Until 22nd February guests will be joining me to share their thoughts on love in many of its different forms: family love, friendship, passionate and contented love, compassionate love and love of food, music, animals, language and writing.What makes each post unique is that the feelings expressed are individual to every author. What brings these posts together is the underlying theme that love is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

As we enjoy our weekend rest, today’s theme of “Love of Food” is everywhere: the casual brunch we enjoy with a good friend, the romantic meal with a loved one, the family gathering at someone’s home. Good company and good food can make for a perfect occasion, as I’m sure today’s guests will agree! I’m thrilled to welcome Gregory Allen, Carolyn Chambers Clark, Shelli Johnson, Donna McBroom-Theriot, Kriss Morton-Weekley, Coral Russell and Todd R. Tystad to share their “Love of Food”.

Don’t forget to register your vote on the posts – just scroll down to the end of the post to leave your vote once you’ve finished reading. You can vote daily and one winning voter will get a character named after them in my next book, a signed copy of the new paperback edition, plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Two runners up will receive signed copies of the new paperback edition of In Leah’s Wake, plus a $25 gift card each.

And the guest authors can win too! The author who receives the most votes in one day during the event will receive an Orangeberry Social Butterfly package and a 5-day ‘Tweet Me a Storm’ package from Orangeberry Book Tours.


Love of Food in In Leah’s Wake

CakeShe’d lit the stove too soon and the griddle overheated. She fed the first batch of pancakes, the tops raw, the undersides charred, to the garbage disposal. Zoe ladled six more onto the griddle, frying them to a deep golden brown. She flipped the pancakes onto a plate, folded one on top in half and stuffed it in her mouth, and ladled six more. She’d used all but a cup of blueberries. She couldn’t refreeze them, and since she hated to waste perfectly good berries, she decided to make muffins, to freeze for later in the week.

As she slid the pan into the oven, she noticed the overripe bananas on the wooden tree by the sink, mixed batter for bread. While the banana bread baked, she whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. As a special treat, she made a pecan pie, Leah’s favorite.

By late afternoon, the house looked and smelled like a bakery, the counters lined with banana bread, fudge, chocolate chip cookies, lemon poppy seed cake, pecan pie.

A newly edited edition of In Leah’s Wake has recently been released with a paperback version due for release next week. The newly edited novel features a new chapter and several new scenes, adding new connections and insights, and tightens the book, cutting 60 pages – all while maintaining the integrity of the original edition.

For more information visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



Gregory Allen: Love of Food

Love comes in many forms. For me, I’ve had an affair with food my entire life. All you have to do is read the title of my blog ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Fat Guy is Skinny’ to truly get a sense of my number one obsession. And to the people that fight over sweet versus savory: I say ‘be gone or someone may drop a gingerbread house on you!’ Why must we choose? This big boy’s body craves both. When I know I’m going to be joining friends at a restaurant, there is nothing like waking that morning to think of what you’ll be dining on that night. What amazing appetizer will we start with? Will there be enough to share around the table or should we get a couple to ‘nibble on’? (Nibble. Yeah, right.) I’m the person always staring at that last chip sitting next to the cheesy-spinach dip wondering if someone is going to take it. The main course arrives and the dieters in the group are always picking at a leafy salad while I’m devouring some tasty protein smothered in the richest sauce known to mankind. (And if the waiter knows what is good for them, they’ve left the bread basket so I can soak up every last drop of the delectable goodness.) ‘Would you like to see the dessert menu’ are words that cause glances around a table. I breathe a sigh of relief when a friend wisely says ‘well take a look’ which means I know I’ll be ordering that sizzling apple cobbler with a scoop of ice cream or anything that has the word chocolate in the description. Yes, my love runs deep. And now after writing this; I simply can’t wait until my next meal when the affair continues.

Gregory G. Allen is the author of Well With My Soul, Proud Pants, the children’s book Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism and the upcoming Patchwork of Me. He is also a contributor to several online sites.


Carolyn Chambers Clark: Love of Food

Hello everybody, I’m speaking with candy addict, friend of Sigmund Freud the dachshund, and full-figure dress designer at Florida Fashions, Cookie Berelli, on the topic of food and love. Cookie, what is your take on love and food?

(Cookie refuses to put down the strawberry Twizzlers she’s been chomping on since I entered her design studio.)

Cookie, please, as a gourmet, or at least a lover of food and love, what is your take on the subject?

Excuse me, Carolyn, you just can’t eat one Twizzler now can you? The truth is, I love food and I love love. It’s easier to get food though, and I’ve collected my favorite recipes from my family and gave them to you to put in your novel, CANDY, MURDER & ME. Dad is Italian and he gave me his mom’s recipe for Blood Red Spaghetti Sauce and Bad Boy Meatballs. Can’t beat them on a cold and lonely Saturday night. And, of course, Ice Queen, Mom, is Norwegian, just kidding Mom. It’s true you can’t cook, but your baking is supreme. Must be a Norwegian thing.

Nana’s Kringlas are to kill for and Grandma Berelli’s Pralines are worth going to jail for. Nuff said .

But Cookie, what about love?

Love…hmm…that’s a harder nut to crack…there is that cute Andy Shea who bursts on the scene at my P.I.’s funeral. I’m not too sure what side he’s on. The only thing I’m sure about is every time I see him, I hear the love song from GONE WITH THE WIND. Is that love or something else?

Well, folks, I’ve been talking to Cookie Berelli about food and love.

I hope you’ve found a few tasty tidbits in here to chomp on.

Carolyn Chambers Clark is author of 20 nonfiction, health-related books and co-author of 20 fiction e-books. Find out more at http://freeandbargainebooks.blogspot.com and www.carolynchambersclark.com.


Shelli Johnson: Caramel Mocha Latte Love Potion

What I love about cooking is that you really can reach a person’s heart through his/her stomach. I know because I’ve done it. And not only that but you can find your own heart, too. Adding a splash of this & taking away a dash of that, you can find out how much passion you have, how much you’re willing to risk, what really matters to you. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll also get ideas for other things (& not just recipes either), this idea sparking that idea flashing into another idea. Like anything creative, too, it’s about connecting with people and making them feel something. And this crock-pot recipe for a love potion* (a.k.a. caramel mocha lattes) will make you & them feel joy.

Caramel Mocha

Prep. time: 5 minutes. Cost: Less than $5. Serves: 6.


  • 2 8-ounce cups strong brewed coffee (I used Starbucks Expresso grounds or you can just double the amount of coffee grounds you normally would use to brew coffee)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup liquid caramel** (I used Hershey’s Caramel Topping for ice cream ~ comes in a glass jar)
  • 1/2 cup liquid chocolate** (I used Hershey’s Hot Fudge Topping for ice cream ~ comes in a glass jar. Follow the label directions & microwave with the cap off for a minute before pouring)
  • Whipped-cream and chocolate shavings (optional but highly recommended)


  1. Add all of the above except whipped-cream & chocolate shavings into the crock-pot.
  2. Stir.
  3. Cover & cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
  4. Stir then ladle into mugs (refrigerate any leftover).
  5. Top with whipped-cream and chocolate shavings (optional).
  6. Be careful, it’ll be very hot.
  7. Enjoy!

*Love potion results not guaranteed.

**You can play around with this, use less or more depending on how sweet you like your mocha lattes.

Shelli Johnson worked as a sports journalist and an editor for many years before finally following her passion and pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. Publishers Weekly called her award-winning novel, Small as a Mustard Seed, ‘an intense & heartbreaking story of the fallout of war.’ It’s available now as an ebook.


Donna McBroom-Theriot: Food – A Celebration of Love

Here in the South, food is a way of life. We celebrate big. We love big. And, we eat big. We celebrate every occasion with a feast. Lavish banquets are set for weddings. We celebrate Christenings and birthdays with wondrous cakes and bar-b-ques. We celebrate every school graduation from Pre-K to high school with parties.

We Southerners are famous for our Sunday luncheons that include aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. And, when the occasion arises to include friends and extended family, a Boucherie or cochon-de-lait marks the celebration of friendship and love.

On my blog, I have written stories centered on food. Just recently, Hubby and a cousin joined me in a day of candy making and baking. When we cook, and when we bake, we think of those who will be sharing in the fruits of our labor, a labor of love. We cook for those we love.

The first way we show our babies that we love them is to feed them (right after the first kiss!) We honor our loved ones with a gathering of closest friends and relatives after we lay them to rest (and we eat.) Life is a celebration of love, and food celebrates love.

The common thread that winds itself throughout each special occasion in our lives is that they are each a celebration of love, and every celebration includes food. Giving someone food says, ‘I love you.’ Food is always given with a smile, and the knowledge that the giver gave his time and love to you.

So, whether you received a box of bought chocolates or a hand-made chocolate tart for this Valentine’s Day, know that the giver is giving with love (and food). Happy Valentine’s Day!

Donna says: “I’m a writer, a baker, and Southern Lady. Grab a glass of sweet iced tea and sit for a while. We Southerner’s love our visitors.”


Kriss Morton-Weekley: To Cook is To Love

I love food, not just the eating of it, but the emotions that are evoked from preparing it. Growing up I would be found helping prepare dinner. No matter how much we fought when we were cooking together the world stopped being crazy and the love would come through with each turn of the spoon. Because of this I will always associate cooking and good food with the love.

Becoming a wife and mother meant I got to share this love of food. There is a sense of pride and a passion to create a dish everyone at the table loves. To have the best cupcakes for school birthdays each year, and to make sure the chili for my husbands Monday Night Football gathering became legendary. . When you cook with that passion it says ‘I love You’, even in the simplicity of grilled cheese sandwich.

Amidst the chaos that reigned when my kids were younger and I considered the merits of committing myself, I could always find peace and balance creating a meal. Its how I rediscovered the love for the daughter who gave herself a mullet the night before school pictures or the son caught filming the cat with a barbie,a ball of yarn and some duct tape (he was attempting to make his Opus for Stupid Pet Tricks or so he said). I knew no matter they did or how stressed I was when they took the first bite and smiled I felt love and by the look on their faces they did too.

Kriss Morton-Weekley, of cabingoddess.com, writes a blog that is not just uniquely Alaskan but an eclectic collection of posts which she cooks, reads and reviews books, photographs and writes her Alaskan adventures with her unique sense of humor. Almost daily making you smile and wonder what it is they put in the water of Interior Alaska!


Coral Russell: I Love Food

I love food.

No, I really mean it. I LOVE food. Not as much as my family but it is right there at second place. I’m not talking junk food. I’m talking good food. Homemade. All different cuisines. There are very few things I won’t eat.

I learned from a TED talk that next to the brain, your digestive system has the most nerve endings. The scientist equated it to a ‘second brain’. There is one receptor telling you to eat and eight receptors telling you to stop eating. Seven of mine are broken.

The taste of food is an experience for me. I’ll have one more bite because of how good something tastes. Not my thin hubby. He’ll push his plate away saying, ‘I’m full.’

There is something sublime in a homemade cream puff, calzone, cookies, Turkey dinner with all the fixin’s, toffee. Valentine’s Day is a big deal around here. My hubby is a romantic. One year we hand-chocolate dipped strawberries, bananas, pretzels, nuts. I thought my daughter was going to dive in head first.

You have not lived, in my humble opinion, until you’ve eaten an aroma packed bowl of Vietnamese Pho (fuh).

So put down the that bag of Cheetos, McD’s, and live a little. Indulge a love of good food. My rule is, if I can make it, I can eat it!

Coral Russell is the author of horror novel Amador Lockdown and contributor to the horror anthology Playing with Fire. She also runs the book blog Alchemy of Scrawl.


Todd R. Tystad: For the Love of Food

Most people agree that it was Socrates who first said, ‘One should eat to live, not live to eat.’ Far be it from me to disagree with one of the world’s greatest thinkers, but I just have to wonder if we really can have it both ways. I propose, ‘Live to eat and share food with those you love.’

Love of food for me isn’t simply about the food itself. It’s about enjoying a multi-sensory experience with the people you share it with. We all need nourishment to survive, but sharing food with the people we love allows us to thrive.

When I think back to all of the food I’ve enjoyed with family and friends over a lifetime, it takes me back to the moments and experiences that make up the very fabric of who I am. I remember corn on the cob in my grandmother’s kitchen, scallops wrapped in bacon at a friend’s wedding, roasted red bell pepper soup with colleagues in the mountains, grilled steak served outside a livestock auction, wedding cake, PB&J, Thanksgiving turkey – the list goes on.

I come from a family where love is expressed through the food that is served and, sometimes unfortunately, through the quantity of food on the plate. The events that are anticipated and planned most meticulously are the shared meals that give us a moment away from the world outside and allow us to break bread with the people who we will hold in our hearts forever.

For me, the effort put into creating a meal and serving it to the people I care about is the best way to say, ‘I love you.’

Todd R. Tystad is an educator, author, and screenwriter. His most recent work includes Blue Hill and Seven Moments in Time. He has claimed South Dakota, Nebraska, and California as his home at one time or another and is always keenly aware of what’s on the menu.