The Writers Voice
An excerpt from the
new book The Ladies' Conspiracy
Published by 1stBooks Library
Set on the exotic island of Antigua and the industrious island of Manhattan, the novel illustrates how women accumulate and wield power in business affairs. While most fictional accounts of high-finance focus on the macho maneuverings of men, this book features strong female leads who achieve results through intuition, guile, and skill in interpersonal relationships.
The excerpt introduces the teenage heroines -- Judy, Lola, and Isabel -- as they accept the gauntlet cast by their tutor, Gilda. Their determination will take them to top positions in finance, government, and the media, but the journey will be wild and dangerous.
More information about the book, "The Ladies' Conspiracy," and author Alex Brown follows the excerpt. Enjoy!
"Oh, you've come at a good point." Gilda took off her glasses.
"And we've undertaken a pie here." Judy threw a lock of red hair out of her face with the back of her hand. "Well, who won?"
"Women," Lola answered. "The sad men sailed away to drown themselves."
"Judy, will you be finished soon, dear?" Gilda asked.
Judy opened the oven and pushed the pie inside. She turned on the flame and looked at the wall clock. "In half an hour it'll be ready. I'll tidy up."
"Let me." Isabel put on her apron. "You've done your work. Have a rest."
"I don't have anything against that." Judy washed her hands, hung up her apron, and sat at the table. "Go ahead, please."
Gilda put on her glasses again and started reading.
"Man is energetic and assertive toward woman only in the first stage. To attract her attention he must demonstrate for her his best qualities, which is necessary, because instinct forces woman to find the best father for her future baby. Nature shows us shining examples of such selection. Duels between males illustrate well the motivations of men."
"What's that?" Isabel turned from the service table. "A zoological encyclopedia?"
"This is Al's book," Judy said reproachfully.
"Yes, girls." Gilda looked at Lola and Isabel. "This is a chapter from one of my late husband's books. I think it's time for you to read it." She stroked the book. "I never met a man who understood women better than Al."
"Wait for me, I'm almost done." Isabel
cleaned the service table quickly. She wiped her hands, sat down at the dining
table, and asked Judy, "Well, what was in the
Judy went up to the oven to check the pie. She lowered the heat a little and returned to her chair.
"This is the beginning," Gilda answered for her. "She asked me about the principles of relations between men and women, and I decided that nobody could answer that better than Al did."
Isabel looked at Lola. "Seems I know why you want to discuss this."
"Well," Gilda put on her glasses. "Shall I read further?"
All three answered simultaneously, "Yes."
The day came when Gilda told them the theory of the Asian monastery. To her surprise the girls listened to the story of the Art of Love without particular emotion, paying the most attention to her description of the sexual techniques for ruling men.
Only Isabel smiled once. "Well, now I'll show them who is the leader of the world. A very useful theory!"
In the end Lola asked for the address of the monastery. "I've heard about it from my grandma, but thought it was a legend." She turned to Judy. "Would you mind going there sometime?"
"No. I understood everything. Take Isabel -- she likes such exercises."
Isabel nodded. "I would go there. It would be worth it to polish this art to the extreme."
Gilda listened to their conversation with a sad expression on her face. The girls had definitely become adults. But their reaction and discussion were strange to her. At their age, she had been quite different. She realized absolutely clearly that her time had passed. She could tell them nothing essentially new and her theoretical course was actually delaying their progress.
The next day, after a sleepless night,
Gilda made a hard decision. She invited the girls for a traditional cup of tea
to say good-bye.
Gilda had turned to the window and was looking far away with a solemn expression. The girls drank their tea quietly, not daring to break the silence. They glanced at each other from time to time, understanding that something had happened.
Lola stood up and went to the bookshelf and took down a book to ease the tension.
"Read aloud," Isabel said. "Otherwise Gilda will say something awful right now."
Gilda turned to face the girls. Her eyes were wet.
"What has happened?" Judy put her hand on Gilda's and looked into her eyes. "The next reason to cry hasn't come yet. All of us are here and still alive."
Gilda swallowed hard, trying to hold the tears back, and said with a guilty smile, "Yes, you are right, my sweetheart. Really, nothing bad has happened." She sighed. "Isabel, pour some tea for me, please. I want to tell you something, but my throat is dry." Isabel quickly filled her cup.
"Maybe next time? Listen to a new story."
"Come on," Lola said, sitting at the table again. Isabel began, "A patient is saying to the doctor, 'Doctor, I'm forgetting everything so quickly.'
"'What quickly?' the patient asks with surprise."
Gilda and the girls laughed.
