Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Baby Turns 9 :)

9 years ago today I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, and was told that she would have to be delivered in order to save both our lives. It was by far the most terrifying day of my life.

Since then, she has far exceeded every expectation I've ever had. She's such a strong, intelligent, independent, beautiful little girl. My heart bursts every time I look at her :)

Happy birthday to our little peanut princess!!!




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why I Didn't Name the Songs in Romancing the Rumrunner - But You Can Find Out What They Are Now!

I have a general rule to never respond to reviews, good or bad. Reviews are for readers, not the authors, so I don't feel it's ever my place to respond to or comment on them. However, I've had several reviews that have mentioned the wish that I'd included the names of the songs my heroine Jessie sings in Romancing the Rumrunner. And I totally understand. If I was a reader, it would bug me too. Which made making the decision to leave the song titles out of the book very difficult. But I promise I had a good reason :-)

So for the sake of those who are curious, I'd like to explain my reasoning behind leaving the titles out, and reveal what the songs are that Jessie sings :-)

The book is set in 1928. I spent many, many hours researching, making sure that every detail I included in the book - from the language to the camera Tony uses to the prices Jessie charges for her meat in her butcher shop - were details that are historically accurate for 1928 Chicago.

And then it came time to choose the songs Jessie sings. The song I originally envisioned was that sexy little jazz number Fever...or Why Don't You Do Right, the song that Jessica Rabbit sings :-) Unfortunately, both of those were recorded well after Rumrunner takes place. But that vibe is what I was looking for. And then I started listening to songs actually from 1928. While some of the lyrics are, shall we say, risque, none had that Jessica Rabbit feel.

Finally, after listening to dozens of songs from that era, specifically from 1928 or earlier, I found two in particular that I just HAD to include in the story. The lyrics, the way I saw her singing - they were just too perfect. The original recordings are campy, peppy, not at all sex-kittenish (at least by today's standards). But my Jessie changes them up ;-) So if you listen to these songs, just picture Jessie up on the stage, the tempo slowed down, swaying to the beat :-)

The first song she sings is I Wanna Be Loved By You sung by Helen Kane. This one presented no problems for me. It was recorded in 1928 and is therefore a song that Jessie could have sung in her speakeasy.

I wasn't so fortunate with the second song, I Want To Be Bad, sung by Annette Henshaw. Upon researching this one, I found that it wasn't recorded until 1929. This was a huge problem for me. Yes, it's just a few months off and I'm probably the only one who would have known that. And I never specifically mention that the book is set in 1928, so I probably could have gotten away with it. But I knew it and just couldn't bring myself to include it in the story knowing it was a historical inaccuracy.

So I searched for other songs, and I found a few, but they just weren't as perfect as I Want To Be Bad. That song is Jessie to a T, and the way she sings it, directing it right at Tony *sigh* I just couldn't stick another song in there. So my editor and I made the decision to remove the song titles from the story, make them a little more vague. It allowed me to keep the song in there without compromising the historical accuracy of the story.

I did leave some hints, though I suppose only someone familiar with the songs of that time might get them. My apologies on that :-) The "boop-boop-a-doops" were a signature of Helen Kane's singing style, the most well-known song being I Wanna Be Loved By You (a la Betty Boop). In fact, when I hear that, this song always pops into my head so I hoped if I mentioned it (though I made sure to include that Jessie changed that signature sound for one of her own) that this song might pop into my readers' heads.

And for the second song, I Want To Be Bad, I got a little more specific, trying to include some of the lyrics in a round about way. "She swayed her shoulders and shook her hips as the song dictated" and "When she sang the line about letting someone take a kiss, Tony’s teeth scraped along his lower lip" are direct references to the lyrics in that song. Again, I realize this is vague, but I hoped it would help a bit. With copyright laws and public domain issues (as copyrights can be extended and because these songs have been re-recorded several times making their public availability even more murky), I wasn't sure about their public domain state, so I found it safer to not directly list them.

During one of my interviews recently, I was asked if there was anything I'd change about this story if I could go back. I answered no. But I would like to go back and add the song titles, or at least add some more lyrics, make the clues a little less vague :-) Of course, I'd probably need to change the year the book was set or choose a different song or.....well, I would have made it work ;-)

In any case, for those who wanted to know, you now know the songs that Jessie sang :-) And for a little extra fun, I'll also list my top 5 favorite songs from 1928 along with their youtube videos so you can hear them to! :-)

My Top 5 Favorite Songs from Romancing the Rumrunner’s Era - 1928

These are all songs Jessie would have been sure to have on her playlist. And they are surprisingly naughty…I’m not sure what I expected songs from the 20’s to be about, but you don’t even need to read between the lines on some of these! ;-) Sound-wise I much prefer Bessie Smith, but the lyrics of all of these are pretty great :-) Enjoy!

1. I Wanna Be Loved By You – Helen Kane


2. I Want To Be Bad – Annette Henshaw (This one is actually from 1929, but it’s fabulous!)



3. Let’s Misbehave – Ben Bernie


4. Empty Bed Blues – Bessie Smith


5. That’s My Weakness Now – Helen Kane

Monday, June 9, 2014

Romancing the Rumrunner Release Day!

My 1920's romance, Romancing the Rumrunner, releases today! And for the next few days it'll be available for only 99 cents!

Prohibition Era Chicago

She's worked too hard to be run out of town...

Jessica Harlan spends her nights as The Phoenix, the owner of the most popular speakeasy in town. Her days are spent running her respectable butcher shop and dodging prohibition agents and rival club owners who all want to put her out of business.

He's worked too hard to let his heart get in the way...

When the opportunity arises to go undercover for the Feds to catch The Phoenix, Gumshoe Anthony Solomon jumps on it. But he never suspected the notorious rumrunner would be a dame - or that he'd be so drawn to the feisty little minx.

They play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, knowing they can't trust the other, but unable to walk away. While their hearts dodge the crossfire, the mobsters raise the stakes, and even The Phoenix may not rise again.




And be sure to join me, Diana Quincy, and Kathleen Bittner Roth for a FB release party night!! There'll be guest authors, prizes, and tons of fun!

Friday, June 6, 2014

What's Your Rumrunner Name?

Romancing the Rumrunner releases on Monday!!! We are having a few fun and games to get in the rumrunning mood :D Find out what your rumrunner name is and feel free to spread the game around! :)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Leap From the Ledge

I posted this a few years ago, geared towards all my fellow writers who were trying their hardest to be patient while writing/querying/waiting on subs, etc. But this can actually apply to just about anything in life.

My kids are on their first day of summer vacation. I have a severe love/hate relationship with summer vacation. It's nice to not have the morning rush, fun to stay up a bit later and sleep in the next morning, fun to take off and play with the kids whenever we want. But sometimes, when the boredom sets in or they start picking at each other....oh, do I start praying for fall :) I'm out on that ledge just yanking my newly graying hairs out one at a time.

So...when those days get to me, or when I'm the typical writerly ledge waiting on submissions, here are a few good tips to follow :)



Quote of the Day:
A writer's life is not designed to reassure your mother.
~Rita Mae Brown

When my writer buddies and I start feeling the inevitable stress/depression/feelings of inferiority...the down sections of this wonderful roller coaster we are all on...we like to joke that we are 'living on the edge.' Sometimes we set up camp, complete with hotdogs and marshmallow roasts, and I believe one friend once set up an amusement park on her ledge.

Yes, we really do get that elaborate :) It gives us the opportunity to blow off some steam, vent our angst to those who will appreciate it, and most of the time, our ledge time allows us to scream to the high heavens....and then we get back to work, a little less stressed, a little more refreshed. (And in the mommy world, hanging with a few fellow moms, sans kids, can work wonders too!)

Another wonderful friend told me that when you are on that ledge, you have two choices...take a deep breath and back away, or leap off and enjoy the flight. :)

Usually, I take that deep breath, back away slowly, and continue on. But I think this time, I'm going to take that jump and enjoy the flight. Not permanently, of course. But for today - yep. I'm feeling the need to fly :)

So, I am shutting off my computer, and I'm going to spend the entire day getting my house together and playing with my kids. Tomorrow I'll get working again (and I'm sure I'll be back on the ledge soon). But heck, I've backed away often enough, maybe jumping will keep me from that ledge a little longer :)

But before I go, here are my top 3 tactics I usually employ to make that ledge a little less inviting.....

1. My friends - those that are in the writing and querying (or mommy!) trenches with me and understand the mad emotions that go with this "hobby" of ours. There is nothing like engaging in a full out vent session with those who truly feel your pain.

2. My funnies - a laugh cures a thousand ills. I pull up that LOL site, google jokes, or go watch a movie that I know will put a smile on my face. There is nothing like a full out belly laugh to put you in a good mood.

3. My reading - I have been reading for as long as I can remember. In fact, I think my earliest memory is of reading. I remember lying on the floor with a book and tape set and looking up and seeing my parents in the kitchen. My mom said I got those books and tapes for Christmas when I was 2. I still remember opening the box. I had never seen anything so beautiful :)

What do you guys do when the ledge starts beckoning? Do you back away slowly or take the leap? Or do you just set up camp and party for a while? (Hey, sometimes that can be a lot of fun, especially if a bunch of your writer buddies are current residents) :D