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!

IT HAD TO BE YOU


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… Is she in over her head?

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

Today’s six-paragraph peek is from IT HAD TO BE YOU, my new 1920s romantic mystery about a tabloid reporter who Sneak Peek Sundaystumbles 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.

 It Had to Be You … Is she in over her head?

It Had To Be You_Carina PressIn  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? This had to be the passing fancy of a bored debutante. Right?

Not if you ask Trix.

In today’s peek, Trixie has had her best day ever at work. She’s been assigned to the story of her career, the Central Park murder of bootlegger Johnny “Blue Eyes” Murphy. She cannot mess this up. But when she returns home to her apartment that evening, it’s to the chilling discovery that her door has been left unlocked.

Has someone broken in?

A rushed search of her place reveals no valuables missing, but some items may have been moved. Her imagination? Or is someone playing games? Spooked, Trixie calls Detective Costigan, who offers to come over and take a look around.

***

Trixie had to fight an urge to protest as Sean proceeded to prowl through her kitchen. What had she gotten herself into? He touched the top of her table and drummed his fingers along the edge of her sink before peering inside her nearly bare cupboard.

Cops should be more like doctors. Old. And bald. Definitely bald. Perhaps if Costigan were more the comforting fatherly type rather than the virile, see-through-a-girl’s-skin-to-her-quivering-soul type, she wouldn’t feel so exposed as he delved into every detail of her personal life.

When he opened her icebox, she could keep quiet no longer. “Excuse me, but what do you expect to find in there?”

“Not this.”

His tone was oddly flat. She crossed to his side to see what he stared at inside the upper compartment. A quart of milk, a stick of butter, a sliced tomato, a half-eaten chicken sandwich.

And her brassiere.  Trixie’s mouth fell open

***

Welcome to the big time, Trix. Someone is indeed playing games.

But what are the stakes? Simply to scare her off the story? Or is their intent something much worse?

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

IT HAD TO BE YOU
DIGITAL 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… 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!

IT HAD TO BE YOU
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.

Cover Reveal & Classic Movie Junkie

Classic Movies
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.
Mrs. Robinson: Huh?
Benjamin:  Aren’t you?

From The Graduate, Embassy Pictures, 1967

It Had To Be You … Cover Reveal!

If I could have chosen my talent, I think I’d have chosen to be an artist—the kind that draws and paints, the kind that uses color and shape and texture to create visual images.

Instead, I paint stories with words, probably just as fun, but it means I must rely on others to translate those stories into something visual. Cover art.

When I indie published my backlist, the part I had the most fun with was doing new covers—from choosing the stock photos and offering my own ideas for tone and feel to final approval. (I wanted my covers to look like movie posters. No surprise there, huh?)

Still, when the time came that I received an email from the cover artist with the proof attached, I opened that attachment with the same sort of bated breath anticipation I remembered from the years when I was publishing traditionally. (Would it be good? Awesome? Bad? Worse than bad…? Meh?)

Click! And then the image filled the screen…

Awesome.

It never fails. The moment when I first lay eyes on my cover is perhaps the first moment when all those word pictures and “pretend people” I’ve been living with for so long finally coalesce and become … real.

It’s a very cool moment.

That’s why I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for my April 7th release from Carina Press, It Had to Be You.  Let me know what you think. 🙂

1920s Fiction -It Had to Be You

New 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.

Coming from Carina Press April 7, 2014
Available for pre-order now.
Amazon   *   Barnes & Noble   *   iTunes   *   Google Play

Classic Movie Junkie …  Or “Are you here for an affair, sir?”

To keep this week’s post short of novella-length, I’m offering up just two TCM picks, but they’re good ones.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 25

Jean Simmons

Jean Simmons

2:15 pm  Guys and Dolls (1955)  Musical/Comedy/Romance. TCM. A big-rolling gambler is gamed by love when he bets a crap game organizer  that he can seduce a strait-laced Salvation Army girl.  Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine.

Why?  It’s hard to believe I’m recommending two musicals in as many weeks, but here it is. There are several reasons to thumbs-up this musical based on stories by Damon Runyon. The colorful stylized Broadway stage sets,  the witty 1940s “Runyonesque” dialogue, and the chance to watch a smooth young Marlon Brando sing and dance and still manage to pull off that oh-so-sexy Brando brand of cool. Fun.

Saturday,  March 1

10:00 pm   The Graduate (1967) Comedy/Drama/Romance TCM.  A recent college graduate has a tawdry summer affair with his father’s partner’s wife only to have it come back to bite him when he falls in love with her daughter.  Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross.

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman 1968

Why? There are certain films that perfectly personify their times. The Graduate—with its evocative Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack and 60s suburban backdrop—is one of them. At the same time, human nature doesn’t change, and Dustin Hoffman’s performance as the uncertain, disaffected young Benjamin Braddock is as funny and spot-on today as it was in 1967. Anne Bancroft plays the sultry neurotic Mrs. Robinson like a virtuoso, and Katharine Ross puts in a lovely understated performance as the almost-as-mixed-up Elaine.

This week’s Amazon Prime Pick:  The Graduate

Have a great week!

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

***

Photo credits:

By Scott Catron (Sunset on Hollywood uploaded by zaui) [CC-BY-SA-2.0(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Cover Art – It Had To Be You – Carina Press
Simmons – Author Unknown – Studio publicity photograph ) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hoffman – Studio (ebay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

November News … Guess That Title and Classic Movie Junkie

What’s new from November?

Release Date!
I’m excited to announce that my 1920s romantic mystery is slated to be released by Carina Press in early April 2014. More in the weeks to come!

What’s in a Name?
When I submitted this book, it had a working title. (And there was a method to that title’s madness… sort of). But I knew a change might be requested. It was. I was asked to send other ideas. I did. And…

They went with the original title. 🙂  So… is there something to be learned from this story?

Aside from the possibility that I’m a sucky book title brainstormer, no. But, as a consolation, I give you…

Guess that title

GUESS THAT TITLE!

New York City, 1924.
A jaded homicide detective is torn between a seductive old flame and a bright new attraction when he joins with an ambitious girl reporter to solve the Central Park murder of a notorious bootlegger in 1920s Manhattan.

Sound like an old movie you’d like to watch with a bowl of buttered popcorn nearby? (I hope so.)  And now for our selections …

Times Square 1920s

Times Square 1921

  1. The Rumrunner
  2. It Had to Be You
  3. His Girl, Trixie
  4. Goodbye, Johnny Blue Eyes

Which do you think it will be? I’ll post the title this Tuesday, so stay tuned.

New Sunday Feature – Classic Movie Junkie

 I’m a classic movie junkie. There. I said it.

 I love everything from westerns to comedies to romances to drama to action adventure to sci-fi. The older the better.  (Helps sort the wheat from the chaff.)

With winter right around the corner, it’s time to pour a cup of tea, curl up on the sofa and watch some of the best films ever made. So, I’m starting something new, a Classic Movie Watch List.  Care to join me?

Here’s my list for this week.  (It’s a holiday week, so it’s long.) What’s on yours?  (Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.)

 Tuesday  Nov 26

9:00 pm Bullitt (1968)  Crime/Detective. When a witness he was to protect is murdered, a lone wolf cop pursues the case on his own. Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset.

Why?  Buckle up for one of the best car chase scenes on film. Shot on location in San Francisco. Steve McQueen—playing “the coolest cop ever,”—did much of his own stunt driving.

Wednesday Nov. 27

4:15 pm   Bonnie and Clyde (1967)  Crime.  A 1930s bank-robbing couple’s crime spree cuts a violent swath through the American South. Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard.

Why?  Nominated for 10 Academy Awards. It broke taboos for sex and violence and shot Dunaway to stardom (pun intended).  (And yes, still rates a caution for the violence.)

8:00 pm  Field of Dreams (1989)  Drama/Fantasy. An Iowa farmer risks financial ruin to follow the instructions of a mysterious voice to build a baseball diamond in his corn field.  Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan.

Why?  A great feel-good movie. A perfect pre-Thanksgiving treat.

 Thursday, Nov. 28
Thanksgiving Treats for the Kids (and Kids at Heart)

2:00 pm  National Velvet (1944)  Drama. Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney.

4:15 pm  The Phantom Tollbooth (1969) Live action/animated. Mel Blanc.

6:00 pm  The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) Live action musical.

Friday, Nov. 29

11:00 am  Hang ‘Em High (1968) WesternAn innocent man turned U.S. Marshal hunts down the gang who tried to lynch him. Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens Ed Begley.

Why?  Not my favorite Eastwood western, but still darn good. Filmed after the groundbreaking Dollars Trilogy that catapulted Eastwood to stardom.

2:30 am  Topper (1937) Comedy. A fun-loving couple return as ghosts to help a stodgy banker learn to live it up. Cary Grant, Constance Bennett.

Why? Adorable screwball comedy from the 30s. So popular it inspired two sequels and a 50s TV series.

Saturday, Nov. 30

8:00 pm  The Searchers (1956) Western. A bitter Civil War veteran hunts down the Comanches that killed his family and abducted his niece. John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood.

Why?  Perhaps the Duke’s most powerful performance. This John Ford-directed western is widely considered a masterpiece.

Till next week… happy viewing!

*

Photo credit:  1921 Times Square by Underhill, Irving (NYPL.org) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons