Novel Noshing: Foods Inspired By Our Novels and Characters, Part 4


Welcome Back!  Today’s headlining picture makes me think of my favorite thing about autumn baking…apples and cinnamon.  Here in the North Country, Autumn is in full swing.  Cool, crips nights, and sun-shiny days illuminate the colorful trees here in the Adirondacks.  It’s the season for steamy drinks, comforting casseroles, warm breakfasts to get us started in the morning.

Which brings me to our featured author of the week.

For this fourth installment of my series, I present to you author Melody Winter, and her soon-to-be-released novel, INIQUITY.  Here is Melody, with a bit about her upcoming release.


Village life for my characters in Iniquity is hard. Food is limited, and meat scarce. But the one meal that’s made every morning is a hearty bowl of porridge. The men need a filling breakfast to see them through a day working at the fields, and the women usually eat their fair share as well. The weather is cold, miserable and it often rains, hence a stomach full of warm porridge is a good start to everyone’s day.


Athena mentions having to soak the oats overnight. This was a traditional way of making porridge. For each serving, the equivalent of 50 grams of oats was added to a mix of 300ml water and goats milk if it was available. The following morning it was cooked in a large metal pot over hot coals, stirring constantly until it boiled, and then stirred again for a further ten minutes.

Unfortunately, in Iniquity there isn’t much else you can add to the porridge as fruit and other plant growth is severely hindered by the lack of sunlight. The villagers only grow the necessities.

INIQUITY is due for release on the 25th October, available through amazon, or a signed paperback direct from Melody. The ebook is currently available for pre-order at a special discounted price on amazon: Link to Iniquity on amazon US Link to Iniquity on amazon UK

Email Melody:

About the author:

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.


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Novel Noshing: Foods Inspired By Our Novels and Characters, Part 3


Welcome back, Readers!  The picture above, which fits our literary/food theme so well (and apples for Fall…what could be better!), comes to us from  The caption under their photo states, “From Proust’s Madeleines to William Faulkner’s Mint Juleps, great literature has always influenced readers’ experiences of food.”  Even though I focus this blog series on new novels, and the authors who wrote them, the sentiment rings true.

For today’s installment of my food-tastic blog series, I introduce you to author CC Dowling…and Liv, the main character of her novel, CONDUIT.  To get us started, here is a scene from the novel which mentions the recipe included here.

Set up: Liv is on her way out the door for the first day of school when she spots breakfast.

        As I head to the back door to get my bike, something in the kitchen catches my eye. Pancakes! I drop my backpack with a thud and belly-up to the breakfast counter.

      Elia knows I can’t resist her almond meal and flax seed pancakes with pure Grade B maple syrup. I dump way too much syrup on the plate before unfolding the note that’s in serious danger of becoming sticky.


Today is a big day for you, the first of many to come. I read in an online article that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know, I know…the debate rages on. Just in case it’s true, I hope you will consider this pancake offering as brain food—not that you need any help.

I’m so proud of you.

Knock em dead.



      Tears fill my eyes, threatening to spill over and streak my mascara. Using the note as a fan, I dry my tears, resisting the urge to rub and smear my mascara. When I’m sure the moment is passed, I toss the note into my backpack and lick every last crumb from my plate before putting it in the sink.

Now, in her own words, here is Liv Hartley, from CONDUIT, by CC Dowling.

Hello everybody! My name’s Vivienne Hartley, but you can call me Liv for short. I’m a freshman studying naturopathic medicine at the California College of Natural Health in sunny Fallbrook, just north of San Diego. A few fun facts about me: I ride my bike everywhere, when I’m not jumping through dimensional portals; I’ve died once already and it isn’t fun, I don’t recommend it; and I have a love of food. Seriously, I can’t get enough, especially when my mom cooks. Her all organic, health conscious food with ‘tude makes even my grumpy afterlife caseworker mumble a polite request for seconds.

So, in the spirit of sharing (Ha! Yes, even the dead like puns), here is the recipe for Elia’s famous-to-me gluten free, paleo friendly, banana and cinnamon pancakes she made for me the first day of school. Because she loves me. And because she rocks.


Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

  • 1 ½ cups pancake mix (obviously, Elia makes hers from scratch. But I’m a student. I don’t have time for that.)
  • 1 1/3 cup Almond Milk (I used sugar free because I don’t need the extra sugar.)
  • 1 ½ very ripe banana (Either fresh or frozen is fine.)
  • 1 to 2 tsp cinnamon depending on taste
  • 1 Tbsp Raw, organic Cacao powder (Or more to preference.)
  • For added flavor you can add a pinch of sea salt and/or vanilla or almond extract
  • Actually, you can add anything you want. I mean, be creative people



  • Mix ingredients with a blender. Why? Because it’s easier. If the mixture isn’t runny enough, you can add either more almond milk or water until desired consistency is reached.
  • Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat and add a dollop of coconut oil.
  • Cook pancakes in batches depending on size of pan. Also, if the pan gets too hot, you can remove it from the flame for about sixty seconds and then resume cooking.
  • When you’re done, garnish with blueberries and grade B maple syrup. Also, if you have a study hangover from the night before, and you want to treat yourself right, you can add chocolate chips into the batter. Your mouth will thank you. Trust me.


Ta da! Congratulations! You now have amazing, delicious brain food to last you the day. Well, at least until lunch. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you add to your reading list CONDUIT, Book 1 of the Infinity Series, written by CC Dowling. It’s a story about me trying to figure out the afterlife, and how to have a life. You might have to wait until 2017 to get that novel into your hot little hands, but you don’t have to wait to enjoy my favorite pancakes.

OH! Also, if you have a brilliant, amazing, utterly yummy idea on how to improve said pancakes, please leave a comment, and I will try them all. Uh, probably.  Maybe. Depending on what you suggest.


Two things happen to Liv Hartley the day she turns eighteen: Freshman orientation and a tattoo. College she’s got covered. After all, she was a senior when she died the first time. The tattoo, that’s something new.

Liv quickly discovers there are consequences to bearing the coveted infinity symbol marking her as a Conduit—a reincarnated messenger of the Otherworld. When reaping souls, dodging a possessive demon, and straightening out her love life are the least of her worries, she’ll soon realize that getting a second chance doesn’t mean getting a better one.

With more questions piling up than either answers or bodies, there’s only one thing Liv knows for sure. Life doesn’t get any easier after death.

About the author:


When she was a child, CC Dowling knew two things. That she would never have kids, and she would be a writer, which makes her right half the time. CC currently lives in America’s finest city with her grade schooler (who plays in the back yard with the faeries), her toddling daughter (who loves everyone and can’t stop smiling), her husband (the financial shaman), her aussie (with mesmerizing blue eyes), and her very real pet dragon (who guards the perimeter of her house at night). When she’s not working or writing (which is still technically working), CC can be found lost in a good book and a dark piece of chocolate, or desperately trying to figure out which pair of sandals are the most appropriate for the harsh Southern California winters.

Her debut novel, CONDUIT, is the first in a New Adult Paranormal series.

Novel Noshing: Foods Inspired By Our Books and Characters, Part 2


Welcome back, Readers!

For today’s post in this series, I introduce author Carys Jones, with a recipe inspired by her novel, Dare To Dream, published by REUTS Publications.  Here is a blurb about the book, from the publisher’s website:

“Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.”


Here is Carys Jones, in her own words.

I chose a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes to represent the character of Maggie from Dare to Dream. In the book, Maggie is plagued by nightmares of red lightning which ultimately destroy the world, hence why I leaned towards a red dessert.

Maggie is a sweet natured girl with hidden depth (like a great cupcake). Whilst not rich she is intense.


Dare to Dream is published through Reuts publications and is currently available from all online retailers –


Red Velvet Cupcakes–As inspired by Maggie in Dare to Dream

What you’ll need;

  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 grams butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red food colouring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 millilitres buttermilk


What to do; 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325°F, and fill two muffin tins with paper cases
  2. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a different bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Then beat in the food colouring and the vanilla extract
  4. Add the eggs and flour into the mix, beating continuously so that everything becomes a nice thick paste.
  5. Finally beat in the buttermilk and then spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. To check if they’re done, pierce a cake with a skewer or knife and if it comes out clean then your cakes are done.
  7. Leave them to cool on a wire rack before adding the frosting.


For the Topping you’ll need;

  • 500 grams icing sugar
  • 125 grams cream cheese
  • 125 grams butter


  1. Mix the icing sugar, cream cheese and butter together.
  2. Whisk thoroughly until smooth.
  3. Carefully ice each cupcake (once thoroughly cooled)
  4. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and red sugar if desire.
  5. Enjoy!


Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.

To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

For more information about Carys please visit or follow her on Twitter; @tiny_dancer85

Novel Noshing: Foods Inspired by our books and Characters, Part 1


Welcome, Readers!

The photo above, shows a Great Gatsby-inspired meal.  From the website, it states: Waldorf Salad in a lettuce cup, and deviled egg, photographed in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.  I think it’s a great photo, and really sets the tone for what this blog series is about.

Today begins a month-long series, where some of my writerly friends and I will be sharing a little bit about our books, and recipes and foods which are inspired by them.  I intend to share a new post each week of October, highlighting an author or two, each time.

Planning this series was meaningful to me.  Foods and customs help to shape who we all are.  When writing, it’s important to include those types of things, because it helps create character depth, and brings a more intimate knowledge of the story to light.  When I read a novel, I want to feel like I live with those characters for a while.  This blog series is an attempt to bring you, the Reader, closer to living within the pages of our novels.  Join us!

For the first post in the series, I introduce you to J.M. Frey, the author of The Accidental Turn Series.  Here she is, posting in her own words.




Bevel Dom’s Questing Cuisine

by J.M. Frey

One of the most fun parts of world building is figuring out the cuisines of the world. What grows in this climate? What is their staple grain? How often do they go to market? What kind of growing season do they get? Do they trade with neighbors, or neighboring counties, or neighboring countries? Do the highborn eat the same foods as the peasantry? Who gets to hunt on what land, and what sort of creatures do they consider food-animals over pet-animals?

For my novels and novellas in The Accidental Turn series, I firmly established a world where bread, cheese, European-style fruits and root vegetables, and farmed meat were the standards of faire. But my rogue and roving heroes – Kintyre Turn and Bevel Dom – were more likely to live off the land. Venison, eel, dried fruit and nuts, and foraged potatoes were more their speed. And in a world were exotic spices were non-existent and everyone – everyone human that is – had a kitchen garden filled with the same herbs, Bevel kept a string of cylindrical tins attached to his sword belt, and the spice blends he’d wheedled out of centaur chefs and night elf kitchen maids were his greatest treasure.

In his seventeen years as a roaming sword-for-hire, Bevel developed several clever and ingenious ways to serve up road-rations and just-caught creatures to make them palatable to two hungry Heroes. Here is one of them:

Bevel, trying to break through the heavy atmosphere, hands one of the leaf-wrapped packages to me, and the other to Kintyre. Wordlessly, Kintyre holds it out to Pip, and Pip, equally wordlessly, takes it. I take my own from Bevel, accepting the temporary truce, and it is still hot; it singes my fingertips a little. It steams as I unwrap it, and I am pleased to see that it is a sort of roll made up of meat wrapped around dried fruit. It is juicy and delicious, and I realize how hungry I am on the first bite.

“We’ve been doing this part of adventuring wrong,” Pip moans around her own mouthful.

Bevel pinks again. “I’ve had a long time to practice. Luckily, Kin was willing to put up with my experimentation.”

 “And I’m lucky Bevel actually enjoys cooking and was willing to experiment,” Kin says around a mouthful. “We got sick of standard travel fare pretty quick.”



  • Venison, pounded flat (rehydrated from salted jerky is fine, if you have the time to soak it for a few hours), at least the size of your hand.
  • Dried berries – plums, cranberries and raisins preferred – rehydrated by soaking them in whatever liquor you happen to have to hand. Soak them for at least an hour.
  • Some dried nuts, roasted in a pan over your cookfire, if you like.
  • Large, thick, non-poisonous leaves – an acceptable equivalent in the Overrealm would be Banana leaves. Tinfoil would also be acceptable.
  • A Centaur Sweet and Savory Spice Blend – the Overrealm equivalent would be cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, sea salt, white pepper, and thyme blended to taste.


Build up your camp fire in advance so that by the time you’ve prepared your rolls the embers are hot and cherry red.  Pour three handfuls of dried fruit into your travel cup and soak it with liquor – whiskey, sherry, or brandy work best. Wait until all the liquid has been absorbed into the fruit; while you’re doing that pound your cuts of meat flat and lay them on the leaves. Muddle and chop the fruit and nuts together, and spread a thin layer over the meat. Sprinkle with your spice blend. Roll the meat and fruit mixture like a scroll, fold the leaf around it (making sure to tuck in the edges to the fire doesn’t crisp them), and secure all with a bit of string soaked with water. Place the whole package on the edge of the fire, and leave for upwards of an hour, until the meat is at your preferred cooking level, or your companion is complaining of hunger. Serve with a trencher of bread if you have any. Potatoes, baked in the fire, work just as well.

