It’s really real!

First, I cannot tell you how excited I am to have this lovely yellow gem in my hot little hands. We are blessed enough to get a few to giveaway, to hoard, to roll around and sleep with, and my box came yesterday.

But, while that was fabulous, to have this lovely gem in this man’s hot little hands is beyond.

This is Richie Verito. He owns an amazing deli in the town south of mine. He hails from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. He used to be a pastry chef at Marriott Marquis Times Square. I knew none of this until after Patrick Sullivan, my delicious almost-pastry-chef diner cook was already on the page and pretty completely parsed out.

You familiar with the movie Stranger Than Fiction? Yeah. That.

I mean, sort of that. Last I checked, I didn’t get him hit by a bus in my writing and last I checked, he’s still a straight happily married Italian dude who voluntarily lives in south-central Ohio and makes the best baguette/sub bread you’ll ever eat, and who creates, with his lovely wife, the best gluten-free desserts you’ll ever dream of eating. But, you get my point.

He is a delight. He helped me with this book in so many ways. And every time I go in, he asks about its progress.

Well, today, I got to hand it to him. He asked me sign it and we talked about how he influenced certain portions of it beyond his help with the technical/kitchen scenes. Then, I received one of the best hugs I think I’ve ever experienced.

You’ll get to know more about Richie in weeks to come. But, today seemed like a good day to introduce him to you. And to encourage you, if you’re a writer, to approach that person that reminds you of a character, a portion of a character. You never know what a gift might be just waiting for you.

Chef’s Table is currently available for pre-order now at Interlude Press, and will be available wherever books are sold this Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

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