Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Chef's Table by Lynn Charles

I work in circulation at a county library and I see and handle hundreds of books every day. It is fascinating to me to note which books cause me to slow down and take a second look. The ones that make me want to read the synopsis, and even to consider putting on hold for future reading. What is it that draws me to this book to begin with?
And I'd have to say, outside of author, it's always the cover. With a quick glance while I'm scanning, I can often determine category, genre, mood and even age of the last printing. Lately, I seem to be drawn to a more minimalist type of book cover. Typeset only, fewer details and colors in the images you do see, etc.
Catch me quick and hold me there.
So, when it was time to come up with a cover for Chef's Table, while my input was only a small fraction of the process, I was happy to suggest a minimalist approach with the image we'd already been sent of a chef with another man's sneaky hand reaching around to divest him of his whites.
The trick was getting it to read as light-hearted, which the story is, without looking cartoonish and comical, which it is not, and our art director took that task very seriously. I asked her about how she approaches each cover with so many different themes and styles between stories and she said she does tend to compare each new title to previous ones they've done, asking "What does this story bring to the table that others haven't yet?" In other words, she wants to set each book apart before the reader even opens up the first page.
For Chef's Table, she called on an illustrator that she knew could not only execute the effect she was going for, but also remain faithful to the whimsical nature of the idea. They used a conventional "cut paper" technique where each simple shape of the image is a different kind of paper, only they achieved the effect digitally. The chef's jacket is finished with a crisp linen texture. Our cook on the back has a knit textured t-shirt and a woven texture for his apron. Skin is flecked as if pored, and to finish, shadows set off each layer to give the full dimensional effect.
I love my Evan and Patrick in this quirky minimalist fashion. I love the comedy of Evan snatching the cherry from Patrick's cheesecake on the back, and Patrick's sneaky hand creeping in to unbutton Evan's jacket. It's fun, it's a little sexy, and it pops with color.

Exactly what I hope the book will do as well.

Giveaway: A $25 Interlude Press GC to one randomly drawn winner and digital copies of CHEF’S TABLE to ten randomly winners via Rafflecopter.  One randomly chosen host will win a $25 Interlude Press GC.

Highland Homecoming
Title: Chef's Table by Lynn Charles
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy
Published December 2nd 2014 by Interlude Press
Length: 278 pages


Chef Evan Stanford has climbed the New York City culinary ladder one proper rung at a time, earning himself the Rising Star James Beard award and an executive chef position at one of New York City's favored restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. But in his quest to build his reputation, he's forgotten what got him there; the lessons on food—and life—from a loving neighbor back home in Illinois.

Patrick Sullivan lives a contented life in Brooklyn cooking at Johnny's diner, keeping the memory of his grandmother and her Irish cooking alive even in the foods she never taught him to prepare. When Chef Stanford comes into his diner requesting and enjoying one of his grandmother's specialties, he's swept up by Evan's drive, his passion, forcing himself to reconsider if a contented life is a fulfilled one.

With much in common, the two men—and Evan's particularly spoiled pug Dini—begin a journey through their culinary histories falling into an easy friendship. Even with the joys of their newfound love, and the guidance and support of friends old and new, can they tap into that secret recipe of great love, great food and transcendent joy?

Book Links:

Excerpt 4: 

So, instead of walking home from the DeKalb station, he stopped into Johnny's hoping Patrick was at the grill. The other cook, Oscar, was fine enough, but he needed a dose of Patrick. Of his food. Of his ability to speak through his food. His cheesecake, the special off-menu treats he'd whip up for Evan, all had a piece of Patrick in them. Evan didn't know his story, of course, but somehow he felt as if it were right there laid out in front of him, waiting for him to learn it.

Fate was on his side.

"Why don't you come on back, Chef? How long has it been since you've worked in a small kitchen, huh?"

And now he'd been caught staring.

Evan looked away, flushed and too tired to care. But when he looked back at Patrick, he was met with a friendly smile. "I should probably learn a more stealthy way to stare."

"Only if you want..." Patrick glanced up at a ticket on his rail. "Seriously, how long has it been?"

"Quite some time and—" Evan looked around. The diner was almost empty, winding down another day. "You still have some patrons. Thank you, though."

"Who cares? Besides, I figure you won't strain your neck that way.”

But Evan wasn't longing for the days of a small space and a small staff, although upon reflection, it did seem like a simpler time.

For all of his psychobabble and emotional meanderings on the train, by the time Evan had arrived at Johnny's and sat down at a prime counter seat for the show in the kitchen, it had come down to this: The view was tremendous.

Patrick's arms were strong and cut, lifting soup and stock pots as if they were wicker baskets. His skin rippled over flexing muscles that tested the strength of his shirt seams as they strained under the movement of his arms. The bastard even whistled along with the music as he worked—and it wasn't annoying.

Evan felt heat rise to his cheeks and ears, and Patrick simply smiled, waiting for a reply or a motion, something more responsive than a prepubescent mouth-hang.
"I'm only coming back if I can help."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates back to her childhood, but took shape as an adult, when she found herself expressing her grief in a years' worth of journaled letters to a lifelong friend who passed unexpectedly. She has been writing works of fiction in the online fan community since 2002, where thousands of readers have enjoyed her stories.

She lives in central Ohio with her husband, two adult children and a small menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she can be found working at her county library, riding bikes with her husband and strolling local farmer’s markets in search of ingredients for new recipes.

Chef’s Table is her debut novel.

Connect with Lynn at


Giveaway: A $25 Interlude Press GC to one randomly drawn winner and digital copies of CHEF’S TABLE to ten randomly winners via Rafflecopter.  One randomly chosen host will win a $25 Interlude Press GC.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You should follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates and stops can be found here:


  1. Great excerpt, thanks for sharing!

  2. It definitely appeals to me!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  3. really love the cover design. i think loads of people will stop to check it out at bookstores.