Monday, January 18, 2016


Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice
by Peggy Lampman

Peggy Lampman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

GENREwomen's contemporary fiction


A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what's worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart


Shelby Preston--a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia--escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes--an Atlanta newspaper food writer--may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion. 


Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good. 


Chasing desires and ambitions, the women's lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders--some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what's really worth fighting for.




Memos from the edge, self-help hieroglyphics, throwaway lines galloping off paper, most of them unfinished. These are the words I should have said to Cooper the day he left, bade farewell, adios, arrivederci—however you say goodbye. Itchy, my dearest friend, is returning a platter and will ignore them, assuming they are recipe scribbles. But if these tourniquets had a voice, their banshee wail would rant, rage and scream, shaking the foundations of Atlanta.
Dearest Cooper. What a splendid feast you made of me. A sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper, you chewed me up then spit me out. Was I that abhorrent?
Visceral, grisly, teeth-gnashing words; much better script. I write, post, then return to my cutting board. Chopping furiously, I collect, examine, and discard words much too ordinary to assuage my grief. Words...words...I need more words; what words can I write that will ease the pain of what you’ve done?

Author Peggy Lampman

Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.

Amazon Buy Link

Goodreads Link

Author Page


***Peggy Lampman has granted an interview that I think you’ll enjoy.

If you have additional photos that illustrate something about the questions or your excerpt, please include them.

Peggy: I’ve created a slideshow of photographs I’ve taken that inspired my book. Please scroll down to the bottom of my author page for a colorful journey:

Where did you grow up?

Peggy: I grew up in Birmingham Alabama and had two younger brothers. I was considered “off-beat and creative” when I was growing up. Our country was emerging from the Civil Rights era and Birmingham was famous for radical racism that sickened my teenaged soul. My main priority, after graduating high school, therefore, was getting the hell out of Dodge. (What a shock to discover racism was not singular to Alabama!) I graduated from the University of Michigan, lived in Manhattan, then returned to Ann Arbor, my college town. I am married to my second husband and have 2 children and 3 stepchildren.

Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Peggy: Literary Fiction, particularly fiction set in the American South. Think Sue Monk Kidd and Pat Conroy. I also love Ann Patchett and Donna Tart. My favorite memoir is Patty Smith’s JUST KIDS. I tend to gravitate to women writers, but I just finished PURITY, by Jonathan Frazen. It’s filled with psychotic twists and turns; esp. loved the quirky mother-daughter relationship.

I also love books by Sue Monk Kidd and Pat Conroy. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Peggy: Cooking, writing and taking photographs, just like one of my protagonists, Mallory.  Love to settle in with a great book. Also I’m an avid hiker and I practice yoga. I travel as much as finances will allow.

Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Peggy: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” E.B. White

How long have you been writing?

Peggy: I always imagined that one day I would write a novel. I bought my first diary when I was thirteen; white leather, gold embossing and a little lock. I still have it and it’s choking with pubescent angst and boy-crazed passions. Strangely and contradictory to the previous sentence, I also thought I might want to be a nun. Writing was as cathartic to me then as it is to me now.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Peggy: I prefer writing on my porch overlooking Lake Michigan. Aside from lapping water, I need silence, but silence can be an illusive lover. I prefer working on my laptop.

Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Peggy: I’m a plotter. Occasionally I let the story rip and ride, seatbelt unbuckled, but I prefer using a road map.

Road map for me, too. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Peggy: Yes. Real events; twisted, tortured and exaggerated. Real people; twisted, tortured and exaggerated.

Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Peggy: Yes, absolutely. I am goal-oriented. Now that I am working on my second book in the series, my goal is to write 2000 CLEAN words a week. The holiday season derailed me.

The holidays derailed most of us! What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Peggy: Empathy and tolerance, and most certainly, an engaging ride of a read.

What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Peggy: To write until I kick the bucket, at the very least completing my Squash Blossom Trilogy within the next 3 years.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Peggy: My second book in the series: WHERE THERE’S SMOKE.

What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

1. Write the best book you can possibly write.
2. Have your book professionally edited at least twice.
3. Rewrite your book, if necessary.
4. Write a damn good query and try to find an agent.
5. If you can’t get an agent, find the best cover designer your purse can afford.
6. Self-publish and promote the hell out of it.

Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Peggy: I write and perform country/western songs and sing them to my family and friends (after several adult beverages). Whamme Whynot is my stage name (-:

Funny! Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Peggy: I was Lilly-Belle in a previous life. (You’d have to read my book.)

Is your book a series? If so, how long?

Peggy: It’s the first book in the Squash Blossom Trilogy.

Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Mallory Lakes - attractive, witty, a food columnist for the Atlanta Sun - was born with a silver spoon. Shelby Preston – 24, a single mother from Coryville – was born with anything but. The Georgia women, however, share a passion for cooking.
Ambitious Shelby is inspired by Mallorys column. Consumed with desire for a better life for her and her daughter, Miss Ann, she gets a job at Grassos, an upscale Atlanta grocery store, which reimburses for chef school. She makes the gut-wrenching decision to go it alone at first, leaving Miss Ann with her grandmother.
Mallory, 38, seems to have it all. Not quite. The thing she wants most is her boyfriend back. Problems escalate when the Sun makes a print to digital conversion; layoffs follow. She keeps her job by crafting a cyber-doppelgänger. Happiness is short-lived when she sees Cooper, her ex, dancing with a beauty. She retaliates in her usual self-destructive fashion. She gets wasted, sleeps with a stranger.
Picking herself up, she redirects energy into Farm-to-Table advocacy, a community-supported agricultural movement, documenting her purchase of a piglet scheduled for slaughter in the Fall. Her involvement leads to on-line fame, but not back to Cooper.
Shelbys success is short-lived. The stores staff is harassed by its despicable owner, Tony Grasso, and Miss Ann, still living away from her, develops relentless flu-like symptoms. The supportive deli manager invites Shelby into her off-hour world at Squash Blossom – a working, organic farm. She takes quick-learning Shelby to a wine tasting, also attended by Mallory. Driving home, Mallory hits a man on a bicycle. Shelby stops to assist. The accident, though not fatal, leads to the deportation of the man and his family. A distressed Mallory finds solace in the bottle and pills. Illusion is dangerous territory. She becomes her persona. She lives her blog…
How about an excerpt:

And it was more than his sincerity that trapped me in a snare; I’ve never before witnessed a more alluring arrangement of attributes on a man. With his killer smile and glossy black hair, Cooper smells of cedar and fresh-cut lemons. Green-eyed, cardigan-clad, Irish-witted Cooper is as irresistible to me as plumb seared scallops on a bed of truffle risotto, washed down with a Burgundian Chardonnay. Gentle, understated, smoldering and hot—testosterone in a teacup—he is one beauty of a man.

Where can readers find your books?

How can readers learn more about you? Lampman/e/B010KRNUX6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Peggy: I am an adventurous eater. I can’t stand, however, canned green peas or eggs that are cooked sunny-side-up. If a friend served me one of these foods, however, I would eat it (silently gagging) with a smile. My mother raised me well (-:

Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I am continuously updating my food blog and author page. I would love hearing from you @

a Rafflecopter giveaway


cherio1 said...

I really enjoyed reading the interview. This sounds like a terrific read!!!

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the great interview.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

dinnerfeed said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Cherio and Mary. I hope that you will find the book an enjoyable read. And thank you so much for hosting me today, Caroline. Your lovely fields are a pleasant complement to my 6AM coffee.

Some fun things have changed since my interview that I've mentioned on this tour, with a new weekend update. As mentioned, last week I received an offer from Lake Union Publishing to buy Simmer and Smoke; the offer also includes an advance to write a second book. Well...I was underway (as mentioned in the above interview) with a sequel to S&S. The acquisitions editor, however, wants a different story in a different locale. A food focus, certainly, since that's what I do (see my blog), but a completely different story.

It will be sad to say good bye to my ladies but maybe I'll see visit them in a couple of years. The editor likes, er, loves the idea of setting the story in today's Detroit. Don't know if y'all know this but there is a really cool, unique and robust food scene taking place at this very minute. My daughter-in-law, Lucy de Parry, opened up a diner in the middle of burnt out, and abandoned buildings and homes last year. Bon Appetit said her spot: Rose's Fine Foods, was in the top 50 restaurants in America. Really? That's poetic, right? And she's also been written up several times in the NYTimes and a couple of weeks ago, The Washington Post. The story has come to me! Why was I so blind? Lucy's a lady with guts, along with the good, bad things have happened on her ride, so I'm basing (taking much artistic license) my next novel on her story.

Happy to chat today; I hope all of y'alls Monday is a good one. Peggy

Nikolina said...

Happy to be a part of this tour, thank you for sharing!

dinnerfeed said...

It's my pleasure, Nikolina!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Peggy, thanks for sharing with readers.

MomJane said...

Really loved the interview. This sounds like a fascinating book.

Ally Swanson said...

Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and the interview. This book sounds like such a fun and interesting read! Totally can't wait to read this book!

dinnerfeed said...

Thanks so much to all of you who've expressed such kind wishes to me. If you want to read an excerpt from the real book for free, click the "Look Inside" feature on:

Unknown said...

Thank you for the amazing excerpt and contest!

Victoria Alexander said...

Really awesome post! I enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

This was really informative!


Valerie said...

Nice Excerpt and interview!
I hope to read this book.
Thanks for the giveaway!

dinnerfeed said...

Hi Valerie-I hope you do, as well (-: And good luck on the giveaway! Peggy

Anonymous said...

The book has such a cute cover :)

Stormy Vixen said...

Great interview, this sounds like a delicious read, thanks for sharing!

dinnerfeed said...

I'm glad you like the cover, Fiza. It took a while for the book designer, Derek Murphy, to capture the mood of the story.

Thanks, again, Caroline for hosting my book. Happy reading to all of you!



Unknown said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Enjoyed the interview! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading this!

Meredith said...

What kind of locations do you prefer to write about?

Unknown said...

i enjoyed the interview :)

dinnerfeed said...

Thanks for the comments! Meredith. I write on a laptop anywhere that is convenient for me. My ideal writing environment is silence overlooking Lake Michigan. When I'm not up there, I find myself writing at the kitchen counter (like one of my protagonists, Mallory). When I'm stiff at the counter, I schooch my body into the sofa and continue writing.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Intriguing excerpt and great interview. Thank you for sharing.