THANKFUL AUTHOR BLOG ROUNDUP
Featuring Meg Bellamy
Things I'm grateful for:
1. My family
2. Good health for me and all my loved ones
3. The many blessings of my life
4. Being a writer
Welcome Meg, we save the best for last here. Can you tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A, B, and C?
A – Artistic
C -- Creative
What are your three favorite things?
Just pick three? Did you mean specifics or general? I chose general, but will narrow my choices down if need be.
Books , Paper, Fiber – fabric and yarn
Music is a big influence on my writing. I have certain songs that inspire each chapter, or the whole book. What helps to inspire you?
There is one piece of music that has been inspirational for me since high school – a long, long time ago. That is “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In addition to being beautiful music, “Schererazade” is very much the story of a story teller. Perhaps that’s why the music is so meaningful to me.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Cooking and baking; looking at recipes in magazines and cookbooks. Right now, since DH and I are getting ready to move, I’m going through my stuff and trying to winnow it down – not my favorite process.
If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be?
I’ve got it down to two chefs, both based in England --- Yotam Ottolenghi, whose latest cookbook was my request for my recent birthday gift from DH; and Nigella Lawson, who seems very bubbly and enthusiastic and has written some great cookbooks. Of course, I’d expect them both to cook for me – or maybe to let me cook with them?
As you might have guessed from my interview responses, food and cooking are very important to me. The same is true for Donna Byrne, the heroine of Starts with F.
“It’s your kid’s wedding, not the end of the world.”
Actually, Armageddon is a pretty mild description of professional cook Donna Byrne's complicated dealings with her ex on the eve of their son's wedding. Desperate to comply with her son’s request for a temporary truce between his parents, Donna joins a Nuclear Nuptials support group—other pre-wedding moms with toxic exes. To her surprise, the group is a great community. As a bonus, Donna meets the gorgeous instructor of the forgiveness class the group enrolls in.
Max Leiter, a Sir Galahad type with issues, is kind, caring and really hot. A widower who's as committed to his daughters as Donna is to her son, Max is there for Donna when she needs him. Arrested on trumped-up charges for the attempted murder of her ex, Donna is out on bail when she attends her son's wedding, with Max as her escort. He not only helps Donna through her ordeal but learns he's not meant to be superman. Together they get through the tough stuff—still holding hands when all their dreams begin to come true.
Starts with F is the first book of the Nuclear Nuptials series -- loving parents dealing with impossible situations as they gear up for their children's weddings.
“Mother of the bride?”
“Groom.” Donna smiled at the bridal shop saleswoman, then frowned. “I’m not sure about this color.”
“Aubergine is very popular for September weddings,” the woman chirped.
“Eggplant’s for eating, not wearing.”
Donna’s older sister Jeannette, who’d come along for moral support, tsked. “Aubergine. I keep telling you you‘ve got to start thinking outside the kitchen.”
The saleswoman nodded in agreement with Jeannette and pointed toward the dressing room. “The seamstress is ready for you.”
Maybe inviting Jeannette along wasn’t my brightest idea. Donna trudged to the mirrored alcove, stripped and groaned. Those frustration pounds…
“Suck it in, sweetie.” The seamstress pinched Donna, earning a glare.
“I am.” Any harder and she’d faint.
“Hmm. Better not to force the zipper. I’ll let out two seams in the back. That’ll cost extra.”
What else? I’m already triple over budget for the wedding.
Jeannette’s forehead creased with concern. “Are you sure you can’t get that up? Sometimes a new zipper can be stiff.”
“Of course I’m sure,” the seamstress snapped. “I’m in this business thirty years. With delicate fabric like this silk… If she doesn’t want alterations, she could try Spanx—industrial strength. Maybe a large shawl.” Her eyes gleamed with doubt and schadenfreude.
“Spanx is a good idea, but a shawl would detract….” Jeannette moved in. “Let me try.”
The darn thing will tear, and then where will I be? Donna put her hands up in a stop gesture and sighed. “Leave it. I’ll pay.“ Then, since nothing ever resisted when Jeannette insisted, the reluctant zipper whined and surrendered.
“There, that works. We’ll take the dress as is.” Jeannette grinned with satisfaction. Never mind Donna’s strangled circulation. She gasped with relief when Jeannette slid the zipper down.
The seamstress, mouth pursed in a grim line, muttered to herself as she repacked the dress.
Back in her sister’s black Mercedes, Donna thought out loud. “I could slash calories between now and the wedding.” Two months without comfort food. Piece of cake, so to speak. Her son’s wedding was worth it.
“You still have the daily food spreadsheet I gave you, right?” Jeannette easily steered through San Francisco’s mid-day traffic. “If you use it, you’ll do fine. You’ll look gorgeous. Knock Patrick’s eyes out, make him sorry—”
Donna snorted at the direction her sister’s words were taking. “Yeah, right. We’re so far from that…. Did I tell you the latest?”
“No. What’s up?”
“Keith made his father and me promise we’d be civil to each other until after the wedding. Sheesh. Talk about mission impossible. But a promise to my son—”
“That is hard to believe. How did Keith get the two of you to agree to anything?”
“Threats to have us banned from the wedding—I think he was kidding, but he scared me into saying yes. We both took the pledge, though The Prick’s word isn’t worth bubkes.”
Jeannette sniffed in refined indignation. “In principle, I agree. Still, you shouldn’t descend to his level, like when you call him The Prick. You set the tone and your ex will have to follow, if he doesn’t want to look bad.”
In what alternate universe? Donna envied her sister’s innate optimism, or was it a talent for self-delusion?
“Maybe you can press the point, talk Patrick into showing good faith by withdrawing his claim to your recipes—the ones you adapted from Grandma’s. He’s made more than enough money off our family.”
Donna sputtered from sheer frustration. “You actually think he’s going to do a one eighty and cave after being hard-nosed for the past two years?”
“Your only son’s wedding is a special time.”
“Reality check. The recipe dispute is on hold until after the wedding, but that’s because of me. My dear ex would leave it on hold forever if I didn’t keep bringing it up. The status quo suits him. Not me, but with wedding expenses, I can’t afford a new lawyer and I fired the old one.”
“Why do you do this, Donna? You know I’d be happy to help you pay for someone top-notch.”
Donna shook her head. “I appreciate the offer, but you’ve done more than enough. I’ll pay for my lawyer.”
“Why’d you fire the one you had?”
“Zero results. After the wedding, I’ll get back on track.” Time to change the subject. “Did I tell you I’ve started looking for a publisher for my cookbook?”
Jeannette’s brow furrowed. “Aren’t you jumping the gun—getting a publisher before you have clear title to the recipes?”
Maybe not the best conversational choice after all. Donna waved a dismissive hand. “No. It takes forever for newbie authors to break in. Work goes into a slush pile and then you wait. And wait. I’ll own the recipes long before I get an offer.”
“I always say, first things first.”
Of course she does. “We have different styles.”
“Speaking of which, do you have accessories to go with the dress?”
“What do you wear with eggplant? Parmesan?”
“Aubergine. You’ll be wearing aubergine. And I saw gorgeous silver evening sandals—they’re even on sale. They’ll be perfect…“