Cicada Love Songs, Summer Jaunts and Classic Movie Junkie

Meet John Doe“…for every John Doe movement these men kill, a new one will be born. That’s why those bells are ringing, John. They’re calling to us, not to give up but to keep on fighting…”

From Meet John Doe, 1941, Warner Brothers

Cicada Love Songs …

Creek in summer

This is the creek out back of our house.: “Oh, little cicada, little cicada… I wonder where you are…”

I heard a cicada the other day.  I looked at the calendar. Yep. August.  The romance writer in me wondered if that  little fella was one of the first lotharios to eagerly scramble up from his subterranean abode–dressed all snappy and with his hair slicked back–ready to snag himself the best-lookin’ dang date in the neighborhood with his new mating song.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that–just as he was stretching his skinny legs and offering up his first “squee” of the season–he got chomped down by a passing bird or squirrel with a craving for 2014 cicada.

Now, that’s a bitter pill.

So is the end of summer.  It’s coming, folks. Oh, yeah… it’s coming.

Summer Jaunts …

For our anniversary, the hub and I took a weekend trip to Inner Harbor, Baltimore to re-do our second date–a dinner cruise. The weather was perfect, the food was great and we took home a nice photo of the two of us taken just before boarding the Spirit of Baltimore.

Inner Harbor at Night_2014

Inner Harbor at Night

When we got home, I juxtaposed that pic with the one taken 14 years ago. I’m happy to report that we’re still recognizable as the same couple. This indicates either we’ve aged rather well or we may be stuck in a rut. For example, it looks like I’m wearing the same outfit (I’m not–I wish I could still fit in that outfit) and my hair hasn’t changed (it really hasn’t). Hmmm.

Summer travels yet to come include…

  •  A day trip to the coal region of Central Pennsylvania to tour an old coal mine and learn about the life of miners back in the days of the Molly Maguires. (Whoot!)  Um, yeah. See, this is where I do get a little weird. I love this stuff. It’s research for one of my historical romances-in-progress. (Whoot!)
  • It Had To Be You_Carina PressAn overnight stay at the historic New Yorker hotel in my favorite city on the planet. I’ll be strolling the streets of Manhattan where my 1920s romantic mystery series is set.  (It Had to Be You, April 2014, Carina Press). Can’t wait!

What about you? Do you have any summer plans still on the calendar?

Classic Movie Junkie…

Yet another treat to look forward to in August is  TCM’s Summer Under the Stars – a month of amazing classic films. Many titles on tap have already been featured on this blog – The Thin Man, His Girl Friday,  Bringing Up Baby and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… Check out the TCM schedule.

Here are a few others to watch for.

Tuesday August 5

Cooper and Stanwyck in Meet John Doe

Cooper & Stanwyck – Meet John Doe

5:45 pm   Meet John Doe (1941)  Comedy/Drama/Romance. TCM. A reporter’s fake story for her soon-to-be-defunct column saves her career, turns a homeless man into a national hero for the working class and changes them both into pawns of a powerful politician. Will they sell out? Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck.

Why?  Feeling a little 21st century world weary? Need a revitalizing dose of some off-season Frank Capra-like optimism? There are some who rank the lesser-known Meet John Doe right up with Capra’s crowning achievement, It’s a Wonderful Life. Decide for yourself. (Keep a tissue handy for a fist-pump-worthy final scene Seriously!)

Sunday August 10

 

Barrymore & Lombard - Twentieth Century

Barrymore & Lombard – Twentieth Century

12:30 pm   Twentieth Century (1934) Screwball Comedy. TCM. An express train run from Chicago to New York sets the stage for an egotistical, down-on-his-luck Broadway director to pull every underhanded trick in the book to woo back the estranged high-strung star he created.  John Barrymore, Carole Lombard.

Why? A love-hate-love story at 85 decibels. The one-liners and zingers in this early screwball classic streak by so fast, you’ll need to watch it a dozen times to catch them all. Barrymore’s over-the-top performance as a megalomaniacal Broadway director elevates melodrama to art and Lombard serves back as good as she gets.

 

Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

6:00 pm   Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) Screwball Comedy/Romance. TCM. When a three-year wed couple discovers their marriage isn’t legal, romantic misunderstandings ensue. Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery.

Why? This fun, often-overlooked screwball comedy is worth a look-see. It was Carole Lombard’s second to last film before her tragic death in an airplane accident in 1942.  It was also Alfred Hitchcock’s only foray into romantic comedy. (Done reluctantly at Lombard’s request. Remember his legendary weakness for beautiful blondes?)  Watch for Hitch’s signature cameo.

Friday August 15

10:00 pm   Three Days of the Condor (1975) Mystery/Thriller. TCM.  A mild-mannered CIA researcher finds himself out in the cold and running for his life when he accidentally survives the execution of everyone on his research team.  Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow.

Why?  This smart 70s conspiracy spy thriller was made in the wake of the Watergate scandal and still resonates today.  The opening scenes are riveting, Redford owns the screen (oh, ladies, yes he does), and Max Von Sydow is excellent as the bloodless yet creepily personable assassin Joubert.

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

This month’s Amazon Prime Picks –  Meet John Doe and Three Days of the Condor

Photo credits:

Meet John Doe – By film screenshots (Frank Capra Prod. / Warner Bros.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Twentieth Century – By Columbia Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lombard – Paramount Studios (Ebay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mr. and Mrs. Smith – By Trailer screenshot (Mr. & Mrs. Smith 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.

Catch as Catch Can and Classic Movie Junkie

Bogart and BacallVivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he’s walking out of your bedroom.

From The Big Sleep, 1946, Warner Brothers

Catch as Catch Can

I see the writing on the wall. Summer is wrecking my Sunday blogging schedule. Something to do with it being all sunshiny on the weekends. Talk about distractions. So many things to do, people to see, yard sales to investigate, fields to romp in…

So, I’m cutting myself a break from blog-guilt and setting up an official Catch as Catch Can Summer Blogging Schedule. This means I may or may not be popping up weekly. Or bi-weekly. Or not. Or… possibly on a day other than Sunday. (Holy cow! All this craziness is making me feel devilish. I may dash out to the mailbox without my sunscreen. I’ll let you know how it goes.)

So, what guilt-inducing “should” thing are you taking a vacation from this summer?  Think about it… 😉

Tidbits

I’d be remiss in the Shameless Self-Promotion Department if I didn’t mention a lovely review that popped up earlier this month on BOOK BABE  for my 1920s romantic mystery IT HAD TO BE YOU.  The comment that made me smile the most? “It’s like Nancy Drew in the twenties…”

BROKEN VOWS is on Prime!

Historical Western Romance

There was more to that handsome gun than she wanted there to be…

In other news, BROKEN VOWS the ebook is on Amazon Prime. That means, Prime members can borrow it for free. This one’s my best seller to date—a sensual marriage of convenience western set in 1870s Texas. Here’s the link. (So, go grab it. Go now. I’ll wait.)

<Elevator music…>

<More elevator music…>

Back?  Good. 🙂

Speaking of fun distractions, I got to visit recently with talented authors Karen Rose Smith and Natalie J. Damschroder at a booksigning event.

Karen was signing her brand new cozy mystery—the second in her Caprice De Luca series—DEADLY DÉCOR. Natalie was featuring three of her contemporary romantic adventure titles, ACCEPTABLE RISKS, BEHIND THE SCENES, and FIGHT OR FLIGHT.

If you’re looking for some entertaining summer reads, look no further. You won’t be disappointed!

Classic Movie Junkie

Yep, it’s summer, but there is such a thing as a rainy day. Here are two classic movie picks for this week if you’re not out barbecuing or sunning by the pool.

Sunday June 15

 Poster_of_the_movie_The_Courtship_of_Eddie's_Father3:45 pm   The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963) Romantic Comedy/Drama. TCM. The precocious young son of a widower plays matchmaker.  Glenn Ford, Shirley Jones, Ronny Howard.

Why?  This is the less well-known movie (based on a book) that inspired a popular TV series that aired from 1969 to 1972. (Got that?) Ronny Howard steals this show. He was at the height of his kiddie cuteness and a darn good child actor—both funny and heart-rending as the motherless Eddie Corbett.

Glenn Ford and Shirley Jones play the newly widowed Tom Corbett and the divorced girl next door, both of whom are afraid to risk their hearts for a new love.  Family-friendly viewing.

