Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paris, Tsunamis and Naked Actors

Paris Blues

Of late, my yearnings to return to Paris have been particularly strong. I’ve been planning the trip for our 10th wedding anniversary next year, and that’s helped a little. At least I have a firm plan for return. I’ve even started planning to do some cooking with my lovely French friends while we’re there. I plan to introduce them to the steak sandwich, and if I can find a way to get the key ingredient, I shall make a sweet potato pie for them. But that’s more than a year from now. The plans help. However, it’s been very difficult lately. It’s not a snobby or cultural thing. It’s a sybarite thing. I miss the pace of the city. I really miss the food. Paris is a very big, urban cosmopolitan center. One commute during rush hour will clearly illustrate how the city is very much like New York. However, despite this being every much the bustling metropolis, there is a true appreciation for slowing down and having a lovely cup of coffee, or simply enjoying an exquisite morsel of bread. In fact, that there is so much time spent on beautiful bread tells a visitor that food is not just food. It is part of the joy of life – joie de vivre! I miss just living with my senses and savoring everything.

I have not been helped with my longings by the media either. The newest Bourne film has some scenes in Paris. One of them around and in Gare du Nord, the train station we used when we last went to Cannes. Then, there is the new Mr. Bean film, Mr. Bean’s Holiday which is all over Paris, the TVG train and then in Cannes as well! I actually recognized a small intersection there. TV has given me no respite. One of my favorite TV chef’s, Gaida de Laurentis, did an episode of her tavel show, Gaida’s Weekend Getaway’s in Paris. She went to culinary school there. That show brought up all the memories of the many Italian restaurants we visited (surprisingly easy to do, incidentally), and reminded me of all the things I have left to see there. Paris is very much like New York in that it takes a long time to really know the city. I worked in New York a year and lived only 90 minutes away by train and visited often. However, I’d say that I still don’t know ¾ of that city well. Alas, today, I’ll have to make due with some home cooking with a French accent.

Making Waves

We received our Tsunami Evacuation Plans by mail on Friday. Don’t worry, family who is reading this, we are at the very outer edge of the Evacuation Zone. According to the color map on the very nice, glossy brochure, we just have to cross the street to be out of the zone. Additionally, there is a police station five minutes from here that is out of the zone completely and is an evacuation center. It was a cryptic mailing. The thing that was of concern for me was the phrase ‘we will issue an evacuation warning in advance of the event if there is time...’ If there is time?!! Geez. Well, all we have to do is cross the street. Why did we get this mailing? We think it was because of the fallout from the actual Tsunami warning that went out last year. It was a thorough warning and reached a lot of people, but it gave us no plan as to how to get away from the coast or where to go if we could get away. That was a fascinating experience. Usually, we get the special announcement alert on TV, it’s an Amber Alert. I was staring at the word Tsunami when a friend who lives along the Venice Canals called to ask if he’d heard the alarm correctly. That’s when I got concerned. We were fine in Playa del Rey (we were 100 feet above the coast by the time you reached our last apartment from the beach), but he is at ground level. Fortunately, the alarm was canceled shortly afterward. We do keep an emergency kit handy, and my friend has neighbors in houses that are tall enough and rated strong enough to withstand waves long enough for rescue. Isn’t LA fun?

Playing with Actors

I get mail about my blogs like last week when I wrote about working with actors. Most are nice notes. Some are envious. Those opinions are misguided. Working with actors is not the same as meeting them as fans. It’s serious work where everyone’s creativity and skill is put to the test. We all have to be careful of each other’s sensitivities while pushing hard to get just the right kind of performance. Last Saturday was a blast for everyone. We did a lot of good work, and I saw the potential for amazing performances. However, it was exhausting.

But that’s not to say I don’t have fun with them. Actors are attractive people with big personalities and lots of charisma. That’s why people want to watch them. They are also flirty and naughty because they like being looked at – a key part of being an actor. I’ve loved interacting with them from the first one I ever met, but it is a challenge to this sybarite. Once you enter into a working relationship with them, it’s hands off thinking about anything else. Even before I was married, this was difficult. They tease and flirt and even make overtures that they may or may not follow through to keep a producer close. My first cast was for the first version of Hidden Passion Films nearly 20 years ago (have a ranted lately about how long it can take a concept to get a green light). Those gorgeous boys drove me crazy. While we were at a Romantic Times Convention to promote the concept, one of the actors answered his hotel door with a towel around his neck after just leaving the shower. No towel around his waist, mind you or pants or underwear, for that matter. He was fabulous, but I was trying desperately to be professional. Dang it all! Maybe because I’m a bit older now and married, I can enjoy the flirting more without being frustrated. Of course, I still think evil, horrible things about my actors at times – okay, most of the time. I channel those lusty urges into my writing. My HPF actors are all very yummy and naughty. I adore them and think they’ll end up with quite a following. I’d say more things to incriminate myself, but some of them read this blog. :)

Torturing My Leading Men

The long hand version of A Soldier’s Fate is in the home stretch. I should have the cover art very soon and the webpage shortly after that. This section of the book has been difficult because I am actively traumatizing Rik and Vincent. It’s been difficult to write – surprisingly so. However, I came up with some surprising character development, so that’s been fun. Stay tuned for more.

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