Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Performance Reading with Mitzi Szereto and “Alf” the Cockney Devil

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Mitzi Szereto reads an extended excerpt from her short story “Hell is Where the Heart is” with “Alf” the Cockney Devil, played by Bob Boyton.

“Hell is Where the Heart is”, a Mephistopheles-inspired tale of a woman who sells her soul to the devil to get back the man she loves, was originally published in Mitzi’s anthology of short stories entitled Getting Even: Revenge Stories.

Performed in the corridors of the Royal Festival Hall, London in autumn 2008. Produced and directed by Paul Atherton of Simple TV Productions.

(It’s a long ‘un, so be sure to let the video fully load before viewing! You might also get improved playback if you click the lower right corner to take you directly to the Vimeo site.)

Hell is where the Heart is – Mitzi Szereto & Alf (Bob Boyton) – Reading an excerpt from Paul Atherton on Vimeo.

Erotic Writing and Garlic

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo on the Isle of Wight ferry (on calmer seas)

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo on the Isle of Wight ferry (on calmer seas)

My sidekick Teddy Tedaloo and I are recently back (along with a cold) from our yearly jaunt to the Isle of Wight, where I was teaching my Literotica erotic writing workshop. Not unusually, it was a weekend filled with wind and rain and choppy seas. In fact, it was so dodgy on the way over that I’m certain I saw a few passengers on the ferry (and even some of the crew) texting the contents of their last will and testament to their solicitors.

As for me, I’m planning to leave everything to Ted and miscellaneous animal charities. Oh, but we were talking about my workshop, weren’t we? Well, it was yet another successful weekend as I witnessed writers breaking through their literary blocks and actually turning out some sexy prose that didn’t sound like something you might see written on the stall in a public toilet. Mind you, I threatened to chuck them off a cliff (and yes, there was a cliff nearby) if they so much as even dared to write something cringe-worthy. And having some muscle along with me (Ted), I’d clearly scared them into submission. (Notice all the double entendres?)

Although the weather proved inspirational to the writers, even more so was the howling and moaning they were treated to during one of the writing exercises I assigned. I’m sure they thought I’d brought along my own sound effects for the course, only to discover that the howling and moaning was not of the human variety, but instead belonged to the venue’s resident dog. I tell you, I’d never seen so many crestfallen faces in my life!

Now I’ve heard of students giving an apple to the teacher. But giving a bulb of garlic? Well, folks, you heard it here first – one of my students actually came up to me during a session and presented me with a bulb of garlic. Okay, so it was roasted garlic, and it was local to the island, but I’m not entirely sure how to take this. I wonder if it was some kind of weird karma thing, since the evening before I left for the island I received the publishing contract for my new anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance, a book I’ve had in mind to do for the last four years or so. And you can’t get much more gothic than garlic!

We also had a journalist from a popular women’s magazine on board to do a feature on me – and I got her writing some pretty good stuff, too. As for the photographer who accompanied her, although quite a few shots were taken of me, need I say who, as usual, stole the show? Yup, you guessed it. It seems the photographer was quite taken with Ted (who isn’t?), and frankly I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up on the cover of the magazine. As for the journalist, I’m hoping she’ll at least finish the article she’s writing before quitting her job to take her chances in the big bad world of erotic writing.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at the Village Inn pub

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at the Village Inn pub

As I usually do on these Literotica weekends, I availed myself of the local pub in Shanklin village (along with some local ale) on the Saturday evening, since there’s always live acoustic music happening. Tragically, the hottie from last year wasn’t there anymore (*sobs*), but there was a chap playing guitar and singing, and he was very appreciative of his audience. In fact, he told everyone that he’d never performed for a bear before, then proceeded to dedicate a song to Ted. Man, I never felt like such chopped liver in my life.

Before it was time to embark on the high seas back to the mainland, along with the hell that is known as “commuting through London,” Ted and I were treated to a lovely country pub lunch by our friend Ray Allen, who’s best known for creating the hit BBC TV series “Some Mothers Do Ave Em.” Ray absolutely adores Ted, and was thrilled to have an opportunity to hang out with him again (the last time we all met up was in Wales at the Caerleon Writers’ Holiday, which Ray and I both do gigs at). I had the best pie in my life, and had I not been looking at such a long journey home, I would’ve had an entire pint of the local ale rather than just a half.

Teddy Tedaloo meets The King

Teddy Tedaloo meets The King

Of course, the whole getting-home shtick is never without its usual drama – and like our return journey from the Wordplay book festival last month in the Shetlands, there was yet another strike on the London Underground. I was stressed out by the time I reached Waterloo station, but the gods were watching over us, and we got there in enough time to catch the tube before it shut down completely. I also had my faith in Englishmen restored (well, for a few seconds anyway) when a lad on the train insisted on carrying my suitcase up some stairs, and kept asking me all about myself, at which point he introduced himself as Ian.

Ian. Do  you think this could be yet more of that weird karma at work? Probably not. Though he didn’t tell me his surname, I’ve a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t Somerhalder!

Mitzi Chats About All Things Mitzi TV

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Yours truly (that’s me!) recently took some time out to chat with journalist Michael Casey at a local Essex watering hole about my new entrepreneurial Internet television venture Mitzi TV – its origins, its direction, and its future, as well as the business of books, blogging, and social media.

He Just Can’t Get Enough

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Ted Reads My New Book

Teddy Tedaloo reads "In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales"

No, I’m not talking about what you think (or hope) I’m talking about. Nor am I talking about Depeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan. As you may already know, I’ve blogged about Dave before – he was one of my very first Facebook friends! (Alas, our relationship has since gone pear-shaped, and we’re no longer speaking.)

No, I’m talking about Teddy Tedaloo, who’s one of my most devoted fans. Well, he’d better be, since I pay the rent. Though I really wish he’d stop singing that damned Pet Shop Boys song all the time; it’s beginning to get up my nose. I love you, you pay my rent, indeed! Mind you, when it comes to fans, he has plenty himself, if his Facebook group is anything to go by… and my long-distance phone bill. When my shipment of author copies for In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales arrived the other morning courtesy of my publisher Cleis Press in San Francisco, who do you think couldn’t wait to tear open the box?

You guessed it.

I didn’t even get a chance to make a cup of tea before Ted was already in the kitchen rustling about in the knife drawer to find something to slice open the box with. The next thing I know he’s happily ensconced on the fluffy white coverlet on our sofa with his little black nose buried in the book. How he managed to fetch his reading glasses from the upstairs bedroom without my seeing him is anyone’s guess. I suppose that’s one of the advantages of being diminutive in stature.

“Now Mitzi, are you using your blog to plug your new book release?” I hear you asking. Why, of course I am! After all, it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it. Having said that, don’t I provide you with hours and  hours of free entertainment? After all I’ve done for you – sacrificed for you, is it so much to expect a little consideration and support? (Insert Jewish mother guilt-inspiring voice here.) Haven’t I given you the best years of my life? (Insert nagging-wife voice here.) If my book is good enough for my bear, then it’s good enough for you! And take my word for it when I say that Ted’s not easily impressed. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more difficult critic to get past.

So if you want to make me happy (and you do want to make me happy, don’t you?), then click on one of the very handy Amazon carousels located right here on my website (you can select from three different countries – oy, how easy can it be?) and pre-order your copy of In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed now!

Do it because you love me.

And if you don’t, so lie.

(BTW, if you happen to be a book reviewer, drop me a note and I’ll put in a review copy request for you. But you gotta promise to be nice!)

Mitzi’s Reading in Vienna, Austria

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Author appearance in Vienna

Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo at her author appearance in Vienna

For those of you who were unable to be there in person, you can hear me read an excerpt from my short story “Odalisque” (from my anthology Foreign Affairs: Erotic Travel Tales), which took place at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers in Vienna, Austria on 17 July 2009. This had to be the hottest night of the year, but thanks to Teddy, copious glasses of mineral water, and a bit of unexpected inspiration from the synagogue next door (now that’s MY secret!), I managed to survive without melting away completely!

Watch the Video on YouTube:

Fairy Tales Can Come True (Well, Maybe if They’re in a Book)

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
sleeping-beautys-bed

Mitzi Szereto's "In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales"

You know that expression “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”? Well, I don’t even give her a chance to open her mouth! I apply this methodology to my professional life and to my personal life. Alas, the latter hasn’t proved as successful as the former, but we aren’t here to talk about that, are we?

Indeed, I’m not the kind of woman who takes “no” for an answer. When I started out in this literary gig, I knew the odds were hugely stacked against me. Hell, they still are. You think it’s easy to sell a book? – especially when you refuse to churn out the same shite everyone else does? I’m definitely my own drummer, and when I think what I’m doing is right, there’s no convincing me otherwise.

Case in point: my book of solo short stories Erotic Fairy Tales: A Romp Through the Classics. How I laugh when I hear some precious writer grumbling that their precious novel went to seven publishers before it finally found a home. Seven? What is seven? Try fifty, baby, then you can start grumbling! Yes, my little masterpiece went to about fifty publishers worldwide. I even had a literary agent working on it for a year (and believe me, I’ve lost track of the number of agents I’d submitted the thing to before I went with this one). Not that he did sweet FA, other than collect money off me for every conceivable cost, save for loo roll. (Wait, I think he did bill me for a jumbo pack of Charmin!) Half the publishers the manuscript was submitted to were ones I suggested to Mr. Literary Agent, the other half he came up with – and they were totally off the wall, including some tiny press in Georgia that only publishes poetry. WTF?

Fine, I’m used to always having to do everything my own damned self, since no one ever does anything right – and that’s if you can count on anyone to do it in the first place. But come on. I even had to track down an editor because my manuscript was returned unread, along with a letter stating that said editor no longer worked at said publishing house. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this a clue to find out who took his place in order to then resubmit the material  – and indeed, to submit to the original editor at the new publishing house as well? Apparently that took a bit of common sense and initiative, neither of which my so-called literary agent possessed. No wonder every time I phoned the guy he always sounded as if he’d been asleep… which he probably had been. Ah, well, I suppose it beat the New York agent who had a dog barking incessantly in the background while she tried to convince me over the phone to shell out 500 bucks to her to read my manuscript. Had I done so, I’m sure it would have ended up as one of those “my dog ate my homework” deals.

Undaunted by the blatant hopelessness of my situation, I resumed control of my product and re-embarked upon the quest to find a publisher. I submitted far and wide, to publishers in every corner of the globe. Had there been publishers on Mars, I would have submitted to them too. In fact, I was running out of publishers. Oh, the despair! Finally I put together my last batch of mailings and headed to the post office (which by this time was thriving thanks to my generous patronage). This was it. If it didn’t happen, it wasn’t going to happen – there was no one left.

The next morning my phone rang. It was a publisher, and she wished to speak to me about my fairy tales manuscript. I was asked to come to their San Francisco office for a meeting. Since I lived in Sonoma County at the time, this was fairly easy. Besides which, I always welcomed any chance to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge – I still do, in fact!

And that’s the tale of how Erotic Fairy Tales: A Romp Through the Classics finally saw the light of day. The book has sold so nicely and has been reprinted so many times that Cleis Press decided to publish a second edition – the now renamed In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales. I invited author Tobsha Learner to write a special forward, along with some words of praise on the back cover provided courtesy of author Nancy Madore. The book will be out in autumn 2009 and is already available (HINT HINT!!) for pre-order at the lovely Amazon.com.

So you tell me who was wrong: all those publishers who passed on my book, or me?

Camden Crawl

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Mitzi Szereto in Camden Town

Mitzi Szereto in Camden Town

Ever have one of those days where you know that if you stay home you might very likely chuck yourself out from an upstairs window? Well, that about sums up last Sunday. Therefore I decided to go to Camden Town for the afternoon to distract myself and scout out some bargains, despite the fact I hate to shop (though necessity prevails). As a starving writer and a woman who refuses to give in to the moneyed gentlemen she’s met over the years who’ve offered to keep her in high style (though as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch), I’m not in the leagues of Bond Street or Harrods; there are no Prada handbags or expensive designer dresses in my closet. So it’s Camden Town for me, though many of the shops there are still out of my reach! (Let’s get my books and short stories selling, alreet?)

The day began in a manner that made me wish I’d stayed home, despite the dire temptation of the upstairs window. My train journey into the city consisted of having to listen to the Essex geezah behind me making and receiving endless calls on his mobile phone, most of which were of him threatening his mate with dire consequences if he didn’t cough up the 450 quid owed him when he got to his house. Okay, fine, it didn’t affect MY life, save for the fact that his language was highly inappropriate at half past eleven in the morning (just as it would have been at half past midnight). Mind you, it seems the majority of men in Essex cannot speak without every other word being an obscenity, most of which are particularly offensive to women. If you’ve ever encountered any Essex males (usually visible in a crowd by their West Ham shirts), I’m sure I need not elaborate.

Things really heated up when the fellow seated across from me (whom it was later revealed was an American tourist to our fair isle) decided to take a photograph of the landscape outside the train window, which apparently was directly in the range of Mr. Geezah’s personage. Well, Mr. Geezah took none too kindly to what he construed as a photo being taken of his fine Essex self, and things began to turn nasty. In caveman-speak, he laid into the fellow, demanding to know if he’d been photographed and why, which escalated into a threat to take the camera and smash it (and, I gather, smash its owner’s face as well). The exchange went on for a good fifteen minutes, in between more phone calls as to the whereabouts of his money. Finally we were left in peace when he exited the train – no doubt to pursue the poor bastard who owed him the 450 quid, as somehow I doubt he was heading off to a late Sunday service.

I eventually made it to Camden Town, which was bustling with people out for a day of posing, shopping, and eating. Is there a recession on? If so, I saw no evidence of it in Londontown. Mind you, I was hard-pressed to actually see any actual English people buying anything – the only ones who seemed to be taking out their wallets were Spaniards, Italians, and Russians. Oh, and me, who by a stroke of luck did manage to snag some bargains, which included haggling a market trader down by 25 quid on a purchase. I’d managed to recruit a friend along to play mule by carrying my bags and preventing me from going psycho in the crowd (I don’t “do” crowds). Happening upon a pub that served Fruli (my favourite strawberry beer) on tap didn’t hurt either. I suppose I got in my friend’s good graces when I naysayed his potential purchase of a rather pricey belt made up of bullets that looked like something from out of a spaghetti western. The thing looked fabulous dangling from a wire, but it quickly lost its appeal when worn. Although his intention was to wear it to heavy metal gigs, I was certain he’d end up being arrested as a suicide bomber before he’d even made it through the door.

I’m now wondering if maybe I should’ve bought the bullet belt myself, and possibly a gun to go along with it. It might come in handy next time I’m on the train…