As an author looking to sell the film rights to one of my novels to Hollywood, my journey has been very slow so far. Most filmmakers will not take "unsolicited" manuscripts. In Hollywood, it's not what you know but who you know!
So I figured if I kept trying, one day something big was going to happen. Lo and behold, who should land right on my doorstep but unconventional, open-minded, two-time director, Angelina Jolie!
Recently, she's made the news headlines again as she is in the process of directing her second film, and using locations within Australia. The film is called Unbroken, and it's based on a non-fiction book by author Laura Hillenbrand.
But all this is besides the point. I knew Ms Jolie was going to be filming a scene outside one of the hotels where I freelance in human resources (my bread and butter gig). This is what I do to pay the bills in between writing. Anyway, this incredible and talented lady (Ms Jolie) was going to be literally on my doorstep, with one of our hotels being in the background of one of the scenes in the film. So how was I going to get my novel to her? The set was heavily guarded, and anyone trying to approach the area where the filming was taking place was turned away by security. Lucky for me, I found a way. You know what they say--where there is a will, there is a way.
ON THE SET OF UNBROKEN. JUST ACROSS THE ROAD FROM MY HOTEL!
Before you get excited, the answer is "No", I didn't get to meet Ms Jolie. At the time I pulled my "covert" operation of trying to get my novel to her, she was filming behind closed doors. In any case, below is my account of how I did it:
"It was a real production (no pun intended) just trying to get the whole thing to happen. First, my boss told me he was going to pass on my novel to Ms Jolie (as he expected to meet her), or he would hand it to the locations manager, who is the guy he'd been dealing with regarding the changes to the façade of our hotel's entry way (our hotel was going to be made to look like a Japanese store of some kind).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, one day before the shoot, my boss told me he was going to be in and out of the office attending meetings. I was devastated. I had been counting on him being around to hand over the novel to Ms Jolie (after all, he'd read it and loved it). So when he told me he would be flat out that day (Friday, 22 November), I felt like giving up. I was angry, disappointed, and wanted to cry at the same time.
Then an idea came to me--I got the name of the locations manager from my boss, and I googled him (Yes, always, ALWAYS do your homework!). The guy has an incredible filmography--he's worked in all the major blockbusters made in Australia for the last 30 years including Wolverine and Gatsby. I tried to get a clear image on Google of this man so I would recognise him if I saw him, but I could only find a tiny photo of him, taken at a distance, and it was blurry at that. I wasn't sure how I was going to identify him on the set. My idea was to approach him directly.
On Friday morning, I made my way to the hotel, and it was bedlam. There were extras dressed as Japanese soldiers and 1940s-type civilians, and a whole bunch of vintage cars were parked along the road (the scene was meant to be a street in Tokyo). People were everywhere--security guards, crew members, etc. Scaffolding and filming lights, trucks, and loads of equipment occupied the street, which was soon to be blocked off to general traffic and the public.
I made it into the hotel, and my boss was busy. He said he'd introduce me to the locations guy, but then he got caught up with other things. Ms Jolie was already inside a building across the road from us, which is an art-deco style building, and she'd been there since early morning. I was told by someone from our hotel, who knew what was happening, that she was filming behind closed doors, and no one but crew could get in.
The entrance to the building was flanked by security officers and all manner of film crew individuals. I stood across the road with my package in hand (novel and letter addressed to Ms Jolie), watching, watching, watching, and waiting, waiting, waiting. Then, this guy comes out of the building. He looked vaguely familiar. My intuition told me it was him (the locations manager). He looked like the pic I saw on Google, but I couldn't be 100% sure. His name is Phillip Roope, by the way.
Suddenly, he was talking to some people, and standing like 2 feet away from me. I was going to wait till he finished talking and then attract his attention. But before I could do this, he walked off. I was really distressed and disappointed. He was my only chance, and he'd just walked away. Still, I waited and waited some more as Mr Roope went back into the building where the filming was taking place.
Then it started to pour with rain (we had thundery weather in Sydney on Friday), and I thought, Damn! What else can go wrong? And just as I thought this, Mr Roope came out of the building again and started to walk up the road. I said to myself, "It's now or never, Sylvia."
I ran across the road despite the heavy rain, almost getting run over by cars as the road hadn't yet been blocked off. Meanwhile, Mr Roope was going way up the road, away from me. I quickened my pace, but a security officer blocked my way, and said, "Excuse me, madam, are you crew?"
I went into official mode, gave her a stern look, and with my most authoritative tone, I replied, "I'm after Mr Roope." This seemed to work because, without further questions, she called out after him (by the way, I'm good at authority. You have to be if you're in human resources. Not a wasted career after all).
Mr Roope stopped, turned to me, and we took shelter under the awning of a building, as it was still raining heavily. And then, after apologising for taking up his time, I launched into my spiel (and believe me, you have to be ready for this because you never know when the opportunity to sell your novel/script/idea will come up). I told him who I was, gave him my official hotel business card, told him I had permission from my boss to approach him, and that I had a novel for Ms Jolie, and would he give it to her.
I further told him I knew she probably gets millions of these, but the Universe dictated that she be here today, and therefore, I had to take the chance. Fortunately, Mr Roope, an Aussie, was really nice and easy going (as most Aussies are), and he promised he would put it in her hands. I then thanked him, complimented him on his fantastic career, and finally went on my way.
Oh, but just before I left, I did say that I knew Ms Jolie might simply put the book in the trash, or never get to read it. But if she did read it, she would surely love it, and cry at the ending. Mr Roope smiled, a twinkle in his eye, and once again promised he'd give it to her. Wow! I was suddenly on top of the world. Talk about six degrees of separation. And this was only one degree of separation!"
When relating my story to a colleague, she commented on my determination. I replied that I would have stepped over bodies lying in the streets if it meant I could get my novel to Ms Jolie. I've never been shy of approaching people. I had something to sell, and I wanted an open-minded director for it. The Universe saw fit to bring Ms Jolie literally to my doorstep. The worst she or Mr Roope could have said was "No". So I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Now it's all out of my hands. I do not expect to hear any time soon, if ever. Ms Jolie might put the whole package straight into the trash; after all, she undoubtedly gets hit with this kind of thing all the time. Or she might put it away for later and forget all about it. Or she might open it and put the book aside for another day and not read it for a year. Or she might read it and not like it. Or she might read it, like it, but decide it's not a good film project. Or... the best outcome of all, she might love it, cry at the end of the story, and get her people to contact me with a movie deal because she just has to make this novel into a movie!
My mother once said to me regarding lost opportunities: "We might miss several trains, but we always catch the last one." This thought was what kept me going against all odds to get my book to Ms Jolie. And since you can never depend on anybody else except yourself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I simply did what I had to do and what was under my control--the rest, I handed over to the Universe.
And now, while I wait for that magic call (if it should ever come), I can finally go around saying my most favourite line of all time to people who never answer their phones: "You never know when Hollywood is going to call."
... Only, we’re in Detroit and not Chicago.
Picture this: Detroit in the late 1920s. A beautiful, headstrong, young girl determined not to follow in the wake of well-mannered young ladies of that period and be “married off” to the best suitor. A mysterious walk-in closet; a mother with a dark secret. Men and women with self-serving motives, gangsters and molls, booze, murder, and flying bullets!
All this, and more, will you find in author Patty Wiseman’s trilogy, The Velvet Shoe Collection, consisting of: An Unlikely Arrangement, An Unlikely Beginning, and An Unlikely Conclusion. Author Patty Wiseman
Patty is experiencing great success with her romance suspense series featuring 17-year-old Ruth Squire, and her “unlikely” adventures.
I’ve just finished reading Book 2 in the collection, and caught up with Patty in between book tours and literary award dinners to ask her a few questions about her unique series.
Sylvia: You picked an interesting era to write about--Detroit, late 1920s--what made you write about this time in history?
Patty: Imagine a tow-headed, five-year-old runt of a girl crouching behind the stairwell in her grandmother’s three-story mansion, listening to the grownups talk about her life during the roaring twenties. We were leaving to move to Kansas. My dad took a new job there. Kansas is where my grandmother met her second husband, and where her story took an unexpected twist. She’d fled from Detroit, Michigan, to save her life and her son’s. I’m a naturally curious being, and my vivid imagination worked over time while grandmother spun her story of intrigue. I’ve often thought she missed her calling. She should have been a writer herself. Over the years, I made a point to stay with her on any occasion I could and sat in rapture most of the time as she told the story of her life’s journey. Those stories never left me. I knew I had to write about them. Life, of course, got in the way. I put it on the back burner, but shortly before I retired, the stories grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go.
Sylvia: How did you find having to research details to write about this era?
Patty: First of all, I love, love, love that era. Partly, because of the stories I heard, but more because when I did start to research that era, the role women played during that time fascinated me. This was an era of women really coming out of the shadows, and making themselves and their desires known. I put my grandmother in that category, as well. She was headstrong, passionate, and beautiful. She knew what she wanted, and was going to find a way to have it. I found a lot of information through ancestry.com. I also have a lot of online friends who live in Detroit, who were very accommodating when I needed to verify facts about the time period. I really had a lot of fun researching.
Sylvia: Why did you name this series of books "The Velvet Shoe Collection"?
Patty: As I said before, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother growing up. She had a huge house, and the guestroom I stayed in had a cavernous closet. I was always exploring; and one night, I found the closet didn’t end in the guest room. It actually turned the corner and continued into my grandmother’s dressing room. When I turned that corner, I was amazed. Rows of fancy dresses, jewelry and shoes! So many shoes! There were all kinds to match her dresses, but the ones I liked best were the velvet ones. Especially a red velvet pair. That’s where I came up with the name. I wrote that closet and those dresses into the books.
