A summery fruit salad of golden-era-Hollywood-ness from a sweltery Los Angeles

Hello from an unusually sweltery Los Angeles where we can no longer say “But it’s a dry heat” because apparently we don’t have that anymore…

At any rate, I realized recently that I hadn’t blogged much of late, but that’s because I didn’t have any big news to share with the world. But then I realized that I have a whole bunch of little bits of news, so I’ve thrown them all together like a summer fruit salad and am offering it up for your delight and delectation for you to pick and chose however you’d like.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer (regardless of the humidity wherever your neck of the woods happens to be.)

Martin Turnbull


I recently appeared on the top-rating “HOLLYWOOD & CRIME” podcast that deals with true-live crime in Los Angeles from yesteryear. They invited me to talk about Hollywood scandals of the 1940s to give some context to their Black Dahlia season.

Episode 18 – Noir L.A. – ​ Hollywood Scandals


“TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL” - Book 7 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels

The EverythingZoomer website recently published an article called

A DOZEN WAYS TO GET YOUR OLD HOLLYWOOD FIX THIS SUMMER

and much to my surprise, my 7th novel – Tinseltown Confidential – was listed among them. I mention this not to say “Look at me! Look at me!” but to point out an article that lists a bunch of books and TV shows that vintage Hollywood fans would like to know about – whether it’s summer or not.


MAREM PERFUME

BY CASWELL-MASSEY

A while ago, the New York perfume company Caswell-Massey approached the Alla Nazimova Society to let us know that they were looking to relaunch a couple of fragrances from their archives. One of them was a perfume they formulated around 100 years ago for Alla Nazimova. They sent me a sample and – at least to my inexperienced nose – it smelled light, sweet, and delightfully feminine. I think Alla would approve. You’ll be hearing more about this as launch time approaches, but for now, I can send you to this landing page for Marem perfume – inspired by the great Nazimova!


A few people have asked me recently if anything became of the screen option deal that I announced a while ago. I can report now that the producer, Tabrez Noorani, has renewed our contract and is putting together a pitch which he will present to the various networks (and there are a lot of them these days!) as a television series. So we might yet still see Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn coming to our TV screens. You can see the original announcement on my website.


HOLLYWOOD’S GARDEN OF ALLAH NOVELS – BOOK 8

And to those readers out there concerned that Tinseltown Confidential was the final book in the series, you might be pleased to know that there is still book 8 and book 9 to come yet. The Garden of Allah Hotel didn’t close until the summer of 1959, so we’ve still got a whole lot of giddy goings-on to go. Currently, I am about halfway through the first draft of book 8. It’s coming along nicely and I’ll be releasing more details in the coming months.


I’ve read a number of interesting books you might like to know about. My three favorite are:

Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck

MEMO FROM DARRYL F. ZANUCK: THE GOLDEN YEARS
AT TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX
edited by Rudy Behlmer

Zanuck has emerged to become an important character in my later Garden of Allah novels, so I wanted to glean some insight into what he was like. I’m sure he was probably as egotistical as all the other moguls, but he really cared about story and structure, and delivering a satisfying experience to his audience, and worked very hard and very conscientiously to achieve that.

FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M. - AUDREY HEPBURN, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, AND THE DAWN OF THE MODERN WOMAN by Sam Wasson

FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M. – AUDREY HEPBURN, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S,
AND THE DAWN OF THE MODERN WOMAN
by Sam Wasson

What an unexpected gem! This is not just a book about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Wasson offers the theory that the casting of good-girl Audrey Hepburn in the role of bad-girl Holly Golightly was a turning point for nascent 1960s feminism, giving permission to good girls everywhere that being a little bit bad could be a little bit good.


THE REAL NICK AND NORA - FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT, WRITERS OF STAGE AND SCREEN CLASSICS by David L. Goodrich

THE REAL NICK AND NORA:
FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT,
WRITERS OF STAGE AND SCREEN CLASSICS

by David L. Goodrich

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett were a married couple that wrote the screenplays for some of the most beloved Hollywood movies, including the first “Thin Man” films, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Easter Parade,” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” They were also frequent residents of the Garden of Allah Hotel. This biography, written by Frances’ nephew gives, us a loving and well-researched look into what it was really like to be a writer swimming in the shark-infested waters of the Hollywood studio system and Broadway.


I post a vintage photo of Los Angeles, Hollywood, and/or California each day on the photo blog of my website. You can sign up to have them delivered to your email each morning. I also post them (and others) on my Facebook page.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

A LaSalle being attended to in "full service" at the Muller Brothers Service Station at 6380 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, 1938

You know you’re looking at a vintage photo when you’re watching five gas station attendants in pristine uniforms giving full service to one vehicle. This amazing event took place in 1938 at the Muller Brothers Service Station at 6380 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. These days, that location is occupied by the Cinerama Dome. Oh, and that gorgeous vehicle is a LaSalle, which is probably the car I’d hijack if they ever invent a time machine and I got to go back to late 1930s Hollywood.

One of the gems in LA’s architectural panoply is the Richfield Oil building that stood at 555 Flower St in downtown L.A. between 1929 to 1969. With its beacon-topped tower and striking black-and-gold tiling (even though it does look blue in this photo) it was a sight to behold. And let’s be honest, that ornate street lamp is a work of art in itself.

A traffic policeman stops for a tea break, Broadway and 11th Street, Los Angeles, 1927

I don’t know what sort of benefits that members of the Los Angeles Police Department get these days, but I doubt today’s traffic cops get a tea break delivered to them by a uniformed waitress—but they also don’t have to lug their own little wooden box to stand on. This photo was taken at the corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Los Angeles, 1927—that building behind them is still there.

Gloria Swanson by master photographer, Edward Steichen

Gloria Swanson by master photographer, Edward Steichen

Carole Lombard's final appearance at a war bond tour prior to her death in 1942

Carole Lombard’s final appearance at a war bond tour prior to her death in 1942.

