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August 7, 2015 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Character Interviews, Friday Favorites, Tribute, Writing | Tags: Audie Murphy, Betty Dravis, Cheatham, Clint Eastwood, Clint Walker, Doster, Gene Autry, Reel World Talent, Roy Rogers, Terry G. Reed | by Betty Dravis | 2 comments
by Betty Dravis
The first movie cowboy I ever saw was Gene Autry, the singing cowboy of my youth. Then in my heyday, my all-time favorite and life-long “crush” Clint Eastwood rode into my life. And now there is Scott Eastwood, star of the blockbuster movie The Longest Ride… and Terry G. Reed.
“Who,” you might ask, “is Terry G. Reed?” Well, before I tell you a little about this Los Angeles actor–born in Ohio but spent most of his adult life in Tennessee–here is a photograph that captured my eye. If you can look past the man, don’t you just love his shirt? I wish they would bring this style back.
Terry G. Reed is a SAG-AFTRA actor who will play the role of Russell Rawlings in the coming TV series Big Sky. Rawlings is a rancher who is running for mayor. Big Sky has a huge cast with many of my Florida friends playing various roles. (I just learned yesterday that another of my California actor friends, Tia Barr, has also been added to the cast.) From all I have read and seen, Big Sky should be a big hit. Here is the link to the edited reel that helped Terry land the role: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD69BCOnA7Y&sns=em
After seeing Terry’s demo and pictures, what do you think, ladies? He sounds and looks like a force to be reckoned with, in my opinion.
In real life, Terry is not a cowboy, but that’s how I see him and most likely will always think of him that way. However, since he plays business and bad-boy roles with equal ease, I doubt if he’ll get type-cast. But being type-cast as a cowboy is not a bad thing… On the contrary, take Clint Eastwood, for example. In addition to cowboys, Eastwood played roles from detectives to radio disc jockeys, but what image pops into your head when his name is mentioned? That’s right: a handsome, rugged, sexy cowboy!
Terry’s IMDb lists many former roles, from coroner, assassin to pro baseball scout. Just to name of few of his movie roles, Terry was a security chief in Rejourer (2011); a school principal in Truly Blessed (2009); and in In Da Cut he played the role of Kelly. He has an impressive list of TV credits, also. A few examples: The role of coroner in Howard Hughes Revealed; in The World’s Astonishing News TV Series, he played Joannie’s father in The Joannie Rochette Story; the part of Ray Kitchen in Eaten Alive; Killer Bears episode; and a security and pit boss in Las Vegas. The list goes on…
In addition to his cowboy role in TV’s Big Sky—which I am personally anticipating—Terry has two films in pre-production: Dolphin’s Song and Cowgirl Romance.
Terry is a songwriter and guitarist. In case you’d like to hear some of his music, following are links to a few of his videos. He wrote the songs in some of his videos, plays guitar on others.
One of my favorites is Grant’s Lullaby that he wrote for his son:
Terry has a good sense of humor, so it isn’t surprising that he can now laugh when recalling that for a TV role he once had to cry around twenty-three times in a two-day period. He said after that, he never wanted to cry on set again. He learned the hard way–on a shoot–that yellow jackets are attracted to fake blood.
Since Terry’s coming role in Big Sky set my mind on a cowboy “tangent,” I asked my agent at Reel World Talent LLC and several popular authors to say a few words about cowboys who stood out in their memories.
Author Mary Lou Cheatham Recalls
Saturday Afternoon Matinee Cowboys
“Back in the fifties in Taylorsville, Mississippi, my friends and I went to the Melroy Theater on Saturday afternoons to see the Westerns. I loved Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I thought about them all week. Gene Autry was a favorite too. Back then I thought all cowboys were singers.”
Author Loretta Wheeler Chose Audie Murphy
“I was asked to write a little something about my favorite cowboy. Being from Texas, of course, that didn’t seem a very difficult request. But, my take on it will probably make a few scratch their heads and say ‘Who?’ And then, ‘Why him?’
“The cowboy that sticks in my mind from way back is Audie Murphy. Here’s a short bio of him, followed by my reasons for choosing him:
“‘Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. At the age of nineteen, Murphy received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.’
“After the war, Murphy became a popular movie star, often portraying cowboys. So, dig through Netflix and find one of his old cowboy movies, fix yourself a bowl of popcorn, and sit back and watch a man portraying all the things we hold dear in cowboys, and know that he embodied those qualities in his “real” life too.”
Author Joanna Lee Doster Chose Clint Walker
“I just discovered and have begun watching Cheyenne with Clint Walker. I love the show. He is always honorable and always seeks justice. He takes off his shirt in almost every episode. He is the strong and silent type but he always saves the day. Six feet, six inches makes him the record champion. In 1969, New York Times film critic Howard Thompson, in reviewing Walker’s performance in the movie More Dead Than Alive, described the actor as ‘a big, fine-looking chap and about as live-looking as any man could be. And there is something winning about his taciturn earnestness as an actor, although real emotion seldom breaks through.’ In 1958, Thompson described the actor, then starring in Fort Dobbs, as ‘the biggest, finest-looking Western hero ever to sag a horse, with a pair of shoulders rivaling King Kong’s.’”
Michael McGregor of Reel World Talent LLC
Likes Singing Cowboys
“My favorite Cowboy…. hmmm…. I have two actually; both cowboys who sing. The first is Kenny Lee of the great state of Tennessee, and the second is Don Allen of the Gold Coast of Australia. Kenny Lee just finished producing Don Allen’s latest CD and I had the pleasure of listening to it on Kenny’s computer while he and Don cut-up and joked around. It was a great evening of friendship and witnessing amazing talent by both Kenny and Don!”
Now, that I have, hopefully, intrigued you and gained a few more fans for Terry’s long list, why not meander on over to his Facebook page and invite him to be your friend. Also check out some of his old films to see him in action and follow him in Big Sky when it’s released. His shoulders might not be as huge as Clint Walker’s, but he’s long and lean like Clint Eastwood (or even Gary Cooper)… and he cuts a “mighty fine figure” in the role of rancher Russell Rawlings.
Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) link:
Another film, scene from Crime Investigation role:
The Dames of Dialogue and our readers wish Terry huge success in his acting career. We love your cowboy persona. But whatever the role, as you ride off into the sunset–as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans always sang–“Happy trails to you…”
presented by Betty Dravis
I finally made time to come around to visit the Dames in order to introduce a young artist who caught my eye through friends. Kerry James Junior is very popular in his home state of Indiana, landing more TV and radio gigs on a weekly basis. I came across the following short blog about Kerry in the online paper New Scene Music.
I think the kid is good, but check him out for yourself. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002430081915&fref=ts
by Mike Tree
Kerry James Jr… Wasup, Errbodyt It’s ya boy Mike Tree reporting a New Artist Alert as I checked in with a regional sensation by the name of Kerry James Junior, better known as K.J. He creates a very special connection between his supporters, media and fans that he calls KJayers at this stage in his career
K.J. contributes the majority of his celebrity status to his support system; his soulful, self-taught talent is just a plus. K.J. sets himself apart from the pack mostly by his homely attire. In almost every video you can catch him in flip-flops and a hunter’s hat as just an added player of the “connect-ability” he has with his fans. Quite a sense of solidarity, in my opinion.
When i asked K.J. if there was anything he’d like to add to the story, he stated, in true K.J. fashion, that this article is dedicated to his “home team,” so to speak: first, his mother, Wendy M Sanders-Johnson, his #1 inspiring woman; second, his sisters, Kelly Jo Rogers and Crystal Nicole Conway; third, his brother, Robert Sanders; and last but not least, his God-Uncles, Mike Brown, Lake County recorder & Northwest Indiana freelance writer/journalist, and Anthony Alonzo.
They say a picture is worth a hundred words, so take note and look out for K.J. in some performances near you!
March 10, 2015 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Author Speak, Tribute, Writing | Tags: Ashley Fontainne, best-selling author, Betty Dravis, books, films, Growl, writing tips | by Betty Dravis | 4 comments
presented by Betty Dravis
Before we share what author Ashley Fontainne has to say on the subject of fulfilling our dreams, let me tell you a little about her. I’m sure most of you already know of her works, but for those who don’t: Award-winning and International best-selling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.
Her muse for penning the popular Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.
Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the bronze medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.
Her paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the gold medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense and is also in production for a feature film.
The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, released September 29, 2014. Ashley then delves into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, her latest release. Plus, she has teamed-up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) to pen a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is due out the Summer of 2015.
Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST.
And now on to what this accomplished author has to say about overcoming fear:
by best-selling author Ashley Fontainne
Do you have a dream? Something tickling the corners of your mind, wanting to be released, but you ignore it? Does fear of the unknown, how others will react, or the worry of failing keep it locked away?
Fear. No. More.
Unleash your creativity. Paint the first stroke. Mold your first piece of clay. Write your first story. Is it a scary thing to let go of your fears by showing the world what’s been crawling around inside your brain? Terrifying… Your stomach will clench in knots, your heart will pound, and your palms will exude gallons of sweat. Your brain will buzz with the annoying sounds of self-doubt.
Do. It. Anyway.
It took me reaching my forties to finally let go of my fears and publish my first novel. Since that moment in April, 2011, my life has changed in ways I never thought possible when I sat in my Creative Writing class in college, fiddling around with ideas for a book. It took the gentle urgings of a very dedicated professor to embrace my worries and then let them go. Once I did, even though I truly was petrified when I clicked “submit” on Amazon, I also felt a tremendous sense of joy.
Now, four years, seven books and two movie deals later, I still feel anxious on the eve of a new release. The entire creative process is akin to raising a child, hoping and praying you have done your best, waving goodbye with tears in your eyes as they leave the nest for the first time. After all, the world can be a cruel, harsh place. Some will love your little bundle, others will despise it. It is a gamble each and every time.
But the rewards are well worth it. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. The biggest joy I receive with each new book is the knowledge that my words impacted the life of another human being. As a voracious reader, one who has found so much enjoyment in works of others, to even have the opportunity to try and do the same for others is amazing and humbling.
So, I challenge you today to step out of your comfort zone. Break the chains holding you back, and release your creative side, whatever it may be.
Paint. Draw. Sculpt. Design. Write. Embrace the fear and use it as a tool to hone your work… not to hold it back.
