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 one 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 :)
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, Mia Ferrari's 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 The South Pacific Murders in the next few weeks, and hope to release it in early 2014..
You can expect a number of murders, sexual tension, 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 on board soon, and Bon voyage!
That’s right, online friendships can 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 vlog, interviewing authors on their respective work, and we maintained contact since. So ours is what I call a cyber-friendship.
In her novels, Carol developed a character that 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 revealed to 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 (Carol's protagonist) 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 Down Under to visit with best online friend, Mia Ferrari, and catch the world-famous Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras at the same time.
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 from a cyber-friendship between two authors who are continents apart was born the fictional friendship of Amanda Wilson and Mia Ferrari (our respective protagonists). This led our protagonists--both strong and independent mature women, to adventure, the challenge of overcoming rivalry between two good friends, sexual fantasies of "playing with some bad boys", and even hoping to convert a few sexy gay boys--and finally, solving a number of murders before more bodies piled up.
The message in this particular novel, The Gay Mardi Gras Muders, 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 soon learns.
So how’s that for the power of a fictional friendship, which was born in the minds of two authors who became online friends? Personally, I think this takes friendship to a whole new level.
Well, at least for me, one of my greatest fears is the dreaded review, especially when I write in a new genre. Being a multi-genre author, I have always stuck to either contemporary fiction or chick lit. However, I must confess that I've always had a weakness for the smart-talking, wiseass type of characters I watch in film noir movies. You know what I mean, the down and out detective or investigative reporter, going great guns against all odds to dig up the truth. Meanwhile, he (yes, it's usually a "he") is battling with either a drinking problem, or maybe he smokes too much, or he just cannot have that sexy dame he finds wildly attractive and who is driving him to distraction.
My love of these types of movies have led me to write the first of a modern and contemporary mystery/suspense series with a female protagonist. Right from the start of the story she's got a chip on her shoulder about men, as she has been dumped by a cheating husband; she's got the hots for a younger man (she's 48 years old, by the way); she dislikes cops because she was prevented from joining the force by none other than a man; she's assertive, sassy and a real smartass with an attitude. She's very much like a film noir hero. But I'm digressing...
I set out to blog about an author's greatest fear -- the book review -- well, at least it is for me. What will people think of my work? Oh, the nerve-wracking drama of it all as I wait for my first review!
The interesting thing is that I don't fear so much the reviews from readers; although I want those readers to like my work and become fans of my novels. This aside, however, I just need to know that my peers think that my work is good enough. Yes, this is a sign of insecurity; plus, we are usually our own worst critics. Most actors suffer from it, even the really famous ones; artists feel the same way, and so do authors. Therefore, as soon as I finished writing my first mystery/suspense with my older female protagonist, Mia Ferrari, I sent a complimentary copy to one author who I consider to be at the top of her genre (mystery/suspense), and whom I esteem greatly. Her name, Darcia Helle. Then, while I waited for her to read my story, I prayed that she would like it.
I know Darcia is a straight shooter (pardon the pun) when it comes to reviews, and she won't gloss over them. If she likes the story, she'll say so and if not, she'll tell you why. So you can imagine my relief when she gave me a wonderful review. Okay, so I was happy that I wasn't shot down (again, pardon the pun) in flames by someone who has a lot more experience than me in this kind of genre.
The big surprise, however, came when I started to get reviews from other authors who purchased my work and read it. One of them was romance author, Gloria Antypowich, who posted a wonderful review of my novel on Amazon and on her blog. Then, there was Aussie author Charles Jackson, who also gave me a great review.
My novel has been purchased by many people, some of them leave reviews and some don't, but to me the biggest honour is when peers who read my work take the time from their busy schedules to leave a review. This says they truly liked my work, and nothing could be sweeter to me ... well, it would come close to that film option from George Clooney or Clint Eastwood! Hehehehehe.
So what's my point? Personally, as an author, I find it more scary to get reviewed by my peers than by the public in general. Don't ask me why, but there it is. That's not to say that the general public are not discerning enough when they review something they've read. Don't get me wrong; I've seen some fantastic reviews posted by readers of my and other authors' work. And whether the review is favourable or not, it doesn't matter. The feedback is what is important.
Still, it's little wonder that with all this anxiety about reviews authors are often driven to drink. LOL. Thankfully, I'm not a big drinker, so I am driven to cappuccinos and pizza, just like Mia Ferrari :-)
I was watching First Wives Club last night and I thought that women just can't win when it comes to the "unfair sex", as I call men. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, the storyline is about three 40-something women who've helped their husbands in various ways while they were married; be that to build their business, their career, or bear their children; and then, when life should be sweet, these bastard men dump their wives for younger women.
I really love the part Goldie Hawn plays--she's a 45-year-old actress, begging her plastic surgeon to inject her lips with botox. The doctor tells her that she looks fantastic as she is, and that she should be happy being her age. Goldie replies: "There are three ages in Hollywood: 'Babe', 'District Attorney' and 'Driving Miss Daisy'; now, fill them up!" (She orders the doctor to inject her lips). Later, she's so depressed because she was asked to play the role of a mother in a movie, instead of that of the young protagonist, that she's at a bar getting drunk and talking to Maurice, the bartender. She says to him in tears: "They want me to play Monique's mother, Maurice. Let me ask you, is this the face of a mother?" The bartender says no, at least not his mother's. Then Goldie goes on: "Angela Lansbury is Monique's mother; Shelley Winters is Monique's mother; Sean Connery is Monique's mother..." At this point, Maurice becomes concerned and tells her he'll get her some coffee. But Goldie declines and replies: "No, forget that, Sean Connery is Monique's boyfriend--he's 300 and still a stud!"
So what is the message here? That women in their prime (40s an 50s) are being dumped by men after they've been used up. After men have had children by their wives, or built their careers through them, or been introduced to all the right people and climbed their way to the top; suddenly, their wives become a drag. A man, even if he's as old as Sean Connery, has to be seen with a younger woman. Look at the film "Entrapment" where Sean Connery plays a master thief in his 60s, opposite a 30-something Catherine Zeta-Jones! I mean, come on! But this goes back to the days of old, so no wonder older modern women haven't got a chance.
Let's look at some old movies that have set us on the road to perdition. Sabrina--a 22-year-old Audrey Hepburn falling for a late 40s or early 50s Humphrey Bogart; Rebecca, a 20-something Joan Fontaine falling for a 40-something Laurence Olivier, and the list goes on!
But let us also look at real life in the old days of say, Jane Austen, and even hundreds of years prior to this. Young girls of 16, 17, and sometimes even younger, were married off to old guys in their 40s, 50s and beyond. Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed in this so-called age of liberated and independent women. We may not be forced to marry an old codger, but old codgers are still ending up with younger women--and they don't necessarily have to be rich or celebs either!
We may have won the right to vote, we may be breaking through the glass ceiling in the corporate world (though at a slow rate), but one thing we cannot change is this: as men grow older, they are called distinguished and no-one seems to bat an eyelid if he's sporting a 22-year-old on his arm. As women grow older, we are called hags, has-beens, used up, dried up, etc, etc, ad infinitum. And God forbid if we decided to go out with a younger man! Even Demi Moore lost her young beau (or so I heard).
Unfortunately, this is the way in modern society, and I don't think it's going to change any time soon. Moreover, it isn't only reflected in real life and films, but also in literature. Look at chick-lit. I've been reading hundreds of comments in blogs and in Facebook from women who say they cannot find a decent romance with a protagonist older than 30! (And even 30 is a bit too long in the tooth these days). But now we have "hen-lit", though not as widely known as chick-lit. Having said this, I believe that this genre is an emerging trend, as women from the baby-boomer period (those born between 1945-1964) are at the peak of their earning power, hence they tend to set the trends.
So, we might be dumped for a younger woman, though we helped our spouses to greater heights, (yes, behind every great man there is an even greater woman); we might be looked upon by our younger sisters as having passed the "use by" date; younger men might want to shag us for the experience (after all, our younger sisters couldn't hold a candle to our sexual expertise), but the young men will sooner or later flock to the babes, along with the older, middle-aged men who've dumped their wives. But I have to say that through all this, we remain strong and independent; we have clarity and focus, we know what we want and we are doing it for ourselves (as the song says). Whereas the men who've dumped us are still wading in their pathetic pool of self-pity, trying to find themselves. And you know what? Eventually, they'll be dumped by the "babes" because they won't be able to keep up. So what will you do when your ex comes knocking at your door to tell you he was wrong to leave you?
