Friday, October 7, 2011

Into The Fire

With us today is Cherie Marks to tell us about her new release Into the Fire, a story of two chefs with a romantic past. Not only is Cherie going to share with us tidbits from her book and talk about the sensuality of cooking, she's also sharing a favorite recipe and a great giveaway (see bottom of page).

Welcome, Sherry. First, please tell us your thoughts on food and sensuality.

When we eat, we actually eat with all of our senses, so it’s no wonder food is so completely sensuous. There have been cookbooks devoted to the idea that the first sense that invites us to eat is sight. It is said you eat with your eyes first. Ask any preschooler, if it doesn’t look good, we aren’t eating it.

Food must be appealing visually first.Next, the smell of food is usually what we notice, but this can be tricky. Just because the aroma is pleasing, doesn’t mean you’ll love it (coffee, garlic, bratwurst), and the same can be said for those foods that have more of an odor. They might be the most flavorful and alluring offerings on the table.Texture and taste go together. Melt in your mouth, a nice crunch, chewy and delicious—these often describe the feel and taste of the food as it moves around the tongue. Both must be pleasing to the palate to draw us in for another bite.

Of course, even the way food sounds can attract or repel diners. Slurping, smacking, crunching, and escaping, pleasant moans can be tell-tale signs that a dish is divine.
With all these sensual connections, it’s no wonder food is often associated with romance.
In my short stor
y, Into the Fire, two chefs with a romantic past go head-to-head on a televised cooking competition, and tempting food play is a prominent part of the story. Luke and Shyann are foodies, so it is only natural that they would be turned on by food. The oven isn’t the only thing making it hot in the kitchen.

Now it’s your turn. Do you associate food with romance? What senses draw you to a dish? Comment for a chance to win.
Included below is a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Saving Dinner, by Leanne Ely. She’s a Certified Nutrition Counselor and her cookbook conveniently gives weekly dinners, along with shopping lists and nutritional information. As if that wasn’t great enough, the dishes are the tastiest I’ve found. Here’s one of her recipe raves—Garlic Lime Chicken:

1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon paprika ½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon thyme
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
On a dinner plate, mix together first seven ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat. Saute’ chicken until golden brown about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduce slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve (57-58).

I love to hear from readers, writers, and in-betweeners, so please e-mail me at
Book Trailer--
Into the Fire available at
from The Wild Rose Press, October 5, 2011
Months after he st
ole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, competing head-to-head on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist.

Each arrives with a motive: Luke intends to win back Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up. Luke knows culinary masterpieces require a delicate touch, but that knowledge is tossed out with the leftovers as he works to show Shyann he’s not such a bad guy.

Now he pushes his skills to the limit to win the competition and satisfy a bet. Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire?


Silence reigned for half a minute before he reached out a hand and touched hers like a breezy whisper. Her head went a little fuzzy at the warm contact. He shouldn’t still be able to affect her so strongly.

“I regret it went down the way it did, but why did you show me the exit before giving me a chance to explain, not to mention—dress? Enlighten me, sugar cheeks?”

With a jerk, she pulled her hand free. He was really asking for it. Sugar cheeks? Seriously? Now she knew he was only messing with her. She could give as well as she got.

“Tell you what. You win tonight, and I’ll give you your chance. You lose, we go our separate ways, and you walk out all by yourself, big boy.”

A crooked grin formed on his face as he reached a hand toward her hair. He fingered an escaping curl before she pulled away, leaving his hand hanging in midair.“You can call me big boy all you want, but I’ll do you one better. How about if I win, I take you to dinner, and you let me explain the whole situation?”
She felt her eyebrow rise and knew he’d read it as interest, but she didn’t care at the moment. “I honestly don’t want to hear any explanation from you now or ever, but if I win? Which I will, of course.”
“Then I’ll leave it up to you. If you want me to walk away, I will.” He took a step closer, placed his hand on her shoulder, and leaned down, his mouth right next to her ear. “But if you want me to call you darling, sweetheart, and sugar cheeks all night long, I’ll do that too.”

Author Bio
It all started with an old fashioned typewriter. When my family brought it home, all those stories and characters rolling around in my head could finally get out. The press and click of the keys satisfied in their own right, but when I pulled out a finished page, I knew this was for me. Since then, I’ve graduated to a laptop, but the stories still find a way out.
I’m a breast cancer survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and from the very beginning—a storyteller. Always a hint humorous and honest to a fault, I love to make people laugh and smile. My goal in life is to achieve tact and stop procrastinating. The battle wages on.

THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY: two $10 GCs to The Wild Rose Press and one $10 GC to to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The more you follow the tour and comment; the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


  1. Thank you for the recipe. Most appropriate given the two main characters are chefs. I am looking forward to a tasty read.


  2. Thanks for having me today, Sandra! The best day of the work week.

  3. Hi Cherie,

    Made it early this time. :-) Thanks for the recipe. I'm always looking for easy chicken dishes.

    Can't wait to read your book. I too am a foodie (love to eat it).

    Enjoy the rest of your day and your tour.

  4. You got that right, Cherie. Glad you stopped by.

    Marybelle, let us know how the recipe turns out.

  5. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I agree whole-heartedly that food can be crazy sensual! Why else have men been asking woman to dinner for hundreds of years! I love that food can be "formally" sensual, like a dinner in a fancy restaurant, as well as "playfully" sensual like a corndog or cheeseburger from a street vendor. Romance and food... it's a win/win combination!

    Hope you're enjoying release week!!

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt Cherie. I will get to read my copy soon. Until then- Happy release and congrats!

  7. I always associate chocolate covered strawberries and champagne with romance and romantic moments!

    The recipe sounds yummy; I'm going to try it this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  8. Recipe sounds great and the excerpt even better! All the best with the book Cherie!

  9. Thanks everybody for stopping by. So good to see familiar names and "faces."

  10. This story is right up my alley! Sounds delicious. Good luck!

  11. This book is fantastic! Already read it and waiting for more!
    I find that I tend to write women baking cookies a lot. Homey, and motherly, but sensual too, with the chocolate.
    Thanks for the recipe Cherie!

  12. Texture makes all the difference for me. Nothing slimy...I'm more the crunchy type. :-)

  13. Thanks for the recipe. Smell and appearance are what draw me in.


  14. Thanks for the recipe, now I gotta run to the store.


  15. Thank you for sharing your recipe sounds very good! I look forward to reading your book too!