Today I am so pleased to welcome the fabulous Rhys Ford to Joyfully Jay. Rhys has come to talk to us about her latest release, Fish Stick Fridays. She has also brought along a great charitable giveaway!  Please join me in giving Rhys a big welcome!


Skip to the recipe if you’ve already seen this part. *grins*

When I first thought about writing Fish Stick Fridays, it was a lot darker than it turned out. I know. I’ll let you have a moment to be shocked and amazed. But then I wrote it and its innards changed, softening a bit. A lot of that change had to do with building a relationship between Deacon and his niece, Zig and then adding Lang into the mix.

I went round and round on the title. Nothing was working. They were decent titles. Hell, Mary Calmes even stole one of them for her own book but nothing was fitting the story. Then I said… why the hell aren’t I calling it what it is? Fish Stick Fridays.

That might seem a random, odd title and kind of off. But see, it’s not so much about the actual fish sticks or Fridays. It’s about what Fish Stick Fridays represents. For Zig and Deacon, it’s about being together, in a home. An actual home. Where Fridays means no vegetables but cups of hot cocoa and maybe eating in front of the television. It means a place to come to and find a family—their family.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Deacon knows how to cook gourmet meals but he can cook. So for this blog tour, it’s all about cooking out of the pantry—cheap, relatively easy and cobbling together meals from fresh, canned, and jarred food. So much of Deacon’s cooking on the fly really is about how to maximize time and using what’s in the pantry. We don’t have a lot of time in our lives. That’s a fact. But we can make do. Making do is so very much a kitchen life hack.

So for this tour, I am sharing some comfort food recipes even Deacon can make and it took him a bit to get the fish sticks and blue box macaroni & cheese right. Follow all of the blog tour stops and get a new comfort food recipe every day. Recipes include:

  • Fried Chicken
  • Beef Stew
  • Portuguese Watercress Soup
  • Nutty Mushroom Pasta
  • Fried Rice
  • Lasagna
  • Kalua Pig
  • Mac Salad / Loco Moco
  • Pad Thai
  • Shoyu Chicken

What’s the Giveaway? Because there is ALWAYS a giveaway… Leave a comment and hopefully win the right to tell me where to send a set of childrens’ books to a library or charity of your choice. Book sets will randomly chosen from a list and cost between $20 and $50 USD and donated in your name.

Also, if you want a gluten free way to thicken soups and stews… and soupy potato salad, use instant mashed potato flakes. You’ll see me say that time and time again through the blog tour. It also adds a layer of flavour. I sometimes grab the garlic and herb instant potato packets and just keep them for when I need to thicken a stew.

And now, for what’s next in Deacon’s recipe book.

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2-Beef-StewBeef stew is always one of those things people say takes too long or they just aren’t used to eating stews. Stews can be a fantastic comfort food and can be served over rice or with bread. Or even in bread. Hollowed out bread bowl? Perfect for a stew.

Beef Stew

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef (chopped into bite size or slightly larger chunks)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 T garlic, minced (or granulated if you have it)1/2 C celery, chopped. (I actually use the very inside of the celery. It’s more tender, leaves are fine)
  • 32 ounces of beef stock
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped into chunks
  • 1 large can tomatoes ( like the ones with tomatoes and green chiles but it does have a tang)
  • 1 small bag baby carrots or 1 C chopped carrots
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce (or two small)
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Salt, Pepper, hot sauce if you want it
  • 2 T Kitchen Bouquet (optional but nice)
  • Toss in a very large pot and add bay leaves and then the beef stock, enough to cover. If it isn’t covered, you can add more or water. Or even wine. Bring to a boil then put the heat to low and let simmer for an hour. OR you can do this first step in a crock pot while you’re at work then come home and finish it up.

After an hour (Or when you get home if you’ve done the crock pot), toss in potatoes, canned tomatoes, carrots and tomato sauce. If you want, at this point, add the Kitchen Bouquet. This is a browning agent…think liquid caramelization. Great addition to your pantry.

Cover and let simmer until carrots and potatoes are cooked. Taste. See if it’s got enough salt. And pepper. If you need more garlic, use granulated.

Now, at this point, it’s time to thicken the stew. This is where you slowly add instant mashed potatoes. Trust me. It works. Do it slowly and give the flakes a chance to absorb. When it’s a nice consistency, let it sit for a bit then serve.

This can easily be made vegetarian with squash and other root veggies. Use veggie stock to simmer for about 20 minutes for the flavours to blend. Kitchen Bouquet is vegetarian friendly. I highly recommend dipping tofu squares into it and braising for a “meat” substitute.

§ § §

Follow the Tour

Nov 25 • It’s About the Book:

Nov 26 • Joyfully Jay:

Nov 27 • Sinfully Sexy:

Nov 29 • Gay Guy Reading:

Nov 30 • Boys In Our Books:

Dec 1 • The Blogger Girls:

Dec 2 • Love Bytes:

Dec 3 • Prism Alliance:

Dec 4 • Boy Meets Boy:

Dec 5 • The Novel Approach:


CoverDeacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

Purchase Fish Stick Fridays at:


Bio headshotRhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

If you’ve actually read this, yay! I need coffee. We should have coffee.


Rhys has brought a set of childrens’ books to donate to the library or charity of winner’s choice. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, December 4th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

rhys ford giveaway

FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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