these tales from oblivion.

Anyway, please check it out. That link leads to a place holder to tell you about the campaign and will allow you to ask to be notified when it goes live. One way or another, the book will come out in June. A successful campaign ensures there’ll be a trade paperback as well.


Next up, beginning on April 13th and running for three weeks, I’ll be included in the “Celestial Sagas” Story Bundle, which is a fancy way of saying Space Opera. My novel Slice of Entropy (book one of the Pizza in Space series) will be part of an assortment of books which you can pick up for one low price, and you get to set that price! Here’s the link for that.


But the big event for me this month is the release on April 26th of Soul Bottles, Book One of the Demon Codex series that I wrote with Brian Thorne. Long time readers will recognize my protagonist, a professor of demonic languages, from the short story “Fries With That” (available in my collection Sweet Potato Pie and other stories.

Books two and three will follow over the next two months, and it’s only fair to warn you you that Brian and I are working on several more books. Right now, Amazon has Book One available for preorder, but feel free to lock it in now while you’re thinking about it.

Eating Authors: Karen Heuler

No Comments » Written on August 9th, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
Karen Heuler

All good things come to an end, and I very much believe the ten years of EATING AUTHORS has been a very good thing. And it’s not exactly ending. I reserve the right to post the occasional author meal when inspiration hits, but yes, the weekly Monday morning posts end with this installment.

For those of you following me on Twitter, I’ll continue to post the Throw Back Thursday links to episodes three years in the past. I suppose that will continue for… three years. And of course all 500+ episodes are available on the master list which has a link on the my website.

The intention behind this series has been to give readers a glimpse at the writers behind the books. Ten years ago I imagined that authors might reveal something personal, even profound, when asked to talk about a meal that lingered in their memory. I still think that’s the case and I’m gobsmacked that so many people were willing to share those memories. If you’ve enjoyed them, my one request would be that you share the love by posting a review (or two). Authors appreciate that kind of thing.

All of which leads us, as you knew it surely must, to this week’s guest. Karen Heuler wrote her first book at the tender age of eleven and insists the manuscript is lost to us. Since then she’s bounced around between a wide range of jobs (more than a few in the publishing arena), wrote both short stories and novels, won an O. Henry award and numerous finalist kudos for such things as the Shirley Jackson award and Bellwether Prize. I think it’s fair to say that being a writer is her best destiny.

Next year the good folks at Angry Robot will be publishing her latest novel, The Splendid City. The equally fine (but less angry and robotic) folks at Wildside Press recently re-released her story collection, The Inner City.

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

KH: I went to the Galapagos and the Amazon thirty years ago, having made a few reservations here and there at the small tourist lodges— no electricity, some with no running water, etc.— after going on a very modest boat (8 passengers) through the Galapagos. My plane to Ecuador landed on the day that the U.S. state department warned all American travelers to avoid Ecuador because of terrorists. For my first night in Ecuador, I had a reservation at a small hotel which sent a bus to meet the plane. I was the only passenger on the bus.

The Inner City

I’m a vegetarian, so I had brought packages of powdered beans with me and hoped for the best. Pickings were slim, and I soon ran out of beans. On the boat, I was able to bargain my serving of fish for someone else’s rice or vegetables.

The Galapagos were wonderful—whether it was swimming with seals, watching the sea lions splash, penguins popping up unexpectedly, or walking down the trails past the blue-footed boobies. It was spectacularly weird. There were all sorts of surprises, even without the animal life. The boat’s toilet flushed by using a hand pump, and I overpumped once and it exploded. But we motored on.

The other passengers and I would point at things surfacing in the water and shout out the name of the wrong animal. Sharks for penguins, cormorants for seals.

After the Galapagos, I made my way (bus, car, canoe) to a tourist lodge in Ecuador’s Oriente, which had only three other tourists. It was great, because I had a guide all to myself and we canoed the river and visited small villages with raised huts. He told me about the giant snakes that lived in the river bends and could rise up and grab us.

Glorious Plague

There are mestizo villages along the river (one street running down to the water) with a few essential shops (plastic buckets; rice). Nothing for me. I traveled from a lodge in Ecuador to a lodge in Peru.

It was bargain time again, trading where I could in order to get enough to eat.

Somewhere along the trip I saw a tourist munching a bag of corn nuts. The image lingered and I began to lust after those corn nuts. From then on, whenever I ended up near one of those little shops, I would search fruitlessly for them.

I was hungry a lot of the time and those corn nuts represented some American salty goodness, a satisfaction that was out of my reach. They became an obsession for weeks afterwards as I scrambled to find enough to eat. There were fewer and fewer tourists to try to exchange foods with.

Finally, I left Peru on a boat going down the Amazon. It didn’t have many passengers, but it had the biggest spider I’ve ever seen (I’d seen a lot of large spiders by then), and we ended up in Manaus, Brazil. A really large city! With restaurants! I found one that had — of all things — cream of mushroom soup on the menu, and it was Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. I ordered it, and then I ordered it again. It was the most delicious meal I’ve ever had. Something to eat, something familiar, and while of course I knew it wasn’t local or exotic, it was delicious and out of place, as I was. I’ve never forgotten it. Every spoonful was superb. I’ve had great vegetarian meals before and after, but nothing that so magnificent or reassuring.

When Things Get Dark

There was a lot I hated about Manaus, which was poor and disheartening. I met some young travelers who were going to stay at a hut with a local family across the river. The hut had a hole in one section of the floor for a toilet, and when I looked down, I could see a few fat frogs. I instantly remembered reading about such a thing in, I think a Peter Matthiessen book — frogs staking out the toilet to eat the flies that were drawn there.

That hut also had the second biggest spider I’ve ever seen. Three spiders, in fact, lined up on the wall like family portraits.

I went back to Manaus. And then I found a store that sold corn nuts!
I’ve never really liked corn nuts, and I didn’t then, either, but I ate them all. I’ve never had them again, I’ve never longed for them again, but every once in a while, I heat up a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, and I think how good, how very good it is.

Thanks, Karen. I really wish I could think of something pithy and inspiring to say about Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, or perhaps a remark about the global reach of American purveyors of soup, or even a tie-in to my novella Soup of the Moment. But I can’t. All I can think of are Grace Drayton’s Campbell Soup kids and the slogan mmmmm mmmmm good.

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.


Eating Authors: Sanam Asif

No Comments » Written on August 2nd, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
Sanam Asif

I’m a creature of habit. I don’t like change. Which explains why once I settle into a routine I’m all about inertia and am unlikely to budge. A couple instances to illustrate this: I’m coming up on a 1500 day streak of daily language study on Duolingo. Need another example? Well there’s the small matter of ten years of this weekly blog, serving up the memories of meals of more than 500 authors.

I awoke this morning with the realization that breaking my inertia would be a good thing. A welcome thing. That the reason for doing something should be because I choose to do it, not because I’ve surrendered to the habit of it. So I’ll keep my Duolingo streak through 1500 days, and after I’ll still keep using the app to study languages, but if I miss a day, if my streak ends, that’s fine. Indeed, I might even get more pleasure out of it as a result.

And the same here with EATING AUTHORS. I’ll probably stop the weekly posting soon — I have a few other authors’ meals “in the can” and it would be unfair not to run them. But before the end of August, Mondays will come and go without the need for a post here. I may continue to do such posts, but going forward they won’t be regular or as frequent. We’ll see. Likewise, I’ll curtail the supplemental email that goes out to the folks who have subscribed to my newsletter. They’ll still get the monthly updates, but not the weekly Monday morning reminder and link to each current episode.

And we’re all going to be okay with that. Trust me.

But while I’m still here, let me do some good. This week’s guest is Sanam Asif, a Pakistani author who came to my attention when she reported how she’d gotten screwed over by a local publishing house. Sanam is an indie author trying to eke out a career in a country that apparently has little or no resources or support for indie authors. Fortunately, the community of indie authors is global, and quickly responded to her plight, with a couple of high profile members stepping up to offer to pay the printing costs that she incurred when the publishing house bailed on her. In that same spirit I reached out and asked her if I could do my part to boost her signal by featuring her here and help spread the word of her work.

And hey, maybe this being the week that I announce that I’m stepping away from this blog will make it a landmark of sorts that draws even more folks to check out her books. Bonus!

When she’s not writing fantasy romance, Sanam works from home as an Upwork freelancer, and also finds time to practice her entrepreneurial skills with an online natural skincare business. She’s married with two kids and a cat. She also introduced me to the word paracosm, which you’d think I’d know since I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.

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

SA: I am one of those people who enjoy their food. So, you can say I am a bit of a Foodie. Never in my life was I able to go on a diet because of my sheer love of food.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had high blood pressure and hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a fancy word for extreme nausea. So I was basically waiting for the baby to be born so I could enjoy a decent meal and keep it down.

Just Like Fire

Before I tell you about the most memorable meal of my life, let me give you a little intro about my Dad. He was the kind of man who wasn’t comfortable showing his affection. He was always strict with my siblings and me. But the day I gave birth to my daughter, something changed in him.

In Pakistan, it is customary for a woman to live at her parent’s home for a few days after giving birth. So when I came home from the hospital, my sisters were at work, and it was only me, my newborn daughter, and my parents. It has been ten years, but I still remember as if it were yesterday. My Dad asked what I wanted to eat, and I told him I want something spicy.

Crown of Fire

The man, who would never step into the kitchen, rushed to the market and got all the ingredients to make Haleem, a traditional Pakistani dish that includes wheat, barley, meat, and lentils. Then, following a recipe on Youtube, he prepared the meal, and all the while, I just stared in awe at him cooking. Since my mother had dementia and couldn’t cook, I knew he wanted me to feel loved and cared for.

Later, I helped him set the table, and it was just us three, me, my Mom, and Dad. The Haleem my Dad made for me that day is the most memorable meal of my life.

My parents are in heaven now, and no matter how many fancy meals I try, this one tops them all.

Thanks, Sanam. There’s surely no shortage of changes in parents when their children become parents, almost as if entering a new stage in your life signals a new stage in theirs (I’m thinking butterfly metamorphosis here). Then too, I have no kids, so maybe I’m just imagining this. But I don’t think so.

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.


Eating Authors: Wendy Van Camp

1 Comment » Written on July 26th, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
Wendy Van Camp

The last few days are a bit of a blur that included the three-day 28th annual conference of the Klingon Language Institute — or as we like to call it, the qep’a’ cha’maH chorghDIch. Unfortunately for me, a freak storm (though some insist a tornado was involved) hit my area late the day before the conference, toppling trees and pulling down power lines. It knocked out the power here for 46 hours and there was also the small matter of an electrical cable that hung five feet off the ground spanning the entrance to my driveway so for most of that time in addition to being without electricity, we couldn’t leave. I got by, carefully husbanding various battery packs and overtaxing the hotspots produced by my phone, managing to put in some limited time at the conference. Eventually the power came back, we dealt with the horror of what had gone on in the freezer, and I returned to the conference. It was, as it always is, glorious! We had over 100 people attending, connecting from all around the globe. Hard to believe that I started all of this 30 years ago on a lark.

But I overdid it at the conference Thursday through Saturday, and paid for that indulgence on Sunday. I was tired all day, to the point where it’s about 10pm as I write this for you to be reading at 7:30 tomorrow morning. So, sorry, but no segue to cleverly introduce Wendy Van Camp, who is this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest.

Typically, the people who share their meals here are novelists, but after 72 hours of speaking Klingon, I’m okay bending the rules a bit. Wendy doesn’t just write science fiction, but also regency romance and, more significantly, poetry. She’s also incredibly organized, as I learned when we did a panel together on “Juggling Multiple Projects” for SFFcon last month. And she’s old-school, making use of day-timers and filofaxes and notebooks, generating calendars and scheduling entire years in advance, freeing up time for working on her own projects.

Wendy is also the creator behind No Wasted Ink, a blog on the craft of writing that features author interviews, sci-fi and fantasy book reviews and poetry, and her a scifaiku poetry collection, The Planets was a finalist for the Elgin Award.

In addition, a little tidbit that I doubt she realizes, Wendy and I both attended James Gunn‘s Speculative Fiction Workshop (albeit during different years).

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

WVC: When Covid-19 arrived in March 2020, I remember feeling completely terrified of leaving my home and fearful because we had no food reserves in the house. The pandemic caught me unprepared.

The mail delivery system became my friend. To bypass the empty store shelves in my neighborhood, I learned to find small independent mail order groceries that still had supplies. Basics such as pasta, rice, flour, and canned goods slowly returned to my larder. We relearned how to bake bread and cooked everything from scratch. The cooking helped keep my mind off the troubles in the world.

The Planets

In October, our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary arrived. In the “before time,” as we now call the time before the pandemic, we would have treated ourselves to dinner out and perhaps catch a play. This anniversary, our entire state was in lockdown. No movie theaters were open. All our favorite restaurants did not allow a sit down meal. Delivery services were lackluster, even when they could find us. The best we could hope for was fast-food with a drive-thru window.

The afternoon of our anniversary, we settled into our car and drove toward the beach. The weather was warm. The wind through the car windows tasted of salt and seaweed. We played our favorite music on the radio and cruised through areas we used to visit when we were dating. We remained in our car to be safe.

Around four thirty, it was time to pick up our anniversary meal. One of our favorite restaurants was Ruth’s Chris. We love their steaks and have gone before for special occasions. The restaurant had no in-person dining along with a limited menu, but their take-out counter was still operating. I dropped my husband off and circled the lot because of no available parking spots near the restaurant. The restaurants in the complex had converted much of the parking lot to outdoor dining. The weather was hot, but a few brave souls were under the tents. Our restaurant had four little tables in front of it, all uncovered and in the hot sun. I was glad we had not considered that option.

The Curate's Brother

My husband remained inside for a quarter hour. Once he stepped out, I popped the trunk. In the back of our car, we had a pair of coolers. One for hot food and one for cold food. We packed the coolers according to temperature needs.

When we got home, I pulled out my china to set our table and opened a bottle of wine. We opened the coolers to see how the food fared during the forty-minute drive home. The steaks were still warm and perfectly done inside. Our baked potatoes were massive and flaky-dry as they should be. All the bread and sides were as good as they would have been inside the restaurant. The only thing that didn’t make the journey was the butter. It had turned into ghee. Opps. It had been in the wrong cooler.

We enjoyed every bite of that meal. It was a moment of semi-normality during a long period of stress that would continue to stretch out through 2021. I feel grateful for our home and for the years that I have spent with my husband. It was truly a memorable anniversary dinner.

Thanks, Wendy. The past months are a blur for many of us — and often that’s just as well — but it’s wonderful to read of someone who managed to carve out a lovely memory in there 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.


Eating Authors: Lisa Silverthorne

1 Comment » Written on July 19th, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
Lisa Silverthorne

The qep’a’ cha’maH chorghDIch begins later this week. For those that don’t speak the language, that’s the twenty-eighth annual conference of the Klingon Language Institute. It’s a lot like a family reunion (and indeed we’ve been doing this long enough that we have college-age second generation speakers who attend) but without the potato salad. Also, people tend to spit a bit more. We’ll be running virtual again this year, and last time I checked we had over eighty people signed up. The internet is a glorious thing.

And speaking of the internet bring people together, you may recall I was recently part of an online book bundle. Surely that’s segue enough to introduce you to this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Lisa Silverthorne, who was also a part of that limited offer.

Lisa has been publishing fiction for more than twenty years. This includes a dozen novels, two collections, and more than one hundred shorter works. She describes her writing as “heartfelt magical suspense.” This sometimes takes the form of paranormal angel romances (such as her A Game of Lost Souls series) and sometimes looks like genetic engineering or military science fiction. Somewhere in the middle she also writes paranormal time-travel ghost romances too.

She lives in Las Vegas, NV.

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

LS: My most memorable meal took place in my parent’s restaurant. World travelers, my parents had gathered favorite recipes from their travels and offered their own versions at the restaurant. It was the type of small college town, upscale restaurant that hosted many high school prom dinners and was packed on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and college football weekends. All the tables had lit candles, tablecloths, and cloth napkins. And the wait staff wore tuxedo shirts, black pants or skirts, and black bowties.

And this occasion wasn’t even a holiday. It was Dad testing out items from his newest menu, but it was a family dinner — one of the few I’d had since high school.


Tucked in a cozy booth lit with a crystal chandelier and a flickering candle, my mom, brother, and I sat with my dad. But he never sat long, always up dealing with restaurant issues.

The meal began with a crisp, lemony glass of Chilean chardonnay and buttery stuffed mushroom caps that burgeoned with crabmeat and parmesan cheese. The mushroom caps melted in my mouth and didn’t last long.

A hearts of palm salad followed with thin-sliced tomatoes, capers, red Bermuda onion slices, white asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It looked like artwork, every layer arranged in a circle and drizzled with dressing. Back then, every bite had been an evocative new flavor, the tangy capers, artichokes, and vinaigrette mixing with the mellow hearts of palm and asparagus. I’d never heard of hearts of palm back then, so I’d been intrigued with the whole notion of this salad and its combination of flavors.

The Cinderella Hour

After the amazing salad disappeared, I experienced my first taste of Bearnaise sauce in a dish my dad called Salmon Oscar. The flaky cut of salmon nestled on top of a layer of white asparagus and grated potatoes topped with crabmeat and Bearnaise sauce. The tarragon mixed with the rich sauce, the tender salmon asparagus, the potatoes almost grounding the dish with a hint of shallots and garlic. Accompanied by my first glass of merlot, rich and hearty like a warm autumn beach bonfire.

Long after the entrees and the wine disappeared, the final course was a white chocolate mousse cake with fresh strawberry sauce and cups of hot coffee. I was already beyond full, but my mom and I split the cake with its white chocolate mousse icing decorated with shaved white chocolate. The fresh strawberry sauce was the perfect complement to the fluffy mouse and white cake.

This meal remains one of my favorite meals. My parents are both gone now and so is the restaurant. It was a place where I grew up, a place I worked for well over a decade, and a place I learned to appreciate food and family. Lessons I will forever carry with me as I cook and share these recipes with others.

Thanks, Lisa. A surprising number of authors in this series have grown up in restaurants. There’s potential for a themed anthology there, or at least a heck of a fine dinner party with hours swapping entertaining stories (as well as a drinking game anytime a tale mentions a Hobart).

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.