Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak (VBT, guest post and GIVEAWAY) GFT




It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author Mark Spivak, who shares a little of his writing life.




MS:  I go to sleep early and wake up naturally around 4 or 4:30 a.m. In my youth I spent a number of years in the restaurant business, at which time the pattern was reversed---back then, I’d probably be going to bed around 4 a.m. The current schedule works really well for me, since I find the early morning hours are the best time to work. My wife is still asleep, and there are no distractions. I still do a fair amount of journalism, so around 9 a.m. the email starts and generally doesn’t stop.

Basically, I’m working on and off from the time I get up until around 5 p.m., although the workday isn’t consecutive. I have the luxury of taking breaks, whether they’re for meals, shopping or working out, but I’m mentally focused on my current project(s) during that period. To tell the truth, I’m mentally focused on my current project(s) for all my waking hours, whether I’m actually working on them or not.

When a writer is working other jobs and struggling to become 100% freelance, he/she usually fantasizes about what the life would be like. Ironically, it turns out to be not very different from a regular job at all: at some point you have to get to your desk and stay there for 6-8 hours each day, even if the work sessions are intermittent. The key difference, of course, is that you’re doing what you really want to do and love to do.

It turns out that the parts of the day when you’re not actually working are frequently the most useful and productive. Daydreaming is a key part of being a writer. I find that thinking about my current plot and characters right before I go to sleep is an important part of the process.

We don’t have a land line at home, and I no longer own a smart phone. I pay no attention to my cell phone at all---the ringer is permanently off, and I might check it once or twice a day to see if anyone has called. I don’t send or receive text messages. I believe that it’s crucial to carve out a mental space that exists solely for the incubation of your plot, characters and fantasies. It’s hard to do that if you’re staring at a phone all day long, and if you work on a computer, as I do, you’ll have more than enough temptations and distractions.


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by Mark Spivak


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GENRE: Thriller (Culinary)

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BLURB:

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.




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EXCERPT


He perused Chateau de la Mer’s large and mostly incomprehensible menu. Changed every few weeks, handwritten in Avenzano’s elaborate cursive before being photocopied, it closely resembled an annotated Medieval manuscript. Finally, he acceded to the staff’s offer to prepare a tasting menu for him, accompanied by the appropriate wines.

He was presented with a sculpture of dried vegetables in the shape of a bird’s nest, filled with a combination of wild mushrooms and chopped truffles, bathed in an intensely reduced demi-glaze. The carrots, zucchini and peppers had been cut into paper-thin strips, intertwined and allowed to dry, yet retained a surprising intensity of flavor.

He consumed a dish of tomato, basil and egg noodles, bathed in a light cream sauce, perfumed with fresh sage and studded with veal sweetbreads.

He ate an astonishing dish of butter-poached lobster, remarkably sweet and perfectly underdone, flavored with sweet English peas and garnished with a ring of authentic Genoese pesto.

He was served a slice of Avenzano’s signature Bedouin-stuffed poussin---a turkey stuffed with a goose, in turn stuffed with a duckling, in turn stuffed with a poussin, or baby chicken, with a core of truffled foie gras at its center, covered with an Etruscan sauce of chopped capers, raisins and pine nuts. This dish had been the source of much controversy over the years, since it bore a close resemblance to a Louisiana terducken. It predated the terducken, however, and was supposedly inspired by a creation first served to the French royal court. For good measure, Avenzano had added influences from the cuisine of the Middle East.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.




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GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here

32 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog today. I look forward to interacting with your readers throughout the day.

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    1. My apologies for the late welcome, Mark. I need to learn how to be more productive but I fear that I would never get used to being up at such an early hour, lol. Thank you so much for interacting with my visitors and good luck on the tour!

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  2. Good morning! I am appreciate of you giving us the opportunity to win this giveaway, thank you

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  3. If you could only look at one view for the rest of eternity, what or where would you like to be to see this view?

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    1. Another one of your great questions, Mai. Thanks for coming by and giving us a chance to find out more about the author!

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  4. Looks like an interesting book ;)

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    1. Glad you think so, Simon. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  5. Mai: On the beach at Kangaroo Island, Australia, looking out over the ocean toward the South Pole.

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  6. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to visit and ask a question, Peggy!

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  7. As noted in the post, I think it's crucial to carve our a mental space that serves as a fantasy zone for your current and future projects. The more you focus on that, the less distracted you become---when you do sit gown to write, it will simply be an extension of everything that goes on in that zone.

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  8. Distraction is such an insidious part of life, so this is good advice!

    --Trix

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    1. Very true, Trix. Thanks for popping in!

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  9. Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed it.

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    1. Good to hear, Rita. Thanks for the visit!

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    1. Happy you think so, Betul. Thanks for dropping by!

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  11. Great excerpt, sounds like a good book! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Happy to share, Victoria. Thanks for taking the time to drop in!

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  12. Fascinating excerpt. Really sounded great.

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    1. Excellent, Jane. Great to see you!

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  13. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are welcome, Dawn. Thank you for coming by!

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  14. I really enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

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    1. Great to hear, Ally. Thanks for the visit!

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  15. 4 am is just crazy. Interesting post thank you.

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    1. Ah, but I bet there are far fewer distractions, Mary! Thanks for popping in!

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  16. Sounds like a great read, hope I'll have a chance to read it soon!

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  17. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to reading this book!

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