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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: Michael Ryan from Morrie Richfield’s Fantasy ‘Mr. Breeze’ { #blogtour } + WIN #KINDLEFIRE

We’re thrilled to have here today Michael Ryan from Morrie Richfield’s new fantasy, Mr. Breeze. Michael Ryan is a 54 year old photo journalist living in Washington DC.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Michael.  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?

I think Morrie did a good job and I hope he does just as well with the sequel Revelation the return of Mr. Breeze

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

Well I would like to think I am not as narcissistic as I am portrayed but maybe that will change in the sequel

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My stubborn search for the truth.

Worse trait?

The fact that I do not care who I hurt trying to find it.

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?

  Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, though I’m better looking.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes her name is Julie

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

As soon as I met Zack!

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?

Well I think I’ll pass on that one, I’ll stay me.

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

It made me think and it made want MORE!

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

I already have and he listened, you are going to love the sequel.

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

If I have anything to say about it, YES!

Morrie Richfield lives in Pennsylvania with his two sons, his dogs and his cat. He is working on his next novel, and he still dreams that someday the world will be a better place for all of us to live.

His latest book is the inspirational novel, Mr. Breeze.

Visit his website at www.mrbreezethenovel.com.

MR. BREEZE (the title is inspired by a song by the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd) follows the increasingly amazing experiences of freelance photojournalist Michael Ryan as he hears of stories about a man named Zack, who can seemingly perform inhuman feats that could be called miraculous. Ryan eventually meets Zack and becomes, at Zack’s insistence, Zack’s messenger. Along the way, a dog named Rover, who also possesses otherworldly powers, joins Zack and Ryan in their adventures, which include a remarkable visit to the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, in search of a cure for AIDS.

The secret of who Zack is and why he has chosen Ryan to tell his story to the world forms the surprising and moving climax to the book.

And there is a MR. BREEZE sequel in the works, Richfield notes. The working title is REVELATION:  THE RETURN OF MR. BREEZE. “The second book is about how we take that message (from the first book) and what we do with it.”

In the meantime, Richfield hopes that readers of MR. BREEZE find the storytelling compelling. I also would like them to be entertained and to want to tell others about it. If they come away wanting to be a better human being, that would be a huge plus.”

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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.

Character Interview: Jamie Collins from Michael Bowler’s romantic thriller ‘A Matter of Time’

We’re thrilled to have here today Jamie Collins from Michael Bowler’s new romantic thriller, A Matter of Time.  Jamie is a 20-year-old college student living in Santa Clara, California.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Jamie.  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?

Actually, I feel I was excellently portrayed, maybe better than I could’ve portrayed myself. And I’m an aspiring writer, too.

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’ve described me as dashingly handsome to the point that ladies swooned in my presence. Ha! Sadly, that would’ve been true fiction. As to my personality, I feel he got it just right. I’m kind of an introspective guy, even shy at times, and that can be a difficult character trait to make interesting. But I think Mike hit just the right note in describing my interactions with the other characters as well as with the events that befell me.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Honorability, maybe loyalty. I confront some very difficult moral dilemmas in this story and had to make very weighty decisions. My honorable nature, I believe, is what impelled me to make the right choices.

Worse trait?

Self-doubt. I second-guess my decisions too much, even when others tell me I made the right one.

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!)?

Ezra Miller is a phenomenal actor and he’d be outstanding playing me (plus he’s better looking than me, too, and that doesn’t hurt – Ha!)

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Actually, there are two, but only one is my soul mate. Sounds corny, I know, but I do find the love of my life along this journey. (sigh)

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

About the time I realized I had no way to get off Titanic and was going to go down with the ship. I’d planned everything out so perfectly, except how to get myself off the ship!

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?

Jay, because he’s cynical and bitter about life and I wouldn’t want to go through life that way.

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

Fate is pretty cruel to me in this story, and I’m kind of a basket case at the end. Still, I come to a better appreciation of who I am than I had at the beginning, and I’m hopeful that all the pain I endured can be turned into something positive.

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

Maybe not quite so much pain and suffering thrown my way next time, huh? How about showing me some love, eh, Mike?

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

Very likely, since I kind of, inadvertently, changed the timeline ever so slightly, but even a slight alteration can have devastating consequences, and, unfortunately, those consequences will fall on me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Oh well . . .

