News Flash

Cinnamon and Seduction is here!

cinnamonandseduction

After the success of his two Gourmet Network specials, outspoken Executive Chef Stephen Pierce is offered a sweetheart deal for his own regular show. Everyone believes Stephen has a lot of self-confidence, but he is aware of his own shortcomings and refuses to sign on unless his loyal PA, Robert Logan, agrees to stay with him. Stephen knows Robert is the one person who can keep him in line, but Stephen has always hidden his more personal interest, fearing that if he knew, Robert would be disgusted and leave him.

Robert has been in love with his boss for almost six years, but he’s begun to believe Stephen will never see him as more than an efficient assistant. Resigning himself to never having the man he truly wants, Robert begins to date other men, hoping that one of them will strike the same sparks for him that Stephen does without even knowing it.

Can the efforts of their friends finally get Stephen and Robert together, or will Stephen’s hidden insecurities keep them apart forever?

Cinnamon and Seduction – 138 pages / 41500 words Ebook zipped file contains – html, Adobe and Sony optimized pdf, mobi, epub for $5.99

Diary

Southern Comfort food

“Ginger and  Gentlemen”, the third story in the Recipe for Romance series, is coming out from Torquere Press tomorrow, so I thought I’d talk a bit about cooking and recipes since those are central themes to the series.

The series is set in South Carolina, which both Ari and I are familiar with; we aren’t South Carolinians, but we are Southerners, and we both like Southern comfort food. Okay, I admit it: I don’t like collards, a fact that has gotten me threatened with expulsion from my family more than once. But that’s my biggest “do not want” when it comes to Southern cuisine.

Stephen’s kitchen produces more upscale dishes, but Ian Pierce’s diner is strictly food like Mama and Grandmama used to make. I can see his menu featuring collards, fried chicken, cornbread, hushpuppies, corn (on the cob and creamed), sweet potato casserole, fried green tomatoes, okra (fried and stewed), and seafood. Lots and lots of fresh seafood!

Two dishes in particular feature predominately in the story, so I thought I’d share recipes for both of them. I’ve never made a seafood boil myself, so I combed through regional cookbooks when we were writing the story to find something that sounded like Ian might make it. The recipe for Ian’s gingersnaps is actually my recipe. I’ve been making them for years during the winter and tinkered with the recipe until I got the level of “snap” I wanted.

Continue reading “Southern Comfort food”

Diary

Giveaway! And other stuff!

“Ginger and Gentlemen”, the third novella in the Recipe for Romance series, is coming out next week! It’ll be out July 24 from Torquere Press, and we’re hosting a chance to win a free digital copy here. Enter to win between now and July 24!

Some of our readers have mentioned their fondness for our snarky executive chef, Stephen Pierce, so his fans may be glad to know that while this isn’t his and Robert’s story (that’s “Cinnamon and Seduction”, which will be coming out November 6), Stephen plays a larger role in this story than he has in the previous two.

In “Ginger and Gentlemen”, Stephen is filming a special for the Gourmet Network with Max Boyd as his director, and he’s suggested featuring his little brother’s restaurant. Ian Pierce owns his own diner, The Filling Station, in Hickory Bend, SC, which specializes in classic Southern comfort food like chicken and pastry, collards, and seafood boils. The food and the setting are both perfect for Stephen’s show, but unfortunately, the brothers haven’t been on good terms since… Well, ever.

Nine years apart, they had little in common while growing up, and their father drove a wedge between them when he focused all of his time and attention on molding Stephen into the perfect chef to continue the Pierce legacy and ignored Ian. Now Ian has to try to put aside all of his anger, jealousy, and resentment in order to work with Stephen because he’s in danger of losing his diner, and he desperately needs the money that doing the show will bring.

For Ian, the diner represents more than a means of earning a living. It’s his lifelong dream, and it’s his way of thumbing his nose at his father and brother. After a lifetime of being compared to Stephen and found lacking, he’s desperate to prove he’s capable of emerging from under Stephen’s shadow and succeeding as a chef in his own right.

Meanwhile, Ian’s best friend, Matt Davis, is working his own angle, convincing Max to add a bonus to Ian’s contract and putting up the money for it himself because he’ll do anything to help Ian avoid losing his diner. But Ian is fiercely proud and independent, determined to succeed on his own, and if he finds out that Matt has gone behind his back like this, it could spell the end of their friendship — and Matt will lose the man he loves.

For this story, I wrote Ian, and I have to say, he’s one of the most fun characters I’ve ever written. Ian is snarky and outspoken, and he constantly surprised me with the uninhibited dialogue that popped out of his mouth. That may sound weird, but I’m sure there are plenty of writers out there who know exactly what I mean when I say Ian is one of those characters who has a mind of his own, and I didn’t so much write him as hand over the keys, sit quietly in the passenger seat, and hold on while he took over the ride.

