Book Bites: Always Time for Pizza with Michael R. Underwood

Hexomancy Cover
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Book Bites is Cooking the Books‘ more easygoing sibling. Authors talk about their book and share a recipe, all in one tasty bite. 

Today, my friend Michael R. Underwood joins us to talk pizza, Ree Reyes, Geekomancy (and to show off the first cover for his upcoming novella series, Genrenauts). 

Having a meal with Mike is always great fun, so without further ado, please join him for pizza!


There’s Always Time for Pizza:

If there’s one thing that I learned during my time as a New Yorker (Brooklyn as a kid, Queens as an adult), it’s that there’s always time for pizza. This is a lesson I passed on to Ree Reyes, the star of my urban fantasy series (beginning with Geekomancy, continuing with Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, and Hexomancy). In Ree’s world, fandom is magic – her love of science fiction and fantasy media lets her channel genre tropes (watch The Matrix, do wire-fu), turn a lightsaber prop into a real lightsaber, and to tear up a Magic: The Gathering card like it was a D&D Spell scroll. Doing Geekomancy takes mental energy, willpower, and running over rooftops and fighting monsters in alleys is bound to build up an appetite.

Some books gloss right over the eating – characters grab a bite between scenes and the food isn’t important. But as a city dweller, I know the importance of being able to grab a meal on the run or a well-timed delivery order, especially after an exhausting day (and what’s more exhausting than fighting monsters and running across rooftops?). That’s why I populated Ree’s home city of Pearson with a number of wonderful eateries. When she needs some serious eats to scheme and plan, she orders Turbo’s Pizza, noshing on spinach and sausage pizzas with a solid pound of cheese on the pie. When she and her friends need to get away from it all, Ree leads an expedition to Bites, a tapas joint with discount wine, where they catch up and chatter for a couple of hours before adventure calls her away.

And when the evil is vanquished and the exhausted heroes need something to keep from falling over, they swing down to the Burger Bin and order a massive milkshake. Ree’s regular order involves dumping basically every flavor and topping into the mixer and then topping it off with several inches of whipped cream.

Now that I’ve whet your (and my) appetite, here’s a recipe of Ree’s from her days as a comics shop/barista. And because pumpkin is a fruit, it’s totally healthy. Or something.

Pumpkin Pillow Cookies

1/2 cup butter (soft)
1 cup sugar
10-11oz pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips (Most of a bag based on the more commonly available brands’ packaging – or just go for it and use a whole bag. OMM NOMM NOMM.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Then mix in the butterscotch chips. Drop dough by spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes (at the most) in preheated oven, or so. Watch carefully and don’t let overcook – if you take them out while the tops are still soft, they will toughen perfectly into pillow texture. Allow cookies to cool for a minute on cookie sheets before transferring to wire cooling racks.

Note – this recipe is very oven-dependent – you may need to tweak the baking time. I think these are perfect when they come out of the oven and nothing sticks to a fork. Some folks like them a bit gooier (they are also excellent this way).

Headshot-FountainMichael R. Underwood (aka: Mike) has traveled the world, knows why Tybalt cancels out Capo Ferro, and rolls a mean d20. He was raised in no small part at his local hobby game store, and he spent so much time helping out they eventually had to put him on staff. He is the author the several series: the comedic fantasy Ree Reyes series (Geekomancy, Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, Hexomancy), fantasy superhero novel Shield and Crocus, supernatural thriller The Younger Gods, and the forthcoming Genrenauts, a science fiction series in novellas. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books.

Shootout Solution coverCheck out Mike’s upcoming title from publishing! Don’t stop there, check out Mike’s Cooking the Books interview from 2014! over at

You can find Mike on the web and twitter, as well as everywhere you buy books!



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