Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Personal Brand

Taking the lead of one of my authors Elizabeth Ferry-Perata who I encouraged to take a social media course designed specifically for authors, I thought I would start to drill down and define my own brand a little better. 

If you've been reading my blogs and newsletter you have a pretty good idea about me. I like what Liz said in her blog, "I am who I am." (See her blog at: http://elizabethperataauthorblog.blogspot.com/).  I have to say that after 51 years roaming this planet and going through numerous amazing and sometimes painful life experiences, "I am who I am." 

Who is that person? I am a good woman. I always strive to do the right thing. I'm nice to everyone, but if someone tries to "bite" me, it's not a question that I will bite back. I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, and inevitably someone just won't like me for no reason at all. Well, I'm not here to win a popularity contest. My goal in life is peace of mind. 

I'm also funny. If you know me at all then you know I'm witty. If you've read my novels in the California Girl Chronicles series then you know I'm the mind behind the "Love My Coconut" T-shirts. I'm also down-to-earth and a little "freaky" as my fiance likes to call me. We joke all the time. He'll say, "You FREAK!" LOL and I don't argue. Far be it from me to argue the truth. 

I like good food, but it's not beneath me to demand once in a while we get a chili dog and French fries. I love to watch the Food Channel and Carnival Eats. One time many years ago, my ex-husband and I took a trip and stopped at many Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants. YUM!

 I'm first and foremost a writer and novelist. I've defined myself this way since age 10. In fact, I get annoyed with people, who only trifle with writing, who then position themselves as experts. How am I different? I am absolutely, positively in love with writing and books. I don't use writing as a means to add to my platform. I write because I have to write. It's like my arm. Without it I would be crippled. 

I became a publisher because I love books. I also love working with other authors and teaching them our craft. I've bonded with many clients who have become dear friends over the years. You really can't work on something as personal as a book and not become close with clients. 

And I'm a painter. I only recently took up the paintbrush again. The reason I paint in watercolors is perhaps silly: I don't like the smell of oils and watercolors are washable. After ruining a bunch of clothes with oil paints, I figured I would use watercolors. It turned out I like them better. I like the vibrancy and translucent effects you can create. 

In the personal department, I am a mom to two fabulous children, Cole and Cambria. Cole is now 19 and it's a wonder to see my young adult son as he grows and changes. My daughter is an incredible teenager now at age 13. Every person who meets my kids says how amazing they are. They are both incredible human beings. I get asked about those difficult teen years and whatnot. I also say that my kids are just great the way they are. 

I'm single but recently engaged to Christopher Carter. He's brought so much to my life. We've been together a year now and intend to get married perhaps this summer. Chris though is so funny and sweet. He complements my outrageous sense of humor. We often spend evenings just "talking shit" as he puts it. He is my best friend. I'm fortunate and blessed to have met such an incredible man at my mature stage in life. 

My next novel is in the queue and after some issues get resolved I intend to get out there and promote it. I can't release it for a while. 

So... that is who I am. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Big Little Lies makes for "Whopper" Storytelling


Big Little Lies
Rating: *****

Big Little Lies starring heavyweight actresses Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley is yet another great limited series from HBO. As always I look at TV shows and movies from the viewpoint of storytelling. What impresses me about this show is how each woman’s story is woven together and somehow linked in the murder that we have yet to discover who is the victim. As you watch the show unfold you’re aware that their stories are tied to the murder, but the tension and mystery lies in the question: which woman did it and to whom was it done?

I will find out the coming weeks, as many audience members will as well. I love two things about this story: the way it’s constructed around the mysterious murder and the individual women’s stories. The first layer is the murder and we see the rest of the story in flashbacks. A police interview of outsiders looking in on the women’s stories is used almost like a narrative to retell what happened previously that led up to the murder.  I always like unique narrative and different, clever ways of telling story, and this method works well to give the town gossip and speculation about our three heroines.

First, we have Withspoon’s Madeleine who is a helicopter mom with an edge of bitchiness, jealous bravado, but also deep insecurity. Her former husband’s marriage to a much-younger woman named Bonnie (played by Zooey Kravitz) grinds at her and causes a rivalry over motherhood. Madeleine is married to Ed who is also edgy and interesting. He seems to be like a slow-boiling pot about to simmer over. He is keenly aware that is wife is unhappy and still deeply angry with her ex-husband for abandoning her and their daughter Abigail. As the series unfolds we discover that our prim and only somewhat-proper Madeleine had an affair with the theater director. How this will fold into the entire story line should be pretty interesting. You have a feeling (as is the case with all three women) that each family is on the verge of a complete meltdown.

Then we have the beautiful Nicole Kidman who plays Celeste the gorgeous wife of Perry (Alexander Skarsgard who is playing a “human” version of his alter ego vampire Eric from True Blood). Celeste and Perry outwardly appear to be this gorgeous, loving couple with two cute twin boys. Yet like the others, their union is very flawed. Perry is beating Celeste and then having primal sex with her afterward and yet another form of release. They’re expressing their relationship through violence and sexual aggression, and neither seems happy about it. We soon find them on the therapist’s sofa and eventually Celeste goes solo where the therapist finds out the truth. You can see the dark entanglement of these lovers emotional relationship that is destroying them both. A little note: I always find it interesting how Skarsgard can switch between sweet and nice to ugly and dark. You can see why she loves him despite his violence toward her.

Finally, we have Shailene's young mother who has a son that is a product of rape. Her story is as dark and mixed up as the other characters. Her son Ziggy is being accused of bullying a little girl, Emabella, daughter of the third couple in our mix. Emabella’s mother is a working mother and already insecure about her status. She aggressively tries to get young Ziggy suspended from school even though no evidence has been produced that it’s him. In the meantime his mother Jane’s rape and rapist haunts her to the point that she is considering revenge.

I love this show. It messes with your head. You’re not quite sure who to like and root for. And that makes sense since we don’t quite know who are the real villains. The cheating, violence and anger is mixing and slowingly building to a boil that is sure to blow the lid off. Big Little Lies is the perfect study in how to write extremely flawed characters, and that’s why you’re not quite sure whom in this drama/murder mystery to root for. It creates an interesting series where you’re anxious to see what comes next.