Today I come to my second home on the internet. Thank you, Lisa, for having me back.
First, down to business. Of course I am offering a giveaway. There will be two winners per blog stop. One random commenter will win an ebook copy of Tarnished Gold or For Men Like Us. Another commenter will win a swag pack, with signed bookmarks, and a couple other goodies. I’ll chose the winners on November 27.
My lifelong love of Hollywood and the Tarnished series
I’ll admit it, I am a movie fanatic. Though I won’t lay claim to much concerning my father, the one thing we had in common was fandom. He and I spent many a weekend morning watching Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, when they were old movies even to my dad. I watched the Keystone Kops and Boston Blackie in lieu of the proffered Saturday morning cartoons.
While I had teen idols pictures taped to my mother’s precious wallpapered walls in my bedroom (I didn’t have to deal with the fallout, as they were still there when I moved out at 18,) I also had pictures of Clark Gable, Rudolph Valentino, and Ramon Navarro.
When I was 18, I won a bowling tournament, and as a reward, my coach took me to see the re-release of Gone With the Wind. Rhett Butler completely mesmerized me when he spoke his immortal line, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
My husband was a movie lover long before I met him, and we bonded over Saturday matinees and our Friday night dates. We have rather eclectic tastes in films, from Sci-fi to RomComs, and most everything in between. Horror is never an option. Won’t happen. For us the question is never, “What movie do you want to go see?” Rather it’s, “What haven’t we seen yet?”
Sometime in the early ‘80s, we went to Los Angeles, just the two of us, to explore that fabled world I had so loved for so many years. While it wasn’t the Hollywood of my dreams, it was Hollywood, with Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, and that poor homeless man outside Denny’s. That dude scared the life out of me!
At Grauman’s, I stood in the footsteps of Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and Clark Gable, among others. I’m huge on things like, “OMG, he actually touched this.” Grauman’s is the place for that kind of thing. I’ve watched hundreds of videos on YouTube, filmed when the stars actually put their prints in the concrete. Here’s the link to the one for Tyrone Power. The pictures here are ones I took during that visit.
The thing about old Hollywood is that those folks were real stars. They exuded glamor and the glitz that thrilled audiences everywhere. There was a mystery to them, they didn’t splash their lives all over the news and tabloids. Surely, some did, but those weren’t enduring stars. Audiences respected Cary Grant and Vivian Leigh, and they forgave them their human frailties because the stars gave so much back to their fans.
The rumors linger today about Gable’s sexuality, as well as Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn’s. Books have been written on the subject, but ultimately, we learned only what the stars (and the studios) wanted us to know. Why? Because of the Star System. Stars were commodities, studios traded in flesh, and to do so successfully, they had to keep their stars in line. After 1930, everyone signed a morals clause, conveniently embedded in every contract. Stars, directors, makeup artists, and set designers agreed to behave themselves, while in public and in private. All inclusive.
To counter the bad behaviors of such stars as Humphrey Bogart and the assorted Barrymore or two, the studios had what they called fixers. These guys cleaned up messes, told the cops what they wanted them to know, and babysat those stars inclined toward rebellion.
With Tarnished Gold, I started a series which takes on various facets of old Hollywood. TG is a story about a young gay man bent on stardom, and, after a long run as the box office darling, ran head on into the morals clauses. When confronted with a ruthless decision to either marry or lose his career, Jack Abadie makes a choice that changes his life entirely. While fictional, Jack faced the same dilemma many closeted stars faced in the 1930s through even today. Should they live their authentic lives or have their life dictated by the studio machine?
In the second book, I tackle the mob and their hold on anything that made money. I touch on their grasp of the extra’s union and the studios, where they get payments from both, each for a different reason. The extras paid a premium to work and the studios paid so the mob didn’t keep the extras from working. While Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent isn’t exclusively about this part of Hollywood folklore, bits of it are there. More, Tarnished Souls is the story of two gangsters, one who controlled the extra’s union, who have lived a life beyond our imagining.
Frankie has run Hollywood for the New York syndicate, but has run afoul of their dictates. Gent is a hit man sent to bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his negligence. Frankie and Gent know each other from the old days, they had a thing that ended when one of Sal’s men discovered them together, and Sal separated them. Five years later, Sal sends Gent to clean up after Frankie and bring Frankie back for punishment.
This first novella is only part of Frankie and Gent’s story. In the second part, I’ll finish their tale, while I tell the story of Mac, a detective who plays a significant part in the first part and Gray, a newspaper reporter. Mac and Gray struggle with their relationship because of Mac’s job. I’m working on that novella now and I expect to have it finished after the holidays.
After that, I’ll tackle the gossip columnists, a book I can’t wait to write.
For now, I hope you enjoy Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, and if you haven’t read Tarnished Gold, I’d be honored if gave it a read.
Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent:
Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamour. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law and those who put him in power.
Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business or is freedom worth the risk?
Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Gold:
After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.
As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.
Schedule for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent Blog Tour
November 14 –The Rainbow Studio
November 18 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 18 – Brita Addams
November 19 – Sid Love
November 20 – Joyfully Jay
November 21 – You Gotta Read
November 25 – Jacob Flores
November 26 – The Novel Approach
December 3 – J.P. Barnaby
December 4 – Lynley Wayne
December 5 – Michael Rupured
About Brita Addams:
Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.
Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.
On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places: