I leave the stresses of the day behind me as I step out my door. The telephone, the possible writer’s block, the frustrations over my latest recipe, marketing materials… all of it just floats away with the breeze as I feel the sun caress my skin and take in the endless sand beach. I walk to the water’s edge, the wind combing its fingers softly through my hair. I dig my toes in the sand as the water kisses my feet, with rolling waves and white froth. The salty tang of ocean air coats my tongue.
I walk along the beach, each step bringing me farther from my troubles and more into the moment. The day is perfect, the sky a deep blue and the warm air blowing all of my thoughts from my head. I am more present in the now than I have been in months. This is my home. My place to get in touch with myself… The one place where nothing can touch me... Where I feel free.
As I enjoy the sharp cry of the gulls and the children playing in the sand, my characters come back to me and we pick up right where we left off… like old friends. I think I’ve found my muse.
How do you get in touch with your muse?
If you’re like me, you use different foods for various occasions. You probably would also agree that food has its own power and can enhance whatever ambiance you choose to create. It can make or break any occasion, from summer BBQs to a first date. What menu would you prepare for Valentine’s Day? I bet it would be different than the one for a child’s birthday party or the Fourth of July. And if you’ve been told that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then you know you should pay attention to any menu you put together.
Yes, food can say a lot—from what is in your heart to what is on your mind.
What you put on a plate can reveal what kind of a mood you are in, convey a certain message, cater to a specific theme such as a sporting event or be geared toward a specific audience such as a ladies’ luncheon or tea.
Society makes it easy on us, as it quickly labels foods related to certain situations. We know exactly what to expect from junk food, holiday food, healthy food, party food, finger food, romantic food and so on…
Yet still, each time my co-writer of my upcoming cookbook, Chef Johannes Klapdohr, pairs a dish with a scene from my novel, Pinnacle Lust, I have to take him out of his kitchen and walk him into the pages, between the words of the story so he will feel the emotion that I want him to put on the plate.
What a task…but what a wonderful outcome.
Yes, food can carry out our emotions…so let it speak for itself.
The process of writing a cookbook is far from what I ever imagined. By all means it is unlike anything else I have ever written before. It is a totally different story. I’m finding that each recipe in the cookbook is a project by itself—each dish requires attention and love, just as each of my characters does.
In our cookbook, Chef Johannes and I take pride in creating recipes based on authentic food, history, and stories—plates that are related to places, events, and memories found in Pinnacle Lust. However, we are elevating these dishes so they meet the standards, tastes, lifestyles, and trends of today’s diners.
And once that happens, Chef Johannes—not me—will seal the deal, giving the final okay on each recipe. And with each approval the chef gives, I feel as if we have just given birth…especially if it is for one of my original recipes, just because I’m not a professional chef.
Today, as Chef Johannes presents the spring menu for his restaurant, Library Kitchen and Bar, some of the recipes from our upcoming cookbook will be included on the regular menu and some will be integrated as a daily special. You can discover for yourself the delicious plates we’re preparing in the cookbook before it’s released!
To me, tonight’s reveal feels like magic. My heart is pounding at the thought of these recipes being served live in a top restaurant…that this food will be consumed and judged by top customers and savvy diners like you.
And yes, I will be honest—my stomach is in a knot.
If you’re around the Sapphire, NC area, stop by Library Kitchen and Bar tonight and order a plate. I can’t wait to see what you think.
Michelle (& Chef Johannes)
As an author, being invited to a book club discussion is always exciting and flattering. For me, it’s the icing on the cake. It brings validation to my writing career.
Book club discussions are handled in various ways. As a guest, I tend to go with the flow—I let the members lead the discussion and I try to provide answers to all their questions. I enjoy listening to their take on the story and its characters. Yet, when face to face with my readers, I’m always sure to make this opportunity a special and memorable event.
I expend a lot of effort and thought so the members can learn something for the next book they read. I normally like to tell about how I develop my characters. I share techniques that I’m using, tricks that help me to stay focused and, at times, some secrets from my desk.
Tonight, I am taking a new approach. I’ll bring my next book into the discussion—a cookbook that is a companion book to my novel, Pinnacle Lust. Actually, I’ll go wild, take my chances and give them a bite of it—I will prepare one of the recipes from the cookbook. I want to bring my readers closer to the flavors and colors that I created in Pinnacle Lust. I’m anxious to know if they will associate the food with the right scene, or if the flavors will make them see any of the characters differently.
With each new novel I write, I bring new flavors and colors into my kitchen and new recipes into its companion book. More books and flavors are scheduled for the future.
What scene or food from Pinnacle Lust piqued your mind and palate? Did reading about any of the foods in the book make you wish you had the recipe?
Schedule a post-read discussion with me and get a real bite from my upcoming cookbook—maybe even a recipe.