Eating Authors: T.S. Valmond

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Categories: Plugs
T.S. Valmond

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

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

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

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

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

TSV: My most memorable meal?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Courier's Code

“Would you like to order a wine?”

“Yes please, Two.”


“Yes, two.”

Out comes two full bottles of wine.

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

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

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

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

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

My friend: “Oh my!”

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

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

The Guardian's Code

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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

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