1992 Los Angeles Riots Excerpt from ‘Diary of a Hollywood Nobody’

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

This is an edited excerpt from my novel, Diary of a Hollywood Nobody.

Wednesday, April 29, 1992

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaOn Monday, I began a new assignment in the basement of the Union Pacific Bank. There were several departments in the sprawling basement and I got lucky as the lawyer I worked for took every Wednesday afternoon off in order to perfect his golf game at the Wilshire Country Club.

George, the guy in charge of the mailroom, came over to the desk where I sat. My work consisted of alphabetizing loan applications for another secretary. I noticed his serious expression as he told me that the four cops who’d beaten Rodney King had been acquitted out in Simi Valley. The look on his broad Samoan face told me that he didn’t agree with the decision. Neither did I. “People are outside the court house yelling guilty, guilty.” He shook his head. “They’re saying it could get ugly…”

Quitting time was five o’clock and I drove home the usual way and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Until I got home and turned on the TV. I still didn’t have cable but that didn’t matter as every channel was broadcasting the events. Fires were set, looters invaded stores, and my adopted city was in a state of chaos. The only noise I heard was that of sirens screaming down Melrose and helicopters overhead.

Thursday, April 30

Early that morning I called Alltemps and asked if I should go in to work. The answer was yes. I guess being located in the middle of Beverly Hills changed their perspective.

I took Sunset to downtown and parked at the usual lot east of the business district on 6th and Bixel. There weren’t many cars. In the distance, I saw plumes of smoke. L.A. was on fire and I had to report to work in the basement of a bank.

The bank office was abuzz with static-filled radios. Iesha, a South Central resident, spoke of a night of terror. Luckily, her house remained intact and her kids were unharmed. Her husband was out of town so she and her three grade-school aged children endured a night of fires and looting and helicopters buzzing overhead. The nearby mini-mall was looted and burned. No more convenience store, video shop, or Chinese takeout remained.

Sybil was another black woman who had a firecracker of a night. She resided in Koreatown, a hard-hit area near 8th and Vermont. Her apartment was unscathed, but she received a free fire show. Windows broke. Gunshots rang out.

Every so often, someone would remember the employees below street level and announce another mishap. Looting on 6th Street. Fires burned everywhere. No work was done.

By noon, we were dismissed due to the ‘civil disturbance.’ Nerves were wrought. Various forms of panic seized the employees. George was accompanying Rosalinda to her bus stop near Skid Row.

I was driven to the outdoor lot across the Harbor Freeway. Two other cars remained in the $3 per day lot. Behind me, the smoke was billowing higher and darker. I locked my car doors. I was leaving work at lunchtime and wasn’t pretending I was sick; there was a legitimate excuse for going home early.

It started gradually. I noticed more pedestrians on the sidewalks than usual. Teens. Little kids. Mothers.  They headed westwards, about a half mile from Vermont Avenue. People trotting, some running. Uphill, at the intersection of Beverly and Vermont, traffic stopped at a green light.

Read more about the riots as well as the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood. This unique diary is available here:
Amazon link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

B&N Nook link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

iTunes link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Kobo link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Scribd link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Smashwords link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

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Don’t Buy or Borrow Kindle Unlimited Rip-off eBooks

Copyright 2015 by Lisa Maliga

 bookscomputerJust after the July launch of the Kindle Unlimited program an author of a soap making eBook emailed me asking for a review. After reading it, I got the impression that everything within the 50 pages was regurgitated information. There weren’t any resource links. The recipes weren’t coherent—add some of this oil with some of this water and this amount of lye. Instead of getting a review, the author received an email asking about her soap making experience. Unsurprisingly, there was no response.

That was my introduction to a Kindle Unlimited eBook.

Books in Kindle Unlimited, KU for short, are only found on Amazon’s website. None of the titles are available at Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd, Smashwords or other online bookstores.

While free for authors, readers pay $9.99 per month for the service that “…allows you to read as much as you want, choosing from over 700,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks. Freely explore new authors, books, and genres from mysteries and romance to sci-fi and more. You can read on any device.”

kindle unlimited logo Read this title for free and get unlimited access to over 700,000 titles.

Authors with books in the KU program generally price their titles from $0.99 to $9.99. They can also give a title away for up to 5 days during each 90-day period their title is enrolled in the KU program. If free, anyone can download the book whether they are KU members or not. Another huge benefit for the KU author is the borrowing part of the program. Whenever a KU member borrows a title, the author receives up to $1.40. The amount varies every month but it’s always more than one dollar. Even if the book is priced at 0.99, the author still gets $1.40 [or whatever the amount is that month] PER BORROW. That’s why every single rip-off title is enrolled in this program.

There are many excellent titles in the KU program. But I’m going to concentrate on the rip-off titles that are often plagiarized from websites, blogs and Pinterest. By reading this article, you’ll learn how to avoid downloading rip-offs.

[For the record: I won’t tackle fiction because that’s a lot different, especially with series, serials, billionaire romances, erotica, and alphas, etc.]

A rip-off title is usually less than 50 pages in length. Of course, regular nonfiction titles may also be brief, so I’ll point out the many red flags that boldly signal a rip-off. Again, this is only for nonfiction books, as that’s where I have the most experience as I write about soap crafting. I’m going to expand it to include all bath and body/bath and beauty books. However, even if you read and write about real estate or farming, you still should find this article helpful.

 redflagThe Formula

Soap making books begin with the history of soap making. For other bath and beauty books, the opening pages will let you know how toxic commercial lotions, lip balms, sugar and salt scrubs, bath bombs, etc. actually are.

redflag LONG titles with up to 30 words. This is called keyword stuffing.

Example title: Homemade Body Butter: 25 Natural Body Butter And Lotion Recipes To Keep Your Skin Smooth And Feeling Moisturized! (How To Body Butter, DIY Body Butter, Natural Body Butter And Lotion Recipes).

I’ve only changed a few words, but this is how some rip-off books are marketed. It’s not necessarily wrong but it’s clumsy!

redflag Nonexistent book contributors

Every author credits him or herself, but there are also other contributors that can be added like editor, foreword, photographer, illustrator, introduction, preface, translator and narrator. I’ve found books that have ‘body butter’ as an editor, ‘lotion’ as a foreword, and ‘soapmaking’ as an illustrator. Doing this exploits the entire Kindle publishing program and if found should be reported.

redflag Not crediting stock images.

redflag No author biography

Interested in learning about the author? If there’s no bio, there’s no way of knowing how much knowledge they have pertaining to the subject they’ve written about. There won’t be any sort of email address, website, Etsy page or social media information such as Twitter or Face Book. They have no blog or newsletter.

The lack of an author bio may indicate a new to KU author who is unaware that Amazon offers this free promotional tool. Alternatively, it might be a deliberate omission.

An author bio should indicate the author’s experience in making the products they are writing about, as they should be an expert in the field. Do they include their company name and contact information? Whether or not they own a business, or have owned a business in the past? How long have they been making B&B products? If they don’t make and sell their products, what qualifications do they have to write their book?

redflag Common American surnames

This is another way to lure borrowers and buyers—by using familiar surnames like Thomas, Brown, Mitchell, White, etc. It’s also how those from other countries make names seem more acceptable than their own. Authors who use several pseudonyms may do so to avoid detection. It’s also a way of using a name like a keyword – to attract more borrows and sales.

redflag Reviews

If a book has dozens of reviews, that might mean it’s often borrowed/sold. All of the reviews may be legitimate ones, especially if the reviewer indicates that they received a free review copy. To find a rip-off title, look beyond lots of 5-stars or 1-stars, or even no reviews.

eBooks may contain numerous 5-star reviews with only a smattering of bad reviews. Suggestion: read the bad ones. For example, a one star review written by a soap maker noted the amount of lye in a recipe in one of the rip-off titles was incorrect and the author had confused percentages and ounces. In other words, some “author” with no knowledge of soap making is presenting potentially harmful information. If a reader follows the instructions, that soap would burn their skin. Additionally, they would have wasted their time in reading the book and trying to apply the instructions, and money on buying ingredients and equipment. The responsibility of the author of any type of DIY book is to offer correct and accurate information. Sadly, the author of the questionable amounts has also written a dozen other titles in related fields.

A rip-off title may have garnered many positive reviews based on review swaps. I’ll go on record and state that I did a few of them from September to December 2014. Since then, I have completely stopped reviewing books due to the numerous rip-off titles I was getting.

redflag Proofreading problems

If the author is someone who is fluent in English as a first language, the quality of authorship ranges from excellent to riddled with grammar and “spell checkitis.”

redflag Poor translating

Foreign authors may have run the manuscript through an online translator resulting in unintentionally hilarious reading. My favorite was the one about heating your soap over a “weak fire.”

redflag Offer FREE bonus or gift in the beginning of the book.

redflag Enticing cover photo of the product[s]

All book covers should be enticing, of course. However, a rip-off will be revealed if the featured product[s] recipe and photo aren’t included inside the eBook. For example, a stack of oatmeal soap on the cover, yet there is no oatmeal soap recipe in the rip-off title.

redflag NO sample other than a table of contents or a legal disclaimer. The reader has to purchase or borrow the book in order to read more because there’s no actual writing sample.

redflag If recipes are included, they may be in a mixture of ounces, grams, tablespoons and teaspoons, which is very confusing for the reader.

redflag No medical or legal disclaimer. No safety precautions.

redflag The name on the cover may be spelled differently than the name on the book’s Amazon page.

redflag Rip-off titles can be heavily promoted and reviewed by bloggers. Unlike non-KU titles that only earn 4% commission on each title sold, bloggers may get up to 8.5 % on KU titles sold and/or borrowed.

In order to avoid being ripped off, please use this article as a checklist.

Memories of Bakery Bleu

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

bakery bleu pie notes from nadir lisa maligaConsolidating my archived emails, I came across some that were labeled Bakery Bleu. Ah yes, the first bakery I ever worked at, the one described in my novel, Notes from Nadir. The one where I met Gordon, the owner and baker. A quick Google search revealed that things had changed since that interview back on a beautiful warm and sunny April day. No longer was the bakery there—it had vanished. 

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 19 ~ The Boss of Bakery Bleu

Upon entering the bakery, I noticed a bin of unwrapped baguettes on the counter. I saw a variety of rolls and sweet rolls on the shelves, and behind the man who stood at the counter, were rows of different kinds of breads.

I met Gordon, a tall auburn haired man bordering on pudginess. He wore a navy polo shirt with the golden-brown Bakery Bleu logo [a pair of crossed breadsticks] above one of his manboobs. He shook my hand and sat down across from me so he could see both me and all the baked goodies to the north.

“Do tell me about yourself,” he said in a hearty voice. His accent wasn’t local, that’s for sure. He sounded English. Of course, I didn’t think he wanted to know about my personal history but about how valuable I’d be as a minimum wage slave, I mean, employee. I smiled, and for once, I wasn’t unhappy about sitting across from the man even though he could only offer a part time job. I pulled out a pale blue resume and handed it to him. He nodded and looked at it. I knew he was probably surprised when he saw the word Dreamweaver on the bottom where I listed a few web related things.

“You had your own business,” he studied that piece of paper atop the black table. “You lived in Los Angeles…what’re you doing here?”

Much as I want to, I couldn’t avoid that question. The man was scrutinizing me now. I looked at his dark eyes, then down at the table. “Cheap rent. I live with my mom.”

He had a genuine, hearty laugh. It sounded so wonderful after not hearing much of it that year. And I laughed out loud myself. It was true, that cliché about laughter being healthy.

“I did too when I first moved here from London.”

“Not London, Kentucky?”

He smiled broadly and I was feeling more comfortable with this man I had just met. “England.” He replied, though I knew the answer and he knew I knew that he was from across the pond.

“The people are so boring here,” I said. Oops, not the kind of thing to say in a job interview, especially as I was applying for a job where I’d be waiting on those boring people. But this didn’t really feel like one. “I didn’t say that,” I said.

He leaned forward a bit, covered his ears and replied, “I didn’t hear that!”

God, we were like teenagers on a first date.

He began speaking of the duties. The first date was over; it was a real job interview. He went over them: waiting on customers, taking calls, helping out with orders, mopping up… “It’s not General Motors,” he said. “We’ve all got to pull together.”

Like team spirit? I thought, but left that unsaid.

He complained about how slow business was. And the customers’ taste in bread. “The baguettes are too hard!” he mocked, using a higher pitched voice. He shook his head and in his sexily deep voice said, “I lived in France for eight years. A baguette is CRISP. Here they think it’s burned. I offered to sell them dough if they want soft baguettes.”

I chuckled at that image.

“Look, I only have one important question for you…” he paused with the drama of a stage actor.

Hmm, this was getting interesting. 

To read more, click NOTES FROM NADIR.

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notes from nadir lisa maliga ebook cover

“North of Sunset” New Cover + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2015

2010 cover
2010 cover

I first published NORTH OF SUNSET in late 2010—back when Amazon allowed us to put books into five categories rather than just two! Anyway, I finally found the time to get the cover redesigned as the first version looked like this small cover to your right.

Pretty lame, I know. I was adamant about using the cover photo because it was taken at Santa Monica Beach right at the edge of Sunset Boulevard and at 5:00 PM in December – sunset for real!

2011 cover
2011 cover

A year later, I fixed the font but the result wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I was going to get it professionally redone when I got involved in some soap crafting projects that kept me away from my Fireworks program. However, I hired a cover designer and the third cover below reflects the somberness of the book. This isn’t a conventional romance, it’s more of a contemporary fiction tale, a Hollywood story about a man who lives in that expensive enclave overlooking down the city of Los Angeles.

Here’s the new blurb: Sherman Lee is a volatile action movie producer in search of critical acclaim. Best friend Wesley Barron stars in his hit movies and knows about the producer’s troubled past. Emily Karelin is sent to work for Sherman due to her lack of show biz knowledge. Temping to support her figure skating habit, Emily works in his Beverly Hills mansion, unaware of how her life will drastically change. NORTH OF SUNSET explores the life of an ambitious man living above it all. Someone whose motto is “the only problem with being #1 is that it never lasts.”

north of sunset by lisa maliga
NEW 2015 cover

CHAPTER FOUR

The phone rang. He grabbed it. Silence. Then the sound of a static-filled voice: “Hi, this is Computer Components calling to let you know…”
“Go to hell!” Sherman shouted and hung up.
He was irritated. Just like he’d been that morning when he drove up to see that dented red Toyota parked beneath the basketball hoop. Reed had started on Friday after he’d fired that Cheetos and Pepsi drinking woman. Reed proved to be a decent assistant. Quick on the phones. Eager to please and he knew all the key names. But he was a lousy typist.
Sherman had been location scouting in Phoenix and was tired. Reed had made sure that a limo was at the airport, but the driver was one of Reed’s struggling actor friends who kept trying to talk to him when he wanted to sleep.
By Monday afternoon Sherman was furious. Reed was simpering on the phone to a bimbo model/actress. Then he offered Sherman the trades and had circled items in red pen, starring the cover page article on North/South Productions’ deal with Fox, Sherman’s company. Obviously Sherman had known about the information for months! So some pipsqueak wannabe producer was pointing it out to him!
Reed took another call for Sherman. “Who’s calling for Mr. Lee? Jerry? Which one–Lewis?” Reed crossed his eyes and made a stupid face.
Sherman lunged for the phone and took the call. “Jerry? Where are you? I’ll call you right back.” He slammed the phone down. “Reed, you’re fired.”
“What?”
“YOU’RE FIRED!” Sherman yelled, his Texas accent very clear. “Get out now!”
Reed decided that the producer wasn’t kidding around. The skinny young man looked very scared. The eyes he’d crossed in mockery were now welling up with tears. “Please, Mr. Lee…I…”
“Get out, you little piece of sh*t.” Sherman saw the fear in the young man’s eyes and felt power surge through him.
Reed headed for the doorway, not wasting an instant.
“You’ll never temp in this town again!” Sherman bellowed.
On Tuesday morning he called Jobs Co. and asked for someone who was competent and didn’t want to make it in show biz.

 Read the official blurb and see where you can get North of Sunset 

 

 

Wanna swap book reviews?

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

I’ve never been sought after as a book reviewer until I began posting on some Facebook book promotion groups. I’ve written book reviews in the past, but I don’t mention that on my website, blog or Facebook page. I also joined some groups where readers gave reviews. Soon I learned that 99% of those readers were also authors who needed their books reviewed. I was sent requests to swap reviews several times a day.

“Hi, are you interested for a review exchange?  My book is FREE on Kindle.”

“Hi Lisa, can we swap for your book? let me know. thanks”

“Hi Lisa, are you up for an honest review exchange? I have downloaded your book  and if you’ll give me a go signal then ill leave a positive review for your book. I have two books for free right now and ill appreciate if you”ll choose one for this.”

“Hi Lisa, I just downloaded your book.My book is also free today. Would you like to trade reviews?”

“Hey There, Would you be interested in doing an honest review exchange for some free books? I have 4 free books.”

“Hey would you be interested in an honest review swap? I have two free books today. Please download 1 or 2 and send me over your book (s) Free Books Only Today”

“Hi Lisa . Do you have 99c books for exchange reviews? Please let me know . Thanks!  Here’s my book :”

This is my latest request that I had to include as it’s so blatant. “Hi Lisa, I saw that you have an ebook available on Amazon – . I have one too, and I want to ask you if you want to exchange some reviews? I’ll buy your ebook and review it on Amazon with a 5 star and you’ll do the same with mine? Let me know if you are interested” 

Whenever I got one of those review swap requests, the first image that came to mind was this: grumpycat

Going by the casually written email examples, many of the free eBooks offered for review were of the same caliber. Worse than that, much of the information contained within the mercifully brief nonfiction titles could be found on Wikipedia and other online reference sites. 

I’m not saying that all nonfiction titles are scams, but the way you can tell if they are is to see if the author is an expert in their field. Have they written a soap making book and make and sell soap? If the book is about dieting and weight loss, have they utilized the diet plan they write about? I’ve discussed it in this post about shopping for soap making or bath & body products eBooks, but it applies to all nonfiction titles. 

What made me stop this quid pro quo review shenanigans? 1. I felt like I was at a certain vanity publisher’s message boards circa 2005 reading about authors asking other authors to buy and review their books. 2.  Review swaps aren’t appreciated at Amazon. 

So, I’m officially done with swapping, trading or exchanging eBook reviews. 

If you want to put a stop to review swaps, feel free to share this photo! 

grumpy cat says no to swapping book reviews

Sweet Dreams and Macarons

Copyright 2015-2016

by Lisa Maliga

sweet dreams a novella by lisa maliga ebook kindle smashwordsMacarons and sweet dreams? Yes, the two go together quite well. Macarons are sweet and somewhat crispy little cookies that can be filled with butter cream or chocolate ganache or various types of jams. They’re usually made with almond flour and are gluten-free. Macarons are often quite colorful, as you know if you’ve seen them. My opinion is that they’re the best kind of dessert—small and delicate. Fancy but not outrageously so. Yes, I’m so fond of macarons that I’m including mention of them in my sweet romance/cozy mystery, Macarons of Love: The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 4.

But what started it all was a romance novella I wrote called Sweet Dreams. Brenda Nevins, the main character, is a romance author/baker. Although the macarons part isn’t at the beginning of the story, these tempting little cookies do have a costarring role. During the writing of the ebook, I got obsessed with macarons. I read several cookbooks on how to make them, visited numerous websites, and sampled quite a few tasty macarons. I bought some online and even tried the Trader Joe’s version[s] which were easy to store as they went from frozen to just right in about 30 minutes.

It was a tough job, but I gutted [pun intended!] my way through it.

macarons sweet dreams bakery fresh romance novella lisa maligaAnd now, I’ll be revisiting macaron-land for the next few months while I write my book. But that’s fine with me. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to these fine sweet treats. This board has 5000+ pictures and recipes. Check it out! http://www.pinterest.com/lisamaliga/sweet-macarons

NEW! Learn to bake macarons! Check out BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE.

 

The Aroma of Love: (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 3) is Here + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2015, 2016

I wish I could write a book as fast as I read one, but that’s just not possible. Today, I’m launching the third book in the Yolanda’s Yummery series. Be prepared for sweet romance, pies, and a cold case dating back to the 1960s. Here’s the official blurb:

Yolanda Carter is gearing up for a hectic holiday season at her bakery, Yolanda’s Yummery.

The adjoining Beverage Bar is thriving due to owner Nigel Garvey’s expertise along with that of shift manager Quinn Hendrickson, a barista and a baker.

Visiting her grandmother’s gravesite, Yolanda is surprised to see a woman putting pies into an old-fashioned station wagon. Her parents mention an unsolved murder of her grandmother’s best friend who was an amazing pie baker. The story of the 1960s crime touches Yolanda, along with her new friend, Detective Winston Churchill. Her growing sleuthing skills lead her to search for the killer.

In between investigating and baking batches of pies in time for her latest product launch, Yolanda discovers more about the sweetness of love. And who is heating up the kitchen with Yolanda?

Includes the recipe for Yolanda’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

CHAPTER 5
Excerpt

That morning Nick was helping one of the older appreciated guests who was taken with both him and the Fancy Vanilla cupcakes. “Sonny, can I have that a cinnamon coffee Bundt cake with vanilla icing?” The woman with the white hair worn in a pageboy paused, then sneezed loudly. “No wait, how about butterscotch icing?”

Nick’s grimace almost passed for a grin. Jeannie noticed it and shook her head slightly, not wanting the young man to insult the older woman. “I’m afraid we don’t have butterscotch but we have caramel.”

“Oh goodie, I’ll have that.” The woman smiled broadly, focusing all her attention on Nick.

After she shuffled out of the yummery, Nick shook his head and stared at the almost empty tips jar. “The least she could’ve done was leave me a tip.”

Jeannie smiled. “Show her more attentiveness next time. Tell her how pretty her blouse is or something.”

“Jeannie, I don’t want to encourage her. Geez, she’s old enough to be my grandmother.”

“I’ll have you know that she’s the widow of one of the wealthiest real estate moguls in the city.”

“So? That means she could afford to leave a big tip.”

“Not necessarily. She’s frugal. She told me she frequents every 99 Cents Only store she drives by and hangs out at Big Lots in Culver City. She’ll drive out of her way to save money…” Jeannie helped herself to a fudge sample. “Just the way some folks are, I guess. Oh, and you didn’t offer her a sample. Next time make sure you offer every appreciated guest a sample – even the older ones who have a crush on you.”

“I forgot to change the tips jar sign today,” he said.

“That could be another reason, though I doubt it. Old widows are lonely, so just make her feel a little less lonely and you’ll get more tips.”

the aroma of love the yolanda's yummery series book 3 lisa maliga

Now available at:
Amazon: The Aroma of Love
Amazon UK: The Aroma of Love
B&N NOOK: The Aroma of Love
iTunes: The Aroma of Love
Kobo: The Aroma of Love
Scribd:  The Aroma of Love
Smashwords: The Aroma of Love

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