Learn Writing & Publishing Trade Secrets-Cooking Too! in Positano!
Michele McPhee is the author of several best-selling books, Emmy-nominated investigative reporter and award-winning columnist...but as she shares in the following story, it didn't all happen overnight. Learn from her inspiring tale and on June 22 to 27 join her and writers like you in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Positano, Italy - let Michele give you the tools to navigate the publishing world like a pro. You're not alone...take the plunge!
By Michele McPhee
His voice was as sweet as the summer night. His hand grabbed mine and pulled me just enough so my eyes met his. "In bocca al lupo,'' the stranger whispered as his lips brushed my cheek.
The stranger's whisper is one of my greatest memories of Positano, Italy, the remarkably romantic city with so much to remember - clams in spaghetti vongole sweet as plums, people living their lives as passionately as play actors, views so luscious I fear a blink might make it all disappear - its amazing that I could recall his words at all.
Perhaps the words stayed with me because of the splendid setting in which the phrase was uttered. But the writer in me believes it was the translation that left the brief encounter emblazoned in my mind.
In bocca al lupo literally means go into the mouth of the wolf.
You want me to go into the mouth of the wolf? Get my head eaten by a beast? What?
Who is the writer who used such potentially dangerous, dramatic imagery like that?
Even now every time I hear an American say "break a leg" I wince at its lack of beauty.
These are the questions that help make me a writer, an investigative journalist, a poet, an artist. It is visiting places like Positano that give me inspiration. It is the company of other writers that sparks the real magic.
I got my first book published by accident.
I was stuck in my identity as a crime reporter. Just a crime reporter.
Sure, I was dogged, willing to go anywhere and do almost anything for a scoop, and have built up an impressive slew of cocktail party stories like I snuck into John Gotti's wake in Queens, New York. I got whacked by a woman wielding a patent leather purse in London after Princess Diana's untimely death and I posed as a mob moll with an undercover NYPD detective targeting fight fixing in Las Vegas. I was at the scene of the largest mass murder in our country's history: the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers that killed 2,996 people and wrote about the 343 firefighters; 23 NYPD cops and 37 Port Authority police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while rescuing the tens of thousands who survived that terrible day.
But it was the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace that helped me get that acci dental book deal. I was sent to South Beach, Miami by the New York Daily News hours after Versace was killed going into his beachfront home. His blood still stained his marble steps when I arrived; his killer still on the loose. When spree killer Andrew Cunanan was finally found dead in a Miami houseboat, I interviewed the owner of a nightclub where Versace had spent his last hours. That club owner was Chris Paciello. And his name would cross my desk years later on an indictment that listed mobsters charged with racketeering, extortion, assault, and murder.
It turned out that Paciello, who had dated Madonna and Sofia Vergara of Modern family, was in fact a killer on the run from his past. My coverage in the Daily News led to a magazine story in Maxim. That Maxim piece got me a call from an agent. The agent asked me to write a book proposal. I had no idea how. So I bought a book, "How To Write A Book Proposal" and followed the directions.
To my amazement, I got a deal. The four other crime books I have written were not as easy, believe me, but the experiences have given me insight into the secret world of publishing. And my Writers' Studio will reveal those secrets to save you a lot of heartache.
So, brave fellow writers, I urge you all to go into the mouth of the wolf...to take a chance, invest in yourself and your inner artist, to write every day in the most beautiful place on the planet. You can be an accidental author too.