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Author Jennifer Quail

Fantasy, Steampunk, Science Fiction, and More

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Food and Fiction

Hopefully the folks who frequent this passes-for-a-blog and my author Facebook page have read some of my work. (If not, you can visit my Amazon Author page and see what strikes your fancy. Strange Roads is hovering at that 19 reviews threshold…) And especially if you’ve checked out A Kiss and a Promise you might have noticed I like writing about food. If you saw me on Jeopardy! you can probably guess I like food with my wine, too. One of my collection of degrees is culinary school, after all, and while I don’t get fancy all the time, I definitely like writing about food and cooking.

Given how many of my characters are Slavic, that’s probably not surprising. I’ve been working on expanding my story “Storm-Spun” (Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim) and keep wanting to veer off into things like the Slavic love affair with berry picking. 105699900_1135846986773986_1015250223524311536_n

When you find something edible in the woods and suddenly “I’m Katniss Everdeen, y’all!”

It IS berry season. I already have plans to torture characters with gooseberry picking (I have the scars to prove it), strawberry stands are open, and (see above) wild raspberries are ripening. I have “volunteer” sunflowers growing in my garden beds, and my gooseberry bushes produced almost nine pounds this year. The apricot, cherry, and pear trees are still too young, sadly. All of it had me thinking about what characters like Masha would be picking and preserving in a fantasy-Ukraine village, or what kind of fruit bushes and trees Eva would want from her real-world Crimean home to transplant to Denmark.

Of course, with Masha, I’ve run into a problem: when I’m writing a fantasy universe based on a Eurasia before the time of travel to the Americas . . . what would they really eat? Tonight for dinner I made a Moldavian fish casserole that involves a sauce of tomatoes (no), peppers (no), and is served over polenta (nope.) Sunflower seeds, the go-to snack of eastern Europe? Nope. North American native (though made into a commercial crop in Russia and re-imported.) All those fantasy Europes full of potatoes and pumpkins? They’re trading with the Americas somehow. No peanuts (South America.)

I ran into the opposite side of this working at the museum. I had to double-check native sources of sugar, to find that they didn’t in fact have honey. Honeybees are native to Eurasia and arrived, it’s thought, some time in the 1600s. They were alien enough some tribes referred to them as ‘white man’s flies.’ While there are maples native to Eurasia, sugar maple is a New World tree.

Maybe if I really want to make my characters do drudge work, they can try boiling birch sap. (I’ve done that research. Okay I ordered birch-sap drink from RussianFoodUSA. It’s not going on pancakes any time soon.)

Just In Case You’d Like to Buy Some Books!

While you can always check out my Amazon Author Page for books by me or featuring my stories, there are a few other options.

For Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim featuring my story “Storm-Spun”, besides Amazon, you can find links to other ebooks at the universal link below. For paperback copies, click the Lulu link!

Universal link – https://books2read.com/talesofsiblings

Paperbacks – http://www.lulu.com/shop/product-24352918.html

If you’d like a paperback version of Machinations and Mesmerism: Tales Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmanit’s also available on Lulu.

If you’d like to skip Amazon and order direct (or are in the UK) for Urban Crime Short Stories, You can shop direct on Flame Tree’s website.

And please, if you read, consider dropping a review at Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites! Authors love reviews. (Well, when they’re nice. Okay, even if they’re not nice, at least you noticed us!) For example, here’s the first first Goodreads review for Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim!

Some News You Might Have Seen

So, I may have been using a bit of dramatic understatement in saying my “appearance” singular on Jeopardy was on Wednesday. I will be returning for Monday, December 9th’s show. Yes, I really do like puffins, traveling, and have goats. Yes, I actually do know Fenway Park is in Boston, I just cannot connect Fenway and football. Alex was doing very well when I saw him October, all things considered. He’s very nice. My competitors were all very nice people.

If you are coming here via Jeopardy instead of reading this because you saw my story in an anthology or are on the Books Go Social facebook, hi, yes, I write too! Please check out my Amazon Author Page where some recent credits include Smoking Pen Press’s Vampires, Zombies, and Ghosts Volume 1 and A Kiss and a Promise, and if you’re more into crime, I have a short procedural in Flame Tree Publishing’s Urban Crime Short Stories. 

For all things Jeopardy!, random goat and Corgi pictures, and updates on publications, you can follow my Facebook page and you can follow me on Twitter @jenniferquail. I try to live-tweet Jeopardy and otherwise sporadically post things as the mood strikes me. And if you miss a game you can always visit The Jeopardy Fan for recaps, commentary, and lots and lots of math, and J-archive for full game boards and results.

Hollow Hills Press: Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim

Check out this upcoming release note from Hollow Hills Press! Their new anthology, Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim, will include my Russian-inspired short story “Storm-Spun.” I’ve been looking for a home for this one for quite some time, so I’m glad it’ll be out there (and I can start thinking about sequels and expanding.)

You can also take a look at my interview with Hollow Hills on their blog: Author Interview

Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim is due out November 29, 2019.

 

First Review! Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts Vol 1

via Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts Vol 1

And I know whose I’m going to read next!

Vampires, Zombies, and Ghosts

No, believe it or not, my story isn’t a vampire story! It’s a ghost story, and needless to say, a wee bit of a romance, too.

Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts, Volume 1 (Read on the Run) by [Valenti, Catherine, Gienapp, Laurie Axinn, Fiorini, Lucy Ann, Long, Laird, Hinkle, Larry, Penncavage, Michael, Tomlinson, T. M., Leen, Geri, Leergaard, R. S., Howell, R. J.]

Now available for Kindle on Amazon!

Be sure to check it out. The paperback should be coming shortly.

Jet Setting in a Heat Wave!

Just back from a very fun, very fast, but very hot, trip to New York for the launch of Machinations and Mesmerism: A Tribute to E.T.A. Hoffman at The Footlight. Apparently if I’m going to New York, it’s going to be stupidly hot as instead of doing some exploring after arrival, I decided it was better to hit the hotel restaurant and take a car service over, since the heat index was pushing 105.

It was a small but enthusiastic turnout to see me, Michael Cisco, and LC von Hessen read our stories from the anthology and to hang out at the very fun little venue. Don’t let the address fool you-this is not a scary area (though the route the driver from the hotel took me gave me some interesting ideas for Aleks’s adventures as a P.A. in New York–more on her later. Remember, leash, curb, and clean up after your thug!*)

*Actual sign seen on a chain-link fence in one of the more dubious areas.

There was a strange theme of teeth going on with the readings. Of course, Sophie Vestergaard, my rather mundanely eerie character, has every good reason to be interested in them as besides her more unsavory hobbies, she’s a forensic ondontologist. I’m sure my mother (who used her DDS for much more general practice) would admit, it’s easier to examine the teeth when you can just flip the skull over and detach the lower jaw!

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I’d hoped to dress a little nicer, but after trying on everything in my closet I realized 110 in the shade combined with airline air conditioning meant jeans and a peasant blouse was the most practical thing I had. Not pictured: my new pearl-encrusted tiara from Half Lucid Jewelry, which the amazing and talented Kendra L. Saunders made me and which will be making its debut at a Cunard masquerade ball near you (if you’re in Nova Scotia or the North Atlantic.) Not only does she work for the fantastic Footlight and write the Dating an Alien Pop Star series, she makes sparkly things! For very reasonable prices, too.

Looking forward, I’m happy (and relieved) to announce that my story “Storm-Spun” will appear in the forthcoming Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim anthology from Hollow Hills Books. Pleased, because I’m always happy when someone decides they want to pay me for my writing, and relieved because this is a story that’s been picked at and revised and resubmitted several times, so I’m thrilled it’s finally found an appreciative home. Hopefully this means there’s a reason to keep going now I’ve decided this one has longer potential after all!

Available, Forthcoming, and Jet-setting!

First, Urban Crime Short Stories are now available at Amazon!

I have my own copy in my hot little hands (and a couple spares; use the contact form if you’re interested in a signed copy!)

And now on lulu, with an Amazon edition coming soon, is Machinations and Mesmerism: A Tribute to E.T.A. Hoffman from Ulthar Press, including my short story “Deadhead”. Of course I had to submit. It’s Hoffman. I read The Nutcracker every year at Christmas (and sometimes in the middle of summer, too.)

Machinations and Mesmerism: Tales Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman

Related to that, I have my first real jet-setting author experience coming. Ulthar Press is holding a book-launch party and readings at The Footlight in Queens, New York. I will be reading, as will several other contributors (and the fact the club’s managers include my friend the amazing and talented Kendra L. Saunders is just one of those weird coincidences Hoffman I’m sure would appreciate as much as I do.)

And coming up, Smoking Pen Press, publisher of A Kiss and a Promise (featuring my short story “Only Ever Slowly”) is only weeks from release of Vampires, Zombies, and Ghosts: Volume One, which will include my short story “GhostLife.”

In non-writerly (mostly) news, I have a question: how long in advance is too long to be planning everything you want to do on your September vacation? Like, daily itinerary! And given where I’m going, I’m hoping for some inspiration for Anders (see my Urban Crime entry) and Julie and their adventures on her home turf. I wonder what Anders will think of poutine?

Hope everyone is getting better weather than here. Not that I’m biased in both respects, but around here, this is excellent weather to chill a bottle of white and stay in the shade (or the air conditioning!) with a glass of wine and a good book.

Remember This One?

If you’ll recall, I was looking for inspiration while expanding a NYC Midnight flash fiction contest entry called GhostLife into a longer work for an anthology call tentatively titled Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies from Smoking Pen Press, part of their Read on the Run series. You may remember them as the publishers of A Kiss and a Promise, which includes my short story Only Ever Slowly.

Well, I am happy to be able to announce that GhostLife survived some tough competition from hundreds of submissions and will be appearing in one of the two volumes of Vampires, Ghosts, and Zombies. I admit I was rather pleased to hear that the submissions are blind reads on the part of the editors, so they didn’t know they’d bought my work before when making their selections. Kind of makes up for not only not moving on to the final with that story, but never actually getting the judges’ feedback that everyone is supposed to get.

Meanwhile, I have started  a new one of those things 99% of writers require, a day job with an actual paycheck. Sadly my previous employer, of the fun outdoor cooking and playing dress-up, was forced to close its doors due to lack of funds. Which is sad for many reasons, and I’m going to miss working with an awesome group of people, but I was very lucky to find a new job quickly and one that’s less of a killer commute! Once my training, which I promise is as fun as it sounds like it would be, is done, I will be joining the tasting room staff of Domaine Berrien Cellars. And with my training, I’ve developed a new hobby: pairing wines with fictional characters and stories! Mostly this started as a mnemonic device for me, but I’m having far too much fun. So far, most are tied to as-yet-unpublished works or things I don’t own (I have at least two that are totally Sherlock villains), but when Flame Tree’s Urban Crime comes out, I recommend pairing my story A Father’s Child with our Wolf’s Prairie Red, which is made from cold-weather-friendly hybrids that remind me a lot of the wine I bought in Denmark, and has a subtle, smokey aroma and dry, smooth finish that fits with a good Scandi Noir.

And, though you’d never guess it looking here, I do still paint.

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