Or, I suppose y0u could do it on the Barbeque, if you want to cheat.


J.M. is a voice actor, SF/F author, fanthropologist and professional smartypants on AMI Radio’s Live From Studio 5. She’s appeared in podcasts, documentaries, and on television to discuss all things geeky through the lens of academia. She also has an addiction to scarves, Doctor Who, and tea, which may or may not all be related. Her life’s ambitions are to have stepped foot on every continent (only 3 left!) @scifrey |

You can find out more about Bevel Dom and The Accidental Turn series here.


What would happen to your story in a fire?

This is something I have worried about as an author. There is some interesting info here! What steps do you all take to protect your work? Originally posted on the blog, Jeans Writing.

jean's writing

Or a flood, or should someone steal your computer?

I don’t know about you but, I’d have a freaking heart attack!laptop-fire

We’ve all know to back up our work. I do this religiously to an external hard drive. A hard drive that is in my closet, that would burn up with my laptop and house in a fire.

Geesh! Give me a minute while I bang my head on table.

September 15, 2016, the Associated Press reported about a fire. Nothing unusual about fires, they happen every day. Unless you are the victim. As was the case for Gideon Hodge a  novelist that realized his only copies  were on a laptop inside.

Mr. Hodge rushed past firefighters into the blazing inferno to save his computer.


Man dashes into house to save laptop, 2 completed novels from fire in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood BY MATT SLEDGE

So all of this got me…

View original post 352 more words

New Blog Series Coming In October!


Hello Readers!  This is a special S.M. Nystoriak’s Writer’s Block Announcement!

This October, I will be hosting a special blog series, featuring foods and recipes inspired by the novels we write. I am still coming up with a clever little title for it, but whatever the series title, this ought to be a lot of fun!

Each post in the series will feature an author, in their own words, discussing a food and/or recipe that somehow connects to their novel.  It’s been a lot of fun preparing for this, and I look forward sharing the series with you all.

I hope you will all tune in!


Autumn, Costumes…And Bruce Springsteen?


Hello, readers!  Welcome to Autumn!

With school in full swing now, and October on the horizon, my daughter has been asking about costumes.  I am now searching online daily for the exact costume she wants.  We will find it…eventually.  I only hope that when we do, it’ll arrive on time.

When I was younger, I remember dressing up as a 50’s girl, with a poodle skirt and bobbie socks.  As I got older, we would have school dances where we could show up in costume, which one time, I dressed up as Cyndi Lauper.  Hey! It was the 80’s, and for the record, I also had a Cyndi Lauper birthday cake that year.

Costumes are all about becoming someone or something else for a while.  During those years, I dreamed playing music in a pop band (Did I really just admit that???)  Being able to dress the part helped fill that need for me.  And plenty of my friends wanted to be Courtney Cox, before we even knew who she was (see below…)

Paul Natkin Archive

Bruce Springsteen and Courteney Cox at the filming of the video for Dancing in the Dark on 6/27/84 in Minneapolis, Mn. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

This post, so far, has been a trip down memory lane.  You might be surprised, though, because here comes my writerly tie in:   The act of writing fiction is like creating a costume, and the act of reading fiction gives you a new costume to wear for a short time.

Here’s why:  Fabulous words, draped over the body of reality, allow the reader to experience life as someone else for a bit.  It’s a beautiful thing.  As kids, how many of us identified with a hero or heroine, choosing to read books about those characters so that we could continue to experience that life a while longer?  Some of my favorite books as a small child, were created by Beatrix Potter.  I loved the costume-like world she created for her animals, and reading these books together with my parents ad my grandma Honey placed me directly into Peter Rabbit’s thicket, Hunca-Munca’s dollhouse, and Squirrel Nutkin’s tree.

As I grew older, I found that I wanted to spend more and more time with the characters of Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle, and Jean Shepard, among others.  Opening a book was as if I threw on a costume, becoming part of those character’s world.

I am grateful that I had the experience of wearing those literary costumes growing up, and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to create costumes for my readers.  It’s a wonderful thing.

What literary “costumes” were your favorites growing up?  How about now? If you are a writer, what “costumes” do you create for your readers?  Please share your comments!  I love hearing from you!

P.S.  In case you have now been inspired to watch Bruce Springsteen’s epic video for Dancing In The Dark, here it is!  Enjoy!