Hip place serving LA cuisine with farm-fresh southern Californian produce in a rustic-chic dining interior.
Add: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Cute and cozy place serving American eatery tucked beneath the Hollywood sign.
Add: 2695 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Housed in two historic bungalows, this cottage-like cafe serves up large plates of gourmet American classics.
Add: 1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Trendy eatery/bar with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, serving Mexican fare, including tacos & margaritas (though the place is not mentioned in Gun Kiss, it had inspired the fictional establishment Mama Tacos owned by the protagonist).
Add: 225 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
A screenwriter and actor rendezvous spot with French antics, sidewalk tables and bistro fare.
Add: 1802 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Bar Nineteen 12 at The Beverly Hills Hotel
Indoor bar with signature cocktails overlooking the terrace.
Add: 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Mediterranean/Arabic dishes with vegetarian options.
I saw the paperback version of Gun Kiss on the first day of the new year when the courier guy arrived with a box from the publisher. Here it is. What do you think? By the way, can you hear the birds in the background? That was coincidental, not planned.
The book is available at your usual stores along with the Kindle version, which is still on sale until 7 January. Personally, I’m not too bothered whether I read books on electronic devices or on paper. I’m flexible that way, having been introduced to Kindle by someone. Of course, there was some slight resistance in the initial, but having experienced it first hand, I find that it works for me too. So Kindle or paperback, it’s all the same to me. Naturally, if you are a traditionalist, you want to feel the paper in your hand. But I wonder what the ancient Egyptians would have thought of paperback books against their mud tablets. See my point?
Still, it’s nice to have a paperback version of a book. But having the best of two world’s is much better.
One month from today my suspense-thriller GUN KISS releases and so does the tumultuous world of Goldie St. Helen, the A-list Hollywood movie star, and co-novel character. She gets rescued by protagonist Blake Deco, a covert agent, who falls in love with her. But is it going to be a Happily Ever After story? Get a glimpse inside Goldie to understand her better as she talks to me in her Los Feliz villa about career, life, and current issues.
Khaled: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Goldie [smiling]: My pleasure. Nice jacket, by the way. Love Mauve.
Khaled: Thanks, I bought it for this special occasion. Goldie: I’m flattered.
Khaled: I love the house. Did you decorate the place yourself? Goldie: Thank you. Yes, I did, with some advice from a designer, though I wish the kitchen was bigger. The only way was to cut into the back garden, which I refused.
Khaled: The kitchen looks perfect. Goldie [laughing]: Are you kidding me? I need room for a bigger refrigerator. Hey, I host lots of parties!
Khaled: So, tell me, have you always wanted to be a movie star? Goldie [grinning]: I wanted to be an actress. I never thought of myself as a star. One thing led to another, so here I am today.
Khaled: Were your parents supportive of your career choice? Goldie [smiling]: My father didn’t speak to me for six months. He wanted me to be an architect, just like him. But it’s my life. Follow your dream, right?
Khaled: So, you would’ve been an architect if you weren’t an actress? Goldie: Hell, no. I would’ve been a botanist. I love flowers and plants. That explains the solarium at the back.
Khaled: Many have tried to break into Hollywood, but failed. What’s your secret of success? Goldie: I joined the industry because I was passionate about acting. I wasn’t looking for fame, money, and glamor. The perks that came with being a star were bonus points. I have no expectations. I’m not afraid of competition, even from someone younger. It’s one day at a time for me. C’est la vie.
Khaled: What words of wisdom would you give aspiring actors? Goldie: All that glitters is not gold. Be prepared to work hard. How badly do you want it? Watch every step you take. Be careful of predators.
Khaled: How do you handle sexual predators in the industry? Goldie [smiling]: If they grab you by the pussy, kick em in the balls.
Khaled: Easier said than done. You had a tough time doing that in the book, didn’t you? Goldie: Hey, you wrote the book! I was just doing the acting for you! If it was real life, I would’ve kicked him so hard.
Khaled: Would you do a stage play or indie movie for little or no money? Goldie: Of course! If the script is great, yes.
Khaled: Do you ever get tired of the fame game? Goldie: I hate the attention… but I love my fans.
Khaled: What makes you happy? Goldie [smiling]: Myself, friends, family, and desserts.
Khaled: Is the future beautiful? Goldie: Que Sera Sera. Maybe I’ll start a family… I still want to work. I love my job.
Khaled: Chocolate or cookie? A: Chocolate.
Khaled: A handsome face or a good-heart? A: A good heart.
Khaled: Love or money? A: Love.
P.S. I’ll be hosting a Facebook party in December with lots of prizes to be won. I hope to see you there. Sign up for my newsletter at the CONTACT PAGE to know when.
The above description is not a teaser for my next novel, but a sampling of the dangerous world that Kris Herzog lives in as an American security expert. The owner of The Bodyguard Group of Beverly Hills manages a team of specialist bodyguards that include honorable police officers, ex-Navy Seals, and U.S. vets.
Kris’s clients have included Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie, Jack Nicholson, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. He has also managed the security detail of several presidents, royalties, and top business people.
The perils of his thirty-five-year career include saving a celeb from an assassin’s bullet (he got shot in the course), preventing the kidnapping of a porn-star, stopping an explosive-laden vehicle and countering a sniper. Everything that Kris told me during our phone conversation sounded like how I had described the secondary bodyguard characters in my novel, Gun Kiss. They were assigned to protect a fictional movie star.
What makes Kris’s service different from the regular bodyguards is that he and his team offer a range of real-level protection portfolio. Services include threat assessments, K-9 security, protecting children, and Navy Seal-escort for domestic and international travel.
Here are some of the questions I asked Kris, which he kindly answered:
Your services include screening mails, packages, and emails. What were some of the scary stuff you found sent to celebs?
Kris: For national security purposes I can’t go into details, but what I can say is that I’ve found poison, bloodied clothes, severed penises, dead animals, and child pornography. They were sent anonymously. These sick people do it for various reasons — some are obsessed fans, others want to intimidate.
How do you protect celebs if you accompany them on holiday?
Kris: Depending on the threat level, we’ll set up a protection “bubble” every step of the way. It’s a security measure that involves every level of checking. We’ll check the background of every hotel guest staying on the same floor as our client. We’ll also make sure that we are nearby. We’ll occupy the rooms above, below and beside our client as part of that measure.
Do you hire female bodyguards? What’s the advantage of having them?
Kris: They make great undercover bodyguards. They can also accompany our clients into the restroom with no hassle.
What were some of your crazy experiences protecting celebs?
Kris: We shot a male suspect pretending to be a female in a burqa as he was about to detonate a suicide explosive vest. We also shot a sniper who tried to kill a celeb. Once, we even rammed an explosive-laden car just as it came toward us.
How did you know there was a sniper in the vicinity?
Kris: Our counter-sniper team includes “spotters” to expose the sniper’s location. That Las Vegas shooting, for example, could have been prevented. Had we been hired, we would have rolled out precautionary steps to counter any potential threat in the vicinity.
You are not a fan of the paparazzi. How do you protect your clients from them?
Kris: Protecting our clients from the paparazzi is a small gig compared to the bigger assignments that we do. However, if need be, there are many ways to dodge these guys. We disguise our clients, maybe in a waiter’s attire, or use a decoy vehicle to get away from them. At times, the assignment can be tricky as anyone can pretend to be a paparazzo. Faces change daily, so we are always on the alert; we do not want to be caught by surprise.
What kind of barriers do you set up to protect celebs at an event, for example, an autograph signing?
Kris: It’s not possible to have full barriers, but we’ve never had a client injury. In a crowd, we place undercover people or what we call “Body-Men” to look out for potential threats. We also have “movers” whose role is to ingress and egress among the crowd, checking out suspicious behavior. We also use sniffer dogs to deter anyone carrying firearms.
What if a stubborn client refuses to comply with your security detail?
Kris: We’ll assess the client before agreeing to take up the assignment. If we expect problems, the greatest tool in our hand is to ask for money in advance. It’s in their favor to listen to us. Otherwise, we’ll just tell them goodbye, and keep the money. It’s really a case where we’ll have to slap the crap or pull the needle out of their arm to get the message across.
Are you close to any celebs?
Kris: I’ve dated some of them. They do call me from time to time asking for security advice.
Ask any author what’s it like to wait for their book’s first review, and you’ll probably get a nervous answer. But I’m excited that Gun Kiss’s first review is now out, from Midwest Book Review, and it’s a nice one. Take a peek:
“The mark of a superior thriller lies in its ability to seamlessly transcend borders, boundaries, and special interests to provide a series of interwoven subplots that all come together in a satisfying crescendo of intrigue designed to keep readers on edge right up to the end.
“Take a deep breath before reading Gun Kiss. Its special brand of activity and complex personal and criminal interactions makes it hard to put down, and highly recommended for thriller and crime readers alike.”