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MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE EXCERPT

The following is an excerpt from my historical adventure/romance Melaynie’s Masquerade. To purchase as an Ebook or as a softcover, go to Amazon:

MelDrawing

 

Melaynie’s Masquerade on Amazon

*****

Diego had seen Melaynie leave by herself that morning, her cheeks rosy, a distant but peaceful look in her eyes. He was pleased his young friend was taking some time to be by herself; she had worked as hard as the men in building the fort. His contented thoughts were jarred a short time later when he saw Jerome saunter out the stockade gate, a lascivious look upon his scarred face.

The merry little stream washed over Melaynie’s dappled sunlit body, caressing her erect nipples, flowing through her legs, cleansing the sounds from her ears. It was so soothing she failed to hear the snap of wood or the rough sigh.

Jerome stood on the stream bank, his good eye riveted by the sight of tiny breasts floating on the water, glistening in the flashes of sunshine. The curly blond pubic hair clearly hid no male genitalia. It was a surprise he would never have imagined. The boy had always seemed just a bit too feminine, but no matter. He’d just as soon stick his cock in one hole as another. It would provide excitement of a sort he hadn’t bargained for, and this time she didn’t have her knife on her. Perhaps he could frighten her into giving it up to him whenever he wanted, especially if he threatened to divulge her secret. His mouth hung open as if he were contemplating a meal to be devoured, as he quickly slid out of his breeches.

The sucking sounds of a foot in mud and the splash of a body entering water finally alerted Melaynie. She righted herself and let go of the branch, but it was too late. Jerome was in the water and reaching for her breasts.

“So, this is what ye’ve been hiding from me, Christopher,” Jerome sneered as he grabbed her, twisting her nipples. His breath was foul and his jagged teeth looked rotten.

She grimaced in outraged anger as she tried to hit him, but he laughed at her efforts. Although the water was not deep, the soft, slippery stream bottom kept her off balance. He pinned her arms as his wet open mouth clamped down on a nipple. She opened her mouth and lowered her head to bite at his thinning dirty hair, and when she had some in her mouth, pulled back as strongly as she could. Her feet found a solid place, and she drew her knee up and slammed it into him quickly. He stumbled backwards to protect his genitals, and the knee caught him on the chin.

“Ye want a fight, do ye?” he laughed derisively rubbing his hairy chin, his walleye askew while the other glared in lust. He had not lost his balance and lunged at her again, this time firmly catching her pubis with his long-fingered hand.

She shuddered with revulsion and twisted her body around and out of his grasp, throwing him off-balance. Neither of them heard the first ominous sounds of something heavy sliding into the water from the opposite bank.

BOOKS BY VICTORIA GIRAUD

Mel book cover #1

What’s a girl going to do when she wants adventure in her life, and men have all the fun? Melaynie Morgan is an independent-minded young woman in Plymouth, England, but it’s the 16th century, and women are expected to dress elaborately and attend to womanly duties. Forget about doublets, swords and sailing ships.Melaynie refuses to let her conventional background deter her. She disguises herself as a captain’s boy and signs on with privateer Francis Drake to plunder Spanish treasure in the exotic Caribbean. In the chess game of Renaissance politics it’s an undeclared war of opposing religions, but Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant England and King Philip’s Catholic Spain are maintaining a guarded peace. Into that mix comes Plymouth’s Drake, waging his own private war with Spain.

Melaynie finds more than she bargained for during her year in the tropics serving Drake – from disease, death and danger to a romance with a Spaniard and a friendship with an ex-slave. She returns to England wiser but secretly pregnant. In volume 2, Melaynie’s daughter Joan grows up unaware of her true parentage until the Spanish Armada brings a bittersweet and surprising reunion. To order these books, go to Amazon: Victoria Giraud Books

An Army Brat in Libya Ebook cover

An Army Brat in Libya Ebook cover

An Army Brat in Libya is a memoir chronicling the adventures of living in Tripoli in the 1950s. World War II was over and the world could breathe again for a while. Libya was ruled by King Idris, and the US Military held sway at strategic Wheelus Air Force Base. Attending high school amidst sand and palm trees, camels and donkeys, in a small cosmopolitan city along the Mediterranean was about as unique and full of contrasts as an American teen could get in the mild 1950s.