This boy knew what he wanted, and he made sure to tell me as well as the other characters in the story. Fortunately, Matt is much more easy-going, and he didn’t mind Ian’s forcefulness. Like Stephen and Robert, they’re very much a yin-yang match, but even if Matt had balked, Ian knows all he has to do is whip up a batch of gingersnaps using his own secret recipe, designed and perfected just for Matt, to make Matt come running.

As an aside, I’d like to point to our various social media accounts. Some of them see more use than others, because hours in the day, etc. but we do try to keep fairly involved!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ari-McKay/e/B00CHBT3NA
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/arimckay/boards/

I’ve also added widgets from Goodreads on our short stories, novellas, and novels pages so that each individual entry has a button that will let you add that story/novella/novel to your Goodreads shelf right from our site!

Diary

Trivia Thursday!

It’s Trivia Thursday instead of Trivia Tuesday this week because I was out of town, but better late than never!

Today’s trivia revolves around our Recipe for Romance series. Two stories in the series have already been published, the third will be published on July 24, and the fourth will be published later this year. Right now, we’re planning to end the series with #4, but the door is open for future stories if we ever get a plot bunny that bites hard enough.

As part of our collaboration process, we have to decide which of the characters we’re going to write. We start by picking which main character we want to write (or sometimes they pick us!) and then divide up the secondary characters more or less equally so we have about the same writing load throughout the story.

In the Recipe series, I’ve been writing against type. I tend to write the characters who are more inclined to brood, snark, and angst, which means I’d usually be the one to write a character like Stephen Pierce. But not this time! For those who might be curious, here’s a breakdown of the characters who have been seen in the series so far and which one of us wrote them.

Rhys Montgomery – McKay (i.e. me)
Clay Turner – Ari
Robert Logan – McKay
Stephen Pierce – Ari
Max Boyd – McKay
Darius Cooper – Ari

For minor characters, such as Stephen’s hapless sous chef Craig, we tend to trade off. For example, Ari wrote Payton Wilkes in the scene that created the main conflict for Rhys and Clay. The scene was in Rhys’ POV, so I was writing the bulk of the scene, and she picked up Payton so I’d have someone to play off of.

As a side bit of trivia, Payton got his name because I was thinking about Peyton Place and Ashley Wilkes from Gone With the Wind while trying to come up with a suitably Southern-sounding name.

I liked writing Rhys and Max since they were different from my usual characters. Rhys in particular was a nice change of pace for me; I liked writing a charming Southern gentleman who gets so caught up in making plans for a perfect confession of love that he almost loses his man. One of Rhys’ particular quirks is alluded to throughout the series, but I don’t think it’s ever been spelled out: when he gets depressed, Rhys holes up with a bottle of the best bourbon he can buy and listens to Patsy Cline songs on endless repeat until he starts feeling better. The worst instance occurred after his father’s death, a bit of info which I don’t think made the final cut of Bay Leaves and Bachelors. I can’t hear a Patsy Cline song now without thinking about Rhys and Clay, so she’d definitely be on the series soundtrack!

So far, my characters in the series haven’t been snarky at all, but that’s going to change with Ginger and Gentlemen, which is the third story in the series. For that one, I wrote Ian Pierce, Stephen’s younger brother, and let’s just say certain traits run in the family. 😉  Ian is hands-down one of the most fun characters I’ve ever written because he rarely bothers to censor himself. He was also one of the more mouthy characters I’ve ever had in my head; he choreographed sex scenes and insisted I take notes so I wouldn’t forget what he wanted when the time came.

Readers will be able to find out more about Ian and his rocky relationship with his snarky older brother, Stephen when Ginger and Gentlemen is released by Torquere Press on July 24!

Diary

Ari McKay’s Trivia Tuesday

Stephen Pierce and Robert Logan are secondary characters (so far) in our Recipe for Romance series, but their predecessors have been leads in our stories for years.

Ari and I began writing together when we met as fanfiction writers in the Harry Potter fandom, and we bonded over a mutual love of the characters Remus Lupin and Severus Snape. In fact, we spent years writing those two characters, and over that time, we developed definite preferences for their characterization and interaction. After the book series ended, we kept going more and more AU (alternate universe) until we finally decided we might as well start writing original fiction.

One of our AUs involved casting the characters as a chef and his personal assistant. Snape was a snarky, demanding perfectionist and Lupin was his devoted PA. It was that version of the characters we had in mind when we began developing Stephen and Robert in “Bay Leaves and Bachelors”, both as a nod to our fanfiction roots and as a way to revisit variations on character types we wrote and loved for so long.

The original chef and PA story is wildly different from the path Stephen and Robert are currently taking, but writing those two feels (for me) like slipping on a pair of comfortable old shoes.

The newest novella in the Recipe for Romance series, Fennel and Forgiveness, is now available at Torquere Press. Fans of Stephen and Robert may be glad to know that the next novella, “Ginger and Gentlemen”, will focus heavily on Stephen and will introduce his younger brother, Ian, with whom he’s always had a rocky relationship. Let’s just say snark runs in the family. 😉  “Ginger and Gentlemen” will be published by Torquere Press on July 24!