Rule #1 of blogging: write about what your audience is interested in.
I’m so freakin’ bored that I’m writing a blog about it. I know that no one cares about my current state of mind, and yet I’m telling you anyway.
Ain’t I a stinker?
Rule #1 of blogging: write about what your audience is interested in.
I’m so freakin’ bored that I’m writing a blog about it. I know that no one cares about my current state of mind, and yet I’m telling you anyway.
Ain’t I a stinker?
Wilhelmina model Peter Argue, inspiration for the character Eric Ellis in the new novel, The MENhattan Project, answers questions about what it’s like to be a male model. I came into the interview with some inaccurate preconceived notions, and Peter set me straight.
Last year, I worked with authors Victoria Flores and Leslie Wilson on their romantic comedy novel for adults, The MENhattan Project. They wrote the story, and I fleshed it out and punched it up. It was great fun to work with them, and I’m happy to announce that the book is now available on Kindle.
As part of my research before getting started, I asked Victoria if I could interview her soon-to-be husband, Canadian model Peter Argue, for two reasons:
Peter kindly agreed to answer my questions, and I used many of his answers while fleshing out Eric’s character. But some of the interesting things he said never made it into The MENhattan Project. So I thought I’d share them here (with plenty of spoiler alerts).
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a male model? Here’s Wilhelmina model Peter Argue’s take:
Q) What made you decide to become a model?
A) I always enjoyed nice clothes. Beatings from my older brother were the norm when I would wear one of his Ralph Lauren shirts to school. We were expected to be financially self sufficient as kids, and my older brother used money he earned to buy nice clothes. Eventually, I made money from teaching trumpet lessons. Things changed then, but until that point I had to wear hand-me-downs and non-name-brand clothes.
My father owned several hair salons and distributed hair products so, as kids, we would work in the warehouse on the weekends. A woman rented a space he had in the city for her modeling agency. I helped her set things up, and worked with her running the agency. Because of my parents, I had a good understanding of business at a very young age.
Eventually I flew to NYC and LA for conventions when I was sixteen and seventeen. Although I didn’t get signed with my number one pick, Ford Models in New York, I did get offers to model in Korea and Taipei.
I worked out every day, and continued to help grow the agency and eventually had a good business that I was a part of. I set up mall fashion shows, and photo shoots for the local newspaper, all the while still dreaming about working with Ford. To me they were the best and most prestigious in the world.
One day while walking through the mall, an agent from none other than Ford-NYC approached me. They were scouting across Canada for contestants for their Ford Supermodel of the World. I won for my province and then won in January 1995 for Canada. I spent about six months in Toronto working and then moved to Europe. All my dreams came true.
Q) What is the hardest part about being a model?
A) Most male models would say being on your own, or traveling all the time, but those are two of the things I enjoy the most, although that changes over the years: last year I took fifty six flights and worked in eighteen countries. The market is saturated here in America.
I’m now signed with Wilhelmina NYC, which is the Ferrari compared to the Lamborghini in terms of comparison with Ford. Being with one of the best agencies also has its downfalls, as my agents turn jobs down on my behalf if not enough money is offered. And their roster has some of the top guys in the world, so they are also your competition.
It’s important to have a good business sense, since some clients and agencies can take up to one year to pay. I’m one of the guys that puts a lot of money back into my career, investment-wise, so I need that money in due time to stay ahead, always. Even though clients pay airfare, hotel etc., I still end up spending a lot of my own money when traveling so much.
A) The male modeling industry isn’t really as bad as the women’s. Men have a much longer career span. I’ve always done well since I moved to Toronto all those years back, but that was partly due to the fact that I set up markets all over the globe, and didn’t rely on just a few main markets. It helps to visit those markets a couple times a year. We are like cows: the agency likes to have a fresh group in and work, work, work for a season, and then a new batch comes in. It gives the clients access to variety.
When it comes to NYC, most guys just stay here all the time as they are tired of traveling, want to settle down or set up some other business. It can get a little competitive, but most of the time the guys are all pretty cool. Some will sell themselves out but it’s never been my style. I am what I am. Either you like me or you don’t.
Q) How hard is it to maintain a relationship when you’re traveling and having women throw themselves at you (which I assume happens a lot—is that accurate?)
A) I don’t think that’s the case at all, actually. There are so many assumptions about the modeling industry and it only takes a few well publicized cases to have people assume it’s like that all the time.
You create what you want. It’s always been that way for me. There was a point in my life when I was living in London and woke up one morning with some girl in my bed and it made my skin crawl. I was quite often hooking up with random girls as that is what becomes the norm, and it’s like this for most of the models I know. They either date another model (omg kill me—I want to talk about something other than work!) or just play the field.
I realized that I wasn’t happy living like that. I was craving a relationship, but had to figure out how to make it possible, as it never worked before. As good as this business is, there are a lot of compromises. Some models can deal with it and others can’t. I guess it just depends on what you want at that time in your life.
A) What draws me to someone is the fact that, no matter what they look like, they have self confidence. I’ve seen a lot of “ugly” female models but they have confidence and they become attractive. I’m pretty sure that people like me for who I am on the inside, and the outer shell is just a bonus.
Q) What is it like to be so “genetically blessed” in a world of relatively average people? I mean, I assume that living in NYC and working in your field, you’re probably surrounded by beautiful people. But when you’re out among regular folks, do you find that you get preferential treatment? Do you ever deliberately use your looks to get special treatment? Do you get tired of this even being an issue and just want to forget about what you look like sometimes?
A) I get special treatment all the time and I love it. Who wouldn’t? To be honest though, I see all my flaws more than I see my beauty. My hair is never 100% right, my body is definitely way behind what I want it to be, my teeth are not perfect and I don’t think I have much fashion sense. Even to this day, I don’t know how to put a stylish outfit together, partially because I don’t care all that much and think the whole industry is ridiculous, but I get around that by going out and buying a $700 pair of Dior sneakers with a cool pair of RRL jeans and a t-shirt that is body hugging and it all works. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. I could see myself being very happy living up north in a really nice cottage and working outside all day, chopping wood.
I may use my looks to get my way sometimes, but never in a malicious or selfish way. It’s just one of the things that make me who I am. Some people are articulate, so they use that skill to get what they want. Others are funny, so they use that. I think it’s just a part of being a human being and survival to use what we have. I don’t see anything wrong with it.
These days I get a bit embarrassed or uncomfortable when people make comments about how I look, but after so many years you get programmed to still want that, and you need to hear it, deep down inside.
Q) Women have been objectified for a long time and held up to impossible standards—this isn’t news—but now it looks like men are getting their turn. How do you feel about that? How much pressure is on you to maintain a perfectly toned and sculpted physique? What do guys in your field do to get and stay that way? How hard do you have to work to stay in the kind of shape you’re in, to maintain your career?
A) I think women let themselves be objectified and I don’t see anything wrong with it, as long as there is no harm done. If they are foolish enough to not take advantage of being objectified then that is their own fault. If someone wants to objectify me, fine. Do as you wish, because I’m smart and hard working enough to get what I want out of the situation. I look at it as everyone wins.
Unfortunately there are always things being pushed too far and then you have problems: anorexic girls, mental issues, etc. I suggest people getting into this industry had better be really strong; otherwise it can crush you and damage you for life. Maybe that explains why you always see models partying and maintaining that eighteen-year-old lifestyle when we are in our thirties and older. Maybe to mask some underlying issues?
Maybe we sleep with hundreds of women to make up for every time we went into a casting and were objectified and turned down. Maybe we do stupid things sometimes to make up for some really scary situations we got ourselves in. Bad shit happens and it stays with you.
There are a lot of control issues in this industry and you can either be controlled or control. Sometimes we can’t always pick. I’m a neat freak—a perfectionist in many things, and I get frustrated when things are beyond my control. I was once told by another model that she had seen a shrink after developing these same characteristics, and the shrink said it was quite common after being in this industry for many years—you live in so many shithole model apartments, and do your best to make it bearable, so once you have your own home it has to be perfect all the time because it’s one of the things that you could control in your life.
When it comes to the gym, I have my ups and downs. So many years of pressure to be in top shape, it’s very hard to maintain all year long, especially with so much travel. Science has come a long way and many supplements exist to help you keep a good body, but it comes down to a lot of discipline. The better shape you’re in, the more money you’ll make.
When I was in my teens it was popular to just go to the gym and throw around some weights. It worked at the time but then we were eighteen and raging with testosterone. Times have changed and so have views on how to train. To do it properly you need a full time trainer and to do more cross fit and resistance activities. I still enjoy throwing around my weights, though, but I’ve picked up roller-blading and occasionally running.
From this point on, in this interview, there are lots of book spoilers so turn away if you haven’t read it yet. When I started working on the book, the plotline had already been laid out, and I wanted Peter’s help in filling in the corners of Eric’s character, so I asked him to suppose what Eric’s motivations might be, given their similar professions.
WHO IS ERIC ELLIS?
Q) Tell me about your restaurant concept, as it’s similar to what Eric is planning.
A) Throughout my twenty years of traveling I found it a challenge to find a quick bite to eat that is healthy and affordable without having to sit down in a restaurant. Growing up in the middle of Canada, baked potatoes were (and still are) one of our staple foods. I’ve seen the concept work with great success in Turkey and also in Germany, so I’m in the process of adapting it for the North American market.
I see it based on the Subway sandwich shop business model with franchise opportunities worldwide, except using baked potatoes prepared in a unique way and then loaded up with healthy and delicious toppings. Small overhead, high profit margins and in locations (airports, universities, malls) where there is a high volume of traffic and people just want a quick meal under ten or twelve dollars.
A) Eric is living THE life. He can spin the globe and put a finger down and pack his two bags that contain his life (he prefers being mobile and has perfected it over all the years) and can be out the door. He can stay in that country and work as a model, and most of the time make enough money to get by, living a very fun filled time. In most cases, he can even come out way ahead, if there are a few lucky breaks along the way.
All in all, at the end of the year, he is always ahead of the game and in the male model business this is the key: to be able to stay mobile and work many countries/markets throughout the year. With that, there are always many opportunities to meet up with women along the way.
Long term relationships for Eric always end in heartbreak, as staying in one market too long doesn’t work. His career will suffer eventually. He knows this, as it’s been proven, time and time again. He learned to save himself the heartbreak for both him and his lover by just keeping a casual dating scenario and being honest from the start, telling her that he would be leaving in a few months.
I like to think of Eric as a pretty nice guy and very down to earth. At times he knows what he has to do to get what he wants, but it’s for the right reasons and he’s never malicious.
Q) I’m imagining Eric’s life as being like Vincent Chase in Entourage, to a lesser degree of wealth and fame. Is that accurate at all?
A) I can see some parallels but, honestly, I had to stop watching Entourage as I got so annoyed by Vincent. He started out fine but, at a certain point, he became far too needy and quite a whiner. I think that Eric would maintain a good head on his shoulders and still be down to earth.
Eric is fun and adventurous, but also more caring these days and would never use anyone in a malicious way. He may still want his freedom, and he feels better knowing he has it even if he doesn’t have any desire to be with anyone else, mostly because that’s what he is used to.
Q) Considering Eric’s lifestyle, how many other women—apart from Vivian—do you suppose he’s sleeping with in NYC, and is he getting laid while he’s out of town? Would he even have time when he’s traveling/working, or would he be too busy?
A) I think, at this point in Eric’s life, he has made some big changes moving to North America from Europe. He feels that the whole mentality here is quite different than in the rest of the world. Although his career is still going strong, it’s changed. He went from working three to five days a week and now, in NYC, it’s the kind of market that is so saturated that most models (men and women) only work a few times a month.