 Friday June 20

 9:30 am   The Big Sleep (1946) Film Noir/Mystery/Romance TCM. Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired by a wealthy retired A_Humphrey_Bogart_in_The_Big_Sleep_trailer (1)general to pay off his daughter’s blackmailer. He stumbles instead into a puzzling case of murder. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers.

Why?  The twisting-turning mystery is secondary in this five-star classic. This is a Hollywood-sanitized Hays Code version of Raymond Chandler’s detective novel, The Big Sleep, but it makes up for what’s glossed over with clever Chandleresque dialogue and smart romantic chemistry. Witness Bogie and Bacall burn up the screen without removing a stitch. Excellent from start to finish.

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

Have a great week!

Photo credits:

Bogart and Bacall – By Warner Bros. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Courtship of Eddie’s Father – Reynold Brown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bogart – By Trailer screenshot Licencing information :http://www.sabucat.com/?pg=copyright and http://www.creativeclearance.com/guidelines.html#D2 (The Big Sleep trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Classic Movie Junkie… Memorial Day Week Picks

Dana_Andrews_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer“You know, I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I’ve had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it’s really true. Am I really home?”

The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946, RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Classic Movie Junkie … is back!

It’s been a busy spring—the April release of IT HAD TO BE YOU, a manuscript for the second book in the series to polish, a writing retreat and more.

The result is, there’s been precious little time for the Classic Movie Junkie in me to get her fix, but with manuscript revisions now behind me and a three-day Memorial Day weekend to contemplate what my next project will be, it seems a great opportunity for the Classic Movie Junkie to scope out some films with a military theme to pay tribute to our veterans.

So here are two classic film picks for the week—one to make you smile and another to make you sniffle (and then cheer)!

Sunday May 25

 256px-Andy_Griffith_19628:00 pm   No Time for Sergeants. (1958)  Comedy. TCM.  A sunny-natured country bumpkin is drafted into the Air Force where he proceeds to drive everyone crazy.  Andy Griffith, Myron McCormick, Nick Adams.

Why?  Great art? Maybe not. But dang fun. Andy Griffith demonstrates the acting and comedic range that would soon transform him into a TV icon. Be prepared, though. He’s not the straight man in this goofy comedy. His performance as hayseed Will Stockton is over the top.  Think Gomer Pyle before there was a Gomer Pyle. (Complete with “Gawl-awl-eee!”) And Forrest Gump before Forrest Gump.

Myron McCormick almost steals the show as Griffith’s long-suffering sergeant and Nick Adams plays off Griffith perfectly in his role as Griffith’s brainier but nervous sidekick. No Time for Sergeants is sweet, clean, broad 1950s humor.

 Monday May 26

10:30 pm   The Best Years of Our Lives. (1946) Drama. TCM. Three service men struggle to re-connect with their civilian lives and the women who love them after they return home from World War II. Myrna Loy, Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell. Cathy O’Donnell.Fredric_March_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer

Myrna_Loy_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer_closeupWhy?  Well-written, well-acted and beautifully executed, The Best Years of Our Lives took—count ’em–nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Frederic March and Myrna Loy head an ensemble cast as long-married couple Al and Millie Stephenson. Dana Andrews is superb as returning flyboy Fred Derry. Teresa Wright and Cathy O’Donnell give lovely understated performances, and real-life service-disabled vet Harold Russell remains the only actor to win two Academy Awards for the same performance—Best Supporting Actor and an honorary award for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.

Warning: Settle in and get comfortable for this one. Playing time is 2 hours 51 minutes. And keep a tissue or two  handy.

Trivia Corner

Don Knotts teamed up for the first time with Andy Griffith in No Time for Sergeants. He appears for only moments in a minor role as an anal-retentive “Dexterity Testing Officer,”  but each one of those moments is pure pre-Barney Fife gold. Also keep an eye out for a fleeting appearance by Jamie Farr (of later M.A.S.H. fame).

 

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

Have a great week!

Photo credits:

Andy Griffith – By CBS Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Dana Andrews, Frederic March, and Myrna Loy – By Trailer screenshot (The Best Years of Our Lives trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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.