Bad, BAD me! That last week in February got so busy I just now remembered I promised a copy of this series to a commenter. *slaps hands* I’m so sorry about that! But, Random.org chose MJ Schiller as the recipient! Congrats MJ!!!!
Man-oh-man am I excited to introduce you all to these four fabulous writers, and ladies I consider friends, today!!! All but one are previously published, so a special welcome and congrats on your debut, Krysta Scott!!!
I’ll get right to it and turn the round pen over to these four friends who wrote a series together over months of martinis. Ladies, you’re up! 🙂
Martini Club 4 – The 1920s
A few years ago, myself and three of my writer friends—Amanda McCabe, Kathy L Wheeler, and Krysta Scott—began meeting each Friday evening (unless something extremely important kept one of us away, and trust me, it had to be IMPORTANT) for Martinis and various other libations, at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. In time, we came to dub our gathering the ‘Martini Club.’ We unwind, vent, chat about writing, laugh, and strengthen an already strong bond of friendship. It’s not only fun, it’s beneficial. As all writers know, no other friend besides a writer friend truly understands us. (We also have an honorary MC member, Cindy Sorenson. Although she is a writer, she declined to write one of the stories, but she has been invaluable as far as brainstorming and beta reading. So, what else could we do…we named a character after her in the series!)
During one of these gatherings, one of us, and I can’t remember who, made an offhand remark about writing stories centered around the Martini Club. The idea blossomed from there, and the ‘Martini Club 4’ series was born. We thought it would be fun to set our first MC4 stories in the 1920’s, but we intend to write more in other decades in the future. During the planning, plotting, and writing, we have had a few weekend retreats that were loads of fun, and some were even productive. J What a joy to do something that I love so much—writing—with a group of ladies that I love so much!
Today is release day, and we are all so excited!
Four young English women discover friendship, romance, and danger in 1920’s New York City…
- Jessica: An aristocratic reporter with a penchant for trouble, she encounters sexy, mysterious Frank Markov, owner of an elegant new speakeasy and a man with secrets she’s dying to uncover. ~ Rebellious
- Eliza: She fled England in pursuit of a better life, but her illusions are shattered when she falls prey to a scoundrel who draws her into a life of prostitution. When she meets Vince Taggart, a former boxer in search of his missing friend, she finds hope and the promise of love. ~ Ruined
- Margaret: Her impulsive nature lands her face-to-face with gangsters and bootleggers. Even more disarming is her undeniable attraction to the enigmatic Harry Dempsey. ~ Reckless
- Charlotte: Her dreams of owning her own bakery crumble when blackmail and murder land at her feet. Is the dashing detective her ruin or her salvation? ~ Runaway
Excerpt: (from Reckless by Kathy L Wheeler)
Meggie couldn’t believe it. She, Jessie and Lady Charlotte Leighton, or Charli as she preferred now that she was embarking on a new life too, were just blocks from walking up the gangplank to freedom. A new start. No more innuendoes from her mother and brothers. If they could just make it to the ship without Charli giving them away.
“Don’t look so terrified, Charli.” Meggie tried to curb her irritation. Charli couldn’t help being so shy. “This is an adventure.”
Jessie looped her arm through Charli’s. “You’ll see. We’ll have a grand time. You won’t have to marry that stodgy Lord Brigdon. In no time at all you’ll be baking, not just the best scones Americans have ever tasted, but the best cakes, and pastries for the most lavish parties imaginable.”
Meggie had to give Charli credit as she tried smiling through her fear, yet not quite managing the feat.
“I’d just feel better if we’d brought a maid or…or some companion.” Her voice trembled.
Meggie was careful to keep her tone gentle. “You know we couldn’t have dared trusting anyone.” They hadn’t boarded the Empress of India yet. Not all danger lay around the London docks. Samuel’s dukedom could stifle their plans as effectively as murder.
Thick fog hovered low in the early grey morning skies. A shudder skittered up Meggie’s spine. “Let’s hurry,” she said, broadening her steps.
Activity picked up the closer they grew to the water, along with the stench. All conversation stalled, and Meggie gripped the handle of her bag as they made their way briskly down the street.
“No!” The voice reached through the dense atmosphere a mere block from their destination.
“Come on, love. I’ll be gentle,” the words slurred heavily.
“What are you doing?” Charli whispered, her voice as alarmed as the girl Meggie was trying to discern through the soupy sky.
“We have to help,” she whispered back.
“Oh, Megs.” Jessie rolled her eyes—Meggie could hear it in her voice.
At least Jessie would understand. If Meggie hadn’t stopped she had no doubt Jess would have.
“Let me go. Let. Me. Go.” The panicked pitch rose two octaves.
“She’s over there,” Meggie said. “In that doorway.” Meggie lifted her skirt and ran, briefly picturing her mother’s horror. Jess and Charli’s footsteps pounded behind. She followed the frightened sound, pausing before an abandoned shop.
A tall, lanky man hunched over a girl who tried to crouch away, his hand gripping her breast.
Meggie dropped her valise. The sound carried in the quiet street. “There you are, you silly girl. You scared us, getting separated like that.”
Luckily, the girl lost no time in picking up the ruse. She shoved away the brute’s hand and brought up her knee. His pained high-pitched cry erupted. To Meggie’s surprise, he stumbled, tripping back and falling into a fetal position. A remarkable move, really. Something to ask the cheeky girl about later. Meggie grabbed her hand, snatched up her bag and took off, the other girls quickly following.
A half block from the ship, Meggie bent to catch her breath, taking in the girl’s matted hair and dirt-streaked face.
“Thank you, milady.” Her lips trembled though she put up a brave front.
“The name is Meggie. This is Jess—” She indicated with one hand. “And Charli. What’s yours?”
“Well, Eliza. The docks aren’t safe for a girl alone. Where are you going?”
“The same as you I imagine.”
“You’re going to America?” Excitement spilled from Jessie. “That’s brilliant.”
The girl’s gaze flitted away. “Um, uh, y-yes.”
Charli frowned. “Alone?”
Meggie narrowed her eyes on her wrinkled frock where something suspicious streaked across the bodice. She prayed it was mud. This girl was in trouble, something Meggie and Jess were no strangers to. “You’ll come with us.”
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly—”
“Of course you can. We need a fourth, besides.” That settled, Meggie took her arm once more, leaving Jess to handle Charli. “We’re on an adventure.”
The entire series can be found at this link on Amazon:
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I, for one, have already got my copies on my Kindle, thanks to pre-ordering weeks ago! But I am offering a set of all four books to one lucky commenter who can tell me what they like best about the roaring 20s. The clothing styles? Debonaire men? The risque-ness of simple things we now take for granted?
Also tell me what format you prefer in your comment. (mobi or PDF)
I’ll choose a name Sunday and announce the winner Monday in this same post. All I ask in return is that the winner leave a review of all four combined, or each independently, on Amazon, BN or Goodreads–all three would be even better! Or if you blog, you can just review them there and share the link for me in comments here, or email the link to me at calisa(dot)rhose(at)gmail(dot)com once you’ve read the books.
Remember to contact me once I call your name (winner) so I can get your books to you! If I don’t hear from the winner by the end of 48 hours I will choose another winner.
Above all, don’t forget to check next week to see who won. It could be you Random.org chooses! 🙂
I have a special guest today, so without ado I turn my round pen over to my friend, Kelly Moran, to tell you about an incredible story.
Awhile back I got a call from an old friend and colleague asking me some
publishing questions. As I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I spent the better part of
ten years researching the industry, this wasn’t unusual. Imagine my surprise when she
tells me it’s about writing a book for Dominic Gugliatto!
I was four years old at the time of Christine Schultz’s murder, five when
Lawrencia Bembenek was found guilty, and thirteen when Dominic helped Lawrencia
escape prison. Though I was young, I remember Wisconsin’s outcry and the media blitz,
and the eventual world-wide pandemonium this case created. Ergo, I was interested in
talking about a book with Dominic.
In saying that, I’m also a romance and children’s book writer. I deal with fiction
and happily ever afters, not dates and facts and figures. So I was reluctant, as I didn’t
know if I could give Dominic the book he deserved. I was also concerned about the possible emotional toll that writing a book like this might have on my family. So over dinner one night with my husband and then three-year-old twin boys, I discussed the
project. Well, the twins discussed Toy Story, my husband, Darren and I discussed the book. Halfway through my spiel, my husband lifts his hand to stop me and says, “Do it.”
My response was somewhere along the lines of, “Huh?” He said, “Do it. It’s a great opportunity and it can help your career.”
Now that really got my brain churning. It could help my writing career, open doors, and challenge me. After getting back on the phone with Dominic however, I knew this book and my agreement to write it would never solely be about my career. There
were many reasons for me to do and not to do this, and one why I should– It was the right thing to do. It’s about telling his story, the one no one’s ever truly heard, and giving him some closure. For weeks we met in person and over the phone. I watched this guy
sitting on my couch, torn and upset even after all these years, and I saw what was inside the man behind the media craze. He’s loyal, compassionate, forgiving, and strong beyond any means I can literate.
I stayed objective, pouring over information to make sure we got this right the first time. Dominic and his family kept nearly every document, letter, and article ever written about this case. And he kept it in an old luggage case I now refer to as “The Suitcase From Hell.” It took me weeks to go through all of it. Once I had the facts, I added Dominic’s story.
It was one of the most sensational murder cases in U.S. history. Lawrencia “Bambi” Bembenek, a former Playboy waitress and ex-Milwaukee police officer, was arguably railroaded and convicted of murder. When all hope of proving her innocence seemed lost, she planned a daring escape from prison with her boyfriend, and together the lovers slipped into Canada under assumed names. Now, nearly twenty years after the escape, Dominic Gugliatto wants to set the record straight. The man who laid it all on the line tells a different tale — one of deception and betrayal. For the first time, Gugliatto speaks out about the lies and secrets long buried. That Bembenek knew more about the murder than she professed, and that the prison escape involved co-conspirators, including a retired Milwaukee police officer. The truth is coming, told by the only man who knows it all.
Feel free to ask any questions you have for me.
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thetruthiscoming
Visit Kelly’s site www.authorkellymoran.com
See the booktrailer
And what a story it is.
I’m glad we became friends through this process, Dominic and I. And I honestly can say I’m a better person for having known and met him. I can only wish the same for those reading this book, but then again, I feel that’s pretty much a given.