Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jennifer Estep Blog Post and Giveaway!

As many of you know I'm such a fan of this series. My recent review of Tangled Threads and my book boyfriend prove it. :) However, I am now going to stop babbling and give up the floor to a wonderful author! Welcome Jennifer!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Melissa for having me on the blog. Thanks so much, Melissa! ;-)

So today, Melissa asked me to talk a little bit about food since it’s such a big part of my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. My heroine, Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in her spare time. So there’s a lot of talk about food in the books, and I have several scenes of Gin cooking, since it’s one of the things that relaxes her after a long day of fighting the bad guys. ;-)

I love food – cooking it, eating it, and writing about it. I love sitting down in front of my computer and writing a mouth-watering scene that makes someone hungry or want to try the dish that I’m describing. I’m totally addicted to The Food Network, and I have a stack of recipes on my kitchen counter that I’d like to try. And yes, most of them are dessert recipes. LOL. I get that from my mom. She loves to bake and is always planning what dessert that she wants to make next.

A lot of folks ask me if the dishes that I mention in the Elemental Assassin books are real. A few of them are, but most exist only in my imagination (like Fletcher Lane’s secret barbecue sauce). I like to take recipes that I get from friends, family, magazines, TV shows, and more, and tweak and adapt them to my own tastes. So today, I thought I would share a quick and easy dish that has a lot of uses. (If it ain’t quick and easy, I don’t cook it.)

This isn't an exact recipe, but it's something that my family does every year. This is really easy and really good if you want to enjoy sweet summer strawberries all year long. Enjoy!

Sweet Summer Strawberries

1 gallon fresh strawberries

Sugar, to taste

Wash and cap strawberries. Let strawberries dry, then cut them into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Starting with about a cup of sugar, add sugar to strawberries until desired sweetness is reached. (The more sugar you add, the sweeter they will be.) Stir the sugar until it is dissolved and has formed a syrup over the strawberries. Serve immediately, or ladle strawberries and syrup into airtight containers and freeze until ready to use.

Note: These strawberries are great on toast or over vanilla ice cream.

What about you guys? Do you like reading about food in books or watching The Food Network? Share in the comments. 
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, was published on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in October.

Touch of FrostJennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the second book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in December. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit for excerpts and more.

Thanks Jennifer for stopping by the blog today! I'll be over later to be your taste tester since I'm not much of a cook. Personally, I like eating more than reading or watching cooking shows. So you can try as many of those recipes on me anyday! ;D


So, would you like a chance to win this signed book by Jennifer Estep? All you have to do is answer Jen's question or just comment below. Make sure I have a e-mail somewhere so I can easily contact the winner. I'll end the giveaway on May, 11 at 10pm MST. The giveaway is open only to those in the US and Canada. 

Good luck and have fun! Oh, and please pass the strawberries... YUM!

Giveaway is over now! Thanks for playing!


  1. I am an absolute foodie. I adore trying out new recipes. I do enjoy reading about food in novels, but it tends to make me hungry!!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. I love to read about food in books. Have you ever read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques? The descriptions of the feasts are mouth-watering. :)

    Thank you!

  3. I love watching food network and it always makes me want to eat! I want to read this book, too. Thanks for entering me!

    grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com

  4. I am not a foodie, but I love reading about food - that's weird I know :D
    Sweet Summer Strawberries sounds delicious!

    (Not an entry)

  5. I love cooking,i am always doing experiments with recipes.i love to read recipe books...

  6. I love cooking & baking. A friend & I get together at least once a month to try new recipes and have some cocktails. But for some reason I never really got into Food Network (though I do love Chopped!) or reading about food, unless it's a new cookbook.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    teawench at gmail dot com

  7. Oh gosh! I am totally the pickiest person food wise in the world. I seriously only eat like 10 foods repetitively but the weird thing is I am totally obsessed with the Food Network (thanks Mom for getting me hooked... ;) ). If it in on there, I watch it (Chopped, Top Chef, Eat Street, Great Foodtruck Race, Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives, Kid in a Candy Shop, Iron Chef, and I could go on and on). Seriously, if I am not reading I am watching the FN.

    Thanks for the giveaway and the great interview!


    PS. I am beyond excited for the release of Touch of Frost!

  8. Vivien -- I like trying new recipes too.

    Lieder -- I have read several of the Redwall books, and the feast descriptions do sound wonderful in those.

    Nicole -- Thanks! Glad that book sounds interesting.

    Misha -- Cool. Glad you liked the strawberries.

    Best Writing Software -- I like everything about cooking except cleaning up. LOL.

    Teawench -- That sounds like a fun night with your friend. Every couple of months, my friends and I get together for a cookout we've dubbed Meatfest. LOL.

    Avery -- I like the Food Network a lot too. I used to watch just the cooking shows, but I've been getting into the other programs as well. Cool. Hope you enjoy Touch of Frost.

  9. Oooooh I just bought a crap ton of strawberries yesterday at the store!!! WIN!

  10. I love when the characters can eat whatever they want with no worry of diet!! Come on it is fantasy and I don't want my fantasy world to consist of counting calories it is bad enough in reality!! They better food all the better book!!! Fun blog!! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Bookish Brunette -- Cool. Hope you enjoy the strawberries.

    LandSsmom -- You know, I never even thought about counting calories. I might mention that something may not be the healthiest dish around, but when I'm writing about food, I just want to make it sound good first and foremost.

  12. I LOVE food! Of course I love reading about it in books and I enjoy cookings shows. I believe the sensual details food brings to a story are definitely delicious!

  13. I think I love eating food while I'm reading. I do love the food channel.

    I am a new follower. I am having an e-book giveaway on my blog this week (my first) and would love a visit if you have a moment. Thanks.

  14. Magaly -- I agree. Food can definitely add another level to a story.

    Donna -- Sometimes, they have interesting food programs on the Travel Channel too, like the one where the guy eats the supersize foods (the exact name of the program is escaping me at the moment).

  15. I love watching food shows - especially Cake Boss-Please i would love to win a copy of your book.

  16. Audra -- I haven't watched that show yet. I'll have to check it out.

  17. Yes!!! I am a food guru! I love cooking and love watching the food network for ideas. I subscribe to their newsletters and get great recipe ideas as well. Thanks!


  18. Well I like eating food does that count? Haha :) Kidding, I like baking actually, but I'm not particularly good with every day meal cooking. I don't have Food Network tho :(

    bookpurring at yahoo dot com

  19. Samita -- Oh, I like eating more than cooking too. LOL. I have a sweet tooth, so I'm more of a baker too.

  20. (Not entering--already read and loved the book)

    I love food and when I did , it was fun to match up food Gin talked about with versions that were close!

    There are so many things to love about this series but the cooking thing is very high on the list. It just makes her very down to earth and always makes me hungry :)

  21. I'm such a disaster in the kitchen. It's not even funny. I know it should be simple, just read the directions and things should work out. Not for me. Things magically turn black and adhere to the bottom of whatever dish they're in more often then not. It's a conundrum:) Hubs loves The Food Network though, he can't get enough of it. Maybe it's due in part to my lack of culinary abilities:)

    Don't enter me, I just wanted to pop in to say to Jennifer and leave a comment!

  22. Love the Food Network! Food in books is fun especially when I get the recipes. Thanks for the yummy post. I've got to get me some strawberries! Tangled Threads looks great and can't wait for Touch of Frost. Glad you stopped by!

  23. Felicia -- Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the book. And thanks for the post. That was a really cool idea and way to talk about the book. ;-)

    Glad you are enjoying the food talk in the books.

    Jenny -- My kitchen often looks like a disaster area after I cook. There are dirty pots and dishes everywhere. I always try to clean as I go, but it never works out that way. LOL.

    Alyssa -- Thanks! Glad you liked the post, and I hope you enjoy the books.

  24. I do love eating food, not the cooking so much, LOL. I must say, I've enjoyed the cooking scenes in the Elemental Assassin series, they usually make my mouth water and I wish I was there with Gin and friends so I could have some too. I think it adds depth to her character, she's not just an assassin, she's also someone who loves to cook, especially for her friends and family.
    I've enjoyed the series so much, and I can't wait to read Tangled Threads.

  25. Barbara -- Cool. Glad you are enjoying the books and the cooking scenes. Yep, I wanted Gin to have a hobby or two besides killing folks. LOL.

  26. I utterly love the food network!! i watch more about food than make them. I learn better by watching. i cant help but to drool over everything they make, and at most times they come out so yummy!! okay, im hungry now.

    TValeros18 @ gmail [dot] com
    GFC: SpadesHighReads

  27. My hubby is the chef in the family and the Food Netowrk and Cooking Channel are always on, either with new shows, or favorites that he taped. I adore fresh berries this time of year, and bbq corn on the cob is another seasonal favorite.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

    gfc follower

  28. SpadesHigh -- I know. Sometimes, I'd rather just watch the cooking or cake decorating shows than actually take the time to make something myself.

  29. Cathy -- I haven't tried barbecue corn on the cob, but it sounds good. I'll have to give that a shot this summer.

  30. Enjoy the food network and reading about food in books as it gives me different ideas on recipes to make!

  31. I love that I can live vicariously through the characters. I feel as if I am a great cook when I read about Gin's kitchen escapades. In real life...well...let's just say, the hubby and I eat out a lot. :) I'm a big fan, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing Gin etc with me.

    measmith70 at yahoo dot com

  32. Okay- I'll confess, I love reading cookbooks, second only to YA. And my husband and I never miss Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. I also like to watch Cake Boss on occassion as I'm more of a baker. So, I guess that about covers it, though I recently discovered Jamie Oliver is finally back on t.v. and I'm excited to see him again, so I might have to start watching that show, but all that cuts into reading time. It's a hard decision to make.


  33. Tetewa -- I do too. And I love when they show how to do something practical, like peel onions without crying. I like the tips just as much as the recipes.

    Meagan -- Thanks! I'm glad you are enjoying the books and all of Gin's skills in and out of the kitchen. LOL.

    Buried in Books -- I know what you mean. I watch waaay too many TV shows. I'm trying to cut back so I can have more time to read.

  34. I do like reading about food. I read this wonderful book named Pomegranate soup and at the end of each chapter was a recipe, and I so wanted to try them :D

  35. Blodeuedd -- Pomegranate Soup is a really book title. Very interesting and catchy. I'd want to check that one out based on the title alone.

  36. I like watching the food network but I can't watch on an empty stomach. Everything sounds good and I can't make up my mind on what I want to eat.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    jcross719 at yahoo dot com

  37. Jess -- It can be hard watching the Food Network. I wish there was a way to get some of those dishes delivered -- immediately! LOL.

  38. I like to watch the Food Network, thats actually what my tv is on most of the time. Its actually on right now(Paula Deen is on). My favorite shows are the cake challenges then I just crave cake the rest of the day.

    elainareads AT aol DOT com

  39. Ereader -- I'm always amazed by the cake challenges and how they sculpt all those characters out of cakes and fondant. It's truly an art form.

  40. This looks like a great read...and signed too!!! Thanks for the chance.
    epblack at zoominternet dot net

  41. Oh great post! I love food. But I'm not much of a cooker. I have a minor handicap there, okay so I'm exaggerating... A MAJOR handicap with cooking. :) But watching tv makes it look so easy. *sigh* I just don't have the cooking bone in my hands. Sucks for me.

    Thanks for the great post!


  42. haha I LOVE the idea of an assassin running a barbecue restaurant :) I would have read the book before because it sounds very good, but the food just completly sold it. I have had the fortune of being called a food lover, inspiring over 10 people with my essay on how Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake changed my life lol. I'm going to check out Touch of Frost also. Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. I love both. Food is awesome and I can never get enough (too bad my cooking skills suck). I love reading about it because I get to know the characters more and I love watching food because I'm introduced to different things and who doesn't love the crazy food they make? Too artistic to eat.

    Lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  44. Ha, ha! I love watching cooking shows but hate the actual cooking part. I could be a contender on "America's Worst Cooks" for sure. Reading about food is almost as good and I like when they put the receipes that were in the book at the back of it. Then I can try them when I'm really adventurous.

    Thanks for the interview and best of luck with the book!!

  45. I like reading about food in books and trying new recipes, but I don't watch a lot fo tv. One year when my firs tchild was a baby I recall one of the morning news shows having a turkey recipe that I wanted to try. I was nursing him and thought that it would be online so I didn't write it down. It turned out I couldn't find the recipe anywhere after that!

    buckfamily at

  46. I like when the charecters eat...I think it makes it much more realistic. My husband loves watching food shows so I usually end up watching them with him!


  47. I love watching the Food Network. It is surprisingly addictive. It allows me to indulge in my food cravings without actually gaining the calories lol! My favorite shows on there are Cupcake Wars, Diners Drive-ins and Dives, Unwrapped, and Outrageous Foods.


  48. An assassin with spare time to run a barbecue joint!? Wow. Gin is more awesome than I originally thought.

    I love food too, but only eating it, not cooking it. But even I couldn't possibly mess up a recipe like sweet strawberries, right?

    Yummy post. Thanks!

  49. I do like reading about food in books. And I enjoy watching the Food Network. It gives me ideas of new things to cook and bake. I am personally a better baker then cook but it's still fun to try my hand at new things.

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  50. Connie -- You're welcome. Hope you get a chance to check out the books.

    Melissa -- Thanks! Glad you liked the post. I know -- they make everything look easy on TV. LOL.

    Bellartemis -- Thanks! I appreciate that and hope you enjoy the books. You know, strawberry cheesecake ice cream is one of my favorite treats, especially in the summer. Yum!

    Linda -- Oh, yes. It's amazing how they come up with some of those cakes and things and how real and lifelike they look. Some of them are too pretty to eat!

    Sherri -- Thanks! I appreciate that. You know, I hardly ever try a recipe in a book that I read. I guess I like seeing what the dish is actually supposed to look like on TV.

    Jill -- Yeah, sometimes I'll hear about a recipe and it's always frustrating when you can't find it.

    Maria -- I like watching food shows too.

    Amy -- I like Cupcake Wars too. I never knew you could do so many things with cupcakes before.

    Missie -- The strawberries are really good. Hope you enjoy them!

    LadyVampire -- Me too. I'd much rather bake than cook, but that probably has something to do with my massive sweet tooth. LOL.

  51. I was literally bedridden from Dec. 3 until just recently and I'm ashamed to say that the Food Network and I are on.. ahem.. intimate terms. I have all these recipes jotted down until I could get someone to fix my wireless to the printer.

    Strawberries in Michigan come in late July to mid-august so we pick our own an then make Stawberry Freezer Jam like crazy and then we eat our 'Sweetened Strawberry's' on Shortcakes made from Bisquick and also on Ice-cream! If you're worried about the excess calories then you can eat them on Angel Food cake! (at least that cuts some of the fat!)

    We have one more Strawberry Freezer Jam in the freezer and one almost full one in the Fridge! Looks like I might have to break down and make some 'Store-bought' Strawberry Freezer Jam!

    I love picking them though. It's hot, sweaty work but sitting in the sun eating warm sweet strawberries... there's nothing like it! I go with friends and by the time we're done our coveralls are stained with strawberry juice and mud but our mouths tell the true tale-redder than the reddest lipstick out there! Not to mention the strawberry seeds stuck in our teeth! It's fun!

    Thanks for such a great question!

    Kristi-The Book Faery

  52. Since I love to cook and bake reading about food in books is always fun! Makes me hungry. hehe


  53. I love reading about food in books, especially when it's... unusual. Like stuffed pigeons, or rose petal jam. I can't watch the Food Network, though, because I haven't got a TV. :)

    mdperera at hotmail dot com

  54. I always end up in the kitchen after reading about food or watching the network.
    kr_moreau at doglover dot com

  55. Kristi -- My mom and grandma make freezer jam too, often with blackberries, and my grandma makes some excellent strawberry preserves. She taught me how to make cornbread not too long ago, and I think we are going to tackle biscuit making next. LOL.

    Chi Kittie -- It always makes me hungry too.

    Marian -- Rose petal jam sounds like it would be awesome. I like reading about unusual foods too, especially in fantasy books.

    Katia -- Me too, even if it's just to get a snack instead of actually cook something. LOL.

  56. I'm a big foodie! I love to cook and bake and and to watch Food Network or Martha. Reading about food in books is always fun, especially when it inspires me to try out new recipes.

    marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

  57. I love and have always collected recipes and cookbooks.

  58. Living in a rural farming community, I adore running across recipes that I can use local produce in.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  59. HA!!!! They don't call me the Bakin_Goddess for nothing -- lol. Love it all! Reading about it. We watch the different food channels daily. All of it! I have only read one book that had recipes in it and they were delectibly SINFUL!

    blazesandbubbles AT gmail DOT com

  60. Mariee -- I like reading about food in books too.

    Ann -- I don't collect cookbooks but I like to look at them.

    Lisa -- That's one thing I love about summer -- all the fresh local foods like strawberries.

    Bakin Goddess -- I like to turn the Food Network on during the weekends and see what everyone's making.

  61. I love cooking, cookbooks and Food Network. Tangled Threads sounds great. I am a fan of this series.


  62. I love watching the Food Network. Paula Dean is my hero, y'all.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  63. I'm a terrible cook but I'm completely addicted to the food network (love you Giada!). I also love it when books include recipes/food stuff. I'm especially fond of food based cozy mysteries. I can't do cookbooks though. My grandmother actually sits and reads them, I actually think that's all she reads for books.

  64. I love reading about food in books. Just because I'm not a great cook doesn't mean I don't like to read about it, watch food shows, or dream about it :) I like to dream big but most of my attempts fall flat lol


  65. I love reading about food in my books. I'm a total sucker for contemp romances about chefs :-)
    I use a little balsamic vinegar on my strawberries too. Just pour a little on and let them sit for a few minutes - yum.

    I just bought this series at my Borders closing sale. Everyone loves it so I can't wait to get to it.

  66. I like reading about food in books but I don't like to watch food being made. :)

    Thanks for the givevaway!

    beckerjo at verizon dot net

  67. I love to cook and I think I might have a slight addiction to the Food Network. As soon as I turn it on (and it doesn't matter what show is on) I will keep watching. I guess it all comes down to my deep love of food. I must admit that every time I watch the Food Network it always makes me hungry...

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

  68. I do like to watch The Food Network though I don't get to cook or bake as much as I would like to. I guess that's why I like watching other people do it, lol...



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