Monthly Archives: January 2014

AN AFFAIR WITH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

Last year – exactly around this time – I had finished the first rounds of editing of my 3 books. The Queen’s Trilogy was ready for the first sneak peak of a real audience. In the writer’s world that means that you are looking for a beta reader, preferably someone who is not too familiar with your work or your persona, but who’s an avid and experienced reader.

The Queen's Trilogy

Fortunately I had met Gary Little, a 75 year old retired Superintendent of Schools. A man of such intelligence seemed to be the perfect victim for such a job, and he was. He wrote me a beautiful review on Amazon, and a few weeks later I interviewed him about his experience reading the Queen’s Trilogy.

You may want to enjoy a short impression of that interview right here, or you may want to read the complete interview below. Take note of Gary’s beautiful deep baritone voice.

WOULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF WITH YOUR NAME AND OCCUPATION?

My name is Gary Little. I was a schoolteacher, a school principal, a vice principal, an assistant Superintendent and then Superintendent of Schools in Portage, Manitoba, Canada, and I retired after 35 years of doing that. I’ve been retired for about 16 years. Now I dedicate myself to woodturning on a lathe, and I found that’s my passion.

Gary Little

Gary Little at a private Dinner Show at Hacienda El Sol

WHERE DID YOU MEET PAULA LIEBE?

We met Paula at one of the famous places of Playa del Carmen called the Dirty Martini Lounge, and it has become a regular stop for us and a few years ago. That’s where we met Honza and Paula.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF PAULA?

Paula struck me as a dynamic, energetic woman, who was involved in any number of activities. We weren’t fully aware at the time how many activities she was involved in, but we did know that she was an entertainer, a singer, and in fact that first year we did have the opportunity to hear her sing at the Zenzi Bar.

Zenzi Beach Club

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO READ THE QUEEN’S TRILOGY?

We had heard about the Queen’s Trilogy from Paula at one of our stops at the Dirty Martini Lounge, and I sort of kept track of where she was. When she finished I inquired about it and she asked me if I wanted to read it.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST WORDS THAT COME TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF THE TRILOGY?

When I think of the trilogy, the words that come to mind are… It was open, it was raw, it was erotic and exotic both. It presented a picture that I had not expected. It was a surprise. Paula opened her soul in that book, and I enjoyed being part of that experience.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW SO MANY INTIMATE DETAILS ABOUT PAULA?

That’s a very important question. It feels quite special for Paula to open up her heart and her life the way she did. And because I was the first one to read it, it made me feel special to know her intimate secrets, everything about her… possibly like having an affair. The thing for her to consider is, as others read the book, she going to have an affair with perhaps thousands of people around the world. When others get to read it, they will have the same intimate feeling that I have.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU THINK PAULA’S WANTS GIVE HER READERS?

The messages that Paula gave, and there are many messages – it isn’t a single one from my perspective – is that she wants her readers to better understand the bigger world in which we live; the reference to everything, from geography to science to shamanism to Christianity, all of those things combined make for a better understanding of the world, from Paula’s perspective.

IS THERE A PASSAGE THAT STOOD OUT AND WHY?

The part that comes to mind at the moment is the chapter on India. I was impressed by it because of Paula’s description of the people she met. But also the country of India fascinates me – I’ve been interested in it and I’ve watched some documentaries about India – but after reading Paula’s description I felt that I could see it, I could smell it, I felt the filth and other things she described… it left quite an image in my mind.

India 2000

Paula traveling through India in the year 2000

YOU WROTE IN YOUR REVIEW: THE UNDERLYING THREAD REVEALED AN AMAZING INTELLECT. WHY?

I discovered that Paula speaks seven different languages. I discovered that she had traveled extensively. I felt exposed to everything from religion, to geography, to science, to spiritualism, to yoga. It’s almost a University degree in itself, reading the trilogy, because there is so much information. There’s so much research, which is another aspect that really impressed me, and surprised me as to the number of references that were to any number of topics, which again were quite a surprise to me because of the breadth and the depth of what was presented in her books.

WAS THERE A PASSAGE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT TO READ?

The section of the book where she discusses her relationship between herself and her father was somewhat difficult. I read it with great interest. It was explicit. It explained a lot about Paula’s early times, her youth and her upbringing. But of the various parts of the book that I think about now that was probably… came closest to being difficult to read, but also informative, intriguing, and it gave me a greater sense of who Paula is.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COVER?

I absolutely love the cover. It is a piece of art that fascinates me. It’s the combination of Paula, as naked as she is right there, balancing in a yoga pose on the edge of a cocktail glass. It’s graceful, the colors are dynamic and it captures in many ways the spirit of the book, which is an accomplishment to be able to do that with a cover. It’s a gorgeous cover!

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE POSSIBLE FUTURE READERS OF THE QUEEN’S TRILOGY?

I would like the future readers to be aware of the fact that once you start into the book you won’t put it down. It’s a rollercoaster for sure; there are the ups and the downs. It’s ride for sure, and a rollercoaster right there!

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT THE TRILOGY?

I would be surprised if the trilogy doesn’t surface as a bestseller. It is worthy of that status in many, many ways. It’s not a work of fiction. This is the memoir of Paula and it’s a great experience!!!

Get your free copy right now!

The 1st book of The Queen’s Trilogy you can download for free.

For your Kindle click here.

For your iPad and other reading devices click here.

 

PAULA’S BIRTHDAY INVITATION

Felicidades Chica! Today is my birthday. Exactly 49 years ago I was welcomed into this world. I’m not going to celebrate this birthday with a big party. You can join me for a drink at The Dirty Martine Lounge, but no outrageous festivities are being offered this time. That may sound strange from the people who are famous for their lavish parties, with Honza’s well-known culinary buffets and DJ Greco’s fine dance tunes, but there’s a perfect explanation for that.

Party

The first reason is that in twelve days Honza and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary, and we had planned a big party for that special day. That is until we received a phone call from aforementioned DJ that on the 2nd of February – a date that also happens to be the wedding date of our King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima – the American Super Bowl takes place. That’s a real big thing here in Playa and we don’t want to boycott our own party. The only thing I know about American football is that they have a team that is called the ’49ers – there is that number again! – and that’s only because I’ve lived in San Francisco for a few years. Actually, it was the day after my birthday in 1989 that they won, but I have no idea from whom.

San Franciso 49er

The second reason is that next year I will turn fifty and that milestone asks for a major party. By now you all know where that party will be organized, so prepare yourself for a few days of festivities at Amarte Maroma. When I started studying with professor Mary Grogan, director of Opera Maya, I thought I would be able to sing the Flower Duet of the opera Lakme from the composer Delibes for my 50th birthday, but I have to admit that that dream is still far beyond my reach. I keep on dreaming and maybe for my 10th wedding anniversary or my 60th birthday I will be able to sing my favorite aria. Maybe.

FLOWER DUET – ANNA NETREBKO & ELINA GARANCA (LAKME DE DELIBES)

What is within my reach is singing with a Jazz band. Maybe Honza’s old time friend Milan Svoboda, a Jazz musician, and composer, conductor and bandleader, is willing to bring some members of his Prague Big Band to Mexico for a good bottle of Tequila. You never know.

milan svoboda

MILAN SVOBODA

And you never know if you will be drinking a glass of Tequila with us next year at Amarte Maroma. Wouldn’t that be nice?

HONZA AND PAULA’S NEW YOGA SALON

Yoga is a big thing in Playa del Carmen. Our community is blessed with so many talented yoga teachers, each with their own unique style and signature. It isn’t difficult to find a studio or teacher that suits your own specific needs.

When I arrived in Playa 13 years ago I only found a yoga class in Cindy Burke’s Bodyworks, a gym that has disappeared a long time ago. But soon other yoga opportunities presented itself. One of the first yoga studios that opened its doors was Arielle Newman’s Yoga By The Sea. With her teacher training courses, new yoga teachers were trained and soon other studios opened, like Ellen de Jonge’s Yoga by the Way.  Two other studios that have had a large following are Palapa Suuk and Casa Ananda. And very recently our yoga community received two more studios, the Yogaloft  and the Yoga District.

For ten years I’ve taught yoga at various places in Playa del Carmen, mostly at gyms, accompanied by the not so ideal atmosphere of iron pumping body builders and subsequent electronic music in the background. But now that we are moving to Amarte Maroma, we’ve found a beautiful and peaceful space where we can practice and teach yoga.

When we saw the yoga palapa for the first time, we thought it was rather small, probably because of the furniture that was still present in the space.

However, when the rain and the clouds had finally disappeared and the sunlight allowed us to take more photos for our collection, the space looked different.  The furniture had been removed and we took our time to place our yoga mats.  Kike and Marco, who own the Yoga Shala 38,  had inspired us to place our mats in a diagonal line, allowing more people to occupy the room without hitting their neighbor. It turns out we can easily fit 20 yogis in our new yoga salon.

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That morning Honza and I practiced a wonderful Vinyasa flow, just the two us. In the background we could hear the wind blowing through the coconut and banana trees that surround the palapa; we could hear various tropical birds, and the sound of leaves being raked by a Mayan gardener.

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The atmosphere was so tranquil and the energy so peaceful. At the end of our practice I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratefulness for being able to practice yoga in such a beautiful place that we can call home. It felt almost like this yoga shala was welcoming us into her space. Our new yoga salon was baptized with the final chanting of Om, the universal sound that vibrates in the Universe.

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 NAMASTE!

HONZA AND PAULA’S NEW YEARS WISH

When the year 2012 turned into 2013 my husband and I made a New Years wish. We asked the Universe to help us make our dream come true: expanding the concept of our bed & breakfast ‘Hacienda El Sol’ and finding a bigger place for our venture, close to the sea.

Ask and thou shalt receive. Allow the Universe to do its magic; et voila!  Less than a year later an opportunity was placed right into our lap, allowing us to live a dream far beyond our expectations.

Honza had been imagining five cabañas where we could organize workshops, providing our guests with yoga, healthy food, concerts and cultural trips. You probably know by now that Paula’s dreams are more of a Galactic quality, so we were presented a little more than just five rooms.

The owners of the enterprise Maroma Amarte, located only 10 kilometers North of Playa del Carmen, had been thinking of retiring for a few years already. When – unintentionally – they found themselves at our dinner table enjoying Honza’s cooking and Paula’s performance, they also learned about our experience in the hotel and restaurant business. Long story short: a year after their first visit to our house in the Ejido they asked us to take over the management of:

- 24-room Hotel consisting of luxury bungalows in a lush tropical garden
- Art gallery
- Restaurant
- Yoga salon
- Holistic Spa
- Private Beach Club

Believe me, it took a couple of weeks before the magnitude of this venture started to sink in. I almost forgot, included is also a private villa with pool for our personal use, located in the middle of a biosphere, a few steps from the Maroma Beach that is ranked among the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Here is a first impression of Amarte (meaning: to love you):

The transition to this new location will take a while. It’s a complete new adventure, for all of us. If you want to stay in the loop how we plan to turn this place into the most beautiful cultural and spiritual center of the Riviera Maya, subscribe yourself to this blog.

That leaves Honza and I with one more wish for this New Year: Do yourself a favor and make a wish: Dreams do come true!