Tag Archives: indie authors

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful – A Review!

Review

Rating: ★★★★★

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful is the debut novel from young author Ellie Collins. A natural-born storyteller, Collins penned her Greek Mythology tale at the age of eleven.

The story follows middle school newbie D. J. as she and her father move to a new city and a whole new life. D. J. enjoys gardening, and it’s here, in an enchanted dream garden, that she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. It is through the guidance of this new friend that D. J. gains the confidence needed to navigate her new surroundings.

The author weaves together many fascinating scenes filled with a cast of memorable characters, stoking a plot that suggests this young lady was indeed born to write. Though it’s geared toward younger readers, teens and adults alike will also enjoy this book.

Blurb

D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.

 

About Author

Ellie Collins wrote her debut novel, Daisy, Bold & Beautiful when she was turning eleven and just beginning sixth grade. She finished writing Mylee In The Mirror, the second in her multi-award-winning middle-grade Greek mythology fantasy series before heading back to school for seventh grade and turning twelve and Mad Max & Sweet Sarah before eighth grade and becoming a teen. She writes amid a very busy extracurricular schedule, including a spot on both a gymnastics team and a trampoline and tumbling team, as well as taking weekly piano lessons. She’s an avid gamer who loves hanging out with friends. Her love of Greek mythology inspires her writing.

Operation Counterpunch by Marc Marlow is Available for Pre-Order Now!

North Korea will be the biggest challenge to your presidency, warned the outgoing commander-in-chief; but to imprisoned journalist Geon Jae-sun, surviving each day in the prison camp proves the greatest challenge of his life. Protecting beautiful young prisoner Ji-su has grown increasingly difficult, too, for this slight man, otherwise powerless but for his prowess at deceiving their captors.

Navy SEAL Andrew Gunnar Jackson is tasked by the president himself with gathering intel from the hermit kingdom. It’s a dangerous gamble where capture means summary execution—if he’s lucky—or death the slow way in a North Korean prison re-education camp. Information is the least of his concerns, though, as the president agrees he can leverage this mission to satisfy a few goals of his own.

How far will each man go to fend off the cruel machinations of a ruthless dictator? And will that be enough for either to survive?

 

My Review of Comes this Time to Float by @StephenGeez

Rating: ★★★★★

Author Stephen Geez possesses a talent for crafting tales that draw readers into the unique and vivid worlds he creates. This collection of 19 short stories offers a smorgasbord of genres, characters, lives, and situations with which everyday people can and will identify. From the very first story to the last, Geez has a way of keeping the reader enthralled and entertained.

“Halfway House” tells a sad tale of loss and the search for redemption. “Vapor Girl” is trippy and far out, and one that will surely remain with you. “Family Treed” sprinkles the weird and humorous on this wonderful word salad. “Tailwind” is a thoughtful piece about a pair of aging friends in the latter stages of life. “The Age Eater” carries a note of science fiction and a hint of creepy. But my favorite is a story entitled “Holler Song”. This story harkens to the Ozark Mountains of Daniel Woodrell’s modern classic Winter’s Bone, where poor people caught up in impossible circumstances will do whatever it takes just to survive the lives handed to them.

There isn’t a bad story in the entire collect. Stephen Geez has been a favorite of mine since I first read his novel What Sara Saw many years ago. If you’re a reader with a keen eye for the literary, this is one you’ll want on your bookshelf.

My Review of SCENES OF A RECLUSIVE WRITER & READER OF MUMBAI

Rating: ★★★★★

“I am a recluse and I love books more than I love people.” – It’s a line from the author herself. And she means it, too. In Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai, author Fiza Pathan opens the door and allows readers just a glimpse inside of her life. These essays introduce us to her world, her family, her many loves. Her loves being books and characters, of course.

I won’t say Pathan has had a difficult life, though it couldn’t have been easy, either. Her father rejected her based solely on the fact that he didn’t want a daughter. But it is through this rejection that the author is shaped into the person she is today. See, while the father may have been absent, her mother, grandmother, and uncles were very much present. As were those who worked in the libraries of Mumbai. These are the rich cast of lives that aided Pathan during her childhood and beyond. One can fully appreciate her family simply by reading these essays. Her words come from her heart–which is what makes this collection so wonderful.

