Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Pirates Aren’t Always in the Form of Johnny Depp

Monday, May 16th, 2011

pirate (public domain image)Contrary to popular opinion, writers aren’t writers because they have nothing better to do and are merely killing time until they end up at the cemetery. The majority of us who toil with the pen (and keyboard) need to earn off our labours, just like everyone else on the planet. If you ask a bricklayer if he/she would work for free rather than be paid, what do you think the answer would be? How about accountants, librarians, school teachers, electricians, farmers, architects, graphic designers, nurses, shopkeepers, janitors, clerical workers, street cleaners, and so on and so on?

Unless they’re offering their services for charity, I suspect the answer would be a resounding NO. We all have to make a living. We all have bills to pay. And we all have to survive.

So why is it that some individuals out there seem to be under the impression that the product of our labours should be given away for free and without any form of compensation? If you wonder what I’m on about, I’m talking about pirates – and by pirates I don’t mean Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean pirates who steal copyrighted content and upload it to websites so others can read it FOR FREE. We all know this has been going on with music, but how many of you are aware that authors are likewise having our work stolen and, consequently, the food taken out of our mouths?

Despite the existence of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, many authors such as myself have had the displeasure of discovering that our work has been pirated in the form of our copyrighted material being illegally copied and made available for free for download on the internet. It’s all well and good that hugely successful (and wealthy) authors such as Neil Gaiman think it’s just fine and dandy to have our work ripped off and not be paid for it, but hey, Neil can afford to be ripped off. The majority of us cannot. “You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there,” he says. Get real, Neil. Don’t compare your international sales levels to that of the overwhelming majority of writers whose wallets really feel the pain when their work is pirated.

Contrary to what many people might believe, this form of theft isn’t always a matter of scanning print books. These pirates have managed to bypass the digital security measures put in place by electronic publishers such as Amazon Kindle and do their copying that way. (Clearly a lot more work needs to be done on the part of Amazon and others to prevent this from happening.) I’m assuming that these pirates were interested enough in these books to buy them in the first place. So what’s the motivation behind copying them and uploading them to be read for free? Isn’t that what public libraries are for?

Frankly, I just don’t understand what these book thieves are getting out of it. Have they nothing better to do? Do they not have a job or a family or a dog that needs to be taken for a walk? What’s the point of this exercise? Are they serving a greater good? Not if the greater good is a crime, they’re not. Is what they’re doing any different to that of a shoplifter stealing a book from a bookshop? If a shoplifter is caught, he/she would be prosecuted for theft.

Theft is theft.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only copyrighted works that are being pirated. A growing number of authors (many self-published) have been discovering that content they’ve written and posted on websites for free have been stolen and offered for sale on Amazon Kindle as electronic books. Talk about ballsy! But yes, there are opportunists out there stealing work that’s already being offered for free, putting a different author’s name on it, and then selling it for money. It’s bad enough to be cheated out of money, but to be cheated out of getting credit for your own work as well? Talk about adding insult to injury!

Some of the file sharing sites that have uploads of copyrighted material work in conjunction with an organisation called the DMCA (apparently nothing to do with the governmental statute), therefore pirated material can be reported (and hopefully removed) by them. However, for those sites that don’t have a relationship with this group, you’re sort of shit out of luck, especially if you can’t find anyone at the site to report the stolen content to (which is often the case, especially if they’re outside the USA). Having said that, if the site collects a subscription fee from its users, you can report them to the financial services they employ, be it PayPal, MasterCard, etc, which may or may not result in the financial relationship being terminated (and therefore causing inconvenience to the site offering the pirated material). The point is, writers need to be vigilant and chase after these bastards themselves – and be prepared to make it a part of their regular work routine. Further to this, book publishers need to become pro-active about this issue, because they too, are losing money. The responsibility should not be borne entirely by the author.

For those of you out there who have no sympathy for writers and can’t understand why we’re bitching when our work is at least being read, let me pose the question again: Would YOU work for free?

 

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Bats in the Belfry (A Date with Colin Farrell)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Belgium. It evokes many things: chocolate, waffles, beer, the EU, Colin Farrell

Yes, I said Colin Farrell. If you’ve seen the Irish gangster film “In Bruges” you’ll know what I’m talking about. Oh, and by the way, don’t use the French “Bruges.” Use the Dutch “Brugge” – unless you want to piss off the Dutch-speaking majority around these parts. The filmmakers either didn’t know this or, considering the derogatory comments made about the city by the characters in the film, clearly didn’t care!

So why Brugge? Why not Brugge? I mean, Paris is just sooo yesterday. Everyone goes to Paris. Brugge is smaller and more manageable, and so much cleaner. In fact, it’s one of the cleanest and tidiest places I’ve ever been. Only in Brugge would I run into some random woman from Texas whose name also happened to be Mitzi. Only in Brugge would the captain of our canal boat ask if Teddy needed a seat belt. Only in Brugge would we be given garlic bread by a couple from Oxford. You just can’t get this in Paris!

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Okay, enough propaganda. The real reason we went to Brugge (and Belgium in general) was for the Kriek (cherry beer). Being an ignorant foreigner, I figured Kriek was Kriek. Was I ever wrong. There are many kinds of Kriek, and they vary in taste and quality. I have it on expert authority (a local) that the best Kriek is Lindemans or Liefmans, the latter of which Ted and I enjoyed tremendously at an authentic Belgian pub in Brugge (one of those hard-to-find places that wasn’t heaving with tourists).

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

As for those bats in the belfry I mentioned, I surely had a slew of them in my head that didn’t come from the Kriek. You see, I decided to undertake the arduous climb up to the top of the famous Belfry. I still can’t quite fathom why I had to pay eight euros – hell, they should’ve paid ME to climb up there. At least Ted was in a good mood. Mind you, he didn’t have to do the climbing; he left that to me.

All that schlepping around seeing the sights and trying to figure out maps with Dutch street names can make a person (and a bear) thirsty, and there’s only so much beer you can drink (even if it’s Kriek), especially when you’ve only just had breakfast, so I wisely carried a little water bottle around with me. Anyway, one lunchtime I bought a Belgian waffle from one of those shopfront windows, choosing to eat it while sitting along the ledge of a water sculpture that consisted of two horse heads, one of which had water coming from its mouth. By coincidence, this location happened to be where all the horse-drawn carriages started their journeys. I soon noticed that the drivers were using a bucket to collect water from the spewing horse-mouth in order to provide their horses with a refreshing drink. Noting the empty state of my water bottle, I found myself envying the horses and wondered if the water might be suitable for human and ursine consumption…

…When along came a trio of Italian tourists. They spent a moment contemplating the horse mouth, whereupon the more authoritative of the group took it upon herself to refill her empty water bottle. I sat anxiously by, waiting to see what would happen when she drank the water, indicating that I was most interested in the results of her venture. The signorina partook of her spoils and smiled encouragingly at me, giving the product her stamp of approval. I waited to see if anything would happen to her, such as violent convulsions or instant death. (Horses probably have heartier constitutions than Italians what with all that grass and hay they eat.) However, all was well and the trio moved off to other adventures, at which point I deemed it safe to fill my own bottle, though I got a really dirty look from one of the horses.

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Did I mention that we went to the chapel known as Bloedbasiliek? It so happened we arrived right on time to receive a blessing from the priest over a scrap of cloth claimed to have some drops of Jesus’s blood on it. (Hey, everyone else was doing it!) This is the same chapel from “In Bruges” where one of the hit men goes up to the altar to touch the relic. In fact, I’m certain I saw a hit man go up to receive his own blessing after Teddy and I had ours – some Euro-gangster dressed in an expensive suit and wearing blue-tinted shades. All he needed was to carry a sign that said “I’m a dodgy European gangster” and he couldn’t have been more obvious. I won’t mention the Beware of Pickpockets signs posted all over the place. So much for being watched over by a higher power…

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

I should add that the minute it became known we were going to visit Belgium the invites came pouring in (not for me, but for Ted, whose social calendar was booked up before we’d even boarded the Eurostar!). First we met up with his mate Metteko in Brugge, where our happy group consumed plenty of Kriek (what else?), followed by plenty of Carbonnade (Flemish beef stew), all the while being serenaded by gypsy musicians from Slovakia, their lively rendition of a Russian ditty prompting the two bears to dance their paws off at the table.

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

The next afternoon in Brussels Ted met up with his mate Berthus for cake (and later, Kriek). It turned out that the waiter at the cafe was a big fan of the two furry gents and insisted on being photographed with them, afterward giving Ted a big paw shake (with yet another waiter getting into the act) as we left. I guess the first waiter was trying to make up for having told me en francais that they didn’t have any toilets and I should use my glass. It took me a few beats of forgotten high-school French to pick up on what he was saying, at which point I realised he was having a laugh. Or at least I think he was…

As for the Kriek, I’m going to check online for a supplier – one that will give me a bulk discount!

For a quick video tour of Brugge, click here!

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Win a copy of “Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Step right up and enter to win a chance to receive a pre-publication copy of my raunchy and outrageous new novel, Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts! The book won’t be out till July, but if you fancy a sneak preview, speak now or forever hold your peace! (Or whatever it is you prefer to hold…)

For more details on how to enter, please visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website. Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, you can become a fan on Facebook and keep up with all the news! After all, you don’t want to be left behind, do you?

 

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Mitzi Szereto chats on BBC Radio Shetland

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with the BBC Radio Shetland "Sideways" crew

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with the BBC Radio Shetland "Sideways" crew

During my recent appearance at the Wordplay book festival in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by BBC Radio Shetland presenters Jonny Polson and Amz Fisher for the “Sideways” programme. Topics discussed include how I got started writing, teaching erotic writing workshops, my upcoming books (including Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts), and pretty much everything else I get up to that’s suitable for broadcast on the BEEB!

Listen to the interview here:

http://mitziszereto.com/Sideways BBC Radio Shetland with Mitzi Szereto

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A Valentine Bear’s Wedding

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

For those of you who don’t follow society events, you’ll be kicking yourself that you missed the major event of the season, if not the century!

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

I refer to the recent Valentine’s Day wedding of my beloved bear and the co-star of Mitzi TV, the famous Teddy Tedaloo. Just about everyone who was anyone was in attendance (except for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who was not invited due to his species-ist beliefs and his continued inability to get the site functioning properly). All the socialite bears were there, not to mention HRH herself, Queen Elizabeth II. Man, there was so much bling in that church you needed sunglasses!

Family portrait

Family portrait

The Queen, sweet old dear that she is, gave a little speech after the Archbishop of Canterbury did the whole formal nuptials thing. (Judging from HRH’s expression, I’ve a suspicion she was hoping her grandson and future granddaughter’s wedding this spring would at least equal in prestige and grandeur that of Teddy and Ninny’s.) Liz is a huge fan of Ted’s and even has a paw-print autographed photo of him in her private quarters at Buckingham Palace, so of course she wouldn’t have missed his wedding for the world. And with a bit of tinkling of the ivories by that other famous queen Sir Elton John accompanied by the delightful tones of Kylie Minogue, how can anything possibly go wrong?

