"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black Opal Books: Bonded by Crimson by Zrinka Jelic

I am delighted to be here today. My debut novel “Bonded by Crimson” has been released on January 28th, and it is available in all formats at Black Opal Books, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks

 Today, I’d like to blog about Dalmatian cuisine. To many connoisseurs, the white fish and crab of the Adriatic is the best in the world. That is why this coast has become a place of pilgrimage for the most sophisticated gourmets.

Those who enjoy the taste of exquisitely prepared lobster, shrimp, oyster, date shells and high quality white fish, complemented with excellent wine, will have their senses uplifted in this part of the world. Similarly enthused will be those who choose the delicious roast lamb from Cres, with its unique taste derived from salty island grass. The cheese from Pag will please the palate as much as the finest from France and the quality is equally excellent. The secret lies in the environment and special technology. It is made from ewe's milk which, during maturation, is covered with olive oil, giving it a unique aroma and flavour. Take it as a gastronomic pleasure and also a souvenir. The Mediterranean influence on the cuisine means food will often be prepared "na leso" - boiled and seasoned. This produces meals which are both tasty and light. The added advantage is you can enjoy them more often.

Rich vineyards and a special talent of the locals to please themselves and their guests result in fine wines, which are highly valued. Red wines are famous along the coast: Teran, Merlot and Cabernet in Istria, and Opolo, Plavac, Dingac, Postup further south. The renowned white wines of the coast include Malvazija, Zlahtina, Posip, Kujundzusa and Grk.

This has been but a taste of what you will experience as you become familiar with the cuisine of the Croatian islands. Each region will add some special ingredient, producing a flavour of its own, often tastier than before. Bon Appetite and Cheers!

source: http://islands.zesoi.fer.hr/appetit/appeti56.html

I’d like to leave you now with a short excerpt from my novel, the restaurant scene. 


The legs of the cast iron chair scraped along the hard surface as he pulled the seat out from the reserved table for two. The firm cushion caressed her back. “But you must know what the letter says.”

“Sorry, but I don’t. Fortuno says the writing makes perfect sense to those who are desperate. My guess is no one who looked at it was firm against the wall. Let’s enjoy the dinner now.”

Upbeat dinner music came through the speakers. She scanned over the veranda. Good, while the restaurant was fancy, the guests seemed to be dressed casually. She didn’t feel out of place in her low-cut, knee-length dress. The smells of local cuisine wafting from the kitchen enthralled her senses, reminding her of her hunger. A waiter lit the candle on the table and nodded to Matthias’s order of a bottle of most expensive Dubrovnik’s Malvasia vine.

Matthias took her hand in his and planted a kiss on the back. “You look nice tonight as always.”

“Thanks.” The heat rising in her cheeks made her lower her head. Would she ever get used to his compliments? She searched for another topic to ease her embarrassment. “So, which one is Fortuno? Is that him?” She nodded at a tall waiter who brought the bottle of wine to their table.

The young server popped the cork and poured a tiny amount of the golden liquid to Matthias’s glass. Matthias swirled the sample around the tumbler and drank. After swallowing, he nodded to the guy and the waiter filled her glass, then his.

“Enjoy,” he said, leaving the bottle on the table.

Matthias raised his glass. “That wasn’t Fortuno. I know you don’t drink anything alcoholic, but tonight is special.”

Their glasses clinked, and she took a sip. Sweet nectar tantalized her taste buds. Matthias certainly knew how to choose a vintage. 

“Is that him over there?” She pointed to another guy, bringing the beverage to her mouth.

“No. Be patient and you’ll see.” His wide smile melted her heart.

A tall, bald man with a blond goatee approached their table. Plates balanced on his arm. His very presence caused Kate to shiver. She rubbed her sweaty palms on her trembling knees under the table.

“Isn’t this first class service?” Matthias said with a wink at Kate. “What are you cooking tonight?” The casual tone in his voice suggested the relationship between the two men was that of old friends, not a Master and his minion.

“My best friend reserves the table for two—this I got to see.” The waiter placed the dishes in front of them. “I only cooked for you and your lovely guest.”

“But, I didn’t even see your menu.” She stared at her favourite grilled squid dish. Matthias must’ve told him. How else could this man know?

“The menu?” The man chuckled and turned to Matthias. The deep throttle in his laugh suggested she had yet to learn the rules.

