I’ve been reluctant to post some personal news here, but because just disappearing without an explanation seems odd, at the least, here goes. Starting in
Glossary by Title
|Cover||Title Sort descending|
My name’s Debra –
|Bad to the Bone
A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.
A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.
As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.
As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.
When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.
Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?
And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?
We weren’t the prettiest but
Where do the Banned go when home’s no longer home?
|Be a Better Marketer
Disclaimer: Some elements of marketing are complex. I will try my best to break these elements down in easy ways for every beginner marketer to understand, in what I like to call blonde terms. This is not a stab at blondes. I am a blonde. I just do not like the term dumb things down because people reading this book are not dumb. When people do not know about something; it seems foreign to them. Even if the subject is simple, if insider jargon is used constantly, the subject becomes obscure. So, I will try my best to include a blonde definition when things get a bit technical. This way marketing novices do not get overwhelmed and can get the most out of this book. After reading this, every beginner marketer will have enough understanding of marketing to start building their brand and creating more connections with their audience.
|Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Colin McMillan sat in the car outside the flat and stared at the window. More than once he started to get out and changed his mind. The light was on. She was there; he’d seen the curtain move an hour ago. Since then there had been nothing. For two months he had tried and failed to have a conversation with his estranged wife. Joyce didn’t want to speak to him and hung up as soon as she heard his voice.
|Behind Every Great Man
Meet the Women Behind Some of the Most Famous (and Infamous) Men in History
Author Recognizes 40 Forgotten Wives, Mistresses, and Partners in New Book
While political, cultural, and celebrity figures such as Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, and Frank Sinatra often receive their own chapters in history, the women in their lives barely register a footnote despite having their own remarkable stories and contributions.
In her latest book, Behind Every Great Man: Forgotten Women Behind the World’s Famous and Infamous (ISBN: 9781492603054; MARCH 3, 2015; $16.99 U.S.; Biography/History; Trade Paper), author Marlene Wagman-Geller features 40 women who were overshadowed by the alpha males in their lives, yet merit their own place in the annals of history.
Meet the untold half of history, including:
This collection of 40 short biographies highlights the powerful women who stood behind their men, for better or for worse, and helped steer the course of history.
Over the centuries, the saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman" has proven to be more than a girl-power chant. As it turns out, the long shadows cast by alpha males throughout history have obscured many stories of truly intriguing women who acted as their right hands and muses, the magicians behind the screen. For these intrepid females, supporting their famous husbands and partners by helping them achieve their destinies was frequently a Herculean task, accomplished in spite of sagas of alcoholism, infidelity, breakdowns, divorce, and despair (usually on the men's part).
How did these women do it? Were they members of some more evolved species than the rest of us-equipped to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of power? By casting light on the wife (or girlfriend) behind the famous man, we can begin to understand these "better halves" who left indelible lines on the visage of history through their husbands and their own works. The fairer sex has consistently been relegated to the footnotes of time under the label of "so-and-so's lover," "wife," or "widow." As Dorothy Parker observed in "The Little Hours," "Oh, well, it's a man's world." It is time for them to emerge from the shadows, both because their stories shed new insight on the famous men featured in history and because their own lives are equally as fascinating. In the feminist essay, "A Room of One's Own," Virginia Woolf stated, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Behind Every Great Man explores the biographies of those who never received a room of their own to shine or whose rooms and stories have never been properly explored.
Wives have generally been the untold half of history, so this book offers a different perspective on history than what we expect: it tells the story of these famous men (and one woman) from the wives' point of view. Public lives and private lives are indivisible, and the detail of the marital relationships of some of the most well-known men gives a rounded picture that helps history come alive. Each chapter explores the real-life Lady Macbeths and Carmela Sopranos whose love humanized their men while often dehumanizing themselves.
