Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Westward Ho!

Cathy Ace here - helping out Tracy who is facing a few technical issues today. We don't usually do a lot of Blatant Self Promotion on this blog, because we know those who follow us enjoy reading about matters arising within the writing life. Well, getting a book in front of potential readers is one of those matters, so, if you missed it or haven't checked it out yet, here's a piece about Tracy's latest book. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, with Alan Orloff's post.  

Killer Cocktail is the second book in my Nic and Nigel Martini series.  The books are an updated twist of The Thin Man movies (and by extension, Dashiell Hammett’s book of the same title). As you might have already puzzled out, they feature Nic and Nigel Martini – she’s the ex-detective and he’s the wealthy socialite, as well as Skippy, their feisty Bullmastiff. (For you Thin Man fans, Skippy was the real name of the dog that portrayed Asta in the movies. Yup. That’s the kind of trivia that’s crammed into my brain. Secretary of State under President Carter? No idea. Knowing that Nora Charles was based on Hammett’s lover, Lillian Hellman? Check.)
As the second Thin Man movie takes place in LA, I wanted to set my second book there as well. Because, apparently, I have very few original thoughts. 

Available May 8, 2016 - in case you're interested :)

Like their prototypes, Nick and Nora Charles, the Martinis live in LA. I liked the idea of them moving into a house once owned by a famous producer and finding something long forgotten. (Every once in awhile, I’ll watch one of those celebrity profiles, and I noticed that Hollywood stars all seem to end up buying each other’s houses). I thought it might be fun to have Nic and Nigel find some video cassettes. As Nigel owns a company that restores old movies, he’s excited to realize that the videos are behind-the-scene-footage from the twenty-year-old cult classic A Winter’s Night. The acclaimed film is known for its backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers, and its discovery has all of Hollywood buzzing. However, when their assistant is beaten within an inch of her life with an Oscar statue and some of the tapes are stolen, Nic and Nigel realize the tapes hold more than nostalgic value.
Anyway, I liked the idea of having the book open on the legendary Oscar red carpet and then having Nic and Nigel attend the famed Vanity Fair after party. That was a fun couple of days of research, during which I learned that the food of choice at this party is the cheeseburger  – complimentary trays stacked high with them are circulated all night. I suppose after weeks of eating nothing but flavored air in preparation for the cameras, celebrities are owed a decent meal. Also in circulation are glam cigarette girls who cheerfully dispensed candy and e-cigarettes. Hair comes down, shoes come off, and I realized I really, really want an invitation to this party. And since that’s never happening, I wrote about it instead.
So, in summary, I choose LA as my setting to continue the Thin Man parallels and also because I want to attend the Oscars.
I think for the next book Nic and Nigel might need to visit Venice. For artistic purposes, of course.

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