If good girls are bad girls that haven't got caught…

Are you afraid of getting old?

I’ve obsessed over my body my entire life. Until I found a very special kind of love.

Here’s a photo of me at 9 years of age. I think that’s around the time I became aware of how important body image was to me.

I never thought I was beautiful. But I can see in this picture I was cute! This photo was taken in 1956, I was 9, well before the internet. I don’t remember any body-shaming or certain ideals that we had to conform to in our era. The insecurity was all inside of me.

I’ve never been an athlete although I danced when I was young — you can see from my ballerina stance. So the physical things that many might miss as they age have never bothered me. But I’ve always been ‘on a diet’ which is a pathetic way to go through life. I’ve never been fat! But again, it’s the feeling of never being enough — pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough — a woman’s insecurity for sure.

At some point in life, I realized I had to find that confidence inside myself to understand and love myself exactly the way I am.

1994 driving across Canada from Montreal to Whistler, BC after losing my fashion business and declaring personal bankruptcy. I have a Ph.D. in Starting Over.

I am not my physical body.

I’m a woman of many talents and lots of heart. I would say that since I was given 6 months to live in 2008, I’ve finally got a grip on my physical selfI stopped angsting over whether I could ski from the top of Blackcomb mountain to the base without stopping — who cares? I stopped worrying about old age because I might not live to experience old age. And I vowed to get a grip on my emotional insecurities and do the things I’d always wanted to do! I made a promise to myself to publish my poetry (the way I journaled my life) and then moved on to write and publish novels. In other words, I made a decision that I would not allow the physical parts of aging to define me. Instead, I would go deeper into what I was born to do, to inspire and motivate myself and others, to spread love and compassion — to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.

People tell me all the time that I am beautiful. I will be 73 in 3 weeks. I hear this more today than ever before in my life. Why? I believe it’s a smile that’s sincere, and a life purpose that shines through my eyes. These are gifts that I’ve earned through years of mistakes and disappointment.

I refuse to dwell in that place of “my body is aging” instead I say “I’m so grateful for second chances.” I’m happy my instincts send me to a doctor when something physical needs attention. But most of all, I give thanks daily for my outlook in life.

I will not allow the actions of others to define my emotional well-being. I’m not saying that’s an easy thing — I’ve worked hard to overcome past pain and current disappointments. I still have a child-like wonder and joy of a world that still has so much to show me, and people I have yet to meet. I will always have places I have to visit even if they are only blocks away from where I live. And I have a curiosity about everything and continue to learn new things daily.

I finally retired from my day job at the end of 2018. I sold everything I owned and bought an airplane ticket with no return destination. I left Mexico where I’d lived for 18 years, celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv, and after I’d traveled for a few months, returned to Istanbul where I am today. Eighteen months ago I didn’t know where Turkey was on the world map!

Curiosity and attitude will truly sustain me and keep me off the ‘pity-party’ wagon as my body ages.

And if my mind goes, so be it — I won’t know what I’m missing anyway!

I only have one question:

If good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught, where will the good girls go when we die?

Istanbul 2020.

How Can 63,000 people disappear?

The NYT recently featured an article on the Mexican drug wars. The statistics are startling. Until a year ago, the official number was 40,000 but with the change of regime last year, the true stats are being released. The official tally is now 61,637 people who have disappeared since 1964, Ms. Quintana said, the vast majority of disappearances are since 2006, the year the crackdown on drug cartels was launched by then-president Felipe Calderón. I think the total is much higher.

Pixabay

I lived and worked in the coastal town of Puerto Vallarta from 2002. I never witnessed any violence of any kind. But, when you are not actively looking to score, you are unlikely to meet those that sell or transport the product. Still, the overall feeling of danger persists in the small drug towns up in the mountains.

In the early 2000’s I met a man we will call “Carlos.” He worked in a bar/restaurant and came from the small mountain villages where drugs are grown and trafficked. I didn’t know any of this at the time. However, as a writer with a vivid imagination, I began to piece together a story of his life. It began with the murder of both his parents, and how he grew up on the streets of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico. His story and his romance with a writer became the award-winning novel TARGET in the SUN. Target is FREE to download on Amazon right now.

The second book in my series, VANISHED in the SUN continues the story of Mia and Carlos and is based on one of the most horrendous disappearance cases of the drug wars. In 2014 43 students from Ayotzinapa were attacked and kidnapped by local police officers working for a local drug gang in southern Mexico. Their bodies were never found.

When you write contemporary fiction, somewhat based on fact, and running through the story is the story of an extremely unlikely couple, it’s difficult to classify the books. Are they Romantic Suspense? Contemporary Romance? Contemporary Fiction?

TARGET in the SUN is free today. You will be pulled into their story as I was when I wrote the book.

Comments on the books:

Gripping and suspenseful, clever and sharp, Target in the Sun is a romance thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the format, telling parts of the story through letters. I also enjoyed how smoothly it read, the type of book that sucks you in. Highly recommended. ” Vine Voice

“I never expected such a compelling story. The book is written in a very unique style; told from the perspective of three characters through using e-mails and journals as well as narrative. It’s much more than a romance; it’s the story of people struggling to make sense of their complex lives.
From his childhood through his life Carlos is a forceful character. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by him. His eventual relationship with the older American woman, Mia, is just a drop in the swirling ocean of his life. As I read I found myself unable to put the book down wondering what would happen to them, would they end up together, would one or both die? It created a delightful tension. Then there is Lucia, a highly decorated FBI agent who puts her life on the line to help the lovers escape the dark past Carlos carries with him. What impact would her unprecedented actions have on her life and career? She is also an intriguing character. After the events of 9/11 she seems to change. Using her relationships with Tony, Michael, and Israel, Filler creates a character that is complex.
Creating a character who is involved in the drug trade yet remains a sort of hero is a challenge most authors would not attempt. Filler not only attempts but succeeds in the effort. The inevitability of Carlos becoming involved in the “family business” is offset by his growing feelings for Mia.
” E. H. Newton

It's all my fault…

This afternoon I was on the tram on my way to Taksim Square in Istanbul. I had a meeting in a place I’d never been to and I had to do something I’ve never done before. I was nervous and focused on the task.

I arrived at my location and suddenly, in the midst of hundreds of people coming and going, I stopped. I panicked and pulled out my cell phone to make notes.

I could see the scene. I could hear the screams and watch the tragedy unfold. The horrific event was happening in the middle of a face-time video conversation between one of the members of my Raven Group operatives. I even caught the conversation. I have no idea what any of it meant but I knew it was the opening of my next Code Raven 8 book!

The thing is, I’m in the middle of writing a second memoir. It’s going so well and I’m caught up in Rumi, and Turkey and how a nice Catholic girl ends up living in the Middle East. The absolute last thoughts I’m having are of a world-wide disaster that will require my Raven Group to get to the bottom of this brutal act.

But there it is. What can an author do? I’m powerless to the magic that unfolds when this happens. And it’s all my fault. I’ve allowed my Muse to have her way with me far too often. So she thinks she can interrupt my lovely non-fiction project and my very busy afternoon at a government office to insert a new thriller/suspense plot in my psyche!!

My writer’s day is never done—my Muse sleeps with me too!

https://amzn.to/36G0KkY

As a creative writer, what is your day like?

Major procrastination.

Like right now! I should be working on a new Memoir. But, I’m checking out Quora, eating breakfast, trying to make sense out of World Politics and man’s determination to kill. Sometimes I wonder if as a society we’ve progressed at all.

I retired from a full-time career a year ago. And traveled for months to all parts of the world. So I haven’t quite fallen into a routine workday. I love this newfound freedom and the 10 extra pounds that go with it. And the decision to live in Istanbul for the foreseeable future.

I’ve given myself permission to LOVE my current lack of schedule. However, I have a new release The Istanbul Conspiracy, that came online at Amazon Christmas Day. I purposely gave myself a deadline and the pressure of making sure I was ready.

Now I have fallen into a schedule that looks like this. I have 3 distinct projects every day.

  1. Yoga for 30 minutes the moment I wake up.
  2. Coffee, Breakfast, World news, Q, FB and I limit that fun to 1 hour
  3. Write. I have 2 Code Ravens to publish this year. And another memoir. I’ve already published 16 books on Amazon. I’m doing the memoir first. But if I need a break, I will work on the two plots for the CRaven series books 8 and 9.
  4. I take breaks for WordWars—I admit I’m addicted to the game even with the new site full of advertisements that drive me crazy!
  5. I allow myself the indulgence of Prime Video or Netflix but more than likely this pastime is saved for late evening.
  6. I have a boyfriend who is low maintenance so every couple of days he shows up in my world which is great. I get a break. Plus he loves food and takes me to all his favorite Turkish restaurants.

My body refuses to adjust to Istanbul time or a work schedule like I might have maintained when I lived in Mexico. That means my body believes bedtime is around 2–3 am and wakeup somewhere between 10:45-11:30 am.

It’s not unusual for me to write or do marketing in the evening and I will work sometimes up until midnight. (I’m self-published and marketing is a large part of my job.)

I LOVE my life! I’m living the dream.

My New Years’ resolution is to have more DISCIPLINE! Hah!

I hope in the end it is a LOVE STORY

A photo-diary of a Creative in Istanbul on New Years Eve

Lynda Filler

I changed my hair color three times this year. Pink, burgundy and now blue!

This shot reminds me of an old Flemish painting…. I have no idea why…

There is a sense of peace in a city (Istanbul) where the buildings have been around for centuries.

Even the nights are filled with color.

A quote on why I write. This year on Dec. 25th I published my 16th book on Amazon: The Istanbul Conspiracy.

I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv.

from Quora.

An Assassination and a Funeral

In the fall of 1995, Nov. 4th, to be exact, the Prime Minister of Israel was assassinated.

I remember driving the Sea-to-Sky highway from Whistler British Columbia to Vancouver Airport. I was going to a funeral.

The year before, 1994, I went bankrupt. I lost my manufacturing business in Montreal and my home. My husband and I packed our suitcases and took our two young boys across Canada to start all over again. I’m good at re-inventing myself. I’ve done it several times during my lifetime.

I had charmed my way into a top job in Whistler BC. In those days, if you were female and in charge of a multi-million-dollar sales team, you were a Bitch. When I think back to those days, I might have been tough; but I was a very Successful Bitch! And my boys and husband and I were happy with our new life.

Then I received a phone call. My Dad was dead.

My father fought in the Canadian army during WWII, and he was also a UN peacekeeper in the Middle East. The military moved us every three years. I’m sure this is familiar to many who lived the military life in the ’50s and ’60s.

I skipped the hippie years. I was too busy being a ‘good girl’ and too afraid to smoke pot or do drugs, or drop out, or experience free love—I made up for the ‘free love’ thing over the years! As an adult, I divorced like we moved, often, and never looking back.

My fondest memories of my father were him sitting in his lazy-boy chair, smoking his cigarettes surrounded by newspapers. He was a brilliant man, a techie—Morse Code guy in his time. He would have loved the Internet! I was never sure what he did in London during the war, but I have my suspicions. No one knew for sure. I think he was a spy, decrypting coded messages.

But in my memories, my Dad was always talking about world events. He gave up alcohol in the ’80s, because it almost killed him, and pretended to give up smoking. But we could smell it on his clothes when he would come up from his basement workroom. So, not long after re-inventing my life and moving to Western Canada, I got the phone call. My Dad was dead. And a couple of days later, so was Yitzhak Rabin, the PM of Israel.

It’s strange how the mind works. Growing up with my father was challenging. We always fought—he was drunk by dinner time, and I often left the table in tears. But I know he loved me with everything he was capable of giving. And I’m thinking about him tonight on New Year’s Eve.

Every time I release a new Code Raven novel (spies and current event-related mysteries and suspense), I think of my father. Driving along the Sea-to-Sky highway in November of 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, was assassinated. And through my tears, for my Dad, I smiled and thought to myself: My Dad will have someone to talk politics in Heaven, or wherever you go in the afterlife.

1949… Petawawa, Canada.

What advice would you give to a want-to-be writer?

Writing is not something you choose to do. Writing chooses you.

What you decide to do with your gift is up to you.

I’ve always lived inside my head. I have a vivid imagination—not just for fiction but for living. I can picture myself on a plane to anywhere, anytime, even right this moment! I can read something in the news like the plane that crashed yesterday in Kazakhastan and imagine myself being a crew member when the plane went down. RIP 100 people.

I wander around my apartment in Istanbul—this time last year I was living in Mexico—and play out my next Code Raven Plot in my mind. Should I remain in Turkey, like The Istanbul Conspiracy I published on Christmas Day? The surprises in that book have me reeling! Maybe I will take CR 8 to Jerusalem, or Bangkok? Wait! But my next book will be another memoir!!

“Hah, you think you are in control, Lynda?” My cocky Muse.

“But…”

“No ‘but’s’ about it. You ended that political suspense book with too much drama. We have to know where this story will go. So sit down, and plot it out!”

“Wait. I really want to write another memoir! I traveled this year, I learned so much. I grew so much!! This memoir will be so filled with life and love. My fans are waiting.”

“Okay, we will compromise. You can work on both of them at the same time.”

“Muse! You are out of control!! First, you aged my young Alice by 7 years in this book! Then, you did the unspeakable! I mean, really, right before the wedding a terrorist attack! How could you?”

My Muse remained silent. I imagine she/he/God is smiling.

A quote comes to mind, “When man plans, God laughs.”

As a writer, I can plan all I want, but the magic happens when I let my Muse have her way with me.

Christmas Eve (for an non-traditional girl) in Istanbul. A photoblog

One must start the day off at Starbucks, and yes, Cats are revered in Turkey, in the Islam religion, so this beauty was saying hello to everyone before she went on her independent Christmas Eve day.

I sent Santa this above message and followed it up with the one below, because last year I was in Mexico, and I didn’t want him to worry about trying to locate me in Istanbul–the city has 17 million people!

Although there are no signs of Christmas in this Muslim country, colorful lights decorate every street in this intensely lively city!

And the weather feels like spring, not winter. I don’t really need to wear my winter coat just yet!

This week my boyfriend bought me chocolates from the Spice Bazaar for absolutely no reason! Well, maybe he realized Christmas was coming and I was feeling … lonely? I knocked them off in 48 hours!!! And two days later he came over with another box of the same. He adores me and thinks I look amazing even if I’m sure I’ve put on 10 chocolate pounds in the last week.

The mosques still fascinate me. I love to listen to the call to prayer. Last night I couldn’t sleep–maybe memories of Christmas past and family that is no longer with us. So I listened to the call to prayer well before sunrise. There’s something comforting in this age-old manner of professing a love of God. It’s one of the things I find special about this culture.

My hairdresser decided it was time to change my hair color for this festive time of year, He added blue!! If he had asked me first, we both would have had to use Google Translate! I laughed out loud when I saw it. It’s absolutely perfect for me.

And to top off my evening–because soup alone does not cut it on Christmas Eve–I had a lovely glass or two of Blush Shiraz from Turkey. Then I chatted online with people I love from all around the world.

And I almost forgot!! Today I released my latest Code Raven book 7 The Istanbul Conspiracy! https://amzn.to/2PSAApg My Christmas gift to you! It’s available in download and in print.

The wedding of DJ Turk and the daughter of the Minister of Defense is about to take place on a mega-yacht on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Hours later the much-anticipated photos show corpses lined up along the dock and a bride covered in blood.
Was this a random act of terror, a targeted assassination of the Turkish political elite, or an attack on DJ Turk who leads a double life?
Luke and Samaar of the Raven Group have their own wedding to attend but it’s called off at the last minute when they uncover a breach in their security. Instead of returning to Paris, they come to the aid of the Turk to get to the bottom of this horrific event.
The conspiracy they uncover must be prevented before the balance of power in the world is perilously reversed. Get your copy at https://amzn.to/2EQdpWf

Thank you for your support in 2019. I look forward to continuing to cause trouble, shock, and entertain you in 2020!!

What books left a lasting impression on you? Quick 1, 2, 3!

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate, Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside.

If you’re a fiction reader and love mystery and suspense, you’re familiar with Lee Child. I’ve learned so much about the art of writing from this contemporary author. I’m always reading something, blogs, books, fiction, non-fiction, Quora, research for my novels, etc. But I rarely remember a plot. The Midnight Line haunted me. Not only for the brilliance of the simple plot and unusual way LC approached a serious problem in society today; but also the empathy and passion of the character that LC created in Jack Reacher.

I have a new book coming out Dec. 25, The Istanbul Conspiracy (don’t tell the censors in TKY because I’m currently living in IST). During the writing of several scenes in this book—Code Raven 7—I found the words coming through me faster than I could type! When I would finish a section I would give thanks to LEE CHILD and The Midnight Line. I never thought I was studying his work. But I am such a fan of his plots, his simplistic yet haunting style, that I absorbed his style. And I am forever grateful.

A reviewer once compared my writing to Lee Child. That was a long time before I’d earned any such reference—and I still don’t. But he inspires and entertains me, and his books remain a source of motivation every time I sit down at the computer.

There have been many books over the years that left a lasting impression in my heart and soul. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I have a family member caught up in a world that Lee Child explores the Midnight Line. The book helped me understand addiction in a way I could never fathom before.

This story will be forever embedded in my soul.

How many times can you reinvent yourself?

I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!

It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?

I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?

In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.

I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”

First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!

I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.

I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!” 

The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant. 

Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”

Witness the evolution of a woman:

“I can see clearly now.” 

“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

“The rest is history!” 

“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”

“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”

And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.

The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had 6 months to live.”  

This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”

Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.

THE ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY https://amzn.to/34Hzh0z

So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world. 

So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!

“6 months to live.” LOVE The Beat Goes On 

I believe in miracles because I am one!