Good Night, Angela and Flappers & Jelly Beans

Good Night, Angela is here!

Good Night, Angela

A homicide detective and a tabloid reporter suspect there’s more to the case than meets the eye when a popular Midwestern radio evangelist is kidnapped for ransom after she appears to a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Well, here we are, near the end of January and well into my least favorite season of the year, but it’s the weekend, yes? And there’s other good news to share. The third book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Good Night, Angela, is now available at  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksKobo and Smashwords.

Find the new book page, blurb, and an excerpt here.

Good Night, Angela is a stand-alone romantic mystery that can be read by itself, but if you haven’t caught the earlier books in the series, now may be a great time to start. Book One,  It Had to Be You, is priced to sell at $0.99 at Amazon and other ebook retailers.


Welcome to Flappers & Jelly Beans!  To celebrate the release of my new 1920s romantic mystery, Good Night, Angela, I’m talking about facts, fads, and headlines from America in the 1920s.


20th Century Ltd Red Carpet – Photo by Rickyrab via Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder where the expression “getting the red carpet treatment” came from?

Today, we cross continents in a day, and if we’ve got the bucks, we can add some luxury by flying first class. But prior to World War II, commercial airline travel was still new and not very cushy. If one wanted to travel across land in first class style, that meant taking the train.


During the first half of the 20th century,  a handful of trains were known the world over for luxury travel. In Europe one might hop aboard the Orient Express or Le Train Bleu.  In America, well-heeled travelers took the Commodore Vanderbilt, the Broadway, or the 20th Century Limited.

2oth Century Ltd 1920

2oth Century Ltd 1920

Aside from the Orient Express, no train was more famous than the flagship of the New York Central line, the 20th Century Limited.

The Century, as it was called, was a luxury express  that ran between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and La Salle Street Station in Chicago.  In 1902, when it made its first run, the trip took 20 hours. By the mid-1930s, the travel time had been cut to 16 hours, 30 minutes.

The Century boasted the newest Pullman sleeping and dining cars.  Staff included chefs, waiters, barbers, manicurists, ladies’ maids, and valets. The dinner menus rivaled the culinary standards at world class deluxe hotels—Russian caviar, filet mignon, lobster.

The passenger lists boasted the rich and famous: Theodore Roosevelt,  J.P. Morgan, Walter Chrysler, Coco Chanel, Enrico Caruso, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Bing Crosby.

One of its signature practices began in the 1930s. They rolled out a red carpet runner nearly the length of a football field for passengers boarding in New York. After that, the saying “getting the red carpet treatment” became synonymous with receiving first class customer service.

Barrymore & Lombard - Twentieth Century

Barrymore & Lombard – Twentieth Century

The Century had a British cocktail named after it—the 20th Century Cocktail—and, in 1934, a classic screwball comedy film, Twentieth Century, starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore was set aboard the famous train.

Twentieth Century, (1 min. 58 sec. clip at, 1934, Columbia Pictures, Carole Lombard and John Barrymore (Directed by Howard Hawks)

Other classic films with memorable scenes aboard the Century include Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint) and George Roy Hill’s The Sting (1973, Paul Newman, Robert Redford).

Times change, of course.  By the end of the 1950s, jet travel was becoming the norm, and train travel was losing its cachet.  The Century began to cater to more economical travelers. In December 1967, it made its final run to Chicago. The Century’s heyday was over, but its place in American history of travel will never be forgotten.

Traveling by rail in close quarters…

Good Night, Angela - January 27, 2017

Good Night, Angela – January 27, 2017

In Good Night, Angela, tabloid reporter Trixie Frank and homicide detective Sean Costigan put their no-hanky-panky-during-the-work-week rule to the test when their latest murder case requires them to travel overnight in close quarters to Chicago aboard the luxurious 20th Century Limited.


The hour grew late, and the observation car emptied. Sean and Trixie followed suit. They passed through an open section sleeper car with its lights dimmed and curtains pulled to reach their own car, which was likewise quiet.

When they found their compartments, Trixie opened her door first and was disappointed to find the lower berth had already been pulled down for the night.

Nuts. The service aboard the Century was far too efficient. She’d hoped to ask Sean for some gentlemanly assistance with her berth. Could she help it if, once they were inside her compartment, maybe the train went around a curve and they happened to fall together onto the open bed and nature took its course?

All right, yes. It was Monday, but they were alone, no one knew them and they had privacy. No nosy landladies with barking Fox Terriers and no night clerks at the Alhambra to clock their comings and goings.

“That’s some swell service,” Sean said from behind her in the corridor. “I guess that’s why they get the extra bucks for a ticket.”

Trixie bit her lower lip pensively. “Yes indeedy.” She yanked the door closed again and turned to face him. They were only inches apart. His hand rested against the door jamb above her head, fencing her in. She could feel his body heat. It drew her to him. Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me…

She smiled up at him sweetly. “Long day, huh? Tired?”

“Beat. You?”


His gaze dropped to her mouth, then climbed slowly back up to her eyes. “Time to turn in.”

“And how.”

Big palooka. He knew exactly what was on her mind. It was on his mind too. They’d been flirting since before dinner, but he wouldn’t be the first to crack. Would she?


Have a great weekend!

Photo Credits

Red Carpet – By Rickyrab (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

20th Century Limited – Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – Image available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under digital ID det.4a33145

Twentieth Century – Cropped Lobby Card – By Columbia Pictures ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Good Night, Angela cover art design by Fiona Jayde Media. Learn more About Fiona here. Custom Photo Shoot and Cover Model Images from

So Long, 2016 & Cover Reveal

Hey, 2016, don’t let the door hit you on the way out…

pop_champagneI suspect I’m not alone in feeling like 2016 was quite the mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Too many celebrity deaths, for one thing—or at least, it seemed so, especially with the recent tragic loss of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Some celebrity deaths hit harder than others. Carrie Fisher and her legendary mom were like that for me.

Then, of course, there was the dismaying vitriol of the U.S. presidential campaign, the hacking, the leaks, the incivility and fake news…  Yuck.

Thankfully, on a personal level, I had plenty to be grateful for. Our family remained in good health and doing well with jobs and school. My youngest son got married to a wonderful girl, and a dear friend battling cancer continued to make amazing, positive strides.

Less important but notable for my sanity (or insanity) was that it was a dismal year for my personal creativity. Good writing days were few and far between.

In April, we unexpectedly lost our beloved ten-year old Chihuahua-poodle Kacee. For empty nesters like my husband and me, losing our pup was rough. On the upside, we adopted a new member of the family, Lexi, a lovable Cockapoo who has livened up our household considerably.

So, there it is, the mixed bag that was 2016. It’s true of every year–the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s always more to be grateful for than to complain about, but I’m ready for this one to turn.

How about you?

So long, 2016!

Creation of an Ebook Cover

When I decided to release two more books in my 1920s romantic series as an indie author, I faced the challenge of creating cover art that would harmonize with the first book’s truly awesome cover (created by Carina Press).

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryEasier said than done.

My biggest hurdle? I didn’t have access to the same cover model or cover artist. In addition, there was one concept I wanted to handle differently. Namely, I wanted both my lead characters on the cover, not just the heroine.

Thus began hours of searching through stock photography at romance cover art sites.  There were plenty of model couples to choose from in time period costume that ranged from Medieval Europe to the Old West, but almost none in my time period—the Roaring 20s.  The few that did fit either failed to match the physical descriptions of Sean Costigan and Trixie Frank or they featured couples in a “clinch” pose that didn’t suit the light romantic tone of the series. (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - DL Royer Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa

I was about to give up when I arrived at, a site owned by cover model Jimmy Thomas. What that site offered that the others didn’t were custom shots that featured either Jimmy Thomas alone or paired with a female model chosen from a list of available models by the client.


Did going this route rather than using stock photography cost more? Sure, but maybe it wasn’t so much when you consider how much time and effort go into writing and editing a novel.

As a writer, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing my characters come to life through cover art. Thanks to, New York City homicide detective Sean Costigan finally came off the written page.

And as for my perky tabloid reporter Trixie Frank?  She was reborn. 🙂

The Darrin Syndrome


Dick York

Anybody remember this?

In the 1960s, the popular Bewitched TV series made a clunky mid-series switcheroo that has gone down in TV history as the “Darrin Syndrome.” With no warning or explanation, they replaced lead actor Dick York, who played Elizabeth Montgomery’s long-suffering husband Darrin, with actor Dick Sargent.


Dick Sargent

In the end, the two Dicks were not interchangeable, and the new Darrin was never quite as popular as the original.

Thinking about that, I braced myself for…  the Trixie Syndrome.

What do you think of the Trixie switch from Cover 1 to Cover 2?

111-trixie-syndromeTo be honest, I was happily surprised by the resemblance between the two models, but, more important, both are a great fit for my leading lady, Beatrix “Trixie” Frank.

Putting it Together

The final step was to take those custom shots of Sean and Trixie to a cover artist to work some magic. I chose Fiona Jayde of Fiona Jayde Media.

Along with my custom shots and my back cover blurb, below are some keywords Fiona and I worked with to create the mood and tone for the cover of Good Night, Angela.

  1. 1920s
  2. Mystery
  3. Romance
  4. Detective
  5. Reporter/Newspapers
  6. Black & White/Sepia
  7. Art Deco
  8. Golden Age Cinema

Now, can you picture it?

Maybe not. I couldn’t. That’s what cover artists are for. They pull all the pieces together.

And here’s the result!

Good Night, AngelaGOOD NIGHT, ANGELA

A Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan 1920s Romantic Mystery

New York City, Spring, 1925.

When the wife of a popular Midwestern radio evangelist is kidnapped for ransom only hours after they preach to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, Detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank suspect there’s more to the case than meets the eye.


Let me know what you think.

Check out the blurb and an excerpt of Good Night, Angela’s on its new book page here!

Photo Credits:

Champagne bottle clipart  is from WPClipArt

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

Dick York – By McDermott Company (public relations) (, front of photo, back of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dick Sargent – By American Broadcasting Company (, front of photo, back of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Goodbye, Tootsie and Good Night, Angela cover art design by Fiona Jayde Media. Learn more About Fiona here. Custom Photo Shoot and Cover Model Images from