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.

FLAPPERS JELLYBEANSFlappers & Jelly Beans

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.

THE RED CARPET TREATMENT...

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.

THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED

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 TCM.com), 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.

EXCERPT…

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?”

“Bushed.”

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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, 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 RomanceNovelCovers.com

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.

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - DL Royer

RomanceNovelCovers.com Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa

I was about to give up when I arrived at RomanceNovelCovers.com, 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.

Bingo.

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 RomancenNovelCovers.com, 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_1965

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_headshot

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) (ebay.com, front of photo, back of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dick Sargent – By American Broadcasting Company (ebay.com, 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 RomanceNovelCovers.com

Oy. Turkey Day Blessings and Flappers & Jelly Beans

Oy.

Just… oy.

a-gratisography-web-lg

Photography by Ryan McGuire, Gratisography

If you live in the U.S., you know what I mean. And if you live outside the U.S., you know what I mean. Seriously. It’s been two weeks since that thing happened, and I still look like this. –>

Yes. I’ve been frozen in a state of suspended animation. And, yes, it’s uncomfortable to no longer be able to blink. Or think. Or move.

But don’t worry. I’ll be fine.  It’s only four years.

Till then…

Counting my Turkey Day Blessings

Autumn Pumpkins

I’ve got plenty to be thankful for here at Light of Heart because I’m looking forward to another Thanksgiving holiday dinner with family and friends. What’s on the menu, you ask? Why, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, baked corn, and pumpkin pie, of course. And NO politics.

innocent-flipped-copy

“Why won’t that stupid cat play with me?”

This will be our first Thanksgiving with our newest member of the family, Lexi, an energetic, seven-month-old Cockapoo we adopted in June.

Lexi’s favorite snacks include moccasin slippers, Pupperoni stix, pens, emery boards, Oinkie pig skin twists, and dollar store reading glasses.

Did I mention she’s energetic?

puppy-accessories-copy

Yes, those are Wee-Wee diapers. And yes, she refused to wear them. Don’t judge me.

We picked out Lexi from her litter when she was eight weeks old, then had to wait until twelve weeks to bring her home. Those weeks passed slowly. We were so excited, it’s possible we overdid it with the puppy accessories. –>

lexi-graduates_2_flipped-copyI don’t want to brag, but, as it turns out, Lexi’s quite a smart little Cockapootie. Here’s a picture of her diploma after she graduated puppy class in September. Her dad and I were so proud that day, I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

Did I mention she’s energetic? 🙂

Books, Books, Books…

It’s been quiet here at Light of Heart. As it turns out, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for my writing. It happens sometimes. The enthusiasm wanes, the words dry up, the ideas refuse to flow. It’s frustrating, but I’m hopeful 2017 will prove more fruitful.

Good Night Angela Romantic Mystery VertGood news, though. I have been working—albeit slowly–on the third book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Good Night, Angela.

For reasons unknown, some books are more difficult to write than others, and this one’s been a bear. It’s gone through some revisions, several nips and tucks, and is now—fingers crossed—in its final formatting and proofing stage. It should be out before the end of 2016.

More to come on  Good Night, Angela soon!

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryUntil then, if you’re in the mood for a seasonal romantic e-mystery  check out the first in the series, It Had to Be You, which opens on Thanksgiving Day, 1924.

Priced to sell at 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other ebook outlets. 

And don’t forget… For the holidays, you can gift ebooks virtually to fellow ebook readers on your gift list via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***

Last but not least, in honor of the upcoming holiday, here’s a rerun of a  Flappers and Jelly Beans post from Thanksgivings past.

FLAPPERS JELLYBEANS

***

Think the trend for pushing the winter holiday shopping season on consumers earlier each year is a modern phenomenon? Think again.

The opening scene in It Had to Be You takes place in Herald Square in New York City on Thursday, November 27, 1924.

It was Thanksgiving day and the first year R.H. Macy’s sponsored its Thanksgiving day parade. Except they didn’t call it that back then. They called it Macy’s Christmas Parade.

