Sunday, April 3, 2016


For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write. Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.

One of the fun things about writing is discovering plot twists that you never saw coming. It thrills me to have a character fill in a plot hole that, at first, appears bigger than a lava tube.

Ancient lava tube on the Big Island of Hawai'i

How often have you heard a writer say their protagonist started calling the shots during the writing process of a novel? That the character in question objected when the words felt wrong? Or twisted the plot in a completely different direction, even though the author had outlined the scene or chapter in excruciating detail?

When a writer's subconscious takes over and dictates the next move, chances are it is a sign of a well-developed character.

In the case of my Pepper Bibeau mysteries, the protagonist has even taken over some of my cooking duties. Below is a recipe Pepper developed, with little or no help from me. Chili is one of my favorite meals. And while Pepper leans toward fruit-filled pies, it comes as no surprise that she always has a kettle of chili simmering on the stove for football game week-ends. This is especially true when the snow is deep and the wind chill factor dips below minus 20 degrees.

Chili always tastes great, no matter if Pepper is working in 
the windy city of Chicago or
the frozen tundra of
Green Bay.  
Even her home town of Honolulu has restaurants noted for their ono (delicious) 
chili. In Hawaii, though, it's served with "two scoops rice."

Pepper's Wisconsin Chili
1 softball-sized sweet onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup walnut oil
3 lbs. 85% lean Ground Round
3 cans chili beans in medium sauce
2 pkgs. chili seasoning mix
1 - 14.5 oz. can of beef broth
3 cups dried macaroni noodles, cooked

Heat oil and add chopped onion, cook until tender.

Add Ground Round, and brown the meat in the onion mix.

Shake chili seasoning onto the meat; add chili beans with sauce, tomato sauce, and the can of beef broth.

Let chili simmer while boiling the macaroni, then add the cooked macaroni to the chili. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.


Serve with freshly grated Wisconsin cheddar cheese and oyster crackers.

(Salad and Wine optional . . . nah, just kidding, the wine is necessary!)



  1. This sounds so yammy.
    One of my characters did the same thing once. She didn't come up with a food recipes, but with a tea recipes. I still brew that tea every now and then ;-)

    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

  2. Tea sounds good. Now I have to make some Vanilla Spice tea!
    Thanks for visiting for C-Day.

  3. Yummy! Today, is suppose to be 74, tomorrow 44. So, perhaps tomorrow I will spice it up~ April is a fickle month. Chili sounds great!

  4. Mmmmm, this sounds good. A bit different from the Texas style chili I'm used to. I'll have to try it. Lovely A to Z post.

  5. I have some good cooking in my scifi series. Just wondering whether they'll share the recipes with me some time! Love the theme, Gail!
    Jemima Pett

    1. Thanks, Jemima. Maybe your characters will land on Planet Earth during Earth Day and they'll share the recipes with you then!

  6. I love chili! Have you ever tried it Cincinnati style? They serve it 3-way (over spaghetti, with cheese on top), 4-way (3-way with onions OR beans), or 5-way (3-way with onions AND beans). It's definitely unique, and I have to say I grew to love it when I lived there, but I still prefer a nice, hearty chili. My favorite recipe is from America's Test Kitchen, though I usually kick their spices up a notch or two. :)

  7. So is Pepper a Bear or Packer fan? :)

    1. Whoo ... Packers, all the way! My family is split, though, with relatives in Green Bay, Chicago, and Bradenton, FL. Need to be more "politically correct" in conversations about football than elections! (No NFL team in Hawaii, btw.)

  8. I'm originally from Texas, so Tex-Mex is about the only chili I've had. I must admit though, this recipe sounds delicious!

    I'd love to write a series some day where the protagonist helps me prepare dinner :) Right now I'm chasing a little dog all over Paris...

  9. Chicago can be a frozen tundra, too. Trust me on that.

    John Holton
    Blogging from A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    The Sound of One Hand Typing

    1. John, I worked in the Loop for a year, so I agree with you completely - on the weather, not on who has the best football quarterback! :)

  10. Mmmm - the chili sounds yummy!

  11. My characters call the shots a lot, but have never created a recipe!

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  12. It's strange how I thought chili was actually Chilli or what you would call a spicy green pepper ( jalapeno?) . I assume the Ground Round is beef mince? Will try this recipe for sure one day. BellyBytes from
    Mumbai On A High

  13. Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious. Will have to give it a try. Don't think any of my characters have made up recipes. That would be a first. :)

  14. Pepper looks to be an interesting character with some really good taste for food. I recently read a book based completely on Food and Romance. Got to know many new recipes. Peppers Wisconsin Chili sounds to be delicious. The day I cook it, will blog the feedback :-)

    @SarahVamshi from
    The Tin Trunk


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