a cut above the rest

Tour de Foodie: Recipe for risotto

It’s the day after Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest released; did you pick up your copy? Or did you sign up for the giveaway?

Today, the Tour de Foodie continues over at Babes in Boyland. I have for you my very own pumpkin risotto with toasted pine nuts and oven-roasted Brussels sprouts.

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Seen here, pictured without the Brussels sprouts. (They give it a nice pop of color.)

At the end of the recipe I give a bit of a tie-in to the novel as well as the excerpt that I had far too much fun selecting.

Going to try the risotto? I hope you’ll let me know how you liked it, if you do!

Thank-you from A.F. Henley and upcoming blog hop!

Good evening folks, hope everyone is having a great week. I’m glowing after a good one-on-one with my boss this morning; always a mood lifter.

A.F. Henley dropped a comment on last week’s author spotlight and I wanted to pass it on for those who might miss it:

Congratulations Isabelle! Please check your email
Thank you so much to everyone that played along and my special thanks to Talya for the pimpage [and the patience :D].
Here’s hoping everyone has an amazing week and thank you for spending time with me. ❤

It was a pleasure! 🙂 We really appreciate the generous giveaway for Honour.

And, check out what’s coming soon. How is it already almost halfway through March!?

bloghop banner

As a final word, did you check out my guest blog on Pants Off Reviews? If you did, let me know what you thought!

Tour de Foodie: Release Day!

Tonight, A Cut Above the Rest goes live at Less Than Three Press for download! It’s still available at the pre-order price until this evening.

In the meantime, the Tour de Foodie continues at Pants Off Reviews with Kitchen Newbie 101 and a guide to some basic terms you’ll be seeing in Appetite!

Looking forward to hearing what you all think. Have a great day and brush up on those kitchen terms in anticipation!

Manicure Monday and the Tour de Foodie kickoff

First up, today’s galaxy-gorgeous manicure! This is Zoya Aurora, a violet jelly-type polish absolutely packed with a nebula’s worth of holographic micro-glitter.

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I can’t get enough of these lacquers with holographic micro-glitter. It has such an amazing spark, and really catches the eye. This weekend I’ll be going right to another one, A-England Dragon.

And now, announcing the first stop on this week’s Tour de Foodie to welcome A Cut Above the Rest into the published world! Please visit Maderr’s blog to hit up Food is Love, and learn about the very first food memories of Chef Alex and Chef Nik, our cuisine-obsessed heroes.

Please enjoy!

A Cut Above the Rest Giveaway

Greetings, good evening, and welcome to my giveaway to celebrate the release for A Cut Above the Rest! I’m incredibly proud of this story and so happy to share it with all of you.

01 A Cut Above

Alex always had it easy growing up, indulged by loving, but busy parents as he flitted from one interest to another without settling. Then he discovered the world of fine dining and became determined to be a chef capable of producing such magnificent meals. Despite the doubts of a father who limited his funds, and the difficulties of leaving Germany to live in the United States, Alex stuck to his new goal and graduated the Culinary Institute of America.

Fresh out of school, he is eager to begin work at the restaurant owned by a good friend of his father’s, a restaurant well known for the beautiful, innovative meals its chefs create. He is primed to join the ranks of those masterful chefs—until the day he starts, and learns that he is nothing more than kitchen lackey, lower in rank than even the dishwashers.

Worse, his boss is none other than Nik, the beautiful, infuriating, highly talented classmate that Alex could never best—or resist.

A Cut Above the Rest is available for pre-order for a couple days more at Less Than Three Press here. You can read an excerpt of the story, too.

The Appetite series is near and dear to my heart, not only for all the amazing food but because presiding over the journey that Chef Alex and Chef Nik take over the course of the story is tremendously frustrating, certainly difficult, but ultimately satisfying.

The Giveaway:
I am offering THREE copies of A Cut Above the Rest to three lucky winners, chosen by random numbers selected by random.org from the comments of this entry. This is the e-book version, and I will send a copy in your preferred format; epub, HTML, mobi, PDF.

To enter, drop a comment (you MUST include an email or means of contact or I CANNOT count your entry). Comment between now and next Sunday, March 17th. Winners will be chosen Monday morning.

To win additional chances to enter, you may do the following:

– Promote/share my Facebook post promoting Appetite’s release.
– Post a comment on my/your Facebook about the novel.
– Promote/share my Tumblr post promoting Appetite’s release.
– Like my Tumblr post regarding the release.
– Retweet my author tweet on Twitter regarding the release.
– Become a fan on Goodreads.
– Leave a comment or make a post promoting the novel on your own social venue (any and all – WordPress, LJ, DW, blogspot, just link me so I can verify)

Basically, spread the word in any possible fashion and you can get an additional chance to win your own ebook copy of A Cut Above the Rest!

