The Ingredience Series

 

Novels

All novels are complete, unpublished, and available for consideration. Just whistle.
 

Eye in the Sky (from The Ingredience Series)

 

Take one chef/travel writer and his talking bird … add a former dancer turned innkeeper, a Greek mob boss and his fashion designer partner, a reformed safecracker, and a young girl with a unique ability … toss with an intricate scheme for the perfect heist ... serve while hot on the French Riviera … and you have Eye in the Sky – the first novel in The Ingredience Series.
 

Maxou Fondant is a successful French chef and author of travel-based cookbooks. His constant companion, helpmate, and toughest critic is his pet bird, Tip - a talking Tui, from New Zealand. Maxou is Provence-bound, his reasons twofold: to seek a peaceful spot to complete his next book, and to sidle his way back into the affections of Provençal innkeeper Autumn Courteline. Autumn has left her career as a dancer in Paris to “quit while ahead” and to find solace in quiet surroundings after the sting of Maxou’s hasty retreat. Her idyllic country life is complicated when her sister Frangelica, fashion maven and owner of a stylish boutique in Paris, comes to beg a favor: that Autumn accept temporary custody of 12-year-old Lily Beaumel, daughter of Frangelica’s lover, Greek racketeer Dionysus ‘Denzi’ Kottabos. Lily’s mother is notorious Parisian safecracker Marianne Beaumel, soon to be released from prison and determined to go straight and gain legal custody of her daughter. Denzi is supportive and offers to help her establish her own legit business, after which she and Lily will be reunited. When Maxou appears at Autumn’s inn soon after Lily’s arrival, Autumn is apprehensive, but welcomes his help in solving the mystery of the young girl’s behavior - lengthy absences followed by trancelike spells. Autumn, Maxou and Tip eventually travel to Paris, believing the answer may lie with Lily’s mother. Marianne explains that Lily possesses an ability to enter into the senses of other creatures, to see and hear everything they experience. Marianne also describes the role that this phenomenon once played in her crime spree, adding that she had put a stop to Lily’s involvement shortly before her arrest. Now, with recent news alerts of casino heists coinciding with Lily’s spells, Marianne fears the girl may be engaged in illegal activities again, at someone else’s bidding. Who’s putting her up to it? Is it Denzi, or a member of his crew? How much does Frangelica know? Fortunately for all, Tip is on the case - a savvy bird who knows when to speak, when to remain silent, and how to discern a bluff from a Royal Flush.

Eye in the Sky is a blend of mystery, humor, action and romance to satisfy the most discerning palate—a charming, stylish adventure that will leave the reader shaken, stirred, and coming back for more.

 

Little Saints, Force Majeure (from The Ingredience Series)

 

Can embracing an old French tradition become cause for alarm? Food for thought in Little Saints, Force Majeure, the second novel of The Ingredience Series.

 

The follow-up to Eye in the Sky finds Maxou, Autumn and Tip in the South of France, lending a hand to an old friend who lives in the tiny village of Alegranssa. For a locale that warrants a mere speck on the map of Provence, Alegranssa harbors its share of eccentrics, intrigue and mystery. When Maxou and Autumn meet local artist Gardaire, they are charmed by his beautiful santons (“little saints”)—the popular clay figures that depict the Nativity, as well as traditional Provençal life. Delight gives way to concern after Autumn’s sister Frangelica pays a visit and tells them about the latest misfortune surrounding a troubled young British model—Beryl Grant, who fell into a coma after completing a photo shoot for Frangelica’s Paris-based boutique. Beryl had struggled to resume her modeling career in the wake of a romantic scandal. With her glamorous new assignment for Frangelica C, Beryl had been hopeful that, finally, the fashion world could forgive and forget. Unbeknownst to her, worldly photographer Guy Benoit—her heartbroken ex-lover—could not.

 

The more Maxou and Autumn learn about the strange case, the more convinced they become that Gardaire is connected somehow. But how? And to what purpose? Some mysteries are insoluble; enigmas driven by a greater force. Others are no match for Tip, who exposes the missing piece of this puzzle with his usual flair, turning the gray areas to black and white.


 

Tano Chere

 

Set in post-1960s England and France, Tano Chere is a captivating story of mystery, romance, intrigue, and tattoos. Fourteen-year-old Manouche is by turns cynical and hopeful, braced for the worst yet eager to believe in magic. She and her older sister, Cassandra, have spent their lives shuffled from town to town as their mother Katrina indulges her appetites for luxury and her rich “gent callers.” To Manouche, one caller stands out from the rest – Danilo, a handsome Gypsy who has little to offer monetarily but dotes on Katrina and her daughters as if they were his own family. When Katrina abandons them all for a rich suitor, Danilo takes the girls under his wing, and they take to the road in Rom tradition, vagabonds eking out a living. Manouche and Danilo realize they can earn money with their talents as musicians. Cassandra realizes she can earn money with her dancing, as well as (much to Danilo’s concern) her favors to the men who admire her. One night, while with a young man, Cassandra’s strange gift reveals itself:  as her companion is about to leave, he’s horrified to see an image gradually appear on her torso, like a tattoo – an image depicting his death. The picture quickly fades, but word spreads of the phenomenon and Cassandra is in demand, her customers shocked and intrigued by eerie images ranging from peaceful to violent.  Troubles begin for the little caravan when one prediction comes to pass. Though the man’s death is an accident, outraged locals are swift to blame the messengers. They escape and continue on the run, but tales of Cassandra’s redoubtable magic precede them from one locale to another. The rumors, combined with prejudice against Roma, intensify their struggle to survive. Danilo is street-smart and resourceful, and Manouche soon discovers inner strengths she didn’t know she possessed.  But will their efforts deliver them to a safe haven before superstition, exploitation and demands for vengeance overtake them?

 

Tano Chere is an emotional journey through Manouche’s experiences with love, heartbreak, loss, anger, fear … and the strong bond of sisters, and their willingness to sacrifice for one another. Engaging characters and rich imagery of Roma culture make Tano Chere an evocative, compelling tale of triumph over adversity as the caravan moves from camp to camp, sometimes on the run. No solid plans for the future beyond survival, but hopes and dreams – and the will to believe in magic – intact.

 

 


 

Short Stories

 

The Blank Family Quirkiness - published in The Write City April 2012

The Crystal Wall of Glory

Star of Wonder

What Kind of Animal …

Too Late for Fruit, Too Soon for Flowers

 

 


Chapbook

 

The Time Traveler’s Primer

 

Belle Époque Time Traveler Élodie Celeste presents an A-to-Z itinerary of adventures that began with her penchant for flea markets and discarded items. Each find becomes a ticket to another world—such as the lace handkerchief she plucks from the sidewalk that transports her to 18th Century Versailles. Sit back with a Kir Royale and enjoy the ride … proof positive that the most memorable journeys are those taken without reservations.

 

 

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