Monday, March 30, 2015

Life's Guilty Pleasures: Classic Hollywood Edition



As a classic Hollywood fan, I have fallen in love with many excellent films from the early years of cinema. On The Waterfront and East of Eden are two examples. However, there are also motion pictures I adore, whichhow can I say this nicely?are not exactly Oscar contenders. 

One such film is Bundle of Joy (1956), starring real life husband and wife (at the time),
Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (parents of actress Carrie Fisher from Star Wars). 

Bundle of Joy is a kitschy, musical remake of the 1939 film, Bachelor Mother. It is about a department store clerk, Polly Parrish (Reynolds), who finds an abandoned baby on the doorstep of a foundling home and is unable to convince people that the baby isn't hers. Eddie Fisher plays the department store owner's son, Dan Merlin. Dan also believes the baby is Polly's and tries to help her. A romance develops between them.






Turner Classic Movies airs Bundle of Joy every year on Christmas Eve. The film is set during Christmas/New Year's. I caught it on television about six years ago and have loved it ever since. Now it's a tradition of mine to watch it every Christmas Eve.



Debbie and Eddie were the most popular celebrity "power couple" of the 1950s, so RKO Pictures wanted to capitalize on their relationship by putting them in film together. It should be noted that Eddie Fisher was not an actor. He was a singer, a crooner, (think Frank Sinatra but for 1950s bobbysoxers), which makes this idea all the more ludicrous. But, in my opinion, it's also part of the film's appeal. It does, however, result in random musical numbers inserted into the film clearly for the sole purpose of appeasing Eddie's rabid fan base, not advancing the story.

To add to the movie's hype, Debbie became pregnant (with Carrie) just before filming began, and she was born around the time the film premiered. The studio couldn't have paid for better publicity! 





Critics blasted the film. Years later, so would Eddie and Debbie. So why do I love it?

The romances between Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, James Dean and Pier Angeli, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, and the fictional romances between Natalie Wood and James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, and Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront inspire me.

Sure, Janet and Tony, Debbie and Eddie, and Jimmy and Pier eventually broke up (Natalie and Robert also divorced, but remarried less than ten years later), but in the first years of their relationships, the media portrayed them as the perfect Hollywood couples—which appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. 

Bundle of Joy delivers exactly what I want in a film starring one of my favorite classic Hollywood couples: a fun story featuring great romantic chemistry between the two leads. Generally, I'm not a fan of musicals, but I enjoy the musical numbers in this one. I also think Eddie Fisher is adorable in the picture.

In 1959, Eddie left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor after Liz's husband, Mike Todd (also Eddie's best friend), died in a plane crash. Is your head spinning yet? Well, prepare yourself. Because in 1963, Liz left Eddie for Richard Burton on the set of Cleopatra. Yikes!


Eddie Fisher's popularity plummeted on account of the scandal. Most people sided with Debbie, who was seen as a sweet and innocent girl-next-door compared to Liz's femme fatale image. At the time Bundle of Joy was made, however, Eddie and Debbie were the quintessential Hollywood couple and at the top of their respective professional fields. 

So, yes, despite its many pitfalls, Bundle of Joy will always remain one of my favorite motion pictures.

I'll leave you now with one of my favorite musical numbers from the film. Here is Eddie Fisher performing "All About Love." If you're reading this post via an email notification, you will most likely have to go to my website in order to view the video.





Share your own favorite guilty pleasure film in the comments section below!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Experience Writing A 1950s Hollywood Romance


Write Divas interviewed me regarding writing The Starlight Trilogy, a story about love and redemption set against the backdrop of 1950s Hollywood.