Many thanks, I appreciate your stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway.

We’ve also got a fun promotional tour this week, so stay tuned for daily updates on where it’s at!

Next week is Appetite Week

One week left to Pre-order A Cut Above the Rest, first in the Appetite series!

appetite01

In the meantime, I am recuperating from a bad cold but putting things together for next week’s Tour de Foodie in honor of the release. Things to look forward to: a giveaway for a free copy of Appetite, and daily food and Appetite-themed posts with insight into the culinary world and sneak peeks into the chefs’ backgrounds.

Tour schedule:

Monday, March 11, Maderr:
http://maderr.livejournal.com/

Tuesday, March 12, Pants Off Reviews:
http://pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 13, Babes in Boyland:
http://www.babesinboyland.net/

Thursday, March 14, Joyfully Jay:
http://joyfullyjay.com/

Friday, March 15, The Armchair Reader:
http://coleriann.com/

Saturday, March 16, A.F. Henley:
http://afhenley.wordpress.com

Sunday, March 17, Chaos in the Moonlight:
http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca

Mark your calendars and get ready for my next giveaway, going live Sunday night. And make sure to pick up some tasty treats to eat so that your hunger is sated when you’re reading the story.

I need to geek out for a bit … Kristin Kish is the latest Top Chef! She’s only the second female Top Chef, and the first Asian female Top Chef, and I’ve been a fan of her since she was top of her first round, so I’m triply happy that she fought her way back into the competition and won the whole thing. Fantastic work, Chef Kish! This humble fan is extremely happy for you.

For the first time all week, I haven’t had any tea today. Hmph, I think this calls for the “needs more tea” tag.

Back to finishing up entries for the blog hop. The writing’s been going rather poorly this week, I’m sad to say. Maybe once my brain comes back, I’ll be able to catch up over the weekend. There’s a lady-love tale and a deadline to make.

Coming soon; closing soon

Even before it’s out the gate, Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest has been nominated for a Rainbow Award!

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I am so incredibly intimidated, and excited. Don’t forget, there’s still time to pre-order at a discount. My editor loved the story so much she nominated it for the Rainbow Award, and we’re having fun working on volume two.

In the meantime, there’s more immediate gratification in terms of From the Inside Out – hit up the post for a chance to win a free signed copy of my novel.

Sasha Miller’s review of From the Inside Out, shared with her permission:

I loved this story, NEGL. I started reading it one night figuring I could read it over the course of a week or two, and ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t make my eyes focus anymore. ;3

Soren is a sweetheart, and I related to him a lot. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and he’s sort of coasting along, flying under the radar with his family, his (non-existent) love life, and his future. Then Tru, his online chat partner, suggests they meet up (as the summary says), and Soren’s very careful balance starts to crumble … and he starts to want it to.

I think my very, very favorite thing about this book is that it’s not rushed in the least. With a lot of the M/M romance books that I read (which, uh, isn’t as many as I’d like), the romance is rushed for the sake of the sex, the character development is nonexistent or again, rushed for the sake of the relationship/sex. From the Inside Out is a slow build, and my very favorite kind, that of a first-time relationship.

Soren and Tru build their relationship slowly, in the midst of a dozen plus side characters that have their own lives and personalities. They also fight and miscommunicate and nearly break up and read too much into stuff and not enough into other stuff and just in general are young, inexperienced, and sorting through their relationship and what they want to do with their lives.

Do read this book if you want a nice, long slow build, a character-driven romance that is all about falling in love and making it work.

Don’t read this book if you want a quick read, full of conflict and tension (go check out Andor’s Signal to Noise for that :3).

In other exciting news, I’ve submitted The Fall Guide for publication. Fingers crossed!

Preorder: A Cut Above the Rest

I’m pleased and happy to announce that Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is now available for pre-order!

appetite01

Alex always had it easy growing up, indulged by loving, but busy parents as he flitted from one interest to another without settling. Then he discovered the world of fine dining and became determined to be a chef capable of producing such magnificent meals. Despite the doubts of a father who limited his funds, and the difficulties of leaving Germany to live in the United States, Alex stuck to his new goal and graduated the Culinary Institute of America.

Fresh out of school, he is eager to begin work at the restaurant owned by a good friend of his father’s, a restaurant well known for the beautiful, innovative meals its chefs create. He is primed to join the ranks of those masterful chefs—until the day he starts, and learns that he is nothing more than kitchen lackey, lower in rank than even the dishwashers.

