End of November Update

One day until the end of November and it’s snowing. Again. NaNoWriMo is over. Mustaches and beards disappear. Hopefully. And all is well with the world. Except here comes Christmas. I used to be an uber organized person. Now, I’m not. I don’t know what happened. I have no excuse. The good news is I remember most things.

November did see me taking part in a writing challenge, just not the official NaNoWriMo. At this point slinging out 50,000 words that require major rewriting at the end of it doesn’t work for me. I tried it once. I ‘won’. I ditched 95% of those words but have kept the same characters and the same town. That’s it. I’m much happier with the story this time around. My goal for November was 500 words a day. It was an informal challenge supported by my writing group. We weighed in everyday on our private Facebook page and inspired each other. I didn’t keep super strict track but I’m pretty sure it’s all evened out and I’m on pace to slightly exceed that goal.

Obsession (Kate and Seth’s story) is currently sitting at 30,745 words. 13,693 of those words written prior to November. Here’s a sneak peak at the first paragraph.

Kate Logan figured hiking the long road back to self-respect sucked at the best of times. These weren’t the best of times. The splintered wood of her boutique’s back door jamb was rough and sharp under her fingers. With her bank account sitting at next to zero, repairing the break-in damage was an expense she couldn’t afford. She had insurance, but collecting took time.

I’m also working on a manuscript called Off The Grid. Today I signed up to pitch it to  Harlequin’s Dana Hamilton on January 4th as part of their Speed Dating with Editorial Assistant Dana Hamilton opportunity. We’ll see what happens.

And this morning I was busy jotting down an idea for the first scene of the third book in a trilogy that doesn’t have a book one or two. Just plenty of ideas about three adopted brothers and three women who understand about sacrifice.

On December 5th I’m giving a reading along with Mary Balogh and Annette Bower called Some Enchanted Evening…A Romance Reading.

If you happen to be in the Regina area, join us at New Dance Horizons at 7:00 pm!

Starting December 1st I’m offering a Goodreads Giveaway for two copies of my romantic suspense, Backlash. It’s open until the 15th of January.

 

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Jana Richards

I am so excited to be hosted Jana Richards today. Not only is she an incredibly talented storyteller but she’s a friend. She’s here to share her latest release, Home Fires, and talk about her love of baking.

Easy as Pie

I’ve always liked to bake. I remember as a teenager learning to make chocolate chiffon cake. It was the size and shape of an angel food cake, and had a light, airy texture that melted in the mouth and left a nice chocolate buzz. Brownies were also a favorite of mine to bake. I guess I had a thing for chocolate. Still do.

These days I don’t bake much, due to a busy schedule and a concern for my expanding waistline. But one thing I still love to make is pie, especially for guests. Pie crust can be a tricky thing to master, and  honestly, my crusts don’t always turn out as flakey as I would like. The perfect pie crust requires exact balance. Adding a little too much or too little of any of the ingredients can result in frustration and sometimes disaster. At least it does for me.

So when I was looking for a challenging dish for my heroine to master in my novel “Welcome to Paradise”, I had her learn to make pies. Bridget is a talented chef who calls herself the “Queen of the Cocktail Party” because of her expertise with appetizers, but she has little experience with pie. The people of her small North Dakota hometown rally around to teach her. It takes a village not only to raise a child, but also to teach Bridget to bake!

Here’s the recipe for pie crust I taught to Bridget:

Fruit Pie Pastry

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 cup shortening (removed from fridge about an hour before using)

8 tbsp. ice water (approximately)

2 tbsp. milk

Place oven rack on lowest level and preheat oven to 450 F. Sift flour, then measure into a bowl that will accommodate it but isn’t too big. Add salt. Add shortening to flour and use a knife to cut into dice-sized pieces. Then using a wide-bladed pastry blender, quickly combine shortening and flour until fully integrated and there’s no loose flour in bowl.

Add ice water one tablespoon at a time in different parts of the bowl. Use a table fork to quickly stir mixture. If it doesn’t start to form a ball, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and continue stirring vigorously.

When dough starts to come together in a ball, remove it from the bowl, shape it into a more uniform ball and cut in half. Generously flour a plastic pastry sheet or large wax paper. Place one of the dough halves in the centre and flatten slightly with your hand. Place a large piece of waxed paper on top and use a rolling pin on top of the waxed paper to work dough into a large, fairly thin circle that is large enough to cover the pie plate.

