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The Kitchen Table, Mahjong, and an Audiobook Giveaway

Karin Kallmaker Because I Said So 25 Comments


The comment period for the giveaway is now closed. All winners have been chosen – see my 02/10/2020 comment.


We Must Eat to Live – and Maybe to Love

Have you ever noticed how many of life’s dramatic moments – at least in romantic stories – happen over a meal? I think it’s one way love stories reflect the real world. As Poet Laureate Joy Harjo wrote,

The World Begins at a Kitchen Table
No matter what, we must eat to live.1

We laugh, mourn, celebrate, and weep at the kitchen table. Devastation and revelations are served up between the meat and the pudding. Hook ups begin at tiny bistro tables, and break ups in breakfast nooks.

So it’s no accident that a lot happens in my stories at kitchen, family, and restaurant tables. My most recent novel, Because I Said So, uses them all.

Shannon and son-by-choice Paz plan and share coordinated meals where they meet as equals. Kesa and little sister Josie squabble about everything over stir fry. Shannon’s fidgeting with a sugar packet in a coffee shop to avoid answering questions makes Kesa consider murder-by-stir-stick. Craft brew and tater tots in a nerd gamer hangout lead to unexpected moments of fearless honesty.

meme laughter is the second best medicine mahjong is the first majhong with friends always means both

Which Brings Me to Mahjong

Filipino-American Kesa Sapiro shares a Wednesday potluck with women she met in the course of drumming up clients for her tailoring business. It’s her one break from long, grueling work hours, seven days a week. Her invitation to the table with three other women began as a need for a fourth to play Mahjong.

Plates full of comfort food like lumpia and pinakbet nearby, their hands are busy with fast-moving tiles, and minds occupied with strategy. And that leaves them free to trash talk, tease, and find ways to say difficult things. In moments of crisis, they assure one another that everything will be okay – and it is.

At the kitchen table Auntie Ivy, neighbor Marisol, and teenager Cami become the supportive family that Kesa never had. For the first time she feels ready to trust herself, tackle her biggest fears, and pull down barriers that have kept her from love and happiness. As Auntie Ivy says, four women playing Mahjong can fix the world.

Because I Said So is Now in Audio

Why am I telling you all this? Can’t help myself, for one thing. The other is to give you a place to enter to win a download code from Audiobooks.com, courtesy of Tantor Media and Bella Books. It’s narrated by the fabulous Abby Craden.

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div>Because I Said So audio version cover/div>

All You Have to Do to Enter Is…

Tell me your favorite food! That’s it. You’ll be entered into a random drawing to win a download code. Bonus chance: Share this blog on Facebook or Twitter, tag me so I know, and your name will go in a second time.

On Twitter I’m @kallmaker. Facebook just type kallmaker and I’ll pop up – there’s only one, and that’s probably for the best.

I might also have a something else or two to give away. That’s a surprise. Drawing results will be announced by Monday morning, February 10, 2020.


1 “Perhaps the World Ends Here” from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo.

Copyrighted material.

Comments 25

  1. All winners have been chosen – Quin and Jude, congratulations! Stay tuned everyone else, as codes for three more of my novels will be up for grabs in the next month!

  2. my favorite food is FOOD. Well prepared, with love and kindness: steak, pudding, chocolate cake, Vermont cheese, … these all are my favorite food… made with the intention of feeding a soul along with a stomach.

  3. My favorite food (maybe this is cheating a bit but whatever) is cheese. It’s the only thing that’s kept me from going fully plant-based. I love it yellow, white, hard, soft, crumbly, melty — just about any kind of cheese will do. ❤️

    1. I often say I could manage being vegetarian if not for bacon, and vegan if not for cheese. I mean… CHEESE. It’s CHEESE. sigh Cheese.

    1. I love sweet corn – roasted on a grill? Scrumptious! Someday I’ll have to try the PA version.

  4. Choosing a favorite food is hard, but I’ll probably have to choose my wife’s chicken nuggets. She uses Andy’s fish breading and it’s phenomenal. 🙂

    1. I have a favorite panko, parmesan, and black pepper breading to make home made chicken bites. Haven’t made them in a while…hmmmm. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Crab and lobster mac and cheese. I had it in Guernsey and I might sometimes dream about it, maybe.

    1. It’s so versatile! But one of my comfort foods is plain rice with a little bit of butter and salt.

    2. Hi Quin – The Random Number Generator picked your comment on the second round. If you send me an email to karin@kallmaker.com I’ll send you the code for Because I Said So!

    1. Steamed clams? Hmmm, ice cream is my number one so hard I don’t think I even have a second, third, fourth… Lobster is in there somewhere.

  5. How can you expect me to tell you what my favorite food is? I’m French, I live for food. This is like asking me to choose between my children (I only have one, luckily).

    1. LOL – when I travel I always say the same thing. “I’m here for the food.” Okay, and the culture, the sights, the beauty, and history. But mostly the food.

      1. I just moved from the Bay Area (Marin) for two reasons. It’s bloody expensive as all hell, and I couldn’t get New Mexican food ANYWHERE there. I now reside in Albuquerque. Please let me know when you are visiting and I will share with you the amazing culture of New Mexico along with its unique food choices. Better than Christmas

        1. Kait – I’m definitely coming to the Q for the GCLS Conference (you know about that, yes?). My current WIP is set in ABQ – so much good food, cultural mix, friendly people. I’ve also visited twice during Balloon Fest and one year for another writer’s conference.

          1. I did NOT know about the conference, (so I will go hunting for all the info) i knew about your new WIP as I remember you asking about how to refer to getting to Bernalillo… … I would love to meet up IRL when you are down this way. If you haven’t eaten at Duran’s Central Pharmacy… well, you need to… asap. Finally, I highly suggest calling it the Balloon Fiesta, not Fest… like calling San Francisco, SF or the City NOT San Fran… ya know? yeah. I thought so… hope to see you soon.

          2. LOL – Yes, I’ll have an editing pass that is specifically hunting for my California tics and using the right ones for ABQ.

            Here’s all the info about the GCLS Conference – https://www.goldencrown.org/page/CONFERENCE-2020-Conference
            They have day passes available at the door, and you could aim for the big signing event (usually Friday afternoon) and meet LOTS of authors all at once.

            I’ve heard about Duran’s Central Pharmacy. I love Standard Diner, El Pinto, Rebel Donuts. Mmmmmm.

    2. Hi Jude – The Random Number Generator picked your comment for the surprise giveaway – the soon to be released narration of Wild Things. Please send me a note to karin@kallmaker.com and as soon as I have the download code for Wild Things I’ll send it to you!

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