WisCon 39 Appearances!

wiscon39Tomorrow, I fly out for my first WisCon experience.

I’m super excited because I’ve heard so many great things about this conference from other writers. It has a heavy concentration on the craft of writing, which is the #1 reason I’m choosing it as my first con in years. I love the speculative fiction genre, but I love writing it more than I love the fannish activities that go along with it. Nothing wrong with going wild, Fandom! It’s just not how I engage with the works that spark my passion.

And I am thrilled that I will get to share some of my passion with you! I am one-third of the superpowered trio in the Triple the Strength! Triple the Power! reading with fellow writers Sally Wiener Grotta and Laura Lis Scott on Sunday at 1:00 pm in Conference Room 2 at the main hotel.

Flyer for our reading small

Thanks to Sally for our flyer! Unfortunately, Laura won’t be with us in the flesh, but I’m delighted to read a selection from her novella, Half the Sky, on her behalf. I’ll also be reading “Thlush-A-Lum”, my most recently published horror short story, and if time allows (it should), the first chapter of my epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen.

But that’s not all! On Monday morning, in the waning hours of WisCon, I’ll be on the Worldbuilding Through Food panel in Senate B at 10:00 am. Writing about food has been a huge part of my career over the past six years, and food has always been an honored guest in my fiction as well, so this panel’s topic spoke to me on many levels. Ty Blauersouth is our moderator, and my fellow panelists will be Nino Cipri and Amy Thomson. The official description:

The food crops and domestic animals an author uses in a fictional world shape underlying presumptions about where and when a story is set…or “not set,” in the case of not-quite-our-world-but-just-barely worlds. Medievaloid Europeish taverns with potatoes and tomatoes in their stew. Cultures that spice heavily, or lightly, or eat a wide range of animals; even if crops and livestock are all named with new words they often trace back to our-Earth models. How can one thoughtfully use food in your worldbuilding in ways that support themes and characters, without falling into shallow sloppiness? What SFF authors do food description particularly well? What’s good about it?

I’m especially excited to talk about how food choices can reveal character and ways food can be more central to the plot than just a lush description of a feasting table. Turkish delight, anyone?

Of course, I’ll be out and about all over the place during the rest of WisCon 39, but I haven’t had the chance to pick which sessions I’ll attend just yet. I’ll update you all on those plans as I make the decisions! Meanwhile, I always love meeting new people, so if you’d like to join me for coffee or a cocktail or a meal, just drop me a line at becca at thegourmez dot com or through Twitter @thegourmez. I arrive Wednesday evening and leave Monday afternoon.

See you soon, Wisconsin! It’ll be lovely to make your acquaintance.

Casa Nuestra Tinto St. Helena 2011

Casa Nuestra Tinto St. Helena 2011
Oakville, Napa Valley, CA


Open up this wine, and you’ll be with your sweetie in your private cabana on the beach, stomachs full of sticky rice and pork steamed in banana leaves. You pick up your glass and share one more smile before wandering over to the bonfire where the steel drummers play.

My rating:


My Quini flower & score:


My Quini flavor profile:


Chai Bar by David Rio Launch Party


In a few short weeks, the Chai Bar by David Rio, the flagship storefront location for the highly successful David Rio Chai company, will be open at 1019 Market St., San Francisco. I think this new café/bar/lab/restaurant hybrid will be a lot of fun to visit, based on my experience at its recent launch party.


The party was a chance for David Rio employees, their loved ones, and a few other invited individuals such as myself and visitors from upstairs neighbor Zendesk, to take a peek at the space before it opens. Fresh off two wins for their new tea frappé mixes at the Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo in Seattle, the excitement and anticipation of the company’s employees was palpable. Everyone wants to get this storefront opened!

The tiling and giant centerpiece of a bar were complete, but furniture, equipment, and the final interior design touches were yet to be installed.

I’m no stranger to using my imagination, so I could see the potential as described by David Rio’s co-founder, Scott Lowe. Opening a storefront was his and his wife’s, co-founder Rio Miura, original dream when they launched the company. It’s only taken 18 years to get there!

The bar.

The bar.

There will be a long, winding, and inviting couch along the left wall leading toward the experimental lab in back, where customers will be invited to give their opinions on the chai and tea creations under development. Teas from all over the world will be sampled here, not just Masala blends.

The Chai Lab.

The Chai Lab.

At the bar, one side will focus on making espresso drinks and the other will be full of wands for steaming milk. Different types of and methods for steaming milk products will be highlighted—and I don’t just mean dairy milk, of course. Not in this day and age.