Hello! Today I am pleased to welcome back author Brita Addams to Joyfully Jay! Brita is here as part of our Joyful Approach Countdown to GRL. She is sharing some thoughts on her book Tarnished Gold and has also brought a copy to give away to one lucky commenter. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
First, let me thank Lisa and Jay for this blog hop. What fun! So many great authors.
As I contemplated the theme of my post, I cast many different ideas to the side. Then came the obvious. I’m in the process of writing something that is so different from anything I’ve ever written and yet, I am enjoying it almost more.
The success of Tarnished Gold, the first novel in my Tarnished series at Dreamspinner, has prompted me to create a structure for the series that is a little different than I had first planned. My friend, Damon Suede, read Tarnished Gold and called it a saga. We had a very long phone conversation, during which we talked about all the characters in TG and how pulling some of them out for stories of their own was an idea for how to proceed.
While that sounds elementary, that wasn’t necessarily the idea behind the Tarnished series. It will cover different aspects of life in early Hollywood—the fix-it guy in the studio publicity department, the gossip columnists, and maybe other facets of that life.
In preparing Tarnished Soul, the story of a guy who is hired by studios to fix things for actors, mostly to allay scandal, I “met” my character, Owen McGregor, only he wasn’t McGregor at the time. His last name was Wylie. Then came my conversation with Damon.
In Tarnished Gold, there was a character named McGregor. He appears in the scene on the train (I won’t give away the whole scene, but McGregor has a one sentence mention.) I changed Owen’s name from Wylie to McGregor, gave him the nickname Mac, and started to write.
“Au contraire,” said a character, who himself, had a one sentence intro. Frankie Monetti, a gangster from New York who went to L.A. in ’34 to take over the running of the extras union and other nefarious deeds. This actually happened, with the arrival of Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel back in the ’40s. Hollywood was controlled by the mobs, who saw great profits in movies. Opportunistic—like arthritis.
I got 30k into Tarnished Soul and I called Damon and said, “Help me, I’m stuck.”
“Why are you stuck?”
“Well, this guy, Frankie, he won’t get out of my head. Says he wants me to write his story, and hey, the guy’s packin’ heat.”
We batted around all kinds of ideas for including Frankie in Tarnished Soul, but ultimately came to the conclusion that Frankie required special treatment—he is a crime boss after all. That special treatment meant that I’d put Tarnished Soul on the side for a while, and write a novella, in which I’d introduce Mac, the bane of Frankie Monetti’s existence. And so, Cutting Corners was born.
Cutting Corners is a novella detailing the downfall of a crime boss who has proved himself unable to lead as his New York syndicate expects. They sent a man named Arvin Vickery to take care of matters, and make room for someone else to pick up where Frankie will leave off. Vickery is known as Gent, a moniker given because of his polite demeanor while in the process of executing his orders.
Gent and Frankie have a past, which makes Gent’s assignment all the more poignant. Frankie is the only man who has ever reached him past his hard heart.
Writing sympathetic gangsters is a challenge, that I won’t deny, but I have to write them as I see them, as they present themselves to me. The life of a gangster isn’t one of roses and lollipops. However, when one enters the life, they understand this, as Frankie and Gent discuss many times. They know what the retirement plan is, and it doesn’t come with a 401K.
Oddly for Frankie, McGregor’s life intersects his, if only peripherally. As much as Frankie hates McGregor, he also envies him, in a way that leaves his nerves jangled. He’s never envied anyone. Whenever he saw something he wanted, he took it. All but one thing. All but one man. They remain elusive because he honestly doesn’t know how to attain them. Then there’s the whole question about whether or not he deserves such things, given the life he leads.
Frankie and Gent are complex characters who live lives contrary to who they truly wish to be. Caught up as young boys in the need for money, they fall under the spell of the syndicate and climb the ranks, until Frankie and Gent take what they want from each other. In doing so, their passion is discovered and the syndicate separates them.
While Gent is assigned the role of enforcer in New York, the big boss sends Frankie to Los Angeles to secure control of the unions associated with the movie business. Frankie follows orders, until New York puts out a contract on Detective Owen McGregor.
Navigating the underworld is an interesting and often terrifying experience. In my research, I’ve learned so much about how the mob ran Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Meet Frankie, Gent, McGregor, and his lover, Grayson Adler, in Cutting Corners. I’ll be offering an exclusive giveaway of Tarnished Soul: Cutting Corners as a gift to those who attend GRL, 2013. Pick up the postcard, with a special code, at my swag table or at the signing on Saturday. When the book comes out after GRL, you can download a free copy.
Have you read Tarnished Gold? You’ll meet McGregor, but don’t blink. He appears very briefly. Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Gold.
In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.
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.
Buy Tarnished Gold at Dreamspinner Press
About Brita Addams
Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. To do that, in part, Brita incorporates archaic English in dialogue, which reviewers and readers seem to love. Many of her historicals, as well as contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly taking cruises and long car trips.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, B-Rita, like the woman’s name and, oddly, not like the famous water filter.
Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:
Brita is offering up a copy of Tarnished Gold to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The giveaway ends on Monday, August 26th at 11:59 pm.
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