Friday, September 30, 2016

Cover Reveal: Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver

Inside the Book:

Title: Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table
Author: Janet Finsilver
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Ecopy 
Poisons, prophecies—and a peculiar past . . .

When a local woman begins searching for a couple she hasn’t seen since the 1960s, Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson and the crime-solving group, the “Silver Sentinels,” are quick to help out. They’re also quick to guess that they’re in over their heads after the woman is found dead beside the body of a Greek fortune teller—and a fellow Sentinel gets attackeds. As Kelly juggles work and her responsibilities at a food and wine festival in town, she and her sleuthing posse must confront a killer obsessed with old secrets . . . and solve a murder mystery more than fifty years in the making . . .




 Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. She’s been involved in many activities during her life. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. She’s traveled extensively. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!   She’s currently working on the next book in her series scheduled for release in June 2016.

For More Information

Visit Janet’s website.    

Authors To Watch: Bernard Whitman & Brittany Stalsburg, authors of 52 REASONS TO VOTE FOR HILLARY

Bernard Whitman is a Democratic Party political pollster and strategist in the United States. He makes regular appearances on Fox News, and has appeared as a commentator and strategist on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox Business, ABC and Al Jazeera America.

He is the author of 52 Reasons To Vote For Obama and has been a pollster to political candidates such as Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg. Bernard has been involved in the past eight U.S. presidential campaigns and has served as strategic advisor to numerous heads of state, Fortune 500 CEOs, and some of the world’s leading issue advocacy organizations and nonprofit institutions.

Whitman is the President and founder of Whitman Insight Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that conducts polls and market research to advise corporations, political leaders, and issue-advocacy organizations. He is a three-time recipient of the David Ogilvy Excellence in Research Award, and pioneered the development of The Political Model to identify the “swing” consumer, and the messages and media channels that can unlock additional votes for a brand or cause.
He is an alumnus of Brown University, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa

 Women Want To Be On Top. She writes about politics and gender issues regularly. As a strategist, Brittany has helped dozens of organizations develop and refine their message to communicate with a variety of audiences.
Brittany Stalsburg is a communications strategist and creator of the feminist blog,

Her work has been published in several academic journals and books and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Pollie Awards for issue campaigns and the New York American Association of Public Opinion Research (NYAAPOR) Best Paper Award.

Brittany holds a PhD in political science from Rutgers University and a BA in political science and women’s studies from Providence College.

Visit the authors online:

Title: 52 Reasons To Vote For Hillary
Authors: Bernard Whitman & Brittany Stalsburg
Publisher: Prospecta Press
Pages: 160
Genre: Nonfiction/Politics

Reasons to Vote for Hillary is a comprehensive guide and re-introduction to Hillary Clinton’s career and life history to help voters understand why she is the best candidate to lead America forward into the 21st century.
Pick up your copy:


Thanks for joining us, Brittany and Bernard! Tell us a little about yourselves.

My name is Brittany Stalsburg and I’m a market research and communications strategist. I have a PhD in political science with a concentration in gender and politics. I have been involved in politics in some way since I was a teenager and have a special passion for women in politics specifically. I’ve written a lot of articles and blogs about gender in this election, and have my own blog devoted to gender issues and leadership called Women Want To Be On Top (

I’m Bernard Whitman and I am the president of Whitman Insight Strategies (, a full-service market research and strategy firm. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a strategic adviser to dozens of leaders, companies, and organizations, including President Bill Clinton and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

When did you begin writing?

Brittany: I’ve loved writing ever since I can remember—I kept daily diaries starting at age 8 and just couldn’t get enough of it. In graduate school, I published several papers and articles related to women in politics, and now I publish articles and blogs on my own website as well as outlets like the Huffington Post, Bustle, and Changeboard.

Bernard: Back in 2008, I wrote the book 52 Reasons To Vote For Obama, which served as the model for the book Brittany and I wrote together, 52 Reasons To Vote For Hillary. It’s wonderful to be able to write about something you are passionate about.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

Brittany: I think we are both pretty methodical in our writing styles, though I probably write in shorter blocks over a longer period of time whereas Bernard has the energy for marathon writing sessions. 

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Bernard: 52 Reasons To Vote For Hillary is a guide and reintroduction to Hillary Clinton’s record and life experience. In the book, we illustrate Hillary’s vision for America, contrast her stances with the Republicans, and provide the real facts about Hillary’s record and what she is all about.
Brittany: We really wanted to set the record straight about Hillary. The Republican attacks on Hillary over the last four decades have distorted reality to the point where no one really knows who Hillary is as a person. We want to help voters cut through the falsehoods and get the real facts about Hillary so they can make up their own mind about her.

What projects are you currently working on?

Brittany: I’m taking some time to travel abroad this Fall and Winter, and am starting an initiative called Women of the World, a photo-journalism project intended to give voice to women and their struggles around the globe. I’ll post more information about it soon on my blog. 

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Brittany: Set aside time to write and force yourself to do it, even if all you get down is a couple of sentences in an hour. It’s important to carve out time when writing can be your sole focus.

Bernard: Having a support system really helps, especially during times you feel frustrated by the writing process. Connect with other authors in your field and learn from them.

Anokhi Dosti Book Blast!

We are excited to be hosting Subhash Kommuru's ANOKHI DOSTI Book Blast today! Leave a comment or a question in the comment section of this blog to let her know you stopped by! 

About the Book:


Title: Anokhi Dosti (The Magic of Friendship)
Author:  Subhash Kommuru
Publisher: Kommuru Books
Pages: 42
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Mom's Choice Award GOLD Recipient

Does a smile or a laugh have trans-formative power? It does in a special place called Tadoba. Anokhi Dosti is a book written in Hindi and is a remarkable tale of the trans-formative power of companionship, particularly for someone who is lonely and never really had the gift of laughter.

Guaranteed to get a giggle out of kids, Anokhi Dosti also provides plenty of opportunities for readers to connect with the characters in richly detailed, mesmerizing illustrations.

This Award Winning picture book is perfect for read-aloud fun and is also appropriate for beginning readers. This book is written in Hindi using Hindi script.


Annokhi Dosti is available at Amazon or pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself.
Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea!
These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form.

Shobhan’s latest book is the children’s book, Anokhi Dosti (The Magic of Friendship).
For More Information

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cover Reveal: Chasing Love by Melissa West


Inside the Book:

Title: Chasing Love
Author: Melissa West
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Ecopy 
Farming family land on sunny Crestler’s Key, the sweet, sexy Littleton brothers are notorious bachelors. But all that will change when the right woman comes along . . .

There aren’t many things Charlie Littleton values more than his lifelong friendship with his buddy Lucas, currently home from a tour in Iraq. But when he discovers that Lucas’s younger sister, Lila, is back to assist the town’s overburdened veterinarian, Charlie is torn. She’s no longer the skinny, awkward kid he remembers, but a gorgeous woman—one Lucas would never approve of him dating. When Lucas asks him to watch out for Lila when he’s called to duty again, Charlie can’t say no—but he can’t pretend it’s easy to ignore his feelings either.

As a teen, Lila crushed on Charlie—hard—and the man he’s grown up to be is even more wonderful than she dreamed. Relationships are a tricky business, though, and too much history is at stake to risk one now. But every moment they’re together is heated by their simmering attraction—and one day an impulsive kiss leads to much more. What’s tangled in a matter of loyalty soon becomes a question of the kind of love worth chasing .



Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and teen sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

Connect with Melissa at or on Twitter @MB_West  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cover Reveal: Uniformly Dead by Greta McKennan

Inside the Book:

Title: Uniformly Dead
Author: Greta McKennan
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ecopy 

Historical seamstress Daria Dembrowski has her work cut out for her as she searches for a killer's pattern . . .

Daria has come up with a brilliant new plan to expand her seamstress business beyond stitching wedding gowns—historical sewing. And with Civil War re-enactors setting up camp in her hometown of Laurel Springs, Pennsylvania, she has plenty of opportunities, including one client playing a Confederate colonel who's a particular stickler for authenticity.

But soon the small-town peace starts coming apart at the seams as an antique doll is stolen from a Civil War exhibit and the cranky colonel is found impaled by his own bayonet. When Daria's brother is suspected of the theft and a bridal client's fiancé is accused of the murder, Daria is determined to untangle the clues to prove their innocence. She needs to get this case sewn up fast, though, before the murderer re-enacts the crime and makes her history.

Book Feature: Girl Within Girl by S.P. Aruna

We're thrilled to be hosting S.P. Aruna and her GIRL WITHIN GIRL Virtual Book Tour today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Title: Girl Within Girl: An Erotic Thriller (Book 1: Unraveling)
Author: S.P. Aruna
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 170
Genre: Erotic Thriller

Katrina is never alone. She is bound to others inside her, tighter than any Siamese twins could ever be: Cherry, the freewheeling photojournalist, Anisa, the covert spy-assassin, and others as yet unknown, all sharing her body and mind as she goes about her work in a psychiatric hospital. But she is starting to unravel, and her sole hope is the handsome Dr. Sean Paisley, the only one who can make her whole again.

Girl Within Girl is a dark erotic thriller that wanders through a sensual maze of mind control and torture.

For More Information

  • Girl Within Girl is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
Shit! I've got about an hour to get to the airport!
Rummaging through my closet for the pre-packed bag I always kept for exigencies like this, I became extremely pissed. "Bitch hid it again under her pile of clothes! Why is she always doing that?"
I was talking about my roommate, whom I never see, Katy something.
But I eventually found it: a black Northern Face duffle bag. It had most things that I needed already packed inside; I only had to throw in a few simple items, like my toiletries, extra sexy silk frock...then there are the things I needed on my person: passport, wallet, business cards - can't forget the business cards!
I grabbed a plastic box full of them from the recesses of the bottom drawer of my dresser; then took a few cards out to stick into the breast pocket of my cotton blouse, but not before looking at one to admire the design.
Cherry Cummins, Freelance Journalist & Professional Photographic Artist.  
I like that last part: Artist.
I know I'm a bit wild, and travelling in particular gets my juices going. But hey, consider this: you get on a plane in one part of this great globe, get some sleep, and wake up in another part; out of one world and into another.  Like magic.
I also consider myself, without shame mind you, a naughty pleasure seeker, and traveling   arouses my wicked inner urges even more. I knew I would have ample opportunities to release them on this trip, and this thought gave me little shudders of excitement.
They invented a bunch of ten dollar words for that type of behavior: hyper-sexuality, erotomania, nymphomania, satyriasis...whatever... I don't give two shits. Not long ago, homosexuality was considered some neurotic disorder in the psychiatric manuals. And you can bet your ass it isn't now!
I called up my usual taxi service and to my relief not only was the car's arrival timely, but the cabbie's deft driving got me to the airport in less than 20 minutes. The check-in line wasn't too bad; after all the passport checks, the X-rayed hand luggage, the TSA inspections, I still arrived at the departure gate ten minutes before boarding.
Columbian Airlines, Flight 148, non-stop to Bogota.
I had an exclusive photo-op and interview lined up with the person who was considered the tsar of all the drug lords in the western hemisphere: Dom Renaldo Cortez. It took me months to set this up, and you can't imagine the rush I felt when the plane finally descended to our destination eight hours later.
A pre-arranged car picked me up. Never got to see the capitol city, as we took a road straight out of town and drove for about two hours past crude one-storied dwellings, until we reached a local airstrip, where I boarded a single engine Cessna that flew me to Lishimango, a relatively new town deep in the jungle that, despite its airstrip, wasn't even on the map yet. From there I boarded a jeep that bounced past the luxuriant growth of trees that were all around us and ultimately took me to my objective: the mansion La Casa de Cortez.
It was magnificent, a white colonial manor with trimmings of gold. I proceeded up the steps to the entrance and no sooner had the door been opened by a short man dressed immaculately in a white tuxedo, I beheld a sight that took my breath away: a large parlor, it's walls covered with radiant grey-white marble, the floors tiled in deeply captivating aquamarine blue.  There was an effect of one being on a heavenly white-sand beach fringing a pristine sea. What made this more realistic was the sky-like azure ceiling fifteen feet above my head. The ebony furniture and black leather couches posed a striking contrast against the glowing background.
The man himself, my fascinating, sensual objective, seemed to appear out of nowhere, now slowly walking towards me, an eye-catching figure with an authoritative gait, yet casually dressed in a powder blue golf shirt and white slacks. His footfalls echoed like an impending event about to happen. He was somewhat brawny, possibly from working out. His tanned fleshy face was clean shaven, much to my surprise, but it was his arresting dark eyes that commanded my attention. When he got within a step of me, he extended his hand. "Welcome to my casa."
I accepted his hand, which held mine in a firm grip that gave me tingles and awakened my loins. He let go after a few seconds and I followed him as he turned in the direction from whence he came, the steps of his leather boots reverberating down the cavernous corridor like the advance of an intimidating army.
He turned his head slightly to address me, his gait hardly slackening. "I thought that perhaps you would spend the night here, and then in the morning we could do the interview and the pictures." His English was flawless, yet impregnated with a sensual Spanish accent much like Ricardo Montalban.
I had actually counted on spending the night and the implications therein. "Yes, that would be more than convenient. In fact, I'm grateful for a chance to rest up."
"Anything you want, just tell me. Perhaps you would like to freshen up before we meet for a, what you call, a sundowner?"
 "You read my mind," I said, a bit too eagerly.
"Rafael will show you to your room."
The diminutive man who had opened the door when I'd arrived, still dressed in a white half-coat, white shirt and tie, white cummerbund and white trousers, smiled at me with crooked teeth and led the way up winding marble stairs bounded by gleamingly varnished hardwood bannisters.  My room was luxurious: parquet floor, oak paneling, velvet drapes fringing a French window, and a four poster canopy bed. As I turned to thank Rafael, he smiled and exited.
The first thing I did was to lie luxuriantly in the giant bathtub immersed in foam and bubbles in a giant marble bathroom and, shortly after transforming myself into a more presentable female, rejoined my sexy host in a glorious dining room: cerise-painted walls trimmed with white moldings, a moderate-sized dining table in the middle of an earthen-brown tiled floor. Renaldo had changed into a white cotton button down shirt and khaki trousers. I had put on my short silk dress with the thin straps, leaving my shoulders and most of my legs exposed. I didn't bring anything more formal than that, so I was relieved that he was dressed just as casual.
