Hugh Howey.

As an editor at a newspaper, I receive several review copies of books every week. Unfortunately, the self-published ones are often the first to go in my giveaway pile. But Hugh Howey is helping the self-publishing world shake off its stigma.

Little more than a year ago, Howey was just another sci-fi author trying to maneuver his way through the world of self-publishing after a not-so-successful experience with a small publishing house. Today, his book Wool is a smashing success with more than 300,000 copies sold in the U.S. alone and a film optioned by 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott. He’s the face of a new era in publishing, and he’s just as surprised as anyone.

Read about how he did it here.

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Prep School.

Photo by Jonathan Boncek

You may have seen K. Cooper Ray’s Social Primer reversible bow ties at Brooks Brothers, and he recently came out with his first solo collection. I caught up with the designer before he headed off to New York Fashion Week.

“You see me out dressed, and half the time some might consider me a clown,” Ray says. “I really push the limits of go-to-hell prep. My reasoning for doing that, other than I’m just an eccentric kook, is that I feel like if I’m dressed really eccentrically, I feel like the other guys out there will see me and think, OK, I can go another step further. At least no one’s going to look at me, they’re looking at him.”

Read more choice quotes from Ray here.

No one mourns the Wicked.

That time I got to interview Elphaba.

“Slowly but surely the transition begins, and once you get that green makeup on your face, your wig, and then you add the costume and the boots, you’re sort of that character. It’s sort of impossible not to be,” Brummel says. “I don’t even know that it’s on unless I stare at my hands or something.”

Read more here.

Asian Cocktails

This round-up of Asian-inspired cocktails was published in the most recent issue of Swig. My favorite find?

Photo by Jonathan Boncek

Seido Sling at Gin Joint

Because of the Seido Sling’s somewhat medicinal qualities, the Gin Joint’s Joe Raya originally wanted to use the Japanese word for penicillin in the name — that is, until he realized the proper pronunciation of the word called to mind a certain part of the male anatomy. “Late at night that would get pretty funny,” Raya admits, but he went with “seido” instead, a word that means precision — something the expert bartenders at the speakeasy-style joint know all about. “We wanted to make a really awesome Japanese whiskey cocktail,” Raya says of the drink, and he decided to go with a sling formula. It’s an old-school technique that blends a spirit, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. “There’s not really a firm definition, but the name comes from the way you drink it, sort of slinging it back,” he says. The Seido Sling blends 12-year-old Yamazaki whiskey, fresh yuzu juice, ginger, and honey. Now, the Gin Joint likes to keep their menu fresh, so you won’t find the Seido Sling listed anymore, but they’re always ready to whip one up — and they often do, because the drink has earned many fans since its inception. “When we took it off the menu, people were pretty pissed off,” Raya laughs.

Read the full article here.

Soaking It In.

Design Sponge founder Grace Bonney is just as cool/sweet/smart as she seems. We chatted about her favorite spaces, the evolution of her own aesthetic, and design trends that have run their course.

“I so don’t want anyone to put a bird on anything ever again,” she laughs, referring to an episode of IFC series Portlandia where people are encouraged to “put a bird on” anything to make it more stylish. “I think it’s funny how that saying in Portlandia has sort of revived the bird trend. I think it was finally at its last gasp, and then when that came back, I think people started using that as an excuse to slap birds on anything again under the guise of being ironic, but I think people just kicked the trend back into gear … I think irony in design is a little overused right now. I think it’s sort of a disguise for laziness in the design work.”

Here’s the full interview.

Retro Revival.

One of my favorite places in Savannah, Ga. is the Back in the Day Bakery. Owners Cheryl and Griffith Day are amazing bakers, and they generously shared many of their secrets in their debut cookbook.

“We consider ourselves unabashed Southern bakers,” Day says. “We just learned to make things that are comforting to people, nothing that’s too complicated. These are really easy-to-follow and accessible recipes. It wasn’t difficult to do that because that’s what we’ve always done.”

Read the full interview here.