A Saturday essay from Silvia Violet - talking about her signature flavours in character building 

oOo

I love to cook. Taking a set of ingredients, combining them, adding heat, and coming out with something that tastes different than any one ingredient does on its own feels a bit like magic to me, especially since food can nourish, comfort, and give pleasure to the people I feed. I enjoy reading through recipes, considering lots of possibilities, and then choosing one to try. Sometimes the combination isn't quite what I hoped, but when everything comes together perfectly, I feel a warm sense of accomplishment. If I've tweaked the recipe and made it more my own, I feel even better, and when my culinary creations make people smile as they eat, I'm doubly pleased.

Making food is a creative act. Even if they believe they're following a recipe exactly, two people can make a dish, and it will taste at least a little different. When we cook, we inevitably put something of ourselves into what we're making. The more experienced I become in the kitchen, the more I play around with recipes or make up my own. I know the flavor combinations I like best, so I'll often add some of my favorites to a basic recipe. If I taste something I like in a restaurant, I'll try to make my own version at home. Often it comes out vastly different than the original, but it's more me. I also try new combinations, ones that might sound to others like they wouldn't work, but time and again I've been pleased with off the wall pairings.
To me, creating characters and stories is a lot like cooking. There are "recipes", certain conventional plots or expected character types no matter what genre you're writing in. But stories are best when the author adds his or her own spark or tries something completely different, some unexpected combination of character traits or a new flavor of plot, something he or she hasn't served before. There are certain ingredients that reappear in many of my characters, the ingredients that give my writing its own particular style, my signature flavors. But I try to give each of my characters his or her own special recipe, the right combination of flavors that will express who they are and present readers with a tasty treat. And just like with meals I prepare, if story is pleasing to my audience, I feel all warm and happy inside.

My love of all things culinary spills over into my writing in other ways too. I enjoy writing about characters who love to cook and showing how their skills in the kitchen affect their relationships. In Paws on Me, Brandon is a flirtatious, fun-loving club owner, but he also loves to take care of others. His favorite way to do that is cooking. When he and Seth begin a relationship, he shows off his culinary prowess by making amazing meals for Seth, a cop who's used to feeding himself out of vending machines.

In my brand new release, Astronomical, Blake wows Greg with a delicious dinner followed by orgasmic Oreo brownies. Greg's cooking repertoire is severely limited but his desire for Blake leads him into the kitchen where he gets a lesson on making Bananas Foster (and a whole lot more *grin*).

Astronomical by Silvia Violet
Buy it at Silver: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/products_id/1051

Blurb:
When sexy, kilt-wearing astronomy professor Greg MacIntyre moves in next door, Blake Theriot knows he's in trouble. Blake is a research librarian, and he likes things orderly and controlled. But in his secret fantasies, he craves a big, powerful man like Greg to stir up his life.

Every time Blake tries to talk to his erudite neighbor, his brain shuts down and his vocabulary is reduced to one-word utterances, but when Blake's niece challenges him to invite Greg to dinner, he does. A few shots of after-dinner whiskey loosen Blake's inhibitions, and the two men share a hot kiss and the promise of more. Can Blake relax enough to give himself a chance with Greg, or will his fear of letting go ruin his hopes for love?

Excerpt:
The front door banged open, making me jump. I muttered a curse as I looked at the spaghetti sauce I'd splattered on my shirt. I'd have to change before I headed to work.

"Blake, are you in the kitchen?"

"Yeah."

My sister's shoes made a swishing sound as she walked through the living room and into the kitchen. "It smells great."

"Thanks." I answered absently as I looked through the spice rack for cayenne.

"Have you been outside lately?"

I shook my head. Renee had a conspiratorial tone in her voice that told me trouble was coming. I focused on the sauce. I would not fall prey to her scheme, whatever it was.

"You should come check out the view."

"What?" I tasted the sauce and added more pepper. "Why?"

"When you told me your new neighbor was an astronomy professor, I imagined someone even geekier than you."

Heat rose to my cheeks like it did every time I thought about Dr Greg MacIntyre. No one had caused such a strong a reaction in me in years. The man was truly devastating. Tall and beefy with wavy red-gold hair I longed to run my hands through, preferably while on my back throwing my legs over his shoulders. No need to choose between brains and brawn with him.

But during the few conversations we'd had, I'd babbled like a fool in response to his erudite remarks. If Greg was gay--and he'd given me no solid reason to believe he was--he wasn't going to want a drooling imbecile for a partner.

Renee started to say something else, but she was interrupted by her daughter, Haley, rushing into the kitchen. "Hey, mom. I thought I heard you come in."

Renee was raising Haley on her own and she worked three night shifts a week as a nurse in pediatric intensive care. Haley usually spent those nights with me and occasionally stuck around for a few hours the day after Renee's last shift so her mom could catch up on sleep or run some errands.

Haley turned pleading eyes on me. "Dr MacIntyre is outside. Can I go meet him now?"

My shirt was stained. I'd overslept and raced out of the door without shaving or doing anything to tame my curly hair. I was rushing to get dinner made because I'd agreed to fill in for someone at the main campus library and had to go back to work.

But Haley had been anxious to meet Greg since he moved in a week ago. She loved astronomy and all the mind-boggling math it required. She'd seen Greg setting up a telescope in his backyard and hoped he'd let her take a look through it. I couldn't deny her the chance to meet a real-life astrophysicist, especially one so well-respected that LSU had lured him away from Berkley for their Advanced Gamma Ray Survey Mission. I wasn't sure exactly what the program's professors did, but their work sounded impressive and expensive.

I sighed. I'd already made an ass of myself with Greg, what difference did it make how I looked?

"Sure. Just let me--" Before I finished my sentence, Haley shot out of the door. I nearly busted my ass racing after her. Renee laughed as I stumbled down the porch steps.

When I reached the yard, my heart nearly stopped. Greg was indeed outside, up a ladder, fixing a broken gutter, wearing nothing but a utility kilt. A fucking kilt. Could he get any more perfect?

I stared, frozen to the spot. My mouth watered as I took in his muscular legs, his round ass, the broad expanse of his back. He reached up to hook the gutter back in place, and I bit my lip to hold in a groan at the sight of his muscles flexing.

"Uncle Blake?" Haley snapped me out of my trance. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"Uh... yeah. I'm fine."

Her lips turned up in a mischievous grin. "You like him, don't you?"

"Who?"

She rolled her eyes. "Dr MacIntyre."

I prayed her loud whisper hadn't carried across the yard. "He's a nice man."

"Right."

Not a conversation I wanted to continue. "Come on. Let me introduce you."

As we got closer, I had to resist the urge to look up Greg's kilt. Sweat rolled down my temples as I wondered whether he was naked under there. At least in the Louisiana heat, everyone was sweaty.

"Hi, Greg," I called.

He looked down and smiled. His green eyes sparkled, and my cock responded. I so didn't need to be standing there with a hard-on.

"I know you're busy, but I wanted to introduce you to Haley."

"Hi, Haley." He waved at her, and she blushed a deep red. Apparently, even nine-year-olds couldn't resist him.

He started down the ladder, his kilt lifting with each step. I couldn't stop myself from peeking. I nearly passed out when I caught a glimpse of his pale, hair-covered ass cheek. My cock hardened more, and I prayed he--or worse, Haley--didn't notice.

When he reached the ground, Greg shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too. I was hoping you'd show me your telescope some time. I've been reading Seeds' Foundations of Astronomy, and I've got lots of questions."

His smiled widened. "Most likely you already know more than most of the freshmen I've taught. I'd love to answer your questions and do some stargazing together."

Haley grinned. "Great!"

I nearly swooned. Greg was hot, brilliant, and apparently also good with kids.

"There are lots of cool things I can show you. How much math have you done? Any algebra yet?"

I barely heard his questions. My gaze was glued to his hand as he ran it casually up and down the handle of his hammer. I couldn't stop imaging him touching my dick the same way.

Visit Silvia online:
Website and blog: http://silviaviolet.com

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