But the women profiled here are not those who commandeered time in the spotlight themselves, as their biographies and stories are already part of our cultural psyche. Hence there are no chapters devoted to Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Rodham Clinton. The criteria for inclusion entail marriage to a famous spouse who outshone them in the pages of time. While Oscar Wilde is known as the literary great imprisoned for "the love that dare not speak its name," few know of Constance (an apt name for Oscar's semper fidelis spouse), who found herself wed to Europe's most (in)famous homosexual. Mohandas Gandhi is a world icon, depicted with his ever-present spinning wheel, but what about Mrs. Mohandas? She bore him four sons, fasted when he was imprisoned, and died in Aga Khan Prison for complicity in fighting to wrest her country from the yoke of the British Raj. While everyone is familiar with Germany's notorious Nazi dictator and his trademark mustache, few know much about his mystery woman, Eva Braun-Hitler's consort for fourteen years and wife for forty hours. Their relationship leaves lingering questions: was she the First Lady of Nazism or just an apolitical blond who lived in his Bavarian mountain retreat, oblivious to the genocide of which her lover was architect? Can one love a monster and yet not be evil oneself? Find out the answers to these questions and countless others about the remarkable yet little-known women behind history's famous (and infamous) men.
After the joy that ensued from my first three books, I desperately desired a fourth, but inspiration, like love, does not come when summoned. In this case, I found it in the most unlikely of places: former First Lady Laura Bush sparked the idea for Behind Every Great Man. In a White House roast, she likened herself to a character from television's Desperate Housewives. She told the audience, "I am married to the president of the United States and here is our typical evening: nine o'clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep, and I am watching Desperate Housewives. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife!"
After reading this, I rolled my eyes-she was married to the president, her daughters look like they posed for a Norman Rockwell painting, and her wealth was as vast as her native Texas. She, I felt, couldn't possibly know what it was like to be a real desperate housewife. Many American wives congregate every day at work, at home, online, anywhere, bemoaning their lives plagued by drug-addicted family members, threats of foreclosure, and credit card bills with as many digits as phone numbers. But then I wondered if there was more to Mrs. Bush's quote, and it led me to think of the real desperate housewives of history, those who lived and died with their lives forgotten, swallowed by the long shadows cast by the alpha males who garnered the spotlight. Creation is a conjugal act; it is a miscarriage of justice for the great men of history to skimp on spousal credit due to their wives and partners who helped them become who they were (or are). Behind Every Great Man helps settle the score.
The women profiled were chosen by the following process: First I thought of a colorful famous man, and if his wife dwelled in the shadows, I investigated. If her life was an intriguing one and shone light on a hitherto unknown aspect of her husband, she merited a chapter. To illustrate the forgotten wives and partners are not bound by geography, I included ladies from various locales: Emilie Schindler (Germany), Betty X (the United States), Gala Dalí (Spain), and many more. During this process, I discovered fascinating, strange, and sometimes inspiring new information. For example, when Warren Buffett's wife, Susan, departed for San Francisco to become a "geriatric gypsy," she asked Astrid Menks, a middle-aged, never-married, Latvian immigrant to look after her husband. Soon, Christmas cards were signed "Warren, Susie, and Astrid." After Susan passed away, Buffett married his mistress, making her the spouse of the world's second-richest man. This certainly offers hope to all middle-aged Latvian cocktail hostesses.
As with all relationships, upon the conclusion of Behind Every Great Man, I dwelt on the ones that got away-chapters not included. Katharina von Bora, disenchanted with life as a nun, escaped her convent hidden in a wagon that delivered herring. From this odorous start, she became the wife of the great reformer, Martin Luther. The bell tolled for the poet-priest John Donne when he secretly wed the seventeen-year-old daughter of Sir George More. His none-too-pleased father-in-law had him thrown in Fleet Prison where he wrote his wife: "John Donne, Anne Donne, Undone." They don't make 'em like Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil anymore, wife of the world's most prolific pornographer, the Marquis de Sade (who gave us the word "sadism"), her tale lost in the shadow of the Bastille. She stood by her sadomasochist spouse through his sex scandals and jail terms and lived in a convent to provide him with the luxuries he felt his due. There was also the tale of Charles Dickens and the woman-his wife-who bore him ten children before she was supplanted in his affections by actress Ellen Ternan, his muse for Great Expectations. Bugsy Siegel named his Vegas hotel after his lover Virginia Hill, whom he nicknamed "the flamingo" due to her long, slender legs. Both casino and mistress led to his Mafia murder.
The desperate housewives of Greek mythology had nothing on their nonfictional counterparts. There is a nod to these archetypes: the Harpie (Mrs. Salvador Dalí), Galatea (Mrs. Richard Wagner), and the vast spectrum of wives and partners in between. And no self-respecting bird's-eye view of marriage would be complete without the eternal love triangle. While the trio of Paris, Helen, and Menelaus caused the Trojan War, the one between Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, and Anne Boleyn caused England to divorce Catholicism.
It is time to honor the historic helpmeets, the real-life Suzy Homemakers and muses whose loyalty to their famous men-for better or worse-proved far more extraordinary than what they ever imagined. For these women, the exchange of vows of love (whether formal or not) often equaled trauma-ever-after. Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who journeyed to Samoa with her husband, Robert Louis Stevenson, expressed this anti-metronome existence, "My life resembles a wild ride on the crest of a wave that rolls and never breaks."
Abigail Adams, the Founding Mother, admonished in a letter to John, "remember the ladies." It was her plea that the new American Congress not overlook women as they proclaimed freedom from tyranny. Alas, in the end, women were relegated to the shadows, though it did not stop them from leading from the sidelines. In the same way, the wives in Behind Every Great Man became marginalized by history, but never by their impact, though this may not be an insight to which even they were privy. However, sometimes self-effacement was voluntary. As an anonymous Russian literary spouse stated, "The more you leave me out, the closer to truth you will be." But as with the other wives profiled, their remarkable lives do not bear this out.
I hope in this volume you glean some interesting biographical tidbits and, in doing so, let great female figures emerge from the dustbin of time. Perhaps beleaguered spouses today can also take solace that no matter what insensitive or egregious acts their husbands or partners may have committed ("I can't believe you didn't take out the trash again!" or admittedly far worse for some of us), their experiences are likely nothing compared to those of these historic women. It is interesting to ponder, if in retrospect, these intrepid wives, when standing at the altar, had they been privy to what lay ahead (in the vein of "If I Knew Then What I Know Now") would have said "We don't" in lieu of "We do."
In a variation of the title of James Agee's classic novel, let us now praise these unfamous women and let them step out of the cloak of anonymity in which they have long been shrouded. Behind Every Great Man parts the curtain, allowing the wives of the famous or infamous to finally take their place on center stage. I hope Abigail Adams would be pleased in this remembrance of the world's great ladies.
Be a Savvy Indie Author. End Frustrations and Overwhelm.
Deeply upset by rampant naughtiness, Santa Claus decides to launch nuclear missiles at the world. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer argues he’s being too rash, that not all humans are bad.
|Benny Goldfarb, Private “I”
Three large men blocked the door to the club as I approached with my lady. We were looking forward to an evening of Latin dancing and pleasant conversation. I found this club by searching the internet. The location wasn’t the best in town, but the website said that the band kept the crowd jumping like water drops on a hot griddle. I liked the sound of that. I wanted to see for myself.
At UCLA, I had taken a dance class to meet the physical education requirement. With my sense of rhythm and timing, the Latin dances were very appealing. I learned that the willingness to unabashedly shake your hips was an important prerequisite for the rumba, the mambo, the cha-cha and the samba. Although I lacked any Latin heritage, I had an uncanny ability to rotate my hips like a Kitchen-Aid mixer.
So here we were, me and the beautiful Rosa, nearing the ominous-looking gorillas at the door. She was the manager at the Westside Carwash. I was in the habit of taking my car there when my finger could write my initials in the dust on the fender. Rosa had an engaging smile and eyes that would persuade any man to upgrade from the basic wash to at least the Silver spray and wax or maybe even to the Gold.
She was impressed by my better-than-average command of her native tongue. I started with, “Me llamo Kenny”. I knew that my efforts in language lab during my freshman year in college would pay off some day. “Dònde está la parada de autobus? (where is the bus stop?)” was a snap for me. After a year of two-hour stints every week in the lab, I could roll my r’s like a Castilian cavalier. I knew that I didn’t sound like a native speaker to Rosa, but she appreciated the effort. There’s something about sharing the common bond of language that draws people closer. I loved the moments when she spoke to me in her rapid Spanish staccato, as though I would understand everything she said.
Rosa was surprised when I asked her to go dancing. After all, I was an intermittent customer at the car wash. When I joked with her at the cash register, she encouraged my attention. I mentioned that I liked to dance the rumba.
“Do you like to dance? I asked.”
“Of course. What lady doesn’t like to dance?”
So here we were on La Cienega Boulevard walking toward the club. I was looking forward to an evening of hearing syncopated Latin rhythms. I learned that that the enjoyment of dancing did not depend on the existence of a romantic relationship. It was unlikely that an evening with Rosa would develop into anything more. But if two people like to dance, that is pleasure enough.
The moment of truth arrived. I looked at one of the muscle-bound pillars guarding the entrance to the club and smiled my most engaging smile.
“Two for dancing please.”
“You’re not on the list,” he growled, then dismissed me as his gaze turned to Rosa’s red dress. How could you not notice? The hem passed across her mid thigh. The slope of her lovely breasts rose above the halter top decorated with rhinestones.
“Do you know who this lady is, my good man?” I said in my most baritone voice, re-engaging with the Hulk.
“No, I don’t know who she is.”
“Well, I’ll tell you if you can look at me for a minute. Do you know who Tito Puente and Celia Cruz are?”
“Sure, what about it?’
“This beautiful young thing is the adopted granddaughter of Tito and Celia. Celia and Tito were on tour in Barcelona. They were walking to a restaurant for lunch. A gypsy woman was holding a baby in her arms. The gypsy stopped them in the street and asked if Celia would hold the baby while she went to the nearby grocery store for some milk. Tito gave her ten pesos to help out. The gypsy never returned for the baby.”
Now all three doormen were leaning in, attentive to the tale.
The second doorman, bending forward, asked, “What happened next?”
“Celia and Tito took the baby to lunch with them. Celia asked the waiter to bring a glass of warm milk and a rubber glove. As the waiter brought her the items, Celia reached up to her hat and pulled out a hat pin with a big pearl on top. Then she poured the milk into the glove, tied off the opening and made a small prick in the end of the index finger. She gently fed the baby and sang a Cuban rumba tune. The baby started moving her feet to the beat of the song. Tito watched with a wide grin.”
“This is an amazing story! I’m a big fan of both of them,” the third doorman said.
“You know that Celia and Tito teamed up occasionally for performances, but they each had a spouse and their own children. Their children were grown and married but had not yet given either of them grandchildren. Celia and Tito decided that, since they both enjoyed the baby so much and, since they met the child at the same time, they both would adopt her as their joint granddaughter.”
“They would each take their turn with her, bringing the baby on the road to concerts and dance halls. The infant loved the music and the dancing. She became a marvelous dancer. That baby is now the beautiful Rosa who you see standing before you today.”
A look of disbelief and amazement crossed the doormen’s faces.
“Wouldn’t it be a shame if this wonderful dancer, the granddaughter of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, could not dance the rumba on the floor of your club? As a tribute to their memory, I think all of you should escort us to the finest table in the house, order us a bottle of champagne and we’ll drink a toast to the memories of Celia and Tito.”
Breaking into a knowing smile, the leader of the doormen leaned closer to me. “You all right, man. I like your style.” Then his beefy hand descended to make contact with my up-turned palm. The doors opened wide and in we went.
We sat at our table watching the waiter deliver the champagne.
“Kenny, why did you tell those guys that I was the granddaughter of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz? I like to dance, but maybe I’m not that good.”
“Well, if those guys are watching us dance, it would be a good idea for you to put on the best show you can and smile a lot.”
“I’ll try,” she said.
“If I had to fight with them, who knows, they might have been injured and embarrassed in front of their Boss. My story saved them the pain. Besides, they enjoyed themselves enough to be kind and generous to us. Everyone’s happy.”
Rosa looked at me with a grin.
“I don’t know who you are, except for your first name. We know each other from the car wash, but I really don’t know you. Tell me.”
“I will be happy to tell you, mi querida; but first, let’s dance.”
We walked to the dance floor. The band began their version of Tequila with conga drum and maracas accenting the beat. I noticed that Rosa’s backfield was already in motion. I activated my Kitchen-Aid hips. We were off and running.
|Best Friend for Hire
A phone call at 9:05 on the first day back from holiday break can never bring good news, especially when it comes from the newly appointed, heavily coiffed, senior executive vice president Susan Thornton-Smith, dubbed STS by her corporate minions, who longed to create a sense of intimacy where none had previously existed. This, however, would not be the case for me. I was ready for my promotion; in fact, I had been at my desk for an hour already making sure everything was 100% perfect for today. My new hot pink crocodile iPad case was lined up with its office accessory family. The iPad itself was just one of the many things I was going to buy to celebrate my promotion to Publicity Director.
|Beyond The Rainbow's End
"That's lovely, okay, look this way, marvellous, hold it right there." I look around me to locate the source of the words ringing in my ears as I approach the grand, stately venue of this year's biggest event in the fashion calendar.