*** THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED. ***
MANY CONGRATS, HOWEVER, TO OUR
As promised in my last post, welcome to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt! This hunt is dedicated to novels historically set in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, across all genres. You’ll have the opportunity to discover new authors, new stories, and to meet other readers who love this time period--not to mention, you’ll be eligible to win the grand prize, which includes a digital copy of all the novels participating in the hunt!
This online event takes place only today, 17 March 2019, from 00:00 to 23:59 EST. You can find out how to play here: https://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/historytellers-how-to-hunt/
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt page.
***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***
Directions: I’ve included my lucky number in this post (you will definitely spot it!). All my fellow authors participating in the hunt will also include a lucky number in their posts. Collect all of these numbers and add them up.
Entry Form: When you have that lucky total number, make sure you fill out the form below (or here) to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries with the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Anyone can take part. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 23:59 EST on Sunday, 17 March. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
LET THE HUNT BEGIN!
HISTORYTELLERS Scavenger Hunt
***HI, I'M RUMER HAVEN***
I'm probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When not babbling my fool head off among friends and family, I'm pacified with a good story that I'm reading, writing, or revising--or binge-watching Buffy. Hailing from Chicago, I presently live in London with my husband and probably a ghost or two. I've always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires my writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. My award-winning work includes Coattails and Cocktails (First Prize Winner, 2018 Red City Review Book Awards) and What the Clocks Know (First Place Winner in General Fiction, 2017 Red City Review Book Awards).
Where to find me:
Coming up next is the novel up for grabs in the HISTORYTELLERS Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize!
***TODAY'S PRIZE FROM YOURS TRULY***
(COATTAILS AND COCKTAILS)
(COATTAILS AND COCKTAILS)
Summer, 1929. Murder isn't on the menu when Chicago tycoon Ransom Warne hosts a dinner party at his country estate. But someone's a victim--and everyone's a suspect--when drinks and desires lead to disaster.
Hollywood starlet Lottie Landry has returned home to celebrate her engagement. She's famous for her on- and off-screen romance with co-star Noble, but, privately, she's having second thoughts. As her former guardian, Ransom doesn't approve of the match. Yet his own affections raise questions when his wife, Edith, suspects him of having an affair--just as Noble suspects Lottie. Stirred into the mix are Lottie's friends Helen and Rex, a young journalist and football hero who can feel tension building in the Warne mansion like a shaken champagne bottle.
And once the cork pops, a body drops.
Coattails and Cocktails is where Agatha Christie meets The Great Gatsby, a whodunit spiked with new love and old baggage, public faces and private vices. Filled to the brim with romance and mystery, it's sure to intoxicate.
Available in both ebook and paperback format at AMAZON: getbook.at/CAC
(A SNEAK PEEK AT MY NEXT NOVEL!)
As part of this scavenger hunt, I have happily agreed to share some exclusive, never-before-seen content.
While Coattails and Cocktails is 100% historical fiction, my next book will be set in modern day but with some flashbacks to a past era. Unfortunately, I haven't drafted those bits yet, but what I can offer today is a draft scene set at a murder-mystery dinner, in which my contemporary characters role play as 1940s murder suspects.
So, to be clear, this is not an excerpt from Coattails and Cocktails, the historical murder mystery featured above as my contribution to today's Grand Prize--which also happens to be accessible to anyone at any time at Amazon. No, ma'ams and sirs, what follows below is from a story I am still slowly but surely writing about a modern-day mystery dinner game--and no one's eyes but mine have read this yet!
And so, without further ado... (Though please do bear in mind this is a first draft and highly subject to change, if it ends up making the final cut at all! 'Tis the beauty of the writing process. :))
~ * ~
[ROUGH-DRAFT EXCERPT FROM MY CURRENT PROJECT]
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Aubrey began after everyone quickly reacquainted or introduced themselves—their real selves, not their characters—“it is my master’s greatest privilege to welcome you into his home.”
“Why would the maid announce this?” Kelly murmured to Greer out the side of his mouth. The group now stood in a circle within the dim confines of the parlor, painted a peacock blue and upholstered within an inch of its life with pale floral patterns. Porcelain kitsch cluttered every available surface of the mahogany furnishings.
Catching Aubrey’s nervous glance, Greer elbowed Kelly in his side to shut up. Aubrey had organized the whole thing, so it made sense for her to kick things off. But for all her insistence that everyone get in character straight away, it did seem odd that Aubrey wouldn’t have just made Stacey and herself the master and mistress of the house to jive with the story better.
Greer refused to comment, though, so her brother just rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the empowered housemaid.
“I hope you all had safe journeys and settled in well,” Aubrey continued. “Anyone need a drink?” Raising her chin, she looked around, and to Stacey’s evident relief, everyone seemed all set. The “butler” had followed his orders, as dictated by the real master of the house here. Granted, Greer and the last to arrive—Ken and Sadie—had never gotten a chance to grab their drinks, and Aubrey herself still only clutched the feather duster. Hopefully Stacey wouldn’t catch heat for that; it was kind of Aubrey’s fault, after all, for holding them up in the foyer and then rushing them into the parlor to the start the game. But Greer wasn’t much of a drinker anyway and could easily wait until everyone sat for dinner. She knew Ken was too polite to make a fuss, too, and true to form, he didn’t.
She knew quite a lot of things about Ken, and she wondered if Sadie did yet. If this new woman on his arm had even a fraction of the history Greer had shared with him before he’d broken her heart. But whatever. Like she’d told Aubrey only moments ago, she’d moved on and would be happy for Ken if he was happy with Sadie.
Yep, she was one big happy-fest as her face grew hotter and hotter beneath her fedora. Her thick suit was so warm, too, in this musty old place. Really putting the fried in her Girl Friday. Spence’s date must’ve been boiling in her cheap white synthetic wig and opera gloves, too. Yet Rita kept smiling and sipping her white wine, so it must’ve been true that even fake blondes have more fun.
A scuffling sound to Greer’s right broke her thoughts and alerted her to Anna, who’d appeared from nowhere now wearing a black pillbox hat with crinkled netting hanging awkwardly over one eye.
Just as Greer raised a brow, Aubrey exclaimed, “Ah, Ms. Job! You were able to make it! Finally!”
Anna fidgeted with her apron, in which she’d tucked a length of shiny brocade fabric partially around her waist, presumably as part of a costume. Was she playing the game, too, then? Hadn’t she said in the foyer her last name was Bosworth?
“Sorry if I’m late, ma’am. Uh, Miss Feather Dussder.” Pointing her thumb over her shoulder, she sputtered, “There was a— I got held up, uh—”
“At the ferry!” Aubrey clapped her hands together. “Of course! Water’s been choppy today. We may be in for some weather.”
“Ferry? Out here in the prairie?” Kelly muttered before Greer elbowed him again.
“Um…” Aubrey’s cheeks were reddening closer to the shade of her auburn hair, and both her voice and body seemed to tremble. The poor gal was clearly so nervous about pulling this off. Her parties didn’t tend to go without a hitch, yet that never squashed her penchant for entertaining. “So. Like I was saying, I’m so glad everyone could be here. And everyone is good with their drinks, yes? Good. Uh…” She kept darting glances at Anna, then stretched her arms toward the woman with flourish. “Anita Job, everyone!”
“Oh!” Anna seemed alerted to action. “Yes! That’s my name. I’m Anita Job, and I’m, ah, here because, uh…I need a job?”
“Your reputation precedes you, Anita. Of course everyone knows who you are and why you’re here.”
As Greer looked around at everyone else looking around at each other, clueless, Aubrey continued, “Oh, and we all know that you’re here because our illustrious host, Mr. Phil Theeritch, has invited you to discuss the new film he’s financing.” She stared intently at Ken.
“Oh, uh, yes,” he responded, much as Anna had when clearly missing her cues in this role play. This would take some getting used to for everyone. “As the name says, I’m indeed ‘filthy rich’ and, uh…”
Ken’s hand scrambled around in his tuxedo pocket until Sadie calmly handed him the crisp black-and-gold card she’d removed from her black beaded purse.
“Thank you, darling,” he said as he shined his magnificent side-smile on Sadie. Squinting, he paraphrased aloud from his invitation, “Okay, so I’m a wealthy tycoon looking to fund a new Hollywood motion picture, and my trophy wife Erma Candy and I”—he wrapped an arm around Sadie’s chiffon shoulders—“have invited famous director Cam Rushai”—he looked around and nodded at Spence, who’d raised his hand—“here for dinner to seal the deal. Also the starlet Ivanna Tension?” Ken smiled at Spencer’s date Rita when she waved jazz hands to reveal herself. “Has-been actress Anita Job is my ex-wife”—he smiled sheepishly at Anna—“and journalist Berry DeLeed is here to cover the scoop on our movie.” He gestured to Greer with his card but looked at Kelly instead. “Which leaves Kelly here as…? You crashin’ my party, pal?”’
Kelly laughed. “Hey, I’m here with Berry. Your invitation to her included a plus-one.”
“Indeed it must have.” Ken nodded. “Nice to meet you, then, Mr.…”
“Dunnit. Hugh Dunnit’s the name.”
“Like whodunnit,” Rita said, her silver sequins shimmering over her voluptuous form as she giggled. “That’s cute.”
“I guess you do vant attention, Ivanna,” Spence teased. “Speaking out of turn.” He gave her a playful spank as punishment, which she laughed off with a diminished smile.
“And what is it that you do, Mr. Dunnit?” Sadie asked, showing initiative. A sign, Greer thought, that Erma Candy wouldn’t be content just playing “arm candy” tonight. Beneath that dark, lustrous, Victory-Rolled hair was probably a big, beautiful brain if Ken had stuck with her this long. Well then, Berry DeLeed would just have to up her game.
Greer heard her character’s name just then, as Spence explained to Rita on the side what it meant to “bury the lead” in journalism. And also cackle that brother and sister were on a “date” tonight.
Kelly, who’d started to answer Sadie's question, interrupted himself to point at Spence. “Watch it,” he said with mock—though probably pretty real—aggravation.
“Anyway, as I was saying,” he continued with Sadie, “I just hold an office job. Nothing special.”
“Hm,” Sadie replied with a narrowed eye, not seeming to buy Hugh’s story. “Well, my husband and I are happy to receive you in our home, Mr. Dunnit.”
Greer’s stomach dropped at “my husband.” She’s only acting in character, she’s only acting in character, she’s only acting in character, she reminded herself. Boy, now Greer wished she did have that drink already. She crossed her arms and dug her thick high heel into the old matted carpet instead.
Aubrey, who was wringing her hands around her feather duster, assumed center stage again. “Okay, so, Anna—I mean, Anita, if you want to share your story now?”
Anna had just been milling around quietly in the periphery of the group, looking anxiously now and then toward the foyer. But once summoned by Aubrey, she snapped to attention and, lifting away that swathe of tacky brocade, fished a folded piece of glossy white paper out of her apron pocket and began to read it in monotone.
“‘I, Anita Job, was once a siren of the silver screen. But the “talkies” were not kind to me and my grating East Coast accent.’ Whoops.” She looked up at Aubrey, who seemed to wave off the need for Anna to affect any accent. But Anna apparently wanted to try anyway, as she continued in a high, nasal tone: “‘Linguists tried and fay-yelled, and in the meantime I refused voiceovahs and threw enough fits to boyn bridges and lose leading roles to youngah, freshah actresses. My diva behaviah cost me my relationship with Phil also, so in time I fell outta fame and the public eye. Phil Theeritch reads his lines next’…oh.” Shaking her head, she motioned at Ken with her paper for him to take his turn.
“Um” was all Ken said, looking at Aubrey.
“Zeeb!” she hissed at Stacey.
“What? Oh.” He walked to a side table and grabbed a small stack of thin booklets. Thumbing through them, he handed one to Ken.
Ken flipped to the first pages, seemed to find what he needed, and read, “‘Word is, however, that my ex-wife is staging a comeback. She claims to have mended her ways and has gradually resurfaced as a character actress, where her regional accent suits the roles. This swallowing of pride for the love of her craft has brought her acclaim on stage and in film, so the studio has officially picked her back up and, along with the public, warmed to her and her voice. So, she has a lead role in A Filly’s Tale, the motion picture I seek to finance.’ Uh, Cam, I guess you’re up next.”
Stacey was quicker on the draw to hand Spence his booklet. The wannabe actor pretended to twiddle his slim, drawn-on moustache as he reviewed his lines, probably rehearsing them in his head first as if this could be his big break.
“‘The problem now,’” Spence boomed in a dramatically deep voice, “‘is that I, the director of A Filly’s Tale, and its producer Phil Theeritch disagree with the studio, viewing Ivanna Tension as the natural fit for the part.’”
Aubrey theatrically gasped at this, then nodded to Anna.
“‘Oh, de-ah,’” Anna robotically said in her awful East Coast accent, reading off the paper once more. “‘Well, I nevah. You’ll he-ah from the studio about this. I got a contract.’”
“‘Yes, Anita, you do,’” Ken read, “‘but what you don’t know is that instead of the leading lady, you’ll be playing the role of…her mother!’”
“Dun-dun-DAH!” Spence sang to score that reveal.
“‘Mothah?’” Anna read with zero feigned outrage. “‘That’s not what I agreed to. Well, I nevah! Storms in anger out of’—oh.” Ducking her head down, Anna scurried out of the parlor.
Everyone giggled in equal parts confusion and amusement as Stacey distributed the rest of the character booklets to their respective players. Greer started flipping ahead in hers when a fan of feathers tapped her wrist. “Sorry.” She smiled meekly at Aubrey.
“Well, Hugh,” Aubrey said to Kelly pointedly, “you’re supposed to do something now. Aren’t you.”
“Oh. Right.” Kelly flipped to his opening pages and proclaimed, “‘Someone should make sure Anita is okay. I will follow her to the library.’ That sounded natural enough, right?” He grinned at his friends until Aubrey swatted the air with her duster as his signal to literally follow Anna out of the room. Grimacing, Kelly obeyed.
“Uh, well, everyone,” Aubrey said, “that was awkward, but hopefully Anita Job is okay. If not, surely Hugh Dunnit will see to it. In the meantime, everyone just enjoy your drinks, and our butler Zeeb Uttler Diddit here will see to it if you need more.”
~ * ~
And now the moment you've been waiting for... My lucky number is 16! Add it up with all the other lucky numbers and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the Grand Prize!
***CONTINUE THE HUNT***
To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author, Lillian Csernica! https://lillian888.