Sylvia: So the idea to write this series come from real life, as with most authors?
Patty: Yes. I wrote the stories from my grandmother’s perspective, but really to honor her first husband, my father’s father, who never lived to see him grow up. I had only planned on one book at first, but I got such a wonderful response, I decided to write a series. Now, people are clamoring for me to write about some of the other characters in the books and to expand on their lives. There is so much material there. I could write for years!
Sylvia: I see you are doing some book tours and talks around the country. Please tell us more about this.
Patty: In 2012, I pulled out all the stops and traveled everywhere for book signings and festivals, libraries and book stores. I hardly ever had a weekend off. What I found was women who love to read about strong women who have found a way to live their dreams. This year, I’ve slowed down on the tours and am working on a series of workshops designed to encourage women to pursue their dreams no matter what station in life they find themselves. If you follow me on my website, www.pattywiseman.com, you will be able to keep up to date on the progress of these endeavors.
Sylvia: I like the slogan on your website: "Challenge, Conquer, Change". What is the premise behind this?
Patty: I’ve been able to live my dream, and it is a passion of mine to encourage other women to follow theirs. So many women feel that time has passed them by, that they don’t have anything meaningful to contribute anymore. There are two blogs about "Women of a Certain Age" on my website. One spotlights quotes from women at various ages, and what they like most about the age they are. The other, affirms the worth of women as they get older and spotlights the man’s point of view, and the beauty they find as their partner travels through each decade.
We should never discount our influence in this world because we are aging. Too many times, women get trapped in what the media portrays beauty to be, thus creating an impossible image to sustain. We need to stand away from the television, the billboards, and the magazines, and examine the virtues we have to offer to the younger generations. We are beautiful at every age! We need to find the jewel within!
Sylvia: That is inspiring indeed! Ageing is not very kind to women because of the media, and the culture we live in, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries such as the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?
Patty: I’d just like to encourage all women to explore the UNLIKELY! Many times, we fall into a pattern, and just stay on the same old treadmill. Try something new, whether it be in the books you read, the entertainment you enjoy, or the places you travel, even the food you eat. Open up your world! Explore the possibilities. It’s an exciting time to be a woman!
Sylvia: Patty, it has been a great pleasure to feature you on "Sylvia Says". Thank you, and I wish you all the best with the Velvet Shoe Collection and your workshops on inspiring women to reach their potential. I think this kind of empowerment is something we can never get enough of.
Patty: The pleasure is mine. Thank you for the interview, and for having me on your blog. I wish you all the best with your own "Unlikely Adventures" as a strong woman and novelist!
We all have our trials and tribulations. We have to deal at some stage in our lives with adversity, obstacles, loss, grief, illness, and so on. We often ask ourselves "why me?" We question life, the existence of God--we sometimes even think we're cursed. We tend to compare ourselves to others, and think they're lucky and we are not. We get depressed, we despair, and sometimes we want to stop living. Author Gary Goldstein
Like many of you reading this blog post, I've had my fair share of disasters in life, but what I've learned from the bad times was that no matter how awful things got, I could always reinvent myself. We can all reinvent ourselves, but whether it's for better or worse, only you can decide.
Today, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you such a person--one who opted to reinvent himself for the better. Please meet fellow author, Gary Goldstein.
Gary resides in New York City, and I met him a couple of years ago when he appeared as a guest in my then literary show "The Lit Chick Show". Since that time, Gary and I have bumped into one another through the social media, and I decided to invite Gary for an interview on Sylvia Says. I believe if anyone can give us an example of facing adversity, overcoming obstacles and despair, and coming out on the other side with a smile and a lot to give, it is Gary Goldstein.
And so, we move on to find out a little more about Gary and his life.
SM: Gary, thank you for being a guest on Sylvia Says. Do you think writing Jew in Jail was a cathartic experience for you?
GG: Thank you, Sylvia. Good to be here. As to your question--yes, writing Jew in Jail absolutely was a cathartic experience, especially since I wrote it AS I was serving my sentence!
SM: How was this experience cathartic?
GG: It allowed me to become very introspective and think about why I had become the way I was, as far as not having any self-esteem and self-confidence, and why I was resorting to alcohol, drugs and gambling in order to step out of my reality.
SM: Like many people who've been through trauma, whether it be from an accident, a death in the family, drug addiction, etc, can you describe a time when you felt the lowest you could ever be and how you pulled out of it?
GG: Yes, and this is a very good question. It was when I finally decided that I had enough of my "revolving door" lifestyle on the morning of October 31, 2007.
Even though I spent nearly six years behind bars, I did suffer one last relapse 18 months after coming home in 2004, because I had decided and justified that I "deserved" to get high as a result of everything I had been through and dealt with.
