Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Amanda Usen Guest Post & Giveaway

Amanda%20Usen Snapshot Memories: Scrumptious Inspiration

I had the pleasure of hearing Eloisa James speak at a conference a few years ago. Her wonderful talk had much to do with channeling emotional experiences into writing. She wasn’t suggesting that writers relate the events as they happened, but that they take the core, the kernel of the experience, the fear, joy or heartbreak, and use it for inspiration. What I took away from her speech was an emotional twist on “write what you know.” If you write what you feel (or felt), you will be better able to create an emotional connection and make the reader feel, too.

How many of the emotional moments in Scrumptious were cribbed from my own tender heart? (Counting on fingers…blushing…sobbing…glaring…) I’ll never tell. I must protect the innocent, the not-so-innocent and even the one who handed me Marlene’s epiphany and is no longer here to tell his story. More importantly, if my words create an emotional experience for my readers, then it’s their experience now. Not mine. Not anymore.

But I call my inspiring emotional moments snapshot memories. I have to admit my memory is not what it used to be. (I blame pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and a decade of sleep deprivation for the gaping holes in my personal history. Of course, it could just be denial.) However, there are indelible, gleaming moments of clarity, both rapturous and agonizing, that I hope I never forget. I remember the way the moon shined and my heart soared the moment I knew I loved my husband and I remember the texture of the carpet and how it felt to crawl when the man before him put me on my knees, sobbing. I don’t even have to close my eyes when I think about the perfect pecan danishes in my past, and my mouth begins to water. Depending on my mood, memories of tequila shots make me gag…or giggle. Yes, when it comes to memories, there’s no denying that most of my snapshot moments involve either food or love.

And I have to admit I played it pretty close to the chest writing Scrumptious. I channeled snapshot memories every few pages, calling upon past experiences as a line cook, a pastry chef, a cancer survivor’s daughter, a lover, a martini-lover and a congenital smart ass. I hope some of this emotion resonates with the reader. I wanted Scrumptious to be a sexy frolic of a book that puts readers in the mood for dumplings and kissing, chocolate and banter, haylofts and…never mind! (I share my recipes as happily as I share my memories, so please check my blog if you’d like to whip up some Scrumptious companion food!) What about you? What’s your favorite snapshot memory of food, love or life?


Tall, Dark, and Delicious

Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he’s going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he’s denser that a thick slice of chocolate-ripple cheesecake.

Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else-especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there’s no denying the man knows how to light her fire.

Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?


I would like to thank Amanda Usen for sharing with us her Snapshot memories.

I have two copies of Scrumptious to giveaway. To enter please answer Amanda’s question: What’s your favorite snapshot memory of food, love or life?

US & Canada only.

Giveaway ends February 26


Margaret said...

One of mine is was taken in Faial,Acores (islands) Portugal with my husband's family at their Adega(sort of a cottage)and we had a barbeque and wine and laughs. Good times! Thank you for the giveaway!


traveler said...

My favorite snapshot memory was many years ago when my husband surprised me with a trip to the ocean. This was my first time seeing the vast ocean and the magnificence of a beach. It impressed me greatly and gave me the love of the beach. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Maureen said...

One of mine is of looking at my daughter in her cradle and having a friend talk about the someday of her attending kindergarten and I couldn't even fathom that happening. Now she is in her twenties.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

petite said...

A memorable and special memory of food, love and life all intertwined took place during my first ever international trip to Italy. Stunning vistas, delectable meals and romance galore. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

amanda said...

Isn't it strange how you never know when a memory is being created? Magical! Thank you for sharing!

Petite, Luscious (sequel to Scrumptious) is set in Verona, Italy. Food and romance, hand in hand!

Johanna R Jochum said...

One of my favorite snapshots is of a photo my friend took of my dad and I hugging each other at my wedding. I was crying and did not know my photo was being took. I had not seen him for several years and it was the last time I saw him before he passed away a couple years later. A sad but precious memory I will cherish.

Thanks for sharing with us today!


amanda said...

Johanna, what a lovely memory. Thank YOU for sharing with US!

Na said...

Food is a big part of family gatherings and celebrations. I sort of always associate food with joy and love. It's even more special when it's homemade. I don't have a particular snapshot but a scapbook of many shots, some of my as a child helping mom cook, others of a family bbq at our favorite park.