Pathan’s love for the written word, for storytelling, began with Archie and Jughead, and carries on through Dracula, Bollywood, and the classics. Social issues rank high on her list of priorities, often showing up within her writing, whether it’s essays, short stories, or novels.

As a writer, Fiza Pathan skillfully weaves her words into beautiful tapestries that tell tales in vivid colors and textures. Though her culture is different from my own, I am easily transported into her world, able to feel what she wants readers to feel. This is one trip I truly enjoyed taking.

Welcome to Day 7 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @LynnHobbsAuthor

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

To Visit Lynn’s Page Click HERE

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR, CLICK HERE

Welcome to Day 6 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @RhaniDChae

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

To Visit Rhani’s Page Click HERE

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR, CLICK HERE

Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno – Cover Reveal!

 

Today the members of the All Authors Family are celebrating the cover reveal of “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”, the fourth installation of the Concordant Vibrancy anthology collection.

First, the blurb …

 

There is a universal fascination associated with passion―its defining element, fire, as well as the unseen. Yet how many dare to trespass beyond the final product, exploring the ingredients which keep it sustainable?
This is the traverse of the fourth installment of the Concordant Vibrancy collection, presented by All Authors Publications and Promotions, entitled “Inferno”. Nine phenomenal talents diverge under one purpose: the creation of literary works guaranteed to set the mind, heart, and spirit ablaze.

Stories included:

Express-Oh” by Adonis Mann
Not Always Like This” by Carol Cassada
The Fireman” by Harmony Kent
The Complications of Fire” by Beem Weeks
Calliope’s Inferno” by C. Desert Rose
Moxy” by Y. Correa
Antipode” by Synful Desire
The Chronicles of Aidan” by Da’Kharta Rising, and
The Calefaction of Insight” by Queen of Spades.

 

 

Since January 2015 All Authors Publishing House has been exploring the elements of nature through the enterprise known as Concordant Vibrancy, an All Authors Anthology Collection.
Book One explored Unity under the theme question of “What elements contribute to the concept of unity?” The element being Earth. Through an array of tales, the authors explained what Unity meant to them.
Book Two examined Vitality. The theme question was, “What force drives your spirit?” The element was Air. Here the authors endeavored to answer the question with a combination of stories and essays.
Book Three looked at Lustrate using the theme question, “What embodies the composition of fluidity?” The element was water. Herein the authors spoke lucidly and clearly on what fluidity meant to them.
Book Four takes a peek at Inferno … the element of Fire. It asks “What are the ingredients to a sustainable blaze?” By far the best of the collection, “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno” is a demonstration of depth in thought and evolution in craft.
Now, without further ado and with great pride All Authors brings you the cover of “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”.

 

WELCOME TO THE 2019 OCTOBER-WEEN BLOCK PARTY!

Greetings to all! Welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s 2019 October-ween Block Party! Today, in keeping with the Halloween spirit, I am sharing my short story entitled Monster, from my short story collection Strange Hwy

CONGRATULATIONS TO MY WINNERS! 

1. Mark Bierman

2. Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

3. Jerry Marquardt

**This giveaway is now closed**

Three lucky readers will win prizes! (Who doesn’t like prizes?)

Here are my prize packs:

1. A $10 Amazon Gift Card and your choice of a signed paperback copy of one of my books!

2. A $10 Amazon Gift Card and your choice of a signed paperback copy of one of my books!

3. A $10 Amazon Gift Card and your choice of a signed paperback copy of one of my books!

Those books to choose from are:

  1. Jazz Baby
  2. Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories
  3. Strange Hwy: Short Stories

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below!

And now, on to my Halloween short story. . .

 

Monster

 

“Indecent liberties with a minor,” my mother explained, repeating the same words Danny Deagle sprinkled on us kids earlier in the day. “I don’t want you girls trick-or-treating at his house tonight.”

The old man at the end of the street, she meant. A swirl of new words followed him into our neighborhood—words shrouded in secrecy, in a thick fog of mystery. The simple ones I’d commit to memory, intending find them in the dictionary I got for my tenth birthday this past summer—a secret gift that nobody else knew about.

Perv—that’s the one I looked up last night, right before bed. Millicent, my older sister, she used it when telling Grandma Myron about the new neighbor in question. But if there’s such a word as perv, well, old Merriam-Webster hasn’t been told. I couldn’t find it to save my life.

“I ain’t going anywhere near that side of the street,” Millicent announced. “—not as long as he’s lurking down there.”

She’d go over there, though. Millicent thinks she’s hot you-know-what just because she’s thirteen now. Besides, every kid in the neighborhood wants to be the first one to walk up those front steps and ring the doorbell. You have to be seen doing it, though, or it won’t count for anything.

I tossed in a handful of words meant to be my two cents. “Danny Deagle says he got in trouble down in Kentucky before he got in trouble here in Ohio—that old man, I mean.”

Danny Deagle knows about these sorts of things. His stepdad is a cop.

My mother lit a fresh Marlboro and proclaimed, “He’s got no business staying on this street—not with all you kids around.” Thin lazy smoke slithered from her nostrils like twin snakes in search of a meal. “Don’t let me hear that you girls went trick-or-treating at his house.”

* * *

Millicent dressed as a belly dancer again—same as last Halloween and the one before that. She just likes the attention from boys like Danny Deagle and Jeff Brahm. But they like her only because she’s practically naked in her costume.

Me? I got stuck being a hobo again—even though my mother promised me I could be the belly dancer this year.

Millicent grabbed her pillowcase from the kitchen table and said, “Ready, dweeb?”

“You’re the dweeb,” I argued, snatching my own pillowcase.

My mother said, “Don’t stay out all night.”

We’d stay out as long as it took to fill those pillowcases to the full.

Danny Deagle met us in front of his house. Those gray eyes of his drank up Millicent like she’s cool water and he’s been thirsty for days. But he really couldn’t be blamed. Booty shorts and a sports bra, that’s all she wore underneath that sheer white fabric that left her belly bare and exposed.

Our father, before he remarried and moved to Cincinnati, wouldn’t have allowed one of his daughters to go traipsing through the neighborhood wearing only a couple of tissue papers.

.

But our father doesn’t come around anymore. And our mother, she won’t play the villain—as she likes to say. So Millicent gets away with murder.

Kids of all ages crisscrossed our neighborhood exchanging tricks for treats. Smarties and Sweettarts mingled with fun-sized Snickers and Milky Ways in the bottom of our pillowcases. And later, when we’d finally have to call it a night, Millicent would try to swindle me out of all of my Hershey’s Miniatures, offering junk like jelly beans and peanut butter chews for trade.

Billy Pinsler found us where Delbert Avenue and McCaully Drive cross. Billy’s my age—only shorter. “Anybody going to the perv’s house?” he asked.

Danny fixed me in his sight. “You’ll go up there, won’t you, Melanie?”

My head twisted left and right. “Mom said to stay away from his house,” I told him, knowing full-well he’d poke and prod until I agreed to answer his dare.

Danny’s good like that. He knows how to get kids to do what he’s too scared to do—only he’d never admit to being scared.

Millicent joined the push, said, “Since when do you listen to Mom?”

We were already there, bags half-full, in front of that house on the end of our street. I’d be the one going, as usual.

“Melanie won’t go,” Billy announced. “She’s too scared.”

My eyes found Millicent’s eyes. “You’re the one who’s half naked; why don’t you go up there?”

“Because the guy’s a perv, nimrod!” said Danny. “You want him to try something with her?”

And what about me?

I tossed my gaze toward that house. A lone porch light shined out of the dark.

“If I scream,” I said, walking to my demise, “you better run and call the cops.”

A fall breeze passed through the trees overhead, sending loose leaves gliding to the ground.

My legs went heavy and stiff, unwilling to move without provocation. Somewhere on that street a dog barked warnings at kids in costumes.

My body halted at the bottom step leading to the front door. I tossed a glance over my shoulder. Millicent, Danny, and Billy took refuge behind shrubs at the foot of the driveway.

“Ain’t gotta be scared,” the voice said, suddenly there like a spook in the night. “Just come on up. I won’t bite—except you want I should.”

A bead of sweat raced down my belly, which was stuffed with an old pillow to make me look fat.

Gray hair going thin twisted this way and that, like weeds, atop his head. Skinny, like maybe he’d been sick for a while.

My foot found the first step, brought us closer.

He asked, “You gonna say it?”

I would. It only seemed right. “Trick or treat.”

A laugh just like my father’s slipped past his lips. He kind of resembled him, too, around the eyes and nose.

“You say it with no real conviction, girl,” he said, almost accusing me of something.

The mouth of my pillowcase yawned wide, ready to swallow whatever treats he chose to dispense.

Two Hershey’s miniatures.

Mr. Goodbar and Krackle.

“Where’s your sister?” he wondered aloud, throwing his gaze like a pair of marbles down the driveway.

“Hiding,” I confessed, backing away.

But those eyes of his—cobalt blue, same as my father’s—took hold on me, wandered along my length as if sizing me for a new dress.

“You ’sposed to be a bum?” he asked.

Denim coveralls, a gray T-shirt that used to be white, and worn-out tennis shoes seemed the easiest of Halloween costumes to put together.

I corrected him, said, “A hobo.”

“Hobo, huh?” He waggled his finger, drew me closer to his grasp. “Take the rest of these,” he said, offering me the entire bowl of miniatures.

“What about the other kids?”

“Ain’t no other kids. You the only one come ’round tonight.”

It made my bag heavier and more than satisfied, this extra loot.

My voice came tight, higher-pitched than normal. “Thank you.”

“Polite—just like your daddy at that age.” The weight of his body found relief against the door frame. “Did you get the Merriam-Webster I sent for your birthday?”

My head tipped a nod, my voice said, “Thank you, Granddad.”

* * *

“Did he lose his goo over you?” Danny Deagle asked, acting like a big brother. “I’ll tell my stepdad if he did.”

“He didn’t,” I assured him, not really understanding what goo just might get lost.

Millicent’s gaze took hold on mine, passed words into my head, words demanding my silence on the matter.

Aloud, her words asked, “What’d he give you?”

“Jellybeans,” I told her. “Nothing but jellybeans.”

This story can be found in Strange Hwy: Short Stories.

If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy–don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find.

You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man,

  • A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss.
  • A winged man, an angel? Demon–?
  • Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
  • Danny’s death, stifled secrets.
  • Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
  • Dead brother, open confession.
  • First love, supernatural?–family becomes whole!

You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.

See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.

BUY:

 

Welcome to the “BOUND’ED BY CHAINS” Blog Tour! @FRStepnowski

Greetings! Today, I am hosting author/poet Forrest Robert Stepnowski on The Indie Spot

Take it away, Forrest. . .

Blog Tour Day 4

Title: “Bounded by Chains” Tour

About the Book:

BOUND; The Lost Romanticism and Eroticism of Gay Men. Allow yourself to give in to your deepest fantasies, desires, and sensual dreams, BOUND is a collection of poetic works exploring the world of eroticism, romanticism, and fantasies of gay men of all ages. Walk through the mind inspired by fantasies, the hopes for romance, the desire to be swept off ones’ feet, and the longing to be touched through this anthology filled with lost romance and passionate memories. Escape into a world that allows you to be one with your desires, feel the heightened sensations and passion through random rendezvous and engagements.

Poetry Excerpt from Bound: The Lost Romanticism and Eroticism of Gay Men:

I never knew your name

 

I remember when I thought I knew what innocence was

I had recently come out after pretending of being something I was not

I examined the possibilities of where to meet hot guys

There were the bars of course

Bars that were swarming with hot men in the midsummer night’s heat

Meat markets for all to ogle and lust after

Could I not see myself caught up in the scene and becoming a bar fly?

Or could I?

I was not the pretty face or the guy with abs of steel

I was joe average, still am I suppose

We met randomly on a chat page the year prior

You remembered it well

You were my guru on gay.com

Your sweet face was so innocent

Cute little smile, beautiful eyes, full beautiful lips

But your words were infused with sexual anticipation

You said it was your first time talking to a guy like that

I had just come out

We would talk for hours

We decided to meet at the metaphor, a local coffee shop in downtown San Diego

I walked into the shop and I became breathless

You were angelic, sitting their reading your book

I felt like a stalker as I stood there frozen in my tracks

Admiring your beauty across the room, love at first sight

You looked up and caught me staring, you laughed

You put your book down and walked my direction

You gave me a hug and a sweet kiss on the cheek

You said you were relieved to see I was truly the handsome man you saw in my photos

I was puzzled

Apparently, you have met some trolls and impostors before

We sat together by the window, holding each other’s hands

Talking for hours, we continued to talk for 12 hours

Lost by the time, you invited me to come over to your place for dinner

You smiled and said, ‘we can continue our talking there’

I could not resist your charms

We were both naïve

So innocent

But the sexual tension continued to build between us

After dinner, you kissed my cheek again

I caressed your face gently and kissed your lips

Slowly massaging your lips with mine

You trembled in my arms

I said, I better leave before it gets too late

You looked at me with a sense of desire and asked me to stay

I accepted the invitation

I offered to sleep on your couch, you laughed

You grabbed my hand and lead the way to your bedroom

We kissed

More and more intense each caress of our lips became,

We began removing each other’s clothing

Touching each other, exploring each other’s bodies

We laid upon your bed in an entangled embrace

Your legs wrapped around my waist

We stared into each other’s eyes

You smile and asked me to be your first

I kissed you and held you tight against my body

We became one so effortlessly

My initial thrust made you moan passionately

At first, we froze like statues

Lost in time like a work of art displayed by DaVinci

I began to thrust into you more and more

You quivered, asking me never to stop

I controlled your body with every motion

Holding your hands down against the bed

Looking into your eyes

Kissing you

We were locked in this embrace for hours

We both began our passage to climax

Moaning

Heavily exhaling

Our orgasm was powerful and in sequence

My final thrust caused you to arch backwards with a final ahh!

We peaked in a rage of passion like Mt St Helen’s erupting over and over again

I kiss you softly

I am still inside of you, throbbing inside of you

You looked into my eyes and began to move your hips side to side, enjoying the feeling inside of you

We began to make love again

You were utterly speechless and out of control

Our dance embattled, and intense

You sang out a song that put sirens to shame

We were at another apex in a passionate duet

Another moment of heightened sensation

We both exhaled, kissed, and then laughed

We continued to stare into each other’s eyes

Our coffee date became 20 hours of pure exhilaration

We embraced for the rest of the night

We fell asleep in each other’s arms

We dreamt of the intense Kamasutra we performed

Later that morning, we arose a warm embrace

You made me promise to never forget you

I laughed saying this is only the beginning

You began to cry

You told me how you were being deployed at the end of the week

You were in the middle of your tenure in service to our country in the navy

I reassured you I was not going anywhere and would wait for you to return

You cried and kissed me over and over again

We showered, dressed, and went to the coffee shop where our initial date started

We spent every available minute we had left that week in preparation of your leave to the middle east

You even introduced me quickly to your family, whom I still talk to this day

My heart both full and broken simultaneously

I kissed you with the sentiment I will be here when you return

Neither of us could say the words, goodbye

We wrote each other for four months

Your letters stopped coming

I waited for four more months, and your letters stopped coming

Your parents called me daily to see if I had heard from you, as their letters had stopped coming as well

Until the day you were pronounced missing in action

Your parents fell silent to everyone

March 25, the phone rang

It was your sister

She had been crying

I tried to console her, but she stated she wanted to know if I was ok

She called me for your parents whom I could hear crying in the background

I asked her what was wrong, even though I had a sense I already knew

She cried inconsolably and told me you were found dead in the field

I lost my identity, my joy, and my reason for living in one statement

My first true love ended in tragedy, like a Greek mythological play

You were part of my soul, my being, my treasure

The day of the funeral, I was left in shattered pieces

Like a broken stain glass window with the colors of life you gave me

They were fragmented into several pieces upon my feet

I read your full name in the memorial

I shed tears as I realized I never knew your full name

I continued to weep

I never knew your name

About the Author:

Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, a writer, a social worker, and a performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important is to share his work with others who have dealt with similar pathways of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing in the hopes they find they are not alone, as well as help them realize they are not deviants, nor are they against “human nature.” They are part of a collective of misfit toys on an island where being different is beautiful. We all have a voice, and the world should hear it. Forrest is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

 

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://www.forresttakesajourney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forrestrobertstepnowski

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frstepnowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forreststepnowski

 

Amazon Purchase Links:

Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/BOUND-Lost-Romanticism-Eroticism-Gay/dp/1096882558/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

E-Book

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S1MLFGD/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

 

 

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  
Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! – Bernard Foong @bernardfoong

Vignettes Parisian by Bernard Foong

Vignettes Parisian

Vignettes Parisian is a collection of four short stories about the Author’s past and present experiences in the French City of Love and Romance, commonly known as Paris.

 

Christian Dior Couturier Du Reve

It is impossible not to have a close encounter with fashion when I am in Paris. Even if I had to wait in the freezing cold for an hour and a half to enter the Christian Dior Couturier Du Reve (Christian Dior Couturier of Dreams) exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts). My husband, Walter, and I were the lucky few who arrived early before the museum opened its doors. The late arrivals were banished to the back of the queue for a five hours wait before admission was granted.

This spectacular exhibition was worth the wait. Not only were the lives, times, and accomplishments of Christian Dior, one of the great French couturier and his successors well documented, the exquisite fashions and well-thought-out displays were equally impressive.

Since my first visit in 1966 to the French capital of romance, luxury, and fashion, my love for Paris has never waned. Before I left sunny Maui, I had designed and made a haute couture gold, silver, and black embossed velvet fleur-de-lis patterned coat to wear during my recent holiday in France. It was at this exhibition that I received compliments for my one-of-a-kind creation.

A stranger approached me at the exhibition to buy the coat off my back because he loved what I wore. Perhaps I should be the next designer to take over the reins for this resplendent Maison – The House of Dior. After all, I am a knowledgeable and seasoned fashion designer who knows every aspect of the international fashion industry.

Shopping In Paris (Then & Now)

I am one of those blessed individuals with a pair of discerning eyes and can detect items I wish to purchase in cramped spaces on my crazy shopping sprees. It was in such a circumstance that Walter and I found ourselves in the middle of the crowded shopping Avenue, des Champs Elysées.

A sole of my shoe had divorced itself from the body of my long-lasting suedes and left me to hobble around Paris like a circus clown with flapping feet. I had to take immediate action to remedy this unanticipated situation before the remainder of my footwear disintegrated onto the wet and soggy ground, while my beloved, sniggered at my fashion malfunction.

I remembered an amusing incident that happened in 1969 at this boulevard. Back then, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fashion student. Accompanying Moi was Count Mario, an accomplished Vogue fashion photographer, Andy, my model-looking lover and Valet, and Sammy, a flamboyant young fashionista. The four of us were shopping at the avenue, that drizzly day.

To elongate his petite stature beneath his wide bell-bottom jeans, Sammy wore a pair of eight inches high platform shoes. He also donned a fitted denim jacket over a sassy body-hugging bodysuit. To complete his eccentric ensemble, his dyed cornflower yellow, emerald, and turquoise hair flowed behind him like an exotic mane as our quartet floated down the street.

Eyes turned in our direction as we trotted around Paris in style. Before I realized what had transpired, Sammy was flat on the pavement. Colorful socks bounced around him like raptured pom-poms. The lad had stuffed pairs of rolled-up socks inside his footwear so he could fit his tiny feet into the platforms. He had stumbled on the wet and slippery sidewalk.

Mario, wasted no time whipping out his camera to capture this unanticipated fashion faux pas, while Andy and I looked on in shock.

As if modeling for a Vogue fashion shoot, the quick-witted Sam posed this way and that on the wet thoroughfare while the photographer clicked away at the gaffe. A pedestrian circle had formed in the middle of Avenue des Champs Elysées to witness this “fashion happening.” Advertently, our friend had transformed an embarrassing situation into a photo-opt as the applauding crowd showered the boy with accolades. By the time Sammy got on his feet, he had saved his face with poise and grace.

 

The Magical Power of The Written Word

“Why are there beds located at different corners of the bookstore?” I asked Monsieur Mercier, an assistant at the Shakespeare & Company bookshop.

“The beds are available for writers to stay a night in Paris for free,” the man responded before he resumed, “ Are you a writer? Do you intend to stay the night?”

Surprised by the man’s inquiries, I evinced, “I am a writer. But no thank you to the lodging offer.”

“What genre of books do you write, Monsieur?” Mercier queried.

“I’m an autobiographer,” I replied. “Because of its controversial and provocative contents, my books are often classified under the Erotica genre.”

The bookseller questioned, “What are the titles of your books, and what is the author’s name?”

A HAREM BOY’S SAGA; A MEMOIR BY YOUNG. It’s a five-book series,” I declared.

“I believe we have your books in the store. Are the titles: INITIATION, UNBRIDLED, DEBAUCHERY, TURPITUDE, and METANOIA?” he promulgated.

I nodded, delighted by his information.

The Frenchman led me through a series of narrow pathways covered with volumes and pamphlets of the written word. When he finally extracted five volumes of my autobiography from a shelf, my heart nearly leaped out of my chest.

“I read the series. What a compelling teenage life you’ve led. I wish my school had a secret fraternity program like yours,” the teller quipped smilingly.

He recommenced, “Our store is a focal point of English literature in Paris. Anais Nin, Henry Miller, and Richard Wright are frequent visitors. We also host literary activities, like poetry readings, writers’ meetings, book readings, writing festivals, literature festivals, photography workshops, writing groups, and Sunday tea.

“Ms. Sylvia Whitman, the owner, might invite you for a book reading at our store.”

“That will be splendid. Unfortunately, my husband and I are in Paris for a short period. Maybe we can arrange a book reading and signing session when we are in Paris again,” I proposed.

Monsieur Mercier and I had exchanged contact information before I left the Shakespeare & Company bookshop. Hopefully, during my next visit to Paree, I will get to meet Madam Sylvia Whitman with a book reading and signing gig in place.

 

S.O.W. and R.E.A.P.

Over the years, I have been asked by many, “Why do you love Paris so much?” My reply is always the same – S.O.W.

Although the Parisian cityscape has changed over the years, these three alphabets continue to shadow my existence whenever I am in or out of Paris. S.O.W. is also a reason Walter and I chose France as our home away from home.

In the autumn of 1966, when the Simorgh (one of my Arab patriarch’s private jet) touched down in Charles de Gaulle airport, I had contracted the romance bug. Back then, the ebullient Moi, an inquisitive teenager with a quest for adventure, was whisked to the Paris Ritz Carlton in a luxurious Bentley by my host, Prince P. I had fallen head-over-heels in love and in awe with both the prince, Andy, my then chaperone and Valet, and Paris, the city of romance. That was before our entourage visited the haute couture fashion Houses of Chanel, Dior, Ungaro, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Patou, and the fancy eateries, such as Café de Flore, La Belle Époque, Maxim’s, and last but by no means least, Le Folies Bergers. Back then, these infamous Parisian establishments were places to go, to see and be seen. Nowadays, they are tourist attractions.

Through the subsequent years, I had accompanied many princes, princesses, sheiks, sheikas, and their aristocratic Arabian entourages to the French capital. Most significantly, this city of love and romance had taught me the art of Seduction (S), Originality (O), and Wit (W). Some may say that wittiness is a congenital trait, but I purport it as a learned art of human relationships. Whatever definition one chooses to use, I had returned to this electrifying metropolis of S.O.W.; where I had sown many a wild oat. Now, with my beloved husband in tow, I’m here to R.E.A.P. its rewards.

“What the hell is R.E.A.P.?” you ask.

I will explain:

RRomance continues to exist in this alluring Capital of Love; even amid an influx of foreign refugees and political upheavals. Another series of stories, I will narrate another time.

EElegance in this sordid city of high culture is a trait Walter and I find irresistibly seductive.

AAuthenticity is historicity in this Center of Romance. And I am not referring to the faux reproduction of the Las Vegas ‘Paris’ in Nevada, United States of America.

PParis equals Sophistication, Originality, Wit, Romance, Elegance, and Authenticity. But last and by no means least, this French capital is where Perfection reigns supreme.

PARIS – Mon Paree!

 

Bernard Foong (aka Young)

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