Today I am so pleased to welcome Lou Harper to Joyfully Jay. Lou has come to talk to us about her latest release, Secrets & Bow Ties. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Lou a big welcome!


When I appealed to Jay for an opportunity to guest-blog, I knew what I wanted to prattle on about: creative inspiration and aspirations. I had a lot to say on the subject, but had a hard time trying to organize all the various bits into a coherent whole. I did my best.

Inspiration. It comes from every corner of the world—real and fictional—around us. I get a lot of mine from movies, and not just in the “this should be re-done as gay romance” way. Though that happens too. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t think that Cars is really a love story between Lightning McQueen and Mater? I love Sally Carrera as the spunky best friend, but she’s so not the romantic interest. Not in my imagination. Of course, the characters would have to be turned into humans first. But I digress.

I had the great fortune to grow up watching great movies from all over the world, even if on a small, black and white television screen. I saw everything from Italian Neorealism to Film Noir. One of my favorite genre was, and still is, the Classic Hollywood Screwball Comedy. (Billy Wilder is my Idol.)

Comedy rarely gets the respect it deserves, yet it’s as hard to get right as soufflé. (Imagine Gordon Ramsey screaming at you because your jokes fell flat.) I, however, fell in love with screwball comedies, their breakneck pacing, snappy dialogues, and absurd situations. Where else can you have Cary Grant, dressed in a woman’s frilly frock, jump up and yell, “Because I just went gay all of a sudden!” ? (Bringing Up Baby) Or a repartee like this:

Jerry: Osgood proposed to me! We’re planning a June wedding.

Joe: What are you talking about? You can’t marry Osgood.

Jerry: Why, you think he’s too old for me?

Joe: Jerry, you can’t be serious.

Jerry: Why not? He keeps marrying girls all the time.

Joe: But, you’re not a girl! You’re a guy, and, why would a guy wanna marry a guy?

Jerry: For security!

(Some Like It Hot)

These movies often had less than realistic plots involving small dogs stealing dinosaur bones, out-of-work musicians crossdressing to flee from the mob, and the like. And why not? If you really think about it, you’ll realize that the plots of lot of movies you love wouldn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

All my books bear traces of this influence, but the Secrets series probably more than others. They are all set in Los Angeles, in close proximity of Hollywood and its glitz. Mystery and suspense plays a role too, mostly to drive the protagonists closer to each other. Secrets and Bow Ties is the third in the series, but like the others, stands on its own feet. It’s probably also the zingiest one in the series so far.

More than one reviewer commented on the mystery element of the previous books as being closer to fanciful Hollywood movies than gritty crime dramas. I not only don’t object to this observation but embrace it with glee.

One of the more contemporary movies I love and find inspirational is Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. This movie is a joyful sendup to hardboiled mysteries, Hollywood, and the movie business in general, wrapped in a plot twistier than a ferret in a maze.

In all these movies, what keeps the zaniness from spinning out of control are the characters in the center. They are fallible, vulnerable, lovable, and very, very, human. This combination of intimacy with the characters and a madcap plot make me love these stories so much and drive me to emulate them. And here we are, from inspiration to aspiration.

So, what type of movies are you nuts about?


Secrets And Bow TiesWho said nerdy can’t be sexy?

Self-confessed gold digger Dylan Price is cooling his heels as a waiter at a trendy West Hollywood restaurant, waiting for the sugar daddy of his dreams to walk through the doors. Someone rich, sophisticated. Preferably old.

Bookish Simon Wainwright couldn’t be further from Dylan’s ideal. Aside from his terrible fashion sense, Simon suffers from a glaring lack of a Beverly Hills mansion. And he’s barely over thirty!

Dylan, however, isn’t made of stone. Coincidence, an obscene candle, even Simon’s dorky cardigan compel him to give the shy academic a very special birthday gift, which Dylan files away as a one-night stand. But when Dylan’s quest lands him in hot water, he runs to Simon to hide.

The two take off for Las Vegas, where Dylan takes upon himself to give Simon a complete makeover. For reasons he can’t comprehend, Dylan begins to reevaluate his life—and what he holds most dear. But with danger not far behind, he might be too late.

Warning: Contains a nightclub where the staff is as hot as the food, a waiter with a smart mouth (in more ways than one), a nerdy college professor, Vegas “boylesque” shows, and lots of smexy times.


Lou HarperUnder a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.

Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.

Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.


Lou has brought an electronic copy of Secrets & Bow Ties to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday May 24th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
%d bloggers like this: