Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wined, dined, and read (blog hop)

I am so pleased to be invited by my friend, James DiBenedetto, author of the Dream series, to take part in this cool blog hop, which poses the idea that nothing goes better with a scrumptious meal and a glass of aromatic wine than a good book. Want to feast with me? Here is a bite and a sip:

If your main character were a glass of wine, which one would they be? 
David in my new novel, A Peek at Bathsheba, would be a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, produced in an ancient vineyard in the Galilee mountains, of succulent, smooth-textured grapes. Here he is, offering a glass to Bathsheba:

In a manner of greeting I raise my goblet. It is a gift from my supplier, Hiram king of Tyre, and unlike the other goblets I have in my possession, this one is made of fine glass, with minute air bubbles floating in it. With a big splash I fill it up to the rim with red, aromatic wine. In it I dip a glistening, ruddy cherry, and offer it to her, with a flowery toast. 
“For you,” I say. “With my everlasting love!”
Bathsheba takes the goblet from my hand, and raises it to her lips. “Love, everlasting?” she says, raising an eyebrow. “What does that mean, in this place?”
I hesitate to ask, “What place is that?”
“This court,” she says, with a slight curtsy, “where the signature feature is a harem, which is as big as the king is endowed with glory.”
“Glory is a good thing,” say I, lowering my voice. “But sometimes it is better to meet in the shadows.”

Describe your book in one meal: 
No one can describe it better than my character in A Favorite Son:

When I sprinkle my secret blend of spices—here, take a sniff, can you smell it? When I chop these mouthwatering sun-dried tomatoes, add a few cloves of garlic for good measure, and let it all sizzle with lentils and meat—it becomes so scrumptious, so lip-smacking, finger-licking, melt-in-your-mouth good!
There is a certain ratio of flavors, a balance that creates a feast for the tongue and a delight for the mind. And having mastered that balance, with a pinch of imported cumin from the north of Persia, a dash of saffron from the south of Egypt, I can tell you one thing: when the pot comes to a full bubbling point, and the aroma of the stew rises up in the air—it would make you dribble! Drive you to madness! For a single bite, you would sell your brother, if only you had one! 
I hear no arguments from you. Of course, your mouth is full! Here, here’s a napkin. There, there, wipe your chin.

What candy would your book be? 
My book Twisted would be a bright Red Licorice Candy, twisted. Unfortunately, my character is so poor she would die to have anything to eat:

“All the while there I stood, right in front of their long table, trying not to fold over with the pangs of hunger, spotting the bread crumbs on the floor, and bracing myself with nothing but my pride so I don’t bend down before them.”

What does your book smell like? 
There are so many smells evoked in my novel Rise to Power, and the smell of bread is but one of them:

Eliab seems to swoon at the sight of food, and at once his eyes tear up. It must be more than a simple hunger. 
Perhaps it is the memory of the warmth of our kitchen back home, when steam puffs up the dough, just before it cools down to create the air pocket in the center of the bread. Or else, it is the touch he remembers, the touch of my mother’s hand as she sprinkles some sesame seeds all over the top.

Your book’s snack would be: 
My book Apart From Love has many tasty snacks hidden in it, and the cool swirl atop an ice cream cone is but one of them:

The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do: so I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, which was dusting off the glass shield over the ice cream buckets, and stacking up waffle cones here and sugar cones there. From the counter I grabbed a bunch of paper tissues, and bent all the way down, like, to pick something from the floor. Then with a swift, discrete shove, I stuffed the tissues into one side of my bra, then the other, ‘cause I truly believe in having them two scoops—if you know what I mean—roundly and firmly in place. 
Having a small chest is no good: men seem to like girls with boobs that bulge out. It seems to make an awful lot of difference, especially at first sight, which you can always tell by them customers, drooling.

Describe your most memorable meal: 
My most memorable meal is the Passover meal back with my family in my childhood, which is why I let my character recall the scene in Apart From Love:

If I were to focus strictly on my parents, ignore the entire background of this place, and let the clutter and the smell of it just fall away, this could take me back to a different time, a time in my childhood, when our kitchen table was set for the Passover meal. What comes back to me first is the tinkle, as my father finished blessing the wine, and clinked his glass against hers, against mine.
I remember: the table was draped, all the way down to the floor, with mom’s best, rarely used tablecloth, made of the smoothest ivory satin you ever touched. Dad sat at the head of the table, mom to his right, I opposite her. 
All day long she had been cooking, which infused the air with a wonderful aroma. In it you could detect a sharp whiff of horseradish and of gefilte fish and sweet brisket and red cabbage and roasted potatoes, all of which made my stomach growl. It went on growling until he finished reading the long, archaic text in the Hagadda, which meant little to me, except a vague notion of the utter futility of patience.  
I remember: my mother ladled the clear, golden chicken soup and set it here, steaming before my eyes, with three matzo balls floating inside, which was her way of giving. “It’s hot,” she said. “Make sure to blow on it first.” Yes, the smell of her cooking was good, but then, the taste! Just wait till you took the first bite—

One food word to describe your writing style: 
I would describe my writing style as layered, much like Lasagna, with each layer having a different flavor and a different texture that complements the entire dish. This is particularly true of my book Home, which is peppered with both poetry and short stories.

At first, she imagined, the doorknob would reflect, with its shiny distortion, the image of her youth. It would feel her hand—warm and firm, in those days—as she pushed the door open, letting the children out to play, and later calling them back in for lunch, after which she would clear the table, mop the floor, wash the dishes and wipe them dry. She would even wipe the doorknob. It felt polished and happy.

What will someone find you eating/drinking when you’re really into a good book? 
I would be munching on a chocolate chip cookie, and when that’s gone, the next one, dunking it from time to time in a glass of milk.

Sweet or Salty? 
There’s no question about it: sweet!

I hope you are enjoying this blog hop, which will continue next week with these fabulous authors:
  • Suzanne Zannis Jenkins is author of the Pam of Babylon books, The Greektown Stories, including The Greeks of Beaubien Street, The Princess of Greektown, and Christmas in Greektown, Someone Like You, Alice's Summertime Adventure, The Savant of Chelsea and Atlas of Women  Her upcoming post for this blog hop will appear on her blog.
  • Sherri Christian AKA Christian Ashley is the author of Historical Romance, Paranormal Fiction, and Erotic Fantasy. Her upcoming post will appear on her blog.
  • Dellani Oakes Started writing drama scripts, which are dialog heavy and character driven, this aspect has followed her into her novel writing. Her upcoming post will appear on her Blog 
  • Aaron Paul Lazar is a mystery writer with many books, most notably the Gus LeGarde mystery series. His upcoming post will appear on his blog  and the Murderby4 blog.


  1. I love the way you incorporated several books to the questions and excerpts from them. Great post, Best wishes for the GREATEST success.

    1. Oh thank you so much Catalina! And best wishes to you and your work, too :)