Do You Have a Trump Connection?

Julie Andrews

Everyone has a 6 Degrees of Separation “Kevin Bacon” kind of connection to the rich, famous, and powerful. Mine with Trump goes like this: I interviewed pianist Lola Astanova, pictured here. She has played at Trump’s Mara Lago. Julie Andrews was once in a movie with James Garner called “The Americanization of Emily,” about as anti-war a film as Avatar. When I reviewed Garner’s biography, I got an email from his daughter, who liked the review. (Garner is one of my fav actors, see a previous post.) As for Trump himself, he once visited Palm Island in the Grenadines, as told to me when I interviewed the owner of Palm (but not Dubai’s Palm island, as researched for my novel “The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott.”) John Caldwell sailed around the world to acquire and develop the place, which he purchased for $1 a year for 99 years, with a 12% interest in future profits going to St. Vincent. He then spent twenty years with a wheelbarrow, turning the place from a swamp into a paradise. His tale of fending off renegades (who took neighboring Union Island) by firing over their heads with rifles as they approached inspired my novel “Fame Island,” which was narrated by an Emmy winner and directed by a Grammy winner on audio, and is also an ebook “The Instant Celebrity.” Caldwell also allowed the Marines to park their helicopters there during the Grenada invasion. My fake game show scout protagonist was hired by a Powerball lotto winner to stage a Survivor type show in order to fool the corrupt governor of Union (who had fooled the citizens to get elected.) Howard Rosen, the lottery winner, had disappeared the moment of picking up his check because he intended to be famous for more than just 15 minutes by re-emerging a hero. Quotes by both Mark Burnett (Survivor and the Apprentice) plus Trump himself appear at the novel’s opening, Trump’s being: “People are impressed by fame. Think big, and live large.”  (This was all pre-Trump entering politics.) 

James Garner  

Palm Island

Finally, my first novel, “Postmarked for Death,” was endorsed by Clive Cussler (who owns the largest private antique car collection) and John Lutz (Single White Female movie), inspired by the Unabomber, with a postal clerk protagonist that listens to Rush Limbaugh while making letter bombs, and targets illegal immigrants and government offices providing ATM cards for them in Tucson. When I did a book signing for the hardcover (now an ebook at iTunes), the bookstore owner in Phoenix refused to mention it on the loudspeaker, and put me at the back of the store. He never read the whole thing. Neither did the Booklist reviewer, who later retracted his review when called on it (in an ending that no one could guess.) In the end of the “Why Done It” Calvin gets his just desserts in “a spectacular fashion.” So all’s well that ends well, and there you have it. Any questions?   

Grenadines

Advertisements

Manhunt: Unabomber

Manhunt Unabomber

Sam Worthington of Avatar fame (as FBI profiler Jim Fitzgerald) heads a Discovery TV cast that includes Paul Bettany (as Ted Kaczynski), Jane Lynch, and Katja Herbers. The notorious Unabomber inspired my first novel Postmarked for Death, set in the Tucson post office, where I once worked (and listened to audiobooks while sorting mail.) In the novel I blew up the post office, something many imagine doing in monotonous jobs (LOL.) Postal inspectors grilled me when the hardcover was released, but I’d given the postmaster a copy prior to release for a “heads up” on it, and he loved it. So I simply told the inspectors, “see the boss.” The novel was endorsed by Clive Cussler and John Lutz, and won an award on audio, narrated by the late great Frank Muller. It is now an ebook at iTunes, BN.com, and Smashwords.com (for Kindle, Nook, and iPad, plus PDF format.) I explored an abandoned Titan missile base in the desert to get the ending scene right. There have been a number of postal shootings over the years, as well. My suspense is a “why-dunnit” more than a “who-dunnit,” because you know from page one who the killer is…a postal clerk who kidnaps a female inspector and sets up another co-worker to take the fall. Police are looking for the wrong man, while he continues to work and mail letter bombs, with extreme political views. Calvin taunts Victor Kazy, the inspector looking for him…and whose boss he has taken (as in Taken.) John Lutz (Single White Female) paid me the best compliment, because his next book after endorsing mine featured a bomber in NYC. Look forward to the TV series. Given our divided and extreme culture, it is important to understand all points of view instead of reverting to guns and bombs to “make a point” to those who refuse to listen.

Unabomber

Why I Like THE ROCKFORD FILES

James Garner

Just heard James Garner’s biography on audio, and was struck, not just by his honesty, candor, or his anecdotes on movies, but his generous attitude and lack of ego, despite being labeled as a “curmudgeon.” The Rockford Files is one of the few TV series that I truly enjoyed, due to its offbeat yet believable writing, its humor, and its lack of bling. (One of many surprises, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers was a foul-mouthed mini-Hitler who hated actors, writers, and agents…but he was afraid of Garner, thinking he might pick him up and throw him out the window, as Errol Flynn once threatened to do!) Garner appreciates writers, unlike many other actors, and never tried to change scripts as bigger egos tried to do.

Sopranos Rockford Files

Latest revelation is that The Sopranos began with The Rockford Files…the Soprano’s writer was the same guy who wrote two episodes of Garner’s hit series.

If you can’t live up to “What would Jesus do?” as a motto, don’t descend to “What would Joel Osteen do?” but instead consider “What would Jim Rockford do?” In a world of hustlers and con men, Rockford maintained his honesty and dignity, was loyal to his friends, and treated everyone as equals. Modest, yet unimpressed by fame or fortune, he gave everyone a fair shot, yet never fell for a sucker punch twice, and had a nose for deceit. A man of his word, even if he bent the rules, Rockford was nobody’s fool, yet he had a heart of gold. Women depended on him, even if they never took him seriously in the end, living in that trailer, and often betrayed him. But he never used them. Simple and sincere, Jim Rockford was one of a kind, with his own thoughts and values, which were unshakable. Often the victim, the good guy who finishes last, he reemerged intact, able to enjoy the sunrise of the next day. How many men in the real world can go through what he went through, yet remain true to themselves?  —JL

James Garner dies