Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Garlic!

GARLIC by Sarah Laurenson

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking. It’s too bad his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school; where he’s stuck in remedial transformation and bloodsucking classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood.

Once at school, he gets saddled with the name Garlic – a derogatory vampire term for a half-breed. In the blood feast room, Tommy has to transform to bat form in front of all the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper in order to suck down his bloody meal. Or worse – join the girls in their pristine cream and gold dining room where they sit as humans at tables with tablecloths and drink glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Italian seasonings (sans garlic). Then the new blood drink in the girl’s dining room is named after Emeline, Tommy's secret human crush. Is it really Emeline’s blood? Will Tommy use that blood to stave off the human hunter gang and keep his own blood to himself? And, more importantly, is Emeline still alive?

Sarah's done a little bit of everything – from working a register to tramping around a campus to being a desk jockey. Her first degree was in Law Enforcement. She went through the Police Academy (Honor Graduate), then served eight years as a University Cop. Another degree, this time in Physics, led to her time as a Software Engineer. She's jokingly referred to as a rocket scientist by her writing friends, though it’s not far from the truth.

Her alter ego writes and volunteers. She's currently serving on the Board for the Los Angeles region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators where she is the webmistress ( and the gate keeper of the listserv. Mostly, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy.

Sarah is a more recent member of the Book Roast team, though she has been a valued supporter from day 1. She brought her terrific blend of creativity and organization to the Book Roast, and we appreciate all of her hard work and enthusiasm!! It is my pleasure to roast her manuscript "Garlic." Let's give Sarah a hardy welcome!!

Excerpt from GARLIC:

Tommy winced at the mirror. Everything above his shirt collar was pocked with ugly red zits with yellowish-white centers. He touched the one on the tip of his nose and flinched. That hurt! Placing a finger on each side of it, he steeled himself and squished. His eyes squeezed shut, forcing out a few tears. Chunky white liquid splashed against the mirror. Tommy sighed with the release of the pressure. The aroma of garlic tickled his nose. He took a huge sniff.


Tommy jumped. His hands dropped to his side. “Coming, Mother,” he shouted through the door.

He quickly grabbed a wad of toilet paper and dabbed at his tears. Using the same wad, he wiped the mirror, leaving behind white streaks. He almost didn’t see the chunks of white on the sink. After mopping up those, too, he threw the soggy paper in the toilet.

“Tommy! I’m waiting!”

Tommy gulped and put a hand on the door knob. His gaze glossed over the toilet handle and jerked back. He flushed the toilet, hoping his mother would hear and think he had a good reason to keep her waiting. Fingers tapping on the sink, he turned on the cold water and slowly counted to ten – long enough for him to have washed his hands. Taking a steadying breath, he left the safety of the bathroom. She was going to kill him. And there was nothing he could do about it.

He opened her bedroom door a minuscule crack. “Yes, Mother?”

Stark white mosquito netting billowed from the bed’s canopy bar and framed her small, oval face. Her long black hair streamed down to the white tile floor like some static electricity machine was under her head. He glanced at his watch. It was early for her to be hanging upside down.

“About time.” She reached out to beckon him in, but her cape slid down and covered her arm. “Oh blast!” She shoved the cape back up and held it close to her side. The movement started her body swaying. “Come in here, my boy.”

He backed into the room, shutting the door with great care. Being at the end of his delaying tactics, he slowly turned to face her.

“Oh my!” Her hands flew to her mouth. Her cape slid down again and covered her head. She flailed her arms and whipped it off, almost swinging off the canopy bar in the process. She reached up, gripped the bar and swung to the ground. “You’ve been eating your father’s cooking!”

Tommy nodded. There was no use denying it.

She threw her arms into the air. “How many times do we have to go through this?”

“I like Dad’s cooking.”

“You can’t like it, Tommy, you’re allergic to it.”

That made no sense. “Dad’s a good cook.”

“He’s Italian. That means garlic, son, tons of it.”

Tommy smiled, then wiped the smile from his face. He loved garlic, but it didn’t love him. One of his hands crept up towards his face and the chunks of garlic embedded in his zits.


Please answer the following for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Borders.
Do you have a favorite garlic-laden recipe? Major bonus points if it's vegan/vegetarian.


Chris Eldin said...

Good Morning everyone!

I'm putting this up a few hours early. Sarah is on Cali-time so I know she won't be around for a while, but we can get started!

I LOVE this concept, and Sarah's execution is well-written and quite, quite funny!!! I know my two boys would really sink their teeth into a book like this.

Please drop by and welcome Sarah to the roasting pit.

McKoala said...

Hey, I'll play, you lie-abeds you.

Still an awesomely gruesome kick-off!

Ever made garlic soup? It has something like 40 cloves of garlic in it!

Chris Eldin said...

Garlic soup? Really?
Is that why the koala's eyes are buggin' out of her head and she's hiding in a tree?


Dave Fragments said...

I make great Italian food without garlic. Even my recipe for Herb Stuffed Leg of Lamb which is more Provencal than anything else doesn't have garlic. Garlic is mostly used in southern, hot climes. BTW - I hope that you'all have heard the stories of taking a helicopter of certain middle east cities (Turkey, Lebanon, etc...) and smelling roasting lamb flavored with garlic from the entire city. It's quite an odoriferous experience, I have been told...

Garlic bread is easy to make. USe good olive oil and toast the bread on a grill, rub the raw garlic on the bread and don't let the garlic cook.

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic are good. Roast the garlic and then add it to the potatoes just before mashing. Use a stick of butter and a half cup of Parmigiano Regiano cheese too. And while you're at it, throw your arteries to the wind and add heavy cream instead of milk.

I consulted "The Silver Spoon" which is THE cookbook of Italy and a majority of recipes don't contain garlic. Now I don't have copies of any of Emeril Legassi's cookbooks but he lives to overspice with that New Orleans style of cooking he does. He uses tons of garlic. I'll bet you can tell when he's in the building.

I remember parts of Sarah's book on EE's blog. I don't have any kids that age that I need to give gifts too. They all grew up. It's a fun idea and that opening chapter is a real screamer.

One last thing, I met a visiting scientist from South Korea who came to the USA for two years with his wife. Well, no one told them that USA garlic is stronger than Korean garlic and when his wife made Kim Chee, he would sweat garlic for days and days. There was no way to cover up his garlic smell with any cologne. It oozed. It seeped. I swear it stained furniture. Thankfully, I didn't share an office with this fellow, or a floor, just the OTHER end of the building.

laughingwolf said...

welcome sarah; cool excerpt, chris... had me shuddering :O lol

my simplest use of garlic is on chunks of italian [or french] bread, cut on the bias and then grilled

but i do use garlic in just about any meal i make; and it's true, it does keep illnesses to a minimum... AND people away who don't like the odor ;)

Stephen Parrish said...

Dave F. is making me hungry.

Hi Sarah! I don't have a recipe, I have a rule: if you CAN put garlic in it, you SHOULD.

I have the same rule about onions.

I spend quite a bit of time alone. But my food tastes good.

Sarah Laurenson said...


Hi all!

What a way to start the day - discussing my favorite food.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Garlic soup with 40 cloves? That does sound wonderful, McK! Not so sure my wife would think so though.

U.S. garlic is stronger than South Korea's? Dave you are full of such interesting facts. I'll bet you were glad to be on the other side of the building.

Garlic is great for ears, nose and throat type of stuff, LW. Even better than an apple a day. Keeps all kinds of things away, not just doctors. ;-)

I'm with you, Steve. I actually prefer both my onions and garlic raw. We used to snack on raw onion dipped in salt with a large glass of milk when I was a kid.

Riva said...

My hubby always says the only thing better than garlic is more garlic! He puts it in EVERYTHING (he's the chef in the family). But, my favorite is his version of garlic bread. He melts butter and blue cheese together, mixes in the garlic, and then smears it on bread. Then into the broiler until it's golden brown. Yummy!!

Enjoyed the excerpt from your book, Sarah. I'll have to find some "pretend kids" so I have an excuse to buy a copy.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Riva,

Hm. That's an intriguing idea though I'm not fond of that particular cheese.

I'll have to find a publisher so someone can buy my book. :-)

Chris Eldin said...

Dave, all I have to say is that all you've heard about roast lamb with garlic is so, so true.

Any recipes on the sweeter side that include garlic? I'm just curious...

Morning Sarah!!!!

Chris Eldin said...

Just now realizing Shona's question was a food-related one. Hmmm.... Well, I guess we *are* the grill!

laughingwolf said...

exactly, sarah ;) lol

have you tried that garlic icecream created, of course, somewhere in california?

i've yet to find any here...

Sarah Laurenson said...

There is a garlic restaurant here that I went to once. They have the garlic ice cream. I was not impressed with the restaurant and didn't try the ice cream. But we do have the Gilroy Garlic Festival that I have yet to visit. Must make plans to do that!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Garlic status.

I'm a third of the way through on this current rewrite. This one is about smoothing the story and making sure each chapter ends where it should and ties into the next one.

The next (and final?) pass through is more about the MC and what he's thinking. I usually write in first person and found that when writing in third person, I leave out a lot of the thoughts in the character's head. So I have to make another pass thinking about this as if it were in first person.

I have an editor who requested the full whenever I do finish only she moved to a differnt imprint at the same house. This other imprint handles more serious stuff. Garlic is not serious stuff. I met a VP at the same house and he liked my pitch, plus he handles fantasy. So I'm thinking of submitting to him instead of her but mentioning her interest in my letter to him.

Can this get more convoluted?

Chris Eldin said...

It sounds like a wonderful concept, and I hope you follow whatever leads you have!!
Also sounds like you're doing all the right things regarding editing. And that comes from experience...
Here's wishing you success with this story!!! I think it sounds like a LOT of fun for boys!!! (and girls!)


Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks, Chris - oh Roast Master Extraordinaire!

I wish the VP and the Editor worked for different houses so I could submit to them both. Ah well. Some interest is much better than no interest.

Debbie said...

McK - Would you send me the recipe? I'd make a special batch just for Sarah in honor of the book.

- Her wife

laughingwolf said...

p[lease do, sarah... then report back, AND get recipes ;) lol

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hello dear!

McK - you can send it to me and I will gladly pass it on to her. Whenever you wake up in Oz and log back in, that is.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I have a garlic cookbook somewhere, LW. Not vegetarian unfortunately, but it should have some interesting recipes.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi all,
I love that Mom is hanging upside down. What a great visual.
I've made that garlic soup before, tons of cloves in chicken broth and then pour the boiling soup over a raw egg in a bowl. Yum.
But my fav is a summer pasta. I cook penne and put it in a bowl of uncooked pressed garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. Dash of salt and pepper and it's ready to savor.
I'm dying to find out if there is a cure for garlic acne.:) Pat

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Pat,

I love the sound of that salad and penne is my favorite pasta!

Hm. A cure for garlic acne? Hm.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Of course, his mother's idea of a cure is to pack him off to Vampire boarding school where there's not a clove of garlic in sight.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

oops. I forgot to mention that fresh grated Parmesan is super on that penne.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Isn't that what mothers do? Remove the kids from the source of badness and all will be well. Flawed thinking but probably instictual.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

shoot, i made a typo. A big round of applause for those who spot it.....

Sherrie Petersen said...

Hi, Sarah --

Great opening! I would be seriously bummed if I couldn't eat garlic.

I have a recipe called "Picnic Caviar" that involves rice vinegar, garlic, black beans, corn, bell peppers, onion, green chiles and cilantro, oregano and basil. It's vegan and it's delicious. Let me know if you want all the info.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Typos? They're everywhere. The trick is allowing your typo to stay and not rewriting the comment. At least, that's the trick for me. ;-)

You know it's never her kid's fault, but the fault of those other kids he hangs around with or something else in his environment - in this case his Dad's cooking. So if she removes the bad influences, then her kid will go back to being perfect.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Sherrie,

I actually did have to stop eating garlic for a little while. Really big bummer. Not sure how I survived.

Would love to have that recipe. Feel free to pop it in an e-mail any time. Thanks!

Mary Witzl said...

I make a stew with tofu, daikon, shiitake, carrots, leeks, ginger, and eggs. I put in kimchee, which is about 25% garlic, and whole bulbs of garlic, slashed a few times to release the juices. When all the vegetables are tender, I put in spinach or other greens. You can crush up the garlic bulbs with the back of a wooden spoon. Great served over rice, and the garlic is so strong it could knock over a horse.

Loved that description of zit bursting!!

laughingwolf said...

garlic icecream recipes? ooooooo

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Mary,

Interesting stew recipe. Sounds wonderful!

And thanks! The zit scene is actually quite controversial. Either people love it or hate it, it seems.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hey LW - I'll have to find that recipe book and see if it includes an ice cream one.

Anonymous said...

I might be a vampire half-breed.

One the train, when some vicious garlic-emitter sits next to me and makes me want to carve off my nose with a ice cream scoop, I can imagine those pustules.

Great work Sarah! As Spock would say to Garlic, live long, and prosper.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks so much, Jason!

I know the odor is, shall we say, overpowering sometimes. I'm lucky in that I don't notice many smells. Or maybe other people are unlucky that I don't notice many smells.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Hey Sarah!

This is a wicked read. I've got my garlic cloves crossed for you...

I'll throw garlic (and curry) into just about anything. Of course it's always vegetarian. Not vegan, though. I always have an abundance of fertile chicken eggs and non-fertile duck eggs in my refrigerator. Can't stop my girls from laying!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hyperactive chicks?

My wife loves curry. I like it if it's mild. Funny, but I will take garlic and ginger in large doses, but I don't do spicy.

LW - no ice cream recipes, but there is a garlic pudding recipe in this book. It's called The Garlic Lovers' Cookbook and comes from Gilroy.

laughingwolf said...

thx sarah...

that zit scene is true-to-life, as i recall from my teens, 648 years ago :O lol

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm lucky, LW. No zits as a teen, but I sure do get them now.

Sylvia said...

Everything here has garlic. Everything. I asked a cooking friend if she could make a dish with neither onions nor garlic (for a visitor who was allergic) and she simply looked at me and said "No, I cannot." :D

My favourite is probably Pan Catalán:
Take a baguette, cut it lengthwise and into long pieces. Take a garlic clove, crush it with the back of a heavy knife and rub it (hard) against the bread. Cut a tomato in half, rub the tomato against the bread so you are leaving behind the juices.

Drizzle with olive oil. Top with thin slices of jamón serrano ... or leave off the ham for a vegetarian version but you probably want to sprinkle on a bit of salt - or veer east and crumble some salty feta on top.

Sarah Laurenson said...

My kind of place, Sylvia!

I've tried to cook with light garlic, but I really have no concept of light.

Chris Eldin said...

Awww! Phoenix!! :-)
We have two geese and a baby goose waddling about our property. Sooo cute!!

And we have a rooster strutting about with his 7 hens. Very arrogant, and I'm only happy to eat this beast.
:-) With garlic.

Sylvia said...

Oh and I don't even need a pretend kid for your book - the zits squick me out but I suspect my son would love it.

So get revising, we're all waiting!

Anonymous said...

FIRST - awww. I wanna see a picture of Debbie!

SECOND - squick? Sylvia is my new favorite person because I LOVE that word.

THIRD - Sarah, believe it or not, I haven't read much of your writing before and I'm quite delighted with it. I know, I'm not an agent so who the hell cares, right, but still. :)

FOURTH - For our wedding we received a Vegetarian cookbook from its author, and, even though we're not vegetarian, we love it. The best garlic recipe is for a garlic vinaigrette, which can be tossed on salad or fresh veggies, but is also really yummy brushed on eggplant slabs before grilling (so says a close friend for whom I cook it. I'm not so much an eggplant girl.) ANYWAY, you peel and smoosh a large-ish garlic clove and put it in a small jar. Add 1/4 c. olive oil and 1 Tablespoon vinegar (I like balsamic best with this, but you could use sherry vinegar or any other kind), plus 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper. Shake it all up til the salt dissolves - use it or store in fridge. I usually make about 3 times that amount to have enough to just keep on hand :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Aerin,

Thanks! For the praise and the vinaigrette. That sounds great and easy to pour on anything. Eggplant is one of those things that has to be cooked just right for me to want to eat it, so I don't try it very often. But I bet you could do that with any grilled veggies.

Pictures can be seen here and here.

Anonymous said...

Sarah - oh. my. gosh. i love debbie's wedding dress. You both look radiant in those pictures. thank you for linking!!

PS - Bug was on my lap and when she saw the smooching pic she said "Oh, look! They love each other!" in what can only be described as a scientific analysis kind of way. *sigh* 3 yr olds.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Kids easily see the truth. Too bad we grow out of that stage.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks, Sylvia. I'll try not to keep you waiting long.

Robin B. said...

Oh, Sarah - I LOVE Tommy and his garlic zits! Seriously!

Love you too, sweetie.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks so much, Rob. I think I've got a bottle of white wine around here somewhere. Saved it just for you!

Chris Eldin said...

Aerin, I make that dressing all the time!! LOVE it!!

Well, we have just about 2 more hours to get those recipes in!
:-) Keep 'em coming!!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hey Chris,

My geographic familiars might be coming late to the party since they're probably getting off work in the next couple of hours. How about extending closing time just a bit?


Robin B. said...

OK, Sarah, I've got a glass of white wine in my hand. Let's toast!

Sarah Laurenson said...

To getting published - may it happen soon and often!

Robin B. said...


Mind tasted fabulous. Hope yours did, too!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Not into wine, actually. I know, it's a serious character fault. Raised my glass of soy milk. And yes, tastes great - to me.

Robin B. said...

OK, girl. What are you gonna be drinking when we all get together?

Name your poison.

Sarah Laurenson said...

'Fraid I'm very dull, my dear. No alcohol, no caffeine, no carbonation, no dairy. Seriously dull. Love herbal teas, soy milk. Will do the occassional hot chocolate with soy.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Oh, I do love me some carrot ginger juice - heavy on the ginger.

Robin B. said...

Whoa, baby! That's OK, though. I loooooove tea. Earl Grey for me, though.

We'll all go to a tea and wine place, girlfriend.

Whirlochre said...

What is it about hammocks knitted from garlic twine you can sleep in for a fortnight then consume (with a robust sprig of thyme), igniting your enemies with killer breath as you casually plant next year's bulbs?

If this isn't a question, neither is it the recipe for a peculiar sort of bliss...

Sarah Laurenson said...

Earl Grey is the best! That was my cup of tea - literally. Had to give up the caffeine. It was either that or kill people. Tough choice. ;-)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Ah Whirl! Awesome, um, question. Love the image!

Robin B. said...

Hey Whirl!

And Sarah, I agree- tough damn choice on the death or tea thing.

Robin B. said...

Hey Sarah,

I need to take off - congrats on your very cool book! I feel like several of us have watched each other incubate our literary babies for the past couple of years.

Hear's hoping publication comes soon!

I truly love the garlic boy, Tommy.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Robin. We'll have that tea someday soon!

laughingwolf said...

i still get some, sarah... and i'm now ANCIENT, according to my kids, anyway ;)

Sarah Laurenson said...

It's not hard to be ancient by kid standards.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Sarah,

Okay everyone, partay on!!!

(I'm probably going to nod off soon, but my thoughts will be over here...)


Sarah Laurenson said...

Nighty-nite, Chris.

I'll close the grill down before we burn the roof off. My wife is twisting my arm to go out for dinner. Not sure about the timing, so we'll be open a little while longer.

robkroese said...

Looks like I missed the fun. I've got no recipes, with or without garlic, so it's not like I was going to win anyway. So who did win?

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hey Diesel,

Haven't closed the bar, um, grill down just yet, but soon...

And I was going to do the nerdy geek thing and use a random number generator for the winner, but, nah, I'm going for my favorite recipe of the day today.

laughingwolf said...

here ye be, sarah ;)

Sarah Laurenson said...

How cool is that, LW? Love that site.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Time to close this puppy down. As I said, I was going to choose a winner the geeky way with a random number generator, but...

For simplicity and versatility - the winning recipe belongs to - Aerin! Congrats, Aerin. E-mail me your info at sarah dot laurenson at gmail dot com and I’ll drop the gift card in the mail.

Thanks for participating one and all. I know I will enjoy some of these recipes for sure.

Honorable mention has to go to Whirl for most creative.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I was just coming back over to comment on Whirl's classic-Whirl comment and, look at that, yay, I won!

Bug's been running around the house in a white tutu (and literally, nothing else) getting married to all of her dolls. Her brother the Bear is the elephant they ride on (? I don't know, kids.)

Off to email you - thanks, thanks!!

laughingwolf said...

grats aerin... and thx a bunch, sarah :)

Rita said...

Wow, that excerpt was delightfully disgusting!! The premise hooked me from start to end. I'm really excited to read this book!!

Um, for garlic recipes (even though I'm too late to play)... well, I feel like there can never be too much garlic in anything--esp. any Chinese stir fry. And garlic mashed potatoes is my favorite.

Fantastic work, Sarah!!

P.S. I have been to the Gilroy garlic fest! The ice cream--and the chocolate--were neither one impressive. Not disgusting nor delightful (unlike the excerpt, which was both). It was exactly like eating ice cream--or chocolate--while eating garlic at the same time. The two didn't have anything to do with each other.

As for the rest of the food . . . if you already put a lot of garlic in your food, which I do, it all tasted normal.

But everyone should go, just for garlic-lovin' street cred!

Aniket Thakkar said...

Hi Sarah,

I got late to the party didn't I? :(

Though we have never interacted before, we do share a lot of common friends.

I loved the excerpt. I love anything that has to do with Vampires. And well almost all Indian dishes have Garlic in them. :D

All the best for your book release.

And Oh yes, Congratulations to Aerin. She keeps giving away books, so its nice to see her getting some in return. :D

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Rita - Thanks for your words of praise and for stopping by. Good to know about the ice cream and chocolate, but it does sound like something I need to try at least once. And yes, I need more garlic street cred!

Hi Aniquez - You've changed your name! And the new one sounds so beautiful even if I have no idea what it means. Yes, I've seen you here and there in the blogosphere. Your sense of humor is fun! Thanks for popping in here. (Indian food is wonderful!)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Bug sounds like so much fun, Aerin!

Aniket Thakkar said...

Joaquin gave me this moniker... It means Aniket of a thousand lights. ;D

Will definitely dig up your other works now. :)

JaneyV said...

Ack Sarah - I'm so bummed I missed this after promising I'd be here. I don't know what happened to yesterday.

I just wanted to add my voice to all the praise. I love your garlic-loving half vampire. The zit squeezing was gross - but in a fab way- the best way in fact. And I have to say that Mommy vampire hanging upside-down from the bed, wrestling in her indignation with her cape, was a stroke of brilliance. I cannot wait for this to be in print. ;0)

Sarah Laurenson said...

You were missed, Janey!

Thanks for popping in anyway!