Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fact or Faction?

 A few weeks ago, in my series 'Whatever Happened To...',. I featured the unique and legendary performer, the late, great Josephine Baker. I have known of her for many years, so I was surprised when someone close to me said he'd never heard of her - but something he had puzzled about for years had now become clear.



One of his favourite films of all time, is the animated cult classic Belleville Rendez-vous (aka Les Triplettes de Belleville). The Oscar nominated song contains a character which any fan of Ms Baker will instantly recognise. Oh, and spot the Fred Astaire too!


Of course, Belleville Rendez-vous (released in 2003) isn't the first - and won't be the last - work of fiction, to feature real people in an imagined setting. It's such a common device, they even invented a work for it - faction.


At its most extreme, are factionalised 'biographies'. You might consider that the wealth of factual accounts of the life of Marilyn Monroe form an exhaustive collection in their own right. Every detail, scandal, love affair and conspiracy theory have been reported, analysed, dissected and reassembled. But, for bestselling author, Joyce Carol Oates, something was missing in all that material. The essence of Marilyn herself.

She decided to rectify that omission and her mammoth blockbuster, Blonde was born. Weighing in at a hefty 700+ pages (over 900 in some editions), it boldly goes where no biography had been able to go - into the 'mind' of Marilyn - and we discover the frightened little girl who was Norma Jeane Baker. Arguably, for the first time, the enigma of the icon that was Marilyn finally leaps off the pages, freed from the burden of factual reporting and theorising. OK, this book has never been received without a great deal of controversy, and, as someone whose shelves are groaning with the aforementioned factual works, I didn't wholly love it, or agree with Oates's vision. But it's certainly worth reading.


OK, we've had a darkly comic interpretation, followed by a more serious novel. Now, a larger than life character from history whose life has been factionalised in films, books - and even a dodgy song by Boney M. He never ceases to fascinate and inspire horror writers and historical fiction authors and has been thrust into all sorts of impossible situations, where all pretensions at historical accuracy have been tossed aside with as little regard for authenticity as Jonathan Rhys Meyer's portrayal of Henry VIII (in middle-age, with a slight tendency to portliness and a phony limp? Oh, please!).
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin  never was the 'lover of the Russian Queen', wasn't a monk and was anything but mad. He was wily, ambitious, debauched, and paid scant attention to personal hygiene. He certainly had piercing eyes and projected a certain aura (or was that the lack of soap?).

He has been portrayed by everyone from Gerard Depardieu to Alan Rickman. Here's Hammer's production of Rasputin the Mad Monk (with Christopher Lee), which plays fast and loose with pretty much every historical detail it can dredge up:


When it comes to faction, there are thousands of examples of the good, the bad and the downright indefensible (back to The Tudors again!)

For me, it's a great device, but readers'/viewers' intelligence should be respected. Many who will watch/read about a real person in an imagined or embellished setting will be quite familiar with the truth. Too many attempts at rewriting history will alienate them. 

Have fun with faction - but please don't commit a Boney M!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Marked - Jennifer James's Sensational New Release!

 Today, I'm handing over my blog to the very capable hands of Erotic Romance author, Jennifer James. Over to you, Jenn:



I have a bad habit of creating series. I love to read them, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I keep writing them. *grin* Last week I released my very first Indie title, a short story set in a universe called HOWL. This universe will be in the spirit of Felicity Heaton’s Vampire Realms, with lots of different characters, book lengths, and storylines. I hope you’ll enjoy my take on werewolf soul mates in this first installment, MARKED. 

Here's the blurb:

Five years ago she ran. . . 

Kayla is back where she belongs: in Jack’s arms. But after the initial explosion of pent up longing and need have passed, she has to convince him to complete the bond between them.

Ingrained fears sent her running, but the need for her mate and the love she’s denied has brought her back. To be Marked will join their souls together forever, a bond Kayla can no longer live without.

An Alpha wolf, Jack waited for Kayla to return to him and protected her from afar. When he senses her outside his home, he isn’t beyond setting a trap meant to entice her back.