American teenagers sported jeans while Libyan women were covered from head to foot. Americans brought their cars; most Libyans rode bicycles. Despite the differences, East and West cohabited peacefully for the most part. It’s a new century today, but the American military still has a presence in these exotic areas of the world.

Weird Dates and Strange Fates#1

Weird Dates and Strange Mates features two unusual but true short stories. Sandy’s blind date serves her brunch while wearing a French maid’s costume, a blond wig and 4-inch heels in A Single Girl’s Guide to Cross-Dressing. She’s even more puzzled when he changes to a G-string and a lacy negligee. In The Dark Side, Barbara meets her perfect man, but one day he disappears from his apartment, leaving a downloaded computer and all his business attire behind. She could hardly believe the secret he was hiding.

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Glasses#2dup

Pink Glasses

The divorcees in the chic Los Angeles bar/restaurant were attracted to Will’s spirited zaniness, which mixed well with his gentle nature. They had no idea what mental turmoil it masked. He was a Viet Nam vet, a Navy pilot, and far from rich. Will had to rent a room from one of his new friends, yet he bought a brand new Porsche and kept his old one. What was he concealing?

 

 

SEXUAL PREFERENCE? GENDER IDENTITY?

Sex is complicated and probably always has been. Currently, thanks to Caitlin Jenner, once known as Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, we might wonder who we really are and whether we’re happy with the physical gender we were born with. The conversation is out in the open and I’m sure we’ll discover all sorts of fascinating facts as the years roll on.

What was it that inspired me to write Melaynie’s Masquerade, my historical fiction about a young woman who masquerades as a captain’s boy to sail to the Caribbean with Captain Francis Drake in the 16th century? Women have pretended to be men and vice versa through the ages.

I had my own unique experience in the dating world when I met a man who enjoyed dressing up as a woman. Though his ad in the Singles Register newspaper hadn’t mentioned he liked costume parties, I didn’t know his preferences, initially. He had sounded very congenial on the phone, and I decided to meet him at his home. When he changed into his gear—a French maid’s outfit, high heels, and a blond wig, the show was on. Eventually he was attired in a white negligee while we played Trivial Pursuit and watched the Lakers game, and he wanted me to give him makeup tips!

I wrote about my experience and submitted it to Playgirl magazine years ago. It was refused so I turned that story and another experience into a small Ebook that is for sale on Amazon:  Weird Dates and Strange Fates

My book on Amazon.

My book on Amazon.

 Here’s a sample from one of the stories:

 A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.

“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.

“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.

“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”

She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.

Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.

“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

 

 

WHAT HAS MOTHER DONE? A Mystery…

As a writer-editor, I am naturally interested in books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers and in those creative folks who write for these treasures of communication.

I met my good friend Barbara Petty, author of the new book What Has Mother Done? back in 2001.We were enthusiastic members of a women’s metaphysical group exploring ideas about the nature of life. The women were unique in their professions and backgrounds; one of them had written for the old Carol Burnett TV show.

Barbara Petty

Barbara Petty

I discovered that Barbara was a published writer of three psychological suspense books, and was an active member of a monthly mystery readers’ group, which she encouraged me to join. It was a new journey for me since I had read very few mysteries. During the ensuing years, I was privileged to hear details from Barbara’s creative mind as she developed a mystery series featuring her character, Thea Browne, a former investigative reporter who becomes an amateur sleuth.

What Has Mother Done? is the first book in the series and was recently published as an e-book by Amazon Encore (a publishing arm of Amazon.com). “I think my biggest inspiration was Sue Grafton and her alphabet series, starting with A is for Alibi. Those were my favorite kinds of books—where I could start out reading the first book in a series and follow the growth of the detective—especially if the protagonist was a woman,” Barbara said.

What Has Mother Done_B Petty Cover Final (2)

Circumstances, such as Barbara’s own mother growing older, gave her some of the initial ideas for this book. “I also remembered that the mother of a friend had Alzheimer’s. She told me her mother would sometimes become violent and attack her husband, which piqued my interest,” Barbara said. An episode of Law and Order gave her another idea. The pathologist in the show told the detectives a victim had not only fallen from a great height but had been pushed, because there were two chest-high marks on his body. “I put those two incidents together and came up with the situation in my book,” Barbara explained. “My protagonist’s mother, who has Alzheimer’s, is accused by the local police of shoving her husband off a cliff in an Alzheimer’s rage. My protagonist doesn’t believe her mother is capable of such an act, but does believe that her stepfather had made a lot of enemies in local politics, and she sets out to prove the police wrong.”

Writing and creativity run in the family. Barbara’s husband worked on super hero comics, Ironman and Batman, for instance. And she worked with him on scripts for animated TV shows, including Transformers and G.I. Joe. Barbara did her own scripts for My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms.

As exciting as it was for her working in the entertainment industry, fiction, especially a mystery series, is Barbara’s first love. Check out her new book at: What Has Mother Done? by Barbara Petty

 

 

WILD & CRAZY DATING SCENE

Online dating is alive and well these days. I suppose some couples still meet each other at parties, weddings, grocery stores and social events, but searching the Internet is probably the easiest method and gives searchers the most information. Like advertising, however, the “truth” can be a scam…or as the old saying goes, “Let the buyer beware.” I’ve had some fascinating adventures in the dating world, which brings to mind another saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The previews of the two stories below are absolutely true–I wrote them when the experiences were fresh in my mind. The first one was submitted to Playgirl magazine but rejected. I always thought they may have felt it was too bizarre since the incident happened before the Internet revealed the dating world can be awfully peculiar and eccentric. I met the subjects of these stories through ads in the Singles Register, a now defunct Southern California newspaper.

Weird Dates and Strange Fates#1

Here are two excerpts from my Kindle Single book on Amazon: Weird Dates and Strange Fates

http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.
“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.
“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”
She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.
Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.
“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

The Dark Side

When the letter returned with no forwarding address a week later, I was tempted to drive to his apartment. Derek’s daughter lived across the street, but I didn’t know the address or remember the daughter’s last name. I had an odd feeling of apprehension as I pondered what could have happened and searched my memory for little details that might indicate what to do next. Had I missed some important minutiae about him in all these months? How well did I really know him? I reflected, as my mind raced with a slew of possibilities.
Derek had meant too much to me to let the matter drop. He couldn’t have just left, I reasoned. What of all his obligations, his children, his friends? He filled his life with so many people and duties; surely someone would have the answers.
I called the office again, remembering that Derek’s best friend, Tom, worked in the same building. Tom told me he couldn’t talk in the office; he would call me at home. His comment piqued my curiosity. What would he tell me that was so secret?
The following evening he telephoned, eager to share the story.
“You remember that Derek went back to Boston to spend Christmas with his aging parents. He said he probably wouldn’t be seeing them again. I just assumed he meant because they were getting older. Then Derek ended up talking to me for three hours after our office party the Friday before New Year’s. He usually scooted out of there right after work, no matter what.”
Tom continued, “Derek didn’t show up for work the Tuesday after the New Year holiday. When he didn’t come on Wednesday, I called his daughter, Susan. Susan hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, she said, but there was a letter from him on her desk. She said she’d check on things and call me back. When she called back a half hour later, she was hysterical.”

