Monday, April 29, 2013

The whys of terrorism

I did write a book about it…Captive…in novel form but it’s still at the core.   Why do people do these horrible things?  I was reading today about the gruesome recovery some of the victims of the Boston bombing are enduring. 

My introduction to terrorism is all rooted in the IRA and the related bomb scares (and bombs) while I was a child visiting London.  My dad is British and we’d stop there en route to his family home in Wales.  Bomb scares make a lasting impression on a child and I struggled with the concept.

So, this is what I learned when I did the research (in a nutshell…for the book read Captive).

1.     Terrorism is meant to terrorize.  Hence it is random and unpredictable.  Visual and destructive (think close cameras at the Boston Marathon finish line and nails and such in the bombs…leading to physical harm and lingering injury).
2.     The goal is not the act itself but the disproportionate response from those attacked.  Terrorists don’t have the means to fight traditionally.  They are a smaller and lesser entity.  Thus the best they can do is to strike a brutal or panicked response…making their side more compelling or sympathetic and also creating mass panic.  A revocation of civil rights, a closing down of a city, people avoiding public places, hysteria and paranoia, a shutting down of parts of the economy….  Any way people change behavior or repression takes hold means the terrorist wins.
3.     They don’t have the assets to fight using traditional warfare.  Usually terrorists aren’t states or they are lesser states.  They need to inflict maximum damage at minimal costs.
4.     Terrorist rarely win in the long run.
5.     They do lead to lasting change in societies.  I can assure you that ditching a backpack in public view is a lot harder in Jerusalem than it is in most American cities, even today.
6.     Terrorists are sometime on the moral right side.  Assad calls his adversaries terrorists…as he targets hospitals, doctors, children and uses chemical weapons.  Definitions can be tricky in this genre.
7.     Terrorism is cult-like.  There is in depth indoctrination and a way to belong, such as customs, behaviors, groupings and belonging.
8.     Terrorist target those who think logically and in rules.  Those studying science and math.  Like our younger brother terrorist in the Boston bombing.  People who think this way are more likely to follow the rules or instruction.
9.     Terrorists are bad people and there is no excuse.  Terrorists target women, children and civilians.  Their intent is to harm and terrorize.  The best moral justification they can use is that “no one is innocent” or “the end justifies the means”.  Ask Nelson Mandella about that question/justification.  Or Martin Luther King JR.  Terrorism is an emasculated and frustrated person’s way of showing that they can have power too and hurting those defenseless.

I’m obviously not a supporter of terrorism, regardless of how noble the cause.  But it continues…

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie

I like Salman Rushdie's novels and I enjoyed The Satanic Verses.  Rushdie crafts engaging sentences and compelling plots.  They do meander and I get lost...then sometimes I think he wanders too far in his narrative and loses me.

More a man's writer than a woman's?  Maybe just one that I enjoy but never pick as my favorite?  No matter...Rushdie still gets me buying and reading.

I love Joseph Anton, however.  I would even go so far as to call it among my all time favorites in the biography and autobiography genre ever.  And I love the genre.

Joseph Anton was Rushdie's adopted name during his time in hiding after a Fatwa was announced (proclaiming his death and offering $1 million to whomever achieved it).

The book is great.  Want to live vicariously through a best selling author with brilliant and accomplished literary friends?  See how he writes and crafts his novels?  Get into the hell that was his time in hiding?

He gets both mean and petty.  But Rushdie also shines in his humanity and even humility (the latter word not often used when describing him).  And he writes it all so brilliantly.

I've read a lot of truly great books lately.  This one is a favorite and I highly recommend it.  Few can so thoroughly take us into their world, for good and bad.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

John le Carre's A Delicate Truth...released May 7

John le Carre....a true favorite...has a new book coming.  Bumped my planned post off the site for today (and I was just sitting down to write something else).  Watch.

And there was a great interview with the author in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Why do I like his writing so much?  Because I digs deep into what haunts his characters and makes them come alive...but as flawed and real very interesting.

The book is on sale May 7.  As described the publisher (as sadly I haven't read it yet!!!!):

The story of A DELICATE TRUTH unfolds over three years. A British civil servant is dispatched to Gibraltar where a top secret counter-terror operation (codename: Wildlife) is being mounted. He has been assigned by a Minister of Her Majesty’s Foreign Office to be his eyes and ears on the ground.  The mission is so delicate that not even the Minister’s private secretary, Toby Bell, is admitted to the plan. The operation goes off without a hitch.  Or does it?
Three years on, Sir Christopher “Kit” Probyn, a former British diplomat, is enjoying his well-earned retirement. Brought face to face with a living ghost from his past, he desperately appeals to Toby for enlightenment. With the surreptitious help of Kit’s daughter Emily, two men a generation apart, both loyal servants of the Crown, will separately discover whetherWildlife was the triumph it was made out to be, or a tragedy ruthlessly suppressed by the Foreign Office to which they owe their allegiance.
This year has already seen the Penguin republication of two le Carré novels, The Looking Glass War and A Small Town in Germany, (concluding Penguin’s publication program of eleven backlist le Carré titles). This fall (September) will be the 50th anniversary of the novel that brought le Carré worldwide attention, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, as well as a feature film adaptation of A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and directed by legendary photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn. In addition, le Carré has recorded the audio book of A DELICATE TRUTH, the first time he has ever read an unabridged edition of one of his novels. 2013 will be a banner year for this extraordinary writer.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Today's favorite things...

I'm overly busy so taking the easy way out with my blog postings...will write about Boston tomorrow.... new favorite things are these bright matte lipsticks from MAC Cosmetics.  Why?  I've been thinking about other and death...the heavy stuff.  Where I am in life right now.

These lipsticks are bright and cheery.  The matte aspect makes the color somehow stronger.  When we have a lot of deep stuff going on some truly amazing lipstick is a nice distraction.  Especially with such vivid and cheerful colors.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Zodiac....favorite thing of the day

My favorite thing of the day...

Urban Decay Moondust eyeshadow in Zodiac.  It's a gold- green and a lot more (blue...yellow...gorgeous whatever it is).  I "borrowed" the pictures from the xSparkage blog...check out Leesha's great review of this product.

I don't usually grab pictures like this...or not too often...but hers are so awe inspiring.

Yes, I'm having a crazy busy day but wanted to post something.

I wore this shadow for the first time today and got so many compliments.  The color is flattering but the new formula - as this Moondust line - was just released about a week ago by Urban Decay is glittery but a hauntingly delicate way.  It's sheer but colorful and sparkles ever so distinctly.  I recommend you check it out as...while I like to think I can write at least okay descriptions...this formula is such a visual impact describing it in words falls flat.

And Urban Decay is currently offering $50 worth of cosmetics when you spend makeup (some eyeshadow and a few other items).

Now I need to run.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eric Clapton's Blackie Guitar

I think this picture is so cool....

See that guitar?  The man on the left paid a million dollars for it.  Okay, Guitar Center did...when he was CEO (he's chairman now).  Eric Clapton's Blackie guitar.  Paul Allen owns Brownie.  And the man on the left is Marty Albertson with his friend Richard Riordan.

I love old things with I've written often before.  Seriously?  Eric Clapton's guitar.  Too amazing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why I write what I write...Boston...

I could write chic lit, or business, or gosh lots of things.  But I wrote Captive and have just finished the sequel (well, okay, I need to do one more revision...seriously...need to...).  Terrorist novels.  My mom won't even read Captive...claiming that a book with a terrorist as a main character is too depressing.

Yes, terrorists are depressing.  Infuriating.  Unnerving.  Evil but misunderstood.  Monsters...but often fighting the wrong way for a cause in which they truly believe.  Like gang members they are sometimes the most enterprising members of their society.  And most effective.  And most successful.  Mad at me yet?

People blow people up.  Lots of people were blown up yesterday.  And the bombs were meant to maim.  Including children.

I grew up with a British dad and spent a lot of time in London during the IRA bomb scares.  People got hurt there then too.  Over 60 people died in terrorists attacks in Iraq over the past 24 hours.  Lots more were maimed and killed.  In Syria, about 70,000 people are estimated to have died over the past two years and about a million are refuges.  And it's cold there right now.  Doctors are being targeted by Assad.

Depressed yet?

That's why I wrote's why I wrote a's why I don't always write the light fun and easy to read stuff.  Oh, I have my education book....some lighter drafts...some....of all sorts of things.

But hopefully I never stop writing about what makes me mad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Virgin Soul by Judy Juanita book review

I love Virgin Soul by Judy Juanita.  The book is stepping into the life of Geniece, an African American young woman getting seduced by the Civil Rights movement during her early college years and in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I’m from).  Parentless and raised by relatives, subject to the turmoil of society around her, and haunted by race, she’s basically a good girl deciding her values.

The books reads a little like a diary and is detailed in the minutia of daily life.  I’m so far out of Geniece’s experience but appreciated hearing her viewpoint.  These two factors together do what fiction is supposed to do…take you into another world and let you feel the reality of someone different.

