Grinders Corner by Ferris H. Craig and Charlene Keel – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ferris H. Craig & Charlene Keel will be awarding two winners, a free copy of Grinders Corner (print or ebook). (U.S. only for print, International for ebook) to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity. Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.

In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Downtown Los Angeles
Romanceland, 1969

The jukebox was playing Close To You. The lights were low and romantic, the red candles on the intimate little tables for two flickered seductively, and the many-faceted, mirrored chandelier reflected tiny droplets of shivering, shimmering light onto the dance floor. His strong arms were about me, and he was lightly kissing my ear. Then he spoke in a throaty whisper.

“Hey, baby, you wanna make a quick twentyfive bucks? Let’s go to a motel.”

Oh God, I thought, as I looked at the clock. One more hour to go. I’m going to have to put up with this clown for sixty more minutes unless he runs out of money. Maybe I can get him to sit down and have a Coke. Then I won’t have to endure this tortuous ritual known as dancing. If we get a Coke, I’ll have to make conversation with him and that might be worse than dancing.

The only good thing about dancing is that I don’t have to talk to him. I only have to hear about the motel.

He was staring at me as if waiting for a reply, so I asked, “What did you say?”

Okay, that isn’t particularly original but it used up a couple of seconds. Then he had to repeat it all. That took a few more minutes.

I started to think maybe I could make it to the two o’clock finishing line, but I was wrong. He wasn’t slobbering on my ear anymore. Now it was my bare shoulder.

“Hey, I’m kind of thirsty,” I said. “Why don’t we sit down and have a Coke?”

“Baby, I don’t want a Coke.”

“Oh, hell,” I said as I deftly stepped out of his reach. “Let’s go to the desk so you can check out.”

He retorted with, “How about fifty bucks? I’ll buy you a steak besides.”

I smiled, thinking how delicious that can of beans at home was going to taste. “I’m sorry. I’m not in that line of business.”

“Whaddya wanna do—get married?” he yelled.

About the Authors: Ferris Craig is a professional dancer, choreographer, actor and writer. Her credits include The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners, The Golden Girls and many TV commercials. In the 1970s she performed with The Hollywood Hoofers in Las Vegas, later establishing The Burbank Academy of Performing Arts where she taught dance and acting. More recently, she choreographed and performed for The Broadway Seniorettes, and with Recycled Teenagers (dancers over 50). Currently she lives in Southern California with her three delightful dogs.

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Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books. Shadow Train, the final installment of her YA supernatural trilogy, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award, and The Congressman’s Wife (for Red Sky Presents) is getting rave reviews. Her new blended-genre novel, Lost Treasures of the Heart, was released in November, 2016.

Keel has also worked as editor for international magazines, including Playgirl, For the Brideand Black Elegance. She says the most fun she’s had as an editor (so far) was at Spice, a fanzine featuring rap, R&B, soul and gospel music. During her time there, she enjoyed going to parties for such notables as Puff Daddy, having lunch with Gloria Gaynor and attending a pasta dinner where Mariah Carey did the cooking.

Keel’s editorial assignments include The Health of Nations, a book on political philosophy, and That Nation Might Live, a moving tribute to Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother. Her TV credits include Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and her book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. She also produced (for Romantic Times) the first annual Mr. Romance Cover Model Pageant.

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What Kind of Writers are Arie Pavlou and Charlene Keel? – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlene and Arie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What kind of writer are you?
Arie: You can best describe me as a by-the-seat-of-the-pants kind of writer. As a chef I’ve written a couple of cookbooks but The Congressman’s Wife is my first novel. I’m still in the learning curve. I get my best ideas while flying to some out-of-the-way place I want to explore, or if I’m fishing, or if I’m cooking. My notes will end up scribbled on a napkin or a blank recipe card, or typed as a memo into my phone. As soon as time allows, I give Char, my co-author, a quick call or send her a text explaining my ideas and together we flesh them out.

Charlene: Planning and outlining are crucial to me. I have to get to know my characters and have some pretty solid plot points before I start writing—but nothing is set in stone. As I get to know my characters I understand the story may change and as I develop my story, I realize the characters may change. I have to give them the freedom to grow as I delve into every layer of what makes them who they are.

Before I got my first computer, when I was still working on a typewriter, I would “cast” my characters as if producing a movie or a miniseries. I went through fan magazines, looking for actors who resembled my characters as I saw them in my head. Then I’d cut out their photos and tape them up next to my desk so I could glance up at them as I worked. At first I used models from fashion magazines but I soon realized they were too static. I’d never seen them walk or heard them speak. That’s when I switched to using pictures of actors.

Now I do a quick search for images on the web and save them in a file on my laptop. If I’m having trouble developing a character, I pull up the photos. It helps me see them more clearly, especially for my ghostwriting projects when I didn’t create the characters myself. That’s how Arie and I met and how The Congressman’s Wife came about. Arie came to me as a ghostwriting client with lots of stories and an array of colorful characters. During the course of the project we saw what a good team we made and became co-authors.

As I outline and make notes for things I need to research, I immerse myself in getting to know the players in my story. I’ve even created a personality questionnaire for my hero and heroine (and sometimes villain), and I go through it, answering each question as if I’m that character. The idea came to me after taking a couple of those tests for job interviews back when I was working survival gigs.

After doing at least a bare-bones outline I start writing, filling details into my outline as they come to me. The deeper I get into the work, if I’m lucky, everything comes together and after about the first five chapters, it takes off. That’s when I’m pulled completely into the story and the real fun begins.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheCongressmansWifeAll Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.

Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.

“We need to talk about it,” he said.

“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.

“About this thing between us.”

“That’s not very original.”

“I feel it and I know you feel it.”

“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.

“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”

“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”

“No,” he insisted. “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.

“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.

“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”

“At least once?” she countered.

He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”

She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.

“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”

“Have lunch with me.”

“Sorry—too busy.”

“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend. Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”

“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.

“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”

He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”

She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.

About the Authors:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheCongressmansWifeCharlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog
Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York. He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages. He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu. Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream. The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.

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The Congressman’s Wife by Charlene Keel and Arie Pavlou – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlene will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheCongressmansWifeAll Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.

Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.

“We need to talk about it,” he said.

“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.

“About this thing between us.”

“That’s not very original.”

“I feel it and I know you feel it.”

“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.

“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”

“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”

“No,” he insisted. “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.

“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.

“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”

“At least once?” she countered.

He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”

She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.

“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”

“Have lunch with me.”

“Sorry—too busy.”

“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend. Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”

“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.

“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”

He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”

She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.

About the Authors:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheCongressmansWifeCharlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York. He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages. He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu. Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream. The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.

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Writing Romance from the Male Perspective by Charlene Keel – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Charlene Keel

Writing Romance From the Male Perspective
By Charlene Keel
Most of us read romance novels because, quite simply, we love them. Many sociologists think it goes much deeper. If you Google the subject, you’ll find some who believe women read romance novels because men don’t take action quickly enough when it comes to our emotional needs. But in our favorite books, we get a hero who walks, talks, thinks and acts like we want the men in our lives to walk, talk, think and act. Mainly the talking and thinking.

How sad that boys learn (practically from birth) to guard their emotions, and to express their feelings only as a last resort to getting what they want. Most girls grow up without a clue as to what goes on in the minds and hearts of men. As women, we quickly learn the unspoken, unwritten, primal male directive: keep your feelings secret for as long as you can. As women authors, this can make it difficult to get into the minds and hearts of our heroes in order to accurately represent them on the written page.

That’s why I find it so wonderful to work with a male co-author—it gives me a look behind the elusive male mystique. Arie Pavlou, with whom I wrote The Congressman’s Wife, is an exception to the typical closed-off man. Not only is he open about his own feelings and motivations, he lets me in on how men talk to each other about women, politics, sex, love and even about nothing in particular.

Seeing Paris, New York’s Hunter Village, Cyprus, Jamaica and Jackson Hole through his eyes, as the eyes of Kaleb, the chef who’s falling in love with a congressman’s wife, was an energizing experience. It was almost like being there. Arie knows how to express a male character’s emotions (and how to hold them back), and he lets me know that the hero can ache as much as the heroine when circumstances keep them apart.

Not only that, the man can cook!

To enter, read the excerpt and click on Comments to leave your answer to the question below (after author bios).

 

Please take a moment and enter to win a free copy of The Congressman’s Wife (first book in a trilogy). We are giving away an e-book and one printed copy.

6_2 CongressmanWife-Cover
The Congressman’s Wife . . .
All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone.

The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from an angry lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

“The beautiful wife of a would-be congressman falls for a sexy chef in this steamy debut novel . . . A spicy outing that should feed readers’ hunger for romance.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“The Congressman’s Wife is a thrilling roller-coaster ride from beginning to end: fast-paced, sizzling with sex, yet constantly balanced on the edge of disaster . . . This is unquestionably one of the best books I have read . . .”
—ReadersFavorite.com

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.

Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.

“We need to talk about it,” he said.

“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.

“About this thing between us.”

“That’s not very original.”

“I feel it and I know you feel it.”

“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.

“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”

“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”

“No,” he insisted. “You want me as much as I want you, Eden, and that’s a fact. I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.

“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.

“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”

“At least once?” she countered.

He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”

She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.

“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”

“Have lunch with me.”

“Sorry—too busy.”

“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours, if not during the week, how about the weekend? Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter next weekend, with my best friend.”

“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.

“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”

He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”

She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.

He rounded the corner of the reception desk and stopped abruptly as the elevator doors slid open. There, bathed in a florescent glow, was a beautiful woman wearing jeans, stylish boots, a soft cashmere sweater and designer sunglasses. She tilted her head slightly, took off her shades and looked into his eyes.

It was Eden.

For a moment he couldn’t move. Words froze in his throat. He could tell she was surprised, too, and for a moment—a split second—she looked happy. She almost smiled but then her expression went cold as she walked to him.

“So now you’re following me?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Are you some kind of stalker?”

“If that’s what it takes.” His heart was pounding. He couldn’t believe his luck. Or maybe it truly was destiny.

“Seriously, Mr. Stavros. What do you want?” She was standing so close he could smell her perfume.

“You,” he said simply. “I want you.”

About the Authors:

Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.

Website
Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who perfected his craft at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then worked at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in Europe. He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages. He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he also perfected at Le Cordon Bleu. Currently Chef de Cuisine at the Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Coq au Vin and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream. The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.

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Enter to win a free copy of The Congressman’s Wife by Arie Pavlou and Charlene Keel. We’re giving away one ebook and one printed copy. All you have to do is read the excerpt and tell us what kind of sweater Eden is wearing when she gets off the elevator.