“Kate, this is Fortuno.”

The man extended his hand.

“P—pleased to meet you.” Of all times, she had to stutter now. She got to meet Matthias’s friend, something of a vampire, and this was all that came to her?

“The pleasure is all mine.” Fortuno took her shaky hand and placed a soft kiss on her knuckles. His dry lips couldn’t compare to Matthias’s soft ones. Although Matthias had already acquainted her with this gesture of acknowledgment, she swallowed hard. Fortuno’s icy hand raised goose bumps all over her. She couldn’t peel her eyes away from the golden glow around his hazel pupils.
“I’ll let you two enjoy your dinner. Leave room for the desert.” Fortuno strutted through the patio and stopped to shake hands with other patrons.

A sudden shiver ran down her spine urging her to take another sip. “How many immortals are here? Besides you.”

“Two.” He answered after a short pause then refilled her glass. “Don’t worry, you’re safe.” Matthias unrolled his napkin and placed the cloth on his lap. “As long as you don’t ask Fortuno for ketchup—he doesn’t like that.” With a fork in his hand, he motion to his plate. “Our food is getting cold.”

Chewing the first mouthful, she moaned, “Fortuno can cook.”

“That, he can. Try this.” With a piece of steak speared on his fork, he extended his hand to her lips. 
She couldn’t believe her eyes. He wanted to feed her. Although the meat was a bit too rare for her liking, she closed her mouth over the cutlery and pulled the piece inside. Flavors exploded in her mouth. She might have to confiscate his dish, she decided, and she wasn’t that big on steaks.

“Good?” His voice snapped her from almost reaching ecstasy.

“I’m speechless.” Suddenly grilled squid seemed less appealing, but she returned to her own plate.


Love isn’t in the cards for her…

After her short failed marriage, Kate tries to rebuild her life and takes a position as a nanny to three small boys. She quickly grows to love them, but their father, terrifies her, while igniting a passion she didn’t know she possessed. Disturbed by his distant manner with his sons, Kate struggles to make him more involved in the boys’ daily lives. Her efforts are mysteriously supported by an entity that cannot really exist. Or can she? And if she does exist, is she really trying to help Kate, or just take over her body? 

But when he deals the hand, all bets are off…

Six years after his beloved wife passed away, Matthias is still trying to become the father she wanted him to be. Not an easy task for a three-centuries-old immortal. His search for the ultimate nanny ends when Kate Rokov stumbles to his home and into his arms. The immediate attraction he feels for her seems like a betrayal of his dead wife, a love he’s harboured for over three hundred years. But when Kate is stalked by a deadly stranger, life he clung to in the past begins to crumble and break down. Can Matthias learn to trust and to love again in time to save his family from disaster, or will his stubborn pride destroy everything worth living for?


Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

Contact me @: www.bondedbycrimson.blogspot.com
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Watch the book trailer: Bonded by Crimson


Firetulip said...

Thanks for hosting me today. It is always a pleasure to reach out to new readers.

Debbie Christiana said...

Hi Zrinka. Very interesting post. I'm not a fan of seafood or shellfish but I love a good cheese and a bottle of wine!

Nice way to incorporate the post and excerpt together, with food!


Firetulip said...

Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. I'm not big on fish if it smells fishy. It's a sign of stale fish. But the sweet meet of scampi (a type of shrimp) prepared in our famous white wine sauce (great for dipping bread into), makes my mouth to water. We use the same sauce for black mussels. It's finger licking good.

Elle Wright said...

Great post! Although I don't eat fish, I love Lobster, crab and shrimp. I'm going to have to show this to my mother-in-law who loves seafood.

Firetulip said...

Hi Leslie,

Seafood is, I think, acquired taste, but I more-less grew up on this diet. For most it's the fishy smell that's a turn off, but freshly caught fish should not have that smell. Often times we buy it straight off the boat.

And it's the kind of food you have eat with your fingers and get all dirty, but it's good.

Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

I love seafood. That is except for mussels, can't stand the idea of them slithering down my throat.

Firetulip said...

Thanks for stopping by, Bev. It's the raw oysters that I wasn't able to swallow. You know the kind that supposed to be aphrodisiac. Cooked mussels don't have that slimy texture, they are actually quite tasty and melting in your mouth soft.