Write Divas Interview: Author Alexandra Richland


Hello, Alexandra! Thank you for visiting Write Divas. Will you tell us a little about yourself? 
Thank you so much for approaching me for this interview! I’m a huge fan of Write Divas and thrilled to be featured on your blog. By profession, I’m a registered nurse with a pediatric focus, and I work at a downtown Toronto hospital. Nursing wasn’t my first university degree. I attended the University of Toronto for six years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and then a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry. While I enjoy mathematics and science, I missed the human connection that is absent in laboratory work. Therefore, I decided to become a nurse. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love my job. It can be very difficult working with ill children, but overall, it is very rewarding.
As someone with a deeply rooted interest in medicine, writing seemed like a peculiar pastime. However, I’ve always been a dreamer. It wasn’t until six years ago that I realized the stories I had constructed in my head could be written and fleshed out into proper novels. I had never considered writing before, but as soon as I started, I couldn’t stop. The words flowed easily. I had many ideas I wanted to explore in the genres of contemporary and historical romance, and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity and ability to bring them to fruition, as well as have people all over the world embrace my books.

What draws you to historical fiction, specifically historical romantic fiction?

Hollywood in Fiction: A Discussion Between Authors Alexandra Richland and Morgan and Jennifer Locklear


Note: This interview originally appeared on Bookish Temptations.
While the Locklears’ book, Exposure, is set in contemporary times, Richland’s The Starlight Trilogy takes place during 1950’s Hollywood.  As friends and fans of  one another, the three recently decided to sit down for a discussion on Hollywood’s role in fiction.
Morgan and Jennifer Locklear:  Our thanks go out to Bookish Temptations for inviting us to share our thoughts on Hollywood in fiction with everyone here.  We also wish to thank our friend and fellow author, Alexandra Richland, for agreeing to speak with us on the subject.
Alexandra Richland: I want to thank Jennifer and Morgan Locklear for proposing this wonderful interview idea and for their excellent questions on one of my favorite subjects—classic film.
Morgan and Jennifer: What role do you think 1950s Hollywood played in America’s cultural maturing?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marlon Brando Appreciation Post



Method acting plays an important role in my 1950s Hollywood romance, The Starlight Trilogy. My favorite actor of all time is Marlon Brando. Like James Dean (and Aidan Evans in my trilogy), he also studied Method acting and was a member of The Actors Studio in New York. In my opinion, Brando's performance in On The Waterfront (1954) is the best performance by an actor in any film. Ever.




 photo tumblr_mm8mkhXXe01s5qo7po1_500_zpsqu9wc95y.gif


Many people requested for me to share my favorite Marlon Brando gifs based on their love of my James Dean Appreciation post from earlier today.



Hmm. Let me think about it . . .


   photo NZ60vPL_zpssgjwuqda.gif



DUH!!! OF COURSE I WILL!!!

   photo 1359641415867514756_zps97lej0m1.gif


Now prepare yourself . . .


   photo tumblr_m6hv0gal6D1qes7kio5_500_zps1wbtnwuw.gif



 And enjoy!


James Dean Appreciation Post

If you're a fan of The Starlight Trilogy, you are probably aware that the lead male character, Aidan Evans, is based on actor James Dean. Here are some of my favorite Jimmy gifs. Below them, you can find exclusive excerpts from Starlight (Starlight Trilogy book #1) and Starbright (book #2).




 Jimmy At the Racetrack (inspired chapter five of Starbright, Starlight Trilogy book #2)



   photo yes2_zpsp10gilrz.gif  photo yes3_zpsu4zyw0xs.gif photo yes_zpscjkkglhs.gif
 photo tumblr_mo7ugdACTA1r0mf51o1_500_zpsqt41qqbb.gif 




 East of Eden Wardrobe Tests (inspired the Golden Gloves wardrobe tests between Aidan Evans and Elizabeth Sutton in chapter twenty-five of Starbright)

   photo yes4_zps4b1ryloh.gif

 photo tumblr_mi8cvgAb2q1rhwvwio1_400_zpsy67xq5s1.gif

 photo tumblr_m77lpmJNKv1qder7mo1_500_zpsapatujpk.gif

 photo tumblr_nee4r3FUy61r3i2gwo4_r2_400_zpsxx1xhebl.gif 



 Jimmy in East of Eden (inspired Aidan's character in Spike Rollins before he joined the street gang to raise money for his brother's life saving heart operation)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Writing Updates

Writing Updates 



STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy book #3) will be released late spring 2015. I've finished writing it. My editor has it right now.

FRONTLINE sequel: I have three chapters left to write and then I will be forwarding the manuscript to my editor.


Thank you all for your support of my work! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SLIP AWAY Excerpt

Check out this EXCLUSIVE excerpt from my novella SLIP AWAY! Available now.





SLIP AWAY Summary


Singer-songwriter Charlotte Kenner has it all: blockbuster record sales, sold-out world tours, and multiple Grammy awards. It's everything she hoped for in life. It should be enough . . . but it's not. 

As her career soars, Charlotte discovers the steep price fame demands of its stars. She pays for it day and night, stalked by hordes of celebrity-hunting paparazzi, sleeping alone in cold hotel beds, miles away from her family and friends. Every moment micromanaged by a full-time staff, she travels the world in an insulated bubble. 

Charlotte’s reprieve arrives in the form of close friend and filmmaker Matthew Selman, the director behind a career-spanning documentary on legendary Seattle grunge band, Clever Check. One piece of the documentary still needs finalizing: an interview with reclusive bassist Ethan Avery, who has been avoiding Matthew’s repeated requests to appear on camera. With time running out, Matthew tasks Charlotte with traveling to Ethan’s home state of Montana to spend a few days with him, steal past his enigmatic facade, and shoot the final footage needed to meet the film’s deadline. 

Montana’s starry skies bear witness to an instant connection between Charlotte and Ethan, one that must be wrenched apart by weekend’s end. They return to their busy careers, but Ethan is never far from Charlotte’s mind. Her feelings for him are so sudden, so intense, she knows he couldn’t possibly feel the same . . . or could he? With their lives and careers propelling them forward but on seemingly separate paths, Charlotte fears she’ll never get the chance to find out. 

In Montana, she got a glimpse of the life she truly desires—quiet and peaceful, far beyond the glitz and glamour of show business. But how can a star that shines so bright slip into the shadows? If Charlotte thinks the price of fame is steep, she’s about to learn that love exacts a whole different cost.




Slip Away EXCERPT

STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy Book #2) Excerpt

Here is an exclusive excerpt from STARBRIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy book #2). 

Starlight (book #1) and Starbright are both available now. 

Stardust (book #3) will be out May 26, 2015!







STARBRIGHT EXCERPT

STARLIGHT (The Starlight Trilogy Book #1) Excerpt

Here is an exclusive excerpt from the first book in my 1950s Hollywood/romance trilogy, STARLIGHT

Book #2, STARBRIGHT, is also available

Book #3, STARDUST, will be released May 26, 2015!


STARLIGHT EXCERPT:

FRONTLINE First Chapter

Here is the entire FIRST CHAPTER of my romantic thriller/mystery, FRONTLINE. Available now! 



FRONTLINE SUMMARY

When nurse Sara Peters treats celebrity billionaire Trenton Merrick for a mysterious injury to his forehead, she is blindsided by what follows: a passionate exchange in the examination room and an invitation to Trenton's house for dinner.

Trenton spins a web of deceit and seduction around Sara that both repels and attracts her. One part humanitarian, the other international financial mogul, his personal and professional lives are a curious contradiction. As Sara journeys deeper into her feelings for Trenton and begins unraveling the mystery behind his injury, she finds herself embroiled in a game of trust and betrayal, where the odds are stacked in Trenton's favor and the outcome for the loser is too terrifying to conceive.

BONUS CONTENT includes four short stories written exclusively for this release.

"Pleasant But Not Nice" takes a closer look at the friendship between Kelly Sheridan and Denim Jacobson prior to Sara Peters' arrival in New York.

"The Five Rs" accompanies Sean Mavis and Christopher Maida on a stakeout and reveals their initial impressions of Kelly and Denim.

"Dust" is an intimate look at Trenton Merrick's relief efforts in Haiti days after the devastating earthquake.

"The Celibate Spy" transports us back to 1969 when Randall Wolverhampton takes on his first mission as a junior agent in MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency.

PLUS the first chapter of the upcoming sequel to Frontline coming in 2015.




CHAPTER ONE