Tag Archives: Books

Everything you ever wanted to know about being a flight attendant…

Book View TV interviewed me about my book, Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 30,000 Feet.  Basically we discussed everything you ever wanted to know about being a flight attendant.

PART 1:  BARBIE BOOT CAMP.  A little bit about how my book Cruising Attitude came to be, and what it’s like, really like, to be a flight attendant

PART 2: SKY ROMANCE?   What’s a crashpad?  Why do flight attendants commute?  How does it work?  How do flight attendants balance flying with life on the ground?  It ain’t easy.  And what about dating pilots?  Watch here….

PART 3: TURBULENT GLAMOUR. It’s not a glamorous life.  We discuss flight attendant pay, uniforms, and what scares me more than turbulence.

PART 4:  THE CRAZIES. What it’s like to work on a private jet, why passengers go crazy in flight, and a little bit about special passengers (AKA frequent fliers)

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9 safety tips for new flight attendants (and solo travelers)

rsz_1rsz_1rsz_img_09131. “The Gift of Fear,” by Gavin De Becker, should be required reading for all men and women, especially for those of us who travel, particularly for women who travel alone. I’ve recommended this book to more flight attendants and passengers than anything thing else over the years. It’s saved my life more than once.

2. Skip the first floor. They’re easier to break into. That’s why you’ll never find a flight attendant below the second floor in a hotel. There’s a reason for that. It’s in our hotel contract.

3. Leave the lights and television on when you’re not in the room. Put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. It gives the appearance that someone is occupying the room, so no one will break in.

4. Stay Healthy: Never leave home without a small antibacterial spray. A mini bottle of vodka works just as well. Hit up the remote, the light switches, doorknobs and taps. You don’t want to get sick while you’re stuck at a less than desirable layover hotel.

5. Walk with intent. Walk down the street like you have a place to be, like you know where you’re going and need to get there quickly. Do that and people will leave you alone.

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Skydoll: Destination Unknown (Book 2)

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. The author answers 10 questions about their next book, and tags the person who first tagged them, plus at least 5 other authors. Margo Candela, author of The Brenda Diaries,  tagged me.  

What is the working title of your book?  Skydoll: Destination Unknown.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  LONG AGO I was working on a book called Stewardeath, a dark comedy about a serial killing flight attendant.  Almost every agent who read the manuscript said they liked the voice, but wished I could make it more “fun.”  An agent who’s famous for being snarky scribbled a personal note at the bottom of a generic rejection form letter that said she hoped to never have me on one of her flights. HA!  So I did what most wanna-be-published writers do and stuck to my guns and….well…you guessed it.  I never sold the book.  Eventually I got the hint and changed the name to Skydoll.  I was busy working on that when an editor at Harper Collins found my blog and asked me to write a memoir for them.  That book became Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet. Now I’m back to working on Skydoll – AGAIN.

What genre does your book fall under?  Novel.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Emma Stone!  Love her.  But Lizzy Caplan is pretty awesome, too.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  I’m striving for (HBO) Girls meets Cruising Attitude.  Can I use my own book?  If not how about Sex in the City meets Coffee Tea or Me.  Or maybe 2 Broke Girls meets…A View From the Top?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  An agency, I hope.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I’m on page 5 of Chapter 2, so…  Over ten years if you count Stewardeath!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’m lucky because there aren’t many books about flight attendants, and very few of those are actually written by flight attendants – who are still working – LIKE ME!   On that note the most famous stewardess book of all is Coffee, Tea, or Me.  It was ghost written by Donald Bain, but an airline hired two stewardesses to become Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones as a marketing stunt to promote the book.  For years Coffee, Tea, or Me was sold as a nonfiction book, but today you’ll find it in the fiction section of the bookstore.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?   I can’t say that anyone or anything inspired me to write this book.  But the author who inspires me the most as a writer is Marguerite Duras.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  You mean sex, love and flying isn’t enough?  Seriously what more could you ask for in a book?

TAG – You’re it!

(Check back soon to see who got tagged)

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Little airplane movie…

Created using the artwork from my book, Cruising Attitude (German Edition)

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Air France flight attendant shows off her Cruising Attitude!

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She makes me want to wear (a redder) red lipstick.  (Flight instructors nod approvingly.)

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Photo of the day: It was the only place on the plane Sally felt comfortable reading “50 shades of Grey”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Henry Lin

Caption courtesy of @IanHMoore

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Life on the ground

 

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Advice for writers & my chick lit inspiration

This interview originally appeared on ChickLitCentralTheBlog.com 

What was the most challenging part of writing “Cruising Attitude?” 
Finding time to write. I’ve been talking about writing a book for years. After awhile even close friends and family didn’t take me seriously when I’d talk about it. I’m a flight attendant, wife and mother. It’s not easy balancing all that without also trying to find time to work on a book. When I was writing I’d feel guilty about not spending time with my family. When I was spending time with my family I’d feel guilty about not writing. I should also mention it took a few years to realize the first book I was working on was the wrong book, even though every agent and publishing house told me this multiple times. I didn’t believe them. Turns out they were right! Blogging helped me find my way. When you blog you get immediate feedback from readers. You learn what they like and what they want to know more about. It’s why I now tell struggling writers to know who their market is and to give them what they want.

Who are two authors who inspired you to write?
Writing really starts with reading. The first author who truly captured my attention was Judy Blume. In grade school I checked out every single one of her books after reading “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.” I couldn’t get enough of her. That’s how my love of books with a strong female voice began. The book that inspired me to start writing was “Catcher In the Rye,” although as I read it I don’t think I was completely conscious that I wanted to write. But the conversational tone is what got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could do that – on a much lower level of course! Sarah Dunn’s “The Big Love”is the book I kept on my writing desk to use as motivation when I first began writing, the perfect combination of “Catcher in the Rye” meets the best of chicklit.

What do you think the key is to a successful chick lit novel? Lots of sexiness? A studly hero? Plenty of angst? 
A strong voice people can relate to. Although we’re more connected because of cell phones, Facebook, twitter and the like, we’re also more disconnected than ever before. This is why I think reality TV is so popular today. Writing something that’s real and true, something that people can relate to on an emotional level, is more important than ever before.

KEEP READING (and enter to win a free copy of my book)

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Cruising Attitude: New York Times book review

Yesterday was an amazing day for me.  I still can’t believe Joe Sharkey from the New York Times reviewed my book, Cruising Attitude.   Let me say that again because it’s not everyday someone like me can throw around words like “my book” in the same sentence as  “THE NEW YORK TIMES!” And yet there it is on page B8, and it practically took up half the page.  It was a fantastic review.  Much better than The Wall Street Journal.

I’m a new author, so I’m learning the ins and outs of the book business as I go along.  What’s funny (or sad, depending on how you look at it) is in the publishing world this review is a pretty big deal.  Not just because it’s the New York Times, although that alone is HUGE, but because the review came out two months after the book was released.  Apparently in book world two months is equivalent to two years – dog years that is.  Of course I ran out and bought not one, not two, but five copies of the paper just in case something happened to the other four.

Here’s an excerpt of the review…

If you’ve ever wondered what may be going through a flight attendant’s mind as she surveys passengers all strapped into their restraints before a flight departs, Heather Poole has the answer:

“O.K., where’s crazy? That’s what I’m wondering every time I board a flight in my flammable navy blue polyester.”

That happens to be the opening of Ms. Poole’s new book, “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet” (William Morrow). Ms. Poole has been a flight attendant for 15 years for a major airline that she won’t name because, for a reason unfathomable to me, she loves her job and would hate to lose it. (Under airline rules, crews are allowed to talk to the media, but not to identify their company.)

Now, as a long-serving ombudsman for frequent fliers, I will quickly note that passengers sometimes have their issues with some flight attendants. The first question some of us ask once we’ve buckled ourselves in is this: “O.K., where’s the passive-aggressive martinet of a flight attendant who hates the passengers?”

Both questions are harsh, but I’ll admit that Ms. Poole’s has the weight of the evidence. Take that passenger who barged into the galley where she was squatting by a beverage cart to eat a sandwich she had brought from home. The passenger “took a bite of my half-eaten sandwich” and ran back to his seat, Ms. Poole writes. She adds, “I’ve seen a woman try to store her baby inside an overhead bin.”

After reading that, I called Ms. Poole at her home in Los Angeles to ask: “Really? The overhead bin?”

Ms. Poole, 41, said it was. “Well, maybe she was just putting it there while she sorted her things out, but that wasn’t my impression,” she said.

Ms. Poole is funny, amiable and self-deprecating. She seems well-grounded, so to speak. But her tone when I asked skeptically about the baby in the bin definitely conveyed the idea, “You have met the general public, haven’t you?”

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Five things a flight attendant DOESN’T want to hear!

This post originally appeared on the Barnes and Noble website 

Five Things Flight Attendants Don’t Want to Hear:

1. ON MY LAST FLIGHT…  The moment I smile and say I’m a flight attendant, I find myself holding my breath.  Without fail, there’s a two second pause, followed by those four little words: “On my last flight…” 90% of the time the story that follows is about a flight from hell. Let’s just stop and think about this for a minute. Upon meeting a doctor, would you tell him about the worst hospital stay you’ve ever had? Or would you tell a car salesman about the time you got sold a lemon? It’s never a good idea to start a conversation disparaging your new friend’s chosen profession.

2. ARE THERE ANY FIRST CLASS SEATS AVAILABLE? It’s okay to ask, but it’s probably not going to get you very far. What’s guaranteed to  get you nowhere, though, is demanding an upgrade because your reading light doesn’t work (this actually happened, on an afternoon flight, no less). One passenger demanded to be moved up front because his wife just had knee surgery and he had the X-rays to prove it! Just so we’re clear: Flight attendants do not upgrade passengers. Gate agents are the only ones with that power. But keep in mind there’s a standby list for those oh-so-precious premium seats, and each and every passenger on that list knows exactly how close to the top his or her  name is. Don’t believe me? Ask the top tier frequent fliers who didn’t score an upgrade and who are now seated in the most sought after coach seats; first row of coach or the exit row. Their names are all next on the list, and they know it.

3. CAN YOU HELP ME GET MY BAG IN THE OVERHEAD BIN? Unless you’re an unaccompanied minor, elderly or handicapped and your bag is not too heavy, I will not put your bag in the bin. One of the most common misconceptions about flight attendants is that it’s our job to lift heavy passenger bags into the bin. We have no problem finding a space for your bag. We may even assist in lifting the bag.  But for the most part, you pack it, you lift it.

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