Cold Fire Giveaway: I had never in my life been too stunned to eat.

My author’s copies of the UK/Aus/NZ edition of COLD FIRE arrived today. It’s visually a striking book, and I feel I can safely say that since I had nothing to do with the illustration or design (although I did help write the back cover copy).

In celebration I want to do another giveaway, this time for aย  SIGNED copy of the book (it can be personalized if you so desire but doesn’t need to be).

The theme of this contest relates to the Cold Fire sentence I quote in the title of this post.

I had never in my life been too stunned to eat.

Cat spends a lot of COLD MAGIC thinking about food and wishing she had food and finding food to eat and relishing the food she does have to eat.

Food plays an important role in COLD FIRE as well, as the people who have read it already know. Yes, the photo below is of a papaya tree. You know why, and the rest of you (those who read the book) will find out.

Here are the rules.

1) Anyone can enter internationally, no region restrictions. However, please note if your mailing address falls into the US/Canada/NA region (see #4 below)(no need to specific where exactly).

2) One entry per person, please.

3) Comment below on a favorite comfort food. Your answer can be terse (chocolate) or long-winded. Feel free to entertain me.

There will be three winners:

3a) One drawn randomly from all people who comment below, worldwide.

3b) One drawn randomly from that subset of people who, living in North America, cannot buy the book until later this month, unlike you fortunate peeps in the UK/Oz/NZ region who can already find it on shelves.

3c) One entry that strikes my fancy for whatever random reason I so choose.

4) Comments will be open from NOW until Monday midnight HT (Hawaiian Time) 5 September. [if you don’t see your comment show up immediately it will be because I may be offline for long periods this weekend, so be patient!]


The last contest, by the way, was won by Claire dT (Australia) and Cynthia B (USA).

[See this post for information on how to purchase a signed copy of the USA edition of COLD FIRE, to which I will include a little pamphlet of a bonus chapter. You can also just email me for a copy of the signed chapter, which I’ll be posting online 26 Sept.]

After the weekend is over, I will return to a more usual posting program, with a less relentless “my book just came out” focus.

54 thoughts on “Cold Fire Giveaway: I had never in my life been too stunned to eat.

  1. Like most folk I tend to gravitate to the standard comfort food items: Chocolate, Mac & Cheese, Ice Cream, Soda, Tea, & Coffee.
    But I also have a few odd ones because they are seasonal and thus hard to get on a regular basis…but when they come out they are “must get now” items. These include Pomegranates, Tim Tams (only can find them in select US stores between Oct – March), Cadbury Creme Eggs (I seriously stock up at Easter), and Thin Mint Cookies (I buy a few boxes to store in the freezer but they never last the year).

  2. I eat pasta when I’m depressed… and when I’m stuck in my novel… but if I feel happy and I want to make something really good, I make a Pavlova… its a really fantastic dessert, made with what they call french meringue; that is eggwhites, a teaspoon of white vine vinegar and sugar, whipped into something lighter than air and baked until it looks like a big pinkish cloud… and loads of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I discovered this Austrailian dessert a few years ago and served it the first time I made it to my two uncles, my aunt and my mother, they were intellectuals and being norwegians not easily impressed. Usually conversation made every meal with them special. But the pavlova made dem unusually quiet, and they all had two helpings, and for the rest of the evening they talked about pavlova and about the dancer who inspired this dessert. Memories of beauty and of delight…

  3. Where to start…
    My comfort food depends on where I am at that moment. As an Austrian transplanted to the UK, I love anything that reminds me of home, especially those childhood treats my mum sends me regularly – Mannerschnitten, Rum-Kokos-Kugeln, Schokobananen. (All made by the fabulous Manner family of Vienna.)
    Does a comfort drink count? If so, mine is Dr. Pepper, a beverage I came to know and love when I lived in Oklahome 10 years ago. It’s very hard to find in Austria (although you can if you look hard enough ;), but my local Polish shop here in the UK stocks it, so I’m a happy camper.
    When I’m home for a visit, my all-time favourite comfort snack is my mom’s divine crumbly red currant cake, or her fabulous “Beuschl” – a disgusting-sounding, but incredibly tasty traditional Austrian dish made of pig’s lung and trachea (find a recipe here:
    And when I’m in the US, my all-time favourite comfort snack is peanut-butter-filled Oreos. Cookie heaven.
    Hungry yet? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Sushi and pavolva are my personal comfort foods. No matter how down I’m feeling, a serve of sushi and a slice of pavlova are all I need to be smiling again. I essentially like all sushi, but my favourite is raw salmon & avacado. I could eat it forever and it’s thankfully very healthy! As for pavlova… well that’s a love born of fond Christmas memories. Time spent with the whole family gathered together, outside for a bbq by the pool, the Christmas fairy lights decorating the verandah beams. My comfort food doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘void’ filler to give me comfort, it just has to remind me of happier times ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I spend a great portion of my day thinking about what my next meal should be (and yet I don’t really like cooking!) My favorite food is a baked chicken dish covered with cream if mushroom, breadcrumbs, and cheese accompanied by smashed potatoes, cheesy leeks (Belgian style!) and corn (definitely American! My European parents shudder as my American siblings and I put it on the table.
    I also love peanut butter and jelly.

  6. I’m having a really hard time thinking of what to say! I guess, in times when I want comfort, I go for whatever I have on hand, for the sake of expediency. That’s usually M&Ms, which isn’t fun or exciting, but it is true.

    Oh! I just thought of something that kind of fits the bill. When I gave birth, my mother-in-law brought huge batches of homemade trail mix to the hospital afterward. It was sweet and salty and crunchy and full of carb. It was the best thing I’d ever had, though that might have been dur to the exhaustion.

  7. I’d have to say recently my favorite comfort food falls in the ice cream category. At my local grocery store they have these great popsicles that I’ve really taken a fancy to. The inside of them (near the stick) is filled with sweetened red bean paste (with chunks of the beans still left over) coated then by a creamy layer of vanilla bean ice cream, and lastly, coated in a final layer of green tea flavored ice cream. They aren’t terribly sweet, but sweet enough for my taste :)!

    I don’t fall in the NA/USA section, but since I live in Japan, I also won’t be able to get my hands on a copy of your book for awhile myself…Maybe you’ll take pity on me :)? Thanks again for having these contests!

  8. After being pregnant twice and now suffering/enjoying the daily antics of my 2.5-year-old and 3.5-month-old, I can’t live a day without chocolate. Which is why there is a container of chocolate chips on my desk in front of me. And why I put said chocolate chips on my healthy cereal every morning, but pretend they’re not there when my toddler asks to “share mommy’s cereal.”

    I’m in the U.S. of A ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ever since my mom taught me to make biscuits and gravy, that has been my comfort food. Doesn’t matter what time of day it is or when I had it last it always makes me happy. I know it’s not very complicated but I wanted to share the recipe with you.

    1. I use only Pillsbury Grands biscuits.
    2. Cook up two packages of Tennessee Pride sausage (1 mild; 1 hot) in a pan.
    3. Add flour a little at a time to the cooked sausage until all the grease is soaked up and everything has a nice flour coating on it. (this is how you prevent lumps)
    4. Add milk (I use skim) until you think it’s got enough.
    5. Let simmer until the gravy is nice and thick.

  10. Oddly enough my comfort food is not a food. I love good wine and a wonderful Moscato or wine that is hard to find is what I like or, and this is the best, rare coffees that I find and have shipped to me.

  11. C.S. Lewis has a quote about there being no book long enough, and no cup of tea big enough. My favorite comfort activity is curling up in front of a fire with a good book (SF/F of course; I read law and science for living, and so in my spare time I like to go AS FAR AWAY from the real world as possible) and a cup of English Breakfast tea with milk. The amazing thing about tea is that it is both calming and stimulating at the same time. And of course scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. When I was younger I used to worry that I wouldn’t ever be able to learn to make my mum’s scones, but I perservered, and now mine are almost as good as hers, but I will never master her technique for Scottish shortbread. Although with shortbread, once you dip it in melted Cadbury’s dairy milk it doesn’t matter. The secret with scones is that once you combine the wet and dry ingredients, you must handle to dough as little as possible. I love how Andevai has some qualities that are a wonderful mixture of Mr. Darcy and Petruccio. My heart goes out to poor Cat as she is presented with all kinds of wonderful food that she is not allowed to eat because it’s not good enough. Here’s hoping she is better fed in book two. [I live in North America, and I just can’t wait to get my hands on this book.]

  12. Why are comfort foods called comfort food? Because they comfort us at any time? Good food of any sort brings me comfort and happiness but when I feel spent or tired from the week, I make a batch of fried rice. I nestle down into the couch with a big bowl and a spoon (too lazy to even use chopsticks), and I eat overlooking a crossword puzzle.
    New York, NY

  13. Ravioli! I’m not Italian, but ravioli is definitely my comfort food. Any kind – I’ve never met a ravioli I didn’t like!

    Thanks for the giveaway! (USA)

  14. I absolutely adore, roast beef, with gravy and mashed potatoes. Also Turkey with dressing and gravy. Or breakfast, any time of the day.

  15. My favorite comfort foods are fried chicken (I only indulge in extreme circumstances) and my mother’s New Mexican Chalupa. Great stuff!

    (I’m in the US of A)

  16. My comfort food is an apple fritter donut.. something just comes over me and I feel so good after having one all my stress just seems to disappear and I feel ever so much better..of course they are nit good for you but who said comfort food had to be healthy?

  17. My comfort food is fruit, specifically watermelon is my favorite. I love watermelon. Besides the fact that it is delicious, its smell and colors can bring back many fond memories I have from the summers as a child. I find myself saying, several times; If I were stranded on an island, give me watermelons. I could live on watermelon… and oranges too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (KS,USA)

  18. (USA)
    I’m on a diet, but one where I can eat whatever as long as it fits into my calorie quota for the day. So everything is measured. I also have a two year old who has a tendency to want some of what I’m eating at any given time. And, even though those are MY calories, I will reluctantly give her some of the food when asked. So you know my favorite foods are the ones where I am hiding and eating, hunkered down against the wall, around the corner from where my daughter is, like I’m on the lam or something, because those are calories I will not give up. So there.

  19. I have to say , I love the comfort of my favorite coffee shop. Has to be a Friday morning, as not many people stay in (more take outs at that time of the working week). I buy the largest coffee i can, as I intend to stay there for a couple of hours at least. Also i can get the best chair, the one that you can sink in and then I can read and read and read and read, oh HEAVEN!!!! At the coffee shop they do a wicked “tiffin” so a slice of that goes just perfect with coffee and reading. I am at the back of the shop, so hopefully no one knows I am there. When asked which coffee shop I go to I tell friends the wrong one. I just love the time on my own reading, with no pressure to be anywhere at a set time. I can just drink, read and eat……. To me that is total comfort for me!!!!!

  20. My comfort food, dare I utter,
    is none other than peanut butter
    it must be chunky, and nothing else
    is fit to sit upon my shelf.

    Naught could make me feel much better
    except perhaps an email letter
    saying that I would now acquire
    my own signed copy of Cold Fire.

    Mail it, beam it, ship it away
    to Conway, Arkansas, USA
    Iโ€™ll devour it, for sure, post haste
    with a side of tasty peanut paste.

  21. my favourite comfort food is a banana and almond butter. i take the banana, peel it, and put some almond butter on the top and take a bite. soooo good! i go through this process until the banana is all gone. my comfort drink, which is always best on a cool night, sitting in a comfy chair at my local starbucks, is a chai tea latte. the warmth goes right down to my toes!

  22. My favorite comfort food is mulberries. I enjoy them more for their smell than their taste. I have heard that smell is the sense that is most closely linked to memory, and that may be the reason why I love mulberries so much–they remind me of something….I don’t know what that something is, however. When I smell mulberries a memory teases the edge of my consciousness, like a name on the tip of my tongue. I sense that it is something that happened when I was very young, and was very pleasant, as a sense of peace accompanies the memory. Each time I eat a berry, I feel that peace and feel like I am just about to remember…but the feeling goes away so I eat another. And another. Of course, mulberries are seasonal, so the rest of the year I make do with chocolate.

    (USA mailing address)

  23. Favorite comfort food? Homemade mashed (smushed) potatoes, cooked with a spring of rosemary (removed before mashing, just for flavour). Mash in pot with warmed cream and hand masher. Perfect texture, heat (love hot food) and taste when you add a bit of butter or real gravy.

    (Must stop drooling.)