"You, too, hope I'll forget?" Gilda asked, smiling.
"No. The idea is very simple and not bad, actually. I think it's time for us to part." The girls looked at her silently.
"Are you leaving?" Judy asked in a low voice.
"No. You are leaving. My tea shop is closing." Gilda felt some relief, thinking 'the hardest words have been said aloud.' "Everything has a beginning and an end," Gilda continued in a firm voice. She had completely calmed down. "My time on earth is coming to an end, and I feel that soon I'll see Al again. I'd like to give him the answer to one question that I had no time to answer during our life together." She took her cup and sipped the completely cooled tea.
The girls were still sitting motionless, looking at her.
"One day Al asked me whether women could
lead civilization. I said, 'Easily.' But he wanted me to prove it. All my
arguments abut women's strategic superiority he
"After a short discussion we came to an agreement, that putting a large amount of money under their personal control would mean that women could win strategic battles. Whoever controls big money controls the world. In reality, it's so."
The girls relaxed a little and began to move again.
"How much would be sufficient?" Isabel asked.
"Al said about a billion dollars. But starting from zero."
Isabel whistled in surprise.
"Three hundred thirty million per person," Lola said.
"That equals nine hundred ninety million," Judy corrected her.
"I'll add ten million bucks," Gilda said. "I failed to prove the theory to Al in our day, but the experiment isn't over. It's still a challenge for me."
"Do you have ten million?" Isabel asked.
"And do you have three hundred and thirty million?"
Lola asked Isabel.
"Really, girls. It would be great to have one billion dollars!" Isabel said. "Nobody has ever considered you a fool. And you have proved it once again that you're not."
Judy turned to Gilda. "Should the money be in cash or in assets?"
Gilda shrugged her shoulders. "Well, what's easier?"
"It depends on the goal. Cash is more concrete, but nobody keeps that amount in cash."
"I'll agree to keep my part in cash," Isabel said.
"I'll store it in a separate room in my palace."
"How much will your palace cost?" Judy asked seriously.
"Well, about one hundred million."
"Then there will only be two hundred and thirty million in your bedroom. Or in the kitchen. It depends where you'll keep the balance of your cash."
"We'll do it, Gilda," Lola said suddenly and she looked into Gilda's eyes. "I promise you."
"I am confident of it. But the issue isn't money. Money is only one side of the coin. Your whole life should be the evidence of the triumph of women.
"My life isn't a typical example. I started normally, but had to seriously slow down in my thirties, and in my forties I stopped altogether. You're starting where I finished. You're only eighteen, all your lives are ahead. You must take it further, take it to the very end. Otherwise, all this stuff is worth nothing. This is my last will, *my testament*, if you wish."
Gilda stopped talking and looked out the window again. Lola put her cup on the table slowly, so as not to make any sound, and said in a low voice, "I understand." In the quiet, Judy said, "Fifty percent of the task is already fulfilled." The girls and Gilda looked at her.
"The first condition was to start from zero," Judy explained, "and we really do have nothing. All that remains is the second task to make a billion bucks."
ABOUT THE BOOK
Brown's protagonist is the vivacious Gilda who has been purposely schooled in the art of love and sex. Ironically, such "education" took place inside an Asian monastery. As the story unravels, Gilda's husband dies and Gilda loses all interest in her worldly existence until three girls came into her life.
The girls are Judy, Lola and Isabel. Gilda teaches these girls the fine art of winning a man's heart. She wants to prove women's strong, innate capabilities through these girls. Soon, these heroines carry out their game plan to prove to the male-dominated world that Adam's counterparts are a force to be reckoned with.
While most literature with feminist undertones are commonly written by women authors, "The Ladies' Conspiracy" is the product of an imaginative male writer's mind. It is interesting to note that somebody belonging to the so-called stronger sex would harp about and accentuate the persona and capabilities of these feminine creatures.
Happily, this goes to prove that the macho image is no longer that pervasive and is slowly losing its appeal to its supposed adherents.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Formerly the CEO of an international investment corporation, Brown has worked with major firms around the globe. This background has given him excellent experience in dealing with corporate leaders and managers. In addition to writing and consulting, he has served as a professional speaker on personal relations in the corporate world.
Brown became a full-time author in 1996. In his first novel, "The Ladies' Conspiracy," he has condensed his practical experience and described what role wives and favorites of top executives play in financial strategy. This is a work of fiction based on actual people and events.
Brown lives with his wife and two children
in his villa in Grenada, West Indies, where he is at work on his next book,
"The Second and the Last Sexual Revolution."
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