Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sandra Barkevich, Food Critic

Sandra Barkevich, resident Food Critic. Literally. Something to do with a mislabeled shipment of spel…er, spices. Oh, don’t worry. She seems to have gotten over the shock of every exit, window, chimney, hole…leading right back here. She hardly ever claws at the doors anymore.

Before…relocating to the diner, Sandra specialized in historical dishes, mainly Regency and early Victorian. However, after a tip from a friend, her interests have turned to the more unusual.

Most days, you can find Sandra in the back corner booth working on some recipes of her own. Lately, her tastes have taken a decidedly darker and spicier turn. There’s always something interesting going on in her corner and she loves company so be sure to stop by her booth when you visit the diner.

Her website:
Her Blog:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

ChinaMeli, Waitress

ChinaMeli, or CM if you're in a hurry, lives upstairs next to the diner in a walk-up-three-flights-of-stairs-apartment. She frequented the diner daily and got her own coffee from the burner when no one was out front. The Brenda kid was busy bussing tables, so she figured that put her one foot over the threshold anyway.

She dumped her newspaper column when her married boss got too friendly - long story. She's presently living off of her inheritance from a daughter-friendly father and trying her hand at freelancing while she "opens a vein at her typewriter," writing her own brand of quirky paranormal story swathed in romance and a tinge of humor. So - when one of the regular wait staff at the Diner took some time off, what was more obvious than inviting CM for a little "two biddies on a raft - ship wreck 'em!" kind of temp work to subsidize her ink-and-carbon-paper habit?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Maggie Van Well, Waitress

Maggie Van Well is a waitress, who likes to serve up tidbits about life in New York. With her colorful prose she can whip up a scenic view of eastern Long Island or the non-stop pace of Manhattan.

Even though she loves the contemporary life, the light-hearted, witty paranormals she writes about angels and ghosts will hopefully bring a smile to the face of the grouchiest of customers. She loves snappy dialogue and feisty, yet imperfect characters.

She likes her morning coffee piping hot, but you can't say the same about the heat level in her books. She likes to describe them as books she'll let her mom read, but not her dad. She is widely known for her uncanny ability to make instant coffee into the best cup of coffee you've ever had.

Her obnoxious husband and four "mildly insane" kids love to come into the cafe and give her a hard time. She takes it all in stride, especially when she knows she gives as good as she gets once she's at home.

You can learn more about Maggie and her random thoughts at:
or visit her myspace page at:

Cathy Leming, Napkin Folder

A diner doesn't usually need a napkin folder, but nobody wants Cathy trying to remember customer orders, handle scalding hot pots of coffee or count money. After all, some of our patrons are ... well ... unpredictable otherworldy types. They can bless as well as curse.

Cathy clocks in only on busy nights. A working mother of two children, she loves a dash of fantasy fiction to go with her real world piece of the pie. Her taste in paranormal romance fiction is the same as her taste in fried chicken--light and super-spicy. When not agonizing over how to fold a white linen napkin into a pair of angels wings, she's obsessing over elements of craft as they apply to her manuscript.

A believer in the old adage: Reformed rakes make the best husbands, she married a rock star, only to discover she didn't want to reform him. They like to holiday as often as possible and indulge their hobbies. Like the angel she is, Cathy's daughter is an accomplished harpist. The husband unit is a touring and recording artist turned family man. While Cathy's hobby--writing paranormal historical romance fiction--is indisputably the most eccentric, it is the least creative, resulting in little more than piles of paper around her desk.

We hope her napkin folding will be a subtle improvement to the ambiance.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lori Dillon, Waitress -- Morning Shift

An early riser, Lori gets to the diner before sun up to open the doors and turn the lights on. She loves the quiet hour or so before the breakfast crowd comes in when her only company is the snap-crackle-pop of bacon frying in the kitchen and the aroma of a fresh pot of coffee brewing behind the counter. But once the neon OPEN sign lights up in the window, she’s ready to greet you with a smile-wrapped “mornin’ ya’ll.” But don’t you dare try to order before she’s had her first cup a Joe or you’re liable to get served Triscuits and navy (beans) for breakfast instead of the diner’s world famous biscuits and gravy.

Born and raised in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this southern gal is always ready with a snappy comeback or a sassy come-hither wink (usually reserved for her favorite regulars). But don’t take all that Scarlet O’Hara flirting too seriously. When her shift’s over, she hightails it straight home to her own Rhett Butler and two little ones who are the apple of her eye. So sit yourself down and enjoy a big ol’ plate of eggs and grits along with a mile-high stack of flapjacks. But be sure to save room for a sampling of Lori’s home-grown parahistoricals smothered in stick-to-your-ribs humor at Ain’t it amazing that a small town girl who’s hardly stepped foot out of Virginia can dream up tales about bumbling guardian angels in Italy and dragon-knights in medieval England? Must be something in all that fresh mountain air . . .

JM Sabel, Kitten

J.M. is the Bengal kitten with the honey marble and black coloring and the cream under belly, curled up in one of the booths. She has emerald-colored eyes that look as if someone has lined them with black eyeliner. Watch out or she'll steal your car keys and hide it in her hidey-hole with the other treasures she covets. Then you'll be stuck at the diner all day looking for them. She doesn't drink milk, but prefers iced tea with lemon and loves to jump into the sink full of dishes.

Okay, she's really a character in one of J.M. Sabel's books named Daisy. She actually belongs to a hunky Guardian Angel, who screwed up and Michelangelo died before painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. Besides writing about Angel heroes, J.M Sabel also writes about steamy highlanders. Her heroines are strong Mortal women from all centuries, and you'll always find a few famous people sprinkled in her books in a way that will make you smile. But sparks are always flying between her heroes and heroines and there's plenty of sizzle.

J.M Sabel is an ex ballerina who hung up her dancing shoes to work with children in the field of nursing. She has a Masters degree in pediatric nursing. Currently, she lives in a forest in Northern California with her husband and sons, and probably a few fairies. She's a full time writer and illustrator. She's one of the founding members of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, a PRO member of RWA, as well a member of a number of other RWA chapters. Come and find out more about J.M Sabel and her books at her website.

Talia Pente, Baker

You'll find Talia back in the kitchen cooking up characters, stirring up plots, and dishing out stories with a flavorful mix of humor and angst for customers hungry to devour a good read. She's responsible for most of the Diner's sweet after-meal treats, depending on what she's in the mood to bake that day! But don't go looking for her special desserts on the menu (she's prepubbed, but working on that.)

Got a craving for a world that mixes dragons, Fae, and Greco-Roman gods? Or wonder what the tooth faerie does with all those molars, bicuspids, and incisors? Then stick around cause Talia's whipping up a tale that will leave you feeling satisfied and smiling. Her newest creation is currently being considered at a few prestigious cooking schools around the country. In the meantime, she's happy to serve you.

Brenda Nelson-Davis, Bus Person

Meet Brenda, the Otherworld Diner's eager newcomer with a gift for story. Although she has aspirations of being a published author or an official fairy godmother, whichever comes first, she works at the diner as our bus person. She's happy to do any duties that arise in the diner-whether it's wiping up POV spills, removing wandering body parts, patching up plot holes, or straightening dangling participles. She works split shift so she can attend her writing classes and the various activities of the From the Heart Romance Writers, the Wisconsin Romance Writers and Wisconsin Regional Writers. Her hobbies include studying grammar manuals, lurking in libraries and entering contests. We hear her work has finaled in quite a few!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Francesca Hawley, Short Order Cook

Francesca’s kitchen is organized chaos which produces tasty and highly spicy fare. Her first published dish was " Alpha v Alpha" in the anthology Paranaughty from Draumr Publishing. It was agreed by readers that asbestos gloves were required for proper protection from the heat rolling off the pages.

Her hero preferences run to sexy, alpha, shapeshifters; however, knights, Regency Lords, and any number of other males from times past and future are fair game for this cougar’s predations.
When she’s not cooking up hot creations guaranteed to tempt and burn the palate, she’s moonlighting as a librarian. To learn more about this flying ace, aka "Wrongway Cesca", visit these locations:

Her Web site:
Her MySpace:
Her home blog:

Kathleen Grieve, Dishwasher

You can find Kathleen in the back cleaning up the mound of dishes of the various entrees the diners have enjoyed throughout the day. She's been demoted to dishwasher ever since she accidentally set a grease fire. Everyone knew she'd been day dreaming of the gorgeous and mouth-watering Dr. Stone Lassiter--the heart surgeon out to save the next life in her current WIP.

Kathleen doesn't mind the relegation of her duties. In fact, she was grateful to Debi and Jeannie for keeping her on. She's not much of a cook anyway, and if a little fire was all that occured, the Diner's actually lucky. Worse things have happened when Kathleen was left to her own devices in the kitchen.

You will often find Kathleen scrubbing pots with a bemused expression on her face. When you ask her what planet she's gone off to, she'll just shake her head and smile. That is when you know her thoughts have drifted to what mischief a ghost named Seamus has been causing for his son, Dr. Devon Jameson, and a nurse named Rachel O'Dea. Seamus's matchmaking antics have turned both their lives upside down in Kathleen's second WIP.

Sometimes, you'll see Kathleen fingering the well-worn pages of her first completed manuscript. Her first attempt at writing failed. But some good things came out of the experience--writing the story of Clare McMullen, a doctor who has visions and dreams that become reality. She sees the murder of the security guard at the lab she works in and her life-saving medical research is stolen. Soon, Clare becomes the next target and is trying to stop her own murder. Of course, Clare has a handsome bodyguard who protects her.

Through rejection of that first manuscript, Kathleen learned that her characters were not deep enough and learned something about GMC. Since then, Kathleen joined RWA and found her local chapter, the Heartland Writers Group. She also became a part of an online chapter, Kiss of Death. Because she'd completed a manuscript, Kathleen earned status as a RWA PRO.

Kathleen is determined to weave a tale of science with the supernatural and will one day realize that goal.

Jeannie Midnight, Hostess

The Otherworld Diner's Hostess, Jeannie, likes to sit in her favorite booth drinking iced green tea and overseeing the restaurant. Her booth is always open for questions, help, concerns, whatever you need to talk about. She's a published author and a freelance book doctor/editor. She's in the process of writing two more novels, editing an anthology for an upcoming conference, and being published in two other anthos this year. She also writes screenplays and ghostwrites, both in a paranormal and literal fashion!

Oh, and leave the chocolate cream pie alone - it's all hers!

Debralee Daniels, Owner

Debralee Daniels is a Jersey girl who loves strange new worlds and Southern hospitality, so y'all can call her Debi. She might own this operation, but she's always willing to pitch in at whatever needs doing. She found this great location and started setting up the diner. But having the best managers and staff this side of the universe is what makes it special. Being the owner does have its perks, especially when Lori's brewing a fresh pot of coffee. Talia's pecan pies are sweet enough to make the tooth fairy cry, and Jody always makes sure she gets a slice in the morning so she'll stay in her office and not scare off the customers.

Later in the day you can usually find her sneaking a read in her office, or chatting up the regulars. When the diner is short-staffed, she even tries to play waitress, accent on the play. She hates the busy work, but she does love to talk. Just ask her husband, son, and even Daisy the diner cat, who loves to sit on her desk and creatively shred the paperwork. Speaking of paperwork, she's published some poems, lyrics, and won a contest for playwriting. Publishing her book is next on her to-do list. You can check out her progress at Then come on back and check out the blue plate special.

Kendra Leigh Castle, Waitress

Night shift waitress and soon-to-be-published author Kendra Leigh Castle is known for her quick service, towering beehive, and eye for the tall, dark and be-fanged. When not stockpiling Aquanet and circa-1977 blue eyeshadow, she spends her time guzzling multiple cups of coffee (heavy on the sugar and vanilla creamer) and writing the next book in her upcoming series. If you have a hankering for mouthwatering Scottish werewolves and shapeshifting dragons, or just want to jaw over a slice of the Diner's famous cherry pie, visit her here or at her current pad over at myspace, Look for her debut novel, CALL OF THE HIGHLAND MOON, coming in Spring of '08 from Sourcebooks! Oh, and step it up with the order, sugar, she's got other customers waiting. You can never go wrong with the Otherworld Special.

Debora Dennis, Night Shift Manager

Your Night Shift Manager here at the Otherworld Diner is Debora Dennis, but her name tag simply reads "DD". Growing up within minutes of New York City, she’s got the accent and attitude to keep our customers both in line and coming back for more. Klutz that she is, you’ll never find our manager serving food, but it has been noted she can be bribed with chocolate for a table with a view. Her hubby and three kids love the leftover pie, but are much happier when she brings home leftover fries or bacon & eggs!

Although it might appear our Night Manager is a little nutty and seems to talk more to herself than anyone else - things aren't always as they appear. She's got more than her share of ghosts and spectral beings following her around as they try to regale her with their latest tales of mischief and heartache. If you hit the diner on the right night, you just might be lucky enough to see her leading men in action. - don't say we didn't warn you!

You can read more about Debora Dennis and her spirited romantic tales here:

Her website:
Her blog:

Jody Wallace, Waitress

The Otherworld Diner's Day Manager (and published author) Jody Wallace likes her coffee with cream and sugar and limits herself to one cup a day. [[ETA: OK FINE! 2 cups a day.]] Otherwise she's as jittery as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. She hails from the South, has a family at home who loves it when she brings apple pie from the diner, and often has cat hair on her clothing. She hopes none of the customers are allergic. You can find out more about Jody and her writing at way too many websites:

Her website: (also for her alter ego Ellie Marvel)
Her writer blog:
Her cat's website:
Her Facebook Page:
Her Twitter Account: