Posts Tagged ‘authors’

50 Shades of Nothing New

Monday, May 14th, 2012

bow tie

I figured that since so many journalists and broadcasters keep interviewing me and asking me for quotes about the recent publishing phenomenon of 50 Shades of Grey, I thought it was time I put in my two pence’ worth right here at my blog.

Now I’m the last person to rain on anyone’s parade, especially another author’s. Those of us who toil in this usually thankless and poverty-stricken profession know all too well how difficult it is to make a living, let alone garner the kind of phenomenal success now being enjoyed by 50 Shades author E. L. James, who, up until this time, wasn’t even a professional author (and there are many who would argue that she still isn’t). However, as a writer and editor who does quite a bit of work in the area known as “erotic literature” or “erotic fiction” or “erotica,” I’m truly in the dark as to what all the fuss is about.

James’s novel (and their many continuations) focus on a BDSM relationship between a “submissive” young woman and a “dominant” man. The book evolved from her fan fiction site for Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel Twilight. Though unlike Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey has lots of sex in it.

Explicit sex. And some of it is considered kinky depending on what church you go to.

Err… okay. So what? Is this anything new? Has no one ever written these kinds of novels before? Has no one heard of the similarly themed classic The Story of O? Has no one seen the gazillion erotic novels that have been published over the last few decades detailing precisely the same plotline, replete with salacious details? Has no one noticed the amount of explicit sex to be found on the pages of what are considered to be “mainstream” as well as “literary” novels, not to mention “women’s fiction”?

The fact that 50 Shades appears to be geared toward women readers also seems to have raised eyebrows. I guess all those Black Lace erotic novels written by women for women never existed, not to mention the many similar publishing imprints that have been doing the exact same thing for years, all vying for the exact same audience – an audience which appears to be reading content that has now become commonly known as (*gags*) “Mommy Porn.”

What I’d like to know is, where have all these goggle-eyed readers and journalists been living – in a cave? Even if you’re sweet sixteen and have no literary history under your belt, a visit to the local bookshop or a perusal of the steamy books on offer at Amazon will be sufficient to educate you that these kinds of novels have been around for eons. Some are well written, some poorly written. But this phenomenon is nothing new. For the media and reading public to suddenly make out as if Ms James has invented the erotic novel is a slap in the face for the multitudinous authors both past and present who have been doing the same thing – and quite possibly doing it better!

Of course many of these authors are hoping that the huge success of 50 Shades will translate into greater success for their own books. And perhaps it will. Whether it does anything to improve the actual quality of material being written remains to be seen.

Frankly, I have my doubts.

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Mitzi, Teddy and Kevin Spacey in the Garden of Good and Evil

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo hanging out Savannah's on River Street

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo hanging out on Savannah's River Street

For those of you who have been following our travel adventures on Facebook, you’ll likely have noticed that my famous bear Teddy Tedaloo and yours truly are recently back from a trip to the South, y’all! – in particular, Savannah, Georgia, land of moss-draped live oaks and more ghosts than folk who are still alive to draw a breath.

Ted had an invite to visit actor Kevin Spacey and I had an invite to visit the cemetery – the Bonaventure Cemetery, to be precise. If that sounds like a quirky way to spend a holiday, then you clearly don’t know us very well, as quirky is our modus operandi – in fact, the quirkier the better!

Teddy Tedaloo visits Kevin Spacey by Forsyth Square

Teddy Tedaloo visits Kevin Spacey by Forsyth Square

While Ted was busy sipping mint juleps with our Kev (aka “Jim Williams“), I was busy dodging branches of moss-laden oaks (along with a few headstones) looking for Talen Dashkovar, the handsome (read “hottie”) blood-sucking vampiric star of the hit American television series set in Savannah called “The Blood Moon Kiss” and, by coincidence, the star of my Southern Gothic short story of the very same name featured in my recently published anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic RomanceNow there’s a coincidence you can really sink your teeth into!

Looking for Talen Dashkovar in the Bonaventure Cemetery

Looking for Talen Dashkovar in the Bonaventure Cemetery

I suppose it was inevitable I’d meet up with him at some point, especially when you consider his close resemblance to Ian Somerhalder (aka “Damon Salvatore”) from another hit American TV series, “The Vampire Diaries,” which is an obvious rip-off of “The Blood Moon Kiss.” (They’re just lucky I haven’t sued.)

Fortunately, I managed to survive my cemetery date without losing too many pints of blood. As for Teddy, I’m afraid he ended up worse for the wear from his own social engagement. You see, he really tied one on with Mr. Spacey. I do declare, I even heard The Lady Chablis had to intervene between the two gents before they came to blows. Rumour has it they got into a scuffle over a woman. Or was it a pint? Knowing Ted, it must’ve been a pint. He’s a bear who has his priorities right – and he’s not inclined to lose in battle. Hmmm… I wonder if all our years of living in Britain has made him a wee bit too blokey. I do worry about him sometimes.

Teddy Tedaloo kicks Kevin Spacey's ass

Teddy Tedaloo kicks Kevin Spacey's ass

Anyway, it turns out we felt right at home in Savannah. We ran into a couple of good old boys in the form of an Irishman and a Scotsman on the very same day – now I ask you, how much better can it get? It’s always reassuring to meet people from the old country when you’re travelling. The fact that the Scotsman later plied Teddy with pints of Scottish ale at a local Scottish pub is another story.

Needless to say, at least we didn’t get thrown out of the joint. I’m just glad Spacey didn’t turn up, especially after the earlier bloodshed. I suspect Kev’s going to want some kind of rematch – I mean, why else do you think he’s always hanging around London? That Old Vic theatre stuff is just an excuse. Truth is, he’s stalking Ted. And yes, I agree this isn’t the most dignified behaviour for a man who’s received an Academy Award.

As for dignified, I’m afraid our trip took a slight turn for the worse when Savannah’s version of the Old Bill decided to take matters in hand.

We'll go quietly, Officer.

We'll go quietly, Officer.

Oh, well… I can always write a prison novel.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mitzi Szereto interview on The Hammer Show

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I recently had a chance to chat with Ross Hemsworth on his UK web radio programme The Hammer Show and a good time was had by all! From the controversy surrounding my recent novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and my work on Mitzi TV, to celebrity culture and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s animal cruelty involving his own dog – no subject is immune!

Tune in for some lively discussion and a perspective on the world from both Britain and America. Clink to listen to the replay of the interview at:

http://thesop.org/story/nailing-it-international-celebrity-and-erotic-author-mitzi-szereto-up-close-and-personal


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The Plight of the Harried Anthology Editor

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Oh no, not another one!

Read my lips. Or should I say, READ MY SPECS. I guess it was a matter of time before I had to let loose with a tirade about writers who just can’t follow directions. Aside from being a writer myself, I’ve edited a number of anthologies, so I have some experience seeing things from the editor’s seat.

It isn’t what you’re likely thinking, ie having to sift through dire pieces of fiction to unearth the jewels. No. It’s receiving submission after submission that bear not the slightest resemblance to the detailed specs I set out in my calls for short stories. Frankly, I don’t understand it. The entire point of listing these specifications (aka “submission guidelines”) is for writers to understand what it is I’m asking for, with the goal being to inspire them to write something that might fit the bill. It’s a proven method and generally works. Most of the time.

Or make that some of the time.

Or make that less and less of the time.

All I can think of is that some of these writers must have been clearing out their knicker drawers (or, in this case, their short story drawers) and said, “Oh, here’s a story I wrote about an auto mechanic and a duck living on a desert island. I’ll send it over to Mitzi for her sexy epic-fantasy anthology, Thrones of Desire. After all, she doesn’t have anything else to do!”

Err… think again, mate.

As an editor, I always try to be polite when rejecting a story. I know how tough and heartbreaking this business is, and I likewise know that the people who work in it often don’t give writers the time of day, let alone a polite note of rejection (or any kind of note even acknowledging their existence on this planet). But it’s getting harder and harder to be polite, especially when many of the submissions that show up in my inbox are so far removed from what I’ve asked for that the chances of my accepting the work (even with a LOT of revising and editing) is as likely as former Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi returning from the dead to lap dance in a Texas truck-stop strip joint.

Why do writers do this? They are not ingratiating themselves in the minds and hearts of editors by sending over completely inappropriate material. Heck, we’re not even talking about the quality of the story, but the fact that the story is just plain WRONG. I compose detailed guidelines so that writers will know exactly what I’m looking for and, even more importantly, what I’m NOT looking for. It’s supposed to save time – both my time and the writer’s time. But far too many people are not paying attention.

There are a lot of anthologies out there and a lot of editors. However, each anthology is different and each editor is different – that’s why we put together these writers’ guidelines! They’re there to help and guide writers and give them a fighting chance to compete in the submission process. It’s no wonder that so many publishers have slammed their doors on writers, electing literary agents to be the gatekeepers of what comes through the door rather than leaving that task to editors.

I don’t understand what’s so difficult about following directions, especially when they’ve been clearly laid out and are accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Is it just a sign of the times? – a general sloppiness and laziness combined with an increasingly poor work ethic? Because I doubt this occurred to such a level in Dickens’ day. Heck, I’ve lectured in creative writing at several universities and I didn’t have this much trouble getting my students to follow directions! Maybe it is a sign of the times, as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get anyone to do any job right, let alone do the job at all.

I’m certain many writers who have appeared in my anthologies will tell you that I offer a lot of encouragement, support and sage editorial advice on their work, so it’s not a matter of “grumpy editor.” I work hard to put out a quality project, and I expect a modicum of attention paid to the submission guidelines by those who aspire to be in it. And that includes appropriate formatting, and attention paid to grammar, spelling and punctuation. I’ll remember a writer with more fondness who can’t write his or her way out of a paper bag, but who sends me a properly formatted and tidy story that at least tries to fit what I’m asking for. Writers can always improve their writing. But sloppiness? There’s no excuse for it. Nor is there any excuse to send me a story that has nothing to do with the theme of my book.

I can only assume that the acceptance of electronic submissions is adding to the problem; after all, it’s free to send material by email, so writers can send anything willy-nilly without having to pay for it. Perhaps they might think twice if they have to make a trip to the post office and open up their wallets, especially if the cost involves international postage.

If my blog post has ruffled a few feathers, so be it. After all, I’m the author of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, so a few ruffled feathers are water off the author’s back. Nevertheless, if you’re a writer and can see your reflection in the mirror of my words (how’s that for literary?), then maybe it’s time to do something about it. You are not serving your best interests by sending an editor inappropriate work. It’s pointless, it’s annoying, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Time is money. And most of us don’t have enough of either.

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Mitzi and Teddy Paint the Town Strawberry-red

Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo

The proud mama with Teddy Tedaloo and his wife Ninny

What happens when you combine too many pints of Belgian Fruli strawberry beer with a gang of rowdy bears out on the town?

Answer: Complete chaos.

Yes, folks, it was the famous Teddy Tedaloo‘s glittering goodbye meet-up in London’s trendy Covent Garden. You see, Ted’s off to America for awhile and, being the popular bear that he is, his nearest and dearest mates wanted to give him a proper send off. (Luckily I was invited too.) So we convened at our usual haunt, The Porterhouse, home of beers guaranteed to send you sprawling onto the floor (after emptying out your wallet – this is London, after all!).

The afternoon kicked off in high style in the pouring rain about half past three, lasting till nearly 11pm, with most of that time spent at the pub. Mind you, considering that people and animals were either lost on public transport or coming from the office, we were definitely in it for the long haul.

Winston's mother doing god knows what

Winston's mother doing god knows what

It was a very international turnout, including my international bear (Ted holds both American and British citizenship) and myself (the aforementioned nations being saddled with me as well); Ted’s little cutie of a wife Ninny (with Ted’s mother-in-law in tow); a gaggle of bears and other creatures (including two humans) who’d just arrived from Paris; Winston the dog and his parents (one of whom disgraced herself under the table); a trio of Italians, including an elephant that had so much to drink the poor bugger fell over into a plate of baba ghannouj; and a lass from Luton with some monkeys. Oh, yeah, and we had Ted’s Uncle Geoff (a regular cast member, since he always makes a point to attend any London events of merit); Ted’s recently acquired Uncle Paul (who let Ted drive his Mini the other weekend); and Ted’s newest uncles on the scene: Dave (who sneaked out early before things got too wild) and Chris (who forgot to bring his giraffe).

Mitzi Szereto drinks herself under the table

Mitzi Szereto drinks herself under the table

Lots of under-the-table activity was enjoyed by all, including Winston’s mother and, of course, yours truly. I think the former enjoyed it a bit more than was prudent, however.

Having said that, it wasn’t all about boozing and crawling around under tables and getting up to all sorts. There were tender moments to be had as well. Ted hadn’t seen his wife Ninny since their big Valentine’s wedding, and those of us gathered became quite teary-eyed at seeing the young lovers together again.

Ninny plants a big one on Ted

Ninny plants a big one on Ted

Okay, I’ll omit the fact that they spent most of the evening snogging, but they did have a lot of catching up to do.

Only when we had the last man (or rather bear) standing did we finally leave the joint and head for the tube station. Being the sharp-eyed lass that I am, I spotted a very interesting-looking ice cream parlour with some very interesting-looking ice cream in the display case, and we executed a quick beeline through the door. Turns out it was a “gay” themed ice cream parlour with plenty of rude posters on the walls, one of which pertained to the film “Brokeback Mountain” and warm bananas. Hey, they said it, not me! The young gent in charge of spooning out our ice cream was such a tasty dish that it was probably inevitable he didn’t swing toward the direction of the ladies in our party. (Always the way, innit?) But the ice cream more than made up for the heartache. In fact, a female member of our party commented that it was better than sex.

Ice cream!

Ice cream!

Errr… no surprise, that.

A grand day and evening out was had by all. Teddy even ended up with a spiffy new outfit (courtesy of the Italian elephant’s mother). As for me, I ended up with a Fruli hangover and a sore eye.

And I bet you thought my life was just spent writing steamy books!

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Talk Radio Europe interview with Mitzi Szereto

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Mitzi Szereto takes some time out of her schedule to chat with Talk Radio Europe presenter Hannah Murray about books, writing, Jane Austen, and sexy vampires. Find out more about Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, and her autumn release Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romanceas well as Mitzi TV!

The interview can be found at:

http://mitziszereto.com/Talk-Radio-Europe-interview-with-Mitzi-Szereto

 

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Pitchforks, Jane Austen and Me

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Property of the Pitchfork Coalition

Warning: the following material contains commentary that might offend literary purists and those who lack a sense of humour.

The recent controversy swirling around my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts has come as a bit of a surprise to me, particularly after the tremendous success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Having written my version in the same spirit (minus the zombies), I assumed the reception would be, for the most part, along similar lines. After all, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ended up on the bestseller list and is being made into a film, so a lot of people obviously enjoyed what was clearly intended to be an outlandish parody of a classic novel.

However, with Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts (which is likewise meant to be a parody, albeit a sexual one), a number of people appear to have misplaced their sense of humor. If they ever had one, that is.

I quickly discovered that some journalists, along with a pitchfork-wielding mob of so-called literary purists and Jane-ites, were vilifying both my book (and me as its author) before it had even come back from the printer. It seems odd that there was all this frothing at the mouth from individuals who hadn’t even seen a copy of the book, yet had plenty to say about its contents. You would think I’d penned a how-to guide advocating the cannibalism of young children, judging from the vitriol being spewed in my direction.

There appears to be this presumption by the pitchfork coalition that Jane Austen was some prim and proper spinster who wouldn’t have dared to be so impolitic as to address sexual matters in her novels. Therefore who was I, a lowly writer, to tamper with such purity? I wonder if these hecklers from the peanut gallery have even read the original Pride and Prejudice, since it alludes to matters most impolitic, indeed. Considering the time in which Jane Austen wrote and the fact that she was woman writing in what was a man’s profession, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there was only so far she could go with her characters. I’m certain if she were alive today, we’d see a very different Pride and Prejudice.

Although Austen’s novels dealt for the most part with matters of the heart, she was also a keen satirist and social commenter. Pride and Prejudice was, in many people’s opinion, the wittiest and most satirical works of her career. Writers such as myself have simply carried on in the spirit of Jane Austen, albeit taking a few artistic liberties. Indeed, there’s a long-standing tradition of authors taking pre-existing works and creating something new from them. We see it all the time. Yet for some reason when this is done with Jane Austen, the practice is suddenly denigrated to the ranks of amateur “fan fiction” or else labeled a “rip-off.” Why is that? Why do the re-imaginings of Austen’s works push so many buttons with these “literary purists” – especially re-imaginings that don’t follow the traditional romance route? And why the vitriol, some of which is not very gentlemanly or ladylike? If it’s the sexual content that’s getting these naysayers’ knickers in a twist, perhaps said naysayers should pay closer attention to the original Pride and Prejudice and ask themselves exactly what a fifteen-year-old girl (Lydia Bennet) was doing with Mr. Wickham (a man in full adulthood) or, for that matter, what he was doing with her predecessor, the very young Georgiana Darcy. I doubt Jane Austen intended for us to believe they occupied themselves in games of whist after running away together, since a popular card game wasn’t likely to cause scandal or land disrepute on these young ladies. Whether Austen fleshed out the unsavory details is irrelevant. As stated previously, it was unlikely she would have allowed herself to or, for that matter, been allowed to when the book was written – not unless she was willing to go “underground” with her novel.

Taking pre-existing works and having a bit of fun with them is something many contemporary writers do, just as it was for writers from the past. The fact that some of us have chosen to do so with Pride and Prejudice merely corroborates the longstanding popularity of the novel and the rich fodder it contains. Jane Austen’s book is an amusing satire full of characters both romantic and ridiculous. Authors such as myself have been inspired by what Austen gave us and decided to take it in a new direction.

Perhaps the members of the pitchfork brigade need to pull that stick out of their backsides and get a sense of humor. After all, Jane Austen had one!

♥♥♥

Postscript: The text of this article first appeared in similar form as “Pride and Prejudice and Pitchforks” in the Huffington Post. Interestingly, the vitriol continued even there, so much so, in fact, that Post moderators were forced to remove many of the readers’ comments. due to their inappropriate nature and language. I doubt that Jane Austen would have approved such behaviour! It only reinforces my “peanut gallery” argument about those individuals who have neither read my book (nor, for that matter, anything I’ve written!). Readers are perfectly free to love or hate Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts (just as they are perfectly free to love or hate Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), but at least read the books before passing off what claims to be “critical commentary.”

In closing, I’m pleased to say that Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts was selected by the Jane Austen Society of North America (Greater New York region) to be a raffle prize at their Jane Austen conference this past spring. Evidently it was a pitchfork-free zone!

 

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Does My Countenance Look Fat in This? (Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Countenances are integral to literature. Authors would lose a lot of content if we didn’t discuss countenances. Countenances help the reader envision the characters. With this in mind, I decided to write a novel that replies heavily on countenances.

And what better place to start than with Jane Austen’s literary classic Pride and Prejudice?

It all began in the spring of last year with a pilgrimage to Jane’s house in the lovely English village of Chawton in Hampshire. I, along with my ursine sidekick Teddy Tedaloo, decided to visit for a bit of research and inspiration in preparation for the writing of my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. Little did I realise what would come of it.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Yes, folks, you heard it here first. I met Jane Austen (or at least the non-corporeal version). And boy, did she have a lot to say! Apparently when she wrote Pride and Prejudice way back when, she had to tone things down. A lot. There was no way she could get away with telling us all the juicy stuff that really went on behind closed doors (or in the garden or out by the stable). It wouldn’t have been at all politic! Of course, she hinted a bit here and there, hoping the more savvy of her readers would pick up on these tidbits.

Whether they did or not remains to be seen. Therefore the task fell to me to… err… spill the beans.

I must admit that while writing the story behind Pride and Prejudice, even I couldn’t believe what manner of activities the characters were getting up to. Indeed, I found it positively shocking! As my fingers clicked and clacked on the computer keyboard revealing all these hidden lusts and outrageous goings-on in Longbourn, Netherfield, Hunsford Parish and Pemberley, my countenance grew heightened till I could scarcely draw a breath. I had to consume endless cups of tea to calm my nerves as well as take refreshment out of doors before I could continue on to the next chapter. Had it not been for the kind patronage of Miss Austen (not to mention the not-so-kind condescension of Lady Catherine de Bourgh), I don’t know what would have become of me. It’s most fortunate that I also had the pious (or should that be priapic?) council of Mr. Collins available, should I have required it. After all, I didn’t want matters to get too out of control. Not that the fellow had much time for me, what with his various duties in his parish, not to mention in everyone else’s. For a village parson, he sure got around!

I suppose I should be grateful for the wisdom of the Bennet family patriarch, whom one could always count on to be level-headed and not disposed to bouts of excitability like his wife. Though I suppose everyone needs an outlet to blow off steam now and then. Surely you didn’t think Mr. Bennet spent all that time in the library reading?

But what of Mrs. Bennet and her poor nerves? Were they merely the result of a naturally high-strung temperament or was there another reason for her condition? And what about the youngest of the Bennet sisters, dear impetuous Lydia? All those dishy young soldiers passing through Meryton – what’s a young lady to do? Surely she had to sample them all! As for Hill, the Bennets’ housekeeper, perhaps those details are best left to the heartier of folk.

Mitzi Szereto with Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy! Be still my heart!

And then there’s our protagonist Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who observed all with a keen wit and a critical eye. She was not the sort to suffer fools gladly. Nor, I suspect, was her creator, Miss Jane Austen.

As for the handsome and prideful Mr. Darcy, well… that would be telling, wouldn’t it? Let’s just say that it was no wonder the buttons on his breeches came loose, what with all that straining going on.

To be made privy to all the sexual madness and mayhem transpiring in Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts,  I recommend you avail yourself of your favourite bookseller and buy a copy today. After all, you don’t want to be left out of all the fun!

Visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website.

“Like” the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts Facebook Fan Page.

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A Night Out with the Homies on Hollywood Boulevard

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

I bet you were thinking Tinseltown. Well, you don’t need to go to California to have a surreal night out. Or perhaps it’s just me. The surreal tends to attach itself to me like stepping in a piece of freshly chewed gum on the sidewalk. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get it off the sole of your shoe.

That’s what happened on a recent sweltering summer evening out in Hollywood (Florida, that is) with my noir author friend Vicki Hendricks and my famous sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. No, there wasn’t any chewing gum, but there was plenty of weirdness packed into a few hours.

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

It all began with the margaritas (yeah, blame the booze, right?). You see, Ted’s never tried them before, being a real ale bear and all. I must say he was definitely on his best behaviour, unlike some of his more infamous  behaviour in certain British pubs (one of which involved a brawl with a monkey). Our trio sucked up those margaritas in a flash, feeling no pain. Summer in South Florida is excruciatingly hot – you gotta do something to ease the pain.

After chowing down on Mexican food (to help soak up the margaritas), we happened on this curious little place that offered “bubble tea” and an evening of open mic. As we deliberated over whether or not to go in, we sort of got railroaded by some old beat poet dude, who no doubt wanted to pack the audience with some friendly faces. I made the mistake of joking that maybe I should do a reading from my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and that was it: he insisted we come in. The place seemed to have lots of guys there, none of whom looked like the kind of guys who go to poetry nights in little clubs that serve bubble tea.

We sat on some high sofa thingie and perused the menu, trying to figure out which flavours of bubble tea we wanted. The poet was by this time in full swing, and we weren’t even able to catch our breath and flag down the tea guy before some comedian took over. I must confess that I’ve been away from America for many years now and his humour was pretty much lost on me. He did a lot of “short guy” humour, since he was short. Mind you, I was never one for American humour or comedians, save for The Marx Brothers and Jackie Mason. Therefore it was a relief to me when he finished.

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

We never did get our bubble tea. (I should add that we went to this place a year ago and never got our bubble tea then either.) Instead we discreetly sneaked out of the joint, deciding to head to this kava place near where we parked the car. We got waylaid along the way by a belly dancer, at which point Ted insisted on being photographed with her to make all his mates on Facebook jealous. The lass must have been quite taken with him, since I later found a slip of paper with a phone number on it in the pocket of his trousers.

Like the bubble tea place, we didn’t expect the kava joint to still be in business since the last time we’d popped in. But there they were, empty, but there, save for some guy playing chess with what appeared to be a woman in a burka or one of Papa Lazarou‘s gypsy wives – I couldn’t tell in the mood lighting. The kava bartender was smoking something that smelled mighty familiar, and when I made a comment about the smell, he said it was sage. Yeah, right, pull the other one, mate! When we inquired about the kava, he launched into a rapid-fire spiel about the merits of the stuff, but said we shouldn’t try it because we’d been drinking. I’d only had one margarita, but I’m telling you this: he sounded exactly like Dan Aykroyd in the film “Dragnet.” (Cue the virgin Connie Swail.)

With the kava now nipped in the bud by Mr. Aykroyd, we decided to take advantage of the chair massage on offer by the resident chair massage girl. The fact that it had started to piss down with rain didn’t make us too inclined to head back outside either. Ted, however, decided to decline the massage, as he didn’t want to get oil on his fur. He was having enough misery with the South Florida heat and humidity, as was I. Can’t say I blamed him for opting out. Frankly, I don’t know how any sane person (or bear) would voluntarily live in this climate.

As for our surreal night out in Hollywood, it came to a pleasant end, with both Vicki and myself feeling slightly more relaxed from the massage. Heck, we’ll probably do it all again next year – and hopefully remember not to drink so we can finally try that kava. Well, that’s if they’re still in business next year. You just never know these days.

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Visual Radio with Joe Viglione

Friday, July 8th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts author copies

Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the "Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts" author copies

 

Mitzi Szereto chats from South Florida with Boston’s Joe Viglione on Visual Radio in a two-part interview about books, writing, publishing, and her controversial new release Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts.

Click here to listen to Part 1

Click here to listen to Part 2

 

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