Sneak Peek Sunday… What’s a girl to do?

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!Sneak Peek Sunday

This is the second week I’m posting a six-paragraph excerpt from my new 1920s romantic mystery, It Had to Be You, which is officially one week old today!

geraniums - CopyAnd a lovely day “today” is. Spring has finally sprung in these parts and are we ever glad to see it. This is the first weekend we’ve had in the 70s since… well, since… Yeah. We’re loving it.

It was also an awesome release week, and I have plenty of people to thank for their support, good wishes—including a gift of the lovely geraniums pictured here—Tweets, RTs, Facebook shares and blog visits. (Oh, and “mercy buys.” Thanks, Mom! :)  )

Net Sightings …

Because a new book release only comes along for me every other–oh, I don’t know—decade or so, I’m taking special notice when mentions of  It Had to Be You pop up on the ‘net.  If you’re so inclined, please give these sites some traffic by clicking on their links.

→    I was thrilled to see It Had to Be You was reviewed at Dear Author HERE.

    Heroes and Heartbreakers picked It Had to Be You as one of its “Not Your Usual Historicals” for April 2014 HERE.

→     And there’s still time to wander on over to my April 8th post on the Carina Press blog HERE and tell me about the classic book, song, or movie that most inspires you!

And now, on to this week’s Sneak Peek… It Had to Be You

201_318_Carina_0414_9781426898129_ItHadToBeYouHere’s the Mini Blurb.

New York City, 1924 … An ambitious young tabloid reporter stumbles on the story of her career when she joins up with a jaded homicide detective to solve the Central Park murder of a notorious bootlegger.


Last week, we met Detective Sean Costigan as he was coming off an all-night murder investigation with no sleep. He had one more witness to track down, a hungry tabloid reporter who once earned her byline at the expense of his Brooklyn brothers in blue.

Sean wasn’t quite sure what to make of the lovely Trixie Frank.  She’s the daughter of a multi-millionaire. Why would an uptown dame like that be working for the sleaziest jazz sheet in town? This had to be the passing fancy of a bored debutante. Right?

Maybe not.

Later that day, Sean enters a crowded, standing-room-only gathering of the press and learns that Miss Frank will do whatever it takes to get her story…


Sean glanced at a wall clock. He was late for Keegan’s meeting with the press. When he stepped in from a side door near the front, the chief was already reading from a prepared statement.

“…made a commitment to the citizens of New York to protect our homes and businesses from the growing threat of organized crime and its murderous consequences.”

A flash from a camera came from the back of the room. The source caught Sean’s attention when the magnesium powder cleared. What the…? He stared, not sure he believed his own eyes. Was that Miss Frank? Perched on some guy’s shoulders?

If she’d wanted to gain a bird’s eye view, she’d accomplished it. With her skirt bunched up and her legs exposed to above the knees, she’d also managed to snag the attention of every red-blooded officer standing in front.

“And that concludes our—” The chief cut off as he looked up from his podium and got an eyeful. He cleared his throat. “Er, uh, that is to say, this concludes our statement. I can…take questions.”

Trixie handed the unwieldy camera back down to her companion, exchanged it for a notepad and pencil, and shot up her hand. Impossible to ignore.


Well, that’s one way to level the playing field when you’re the only five foot-four female in an all-male crowd of cops, cameramen and crime reporters. :)

Ladies, have you ever felt similarly challenged when you were the only woman in the room?

For more fun sneak peeks, be sure to hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

BUY LINKS  priced from $2.51 to $2.99

Amazon  *   Barnes & Noble  *   iBooks  *  Google Play  *  Kobo

Carina Press

Text Copyright © 2014 by Delynn Royer.

Permission to reproduce this text was granted by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Sneak Peek Sunday … It Had to Be You

Sneak Peek SundayWelcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

I’m so excited to be re-joining the Sneak Peek Sunday blog hop as I celebrate the release of my new 1920s romantic mystery It Had to Be You on April 7th… tomorrow!!

Just a few bits of news before we plunge in.

I was thrilled this past week to find It Had to Be You listed on the “Not-Your-Usual-Historicals” list for April at Heroes and Heartbreakers.  If you enjoy historical romance, check out their list of  new releases.

Also, for anyone who’s out and about this week, I’ll be a guest blogger on Tuesday, April 8th at the Carina Press blog.  I’ll be talking about—what else?—classic movies and how they inspired the setting and characters in It Had to Be YouPop in and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

And now, on to Sneak Peek Sunday!

Welcome to the Roaring 20s!

201_318_Carina_0414_9781426898129_ItHadToBeYouNew York City, 1924
Determined to pursue her dream of becoming a crime reporter, heiress Trixie Frank believes she’s off to a running start when she lands a job at the most successful tabloid in Manhattan. Unfortunately, her high hopes fade fast when she’s assigned to the rewrite desk.

Sean Costigan is a demoted homicide detective on the commissioner’s blacklist. The last thing he needs complicating his life is a perky debutante with delusions of becoming the next great American journalist. Too bad she happens to hold one of the keys to solving his latest case, the Central Park murder of a notorious gangster. The other key? Sean’s childhood sweetheart, the victim’s widow, who has gone missing.

Sean soon has more trouble with dames than any good man deserves. But that’s the least of his worries. When he suspects deadly corruption within his own department, it’s not just his and Trixie’s careers that depend on finding the killer. It’s their lives.


In today’s peek, Trixie Frank is having a bad morning. She overslept and she’s late for work. But her dismal career prospects just may be about to take an interesting turn…

Detective Sean Costigan is coming off an all-night murder investigation with no sleep, but he’s got one more witness to talk to, a hungry young tabloid reporter who once earned her byline at the expense of his Brooklyn brothers in blue…


As telephone bells jangled over the chatter of newspaper staff and the clacking of typewriter keys, Sean followed the girl reporter past rows of occupied desks in the bright, busy city room of the New York Morning Examiner.

Trixie Frank wasn’t what Sean had expected. Not that he’d known precisely what to expect. She was the daughter of Wilhelm Frank, who, along with his brother, owned the Frank Brothers Five and Dimes, a chain of about ninety stores across the country. What was the daughter of a multi-millionaire doing working for the sleaziest jazz sheet in town? She couldn’t be serious. This had to be the passing fancy of a bored debutante. Right?

He caught himself sizing her up from behind, taking measure of slim calves and trim ankles below the hem of her light wool coat. Nice gams, he thought and scowled at himself for noticing. He was beat. Otherwise, he’d know better than to look. This dame was as uptown as a dame could get. Not his type.

Trixie led Sean to a small desk in a remote corner. She took off her coat, hung it on a rack and smiled. She was more than just a pretty girl. She was stunning, with pristine white teeth and wide blue Clara Bow eyes that seemed to say, “Gee whiz, who, me?” But Sean wasn’t fooled. She was hoping to get something out of him.

Well, that was copacetic because he intended to get something out of her too.

“Be it ever so humble,” she said, tossing her purse down next to a Remington typewriter. “Pull up a chair.”


So, what do you think? Could this be the beginning of a beautiful relationship? :)

For more fun sneak peeks, be sure to hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!


Amazon  *   Barnes & Noble  *   iBooks  *  Google Play  *  Kobo

Carina Press


Text Copyright © 2014 by Delynn Royer.

Permission to reproduce this text was granted by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Cover Art and Cover Copy Text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.




Classic Movie Junkie and … Yowza!


Roger:   So what else do you know?
Eve:     You’ve got good taste in clothes, good taste in food…
Roger:   And good taste in women. I like your flavor.
Eve:     You’re clever with words, sell people things they don’t need, make women who don’t know you fall in love with you.
Roger:  I’m beginning to think I’m underpaid.

From North by Northwest, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1959

Yowza! We’re down to single digits  

201_318_Carina_0414_9781426898129_ItHadToBeYouEight days. Yep. Eight days until my 1920s romantic mystery, It Had to Be You goes live at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Google Play and other outlets where ebooks are sold.

Next week, I’ll begin to post some excerpts here to get the ball rolling.

Also, for anyone who’s internet surfing that day, I’ll be a guest blogger on Tuesday, April 8th at the Carina Press blog located HERE.  I’ll be talking about—what else?—classic movies and how they inspired the setting and characters in It Had to Be You. Pop in that day or the next to visit and leave a comment.

Or leave a comment here today! I’m always interested to hear which classic books, movies or songs have stood the test of time and continue to  inspire and entertain you.  :)

Classic Movie Junkie

With the new book release approaching and a non-writing job to tend to, I’ll be plenty busy this week but not too busy to stream some favorite classics. This week it was tough to pick just two!

Monday March 31 (Tuesday am)

North_by_Northwest_movie_trailer_screenshot3:00 am   North by Northwest. (1959)  Thriller/ Spy/ Adeventure. TCM.  A case of mistaken identity launches a glib New York advertising executive into a world of government espionage, murder, seduction and a cross country chase for survival.  Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint.

Why? Many say this is Alfred Hitchcock’s finest achievement. (Would he?) Judge for yourself. North by Northwest clips along briskly and is inarguably a prototype for action and spy thrillers to come ( James Bond anyone?) Beautiful photography and fabulous cinematic techniques abound, including an iconic crop-dusting airplane scene. Grant plays his slick, wise-cracking self to perfection and Eva Marie Saint is delectable as the blond seductress he meets aboard the glamorous Twentieth Century Limited.

Thursday April 3 (Friday am)

Doris Day

Doris Day

4:00 am   Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. (1960) Comedy. TCM. A New York drama critic and his wife suffer a bumpy transition when they move their boisterous young family from the city to the suburbs. Doris Day, David Niven, Janis Paige.

Why? Before Erma Bombeck, there was Jean Kerr. Based on Kerr’s 1957 bestseller, this film is among the best of Doris Day’s comedies. While Niven isn’t my favorite of her  leading men, the two create a charming romantic chemistry. And then there’s Janis Paige—Niven’s would-be naughty temptress—who turns in an engaging performance that’s impossible not to enjoy.

Trivia Corner

Baby boomers and classic TV fans, keep an eye out for one of Doris’s rambunctious kids–a very young blond Stanley Livingston, who would  soon play Chip Douglas in the long-running TV series My Three Sons.

Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

This week’s Amazon Prime Pick – North by Northwest

Have a great week!

Photo credits:

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint – By Trailer screenshots (North by Northwest trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Cary Grant – By Trailer screenshot Licencing information : and (North by Northwest trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Doris Day By Universal Pictures ( [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Classic Movie Junkie … Different Kinds of Funny

Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers

Inspector Clouseau: I must be envied by all other husbands.
Madame Clouseau: I’m sure no one ever had a husband like you.
[Kiss, kiss.]
Madame Clouseau: Ooh.
Inspector Clouseau: Oh my darling, don’t move. Don’t panic. All that has happened is that my hat has caught in one of your naughty little hairpins…

From The Pink Panther, United Artists 1963

Classic Movie Junkie

Who doesn’t love to laugh? It’s a happy coincidence that my two classic movie picks this week happen to be comedies. And that’s not all. They’re both 60s caper flicks and both feature stars from across the pond.

 Different Kinds of Funny …

There are almost as many forms of comedy as there are letters in the alphabet—banter, caricature, farce, parody, romantic, satire, sitcom, slapstick—and I could on. The humor I tend to gravitate toward is character-driven and situational. I’m also a sucker for witty dialogue (the more double entendres the better).

Sounds sort of smart, doesn’t it?

But occasionally—okay, more than occasionally—I fall off my high horse and find myself snickering like a kid at some silly bit of broad humor. (Hump Day Camel, anyone?)

When it comes to slapstick, the Three Stooges will probably always be lost on me, but Jim Carrey can put me on the floor (men’s room scene in Liar Liar) and don’t get me started on Ben Stiller’s fly zipper incident in There’s Something About Mary.

Which brings me to my point.

What any one of us finds funny—even from one day to the next—can be incredibly subjective and unpredictable. Over the years—and especially as a writer—I’ve begun to realize just how under appreciated comedy is. Think about it. Compared to gritty dramas, how many comedies have won Academy Awards?

And yet, to make even one person laugh—much less a majority of one’s audience—is more difficult than it is to make them cry. That’s why my admiration for comedy performers, directors and their writers only grows when I revisit classic films that still manage to tickle my funny bone.

So today I lift my cyber-glass to toast the masters and mistresses of classic comedy. Who are your favorite comedy actors and actresses?

Sunday March 16

Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine

4: 00 pm   Gambit. (1966)  Caper/Comedy/Romance. TCM.  A slick cat burglar recruits a beautiful, quirky dancer to help him pull off the perfect art heist. Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine.

Why?  Two major film stars on the bill and, still, this sweet, subtly funny confection of a caper flick manages to fly under the radar. How? I have no idea.  Catch this one if you can. Clever, innocently fun and delightfully unpredictable—right from the first thirty minutes. But you can predict this–you’ll be smiling when the credits roll.

