I am so excited to have Mark Spivak here at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight, Excerpt, Guest Post and Giveaway.
Thanks Mark and Pump Up your Book Promotions for allowing me to join your Friend of the Devil Blog Tour!
Please take it away, Mark!
Criticism and rejection are the two toughest parts of being a writer. No one likes either of them, unless they are a confirmed masochist, but there are ways to deal effectively with both.
I’ll separate criticism into two types. The first consists of legitimate observations about weaknesses in your work. However true these criticisms might be, they tend to be depressing, but the key to becoming a better writer is listening closely and taking them to heart when the criticism is on target. During the period when you’re learning your craft, and particularly if you’re involved in a creative writing program (whether in or out of a university), you’ll be inundated with criticism---most of it probably correct. The quicker you develop the skill of assimilating it and learning from it, the quicker you’ll get to your goal.
I’m saying this as if the process is easy, and of course it’s not. When I showed the early drafts of Friend of the Devil to my wife, a voracious reader of pop fiction, she felt that the book had shortcomings and was incomplete. I was furious and resisted her advice for quite a while, but she turned out to be right. Remember that we often tend to be too close to our material to see it clearly, particularly if that material is autobiographical.
The second type of criticism occurs after publication, and unfortunately a great deal of it is gratuitous. People who criticize your work are typically not writers themselves, and their comments often spring from envy rather than incisive thinking. If you’re not self-published, and you have gone through the long and painful process of crafting a book until it is as good as it can be, the odds are that your book is well written and worth reading---but remember that it won’t appeal to everyone. The way to handle negative criticism at that stage of your career is to ignore it completely and never respond.
Friend of the Devil
by Mark Spivak
GENRE: Thriller (Culinary)
In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.
Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.
He perused Chateau de la Mer’s large and mostly incomprehensible menu. Changed every few weeks, handwritten in Avenzano’s elaborate cursive before being photocopied, it closely resembled an annotated Medieval manuscript. Finally, he acceded to the staff’s offer to prepare a tasting menu for him, accompanied by the appropriate wines.
He was presented with a sculpture of dried vegetables in the shape of a bird’s nest, filled with a combination of wild mushrooms and chopped truffles, bathed in an intensely reduced demi-glaze. The carrots, zucchini and peppers had been cut into paper-thin strips, intertwined and allowed to dry, yet retained a surprising intensity of flavor.
He consumed a dish of tomato, basil and egg noodles, bathed in a light cream sauce, perfumed with fresh sage and studded with veal sweetbreads.
He ate an astonishing dish of butter-poached lobster, remarkably sweet and perfectly underdone, flavored with sweet English peas and garnished with a ring of authentic Genoese pesto.
He was served a slice of Avenzano’s signature Bedouin-stuffed poussin --- a turkey stuffed with a goose, in turn stuffed with a duckling, in turn stuffed with a poussin, or baby chicken, with a core of truffled foie gras at its center, covered with an Etruscan sauce of chopped capers,
raisins and pine nuts. This dish had been the source of much controversy over the years, since it bore a close resemblance to a Louisiana terducken. It predated the terducken, however, and was supposedly inspired by a creation first served to the French royal court. For good measure, Avenzano had added influences from the cuisine of the Middle East.
AUTHOR Bio and Links
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art and Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
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