Worse, his boss is none other than Nik, the beautiful, infuriating, highly talented classmate that Alex could never best—or resist.

A Cut Above the Rest is available for pre-order at Less Than Three Press here. You can read an excerpt of the story, too.

I’ve had so much fun working on Appetite, from start to finish, and the people who’ve helped me edit it have fallen in love with it too. There will be an awesome blog hop during the week of its release.

In the meantime, I’ll be opening another giveaway, so check back tomorrow.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I learned about The Next Big Thing Blog Hop a few weeks ago from Lacie Archer, who went on to answer her questions and tag me yesterday.

What’s a blog hop? Why, it’s something between a skip and a jump going from one place to the next, in this case to learn more about authors and their stories, and chain it along to the next talented author in the link.

Take a look at Lacie’s entry and come back to see my answers on the same theme!

Without further ado…

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a few that I’m working on right now: The More Plausible Evil, which is completed and awaiting edits from a friend, and The Fall Guide, which has two chapters yet to go. There’s also Appetite: A Cut Above, pending publication.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The More Plausible Evil came together for me as I was pondering ideas for a new submission call for Less Than Three Press. I wanted to do a different kind of vampire story, one with a unique twist and a different angle, and I think I found it.

The Fall Guide came together from my love of nail polish, haunting nail polish blogs, and my increased exposure to fashion trends because of it. I outlined it pretty simply, but the characters have really grown and flourished during the writing process and I’m so pleased with them.

For Appetite: A Cut Above, I’ll talk more about that during the blog tour that will accompany its release week.

What genre does your book fall under?

All three books fall under the general category of “m/m fiction” but The More Plausible Evil is definitely the supernatural sub-genre, specifically vampires. The Fall Guide is contemporary m/m romance. And Appetite: A Cut Above is definitely food porn. I mean. M/m contemporary romance with a side of food porn?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

That’s tough … there’s what I’d prefer for the casting, and what I think I could get. I think I’d pick Nicholas Hoult for Evan and Ezra Miller for Alastair. For The Fall Guide, I might choose Ben Whishaw for Eric, and a young Lenny Kravitz would be an awesome Devon.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The More Plausible Evil: During his confession pending the night before Evan’s execution, he reveals the details of a lifetime’s worth of killings that shed light on his motives, and brings forward the curious short-lived claim that a vampire is at the heart of his salvation.

The Fall Guide: A young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be submitting both The More Plausible Evil and The Fall Guide to Less Than Three Press, and Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is already represented by Less Than Three. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The More Plausible Evil took me around twenty-five days, because I wrote it during Nanowrimo 2012. For The Fall Guide, I’ve been writing it in stages and I have two more chapters to go. I started it last … May? … and I hope to finish it in a week or less. Normally I can hammer out two chapters in a week, but I’ve been very busy this past year!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

When I’m plotting and writing, I don’t think of my stories in terms of genre conventions or other authors’ works. I can’t think of anything they are particularly comparable to because I’m trying to write something different. I write things I want to see that aren’t already there for me to read.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For The More Plausible Evil, definitely Less Than Three’s submission call—they wanted unrepentant vampires, so I brainstormed along those lines and found a twist unlikely to be covered by other authors. For The Fall Guide, it was very much inspired by my love of nail polish, at the core of it, and the storyline kind of grew organically from there. It’s surprised me in the growth I’ve seen with its main characters, and I totally love it. And for Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest, I’m going to cover that during its release blog hop. 🙂

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As a reader, I value an engaging plot and interesting characters in addition to romantic and sexual elements of the story. That’s definitely the kind of story I strive to write: I want my readers wrapped up in the world I’ve created.

The More Plausible Evil has some unfolding mysteries to it, but at the heart of it, a couple of characters I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s a bit of spin on the concept of a ‘moral monster.’

The Fall Guide is a story that I’ve had so much fun writing—often after I’ve finished a session with it, I come away smiling and excited! Eric and Devon have become so much more than I penned from a simple outline, and I’ve loved presiding over their growth as characters and the way things have evolved. I can’t abide cheating in fiction or real life, so I set out to write a story where these two guys experienced a powerful attraction, and how that would turn out if Eric felt the same way about cheating as I do.

As for A Cut Above the Rest, it brings together my long-standing love affair with food, and my passion for lovely gents falling for each other. My goal was to bring out the sparks with a pair of competitive chefs who would drive each other to be the best they can be … and also, tantalize the readers with a world of tempting cuisine. First my beta reader, and now my editor, have outright said the story ought to come with a warning label because if you don’t eat before you read it, you will want to!

Next, hop on over to E.E. Ottoman’s “This Journey Without a Map” to learn what’s on tap with the continuance of the next big thing.