Champagne

You just had to ask, eh? Well, the champagne was a-flowing and Ted was a-drinking… so much so, in fact, that he passed out in the coatroom just after the wedding cake was sliced up and consumed (he had three pieces). His bride thought he’d done a runner, only to discover that he’d fallen asleep! Apparently someone’s coat had fallen on him and – bears being bears – Ted thought it was time for hibernation. Poor Ninny was in a right state, until the groom resurfaced some time later, wanting to wrap up the evening as quickly as possible so that he could hurry home to change into his pajamas and watch Coronation Street featuring Leanne and Peter Barlow’s much-publicised “blessing.” (Unlike Teddy and Ninny, things didn’t turn out so great for Leanne and Peter.) Ninny, however, managed to convince Ted to take a quick spin around the dance floor first, though he still managed to get home and in his PJs in time for Corie.

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

To say it was a bittersweet moment for me, as a mum, would be understating the fact. You see, Ted’s an only bear, and to watch him taking his vows in front of all those people, well… I shed quite a few tears, believe you me. Thank heavens I had the comfort of my date, the very handsome Caramelo, who’d flown in all the way from Dubai to attend the wedding, along with his mum, who was Ninny’s Maid of Honour. Sure, it’s early days yet, but I think it’s safe to say that things with Caramelo and myself are progressing along quite nicely. I just hope that I’m not his rebound girl, because he was sort of interested in Ninny first.

Sexy Ninny

Sexy Ninny

As  for the happy couple, the last I heard they were heading off to enjoy their honeymoon, which, if this glamour photo of the blushing bride is any indication, should be a red-hot one, indeed!

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Social Networkers Need Some Table Manners!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

No TrespassingAs users of social media, we’ve all been the targets of online marketers and spammers and webcam girls. Of course, social media is still fairly new, and the boundaries are continually being tried and tested, not to mention pushed. We’ve all made mistakes and, we hope, learned from them. This isn’t the first time I’ve addressed this issue (see Tweet Tweet Tweet: Will Someone Please Shoot That Effing Bird?). However, there really needs to be some form of established etiquette – because the methods being employed to get one’s message across are getting out of hand.

Now I’m not exactly a novice on this subject. In fact, I’ve even given talks about the use of social media (see Social Media For Creative Artists). Although I’m going to focus on those in the writing and book business, I’m sure we can find parallels in other fields. As everyone knows, I’m a big user of Facebook. I’ve worked very hard to establish myself on the site and build up a fan and friends base. I always try to be respectful of others and respectful of the space of others. Meaning: I do not post my “advertising” on people’s personal profiles or personal fan pages. By advertising, I mean self-promotional content.

This is the kind of thing you often see manifesting itself in sneaky posts on your wall – you know, the ones that say “nice to meet you,” but a “nice to meet you” that happens to include a very handy link to a website or the jacket of a book. Add to this the practice of tagging someone in order to get your content onto their page. Further add to this a reply tweet that uses your Twitter name to spread someone else’s message. And these are just the subtle methods.

More blatant forms of such promotional trespass consist of folk posting content designed to draw attention to themselves and their product without even attempting to disguise what they’re doing with a personal message, plastering these website links and book jackets, not to mention book trailers and book events right smack dab onto your wall like a giant neon sign. Perhaps they justify this activity by saying so-and-so is a Facebook friend (and possibly a fellow writer), so I guess that means I can be a squatter in his or her house.

Wrong!

I mean, it’s bad enough when this happens on your personal profile, but you won’t believe the number of times I’ve had to remove the advertising of various individuals from my fan pages. I mean, I’ll have a fan page for a book of mine (for instance In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed), and these cheeky buggers will post a book jacket and link to THEIR book on MY book’s fan page. Excuse me, but this is really taking the piss!

Now I’m all for self-promotion as everyone knows, only this is not the way to go about it. I realise things are tough out there, and I know it’s likewise tough to make a buck, but for pity’s sake, use some common sense. If you’re posting to a fan page or group page or even a personal page that indicates it accepts and welcomes these kinds of posts, then fine. But to randomly post on personal profiles, groups and fan pages that are clearly NOT an interactive billboard asking for your advertising (and you can see no evidence to indicate that it is), well, that’s just plain tacky and rude. In fact, it’s SPAM.

Of course you can always remove these posts, and I do it all the time. However, there’s only so much I’ll tolerate when it keeps continuing, especially from the same individuals. Allowing yourself to be a graffitied wall to benefit and promote someone else’s agenda is not going to make them like you. (They don’t like you – they’re using you!) Rather than outright removing said person from my friends list, I try to give them a chance to mend their ways by making my displeasure known via a polite note requesting they cease and desist. You’d think this forthright and civil approach would work and therefore generate an embarrassed apology, right? Well, think again.

A recent SPAM-fest I was made the victim of came from some supposed “book reviewer” who listed quite an impressive CV of where he’d reviewed books. I received a Facebook friend request from said person, and I thought, well sure, of course I’d like him as a friend – until I started to get daily posts on my wall of his various book reviews, none of which were even of my books! Now excuse me, but what in hell is that about? Did my Facebook profile suddenly turn into Publisher’s Weekly? Needless to say, I sent him a polite note requesting he kindly refrain from said behaviour. And get this: he actually un-friended me as if I’d done something wrong!

Awhile back I had another bizarre run-in with some Norman Bates of a poet I’d never heard of. This individual’s personal information was vague to say the least, unless you count the hazy photos of her that looked as if they’d been taken when Nixon was president. It seemed she was hiding behind some paid membership website – and she was continually posting on my Facebook profile and various fan pages advertising said website. When I asked her to stop spamming me, I got a nasty message, followed by some extremely nasty, erroneous, and downright libelous comments she attempted to publish on my website. Had they not been so pathetically inspired by professional and personal jealousy I’d have reported her to my web-host (and my lawyer).

Then just the other day an author posted her book release event on my profile wall, likewise tagging me for the event, following it up by posting her book trailer. Since when did Mitzi Szereto become Barnes & Noble? Hey, I have my own books to sell! Rather than send a message, I removed her from my friends list. I’m not going to be nice with second chances anymore, especially when I end up being disrespected for it. Yes, I’m interested in seeing what others are doing, but I’d prefer not to have it forced on me via a space which is supposed to be for my use and under my control, especially when I can easily find out what’s happening in my newsfeed and by visiting friends’ profiles and pages! I post many things, a lot of which are not self-promotion (I’m big on animal welfare groups such as StopCrush.Org and Charlie to the Rescue), so I find it annoying to get a post that’s not only irrelevant to me, but serves no purpose other than to get a free ride off my hard graft. I don’t much care for freeloaders, nor do I know anyone who does.

So if you want to mark your territory, use your OWN personal profiles and pages to get your message out rather than trespassing on those of others – or else ask permission before you post or tag as a method of self-promotion. It’s called “having good manners!” :-D

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Author Holiday Monday: Another Royal Wedding

Monday, January 10th, 2011

The recent Christmas and New Years holidays (along with the never-ending Bank Holiday Mondays we get here in ol’ Blighty) have got me thinking. Yes, I do this on occasion. Having worked through the holidays nonstop, including Christmas Day and News Years Day, I began to wonder about those such as myself who spend our lives toiling in alternative forms of labour – ie authors and other creative individuals who don’t take home a regular pay cheque or get requisite days off (let alone sick days). Wouldn’t it be nice if WE got a special day off?

Yeah, I know it’s a lot to hope for, but what’s life without a bit of hope?

You’re probably asking what I was so busy doing that I couldn’t even take a minute to myself. Okay, where should I start? There’s this little matter called a deadline that had to be dealt with. Publishers set them – and it’s your job to meet them. So I was correcting the galleys for my upcoming book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts (going over them twice, I should add). In addition, I was putting together a book trailer and website for the title, while also working on my new anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe (which likewise has a looming deadline), reading material as it came in and working closely with writers whose material I was keen on (I mean, being an editor does require some actual… errr… editing!). In between all this, I had to keep myself fed and watered, attend to my social networking responsibilities (and they are massive), do housework, and look after a rambunctious young bear, who doesn’t like being neglected. There was also the issue of a new vacuum cleaner that needed attending to (the previous and now-famous one having died on me right after the warranty ran out). Oh, yeah, and I was busy fighting an annoying cold I’d picked up from some germy bugger on an overstuffed tube train in London one night when I was on my home from The Smoke. Imagine the footage you’ve seen of passengers in India clinging vicariously to the sides and roofs of train cars and you get the picture. Though at least the Indians don’t pay the equivalent of a London pub lunch for the price of a tube ticket.

Of course I realise that I’m not the only person in the world who has a ton of things to do and not enough time in which to do them. But when you actually have to force yourself not to send out rejection emails to hopeful short story contributors on Christmas and New Year’s day, fearing it would make you look like “Mrs. Scrooge the Anthology Editor,” you know it’s time for an official day off.

A Facebook friend of mine suggested that maybe two authors should get married and give us a public holiday, a la Will and Kate. Since that seems to work as far as adding to the British Bank Holiday curriculum vitae, I said yeah, good idea. So I thought we can play matchmaker between Salman Rushdie and Jilly Cooper (that should get some notice!). Whether either of them is already married is beside the point. They can always get a quickie divorce in Mexico and hurry back here in time for their wedding.

Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I mean, no one really gives a darn about us poor writers toiling away in our dark and dusty garrets. The public reads our books, but do they care about how we are? Hell no. If we need someone to make us chicken soup when we’re sick do they come running with the ingredients and a cooking pot? Hell no. When they see us on the street, do they drag us into Starbucks and treat us to a latte with extra whipped cream? Hell no. They just use us and forget us. (Hmm… kinda like men, eh?)

No, it seems we’re on our own in a big old scary world without a proper and legally recognised day off. The entire world goes off on holiday and there you are, still slaving away and seeing your life flash before your eyes. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Even my gym kept shutting early because no one wanted to work. Blimey.

So on behalf of all us poor overworked authors, will Salman Rushdie and Jilly Cooper please hurry up and get married and give us an official day off?

I mean, is it really so much to ask?

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The Case of the Missing Glove

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

No, this isn’t the name of my new crime novel. Yes, I am writing a crime novel, but it’s nowhere near to completion for me to spill the beans about it. Worry not, however, for you’ll soon be hearing lots more about my raunchy and outrageous new novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts due out in spring!

As for the case of the missing glove, it is, in fact, a real case, and it takes place on the dark foggy streets of Londontown. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so foggy when it happened…

Teddy Tedaloo and his mate enjoy a pint of Fruli beer

Teddy Tedaloo and his mate enjoy a pint of Fruli beer

The mystery all began thanks to my famous social butterfly and bon-vivant bear Teddy Tedaloo and his Christmas meet-up with a mate of his, who was coming down by train from “oop north.” Ted was in fine Christmas cheer attired in a dapper Santa suit, replete with hat, which ended up coming in quite handy for warding off the freezing Siberian cold that had draped itself like an old lady’s shawl over our little island. Of course no meet-up worth its weight in ale can kick off without first paying a visit to a favourite drinking establishment in Covent Garden – particularly one that serves Fruli strawberry beer. We were already halfway to the floor drinking our lunch when Ted’s Uncle Geoff turned up, at which point things began to lean a wee bit toward the surreal. Though frankly, I’ve become so used to surreal that if Salvador Dalí gave me a melting clock for Christmas, I’d likely not bat an eyelash. (The fact that he’s dead probably wouldn’t faze me either.)

Teddy Tedaloo on Thames River Christmas cruise

Teddy Tedaloo on Thames River Christmas cruise

We set off down to the river, where we availed ourselves of a Christmas boat cruise on the Thames. Little did we expect to be entertained by a commentator who could have put any of the top British comedians to shame, he was that good. Alas, nearly all of his humorous jibes went over the heads of our mostly foreign sailing companions, who seemed more interested in speaking as loudly as possible and instigating their screaming children to do likewise. But hey, it added to the hilarity of the moment, as did the gingery fizzy cocktail we were served. I mean, we really needed a drink to sober up after all that Fruli!

Once we’d teetered off the boat, we sobered up even more in the Arctic blast and had a look at the Christmas market set up on the South Bank, which featured among all the sweet sellers and soap pushers a babushka lady selling religious icons and statues from Minsk, Belarus. Now I ask you, what else would you possibly expect to find on London’s South Bank but a babushka lady from a convent in Minsk? It’s the first thing you think of, right? I have a feeling that Ted’s uncle was rather taken with her, but he decided to play hard to get by going off to buy some sweets, which we later stole off him, afterward topping up our hunger with some roast pork and sage stuffing sandwiches, which we ate while standing up, our frigid fingers clinging to our food for dear life. We next got some rubberised French crepes that were a challenge to eat, particularly with a plastic fork. These were eaten to the accompaniment of a musician whose hands were so frozen he could barely get any sound out of his guitar. Yeah, baby, it was cold.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo observe safely from the sidelines

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo observe safely from the sidelines

We rounded off the evening by schlepping across the river yet again, this time to Somerset House to watch the ice skating, where we were joined by yet another mate of Ted’s. Enter the missing glove. Apparently somewhere between Waterloo Bridge and the ice rink Geoff discovered his right glove had gone missing. With no sign of Sherlock Holmes (Elementary, my dear Watson!), it was up to us to solve the mystery. A frantic search ensued, involving much harassment of the security people, neither of which yielded a result. We ended up inside the viewing galleries, warming up with tepid and obscenely overpriced cups of “hot” cider and dancing to some very peculiar Balkan-esque music being piped in, whereupon it was decided we’d find another pub once we’d escorted our out-of-towners safely to the tube station.

The pub never happened, which might, in retrospect, be a good thing. We were in the vicinity of Charing Cross station when our glove man, who was to catch us up after one more check with Somerset House’s lost-and-found, sent a text that he was returning back across the river to the South Bank to search for his glove. Had it been me, I’m not sure I would’ve gone to that much bother on a freezing cold night in a city that is exhausting even in the best of times. However, it was probably the temperature that drove him to seek out his glove rather than endure further torment.

Later that night when I got home, I texted Geoff to see if he’d found his errant glove. I didn’t receive a reply. My first thought was that he’d been mugged during his search or possibly even run off with the babushka lady. Indeed, perhaps his claim to return to hunt for his glove on the South Bank had been but a ruse to put us off the scent. I mean, you just never know with men.

The next morning I had an email informing me of the sad news: the black glove was never found. On the bright side, however, Geoff happened upon a right-handed green glove that some other poor soul had lost, thereby giving him a proper (albeit unmatched) pair. The last I heard, he was still wearing it!

So now you know what happens to all those lonely gloves you see scattered around London. They eventually find a new partner, and live happily ever after.

Happy holidays!

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Social Media for Creative Artists Talk

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Everyone probably knows that I’m a big user of social media, so I guess it makes perfect sense that I’d be called upon to speak about this very same subject and how it works for those of us in the creative arts.

So for those of you who weren’t able to make it to the Social Media in Business 2010 conference in London earlier this year and are actually interested in hearing what I have to say on the topic, I invite you to sit back and relax, grab a beer from out of the fridge, and watch the replay!

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Newstalk Radio Ireland

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

You can listen again to my interview on Newstalk Radio Ireland (with presenter Sean Moncrieff), where I chat about erotic literature, publishing, pornography, Philip Roth, and vampires.

Originally broadcast on 26 October 2010.

Click now to listen:

http://mitziszereto.com/Newstalk-Ireland

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