New Year, Fresh Start, New Resolutions

Have you noticed how hard it is to get used to a new year? At least for me it’s always a challenge for the first couple of months when I have to fill in the date. Thinking back of my childhood, it’s hard to imagine I’m in 2020. I mean, back then, that was the future! In one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future, Steven Spielberg had imagined a much more evolved 21st century. According to him, by now we should all travel in space cars, have voice-command appliances, and eradicate most illnesses. Wasn’t he an optimist, back in ’86 when he made the first movie?

While we’re working on technologies that will eventually make all of these things possible, everything is moving slowly. And although we can definitely survive without flying cars and smart refrigerators, our quality of life depends on our health.

When we’re healthy we are unaware of how important this is. It’s only when we’re confronted with illness—or worse, death—that we start appreciating what truly matters in life. I’ve had such a terrible revelation right after Christmas, when I learned that a high school mate of mine died of cancer at the age of thirty-three. The news was shocking for all of us who knew him. We all hoped and prayed for a miracle until the last minute, but in vain. I can only shudder when I think of his poor wife and six-year-old-son, who have to deal with so much grief. I was touched by how many people jumped in to help them, morally and financially. It’s probably not that much of a comfort, but seeing this proof of kindness reassured me there’s still hope for humanity.

It’s a bitter irony that I have just finished a book where the hero is a researcher and fights to cure cancer. Although the book is a fictional suspense romance, a lot of the medical facts are true. With medicine advancing fast, I pray this terrible disease will soon be eradicated forever and stop being a constant threat to us and those we love.

In International Affairs: LONDON, Dr. Gerard Leon develops not one, but two cures for cancer, with the help of Linda, a beautiful and wealthy Italian artist. If in life we’re not guaranteed a happy ever after, one of the things we can do is look for it in books…

She has the money; he has the brains. In their quest to cure others, can they also heal each other?

Gerard Leon is a physician and researcher. Linda Coriola is an artist and philanthropist. After losing loved ones to this silent killer, they both fight cancer in their own way—her with money, him with scientific breakthroughs.
Neither expected to fall in love, but when they do, it’s hard, fast, and mind-blowing.
But they have a common enemy who will stop at nothing to see them fail. Can they give into their feelings, stay focused on their goal, and live to fight another day?

International Affairs: LONDON is the first book in a new series of suspense romance novels, International Romance Collection. I hope you will love these stories as much as I enjoy writing them!
If this isn’t in your New Year’s resolutions list, remember: stay healthy. When it comes to most illnesses your body will give you signs so you can do something before it’s too late–don’t ignore them! It doesn’t matter that you’ll keep your job, or get that promotion, or keep that relationship, or do whatever you want to do if you won’t live long enough to enjoy them. We can find love, build fortunes, make dreams come true, but the one thing we can’t buy is our health. It’s the most precious thing we can have. Take care of yourselves above all else. ❤

Here’s a photo of me on Christmas Day. I had the best time of my life during the holidays because hubby took two weeks off work, so we spent every minute together. We didn’t go to any parties or fancy events, we just enjoyed our time together cooking, watching TV, staying at home, shopping or just walking the streets and goofing around. 🙂

Research Makes It Real

One of the most common questions I get as an author is where do I get my ideas? Once upon a time there was no Internet, but the Sunday Chicago Tribune had a great magazine with articles that provided me not only with ideas but with the research I couldn’t get elsewhere. Research that helped make those stories feel real for me. I based several early novels on the terrific information I found in that magazine.

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Today is release day for Ticket to Nowhere, the digital version of my backlist romantic suspense based on an article about carnivals.

A carnival is the temporary home/workplace of Chick Lovett and the refuge where Eden Payne hides to save her life after she is witness to a murder cover up and recognizes one of the men involved, who recognizes her in return.

Here are some fun facts I learned about carnivals, valid at least back when I originally wrote Ticket to Nowhere:

Chick is a jointee running a joint or game booth. There are three basic types. Slums give away slum or cheap merchandise like floating ducks. A hanky-pank is where kids and moms play, something like one-ball or basketball. And flat stores display expensive prizes but try to settle by offering an inexpensive one.

Chick runs a one-ball, a joint where you try to knock down a pyramid of three milk bottles with one soft ball, impossible to knock all down unless at exactly the right angle with the right amount of force. He “works the play” – that is, he sells the game, sets up a cadence, a rhythm, a flow and keeps it going.

To get the feel of being among real carnies, I found the following information useful:

Marks are anyone without carny blood.
Ride jocks are the people who operate rides.
Office men own most of the rides and a string of joints and more or less run the carnival.
A sucker job is any non-carnival work, especially a 9-5 job.
Going to the barn means going to winter quarters.
40-milers are carnivals that don’t travel long distances. They usually work shopping centers and neighborhood festivals.
A doniker is a portable toilet.
A cop shop is a police station.

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I hope this information helps make Ticket to Nowhere a fun read. It certainly made it fun to write. Ticket is the first in the Double Trouble duo — Eden and BFF Taffy Darling of Torch Job play parts in each other’s stories.

Both Ticket to Nowhere and Torch Job are available at Amazon only for now, and Ticket to Nowhere is only 99 cents for a limited time.

 

GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY

Skin.1000.1500Thinking there was safety in numbers, I made sure I didn’t go alone on my trip to a gentleman’s club as research for SKIN. In addition to my husband, I recruited a couple of other writers and another’s husband.
We had no idea what to expect.  Dark and seedy, perhaps? Poles on every table for table dances? Old strip club atmosphere?
To our surprise, the place looked like the night clubs I’d been to eons before. It was beautifully decorated, and the bouncers wore tuxes, the hostess and waitresses evening gowns. Along the walls were semi-private areas with luxurious booths for groups. But apparently those had been reserved ahead of time. We got to sit in the middle of the main floor at a long table with strangers. A little odd, but okay.
Many years ago, when I was in my early twenties, a group of us went to a couple of Rush Street strip clubs to see what they were like. Women weren’t allowed to be naked then. The wildest thing they did was twirl tassels that covered their nipples. But like everything else in the world, that certainly changed. In Chicago, “exotic dancers” have to wear g-strings if the club serves drinks – otherwise they can dance nude. This club served drinks, so they did have to wear g-strings, but that didn’t seem to matter to the sheer sexuality of the acts. Even more intense were the personal lap dances – and here I’d been sort of relieved there hadn’t been any poles on the tables.
It was really eye opening to see the intensity of the men who hired the woman for lap dances. And eye opening to see just how far those women would go for their tips. Men were not allowed to touch them, but I saw more than one woman whip both naked breasts into a man’s face while she was imitating the sex act straddling him.
The night took an amusing turn, however. The woman in our group who was alone had already been hit on by the hostess, who’d asked her if she wanted “company.” Of course, not being into women, she’d said no. That didn’t stop two of the lap dancers from soliciting her for dances. We all had a laugh about that one. And then the next act on stage started.
A more mature dancer, also a well-known “adult-movie” actress, did an old-fashioned strip routine, eliminating one piece of clothing at a time, including thigh high stockings that she rolled down her legs and then threw then out into the audience. Wouldn’t you know it – one of those stockings landed in my single friend’s diet coke. With a loud “eeeooowww” that got more laughs, she slapped it out of her drink. And then the guy next to me asked if he could have it. My friend said go ahead, and we all gaped as we watched him pick it up, smell it, then stuff it in an inner pocket of his suit jacked.
Eeeeooowwwwwwwwww!
An amusing end to the evening, one we all enjoyed. And one that provided me with a lot of ideas to realize the gentlemen’s club setting for SKIN.
I’ve said it many times – there’s nothing like personal research to make your story come alive 🙂

SKIN, a romantic thriller by Patricia Rosemoor

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