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Author: Andi Page 1 of 25

The Crown Jewel of F1

photo of 2005 F1 Monaco race from grandstands

Photo of grandstands at 2005 F1 Monaco race. Just to give you a sense of the “Crown Jewel of F1”. Photo credit: Ivan Ethan Loh (Flickr)

The worst part of traveling is making an effort to avoid any news or social media when there are F1 races happening.

Okay, so maybe the truly worst part is Economy class seats, or the guy in the seat in front of you who immediately reclines his seat ALL THE WAY once the wheels lift off the ground. Or trying to get to the lavatory but someone ALWAYS slips into it just before you reach it so you end up trying to play it cool as you pace the narrow aisle at a distance that is not intimidating but also not too far away to beat the next person to the lavatory.

But I digress.

Due to my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, and visiting with family, I had to skip the F1 Cookbook for the Imola race (insert frowny face). But not to worry! Another Italian race is coming in September, so the Italian cuisine will happen — just slightly delayed (kind of like the Monaco race).

However, the good news is that I made it home in time for The Crown Jewel of F1™: Monaco*. The bad news (I guess?) is that I had just gotten home, so no trip to the grocery store, which meant relying on the pantry, whatever was left in the fridge before leaving for the trip, and getting a little creative.

Since the Monaco race was broadcast in the morning on the U.S. West Coast, how about a Monaco breakfast?

A deep dive into traditional Monagasque breakfast cuisine** revealed that shockingly Monaco tends towards the French in their morning fare: baguettes, Brie, fruit, coffee.

Peeking into the fridge and freezer we had exactly that: baguettes, Brie, fruit, coffee. Woot!

The breakfast was tasty, humble, and quite good.

Just like the race!

Now, I know there are those who watched the race and complained that nothing happened, and that it was so slow***, but that’s only if you watched the race at the surface level (i.e. after lap 1 and the Red Flag), and if you didn’t bother watching the practice sessions or qualifying.

The Monaco race demonstrated that F1 is not only about speed; it’s also about strategy. Think of it like chess, but with horsepower, TechPro barriers, and soap opera-like storylines.

Let’s start with the practice sessions: At no point did 3x world champion (and current reigning champion) Max Verstappen have the fastest time for any of the three practices; that honor went to Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc (Monaco hometown hero). Also in practice sessions, the Saubers felt the need to get friendly with the barrier walls, so two sessions saw red flags.****

Now for quali: Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took pole position, followed by a McLaren sandwich of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, with Ferrari teammate (for now) Carlos Sainz in the middle. The two Haas boys, who had qualified 12th and 15th, got dropped to the bottom of the grid due to their rear wings being just a little too generous in the aerodynamic arena. This will play a key part in the race.

So the race: notoriously narrow, the streets of Monaco were not meant for the large modern-day F1 cars, and apparently Danish drivers are poor judges of distance, which meant Haas driver (and Dane) Kevin Magnussen, much like a dog trying to put his head between fence posts, hit the car of Red Bull’s Checo Perez*****, who then pinballed and hit the car of the other Haas driver Niko Hulkenberg, who tried to skate past the debacle, but didn’t quite make it.******

Then there was Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who decided that the team didn’t really need their other driver, so he hit his teammate’s car, and karma being a right bitch, managed to damage his own car enough that he was out of the race. (And apparently now out of Alpine at the end of this season.)

Oh, and Sainz’s car picked up a puncture after tangling with Piastri, sending the Spaniard down the grid from 3rd to 16th.

And that, dear friends, was the first lap.

The second lap started about 45 minutes later, after everyone replaced their tires, fixed up their cars, and refamiliarized themselves with the location of the walls on the track.

Sainz’s fairy godmother was working it, because the FIA officials decided that the race would restart using the original starting grid because the last driver hadn’t even gotten through the first sector of the track when the red flag was thrown. So Sainz would not start at 16th, but in 3rd.

Mucho lucky driver there!

The rest of the race was ducks-in-a-row with Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz, Norris, and feisty straggler Russell playing mind games with each other and constantly assessing if/when to come in for pit stops. (Strategy-wise it was fascinating; racing-wise, eh?)

In the end, the local boy won, much to everyone’s delight, including the Prince of Monaco who was the most exuberant and glowing I’ve ever seen at a Monaco race. Piastri and Sainz completed the podium, and Max Verstappen finished 6th.

Next up: Canada! I’m thinking poutine, Nanaimo bars, and a Canadian Caesar cocktail (if I can’t find any Moulson’s beer).


*I swear that should be part of a F1 Monaco drinking game: every time a commentator notes about Monaco, “The Crown Jewel of F1”, drink a shot. You’ll be on the floor by the end of the Pre-Race show.

**Hello, Wikipedia!

***Admittedly, most of these were the drivers.

****Hello, foreshadowing!

*****Why did Checo get a 2-year contract extension? Why?? It’s time for him to go.

******The damage to Checo’s car was the worst I’ve ever seen, and that’s including the fire damage to Romain Grosjean’s Haas car in 2021.


Cubano sandwich, with chips, Key Lime pie, and a daiquiri

I think I might like Miami!

¡Ay, caramba!

I am pleased to inform you that the F1 Cookbook is back on track (so to speak)! And the credit goes to, of all places, Miami!

We went simple with this race’s menu. Some intense research revealed that Miami’s representative dish (aside from ceviche, Stone Crabs, and Burger King) is the cubano sandwich, with Key Lime pie a close second. As for drinks? Mojitos and daiquiris!

So our 2024 Miami race menu* consisted of:

  • Cubano sandwich with potato chips
  • Key Lime pie
  • a fairly endless supply of Mojitos (and a lone daiquiri for research purposes)

The sandwich was tasty with the marinated mojo pork** layered with ham, salami, sliced dill pickle, and Swiss cheese. The only disappointment was that even doing the ‘cast iron pan press technique’ to mimic the panini-style preparation, the bread roll was too soft (and the pork too juicy) to sustain any sort of structure. But the flavors were excellent!

I made the pie*** with a slight cheat of a premade crust****, and it came out a perfect combination of lime tangy and sweet.

And the mojitos! While not entirely traditional (we used the rum we had on hand: Koloa dark rum, and lime-flavored soda water), it was SO GOOD with the fresh lime juice and muddled fresh mint. Absolutely delightful.

Just like the race!

This was the second time this season F1 held a sprint race in addition to the regular (longer) race*****, and while the drivers generally don’t like sprint races (too short, not enough practice time, they’re whiny tired professionals), they can be fun. This time around, Daniel Ricciardo finished 4th, which got him his first points for the season (whew!).

And Danish bad boy Kevin Magnussen started his Drive of Terror by earning a 10-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, then he received two MORE 10-second penalties for the same infraction AND a 5-second penalty for “exceeding track limits” (i.e. driving all four wheels over the white border line of the track)which took him from a 10th place finish to 18th (and it probably would have been 20th if Stroll and Norris hadn’t been taken out of the race due to collision damage).

Then there was the actual Grand Prix race.

Due to Max Verstappen (the Dutch robot who wins all of the races) makingwait for itA MISTAKE by driving over a bollard (and damaging the floor of his car), ever-a-bridesmaid never-a-winner Lando Norris took the lead and managed to keep Verstappen behind him for the rest of the race, and ended up winning his first Grand Prix (after 110 races). And everyone was happy for him, including Verstappen (who looked happier than any other time he has been on the podium, even as winner).

The Drive of Terror continued for Kevin Magnussen. Playing supreme martyr for Team Haas, Magnussen assisted Logan Sargeant with finding the wall, and Sargeant had to retire his car****** This earned KMag another 10-second penalty, and then AFTER THE RACE he received a 20-second penalty (converted from a drive-through penalty that he couldn’t serve because the race was already over) for not serving his pit lane penalty correctly.

What I learned from this race was that each penalty a driver receives may also become penalty points, and the FIA has a a 12-point cutoff: if a driver accumulates 12 penalty points over 12 months, then the driver is banned from racing until the individual points expire (which is one year after receiving that particular point). The idea is to reduce “unsporting behavior” by drivers (in some cases, this would be called “racing”), hence this penalty points system.

So KMag is currently at 10 points, which isn’t great for him for the next 11 months. How will this play out? We shall see.

Next race: Imola (Italy) and then Monaco!


*At a considerably lower cost than the prices for food trackside. Nachos that cost $180 should come with stellar margaritas, enough for me and my ten best friends, and be served by Antonio Banderas in a tuxedo. And a bandalero.

**How could it not be, when marinated overnight in fresh orange and lime juices, garlic, red onions, and spices?

***Loosely based on this recipe.

****Hey, I was fighting a head cold, so give me a little leeway here.

*****And the first time a sprint race was held at Miami, which apparently was a big deal that commentators kept harping on.

******Yes, it was a bummer for the Florida native at his home race, but honestly: it’s Logan Sargeant. It just doesn’t matter.

And as a complete aside, I can’t help but pronounce “Miami” with Fiona’s accent from the intro sequence in the fantastic TV series “Burn Notice”. Hence the title of this post.

Shanghai nights

F1 China dinner

Yeah, I need to work on my photo staging. But the pineapple pastry and Taiwan beer were good!

After the quasi-disaster that was Japan (Suzuka), China (Shanghai) looked to be a solid redemption. I had a plan, I executed the plan, and I ended up with “eh?”

To start with: the Shanghai race menu:

  • Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles (traditional Shanghai dish)
  • Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad
  • Chinese Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (humbao)
  • some sort of tasty Chinese dessert found on the shelves of the Asian grocery store
  • some sort of Chinese beer (Tsing Tao?*)

To be fair, we got all of those things, albeit not necessarily as anticipated.

The noodle dish turned out okay^, and probably could have been quite good, were it not for my choice in noodles (“Chinese Wheat Noodles” that were probably WAY too thin for this recipe–think Japanese somen noodles) that turned into a very glutinous mush, my choice in stove temperature for making the scallion oil (perhaps the recipe’s “medium” and my “medium” were not the same, so it took FOREVER for the scallions to start to turn golden brown), and my poor communication of timing with my co-driver (the steamed buns got steamed quite awhile before the scallion oil began to even think about turning golden brown).

So what we got was:

  • glutinous noodles in ever-so-slightly flavored scallion oil
  • mildly warm, but kind of dried out, steamed bbq pork buns
  • garlicky-red peppered smashed cucumbers — which was fine
  • “thick pastry pineapple dessert” — which was pretty good
  • Taiwan Beer — which was also pretty good

Overall, it was definitely a better experience than the Japan race dinner, although that probably isn’t saying much.

Kind of like the race.

We actually watched the race live (hadn’t intended to, but when you’re already up at midnight and F1 TV flashes “Race Live!” on your screen, it’s hard to say no), which is always a treat.

That said, I did fall asleep for the last half of it, but the start was good: Fernando Alonso started on the grid at 3rd, then managed to get to 2nd! And then locked up his tires and caused a stunning automotive version of Falling Dominoes, as the cars behind him in the corner concertinaed, and ultimately resulted in Daniel Ricciardo getting hit by Lance Stroll and then having to retire his car (and Ricciardo looked to be in a points-scoring position!).

Another depressing retirement was Valteri Bottas’ Sauber car, whose engine decided it had had enough with Sauber’s pathetically long pitstops** and couldn’t face one more of them, so it up and died early on in the race.***

In the end, Max Verstappen rang up another win (meh), but at least Lando Norris got 2nd, my F1 Fantasy Team drivers Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso took 5th and 7th respectively (and Alonso got a point for fastest lap!). And shockingly, Logan Sergeant finished last****.

