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Beet the Heat & eat Dementional Baked Chicken (Interview & a recipe)

Welcome Tonya Cannariato

for her First Rule Publicity Book Tour Interview about herself & latest novel


Natasha's 1st with Mom, Tonya

When not writing she kicks up her heals and parties… with dogs (Natasha’s 1st birthday party bash!)

Plus since life is about efficiency also those who have been following, she is also my 6th victim guest for my “Make Mine an Orangeberry” series for  Orangeberry’s Trick or Treat 2012

Tonya Cannariato


Make Mine an OrangeberryMAKE MINE AN ORANGEBERRY sprang up when I asked if anyone wanted to be interviewed on the planning board for Orangeberry Tours. Since Tonya’s First Rule Publicity Tour for her book was here the same week, I decided to combine!

Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing)

I’m going to cheat here a little, because there is a deliberate crypticism in my bio about being an ordained spiritualist. It’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t mean anything to people—and I’ve gotten questions about it. So here goes: I’ve been fascinated by the dimensions beyond the five senses since I was a little girl. I remember thinking I needed glasses in fourth grade, because people looked fuzzy to me. My vision is fine, but I see auras. My grandma started channeling automatic writings that were signed by “Egan the Enlightened One” when I was 12, so I spent a good many years trying to clear my mind and let my pen write words of wisdom. Finally, shortly after my husband and I met, an intuitive healer we both went to see told us her business was bringing Dan Chesbro to town to talk about his experiences founding the Order of Melchizedek. It was a fascinating weekend retreat, at the end of which my husband, brother, and I were all ordained through the laying on of hands. Because of that credential I am able to provide Reiki/Seichim healings under the religious exception rubric—and I’ve been the officiant at two weddings. I’m not a proselytizing kind of person, but that life-long interest in alternate perspectives on human experience and the importance of love (from the energetic perspective) in our lives was a huge driving factor in the direction the story Dementional took, and the questions I was trying to get readers to examine.


Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?  Romance, mystery, humour, textbooks on quantum physics? OH wait let’s make this fun! *maniacal yet bubbly laughter comes from deep within the woods from a snow-covered cabin surrounded by darkness* Let’s do some #FlashFiction!

Now that I’ve published three stories for and about adults, and my nieces and nephews are asking about reading them, I’m wondering what it would be like to write for the 8-14-year-old set

You have 20 minutes, up to 500 words, the prompt is “darkness

The darkness closed in on him as Max huddled under the covers, careful to make sure there were no gaps between the sheets and the mattress by which the monster he was sure was colluding from the corner of his room with the one he could feel rumbling under his bed could gain access to his scrawny limbs. It was the topper to a bad day at school. The eighth-grade gang had all laughed when their newest member, and Max’s old friend Fred, had stuck his foot out to trip him. He’d sprawled headlong down the hallway, spent five minutes gathering up his books, papers, and belongings, and been late to Mrs. Samson’s English class. For the fourth time. His afternoon was wasted in detention, and his parents had still been at work when he came home, so he’d made do with a few slices of cheese and cold cuts to cure the grumbling in his tummy. A late call informed him they were stuck attending a business dinner, too, so he was to do his homework and get to bed by 9—without any company or comfort.

So here he was. An 85-pound 12-year-old with no friends and no family, abandoned at home to the tender mercies of ghouls nobody else would believe were real.

The only problem with his self-imposed blanket cocoon was that it was getting hot and close. He needed a breath of fresh air. How was he to achieve that without exposing himself to his enemies? Maybe a strategic pillow placement would give him the shield he needed. He shifted around, shoving his bear to one side and grabbing his flashlight for its trusty weight before inching toward the top of his bed. He pushed the pillow in front of the top of his head and established the barricade that would allow his nose and mouth a protected crack to access the cool air of his bedroom.

One gulp of a refreshing breath and Max wondered whether his fears remained substantial. He shifted his grip on his flashlight and carefully brought it up next to his cheek in preparation for the light of truth to answer his questions. Before he could turn it on, the overhead light flooded the room and his mom poked her head in the door. “I heard rustling and thought I might catch you awake to tuck you in.”

Max shoved the blankets down and sat up, carefully eyeing the corner before turning to his mother. She gasped when the light fully hit his face, revealing her changeling son’s scales were back. He turned on the full beam of his flashlight, dispelling that mother, and opened the bright doorway to his home dimension. It would be good to leave this human existence.

When it comes to the genre you do write in, what are a few of the books or writers that have influenced you and your own writing? (yes I can actually ask a serious question)

I’m a total Anne McCaffrey geek, so she’s very high on the list of why I love fantasy so much I choose to write in it. I also grew up loving Madeleine L’Engle and Marion Zimmer Bradley for the way they were able to mix reality with fantasy, so I’d count them as long-time influences as well. Katherine Kurtz hooked me with the high fantasy of her Deryni worlds, but it was when she co-wrote the Adept series that I had a different kind of template for mixing reality and fantasy, that gave me the footing I needed to begin my first novel. Ultimately, while I thoroughly enjoy the escapism of high fantasy, it’s authors like Michael Ende and Gabriel García Márquez with their variations on low fantasy and magical realism that influence me most profoundly, because when the world you know and understand reacts in ways your characters are ill equipped to deal with that you have some of the most transformational character arcs, and therefore the most impactful stories on readers.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters? (some have a huge cast, so say no more than five, I am thinking many would be able to do at least one, you do have one character right?)

English: Daniel Day-Lewis at the 2008 BAFTAS.

The challenge with casting Dementional is that Mark and Sarah spend so much time not-human. So I’ve played this mind-game before, imagining someone like playing Mark—and spending most of the movie just doing voice-overs. The bigger challenge would be that Mark also spends some of his existences as non-verbal beings, so even that task would easily evaporate in the face of being an amoeba.

Write one line you would love for him/her to read or say from 

On the other hand, watching him enact the jocular scene with his brother, that ends:

I decided to play along, though I had no idea what he was talking about. ‘So you had to test this yourself, and risk losing a limb?‘”

I think this would be a lot of fun.

(Daniel is Delish… oh ya.. DO IT!)

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Roll over, turn off the alarm, take a mental health day from the office, and go back to sleep! 😀

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and that bitch of a muse is off doing anything but attending to you)?

Actually… As much as I love Twitter (and, to a lesser extent, Facebook), they are both the source for some great friends, but also ongoing distractions that can lose me hours of productivity.

(coughing… ummm *grin* but!!! BUT!! sorry *grin* OK not really *quickly tagging her in a photo and tweeting her doggie birthday image* This post probably would have been up before 10AM my time if it was not for a certain Kelly Stone Gamble and digging around Tonya’s profile for … photos.. I SWEAR for research)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Right now… I’m taking classes to earn my MBA, so I really don’t have time for anything particularly creative. But when I’m ready to crash mentally, I escape into a book. Or I go with my husband and two Huskies for a good long hike

OK now for the REAL fun and this will make it a Cabin Goddess official interview

Create, divine, cast for or you can (if you want) rename a drink (with our without booze) representing your book…  a theme drink, if you will, please and thank you!

You may think me beet-obsessed, after the recipe for borscht that went with Dust to Blood, but for the level of energy it brings, there’s nothing like a freshly made juice with the following ingredients:


The last of my Beet & Carrot Smoothie #liquidbreakfast

(The name was my contribution, if you can suggest a better name, go for it, see the comment section? Come on I dare you!!)

  • 1 whole beet
  • 1 whole carrot
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 TBS fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup each water and unsweetened apple juice

I have a Vitamixer, so I’m able to just put the chunked-up vegetables in with the other ingredients and build it up to blend it on high for about 3-4 minutes. The result is a wake-up-your-tastebuds explosion of vitality that really brings focus and ease to whatever it is you’re working on.

Do you accept the challenge to “MAKE MINE A MEAL”? (We need something to absorb the alcohol!) It can be a  recipe for a dish, an appetizer or a dessert themed as above, to go with .

There was a particular point in the story where Mark was nostalgic for chicken the way his mom had made it. I was remembering the following recipe from my mom when I wrote those lines:


Dementional Chicken Parts

Chicken Parts.. WHAT? They are PARTS!

  • 2 lbs chicken parts
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Terminator Chicken From Space

OK is a Terminator Chicken From Space better? Just use a laser and cut it up!

  • 1/4 tsp pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
Raw Chicken Parts in Space

OK OK THIS kind of Chicken.. CHECK!


  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBS oil
  • Marjoram, savory, and basil = optional

Mix cornmeal and herbs. Dredge chicken pieces in mixture. Put oil into 9×13 glass baking dish. Place pieces of chicken skin-side down and bake 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove, turn pieces over and continue baking at 425 degrees another 15 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

*If you’re using more white meat, you’ll need more oil. Usually there is enough fat from thigh pieces to keep the dish moist.

(And if you’re using pieces from space, make sure you do the proper screen for radiation levels)


Tonya, you know I love you right? Seriously everyone, Tonya h as been a guest at The Cabin many a times, just do a search for her name. She is a good sport, a serious, smart incredibly festive individual and I am lucky and proud to call her friend, otherwise I would have attempted such frivolity … wait I am lying, I would never have felt SAFE attempting such frivolity with a guest!


by Tonya Cannariato

Mark Inman has two loves: particle physics and Sarah. She agrees to become his wife at the same time his experiment to find the Higgs boson goes off the rails.

Journey with Mark while his existence melts and reforms in unpredictable ways as the veils between realities thin. His exploration of the minutiae of quantum physics builds a fascinating tapestry of alternate universes.

His search for survival, and the search for meaning and what is real, drive Mark as he experiences lives he never dreamed possible. His only touchstones: find Sarah and find his way home.

genre: Literary Science Fiction Romance
204 pages



Tonya CannariatoA voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.

Thank You, TONYA for being part of First Rule Publicity for your second novel, DEMENTIONAL. The Cabin has been saturated by your incredibly inspirational energy, again, and I am happy as a girl with a pound of fried bacon and two fresh tomatoes!


Tour Dates:


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  1. Well doesn’t that beet all? Two of the loveliest of lovelies all wrapped up in one fantastic interview. xoxo to you both!

    • awww… Thanks! (And thanks, Kriss, too!) And you were the cherry on top, my moment of zen… 🙂


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