However, when I woke up on October 31, 2007, and realized that I felt like a rat in maze and was never going to amount to anything in life unless I finally cleaned up my act and got help for my addictions, I walked over to the Coney Island Hospital Chemical Dependency Outpatient Drug Treatment Program and voluntarily signed in.
Long story short, I remained six months longer than was necessary, and today serve as the alumni committee president.
In addition, this has led to my becoming a motivational & inspirational speaker, and I get to help other recovering addicts at drug programs, hospital detoxes, jails, schools, etc., and get tremendous satisfaction out of passing the message of hope onto those who need it.
SM: Like most people, we sometimes feel in the depths of despair--we feel like we're going to lose it--if you were ever there, what do you think gave you the strength to pull yourself out of this feeling?
GG: Just finally realizing and believing that I was born with greatness - like I tell others when I speak - and that my accomplishments, including college degrees, career in print and broadcast journalism, intelligence, wit, personality and life experience necessitated that I do my best to live up to my full potential.
That, plus the fact that I have a very loving and supportive family and friends who refused to get down on me, even when I was very much down on myself!
SM: How did it feel to be in jail?
GG: It felt degrading, embarrassing and humiliating. Of course, I obviously had nobody else to blame for it happening but myself.
However, after being stripped of my dignity, I slowly but surely began to dig out from the desperation my life had become, and started to work out, tutor other inmates in the school, go to the general and law libraries, lay in the sun out in the yard, and, of course, write "Jew in Jail!"
So, my point is that even under these horrible conditions of being behind bars, it is possible to overcome anything in life, and end up a better person.
SM: What message do you want people to take away from your story?
GG: I want people to understand that, no matter who you are, where you come from, your economic status, or any other factor, addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, and does not discriminate.
Furthermore, I also want people to realize that, regardless of what kind of a tough time they might be going through, they are never alone as there are always people who have experienced the same thing themselves and are willing to help.
Simply put, never be ashamed to ask for help, and never be too proud to admit that you need help in life, because we are all human beings and make mistakes.
SM: If you could go back in time, what would you change about your life?
GG: This is another very good question, and I would say that I would just never take anything for granted, like I did when I was growing up.
I would also appreciate everything I had as a kid, including a great family, friends, education, career after graduation, and just basically know that I could have been whatever I wanted to be in life, as long as I maintained my self-esteem and self-confidence, which, sadly, wasn't the case.
SM: You entitled your book "Jew in Jail". Is this because of the faith you were born into and you were identifying with it, or because you suffered discrimination because of your faith?
GG: Both actually, although more of the second, as I was definitely subjected to a lot of discrimination while incarcerated.
SM: What is your next project?
GG: Aside from continuing to promote "Jew in Jail," and deliver motivational & inspirational speeches in order to help others, I am very interested in getting my own radio and/or television show so I can empower people to always be their best.
I truly believe that I can help so many people achieve their goals by instilling in them a sense of greatness, and letting them know and realize that nothing can stop them from succeeding in life as long as they remain diligent, hard working, and focused.
SM: I wish you well with your book, Gary, and once again, thank you for being a guest on my blog.
GG: My pleasure, and thank you.
I’m not into politics. The reason being, to me all politicians are the same. No matter what they promise during their electoral campaign, you can bet your sweet bippy whoever gets elected will let down the nation.
I mean, what an insult to our intelligence to think we, the people of ANY country in the world, are stupid enough to believe a politician’s empty promises during an electoral campaign. C’mon, people! We all know a politician will sell their grandmother to the devil if it means they’ll get a few extra votes. And they’ll even throw in grandpa and the family pet if it means even more votes!
Now, I don’t know about my esteemed American friends (of whom I have many), but I have to smirk cynically when I see the big shows some of these political campaigners put on in order to become President of the good US of A. These shows rival anything Hollywood can come up with as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I think the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS) should introduce a new category to the Academy Awards--Best charade for good politician—and the Oscar goes to... Well, whoever puts on the best charade for being a good politician who will keep all his/her promises to the population.
One good thing about all this is at least my Yankee friends get something in return for their vote—good entertainment. Not only this, but I believe voting in the US is not compulsory. God, you guys have it good! In Australia, we are FORCED to vote, and if we don’t we have to pay a fine. Grrrr...
So you see, this becomes a real dilemma for someone like me who doesn’t give a rat’s ass as to who wins because I know whoever becomes Prime Minister of Australia will be yet another wally (Australian slang for expressing the word “idiot” but in a polite way) with a bad case of megalomania and being a legend in their own lunchtime.
This finally brings me to the subject of my blog post—which is, if Americans don’t want their president, they should send him to the land down under. And make it quick, please. Our federal election kicks off on 7 September, and God help us— the candidate choices, like so many in the past, are akin to scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Now, ladies and gay gentlemen, please wipe the drool rolling down your chin. The babe pictured to the right is unfortunately NOT a political candidate. If he were, we wouldn't give a donkey's B-hind if he kept his promises or not. With looks like his, who cares, right?
