A Cooking the Books Appetizer – E. Catherine Tobler’s Watermark

Occasionally the Cooking the Books staff (that is, for the moment, me, myself, and I) discovers an tidbit from something you might like. Such is the case with the following appetizer – a food related excerpt from one of October’s Cooking the Books guest hosts, E. Catherine Tobler.

Coming Sept. 22, 2014 from Masque Books

Coming Sept. 22, 2014 from Masque Books

E. Catherine Tobler is the senior editor of Shimmer Magazine and author of works including Rings of Anubis (Masque Books, 2014), and an ever growing ring of stories that collects beneath the Jackson’s Circus tent.

Her latest novel, Watermark, will be released by Masque Books on September 22, but you can read a specially selected, food-related excerpt here, right now. When you’re through, head on over to E. Catherine Tobler’s website, where she’s hosting a giveaway for Watermark through Saturday, October 4.

Meantime, enjoy, and keep an eye out for more October Cooking the Books!

Watermark, excerpt

Little Darkness, we will talk soon.

It was like the press of dirt all around, warm and wormy, and then gone. I sank to one of the stools, both relieved and annoyed. The food would not feed me the way Finn’s voice might.

“You should take what you want,” Dia said to me, “and if you don’t know what you want, then try everything.” Her eyes gleamed as if this was fun, introducing wayward girls to new foods.

She had spread a variety of items upon the counter, some of which I knew and some I did not. There were brightly colored cans cold to the touch, bags of wrapped breads, thin slices of meat, round tomatoes, and blocks of cheese.

“Is this what you do?” I asked as she began to fill a plate for me. “Finn has the bakery, Haven has his books…”

Dia shook her head, and while I watched her hands move easily through the foods, it was the beat of her heart I was drawn to. So steady, so uncluttered. She had nothing lurking beneath the surface, no true self. She was only what I saw.

“This is not my job,” she said.

A sharp longing filled her words, and although she was only what I saw, there were other layers to her; not a second face as with the others, but something else even so.

“I work at the bookstore, not that Haven and Daniel need much help, but as summer comes on, I tell fortunes. Plenty of people coming through Peak now, on their way further into the mountains. They love us for our quaint shit, don’t they? They stop, gape at my tattoos, get their fortune told, and then they’re gone.”

“It’s good,” I whispered. “To know what you are.”

Dia looked up from the sandwich she was building. She laughed, but it wasn’t a happy kind of laugh. “Do you think so? What if in the knowing there is a curse too? Once you know a thing, how can you be anything else? Maybe it’s better to not know, to build something new.”

The longing inside me wouldn’t let me agree with her. I had to know, no matter the answer.

I was hungry, but my body didn’t care how much I ate; there was a hole inside me that mere food could not fill. Dia offered a variety of edibles, but wasn’t overly surprised when I remained unsatisfied.

Want to read more? Head to E. Catherine Tobler’s website and enter a giveaway for Watermark through Saturday, Oct. 4.


My Baltimore Book Festival Schedule

A quick post to say I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival next weekend, September 26-28! The show’s moved to Rash Field, so come say hi and visit the SFWA table.  Here’s the full schedule of SFWA events.

Here’s where you can find me:

Friday 2:00-3:00 Writing about social justice in science fiction and fantasy.
Join our panel to talk about science fiction that revolves around issues of social justice here on Earth–and elsewhere. From Ursula Le Guin’s tour de force novel The Dispossessed to the works of MacArthur Fellow Octavia Butler through a plethora of other writers, science fiction and fantasy authors have never shied away from stories that tackled issues of social justice. Talk with our panelists about their favorite examples and yours. Panelists: Anne K. Gray, Alma Katsu, Sunny Moraine, Alex Shvartsman, Fran Wilde

Saturday 5:30 -7:00 Reception and Meet & Greet with authors, music, and food
Join the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at our reception, autographing session, and Meet and Greet with our program participants at the Baltimore Book Festival.

with: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeanne Adams, Jill Archer, Catherine Asaro, Jack Clemons, Brenda Clough, Scott Edelman, Charles Gannon, Ronald Garner, Em Garner, Herb Gilliland, Anne K Gray, Elektra Hammond, Justina Ireland, Jim Johnson, Alma Katsu, Cheryl Klam, L. Jagi Lamplighter, John Maclay, Marrisa Meyer, Sunny Moraine, Christine Norris, Ellen Oh, Sarah Pinsker, Caroline Richmond, Don Sakers, Karen Sandler, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Rori Shay, Alex Shvartsman, Dawnyell Snyder, Bud Sparhawk, John Tilden, Mike Underwood, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde, Ilene Wong, Karlo Yeager

Sunday 12:00-1:00 Science in Science Fiction: Fun and Imagination.
Our panel of scientists will talk about exciting ideas in science. How do you extrapolate known science into the “What if?” that excites readers about our genre? Talk with our experts about some of the coolest ideas out there and how they can be used in fiction. Panelists: Jack Clemons, Bud Sparhawk, Fran Wilde, Catherine Asaro

The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

If trapped aboard an airship, with only a tin of cinnamon, a pinch of yeast, and a bag of somewhat questionable flour, our heroine, author Beth Cato would unquestionably come up with delicious baked goods in time to destroy her enemies. We are certain of that.

Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome Beth on the day her book, The Clockwork Dagger, debuts!

(You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at Tor.com)

Beth joins us to talk about the research that went into the book, especially regarding food, politics, transport, medicine, and gremlins.

Thanks to Beth, you can score the very ARC written by Beth that was then gently read by us in preparation for this interview. This ARC is experienced, in good condition, and comes with your very own Cooking the Books Con Ribbon as a bookmark. (Yep, we’re making you read to the end for the entry terms. We were not born yesterday.)

So! Grab your goggles and your traveling-case, adventurers! And bring a good appetite, because Beth’s shared her recipe for maple fudge, as well as the story behind that fudge’s connection with The Clockwork Dagger.

Everyone armed with their weapon of choice? (more…)

Loncon3 Wrap-up and Picspam

Kaffeeklatsch Achieved! Feat. Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, [capclave], JW Alden, Mel X, Frances KR, and more! (some offscreen)

Kaffeeklatsch Achieved! Feat. Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, Judy Newton, JW Alden, Pauline Wooley, Frances KR, Felicia, and more! (some offscreen!)

We’ve been home for almost a week and the planet’s still kind of spinning. I’m going to press on and try to capture a bit of Loncon3, filling in with shiny photos when I can’t find the words.

Loncon3 Panels – Everything was packed! I mean rooms filled with people, people standing, people of all ages, people asking questions and coming up to talk after. It was so packed, we had to resort to parkour to get Scott Lynch to his very small, very remote reading room. This was very exciting. I’m still convinced that some of the convention rooms (especially those on the third floor, back hallway) moved around like staircases at Hogwarts. The Excel Center is a strange place — more on that later.  (more…)

My London Worldcon (LonCon) Schedule

My schedule for London Worldcon 2014! These panels, you guys. So very excited to be a part of them. The Kaffeeklatsch will be my first – looking forward to seeing friends old and new there!


Thursday 14:00 – 15:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL) – Come talk short stories, novels, and cooking the books! I’ll have some shiny swag with me, including Cooking the Books ribbons, short story cards, and (hopefully) my growing map of London Literary stops. What are your favorite places?

Feeding the Imagination: Food in SF/F

Friday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

The food in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is described in such detail that cookbooks have been published in response. What other genre works have focused heavily on food to develop the world and characters? What does food say about an invented society? Are stories that lack an exploration of the diet of their characters lacking something?  With: Shana Worthen (M), Aliette de Bodard, Gillian Polack, Jo Walton, Fran Wilde.


That’s Craft with a ‘C': Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone’s fiction mixes modern economic theory with thaumaturgy, necromancy with bankruptcy laws, and his characters draw you into their world before you realize the dangers involved. Talking to Max is a bit similar – you never know where you’ll end up. Be well assured, it will be mindblowing. Max joined the Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate his new book in the Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, just out from Tor.

The ingredients for podcast #003 – Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone include:

  • 10% stone golems
  • 3 times the Recommended Daily Amount of artificial gods
  • The best street food money can’t buy
  • What to eat when you’re stuck at the office and still living
  • 2 Dragon Steaks
  • Island economics and class divides
  • One box of Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • Seasoned with Anime, Loncon, and the John W. Campbell awards
  • Plus Max’s new Tor.com story, The Angelus Guns


Lessons from the Portuguese: Cooking the Books with J. Kathleen Cheney

Very excited to have author J. Kathleen Cheney join Cooking the Books today! She’s here to talk about Portuguese cooking and the Golden City, where magical beings have been banned for decades, though many live there in secret.

Kathleen, welcome! Tell us a little about The Golden City and The Seat of Magic — is there a close cultural analog in the world?

The Golden City and The Seat of Magic are set in an alternate Portugal, in what would be the city of Porto, although a somewhat altered version.

What kind of research did you do on that culture?

To research that culture, I did a lot of reading, not only of history, but also period fiction from Portugal (Eça de Queirós and Camões, for example), guide books, cookbooks. Among other things, I tried cooking several recipes from those Portuguese cookbooks. And then we visited the country, spending two weeks in Portugal back in 2012, which was absolutely wonderful. (more…)

Frankenpost: Four Great Short Stories Not By Me, On Reading, Workshops, & Things Upcoming

It’s been an exciting month around here – and a busy one. Over on Twitter, I experimented with lightning-round Cooking the Books book giveaways, and that went really well. We’ll be doing some more of those.

But first and foremost, I’m delighted to share that revisions are *finished* on book 1 and we’re moving to the next phase of the process – meaning we’re one step closer to BOOK!

Working with my editor and the team at Tor has been an amazing and awesome experience so far. Oh the brilliant and funny things that happen in the margins of books before they get published. Totally excellent conversations going on in there. Oh the gifs. So. Many. Gifs.

I know I’ll have more to say about the editing process soon, including some upcoming Book 1-related news — but I can’t talk about that yet, so I’m going to make you a bunch of links for this frankenpost (thank you, Natalie) and say:

Look! What’s that over there?!?


Blue Goo in Space – Cooking the Books with Adam Christopher

Is Adam Christopher as charming as he is prolific? Today, you have the opportunity to find out! Born in New Zealand, now living in England, Adam is the author of Empire State (Angry Robot, 2012), Hang Wire (Angry Robot, 2012), Seven Wonders (Angry Robot, 2012), The Age Atomic (Angry Robot, 2013), and most recently, The Burning Dark (Tor, 2014). He has a number of books upcoming as well, including the LA Trilogy, and The Burning Dark‘s sequel: The Machine Awakes (Tor, 2015)

Adam joins Cooking the Books for our second podcast episode to discuss The Burning Dark as well as his novelette Brisk Money, coming to Tor.Com in July.

(UPDATE: there’s a giveaway going on through Monday – details in the comments!)

Want to know what you’re getting into before you press play? Here are the ingredients: