Writing What I Know: The Backstage World of a Working Actor by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Giveaway & Guest Post)

Writing What I Know: The Backstage World of a Working Actor by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Giveaway & Guest Post)

Kathryn Leigh Scott, author, publisher and actress is probably best known for her star turn as Josette Du Pres, ingénue bride of reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins in the TV cult classic “Dark Shadows.” Her third novel, Jinxed (a Jinx Fogarty Mystery) (Februrary 2015), is a stand alone sequel to the successful Down and Out in Beverly Heels (Montlake Romance, 2013). While continuing her acting career, Kathryn launched Pomegranate Press to publish books about the entertainment industry, “Dark Shadows” fan books, and other nonfiction and fiction titles. She continues her acting career playing George Segal’s girlfriend Miriam in “The Goldbergs and will appear in the 2015 mid-season launch of  “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Read Love Romance Passion’s review of Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

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The old adage “write what you know” certainly applies to me, with my twin careers as a writer and an actor. My mystery romance series is set in Hollywood and features a veteran actress, Meg Barnes, who once starred in a popular TV series playing amateur sleuth, Jinx Fogarty. I began my career as an actress playing Josette DuPres in the classic Gothic daytime series “Dark Shadows,” which has a cult following to this day. I completely relate to Meg Barnes, who knows that no matter what other roles she plays in her career, she will always be known as Jinx Fogarty. Thanks to my role playing the fiancé of vampire Barnabas Collins, I will always be remembered as Josette.

I wrote my first romance novel, Dark Passages, with a wink and a nod to “Dark Shadows,” but made the ingénue actress a real vampire struggling to live a normal life among mortals. Of course she fell in love with her leading man, a handsome Brit actor not at all happy to find himself cast as a vampire in a television series! Yes, I had a lot of fun drawing on what was so familiar to me from “Dark Shadows,” but even though I drew on my experiences as a young actress doing a live television soap in the 1960s, the story I created is entirely fictional. Nothing in the plot of Dark Passages ever happened in the real behind-the-scenes world of “Dark Shadows”—and I certainly wasn’t a vampire! But how delicious to set my imagination free and explore “what if” I was a vampire and fell in love with a mortal. I already have the plotline for the sequel—and yes, despite the complications, she and her leading man are finding true love together.

I draw on everything I’ve experienced in my career as an actress working in theater, film and television to write the mystery romance series featuring Meg Barnes as Jinx Fogarty. Meg is a beloved actress who has enjoyed considerable success, winning an Emmy for her portrayal of Jinx Fogarty, and lives an enviable life until she falls for the wrong man. Her second husband turns out to be a conman and she loses everything, including friends, career, home and reputation, and ends up living on the streets of Beverly Hills in her “Ritz-Volvo.” She uses everything she’s ever learned playing an amateur sleuth to track down her fugitive husband and find redemption—and love with the right man, a handsome FBI agent, who at first suspects her of being an accomplice in her husband’s fraud.

I know the behind-the-scenes world Hollywood well, and the sound stages where I continue to work in such popular television series as “The Goldbergs” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” In my newly-released novel Jinxed, the sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels, Meg finds herself on the comeback trail with a new series—and facing an old adversary, who jeopardizes her life and a chance at redeeming all that she’s lost. I know how precarious the career of a working actor can be and I pour all of what I’ve personally experienced, from the bitter disappointments to the heights of exhilaration, into the fictional world of Meg Barnes.

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Buy: Jinxed (A Jinx Fogarty Mystery)

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Kathryn is giving away two Jinx Fogarty Mystery packages – each has a copy of Jinxed and Down and Out in Beverly Heels! US/CAN winner gets print (signed) or digital copies; winners from other countries receive digital copies only.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter Form below to enter!

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Review: Killer Heels by Tracy Tegan

Review: Killer Heels by Tracy Tegan

killer heelsReviewed by Cara Lynn

This was a short book compared to some.

Devlin Manning is a Hollywood actor. He has more girls throw themselves at him than he cares to think about.

And then he meets a girl that draws his attention who waits on him in a local coffee shop — and she disappears. All efforts to find her, to see her again, are in vain.

Then he sees her at the party of one of Hollywood’s most influential producers. Unfortunately Ray is connected to the mafia, and when Devlin returns later that night for his cell phone, he is mercilessly beaten. And how does it all connect with the woman who disappears again?

Later her friend tells Devlin that she has said (on a burner phone) that he is the only one that can find her. She is as enamored of him as he is with her, but she needs to be safe. So he begins the search in earnest.

I would call this romantic suspense, but there is really no sex in the book. If it’s going to be a gentle, almost unrequited love story, I was put off by him calling his member a c&*k. It didn’t seem like it fit.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Killer Heels

Review: Jinxed By Kathryn Leigh Scott

Review: Jinxed By Kathryn Leigh Scott

Jinxed_finalcoverReviewed by Karin

First book Down and Out in Beverly Heels

I really enjoyed this book.

This book takes Meg a bit further down the path from where she was dead broke because her ex-husband was a conman (now in prison) and she was living in her car because that was all she had.

She had had a successful TV series 20 years before where she played Jinx, complete with a magician’s hat. Now she is caught off guard to find they are reprising the show — but not with her. The young actress is surprisingly good, with an interesting voice, and a few secrets of her own. And Meg has been asked to give her lessons on how the hat was used in the old show and how it will be used in the new.

Then she goes missing.

Throw in an extremely irritating first husband; the wealthy woman who lets Meg live in her mansion (complete with paraphernalia from old movies and an old doll collection) … a young man who is talented as a film director who is filming Meg (who wants to further him in the business); a couple of detectives; an older male friend; … Jack, her lover, who is also with the FBI. He’s on a case involving sex rings, which may or may not be part of the missing actress.

And there’s a murder and attempted murder …

I didn’t see it coming (whodunit) … I suspected someone who wasn’t the one (good) …

The book was well written. I would definitely read another of her books.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Jinxed (A Jinx Fogarty Mystery)

Sensually Snowbound with Lindsay Evans

Sensually Snowbound with Lindsay Evans

Sex and snow have always seemed to belong together. Not necessarily two or more people rolling around in the cold white stuff (although I’ve written about that before) but being snug and warm behind closed doors with snow falling outside the windows, a fire getting the room nice and hot while an equally hot man tended to fires of an entirely different kind. That image was the catalyst for my latest novel, Snowy Mountain Nights. The story is hot, its hero even hotter, and the heroine overdue for a nice long blast of heat. Intrigued? Come with me on this journey.

9780373863952_SMPSnowy Mountain Nights by Lindsay Evans

On a much-needed ski getaway with her girlfriends, the last person Reyna Allen wants to run into is the lawyer who ruined her life. The tattoo artist’s bitter divorce left her with nothing, and she blames her ex-husband’s attorney, Garrison Richards. Now firelight dinners, winter walks in the Adirondacks, and toe-curling chemistry are daring her to give in to the one man she refuses to ever trust.

Garrison is good at his job—and where Reyna’s concerned, he may have been a little too good. He regrets the role he played in her divorce, and intends to show Reyna that he’s found his moral compass since then. But as their mutual heat thaws her resolve, will doubts put the freeze on their relationship—before he can convince her that they’re the ones meant for happily ever after?

Buy: Snowy Mountain Nights (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

5538_1382030788676096_1777985550_nBio:

Born in Jamaica, Lindsay Evans currently lives and writes in Atlanta, GA. She loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both. She writes sensual love stories for Harlequin Kimani. Find out more at www.LindsayEvansWrites.com.

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Snowy Mountain Nights Excerpt: 

Garrison stared after the woman while his secretary’s words on the other end of the line fell away from him in a garble of sound. She was the same one he had been watching from before. Now that he’d seen her face, she was breathtaking; an Amazon with a hauntingly beautiful face and body. He drew a quiet breath, hypnotized by the sway of her hips under the green dress as she walked away. Halfway down the train, she sat down with her three friends, never once glancing back at him.

“Garrison, are you still there?”

It took him a few seconds to realize Anthea was trying to get his attention. He mentally shook himself.

“My apologies, Anthea. I’m right here.”

He finished going over the particulars of the Reichman divorce, yet another rich client with children who didn’t want to financially support his offspring, then went back to his seat. He could hear the muted strains of the woman and her friends’ conversation from where he sat. And he wasn’t the only man glancing in their direction. Annoyed with himself for his uncharacteristic fascination, Garrison opened a folder for a case still in arbitration, but couldn’t concentrate on a single word.

The woman’s eyes haunted him. They were black and intense, her gaze as regal and unflinching as a queen. He drew a swift breath of surprise as he abruptly recalled who she was and how he knew her.

Reyna. Reyna Barbieri.

He’d handled her divorce from her actor husband nearly five years before. From the look on her face, she had undoubtedly known who he was on sight. And she hadn’t been happy to see him.

Garrison remembered the first time he saw her. Ian Barbieri, a client of his whose ship had come in the form of a syndicated crime drama, was a few years into the TV show when he filed for divorce. Every fall, his face was up on billboards all over New York City, advertising the new installment of his show.

With his star burning bright through the network TV sky, Barbieri had breezed into Garrison’s office wanting a quick and surgical separation from his wife of nearly nine years. Garrison hadn’t been surprised. Although Ian Barbieri was a relatively small fish in the show business pond in New York, the rumor had been going around for months (with pictures included) that he was cheating on his high school sweetheart. That he left her to keep the home fires burning while he had sex with nearly every wannabe starlet and groupie in the city. What had surprised Garrison was that Barbieri’s wife hadn’t hired a lawyer of her own. Neither had she objected to any of the terms of the divorce that her ex proposed.