Once he has her, he has to show her it isn’t just her heart he needs.
He needs her trust and with it, her submission.

To celebrate the release of MARKED, I’m running a Rafflecopter through May 31. In it, there’s a chance to win a gorgeous book thong I created! I also have some Jennifer James swag packs up for grabs. But don’t worry, if the Rafflecopter doesn’t smile on you, I’m hosting a Facebook party May 31. There will be ebooks, awesome swag, and lots of games. 

 


Buy Links


Author Bio:
Jennifer James lives in a fantasy land where it’s always 75 degrees and sunny, a river made of non-fat chocolate runs past her house, and dogs don’t poop. (She hates cleaning up dog pooh.) A multi-published author of erotica and erotic romance, she loves to write stories with heat, heart, and happily ever afters.

Find her on the web! 


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

R.I.P. Ray Manzarek - The Music Lives On

“Is everybody in? Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. The entertainment for this evening is not new, you've seen this entertainment through and through. You have seen your birth, your life, your death....you may recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?”*

 
The lights dim, the audience's cheers build to a deafening crescendo.

Centre stage, the slim, leather clad singer grasps the microphone. Charismatic, unpredictable. Who will he be tonight? Hardworking Jim or lazy Jim? At least he showed up on stage this time!

During the next hour, The Doors' Jim Morrison will veer from sensual baritone to screaming shaman. He'll whirl, taunt, tease and shock. And through every extreme of his performance, one man will sit quietly at his keyboards, head bowed, eyes half closed, his metal rimmed spectacles giving him the academic air of the serious musician he is. He, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger are alert and prepared for the unexpected diversions and lyrical deviations their lead singer might choose to take. They are masters of the art of improvisation and can follow each other without missing a beat. 

The keyboardist's name was Ray Manzarek and, in a career of diverse achievements, he created one of the best known intros in the history of popular music - the distinctive first few bars of Light My Fire.

Raymond Daniel Manczarek was born on February 12th 1939 and raised in Chicago. As a child he took piano lessons and in 1962, he enrolled at UCLA to study in the Department of Cinematography. There he was to meet the two people who most would influence the rest of his life - his future wife, Dorothy Fujikawa and a certain James Douglas Morrison.

After finishing film school, Ray and Jim had their fateful reunion, quite by chance, on Venice Beach, California. Ray asked Jim what he had been doing and he replied that he had been working on some songs. Ray then asked him to sing one of them for him. Jim chose Moonlight Drive. It blew Ray away...and the concept of The Doors was born. Drummer, John  Densmore and guitarist, Robby Krieger, joined them and they started to write some songs together. This would be the pattern for the future with all four Doors sharing credit for their songs - except on their album, The Soft Parade.


In 1966, they secured the position of house band at a rundown nightclub called 'The London Fog', on Sunset Strip which tended to attract drunks and a few sailors home on leave, but it gave the band a chance to gel and work on their songs and performance, until they were considered good enough to become house band at the much more popular and cool 'Whisky A Go Go'. Unfortunately, their stint there ended when Jim decided to debut the infamous 'Oedipal' section in the song The End. They were fired that night.

After an unproductive experience with Columbia, Jac Holzman signed The Doors to Elektra Records where Paul Rothschild produced their albums, until he walked out during the recording of L.A. Woman.

As they had no bass player, it fell to Ray to provide the solution, and he did so using a Fender Rhodes piano. He developed the unique Doors sound using a Vox Continental combo organ, later switching to a Gibson G-101.

Through the heyday of The Doors brief, but stellar, career, Jim Morrison's behaviour and addictions to alcohol and other substances led to a number of occasions when he couldn't make it on stage. Then, the steady, reliable and consumately professional Ray Manzarek would simply step in and do the vocals himself. Following Jim's tragic early death in Paris in 1971, he continued to take on this role on the albums, Other Voices and Full Circle.

Ray continued to perform and write music, including a collaboration with classical composer Philip Glass on Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Other collaborations included work with poet Michael C. Ford, Scott Richardson, Echo and the Bunnymen and many others. For the rest of his life, Ray remained open and receptive to fresh musical ideas and ways of successfully combining different styles - fusing jazz, rock, ethnic and classical in an album Atonal Head with composer/trumpeter Bal.

Always innovative and creative, Ray's career encompassed not only writing, performing, recording and producing music but also novel writing.  He was a lifelong apologist for Jim Morrison and very publicly denigrated Oliver Stone's 1991 'biopic', The Doors in his 1998 autobiography, Light My Fire:My Life With The Doors.

His marriage to Dorothy, in 1967, was long and happy, lasting until his death yesterday, in a German clinic, where he was being treated for complications resulting from his bile duct cancer. His wife, two brothers, son Pablo, daughter in law and three grandchildren, were by his side. He was 74 years old.


R.I.P. Ray. The music isn't over...



 





(*Extract from An American Prayer by Jim Morrison) 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Bidding Wars - Lacey Wolfe




Following on from a series of highly successful short stories and novellas,  author, Lacey Wolfe's, first full length Contemporary Romance novel - Bidding Wars - has just been published. The first in the brand new 'Love Strikes' series, it's a riveting story of love, feuding and...well, see for yourself:




The Blurb:
 
A sheriff plus a nurse plus a house equals trouble…
 
Nurse Molly Harper has had a tough year. But when she decides to regain control of her life, buying her dream house becomes her first priority. Finding the perfect house and falling in love with it—that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting rid of the obnoxious man who thinks he’s going to be the new owner. Even if he is gorgeous. And the sheriff…
 
Sheriff Luke Logan needs to buy a house. Getting out of the renting game will help in the custody battle for his son, so when the perfect place pops up right on his street, he can’t believe his luck. But there’s already an offer on the table, and the woman won’t back down. Too bad she doesn’t know that he always goes after what he wants, and he has no intention of letting her have “his” house. Even if she does make him feel that he might need more than just a house to make a home…




Now, for a short extract:

“That’s the only reason?” She wasn’t sure why she was disappointed. 

“What were you hoping I would say?” His gaze locked on hers and held it.

There was no way she was going to ask if it had to do with her and the hope that they could have more. But as he stared at her with lust-filled eyes, she knew she had to say something. 

“I guess I just thought…from the stuff you said yesterday that maybe it was…never mind.” 

Luke moved closer to her. Molly’s breath caught, and the sound of her racing heart filled her head. She did her best not to look at him, but her need to see his eyes was too strong. She gazed up and found he was staring at her with nothing but passion in his eyes. 

She inhaled a spicy fragrance that tingled her senses. He reached out and rubbed his hand along her cheek. She closed her eyes out of instinct. Just the feel of him touching her brought back feelings she hadn’t experienced in a long time. The nerves in her body stood on end, and it was almost as though she were being tickled. She shouldn’t be enjoying this. In fact, she should tell him to stop again and not come any closer, but, man, did it feel good, for once, to just feel. 

And feel she did. He was close enough now that she felt his warm breath touch her skin. Opening her eyes, she saw his focus was on her lips—his
mouth inches away. If she made the slightest movement, she’d taste him.
She ached to grip his shirt and pull him to her. If they kissed, it would be passionate and ignite a fire deep within her. She hadn’t kissed another man since Steven. Could Luke be the first? 

She pushed up on her tiptoes. She was going to do it. Reaching out, she was about to wrap her hand around his neck. Her gaze was locked on his, and it was as though they were moving in slow motion. 

“Sheriff, you in there?” A man pounded on the door, sending it flying open.

You'll find  Bidding Wars here:



And watch out for the second in the 'Love Strikes' series - It Must Be Fate - coming soon!


About Lacey Wolfe


Lacey Wolfe has always had a passion for words, whether it’s getting lost in a book or writing her own. From the time she was a child she would slip away to write short stories about people she knew and fantasies she wished would happen. It has always been her dream to be a published author and with her two children now of school age, she finally has the time to work on making her dream come true.

Lacey lives in Georgia with her husband, son and daughter, their six cats and one black lab who rules the house.