Remove waxed paper and gently fold circle of dough in half. Gently place it over the pie plate, unfold it and use your fingers to work it down to the bottom, against the sides and over the rim.

Repeat process with second ball of dough. Put prepared filling into pie crust. Moisten your fingers and dampen the edges of the bottom crust. Then put the folded upper crust over the filling and press the edges of the upper and lower crust together to form a seal.

Use a sharp knife to trim pastry along outside edge of pie plate, then use your fingers to crimp the edge to make a nice finish. Baste top crust, but not the crimped edge, with milk, then use a sharp knife to cut a pattern of vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake pie on lowest rack of preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 F and then reduce temperature to 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool somewhat before serving.

And here’s one of my favorite pie fillings. I got this recipe from my mom, and since we grow rhubarb in the garden, it’s one I make often.

Rhubarb Pie Filling

2 ½ cups rhubarb

1 cup raisins (optional)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup sweet heavy cream or whipping cream

1 egg

Combine all ingredients and pour into pie crust. Makes one pie.

With practice, Bridget eventually learns to master the pie crust, and eventually learns that baking, and love, is as easy as pie.

Do you bake pie? Do you have a favorite kind of pie?

Thanks, Jana. Home Fires is a delightful read and I highly recommend it!

Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.

Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.  Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy.  She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.net

Follow the Links:

Website:  http://www.janarichards.net

To read an excerpt from Home Fires:  http://www.janarichards.net/ExcerptreviewsHomeFires.html

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Buy Link for Home Fires:   http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_145&products_id=4902

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com

If you feel like sharing...

Kitchen Renovations are Complete!

We took the plunge and renovated our kitchen this summer. Our old kitchen was dated, having been around since the ’70’s, and not very user friendly. So, we fixed it. Having never undertaken a major renovation before (it turned into more of a whole main floor update), I learned a few things.

Renovations are not fun while you’re living through them, but when you see everything come together the memory of months of disorder magically disappear and you start to wonder what the rest of the house would look like with a little TLC.

I have been a stay-at-home Mom for nineteen years. I spend large parts of my day in the house. It’s very weird to have people who don’t live here coming and going. And what do you do when they’re coming and going all day every day? When you can’t do the things you normally do every day? Like write, or cook or generally putz around? You thank your lucky stars these renovations happened during the summer months. Much easier to be outside somewhere. Any place other than your house. Which is under seige.

We were right to hire a contractor to manage the project. I’m the kind of person who is happy when people like me. This way it wasn’t my job to harass the tradespeople. It was someone else’s. We just stayed out of their way. Someone else was tasked with dealing with the problems. It’s the only way to go.

If you are thinking about getting rid of the dated dirty popcorn stipple on your ceiling? Do it. Even though that was the part of the process that caused the most disruption and proved costly it was so worth it. Do it. You will love the results. I promise.

Before

During

After

We love it and that makes the whole experience worth it. It’s open and airy and light. The window coverings are ordered and next we’ll need to start thinking about more artwork for the walls. Then sometime down the road we’ll have to tackle the second floor…

Love renovations? Hate ’em? Have some on the go?

If you feel like sharing...

Sultry Suspense Showcase

I’m guest blogging about why I love romantic suspense at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews! There’s a chance to win a copy of Backlash.

“Everyone Deserves a Guilty Pleasure. Reviews by every day women, for every day women.”

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Vonnie Davis

Thank you so much for visiting today, Vonnie! What a wonderful glimpse of Paris you’ve given us. 

Karyn, thanks for hosting me today. I’ve been looking forward to our visit, so I could talk about food found in my favorite city. I often say that Paris is a feast for the senses. The beauty of the architecture, the smell of freshly baked breads, the hiss of espresso machines and popping of champagne corks, and the rich taste of French food. They do have a love affair with butter…and wine…and cheeses.

One of our favorite markets is along rue Moufftard on the Left Bank. Vendors set up their tables, artfully displaying their fresh fares early in the morning. By two o’clock in the afternoon, they are gone and the street is swept clean. French women with a net bag or a canvas shopping bag make their rounds. With small kitchens and refrigerators that often fit under the counters, storage room is next to nil.

Along with outside vendors, there are little shops barely larger than one’s bedroom here in the States. When you enter these butcher shops, bakeries, cheese stores, florists, wine shops and seafood stores, you are greeted with a lyrical, “Bonjour, Monsieurs, Madames.”

For a great bowl of French Onion Soup, or oignon soupe, we often go to Café Séverin on Boulevard Saint Michel. The restaurant is across the street from Place Saint Michel with a large statue and fountain, a meeting place for Sorbonne students. We often sit there for hours, writing and watching passersby.

 

Unlike in America, where you are expected to move on once you eat, in Paris the price of a cup of coffee entitles you to a seat for as long as you want it. Tipping is different there, too. If the bill says the tip is included, then nothing more is left on the table. In fact, the French look down on Americans for over-tipping and consider it bourgeois, or a middle class person trying to make an impression.

Since onion soup is our favorite, I’m sharing my recipe with you today:

 

SOUPE À L’OIGNON.

The onions for this soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor.

 

1 ½ pounds or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions.

3 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. cooking oil (I use virgin olive oil)

Cook the onions slowly in the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan for 15 minutes, using low heat. Uncover, raise heat to moderate/medium and stir in a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of sugar, which helps the onions to brown. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have turned a deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons of flour and stir for 3 minutes. Turn off heat.

2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart water and 1 quart of beef stock.

½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of parsley

 Blend the boiling liquid into the pan of browned onions. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to simmer.

3 Tbsp. cognac (optional, I’ve found)

Rounds of hard-toasted French bread

2 Cups grated Swiss cheese

 Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into soup cups over the rounds of toasted bread. Top each bowl/soup cups with grated cheese and place under broiler for a minute or two until cheese is brown in spots. Serve right away.

I often bake a roast the day before to get some of the broth. I also save a few slices of roast beef and cut it into tiny pieces while onions are cooking. I add the beef after adding the broth to produce a heartier soup.

I’d like to share some information about my recently released romantic suspense set in Paris. Writing it was fun since it gave me a chance to visit so many of our haunts while visiting there. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I’ve met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe–the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Alyson

View the Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/MonaTrailer

BUY LINKS:

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisaDigital

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoom

AMAZON (paperback) — http://amzn.to/QQZGyD

AMAZON (eBook) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoomeBook

FIND ME ONLINE AT http://www.vonniedavis.com

 I, too, have a love affair with butter, wine and cheese. But I’ll happily settle for Niko and reading Mona Lisa’s Room. And I’ll remember to take my time as well as sip, and savor as I do!

If you feel like sharing...

Nanny McMuse

I’m always intrigued over discussions about creative muses. The names, the personalities, the sense of their effectiveness or the absence of them. I think it’s largely due to the sense that my own muse plays a more background role. I received a present from my sister some years ago, a miniature sculpture of a smallish doll with short strands of thread and yarn sparking out of her head. My sister said the strands represented ideas. She doesn’t have a name but I’ve always loved the notion of her and she sits patiently on my desk ever ready to encourage ideas. A symbol of creativity.

A comfort.

A guiding spirit or a source of inspiration according The Free Dictionary.com. I don’t think of my muse as in attendance or absent, but simply a lurking spirit with those ideas sparking out of her head, smiling, never naughty but always engaging. At least, that’s what comes to mind when I think of her at all.

Until I watched the movie Nanny McPhee. It struck me that she was a perfect representation of a creative muse.

“There is something you should understand about the way I work: When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.”  Nanny McPhee

There when you need her, reminding you of the necessity to keep writing no matter how hard times are but ready to back off and let you be your creative self when the juices are flowing. With her looks representing a troubled soul when times are tough, but softening as the person’s spirit eases and finds its way.

Muses are as individual and unique as the people that claim them. They have a will of their own. They plot, motivate, and inspire be they corporeal or ethereal. Whatever works.

What’s your idea of Muse? What do you think of mine?

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday Table Welcomes Author Debra St. John

Welcome Debra! It’s wonderful to have you hear talking about Thanksgiving and sharing a wonderful recipe from your upcoming holiday release, An Unexpected Blessing.

While I was growing up, we always hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I think that’s why it’s my favorite holiday. There’s nothing better than waking up to the smell of succulent turkey in the oven.

One of the best parts of getting ready was setting the table. Usually we had a crowd of at least twenty, so that meant putting all of the leaves in the dining room table, plus adding additional tables at the end. The little card table at the way end was always the “kids’ table”. Eventually each of the older cousins made it to the “big people” table. Until they had kids of their own and wound up right back at the end. All told the extended table stretched out of the dining room, through the archway, and into the living room. Chairs were gathered from all over the house: dining, kitchen, folding, and sometimes even patio. Fancy white linen table cloths (freshly ironed) gave everything a uniform look.

I still remember how exciting it was to get out the cozies with Mom’s good china. Each plate was carefully removed from the stack and placed in precisely the right spot on the table. Serving dishes went in the middle, waiting to be filled with creamy mashed potatoes, sweet corn, gravy, and homemade stuffing. Next came the good silverware. Each utensil had its own stack in the padded compartment of the brown chest. Place cards were the final touch so everyone knew where to sit.

Just as exciting was waiting by the window waiting for all of the grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins to arrive. A flurry of hugs and kisses greeted each new arrival. While the relatives enjoyed appetizers, snacks, and drinks in the family room, Mom, my sister, and I (and usually a grandma or an aunt or two) put the final touches on the meal in the kitchen. Eating the ‘schnibbles’ as the turkey was carved was the best part. We’d load up the table with the enticing dishes, and then finally announce that dinner was ready. Everyone scurried to find their spots. After plates were filled and the prayer recited, we dug in. Chatter and laughter provided the backdrop as oodles of food was consumed, until one of the uncles would toss down his napkin and say, “I’m so full I can’t eat another bite.” Groans of agreement always echoed the sentiment.

And then we served dessert. And of course everyone ate it.

Those days are long gone. Not only are the cousins all grown, but their kids are all grown too. The grandmas have passed. Mom and Dad are snowbirds and spend the holiday in Florida. But the memories will live on forever in our hearts. This year my hubby and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. It will be a small affair. Just us, our sisters, and his parents. But I can’t wait.

So of course it wasn’t a huge stretch at all to write a story focusing on Thanksgiving. An Unexpected Blessing is coming November 21 and incorporates all the best things about the day.

Single Mom Katy Roth thinks life can’t get any worse. In the past six months she’s been let go at work, had to move back home with her parents, and found out her ex is cutting his child support payment. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control.

Joe Mason is the town’s bad boy. Literally. He’s just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants nothing more than to put the past behind him and get on with his life. He’s had a secret crush on Katy since grade school, but when Katy’s parents hire him to be their handyman, she’s less than thrilled to have him around.

But soon, through her young son’s eyes, Katy discovers the good in Joe. As their feelings for one another deepen, small town gossip and prejudice threaten to ruin everything. Will Joe’s past come between them, or will they be able to get beyond it and hold onto a love neither expected?

And a recipe from the book:

Kyle’s Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

1 c brown sugar

1 c cooked or canned pumpkin

½ c oil

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

½ t ginger

1½ – 2 c chocolate chips*

Directions:

Beat sugar, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mix and stir until smooth. Add chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

*Can substitute raisins and/or chopped nuts if preferred.

 

 

Bio: Debra St.John writes spicy romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. An Unexpected Blessing is her fifth release. Although she’s a country girl at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. You can find her at www.debrastjohnromance.com or blogging at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com, http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com, or www.authorsbymoonlight.com.

Thanks so much for guest blogging today, Debra. I’m more than willing to read a book that combines romance and recipes! What’s the largest gathering you’ve hosted? Feel free to share a Thanksgiving tale.

If you feel like sharing...

Fifty Shades of Success

As a romance writer I’m thrilled when readers outside of my genre give it a try. I’m especially thrilled, of course, when they’re surprised by how much they enjoy it. I’m continually surprised by friends who have never before considered reading a romance have read Fifty Shades of Grey. I remember reading at one point that E.L. James sells two books every second. Or did, perhaps that was during the height of the consumer rush. All I can say is, wow! Call me crazy but I’m pretty sure that classifies as a success story.

I won’t bother to explain who E.L. James is or what her Fifty Shades books are about. I can’t imagine anyone not knowing. What interests me is why readers who’ve never ventured into the erotic or erotic romance genre flocked to stores and catapulted her and her stories into the spotlight.

I’m not going to comment on the quality of the writing. E.L. James has sold a gazillion books, I’ve sold…less than that amount. And who am I to say what the well-written word looks like. I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. I will say there were parts I loved and some I loved less. That’s generally the way it works when I read most books. I’m one of those readers who likes to read the book of the moment. As a writer, I thinks it’s important to keep track of what’s selling. And why.

It’s my job as a writer, one who wants to increase her readership, to figure out what I can learn from her books and the book buying climate. What is it about this story that sells books? What is it about Christain Grey and Anatasia Steele that sells books. Is it the sexual component? Curiousity? The cover? The ideal fantasy? And how much of it is marketing?

Here’s what I took away from Fifty Shades of Grey.

Memorable Characters: First and foremost characters over plot sell books. They’re the reason we love a book. In literary and genre fiction. The most carefully contrived plot fails is the characters are cardboard cutouts. Who gives a crap about the world building if the characters suck. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to feel strongly about them. If the characters are flat the story isn’t as captivating. Today’s heroes and heroines are smart. They push to survive. Contemporary characters need modern dilemmas. They may not want it all but they want it BIG. They dig deep for the courage to live big and maintain ideals.

Emotion: Emotional Rewards per Page and Reader Experience. I remember a guest blog post written for the new defunct Prairie Chicks Write Romance by a gentleman, Vince Mooney, who had studied the romance genre and gave us a look into what makes Nora Roberts’ writing so popular. It really is worth the time it takes to read the post. In romance the ending is no surprise. The appeal is in the journey. When we write we need to think in terms of reader experience and what that means on every page. Living big takes huge emotion. It takes courage, passion and commitment; success and failure; sacrifice, forgiveness and humility.

Voice: It’s what starts that coveted promotion tool known as word-of-mouth. It’s that nebulous thing that either appeals or it doesn’t. It resonates subconsciously. Voice is, of course, subjective in it’s appeal. But as with emotion so it is with voice. Go big or go home. If the author holds nothing back in terms of how she/he tells the story it shows on the page.

Of course, these three things are subjective but books with these qualities have mass market appeal as there are certain qualities that appeal to us all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not going to plant myself in my writing chair and try and churn out a story that’s only appeal is marketability. I am saying that there is inspiration to be found in other’s successes. Something to be learned from the works of others whether we liked the story or not. Objectivity is a skill we use in critiquing others pre-published works. It’s also plays a part in improving our own skills.

 

Do you read bestsellers? Are you influenced by the book of the moment? Do you feel writers can learn valuable insight into the publishing climate by studying bestsellers in your genre?

If you feel like sharing...

Tuesday’s Table: Favorite Foodie Film Moment

“I would sometimes wonder what it would be like if I just turned up at my friends’ house, where I used to have dinner once a week, with the most famous person at that time, be it Madonna or whomever. It all sprang from there. How would my friends react? Who would try and be cool? How would you get through dinner? What would they say to you afterwards?”  Richard Curtis

I think one of my favorite foodie movie moments is the dinner scene from the movie Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julie Roberts. It’s also one of my favorite movies. The supporting cast of off-beat characters in this movie is an inspiration. And who won’t want to write a scene like the one in which the dinner guest with the biggest sob story wins the last brownie?

Anna Scott: Really. And, one day not long from now, my looks will go, they will discover I can’t act and I will become some sad middle-aged woman who looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while. 
Max: [long pause] Nah, nice try gorgeous, but you don’t fool anyone.
William: Pathetic effort to hog the brownie.

This is the tail end of the scene. But earlier as each person around the table does their best to win the brownie we are charmed, as is Anna Scott, by the honesty and the genuine caring and concern these people have for each other. We learn a lot about each individual character during this scene as they try and cope with the inclusion of a famous person in their midst. They are all vulnerable in some way, even the one whose life seems charmed.

It’s a scene of contrasts. Anna Scott’s lifestyle compared to theirs. No room service, little sophistication. No celebrity. They fumble about trying to act normal and make a mess of it. But all the while we know she’s there by choice as she’s drawn to William and we can sense she’s envious of their close camaraderie. They draw her in by not being able to hide how ‘normal’ they are. All this over poorly cooked guinea fowl and a plate of brownies.

Contrast is a way to showcase a variety of differences. To emphasize opposites. Red and green are contrasting colors. Anna Scott and William Thacker are contrasting characters, made more memorable because of that contrast. Think Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Bella and Edward. Eve and Roarke. Cats and dogs.

From a writing perspective, if you can take an ordinary event like eating and turn it into a scene stealer like the Notting Hill dinner party scene was for me, it’s a good thing.

What’s your favorite foodie film moment?

 

If you feel like sharing...