Yes, there was a sprint race as well, but not much to say there besides Lando Norris getting pole position (take that, Max!), Alonso getting a tire puncture and having to retire his car 2 laps before the end of the race (boo!), and the FIA gods hating on Alonso by giving him a 10 second penalty (as if not finishing the race wasn’t enough) AND 3 more penalty points off his Super License.

Oh, and there was the whole “grass on fire” thing in the practice session and then during the qualifying session for the sprint race.

And it was the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai race, combined with the first Chinese F1 driver competing at the race (Zhou Guanyu), and then Zhou gets a special parking spot at the end of the race. Kind of odd, kind of cool.

Next up: Miami! I’m really hoping it isn’t the bombastic WWE pre-race disaster that it was last year. So cringe-worthy.


^ Although upon reviewing the recipe’s pictures and my own picture, I’m starting to think I didn’t get nearly enough sauce on the noodles.

*Fun fact: Tsing Tao brewery was founded in 1903 by German colonizers. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the beer was brewed based on traditional German beer brewing laws (Reinheitsgebot: beer can only contain water, malts, yeast, and hops), but I can’t find a reference to that.

**A typical F1 pitstop to change tires takes 2-ish seconds. Sauber has been averaging 53 seconds.

***To add salt to the wounds, here is Bottas watching a Red Bull pitstop during the China race after he had to retire his car. Note the hang dog body language.

****This is so not shocking. At all. At least he didn’t wreck the car this time. So, kudos, Logan!

And as a complete aside, we wanted to watch “Shanghai Knights” in honor of the race, but instead ended up with “Rush Hour”. Jackie Chan is always a delight, and Chris Tucker played Chris Tucker, but Elizabeth Peña stole that show.

Cherry blossoms on the asphalt

pink cherry blossoms

No food update, but enjoy this beautiful photo of cherry blossoms

Ah, Japan.

It’s been far too long since I’ve been there (2017 was the most recent trip). I think with longing of department store basements with incredible bakeries (and disturbingly high priced fruits), fast and reliable trains and their stations with their locally sourced and specialized bento lunches, vending machines in the middle of rice fields with heated cans of coffee in the winter…

I was looking forward to revisiting my Japanese adopted roots for the 2024 Suzuka race, debating about what to make for dinner. Katsu curry, with a Japanese curry made from scratch (and not from a “Vermont Curry” roux cube)? Or maybe chirashi zushi, like the one my Japanese language professor made for our class that I couldn’t stop eating? Or maybe go a little sleazy and make ramen (but one of Morimoto Masaharu’s tonkotsu packets)?

Lots of ideas, all mouth-wateringly delicious.


Somehow I missed the memo that the race was occurring while my co-driver and I were out of town.


I also missed that there were no support races. So no F2 or F3 or F1 Academy races in conjunction with the F1 race.


But that was fine! It was a Japan race, happening amid the gorgeous cherry blossoms in full bloom. We would get back home, enjoy the race lead-up, watch the highlights from the practice sessions, then the qualifying, and then the race. Sure, it would be after everything had wrapped up overseas (gotta love a 16-hour time difference), but that was fine. Heck, we’re busy watching races from 2014. What’s a less than 24-hour delay in a current race?

We also had some Morimoto tonkotsu ramen packets on the shelf, and even some frozen gyoza! Everything would be fine.

And then it wasn’t.

We were so tired that the ramen didn’t happen. The gyoza did, but it was freezer-burned gyoza from 2017 (if the bag was to be believed). No Japanese beer, but we did have a leftover bottle of yuzu liqueur from my birthday.

So the F1 cookbook menu for Suzuka: rice, freezer-burned gyoza, yuzu liqueur.

Yeah. Not entirely satisfying.

Just like the race.

The Williams team continues to eat chassis like they’re Pocky, and Logan Sargeant* just can’t get enoughhe hit the wall in practice and broke his car’s front wing (this car being the Frankencar Williams has patched together because THEY DON’T HAVE A SPARE CHASSIS)**.