I know what I would do. As Diane Keaton tells her ex, who wanted to come back to her, in First Wives Club; she simply says: "drop dead."
Okay, this is really spooky. It seems that every time I write a novel I am either on the way to fulfilling some kind of unknown or subconscious prophecy, or my life changes in such a way that I start to become like the main character in my novel.
For instance, when I wrote the romantic comedy, The Other Boyfriend (TOB), in 2010, there were certain elements in the story that at the time were mainly fiction but partly based on an old ex-boyfriend. But lo and behold, within months of publishing TOB my marriage broke up and I discovered in my ex-husband aspects of the lying, cheating and thieving person he turned out to be--and which he shared with one of the characters in TOB! Ironically, when I started my first draft of TOB, I hadn't even met my now ex-husband. Yes, I started working on TOB about a year before I met him!
Now, I have just finished writing Playing With The Bad Boys--A Mia Ferrari Mystery; and suddenly, I've started to become more like her: confident, sassy, doesn't suffer fools gladly, assertive, strong, and a whole lot more. Well, I've always possessed these personality traits, but now they have become a lot more pronounced. And what's really strange is that Mia Ferrari works for a hotel group and this is where she stumbles upon her mysteries. Now, only this week, I have started consulting for a hotel group! You see, my bread and butter comes from consulting (this is until I become famous like JKRowling. LOL), and in between my consulting I write.
One of my present clients is a wholesaler and I have been consulting to them for 20 months. But as soon as I finished writing Mia's first mystery I landed my second client, and sure enough, like Mia, I will be working within a group of hotels Australia-wide. So how's that for spooky? I only hope that when I start consulting this coming week I won't stumple upon a dead body, like Mia does in her first mystery!
I know that writers draw from their life experience, but it all starts to get a little weird when something I write about ends up happening in my life at a later stage. On the upside, this sets me to thinking that I should write about winning Lotto! Hmm. Food for thought.
Wow! I am honoured and humbled that my novel "The Soul Bearers" has not only been getting some rave reviews, but has now made it to Editor's Choice on the Breakthrough Bookstore!
I worked long and hard on this novel, which started out by being a screenplay in 1997, and which I adapted into a novel in 2000. After counteless drafts and having worked on it for 13 years, it's fantastic to see that it's getting such wonderful reviews and the recognition it deserves!
Now I'm waiting for Robert Redford or George Clooney to come along and buy the film rights to it :-)
Another great review came in today for my novel The Soul Bearers by Maria Snell, blogger and book reviewer. Her blog is called "Flair".
This is what Maria said about my novel:
The Soul Bearers by Sylvia Massara is an absolute triumph! This is the story we all wish we could write! It is one of the most deep soul touching, more profound novels I have ever read. The depth of the despair and love that these three characters feel is unequaled to anything I have ever experienced
through a book. This is a story of love and loss, of rejection and acceptance,
of life and death, of hope and rebirth. You will cry your eyes out - it was a
deeply cathartic read for me. Beautifully written, with characters that will get under your skin and you will embrace, with a depth of humanity unparalleled
to any other book I have read, poetic and raw at the same time. Hope; hope is
the word that defines this book: hope in spite of certain death, hope in spite
of rejection and abuse, hope resulting from true unconditional love. Hope that heals, hope that forgives, hope that is the way to rebirth. Love as the only important thing worth living for. Alex will find love - both spiritual and physical - through the love shared by Steve and Matthew, a love that will grow to embrace her too and help her exorcise the demons of her very abusive childhood. And healing will come on the wings of a butterfly.
This book is a definite MUST READ. No holds barred, no caveats. This book will show you pure, unadulterated love and hope through tears and loss.
Sylvia Says: Thank you, Maria, for your candid review of my novel. By the way, this review was not solicited. Maria asked for a copy of the book to review, and knowing she's an excellent reviewer, I sent her a copy hoping she would like it. Well, she did, and she's made my day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
AND here's a peek at my book trailer:
This morning I woke up, feeling rather sorry for myself and wondering why life has to be so difficult at times. Anyway, I made myself a coffee (coffee always helps to hold misery at bay, especially if you're a writer. LOL), and then I switched on my computer to check my emails and found this lovely, wonderful message from an author who apparently read my book "The Soul Bearers". This was not a "giveaway" copy or a solicited review at all; this came from the reader's own experience after she read my book (which I assume she must have purchased). The double bonus is that she's an author herself--and I know that we authors make the hardest critics. Therefore, I am honoured, thrilled and grateful to have received this review. It certainly made my day--and made the last 13 years that I spent working on this novel worth every minute of it (yes, it took that long because I went crazy with drafts and edits and more edits. Hehehehe).
So here is what author, Gloria Antypowich, had to say:
"Sylvia--I just finished "The Soul Bearers" last night. This book really touched my heart--and I want to hug you. It truly is "a story about great human courage and unconditional love in the face of adversity". It is controversial subject matter, but real life for many in this world. I think this is one of those stories that needs to be read. It is a wonderful book that should make people think about how circumstance, judgement, betrayal, deep friendship and unconditional love and great human courage can affect lives. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law who I am going to buy this book in paperback for; she will feel the same way I do about it and she will share it with many. I did leave a review on Amazon for your book. Thank you for your work."
When a writer gets wonderful feedback like this, it certainly makes the months or years we spend toiling over a book worth every second.
I wrote back to Gloria, and informed her that The Soul Bearers is not out in paperback format yet, but if her daughter-in-law wants to read it, I'll be happy to give her a complimentary copy through Smashwords and she can download it to her computer, if she doesn't have an e-reader.
Well, thanks to Gloria, I am now going to have a wonderful day! :-)
Hello, Cat Ryan here. Just wanted to let you know that I’m back in the saddle again—the saddle, that is, of internet dating.
The good news is that after a few false starts I finally made a friend. Yes, a male friend. Woo hoo! They do exist, after all. Could this be a case of “When Harry met Sally” though? Harry didn’t think that males and females could ever be friends because the “sex” thing always gets in the way. Do you agree with this? Well, I tend not to. I think that if two people have lots in common and there is no physical attraction between them, then yes, they can be friends. I also think that even with males I’m attracted to, if I take the sex out of the equation, I need to know that we can at least be friends; otherwise, once the “lust” phase is over the whole relationship will collapse.
But back to the internet dating: A couple of weeks ago, I had coffee with a rather cute younger man (don’t ask me how much younger than me he was because I won’t reveal this in public). Anyway, this guy was very engaging and we had things in common, and I found myself thinking that perhaps our new “friendship” would turn into something more intimate. I could see myself getting involved with him, even though he wasn’t as cute as Richard Gere in American Gigolo, but then, who is, right?
Our date went well, we had lots to talk about and liked each other, and I thought he was rather romantic. He paid me nice compliments and told me I looked 26 instead of 4... (well, let’s just say 40, shall we?). We parted with a lovely hug, a chaste kiss, and the promise of another meeting. I then drove home and congratulated myself on how easily I got back in the saddle again, and was already anticipating our next date when suddenly I get a text message from him to the effect of the fact that he enjoyed the coffee with me and that he thought I had fantastic boobs.
OMG! Talk about vomit! Why do guys do this? Where’s the romance in “I love your boobs?” No class whatsoever. And that, my friends, was the end of that short-lived interlude.
This turned out to be just as bad as the guy who waited until he met me before he told me he was married. Needless to say, I had a very quick cup of coffee and ran out of there.
It’s really sad that with the advent of online dating and social media it has become so much easier for people to cheat on their spouses. There is very little honour left in this world, and even less fidelity.
So there isn’t much we can count on these days, except for those Nigerian scammers who are forever after me! Thank heavens I got it down to a fine art now, and it generally takes me under 3 seconds to find them out.
Author Sylvia Massara's: