Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Authors, Alcohol & Accolades: Volume 7

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour."
--William James

I am back with another volume in my new series, Authors, Alcohol & Accolades. Please check Volume 1 for links to all of the prior installments. Each installment showcases four of my favorite authors, and I have returned to highlight four more, and to delve into their drinks of choice. I have found this to provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of the writers I enjoy and hope you like the interviews as well. You can look forward to further volumes in this series too, and any authors who are interested in participating in future volumes can contact me.

The four authors in this volume all possess a gritty and intense vision, and three of them are bourbon fans as well. Is there a connection there?

Todd Robinson (Twitter: @BigDaddyThug)
Todd's debut novel, The Hard Bounce, was published this past December by Tyrus Books. Set in Boston, this gritty crime novel centers on two bouncers who are hired to locate a missing girl and get caught up in a much more intricate criminal plot. Reminiscent of a hard boiled detective story, this is a cool debut that will keep your interest from page to page. Quirky characters, a sense of humor and a local setting will also intrigue readers. I look forward to future tales involving these two bouncers. Todd is also the editor of Thuglit, a crime fiction magazine, which showcases plenty of gritty short stories.

"I'm a whiskey with beer-chaser guy. The beer depends on my mood. The whiskey depends on my wallet. Bourbon, preferably. I was once a Scotch-only man, but the span during which I was faithful to the Highlands was a particularly harsh period in my life, and as much as I enjoy the whiskey, the association is mean. Scotch is my mean drink. I've told people, if you see me drinking Scotch...ever... I'm in that dark place. Just walk away.

My "drankin'" combo (and yes, it is spelled d-r-a-n-k-i-n) go-to is a Makers Mark chased with Corona. If I'm wearing my fancy pants (and the bar is nicer than the ones I often frequent), my absolute favorites are Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse and Basil Hayden bourbon. The Franziskaner is golden/orange-hued, with a nice spice that is surprisingly light-bodied and refreshing for a wheat beer. Basil Hayden is the smoothest bourbon I've ever tasted, with a light spice, minimal bite, and a butterscotch finish.

Avoid MD 20/20 Kiwi-flavored fortified wine at all costs.

Just saying..."

John Everson (Twitter: @JohnEverson)
If you enjoy erotic horror, then you have to check out John's numerous novels and short stories. For example, Siren is a compelling horror story touching on the ancient Greek legend of the alluring Sirens. Know that a spurned Siren is even a greater peril than an angry Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. For more intense erotic horror, you must read NightWhere, which is dark, twisted, erotic, gory, depraved, emotional.....and I loved it. With its extreme elements, it is certainly not a book for everyone but if you can handle it, you will be richly rewarded with a fascinating novel. It reminded me of the work of Clive Barker. Kudos to John for presenting such a shocking and compelling book.

"Back in high school…er, I mean college… I couldn’t stand beer. While my friends tilted back Little King Cream Ales and Miller Genuines, I kept my fingers wrapped firmly around a bottle of Canadian Whiskey. In my 20s, a friend introduced me to Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, and my whole outlook changed. I didn’t instantly love it, but it was different than anything I’d ever tasted, and I began exploring the world of amber and darker beers. That first Sam Smith’s ultimately launched a 20+ year infatuation with brown ales… usually English Brown Ales. I’ve gone through my Bass, Boddington’s and Wells Bombardier phases, but nothing has proven as consistently drinkable to me as Newcastle Brown Ale. I’ve found a few microbrews around North America that have beers to rival Newcastle… but none of them are bottled and shipped anyplace near Chicago. If you’re on the East Coast, look for Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown, or if you’re near Vancouver, don’t miss Granville Island’s Nut Brown. If you are south, Abita Brewing’s Turbodog has a nice malty finish, but only if you get it on tap. It loses whatever it is I love about it when bottled. And Denver’s Pints Pub brews a great John Bull Brown Ale that, sadly, never gets beyond the pub’s four walls.

Lest you think that all this malt and hops ruined my appreciation for whiskey, fear not. Around the time I settled on Newcastle as my beer of choice, I also discovered wheated bourbons… while a pricey Pappy Van Winkle is perhaps the most perfect sipping bourbon ever, I find day-to-day while sitting at my computer writing, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a cold pint glass of Newcastle with a chaser shot of Makers Mark bourbon at its side."

James Tuck (Twitter: @JamesTuckwriter)
James, a professional tattoo artist, is also the author of the Deacon Chalk series, dark urban fantasy about an occult bounty hunter who has to deal with vampire, were-creatures and other deadly monsters. Deacon Chalk is a bad-ass protagonist and his adventures are intense, action-filled rides through a perilous and supernatural obstacle course. Your pulse will race throughout every Deacon Chalk tale. Start with Blood & Bullets and I am sure you will be hooked. The newest Deacon book, Blood & Magick, is due out on March 5.

"I'm a bourbon man. Given my choice I'll take a shot of bourbon with a water or sweet tea or apple juice chaser. I also love trying new bourbons. So far my favorite is the Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon but if I'm going straight, plain bourbon I'll take Buffalo Trace. I've also been experimenting with my own infusions so in about 6 weeks I'll get to taste my Apple Pie, Espresso, Blackberry, Honey Pear, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipes. Hell yes I'm excited about that.

I don't mind rum based drinks, especially in the summertime, they're usually fruity and refreshing while still being able to knock you on your ass. But my favorite mixed drink is a Red-Headed Slut. Jagermeister, Peach Schnapps, and Cranberry juice. It doesn't sound like it would be as delicious as it is but it is hands down the winner when I am out with friends and not drinking for effect. You can get it as a slammer shot or over ice if you are looking to sip it. It's a delight either way."

Jeff Salyards (Twitter: @JeffSalyards)
Jeff's debut novel is Scourge of the Betrayer, a dark military fantasy and the first in the Bloodsounder's Arc. Though it is fantasy, there seems to be a gritty reality to its depiction of its characters and the military. The mysteries within the tale unravel slowly and it draws you deeper and deeper into the story. There is a fierceness to the tale and once you finish it, you will be craving the sequel. Political intrigued, mysterious magics, intense combat, compelling characters, and more will attract readers.

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. . . 

"There was a time that I drank to get drunk. Well, that was last week. But I mean drank *only* to get drunk. What is more excessive than excess? That’s how I drank. So taste wasn’t really a consideration and I wasn’t especially. . . discerning. Boones Farm, Night Train, Jeremiah Weed, a case of the Beast, Vick’s cold medicine, whatever. Being a big guy with a lot of bloodstream, and at the time, possessing a Herculean tolerance, it used to be the cheaper the better. Bargain bin at Piggly Wiggly? Sign me up! Brown bag? No shame in that--it’s recyclable!

"By now, my days of debauchery and unbridled hedonism (mostly) behind me, or at least (somewhat) less frequent, I am much choosier. In fact, I’m sort of a beer snob now. Which is ironic, since my early days of drinking mostly involved bottom shelf liquor and cocktails mixed in garbage cans. I’ve got particular fondness for Erdinger, Erdinger Dunkel, Franziskaner (not to be confused with Frankensteiner) Hefe-Weiss, most anything from Belgium, Fat Tire and plenty of other American micro brews.

"And I’ll always have a soft spot for a really well made Long Island Ice Tea. I’ve sampled them all over the place, and it’s hit or miss, with a whole lot of miss. It’s awfully tough to find one that is strong enough to be worth the price without tasting like cobra venom, or goes down smooth without being cloyingly sweet. And striking the balance of potent and tasty, even at presumably good bars, seems to be incredibly rare art form. I like art. Especially drinking it."

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Elisha Mullins said...
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