Then there was the crash involving Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon (the other Williams driver). So the Williams car that was theoretically fine for the race got totaled in the first lap, leaving the now Super Franken car (having been patched up again post-practice) with Logan Sargeant as the only Williams entry. So of course Logan decides to drive the car through the gravel on lap 42 (note: we fell asleep between laps 30-45, so I missed the gravel bit).

In the end (because there really was no point to this race), Red Bull finished 1-2 with Max and Checo, and then my hero Carlos Sainz took 3rd. There was some hullabaloo about Yuki Tsunoda scoring points (1 point because he came in 10th place) at his home race. And that was it.

A snor-filled race (metaphorically and literally) and a less than exciting dinner. The yuzu liqueur was still quite good, and Carlos took third, so at least something came of the whole thing.***

Hopefully dinner (and racing) will get back on track with the next race: Shanghai!


*Someone explain to me how Logan Sergeant is still in F1? HOW?!?
**Someone explain to me how a professional racing team does NOT have a spare chassis? WTF?
***All that said, the Japanese fans are amazing and very creative in their support for their favorite teams and drivers. I’m still shaking my head over the Ferrari fans in scarlet red samurai armor and scarlet red horse heads. And that doesn’t even mention the Japan Railways staff dance/martial arts routine before the race started (which sadly, I can’t find any mention of on the internets).

Kangaroos, koalas, and Marmite, oh my!

Melbourne dinner, and so very Aussie

Aussie Aussie Aussie! The third race of the 2024 F1 season took place in Melbourne, Australia, and wow, was it a doozy (race details at the end of the post). And honestly, so was the food!

I researched the “national dish” of Australia, and overwhelmingly, Australians say “roast lamb”. So for a second race in a row, we had lamb (not that I’m complaining). Instead of going “roast,” we went with a slow cooker approach. I will admit I wasn’t entirely sure this was the way to go, but my co-driver (who was doing the cooking, since I was doing the baking) had the final call. Luckily, it was a good call!

What goes with lamb? According to Australians, roasted potatoes (they do like their roasting!), so we had those as a side dish. Then because I have a requirement for a vegetable at meals (preferably green), my co-driver included a side of sauteed green beans (with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper, and knowing my co-driver, probably garlic).

Accompanying this delectable dinner was a lovely bottle of Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz, which I found covered in dust in our pantry (probably having moved with us eight years ago). So Australian wine to go with dinner! I love serendipity.

For dessert, I was deciding between Pavlova, ANZAC biscuits, and Lamingtons, only to discover that Australia and New Zealand argue rather heatedly about who gets to claim origin rights to Pavlova and ANZAC biscuits. However, Lamingtons are definitively Australian, so decision made! Besides, what’s not to love about a fluffy yellow cake square (well, rectangle) rolled in chocolate sauce, then dipped in shredded coconut? Answer: nothing! These were excellent.

There was one more thing I had to try: Marmite. I’d tried Vegemite when I was in London years ago and found it utterly disgusting (sorry, Vegemite-lovers). But after ~30 years, maybe my taste buds have changed? With that thought in mind, and with the discovery that Marmite and Vegemite are NOT the same thing (Marmite was the original, then Vegemite came out as ‘Marmite with vegetables’), and that Marmite is supposedly sweeter than Vegemite, perhaps Marmite might be more to my taste?

Answer: no.

I spread the Marmite on toasted homemade bread and tried it and gave up. It was just too salty for me (which is saying something), and had a funky taste that was familiar, but that I couldn’t name. It turns out that taste was something very similar to tamari, which I generally enjoy, but perhaps not thick on toast. Also, I found out later that a thin schmear of Marmite is the way to go, and may actually be edible (and not my ‘spread it like jam’ attempt).

Live and learn.

So overall, this page of the F1 cookbook was a rousing success. Much like Carlos Sainz’s win!

