Monday, July 20, 2009
Here's Mickey! Please welcome Parnormal Romance Author, M Flagg:)
Hi, Mickey! Thanks so much for coming over to blog today. I read Retribution! and got totally lost in Michael and Alana's struggle to come to terms with the purest love possible. An amazing story of selflessness and true worshipful love between two people. Michael is the true Champion over the darkness.
Hi, Dayana. I am so happy you enjoyed Retribution! and thank you for your kind words. I'd like to discuss how at times life-memory ends up on the page.
Have you ever written a scene with one particular item stuck in your mind? For me, it was cherry cheesecake—with chocolate cookie crust. Just to be clear, chocolate goes with everything under the sun. But you need to be clever and a bit sneaky.
Let me not digress too far. While writing Retribution! an off-beat mini-vision hammered at my brain. This set up the “big rescue” scene. Why cherry cheesecake? The thought had come out of nowhere to steal my attention. But before snappy dialogue filled the page, I sat back, let a memory play out.
Growing up, food had a starring role in our family. Check out some old movies, like “Moonstruck” and the hilariously sweet “Fatso” with Dom DeLouise if you have any doubts. My Mother was Italian, and most of those characters could have been relatives. Every holiday meant multiple courses that took hours to eat through. It was a ritual. Peasant dishes, nothing fancy, graced the family table. Once married, our home became the gathering place. Plan for eight but be ready to serve eighteen. My sister helped with the cooking. Since I loved to bake my most memorable part of any meal was dessert. One Easter, a friend who was preparing for Passover suggested I make a cheesecake. Hmm… Dare I shake up tradition?
Had there ever been a homemade cheesecake at our dinner table? Fresh ravioli or melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi, zucchini cake or biscotti could be found, but cheesecake? Never. Cheese is cheese. Cake is cake. Nothing “cheese” goes well with perked coffee after a meal. For decades, the family’s iced Italian cookie recipe ruled our dessert menu. My mother and her favorite sister could whip them up with their eyes closed and bake enough to feed several city blocks. But a scrumptious cheesecake topped with cherries?
Fear crept into my fingers while I cracked the eggs. This recipe wasn’t engraved on my grandmother’s mind when she came to America’s shores. My aunts, 10 just on my mother’s side, often withheld one special something. This recipe didn’t look like it had that infamous wiggle room. So goes another tradition.
Cheesecake had to be precise or it cracked and crumbled! Could there be a patron saint of cheesecake? No such luck… I’d be doing this alone. Carefully measured ingredients went in without an extra dollop of this or that. Just to be authentically ethnic I hand smashed chocolate cookies into a thick crust. Two pans baked side by side—with love and a litany of prayers. Only one had a huge crevice running through the center. Potholders wedged the oven door ajar for an excruciating hour. Heavenly aromas of vanilla and cream cheese wafted through every room.
Eventually, fresh berries drowned in store-bought cherry filling topped them off. I whipped up six dozen Italian cookies just in case.
No pun intended, but success was sweet. Full of pride, my mother took two pieces home.
That’s why I had to make cherry cheesecake part of my first novel. It would surreptitiously spark a hero’s rescue. Perhaps I not only craved that particular confection. Perhaps I wanted my mother and her favorite sister with me once again.
Real-life shapes the writing process. So do memories. Whether we create paranormal fantasy or inspirational romance, who we are appears on the written page. Do you agree? If so, will you share a memory that crept across your page?
One poster will receive a copy of Retribution! The Champion Chronicles: Book 1. And of course, you can find the family cookie recipe at http://www.mflagg.blogspot.com
“You did good, Phil, and half the night’s over.” Denny Kim laughed. “Jeez, for all that fluff in your head, you really got this down faster than even Big J did—and he’s one hell of a smart guy!”
“Thanks a whole bunch, Mr. Kim,” Philip said with a huge grin. “I went home and my friend helped me study. We just moved to this fab condo in Fort Lee. Oh, I almost forgot, I brought you a slice of cherry cheesecake.” He pointed to the plastic container on Denny’s desk.
Denny scratched his head. “It’s my favorite. Isn’t that something?”
Denny ate it at 3 a.m., got up from his desk, and Philip caught him before he hit the floor, down for the count. At the same time, the “temporary” security supervisor checked his watch. At 3:15 there’d be a pre-recorded CD confirming that everything had been routine during the dead man’s shift. Philip would only have three minutes before the back-up alarm showed an elevator door open.
Philip ran down the cell list on the clipboard, charting statuses and times until he got to Number 5027. Next to “Second Rotation” he noted: Rapid Deterioration. He replaced the clipboard on the desk and got the metal gurney. After unsealing 5027, the ex-Guardian lifted Michael onto it and wheeled it down the hall.
As the elevator reached “Loading Dock”, he placed a piece of duct tape over the motion sensor. When the doors opened, he started the countdown.
Short bio: Mickey spends her days bringing the joy of music to hundreds of children. She has recently been named a Distinguished Music Educator at the 2009 Yale University Symposium on Music in Schools. The itch to write a paranormal novel occurred while finishing her second masters, a degree in Educational Leadership. The journey to publication led her to The Wild Rose Press where a talented editor, Callie Lynn Wolfe, entitled her series: The Champion Chronicles. Consequences, Book 2 continues Michael Malone's road to redemption. Learning more about the craft of good story-telling each day, Mickey is putting the final touches on Book 3, Inheritance.
Thanks so much for having me today, Dayana. It's always a pleasure to visit with you. I'll be checking back after a morning of summer school antics. Now that's a whole 'nother story completely!!