by Laurence MacNaughton
As the sun goes down, if I’m not writing (or fixing up an old car), I’m usually grilling up a sizzling, smoky dinner. Barbecue chicken, ribs, even a dry-rubbed steak once in a while. I suppose it’s only natural that I began my novel Conspiracy Of Angels with Mitch, a heartbroken ex-con, in his back yard, grilling.
Of course, in Mitch’s case, his dinner is interrupted by a dangerous young woman who crashes over his back fence, points a gun at his face and accuses him of masterminding a supernatural doomsday device that could trigger a global Armageddon.
My own barbecuing escapades are somewhat more mundane.
Most writers will tell you that their most extraordinary ideas come to them in ordinary moments. Grilling dinner, taking a shower or going for a walk sometimes gives you the clarity you need to figure out how to twist a story in a new direction, hide a clue in plain sight, or even begin a brand-new novel.
In my case, a few idle minutes of flipping ribs and making sure they didn’t burn were enough to conjure up some ideas. For instance, how to combine recent scientific evidence of consciousness after death with an ancient prophecy about the end of the world.
Heck, if those two ideas don’t fit together naturally, I don’t know what does.
Naturally, my friends assume I’m the custodian of some super-secret barbecue sauce recipe. If I were, I couldn’t tell you.
Mitch’s recipe, on the other hand, is easy. It’s what he’s using the moment the story begins. And though it was cut from the final manuscript, I’ll share it with you right now. Besides, if you try it, it might just convince everyone around that you’re a BBQ genius.
Just mix one part Cholula hot sauce with four parts Bull’s-Eye Kansas City Style barbecue sauce. Brush it onto your meat five minutes before it’s done. Give it a minute, then flip it, brush the other side and let it finish cooking. The slightly charred sauce will give your meal a tangy, bold flavor with just a hint of sweetness. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
If your taste buds respond to spice like a heat-seeking missile, I recommend sprinkling each piece of meat with a little Arizona Gunslinger habanero sauce. But go easy, unless you’re ready to do a convincing impersonation of Ghost Rider.
So, if you’d like a little something to read the next time you’re waiting for the grill to fire up, come find out how Mitch’s barbecue turns out. Stop by my author page at http://LaurenceMacNaughton.com and get the first chunk of Conspiracy of Angels for free.
Just don’t blame me if it you get caught up in the story and forget about the barbecue. Don’t worry, the smoke will remind you. That always works for me.
Laurence MacNaughton is the author of Conspiracy Of Angels. His articles and stories have appeared in Writers’ Journal, The Rocky Mountain Writer, Pyramid Magazine, The Inkwell, Noir Journal, Mysterious Reviews and SF Signal. He teaches fiction writing at YouCanWriteANovel.com.
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