I think, when Eric first moves to New York, he is going to be very careful and can feel already that it’s going to be difficult in a city like that. He has a frustration growing in him the longer he stays. He’s a busy guy—it takes a lot of work to keep on top of thirty agencies worldwide, going to the gym, and even just eating healthy every day takes a great deal of time. Although he has grown used to getting lots of attention, over the years he has become a bit more private and less social.
Going out to clubs was never really a bit priority for him. He has always been able to entertain himself and be self sufficient. He prefers it that way.
Q) Why do you suppose Eric came back to Vivian? What was it about her, out of all the women he meets and after all that went down between them, that makes him want to commit?
A) That’s simple: it was all about timing. He had reached a stage in his life before he met her where he was ready to finally commit to the right woman. Sometimes a certain lifestyle is hard to give up, but eventually you know it’s the right thing.
As with wishing to be signed with Ford Models, if you put something out in the universe, and truly want it badly enough, then things will happen. You must give back and make a conscious effort to do it daily and Eric believes in this. After all, in traveling in thirty different countries in twenty years, he has picked up a lot of worldly knowledge and maybe that’s why sometimes he’s misunderstood.
Some people just think, “Oh, you’re a model … snicker, snicker.” They only think of what Page Six says about models and all the stereotypes, but he’s actually a quite deep character.
The Menhattan Project, by Victoria Flores and Leslie Wilson, with Lisa Bonnice, is available on Kindle and soon to be in book form.
“The Menhattan Project is a fun, extremely sexy and laugh-out-loud funny page-turner, featuring whip-smart women and to-die-for men. Perfection! More, please!”
Dating advice and beauty bloggers Victoria Flores and Leslie Wilson are best friends living in New York City, who are both finally married with children on the way. Victoria can be seen on this season’s dating show, “The Singles Project” on Bravo TV. The authors have been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Self Magazine, Cosmo Latina, Hamptons Magazine and many others. Lisa Bonnice is a best-selling author and former standup comedienne. She, too, has had more than her share of crazy experiences in the dating world.
Lisa Bonnice is the author of four previous books:
She is currently working on a sequel to her first novel, Be Careful What You Witch For!
The photos on this page were snagged from Peter’s facebook page (except for the spoiler gifs, which were found on Google).
I recently wrote a blog about one on my books being pirated for use as a torrent. My issue wasn’t that my work was being stolen, it was that I had taken that book off the market because I was rewriting it. Well, I’ve republished it. It’s available again (both in paperback and ebook), because I’ve changed my mind.
Fans of Lola and Twink will be happy to know that I’m moving forward with the sequel, and writing it in the third person, with a planned publication date of Halloween, October 31, 2014. That’s five years to the day since the first book in the series–hopefully Book 3 won’t take that long to get out there (life got a little nuts between then and now).
Book 1–as is–will be the only one written in Lola’s voice. It was Lola Garnett’s diary, written while trying to figure out, with the help of a pissed off faery sidekick, how she woke up with powerful psychic abilities and how to use them to stop the crazy bitch across the street from destroying her life.
In the sequel, which is written in the third person, Lola has become more comfortable with her abilities and life has settled into a modicum of normalcy again. She starts taking classes at the local New Age book shops and learns to journey “across the veil” into the other realms.
Hijinks, of course, ensue when she becomes entangled with an extremely attractive mystery man, on the other side, and Twink, who is finally allowed to come home after paying her penance by helping Lola, can’t seem to find her way there. Lola is once again challenged to solve life’s puzzles and challenges, while working with powers she doesn’t understand. (More details to come.)
If you haven’t yet read Be Careful What You Witch For!, it’s only $2.99 at the Kindle Store. If you’re already a fan, you might want to subscribe to my blog so you’ll receive updates and notifications about Book 2.
See ya then!
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WITCH FOR!
Meet Lola Garnett, a bored housewife, mom and office drone who develops strange psychic abilities overnight with no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic fairy assigned to assist and educate her. In this first book in the series, middle-aged Lola Garnett has resigned herself to an unsatisfying life of servitude as a wife, mother and office drone. The American dream she’s living feels more like a coma, and she secretly longs for a more meaningful life. In a perfect demonstration of “be careful what you wish for” she gets her wish when she wakes up from a nap one day with extrasensory abilities and powers. What she doesn’t know is that her condition is the result of a botched spell coming from across the street, where her wanna-be-witch neighbor, Melinda Underwood, is foolishly playing with powers she doesn’t understand. Lola’s untrained intuition tells her that Melinda intends to use her equal, yet opposite, powers for evil against innocent people. With the help of a tiny, sarcastic, ethereal sidekick, Lola overcomes her helpless resignation to overthrow Melinda’s evil plot and in the meantime, finds her own self worth.
This book was both fun and thought-provoking….a page-turner that leaves you wanting more (and looking forward to the next installment!) It works on many levels, first as the story of Lola, an ordinary woman who is coming to grips with her own strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and self-doubts, while coping with the day-to-day issues of marriage, family and work. It is also a unique fantasy/fable that takes you along on a journey with Lola as she learns to cope, with the help of her own higher self and her reluctant fairy side-kick, Tink, with her burgeoning new paranormal gifts and the unexpected, confusing, and often hilarious side-effects that they have on her life.
I love this book. Lisa Bonnice has managed to address the fears of anyone who is exploring their own abilities for the first time and give us the ability to laugh at ourselves and then step back and look a little deeper into our own souls. Written with humor and depth. This is a must read for anyone who is looking for that great “bathtub book” or a good reason to curl up with a warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee. You will find yourself laughing not only at Lola but also at yourself as Lola bumbles through as many of us really have done in exploring our own paths. While the book has some moments of comedic genuis but when you finish the book and find yourself missing the characters, you will also find that there were some wonderful life lessons along the way.
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is one of those stories that entertains while making you step back and think. Lola is every woman who has ever found herself in a place of not knowing who she is or why she is here.Lola’s journey into self discovery and spirituality, left me with the desire to really step back and take a look at myself while being excited to find out what they next part of the journey will be.The story is told with both humor, compassion and wisdom.I certainly hope there will be more adventures with Lola and Twink.
“from the MINISTRY OF LIFE, DEATH and CROWDSURFING, i discovered this gem of a clip and it’s perfect for today. if you want to know how easy it is to try to sing in key while being turned upside-down in the hands of strangers, here is your answer. not easy.
“it’s me with The Grand Theft Orchestra (michael, jherek and chad) doing “bottom feeder” from the kickstarter record, “Theatre is Evil”. i’ve been writing about crowd surfing and trust in The Book, and chad raines, seen here playing guitar, just showed up at the house for a few days. tonight we cook kale. in a few days jherek bischoff (seen here singing INTO his bass and conducting the strings section) is going to show up with about 12 people since they’re recording up the road in hudson. we are readying all the guest futons. and a few days ago, in the rain, i was at michael mcquilken(the drummer)’s wedding.
“what’s most painful-beautiful about this clip, though, is that this was filmed in london, at Koko, a few weeks after the record came out.
“that was the night that, two hours before getting on stage, i got the phone call that becca had died. i barely remember playing the show….but i have these incredibly strong memories of feeling more alive than i ever had before. all the songs about death (like this one) took on a whole new meaning. i still won’t watch the “astronaut” clip. it was one of her favorites. all i can remember is that i couldn’t get through it. maybe next year.
“life, death, life, death, life in a circle.”
When she allows herself to fall into the waiting hands of her crowd, considering the emotional pain she’s in, she is demonstrating such incredible trust that it took my breath away. I can’t watch this video without being deeply moved. I hope you will find it so, as well.
I have two hummingbird feeders hanging from my second floor balcony. I love sitting out there and watching all of the birds in the nearby tree, but I especially love watching the hummingbirds.
I didn’t know, before I hung the first feeder (I started with the one on the far left), that hummingbirds are extremely territorial and downright vicious when it comes to protecting their food source.
One bird in particular laid claim to the feeder and wouldn’t let anyone else near it. He would sit on a nearby branch, chirping, and at first I thought he was singing a song of hummingbird happiness, “Look at all the food! Isn’t life grand? Hey, Other Hummingbirds, look what I found! Come join me!”
But once I Googled “hummingbird behavior” I discovered that what he’s really saying is, “This food is mine, bitches! You come near, you die!”
Whoa. Not so friendly.
So I bought another feeder and hung it at the other end of the patio, hoping that some of the other hummingbirds in the area would get a chance to eat.
I was wrong. That little bugger sits up in the tree, practically screaming, like Daffy Duck in Ali Baba’s cave, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” Any bird that dares approach gets dive bombed and chased away.
It’s funny to watch how the other birds seem to work together: “I’ll distract him, while you go get a quick sip. Then it’s your turn to have my back.” Meantime, Mr. Grabby spends his entire existence chasing and screaming, to protect an overabundance of food. He never gets a chance to relax and enjoy.
I wonder if that’s how the Universe works. It gives me all I need, and enjoys doing so, but I’m too busy stressing out and protecting what’s “Mine!” to notice. What if I’m sitting on my branch, freaking out whenever it looks like someone else is dipping into what I feel is a limited supply? After all, once in a while those feeders get empty and then they disappear for what feels like an eternity.
What if, while my feeders are gone–and it feels like the world has come to an end because my supply has disappeared–it’s just because the Big U is cleaning them and cooking up a new batch of sugar water for me?
When I was doing standup comedy for a living, I worked with Tim Allen a lot, before he got famous. I knew Tim had made it big when I saw his name as a clue in a TV Guide crossword puzzle. Well, I may not be that famous, but I just discovered that one of my ebooks is being offered as a torrent. These days, that counts for something. My work is now virtual currency!
Honestly, my initial reaction was, “Hey! That’s not cool!” and I looked into having it removed because of copyright infringement, but then I thought again. My reason for caring is because the book is out of print, not because of the pirating issue. I’m rewriting it, and I didn’t want the first version of this book to be available anymore.
I originally wrote Be Careful What You Witch For! in the first person, as Lola Garnett, an Ohio woman who wakes up from a nap with magical abilities and no instruction manual. She is eventually assigned a pissed off fairy as a sidekick/instructor. Hijinks, of course, ensue.
The problem is that Lola isn’t a writer, she’s just an average person, so the writing style is intentionally obtuse. When it was time to begin writing the sequel, I wanted to tell it in the third person POV so I won’t have to limit myself to just what Lola could know about. But that means I had to rewrite Book One, first. That’s what I’ve been working on, and it’s slow going. I’d really rather just move on to Book Two.
So I’m thinking … maybe this is the Big U’s way of telling me to just get on with Book Two and don’t bother rewriting the first book. Maybe the fact that it’s already out there, beyond my control now, means that I’m supposed to let go of it. What do you think? If you’ve read the book, visit my Facebook page to let me know if you think it’s fine, as is, or if it needs to be rewritten as a third person narrative.
Nice! I’ve long wished that so-called “serving sizes” would be addressed.
Have you ever looked at “serving sizes”? Some of them are sheer madness. I used to buy brownies from a vending machine at work before I learned to pay attention to that part of the label. I thought, “I can splurge this much,” but one day I read the label and saw that my brownie was actually two servings. I was double splurging and had no idea. And we’re not talking about a big brownie. It looked like a single serving, to me.
Serving sizes are designed to keep the consumer feeling like they can eat more than they actually should, exactly as I described above. Who can eat a single serving, according to the package, of Girl Scout Cookies?