When Love Leads to…Vendetta

Current mood: breezy
Category: Writing and Poetry

It’s been said elsewhere that truth is stranger than fiction, but sometimes you can’t help appropriating a juicy bit of truth and turning it into fiction and it still seems unbelievable.
Last year, whilst vacationing in Honolulu, a very good friend called me and asked if I would check on her holiday house she was trying to rent out. She was back here on the mainland working but she’d put it on Craigslist hoping to rent it. She was really in bad financial shape.
She had started to receive weird emails from people who’d seen the listing on a military site.
“I’m a bit worried,” she said. “I have no idea what this site is. Do you mind stopping by and checking on it for me?”
What happened next is almost unbelievable.
My dad and I had planned to spend the day together so I drove us past the house and we were astonished to see a moving van in the driveway. We jumped out, confronting the people moving in. They insisted they’d just rented the place from a guy in Nigeria.
Nigeria!
This is just the latest online scam and one that ended badly for the poor family who’d sent money to the fictional homeowner via Western Union. My friend meanwhile was forced to leave her job in LA, return to Hawaii and keep vigil on her home. Turned out the Nigerian conman had rented out the house to multiple, unsuspecting renters until the FBI put a stop to it.
I was astonished to learn how common it has become.
Scammers scan house rental listings, list them on obscure sites for a much lower rate, and scoop in the money.
They get around the issue of no house key for the new renters by telling them to hire a locksmith and the cost of a new key will be deducted from their next month’s rent.
Except that there is no legally binding rental agreement. Just a lot of bad blood.
I’ve heard of a couple of friends whose exes put their addresses on Craigslist and told people to come and take whatever they want. This too is not uncommon.
When I agreed to pen a book for eXtasy’s tarot series and was assigned the Judgement card, I thought this was a good premise for a novel.
I had fun writing The Vendetta, much of which is based on fact. Even the subplot of memorabilia verification.
I think setting up a former lover for theft is heinous. Targeting complete strangers is also rotten. But how audacious to heist a house…and in my story, a Vendetta, which happens to be a valuable guitar.
As I wrote this story, I began to worry about the things that are valuable to me. They happen to be – in order – my animals and my laptop.
All my animals are micro chipped and as of last week, so is my lappy. It now has Lojack. so baby, you can drive my car. You can steal it (but why would you want to??) just don’t upload it to the Internet or else…you’ll just give me fodder for the sequel.
Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening:

Some Call It Aloha…Don’t Tell
By The Brothers Cazimero
Release date: 2004-09-07

Bling Me

Current mood: animated

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Any author will tell you that we love what we do. Some lucky ones get to completely support themselves on their earnings, the rest of us either have full-time jobs on top of writing or, we take part-time work to supplement our incomes.

To be honest, I enjoy working. Being in the grip of the Protestant work ethic was ingrained in me from the time I had my first paper route at the age of nine in Bondi Beach, Sydney.

I don’t mind juggling. I really don’t. The busier I am, the more I like it. I get a huge satisfaction out of paying bills out of money earned from writing, but I also get a lot of fodder from my day jobs. A few months ago, a friend of mine got me in with a celebrity assistant’s club.

I’ve picked up work here and there and have had the terrible misfortune of working a few times with an actress whose career is on the slide. I say on the slide because she recently lost her home to foreclosure due to her shopping addiction and…diminished income.

I accompanied her to bankruptcy court and small claims courts – all of these incidents will no doubt show up in my books some time soon – and I was even there when she went to a salon to get her asshole bleached. I swear. This last one I did already use in The Book and the Rose.

Anyway, the Actress was pissed about moving from her oceanside digs in Malibu to -shudder- The Valley. Now, I happen to live in the valley and bitterly resent the constant jibes people from the other side of the hill make about my home town.

I’ve worked for Z-list Actress now for a few months and off and it has never been pleasant.

Yesterday, I helped take her dogs to the vet. We have a saying in my birth country of Australia. When someone is taken advantage of, we say, they saw her coming.

Well this vet saw The Actress coming.

A routine office check-up for three small dogs turned into a $2,000 vet bill. It would have been more if I hadn’t argued the point about unnecessary tests and phantom illnesses.

Yesterday, her credit card must have been burning a hole in her pocket. We dropped the dogs home and traipsed along Ventura Boulevard where she shopped her heart out.

She dropped another $2,000 on an electric blanket, bought a new lap top at the Apple Store, some bling for her iPhone. Then she remembered she’d lost her iPhone and we bought a replacement.

We stopped by my goddaughter’s house where I deputized her to bling the new iPhone. I’m all thumbs when it comes to crafty crap. My goddaughter however, was born to bling.

The Actress and I drove off. I kept wondering how somebody who’d just been through bankruptcy and foreclosure was still able to spend this way. She bought French underwear – a snip at $500 for two panties and a push-up bra – blinged dog collars for the pooches, new shoes – for her, not them. They all got tutus [I swear] – and then she insisted on having lunch.

I didn’t want to have lunch. I had fresh bread and peanut butter at home. I was happy to go home and have that. But oh no. She wanted a lavish lunch. Unfortunately, I know her well and have had terrible experiences with her before. In spite of her lavish public declarations that she would buy me lunch, I knew she would make my life miserable if I picked anything she deemed expensive. I ordered a cup of soup and an iced tea.

I knew I could afford these should she gripe. And I just knew she would. She berated the poor waiter and I begged her not to. I am always nice to people who handle my food. They could spit in it. Or worse.

The Actress hauled out her laptop in the middle of this swanky restaurant as she tore through spinach salad, char-broiled salmon, apple pie and several cappuccinos. She shopped for more crap online – a lanyard holder for her new iPhone and new sunglasses.

She argued with her mother on the phone and didn’t seem to notice how aggravated our nearest neighbors and the entire restaurant staff were.

After being sniped at for four and a half hours, something came over me when she griped about the $7.00 for my soup and tea (tax and tip included). I told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I think I actually said I hate you. She looked shocked.

I don’t think she hears those words too often, except from her ex husbands. She owed me $67.50 for the time I’d been her whipping post and dangled this over my head.

I said I didn’t care.

“You don’t care?”

“No, I don’t,” I said.

I got up and walked out.

“Can’t you take her with you?” the waiter begged.

My dear friend Kelly has quoted me from Benjamin Franklin who once said never to keep friends who are not like yourself. Somebody else once said – maybe it was Heidi Fleiss – we are guilty by association.

I didn’t want to associate with an asshole boss. I don’t care that money is involved. It’s too painful dealing with such insanity. I drove home feeling both bad and good. It’s hard to walk away from an income. She apparently collected her cell phone from my goddaughter and was very sweet with her, paying her $20.

Then she drove to my place and somehow got into my building and showed up at my front door.

She put on a marvelous performance. Oscar-worthy.

I accepted her check for $67.50 and then said goodbye.

She hasn’t stopped calling since. This morning, I found a pink diamante in my socks from yesterday. My little ode to bling. And to her.

I dropped the bling off my balcony and deleted all her messages. Maybe I am being foolish, but I think not. What about you? Would you put up with Miss Bling? I’d really like to know.

Aloha oe,

A.J.

Currently listening: Keola Beamer & Raiatea By Keola Beamer & Raiatea Helm Release date: 2010-05-04

Paco


Current mood:  determined
Category: News and Politics

 

By A.J. Llewellyn
Meet Paco. He was a lost, homeless dog scavenging for food on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when a kind hearted American couple rescued him. Josiah Allen and Erin docking fell in love with this funny-looking, adorable little guy and decided to give him a home. They went through all the procedures of traveling with a dog, took him to the vet, got him treated for ticks, an eye infection and got him all his shots.
They bought a special, airline-approved crate and trusted Delta Airlines to safely load the dog on board for the trip to his new home in Detroit, Michigan.
When the couple arrived, they were shocked to find Paco had not made the flight. Delta staff said they ‘forgot’ to board the dog but he would be cared for until he was put on the next available flight.
When they called the next day to check on his arrival, nobody knew anything and the story changed.
Delta said the dog somehow escaped his crate.
How?
Where is Paco?
This is a devastating story when it is obvious Paco went through so much before this ordeal.
Now it appears that Delta’s changing stories is especially worrisome. To top it off, the airline says they have stopped searching for Paco.
Is he dead or alive?
I’ve lost luggage thanks to airlines. A friend of mine lost his championship surfboard.
Nothing however compares to the loss of life, especially one that is entrusted to us. I am haunted by Paco’s story because I am an animal lover and because I plan to move to Hawaii soon. I will be transporting three animals.
Should anything happen to my dog or my cats, believe me, the airline responsible for screwing up so royally will have more than a petition to deal with.
In the meantime, please consider signing the petition started by the wonderful Care 2 group which is putting pressure on Delta to keep searching for Paco – and to admit the truth about what happened to him. Paco’s humans need 10,000 signatures to persuade Delta keep searching for the little guy.
Aloha oe,
A.J.

Currently listening:
Keola Beamer & Raiatea
By Keola Beamer & Raiatea Helm
Release date: 2010-05-04

‘Til the Clouds Roll By

Current mood: contemplative

Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

My love affair with Hawaii began with my love of a woman – Princess Kaiulani, whose beauty and tragic story touched me so deeply as a young boy visiting the islands that I had to read everything I could about her.

She died young, too young at the age of 24, but her passion for her people, her violent struggle to protect her island nation from foreign rule was one that affected me in more ways than I can say. As I grew older, I still loved Kaiulani. I still do.

But my admiration for her morphed into a mania for Queen Lili’uokalani, to whom Kaiulani was the heir apparent.

Readers of my predominantly Hawaiian stories are probably familiar now with this last Hawaiian queen. Just as she was a woman of consequence, so was Lena Horne, another queen, another American original and although she was 92 when she died Sunday night, I feel bereft at her loss.

Like Kaiulani and Lili’uokalani before her, she fought racial hatred, rose above restrictions and cruelty and challenged the status quo.

Two of my upcoming books deal a little with the subject of racial intolerance – Creed: Honeybone 2, coming to eXtasy Books in four days, May 15 and The Mediator, coming to Total eBound on August 15. In both books the subject is peripheral but I thought it interesting that as I finished up Creed on Sunday night, that it was somehow apt that I’d made reference to another woman of consequence, another American original, Ruby Bridges.

My character, US Marshal Dean Honeybone, has been transferred to New Orleans. For those who don’t know or don’t remember, it was this unit that accompanied 6-year-old Ruby Bridges to school in 1960 when she became the first black girl to attend an all-white school with the abolition of segregation.

1960. It wasn’t that long ago.

The adult Ruby Bridges is as magnificent as you would hope a woman of historic consequence would be. She is amazing.

I hope one day to meet her and tell her how inspired I am by her courage. I cannot imagine what it was like to be 6 years old and not be allowed to trade food with my classmates because white parents have said they would poison you.

I cannot imagine what it was like for Ruby to see the coffin somebody left outside her classroom with a black baby doll in it.

Similarly, I cannot imagine how Lena Horne endured so much to be who she was. A civil rights pioneer from 1941, long before Ruby Bridge played her part in the story of change. Miss Horne defied the US Army by refusing to perform in front of segregated audiences.

And yet, for all of this, her voice, her talent and beauty were never squandered. She soared above it all. I watched her old movie ‘Til the Clouds Roll By last night, just to see her beautiful face.

Ever since I saw Leslie Uggams portray her in the stage musical Stormy Weather last year, I’ve been catching up on all things Lena. I can’t help feeling I have so much more to learn and yes, as I said before she was 92 but there is a huge hold left in this world by her passing.

I hope in God’s heaven there is no segregation, no intolerance or pain. I hope there is nothing but peace, love, beauty and lots and lots of rainbows. I hope one day I get to go there and meet her, to let her know how much she means to me. I want to meet them all, these daring, darling, women of consequence.

But I will have to wait.

‘Til the Clouds Roll By.

A.J.

Currently listening: Stormy Weather By Lena Horne Release date: 2008-03-01

The Book and the Rose

The Book and the Rose
Current mood: bouncy
Category: Writing and Poetry
By A.J. Llewellyn

I blogged last month about my new novel The Book and the Rose which has just been released. Last month I talked about the inspiration behind the story – my friends who met and fell in love during Barcelona’s book and rose festival celebrated this very day. I wish I were there right now celebrating this big occasion, Barcelona’s version of St. Valentine’s Day.
Today however is St. George’s Day and how apt that the Spanish would choose to celebrate the slayer of dragons because I think ultimately that’s what love is – having to slay dragons.
I’ve come to know several porn stars in the course of writing gay erotic romance and a few of them inspired my character Mio-Alejo Cortez.
A friend of mine has been dating a porn star. She is a woman, he is gay-for-pay. Mio on occasion, performs straight-for-pay which is something some gay porn stars really do – such as Ricky Sinz and Francois Sagat.
Can love redeem Mio who seems caught up in the web of high-priced sex? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
In the meantime, if you believe in love, if you are struggling with a romance, say a prayer to St. George and keep slaying those dragons…

The Book and the Rose Purchase Link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/BookRose.html
The Book And The Rose by A. J. Llewellyn
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-678-9 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-794-6 (Paperback)
AVAILABLE NOW!!
Hollywood show runner Evans McCoy’s hit TV show has just been yanked off the air thanks to its star Nora North’s spectacular drug bust. Desperate to find work to qualify for Writer’s Guild health insurance, Evans finds every door closed due to the problems associated with his show. His recent fling with mysterious and sexy Spanish businessman Mio-Alejo Cortez is heating up, however, and it’s hard to resist the lure of Mio’s invitation to visit him in Barcelona.
The city’s most romantic holiday, Dia de Sant Jordi—St. George’s Day—is approaching. Mio wants Evans there for the big day when lovers traditionally exchange a book and a rose. With the memory of their scorching rendezvous and constant hot faxes from Mio teasing him, Evans is unable to turn down the invitation and lands in Barcelona, full of expectations.
Evans soon learns that Mio is a man of many, many secrets and a dangerous double life. Barcelona and Mio are seductive conquerors, but when Mio’s truth emerges, Evans must decide—should he cut bait and run? With his career seemingly in tatters and Mio’s secret now his to share, Evans takes a gamble. He plunges headfirst into Mio’s world of high-class, high-stakes sex.
But will Evans lose it all? Or can their relationship survive beyond the book and the rose?
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / The Arts / Ménage (M/M/M) / Group Sex Heat Level: 3 Length: Novel (50k words / TBD paperback pages)
Excerpt:
Evans leaned his head back against Mio’s shoulder.
“Look at me,” Mio said, but Evans felt utter devastation. As much as he wanted Mio and, yes, as much as he realized now he’d fallen in love with the man, his heart ached.
Mio was talking as he turned Evans around to face him, but Evans felt his world crashing…crumbling. His birth parents hadn’t wanted him, and now his lover, the one he thought could possibly be it, wanted…the whole world, apparently.
“You look so sad and that makes me unhappy. Please, Evans, please don’t be so sad.”
“I don’t know what to think,” Evans said finally as Mio kissed his eyes, his nose and mouth, kept whispering words of love in Spanish. Evans couldn’t breathe, couldn’t understand a quarter of what Mio said. He fought his own insecurities, squashing the waves of desire. And yet, when Evans looked down, his fingers entwined with Mio’s as if they belonged there. Mio kissed him as if they had always been together. Nobody had ever affected him this way and he wanted it so much he suddenly felt he would die without this man.
“Please, please give me a chance,” Mio said. “Let me show you how fun this can be. Let me love you.”
“I don’t know,” Evans said again, but his body betrayed him. Obviously schooled in the language of physical love, Mio lost no time in stripping Evans’s clothing and throwing off his elegant suit and shirt. He wore tight boxer briefs under his white suit. Evans once again marveled at his lover’s amazing body. He hadn’t seen him naked since they’d been in Miami. He dreamed of this man’s hard cock, his ripe, juicy balls. His hand cuffed Mio’s cock and it responded.
“You know how to touch me,” Mio said and surprised Evans by picking him up and carrying him to his bedroom. His mouth clamped down on Evans’s as if to silence any chance of protest. The room lay in darkness as Mio put him across the bed.
“Who did you fuck tonight?” he asked as Mio moved away from him. Evans felt he was close. Wow, he weaves such a spell on me. He couldn’t have got up and walked out if he wanted.
Mio struck a match and lit candles by the bed. Evans’s eyes adjusted to the light. He heard the crackle of wood wick and could smell tuberose. Mio leaned across the bed to light more candles on the other side.
Evans knew from the glass holders, the scent and the crackling that these were Dayna Decker candles. Each one retailed for around ninety dollars. Evans counted at least a dozen. The bedroom was a visual feast of silk, wall tapestries, large paintings, and the gorgeous man on the bed crawling across the cream silk duvet toward him. Mio’s hands came to Evans’s face and he resumed the potent kiss he’d started in the living room. He seemed to need Evans the way Evans needed him.
They began a long exploration of one another with their tongues. Evans could still feel Mio’s seed left in him from their torrid romp earlier in the day. He reached up his hands, no longer caring where Mio had been or who he had been with. He slid down Mio’s underpants and felt joy, swift, sorrowful, and consuming desire as Mio lowered his body to his.
“I missed you,” Mio said. His eyes seemed to burn as his knees parted Evans’s thighs. His cock sought for instant immersion and he powered into Evans with a cry. He fucked Evans the way he’d fucked him in Miami. It was more than lovemaking. It was supersonic. As he and Mio came together, he felt the way his lover gathered him in his arms and held him in his moment of release. Evans also felt a glimpse of something else.
He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was somehow Mio’s salvation.
“I have a question for you now,” Mio said.
“What’s that?”
“How do you know what a woman’s pussy smells like?”
The question struck Evans as so funny he laughed. “I fucked a couple of them…until I realized I was gay.”
“You’re not fucking other men?”
“No. Would you be jealous?”
“Of course I would.” Mio put another sensual kiss on his mouth. “I want you to think about making a couple of trips with me, as my companion. A couple of the guys like threesomes. We could fuck them together. They could not know we are lovers in real life…we would be there for them. They pay for everything.”
Evans couldn’t even respond. The idea of being a high-price call boy with his own private call boy was crazy. Just crazy…

Aloha oe,
A.J.
Currently listening:
Reviens
By Garou
Release date: 2007-01-08

Needed

Needed
Current mood: bouncy
Category: Writing and Poetry

One of my closest friends Alex got the chance of a lifetime very early last year. One of his business clients and golfing buddies offered Alex his home on the Caribbean island of Anguilla for five days as a thank you for a huge deal.
I was so mad I couldn’t go. Alex, bless him, took full advantage of the offer and took his dad and his closest male friends for a few days of drinking, rest, drinking, rest, drinking…well, you get the idea. It’s not that I didn’t want a knees-up, I just couldn’t manage the trip at the time. I was so upset I couldn’t even stand calling Alex to ask how it went.
I saw him recently and finally manned-up and asked how it went.
I hadn’t seen him for a while and I was surprised by the sour expression on his face. Anguilla is a place I am pining to visit…but I digress.
His lip curled.
“You are so lucky you missed it,” he whined.
He told me the wildest and funniest story of being caught in a hurricane in St. Martin. They hid in a hotel bathroom there for days as a storm ripped the islands apart. It’s not that the storm and damage were funny.
I loved the idea of all these macho guys huddled in a bathtub!
He gave me a lot of detail and gave me his blessings to use it. And I did!
This gave me the basis of my book Needed, which published at http://www.extasybooks.com/ at midnight.
Purchase Link: http://tinyurl.com/y6rllpa
It’s the sequel to Wanted, my best-selling book about Honolulu forensic accountant Mingo McCloud. I am thrilled Wanted sold so well and I had a blast writing Needed. As an extra thank you to people who buy my book, I am giving away a free copy of Hula, a short store I penned for the Emerald Envisage anthology in which Mingo first appeared.
I am loving this new M/M erotic mystery series.
In this story, Mingo must rescue his missing lover, Francois…and has some fun and pretty hot sex into the bargain. Using a real life adventure in this story gave it added texture I think. But my point is this. Do we writers all use real stuff in our stories? I’m betting more of us do than we care to admit.
Of course, my pal Alex didn’t have sex with the men in his tub…that stuff only happens in my books.
I think…
Aloha oe,
A.J.
Currently listening:
Hawaiian Paradise
By The Brothers Cazimero
Release date: 1995-03-14

Wordscraper


Current mood:  cooky/wacky
Category: Games

 

I’ve fallen in love. Thanks to my awesome pal Jackie Kallen, the First Lady of Boxing, I’ve discovered the awesome joys of Wordscraper, a Scrabble-style game played on Facebook. I had no idea the game existed but it’s one of the many applications available on the social networking site and it has saved my life.
I used to be one of those socially-awkward people who punished friends and family members for a game of ScrabbIe. Yes, my nieces and nephews run when they see me searching for them with my board in hand. I have a Travel Scrabble and have hit up strangers on planes who feign sleep after several rounds.
Pikers!
I lived in eternal frustration because I love word games and I love Wordscraper. You can play with one person or more and I currently have several games going.
Jackie and our mutual friend, author Norma Zager play, Scrabble and eat cheap Chinese food at Fu’s Palace…not as often as we’d like, but the beauty of Wordscraper is that you play if and when you feel like it. I happen to think Chinese food goes great with the game, but that’s just me.
You can eat, drink, do anything you want when you play Wordscraper. You can play naked!
Just click the application link and check if it’s your turn. You make your move and leave it to your opponent to make their move.
Jackie and I are on our second game and unlike Scrabble, which requires your immediate attention, the beauty of this game is that you make your move and go about your day…and still get to keep what Hercule Poirot called “the little grey cells” active.
Studies show that playing word games keeps your mind young and things like Alzheimer’s far away. I currently have seven games going, including one with author Serena Yates and others with my pals Caroline, Sandra, Cynthia and Silver.
Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t have outed them all like this?
Anyway, I have no idea who created this game or how long it’s been on Facebook but it’s one of my healthiest obsessions (my other most lethal one being cupcakes).
So if you find yourself at a loose end and wanting to join the e revolution of mind and word games, check out Wordscraper. Hit me up, I challenge you and welcome you to the fun side of social networking. Your secret fetish will be safe with me.
It’s your move,
A.J.

Currently listening:
‘Ikena
By Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho

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