So why, you might ask, do I think Obama should govern our banana republic? Well, for one, what more damage can he do than our own politicians, who can’t even recognise a good suit unless they’re being taken to court for abusing each other on TV? Oh, I’m referring to the cheap-looking suits they tend to wear. Ar, ar.
The second reason, AND the most important of them all, is this one: If all politicians are the same—full of empty promises—then why put up with one who could be typecast in a Hollywood movie to play a priest about to conduct an exorcism, or another who’d make an excellent model for the sculpture of a garden gnome?
In conclusion, all things being equal, I’ll take Obama any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I mean, at least the guy is a cool dude, and as far as I’m concerned, rather sexy. Put it this way, I wouldn’t mind taking a ride on Air Force One with him ;)
So come election day, I will look up into the skies to watch out for Air Force One bearing our new, good-looking, cool dude Prime Minister, Obama. After all, good looks work well in Hollywood, so why not in politics?
I give you one guess as to the cool dude I'd vote for :)
I started to write about this on Facebook but decided to blog about it in more detail.
When you look down through the ages, girls of 12 years were being married off to men twice or three times their age. At least in those days, the roles played in a marriage were more distinct—women became homemakers and had children; men fought the wars and provided for their family.
This went on until after WWII, when women went out to do men’s jobs because the men were fighting the war (which they started in the first place, I might add). And once we returned to peacetime, women discovered they could do a man’s job and then some. Therefore, although they had a very difficult time in fighting for equal rights through the ages, women finally made it—well, mostly.
One thing we didn’t reckon on was the aging factor. Sadly, the likes of Hollywood and the media made it acceptable for a 20-year-old to be paired off with a 50-something actor. Movies such as Funny Face and Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn are a case in point. Having said this, once again, the woman became the
homemaker and had the children while the man provided for her; and because the man was older, it stood to reason he would die off first and leave his family well provided for.
So what happened in more recent years? Men still like the idea of a younger woman—don’t they always gravitate toward someone younger than themselves? Where does this leave the older woman? If she’s lucky, she’s married to a wonderful man who will grow old alongside her until death do them part. If she’s unlucky, she’ll be abandoned by her spouse and must fend for herself.
Okay, I think most women have accepted that at one time or other, they will go through a separation or divorce, and therefore, they must fend for themselves unless their ex pays maintenance for them. More than likely, however, the woman will have to work and maintain herself, and the chances of her meeting another man after the age of 45 is almost nil. The reason? Men her age are looking for someone up to 15 years younger, so all of a sudden, older women find themselves in an aging purgatory from which there is no escape.
This isn’t so bad if a woman is successful and financially secure. After all, it’s better to be single than stay in a marriage for all the wrong reasons. The problem comes when a woman is not financially secure. She must earn her living but cannot find a job if she’s been laid off from work. If she’s age 40, she might just scrape by and find another job, but by age 45+ it’s almost a miracle unless she’s well connected, or is prepared to take several steps down from what she used to do and take up some
menial job. So much for the age-discrimination commission and all their crappy talk about equal opportunity for women!
So what happens now? The official pension age is around 65, and we have a late-40s/early-50s woman looking for a job, but she cannot find one because the labour market is like Hollywood, they
only want them young. What does this woman do? How does she survive the next 15 or so years until she can collect her age pension?
There are plenty of famous actresses in Hollywood who are over 45 and still working, and even if they didn’t work, they have already made their fortune and can live the rest of their lives in comfort. But come closer to reality, and we have a disaster. We have women in their 40s and 50s who cannot find work, who become invisible to men their age (and even men older than them! Yes, a 60-something male is still going for the young
babes), and who pretty much get ignored by society in general.
I am talking in general here. There are those women who make waves and make themselves heard, or who become influential in some way, or even famous, but what happens to the majority of us?
I am fortunate to have a bread and butter job in recruitment right now so I try to help older women where possible. Mind you, I’ve had some tough battles with ex-bosses when trying to convince
them to consider an older female candidate rather than a younger one despite the fact that the younger woman was underqualified. Nine of out ten, I was overruled and we had to give the job to the younger female. In the end, I was vindicated when the younger female didn’t have the staying power or the skills of the older candidate and she didn’t make the cut.
My experience with the aging factor and finding work frightens me when I see this kind of thing going on all around me and I start to think about what is going to happen to me one day. It’s scary to
think that if I lose my present job, I may never be employed again.
I am working toward my dream of becoming a fulltime author. After all, writing has no age limit, but making it in any kind of creative field is very difficult, and it may be that one day, I might
have to take up a job walking dogs instead.
It is stressful to see I don’t have the influence I used to when I was in my 30s and at the top of my career. Meanwhile, even older guys than I still have powerful jobs. It's sad but true when we have to admit that it’s still a man’s world out there.
If you have a story to share about the trials and tribulations of growing older as a female, please share it here.
It’s been less than a month since I returned from a cruise to New
Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands and already, I am looking forward to another one. What was so good about the cruise? Well, if you look at it from my protagonist’s, Mia Ferrari, point of view, it was the cute, young officers.
You can’t blame Mia, older-woman and wannabe investigator, seeing as she likes Playing with the bad boys, right? (Also the name of her first mystery adventure). Mia likes them young and
good looking (even if they’re gay!), and on a cruise of over 1700 passengers and around 700 crew, one is bound to run into some young flesh ;) And she did.
But what was the real reason for going on this cruise? Namely,
relaxation and to plan my next murder mystery, which will take place on the high seas and will feature Mia, her friends, and a host of other characters.
I will be starting to write Mia Ferrari’s next mystery adventure Murder on the South Pacific in the next few weeks and hope to release it toward the end of 2013.
You can expect a number of murders, spicy sex and quite a few suspects. Mia is going to be under pressure to solve these murders in a short time span, seeing as the cruise is not a long one and she must solve the murders before the ship arrives at its destination. So the pressure is on.
This is why Mia’s creator, little me, is in need of another cruise in order to relax :)
While you are waiting for Mia’s third mystery to be released, why not grab a copy of her first two adventures? Click HERE to have a look at where you can buy them.
So, see you onboard soon and bon voyage!
That’s right, fictional friendship did turn to murder—but it’s fictitious, so that’s a relief.
You’re probably wondering what in heaven’s name I’m talking about. Let me explain: some time ago, I read a couple of humorous fiction novels by British author, Carol E. Wyer. I met Carol when I used to run a blog interviewing authors on their respective work, and we kept in touch since. This is what I call a cyber-friendship.
British author, Carol E. Wyer
Aussie author, Sylvia Massara
In her novels, Carol developed a character who followed the blog of her main protagonist, Amanda Wilson. The blog follower went by the name of SexyFitChick, and she was from Australia. SexyFitChick became a good online friend of Amanda Wilson, Carol’s main character in her two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos.
Carol later told me that SexyFitChick reminded her of me, although I don’t know about the “fit” part *laughter and wink*, but I do agree about the “sexy” bit :D
Over the next couple of years, Carol and I maintained our cyber-friendship, and I really enjoyed reading about the escapades of Amanda Wilson. So much so, that when my own protagonist, smartarse, older chick, super-sleuth, Mia Ferrari, was published in her second adventure, The Gay Mardi Gras Murders, I decided to bring Amanda Wilson to the land down under for a visit with Mia.
In the story, Amanda (or Mandy) is suffering from “grumpy-hubby syndrome” and so she runs off to Sydney to visit with best online friend, Mia Ferrari and catch the world-famous gay mardi gras at the same time.
Mia Ferrari's 2nd mystery adventure
1st Mia Ferrari mystery
Amanda Wilson's 1st adventure
As it turns out, not only does Mandy become part of an investigation into several murders, one of which involves a transsexual with a very valuable diamond that carries a so-called curse, but she is thrown into Mia’s world—a world of luxury international hotels, Ferrari cars, insidious characters, younger men, a bunch of bitchy drag queens, drop-dead gorgeous gay boys, and a lot more. To make matters worse and really test the friendship between the two protagonists, Mandy develops a crush on Mia’s archenemy, the very good looking Detective Sergeant Phil Smythe.
I won’t go on with the plot and spoil it for you, but I want to point out that out of a cyber-friendship between two authors who are continents apart was born the fictional friendship of Amanda Wilson and Mia Ferrari. This led to much laughter, the challenge of overcoming rivalry between two good friends, sexual fantasies of playing with some bad boys, and even converting some sexy gay boys, and finally, solving a number of murders before more bodies piled up.
The message in this particular novel is that through all the obstacles of life, friendship is the most important thing there is—sometimes, friendship is stronger than love, as Mia Ferrari learns.
So how’s that for the power of a fictional friendship that was born in the minds of two authors who are online friends? Personally, I think this takes friendship to a whole new level.
Parade night at Gay Mardi Gras
Can you turn one short segment from your book into an inspiring
story? If so, theTales2Inspire™ "Authors Helping Authors" project/contest might be just the ticket for you.
Lois W. Stern, (author of (Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery & Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour) has created this FREE “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest designed to give winners and finalists great PR exposure.
Last year, author Pauline Hager entered her story, ‘Smile Power’, based on both her non-fiction book, Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan. and other of her travel experiences. Author Susan C. Haley entered ‘Miracle’, the story of a newborn calf she helped deliver under dire circumstances, taken from her published fiction book, Rainy Day People.
Although Rainy Day People is a work of fiction, the story of Miracle is true, coming from one of Susan’s actually experiences. Although all stories entered into theTales2Inspire™ contest must be non-fiction, like Susan, most authors of fiction works pull some of their content from real life experiences. Very possibly, you can do that too.