 Dinner was superb: oysters on the half shell, a luxurious green salad served with the local bread, poached cod, oven-roasted asparagus, fillet de mignon and chicken cordon bleu; it was so much that I could only take small portions of each, savoring every taste.  Conversation was exhilarating: at first polite talk about tomorrow's photojournalistic work...and then...
"So, how long have you been a photojournalist?"
This question made me think too much. "As long as I can remember," I replied, distracted by some niggling bad vibes that came out of nowhere.
Anyway, my evasive answer didn't seem to bother him. "I admire your work."
"Do you really?"
"Yes, yes, of course I do. That piece on that artist...what's his name, Solonoy..."
After that, there followed an embarrassing silence, which we made up for by nibbling at more food.
"You're such a beautiful creature," he said out of the blue.
I know my good points: my blond wavy hair, my trim muscular figure...but let's face it, it would be kind enough to say my face was plain, especially considering my thin lips. How I hate my slit-like lips! Yet, it was obvious he still wanted me.
After we had finished our chocolate mousse he suddenly announced, "I think we should retire. Would you mind it much, if perhaps I cannot sleep, I knock on your door later on? Just to talk, of course."
I had to admit to myself that I was more than expecting this; I had been fantasizing about it for the past few weeks. Half of my incentive for coming here was my anticipation of Dom Reynaldo Cortez seducing me and taking me without compromise. I gave him a vixen smile. "There's no harm in trying."
And with that he got up, cuing me to proceed to my room.
Of course he knocked. And of course I opened. It doesn't take too much of an imagination to figure out what happened after that. But let me sum it up.
First, I need to make one thing clear. This man was alpha, with a capitol A, macho with a capitol M, and virile with a capitol V. Such a man doesn't hide it either; he just comes right out with it.
"You know, Columbia is filled with the most beautiful, sexiest, most passionate women in the entire world. The one thing they have in common is their lustrous dark hair. But the color of sunlight reflecting off the morning precious amber."
I think that any girl would recognize that as a come-on line, particularly when accompanied by the wolfish grin on his face. He approached me, unbuttoning his shirt, which he eventually threw off, and bare-chested, put his arms around my waist.
"Tonight is going to be a special one for me and you." He kissed me, slowly, deliberately, reinforcing the meaning behind his words.
He didn't need permission, he just seized me. He bit my neck like a vampire, and mauled my breasts like a hungry wolf; perhaps not a style for those who are more romantically inclined. It all depends on the woman and the mood she's in.
And I was the right woman in the right mood.
After he had calmed down and released his initial pent-up passion, the rest of the foreplay was agonizingly delicious. He really paid attention to my body, worshiping it with his lips and tongue, licking me all over like a preening housecat, then once again greedily consuming my breasts, like a newborn desperately trying to satiate his hunger. He raised his head and stared into my eyes before he pounced upon my lips.  His mouth worked on mine and I practically choked on his deep throat kisses. Then he slid down and did the same to my pussy, giving it the same attention as he did to my mouth, his lips brushing on my labia, his tongue lapping up my clit. When he eventually entered me, the housecat turned into a tiger.
The erect male penis can evoke different responses. On one level it is a rather crude organ, veiny, threatening, and even obscene.  On the other hand it can be fascinating and powerfully attractive. Again, it all depends on the woman and the mood she's in.
And I was the right woman in the right mood.
Renaldo's was long, so I expected it to bang against my cervix; something I liked, perversely if you will. He thrust into me hard, letting me know from the onset who was the boss.
"Your hair," he growled, baring his teeth in a vicious snarl, "so fucking beautiful, on your head and around your pussy, like nectar. I'm going to punish you for being so sexy!"
"Yes, yes!" I cried, then realizing I said the wrong words, I corrected myself. "No, no...Please...mercy!"
"None for you, you little bitch!"
His prick unleashed its fury, bashing my innocent cunt left and right, high and low, Reynaldo roaring like a wild beast.
But I asked for it, didn't I? And I got it.
 His coppery body assaulting my lily-white figure posed a frantic moving picture of carnal contrast, my body rebounding under his blows, my legs flailing helplessly in the air,. His stiff manhood left no doubt who was in charge, its pugnacious battering venting an inexplicable rage against my soft insides, walloping it on all sides. I was aware of myself half-sobbing, screaming out no, no but meaning yes, yes. I climaxed in a spray of fireworks, and he himself immediately shouted out, as he emptied his balls in me.
And later when he took me anally, bellowing like a rabid creature just as he did before, I surprised myself with how much pleasure I derived from the pain of it.
"WHO IS YOUR BOSS?" he screamed out while pounding my poor little butthole.
His arm reached underneath my body for my neck, which he cupped with a restrained but firm grip, firm enough to remind me that he could tear out my windpipe if he wanted to, and that put me on the edge of swooning from a delicious sense of helpless vulnerability. In fact, his renewed assault gave me so much titillation that I came even harder than the first time...
Wow! It was as good as I had imagined.
We both nodded off in a post-coital trance, but it wasn't long before my phone cell rang. It was a low volume ringtone, but it vibrated in a way that seemed to resonate in my skull. I sat up, reached for my purse on the night table, and fished for my phone. I looked over at Renaldo, my Dom, to see him snoring lightly. I pushed the receive button. "Hello?"
"One fish, two fish, blue fish."
About the Author

Half French, half Khmer (Cambodian), I'm a woman whose head is filled with fantasies and intriguing stories, and who wants to share them with others.

S.P. Aruna’s latest book is the erotic thriller, Girl Within Girl: An Erotic Thriller: Book 1: Unraveling.

Visit the author on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Interview with Robert Lane, Author of 'The Gail Force'

Robert Lane
 resides on Florida’s west coast. His debut Jake Travis novel, The Second Letter, was received with critical acclaim and was awarded the Gold Medal in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best New Voice: Fiction.  His other novels in the stand alone series are Cooler Than Blood, and The Cardinal’s Sin.

You’ve created an unforgettable protagonist in Jake Travis.  He’s been called  a winning hero, a standout sleuth, larger than life, wisecracking—and the list goes on. What do you think sets Jake apart from other mystery characters?

Every reader reads a different book, and sees characters differently. For me, Jake is more vocal about his self-doubts than other protagonists. I think that makes him more human, and allows readers to identify with him. He is vulnerable to moments of introspection and almost embarrassed by his feelings. I find that more endearing than a cut-out tough-guy. I’ve also tried to surround Jake with secondary characters of substance. I don’t what his appeal to stem from a weak supporting cast.

How did Jake Travis come to be?  Any autobiographical component(s)?

Jake Travis had a long gestation period. He came to be because I was not finding to read what I wanted to read. The autobiographical component is on every page...between the words.

You’ve drawn comparisons to John D. MacDonald. How does that feel?

The similarity lies in the setting; Florida is a major character in both series. Also, both protagonists operate under their own moral code, and are more than willingly to make a difference in someone’s life. I think it ends there. John D.’s protagonist, Travis McGee, had a new woman in every book, and a good portion of them ended up dead, which makes one wonder why he was so popular. Jake stays loyal to Kathleen, and would be lost without her.  

What, for you, is the best part of being a writer?

Writing three hours every morning, and then having ideas gel the rest of the day: No, Kathleen wouldn’t say that. Change “ill” to “sick,” it’s got more teeth. Why would a character do what I had him do? Did that character lie to me yesterday morning? Little twit, I knew I couldn’t trust her.

And what’s the hardest part of being a writer?

Putting it out there.

What do you think makes for a good mystery?

Mystery, Smystery, Blistery…it doesn’t matter.  It’s all about characters. Great characters create great plot. A book with great characters and great plot is a joy to read and sticks with me long after the last page is turned. That is what makes a good novel.

What’s next for Jake Travis?  What’s next for Robert Lane?

Jake Travis: Jake's hard at work finding the man who abducted and killed his sister nearly thirty years ago in Naked We Came. It is the most personal of the series, as Jake if forced to face his past, and decide if he is nothing more than a product of his environment. It will be out the fall of 2017.

Authors To Watch: Mark Spivak, author of 'Friend of the Devil'

 Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, 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 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books:  Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq.
For More Information

Title: Friend of the Devil
Author: Mark Spivak
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Pages: 325
Genre: Culinary Thriller

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, sold his soul to the Devil to achieve culinary greatness. 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.

For More Information

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a full-time writer doing journalism, non-fiction and fiction. For the first two categories, I specialize in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel.

When did you begin writing?

I started at the age of eleven, and have been writing ever since.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

By the seat of my pants, which is dangerous---it’s terrific if everything works out, not so great if the story explodes in your face. I get up about 4-4:30 a.m. to make the most of time without interruptions (since I still do journalism, the email and other distractions are in full swing by 10 a.m.). I work obsessively throughout the day with breaks for working out, errands, etc. Most of the time I’m sitting on the corner of a couch in our living room.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

My first novel, Friend of the Devil, was released by Black Opal Books in May. It tells the story of America’s most celebrated chef, who has cut a deal with the Devil for fame and fortune. It contains murder, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and lots of food porn---otherwise, it’s pretty tame.

How did you get the idea for the book?

It’s based on a chef I worked with many years ago in another city (the novel is set in South Florida).

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

I’d have to day the chef himself, because he’s a very complex individual. The story is really a study in human greed and obsession.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

I’d like to consider myself to be a spiritual person, so spending a number of years immersed in the darker aspects of human nature was difficult. I think I told the story as well as I was able to, but I’m relieved that it’s in the rear-view mirror.

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Hemingway was my idol when I was a kid. He was the leading literary personality of the time, and fairly easy to read as well (at least on a surface level). I have a degree in literature, so I’ve read pretty widely. I tend to get inspired by writers who have a distinctive voice, although that voice can vary drastically from one person to another.

What projects are you currently working on?

My second novel, a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, is tentatively scheduled for release next spring. I have another manuscript that I’m currently shopping to agents. At the moment, I’m working on a story about the world’s greatest art forger, who also suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (what lay people would call multiple personality disorder).

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

It’s crucially important to have as much varied life experience as possible, so don’t spend your life in the academic world. I think journalism can be valuable in small dose (most particularly newspaper work). Remember that it takes a long time to learn how to write a story that other people want to read. Most importantly: DON’T GIVE UP.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Sweetheart Kiss by Cheryl Ann Smith


Inside the Book:

Title: The Sweetheart Kiss
Author: Cheryl Ann Smith
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Ecopy 

Jess Lucas works hard at the all-female PI firm Brash & Brazen, and after a brush with death, she’s determined to play hard too—preferably with a certain detective on the Ann Arbor police force . . .

Jess was stuck at a frenemy’s wedding, playing bridesmaid in a mustard-yellow monstrosity, when chaos erupted. First the bride’s ex tried to stop the wedding. Then someone really put a damper on the big day by sending a bullet through a stained glass window and into one of the groomsmen. At least her ugly dress came in handy to stop the bleeding . . .

While the poor guy is rushed to the ER, Jess gets grilled by a gorgeous cop who’s not thrilled to learn she’s part PI and part pit bull. But he has to admit she’s highly observant . . . and he observes that she’s pretty hot, too.

The thing is, Jess was walking up the same aisle as the victim, and Sam suspects she was the real target. It’s more than professional duty that makes him want to protect her—if he doesn’t arrest her first for interfering in his investigation . . .




A fan of romance fiction since the dark ages, author Cheryl Ann Smith loves to throw her heroines into danger, just to see what they’ll do. Her dream of publication came true in 2011 when the first in her historical romance series came out with Berkley Sensation. And starting on September 13th 2016, she’ll launch an exciting a new contemporary romance series with Kensington’s Lyrical Press. These books will mix her crazy sense of humor with the adventures of a trio of female private investigators, who are the kick-ass heroines Cheryl has always wanted to be.

While growing up, Cheryl never dreamed of being a writer. Then one afternoon she got a crazy idea and decided to write her own book. It took over five years, a marriage, and the births of her children to finish the manuscript. It was a hundred pages too long and thin on plot, but she took immense satisfaction in her accomplishment.

Naively, she was sure that book would sell to great fanfare. Agents and editors were less than enthusiastic. Thankfully, she stumbled onto Romance Writers of America soon after and that book got filed away forever. Since then her plots have improved and her page counts and writing time per book have been cut considerably. Cheryl lives in Michigan with her family, two cats and a very hairy dog. She enjoys outdoor adventures and traveling, when she has the time, and hopes to make her first visits to Europe and Australia in the very near future.

Visit her at