Marie Book CoverAsk “The Fruitcake Lady,” and get ready! You never know what she’ll say next.

Marie Rudisill has been called many things: irreverent, sassy, brash, even rude, and, certainly, too old to be crude. You get the idea, if you don’t know her already as “The Fruitcake Lady” from The Tonight Show. With host Jay Leno and special guests including Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, she made fruitcakes, mixing up the batter with plenty of fast talk and worldly advice. Well into her nineties, she became a television celebrity, going mouth to mouth with anyone who asked her a question or sought help with a problem. She always had an answer on the tip of her tongue.

Ask Me Anything is the story of Marie’s amazing life as told to Susan Marg. She had seen a lot and accomplished even more when she passed away at 95 years old. She was Southern to the core, yet she took on the Big Apple. When she settled in the Carolinas, she undertook one venture after another – all before she became a pop culture phenomenon.

Family, too, was a big part of Marie’s life. She was close to her nephew Truman Capote, and their falling out over some paperweights hurt her deeply. She retired to Florida with her husband to be near their son, yet yearned to return to her sweet Alabama hometown. Marie’s triumphs and tribulations will make the heart sing and the mind dance.

Ask Me Anything, ISBN 978-0-578-14318-7, is a 195-page paperback book. It lists for $14.95. An ebook is also available on Amazon.


From the Introduction to Ask Me Anything;

Or, How I Hooked Up with The Fruitcake Lady.

Marie always made me laugh. She was feisty and funny, and like her television character, The Fruitcake Lady from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, she gave as good as she got. For an old lady, and at ninety-five years of age she was getting up there, she never took guff from anyone, always speaking her mind, telling it like it is.

I only got to know Marie the last year of her life although my husband, Jim Simmons, had known her for over twenty-five years. He was her collaborator on the two books she had written on the background and upbringing of her nephew, Truman Capote. In late fall of 2005 she asked him if he would be interested in working with her on another book, possibly about her sister Lillie Mae, who was Truman’s mother. Jim was in the middle of a couple of projects and didn’t think he had the time to devote to something new. Besides, she had always given him a difficult time when they were working together. Who needs that? But he didn’t say “no,” it was hard to say “no” to Marie, and they stayed in touch.

In December of that same year we were watching Marie on what would be her last appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We were laughing along with everyone else as she did her “Ask the Fruitcake Lady” shtick, bullying and berating members of the audience for their silly questions and ridiculous complaints. Suddenly it occurred to me that Marie herself would be a terrific subject for a book. Jim thought I was onto something, as long as it was my undertaking, not his, which I must confess was not my original intent. Still, I agreed. When Jim broached the subject with Marie, she didn’t think twice about it. Just like that, I had a new book in the works.

Book CoverIs Hollywood the happiest place on earth, next to Disneyland, or the most miserable?  Is the road trip down the yellow brick road to fame and fortune worth the heartache and hard work, or is it a bust? Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following their Dreams, Making it Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown, Susan Marg’s latest title, gives a unique perspective on what it’s like to live and work where stars are born and movies are made.

Susan culled over five hundred quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks of actors, directors, writers, and others involved in the business from magazines, interviews, biographies, autobiographies, and, in this day and age, the Internet.  All told the quotes convey what insiders think about themselves, their lives, their fame, their career, each other, and the town itself.

“Their observations, on one hand, are caustic, critical, and cynical,” Susan notes, “But they are also eye-opening, amusing, inspiring, and, in some cases, even endearing. She further adds, “Be prepared to be surprised.”

Hollywood or Bust, ISBN 978-0-578-11882-6, is a 182-page paperback book consisting of seven chapters and twenty original photographs.  Topics cover dreams of success to attending the Oscars.  It can be purchased through bookstores around the country, and it is available at:  It lists for $14.95.

For a more detailed synopsis, including a table of contents and sample quotes, please visit: Hollywood Or Bust The


Here is how some critics have described Hollywood or Bust:

“For those with an interest in stars talking about stardom, Hollywood Or Bust may prove to be irresistible.”

–       Gayle Colopy for

“Happiness for movie fans like me is reading Hollywood or Bust by Susan Marg! I love all the quips, quotes, and off-the-cuff remarks from some of my favorite actors and actresses that are included in this fascinating anthology. So, of course, I found Marg’s revealing, star-studded book impossible to put down once I started it.”

–       Betty Jo Tucker, Movie Addict Headquarters on Blog Talk Radio:

“Grouped by subject, these vignettes offer a condensed glimpse of the trials and tribulations of the showbiz industry, and are just plain fun for a quick browse anytime. Hollywood or Bust also makes an excellent gift book for anyone who loves TV and movies!”

–       John Burroughs; Burroughs Bookshelf on Midwest Book Review

“For all of you Hollywood buffs out there, this book is a must for you. Words from your favorites will give you hours and hours of pleasure and entertainment as you read and re-read these interesting quotes and quips from the famous well known people. Some sayings will give you wisdom, some may be a little harsh, some mean nothing at all, and others will make you laugh. Whatever it may be, you will be amazed at the enjoyment this little book can give you.”

–       Joy Hannabass for Readers’ Favorite

Marg’s collection and categorizing makes for quick lighthearted reading and each snippet is filled with the dazzle of tinsel town and the reality rub of life on Earth. Three cheers for Hollywood or Bust!

–       Eva Trieger on Amazon

“Susan Marg cleverly gives us doses of reality sprinkled into a marketing world traditionally filled with Hollywood-speak sound bytes. She warmly conveys the comedy of it all. Take particular notice of her fantastic original photos. This is a fun read–whether you’re a starstruck devotee of Entertainment Tonight or just another witness to the icon-worship of today’s Entertainment Industry.”

–       AlgonquinII on Amazon

And Hollywood or Bust has won awards and earned recognition from:

The National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA).

The San Francisco Book Festival.

The Beach Book Festival.

The Paris Book Festival.


bigbooksmlPerennial Currents/HarperCollins published Susan’s first book, Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide.  It is filled with Vegas lore and mixed with Hollywood tales of love and marriage and the subsequent fallout.  It received honorable mention for general non-fiction at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival.

Here is how some critics described Las Vegas Weddings:

With everyone from Britney to the couple next door getting hitched there, the city’s matrimony industry is indeed fascinating and rife with quirky detail… Marg excel[s] in describing the city’s wedding history…juxtaposing Vegas’s rise as gambling capital with its pursuit of bridal traffic, and the result is compelling.

– Publishers Weekly

Part history, part gossip, part Elvis….This book is going to have you smiling, because it’s more fun than doing the Hokey Pokey at a wedding reception, and the gossip inside is tastier than chocolate-marble wedding cake. Do I think you should read it? I do.

– Terri Schlichenmeyer, The  Pahrump Valley Times

 “I love this book. It’s great Americana.”

Greg Allen, “The Right Balance,” on Accent Radio Network

 TARGET AUDIENCE: Couples who hear “Viva Las Vegas” and say, “They’re playing our song.”

RAVE: Elvis may have left the building, but he’s still in the chapel.

– Jerry V. Haines, “Road Reads,” in the Washington Post


  1. Waiting for the next book, it will make a great holiday gift.
    I loved Las Vegas Weddings-it’s a fun read! Very entertaining, with gossip and glamour,
    but then, it’s Las Vegas!!!!!

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