Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice
by Peggy Lampman


GENRE:  women's contemporary fiction



A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what's worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart


Shelby Preston--a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia--escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes--an Atlanta newspaper food writer--may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion. 


Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelg√§nger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good. 


Chasing desires and ambitions, the women's lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders--some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what's really worth fighting for.




Memos from the edge, self-help hieroglyphics, throwaway lines galloping off paper, most of them unfinished. These are the words I should have said to Cooper the day he left, bade farewell, adios, arrivederci—however you say goodbye. Itchy, my dearest friend, is returning a platter and will ignore them, assuming they are recipe scribbles. But if these tourniquets had a voice, their banshee wail would rant, rage and scream, shaking the foundations of Atlanta.
Dearest Cooper. What a splendid feast you made of me. A sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper, you chewed me up then spit me out. Was I that abhorrent?
Visceral, grisly, teeth-gnashing words; much better script. I write, post, then return to my cutting board. Chopping furiously, I collect, examine, and discard words much too ordinary to assuage my grief. Words...words...I need more words; what words can I write that will ease the pain of what you’ve done?


What was the inspiration for “Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice” and how much of yourself is reflected in the book?

My inspiration to write “Simmer and Smoke” occurred one December afternoon in 2010. I was visiting my ancestral graveyard in Stewartville, a back-woods, confederate flag-waving town in Alabama. As I watched a young woman and child wander down the road, I wondered how a young mother could escape a town of racism, poverty and crack houses. That evening I wrote the first page of “Simmer and Smoke”.
One of my protagonists, Mallory, is a version of myself in that we both had similar upbringings in the Deep South and both share a love of cooking, writing and photography. As well, we had by-lines in a newspaper and then, dot com.
Mallory is a more twisted, tortured and exaggerated version of me, but, unlike Mallory, I’d had a couple of kids and a divorce under my belt when I was her age. Having owned a specialty food store and worked in marketing for an upscale grocery chain, I’ve gotten to know many Shelby’s in my life, as well.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.

Amazon Buy Link
Goodreads Link
Author Page


Peggy Lampman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner


  1. Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

  2. Good morning! Thank you for hosting and I look forward to answering any questions that your readers may have. Cheers! Peggy

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a terrific read, thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm looking forward to checking this one out, thanks for sharing!

  5. Well Eva, Becky and Victoria. I'm delighted the book piqued your interest. To read the first chapters for free, check out:

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you for sharing and for the contest!

  7. Happy to be a part of this tour, thank you for sharing!