You can find Lacey at the following places:
Website / Facebook / Facebook Page / Twitter / Pinterest


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Affairs of the Dead - A.J. Locke




A.J. Locke always dreamed of being a published author - and now she has achieved her ambition. Her first Urban Fantasy -  Affairs of the Dead - contains a plethora of ghosts, murder and  a pacy story to keep you turning the pages. Read on to find out more...


 

Here's the blurb:
 
Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules…
 
www.wallmay.net

And now an excerpt:

I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.

Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.

 “What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.

“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.

“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”

“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”

I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”

“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.
“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”

“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”

 “You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”
“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.
“Because its job is to help,” I said.


You can buy Affairs of the Dead here:





You can connect with the author here:

A.J. Locke
Twitter
Goodreads








Sunday, 5 May 2013

Whatever Happened To...Carolyn Jones?




She frolicked with Crosby and Hope in The Road To Bali, played Miss Finch in The Seven Year Itch and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Bachelor Party, but she will always be best remembered for her role as Morticia in the cult TV comedy series The Addams Family.

Carolyn Sue Jones was born April 28th 1930 in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of Cloe Southern and Julius Jones. Her father abandoned the family when Carolyn was small and her mother moved them to live with her parents. Carolyn suffered from severe asthma which curtailed many childhood pursuits but it was then that her love of reading, and of the movies, was nurtured.

Determined to become an actress, in 1947 she moved to California and made her first film  - The Turning Point - in 1952, while under contract to Paramount. The following year, she married the second of her four husbands, the film-maker Aaron Spelling, for whom she converted to Judaism. Her first marriage had taken place when she was studying performing arts at the legendary Pasadena Playhouse. It was soon over but her marriage to Spelling lasted until 1964.

Carolyn's career started to take off and she appeared in several episodes of Dragnet and also began to get roles in films such as Road to Bali, The War of the Worlds, House of Wax, The Big Heat and The Seven Year Itch. Her Academy Award Nomination was in 1957, and in 1958, she shared a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer with Diane Varsi and Sandra Dee. That same year, she appeared in King Creole with Elvis Presley.

Having already appeared in a number of TV shows in the Fifties, the Sixties saw her most memorable role. The Addams Family characters were based on the cartoons of Charles Addams, which appeared in The New Yorker. It  ran for a total of 64 episodes - all in black and white - from 1964-1966. 

Carolyn played Morticia as a true Vamp, with dramatic hair, make-up and wardrobe.When aroused,Morticia emitted smoke from her body. She could light candles with her fingers, and had a strange taste in floral arrangements ("Oh, the thorns are lovely this year"). Her husband, Gomez, adored her passionately, while Morticia regarded everything with an aristocratic disdain. Carolyn was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

Unforgettable in this role, sadly, she was never to achieve such dizzy heights of fame again and her career began to decline.

In 1971, she drew heavily from her own life and experiences and wrote a novel - Twice Upon A Time. The story concerns a glamorous movie star - Susan Maxwell - and centres on her work, life and romances.

Following her divorce from Aaron Spelling, Carolyn was married again in 1968 to her vocal coach, the Tony Award winning Broadway musical director, Herbert Greene. They divorced in 1977.

Throughout the Seventies, Carolyn continued to find parts on many long running TV shows such as The Love Boat, Quincy M.E. and Fantasy Island. She also landed the role of Mrs Moore - the plantation owner's wife - in Roots. But the work did not flood in and her appearances were sporadic.

In 1981, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, just as she had achieved a role as a power-hungry political matriarch in CBS daytime soap, Capitol. Her cancer quickly spread to her liver and stomach but, despite having to play many scenes in a wheelchair, she completed the first season. She kept her illness secret, telling friends she was being treated for ulcers.

Realising her illness was terminal, she married her longtime boyfriend, fellow actor, Peter Bailey-Britton, in September 1982, covering her head with a lace and ribbon cap to hide the hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

In July 1983, she slipped into a coma at home and died there on August 3rd of the same year. She is buried next to her mother, in Melrose Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery in Anaheim, California.

Carolyn may be gone, but we will always have Morticia:

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Wolf Protector - Milly Taiden

Over the past month, Milly's been all over the Internet with her latest Paranormal Erotic, but just in case you missed it:





 A woman with a secret…

The Federal Paranormal Unit is an elite squad of supernaturals dedicated to solving missing persons cases. Erica’s gift allows her a special connection with the crime, but it comes at a deep personal cost… Until now, she’s kept her gift a secret, even from the other members of the team. But this case will throw her together with Agent Trent Buchanan. He’s the object of her secret desires, but he’s also a cocky womanizer. She’d rather swim in shark-infested waters with a paper cut than admit she has feelings for him.

A man with one desire…

Wolf Shifter Trent wants Erica more than he’s ever wanted any woman. He’s spent years patiently waiting for her to admit that she wants him too. Working one-on-one in a race to find a serial killer, Trent’s patience and Erica’s resolve wear thin. When Trent discovers the truth about Erica, will he accept her for who she is? And can he protect her from the horrors that her gift brings?

A case that pushes them to the edge…

Erica will have to risk it all if she wants to stop the killer, and when she does, Trent may have to put his own life on the line to make sure his mate is protected…


Short Excerpt:

“Brock, he’s doing it again!” Erica glared at the Casanova walking beside her, hating how good he looked in his black T-shirt and ass-hugging jeans. Trent Buchanan. He was her daily temptation and ultimate fantasy. And she’d rather wax her nipples in public than admit it to him. Butterflies swarmed her stomach, twisting and twirling her into one giant, aroused mess.
“What’s Buchanan done this time, Villa?” Brock, their team leader, asked without looking up from the papers on his desk.
“He’s staring at me.” She growled and dropped in one of the empty chairs, huffing out a breath.
Buchanan, The Bastard, as she liked to refer to his cute ass, grinned at her. His full, sexy lips caught her immediate attention. “Excuse me, I can’t help it if it’s a beautiful day, and I’m glad it’s Friday. You’re a grump, Villa.”
It was so unfair that she had to keep pushing him away when her body wanted to curl around his big frame. But if she ever did that she’d turn into another Trent groupie, and that was not her thing. She’d seen the other women in the department walk after him, ogling and almost drooling, as if he were the lead singer in a rock band. Pathetic.
Buchanan folded his arms over his massive chest. Erica’s entire body throbbed every time she looked at him. She drank in the inciting vision and argued with her lust for dominance. Disgusted with her body’s responses, she glared at him again. Her eyes strayed to the scar on his upper lip. She gulped and curled her fingers into her palms, digging her nails deep. Whenever she glanced at the tiny scar, she wanted to nibble and run her tongue over it. It was driving her insane. Thankfully he couldn’t read her mind, or he’d be having a hell of a time making fun of her tough talk.
“Villa, just look at me.” He opened his muscled arms wide and did a full circle for her. Once he was facing her again, he leaned on the wall. He winked at her. “If you didn’t have a stick the size of Texas up your ass, you’d realize what a catch I am.”



Buy Links:

ARe 

 Author Bio:


Want to know about me? Milly Taiden (aka April Angel) was born in the prettiest part of the Caribbean known as the Dominican Republic. She grew up between New York, Florida and Massachusetts. Currently, she resides in New York City with her husband, bossy young son and their little dog Speedy.
She’s addicted to shopping for shoes, chocolate (but who isn’t?) and Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Contact Milly

Email: millytaiden@gmail.com
Website:  http://www.millytaiden.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fansofmillytaidenaprilangel

Books:

As Milly Taiden
Wolf Protector – Federal Paranormal Unit – Book 1
Wynter’s Captive
Halloween Heat III – Mate Event
Fate’s Wish
Sharp Change – Black Meadow – Book 1

Coming Soon

Caged Heat – Black Meadow – Book 2 (New)
Fever

As April Angel

Party Crasher
Wicked Valentine – Sizzling Encounters – Book 2
Stranded Temptation
Mr. Buff – Sizzling Encounters – Book 1

Coming Soon
Lucky Break – Sizzling Encounters – Book 3
A Hero’s Pride