When I was writing Lost in Geeklandia, the first book in the Geeklandia series (Clickbait is the second), I knew I wanted to set at least two scenes in a restaurant in the Pearl district in downtown Portland. At the time, Lovely Daughter lived near the Pearl, and was far more conversant that I with the businesses there. I live in the middle of the nowhere, about an hour west of Portland, and since I work from home, I don’t spend a lot of time checking out the latest trendy eateries, unlike LD and her convivial friends. So I asked LD for a restaurant recommendation—something I could put in the book that Portland residents would recognize.
And as the time to turn in the book got closer, I decided that since she couldn’t give me a real restaurant, I’d make one up—and name it after her. Thus Hana K’s Bar and Bistro was born, a place that appears in both Lost in Geeklandia and Clickbait.
I’ve used both real and imaginary restaurants in my all my books so far—at least the stories set in Portland. In Lost in Geeklandia, I had intended to use a real restaurant that had always been a favorite of mine as the location for the Charlie’s first date with Daniel, but while I was writing the book, I ran into the major drawback of using real businesses: the place went out of business. So I invented another restaurant—Cafe Niccolo, named after DS B.
Downstairs Downtown, Alex’s best friend’s restaurant in Clickbait, is imaginary, as is Stumptown Spirits, the bar in Stumptown Spirits and Wolf’s Clothing. But Voodoo Doughnuts, mentioned in both of the Legend Tripping books, is a Portland icon. The Skyline Restaurant, site of one of Trent and Christophe’s dates in Wolf’s Clothing is also real, as is Slappy Cakes, the all-day breakfast spot where Charlie offers to take Gideon in Clickbait to cheer him up. (Slappy Cakes is one of DS B’s favorite places to go in Portland—especially when he has a visitor to impress. You can make your own pancakes on the griddle embedded in your tabletop. How cool is that?)
I’d originally planned on naming a coffee shop after DS A, but it got cut during Lost in Geeklandia revisions. Well, I couldn’t leave him out entirely, could I, not when his brother and sister both had more or less eponymous restaurants? So he became the covert news informant for tech reporter Daniel instead.
I suppose the moral of this story is: don’t be related to a writer—you might end up as a restaurant (or worse—get turned into a plot point during revisions).
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. . Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
About E.J. Russell:
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
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