Race details: Driver Carlos Sainz had to bow out of the previous race (Saudi Arabia) due to appendicitis. Two weeks after his appendectomy, he arrives in Australia looking a little tender. AND YET! The Spaniard ends up qualifying for 2nd place on the grid for the start of the race. Not bad, eh? Things get even better when F1 Wunderkind (and annoying ‘gets all the pole positions, wins all the races’) Max Verstappen had to quit the race on lap 4 because his car was literally on fire (well, the brakes, but still). Spoiler: Carlos wins!

Add to that the fight on the last lap between Fernando Alonso and George Russell–and George deciding to crash his car rather than accept that Alonso is just a better driver than he is (at the age of 42, Alonso is the Old Man of F1 — yay for old age and treachery!). The race marshalls gave Alonso a 20-second penalty for “driving in a potentially dangerous manner” (aka RACING), which bumped him down from a 6th place finish to 8th.

(Side note: George has crashed his car in each of the three races that Carlos has won. Coincidence? Hmm.)

Then there were the mind bogglingly horrific pit stops for the Sauber team. Even Valteri Bottas’s crazy Uber ad couldn’t make up for the Sauber performance. Is Sauber trying to destroy the team before Audi takes over in 2026? Enquiring minds want to know.

Next up: the Suzuka Circuit in Japan! I’m thinking katsu curry, but my co-driver has murmured sushi. Regardless, there will be Japanese beer (Kirin? Sapporo?).

It’s lights out and away we go

Kabsa, tomato-cucumber salad, and Shiraz wine

Jeddah race dinner (well, made after the race)

I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a Formula 1 fan over the past few years, to the point that yes, I pay for the full F1 streaming subscription so I can watch ALL of the race lead-up content* as well as archived races when it isn’t a race weekend**.

So yeah, you could say that F1 has become an obsession for me.

Another obsession fascination of mine is world travel and culture. While I have my passport and desire to see the world, alas time hasn’t necessarily been on my side. So I do a lot of armchair travel, and F1 is great for that. Heck, the 2024 season has 24 races around the world, from the Middle East to North America to Europe to Asia to Latin/South America.

And then I had a thought: what if I learned about the countries where the races are held (hello, Bahrain and Azerbaijan!)? And what if I learned through their food?

Thus my version of an “F1 Cookbook” was born.

Unfortunately, I had this thought after the first race (Bahrain), but not to worry! I vowed to start with Race #2: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A little research informed me that the national dish of Saudi Arabia is Kabsa, a one-pot rice dish with meat, nuts, raisins, and a whole host of warming spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and more). Round that out with “Arab Salad” (standard tomato-cucumber chopped salad) and some baklava and we’re good!

A quick stop at the local Middle Eastern market saw me trundling home with a jar of kabsa spice blend***, basmati rice (brown, which will play into the story), veg (cucumbers, carrots, parsley), a package of pistachio baklava****, and THE BEST RAISINS EVER (seriously).

With the able assistance of my infinitely better half (note: he did the cooking; I did all the sous-cheffing and the tomato-cucumber salad), after, oh, about 5 hours we had ourselves a Dutch oven’s worth of Kabsa, along with a house that delightfully smelled like a Middle Eastern restaurant. There were slight hiccups with the rice: 1) using brown basmati rice increased the cooking time, and 2) mixing up the the burners so that the “medium high” setting ended up under the sauce pan and the “keep it barely noticeably warm” setting ended up under the rice. Thankfully, this was noticed in time before the sauce burned. Everything turned out all right, if slightly delayed.

The final dish was a complex combination of savory and sweet (those raisins packed a punch!), smooth and crunchy (thank you to the oil-toasted nuts), with a little heat and gentle hints of warm desert winds and camel snorts (in a good way). The hot rice dish contrasted nicely with the light and cool chopped tomato-cucumber salad. We enjoyed a lovely Shiraz with it, which accentuated the raisin notes from the Kabsa, and then finished the evening with the pistachio baklava.

It was a sweet ending, much like F2 driver Oliver Bearman’s performance as a last-minute replacement for Carlos Sainz for Ferrari*****. The 18 year-old British kid got one practice session, then placed 11th in qualifying, AND THEN finished 7th in the race, scoring more points in one race (and his first F1 race!) than Haas’s Kevin Magnussen or Williams’ Logan Sargeant****** did in the entire 2023 season.


For an experiment and test of concept, I’d have to say this “F1 Cookbook”concept worked really well, and I’m curious to explore more new dishes.

Next race: Melbourne, Australia (March 24). And no, there will be no ‘shrimp on the barbie’.


*The preview of the weekend show, all of the practice sessions, preview of the qualifying session, then the qualifying session, then the post-qualifying session review, the pre-race show, the actual race, then the post-race show. Yes, it does take up the entire weekend.

**I started with the 2007 season, and have watched every race up through 2014 Austria as of last weekend (because there was no 2024 race to watch).

***Because I’m lazy at heart, and trying to find all of the spices to make my own mix, including dried black lime, would have been incredibly time-consuming.

****Again, see comment about my laziness because I was not going to make baklava myself this time.

*****What is it with F1 drivers and appendicitis?

******Will someone PLEASE tell me why Sargeant is still in F1? WHY???

“Read an eBook Week” Smashwords sale

Read an eBook Week at Smashwords Mar. 3-9, 2024Heads up: to celebrate “Read an eBook Week” Smashwords has a massive sitewide sale now through March 9, 2024. And my books are all FREE (or 100% off, whichever sounds better to you) through the week.

This includes older titles as well as my most recent release, Second Chances.

You can see all of my Smashwords-available titles here.


“Second Chances” now available!

It’s really weird to realize that the last time I published a book it was, oh, almost EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO.

I apologize for the shouting.

Life went sideways last year. Actually, it went M.C. Escher-ways. And despite my best intentions (like publishing a book a month), that didn’t happen.

However, I did discover a deep and abiding respect for taking a time out for self-care.

But it’s a new year, and life seems to have settled down to a relatively drama-free state (for now), so I’ve been able to get back into the publishing saddle* at last.

Second Chances is a collection of the “Relics of a Future Past” books, all in one convenient volume. That in itself is pretty cool. Even cooler was the assist from AI for the jacket copy. Check this out:

Get ready for a thrilling ride through time and space in Andi Winter’s Relics of a Future Past Series.

An inventive series that defies genre classification, these books offer an engaging mix of science fiction, action-adventure, and contemporary fantasy all set in the breathtaking landscape of the Pacific Northwest.

This collection includes two novellas and one full-length novel: Memories of a Future Past, A Kiss in Time, and Spring Comes Twice.


What if your daydreams were actually memories of a future that has yet to come? College student Riah LaPorte is forced to confront this possibility when she meets an old man who claims to be her husband from the future. But as she embarks on a dangerous mission to save him, Riah begins to question everything she thought she knew about her past, present, and future.


To confess his love, cartoonist Michael Loca will do anything—even travel to an alternate dimension. But when he meets his love there, he realizes that his traveling may have far-reaching consequences, and that he might not make it home. Can he find a way back, and what ripples will he face if he succeeds?


When tech billionaire Eben Williams loses his fiancée in a tragic accident, he becomes obsessed with bringing her back to life. But when old friends ask for his help with a secret device that resurrects the dead, he uncovers shocking secrets and must make a difficult decision that will change everything.

“I highly recommend Andi Winter’s books. They are fun, quick reads that are a treat to experience. I can’t wait to start the next one.” —Amazon review

For what it’s worth, the Amazon review is a genuine review. No AI involved there.**

I gave the AI my original text for the jacket, and it came out with what you see above (well, minus the correct character names and with some incorrect plot points). My jaw fell when I saw the AI version. Heck, maybe there actually is something to this AI thing?

That said, I have no plans to use AI for story development or writing — that’s all me. But for marketing? There may be a place for it.

Second Chances is available in paperback and e-book versions at most online retailers. AI seemed to think it would appeal to readers of Ready Player One and Dark Matter. I’m not sure about RPO, but there may be something to Dark Matter. I have it on my nightstand to read, and I’ll let you know.


*I’ve been bingeing Yellowstone. It seems to be influencing my thought process lately, for probably worse.

**As far as I know, all of my readers are human. At least at this point.

“Free Spirits” now available!

cover of "Free Spirits"I spent most of my time the last two years writing, and realized that perhaps I should focus a little more on getting my writing out into the world.

And seeing as how I am a fan of challenges (National Novel Writing Month, a Story a Week, just to name a few), I thought that maybe what I needed was a publishing challenge.

While my initial goal was to publish a book a month in 2023, I’m running slightly behind on that. But that’s okay! I figure that if I manage to publish more than four books this year, I’ll be doing really well. One of those ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’ ideas.

So the first book of 2023 is Free Spirits. It is a collection of five fantasy stories involving angels, demons, and ghosts, previously published separately but brought together here in one volume. The stories range from contemporary fantasy-romance to alternative Wild West, to darkly comic urban fantasy. It’s kind of a smorgasbord of my fantasy writing, but with less herring and more paranormal beings.*

Free Spirits is available in e-book and paperback versions at most online retailers. Check it out for more escapist fiction with angels, demons, and ghosts (and a mad baker).


*That’s not to imply that herring are less paranormal as a rule. That description would be better put to lutefisk. Although the more I think about that, the more I would argue that lutefisk is actually fairly demonic in nature.

“How to Get Your Mojo Back” now available!

cover of How to Get Your Mojo BackOne of the incredible, surprising, wonderful things to come out of the pandemic* was the “Short Story a Week” writing challenge I had with a fellow writer. Over the course of eighteen months, I wrote 57 short stories (including nine novellas** and most of a novel), which was a wonderful way to escape reality and at the same time feel like I was accomplishing something.

After 18 months of writing a story a week, I was convinced that I had a neverending Font (fount?) of Creativity. A fire hose of innovation that could not be quenched. A veritable endless supply of ideas, and the energy to bring them forth into the world.

And then I hit The Wall.

All of my energy was shot, ideas refused to bubble up, and I found myself in the Desert of the Real.*** Suddenly the fun and joy of writing became a torturous slog. Totally Un-fun.

Which was when I knew I had to do something.

So in a quest to recover my mojo, I researched. I read books, listened to podcasts, scanned the internet**** and used myself as a guinea pig to test the theories and activities I came across. Some worked, some didn’t.

Throughout it all, I found a path that worked for me. And I figured that if it could work for me, maybe it could work for others. (Besides, there was SCIENCE behind many of the concepts I was working with. Science is good stuff.)

So what came of all that research and testing and experimenting was “How to Get Your Mojo Back”.

I wrote it for writers as part of my Mojo Writers Guides, but the core of it applies to all creative types (which means most people). The book covers the physical, mental, and emotional blocks to creativity, and how to find your way (back) to the Road of Creativity (aka Life).

Like the other Mojo Writers Guides, I wrote it for me because these were the words I needed to hear, to remind myself of. And I hope it helps others with similar struggles.

You can find “How to Get Your Mojo Back” at most online retailers.

(Did I mention that it’s snarky and loving and filled with sci-fi and fantasy references? So, pretty much a normal Andi Winter book, albeit non-fiction.)


*There were a lot of horrible things that came about as a result of the pandemic, but let’s shine a light on some of the good things. Because we could all use a reminder.

**Although some would argue that anything less than a 90,000 word novel is a “short story” (ahem, George R.R. Martin), generally accepted descriptions for assorted length fiction go like this:

1-1,000 words = flash fiction
1,000-7,500 words = short story
7,500-17,500 words = novelette (doesn’t that just sound cute?)
17,500-40,000 words = novella
40,000+ words = novel

***The Matrix, anyone? But without the ‘tastes like chicken’ goupy meals. Thankfully.

****Did you know there is a lot of information on the Internet? And that some of it isn’t exactly accurate? But oh my goodness—those silly cat videos are simply delightful!

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