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PUYB Blog Tour: The Sexiest Drink on Earth by Mark Spivak

The Sexiest Drink on Earth

By Mark Spivak

How did a something that tastes like castor oil flavored with tree bark become the sexiest drink on earth?

Iconic SpiritsGaspare Campari invented his famous potion in 1860 by infusing sixty herbs, spices, barks and fruit peels in a mixture of alcohol and distilled water. It became a sensation, and Campari turned into an entrepreneur. There’s only one problem: Campari is bitter, and human beings have taste receptors for bitterness that function as an early warning system, alerting us that we are about to consume something that might be toxic or poisonous.

Imagine the dilemma for your brain as you take a sip of cold, refreshing Campari and soda. Part of your mind is saying, “Don’t drink this—it might kill you!” In another sector of your cranium, though, the drink is perceived to be sophisticated and desirable. Given that more than 27 million bottles of Campari are sold each year, the brain has obviously found a way to disregard the potential dangers of bitterness. In researching my book, Iconic spirits: An Intoxicating History, I spoke to scientists doing research on the physiology of taste, and they all had a theory on how this conflict was resolved.

More importantly, though, how did Campari come to be regarded as the sexiest drink on earth?

The shimmering red potion may be infused with dozens of herbs and spices, but the advertising images have always contained a strong dose of forbidden fruit. In its marketing materials, the company describes Campari as a “symbol of passion” and goes on to say that this passion “expresses itself in terms of seduction, seduction and transgression…”

The famous 1920 poster by Marcello Dudovich is a good example. Two lovers are locked in an embrace that can only be described as smoldering, balanced precariously on the edge of a sofa and enhanced by a background of soft crimson light. Two glasses, one half-filled with Campari, sit on a nearby table. The woman’s hand rests on the man’s cheek in a classic gesture, pushing him away and embracing him at the same time.

In 1998 Campari began working with the celebrated Indian director Tarsem, who created the series of “Red Passion” ads. The campaign was the first in Italy to present female homosexuality in a straightforward yet compelling way; from there it went on to target other social norms. In a 2005 commercial, a man stands at the bar during a reception when he spots a tall, beautiful woman on the other side of the room. They exchange looks. The man obtains a Campari on the rocks from the bartender and follows the woman to a secludedpart of the building. His hand slips as he approaches her, and hesplashes Campari on her dress and cleavage. Slowly and tantalizingly, the woman removes her top and reveals herself to be a man. The man then takes off his shirt to display his bra and the fact that he’s actually a woman. The ad blends mystery and intrigue, explores repressed desires, and blurs the lines of gender identity—all in sixty seconds.

So relax and enjoy a cocktail made with Campari, whether it’s a Negroni, Americano, Garibaldi (Campari and orange juice) or a classic Campari and soda—but make sure that someone you care about is there to enjoy it with you.

Mark Spivak smMark 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 since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.His latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.

Visit Mark’s website at http://www.iconicspirits.net.

Become a fan of Mark Spivak at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3

Pick up your copy of Iconic Spirits at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Iconic-Spirits-Intoxicating-Mark-Spivak/dp/0762779268/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344434224&sr=1-1&keywords=iconic+spirits

Character Interview: Jasmin “Psycho” Kramer from Richard Blunt’s fantasy novel ‘Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic”

We’re thrilled to have here today Jasmin “Psycho” Kramer from Richard Blunt’s fantasy novel, Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic,. Jasmin is a 20 year old Administrator living in Dunstable, England.

It is a pleasure to have Jasmin with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Jasmin.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Grand Theft MagicIn a book like this it’s hard to be portrait fairly. Unless of course your name is Lucas Trent. *laughs* I think everyone from the “Mages of the round fireplace” would have loved to get more frontline attention, but I guess my time will come when Lucas finally gets to interact a bit more with some girls. Our beloved author tries to dodge that bullet pretty rigorously, but he can’t do that forever.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, I definitely feel that my personality is colorful enough. The problem only is that Lucas is so bad in reading personalities… And mostly this story is written from his point of view, so his misreads are what you see as well. But under the wraps I think I am doing OK. And it might even be an advantage that nobody really knows who I am.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My tits of course. Nobody has bigger ones or better formed ones in the entire story. Oh, sorry, you were asking for traits, not trademarks… *grins* Well, seriously, I am the Psycho, so I am the one who deals with human emotions. I think my strongest trait is my capability to calm everyone down. Although… Is this a trait? Or is this part of my magic? Damn…

Worse trait?

I talk too much. But I think you can tell that by now, can’t you?

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I think Richard once said that the perfect fit for me would be Katherine Hicks. Don’t know why he said that, I don’t even know who that is. I would call for Bonnie Wright. Although… She might need some graphics editing to fit…

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yeah, but only a very short one. And I think it’s only there because Richard wanted to annoy me. How could I fall for such a dickhead in the first place?

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I don’t get nervous. Ever. Well… Except when I am in a hospital. But that’s another story.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

That would for sure be Cedric Mason. The others might not have noticed it yet, but deep down he is pretty evil… And while that might have turned out to be an advantage for us so far I would never want to be like that.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I feel great about it. I am a little afraid though… I know that there is a fourth part coming up, and knowing the ending of this one I am not sure if I will like the next one.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Richard, next time you better give me the central role. Otherwise I will make your life miserable.

Thank you for this interview, Jasmin.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I don’t think Richard will let me roam freely again after what I just said, but let’s see.

 

Publishing under a pen name to keep his personal life separate from his writing life, Richard Blunt was raised in the heart of Europe, in a nation where English is not the native language. Like his heroes, Richard blunt is nothing more than a shadow – a specter that whispers a story for everyone to hear.

His latest book is Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic.

You can visit his website at http://www.lucastrent.com/ and his blog at http://richardblunt.blogspot.com/.

After a field trip suddenly turns into a near catastrophe Lucas and the others shift into high gear to avenge their injured friend. But when an unexpected foe arrives at the scene they quickly find themselves in a life or death situation that not even their extraordinary skills can solve. Realizing that they have bitten off more than they can chew Lucas desperately starts looking for trustworthy allies, just to find out once again that things are never as easy as they appear at first.

Can they survive the battles at hand? Will they be able to tell friend from foe? Or will the epic quest they have stumbled into be too much for them to handle?

Follow Lucas Trent and his friends through an action-paced story of mysteries, secrets and deceptions and find out…

 

Character Interview: Dev Haskell from Mike Faricy’s crime fiction ‘Bombshell’

We’re thrilled to have here today Dev Haskell from Mike Faricy’s new crime fiction novel, Bombshell.  Dev is a thirty-something Private Investigator living in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It is a pleasure to have Dev with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so much for this interview, Dev.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

First off, thank you for having me, it’s a real pleasure. Yes, I guess I was fairly portrayed, more or less, I mean it is what happened. I would like to set the record straight on a couple of matters. On those assault charges, everything was dropped so technically that’s no longer an issue. Of course I shouldn’t be blamed for the night my date Heidi Bauer was deliberately over served I mean it really wasn’t my fault. After all she’s an adult. What? Oh yeah, sorry, didn’t mean to cut you off, but I know the way Faricy wrote the book I sort of goof things up and a woman saves the day, okay not just one woman, Heidi in one part. Yeah, I suppose Linh Trang in another and maybe Justine saves the day, too, now that I think about it. Come to think about it, they all did their bit, but I was the guy hired to protect that team of English roller derby girls. I know things didn’t quite work out that way, maybe a few surprises, but I’m only human. You know just maybe I’m not the screw up Faricy made me out to be. Ask any of those women, I can be fun, I like to party, we can go out and I’ll get up the next morning and go get caramel rolls for breakfast. I’m sensitive and caring… sort of, I think.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Did he do a good job? Yeah, sure, what’s not to like about me. Although now that you mention it, I’m not so sure I liked the part where Linh looked at my outfit, my favorite golf shirt with the Jameson logo by the way and Faricy writes ‘Linh made a mental note.’ Come on I was dressed for comfortable, besides I know he really wants a golf shirt just like that. Then that part where Heidi asks me, ‘Is that what you’re wearing?’ I suppose Mr. Dull the author would have preferred me in a suit and tie. I’m not so sure he had to go into my failings, the scene where I’m hauled up on assault charges by that rent-a-cop at the Veterans Auditorium; did he have to make that public? I was thinking maybe I could have just lined the suspects up and picked the one who was twitching, then again I suppose that would have made a pretty short story. I’ve been lobbying to get a new car, maybe a Jaguar or a Mercedes 640, he didn’t seem too hot on that idea. I guess the good news is he gave me a couple of dates with some very nice ladies and well you’ll just have to read to find out the rest.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Tough to say I have so many, the way things seem to go it would have to be my sense of humor. Faricy and I talked about this over a couple of beers down at The Spot bar. He’s not that bad if you get him one on one. I told him I could see myself as a sort of a muscular Special Forces type, speak six or seven languages a Jason Bourne sort of guy and of course sensitive and caring, the ladies like that. He said he wanted someone believable, maybe a little earthy. He gets into all that realistic stuff with flawed characters and believable individuals. Hey look, I just want to have some fun. I took that Bombshell gig because I figured how tough could it be doing security for a bunch of girls from England in town for two days? I might have misjudged things a little… Okay, okay, a lot. My strongest trait seems to be at heart I’m a pretty nice guy. I make some mistakes, I guess we all do. But I would never intentionally hurt someone. I’ve seen enough bad in life not to do that intentionally. Unless the guys a real jerk, hopefully then I’d just have the good sense to walk away.

Worse trait?

Me? Gee that’s really tough. I guess sometimes I tip too much. Oh yeah, I have a tendency to misjudge and maybe jump to the wrong conclusion on the very rare occasion. Well yeah, I guess I occasionally put the beer goggles on, you know thinking someone is just right for me and well, maybe we shouldn’t go there just now.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Can’t say myself? Too bad, I’d be almost perfect. Maybe Matt Damon, of course we’re back to Jason Bourne and I already mentioned Faricy won’t listen to reason. Matthew McConaughey or Ben Affleck, maybe, but maybe not. Arnold’s getting way up there and I don’t have a German accent so he’s out. Bieber’s way too young and I don’t really have Bieber fever anyway. If you could somehow mix Jeremy Renner with Daniel Craig, give the guy dark hair like me, of course my usual charm, maybe John Travolta’s dance moves that would probably do it.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In Bombshell? I think I have a love interest in just about every chapter. Let’s see; Carol, Justine, Heidi, not Fiona, Heidi again, Linh of course. I like the ladies but, well, I think they’re looking for a little more than I’m able to give just now. I’ve known a lot of really great girls, I don’t know, they always seem to throw up there hands and eventually change their phone number or block my calls. I hear this ‘Don’t ever call me again, ever!’ stuff. Heidi put’s up with me, and Sunny Einer too, although I’ve never been romantic with Sunny.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Maybe page two, things start to not go my way right then and there. Of course I meet Justine on page one and that works pretty well, for a while any way. I still get goose bumps thinking about the interrogation at the Veteran’s Auditorium. It’s hard not to shudder remembering the SWAT team incident. Things weren’t really working our way when I was trying to get Heidi back safe and sound. Of course the whole scene in the hotel room, I don’t know, why does Faricy continue to do these things to me? You ask me, I think the guy has a lot of issues for an author. I suggest picking up a copy of Bombshell and see for yourself if you don’t agree with me.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Not even a contest, the city’s crabbiest police detective, Norris Manning. The guy is bald, perpetually mad at someone, usually me. He’s over worked, stressed out, probably under paid and hates me. You know how many times I’ve bought that guy coffee? He never offers to pay. Ever see him chew that gum? The guy is nuts. Things never seem to be good enough for him and he’s always trying to play things straight by the book. Come on, stray a little bit, bend the rules, have some fun, man. Course he won’t. But at the end of the day, he’s not that bad a guy, like I said over worked, under paid. No, I wouldn’t want to be Detective Norris Manning.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Bombshell’s ending is fantastic. Let’s just say it’s sort of like a second ending, out of no where, a real surprise. Things seem to be all wrapped up, but there’s still some pages left, no it’s not a cross word puzzle back there. See, I meet this cute little police woman, Linh Trang and, oh yeah sorry, don’t give it away. Let me just say Faricy did a pretty decent job with the whole deal, and no one got hurt, especially me. Of course Detective Norris Manning gets mad, surprise, surprise.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

If he decided? He’s already writing it. The title is Tutti Frutti, due out toward the end of 2012. Yeah I know, I can’t figure out where he came up with the title either, but he won’t listen. Well, actually I do know, but if I told you I’d have to kill you, just kidding. Words of wisdom, let’s see I’d tell him to give me a sports car, plenty of money in the bank, maybe a helicopter, but then, that’s not how life really works is it? And one thing about Mike Faricy’s books, they’re closer to the truth then maybe you or I really want to know.

Thank you for this interview, Dev. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You bet you will. You can check out my face book page for starters, while you’re there give me a like, please. Of course I’m down at the Spot Bar most nights for at least one. Oh and check me out in Mike Faricy’s other books, I’m in at least four. Like I said, his next book with me is Tutti Frutti, I know, I know, I already tried, but he won’t change his mind on the title. Anyway, it’s due out before the first of the year. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Bombshell and then tell two to three hundred of your closest friends what a great read it is.

Hey, thanks for the time, I really enjoyed the interview. You know, I hope I’m not being too forward, but I’m finding you very interesting. I can do a pretty mean steak and I happen to have two marinating at home as we speak. Do you like Cosmopolitan’s?

Mike-FaricyMike Faricy is the award winning author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and even some romance. He and his wife live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland.

His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples as they do warnings to the rest of us. None of his characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.

All of his books are stand alone, read them in any order you wish. Russian Roulette introduces the bizarrely devilish Devlin Haskell as a PI with a foot on both sides of the law. Dev’s adventures continue in Mr. Softee and the soon to be released Bite Me. Mike is currently working on his latest top secret project. He graduated High School from St. Thomas Academy and earned a BA in history from St. Norbert College.

His latest book is the crime fiction, Bombshell.

Connect with Mike: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Bombshell: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BombshellDysfunctional, bumbling, crazy babe-magnet Dev Haskell, P.I., becomes the envy of every guy with a heartbeat when he’s hired to watch over a team of gorgeous English roller derby stars. Though he’d rather be standing guard in the shower room, he suddenly finds himself under arrest and found guilty before he’s even charged. He’s got an attorney who drinks too much, a beautiful woman with a bad attitude, a feisty team of females ready to kill him – and no answers. Bombshell is another fast paced, engrossing suspense thriller from Minnesota’s master of the bizarre, Mike Faricy.

Interview with Mike Faricy, author of ‘Bombshell’

Mike-FaricyMike Faricy is the award winning author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and even some romance. He and his wife live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland.

His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples as they do warnings to the rest of us. None of his characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.

All of his books are stand alone, read them in any order you wish. Russian Roulette introduces the bizarrely devilish Devlin Haskell as a PI with a foot on both sides of the law. Dev’s adventures continue in Mr. Softee and the soon to be released Bite Me. Mike is currently working on his latest top secret project. He graduated High School from St. Thomas Academy and earned a BA in history from St. Norbert College.

His latest book is the crime fiction, Bombshell.

Connect with Mike: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Bombshell: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BombshellQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mike.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

First off, thanks for having me, it’s great to be here. I’m multi published, my most recent release Bombshell is my tenth book. All my books are indie published. Bombshell is the fourth in my series featuring Dev Haskell, Private Investigator.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

All my books are self published. I attempted to get the attention of traditional publishers and I think I led the league in rejections from every publishing house in North America. When you submit a book you typically don’t send the manuscript or even the first three chapters. You send a query letter. The query letter is one page consisting of three paragraphs. The first two paragraphs describe your work, some character detail and the plot of your soon to be award winning tale. The third paragraph consists of a sentence or two about your wonderful self. This is mailed with a desperate prayer and a self addressed stamped envelope so the publisher doesn’t have to pay to tell you no.

Typically I would mail out fifty or sixty query letters on a work. In return I would receive a form letter, often just a 4 x 5 index card printed with some sort of polite rejection line and no signature. After submitting three or four books over the course of some years I was drowning in rejections. One day I had one of my query letters returned. I’d mailed it to one of the big six publishers in New York, it was stamped crookedly across the front in purple ink ‘Return to Sender’. On the back of my unopened envelope was a hand written note that read; “This does not fit our needs at this time”. They never even bothered to open the envelope and read my query letter. I suppose I should have been thankful some poor fool took the time to hand write a note.

A dim light suddenly went on in my thick skull; Mike Faricy from St. Paul, Minnesota doesn’t have a snowball’s chance with these guys. The difference is, in today’s world there’s a side gate into the publishing yard, it’s called eBooks and self publishing. I haven’t looked back since and I still have that unopened envelope.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I didn’t sign a contract, I self publish, but it took a few years to get to the point where I realized self publishing was and is a viable option. Not only is it viable, I think it’s the only way to go. Would I talk to Random House or Penguin if they called? You bet. I’d crawl across a busy street on my hands and knees to get to them. But I would be able to sit down and do a pretty cold comparison. I talked with a publishing house a while back, they told me if they accepted my manuscript that very day it would be twelve to eighteen months before the thing would be an ink on paper book or an eBook, and then all the promotion would be up to me at my expense. They would hold all the rights to the work and I would gross fifteen percent. Really? You have to be kidding, it sounds like slave labor. That’s a business model that simply is not viable today. I have fans all over the world able to download my eBooks. If they don’t have an Ereader they can order a print on demand copy that is shipped to them in twenty-four hours. I don’t have to warehouse anything. I don’t have to pay for a large print run. I can make a change to my format or fix a missed typo in minutes from the comfort of my desk. Twelve to eighteen months on a completed, edited manuscript in today’s market is simply not of benefit to me. It’s truly amazing the possibilities that exist today for authors.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was really proud of the fact, win, lose or draw, it was out there. We, my wife and I, didn’t tell anybody for a couple of days. I had a website going up at the same time as my first book, Russian Roulette, was released. We had my siblings and my mom over for Strawberry shortcake and some wine on a Friday night. My laptop displaying my new website was centered on the dining room table. I gift wrapped an autographed copy of my book for everyone. About a week later my mom was on line showing my website to a friend and Googled my name. A romance writer out of Colorado, Deb Stover had used my name as the romantic hero in one of her books in about 1997, she didn’t know me. Anyway, my mom lands on an article posted on Google comparing the hero with my name to the likes of Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson. By this time Mel Gibson was having some pretty serious marital problems. So, I get the phone call telling me “It’s all over the internet. You are being compared to Mel Gibson. You have to do something about this.” Yeah right, let me stop everything and I’ll just call Google and tell them to make a correction. I contacted Deb Stover via face book and told her about the phone call. We both had a great laugh. We periodically check in to see how one another are doing. I’m not sure my mom has recovered yet.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I’m usually pretty organized, but I wasn’t on my first release. Once it was up on Amazon I probably checked a half dozen times that first day to see how many books had been sold. It dawned on me that you could have a Pulitzer worthy work out there, but if no one knows about it, well? So I began to slowly contact and learn my way around the promotion trail. It’s very easy to become a pest on social media. A lot of people use social media to contact friends, comment, and perhaps support a special cause. They don’t necessarily want to hear from me and a million other writers that we’re offering our third in the series of Cat’s Who Solve Mysteries for half off during the next forty-five minutes and if you just click this link then leave your phone number and home address you might win an autographed copy with a lipstick kiss.

I think what I learned is that the process is basically slow, methodical and has to be built. Occasionally there are exceptions that seem to explode on the scene, maybe Fifty Shades, Hunger Games or the Da Vinci Code, but those are the exception rather than the rule. My experience is slow and steady wins the race. Today we have an opportunity to interact with readers, learn what they like or God forbid, don’t like and then possibly adjust. I had comments from two women on one of my books, the first emailed and said; “I’m just not sure about some of your sexual intonation.” The second said; “One hundred and thirty-five pages and this is all the sex I get?!” That suggested to me I was just about where I needed to be.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve become much more disciplined, you simply have to be if you’re really serious there simply is not enough time in the day. I write every day and at base writing is a solitary endeavor. You have to sit there and tap keys and while doing that I can’t really interact. My television has virtually been off for a couple of years, not really a complaint. I do not have that additional hour or two to watch whatever I would like. When I’m not writing I read, constantly. I read for enjoyment, but I’m also analyzing style, structure, character development, and plot. I carry a notebook with me at all times and jot down something that strikes me. It might be a story, maybe just one line, perhaps a name or something that grabs my attention. When we go for walks my wife will say something like, “You’re a bit quiet.” Of course I reply with some line about how my guy is tied to an office chair hanging out a fifth story window by a phone cord with a hungry squirrel gnawing on the cord… She usually picks up her pace and leaves me in the dust.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The industry as a whole is really in a state of turmoil. This seems to be a version of what the music industry went through a few years back when suddenly there were other options besides just having to pay $18 for a CD. I came out of the lithographic trades a million years ago. We had highly trained and skilled people make very expensive changes to a magazine ad or the image of a model in a catalog. Clients paid a lot of money to get just the right shadow definition, match a color or whatever. We employed hundreds of thousands of people in an industry that for all practical purposes does not exist today. The task that not so long ago took us two or three days and one thousand dollars to complete can now be accomplished by a ten year old in twenty minutes using Photoshop.

I’m not sure the traditional publishing industry as a whole has gotten the message yet, they seem to be circling the wagons. They’re telling me 12-18 months before my book is made into ink on paper? They have eternal rights to my work, even after my death and oh by the way, they’ll pay me 15% twice a year and can’t afford to give me a promo budget. That is just not the world we live in. I’m self published and I’m blessed to have great fans. None of that could have happened as recently as five years ago. The fact that someone can download one of my books at two in the morning in about forty-five seconds while they’re in bed or order a print on demand book at a competitive price, with a full color front and back cover and it’s delivered the next day is nothing short of amazing. I’m not sure a traditional publisher would be able to bring that much to the table; still I’d certainly listen to what they had to say.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I love what I do. It’s a labor of love, that should be capitol ‘L’ on both words, but I’m very lucky. My teachers would probably say I’ve always been a good liar and now it would seem I get to do it for a living. I’m able to meet really nice, wonderful people from all over the world. I hopefully bring some joy and entertainment into their lives with my books, maybe even the occasional laugh out loud moment. What’s not to like?

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Follow that dream. Sit down and start tapping keys. You don’t have to write a thousand pages, maybe do a short story or a novella. But start. I run into a lot of people who say they’re going to write a book or should write a book. But only a handful sit down and actually begin the process, even fewer finish. Most of those folks wouldn’t think about an editing process. Write just one page today. Write a second page tomorrow, but begin and then stay at it. Make it as perfect as possible, that means edit and re-edit so many times you lose count. Gee, I’m sounding dull even to me, but it’s what you have to do. Many thanks for having me, I hope you’ll have me back. Best of luck to everyone. I hope you enjoy Bombshell, please don’t forget to tell two to three hundred of your closest friends.

Character Interview: Samuel Roberts from Scott A. Lerner, Paranormal Suspense Thriller, Cocaine Zombies

We’re thrilled to have here today Samuel Roberts from Scott A. Lerner’s new paranormal suspense thriller, Cocaine Zombies.

Sam is in his thirties and is an attorney living in Urbana, Illinois.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Mr. Roberts. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Let’s face it; the story is pretty incredible. If I didn’t live it I wouldn’t believe it. Yet, the world is bigger than we pretend it is. It offers us both wonderful nightmarish things. I feel I was fairly portrayed most of the time. Although, I wasn’t really as scared as the author makes me out to be. I also never cried during Finding Nemo. Wait! Never mind, the author never said that.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

He could have made me profound and handsome. It would have been a lie but it would probable increase my chances of getting a date. Don’t tell Susan I said that. Could we erase that bit?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I do what I need to do even if I am afraid.

Worst trait?

Sometimes I am afraid.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

That’s tough. Johnny Depp would be good. Daniel Craig, too. Either would work.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Her name is Susan. We have been friends for a long time. It practically took a club to the head to realize we were more than that.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Finding a severed head on the shelf above your crisper bin has a way of changing one’s perspective. Although, “nervous” may not the right word. Perhaps scared to death would be better. I kind of assumed things would not turn out well at that point.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Thomas Traver. I would like to avoid being gutted and beheaded. I am not fond of severe pain. I prefer to avoid pain, period. I don’t even like to go to the dentist.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Tremendous. Let’s just say there is a sequel coming out called Ruler of Demons. I am in the sequel, which means that the ending turned out better than I deserved. Yet, as in all things, the world is not safe. The world may never be safe but at least it is still around.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I may sound like a psychic but he already did. Although, I have not read it yet. I would suggest he make me better looking, smarter and richer. I know he won’t, though. He feels my character should reflect a real person and not some Hollywood version of what a hero should be. If a movie is made I bet he would reject the whole Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig thing.

Thank you for this interview, Sam.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

As I mentioned earlier in the interview Ruler of Demons should be coming out soon. I often wonder if I am cursed. I eat my vegetables and I am kind to animals. Why is everyone trying to kill me? Sorry I don’t mean to complain. I would like to thank you for this interview. After all everyone interviews the author. All he does is sit on his rear end typing while I actually put my butt on the line. Who knows, maybe we could all get together and talk about Ruler of Demons—if I survive it.

Author and attorney Scott A. Lerner resides in Champaign, Illinois. He obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and went on to obtain his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. He is currently a sole practitioner in Champaign, Illinois. The majority of his law practice focuses on the fields of Criminal law and Family Law. Mr. Lerner lives with his wife, their two children, and their cat Fern. Lerner collects unusual antiques and enjoys gardening, traveling, reading fiction and going to the movies. Cocaine Zombies is his first published novel. Coming soon, the sequel: Ruler of Demons.

You can find Scott online at scottlerner.camelpress.com.

Samuel Roberts, a small-town lawyer in Urbana, Illinois, is contacted by a prospective client accused of selling cocaine. Nothing Sam hasn’t handled before. Or is it? Thomas is accompanied by a mysterious and exotic beauty named Chloe. Who is she, why is she paying for Thomas’s defense, and why is the accused so antsy around her?

Soon after Sam takes on the case he is plagued by terrible nightmares. Only, in these nightmares, when he dreams of death, people die. Realizing that he is out of his depth, Sam enlists the help of his friend, Bob Sizemore. Bob is oddly insightful about the supernatural and deeply suspicious of big business and the government. Sam and Bob soon discover that a major German pharmaceutical company has been using human guinea pigs to test a highly addictive and dangerous derivative of cocaine first developed in Nazi Germany. Combined with ancient herbs provided by a Voodoo priest, the substance has become increasingly addictive and dangerous.

After Thomas’s head shows up in Sam’s refrigerator, suspicion naturally falls on him. Now he has no choice but to face the forces of evil head on. But how do a small-town lawyer and a computer geek defeat an enemy with the power to enslave mankind?

 

Interview with Mark Spivak, author of ‘Iconic Spirits’

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 since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.His latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.

Visit Mark’s website at http://www.iconicspirits.net.

Become a fan of Mark Spivak at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3

Pick up your copy of Iconic Spirits at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Iconic-Spirits-Intoxicating-Mark-Spivak/dp/0762779268/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344434224&sr=1-1&keywords=iconic+spirits

Find out how you can win a Kindle Fire HD by clicking here!

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mark.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first book to be handled by a mainstream publisher.

When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

In this case (Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History), I had a terrific agent who sold the book in record time. My previous experiences didn’t go quite so smoothly. I think every writer probably wants his or her book to be handled by a mainstream publisher, and that’s the first path we take.

How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the contract in June 2011, and the book will be published in November 2012.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It’s a feeling you can’t put into words, even if you’re a writer. I celebrated by sharing a special bottle of wine with my wife.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

For this book, I’m focusing most of my efforts on publicity that will be effective and not cost too much to generate. I’ll be doing a great deal of radio, and I have three separate blog tours planned (the publisher is doing one, I’m doing a second and paying for a third).

Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve become more self-confident

What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I’ve done a lot of newspaper and magazine work, and the first thing I noticed was that the book editors were on a totally different level in terms of professionalism and competence.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The feeling of knowing that you’ve created something that will last—not forever, perhaps, but hopefully long enough to have an impact on a number of people.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t give up. You need to be focused, driven and have a high level of belief in your own destiny. You may go through years or even decades or rejection, but it’s more than worth it if you persevere.

Pump Up Your Book Chats with Hollywood Book Publicist Charlie Barrett at Facebook Tonight!

Well known, experienced, professional Hollywood book, TV and movie  publicist Charlie Barrett and vice-president Barbara Wall will be appearing live at Pump Up Your Book’s Facebook  page on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. eastern to discuss book publicity, media relations and their experiences working with stars and celebrities.  The Barrett Company can help authors get their books launch off the ground.  If you are an author serious about selling books, you need to join in on the chat tonight!

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