This morning, Liz Jones sent me this artistic interpretation of my nonfiction project, THAT’S HAUTE: SECRET LIVES OF TROPHY WIVES. What a spectacular Sunday morning present! 

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Liz while working with her on this project. She’s easy-going and lots of fun to talk to, and I’m in awe of her many talents. She’s a writer, an illustrator, a musician, and, as you can see here, she’s also a computer magician.

Take a close-up look at the intricate detailing on the individual images — Liz has done an exquisite job with every picture element. And if you want to know the story behind the objects represented here, follow the link below the graphic. 

I chose grayscale to represent the elements from my childhood – a metaphoric, Kansas-to-Oz contrast to the color images that symbolize my book project.


Each of the childhood images are actually in my book’s introduction, with the exception of the silver hand-held mirror, which looks like the one my Nana brought from Nottingham, England when she was a little girl. I’m the little girl holding the mirror, looking into my future. Here’s an excerpt from my book’s introduction, to help explain the grayscale images:


  Even when I was a little girl, I was spellbound by stories about wealthy women. Their glittery lives were as far removed as imaginable from the gritty realities of my own. As an evangelist’s daughter, much of my childhood was spent in the back seat of the beat-up sedan that pulled my father’s tent. We rarely stayed in one home for long. So the posh homes I saw in magazines looked like castles to me, and sports cars like Cinderella’s carriage. I read books about socialites who served their guests caviar in crystal dishes; meanwhile, I spooned pork and beans from a can. I shuffled to school dressed in hand-me-down outfits and second-hand shoes two sizes too large, but in my dreams, I wore designer couture and stilettos wherever I went. I was the proverbial cinder girl, sitting in the ashes while dreaming about the ball.

As I grew up, I was still captivated by the differences between these women’s lives and my own. I was fascinated by articles about women who wrote seven-figure checks to decorators and party planners, then signed them with gold-leafed Mont Blanc pens. On the other hand, as a teacher in an under-funded school, I had to submit two-page request forms whenever I ran out of pens, overhead transparencies, or chalk. The contrast in our lifestyles couldn’t have been more dramatic. […]


Inside the mirror, you’ll see reflected some of the many things I’ve experienced or seen while writing this book: heart-shaped Godiva chocolates; a coveted Birkin bag, spilling over with flowers my husband gave me for my recent birthday; a purse-sized pooch; me, sitting at a bistro table at an outdoor café in Newport Beach; a yacht sailing on crystal-blue Pacific Ocean waters; a beautiful interviewee, who’s wearing a LBD (little black dress) and bedazzling jewelry; a bottle of Bollinger’s champagne, some of which has already been poured into our Waterford crystal glasses. Haute stuff!


  1. Oh wow, this is wonderful. I love the color splash in the middle of the black and white montage–it captures so many different motifs. And thanks for sharing your background story too. I’m hoping to see your revival experience in a story someday. 🙂

  2. It’s BEAUTIFUL! The contrast is striking, and I love how you look so serene and happy in the center of the whole piece–to me, it says that you are content with who and where you are.

    LOVE IT!! Where are you going to put it?

  3. I love the images and the stories behind it.
    I read “Marley and Me” this weekend and the author’s experiences of Boca Raton and the lifestyle there made me think of your book. I can’t wait to read yours. 🙂

  4. What a great interpretation, Melodye! And I love dreading the story behind the picture. Can’t wait to read the whole book! Heym you should have this pic in the book somewhere!

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