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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Escargot or No

According to the National Day Calendar, today, May 24, is National Escargot Day. I wonder where they come up with this stuff. Since I blog on the 24th of each month, I wanted to write a blog around whatever the national day is for that date. When I saw National Escargot Day, I groaned. How could I write about escargot and relate it somehow to my books? I decided to give it a shot.

I’m not afraid to experiment with new foods. I’ve eaten kangaroo in Australia and alligator in Charleston, South Carolina. They both taste like chicken. I draw the line at horse meat, though. Once on a trip to Italy, some meat was placed in front of me that I didn’t quite trust. I didn’t eat it. Found out later it was horse meat. Europeans eat horse meat. No thanks.

I ate escargot once many years ago. I don’t remember where I had it, possibly Toronto, Canada, when I lived there, or a restaurant in Philadelphia. All I remember is the garlic. The snails themselves had no taste, but were swimming in garlic. I never ate escargot again. Tried it once and that was enough.

Unlike my willingness to try different foods, I’ve not gone outside my writer comfort zone as much as I would have liked. I love contemporary romance and have pretty much stuck to that. I do have several “foodie” romances, as I love to cook. I stretched myself to write my first romantic suspense, Logan’s Redemption (Redemption Book 1), and enjoyed the experience so much, I’ve gone on to write three more romantic suspense stories. And I intend to write more.
My biggest stretch was writing my very dark paranormal romance, Cursed Mates. This book is so different from anything I’ve ever written. It’s one of my favorites. It took a lot out of me emotionally to write something so dark, and I’ve not written another dark paranormal since.

I think pushing myself to go out of my contemporary romance comfort zone has helped me grow as a writer. As I will most likely not eat escargot again, I doubt I’ll write another dark paranormal, but I’m glad for the experience. And I got a book I love and am proud of.

Are you a fearless eater, willing to try exotic foods at least once? Have you written stories that took you out of your comfort zone? How’d that work out for you?

I always figured my next “stretch” would be to write a historical romance. For years, I’ve wanted to write a book set during the Gilded Age, a time that fascinates me. I even have a rough plot. Just as I hope to have the opportunity to try more exotic foods, I hope to someday write this book.

Although I may not have written my Gilded Age story yet, I did write my first historical romance last year. My story, We’ve Only Just Begun, after the Carpenters song, is set in 1971. Ironic that it’s considered “historical” when it’s the year I started dating my husband. We’ve Only Just Begun is part of a seven-story anthology, Brandywine Brides: A Blackwood Legacy Anthology. All of us authors are local, from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. We meet for lunch once a month and call ourselves Writers Who Lunch. One author is a NYT and USAT bestselling author, and another is a USAT author. Several of us are award-winning. We came up with the idea of doing an anthology together, using a local setting, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The stories are about one family, the Blackwoods, from the 1700’s to present day.

I didn’t have to “stretch” myself too much to write We’ve Only Just Begun. I wrote much of it from memory. Talk about feeling old, when you can write historical fiction from your own experiences. My hero, Stephen Blackwood, is a Vietnam War combat vet with PTSD, only then we called it “shell-shock.” My husband is a Vietnam War combat vet, and he helped me with some of the military terms. I dedicated my story to him and to my cousin, a medic, who was killed in ‘Nam days before Christmas in 1968. Writing my novella brought back some sad memories.

We authors are very proud of our anthology. I hope you’ll read it. I think you’ll find all the stories heartwarming.

BRANDYWINE Brides ~ A Blackwood Legacy Anthology
One Family – Seven Generations – A Legacy of Love

Almost three centuries ago, a Scottish convict was sold into indentured servitude in Philadelphia and given a second chance at a life far from the country of his birth. In the years since, the farm secured by Finlan Blackwood’s efforts would grow and thrive in the Brandywine River valley just as his family and descendants did. Today, Blackwood Farm is one of the largest and most successful farms in Chester County. But it took the sacrifices and best efforts of each generation to make it so. 

1721 – In A Traitor’s Heart by Terri Brisbin, a convicted traitor from the Jacobite Rising must find a way to rescue a widow from an unscrupulous man’s plans for her. . . and for the lands she holds. 

1779 – In A Patriots’ Heart by Gwendolyn Schuler, a wounded British officer hiding a secret puts the daughter of Blackwood Farm’s owner in danger by his presence in their home.

1865 – In Wounded Heart by Martha Schroeder, a damaged Union soldier arrives home to find his childhood sweetheart is the one trying to save his family’s farm. 

1919 – In Heart’s Song by Georgia Dickson, when the current owner of Blackwood Farm returns from the Great War, everything looks different to him, even the possibility of love.

1943 – In Painted Promises by Kate Welsh, the Blackwood heir, working for the war effort at home, is the only one who can help a woman who fought with the resistance in Europe before she escaped the horrors of war. 

1971 – In We’ve Only Just Begun by Cara Marsi, the Blackwood son, suffering from the effects of Vietnam, meets exactly the kind of woman he needs, even if she doesn’t want to be the one. 

2017 – In Finn’s Legacy by Mariah Stewart, when a writer comes to Blackwood Farm to interview the family matriarch, the last thing she expects is a reunion with the man who broke her heart before he left for Iraq four years ago. 

Seven Blackwood generations. Seven loves worth fighting for!



Melissa Keir said...

I'm not courageous about eating. I have tried snake and alligator, both are chicken like as well as mussels but I only had a taste. I once ate at a childhood friend's house (She was Korean) who served horse. I found out and only ate around it. I'm stubborn that way. I'd rather not eat something than take a chance on it. I used to be able to tell when my dad would trick me about the difference between Walleye and Lake Perch. I refused the Walleye and only ate the Perch. Food does have some unique tastes, some of it because of how they are cooked.

Tina Donahue said...

I'm with Melissa. For me, Mexican and Italian rule. If not that, then comfort food.

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Melissa and Tina. I'll generally eat something once, except for horse meat, and monkey brains.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Hi, Cara! and many smooches your way. I've tried escargot-unimpressed, and alligator - tastes like chicken. Truth be told, I'm not all that adventurous of an eater. And that's okay. I like my salads and chicken, etc. I love how your book came together and much success your way. I know yours is fabulous like you. vb

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Vicki, my friend.

Paris said...

I've always thought of myself as a pretty fearless eater but I admit have never been enticed to try snails. I'm afraid, for me there isn't any way to make them appetizing and I love garlic!

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