Friday, June 3, 2016

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak Guest Post & Giveaway


About Mark Spivak


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

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

Find out more at

Website
Goodreads
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Guest Post

What would I tell a new author

I’m actively involved in mentoring beginning writers. For the past year I’ve been hosting a Meetup group in my home base of South Florida. Participants send me samples of their work via email, and they receive an intensive, one-on-one critique at the session.

I usually start out by trying to get a sense of the person’s background, their life experience and literary training (if any). I try to discover how much time they have to devote to writing, and whether their literary aspirations are hampered by real-life considerations such as jobs, families and economic pressures. I want to find out if they are someone with a particular story they feel compelled to tell, or whether they want to make writing a career. Either way, my role is the same: to help them master the craft and find their own voice.

At some point, I usually ask them if they are writing to express themselves, or if they want other people to read their work. Either situation is fine, but they require different decision-making processes.

I normally suggest that they pick one piece of work and stick with it until it is as polished as it can possibly be. This is particularly difficult for many people to accomplish. Part of the problem is the current popularity of self-publishing, where you can print anything whether it’s ready or not.

Speaking as someone who has a degree in literature, I think life experience is more important than formal education. If someone is lacking skills in grammar, sentence structure or composition, they can easily take a course at a community college or online.

When I started the group, I was dreading the process of delivering criticism to people. Part of the hesitancy stems from how difficult it was for me to accept criticism at many points in my career, but the truth is that becoming a writer is a long journey filled with criticism and rejection. What I discovered was that in cases where a piece of work was seriously flawed, the writer knew it. They had really come to the group to get a realistic idea of what they needed to do to go forward.

Many beginning writers are yearning to be told that they have talent. I have no problem telling them that, since most of them are indeed talented. Talent, though, is only part of the equation. Most of the process consists of hard work, which is something people tend to resist hearing.

The most important thing I tell beginning writers? Don’t give up. I never did, and I finally succeeded despite a long and difficult journey. With enough determination, it can be done.

Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK

One very lucky reader will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
  

107 comments:

  1. How do you keep yourself inspired? Do you have a private canon of authors you go back and reread?

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    1. First, my thanks for being hosted on the blog today.

      Mai: I don't read much contemporary fiction, but I do go back periodically and look at writers who do inspire me: Hemingway, Twain, Joyce, Melville, etc. If you're going to be influenced by anyone, I think you're much better off taking your inspiration from people of that caliber rather than anyone writing today. The day-t0-day inspiration isn't much of a problem: I'm obsessively focused on what I do, and delighted to be doing it.

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  2. Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?

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  3. I write on a laptop. I wake up about 4:30 or 5 a.m., which I find is the best time to focus (I still do a lot of journalism, so the email interruptions start around 9-10 a.m.). Basically, I work from there until 5-6 p.m. with breaks in between (working out, grocery store, etc---one of the luxuries of being freelance). The irony of being a full-time writer is that it turns out to be not too dissimilar from other work situations: at some point you have to get to your desk and stay there for eight hours or so, or at least until you get something done.

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  4. Good Morning, Happy Friday and thank you for this giveaway

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  5. What do you like the most about writing?

    Betul E.

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  6. Telling stories---I think that goes to the heart of it. It's been a basic human activity since the days of the cavemen, when the hunter-gatherers would return home at night and relate what happened to them that day in the jungle. Stories are spellbinding when told well, and they transport people to an exalted state of the imagination.

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  7. What a fascinating life Mark seems to have had and such good advice for any budding writer or anyone facing a challenge.

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  8. I'm looking forward to reading this one, thanks for sharing :)

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  9. I love the artwork on the cover!

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  10. Great interview. I think it's great that you mentor new authors. Great way to give back.

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  11. This looks like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  12. This looks like a good read. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover too.

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  13. I love his tips for new writer's, he seems like he definitely knows what he's talking about x

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  14. Hope your weekend is great and thanking you for the giveaway

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  15. I don't think I have the self-discipline to be freelance or work from home. Far too many distractions!

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  16. I don't think I have the self-discipline to be freelance or work from home. Far too many distractions!

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  17. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  18. Nice cover. Thanks for the giveaway and have a great weekend.

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  19. I enjoyed reading the guest post. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

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  20. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

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  21. Have a great sunday :) Thank you again for the opportunity !

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  22. I totally agree with your comment, "pick one piece of work and stick with it until it is as polished as it can possibly be. This is particularly difficult for many people to accomplish." - what advice do you give to help stick with it!?

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  23. Amazing giveaway, as always ^__^

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  24. Sunday blessings to all and thanks so much for the opportunity to win

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  25. Sounds great,thanks for sharing!

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  26. A great giveaway - thank you x

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  27. Mark: Music while you write. Yay or nay?

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  28. Mark: Music while you write. Yay or nay?

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  29. what inspired you to write this book?

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  30. who is your favourite author and why? did he/she inspired you to write?

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  31. Hello, what do you like to do when you're not writing or reading?

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  32. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

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  33. looking forward to reading this xx

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  34. This looks fantastic! What is your favorite book?

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  35. This looks fantastic! What is your favorite book?

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  36. Interesting book...wonder where the culinary plays in. Being an eating and drinking connoisseur, what do you eat and drink when writing? A favorite restaurant?

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  37. Thank you for the chance, that's very generous of you.

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  38. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

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  39. Now this sounds like something I could get my teeth into!

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  40. Now this sounds like something I could get my teeth into!

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  41. Who are some of your favorite writers?

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  42. What kind of books do you love to read ?

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  43. What was the first "story" you ever wrote?

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  44. How long did it take to write this book?

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  45. What kind of music do you listen ?

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  46. Do you want a movie made out of your book?

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  47. Your book sounds great! I would love to read it.

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  48. How do you usually start your workday?

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  49. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

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  50. Suspense is a genre I like to read occasionally. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  51. What do you do for fun if you are not writing?

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  52. I was wondering if you have a favorite book? I cannot wait to read this one!

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  53. Did you have a favorite book as a child?
    Sherry Compton
    savewish@yahoo.com

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  54. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from this book?

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  55. Thanks for hosting such great giveaways, love your content.

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  56. How did you decide on the title?

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  57. Do make time to write every day or just write when you feel like it?

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  58. What were your favourite books growing up?

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  59. What were your favourite books growing up?

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  60. It's great that you are mentoring writers. How long have you been doing it?

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  61. Where does your inspiration come from?

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  62. Well, I guess 'too many cooks ...' and all that could lead to all sorts of shenanigans!

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  63. Well, I guess 'too many cooks ...' and all that could lead to all sorts of shenanigans!

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  64. What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?

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  65. Since you live in South Florida, where would you like to go for a summer vacation?

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  66. If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

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  67. Is there a particular genre you like to write about?

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  68. Any special plans for this weekend?

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  69. What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?

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  70. Besides writing, if you could be good at something what would it be?

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  71. Q: Are you a 'people person' or do you prefer to 'people watch'?

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  72. Q: Are you a 'people person' or do you prefer to 'people watch'?

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  73. What is the hardest thing to decide on in a book...title, people's names, how to begin, how to end...

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  74. It's International Panic Day...do you have a phobia?

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  75. And international Martini Day! What's your poison?

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  76. And international Martini Day! What's your poison?

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  77. What is your go to snack while writing?

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  78. Thank you for the opportunity to win this fantastic prize! I have liked and shared, good luck everybody.

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  79. Where have you not visited in the US that you would love to go?

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  80. Do you work in a specific room? Or take your laptop wherever?

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  81. What is your favourite book?

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  82. I like the book cover! I hope that the book is a big success!

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  83. Did you like to read as a child?

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  84. What is your favorite color?

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  85. Thank you for this giveaway

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  86. I always wonder where authors get their ideas from and how they come up with the title (if it's not obvious to start with). Although sometimes I'll pick a book up purely because of the cover. :)

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  87. Did you always want to become a writer and can you tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author?

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  88. Sounds fantastic. What inspired you to write this

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  89. Last day. Thank you for the giveaway.

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