Macys

Macy’s at Herald Square (1942). From the Office of War Information Photograph Collection

Here’s a peek back in time from the following day’s papers:

“Santa Claus chose Thanksgiving Day this year to come to town. With a retinue of clowns… animals, and floats, the bewhiskered man in red, in sight of thousands of persons, arrived at 9 o’clock yesterday morning and three hours later was crowned ‘King of the Kiddies’ on the marquee above the entrance to Macy’s new store in Thirty-fourth Street near Seventh Avenue…”

Most of the participants that day were Macy’s employees, but they were joined by many others, marching bands as well as floats featuring The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe and Little Red Riding Hood. There were also animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo—bears, elephants, donkeys.

But no giant balloons. Animal-shaped balloons made by Goodyear wouldn’t begin to replace the live animals until 1927. One of the first? Felix the Cat.

Another 1924 attraction that would feel familiar to us was the unveiling of Macy’s spectacular store window: “The Fairy Frolics of Wondertown.”

Some sources say a quarter million people attended the first parade. It was such a success, Macy’s decided to make it an annual event.

The world has changed, yes?
But maybe not as much as we think.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Macy’s Parade 1930s  – British Movietone Temp – Subscribe at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmRpYigmLBc

For those who celebrate, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Photo and video credits:

Suspended Animation Girl – By Ryan McGuire, Bells Design, from Gratisography

Pumpkins – Delynn Royer
Bummed Baby Lexi – Delynn Royer

Puppy Accessories – Delynn Royer
Lexi Graduates – Delynn Royer

Macy’s at Herald Square (1942). From the Office of War Information Photograph Collection
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

1930s Macy’s Parade
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmRpYigmLBc
British Movietone Temp

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.

 

New Release, Ebook Tour, Giveaway & Other Summer Doings!

Goodbye, Tootsie is Here!

A 1920s Romantic Mystery

A 1920s Romantic Mystery

It’s been a long road, baby!

I’m bleary-eyed and sleep-derived but also dang happy to announce that Goodbye, Tootsie–the sequel to my 2014 romantic mystery, It Had to Be You–has gone live at Amazon and will soon be available under the Kindle Unlimited program.

If you’re so inclined, you can give it some Amazon love by:

→  Checking out the sample pages at U.S. Amazon HERE. (Every love-tap on that book link is appreciated!); or

→  Tweeting the book page… New! #Mystery & romance in #1920s Manhattan! GOODBYE TOOTSIE @DelynnRoyer #romanticmystery getBook.at/20SMYS

Plans to release at other ebook retailers—iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo—are in the works for Fall, 2015.

It Had to Be You: All Grown Up! (And Going on its First Summer Book Tour Vacation)

Where does the time go? It’s hard to believe It Had to Be You is already over a year old. To celebrate, we’re doing a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway and sending it on its own Mid-Summer Book Tour Vacation.

It Had to Be You Book Tour

It Had to Be You Book Tour

Its overnight bag is all packed and it’s ready to go for a book tour hosted by Beck Valley Books from July 6th to July 10th. Below is the itinerary, and the Book Tour Page is HERE.

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Appreciation for Book Bloggers

If you’ve ever written a book or a movie review, you know firsthand that it takes time and thought to dash off even a thumbnail review if you want it to be useful and of good quality. An hour, maybe?

What about an in-depth review for a book or movie review blog? More than an hour? Easily.  (If I count writing, editing, hyperlinking, and layout, it takes me about half a work day to do a blog post.) Oh, and don’t forget to add the time to actually read the book or watch the movie.

In today’s online book market, reviews are important to authors for sales and to readers for making buying decisions. Yet, most book bloggers receive no compensation for their reviews beyond review copies of books. That’s what’s called a Labor of Love, and it’s appreciated.

If you have time, please consider popping by to visit Beck Valley Books and the other sites hosting It Had to Be You on its first summer book tour vacation. 🙂

Best Surprise of the Week

1_Bride_of_frankenstein_1935_still_03Speaking of book bloggers, eagle-eyed Ava Quinn, the chucklemeister behind Tongue in Cheek blog, tweeted me last week that my first book–A Touch of Camelot—was reviewed at Dear Author.

0000012480-DelynnRoyer_ATouchofCamelot_800pxGah!  What a cool surprise!  (Truly, this tweet came at a time when I’d just birthed Goodbye, Tootsie, and I still resembled the Bride of Frankenstein–little sleep, bad hair, blurred vision from staring at the Kindle previewer for, uh, like, days. ) I believe the pic above accurately captures the expression on my face when I read Ava’s message… whaaat?)

My favorite line from Jayne S’s review?

“As a western rom com, ‘A Touch of Camelot’ hit the spot for me…” I’ll take it. 🙂 (Read the full review here.)

***

And so, what’s new with you? Have you gone on any summer vacations? Any excursions coming up? Did you have any fun surprises lately?

Thanks for visiting, and have a great week! 🙂

 

Photo Credits

 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.

Goodbye, Tootsie cover art design by Fiona Jayde Media. Learn more About Fiona here.

Goodbye, Tootsie Custom Photo Shoot and Cover Model Image from  RomanceNovelCovers.com

By Trailer screenshot, from DVD Bride of Frankenstein, Universal 2004 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYD3-pIF9jQ) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Touch of Camelot cover art design by Hot Damn Designs

Goodbye, Tootsie… Cover Reveal!

1920s Romantic Mystery

Goodbye, Tootsie. Putting it Together: Part Four

If I could have chosen my talent, I would have chosen the visual arts–painting, drawing  or graphic design. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - DL Royer

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa – Delynn Royer

 In my last few posts I talked about my search for the perfect cover model images for the hero and heroine of the next book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Goodbye Tootsie. (See the happy results at right.)

With that mission accomplished, it was time to shift gears. Design. What should the cover actually look like?

While I’m pretty good at coming up with elements and concepts, I have no sense of how to put them together into an eye-catching design.

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mystery

A Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan 1920s Romantic Mystery

The first book in the series, It Had to Be You, published by Carina Press, has a gorgeous cover. A vivid black and white close-up of  heroine Trixie set against a gauzy backdrop of Manhattan. I couldn’t have asked for anything more spot-on to capture the classic cinema elements that had inspired me to write the book.

But I didn’t have that cover artist any longer. I needed to find my own. I’ve worked with cover designers in the past and loved their work, but this was a different series, and I was curious to try someone new.

I asked for referrals from friends and business contacts. After checking out websites, I contacted award winning cover artist Fiona Jayde.

One thing I liked immediately about working with Fiona was that, after I filled out her questionnaire, she spent some time with me via email batting around a few ideas before we committed to move forward.

Here are ten keywords/ideas we worked with.

  1. 1920s
  2. Mystery
  3. Romance
  4. Detective
  5. Gatsby
  6. Wealth
  7. Black & White/Sepia
  8. Art Deco
  9. Classic Cinema
  10. Light

Those keywords–along with my back cover blurb and cover model image–were the  three components needed to create my cover. Now, can you picture it?

Neither could I. That’s why we need designers. 🙂

Here it is!

1_PM_GoodbyeTootsie-FJM_Low_Res_500x750What do you think? Did we nail those keywords?

What does one glance at this cover make you think about the characters? The mood? The story?

If you’ve read It Had to Be You, does the pose and look of these models resemble the Trixie and Sean you imagined?

***

 CHECK OUT GOODBYE, TOOTSIE’S NEW BOOK PAGE AND EXCERPT HERE!

 

COMING FIRST TO AMAZON… JUNE 21, 2015!

January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

 Photo Credits

 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.

Goodbye, Tootsie cover art design by Fiona Jayde Media. Learn more About Fiona here.

Custom Photo Shoot and Cover Model Image from  RomanceNovelCovers.com