Michael Bowler grew up in San Rafael, California. He attended St. Raphael’s School and Marin Catholic High School before attending Santa Clara University. Titanic and her tragic fate fascinated him for as far back as he can remember. He has a vast collection of artwork, memorabilia and virtually every book ever written about the disaster.

He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara and got a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University. He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several films, most notably “Fatal Images,” “Dead Girls,” “Hell Spa” (later re-edited and titled “Club Dead”), “Things” and “Things II.”

He has written a number of unproduced screenplays and is currently working on other novels he has outlined. He’s been teaching high school in Hawthorne, California for over twenty years.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys over 28 years with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles for 27 years.  He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

His first novel, A Boy and His Dragon, was originally written in the 1980’s before fantasy stories enjoyed a major renaissance, and has remained unpublished to this day. It is intended as the first of a trilogy.

A Matter of Time, his second novel, was originally written in the 1980’s and completed in the mid-1990’s as time permitted.

You can visit Michael on the web at www.michaeljbowler.webs.com.

Follow Michael Bowler on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/BradleyWallaceM

Friend Michael Bowler at Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377702356

Pick up a paperback copy of Michael Bowler’s A MATTER OF TIME at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/A-Matter-Time-Michael-Bowler/dp/143278711X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344430749&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+bowler

Download your electronic copy of Michael Bowler’s A MATTER OF TIME at Amazon Kindle Store:  http://www.amazon.com/A-Matter-of-Time-ebook/dp/B007GOAC9C/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1344430749&sr=8-1

Purchase your paperback copy of Michael Bowler’s A MATTER OF TIME at Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-matter-of-time-michael-bowler/1109296752

Pick up a copy of Michael Bowler’s A MATTER OF TIME at Outskirts Press:   http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432787110

http://www.amazon.com/A-Matter-Time-Michael-Bowler/dp/143278711X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333825240&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-matter-of-time-michael-bowler/1109296752?ean=9781432787110&itm=1&usri=michael+bowler+a+matter+of+time

What is your destiny?

This question haunts 20-year-old Jamie Collins. A junior at Santa Clara University in 1986, Jamie has friends, a  professor who mentors him, and a promising future as a writer.

Then the dreams begin – nightmarish visions that transport him back to a time and place fifty years before he was born: Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912!  Less than a week before the 74th anniversary of its sinking, Jamie discovers that his fate is inexplicably linked to that of the famous vessel. Somehow, the two timelines are overlapping, and when Titanic dies this time, Jamie will die along with it.

The dreams reveal something evil stalking the ill-fated ship, something that expedites the collision which sinks her. Jamie realizes that the only way to stop this evil and prevent his own death may be to prevent Titanic from sinking in the first place.

But how? How can he stop that ship from sinking in 1912 when he hadn’t even been born yet? And even if he can stop it – should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? Jamie’s quest to fulfill his destiny ties friendsand  family together  in ways he could never have  imagined.

A Matter of Time is an emotionally charged voyage into the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.

 

 

 

Character Interview: Amy Benson from Ray East & Sam D’s ‘Voluspa’

We’re thrilled to have here today Amy Benson from Ray East and Sam D’s new YA fantasy romance, Voluspa: A Magical World. Amy is a 15-year-old empath from New York.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Amy. 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?

I think my character has been portrayed fairly well. However there is this small thing that I’d like to clarify. In the book I am portrayed as someone with an aversion to shopping. In truth I love shopping and hanging out in the mall.

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

I think the author did a good job of capturing all the nuances of my character. My insecurities, moments of self-doubt, my needs to find affection and all my other traits have been accurately presented.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I would say my perseverance. Life has always thrown me a few hard curves but I never give up. My friends tell me that I am just plain stubborn.

Worse trait?

I am very emotional. I think and feel very strongly.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. His name is Drake Mc Grizzle and he is the most amazing boyfriend a girl could ever wish for.

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

I didn’t really get nervous about the outcome of the book because I had faith in my authors.  To be honest, I have to admit that there is one part in the book, where I start feeling an attraction of sorts for a very disagreeable boy. That had me worried. Besides I was so engrossed in Drake, I found it hard to genuinely understand my attraction for another boy.

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?