December 11, 2014 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Author Speak, Friday Favorites, Tribute, Writing | Tags: Betty Dravis, Dames of Dialogue, Joanna Lee Doster, NASCAR, novel, racing, stock-cars, Writing | by Betty Dravis | 5 comments
intro by Betty Dravis
Most of our readers are probably familiar with author/writer Joanna Lee Doster, but ever since I selected her exciting book Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit for a Betty Award for Book with Best Movie Potential, I wanted to share her story on Dames of Dialogue.
Doster is a writer and author whose published books include Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Rockport Publishing) and the aforementioned Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit (MPI Publishing). The new edition of her family drama and motorsports racing thriller was released on May 4, 2014 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
She has also written a series of nationally syndicated celebrity profiles that featured legendary sports figures. Doster is a freelance journalist for syndicated newspapers (Gannett as one example), magazines and blogs. In addition, she has held executive positions in Cable Television (Arts & Entertainment, The Learning Channel and PBS communications) and the entertainment industry. She and her husband live in New York.
Now Doster has written the following, especially for our Dames of Dialogue readers.
by Joanna Lee Doster
Most people ask what inspired me to write a stock-car racing thriller. To keep it as simple as possible, I transitioned from my previous non-fiction book and publications to following the need to express myself with expansive, epic stories. I knew I needed powerful characters, with generational back stories; families with complex relationships from the past leading to the present. I satisfied my writing needs in Maximum Speed by writing about three generations of a stock-car-racing family.
Since I love to explore the different kinds of interactions my characters have and how they maneuver throughout their lives, my book about car racing became a metaphor for life. People are racing to or away from something. It’s not so much their destination that determines the type of person they are. It’s their journey to the finish line that determines that. My main characters have flaws and handicaps that most of them bravely overcome. Everyone chooses the path they take in life and how they travel on that path defines them. Ergo, the racing metaphor…
I became intrigued with stock-car racing when I began to realize that it’s not just drivers going aimlessly around tracks. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline, endurance, precision and focus. Driving around tracks for at least four hours with the glaring sun in their eyes, breathing in some residues of carbon monoxide inside a two-ton car that has 2 g forces is difficult enough. The experience is grueling when coupled with when to let up on the gas, when to make a pit stop, knowing when to avoid hitting another car and avoiding track debris, other crashing cars, etc. The list is endless…
I developed complex multi-layered characters that are a composite of people I have known. What I always loved about reading great books was that the well delineated characters always hooked you right away whether they were the heroes or the villains. You wanted to know what happened to them even after you finished reading. In Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit I show their human frailties right from the start and they draw you in and you do want to know what happens to them at the end of the book. I also naively always believed in justice and so I try to balance out the imbalances in some of the character’s lives. But usually life has a way of meting out its own justice, so it’s not up to me, the author, to do that. I found that it’s best to let the characters take over and show that through their action and dialogue.
My protagonist Sean Devlin has been living on the edge his whole life, making speed and danger his constant companions in order to cover up a deep hole of loneliness and shame from the painful stigma of his childhood stutter. Reckless and testing the limits of life, he finally realizes that he doesn’t have to overcompensate for his speech handicap and conquer the world and his family to be number one. As Taylor, his mother, always told him, “You have no competition, as long as you believe you’re number one.”
The theme of “winning at all costs” philosophy is a thread that runs throughout my latest 2014 edition of Maximum Speed. People are always pushing the limit in their lives in order to achieve great success, whether they are celebrities like the ones in Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Cher and Versace to name a few) or like the race-car drivers in Maximum Speed. Some of my characters push the limit on and off the racetrack with reckless disregard for their fellow teammates and or loved ones. My protagonist, a young champion racer, has an inordinate amount of drive, determination and obsessiveness for victory lane, overcompensating for a bullied childhood.
Joanna Lee Doster links:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joannalee.doster
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Joanna-Lee-Doster/e/B001K8KFNI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
BN order page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maximum-speed-joanna-lee-doster/1102419753?ean=9780996017916
September 4, 2014 in Animals we love, Author & Celebrity Interviews, Author Speak, Friday Favorites, Tribute, Writing | Tags: acting, Al Jardine, animal abuse, animal rescue, art, BeachBoys, Betty Dravis, Brian Wilson, Harlan Ellison, Kenny Rogers, Neal Jardine, Stephen Boyd, SUSAN ALCOTT JARDINE, Writing | by Betty Dravis | 13 comments
by Betty Dravis
Susan Alcott Jardine is an amazing woman! Not only is she an author, an artist, former actress and an award-winning screenwriter, she and her equally-amazing husband, Neal, are among the most active animal activists in California, and possibly, the nation.
I met Susan about four years ago, shortly after interviewing her former high-school friend, Actor/Producer Tony Tarantino, for Dream Reachers II, a book I co-authored with Chase Von. Susan’s book, The Channel: Stories from L.A., came out about the same time, so I jumped at the chance to review it. A haunting, well-written book… Needless to say, Susan has a way with words… The Channel is available at many online bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon:
Susan was born and raised in Los Angeles where she majored in theatre arts at El Camino College and California State University, LA. As mentioned above, she worked as an actress in theatre, television and film before working behind the scenes in music production/publishing, as a writer/editor for entertainer Kenny Rogers’s “Special Friends” newsletter, in entertainment law and broadcast television. She and her writing partner Marc Havoc received the WGA Foundation Award for their screenplay Lullabyeland.
While playing a role in a film at Paramount Pictures, Susan not only met Tony Bennett and the late Stephen Boyd, she also became friends with the acclaimed screenwriter Harlan Ellison who wrote the screenplay for The Oscar, among many other acclaimed literary/cinematic successes. Ellison became her mentor, actually critiquing her first published story from The Channel: Stories from L.A.,The Metamorphosis of Nathanial Kronstadt, which was first published in Ellery Queens’s Mystery Magazine back in 1985. She acknowledges Ellison as “a turning point and inspiration” in her life. For more about Harlan Ellison, check Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlan_Ellison
This versatile and talented woman is also a painter, and her artwork is in private collections in the US, San Salvador, and Kenya, East Africa, including the permanent collection of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband Neal and many rescued cats.
Art website: http://www.GreenDoorEditions.com
While most of us writers dream of having movies developed from our books, Susan’s dream is much more altruistic: she and her husband Neal dream of founding a Feral and Stray Cat Foundation.
Since 2006, Susan and Neal have been actively rescuing feral and stray cats from the freeway berm that runs behind their home. Over the years they have been trapping, spaying, neutering and moving mother cats, kittens and new litters into their Green Door Editions (GDE) art studio, as well as using it for a recovery area for sick and injured cats. The Jardines named the studio their “temporary kitty hospital.”
Susan confided, “’Life’ and recent unforeseen events sent us into a tailspin here at GDE, forcing us to regroup and formulate a Plan B. But, from the chaos and re-grouping, New Doors opened up to a new path for us here at GDE. Through a loving gift from my late parents’ Trust, as if by magic, there was a ‘Gift’ to be used to start our animal rescue foundation.”
In 2015, the Jardines plan to open their non-profit foundation: “Alex & Friends’ Foundation” which will benefit ‘Feral & Stray Cat Rescue.’ Neal will be working from the legal aspect to set up a non-profit (501) (c) (3) to comply with Federal and state Regulations, and Susan will utilize her art & writing to create the logo and artwork for small gift items that can be added to a new website for the foundation.
“It won’t happen overnight,” Susan said, “but by baby steps, we can slowly set it up and connect with other non-profits in the community. We will keep you posted and let you know when we’re finally up and running. A lot of legal work needs to be done before we can go forward, like setting up our Board of Directors, financial account, etc. The good news is that the non-profit status has already been approved by the IRS. We are moving forward and will keep you posted when it is finally up and running as a non-profit animal rescue foundation.”
I’m excited for Susan and Neal…and for all the animals they are helping. I admire them and others who care enough about animals to devote their lives and resources to them. To learn more about all the animals they help, check Susan’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/susan.alcottjardine?fref=ts Don’t forget to check Susan’s site on a regular basis so you can either rescue a pet yourself or donate to this worthy cause.
ENDNOTE: Not essential to this story is a fact I would like to mention before closing: Neal’s brother is the famous Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. Since we and most of our fans love The Beach Boys, I thought you might enjoy that interesting tidbit.
It’s my pleasure to celebrate with my publisher Wendy Dingwall of Canterbury House Publishing. I can’t believe I’ve been with CHP since 2011 with three of my e-books, Interviews with Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons, 1106 Grand Boulevard and The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley. Time does, indeed, fly.
Since Wendy has contributed and been featured in Dames of Dialogue many times, our readers are familiar with her and we all look forward to hearing from her.
Wendy Dingwall is the most honest, caring and hard-working publisher I’ve ever had and I’m proud to be part of the great Canterbury House. It’s exhilarating to share her feelings about her business on its Fifth Birthday. Enjoy…and learn…
From the desk of Publisher Wendy Dingwall
Whew! Where did the time go? It has certainly been a learning curve and then some. Especially given all the changes in the industry over the last five years.We are currently experiencing growing pains again due to our recent change of working directly with the wholesalers instead of using a distributor. The workload has increased and for the moment the process of new books has slowed as we adjust to new duties.
I am proud to say that we have published over thirty well-received books during our first five years. This includes our e-books.
I’d like to personally thank our super authors for their hard work in writing and rewriting, working with editors and last but not least in helping to market their books.
I couldn’t have done it without our wonderful editors: Sandra Horton, Greg Kilgore and Donna Akers and our fabulous graphic designers: Ann Nemcosky, Aaron Burleson and most especially Tracy Arendt.
I’d also like to thank off-set printers: United Graphics and McNaughton & Gunn, and POD printer: Lightning Source, for turning out quality books each and every time.
We were pleased to celebrate our readers on our Fifth Anniversary by offering a 25% discount on all print book orders placed through the end of July, 2014. Now that the sale is over, we hope you will still purchase our esteemed authors’ works by ordering their books through Amazon, Smashwords, BN.com and other online bookstores.
December 16, 2013 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Culture Keepers, Monday Dialogue with Guests, Tribute | Tags: Al Pacino, Betty Dravis, Christopher Walken, Connie Stephens, John Voight, Kat Pacino, movies, Reel Cowboys, Robert Wagner, Shining Kids Stars | by Betty Dravis | 8 comments
by Katherin Kovin Pacino – Presented by Dame Betty Dravis
It has been a few years since Betty Dravis interviewed me for Dames of Dialogue and for her and Chase Von’s book Dream Reachers II, so I am honored to be invited back for an update.
