Memoir: How much of a person’s life is sensationalized or true to his or her life?

LOVE The Beat Goes On is my first memoir. It was difficult to write at times. But when your doctor gives you a “6-months to live” diagnosis in 2008, I writing my memoir would be an inspiration. I felt compelled to share HOPE.

The easy part was telling the story. But here are the things that really make it hard:

  1. When you write a memoir, there’s nowhere to hide.
  2. Be authentic. If you are bull-xxiting, the reader will know it.
  3. Is it true to life? Well if you’ve ever been in an argument with your partner/spouse/lover/sibling you know we all see the same thing from a different point of view.

It’s also difficult because you get a judgment on yourself. Think about that. I’ve got 16 books published on Amazon. That’s a lot of writing, a lot of readers, fans, reviews. And one negative review sticks out. The person who wrote the review said I was a “woman of passion and privilege.” I loved the passion because this is very true. But the privilege? I can’t tell you how much that hurt. I’m an army brat, child of an alcoholic father. I had a life of loneliness and horrific family arguments in my teenage years. Everything I ever got I worked my butt off to achieve. But when you put yourself out there, people will react to your narrative in different ways.

So, is it sensationalized or true to his or her life?

Your question intrigued me. I’m currently writing a second memoir. I sold everything last year 2019. I was living in Mexico, gave up my career in sales, and decided to travel to Europe, India, Asia, Malaysia and the Middle East. My entire world has been turned upside down for that decision. I now live in Istanbul, Turkey, and am in love with a man who is decades younger than me. Do I have a story to share? Oh yeah. I don’t need to sensationalize it.

My life is incredibly amazing and I’ve been blessed with the best and worst events. But I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not one single thing. I hope the authenticity of my words will shine through on the final draft of my manuscript. I can’t wait to share my story with the world.

We all have a story to share. Maybe you will be next.

Day 36/37 I’ve lost count. Lockdown in Istanbul if you are over 65. My first stop when they lift this quarantine will be the hairdressers!

Thanks for reading.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO LIVE IN A WAR ZONE?

Write about what you love to read but that doesn’t mean you have to LIVE there!
Life imitates Art.
In 2019 I sold everything I owned and began a journey to visit places I’d read and written about. I started in the city known around the world as the place they assassinated John F. Kennedy. Who could forget the book on the Warren Commission? I traveled across the ocean to the home of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And relaxing on the beaches of Goa, India I read Paulo Coehlo’s Hippie. I celebrated my birthday in a country that’s home to a master spy the great art restorer Gabriel Allon, the covert operative who came in from the cold to run the Office, Israeli Intelligence.  I thought I might live and write in Bali, so after Thailand, I had no return ticket!  But nothing had prepared me for a quick layover in the mysterious historical city of Istanbul exactly one year ago. Instead of Bali, I returned to Istanbul and wrote my own my own mystery,  Code Raven 7,THE ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY. 

   Did you know that part of Istanbul is in Europe but the majority of the city is in Asia? I thought I was living in Europe, and technically geographically, I am. But to make it even more confusing, Turkey is actually in the Middle East! My friends and readers should no longer be surprised by my lifestyle. Somehow I knew that I might find one of the most vibrant cities of the world too intriguing to pass up. So here I am. Coronavirus has hit Iran with a bang, and the border between Turkey and Iran is closed indefinately. Refugees are surging along the highways to get to Europe via the border entry for Greece. And an additional one million frightened and displaced men, women, and children are desperate to escape the violence of war in Syria. The foreign aid can’t begin to cover the poor souls living in appalling conditions along the Syrian/Turkish border. And two days ago Turkey raided and arrested 105 Feto Terrorists in a secretive co-ordinated sweep through the country. How did I find out? Social Media was blocked for several hours. I had a strange feeling about it–I remember reading that Turkey blocked social media during the Coup attempt of 2016. At first, there was no announcement or anything. We all thought our networks were down. But then I found a notice on some obscure news service. I thought blackout might have to do with Turkey’s military action in Syria. But now I’m certain the block was done so communications could not transpire between terrorist groups while Turkey swooped in and grabbed them. So what’s it like living in Istanbul with the COVID-19  border closure on the Iranian side, an angry tear-gas-shooting Border Patrol on the Greek side, and Syria slaughtering its own people in the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII? It’s surreal. To top things off, I live one block from the Bosphorus Strait and I witnessed this two days ago: Russian Warships coming through the strait!! Wait a minute, didn’t the Russian backed Syrian Regime just kill 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria? Just another day in the life of an author when the truth is stranger than fiction. 
Russian Warships passing through the Bosphorus Strait Feb. 28 2020
The ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY free to read on KINDLE UNLIMITED Amazon

If you play by the rules, you miss all the fun!

I LOVE that I am fearless and refuse to live my life the way society dictates. Every morning I find joy in my love of life that has led me to adventures beyond what I ever thought possible.

Istanbul 2019

I woke up this morning and hit the yoga mat. I have immense gratitude that at 72 I am able to move every single part of my body without pain.

I sat down at my desk and finished editing my latest book, The Istanbul Conspiracy. I LOVE that I’ve been blessed with the gift of imagination and the ability to entertain and inspire.

When I take a my medications for heart/blood pressure, I give thanks to a world that has created drugs that have allowed a woman like me to continue living and loving even though I was given “6 months to live” in 2009!

And I take joy from my attitude in life: everything amazes, surprises, and delights me…simple things like the Istanbul cats, Starbucks coffee, caramel waffle cookies, and finding fresh lettuce for my salad at the corner store.

And I find joy — endless joy, in creativity: photography, writing my novels, reading, graphics, fashion, music. And style, like my new hair color. This is what happens when you don’t speak Turkish, your hairdresser doesn’t speak English — but he gets me!

I take joy in knowing I have two amazing sons in my life. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but that’s okay. They are both just like me: strong-willed and on their own paths.

I’ve been through bankruptcies and divorces — make no comment about the plurals, please! But my stubborn determination to succeed means I’ve bounced back from both more times than I can remember and refuse to become hardened or bitter.

And at this moment in time, I have a very loving relationship with a guy who makes me laugh-out-loud and reminds me that I’m beautiful inside and out. He says that age is just a number to be ignored — ”It’s what’s in your heart that counts.”

Finally — although I’m sure I can come up with a lot more — I have a philosophy in life — many, actually, but I will share this one:

What was your biggest culture shock going to Turkey?

I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!

I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.

But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!

I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.

Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!

YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:

  1. The #1 Country for the Sexiest Men in the World is Turkey Yes, it’s true. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is and you will see what I mean!
  2. I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
  3. Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
  4. The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
  5. And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
  6. Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
  7. The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!

My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.

Answered in Quora!

Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.

Dangerous and/or taboo topics…

repost from Quora

How do you research dangerous or taboo topics for your stories? Do you ever worry that people will get the wrong impression?Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

That’s a great question!

I think of that when I start going deeper into things like the “dark web” or “how to hack… “ and even anything about weaponry!

The good news is, I’m sure being an older female is a plus. I certainly don’t look or act like I’m involved in anything nefarious. But these are a few things that you might find interesting.

  1. I live in Turkey right now. Although I’m a Canadian and have been living in Mexico for the last 17 years.
  2. That means that since 2016 coup attempt things like this routinely occur when I am researching for my Code Raven Series:

At first, I thought it was my internet connection. I also discovered they block porn sites (research, remember!!) But when it happened day after day, I did some research. Wiki was blocked in April of 2018. These were some facts and conclusions I came to:

  1. Turkey coup: Court hands 17 top generals 141 life terms The accused were charged with crimes against the state, attempting to kill the President and the deaths of 249 people.
  2. Last year 251 journalists languished in jails as a result of doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based NGO. It marked the third year in which at least 250 journalists were imprisoned around the world, though it was also the first decline since 2015. (Jan 16, 2019)
  3. Turkey Leads the World in Jailed Journalists
  4. It’s probably a great idea to stop telling people that I’m a writer/author/novelist. And if this is being read by anyone in Turkey, I write fun thrilling, mystery suspense action books that have nothing to do with any kind of political affiliation or government hate!! I LOVE Turkey! That’s why I decided to get a visa and stay awhile!!
  5. And then I remembered Kashoggi. Hmm.

The solution to the issue as all techies will tell you is using a VPN. If you have any concerns whatsoever, I suggest you get a techie to help you set up your computer for your projects.

CODE RAVEN SERIES https://amzn.to/2YSQAst

The Cool Cats of Istanbul

Istanbul cats are famous. Who knew? They are everywhere and they are beautiful.

The religion of Islam teaches that animals are to be honored and cared for, but the Cat is the only one allowed to live in the home and walk into a Mosque. That doesn’t negate any other animals, it’s simply that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) has laws for the treatment of animals and fellow man and he had cats!

I’m quite fascinated by the local cats, their beauty, their health, and their attitude. They know they rule! The community feeds the animals whether they are pets or not. I passed a cat on my street eating fresh chicken placed outside by the local butcher for the cats. Another day I encountered a lovely tabby having tinned tuna. It’s the same with the stray dogs. They are healthy and have been tagged by the city so we know they are free of disease. The dogs wander the streets; but hey are not aggressive at all. The spend their nights curled up in doorways or at the entrance of the Mosques.

When I go walking or take the millions of steps up to the top of the hill (Istanbul is a city of so many hills!) I stop to greet and chat with the cats. Even the street art pays homage to the superiority and love for the Cats of Istanbul! I thought I’d share them with you!

Do you have a favorite? I definitely lean towards the green eyes, and the Kung Fu Cat! I could go on and on, but you get that it’s a “Cats’ World” in Istanbul, Turkey!

Photo Blog 2 Istanbul!

She said what? Girls hanging out.
The Boys in Sultanahmet Square. I’d love to take a Turkish coffee with you!
Turkish Delights? But of course!!
Ohhhh, I’m so tempted. Just one more please!

If you would like to know more about my life, and what has inspired me to sell everything and travel the world, please pick up a copy of

LOVE The Beat Goes On on Amazon.

Every single day of my life since 2008 is a gift! #Gratitude

I admit it…

It’ been awhile. Have you wondered what happened to me?

I’m unpredictable, enigmatic, and always evolving. If any of my past relationships (men) are reading my blog, you can stop smiling now! I write sporadically, sometimes about topics that make you smile, shake your head, and check the post, wondering if I wrote it at all. “This is me,” as a dear friend of mine would say.

When you begin to understand me, I will do a 180 and you have to start all over again. It’s 2019. I rarely look backward, instead, I prefer to move on and live in the moment, moving towards the future. I have many amazing and beautiful things that happened in 2018, including taking back my emotional life and healing a very sad heart. Well, let me think about what I just said. I’m a woman. Do we ever truly heal our hearts? If we are open to love we will always be putting our hearts back together. So rather than look at 2018 let’s move right on into 2019!!

I have lived in Puerto Vallarta, on and off, since 2002. I fell in love with Mexico in the late 90’s. Many believe I moved here for a man. Let’s just say that I moved here out of love… a love that encompassed self-love, a lover, and a need to save my life rather than stay in a bad marriage and die a little each day.

And now the time has come to move on. I’m not saying I will never come back. But there are places to go and people to meet and stories to write and experiences to live, and love…yes, there will always be love.

I’m traveling first to the USA, then Paris to see my son and grandson, then I will visit India. I’ve never been before so if you have any places in India that touched your heart or spoke to your soul, please share them with me. After India I will spend a couple of days in Istanbul, and then I will have my birthday in Israel. First I will stay very close to the Wailing Wall, in the Arab Quarter in Jerusalem. Just writing this sends shivers up and down my spine. I’m drawn to the Holy Lands like many before me. I suppose my Catholic upbringing has a lot to do with that, but so does the life and death of IDZ, and the exploits of Samaar and Raven (operatives in my series, Code Raven– the first 3 are .99 cents).

After Israel I will go to Bangkok. From there I have absolutely no plans, but I will visit and possibly stay, in Bali. I will follow … my dreams.

Yesterday a friend of mine looked me in the eye and said, ‘You’re following your heart. You’re in love with him.” I objected profusely. “I’m in love with life, with travel, with places I’ve never been to and people I have yet to meet.” She raised her eyebrows and smiled. And then we both laughed.

Do I have a return ticket? No. I never look back and rarely go back, I always move forward. “But, will you come back to Mexico?”

“I always follow my heart.”

The prequel and the first two books in Code Raven Series available for .99 cents on Amazon