Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak @GoddessFish

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.


The two young men emerged from the woods onto Highway 49. There were no street lamps, and Joseph was grateful for the moonlight. Slowly and deliberately, they walked toward the intersection of Highway 61. When they got to the Crossroads, the site was unremarkable: a small general store, a gas station, and miles of desolate blackness stretching in every direction.

“Here you go, baby.” Willy stopped a few hundred yards from the intersection and turned to face Joseph. “You on your own. Can’t take you closer than this.”

“Where are you headed?”

“As far away as I can git,” he laughed, “as fast as I can git there.”

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”

“Well, this wasn’t no charity. You know that.”

“Even so.”

“You got some questions?”

“What do I do? Just walk up there and wait?”

“You won’t be waitin’ long,” said Willy. “The man’ll be along shortly. You don’t need no business card, neither. Trust me on that.”


“You’ll be fine.” Willy studied him carefully. “Shoot, you look like you don’t got a care in the world.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. But I’m here for a reason, of my own free will.”

“I understand.” He patted Joseph on the arm. “You look me up when you open your restaurant, hear?”

“I will.” He watched Willy head back for the woods. “I definitely will.”

“I’ll be here,” Willy called over his shoulder.

Guest Post:

Ideal Writing Space

I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ideal writing space. You may be fortunate enough to have a large, comfortable office or a splendid view, but those things will not make you a better writer.

What will make you a better writer, of course, is what goes on inside your head, and that must be nurtured. I believe the best way to nurture it is to create and insulate an inner space that is separate from reality, part fantasy world and part incubation chamber. For that reason, we don’t have a land line at home. I don’t own a smart phone, and I don’t send or receive text messages. I pay no attention to my cell phone: the ringer is permanently off, and I might look at it once or twice a day to see if anyone has called. You’re not going to be able to create that mental space if you’re staring at a phone all day. If you work on a computer, as many of us do, there will be more than enough temptations and distractions.

Once you establish that space, it will always be there as a source of inspiration and comfort.  It will inevitably separate you from others, but that’s the price you (and they) pay. My wife may think I’m far away at times, and she’s right. But she knew the drill when she married me.

Other than daydreaming and fantasizing during the day, I find it very useful to withdraw into that space right before I go to sleep. It allows me to think about the plot of my current project and enables the characters to act out on their own. Frequently I find myself right back in that space as soon as I wake up.

Years ago, I used to be very sensitive to distractions in my environment. Now I find that I can write anywhere, and under most conditions. I still prefer a quiet room, but I’m less bothered by interruptions. Once you have that mental space firmly establish, you can walk the dog or go to the grocery store and focus on your work at the same time.


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 He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

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

$50 Amazon or B/N GC

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Mark Spivak said...

Many thanks for hosting me on your blog today. I look forward to meeting readers and answering any questions they may have.

James Robert said...

Good Morning and thank you for this opportunity you have given us to win

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing the excerpt :)

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the Guest Post.

CJ said...

Thank you for the great guest post! I always enjoy hearing about different author's writing process. I wish you continued luck on the book tour! :)