To read what happens in both stories, check out my Amazon link http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud or just look up Victoria Giraud’s author page on Amazon.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – AN ADVENTUROUS READ

I’m taking a short detour from Tripoli stories and other subjects to advertise my own books, available on Amazon. I’ve written and published:  Melaynie’s Masquerade, An Army Brat in Libya, Colonels Don’t Apologize, Pink Glasses, Weird Dates & Strange Fates, Angels in Uniform, and Discovering the Victor in Victoria.  (http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud). They are all based on true stories, but fictitious names are used in many of them.

I’ve included an excerpt  of my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade below; it’s part of a love scene. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and became enchanted with the 16th century some years ago when I attended Southern California Renaissance Faires. My fictional character, Melaynie Morgan, lives in Plymouth, England, and when she decides to turn her traditional world upside down, she embarks on a sailing adventure with Francis Drake, a daring Plymouth captain, later famous for sailing around the world and for bringing home Spanish gold for Queen Elizabeth I of England. Drake is sailing to the Caribbean to plunder Spanish treasure; thinking he has met an enthusiastic young boy, he hires Melaynie as his cabin boy. What a masquerade she accomplishes before Drake and his crew sail back to England a year later!

Mel book cover #1

The following is a preview of one of the love scenes between Melaynie and Bernardino from the book. Bernardino is a dashing Spanish envoy come to negotiate with Spain’s English enemy, Francis Drake. Young Melaynie, dressed as Drake’s cabin boy, has successfully hidden her sex from all the English sailors, including Drake, but Bernardino discovered the secret.  She is guiding the Spanish visitor, who recently became her lover,  to his guest tent on the Caribbean island beach where he will spend the night:

Bernardino leaned upon her once more in case someone spotted them, and they walked quickly but stealthily the short distance to the tent.

“No need for a candle or lantern, sweeting, there’s a bit of moonlight through the opening. I have memorized your face and I know where all your important parts are,” Bernardino said, desire heating up his words, making them expand and surround her.

“Mmm…you have all the perfect words for me, my heart,” Melaynie answered as she lovingly touched the dimples of his smile and pulled his head down to meet her eager lips. She could feel his excitement now, heightened by her forward moves. She liked the feeling of taking charge that pretending to be a male gave her; it would enhance her lovemaking. She was not as innocent as the first time, and the power of knowledge created a white heat that coursed through her body.

Through open lips, her tongue explored his mouth. When she withdrew it, she kissed his cheeks as she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair. Her fingers caressed his neck and the short beard on his strong chin before finding their way to his chest and the nipples through the open neck of the loose shirt. She remembered the extreme pleasure he had given her and excited herself by being the aggressor. Tugging at his shirt, she pulled it out from his breeches. Sensing her mood, he opened his arms to allow her to remove the shirt.

She stepped back, appraising him. “Hmm…a fine specimen of manhood we have here.” A step forward and she was unfastening his breeches and undergarment and running her hands slowly down his hips. The hands moved softly and tenderly toward his engorged member.

Sir Francis Drake -- my hero!

Sir Francis Drake — my hero!

To find out what happens next, you will have to read the book, which can be ordered from Amazon.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – On Film or TV?

Mel book cover #1

Because the Academy Awards are taking place this Sunday, my mind is buzzing with thoughts of screenplays and movies. I’ve always thought my historical fiction novel would make an excellent adventure film and create a marvelous role for a spunky female who could play a teenage lead.

Shortly after I published Melaynie’s Masquerade, I was exploring ways of promoting the book. One of my most unique ideas was to create a teleplay and film it at a local TV channel in Westlake Village, near my home at that time. I was no expert in filming but luckily I had plenty of help from a volunteer camera crew. My best ally was John Kilpatrick, Director of Theater at Agoura High School who became Francis Drake. He had no problem with costumes since he had been a part of a vocal ensemble for the annual Renaissance Faire. He even wrote a song about the book and accompanied himself on his mandolin. I found my Melaynie through the Young Artists group in Thousand Oaks. Pardon the inconsistencies in the formatting. The dialog is in 16th century style.

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie

John Kilpatrick as Drake, Me, the Author, and Genna Allen as Christopher/Melaynie

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY

Camera focuses on blown-up copy of book artwork to the sound of John Kilpatrick as Francis Drake playing and singing Renaissance song on mandolin as title sequence rolls – 10-15 SECONDS

CAMERA CLOSE-UPS:

BOOK ON DESK – 10 SEC.

SHIP ON DESK – 10 SEC.

AUTHOR’S HAND ON DESK AS SHE TAKES PEN AND STARTS WRITING – 10 SEC.

YOUNG CHRISTOPHER SITTING AT EDGE OF STAGE – 10 SEC.

The author starts to read and camera focuses on AUTHOR for 10-15 Sec. Camera then focuses back on CHRISTOPHER at edge of stage.

AUTHOR reads:

“She awoke abruptly, her heart pounding, her upper body drenched in sweat. It was the same dream, one that she had had since childhood. Strangely though, it was repeating this spring every few nights. She sat up and shook her head to dispel the vision as she lifted the heavy blond tresses off her sweating shoulders. A bare hint of daylight filtered through the bed curtains. She looked down at the curls that cascaded over the pale, cambric night-raile that hid her small breasts. The sight of her thick and wavy hair brought back a flash of the dream…..”

Hmm, I do like the way I started this. What an adventure she had….

Camera focuses on: Francis Drake as he walks onto the set and looks around, puzzled.

DRAKE

Start what? Are you talking of my adventure?

Camera focuses on Author

I’m talking about the beginning of the novel I wrote, which is an adventure, that’s what. But who are you?

Camera focuses on Drake

DRAKE

Francis Drake, at your service. (He bows down with a flourish, then he looks around again with a quizzical look)

Where am I?

(He walks to the desk and picks up the author’s book)

Is this one of the latest books from the printing press? I haven’t seen anything like it before, but the ship appeals to me.(He looks around again as he puts the book back). What the devil is keeping my captain’s boy? I sent him for the compendium, and he hasn’t returned. This doesn’t look like my cabin.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Slow down, Sir Francis. I can’t believe it’s you. I must be dreaming. It isn’t even time for you to appear in my book yet.

Camera on Drake

DRAKE

Sir Francis? Would that I were. Are you a witch, prophesying my future? Is that why you’ve called me here? (He keeps looking around, shaking his head to clear up his vision)

AUTHOR

Well, you could say I’m a witch. I must have conjured you up. Or did you wander over from some Renaissance Faire?

DRAKE

A faire? Be you daft, Madame? I’m aboard my ship, the Pasco, and ye may be assured there are no women there! So you must be a witch.

AUTHOR

No women… well, none that you’d know of. You do play a prominent part in my book, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE.

DRAKE

God’s Faith! Now you’ve got me all a-puzzle. Who is Melaynie, pray tell? And where is Christopher, my captain’s boy?I sent him on an errand, before you so rudely called me here.

AUTHOR

(with mischievious smile) Christopher, you say… hmm. Now Christopher has an important relationship to Melaynie.But that’s my secret, and hers.

DRAKE

(loudly in exasperation)

God’s Eyeballs! The minds of women! What has one to do with another? Christopher lad, where is my compendium? I must check our course. We may be nearer the Caribbean than I thought.

Camera on CHRISTOPHER as she rushes in, out of breath.

CHRISTOPHER

Captain, Captain. Here tis.  (She hands him a compass).

DRAKE

This is no compendium! I’ve never seen such a thing. (He looks hard at the Author). Is this another of your trickeries?

AUTHOR

It’s only a modern-day compass. It should get you to the Caribbean.

Camera on Christopher and Drake

CHRISTOPHER

(She catches sight of the Author, smiles as if she knows the secret of why she’s here, easily accepting the Author’s presence. She turns back to Drake) Aye Captain. I’ve never seen such as that, not even in the print shop.

DRAKE

The print shop? Tis a strange dream I’m having. Books, print shops. I’m trying to sail a ship and keep my men alive and healthy.

CHRISTOPHER

(She looks dreamy, remembering).

Captain Drake, ‘tis my father’s print shop I was speaking of. The Odyssey, ‘twas the book I was reading that must have inspired this masquerade. ‘Tis the male sex that have all the adventures. What’s a poor girl to do but dream? Of course I did do something about it.

DRAKE

Child, what are you prattling on about?

AUTHOR

Melaynie… Oops, I mean Christopher, just because I’m here, don’t get carried away. Your captain never finds out your secret.

CHRISTOPHER

(saucily, betraying girlish ways)

Of course not. Men can be dull creatures! Not Francis Drake, mind you, but he had too much affection for me to see past my disguise.

(She does a little dance)

DRAKE

(He turns to Author and in a very self-assured manner proclaims…)

If ‘tis you, Good Lady, bedeviling me with this dream. reverse it back, I implore ye, afore I lose my mind and bearings. Let me awaken from this business. The Carib Sea awaits, where I am determined upon taking Spanish treasure. Twill be full of danger, but the rewards will be great. I mean to make my fortune, with aplenty for my men as well. (He gently taps Christopher on the shoulder) Even for young Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER

(she looks at him with imploring look)

Prithee, Good Captain, am I to be part of these perilous sports?

DRAKE

Young Christopher, upon that I shall ponder. Beguile us no longer Good Witch. My duty calls.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Farewell, I bid thee be gone.

(she waves her hands and the two disappear).

What an incredible imagination I must have. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes,

She turns back to her pen and paper.

“Her hair wasn’t blond in her dream; it was very definitely red. Cherry red.. And plenty of it. It was her hair, she was positive of that. But there was a full and equally red mustache and beard. On her chin. She touched the soft flesh of her full cheeks and slightly pointed chin. Her stubborn chin, as her beloved brother David called it. Why was she continually dreaming that she was a man? And such a man! In her horned metal helmet she towered over her companions.”

Camera focuses on Drake playing mandolin and singing and then credits roll

MELAYNIE’S LAMENT

A fair young maid in a house of men

Three brothers and a father dear

On whom she waited both hand and foot

All seasons of the year.

Yet none could know that in her dreams

Another life did call

Where lives were sold for Spanish gold

And a boy ain’t what he seems

The fair young lass had had enough

And signed on with a crew

With ringlets shorn, on a cold gray morn

She bid her world adieu

As cabin boy to Capt. Drake

For adventure she set sail

Her comfort sold for Spanish gold

And therein hangs a tale.

AFRICAN ADVENTURE–A TRUE STORY

My connections to the continent of Africa have created some of my favorite adventures—both in person and with books I either edited or wrote. I wrote about my own years as a teenage military brat in Tripoli, Libya, in An Army Brat in Libya available on Amazon. When I first began editing books some years ago, I edited Dick Griffith’s book, In the Hearts of Famous Hunters, which told of the exploits of famous fellows like Roy Rogers, astronaut Wally Schirra, test pilot Chuck Yeager, and LA Times publisher Otis Chandler on African hunting expeditions.

Gods

More recently, I edited Dick Mawson’s book The Gods Who Fell From the Sky, also available on Amazon and doing marvelously well with sales. Shortly after WWII, as Dick tells the story, his English parents decided to make a fresh start in life and flew to Africa with their very young sons in a small twin-engine plane. After a non-fatal but heart-stopping crash into the bush not far from their destination, the family was rescued by native African villagers. Luckily, one of the villagers spoke English and sent word by runner to Ft. Jameson, fifty miles away. Nine days later the English chief of police in Rhodesia had assembled some trucks for the rescue, and the Mawsons eventually made their home in the capital of Salisbury.