Garrison drafted the documents with the stipulations Barbieri wanted and arranged a meeting with the wife thinking that, since the divorce was uncontested, it would be an easy and quick process. Barbieri wanted to keep just about everything he’d made and acquired since the marriage, leaving his wife with nothing but her wedding ring. She hadn’t protested.

Then Reyna Barbieri walked into the conference room. Given Barbieri’s movie star looks, Garrison had been prepared for a similar creature, perfectly quaffed and artificial, the New York version of Hollywood. But Reyna had that wholesome loveliness that came from a life lived apart from show business. The air in his lungs stuttered at her natural, long-legged beauty. And the misery in her face.

Her shoulders were slumped. The floral, summer dress and light sweater were too insubstantial for the fall weather and too big for her body. The wounded and defenseless look of her made him want to protect her. Garrison wanted to pull her into his arms and shelter her from everything that he knew was to come.

His heart thumped viciously at the unusual wave of feeling. He sat in his chair staring at Reyna as if she was the only person in the room. Garrison was surprised that everyone else hadn’t stared at him for his blatantly fatuous and unprofessional behavior.

He realized then that despite her husband’s flagrant cheating, she had not wanted to end the marriage. And that her husband had hurt her in ways that she had never expected and would probably never recover from. Garrison remembered pulling out a chair for Reyna. He also remembered her flinching from him. Her reaction had hurt, twisted him with guilt even though he knew he’d done nothing wrong. At least not technically.

In hindsight, Garrison should have insisted that Barbieri provide for her even though she had pressed for nothing on her own behalf and seemed to be waiting on the man she’d spent nearly half her life with to treat her fairly. Garrison’s inaction, and Reyna’s sadness, had haunted him ever since.

But the Reyna who had confronted him outside the bathrooms was not the same sad woman he’d met five years before. Not at all. This Reyna Barbieri was stunning for a completely different reason.

She wore her confidence like a royal cloak. And her snapping black eyes had challenged him the moment she realized who he was. Her chin-length curls were tight and thick, inviting him to sink his hands into them and pull her closer. And her body. Christ almighty…

The long and tight sweater hugged a figure that came straight from his dreams, a slender but curvaceous body he could easily imagine taking into his arms and making love to all night. Because of her, he was powerfully aware of every masculine part of him, aware that he wanted to be intimately joined to every feminine part of her.

Buy: Snowy Mountain Nights (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

Review: Besotted (The Billionaire Banker, Book 3) by Georgia Le Carre

besottedReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Back in the previous novel, Lana had the chance to make things better for her and her baby by going back to Blake. We knew it wasn’t going to be great for her, but she somehow managed to put things right with him aftert he had originally thought she was using him for his money. It took her a while to get him to see her for what she was, a woman who wanted a second chance to win him back, hoping he would see what she did as a mistake, an error on her part, but now that she has the man she grew to love, she wants answers to the questions that are most on her mind.

Review: Lana made an impact on Blake as he intends to marry her. She has her eye on Billie and Julie to be her bridesmaids , but there is a problem about Victoria, Blake’s troublesome ex as she feels she might make an unwelcome visit on them as their big day gets under way. In the meantime, The couple have their usual ups and downs. He is worried for his life as being a billionaire, he could be dead tomorrow and he wants Lana to be safe from harm with their child. She shares his paranoia and doesn’t want him to leave her side. As you can tell, this makes life difficult for the both of them and another thing that proves to be a problem, is Victoria, who still has a thing for him.

Good Bits:

  • It has a sensual cover
  • The love between Lana and Blake is stronger than ever in this third book
  • Victoria and Marcus could come between them, but not if Blake has anything to do with it!

Summary: As there are the subjects of sex and BDSM as themes in this novel, there is the issue of Lana being submissive to him, and she takes it well as there are women across the country who would run a mile at the mere suggestion. Baby Sorab adds some cuteness to what would otherwise be a very sensual and sexual book, so Georgia caters to all; the ones who like the sex, the erotica and the thought that the characters exhibit some kind of normality even though they are filthy rich.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Besotted (Billionaire Banker Series Book 3)

Review: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

grand centralReviewed by Karin

Blurb

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…

A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…

A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…

On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.

Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Very touching and evocative. This book features original stories by best selling authors. Much of it has to do with Jewish refugees — and also Jews who had left Europe for America, at least one had been in concentration camps. It gives a glimpse into what it must have been like to live those early years post war.

My father served in the air force in Europe, so it holds a special poignancy for me.

While there are possibilities — and even love — it is not an easy life or an easy read. It is a world very far removed from where we are now, but not far enough to be in the way distant past. It holds too many memories.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Review: Power Play (Clear Message, Book 1) by Kali Cross

power playReviewed by Cara Lynn

Blurb:

Jack’s up against a master of manipulation—staying one step ahead of his ex-fiancée requires some swift maneuvers. But when Alexandra Simpson enters his life…well, she is a game changer. Dangerous secrets, office intrigue, and sizzling passion will keep you turning the pages of Power Play, Book 1 of Kali Cross’ new romance series, Clear Message.

Jack Schmidt is getting screwed by his fiancée, Vanessa, in more ways than one. After catching her in bed with her trainer, Jack wants her out of his life. Too bad it’s not that easy. As his employee, she parlayed his attraction to the level of fiancée in a matter of months, and in just a few weeks, she’ll own a 20% stake in his firm—and she won’t give it up without a fight. Vanessa thinks she has him by the balls, but Jack’s done being played. He orders a new manager to review all the accounts, suspecting that all Vanessa’s late nights working were spent stroking his clients…and not just their egos.

New manager Alexandra Simpson is the perfect candidate for the job. She’s sharp, loyal to the firm, and doesn’t intimidate easily. Unfortunately, she also intrigues Jack, but getting involved with another employee would be the definition of insanity. Jack wonders if she’s like Vanessa, ready to climb over anyone who gets in her way. But something about Alex forces him to believe otherwise.

After a disagreement over a client leads to a searing kiss, Jack wants nothing more than to lock the door and spend the rest of the day getting to know every inch of Alexandra Simpson. But when Alex hears that he’s engaged to Vanessa, she lets him know in no uncertain terms that she isn’t interested in being the other woman…not again. Not again? Now Jack must go up against Alex’s past, and the result could be deadly for both of them.

Review:

Good story. Interesting characters, well developed.

Hot sex. (I got tired of it.) Light bondage (are these now the obligatory scenes?) (Not into this!) and light, playful subservience and acting.

Scary scenes at the end, but all turns out OK (which is the power of romantic suspense, you know it will turn out OK.)

I did my usual reading the end after I was about half way through, even though it was an e-book so not as easy to do.

This book was given to me by LRP to read and review, though it did not affect my feelings about the book. I wanted to know who-dun-it. I suspected the wrong character (and I’m glad.)

Jumped into sex too fast for me.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Power Play (Clear Message Book 1)

Review: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan

love bitesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: This is Valeria Kogan’s debut collection of short stories which all centre on love, from heartbreak to redemption, this is what love is all about whether the people in the stories love each other at all, or start out that way and grow apart later on. There are many elements to love and these stories deal with them; secrets, guilt, jealousy, deception and mistrust. As the stories are written in a no nonsense way, this is a collection of shorts for a real modern woman.

Review: In all there are eleven stories where no one knows how a love affair will end. Valeria was born in Russia and has since moved to the UK where she learned to appreciate art and literature. Other than Love Bites, she is working on her new novel, ‘Bi-Pole-Ar’ which is a semi-biographical look at mental health issues and how other people see us. Valeria thinks that by writing a series of short works, she was also writing her first novel and she would be right. Every author has created small tasters to get potential readers use to their style of writing, and Valeria’s style can easily be seen here. Valeria saw the need to create several different narratives with outcomes that could never be predictable. She wanted do see what would happen if she had no pre conceive idea of how the stories would evolve. Love means different things to different people. In Silent, Carla has a husband, evolving around him as a full grown woman who bears children, but calamity strikes the family causing the silence she has come to expect. Nip & Tuck has a man telling his story of how he wanted to change his wife’s looks, her body by using cosmetic surgery as a beautifying tool, eventually coming to regret his decision. Mute is about a woman who was struck dumb when she first met a man and her intoxication with him that urges her to get his name tattooed on her skin. Tonight has a woman who decides that tonight will be the last time she will act as a prostitute, but the fact that she is dreading it tells you something about the person. Matrimony has Tessa wondering what sort of wedding she wants with the man in her life. Each story is matter-of-fact, and honest showing these diverse women and men of what they think love is and the trouble they have getting into the stereotypical woman/man role in society and the result of it.

Good Bits:

  • Silent is beauty stricken with tragedy.
  • Nip & Tuck is a case of never gilding a lily.
  • Mute is part prose, part poetry and all heart!

Summary: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories is an interesting look at the lives of eleven people who are each as different as the rest. They all appreciate men and women in their own way, or have been spurned by them in the past. The stories tell of their partners and lovers with me thing that the best ones were Nip & Tuck, Mute, Tonight and Matrimony. The cover art is of a beautiful woman, bound and with her eyes covered ready to cut the red thread of time with her latex gloved hands. It is a deceptive cover in that it looks like the sort that would grace a slipstream horror novel, and there is nothing horrific about the stories in here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories