Guest Post: ‘Food, Family, Friends, & Football: An Introduction to The Winning Ingredient . . .’ By Kelly Swan Taylor

Introducing Kelly Swan Taylor who shares the story of her upcoming novel.

My upcoming contemporary novel is a story of unwavering friendship through loss and triumph and was born out of a love of baking, family traditions, and (of course) my passion for sports. It’s as eclectic as I am and holds a special place in my heart. And I hope it will in yours.

Each fall, for a while now, I pull out my recipe book and prepare for a long season of baking from Halloween through Christmas. What started with a simple (well, not really ingredient-wise) gingerbread recipe turned into at least a dozen different varieties of cookies, now carefully placed between wax paper and packaged inside colorful tins. I tie them with a bow of red and white baker’s twine and ship them off to friends and family. This tradition is my personal version of a bakery and became the catalyst for my debut young adult novel.

As a former laboratory scientist, recipe experimentation is what fueled my enjoyment of baking. That, and sharing the unique results with others. This is something my protagonist, Mia DeSalvo, and I have in common. Bringing new life to old family recipes keeps these cherished memories alive. And it does help to have a wonderful treasure trove of recipes from which to choose. I’m lucky in that department. From my Slovak great-grandmother’s apple strudel to my grandmother-in-law’s “Oatmeal Crispies,” my cookie tins are overflowing.

But it was the stories that my husband told about his Sicilian roots and warm dinners around the Italian table growing up that prompted me to create the DeSalvo Bakery. It was inspired by my husband’s great-grandmother, Antoinette DeSalvo, who immigrated to this country in the early 1900’s. I will never forget my own experience visiting Italy a few years ago and feeling the comforting warmth of delicious food and drink, including sampling several cannoli in each city.

Of course, no sweet teen story would be complete without a fun group of tight, loyal friends. I chose to huddle them around the emerald turf of a football field. While I hadn’t initially intended for football to play such an integral role in the novel, I couldn’t imagine my own high school or college experiences without it and loved the instant action and drama it brought to the story. Whether as supportive teammates or dedicated fans, participating in sports emphasizes teamwork, dedication, and goal setting — all wonderful lessons for the young and old alike. And, while the teenage characters take the lead in this story, the diverse multi-generational cast is included and respected as an important part of their world.

Finally, there is a distinctly American feel to The Winning Ingredient that was intentional. And it isn’t just the all-American football theme. It is scattered throughout the book, from the school’s name and mascot to the hard-working people, who care about their community. The story is a shout-out to immigrant families who own small businesses and came to this country to achieve a dream and share their legacies. Their many recipes and traditions are now weaved into the fabric of our one flag. And I couldn’t forget the essential Gold Star and Blue Star families of our military, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe and allow us the freedom to achieve our dreams.

The Winning Ingredient by Kelly Swan Taylor will be available from the 22nd of September. You can find Kelly on Twitter and for information check out her website.

Come what may…

Very early into this online authoring and blogging venture I learned that the American people are decent. No mater what happens today, especially if you are an American, remember that. Politics aside, to me you have always been supportive, loyal and welcoming. As people and whether or not you know it, that’s what you truly stand for no matter who represents you in office.

Some of my greatest supporters come from the USA. Some of my better interactions on here have come from American people. Even at the very beginning when I didn’t really know what I was doing and when I first put out stories on that outlaw site called Booksie, there were supporters then who still check in now from across the pond.

Perhaps with the coming result and even before you might need to hear that. So come what may, I don’t judge anyone on their politics alone and you American folks are always welcome here, with open arms.

‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’ by Marc Cavella – Review

An entertaining gem of a read celebrating the glory days of pro wrestling with a modern voice…

Marc Cavella has flawlessly captured the glory days of American pro wrestling by way of a story that’s both fun and unpredictable. From anyone that’s ever followed the industry casually to the die hard fans or even those who are entirely new to it will appreciate the journey in this book.

We are introduced to the closed doors world of an industry that’s seen less as entertainment and more as a reality where ‘Ricky Risotto’ plays an integral role in keeping pretty much all aspects of the ‘Ozark Championship Wrestling’ promotion together along with the struggle of having an aging ‘gimmick’ or act. Known as ‘Waylon’ behind the curtain he’s part producer, coach, negotiator, matchmaker and booker, that is while trying to maintain a presence in front of the curtain among the fans where he aspires to be. The conflicts he faces are both personal and professional, from dealing with his sexuality in a not so progressive era to getting the current champion and friend to drop the belt at the upcoming event; we are presented with this story of a man who’s probably too good for the industry he’s in.

Wrestling in the by gone age conveyed in this story was big business and governed by the political players both inside and out of the ring, you see plenty of that along with some larger than life characters who may or may not be inspired by reality. The big rival promotion is simply named ‘New York’ and most of us can work out that cool reference and overall this is a cool story with a great twisting end. With money, pride and everything else at stake, the Ballad of Ricky Risotto makes for a great read with a modern voice!