I would hate to be Lord Vali. He has no redeeming quality and is just plain evil.He is cruel, greedy, ambitious, blood thirsty and completely merciless. In short, he is despicable. But I also think he is pitiable. His evilness stems from the turns and twists his life has taken – to some extent he is a product of difficult circumstances as well as possessing a natural proclivity towards violence.

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

I think the ending of the book is pretty great. If you have connected with the young lovers i.e. me and Drake then the ending is going to fill you with anticipation. You’ll be eager to know what happens next.

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

I would just ask the author to keep in mind all the things that have changed about me in the past several months. I am no longer the same person that I was when I first arrived in Voluspa. My trials and triumphs have caused me t change. I am so much stronger as a person; more confident. Also finding Drake, falling in love with him has changed me. Now I am at peace with the person I am.

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

Absolutely! The adventure is nowhere near done. I want my happily ever after with Drake.

Ray East and Sam D has moved to Voluspa and live in the Forest of Skotos with their 5 year old daughter and a pet Typhon.  They visit Earth with the help of an Empath from time to time. Ray East did her masters in Phsychology from Univeristy of Sussex and has worked as a counselor for adolescents. Sam D used to teach at a SPJC before he moved to Voluspa.

Their latest book is Voluspa: A Magical World.

To get your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/VOLUSPA-A-Magical-World-Sam-D/dp/0985681608/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

To get your e-copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East for your Kindle at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Voluspa-A-Magical-World-ebook/dp/B008BCZBTE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Order your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D. & Ray East at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voluspa-a-magical-world-sam-d/1111523622?ean=2940014770675

To learn more about Sam D and Ray East, visit their website: www.magicalworldofvoluspa.com

Visit Sam D & Ray East on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/voluspa

Like Sam D & Ray East on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldofvoluspa

Follow Sam D & Ray East at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15592516-voluspa

Centuries ago, war between aliens and humans almost destroyed the world. To prevent such a war from happening again, a mighty ruler then formed a secret society of nine powerful humans and aliens called the Bramhas. These Bramhas each wrote a book imparting ancient wisdom and knowledge. The possession of these books could bring about untold power and success. The nine books were hidden but the desire to possess those books, still cause men to fight wars and turn against each other. One such war was fought in the realm of Voluspa decades back; the consequences of that war still resonate in this magical land. Two young lovers get caught in this tussle and it changes their destinies forever.

Amy’s humdrum life takes a complete 180’ turn with the death of her stepfather. She goes to live with her grandmother – her only living relative, though she hasn’t seen her in the last five years. Among her mother’s childhood memorabilia, she finds a book ‘Legends of Voluspa’ that captures her imagination. She becomes so engrossed in the book that she starts dreaming  about the places in the book till one night she finds herself inexplicably transported to the new world – Voluspa, as described in the book. Here she meets Drake, who unknown to her is a shape shifter.  Chemistry cackles between the two from the very first and as they discover that they share a lot in common, a tenuous bond forms between the two. ‘I’ll keep you safe’ vows Drake and he remains true to his word as he befriends her and saves her from various troubles that befall her over the next couple of months.

In Voluspa, Amy discovers a new way of life. It’s a magical world inhabited by primarily four clans – Empaths, Morphus, Mendens and the Pulchrous. The Empaths have the power of mind, the Morphus are the shape shifters, Mendens are the healers while the Pulchrous possess physical perfection and strength. With the help of an old family friend, Amy takes her rightful place in the Empath clan. This marks a new chapter in Amy’s life. She realizes her own powers and subsequently starts going to a school to enhance the same. With Drake by her side, she makes some wonderful friends. However, her life is not all smooth sailing; trouble comes when she learns the truth about her biological parents. She realizes that her very existence is against Voluspan law which forbids the union between individuals belonging to two different clans. History threatens to repeat itself as she realizes that her predicament was not that different from what her mother had faced, decades back. She is totally in love with Drake, who belongs to the Morphus clan.

The enchanting world of Voluspa is far from Utopic; it has barely recovered from a devastating war fought twenty years back when the peace of the land is once again threatened by Gangrels, the evil army of aliens.  The two young lovers soon realize that besides contending with forbidden love, they have to deal with other impediments. Ancient enmities, a past war, a much coveted book, all conspire against the two lovers. Gangrels reappear in Voluspa and Drake falls in the clutches of one such evil being who would stop at nothing to realize his fiendish ambitions. Amy and her friends cross realms, face enemies, deal with challenges, solve riddles and brave possible destruction, as they set off on an adventure to rescue Drake.  The ‘Force of Sutra’ clashes with the ‘Elemental Force’ of the Gangrels as Amy and her friends are faced with an indomitable enemy. They use strategic warfare, pit adversaries among themselves and use every last drop of strength, skill and courage as they take on warriors far more ruthless and skilled than themselves.

As Amy embarks upon a quest to save Drake, her love for him is tested at every turn but she never wavers from her objective. Braving imminent death she manages to reach Drake – only to find a changed person. Gone is the man she is in love with, instead a dangerous stranger stood in his place. This Drake was teetering at the edge between becoming completely evil and retaining his own soul. He almost harms Amy but stops himself at the very last minute. His love for Amy proves to be stronger than the evil entity threatening to overpower him.  However when chips are down, Drake comes through. He sets aside his personal well-being in order to save Amy, one last time. Drake is perhaps lost forever but hope dies last – Amy is determined to get back Drake, no matter what the cost.

 

IF YOU’D LIKE TO WIN A  FREE KINDLE FIRE HD, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TELLING US IF YOU’D LIKE TO LIVE IN VOLUSPA, THEN CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE KINDLE FIRE HD GIVEAWAY!

Character Interview: Lelia Marie Freeman of ‘Dark Side of Valor’

We’re thrilled to have Lelia Marie Freeman here with us today!  Lelia is the director of ChildSafe Shelters in Los Angeles, California, and the lead character in Alicia Singleton’s blockbuster book, Dark Side of Valor.

We interviewed Lelia to give us some between the pages insights on her character and whether the author caught her true personality.  Welcome Lelia!

Thank you so for this interview, Lelia.  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?

I don’t like being in the spotlight.  My business is my business.  It was bad enough being blasted on national television and dubbed, “The Street Angel”, then there’s that annoying, pain in my tail disc jockey, Zenith Starr and his constant harassment, now there’s this book about my life.  The kids are what’s important.  Not me.  Not my life. The kids.

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

She made me seem a little rough around the edges, almost crass sometimes, but if that’s the way the world sees me, then…whatever.  I just don’t stomach bull-crap well.  Will there be any questions or some information published on how to help the homeless and runaway child population?  If not, then you’re wasting my time.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Not tolerating bull-crap, but ok, I’ll bite.  My heart.  Good or bad, life or death, I’ll always allow my heart to lead me.  Now, about the children and how people can help…

Worse trait?

My adopted mother says my big mouth.  Translated that means, I don’t stomach bull-crap well. But I promised her I’d be polite today, so my answer is, my heart.  Again, good or bad, life or death, my heart leads me, even if the situation could kill me.  I’d go to the ends of the earth to rescue my kids.  Who, by the way, we still haven’t discussed.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Who?  Elijah?  Absolutely not!  He’s brash, a bully, arrogant and a nut job.  If I didn’t need a way out of Sudania, I’d tell him where to get off.

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

When I woke up in another country with nothing to my name except the dress on my back and my underwear, I knew I was in deep trouble.

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?

President Marwein Boll Deng.  He’s not at all what he seems.

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

The very end of the book is a dream I never thought I’d live.  Right before the end of the book is…well I promised my mother I’d watch my mouth.

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

Can you cut me some slack?  Bullets flying, being chased by crazed men, dropped in the middle of a jungle…what!  Less danger, more focus on the kids.  Can you ask question about them, now?

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

Yes, you’ll see Elijah, Asha, Marcellus, Sierra and me again.  And when we talk again, let’s keep it about the kids.  Okay?

About the Book:

Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.

Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.

Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.

Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.

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Blog Tour: Interview with Selwyn Mills, author of ‘Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter

Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter

Today’s guest interview is with  Selwyn Mills, author of the autobiography, Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter (CreateSpace).

About Selwyn Mills

Selwyn Mills 2Selwyn Mills served an apprenticeship in decorative painting before starting his own business in 1956, which lasted until his retirement in 1992. He worked as a craftsman painter, wrote for the National Paint Journal, served as President of the National Painting Contractor Association in Nassau County, New York, and taught faux painting. While painting professionally, Mills earned his doctorate in psychology and operated a successful private psychotherapy practice.

Dr. Mills practiced psychotherapy in Great Neck N.Y. for twenty-five year, specializing in couples therapy, family reconciliation and Men in Transition groups. His psychotherapy practice overlapped his forty year career as a decorative painting contractor. He painted in the mornings and counseled patients in the afternoon and evenings. His research into the left/right brain phenomenon, and its impact of personality development, led to a unique discovery of why opposites attract. Active in live theater, he wrote and produced a musical comedy called, “Love Torment and Lollipops”. An accomplished photographer, his black and white prints are part of the permanent collection of the Bibliotech Nationale in Paris, France. He currently works at the Sugden Theater in Naples, Florida as director of faux painting. Mills married in 1949 at the age of 19 and has four children and four grandchildren.

His latest book is the autobiography, Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter.

You can visit his website at www.selwynmills.com.

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About Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter

Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter“Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter” (ISBN 1466342013), a collection of autobiographical writings by Selwyn Mills, offers an account of the author’s life as well as his ruminations on painting, psychotherapy, friendship, romantic love, poetry, prison, philosophy, relationships and cats, among other topics.

Mills split his professional life between two concurrent careers – he worked as a decorative painter in the mornings and led psychotherapy sessions in the afternoon. Although these types of work might appear quite different, Mills describes how each profession deals with depression and renewal. He offers an eclectic collection of musings on various topics, each one weaving personal narrative with opinion and insight. “Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter” reveals a portrait of a life made up of equal portions of intellectual, creative and emotional elements.

The Interview

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

Multi-published

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?

Mainstream, then self-published

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

The mainstream route was long and unsatisfying could never talk to anyone about the work. (30 years ago) then I started my own small self- publishing

Company and successfully published a psychological book which took off and still selling

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

I held a big signing party.

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

Sent our mass mailings, canvass local bookshops, held workshops for social workers and councilors.

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

I have more confidence in myself…have taken writing courses; I am more critical of my work.

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

How it has lost readership to other media and that the many the mainstream press is no longer the main source of good writers.

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

How much control I have over my work and how my ability has grown.

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

Observe more of the real world, people and atmosphere and express the fine detail that brings the reader into your world.

A Conversation with David Brown, author of “Fezariu’s Epiphany”

David M. Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and first conceived the idea of the Elencheran Chronicles at college in 1999. He spent ten years compiling the history of Elenchera, resulting in 47,000+ years of events, 500+ maps, 2000+ pages, several short stories and many much-needed acquaintances with Jack Daniels. David also has a blog, The World According to Dave, which features reviews, stories and dramatic tales of the horrors of owning cats.

About Fezariu’s Epiphany

Fezarius bigThe White Oak, Clarendon’s oldest brothel, lured and destroyed men by the thousands. Fezariu was different. He had never been drawn by the White Oak’s vices but the brothel had still ruined him when he was just a boy.

Salvation came in the form of the Merelax Mercenaries – Elenchera’s most prestigious hired hands. They gave Fezariu the chance to escape from his past. Immersed in the world of dangerous assignments in the colonies Fezariu longed to forget everything about his childhood but only in facing the past would he ever be free of it.

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

Great to be here. I self-published my debut novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, in May 2011.

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?

My wife, Donna, and I chose the self-publishing route for Fezariu’s Epiphany as we wanted full control of the book. Donna had already been instrumental in being an editor and critic for the novel so it became a natural transition for her to become my agent and promoter as well.

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

The feeling of publication didn’t really hit me until I held my first printed copy of Fezariu’s Epiphany. That was a special moment for us both. We must have celebrated with wine and a takeaway, so no fancy restaurants for us, we’re more than happy with the little things that life has to offer.

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

We opted for a book trailer which you can find on http://www.elenchera.com and on YouTube. I did wonder initially how effective a trailer could be for a book but was really pleased with how the one for Fezariu’s Epiphany came out.

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

I feel more confident in my ability to write and the positive feedback I’ve had back from readers has been wonderful for me. The world of Elenchera as a whole is meant to be something different and to have readers tell me that this is new to them but that they have also enjoyed it means a great deal to me.

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

Going down the self-publishing route I don’t think Donna and I realised just how much work is involved in getting a book to print and then promoting it too. I certainly couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my wife and I’m pleased that she’s branching out and helping many other writers realise their dreams just as she has done mine.

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

A good review means more to me than the amount of sales. It’s not just that readers have enjoyed Fezariu’s Epiphany it’s that some people have understood what it is I am trying to achieve with the Elencheran Chronicles. As a writer you can take your book only so far before you put your faith in it to touch the hearts and souls of readers. Not everyone has enjoyed the novel and that’s fine, I would never expect that, but the important thing is many people have praised the book and they’re looking forward to more. What could be more rewarding than a reader turning round and asking when is your next book out?

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

While working on your novel why not have a regular blog? Not only does a blog keep your writing fresh and offer an alternative source of material, it’s a great way to connect with readers and writers alike, early promotion for yourself and your novel too. I would also tell writers to find themselves a trusted critic to help pinpoint the weaknesses in their writing. Donna has done wonders for me in locating areas she believes I need to improve on. It took six drafts to complete Fezariu’s Epiphany but it was worth every one.

Book Excerpt: Illusion of Certainty by Greg Messel

ILLUSION OF CERTAINTY, by Greg Messel, Yorkshire Publishing, 452 pp.

The Illusion of Certainty follows two parallel storylines. Marc is a successful businessman who seems to have everything—a great job, a beautiful wife, a house in an upscale neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and two great kids who are preparing for college. But something is not right. Marc is unsettled by the sudden change in his wife, Aimee, who seems distant and unhappy. What’s going on with her?

The second storyline involves a successful young attorney, Alexandra Mattson. Alex, as she is called by her friends, meets a handsome young cop, Sean, during an unexpected crisis in her neighborhood. Sean and Alex seem made for each other and begin to merge their futures in a world of uncertainty.

The only certainty in life is that we will face uncertainty. Despite all fo the technology and controls available in the modern world, sometimes the only comfort comes from the human touch.

Excerpt:

The naked woman stood motionless, leaning against the wall of the shower and letting the hot water strike the top of her head and cascade down her back. She placed her hands flat against the tiled shower wall and leaned forward and closed her eyes. The warm water soothed her exhausted body and she felt enveloped in its comforting caress.

She felt safe and was now pampering herself after a grueling night shift at the hospital where she was a nurse. A nurse with considerable responsibilities.

Aimee Hunt-Wilson had enough experience and clout to avoid these awful shifts but as a supervisor she was on a mission this summer. She had been working nights most of the summer to try to rehabilitate the night shift, which was in disarray. Someone needed to repair the damage brought on by an incompetent supervisor who was now gone. Aimee was trying to shape things up. It’s what Aimee did best; however, it was taking a toll on her.

Marc Wilson was having his first moments of consciousness on this Tuesday morning. He slept alone. That was happening more and more these days. From the bed he could see Aimee, his wife, through the clear glass box that was the shower in their master suite. The only light filtering into the bedroom and casting a soft light on Marc’s bed was the light from Aimee’s shower.

He leaned up on his elbow and gazed through the steam at the nude Aimee. He was getting aroused. Marc still loved his wife’s body. Lately, when he saw her, she was always hidden in the baggy scrubs she wore at the hospital. Her long black hair was plastered to her wet bare back by the shower water. Aimee always tanned so well. At this point in the summer she had a perfect swimsuit tan. Her body had matured but it had actually gotten better since the college days when they first met.

Her breasts and hips were fuller now but the rest of Aimee’s body was taunt and lean. She was about 5-5, probably in the best shape of her life. Aimee obsessively exercised and carefully monitored her diet. After her shower she would come to bed to rest and then be pounding the pavement this afternoon running, getting in her miles. Aimee had always been so meticulous about what she ate and she imposed the same standards on Marc.

Marc’s favorite meal, a burger and fries, was considered in the same category as rat poison by Aimee. If Marc went through a fast food window to sneak a burger, he felt compelled to hide the evidence from Aimee. But all of this vigilance certainly paid off in the way Aimee looked. This mother of two, with a manic schedule, looked terrific as she approached Illusion of Certainty middle age. Her long dark hair, which was naturally curly, was a stunning combination with her bright blue eyes.

Marc now lay in the early morning light watching Aimee step from the shower, all pink and soft, as she began to towel off. She then plugged in her hair dryer, bent over and began to dry her long hair. As he observed her maneuvers to dry her hair, he was taking in the sight of her bouncing breasts and lovely body. Marc knew that when she finished, she would quickly throw on one of his oversized t-shirts and jump under the covers—just as it was time for Marc to get out of bed and begin his day. Marc rolled out of bed and attempted to head her off before she dressed and made it to the bed. He was hoping that somehow he could have her, that he could enjoy the physical pleasures of his sexy wife. This had not been planned but the moment was presenting itself and he wanted her. Marc hoped Aimee would want the intimacy, too. Aimee slipped on some bright blue bikini panties just as Marc stood in front of her and said, “Hey you’re really looking sexy this morning.”

Oh Marc, I’m so exhausted, you seem to have the world’s worst timing.”

“Oh come on Aimee, wouldn’t it be fun?”

“Trust me Marc, it wouldn’t be fun right now. I just need some sleep.”

“So when, in this whole summer, would you suggest I make love to you?”

“Marc,” Aimee said with resignation, “I’m begging you to not start right now.”

— Excerpted from The Illusion of Certainty

Lousy Gigs Make for Good Stories by Joseph Garraty

Lousy Gigs Make for Good Stories

By Joseph Garraty

Like one of the main characters in my novel, Voice, I play guitar in a local rock band. Also like that character, I’ve played a lot of crappy gigs. The similarity ends there—I’m generally a nice guy, and Stephanie Case is, well, neither of those things, and that’s just for starters. But the lousy gigs? That’s something that ties all rock musicians together. Every time I meet a new musician, we get to trade horror stories. A few examples:

1. I played a venue one time where the roof leaked. That’s not so bad, huh? Maybe it wouldn’t have been, if I hadn’t been standing in a puddle of water with an electrical cable running from the guitar I was holding to a 100-watt amplifier—which, I noted with horror about halfway through the show, was also standing in a puddle of water.

2. My band showed up to do a soundcheck at one venue, only to discover that the sound guy was in jail. I admit, that was so ridiculous it was kind of funny, and an episode inspired by that actually made it into Voice.

3. When one of my bands was just starting out, we got thrown out of a venue for not bringing enough people to the show. I’d never had that happen before (it was completely humiliating), but some of my friends later told me it was kind of normal at this particular establishment. The guy who ran it, Big Lou, bore a remarkable similarity in disposition and appearance to Jabba the Hutt, and he’d attained a reputation for being a complete jerk to most of the local musicians.

4. Three vocalists, one mic. Obnoxious? You bet. Funny to watch? Oh yeah. We fell all over each other trying to get to and from that mic stand. The bits with three-part harmony were particularly entertaining. I’m lucky I didn’t accidentally club someone to death with the headstock of my guitar.

That barely scratches the surface. I’ve also had to turn away a boatload of drug pushers, deal with an astonishing variety of equipment failure (nothing like screwing around with a bass amp that won’t work when you’re twenty minutes into the set you’re supposed to be playing), fight with sound guys that took an immediate dislike to me or somebody else in the band, and the list goes on and on. I’ve put on transcendent performances to empty rooms and mediocre ones to packed houses, and (occasionally) vice versa.

What does any of this have to do with writing? Atmosphere. Vibe. Voice, if you will. Verisimilitude. From the standpoint of research, Voice was one of the easiest things I’ve ever written, because I’ve experienced so much of that scene. And for me, there are few tableaus quite as evocative as the stage at a sleazy bar two minutes before showtime. The gear is set up, the lights are down, there’s maybe a half a dozen people nursing their drinks and shooting glances toward the stage, wondering what they’re in for. Just offstage, the band is tuning up.

And if I’m there, I’m grinning like a fool—because in these dark, out-of-the-way places, despite the grime and the horrifying bathroom, despite the drunk who won’t stop pawing you and the sound guy who turns you up until you feed back like crazy or turns you down until you can’t hear anything, and despite the fact that you’re about to bust your ass for two hours for six bucks, you never know when something magic might happen.

I guess I do have something else in common with Stephanie Case. We’re both made to play seedy dives.

I’m cool with that.

Joseph Garraty is an author of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He has worked as a construction worker, rocket test engineer, environmental consultant, technical writer, and deadbeat musician. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

His latest book is the horror novel, Voice.

You can visit his website at www.josephgarraty.com.

Connect with Joseph at Twitter at www.twitter.com/JosephGarraty.

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