What’s in it for you?
Visit http://www.tales2inspire.com for full details. Be sure to check out the Author Tales screen to see more of what's in it for you!
- Winner and finalist stories published in an anthology of inspiring tales
- Your name listed as the author of your story
- Your photo, mini bio and URL link of your choice included at the end of your story
- A beautiful logo which you can display everywhere
- Opportunity for blog radio interview (posted on the T2I website)
- Opportunity for cable TV appearance
DEADLINE DATE EXTENSION DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY IS NOW FEBRUARY 4, 2013
In the modern world, relationships are doomed from the start. Why do I say this? Well, let’s see:
Generally speaking, (and I mean “generally”. So I do agree that there exist some rare cases of true love); but generally, modern relationships are set up to be doomed from the outset. They are like so many other expendable things out there, cheap clothes, cheap mobile phones and ballpoint pens. What
happens when any of these don’t fit or don’t work anymore? We throw them out and buy another one; and in the case of ballpoint pens, we sometimes steal one from someone else’s supply—this is akin to cheating with someone else’s partner.
I always ask myself what makes so many people behave in this way. Whatever happened to the days of “for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; till death us do part”? Gone with the wind, I say, just like Margaret Mitchell’s saga of the old South! (Um, I don’t mean her book, but the old South).
So going back to what makes so many people behave in this way: in the beginning, there were inter-office romances. Imagine how many people bumped hips after WWII when women started to make up a large number of the workforce; and the bumping didn’t necessarily take place with their own partner—so we have a case of the stolen or borrowed ballpoint pen syndrome. This happened in the 50s, when people still stayed in a significant relationship, but they still went around borrowing one or more ballpoint pens.
Then, with the 60s, came “free love”, and as Cole Porter’s song rightly stated: “Anything Goes”. This was when the divorce rate started to climb the charts from the conservative 40s and 50s.
In the 70s and 80s, the rate kept increasing steadily, and this was the era of bars, discos and nightclubs. However, not all enjoyed hanging around places like these to meet a new person, so in the 90s, some people turned to dating agencies. These agencies charged huge sums of money to match-make you with someone, and their success was short-lived as not many people had that sort of money to pay for the service, besides, some of these people might only have been out for a good time and not to snare a new life partner; so why waste good money, right? The last resort (or poor alternative) was to place an ad in the lonely-hearts column.
With the advent of the “noughties”, or should I say “naughties”,
an explosion in technology took place and online dating was born. This is when “Anything Goes” was given new meaning in the world of relationships, and the divorce rate skyrocketed all the way out of this galaxy and onto the next.
Suddenly men and women were exposed to a cacophony of love options, and more of them started to suffer from the grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome. This is when relationships started to break down more easily, and finally became truly expendable.
Why? Because if the one you were in was no longer to your liking, you could always go shopping for another one on the internet—and the real bonus was that if you were still in a relationship, the internet gave you enough anonymity so you could cheat on your partner/spouse; a bit like having your cake and eating it too.
Online dating has many menus these days: friendship, casual dating, long-term relationships, marriage, hot and heavy, gay, bi-sexual, and once again... “Anything Goes”.
The beauty in all this is that no one has to work at a relationship ever again unless they want to. So if you’re wife gets past the age of 40, fine, dump her and get yourself a young 20-something to play with.
If your husband is getting a beer-belly, no problem, you can find yourself someone else to shag.
If you’re a woman past the age of 40—and we are deemed as untouchables in our modern day society (I’m serious!)—just set up a profile on any online dating site, and before you even get a chance to post a photo to your profile, at least 90% of the hits you receive will be from males 25 years old and under who simply want to shag you. However, if you’re looking for anything other than a shag, forget it! After 40, a woman has only two options: 1. Go for the ballpoint syndrome and steal someone else’s husband. 2. Find yourself an old codger of 70 or 80, but don’t be misled; the codger still wants a younger woman, but seeing as he won’t be able to get one unless he’s richer than Bill Gates, he’ll settle for a woman within your age group (very sad indeed).
But we were talking about options through online dating, and not about older women, right? So we’re back to “Anything Goes”. Boy, did Cole Porter get it right or what!
The sad thing is that the values of yesteryear no longer apply today except in wedding vows that are still stupidly taken by so many, only to end in disaster a few years later.
In conclusion, I truly believe that relationships are expendable, and that the world of the internet has destroyed the values we used to hold dear to our hearts. We no longer have to try to work things out or be tolerant or understanding. Today, we tend to take the approach that if a relationship no longer fits, we’ll throw it away and get a new one, just like a mobile phone or a pen or a set of clothes.
The bad news is this: unlike the items I just mentioned, the people you “buy” on the net still have the mentality that if things don’t work out, they can always get another one, and another one, and another one. Starting to get the picture?
So no, it’s not like replacing a cheap mobile with an expensive, quality one; these days the people we meet, especially those we meet through the internet dating sites, are always going to be looking for the bigger, better, brighter relationship; and they don’t give a fig if the one you have with them doesn’t work out because there is always another, and another, and another....
Now, I hope you really got the picture.
I wish I looked like Michelle Pfeiffer!
As I started to move into "middle age", I went into total shock. Okay, hold on, I went into shock when I turned 30, so you can imagine how I felt when I turned ... well, let's just say as I got older ;) This is more my look :-)
What got me through the beginning of middle age was love – ill advised as this was. At the time, however, I thought I'd met my life’s partner, and aging didn’t seem such a big deal as I consoled myself with the thought that at least I would be growing old alongside of him “until death us do part” and all that jazz. WRONG! After a few years, he developed a bad case of middle age and ran off with the proverbial Porsche and a slightly younger woman (only slightly, mind).
So here I was, dumped well into full adulthood and with old age looming closer and closer (by old age, I mean like 100 years, so I'm still a long way off [sigh of relief]). Suddenly, I obsessively started to look in the mirror every few hours to see if I was aging; I tried to sell my soul to the Devil if he would keep me young, just like Dorian Gray, but this didn’t work. I considered plastic surgery, but I’m more afraid of surgery than I am of aging; I set up a profile on some internet dating sites and noticed that the less years I put on my profile, the more men pursued me. When I finally decided to put in my real age, however, I discovered the well was suddenly and irrevocably dry except for the odd old-timer with a smoke hanging out of his mouth and a beer belly bulging out of the waistband of his pants. Mind you, I still get the 20-somethings who are after sex with an older woman. I guess that’s something to fan my ego, but it’s not for me--move over "Mrs Robinson".
So what alternative do I have for meeting eligible men in my “twilight” years? None, really. The good-looking, 50-somethings such as George Clooney are dating girls in their late 20s and 30s. Men in their 30s are dating even younger girls, or someone near their own age—and they will only go with an older woman just for a fling. I asked myself, how can an older and intelligent woman win? The answer is: she can’t.
In desperation, I enrolled myself in a short course at the local university. The course is called “Conscious ageing: Creating meaning and purpose Avoid getting a big belly!
in the second half of life (A film study)”. Well, I thought, this is kind of
creative as they involve the medium of film—probably in order to soften the blow! *grin*
The course explored questions such as “What I want to be now that I’m grown up?” Grown up? Pluuuuiiiissseeeeee! I’m already over the hill, and I can answer this question immediately: I WANT TO BE YOUNG!!! Other questions they explored were: What gives my life meaning? (Very difficult to answer this one without coming across as being absolutely superficial—so let’s just say health, good looks and loads of money. LOL). More questions: What brings me joy? When am I most alive? (Please refer to previous response in this paragraph).
Well, despite all this, I decided to keep an open mind, at least for the first class, and I was given a book entitled “From Age-ing to Sage-ing” A Profound New Vision of Growing Older. Okay, I started reading the book, and the general gist of it was that if we develop our wisdom and use it to contribute to society, then we will live an enriched older age. We will become like a “sage” rather than just be be old and invisible to the general population. From the movie "Ladies in Lavender"
While all this sounds very profound and exciting by way of becoming a kind of wise old woman, it still doesn’t take away the sting
of having flabby skin and declining health. It’s all well and good to be the "village elder”when you are in good health, and everyone reveres you; and this might work in a tribal society. But when it comes to the harsh reality of today’s modern world with its big and fast cities, faster cars, and where youth is worshipped and rammed down our throats by the media, I have to ask what kind of comfort, or even recognition, will we derive from becoming Buddhas (hopefully minus the big belly).
I noticed on the course curriculum that one of the films we were going to watch was “Ladies in Lavender”. If you haven’t seen this movie, I won’t spoil it for you; but the title should give you a hint. Lavender? Hmm! I’ve seen this movie before, and though absolutely beautiful, you had better arm yourself with a huge box of tissues because you are going to need it when you see one of the main characters reliving her lost youth by foolishly falling for a very young man.
One of the other movies was the Swedish film “Wild Strawberries” directed by Ingmar Bergman. This one’s considered a bit of a classic as it was filmed in the 50’s, a time when aging was not really questioned or given as much emphasis as it is today. We watched this movie in the first class. The story retraced the life of an old man as he revised his whole life when it dawned on him that he’s now old, alone, and could die at any time. D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-N-G! So have your valiums handy for this one. The other two movies were “About Schmidt” with Jack Nicholson and “Venus” with Peter O’Toole. I was too depressed to watch them.
My take on this whole aging business is this: no matter how you portray it, package it, and sell it; when your bits start to sag and no one wants to know you, no amount of handing out wisdom and sound advice is going to save you. Perhaps the best thing is to stop throwing pearls before swine and use
the wisdom to save yourself.