Sneak Peek Sunday … She Done Him Wrong

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

 One Writer’s Bliss

OUT THE WINDOW - CopyIt’s been a few weeks since my last post. I’ve been keeping busy with revisions and polishing of the second book in my 1920s mystery series. I’m happy to say it’s finally up to snuff and ready for submission.  [Insert happy dance!]

In fact, there’s been lots of happy dancing around here at “Light of Heart” because, as I write this, I’m also on my annual writers’ group retreat—an event I look forward to all year. Four days at a retreat center in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Here’s a pic of what’s outside my window. Bucolic, n’est pas? It’s a long weekend full of NO cooking, NO cleaning, NO day job—that’s right. No obligations beyond yakking it up with an awesome group of writers and setting one’s fanny down in front of the computer to write, write, write!  This, folks, is what we call Writers’ Bliss.

What special getaways do you look forward to?

And now to this week’s Sneak Peek from It Had to Be You

Today’s six-paragraph peek is number four from It Had to Be You, my new 1920s romantic mystery about a tabloid reporter who 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.

In  previous peeks, we met Detective Sean Costigan just 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?It Had To Be You_Carina Press

In today’s peek, Sean’s past has just walked in the door of the crowded cafeteria where he and Trixie are having lunch after a long day spent canvassing Hell’s Kitchen. For two days, Sean has been looking for the murder victim’s wife, Nell, who went missing after her husband’s slaying.

Why did Nell go into hiding? And what does she know about her husband’s murder? Sean’s got more than a professional interest at stake when Nell walks in the door. She’s his ex-fiancée, the woman who jilted him for another man fourteen years ago…


When Sean had set his mind to tracking down Nell, he thought he was prepared to see her again, either face-to-face or, if it came down to the worst, laid out cold on a slab in the First Avenue morgue. He’d been wrong.

When he’d turned to see her very much alive from across the room, something painful caught in his chest, something that only tightened when she’d come close enough for the jasmine scent of her perfume to stir his senses and for the breathtaking color of her eyes to come clear.

It was as if fourteen years fell away. Sean remembered— No, felt what it was to be eighteen again, full of hope and possibilities.

As children, a special understanding had existed between them. He couldn’t count how many hot summer evenings had turned to dusk while the two of them sat with their legs dangling over the edge of an empty pier, talking and sharing childish dreams. And when they’d grown older, it was those bonds formed in childhood that had ripened into a sweet sexual connection that Sean had not found with any other woman who came after her.

But now, as he sat across from her in the busy cafeteria, he’d had some time to gather himself. Fourteen years had passed. They weren’t eighteen anymore, and wherever she’d been hiding the last couple days, she was here now and she was safe. It was his job to see to it that she stayed that way.

“Tell me about the night Johnny was killed,” he said.


People come into our lives and they leave. Life paths intersect and then take us in different directions, but sometimes those paths circle back to intersect again. Did you ever have to face someone from your past who betrayed you or broke your heart? How did you handle it?

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


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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.


Holiday Party Convo and Classic Movie Junkie

Did I say last week that the holiday season had begun?

XmasOkay. What I meant to say was, the pre-season had begun. The holiday season doesn’t really get cooking for me until the day of my writers’ group holiday party. That day came and went too quickly yesterday as about twenty of us gathered at the home of one of our esteemed members to share good food, good fun, and good talk.  Only in the company of fiction writers do I hear snippets of conversations like:

“… but, in reality, she was a Celtic princess…”

“…dead within days after she slipped poison into his….”

“…abducted by aliens…”

Fun, huh? (And I didn’t even mention the sexy snippets. 🙂 )

So, what unofficially kicks off your holidays?


Classic Movie Junkie

Here’s what’s on my watch list this week.

Sunday Dec 8

2:00 pm  Scrooge (1970)  Holiday Classic. TCM. No synopsis needed. Albert Finney, Alec Guinness.

Why? It ain’t December if you don’t watch The Christmas Carol, right?  This one is a nice rendition for a cozy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday  Dec 10

6:00 pm   Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Drama/Comedy. TCM.  An older white couple’s liberal principles are tested when their daughter announces her engagement to a black doctor. Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Houghton.

Why? This movie is touching, thought-provoking and funny, but my reasons are more sentimental. This was the last time Hepburn and Tracy appeared together in a film. Tracy’s performance earned a posthumous Oscar nomination.

Friday  Dec 13

1:00 am  Chinatown (1974) TCM.  Neo-noir/mystery. A private eye in 1930s Los Angeles stumbles into a web of murder and deceit when he’s hired by the wife of a cheating spouse who isn’t what she pretends to be.  Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston.

Why?  In this hardboiled period piece, Jack Nicholson not only measures up to the gold standard set by Bogart as Philip Marlowe, he sets his own platinum standard as Jake Gittes. Faye Dunaway also scores as the femme fatale with a devastating secret. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Saturday Dec 14

10:45 am   The Cowboys (1972)  Western.  AMC.  An aging rancher is forced to hire a group of schoolboys when his own men desert him before a 400-mile cattle drive. John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern.

Why?  A great boys-to-men story and a sentimental favorite of mine from among the last ten films made by John Wayne. Entertaining performances by Roscoe Lee Browne and Bruce Dern, too.

This week’s Amazon Prime Pick:  Chinatown
I could expound at great length on why I adore this film, but for today I’ll  just say,

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Have a great week!

(Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule. Or here for AMC.)

October News & Stuff … Thelma and Louise go to Jersey

Autumn in PA
Autumn in PA

Autumn is in full bloom, and it’s been a busy month–although you wouldn’t know it by the dearth of activity on this page. And so what have I been up to?

The first week of the month started off with an email from my editor that included the line edits for the first book in my new 1920s romantic mystery series from Carina Press. (Title to be announced in an upcoming post!)

Do you want to know what it’s like going through the editing process on a manuscript for the first time in (I-ain’t-gonna-say-how-many) years?

Challenging, fun, and gratifying. Then again, I’ve always enjoyed tinkering more than writing, and I love “having written” better than both.

Writing is a solitary pursuit but every so often we put on our grown-up clothes, jump into our cars and (a laThelma and Louise) motor off—no, no, not a cliff!—down the scenic Pennsylvania turnpike to be with others of Our Own Kind.

Last week, writing buddy Heather Heyford and I did just that. I wore the big sunglasses and she rode shotgun (without the ammo). We met up with seven others from our RWA group (including roomie, Ava Quinn) as well as a whole passel of  other romance writers, agents, and editors who gathered in New Jersey for workshops, networking, pitching, lunching, cocktails, book signings and just plain fun.

The weekend flew by and, too soon, we were motoring back to Pennsylvania with fond memories and bags full of conference swag to resume our mild-mannered lives.

And so what were you up to in October?

Coming soon in November …  “Guess That Title” and … Ava Quinn passes Delynn Royer the coveted Sunshine Award 🙂