  24. USA

    Funeral Potatoes, hands down! If anyone here has not had these before, I shall personally make you a batch and we will eat it together because these are to die for…no pun intended. Funeral potatoes, however, are a mixture of my favorite staple tuber, cheese, CREAM cheese, sour cream, cream of mushroom, more cheese and topped with crispy cornflakes. I’ve quite literally eaten 3/4 of a pan of these all by myself….over a few days of course, but it still wasn’t good for my figure.

    Thanks so much for hosting another giveaway! *crosses fingers again!* Great topic. I totally relate to Cat in respect to the importance and enjoyment of food. Glad your so excited about the release of your book. You have every right to be!

  25. My comfort food is my Mum’s homemade vegetable soup ๐Ÿ™‚ She cooks it for days with a massive beef bone and it’s full of chunky vege like spud, parsnip, carrot, pumpkin and she puts in this old style soup mix with bay leafs and lots of other yummy stuff. She used to make it for me whenever I was sick and it is still the first thing I want whenever I’m feeling rundown. I tried to make it myself when I lived in the UK but it just wasn’t the same and when I returned home to NZ last year it was one of the first things she made for me and I also love her rhubarb and apple tart, it’s so good. There’s nothing better than a Mum’s comfort when you’re feeling down ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m in Christchurch, New Zealand. Keep up the excellent writing ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. This is rather random, but I have to say hummus. You can eat it with pretty much anything. I’d usually have it with bread or crackers, which is satisfying enough for me, to be honest. Hummus is the one thing I could eat every single day of my life and never get sick of it. Of course, I haven’t yet tried eating it every single day of my life, but I’m pretty sure I spent the majority of my college years eating more hummus than anything else. My personal favorite is from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know what they put in that stuff, but it’s addictive!

    (I’m from the US, btw!)

  27. I assume booze doesn’t count? Because if it does, Cafe Latte with Bailey’s, all the way.

    Other than that, I’m going to say jellybeans. The good kind, with Tangerine and Cherry and Green Apple, not Buttered Popcorn and Sherry and other flavors more suited to a bag of Bernie Bott’s. Jellybeans remind me of being six years on Easter morning.

  28. New Red Potatoes, Ham and Baby Spring Peas in a lovely white sauce made particularly by my mom. *nods sagely*

    I make it as well, but hers, oh hers is still the best and what I request every time we visit home.

  29. my comfort food would be sweet food
    i like almost anything that is sweet like pineapple, strawberries, cheese covered in honey, etc
    but the 3 mentioned above would be my favorite ๐Ÿ˜€
    i am from the Netherlands

  30. I’m in the US.

    My favorite comfort foods are obviously ice cream, bubble drinks (milk tea, coffee, lychee, green tea, etc.), mango (I just LOVE this stuff), and a whole bunch of other things.

  31. Mangoes, Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Vegetable Tempura Makizushi (with asparagus and sweet potato), various cheeses. Things made with butter.


  32. Homemade, from scratch, labor-intensive chicken & wild rice soup. I was actually rather pleased to think just yesterday that the weather is turning and it’s about time to start spending a weekend afternoon making the soup now that the temperatures are (hopefully) below scorching for the year. It’s been a brutal summer in the southern plains (Oklahoma, USA, curse it… I’m a New Englander and don’t belong in this sauna).

    The cats are looking forward to it, too, since they get a share of the chicken as the bones are stripped. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Oh, my sweet-and-savoury life, comfort food…
    These are the foods where I always want more:
    Stuffed aubergines. Victoria sandwich cake with raspberry jam and buttercream filling. Bhel poori and its many variants. Toulumba, loukoumadhes, berliners, gauffres and all other kinds of doughnuts/waffles/fried sweet doughy things. Dahi vada. Chips with mayonnaise. Polenta with parmesan. Buttery couscous. Home-made leek and potato soup. Garlic bread. Salted almonds. Salted almond chocolate. Macadamia nuts. Sesame koulouria. Turron de Jijona. Halva ice cream…
    Okay, back to the office. Thank you for encouraging me into a brief flurry of food-fantasy! Just thinking of dahi vada and salted almond chocolate makes me feel better, for all it is a Monday.

  34. My favorite comfort foods tend to be things that take a while to cook, so you can savor the smells before you actually get to eat them. My Popo’s (chinese grandmother) wonton soup. I have no idea what she puts in the dumplings, but she boils them in water with a ham bone, and then serves them with chinese noodles, finely sliced green onions, and sesame oil.
    My other favorite is chicken soup that I make myself. I take chicken bones from rotisserie chickens and boil them for the broth. While that’s cooking, I saute carrots, celery, mushrooms, leeks, corn, and yellow onion. Separately, I saute chicken thighs. I then take the bones out of the broth. I cut the chicken thighs into bite-size pieces, and add them and the vegetables into the broth. I let the mix cook for 10-15 minutes, add soup noodles (ditalini or acini de pepe), and season the soup. Another ten minutes, and then I add some heavy cream to finish the soup off. A great comfort food in the fall and winter!
    (From the US)

  35. Mine has to be marmite. Iโ€™ve loved it my earliest memories, and possibly from in the womb since my mum always craved it in pregnancy. The reason it is my comfort is probably because it was the only thing that made toast bearable when after a stomach upset I was finally allowed to try eating something. I guess I associate it with end of that terrible nagging starving feeling. It is still my go too when a hangover makes all else unappealing. Mmm marmite.

  36. The first lunch of our trip wasnโ€™t at lunch time, actually, but around 10:30 am in Fredonia, Utah, at the warehouse. Mindy set up a visually appealing lunch spread โ€“ humus; four different lunch meats, separated and folded neatly; three kinds of sliced cheeses, each square rotated a quarter turn to make it easier to pick one up; red tomatoes, perfectly ripe avocados, crisp cucumbers, and romaine lettuce leaves trimmed just the size of a slice of bread; peanut butter and jelly; sliced and cored apples, quartered oranges; two kinds of Pringles; four kinds of bread; and several kinds of cookies. I was vaguely impressed by the variety and freshness of everything, but it was, after all, in the warehouse.
    I was much more impressed the next day when the four boatmen (which included six-month pregnant Mindy) set up the same spread, on a table, on a Colorado River beach called Marthaโ€™s at mile 39. And I remained impressed each day – on a narrow beach across from Tanner (mile 69); just before Granite rapid where you could hear the roar of the rapid just around the bend (mile 94); the narrow spit of sand, across from Randyโ€™s Rock, with fantastic rocks and a yellow velvet ant (mile 127), and on a shaded no-name strip of beach at mile 220. My amazement reached the peak, however, at Matkatamiba Canyon (mile 148).
    I will never forget the hike or the lunch. Matkat was a scary exposed hike in a gorgeous slot canyon. We swam up the creek, scraping our way up boulders in the water, and scrambled up the layers of geologic history in wet, slippery river sandals to the top, as far as we could go. Walker declared we would stay here a couple of hours to beat the heat and avoid the crowds down river at Havasu. Ever a kid, Walker got half of us (and all the teenagers) to sit butt to butt, damming up the creek so when they stood up it unleashed a small flash flood. Gerardo and Rodrigo clowned around on the layers, doing scary handstands, while Walker took a nap. I wandered around, exploring the evidence of larger flash floods and peering at doodles of the ant lions and tracks of lizards in the fine sand along the bottom of the cliff that towered above us.
    Of course the trip down was easier, walking high on the Tapeats sandstone; the difficulty was an illusion, gravity a goose. Why not have lunch on the edge of a 525 million year old beach? So we helped Walker, Mindy, Ben, and Ryan as they hauled the table and lunch fixings up the cliff at Matkat. By now, it seemed natural to scramble up the cliff to make a sandwich with perfectly ripe avocados and eat it in the shade with your feet in the creek, just a few feet away from the mighty Colorado.

    Nancy – from California

  37. I love to eat, I love all the baked things that ever were baked. But I have gluten sensitivity, and so the whole world of baking closed to me for a while. I still peek in from time; I’ve baked, successfully, using gluten-free ingedients. I miss, still, the ability to go into a patisserie or a cupcake store or an upscale artisanal bakeshop, point, and say “One of those. Please.”

  38. Half an avocado with soy sauce drizzled into it. I just had my second child, so I need all the comfort I can get–but I am also doing the breastfeeding nutritional shuffle (no chocolate, no dairy, no tomatoes, which means that Italian food and chocolate cake are dead to me). Luckily I live in Honolulu, it’s avocado season, and my grandparents have a big tree in their backyard. (Does it count as North America if you’re not on the same tectonic plate?)

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