Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cherchez la femme… (Alexandre Dumas, 1854…)

I'm always on the lookout for women to pair up with Byington Bailey (Byo), my ongoing protagonist who lost his beloved wife Sarah to the revenge murder of a vicious psychopath.

He is not promiscuous, but he likes interesting women. And they love him!

Recently three women came across my sight line who might provide some inspiration—with changes—for new females to play a role in Byo's challenging life as a former CIA agent, Navy Commander and now Special Assistant to President Jefferson Hunt, POTUS.

Sydney Biddle Barrows, Kitty Kelley and Jackie Collins.

A good woman for Bailey is hard to find! She has to have looks, mental acuity, charm, a fascinating line of work and subtle sex appeal!

Popularly known as The Mayflower Madam, Barrows ran a high-end escort service in Manhattan called " Cachet." Her clients included high-powered business executives, lawyers, diplomats and Arabian oil sheiks. Cachet flourished when the annual UN was in session.

Her advice to business was "Hire good people and pay them what they are worth." After Cachet was closed down by the Manhattan D.A., she opened a consulting business with a focus on customer service, as an expert on luxury lifestyle, high-end retail and exclusive service delivery in restaurants and professional services environments.

Barrows had attended top private schools, Rumson Country Day and Stoneleigh-Burnham, then studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she won the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman award for academic excellence!

Her books, published by major publishers, include "Mayflower Manners–Etiquette for Consenting Adults", "Just Between Us Girls" and "Uncensored Sales Strategies".

A member of the elite Mayflower Society and listed in "The Social Register", Barrows reminded her "girls" of a high-class governess. The Madam of a high-priced call girl service became the center of the most notorious sex scandal of the 1980s! Most of us know her from the TV movie starring Candice Bergen. ( As well as her popular book "Mayflower Madam".)

A master at dealing with both employees and clients, Sydney Biddle Barrows gave her employees instructions "more elaborate than the service manual for Mercedes-Benz!"

Kitty Kelley has been called "America's best-selling investigative biographer." Recently I saw her on C-Span where she came across as dedicated, authentic, serious about her work on The British Windsors, The Bush Dynasty, Oprah, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Oh! and the 1963 March on Washington.

Nelson Mandela is one of her favorite people!

Currently at work on "Women on the Hill", to be published in 2016, she once turned down $4 million to do a book on Donald Trump!

Kelley received the Outstanding Author Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors ; the Brandeis University National Woman's Committee has established a major book collection at the university in her honor. She has been invited to debate at Oxford, has spoken to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, formerly worked as a press assistant to a U.S. senator, and was an editorial page researcher for the Washington Post.

Bailey would find her a worthy ally—or opponent!

Jacqueline Jill (Jackie) Collins has sold over 500 million copies of her books in over 40 countries, has been on the NYT bestseller list over 29 times, and has been called a " raunchy moralist" and "Hollywood's Marcel Proust." One of the world's top-selling novelists, she is known for "unrivaled insiders' knowledge of Hollywood and the glamorous lives and the loves of the rich, famous and infamous!"

In her own words, "I write about real people in disguise… my characters are toned down—the truth is much more bizarre!"

Known also for big screen films, TV miniseries and as a TV host, Jackie Collins dishes out the dirt—and solid writing skills—about the decadent playgrounds of the super rich in her often well-plotted stories of global power brokers.

The reader has to plough through a lot of mud to get to the real tools of a skilled writer—but many of her characters, settings and plots can prove worth the price of the trip.

The daughter of a Jewish South African theatrical agent whose clients included The Beatles and Tom Jones, she was expelled from school at age 15, reportedly had an affair with Marlon Brando, starred in British B movies, then produced a first novel that was banned in Australia and South Africa and panned by Barbara Cartland as "nasty, filthy and disgusting!"

Pretty racy bio for a lady who was recently appointed OBE—Officer of the Order of the British Empire for "services to fiction and charity!"

So, dear friends, all, look for some bits and pieces of a younger version of Sydney-Kitty-Jackie in my next novel...

© 2013 Thelma Jacqueline Straw


  1. Thelma, I'd give Jackie Collins a chance--if I had the time (remaining on earth), if I had a Chinaman's chance, if she weren't jealous of my success...Never mind!

  2. Watch out, Bob. she might well take over your successes and use them as her own! TJS

  3. What a wonderful quick romp through these women's lives. Now would anyone of these ladies make for an interesting character to deal with!! What would happen if they all showed up at the same party wearing the same dress?? But seriously, I wonder if they would play nicely together. Have you decided who is to step onto your pages?

  4. It would be a very interesting study in human nature if they all showed up at the same party dressed alike!!! They are each very clever, creative and excellent managers - they wd not let it be a catastrophe! They'd realize only by combining forces cd they make it a plus for each of their careers!!! tjs