5 Stars – A great read about one of my favourite subjects. Thanks to the author for reaching out and providing a copy of the book in exchange for a review.

The Ballad of Ricky Risotto is released today, grab yourself a copy here and remember to support an author by leaving a review!

Weekly Ramble #66

Solitude is difficult. Even as an introvert myself human interaction with strangers plays a part in my my life. Just seeing other people gives comfort that none of us are alone in this. For a world that is so well connected there’s a deep sense of loneliness in all of this and some are going to struggle. Those who live alone especially so. 

But even if the most dire of situations you’ll find opportunity. There is only one agreement about this rather mystery illness that’s sweeping the world; it’s contagious. What can you do to fight a contagious disease; stay healthy. Use the time given or lent to you for exercise, catching up on sleep and for cooking good healthy food. All three of these register as self care in my eyes and in times where you cannot physically socialise to feel better, find other ways.

This distancing deal might be around for a while to come. Standing in two meter lines at checkouts and only going out every ten days, my grandparents had it worse and I’m not comparing because I know the impact this is all having. The economy is going to fall to shit, jobs are going to get lost but if you have your health, your body will look after you throughout whatever tough times lay ahead trust me.

The world needs you to take care of yourself so do it by any means necessary. 

 

Episode 6 AMERICA F*** YEAH!!!

As I stumble my way through learning how to blog, it is apparent to me that last week’s entry was a revelation! Using the word press statistics thingy it has told me that my largest audience last week was in fact USA. Thank you from across the pond! But I must also send thanks to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the 2 views I had from Italy.

A big thanks to all of you, Facebook groupies and anyone in between, cheers guys!!

Before we continue! Above you can see a new page has been added next to Contact. This is my current plan, check back as it will get updated as progress is made.

Shameless Plug of something non-book related

As some of you may know, I partake in amateur dramatics. Now the club I belong to is a community run effort that relies solely on ticket sales to stay afloat. Our resident media/publicity officer Matt Streuli has discovered a nifty website that can help promote our efforts. It’s called Thunderclap and the idea is, sign up via facebook/twitter and when the allocation has been met this site will post a status via your page advertising the cause. Upon signing up the site will calculate how many people are reached and add it to the list. Cool right? This is something that I could use when my book launch is imminent.

If you would like to support community run amateur drama then please sign up to the cause, whatever corner of the web you are in, it will help. They need 100 sign ups!

Below is what the set up looks like, click on it to visit the page

I’ve stopped drafting my 3rd book

Every now and then I get utterly depressed with things, (not been officially diagnosed with depression) what I mean is that I lose faith in everything I do. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly it’s because I am the leader of this campaign and there is no figure above me (writing wise) to put their arm around me and tell me it’s gonna be ok. Or it’s because the soccer team I follow are crap. (although they did win the at the past weekend)

That’s life, we all get burned out and we all loose faith. It came to a point where I had planned most of what I had written so far (book 3) and then inspiration grinded to a halt. So I stopped, mothballed book three and went back home to book 1. By that I mean there was some re working to do on Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project. That’s what I’m doing now, editing to me is so much more fun than drafting. You get to deal with text that’s already had it’s foundation laid, sort of like word maintenance.

Oddly enough my faith in everything was restored when I was at work. In my attempt of looking like I know how to do sciency things I somehow miraculously managed to fix something. Let me set the scene a little here: The chips were down, the experiment was gonna come to a complete stand still, options were diminishing in front of our eyes, something had to be done. What ever I tried didn’t work, hometime was in sight but that wouldn’t come to fruition until this dilemma was sorted. Lee steps up, does something and its fixed! The crowd roar as the ball hits the back of the net! In life the little victories must be appreciated.

2

Introductions Part 6 (there is quite possibly an end in sight)

So 2013 rolled around and I was full steam ahead into writing. The first 3 chapters I put together previously were having a serious re work and I began to look for a platform to release some material. Luckily a good friend of mine (Rob Chambers) was using a website known as booksie.com to put some writing out there. So it was decided when I had enough decent material I would release Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project via booksie, chapter by chapter on a kind of weekly basis.

At the same time I created a Facebook page and my online presence had officially started. By the end of January, the initial draft of my novel had debuted online!

Exciting times for me but I did come across some difficulty, you see the first 3 chapters were written some time ago, I was a different person then, this stuff was on another frequency, but eventually I blasted through chapter 3 and forward. I will simply say the reason I got through this frequency problem is because I spent so much time writing, every week day I would be writing for 4+ hours. But for the first time I was enjoying it!

A few months passed and chapters 5,6,7 and 8 were constructed. I was on a roll and I could see exactly how and when my first book would end!

By May of 2013 I had finished drafting my first novel and at 65,000 words I was ecstatic with what I had achieved.

Next week : The final episode of Lee’s Hall of information (this series), a feature length offering concluding the introductions, whats next and a Game of Thrones Review