Food and Fiction

Over ten years ago, in the early days of the interweb, I started up a cooking website called Cookings.  It was a recipe and cookbook review site that was fun at the time, but now looks pretty clunky – especially as I haven’t updated it in over five years. Now it would be a blog, I guess.

Back in those days, I seemed to spend more time cooking and having dinner parties than I can imagine having time to do now.  There’s one main difference – now with three children in the family, we’re just to busy.

One of the stories in Cracks in the Ceiling is The Dinner Party.  It follows four couples in their mid-fifties, who have known each other all their adult lives, as they prepare for and then get together for a dinner party.

What can we bring?” is a question that always gets asked in these situations, and each of the couples deals with this in a different way.  Their choices about what they cook, and how they make their choices, reflect the state of their lives and relationships.

I couldn’t resist inserting some of my own favourite dishes into the story, and one of the couples offers to provide the starter, and chooses to make “Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Chocolate”.

It’s by Molly Wizenberg, and you can find it in her book A Handmade Life.  It’s a delicious dish, with the bitterness of the arugula (or rocket) balanced beautifully by the chocolate.  

Molly is a well known blogger at Orangette,  but as far as I can tell, the recipe isn’t on her website, so here is a link to a page from the book, at Google books.

More recipes from The Dinner Party in a later post.

On Sale!

Yesterday I completed the uploading process, and after a few hours, Cracks in the Ceiling – Tales of Turbulent Times went live last night on the kindle store.

It’s a big landmark in both my professional career and my person life.   Looking forward to celebrating over the weekend.

Then this week: uploading to more on-line stores, sweating on reviews, promoting the book and starting on the next projects:  making a TROPFEST entry, and writing a novella with the working title Cake Knives Don’t Kill.


On Covers

As the writing process drew to a close, I had to turn my attention to the cover for the book.  After shipping my precious manuscript off to the editor (well, emailing it), I set about trying to describe the book so a designer could respond with a cover.  Finalising that description had to wait until the title was settled, which happened about half way through the editing process – but that’s another story.

A friend has used for a bunch of design work, so that’s the road I
chose.  I posted the brief, set the budget, invited a few recommended designers, and then . . .waited, but not for long,  As it turned out, the wining deisgn came in on about day 2 of the 10 day project run.

I am thrilled with the winning entry, but not so impressed this time around with the number of entries, and the quality of the entries at large.  In the end, I had two great deigns to choose from, from two designers who had responded thoughtfully and imaginatively to the brief.  The other designs submitted I thought were superficial “quickies”, that didn’t really rank with the others.  Next time, I’ll frame the brief a little differently.

So, here’s the cover I’ve chosen.  It looks good as small and medium sized icons (for the ebook stores) and great full-size if I ever have the book printed.

Why write a collection of short stories?

One of the first ebooks I read on my kindle was A Land of Ash, edited by David Dalglish.  It is a collection of short stories written by a group of writers branching out from their usual sci-fi genre.

The context for the whole book is that the Yellowstone Caldera has “blown”,  the western part of the US is buried under metres of deadly ash, and a global calamity is unfolding.  Each of the short stories in the book is set in this time, but each is different – some are set close to the Caldera, and therefore oblivion is imminent – others are farther away.

This gave me the idea of writing a collection of stories set in the current time – in the context of the Global Recession, or Global Financial Crisis.  The stories are not about the GFC as such, but are set in its wake.

Each of the stories has its own perspective, reflecting the struggles and hopes of ordinary people as they cope with the circumstances that are dealt them: losing their jobs and homes, helping friends in trouble, making their own success, having to move across town or across the world to survive, having to go back to work after losing their retirement savings.

This unifying theme has allowed me to explore a range of issues, points of
view and writing styles while creating a coherent work that is hopeful, insightful and at times humorous.

Cracks in the Ceiling will be available soon on all good ebook platforms.