Crashing into the southern part of Africa as a child was just the beginning of Dick’s amazing saga of overcoming adversity during an exciting and heartbreaking life. At the age of eleven, he lost a lower leg in a farming accident, and at sixteen, as a daring boat racer, seriously damaged his good leg, among other injuries. He managed to overcome both hurdles to achieve consistent winning status in car racing in Africa, Europe and England. He’s over 70 now, and living in southern England, but he’s still racing cars and building them as well.

Along the way, Dick was happily married to his lovely Penny (he’ll tackle those challenges and her death in his second book), had children and now is the grandfather of five. Despite all his racing wins and business successes, he says his family is his greatest achievement. Dick Mawson shown below with two granddaughters.

Mawson+grands

Editing Dick’s book was an adventure for me. After the basic facts, I wanted to know more about the wildlife, the bugs, the plants and the people. Dick had many tales to tell and together we flushed out the important and entertaining parts of his story. As an energetic, “never say die” man, he had many hilarious incidents to relate about his life. He even found humor in the really tough parts—handling his injuries during several accidents and once having his false leg slip off, which terrified a woman in a London subway tunnel so badly she fainted.

According to Dick Mawson, “It’s pointless looking at what one can’t achieve in life when there is just so much that one can achieve. There is nothing that I have found to be impossible. There are always ways of reaching your goal and the biggest thing along the way is to have fun doing it.”

500 BLOGS TO CELEBRATE!

It’s been almost 5 years since I started my blog, Words on My Mind. I’ve now posted 500 blogs – HOORAY!! At this point, judging by the statistics, I’ve had at least two million people check in.

I used a poem to begin my efforts. Here’s part of what I wrote:

Birth pains were negligible,

A little wine helped,

And some chocolate with nuts.

Since the Baby Blog

Has shot into Cyberspace,

It’s no telling what it

May eventually weigh.

Does anyone know

The Weight of Opinions?

I started the blog to promote my editing business and to sell my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade. Since then I’ve written 6 additional books (Ebook format) that are also for sale on Amazon. An Army Brat in Libya, Discovering the Victor in Victoria, Colonels Don’t Apologize, Angels in Uniform, Pink Glasses, and Weird Dates and Strange Fates.

Victoria Giraud

Victoria Giraud

As a consistent chronicler of my interesting life, in notebooks and eventually on computer, I’ve reported my personal history, ups and downs! I had written plenty of tales of growing up as an Army brat, my long career as a newspaper and magazine editor/reporter in Los Angeles, and life as a single woman. Since 2010 I’ve written about living in Bavaria right after World War II, living in Tripoli, Libya, in the 1950s, and residing in the Washington, D.C. area during John Kennedy’s presidency. For the past 50 years (alas, I’m no longer a youngster), I’ve enjoyed experiencing Southern California life.

The fun of getting older is looking back to the hurdles and successes of life and all the people you’ve known or seen in one way or another. I’ve written about most of it. I saw John F. Kennedy twice (when he was a senator and then a president), Robert Kennedy twice, shook hands with Richard Nixon in Libya, and observed Lyndon Johnson in the Senate. These experiences have been chronicled in my blog.

I observed Hollywood stars at Washington National Airport during the March on Washington in 1963. I stood at a window between Sammy Davis, Jr. and James Baldwin (the author), saw Paul Newman, James Garner and Sidney Poitier, and spoke with Charlton Heston. I lived through some of the repercussions from the Suez Crisis in Tripoli in 1956. I enjoyed the fun of a 1958 Mediterranean Cruise courtesy of the US Navy, landing in Athens, Istanbul, Naples, and Gibraltar, to name a few.

Since I knew and had interviewed character actor, Strother Martin, I attended his funeral at Forest Lawn in 1980 and saw Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. I wrote a blog about the experience. Living in SoCal, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with James Whitmore, William Shatner, Peter Strauss, Ellen Burstyn, Robert Stack, Valerie Harper, Kelsey Grammar, Della Reese, and Sally Kellerman, to name a few. While I worked at the phone company in Hollywood, I observed Dean Martin on a motorcycle,  saw Cornel Wilde and Mitzi Gaynor at the Brown Derby, and had a lovely chat with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in Santa Monica. When I edited and wrote a magazine for the Beverly Hills Country Club, I interviewed athletes Rafer Johnson and Jack Kramer (my first tennis racket had his name on it) and TV star Barbara Eden. I’ve written about all these experiences as well as the sometimes crazy times of being single and dating.

One of my most entertaining interviews was with Jules Sylvester, an animal trainer born in Kenya. He was my neighbor for a while and invited me out to see his Komodo dragon (in the Marlon Brando/Matthew Broderick film “The Freshman”) and all the spiders and insects he trained for all sorts of films (“Snakes on a Plane” not too long ago).

I’ve written about the powerful 1994 LA earthquake, and about my genealogy on my mother’s Motley side, which included John Motley Moorehead, a governor of North Carolina before the Civil War. I’ve told my personal story of surprising my birth father at his office in the Pentagon in 1964. I was too young to remember him when he left to fight in Italy during WWII. Three days after we met and spent time together, he said I was his lucky charm: he had been promoted to Brigadier General.

When I’m not writing my blog, I’m spending time editing books of all types and have written/promoted many of them on my blog. So far, I’ve edited about 130 books in all genres: from historical fiction, memoirs, romance and action adventure, to self-help and children’s books.

I’ve tooted my horn enough. If, dear Reader, you’re intrigued, check out my archives after you read today’s blog. Thank you!

 

 

WEIRD DATES & STRANGE FATES -for sale on Amazon

Most writers love what they do, it’s the marketing that can be a drag. But since I write a bi-weekly blog, I can publicize the books and stories I’ve written and announce they’re all available on Amazon. The holiday season is perfect for letting my readers know I have some short books in Ebook format. All of them are based on my life, even though I’ve changed the character names for the most part. The subject of several of my books concerns the world of being unmarried or divorced.  Being single can be daunting when you’re looking for good men. It’s such a popular topic that the Los Angeles Times is publishing a true story every week in their special Saturday section.

Below are two excerpts from my dating adventures chronicled in a Kindle Single book on Amazon: Weird Dates and Strange Fates

For more details, check out– http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

Weird Dates and Strange Fates#1

A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noticed a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it black spike heels.
“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.
“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”
She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.
Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.
“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

The Dark Side

When the letter returned with no forwarding address a week later, I was tempted to drive to his apartment. Derek’s daughter lived across the street, but I didn’t know the address or remember the daughter’s last name. I had an odd feeling of apprehension as I pondered what could have happened and searched my memory for little details that might indicate what to do next. Had I missed some important minutiae about him in all these months? How well did I really know him? I reflected, as my mind raced with a slew of possibilities.
Derek had meant too much to me to let the matter drop. He couldn’t have just left, I reasoned. What of all his obligations, his children, his friends? He filled his life with so many people and duties; surely someone would have the answers.
I called the office again, remembering that Derek’s best friend, Tom, worked in the same building. Tom told me he couldn’t talk in the office; he would call me at home. His comment piqued my curiosity. What would he tell me that was so secret?
The following evening he telephoned, eager to share the story.
“You remember that Derek went back to Boston to spend Christmas with his aging parents. He said he probably wouldn’t be seeing them again. I just assumed he meant because they were getting older. Then Derek ended up talking to me for three hours after our office party the Friday before New Year’s. He usually scooted out of there right after work, no matter what.”
Tom continued, “Derek didn’t show up for work the Tuesday after the New Year holiday. When he didn’t come on Wednesday, I called his daughter, Susan. Susan hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, she said, but there was a letter from him on her desk. She said she’d check on things and call me back. When she called back a half hour later, she was hysterical.”

To read what happens in both stories, check out my Amazon link or just look up Victoria Giraud’s author page on Amazon.

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