Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Courting Horror with Florida Gothic

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Stephen King loves Florida Gothic!

 

 

OH, THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Horror isn’t exactly new to me. No, I’m not talking about my personal life; I’m talking about my writing life! I’ve crossed over into horror on several projects, though technically speaking, it’s probably safe to say that my new book release Florida Gothic is my first full-on, guts-on-the-table, cringing-in-the-corner horror novel. As the debut release in The “Gothic” Series, I’ve combined plenty of grit and gore for this one. I think the book demonstrates that I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to swimming in the alligator-infested swamps of the horror genre.

Ernesto’s mad as hell – and he’s not gonna take it anymore!

Hang on, did someone say alligator? There just so happens to be one in the book! And it’s because of him (or her?) that events move in a particular direction, shaping the fate of our unlucky protagonist, Ernesto Martinez. We get to see the “hero” of Florida Gothic shambling through life (or make that DEATH) as he seeks payback for all the wrongs that have been committed against him. Like this book’s author, Ernesto’s no shrinking violet either.

Though I’d like to think I’m better looking.

Set against the “glamorous” backdrop of South Florida (think heat, sun, sweat, beaches, drugs, voodoo, Cuban food, and Ernesto’s ever-present cucarachas), Florida Gothic offers what you won’t typically find in those tourist guidebooks.

So am I using my blog to promote my new book? You bet! If you enjoy horror, I’m convinced you’ll enjoy Florida Gothic. Even if you aren’t a horror aficionado, you’ll have a gruesomely good time reading it. So what are you waiting for?

To find out more about Florida Gothic (and access those handy little “buy” links designed to make your life so much easier), please visit: http://mitziszereto.com/florida-gothic

Oh, and here’s the official book trailer!

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.

Bonnie Parker Meets Scarface (New Year’s Eve in South Florida)

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This little piggy went to the market…

Have you noticed that something always seems to happen whenever I go to America (or anywhere for that matter)? Lost luggage, mishaps, scraped bumpers – you name it, it’s happened to me. Well, I’ve got a whole new chapter to add to this science-fiction novel known as my life: I’m now keeping company with a particularly cagey group of South Florida residents. Think Miami Vice. Or better yet, Scarface. Those two lame-asses Crockett and Tubbs can’t hold a candle to Tony Montana (jew got it, mang?)!

On New Year’s Eve I was picked up by car and driven to an undisclosed location in Broward County, Florida. The only landmark I recognised was the Fort Lauderdale Airport, which faded to a glittery speck in the distance as we barreled north and into the final night of 2008 and whatever new hell awaited me in 2009. I figured I had nothing more to lose at this point. I had no idea where I was going or who would be waiting there when I arrived. All I knew was that a roast pig was in the deal.

Apparently we were supposed to arrive at half past seven, and it was already half past eight when we pulled up in front of the darkened house where this New Year’s Eve party was being held. Obviously, I couldn’t help wondering about the absence of cars on our arrival. Were we early? I thought perhaps it was like one of those LA parties I used to go to, where the start time is 7pm, but no one ever turns up until at least 11pm. Of course, that was all just a ploy to make it appear as if the guests had so many other parties to stop off at when in truth, they were probably sitting at home watching old reruns of Gunsmoke until they considered it a dignified enough time to “put in an appearance”.

We parked out on the street so as not to be blocked in later, and made our way up the dark empty driveway, which only reinforced my assumption that we were the first guests to arrive… unless we’d somehow gotten the date wrong and the party was for New Year’s Eve 2010. Suddenly a black cat ran out in front of us. That’s when I noticed the cars. They were parked well off the driveway beneath a batch of trees, as if involved in a plot to reinforce the appearance that no one was there. Despite the obvious affluence of the home and grounds, this entire caper was getting dodgier by the minute.

The first thing I was told upon entering the house was: “Whatever you do, don’t get into an argument with anyone. They’re all packing heat.” I glanced around, expecting to be greeted by Scarface himself. Instead I was greeted by a Magnum 45 and a combat knife, which were set out on a table just inside the front door. That was when I began to question the wisdom of having accepted this invitation, which had been extended to me by my crime writer friend Vicki Hendricks, who’s also a contributor to my anthologies Getting Even: Revenge Stories and Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death. If you’ve ever read any of her stuff, you’d understand my concern.

Were my worries justified? That all depends on how you look at it. I suppose you could call it a typical South Florida New Year’s Eve: guns, knives, hot coals, a swimming pool, and a pig. What made it slightly more surreal was the fact that our host and resident pig-roaster happens to be involved with undercover anti-terrorist work and is Jewish. In fact, a good portion of those present were Jewish (not so sure about the undercover anti-terrorist gig, though I could definitely envision our host’s feisty little mama taking someone down with an Uzi). Okay, so call me religiously underprivileged, but have you ever heard of a kosher pig? I’ll tell you this for free: our charming host had quite a gleam in his eye when cutting up that shiksa porker. He even gave me extra helpings of pork rind, no doubt figuring I could use a bit of extra flesh on me. I more than made up for my dwindling condition at the dessert table, where I managed to fit a piece of chocolate cake (which oddly was made with courgettes, aka zucchini), a piece of Vicki’s Tres Leches cake (which thanks to her curious recipe was technically Quattro Leches), and some flan onto my plate.

Over dinner I was informed that the doomed porkers such as the one who ended up on our plates get stamped with a number to reserve them for the bloodthirsty customers who ordered them. I guess that explained the 666 I noticed behind one of the pig’s ears, not to mention explained why our host kept calling the pig Damien. The conversation then moved onto the Fakahatchee Swamp (just try saying that ten times really fast!), a Florida landmark full of alligators, snapping turtles, and assorted dismembered limbs – a place where my mate Vicki claimed she went “looking for orchids”. (Orchids, my ass. Even now she still refuses to answer every time I ask her what happened to her last literary agent.) The dinner conversation reached a climactic crescendo when the conversation switched to a detailed discussion of the castration of pigs. At least I think they were talking about pigs.

Just as we were leaving the party, one of the guests pulled me aside to apologise profusely for forgetting to bring his Kalashnikov. I had to admit, I’d already tried every piece of hardcore weaponry in the house – an AK47 sounded pretty damned sexy to me.

Oh well, there’s always next New Year’s Eve…

(For some of Tony Montana’s wisdom, click:  http://www.youtube.com)