In addition to acting and representing the Al Pacino Family, during the past two years, I have become involved in a number of other projects, such as serving as secretary on the Board of The Reel Cowboys. www.reelcowboys.org My husband, Bill Lashbrook, is vice-president. Not only do we enjoy the humanitarian causes RC supports, we also enjoy the fun and camaraderie of this great bunch of people.
Reel Cowboys is a non-profit charity that honors western screen actors with their annual Silver Spur Awards and gives to charities for children and to war veterans. This year, 2013, The 16th Annual Silver Spur Awards honored Jon Voight, Robert Wagner, Louis Gossett, Jr., Connie Stevens, Andrew Prine, Ewing “Lucky” Brown and stuntman Chuck Hicks. For all about the fascinating details of Reel Cowboys, please check this link: http://reelcowboys.org/RC_about.htm
I’m also an advisor on the Board of Shining Star Kids of America, another charity for foster kids aging out of the system. We are now talking to three mayors of different cities in Northern California regarding buying a ranch for these kids to learn culinary, horticulture, and many other things to help them sustain a living as they set out into the world on their own. For more about this worthwhile program, check this link: http://shiningstarkidsofamerica.org/facts.html
In 2010 I was presented The Key to the City of Ferrentino, Italy. I covet this honor because I’m so proud of my late husband Sal Pacino and his son the legendary, academy-award-winning Al Pacino. Being affiliated with their heritage means the world to me.
I am also venturing into cinematic production, but am still into acting. My latest film is Mansion of Blood, (starring Gary Busby). I also worked on Simon Bolivar, Path to Glory, which co-starred my late hubby Sal Pacino, mentioned above, and am currently attached to other future projects, as well.
I enjoy the humanitarian aspects of my life as well as the entertainment industry. If you’re ever in Sun Valley, please drop by The Reel Cowboys for breakfast. You might be surprised to find one of your favorite old-time (or even current) cowboys joining the gang for breakfast. My husband Bill Lashbrook and I breakfast there quite often, too. In fact one morning I was there when cowboy actor Ty Hardin walked by. I grabbed my cell and called Betty Dravis, knowing she would enjoy a short chat with him…but the call didn’t go through quick enough and he was out the door. Betty missed out… (laughs)
Check their calendar page on their website (listed above) to find out what Saturdays The Reel Cowboys meet for breakfast. They meet most Saturday mornings, but not all…from 9:30 to High Noon! Come on around to the “Chuck Wagon Room” of Big Jim’s Family Restaurant, 8950 Laurel Canyon Blvd (the northwest corner of Laurel Canyon and Sheldon Street) in Sun Valley. The general public is cordially invited to join in on the fun, entertainment and “Grass Roots Justice”… for good!
See you there… Kat
submitted by Dame Betty Dravis
If you haven’t already, meet Madison Knight, the chocolate-loving detective, who is determined to solve murder and find justice for the victims—even if that means coming into contact with the sight of blood.
However, in Found Innocent, the latest release in the series (releasing October 16th!), she doesn’t have to face too messy of a crime scene, at least in one sense. What she does have to deal with is whether or not she’s willing to jeopardize departmental relationships and cross the wall of blue.
Here, this is what it’s about:
There’s one code when it comes to the wall of blue…and Madison Knight may have to cross it.
Any good cop knows you never report a brother for mishandling a case or accuse him of misconduct, but in order to find justice, Madison may not have a choice.
Lacy Rose had one goal for her twentieth birthday—to be found innocent of past sins—but her life is cut short.
When Lacy’s remains are found in a garden and the investigation becomes connected to a closed case, Madison must face her past. The lead detective on that case was Madison’s ex-fiancé. At the risk of jeopardizing departmental relationships, and churning up the attention of an old flame at the same time, Madison must push hard before the guilty are found innocent.
Excerpt, Chapter 1:
The hysterical shouting pulled Madison’s attention from her monitor to a woman rushing toward her.
The station was supposed to be quiet today. Sunday. She wasn’t required to be there, and that made it the perfect day to dig into her cold case. She was so close to getting answers.
With one more longing look at her screen, Madison rose from her chair and held up her hands to stop the woman.
“Detective Knight.” She stated this as if they had met before.
Officer Ranson, the female officer who manned the front desk, came up behind them. “Come on—”
Another officer brushed past Ranson and slipped his hands under the woman’s arms. “Let’s go.”
He pulled on her, but she stayed still. Her eyes steadied on Madison.
“Please help me.” She attempted to shake loose from the officer’s grip.
Her frown lines were deep burrows, her eyes were sunken, and the flesh around them was puffy. She appeared to be rough-edged, but there was something desperate about her, and she didn’t seem to be a threat to the lives of anyone here.
“I’ve got this,” Madison said.
“All right, your call.” The male officer let go of the woman, and he and Ranson left.
“I saw your face in the paper.” The woman held up the Stiles Times. “It’s you, isn’t it?” Her lashes were caked with mascara, and she blinked slowly. Madison wondered if the cosmetic had sealed her eyes shut.
Madison passed a glance to the paper. It captured a moment she wished to forget. A day when she had been forced to speak in front of a crowd and to take pride in the job she had done. The thing was, though, a good cop couldn’t care less about the recognition.
The woman sobbed, yet her tears didn’t affect her makeup. “He wouldn’t do this…”
Madison summoned patience. A list of envelope-printing companies—which could prove to be a vital link in the chain of evidence against the Russians—would be on her monitor, right now.
She took a deep breath, passed another glance to her computer, and turned back to the woman. “Come with me.”
Madison kept the woman to the side of her. Her first impression was the woman didn’t pose a threat, but she still wasn’t willing to sacrifice her back by leading the way into the room.
Inside, Madison gestured to a chair.
The woman dropped her red bag heavily on the table. It was large enough to serve as a duffel bag. She pulled off her jean jacket, folded it over the back of the chair, and revealed a pink sweater that displayed more cleavage than Madison could ever hope to see on herself. The woman went rooting through the duffel bag and she stuffed a stick of gum in her mouth. She worked at chopping it into a soft, pliable distraction. It snapped in her mouth.
“Let’s start with your name—”
“Vilma with an ‘i’. Vilma Thorne, well, it would have been. My God, Kev!” She raised her face upward as if calling out to a Greater Being. Her gum chewing paused only momentarily.
“Vilma—” Madison had to tune out the noise and the display of her open-mouth chewing. “Let’s start at the beginning. Why are you here?”
Vilma stuck a finger through one of the large gold hoops dangling from her ears and leaned in.
Madison detected the blend of cheap perfume and cigarettes. Maybe—she inhaled deeper, trying not to appear obvious—it wasn’t perfume but whiskey. It was hard to discern. Her eyes appeared normal, except for the abuse of eye makeup. Besides the thick mascara, her lids were weighed with the color purple. Her pupils weren’t dilated or pinpricks.
Still, she didn’t respond to Madison’s question.
“Okay, Vilma, if you need my help, I need you to talk to me.”
Possibly this woman was on a new line of drug that disguised itself behind brilliant colors? Maybe this was a mistake and Madison should have let her get hauled away.
“My family is against what he did. But he didn’t do it!” Her voice rose, tears flowed. She stopped chewing and, sniffling, went rooting in the duffel bag again. She came out with a bunched up tissue and wiped her nose.
Madison’s tolerance level had almost reached its limit. “You keep saying he didn’t do it. Do what?”
A tissue still pinched on the tip of her nose, Vilma said, “He didn’t kill himself…someone killed him.”
Interested in reading more? See links below…
The Madison Knight Series is a clean, murder mystery series meaning mild graphic violence and language. Each book is self-contained so you can read any of the books, and out of order, if you wanted to. Books in the series in released order: Ties that Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Life Sentence (Prequel in which Madison has a cameo role), and Found Innocent. Carolyn Arnold started to take writing seriously six plus years ago when a co-worker said “tell me a story”. Since then she’s written nine novels and has plans to write many more. She has a love for the canine world and has two beagles that are affectionately named Max and Chelsea. Like her female protagonist Madison Knight, she loves her chocolate and has been known, on occasion, to speak her mind.
In celebration of the release of Found Innocent you can enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter as many times as you like and various ways. The contest lasts until October 31st. Enter here: http://carolynarnold.net/FoundInnocent.html#FIExtras
April 23, 2013 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Author Speak, Writing | Tags: Betty Dravis, Blue Harvest Creative, book design, Dames of Dialogue, Joni Lynn, Katie Jennings, The Dryad Quarter, Vasser Legacy | by Betty Dravis | 9 comments
by Joni Lynn of Blue Harvest Creative
(presented by Dame Betty Dravis)
When Katie Jennings approached us about redesigning her bestselling series, The Dryad Quartet, we were beyond thrilled!
The Dryad Quartet is a contemporary fantasy series revolving around the fictional land of Euphora, where beings inspired by Greek mythology exist to preserve the balance of nature and human life, and to protect the living from the evil residing in the Underworld. Take a journey into a world where Mother Earth and Father Sky exist, secretly hidden from human awareness, and yet crucial to the creation and stability of our world. They are joined by those who control the elements, the Dryads, as well as the Fates, Muses, and Furies, all of whom play an integral role in preserving Earth and guarding those who inhabit it.
We wanted to create something spectacular with the design of each book in the series. A design that would complement the beautifully written words of each story. We wanted to fully immerse the reader into the book and mesh the words with the design to let the reader not only experience the joy of reading, but to also stimulate the senses with stunning graphics and typography for a complete reading experience. We wanted to create a complete work of art.
Katie Jennings creates all of her beautiful covers. She asked us to collaborate with her on the cover redesigns. We helped refine a few areas and with our suggestions, she created even more visually-stunning creations. And, most importantly, we helped her establish an author brand with front and back covers designed for marketability. Her new back covers also contain her publishing imprint, Sapphire Royale Publishing. The new designs for both front and back are styled to match the series
Old Dryad Front Covers
New Dryad Front Covers
Old Dryad Back Covers
New Dryad Back Covers
The next task was to create visually stunning and exciting interiors for each book. The Dryad Quartet consists of books that each use a different element in each story. We decided to use these elements to create the design and graphics for each book since they are such an integral part of the series. A border strip was designed to incorporate the elemental feel of “movement” as well as to harmonize with each element.
The elements used in each book are:
Air – Breath Of Air
Fire – Firefight In Darkness
Earth- A Life Earthbound
Water – Of Water And Madness
We created vector images to represent each element for each book. They were used for both the chapter heading as well as the paragraph separators. From left to right they are: air, fire, earth and water.
From left to right is the prologue page for each book: Breath Of Air, Firefight In Darkness, A Life Earthbound and Of Water And Madness.
Each book interior was created using a combination of the fonts used on each front cover for headers as well as the chapter title. Instead of using a drop cap to begin each chapter, we took the first three words of each line and used a corresponding font from each front cover. Finally, we used Adobe Caslon Pro as the main interior font for each book in the series. We chose this because it is a softer font and also complemented all of the other design elements. As you can see, the beautiful graphics and design elements all complement each other yet each book has its own identity in the series.
Large Image for Firefight in Darkness Prologue Page
We also redesigned the eBooks and created eBooks that incorporated all of the same design elements as the print book so that readers would have the same reading enjoyment and experience.
And there you have it! The completely redesigned Dryad Quartet series. Immerse yourself in the fantasy…of words…and of design.
Katie Jennings is the bestselling author of the Dryad Quartet series and The Vasser Legacy series.
For more information on the author and her books, please visit Katie at her Amazon Central Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Katie-Jennings/e/B007SYJ37C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1358371749&sr=8-2-ent
You can also visit her website: http://www.katieajennings.com/
For more about Blue Harvest Creative, check our website: http://blueharvestcreative.wordpress.com/
Thanks, Dames, for having me as your guest today. You five Dames are highly respected writers with true gifts, and your site is very popular. My privilege to speak to your fans and friends. – Joni Lynn
April 16, 2013 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Author Speak, Tribute, Writing | Tags: Adelle Lauden, Ashley Fontainne, Barbara Watkins, Betty Dravis, Inglath Cooper, Laurel-Rain Snow, Lin Stepp, Victoria Taylor Murray, Wayne Zurl | by Betty Dravis | 23 comments
by Dame Betty Dravis
I was laughing like crazy when this picture was taken. Happy because mine and Barbara Watkins’s Six-Pack of Fear was just launched and doing very well. It was Halloween and I had some skeleton-head rings to dress my fingers and found some Jack Black bottles with skeletons on them. Since both books in the Six-Pack series have skeletons on the cover, that amused me…to put it mildly.
This photo gave me the idea to ask some authors what made them happy. I think you’ll enjoy their stories. And do get copies of their books. I also request comments at end of this blog and on their various sites, if you have time in your own busy schedules. 🙂
Author Inglath Cooper Is Most Happy When…
Maybe we’re happiest when we’re with the people in our lives who know us best. Over the years, I have made many friends in different periods of my life. Many wonderful and amazing friends… But I am never more comfortable, more free to just be me than when I am with my mom and sister. We share so much history, so many good times, and our conversations are always peppered with those memories.
Here I am at dinner with them during a recent vacation to Palm Beach, Florida. It was a carefree week with much laughter and teasing. Another memory I will treasure.
Author Laurel Rain-Snow Had “Miles to Go”
Picture the setting: Circa 1970. The world is our oyster, to coin an old cliché. In this photo, I am in love and cooking Christmas dinner for my new man, who would become my second husband within a few days. Shortly after he flashed this photo, I would drop the pan of gravy on the floor, but no worries… I salvaged most of it. And I kept smiling.
It was our very first Christmas dinner together and I was still a novice at big feasts. He was teasing me about my domesticity (or lack thereof) and I laughed because I was nervous, but also happy.
Now imagine a scene from my novel Miles to Go when Lindsay and Jack are brand new and loving every moment of their lives together. They would not begin to realize what would come charging around the bend within a very short time. But in that moment, they are happy and in love.
In this photo, I was living parts of that story, one that I would create more than thirty years later.
Author Ashley Fontainne, Mother of the Bride
This photo of author Ashley Fontainne was taken at the rehearsal dinner of her middle daughter the night before her wedding. Ashley and her husband Michael were happy campers that night and throughout the wedding ceremony and celebrations. They were absolutely delighted to see their daughter and her groom so obviously in love, committed and glowing with happiness.
The entire family was there to celebrate the wedding. What a fun night! (This is a fun blog and I thank Miss Betty for inviting me to participate.)
Radio Show: http://www.artistfirst.com/ashleyfontainne.htm
Author Lin Stepp Enjoys “Miles” of Smiles
Author Lin Stepp stands smiling at the beginning of a hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; happy for Spring to be here at last and happy that her fifth Smokies-set novel, Second Hand Rose, was just released this month and that her hiking guide The Afternoon Hiker will soon follow this summer.
To read more about Lin’s books and to see beautiful Smokies photos, see her website at: www.linstepp.com
What Makes Barbara Watkins Grin from Ear-to-Ear?
Oh yeah – that’s me sitting in my writing room with a big grin on my face! All you have to do is look closely at the photo to understand why. I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of two extraordinary directors–Armand Mastroianni to my right and Dimi Nakov to my left–and behind me is none other than the one-and-only…my sweetie, Johnny Depp! No such thing as ‘writer’s block’ when you’re surrounded by this much inspiration.
In 2012, I was thrilled to collaborate on a book of short stories entitled Six Pack of Blood with the legendary Betty Dravis, and then I struck gold again in 2013 when we released our second installment, Six Pack of Fear. pure gold! In 2011, I wrote my first novel, Hollowing Screams, and am confident it, too, will bring home the gold in the near future.
“Good things do come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”
Young Wayne Zurl… The Story
Here’s a picture of little Wayne, the erstwhile sheriff of Brooklyn, New York and part-time singing cowboy, smiling as he remembers a fond moment from his younger days. Travel back to 1955, and stare into that twelve-inch, round, Dumont console TV. It’s Saturday night at . . . maybe 9 o’clock. James Arness (Matt Dillon) just shot Arvo Ojala (the bad guy in the black hat) in the opening credits of Gunsmoke. Every boy in the audience pulled out his Mattel Fanner 50 cap gun and twirled it on his trigger finger. Little Wayne was no exception.
The scene shifts to the Long Branch Saloon on the main street of Dodge City, Kansas. Doc Adams (Milburn Stone) is leaning against the bar sipping a whiskey and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver) is holding a mug of beer. US Deputy Marshal Matt Dillon walks through the swinging doors and sizes up the barroom. Dillon is six-and-a-half-feet-tall. He stands with his legs moderately spread, his thumbs hooked over his gun belt, but he’s ready to pull out a long-barreled Colt if some hombre makes a false move. On that day, the outlaws of Kansas were busy robbing stage coaches on the prairie and all looked peaceful in Dodge.
Matt joined his friends, asked the bartender for a beer, and tipped a ten-gallon Stetson back on his head. The camera panned left as she descended the main staircase. Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) wore a dark, low-cut silky dress, the color of which was anyone’s guess; it was black and white TV. She stood on the ground floor for a long moment before joining those three characters at the bar.
Ninety-nine percent of the young cowboys in the TV audience shrugged and kept twirling their nickel-plated six-shooters, showing no interest in the woman, but not little Wayne. He looked at Miss Kitty and smiled. The kid was in love and prepared to face off against Dillon if the marshal tried to keep him from scooping her up into the saddle as he galloped down Main Street on his Appaloosa.
But Dillon didn’t have the nerve to let the kid draw first and he turned his back as little Wayne and Kitty rode off into the sunset.
Author website: http://waynezurlbooks.net
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/waynezurl
B&N author page: http://barnesandnoble.com/s/wayne-zurl
Mind Wings Audio author page: http://mindwingsaudio.com/?s=wayne+zurl
Author Adelle Laudan Had Fun Viewing Old Photos
Let me start by saying, I was, and still am very camera shy. It was a chore trying to find a photo of me laughing. I had my daughter look through some older pics and she came up with this one. It was taken twenty-seven years ago at a surprise wedding shower. I remember being less than impressed at being caught with no make-up and wearing comfy clothes. By the looks of me in this picture, I got over it and had a fun time! LOL
What fun it was taking a trip down memory lane with my youngest. Thank you, dear Betty, for inviting me. I wouldn’t have had this special time, chatting
and giggling at pictures from years gone by if it wasn’t for you. I think next time I have my kids together, we’ll do it again.
Wishing You All Miles of Smiles
It’s release day for the 6th installment of my Women of Strength Series. It is titled Dani and you can take a sneak peek on my blog. http://adellelaudan.blogspot.ca/2013/04/new-release.html
Former Playboy Bunny Victoria Taylor Murray is Happiest When Writing
I was happy when this picture was taken; I was celebrating signing the contract for my first four-book series, The Lambert Series: Thief of Hearts,” Forbidden, Friendly Enemies, and Le Fin. Since then I have written eight other books, Passed Down Through Four Generations, The Shadow of Her Smile, Exposure Behind Closed Doors, The Scarlet Ribbon, and The Hall of Mirrors Series: The Hall of Mirrors-Book One, The Hall of Secrets, The Rock of Ages, and The Hall of Veils.
My current writing project is on the second book in my Passed Down Through Four Generations series of cookbooks. I’m from a family that consists of four generations of male chefs and I must admit each and every one of them is a far better cook then the females in my family (smile). Some of the family recipes are truly to-die-for. I also have a book of poems…a work in progress. I have won numerous awards and honorable mentions for some of my poems and song lyrics. I have written two songs to my credits as well as 200 poems, long before I even penned my first book.
Funny story about why I even started writing books. What started out as a joke between two sisters and my sister’s favorite soap opera turned into a series of four books. Who knew? No one was more surprised than I. I was visiting my sister one day during her favorite soap opera (Days of Our Lives) and she was angry over the storyline the show was heading in. She looked at me, shook her head and said, “Anyone could write a better storyline then the writers they have now.” She cleared her throat and then said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea,,, Why don’t you write a soap plot and send it to them.”
I rolled my eyes and responded, “Thank you, I think.” To our mutual surprise, I did just that! As it turned out, she loved the first book so well it turned into afour-book series. Like I said before. no one was more surprised than I. Anyway that’s how I began writing books.
My newest novel, The Hall of Mirrors, is my first attempt at writing a paranormal-suspens, a new genre for me. I usually write romantic-suspense (my favorite), so my newest story has some romance in it. And I just can’t seem to stay away from the suspense or intrigue of a storyline. My characters are always colorful and never dull. In The Hall of Mirrors I have a few past lifetimes interfering with the present and what a delicious blend of past and present it is. Hint: What does the son of darkness have to do with the daughter of light? Guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.