What a Treat!
I am delighted to report a lovely review for Divas Never Flinch along with a very interesting Q&A from a gracious reader, Laura. You might like to take a look at the great review here. She also posted the review on Amazon and GoodReads. Have you seen GoodReads yet? It’s a great site for all book lovers. If you haven’t discovered it yet take a look. Think you will really enjoy it.
And now the new Website
Moving along, I have been very busy on the new website, tweaking it here and there, and trying to put myself out there. I am stumbling around trying to figure out all the subtleties of SEO and other arcane internet jargon, but hopefully, eventually I will have a presence out there.
And now more of Divas Never Flinch – A Comedy of Manners
And now, as promised, a bit more from Divas. But don’t expect the whole book here. Just giving you enough to whet your appetite. This is a section from when Sonora and her friend, Lonel, are visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a vacation, and go for a drive south of town for lunch.
* * *
Further along, Lionel saw a road sign that announced the village of Mismaloya, and he became very excited. “I know this place. It’s where John Huston filmed Night of the Iguana. We have to stop. I have a wonderful story for you.”
Sonora pulled the car over, just by the entrance to the large hotel complex that dominated the entrance to the tiny village. Like many of the small fishing villages along this coast, a river emptied into a small bay, creating a secluded sandy beach. The hotel dominated one side of the river.
Lionel was so excited he was tripping over his words as he tried to tell Sonora his story. “I had a boyfriend back in the late sixties – Calvin – in L.A. He…he had worked on Iguana. He did Ava Gardner’s hair for the movie. At that time Puerto Vallarta was unknown and undeveloped. There was no road out here at all, so the cast and some of the crew were taken by boat each morning from the beach in PV to the set here at Mismaloya. Huston actually constructed a permanent set and some crew quarters, right over there on that point, on the other side of the river,” Lionel pointed.
“Yes, sometime after the movie was finished the set was turned into a restaurant. The entrance is just a bit further on,”Sonora added.
“Oh, can we go there for a look?”
“Sure.” Sonora started the car and they drove off around the bend and across the river. There was the old sign – John Huston’s Night of the Iguana Restaurant - but it was faded and dilapidated. Sonora pulled into an unused driveway. It was obvious from the overgrowth that the restaurant was no longer in use. Lionel looked crest fallen.
“Can we go take a peek anyway?” Lionel got out of the car. Sonora followed. Lionel plunged down an old walkway that led from the entrance along the point towards the abandoned set/restaurant. He continued his story.
“Calvin and Ava were great friends, and they used to concoct little games to pass the long time between camera set-ups. They used to delight in finding silly gifts and hiding them around the set for the other to find.”
They came to a chain link fence blocking the walkway to the restaurant. Sonora spotted a break in the fence to the right. It was clear that many people had passed through, and there was a well-worn alternate path leading down to the old building. They squeezed through, and continued along the overgrown approach.
Lionel resumed the story, “Calvin said that on the last day of the shoot Ava had hidden something very special for him, but he had not been able to find it before they were called away to the boats to be taken back to PV. Cal and I used to lie in bed early on a Sunday morning and he would tell me the story. He had always wanted to come back here and see if he could find the gift.”
“Did he know what it was? Sonora asked. Lionel shook his head.
By this time they had reached the set. It was nothing but a skeleton now. All the fixtures had been removed long ago. Weeds and small trees were sprouting out of cracks in the floor. They wandered in silence through the ghostly rooms. They could feel the whispers of the past, as they stood and gazed out over the bay from what had been the large patio of the set. They could see tourists wandering along the breakwater below, prevented from coming up here by strong fencing. Sonora got a shiver.
“Let’s look for it,” Lionel blurted out suddenly.
“Where? There’s nothing much left here.”
“Calvin told me about some of the places they used to hide things. Some were in pieces of furniture, or trunks, or light fixtures. But he also told me about a couple of secret places in the building itself…, but I never thought it would be me who actually got here. It’s so exciting.”
Lionel went over to a small room that must have been a commode. There were pipes sticking out of the wall and in the floor. He felt along a door frame but didn’t find anything. He walked over to a window in the larger main room adjacent to the patio. He examined some cracks between the bricks, running his fingers along the breaks. Then he went out to a small back patio that was partially covered by an overhang. Back in a protected corner was what had been some sort of an outdoor sink. He got down on his knees, but Sonora couldn’t see exactly what he was doing. He was brushing dirt away with his hands. He reached out his hand to Sonora.
“Can you find me a smallish stick?”
She found one and handed it to him. He began prying at a loose floor tile. It came up and Lionel let out a gasp.
“What?” Sonora came over and peered down. Carefully, with both hands, he lifted out a ragged but still intact 8 x 10 photograph. They examined it closely together. It was a picture of Ava. It was inscribed, but hard to read. They took it out to the front patio, where there was more light, and laid it carefully on the flat surface of a low wall, and brushed it gently with their fingertips. Finally, the inscription revealed itself. They looked closely. It read: ‘To Calvin, with much love and admiration from one old queen to her heir apparent, Ava.’
Lionel and Sonora roared with laughter. The tourists from down below on the quay looked up at the phantom structure, and wondered what ghosts were haunting there today.