Guts, grit, and lots of heart.

“You can always tell when a person has worked in
a restaurant. There’s an empathy that can only be
cultivated by those who’ve stood between a
hungry mouth and a $28 pork chop, a special
understanding of the way a bunch of motley
misfits can be a family. Service industry work
develops the “soft skills” recruiters talk about on
LinkedIn – discipline, promptness, the ability to
absorb criticism, and most important, how to read
people like a book. The work is thankless and fun
and messy, and the world would be a kinder place
if more people tried it. With all due respect to my
former professors, I’ve long believed I gained
more knowledge in kitchens, bars, and dining
rooms than any college could even hold.”


– Anthony Bourdain

I came across this quote today and it holds so true for me and others in the culinary world. Working in this industry takes guts, grit, and lots of heart. You have good days and bad days. Some days you’re on top of your game, and others you scramble to keep up. Full of long hours, striving for perfection, neverending tickets, sharp knives, and lots of fire. In this world, you’ll find it full of people who are scrappy, endearing, hardcore, and full of life. I have learned so much from culinary school like how to be prepared, try new things, build priceless relationships, and find my fire. Working in different restaurants over the past ten years, and now owning two has been a wild ride I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Until next time~J

Grateful

After a very long day yesterday, full of complications and unknowns I was tired and just felt off all day. The bad seemed to outweigh the good, nothing seriously bad but a lot of little things just seemed to add up all on the same day. I’m pretty positive most of the time, but yesterday was just a meh day.

This morning I woke up, made coffee, and felt good again. Like I had a blank slate and could fight through the small problems, and make good things happen again. It’s a good reminder that even though we all have those days that every day is different and I’m grateful for each day that I have here.

Growing up I had an older brother, Troy. He was three years older than me and he was my world. I looked up to him, he was cool, and I wanted to be like him. Being his bratty little sister I followed him around and was always trying to hang around with him and his friends. I grew up a tomboy and we played outside a lot. I also have fond memories of playing Nintendo NES in his room. Still to this day because of him I have a huge love of the Legend of Zelda game and still play it now and then. It takes me back to when we were young and I still miss that, and him.

When he was nineteen, he passed away from suicide. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. It shocked my world and everyone around him. It took me over a decade to forgive myself and let go of the guilt. The day he died I was the one who found him and from that day I was changed forever. Today it has been almost twenty-five years since he passed away. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Through all the grief and struggle, In the long run, has made me a stronger person. Going through this experience has made me see the world differently. It has shaken and humbled me in so many ways. I try to share the love of what I do with everyone because you never know what people are going through. How their world is.

So today I am grateful. Even for all the silly, yet at the time seem bigger problems that may arise, we are meant for better things. Helping people, building community, and giving kindness and love as much as we can.

Until next time~J

Blogger Spotlight- Interview with Tarabud

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

Hi Everyone! I am Tarabud, Food Blogger of Foodie Out of the Closet. My food interviews can be found on Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/foodie), I am always on Twitter (@Tarabuddelight), and you can find all my projects on www.Tarabud.com

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How did you get started? 

I started my food blog after I quit my boring office job and wanted to focus on my passions. At the time, I was going through an Ecological Anxiety crisis, reading books such as The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and  Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. To feel less miserable, I was determined to live sustainably as possible, making a backyard garden, and raising chickens. I was not completely radical just focused on sustainability and eating seasonally and most importantly locally. 

It was through that personal crisis that evolved my Food Blog: Foodie Out of the Closet, and the recipes that I was making. One day I went down to my local farmers market in Oakland, California, with my camera and microphone on a mission to feature the farmers and organic food vendors. It was great fun, but quite a learning curve for video editing when I first started! To save me hours of editing, now I only post audio interviews. The food blog has been around for more than 10 years, and it ebbs and flows as I move around the country and travel, but I still post my favorite recipes from home and do interviews with people that inspire me.  

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?

 Eating good food of course! Fortunately, I have been able to maintain some balance in my life with exercise and my love of French pastry. LOL. (See my latest French pastry chef interview in Texas on my Soundcloud podcast.) But seriously, I do enjoy sharing food cooking tips and also promoting what is best for our planet- local, healthy, sustainable. I have learned so much along the way. For example, I learned what our over-consumption is doing to our Oceans, and what mono agriculture is doing to our lands and wildlife. These days, it is hard not to be concerned about everything you stuff in your mouth. That being said, I feel strongly we must enjoy our lives!  The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging and learning from scientists and experts what will be the best for our planet in the long term. If that means cutting out certain foods, then so be it.  

If you could have superpowers what would they be?

 I would like the superpower of giving humans lots more compassion. More compassion can go a long way in how we treat each other, wildlife, and the ecosystems of Earth. I little extra compassion could even give some longevity to this aching planet.

What is your favorite comfort food?

 Eggs and rice are my comfort food. I know… so boring; but it was my comfort food while growing up in Colombia.

If you could learn how to make any food what would it be?

 I would love to learn to make traditional Indian cuisine. I guess I better travel to India!

What projects are you working on right now?

 I am working on staying positive and active with my blogging. I have people I want to interview, but the pandemic has really hindered that. Darn it. This 2021 I am making a concerted effort to be more productive. Stay tuned for more exciting things coming from my blog! 

Thank you Tarabud for this lovely interview!

If you are a fellow writer, author, or blogger and want  your own interview go to https://noshwithchefjulie.com/contact/

To read more author interviews click here https://noshwithchefjulie.com/category/author-interviews/

Author Spotlight- Interview with Fiction Writer Jon Bolitho-Jones

What would you like to promote?


Well, I would like to promote my book When the World Falls Down. It’s a quirky YA Fantasy story – Douglas Adams meets CS Lewis and the film Labyrinth. Link found right here: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/young-adult/when-the-world-falls-down/

I am also here to promote myself too! I am a writer/actor from the northwest of England. Here’s my Twitter handle: @JonBolihtoJones. and here’s my writing website: https://www.jonbolithojonesauthor.co.uk/

What does success look like to you?


Oooo that’s quite a question. For me, it would be making a full-time living from my books and my writing, interspersed with a bit of performance too. It’s also having people enjoy my work and being recognized as a writer.

What genre do you write in?


Fantasy. Well I mostly write YA fantasy but I’m also trying my hand at Science Fiction and Horror – the genres often being mixed together.

What was your favorite childhood book?


That would be the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Absolutely brilliant. If you know Animals of Farthing Wood or Watership Down, well it was basically that but with swords, lots of fighting, and classic fantasy tropes.

How did you get started with writing?


In some ways, I have always enjoyed making up magical, fantastical worlds, though it was only when I was 11 that I began to write them all down. After lots of false starts though I started When the World Falls Down, completed it and then wanted to share it with the world. When it comes to actually create a story and getting it down in a Word document I generally begin by coming up with an idea, or simply choosing one from my bank of ideas. I then write out a loose chapter by chapter plan and then start writing and getting it done. I do a bit each day, approximately 2,000 words, and so steadily it gets written. The first draft is usually a mess so then it goes to the editing stage, which is pretty long, but that’s where the real work begins.

How do you attract new readers?


Generally what I have tried so far is posting blog articles and free short stories. Along with that, I engage with people on social media when I can, especially on Twitter. Pretty much everything is done online really.

Do you connect with any of the characters in your book?


Yes. I tend to write from my own emotional experiences, so there are little parts of me found in almost all of my main characters. However, my lead is actually based on my wife.

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger, writer, or author?


It has to be when someone reads my works and really enjoys them. Positive reviews are great, though I also like sitting and chatting about the lore, characters, and mysteries of my book with anyone who is interested.

How do you make sales as an author?


I’m not quite sure so far. I’m still experimenting at the moment. I’ll let you know when I find out!

What are you reading right now?


The Hobbit. I’ve just finished Anthony Beevor’s book about the Spanish Civil War though. I know – very different material.

What is your favorite genre to read?


Fantasy, SciFi, and historical non-fiction


What is your favorite comfort food?


Chocolate, though on savory days cheese. I am also a sucker for charcuterie boards.


Who are your top three favorite authors?


Tolkien, Walter Moers, and Terry Pratchett

How do you come up with plots or characters for your book?


Happy accidents maybe? In reality, I draw inspiration from everywhere whether books, films, TV shows, videogames, moments, personal experiences, and then gradually ideas form into something tangible in my head. These are then written down in “ideas” documents so I don’t forget them. Some of these ideas actually get combined too. I have a character (and race) in my book who was originally intended for something else.

If you could learn how to make any food what would it be?


That’s another tricky one… My answer – all the food! I like cooking and it’d be nice to know how to make everything and know exactly what goes well with each other for dinner parties.

What do you like to do for fun?


I am a big geek really, in particular miniature wargaming. I collect Warhammer, and though I’m not a great painter, I like to put them together, create new characters and frightening new worlds. I also like board games, reading, and old-school video gaming (no Fortnite or Call of Duty for me!)

What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?


Get on that social media as soon as you can. Even if you’d don’t have a book out, start building up that author platform and making connections. Also, prepare for disappointment and rejection, find good reliable people to read the work that gives you honest feedback, and keep pushing on with your writing and creating.



What helps you to stay motivated and keep writing?


I would say stubborn determination and the thrill of creating new stories and worlds. I write for fun too sometimes.

What projects are you working on right now?


I’ve actually just finished the 2nd book of my other YA fantasy series. Only the first draft though, so it still needs a lot of work. Along with that I am also querying my manuscripts and reading a short story for a competition. Perhaps most importantly I am in the very early stages of publishing the sequel to When the World Falls Down.

Thank you Jon for a wonderful interview!

To connect with Jon and read more check out these links~

When the World Falls Down – https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/young-adult/when-the-world-falls-down/

Our Little Patch of Paradise – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0872XZPBM

The Clown in the Basement – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clown-Basement-Edimorian-short-story-ebook/dp/B08JK7SVKQ

Website – https://www.jonbolithojonesauthor.co.uk/post/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-visiting-edimor

If you are a fellow writer, author, or blogger and want  your own interview go to https://noshwithchefjulie.com/contact/

To read more author interviews click here https://noshwithchefjulie.com/category/author-interviews/

Author Spotlight- Interview with Danielle Larsen and her book- From Voiceless To Vocal

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

My name is Danielle Larsen and I categorize myself as a blogger, photographer, and author. I run a website called The Mindful Fight which includes my blog and photography as well as information about my recently released memoir, From Voiceless To Vocal. I currently live in Washington Heights, NY with my cats Mojo and Magnus. People can find me at the links below:

www.themindfulfight.com
https://twitter.com/DaniB301
https://www.goodreads.com/danib301

What would you like to promote? (Add links, description, and a photo!)

I am here to promote my memoir, From Voiceless To Vocal. It chronicles the years I spent with an abusive partner and highlights an often unspoken struggle that so many people go through. Currently with 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, here’s a little bit more about my story:

From Voiceless To Vocal is a heartbreaking memoir about finding one’s inner strength. A story of resilience and courage, this personal account takes us on a journey of survival. As told through the writer’s first-hand experience, we see her learn about herself as she tries her best to stay alive, conquer the abuse and manipulation inflicted upon her, and overcome her own demons in the process. Her story proves that it is possible to get back up when you’ve been knocked down time and time again and stands as evidence that it is possible to find your voice after it has been stripped away.

How did you get started with writing?

It wasn’t until I started writing my memoir in the Spring of 2020 that I realized I’ve always been a writer in one way or another. I’ve journaled for as long as I can remember and had a different blog about 5 years ago. I found that blogging gave me a way to talk about what was going on in my life and spin it in a way that could maybe help other people struggling with similar things. In the Fall of 2019, I started The Mindful Fight blog as a way to start to share my story and people really seemed to gain something from my perspective on certain things. Having the blog definitely helped propel me towards writing the memoir.

How do you attract new readers?

I use book promos that share and tweet out my book links to their followers as well as participate in writer lifts on Twitter. Finding new readers has been difficult, but since I only have myself promoting everything I’m doing, I just keep plugging away. I also have a free membership on my website that I ask for feedback from. If someone has a recommendation of how to promote the book or something that can enhance the website, I listen. I take everything my readers say to heart.

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger, writer, or author?

I love blogging because it gives me a way to work out whatever’s going on in my head and help others in the process. That’s the whole reason I wanted to share my story to begin with. As far as writing fiction, that’s been new territory for me and it’s been fun to explore that part of my brain. I’m working on a few different stories right now and they’re all so different. It’s actually a lot of fun to see what sparks inside on any given day that will lead to words on a page.

What are you reading right now?

Currently I am rereading the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman. I read it years ago and loved it. Sometimes you just need to dive back into things and revist stories. I love rereading stories even more than I love reading them the first time around.

If you could have superpowers what would they be?

I always say telepathy because knowing what people actually think could be fun, but I don’t know if I’d really want to know. Instead, I’m going to say teleportation. I live in NYC and my entire family is back in Massachusetts. I’d love to be able to pop home for a few hours and then pop right back.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I read a lot of YA dystopian type books (i.e. Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). I don’t know what it is about them, but I can absolutely devour an entire series in a couple weeks. I also read a lot of memoirs.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Mashed potatoes. Could be potato in any form, but something about mashed potatoes just means comfort to me.

What is something about yourself most people don’t know?

I was the 4th grade spelling bee champion of my elementary school. The last round was state capitals and I won on Baton Rouge.

How did you get published?

My book is self-published. I did a lot of search on small publishing houses to submit to, but I didn’t want to wait. I knew that self-publishing would be a difficult road because now everything is in my hands, but it was the best decision for me to get my story out and in people’s hands as quickly as possible.

What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?

Just write. Don’t think about who might read it or what might happen down the road. Just write what’s in your head and be honest. If you don’t believe what you’re writing then no one else will.

What helps you to stay motivated and keep writing?

I’ve found joy in writing. That’s been the biggest motivator. I like sitting down and letting the words flow from my brain to my fingers onto the page. Plus if I’m up in the middle of the night getting things down really helps me to fall asleep. The brain emptying aspect of writing definitely pushes me to keep going.

What projects are you working on right now?

I don’t want to give away too much, but I have a few stories that I’m working on at the moment. One is a mystery (that I’m still trying to figure out myself!) and another is more YA fantasy. Fiction writing is totally brand new territory for me so just exploring this is fun on its own.

Any other information you would like to include for our readers?

Find me on Twitter or on my website. You can join The Mindful Fighters and get exclusive updates about what I’m working on or you can just subscribe for blog updates. Dealer’s choice! I hope to hear from some of you soon.

To start your own interview

https://noshwithchefjulie.com/contact/

To read more interviews

https://noshwithchefjulie.com/category/author-interviews/

Interview with Romance Writer Amy Jewell

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

I am Amy Jewell, a new writer on the scene. Now that my manuscript is finished, I have finalized and published my website (https://www.amyjewell.com) and have worked on my social media pages. (Facebook and Twitter:  @AmyJewellAuthor) Readers can read my blog posts about reading and writing.

Between my blog and social media, I cover anything from tips that have helped me to what I have read along with a mini-review. They can also get to learn more about me on a more personal level and what my interests are outside of writing.


What is your favorite movie that was based on a book?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I care very much for animals and animal welfare. Growing up I remember learning about elephants and the threats they were under, and still are, because of poaching for their ivory, so they are an animal I am very fond of. When I found Sara Gruen’s book with ‘elephants’ mentioned in the title, and read the blurb, I knew it was a must-read. It’s a very emotional story and tissues were needed to dry a few tears at certain points in the book.

I’m not one for criticizing books and movies too much, if I enjoy it, it’s enough for me. I don’t read or watch them to pick out the tiny flaws that may appear. I felt the movie adaption was true to the book and the emotional parts, where I needed tissues, was heightened when seeing it visually on screen. I would recommend both the book and the movie.


What genre do you write in?

 Romance is the genre I have chosen to write in. I find it to be a very relatable genre. Although every writer has their own storyline to portray, there is always an aspect that can be appreciated or related to. Everyone falls in love at some point in their lives. The special someone they have feelings for may or may not reciprocate them and if they do, it may or may not work out long term. There are so many reasons why people fall in and out of love. For each of us, there is a story where we can say, “that bit sounds like what happened to me when…” That’s why I have chosen romance.


How did you get started with writing?

My journey of writing started about 18 months ago when I just decided to put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard. I had no idea what to expect when I started, other than I wanted to have a go at writing my own romance novel. The very basic details were there in my head, what the main characters were like and where they would work. As for the plot development, not a clue. I just typed and as I typed more ideas would flow as to what events would happen and how they would connect together. It will be interesting to see what an agent thinks of my completed manuscript, but I feel proud of myself for finishing it.


What is your favorite thing about being a blogger, writer, or author?

Words are powerful. They have a lot of influence whether it be factual writing as an evidence document or risk assessment, poems, speeches, or songs. Words form a major part of life. My aim is to give readers a chance to escape worry & involve themselves in a fictional world/storyline. Give them positive feelings, even if it only temporary.


What are you reading right now?

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. I love birds of prey. They are such magnificent creatures and I spent time during my college years at a falconry center. Getting up close and personal to a bird as small as a kestrel, or as large as an imperial eagle gives such a thrill. It really helps you to appreciate the true splendor of their individual features. I did have a slightly shocking incident one day where the kestrel decided my hand looked like food when I went to untie it from its perch. For a tiny bird, they have a lot of power behind those feet. It’s this love of birds of prey that drew me to read H is for Hawk. I’m only a few chapters into it, but thoroughly enjoying it.


What is your favorite genre to read?

I will read anything except horror. You will see from my three favorite authors that it’s not just romance that I enjoy reading.


Who are your top three favorite authors?

I’ve read so many books but going by what I have on my bookshelf, I would say it would have to be Jo Nesbo, Nicholas Sparks, and Dan Brown.


What do you like to do for fun?

Listen to music, love anything and everything genre-wise. I try to find time to exercise. Love watching TV series and movies. Readers can find out more about what music artists and TV/movies are my favorites through my Facebook and Twitter pages.  Spending time with my toddler helping her to develop is what takes up the majority of my time. Being a parent is something truly special. You can’t appreciate how special until it happens. I’m pleased to say she loves books.

What projects are you working on right now?

Currently working at getting my completed manuscript prepared for sending to agents and planning a new novel. Working on blog posts for my website and promoting my social media pages.

Thank you Amy for this great interview!

To start your own interview- https://noshwithchefjulie.com/contact/

To read more author interviews click here https://noshwithchefjulie.com/category/author-interviews/