And gosh does Juanita take on big issues.  Occasionally, they weigh a bit heavy…but in the believable way of a young girl grappling to form her own opinions.  This is a coming of age book very relevant today in our world of ever changing values and morals.  Being just post Baby Boom I forget all the evolving values that generation felt compelled to resolve.

I hope people read this book and step outside their world and into Geniece’s.  Virgin Soul captures a pivotal point of time in our American history through the eyes of a likeable girl who grows into a woman before our eyes.  And it’s in the Bay Area!  Please, one of the most compelling areas of social and societal (I mean technology based) change!

Read this book!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Breathing...and being grateful for it...

I'm still catching' spring break knocked my schedule over and I haven't gotten all reorganized.

But I'm feeling grateful today.  Sometimes my amazing kids and friends are so wonderful I'm so appreciative I almost can't articulate the feeling.  I'm glad to have today...this opportunity to do things and learn and work and all of that.  Go to yoga or SoulCycle.  UCLA.  Crazy...I know...but I've always had that sort of personality.

I like things...a lot...and get excited by small things.  A book, a conversation, a smile or just a walk.

Today is one of those days.  As I hear at the end of spinning...think of one thing for which you're grateful.  Today I'm grateful just to breathe and have this moment.  I'll stress about all that I need to do tomorrow (though I'll keep working at finishing them today).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Attitude and why a good one matters so much

I  heard someone (really important) speak today and I'm not sure I'm allowed to comment who.  But I can share the most important of many important walk-away insights.
Attitude matters.  The speaker said that, really, he doesn't want to hear about what sort of day you're having.  He wants you to do your job well and with a great attitude.  So, the example he used was a waiter.  Bad day or not they should provide good service to get a good tip.
I like his point and must admit that, while I'm pretty upbeat and hard working I do have my bad attitude moments.  No one cares...why...they just see the attitude.  And they mostly don't like it when it's bad.  As Mamie said in Gone With The Wind, "honey catches more flies than vinegar".
This attitude is one we can all pass along to our children and practice ourselves (kids learn from watching).  Not a person alive today doesn't ever have really bad days.  But they can gut through them, keep smiling, work hard and be nice.  
Such an attitude might get you to the top of a Hollywood studio one day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Well, gosh I've been overwhelmingly busy and haven't gotten a lot of things posting here.  Do you hear the excuses starting...?

I am actually a reasonably disciplined person, especially when it comes to work.  But I get distracted..overwhelmed...over-committed...over-stressed...over everything.  And sometimes we really do get so busy we need to dump all activities not absolutely necessary.

Not finishing everything isn't a crime.  Not picking it up again when you can is.  Too often we stop when really overwhelmed or overcommitted and then never pick up the other projects we dropped.  Once ditched, something we cared about enough to start gets thoroughly abandoned.  As my friend Parissh Knox said a while back, and to paraphrase, what sets those who succeed apart is that they finish things.  Anyone can start.

Finishing, resuming, committing, continuing...not matter how hard discipline.

This post is my returning to this commitment, this page.  Short (and hopefully sweet), it's my discipline of the moment.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Inspiration can come from somewhere or nowhere.  The important thing is only that it comes.  How do we find that thing which spurs the original?  The profound?  The lasting?

I like the internet for that pressure.  Because it demands constant inspiration, new content and originality.  Has all been done before?  Not online.  And that immediacy allows for mistakes.  Only by risking and daring can we do something truly different.

I'm writing this with lots of kids running around, chattering, interrupting and just being children.  I work faster....

The reality is that we will none of us do well at everything we create.  The important first step is draw from our imagination or environment and just start.

The rest comes.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Erin Kelly's The Burning Air

            The Burning Air is a good book.  It tackles an interesting challenge…that of how an author can use a back story to drive a thriller.  Doing so can be very difficult as you’re melding two very different requirements for success.  How did Kelly do?

            The story revolves around a scholarship.  Should it have been given to a boy who doesn’t win it/was it given unfairly to a boy who only wins based on family connections and priviledge?  What results from the lack of clarity when a bitter disadvantaged youth blames his mother’s death on the winning family?

            Obviously, we have a mess at hand.
            A backstory requires work, depth and time to unfold.  A thriller needs to move forward.  Kelly’s book accomplishes both well; she ties them together less well.

            This book is very much worth a read.  Compelling and vivid, I can still see the story and the characters.  But I will state that I expect more of the author next time…leave a little back story behind to move the action forward.  Still, my complaints are minimal.  This book is a fun, engaging and compelling read.