Saturday March 22



8:00 pm  The Pink Panther (1963)  Comedy/Caper TCM. A bumbling French police inspector travels to a posh Switzerland ski resort to catch a notorious international jewel thief. David Niven, Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Wagner, Capucine.

Why? Sign up for some silly. Watch this first Pink Panther movie with the knowledge that it was originally conceived as a comedic jewel heist caper film for David Niven, not Peter Sellers. Sellers wasn’t even the first pick for the supporting role of Inspector Clouseau, but he got the part., and—ten sequels and spin-offs later—the rest is history. Sellers is not in every scene, but he steals every one in which he appears. In particular, the bedroom antics between him and the duplicitous Capucine are still gold.

Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

Enjoy! And have a great week!

Photo credits:

Peter Sellers – By Chicago Sun Times / United Artists studios (Historical Images on eBay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Shirley MacLaine – By movie studio (ebay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Capucine – By Trailer screenshot (The Pink Panther trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Classic Movie Junkie and the Countdown

Lauren Bacall_WIkipedia CommonsSchatze Page:  Most women use more brains picking a horse in the third at Belmont than they do picking a husband.

From How to Marry a Millionaire, 20th Century Fox, 1953


Yikes. The countdown has begun. It’s no longer months till the release of It Had To Be You, but days.

Am I excited? Yes. Happy? You bet. Stressed? Yeah, a little.

You know how they say good things can be as stressful as bad things? There’s truth to that. The release of a new book is a very good thing, so all I should be doing this month is basking in happiness and excitement. I should not be nibbling at my nails as well as every innocent piece of chocolate that crosses my path.

But there you have it. Me. Wherever I go… there I am. Basking and nibbling… ;)

Writers out there… am I alone?


It’s a good thing there are some terrific movies on tap to help keep me happily distracted and away from the chocolate truffles bag.  Here are just two of my favorites, both of which coincidentally feature Lauren Bacall, a class act if there ever was one.

Anyone else a Bacall fan? What are your favorite Lauren Bacall movies?

Tuesday March 11 (Wednesday am)

Paul Newman_Harper_WIkipedia_Commons1:15 am  Harper (1966)  Detective/Mystery/Action. TCM. A sardonic P.I. is hired by the wife of a multi-millionaire to find her missing husband.  Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Arthur Hill, Janet Leigh.

Why?  Kick back and enjoy. Newman is a pure treat to watch in this no frills, sunny California hard-boiled detective mystery. He’s backed solidly by an accomplished cast of 60s stars—Robert Wagner, Julie Harris, Janet Leigh, Shelley Winters, and Arthur Hill.  Lauren Bacall is priceless. (As is Newman in his scivvies. Just sayin’…)

3:30 am   How to Marry a Millionaire. (1953) Romantic Comedy. TCM.  Three beautiful New York models set out to catch millionaires, but find true love instead. Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, William Powell.How to Marry a Millionaire_Wikipedia_Commons

Why? Funny, entertaining and a visual delight. From gorgeous widescreen shots of the Manhattan skyline to the three stunning lead actresses to their fabulous wardrobe—all shot in vivid Technicolor.

Bacall, who plays the trio’s ringleader Schatze, handily delivers most of the smart dialogue; Betty Grable charms as the cheeky Loco; and Marilyn Monroe is perfect as the nearsighted, sweetly dim Pola. William Powell–ever debonair in this, his last big screen role—doesn’t miss a beat.

(Caveat: Beware an opening orchestra sequence that’s amazing but may overstay its welcome—six minutes. If you must, go get a snack. The wait is well worth it.)

Trivia Corner – How to Marry a Millionaire.

When Marilyn Monroe’s character models a swimsuit, she’s introduced with the words “You know, of course, that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Not so coincidentally, Monroe sings “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in her other hit film from 1953, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Listen closely for two other in-jokes–throw-away references to Bacall’s and Grable’s real-life famous spouses:

  • The first is delivered by Lauren Bacall to William Powell: “I’ve always liked older men… Look at that old fellow what’s-his-name in The African Queen. Absolutely crazy about him.”
  • In a later scene at the lodge, Betty Grable’s character mentions Betty’s real life husband, band leader Harry James, while listening to the radio.

Have a great week!

Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.


Photo Credits

Lauren Bacall Publicity Photo – Unknown Author  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Paul Newman – Harper by Warner Bros.  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Trailer screenshot (How to Marry a Millionaire trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons