Posts Tagged ‘Teddy Tedaloo’

Good-bye, Sir Arnold Wesker

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

One of the hardest things about being away from home is when you find out news entirely by accident, especially sad news.

I was right in the middle of organising the promotional blurbs given to me by fellow authors for my upcoming book Oysters and Pearls: Collected Stories when I decided to check something on the Internet. Well, I received quite a shock when this Telegraph article about Sir Arnold Wesker came up at the top of my search:

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/04/13/sir-arnold-wesker-playwright—obituary/)

I suppose we always think people will remain exactly the same as they were when we last saw them. If they were young and vibrant, they will forever remain young and vibrant (or older and vibrant) until the next time we’re with them and can see the changes wrought by time. Alas, on the last occasion I’d chatted with Arnold, he’d told me that his health had deteriorated significantly. And he hadn’t sounded encouraged about any potential for improvement. I can only hope he found some enjoyment in his remaining days.

It’s quite curious how we came to meet. I’d just released an anthology of short stories (Erotic Travel Tales 2). One of my contributors was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Somewhere in the promotional material it said that this was the first anthology of erotica to feature a FRSL. I’m not entirely sure how Arnold came to hear of the book, but I had an email from him not long afterward, telling me that he (also a FRSL) had written his own collection of erotic short stories. His book The King’s Daughters, which he’d signed for me, holds pride of place on my bookshelf and has done since he’d first given it to me during our visit to his charming thatched cottage in Wales. Perhaps it was our shared genre or perhaps it was our shared Hungarian blood or perhaps it was plain old serendipity—something had prompted him to reach out a hand in friendship.

Arnold Wesker's book

When Arnold first invited me to visit him, I’d told a poet and academic friend of mine about the invite. She immediately issued a foreboding warning that Sir Arnold was considered “difficult” and one of the “angry young men”—and on my head be it! I had to wonder why someone so difficult and “angry” would bother to invite me (and Teddy Tedaloo) to come stay with him, let alone cook us dinner! Not knowing what to expect, I threw caution to the wind (as I so often do) and got the train to Abergavenny, where he was to pick us up. Well, Arnold was there as promised, and in true British style, the first thing we did was head down the pub!

During our stay, Teddy was on his best behaviour (as one might expect), though I’m afraid I can’t say the same thing about Arnold or myself. We started on the wine in the garden—it was a lovely sunny late afternoon, and  the bees were having a fabulous time terrorising me. This was followed by lively conversation in the kitchen, where Arnold began preparing us a delicious meal. We scarfed it down in no time, because after desert we had a date with the Scrabble board. Now let me tell you, there’s nothing quite so amusing as two authors engaging in a game of Scrabble with a bottle of wine. We quickly became annoyed with our pathetic collection of letters—none of which seemed to add up to any word that followed the rules. By mutual agreement, we decided to relax the rules a bit and allow words that didn’t exactly conform to what the game’s inventors had in mind. We even threw in some proper nouns while we were at it. How we both laughed at the hilarity of the situation—two authors cheating at Scrabble. Can it get any better than that?

It was probably a good thing I was sleeping over, because at some point during the night we had a bit of a downpour and if I hadn’t been upstairs, the leak in the roof might not have been discovered until some serious damage had been done. We were running around like proverbial headless chickens, moving things out of harm’s way and trying to wedge cloths along the wall to soak up the water that was trickling down. After all that wine, the situation was the stuff of slapstick comedy. Though I suspect the bill Arnold eventually received from his roofer probably wasn’t a laughing matter. Those thatched roofs are an absolute bitch to maintain.

The next morning after breakfast, I sobered up by watching one of his “kitchen sink” dramas—a televised play that had been done for Welsh television. Then it was time for us to get the train. Arnold got us packed into his car to take us to the station, though not without first giving me an introduction to living in the Welsh countryside. I was assigned the task of opening and closing of gate, which provided me with my first encounter with stinging nettles. How he managed to deal with that gate every time he came and went I’ve no idea, but a gauntlet would have definitely come in handy.

I found this man to be warm, funny and truly delightful company—and he genuinely liked Teddy! I will always remember our visit with fondness.

RIP, Sir Arnold Wesker.

 

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Teddy Tedaloo arrives in New Mexico

I’ve crisscrossed North America so many times they might as well invite me to join the cast of Top Gear! Even on a bad day, I’m a damned sight better looking than Chris Evans. But has the BBC been chasing after me to offer me a shed-load of dosh to be on the programme? Despite the fact that Mr. Evans has up and quit on them, no, they have not.

So where exactly does that leave me?

To embark upon my peregrinations with my trusty celebrity sidekick author bear, Teddy Tedaloo (who’s also a damned sight better looking than Chris Evans on ANY day)!

Checking out the local real estate

Checking out the local real estate

Our latest road trip was initially supposed to be a visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico for fun, food, friends and relaxation, along with an author appearance thrown in to promote Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)the latest novel in our cosy mystery series The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. But you know how things can snowball, especially when you figure that since you’re driving all that distance anyway, what’s another err… few thousand miles? So like a rock band on tour, off we went, minus the drugs!

And it’s a good thing we didn’t have any questionable substances with us, especially after what they did to us at the Canadian border crossing.

Hanging out with Teddy Tedaloo in Vancouver

Hanging out with Teddy Tedaloo in Vancouver

Of course, we expected to have a few adventures on our road trip, but being detained and cross-examined at Canadian border patrol for more than two hours and having the car (along with all our luggage) searched wasn’t exactly high up on the list. The only thing missing from the scenario was the snap of a latex glove. The huge haul of contraband they were able to come up with included a note with the address of a Squamish bank written on it (so I could withdraw money from the ATM, like duh); a pair of paper booties; a pillow; and one of those thermal cover things I keep in the boot for an emergency in case I run into Chuck, Jimmy McGill’s (aka Saul Goodman) brother, who suffers from a case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The border control officers grudgingly let us leave when they ran out of excuses to keep us there (apparently I’d even been Googled, along with Teddy), causing us to get caught up in late afternoon Vancouver traffic and missing lunch. Good thing I don’t suffer from hypoglycemia or I’d have been a goner.

Can you imagine – no more books written by yours truly? Do you even want to imagine it?

Okay, don’t answer that.

In case you didn’t make it to our Santa Fe gig or else were too cheap to spring for the airfare, here’s a filmed highlight from it. See how much money I’ve saved you? I hope you remember that next time you’re shopping for a book to read from Amazon or your other favourite bookseller!

Vin Diesel Can’t Compare to Thelonious T. Bear!

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Proud authors Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with their new book Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

Proud authors Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with their new book Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

 

We keep hearing all this talk about entertainment “franchises” these days. Seems like every time you turn around Vin Diesel is on the telly, telling reporters about his “Fast and Furious” film franchise. Well, I’m here to tell you that when it comes to entertainment franchises, baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Proud author Teddy Tedaloo with Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

Proud author Teddy Tedaloo with Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)

For those of you in the know (and you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t), my celebrity sidekick bear and handsome co-author Teddy Tedaloo and I are here to announce the publication of the latest installment in OUR franchise: namely The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles.

Now we’re not talking motion pictures (at least not yet, though lucrative film and TV offers are welcome!). But we are talking novels – in this case the second book in our quirky and satiric cosy mystery/crime series – Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles). And like that other franchise starring that baritone-voiced bald geezer with a fondness for speeding cars, our book also comes with some high-octane chase scenes!

If you’ve read the first novel Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles), you’ll already be familiar with Thelonious T. Bear, our hapless protagonist from ol’ Blighty. Thelonious is a photojournalist by trade. He also happens to be a small bear. He drives a specially modified Mini Cooper with a Union Jack on the roof, wears a deerstalker hat, loves jazz music and drinks real ale. He even uses cologne (he’s quite meticulous about his personal hygiene).

In this latest installment in the series, Thelonious’s assignment takes him and his camera to the rural American South – or more specifically, Georgia, a state famous for its red clay and Southern hospitality as well as guns, Jesus, dodgy traffic tickets, Confederate flags, pickup trucks and, of course, peaches!

Our ursine “hero” has a knack for running into trouble wherever he goes. This time that trouble arrives courtesy of a gang of bank-robbing little people wearing animal-mask disguises and armed with Tommy Guns. Everyone wants to catch these Dillinger-wannabes, especially a rural sheriff from the sticks and an eager young small-town newspaper reporter. An adventure chock-full of grits and culture shock, Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) has enough local flavour to make that fried chicken go down real good, providing you chase it with a great big glass of sweet tea! Crooked cops, fire-and-brimstone preachers, psychotic farmers, stalkers in pickup trucks and reality TV shows, it’s all happening right here. Rotten Peaches will have you hankering for a fried pie in no time.

Vin Diesel concedes that The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles franchise is definitely faster and furiouser!

Vin Diesel concedes that The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles franchise is definitely faster and furiouser!

Working with Teddy has been great so far. At least we haven’t had any artistic flare-ups yet. We’ve been soaking up plenty of local colour while on location writing this novel (just as we did for Normal for Norfolk), but that’s all part of the fun. We want our readers to feel as if they’ve actually been to these places and met the characters just as we ourselves have. You might even call us the “method actors” of literature – we definitely aren’t shy when it comes to immersing ourselves in our art. Just take a look at some of these “on location” photos if you don’t believe me.

So keep an eye out. You never know where we might turn up next! As for Mr. Vin Diesel, big-shot Hollywood movie star, y’all better watch out, because if things go according to plan, Thelonious T. Bear will be coming to your neighbourhood cinema soon!

 

Visit the Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) website:

mitziszereto.com/rottenpeaches

Check us out on Facebook: 

facebook.com/rottenpeaches

 

 

Why, lookee here! Even that good ol’ boy Elton John is singing about our book!

The Case of the Vanishing Sock

Friday, October 17th, 2014
Mitzi and Teddy at Glacier National Park, Montana

Mitzi and Teddy at Glacier National Park, Montana

My talented co-author and celebrity bear Teddy Tedaloo and I are back from another whirlwind road trip through North America, taking in such destinations as the Black Hills of South Dakota, northwest Montana and Glacier National Park, the Canadian Rockies of Alberta and British Columbia, the eastern portion of the Pacific Northwest, and northern Colorado.

After two overpriced oil changes and having missed the Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana (yes, you heard it here first!), we were pretty much ready to pack it in and give the exhausted credit cards a holiday of their own. Nevertheless, we managed to visit a lot of amazing places and cross a few more off our bucket list. Even more importantly, Teddy got to visit several brewpubs!

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local ale

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local ale

Of course no road trip of merit would be complete without some form of (mis)adventure, and this one was no exception. Last year I encountered a bored border control agent who gave me a load of bollocks going into Canada. This year I encountered a bored border control agent who gave me a load of bollocks crossing into the United States! I won’t say which border crossing it was (in case you might actually know this character), but I get the impression they don’t get too many customers and have to make the most out of this gig.

Now don’t get me wrong – we need to stay vigilant in today’s turbulent and dangerous world, but there’s a big difference between wasting time/resources and being on the lookout for potential terrorists and drug smugglers. I flew after 9-11 immediately after the international borders were reopened (going from the USA to Canada to the UK) and I didn’t experience anything remotely along these lines to enter a “foreign” country. Nor did I have any issues last year upon driving into the USA from Canada with a US passport, entering via New York State. In fact, they actually seemed glad to see me!

Not so in this case. Despite the fact that I handed over my American passport for inspection, I was asked to provide yet another form of photo ID. On presenting my US driver’s licence, the fellow proceeded to enter it into a computer, no doubt expecting to find a “Wanted By the FBI!” alert placed upon it. I was even asked if my car was rented (huh?) and my next intended destination (err… Starbucks?). I began to wonder if I was entering a foreign country rather than the one to which I had proof of citizenship. I looked around for a flag emblazoned with a hammer and sickle, but couldn’t see one.

Sure, it was all sweetness and light as my car and everything in it got a good going-over in search of… what? Dirty laundry? Well, yes, I had a tote bag-full in the boot and I warned the fellow that he would encounter it if he went in there. That didn’t put him off in the least. On the contrary, he seemed to take an inordinate amount of time going through all my stuff as I sat dumbfounded in the driver’s seat, wondering if a body search was imminent or being hung upside-down until I confessed to crimes I hadn’t committed. I dread to think what they do to American citizens who have even a drop of Middle Eastern blood running through their veins or a name with Islamic origins.

After a while I figured out that it wasn’t just about my potential threat to American security. It was also about all the illegal contraband I was potentially bringing into the United States and not paying duty on. (Clearly this fellow wasn’t too au fait with the income level of most authors or he might have slipped me a few bucks to help out.) Sure, I’d purchased a handful of things in Canada, but unless he wanted to tax Teddy’s new hoodie from Banff there wasn’t all that much to get excited about.

Yet boy was I surprised when, with a big Ah-ha! on his face, he pulled from my suitcase a small plastic bag containing not cocaine, but earrings, upon which he inquired if the tiny paper bag inside it contained new jewelry that I’d purchased on my trip. I was pleased as punch to inform him that yes, those were indeed newly purchased earrings in said bag – and I’d bought them in Montana. Last I heard they can’t charge customs on goods purchased inside the United States being brought back inside the United States.

Needless to say, I would have been perfectly cool with it had Teddy and I not been allowed back into the USA. Canada is a beautiful and friendly country that isn’t overrun with blood-thirsty psychopaths with guns, and they’re even civilised and humane enough to offer universal healthcare to its population rather than allowing them to descend into abject poverty or serious illness in order to keep from suffering or dying. So the decision would have been an easy one to make had the US border been shut against me. But after searching my car and everything in it (including the tote bag of dirty laundry I’d warned him about), the agent bid me a fond farewell. The barrier finally came up and we were waved on through. Welcome to the United States.

Damn.

Okay, so it gets a wee bit cold in Canada...

Okay, so it gets a wee bit cold in Canada…

Now if you think all this border-security song and dance was entirely justified, let me add a postscript to this. I fuelled up the car in the first town I came to and, still fuming over the incident, mentioned to the kindly ladies behind the cash register what had just happened. They asked me to describe the fellow, which I did. Their immediate response? “Oh, him.” Evidently I’d got lucky and drawn the short straw.

Now you’d think with this violation of my privacy and personal space that this guy would have promised to buy at least one of my books? I did tell him when asked that I was a writer, so ignorance was no excuse. After all, I have Darker Edge of Desire coming out and Teddy and I are always keen to find new readers for our Thelonious T. Bear quirky crime/cosy mystery series. But no. It was all just wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.

I felt so cheap and used!

As for that bag of laundry in the car boot, even that didn’t remain sacrosanct. When I arrived at my next destination and began to make use of the washing machine, it came to my notice that a certain article of clothing had gone missing from the tote bag – and it was nowhere to be found.

All I can say is, if that border control guy has it, I hope he and my sock will be very happy together.

 

 

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!

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?

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!

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 and Teddy Hit The Shetlands

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Shetland IslandsMy famous furry sidekick and partner in crime Teddy Tedaloo (or McTedaloo) and I are recently back from a glorious weekend in the Shetland Islands of Scotland (aye, laddie), where I was invited to appear at the ninth annual Wordplay book festival. Though I’ve been to other parts of Scotland (see my blog posts 1, 2, 3), this was my first visit that far north, and I was warned of high winds that might blow me over into Norway, but instead I just ended up with my hair being blown the wrong way.

On the Saturday I did a talk and performed readings from my short story “Hell is Where the Heart is” from Getting Even: Revenge Stories and two selections from In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales. I think it went over fairly well, since I didn’t hear any snoring. On the Sunday morning I conducted one of my erotic writing workshops. The somewhat unusual fact that it was scheduled at 10am on a Sunday morning was pointed out to me by several people, and, though I worried that it might conflict with church services, I went ahead with it anyway, playing to a sellout crowd who clearly found some divine inspiration!

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo on the boat cruise

I tell you, it was all happening in Lerwick that weekend. Aside from Wordplay, there was Screenplay (the film festival), and even a blues festival taking place. Ted and I managed to squeeze in the screening of Requiem for Detroit from film director Julien Temple, who was in attendance. We even went on a boat cruise to Bressay and Noss, which left at least one person seasick (Ted was looking a bit green himself) due to the rough seas, though it was great fun when we went along at a swift clip. We were at the aft with some of the heartier passengers, hanging on for dear life to a pole, the wind in our hair (and fur), as we rode our watery roller coaster. It left me feeling unsteady and queasy for the next 24 hours, but hey, it was worth it!

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with BBC Radio Shetland presenters Amy Fisher and Jonny Polson

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with BBC Radio Shetland presenters Amy Fisher and Jonny Polson

When I landed in the Shetland Times, I figured I was a pretty hot commodity. I (along with Ted) was also interviewed by the presenters of BBC Radio Shetland’s arts and culture programme “Sideways”, and they were most impressed with Ted’s erudition and fine fashion sense. In fact, I suspect the young lady presenter quite fancied him (can’t say I blame her, Ted being an extremely handsome bear). I suppose with all this publicity it shouldn’t have been surprising that the entire town seemed to know who I was – from the local tourist office to the blokes who operated the tour boat (one of whom suggested I teach erotic writing to the other passengers). I tell you, I was feeling like a real celebrity. Until…

…I found out that Teddy had almost made the cover of the festival brochure. At that point I began to suspect that it might not have been me the festival folk wanted to grace their stages, but Ted. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been upstaged by him; however, things really became glaringly obvious when Julien Temple entered into a discussion with Ted about doing a film about his life, only to end up in tears (Julien, not Ted) when they couldn’t agree on a soundtrack. Julien wanted The Sex Pistols; Ted’s more a Temptations bear. He loves their song “My Bear.” (I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day…)

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at Fort Charlotte

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at Fort Charlotte

Which brings me to the subject of food. Did I mention the breakfasts at our hotel? You’d never get that kind of breakfast in London, EVER. I asked for a small kipper to accompany my other selections, and I got a kipper the size of a vintage Cadillac. And it was a real kipper, not some freeze-dried, shrink-wrapped, bargain kipper either. One breakfast was enough to feed me for an entire week.

Of course, no venture outside of my front door is complete without some mishap. My worst fear on returning home was the tube strike, which began at tea time on the day of the evening I was to fly back to London. When I arrived at Gatwick, it was pissing down with rain. However, the adventure had only just begun, for my suitcase had not arrived along with us. I suspect it had remained behind at Edinburgh airport (where we changed planes) to avail itself of the whisky-tasting table at the duty free. Note that I’d carried this piece of luggage with me for the two flights on the way up, but encountered a problem at Sumburgh Airport in Shetland, where my tweezers appeared to spark fears of a terrorist attack.

They searched my suitcase and everything in it looking for my sinister contraband – you’d have thought I had a bomb strapped to my back from the way they were going though my stuff. When they found the offensive item and threatened to take it off me, well… I wasn’t having it. I can’t buy those tweezers anywhere (and they never caused a problem before in a carry-on), so after a few minutes of discussion, they agreed to mail them back to me if I paid for postage. Then it was suggested (especially since the plane was a small propeller one) that I should just check the bag all the way to London. By that time I would have agreed to anything, therefore I hurriedly checked it, instantly regretting it and having an ominous sense of foreboding that it would not be arriving with me. All during the flight I feared the loss of my mobile phone charger, my camera charger, numerous items of clothing, my favourite black suede boots, the Shetland fudge and Scottish tablet I’d bought, bits and pieces from the festival…

Despite my scarily accurate sixth sense, my tale has a happy ending. The suitcase was recovered (and fully intact) and delivered to my home the next night, and Teddy and I are now making really quick work of that Scottish tablet and Shetland fudge!

If you fancy trying your hand (so to speak) at a bit of erotic writing, you can catch me at my Literotica workshop in the first weekend of October on the Isle of Wight.

(A bit of after-party merriment, featuring fellow Yank, Will Kaufman.)

Mitzi and Teddy’s Excellent Adventure in Norfolk

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo (the "Norfolk Hayseeds")

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo (the "Norfolk Hayseeds")

My beloved sidekick Teddy Tedaloo and I are recently back from our first in what will hopefully be many visits to the wonderful county of Norfolk. When friends told me that things are a bit quirky in those parts, I knew it was the right place for us – and I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, I got a bit of ribbing about all the inbreeding and webbed hands and feet (the same kind of jokes you get about Wales, which is a beautiful place!), but I saw no webbed hands or feet (except on the ducks), and the locals I met were friendly, pleasant and helpful.

The plan was to soak up lots of local colour for a quirky novel I’m going to write, and soak it up I did in abundance! The quirkiness kicked off a few minutes before my train arrived at King’s Lynn, with my friend and hostess sending me a series of progressively panicked text messages informing me that she was stuck in the soap cycle at the car wash and could not get out. I ended up waiting outside by the taxis with some poor woman whose friend apparently forgot to collect her from the station, and we amused ourselves by watching the gulls deposit their waste onto parked vehicles until a car came skidding to a halt before me. My friend had arrived.

Well, I felt really let down, especially after all those text messages. I’d expected the car to be covered in soap suds like some giant bath sponge, but apparently my friend managed to make it into the rinse cycle, and hence to freedom. And off we went for a Magical Mystery Tour of Norfolk that lasted for several days and probably put a couple of pounds on me from all the eating I did (did someone say “pudding“?).

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at a Norfolk pub

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at a Norfolk pub

Now there’s nothing Ted and I like better than country and village pubs, and we availed ourselves of plenty while there. My favourite pub was in a village straight out of Midsomer Murders, replete with a local vicar drinking there… only he wasn’t a local vicar as I soon found out. In fact, he was a Welsh vicar with a parish in Essex. You figure it out. Even he thought it was a scream. It was in this quaint old pub where I found the perfect inspiration for my novel – and I sketched out the entire plot on a scrap of paper in between exchanging quips with the vicar, who was a bit of a comedian. It seems his parish is very near the part of Essex where the ferries go to the continent, only he said his parish was for “the incontinent”. I kinda got the impression he wasn’t too crazy about Essex when he told me: “I love everybody, but I don’t have to like everybody.”

The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads

Welsh vicars from Essex aside, you haven’t lived till you’ve gone to a pub with a black labrador that’s in season. We’d all just come from a lovely walk on the beach, barely missing being swallowed up by high tide, and were in the mood for some real fish ‘n chips (not sure what the lab was in the mood for, but let’s not go there). Anyway, there was this smaller male dog at the bar giving her the eye and, well… let’s just say he was interested and leave the subject before it disintegrates into non-family content.

Actually, forget about the horny dogs. You haven’t lived till you’ve been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads piloted by Ted. He’s a pretty good driver for a bear, and, in fact, he was a damned sight better at driving our boat than my friend (who continues to assert that I ran over a swan when I took the helm). But I had to get to the Broads and at least see what David Bowie was singing about in “Life On Mars“.

Teddy Tedaloo piloting a boat through the Broads

Teddy Tedaloo piloting a boat through the Broads

The only thing actually wrong with Norfolk (and there isn’t much) are all the Londoners coming in and trying to change it into a smaller version of London. There are quite a few so-called “celebrities” and other assorted riff-raff with too much money and no sense who descend on the county in their requisite Sloan Square attire, poncing about and trying to be all country-ish and “bishy-barney-bee” as they shop at the London clone shops and eat in the London clone restaurants (lovely old pubs that have been bought out and destroyed by the gastro craze and certain “celebrity chefs” who fob off their overpriced kibble on you). I have suggested putting barbed wire up to keep these Londoners out, or better yet, an electrified fence. I mean, if you want Primrose Hill, then stay in Primrose Hill!

Of course, coming home is never without its own excellent adventure, particularly when the train driver can’t be bothered to stop at my stop, or indeed, two of the previous stops, when they are ALWAYS scheduled stops. Just one more great mystery brought to you by British Rail. I had been so elated that for my journey home I wouldn’t need to schlep my heavy suitcase up and down countless stairs as I had to on the way to Norfolk (resulting in a slightly sprained hand), but not only did I end up at the next town up from mine, I ended up having to deal with stairs when I was forced to make the reverse journey back to my town. Thankfully my plight was put to an end when a young gentleman intervened and took over suitcase duty. I have often said there are no gentlemen left in Britain (especially in the London area), and I continue to adhere to that statement, therefore it was a pleasant surprise to actually find one (the only ones still alive are usually walking with zimmer frames). Mind you, this particular gentleman (not surprisingly) was from out of town.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to getting a start on my new novel, and I might at some point need to pop back up Norfolk for an inspiration fix. And who knows, maybe I won’t leave!

Bishy-barney-bee