~~oOo~~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:
Book 1: The Garden on Sunset
Book 2: The Trouble with Scarlett
Book 3: Citizen Hollywood
Book 4: Searchlights and Shadows
Book 5: Reds in the Beds
Book 6: Twisted Boulevard
Book 7: Tinseltown Confidential

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull

~~oOo~~

 

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Announcing the release of Book Seven of Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels: “TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL”

Way, way back when I started writing the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels, I knew there was plenty of giddy goings-on to write about in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s: the arrival of sound, the end of Prohibition, the coming of war, the threat (perceived or real) of anti-Communism and subsequent blacklisting. There was no end of possible plotlines and events to incorporate into the narrative. But the 1950s? Hmmmmm, I thought, not so much. What am I going to write about?

How wrong I was.

In writing book seven in this series, it soon became apparent that the final trilogy of books that will take us through to the Garden of Allah Hotel’s closing in August of 1959 had more than enough chaos and turmoil and upheaval for me to wind around the lives of Marcus Adler, Kathryn Massey, and Gwendolyn Brick. 1950s Hollywood dealt with the precipitous growth of television, the concurrent death of radio, the wide-screen-ing of theatrical releases, the rise of post-war European cinema, unscrupulous tell-all magazines, and the meteoric starburst of both Marilyn Monroe and Joseph McCarthy.

But for now, let’s just deal with the early 1950s when Hollywoodites were only starting to become aware of what lurked on the horizon.

I am very happy to announce that my new novel:

“TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL”

is now available.

~oOo~

“TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL” - Book 7 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels

As America embraces the 1950s, that brash upstart called television is poaching Hollywood’s turf, inch by inch. If the studios don’t do something drastic, they may lose the battle.

When screenwriter Marcus Adler fell afoul of the blacklist, Europe offered sanctuary. Hollywood lures him back, but the specter of Joseph McCarthy forces Marcus to fight for a final chance to clear his name.

A charismatic figure rises to intimidate the entire film industry, and Hollywood Reporter Kathryn Massey realizes that she knows a secret that just might topple this self-appointed savior. If Kathryn fails, will her neck land on the chopping block instead?

A new kiss-and-tell magazine splashes onto the scene—but it isn’t playing by the rules. Gwendolyn Brick figures she doesn’t need to worry about a scandal rag until she spots someone lurking around the Garden of Allah during Marilyn Monroe’s birthday party. Suddenly, Confidential threatens to expose everything.

Tinseltown Confidential is the seventh installment in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga. If you like richly woven details, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love Martin Turnbull’s captivating historical fiction series.

~oOo~

READ CHAPTER ONE ONLINE

~oOo~

TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL

Martin Turnbull with
“Tinseltown Confidential”
Book 7 – June 2017

Amazon (US) Kindle ebook

Amazon (US) paperback

Amazon (UK) paperback

Amazon (UK) Kindle ebook

Amazon (Australia) Kindle ebook

Amazon (Canada) Kindle ebook

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Barnes & Noble paperback

Apple iBook ebook

Kobo ebook

Goodreads

Book Depository paperback (free worldwide shipping)

AudiobookCOMING SOON!

For more information, see the Tinseltown Confidential page on my website.

~oOo~

And when you have read it (assuming, of course, that you enjoyed it), if you have the chance and inclination, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on whichever website you bought it. Rate it as many stars as you see fit, and give your honest opinion. Just a couple of lines will do! The more reviews a book has, the higher its profile rises. Thanks!
Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

The Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

~oOo~

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

 

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Announcing the release of the audiobook of “Twisted Boulevard”

But first, a humblebrag…

One of the hardest parts of independently publishing your own work is cajoling / convincing / coaxing your readers to write a review. Authors live in a world where our success is governed largely by this mysterious secret sauce called “algorithms” – the busy behind-the-scene bees that determine your discoverability – i.e. how potential readers can discover your work. To put it simply, the more reviews your book gets, the more discoverable your book is. And so as an author, I am grateful for every review that someone takes the time to post–be it YAY!, or RASPBERRY! or simply meh.

But when a rave review comes in, as one did recently for Twisted Boulevard, it makes all the difference in the world. Not just to the algorithm, but as an encouragement that my stories of old Hollywood are finding their way to people who find this era as fascinating as I do. I was so touched by what this reader wrote, that I wanted to share part of it with you:

After finishing this book I *may* have sat for several minutes hugging my kindle and bawling my eyes out (yeah, I totally did). “Twisted Boulevard” had it all – laughter, tears and righteous indignation. I love the characters in this book. Over the course of this series so far, they have come to feel like family. And who doesn’t love a story set against the backdrop of classic Hollywood? This book and the series are just fabulous. I especially appreciated the self doubt and slightly adrift feelings expressed by Kathryn and Marcus, following their 40th birthdays.

So with that in mind, I am very pleased and proud to announce the release of the audiobook version of book 6 in the “Hollywood’s Garden of Allah” series: Twisted Boulevard.

"Twisted Boulevard" audiobook cover

My audiobooks narrator – Lance Roger Axt – and has again done a wonderful job breathing life into not just Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn, but also the dawning days of the 1950s.

The Twisted Boulevard audiobook is available through:

~~~oOo~~~

TWISTED BOULEVARD

(Book 6 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series)

by Martin Turnbull

When the Red Scare ends, paranoia lingers. Can Tinseltown recover to take on television?

After an exile from MGM, ousted screenwriter Marcus Adler is looking for his way back into the biz. When he hatches a plan to start over with a disgraced movie star, a Hollywood censor reminds Marcus that the misdeeds of the past aren’t soon forgotten.

Hollywood Reporter columnist Kathryn Massey is always looking for a hot tip. She never expected it would come from Lauren Bacall, and point her toward a new career high. But when a trip to the set of Sunset Boulevard reveals a haunting glimpse into her past, Kathryn isn’t sure who to trust, especially when a hot new rival hits town.

Gwendolyn Brick thought her new store would be a hit, but she never realized it could become a target. Threatened by Los Angeles’ most notorious madam, Gwendolyn will need a Hollywood-style miracle to keep her store alive.

Twisted Boulevard is the sixth installment in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga. If you like richly woven details, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love Martin Turnbull’s captivating historical fiction series.

~~~oOo~~~

Martin's book recomendations

mary-astors-purple-diaryMary Astor’s Purple Diary by Edward Sorel
Cartoonist Edward Sorel learned of the sensational custody trial endured by actress Mary Astor (of Maltese Falcon fame) in the mid 1930s when he pulled up old kitchen linoleum and found newspaper pages covering the trial. Though forgotten now, the trial was gleefully reported by all the papers, ad nauseum. Astor’s trial has been documented before, but not like this. Not with such warmth and humor – and so many memorable Sorel illustrations!

las-legendary-restaurants-celebrating-the-famous-places-where-hollywood-ate-drank-and-played-by-george-gearyLA’s Legendary Restaurants – Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played by George Geary
If you’re as much a fan as I am of old restaurants, clubs, diners and menus from Hollywood’s golden era, you’re just gonna lerve George Geary’s book. It takes a look at 60 of the most famous venues around town. Tons of photos and recipes! (See also my website: Hollywood Places)

~~~oOo~~~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

Book One: The Garden on Sunset
Book Two: The Trouble with Scarlett
Book Three: Citizen Hollywood
Book Four: Searchlights and Shadows
Book Five: Reds in the Beds
Book Six: Twisted Boulevard
Book Seven: Tinseltown Confidential

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull~~~oOo~~~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)~~~oOo~~~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels on FACEBOOK

Martin Turnbull’s audio books on Audible.com

~~~oOo~~~

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Tinseltown’s next big game-changer: revealing the 7th Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novel

It wasn’t until I started researching golden-era Hollywood that I realized every few years, a game-changer came along that forced Hollywood to pivot.

First came the advent of sound; then the perfection of Technicolor; and then Gone with the Wind gave Hollywood its first real super-blockbuster. Next, Orson Welles arrived to make Citizen Kane and he advanced the art of film while boldly telling the moguls that he was going to shoot his movie the way he wanted. Then WWII turned Hollywood into a propaganda machine, and after the war, the anti-Commie Red Scare ensured that hundreds of creatives were blacklisted.

The 5000 Fingers of Dr T posterWhen the 1950s dawned, the game changed yet again. The rise of television hastened the decline of radio and nightclubs, and forced the Hollywood studios to go widescreen, go stereophonic, go 3D. They had to do whatever it took to entice the dwindling movie-going public with an experience they couldn’t get from their little box in the corner of the living room.

But then a second frontal attack opened up. Until the early ‘50s, the movie-fan magazines Debut issue of Confidential Magazine, December 1952pretty much regurgitated whatever the studio publicity departments dictated. Enter stage right: Confidential magazine, whose M.O. was “Print first and check facts later. In fact, let’s dispense with facts altogether until someone sues us.” Overnight, the picture-perfect lives constructed for picture-perfect stars began to show signs of cracking.

And so, it’s into this roiling primordial soup we jump with book seven in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

 

TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL

Book 7 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels

by Martin Turnbull

“TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL” - Book 7 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels

As America embraces the 1950s, that brash upstart called television is poaching Hollywood’s turf, inch by inch. If the studios don’t do something drastic, they may lose the battle.

When screenwriter Marcus Adler fell afoul of the blacklist, Europe offered sanctuary. Hollywood lures him back, but the specter of Joseph McCarthy forces Marcus to fight for a final chance to clear his name.

A charismatic figure rises to intimidate the entire film industry, and Hollywood Reporter Kathryn Massey realizes that she knows a secret that just might topple this self-appointed savior. If Kathryn fails, will her neck land on the chopping block instead?

A new kiss-and-tell magazine splashes onto the scene—but it isn’t playing by the rules. Gwendolyn Brick figures she doesn’t need to worry about a scandal rag until she spots someone lurking around the Garden of Allah during Marilyn Monroe’s birthday party. Suddenly, Confidential threatens to expose everything.

Tinseltown Confidential is the seventh installment in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga. If you like richly woven details, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love Martin Turnbull’s captivating historical fiction series.

~oOo~

And here now is the first chapter:

CHAPTER 1

When Kathryn Massey stepped out of the limousine in front of the Pantages Theatre, flashbulbs exploded along the sidewalk. She closed her eyes and turned her head before she realized how crummy she’d look in the papers the next day. She turned back around, but the photographers had moved on to the next car. Fred Astaire unfolded his lean frame and waved to the fans, who roared with excitement.

He greeted Kathryn with a kiss to the cheek.

“Nervous?” she asked.

He kept his smile wide. “Piece of cake.”

“Since when is hosting the Academy Awards a piece of cake?”

“Since the day I realized they were never going to give me one. You won’t see me sweating through my tux.”

Kathryn’s date, Leo Presnell, emerged from the limo behind her. She introduced him to Fred, and together with Fred’s wife, Phyllis, they bustled past a tight core of press photographers and into the theater’s foyer.

It was Kathryn who felt nervous. Her friend Bette Davis was supposed to be a shoo-in for All About Eve tonight, but she had stiff competition from Gloria Swanson and Sunset Boulevard. Kathryn feared that Bette and her co-star Anne Baxter would split their votes and hand the Oscar to Gloria.

Bette had telephoned Kathryn that morning, wailing, “What if they don’t call my name? What if it goes to Gloria instead? How many more Margo Channings am I likely to get a crack at?”

Kathryn had no good answers, but she proposed a fortifying pre-show whiskey at the Frolic Room next door to the Pantages. But then Leo was late picking her up at the Garden of Allah, and there was traffic at Hollywood and Vine. They arrived with only forty-five minutes to showtime. Surely Bette was already running the gamut of press, fans, and well-wishers.

“Do you see her?”

“No,” Leo said, “but I need to use the john. If you find her, blame everything on me.”

“I fully intend to.”

Leo’s afternoon meeting with NBC hadn’t unfolded the way he expected. He worked for Sunbeam Mixmaster who, along with Betty Crocker, sponsored Kathryn’s radio show. It was supposed to be a casual get-together with the network brass, which Kathryn assumed meant a three-martini lunch at Perino’s. Instead, they’d lowered the boom that Window on Hollywood had cratered to number twenty-two in the ratings—not great news for a show that had once nudged the top five.

Leo melted away, pointing to the knot of people besieging Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra. Rumors were swirling that Ava had moved in with Frank. Not that Hollywood cared much about a glamour couple living in sin, but the vast expanse between Los Angeles and New York did. Kathryn knew if she could get a wedding date out of either of them, it would keep the NBC hounds at bay for a while.

As she elbowed her way toward them, she spotted Bette posing on the mezzanine steps, backlit by a spotlight suspended from the second-floor balcony. “Bette! BETTE!” But the din bouncing off the Art Deco angles swallowed her voice.

Marilyn Monroe angled the right shoulder of the gauzy concoction Gwendolyn Brick had made for her, and sliced through the tightening crowd toward Bette. She arrived at the bottom step just as Bette kissed George Sanders goodbye.

Marilyn waved, tilted onto her toes, and called to Bette, who doused her with a critical once-over, then turned her back, leaving Marilyn to stand in her shadow.

A pocket of space opened up in front of Kathryn. She went to raise her hand again, but someone yanked it down—Arlene Curtis, a neighbor at the Garden of Allah.

“I just got accosted by Walter Winchell! Thank God I found you!”

“Is he drunk?” Walter Winchell drunk and handsy at the Oscars? Now, THAT is a great story.

Arlene pulled a face. “No, but he was full of questions about Mayer.”

During tonight’s ceremony, Louis B. Mayer was to be awarded an honorary Oscar for “distinguished service to the motion picture industry.” It wasn’t as exciting as the one Bette would be getting, but a gleaming Oscar perched on a mantelpiece was nothing to sneer at.

Arlene drew in closer. “I’m not supposed to say anything, but my boss has been reviewing Mayer’s contract.” Arlene was chief legal secretary for MGM’s principal attorney.

“Reviewing it for what?”

“Loopholes. They want to cancel it three years early.”

“That’s outrageous! He’s L.B.! He is Hollywood! Are they forgetting that King Solomon’s Mines made nearly ten million?”

“Not too long ago, we would’ve dominated the top ten. I get the feeling Mr. Schenck feels it’s time for a change.”

“Are you sure?”

“Who do you think’s been typing the memos to New York?” Arlene knotted her fingers together. “A year or so ago, I ran into Mr. Mayer at the commissary. I could tell he recognized me from—you know . . .” Arlene was working in a brothel above the Sunset Strip when Kathryn’s friend met her at an MGM management party. “We swapped an I-know-who-you-are look. Would you believe he actually came up to me and said it was nice to see me doing so well for myself? He never said a word to anyone about my past. What they’re doing is real rotten. Mr. Mayer deserves better.”

“Do you think Winchell’s caught wind of this?”

“With Walter Winchell, it’s safest to err on the side of probably.”

The lights dimmed for a moment, and a deep voice announced that the ceremony for the twenty-third Academy Awards would commence in ten minutes.

Kathryn thanked Arlene and made her way to her seat in the twelfth row next to Leo, five rows behind Bette and several behind Marilyn.

The news about Mayer consumed her thoughts as All About Eve picked up six Oscars, Judy Holliday won for Born Yesterday, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis sang “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from the new Disney cartoon, and Edith Head picked up two Best Costume Designs for All About Eve and Samson and Delilah.

By the time Darryl Zanuck was accepting his Thalberg Award, Kathryn was wondering how best to tip off Mayer. Did he even need to be tipped off? If there was a groundswell brewing, surely his stoolies had already told him.

When Charles Brackett presented Mayer with his honorary Oscar, Kathryn was struck by the self-effacing way Mayer approached the podium. All finagling flew out of her head when Mayer gave his unexpectedly brief speech.

“This is truly a thrilling experience,” he said, looking at nobody in particular. “I’ve been very fortunate in being honored in many ways, but this stands out above all because it’s from the men and women in the industry I love and have worked so hard in. And it fills me with humility and a great sense of responsibility to the future years to come.”

By the time he shook hands with Brackett and made his way out of the spotlight, Kathryn felt like a rat. He’s been good to you, she castigated herself. He’s given you scoops over Louella and Hedda and Sheilah, made you the envy of the dance floor, and found work for Marcus when he was blacklisted. No, she decided, at the very least, I need to make sure he knows what’s going on.

After the ceremony, as the theater rustled with silk, organza, chiffon, and congratulations—sincere or otherwise—Kathryn found Bette and her indomitable mother, Ruthie. They both wore faces bleaker than a Massachusetts ice storm. Bette met Kathryn with a jaundiced eye.

“Don’t worry,” Bette said, “I possess no sharp objects. Everyone’s jugular will survive the night intact.”

“Are you terribly disappointed?” Kathryn asked.

“I’m ropeable! This was my last shot. It’s all grandmothers and character parts from here on out.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Just you watch. I’ll be the go-to dame for the ‘Crazy Spinster Neighbor’ and ‘Grandma with Dementia’ roles.” Bette’s disdainful gaze landed on Marilyn as she chatted with Bill Holden and Joe Mankiewicz. “She’s what they want now. Pretty, blonde, and dumb as dirt. Just look at who they gave Best Actress to this evening.”

“Neither Judy Holliday nor Marilyn Monroe is dumb as dirt,” Kathryn interjected. “If that’s the way you’re going to be, I’ll leave you to stew in your own juices.”

“Please don’t,” Bette conceded, to Kathryn’s relief. “You’re right. Let’s go find a drink before anybody else wants to bury me in their heartfelt sympathies.”

“I just want to congratulate Mayer. I’ll meet you out front. Leo’s there somewhere with a limo big enough to house the LA Rams.”

Kathryn picked her way backstage where Edith Head buttonholed her. “I’d forgotten how heavy these little golden guys are!”

Kathryn doubted that. Edith’s first Oscar, just last year for The Heiress, was on a prominent shelf in her office. Still, two Oscars in one night was a significant achievement.

As she embraced Edith, Kathryn spotted Mayer slipping out the stage door. She made her excuses and followed him into the service lane behind the theater, mildly surprised to find it empty except for Mayer staring at his award.

As she drew closer, she caught his contemptuous look. “I came to offer my congratulations.”

Mayer held his Oscar up so that it caught the light of a street lamp at the end of the alley. “I just heard someone calling this the Kiss of Death Award.”

“That’s awfully mean-spirited.”

“In other words, the Thanks for Everything but Your Best Work Is Behind You So Please Get Lost Award.”

“If you don’t want it, I’m sure Bette Davis would love to—”

“I meant what I said tonight.”

“I could tell.”

Mayer lowered the trophy. “It left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I’m not going to let it spoil a memorable night, so thank you for seeking me out. I appreciate that.”

Kathryn fought the urge to fidget with her clutch purse as Mayer raised a wary eyebrow. “I came to see if you know what’s going on with your contract.”

“How do you mean?”

He’s not as well connected as I assumed. Maybe that’s the problem. “You need to know that Nick Schenck and your head of Legal have been combing your contract for something that will allow them to cancel it early.”

Mayer tried to keep his face immobile. “I don’t believe you.” His voice had turned acerbic.

“My source is pretty good.”

“Tell me who told you.”

“I can’t, but she is on your side.”

“You’re playing with my career, my legacy, on the word of some girl?”

“What’s gender got to do with it?” Kathryn started to wish she’d kept her trap shut. “It appears Winchell’s caught a whiff of it, although I’m not sure how much he knows. The point is, someone’s looking to sink your career—”

“No, Miss Massey. The point is tonight was supposed to be a career highlight.”

Don’t shoot the messenger, Bucko. “When did I get demoted from Kathryn to Miss Massey?”

“When you decided to shove rumors of my demise in my face.”

“I came out here to warn you. If I’d known I was going to get accused of—”

“Of what? Fishing for one of your precious scoops? I had you pegged as a cut above Louella and Hedda. But now I have to wonder if I’ve been wrong about you this entire time.”

Kathryn dropped her gaze to Mayer’s Oscar. He gripped it between two fingers, dangling it by its head like a stale cigar.

They were suddenly drenched in the headlights of Mayer’s roaring limo. She stepped back as it pulled up. Mayer got in and slammed the door, leaving Kathryn to choke on the exhaust and wish she were more like Louella and Hedda, who wouldn’t hesitate for a second to announce this betrayal to the world.

~oOo~

Tinseltown Confidential is due for release in June 2017

~oOo~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

For tons of photos and information about the places and people mentioned
in the Garden of Allah novels, visit Martin Turnbull on Facebook
and/or go to his Photo Blog on his website.

~oOo~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

Book One: The Garden on Sunset
Book Two: The Trouble with Scarlett
Book Three: Citizen Hollywood
Book Four: Searchlights and Shadows
Book Five: Reds in the Beds
Book Six: Twisted Boulevard
Book Seven: Tinseltown Confidential

~oOo~

http://martinturnbull.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=62c973885c7e930d8b9a754aa&id=e5f41676a2

~oOo~

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Announcing the release of Book Six of Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels: “TWISTED BOULEVARD””

"Twisted Boulevard" - book 6, Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull

I am very happy to announce that my new novel

“TWISTED BOULEVARD”

is now available!

~oOo~

The late 1940s were a perilous time in the film industry.

Many Hollywoodites assumed that they were done with the venomous HUAC and that life could return to some semblance of normal–or whatever passed for normal in Hollywood. But the Red Scare wasn’t quite done with them…and there was yet another monster looming on the horizon.

Every now and then, new technology leaps to the fore and threatens the current system. We saw that with the advent of VHS tapes and the concept of “home theaters”; the digitization of music and the ease of file sharing; and more recently the ability to stream movies without having to own them. But this phenomenon isn’t new.

tv

“Please, mommy, how are we supposed to see anything on that teeny, tiny screen?”

It happened in the late 1940s when the seemingly unassailable studio system dismissed that plywood box in the corner of the living room with the teeny, tiny screen. How could it possibly compare to the rich experience offered by the silver screen theaters?

Today, we look back and wonder, “How could they not see that?” But Hollywoodites of the late 1940s were not blessed with the wisdom of hindsight, and it’s in this whirlpool we meet up again with Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn in February 1948 as they meet each twist and turn of a world changing around them.

~oOo~

“Twisted Boulevard”

Book Six in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels

When the Red Scare ends, paranoia lingers. Can Tinseltown recover to take on television?

After an exile from MGM, ousted screenwriter Marcus Adler is looking for his way back into the biz. When he hatches a plan to start over with a disgraced movie star, a Hollywood censor reminds Marcus that the misdeeds of the past aren’t soon forgotten.

Hollywood Reporter columnist Kathryn Massey is always looking for a hot tip. She never expected it would come from Lauren Bacall, and point her toward a new career high. But when a trip to the set of Sunset Boulevard reveals a haunting glimpse into her past, Kathryn isn’t sure who to trust, especially when a hot new rival hits town.

Gwendolyn Brick thought her new store would be a hit, but she never realized it could become a target. Threatened by Los Angeles’ most notorious madam, Gwendolyn will need a Hollywood-style miracle to keep her store alive.

~oOo~

The first chapter is available to read on my website: CHAPTER ONE

~oOo~

Twisted Boulevard is available in all formats.

Martin Turnbull with "Twisted Boulevard" - Book 6 - November 2016

Martin Turnbull with “Twisted Boulevard”
Book 6 – November 2016

Amazon (US) paperback

Amazon (US) Kindle ebook

Amazon (UK) paperback

Amazon (UK) Kindle ebook

Amazon (Australia) Kindle ebook

Amazon (Canada) Kindle ebook

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Barnes & Noble paperback

Apple iBook ebook

Kobo ebook

Book Depository paperback (free worldwide shipping)

For more information, see the Twisted Boulevard page of my website.

~oOo~

And when you have read it (assuming, of course, that you enjoyed it), if you have the chance and inclination, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on whichever website you bought it. Rate it as many stars as you see fit, and give your honest opinion. Just a couple of lines will do! The more reviews a book has, the higher its profile rises. Thanks!

~oOo~

The Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard

These books are also available in two boxed sets of trilogies (ebooks only)

Hollywood's Garden of Allah Novels - Trilogy #1

The Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels trilogy #1

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood

Trilogy #1 on Amazon

Trilogy #1 on Amazon Canada

Trilogy #1 on Amazon UK

Trilogy #1 on Amazon Australia

Trilogy #1 on Barnes & Noble

Trilogy #1 on Kobo

Trilogy #1 on iBooks

~~~  a n d  ~~~

The Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels trilogy #2

The Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels trilogy #2

  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard

Trilogy #2 on Amazon

Trilogy #2 on Amazon Canada

Trilogy #2 on Amazon UK

Trilogy #2 on Amazon Australia

Trilogy #2 on Barnes & Noble

Trilogy #2 on Kobo

Trilogy #2 on iBooks

~oOo~

And in other news Hollywood's Garden of Allah relate news

 

The OFF THE SHELF website just published a list of:

11 Scandalous Novels that Illuminate the Golden Years of Hollywood

Much to my surprise, honor and thrill, my first novel, The Garden on Sunset was listed alongside the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joyce Carol Oates, and James Ellroy.

You can check out the list here.

And in case you haven’t gotten around to reading The Garden on Sunset yet, it’s currently available for FREE in ebook formats.

"The Garden on Sunset" by Martin TurnbullMore information can be found on my website.

~oOo~

If you enjoy seeing old photos of Hollywood and Los Angeles, and of the people and personalities that populated it, follow me on Facebook.

~oOo~

And a personal note to everyone who has read my previous Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels and took the time to tell me how much they enjoyed them, I’d like to take this opportunity to send out a great big

THANK YOU!

Your support has been wonderfully encouraging.

All the best,

Martin Turnbull

www.MartinTurnbull.com

~oOo~

~oOo~

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels by Martin Turnbull

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When you see your own name on IMDB

IMDB logoAs an author of historical fiction that focuses on life in and around Los Angeles and Hollywood during the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, one of my go-to research sites is, naturally enough, the Internet Movie Database. I spend much of my time on the parts of IMDB that are probably considered secondary: release dates, production companies, “Costumes by”, “Credited With”, Filming Locations, and trivia.

I’m sure all that information is listed in various books and reference texts but oh good lord! I’m very happy that I didn’t start writing my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels until after they invented the internet, and then, having invented it, charged ahead and put together the Internet Movie Database.

I probably jump on that site 10 to 20 times a day, checking and double-checking my historical facts, or stress-testing my latest “this actress wouldn’t have been cast by the director in that movie if the screenwriter hadn’t been neighbors with the producer who was once married to the cinematographer’s daughter” theory. So scrolling through the pages of IMDB is second nature to me now.

But to my mind, IMDB is where I go to look up other people, other careers, other biographical details. Not only are they other people, but they’re usually other dead people whose lives and careers happened before I was born, and whose accomplishments played out a generation or more before I had even heard of them, let alone started to write them into my books as characters.

So perhaps you can imagine my surprise / thrill / shock / gaping pie-hole when I saw for the first time:

and this"The Garden of Allah" on IMDB

Let’s rewind ten years back to when I came up with the idea to write a series of books telling the history of the golden years of Hollywood through the eyes of the people who lived at the Garden of Allah Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Come to think of it, “came up with” doesn’t really describe what happened. It was more like the idea downloaded into my head, whole and complete.

I knew from the very start it would take nine books to tell the story (i.e. a trilogy of trilogies covering the 1930s, the 1940s, then the 1950s); that we would follow the lives of three fictional characters as they pursued success and love; and that they would inevitably interact with some of the legendary personalities that helped drive golden-era Hollywood to its peak.

I also could see that my idea had the makings of a great TV show. So I wasn’t altogether surprised when producers started to come a-knocking. And I was pleased to find that the one who persisted the longest – Tabrez Noorani – was as big a fan of this era as I was, and had the same vision for a translation to the screen as I did. And when we struck a deal, I knew that it would take a long time before anything came of it—if, in fact anything did. And if it did, it would inevitably find its way onto IMDB.

Nevertheless, I was still surprised—and a little bit taken aback—to find my name listed on the same site I visit countless times a day. It also makes the possibility of seeing my stories on the screen just that much more real. It also makes the possibility that one day I might get to walk through the reconstructed Garden of Allah Hotel set. And if that day does come, I might well need smelling salts because it’ll be like walking into one of my dreams.

Do they still even make smelling salts?

Do they still even make smelling salts?

~oOo~

And in other news Hollywood's Garden of Allah relate news

"Twisted Boulevard" - book 6, Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin TurnbullIn my last post – A Wonderland-esque road of unimagined marvels – I revealed the title, cover, and first chapter of Book 6 in the series. To those avid readers who are keen to know its progress, I just sent it off to my wonderful editor, Meghan Pinson at My Two Cents Editing. She’ll spent the next month or so fine-tuning, cutting, polishing, suggesting, YAY-ing and BLAH-ing, and otherwise slicing and dicing the manuscript.

You can find more about TWISTED BOULEVARD on my website. It is due for release November 2016.

So now that book 6 is in Meghan’s deft hands, it’s on to book 7, which I have already started work on. I thought perhaps you might like to see what these books look like on my computer, so I’m sharing here the first draft of the first paragraph of the first chapter:

Book 7 - paragraph 1 - draft 1When I showed this to a friend of mine, he said, “Oh? You work in green? That’s … rather … unexpected.” I realized that nobody had seen a raw manuscript of mine. As I explained to him, I write my books with a revolving point of view from three different main characters. To help keep me in the mind of the specific character whose chapter I’m currently working on, I color code them. With Marcus I work in purple, with Kathryn I work in green, and with Gwendolyn I work in orange. I find it helps keep me focused and “in character” which becomes especially helpful when I’m doing revisions and have to change something that only pertains to one specific character.

Of course, this is just a first draft. The final version might not start with this paragraph, or at the Pantages, or with Kathryn, or in March of 1951. But it does give you a taste of things to come…

Martin's book recomendations

I’ve read three terrific books lately that I think people who enjoy reading about the same era I write about will also enjoy. (Click on the image to link over to Amazon.)

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne FowlerZ: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler – The lives of the people who live at the Garden of Allah overlapped with those who were a part of the Algonquin Round Table as well as the members of the Lost Generation. So any book that deals with these people gets my attention. “Z” is also probably the best novel I’ve read in the past few years. I loved it so much that I wrote a dorky fan email to the author…and she wrote back!

It's the Pictures That Got Small - Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age"It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age by Anthony Slide – These are the edited diaries of screenwriter Charles Brackett as he worked in Hollywood from the early 1930s until he and Billy Wilder went their separate ways after making “Sunset Boulevard” (1950). Here is the entry for Nov 7th, 1939: “George Cukor took me to Don the Beachcomber, picking up Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier along the way. Other guests were Mr and Mrs Aldous Huxley, their niece, and Anita Loos. Found Mrs Huxley particularly charming.” The whole book is like that!

Such Mad Fun by Robin CutlerSuch Mad Fun by Robin R Cutler – Robin Cutler is a writer/historian who has written a biography of her mother, who led a rather extraordinary life from Depression-era debutante balls in Manhattan, to being a screenwriter at MGM, and beyond. Robin sent me an ARC of the manuscript because her mother once stayed at the Garden of Allah, and Robin wanted to know what I thought. I loved her book! It turns out that Jane Hall lived a life not unlike one of the characters in my books, only for realsies!

~oOo~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

For tons of photos and information about the places and people mentioned
in the Garden of Allah novels, visit Martin Turnbull on Facebook
and/or go to his Photo Blog on his website.

~oOo~

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels by Martin Turnbull~oOo~

~oOo~

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A Wonderland-esque road of unimagined marvels: revealing the 6th Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novel

The Los Angeles Public Library recently featured me in their Local Author Spotlight series (more about that later). I was very flattered to be included, but it wasn’t until the interview was published this week, that I began to reflect on my journey as a writer.

Five years ago, I didn’t have a novel to my name; I knew nobody, nor anything about this publishing business; and nobody knew who I was. And yet now, here I am prepping the publication of my sixth novel. Looking back, I’m glad I had no idea that publishing my work would lead me down a Wonderland-esque road of such unimagined marvels, connections, and people, and that every corner I’ve turned has been a marvelous surprise.

I guess I’m in a “Wonderland-esque road of unimagined marvels” frame of mind because I am now ready (and excited!) to reveal details of the next book in my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series.

Book six takes us into Los Angeles of the late 1940s where Hollywoodites, still recovering from the HUAC hearings, look to the horizon where a tiny screen of flickering black-and-white images threatens to upend everything.

"Twisted Boulevard" - book 6, Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull

TWISTED BOULEVARD

Book 6 in the Garden of Allah novels

by Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

When the Red Scare ends, paranoia lingers. Can Tinseltown recover to take on television?

After an exile from MGM, ousted screenwriter Marcus Adler is looking for his way back into the biz. When he hatches a plan to start over with a disgraced movie star, a Hollywood censor reminds Marcus that the misdeeds of the past aren’t soon forgotten.

Hollywood Reporter columnist Kathryn Massey is always looking for a hot tip. She never expected it would come from Lauren Bacall, and point her toward a new career high. But when a trip to the set of Sunset Boulevard reveals a haunting glimpse into her past, Kathryn isn’t sure who to trust, especially when a hot new rival hits town.

Gwendolyn Brick thought her new store would be a hit, but she never realized it could become a target. Threatened by Los Angeles’ most notorious madam, Gwendolyn will need a Hollywood-style miracle to keep her store alive.

Twisted Boulevard is the sixth installment in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga. If you like richly woven details, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love Martin Turnbull’s captivating historical fiction series.

~oOo~

And here now is the first chapter:

CHAPTER 1

Gwendolyn Brick was surprised at how different Sunset Boulevard looked from twenty-five feet in the air. Its effervescence at street level had always quickened her pulse; new stores, bars, and nightclubs were always opening to replace old ones whose time had waned or whose owners weren’t the impresarios they’d imagined. But standing on the roof of 8623 Sunset, Gwendolyn discovered that in the twenty-one years she’d lived in LA, she’d never wondered what the view was like from the top.

“You’re on top now,” she told herself. “In a few hours, you’ll be one of those guys. Let’s hope you’re as shrewd as you think you are.”

The afternoon sunlight slanted across the traffic, catching the bold stripes of the front awning of Mocambo as the club’s sign flickered to life. Several blocks east, lights illuminated the white columns around the entrance to Ciro’s, whose neon “C” glowed like a halo.

Dazzling personalities had surged through this town, loaded with talent and handed opportunity like caviar on a silver tray. Gwendolyn had watched them glitter and shine, only to see their egos crash-land like the Hindenburg. A speck of doubt caught in her throat. Could she really compete here?

She glanced at her watch; it was now-or-never o’clock.

A brisk February wind blustered up the boulevard, whipping her emerald silk dress around her calves. She peered over the ledge to make sure the tangerine cloth she’d hung over the sign of her brand-new dress shop was staying put, then scuttled across the graveled rooftop to climb down the ladder as gracefully as her skirt permitted. A dark blue DeSoto pulled into the lot below and three figures emerged holding boxes crammed with the stuff of which successful launches were made: booze.

Gwendolyn had known Kathryn Massey and Marcus Adler since the week they all moved into the Garden of Allah Hotel. She’d arrived from the other Hollywood—the one in Florida—knowing nobody, and she didn’t like to think where she’d be without them. She certainly wouldn’t be opening her own store along the same stretch of road that boasted some of the most famous addresses in America.

“How many people are you expecting?” Kathryn asked when she reached the store’s rear entrance.

“Twenty-five, maybe?”

“We bought four dozen bottles of champagne, so we’ll just make it,” Marcus teased. “And Oliver’s got a surprise.”

Oliver Trenton was Marcus’ . . . Gwendolyn wasn’t sure what to call him. Paramour? Lover? Suitor? Beau? Whatever the word, he was a sweet fellow who made Marcus happy.

Oliver pulled a brushed-silver hip flask from inside his jacket, unscrewed the top, and handed it to her, saying, “I call it the Gwentini! Champagne, gin, and lemon juice, which we’ll serve in a martini glass. Ice optional.”

It was bubbly and lemony, and packed a wallop.

“By about nine o’clock, the glass will be optional, too.” Kathryn tilted her head toward Gwendolyn’s doorway. “I’m dying to see what you’ve done with the place.”

Gwendolyn ushered her friends through the back room and into the salon.

She’d had the walls painted in mottled crème. The trim was dark turquoise to match the chintz curtains that softened the room’s hard edges, and the carpet was deep plum. The counter was on the right, a full-length tri-fold mirror on the left. Overhead, the pale lavender glass light fixtures had a hint of pink—Gwendolyn’s years at Bullocks Wilshire had taught her plenty about the importance of great lighting.

“Oh, Gwennie!” Kathryn pressed her hands together. “It’s perfect! And the sign? Can we see it?”

“Not until the unveiling. Didn’t you notice when you drove in? Tangerine to match my scarf—OH!” Gwendolyn’s hand shot to her neck. “My lucky scarf! Where is it?”

Ordinarily, she wasn’t inclined to superstition, but she’d lent that scarf to Edith Head on the day Howard Hughes flew his Spruce Goose, and when Edith returned it to her at the Garden of Allah, she saw Gwendolyn’s portrait and told her it was worth a small fortune. Gwendolyn had been wearing that scarf when she learned what the painting fetched at auction, and was wearing it the day she found this store. Marcus had his lucky purple tie and Gwendolyn had her lucky tangerine scarf. She knew it was ridiculous, but the thought of opening without it sent her into a panic.

“We’ll help you look,” Oliver said.

“People will be arriving soon. I need you to set up the bar.” Gwendolyn pointed to the counter and let the boys start preparing for a crowd whose thirst would be as deep as Sunset Boulevard was long.

“Where did you last see it?” Kathryn asked.

Gwendolyn dismissed the question with a wave. “Never mind. I’m being silly.”

“Nonsense. Surely we don’t need a whole hour to find a scarf.”

Gwendolyn followed Kathryn into the spacious back room that could easily accommodate the dressmakers she’d need to hire if her couture services took off the way she hoped. They searched for the scarf among dress forms, boxes of notions, bolts of material, and the worktable, to no avail. The fleck of doubt she’d felt on the roof caught in her throat again, but Kathryn grabbed her hands.

“Gwennie?” Kathryn fixed her with the penetrating look she usually saved for Hollywood Reporter interviews with recalcitrant movie stars. “I want to tell you how proud I am of you before things get crazy.”

Gwendolyn blinked away unexpected tears. “You mean ‘drunk’?”

“You came to LA with nothing but moxie and talent—”

“My acting talent?”

They giggled.

“Your lack of acting talent made room for your real one.” Kathryn squeezed her hands. “And now you’re about to open your own store! On the Sunset Strip! And it’s gorgeous! I couldn’t be more thrilled for you.”

Marcus appeared in the doorway, waving the silk scarf. “We found this under your counter.”

“Thank you!” Gwendolyn plucked it out of his hands and wound it around her neck, draping the ends on either side of her right shoulder. “So these Gwentinis you mentioned, when do I get to taste one?”

* * *

Gwendolyn and Kathryn, Marcus and Oliver had scarcely finished their first cocktail when Gwendolyn’s neighbor burst through the door. Bertie Kreuger was not the type to doll herself up, so Gwendolyn was touched to see she’d put some effort into taming her unruly hair with a dozen pins clustered around the back of her head. She’d even squeezed into a pair of patent leather mules. Gwendolyn knew what a sacrifice this was for someone who spent the day on her feet.

Marcus’ sister, Doris, trailed behind Bertie and held the door for Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who were back in town to pen a remake of Ernst Lubitch’s The Shop Around the Corner for MGM. Gwendolyn had missed chatting with Frances and Albert around the Garden, and she was pleased to see them.

More people showed up: neighbors and their boyfriends, her boss from Bullocks, even Chuck the bartender from her long-gone days as the Cocoanut Grove’s cigarette girl. Before she knew it, her store was crowded with smiling faces and fizzy laughter, but the special guest she was hoping for failed to show.

Kathryn nudged her. “Expecting someone else?”

“Huh?”

“You keep looking at the door.”

“No, no,” Gwendolyn said. “I was just hoping—never mind.” She clapped her hands several times. “Outside! Outside!” She herded everyone toward the sidewalk and arranged them in a semicircle around the front door.

“Wait! I don’t want to miss this bit!”

Dorothy Parker was tottering up Sunset from the direction of the Chateau Marmont, waving a white lace handkerchief. She was back in Hollywood to adapt Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windemere’s Fan for Twentieth Century-Fox. Gwendolyn thought Dottie was brave to take on Wilde, but if anybody could pull it off, Dottie could.

Oliver slipped a Gwentini into Dottie’s hand as Gwendolyn cast around one more time. The face she wanted most to see was still absent.

“Welcome, everybody! This is a big day for me—” an outburst of cheering forced her to pause “—and whether this store of mine is a resounding success or an embarrassing flopperoo, I want to say that your being here means the world to me.”

To raucous applause, she yanked on the green ribbon she’d sewn to the tangerine cotton covering her sign. Cecil B. DeMille himself couldn’t have orchestrated a more picturesque puff of wind to billow beneath the curtain and send it fluttering to the sidewalk.

CHEZ GWENDOLYN
Modiste & Couturier
Fashion for All Occasions

The sight of it left Gwendolyn dizzy with joy.

The evening flew by in a rush of roaring laughter, air kisses, and increasingly slurry toasts. A wooly haze of contentment blurred Gwendolyn’s edges until Marcus gripped her elbow and directed his eyes toward the front of the store. The trim figure in a suit of midnight blue was barely over five feet tall, yet seemed to fill the doorway like a bulldozer.

Marcus slid two fresh Gwentinis into her hands and she elbowed her way through the crowd toward one of Hollywood’s leading costume designers.

Gwendolyn didn’t need the approval of Edith Head, or her blessing, but it sure went a long way toward dissolving Gwendolyn’s qualms about blowing all her dough on a pipe dream.

Gwendolyn and Edith pressed cheeks.

“My dear!” Edith murmured into her cocktail, “I’m so frightfully impressed.”

“Thank you. I’m glad you could make it.”

“Sorry to be so late. I got caught up with William Travilla over at Warners. They’ve got him designing ballet costumes for an Errol Flynn-Ida Lupino picture.” Edith read Gwendolyn’s thoughts. “I know! So incongruous! He was having trouble with the designs and sent me an SOS this afternoon. That’s when we heard about Leilah.”

“What about Leilah?”

The chatter around them broke off and everyone turned to look at Edith. Leilah O’Roarke was the wife of the head of security at Warners, but more importantly, she ran a trio of swanky brothels up in the Hollywood Hills.

Edith knocked back the rest of her Gwentini. “She’s been arrested! For pandering!”

The crowd gasped. Marcus’ sister piped up. “What’s pandering?”

“It’s the legal term police use when they arrest hookers and the like.”

“So it’s finally caught up with her?” someone said wistfully.

“Big deal,” somebody else put in. “With her husband’s connections at the LAPD, she’ll be out before we start staggering home tonight.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Edith replied. “She was arrested at dawn and she’s still behind bars. Everyone at Warners is speculating that they must really have the goods on her.”

Kathryn eyed Gwendolyn. “Maybe pandering is just a cover.”

What most people didn’t know, Edith Head included, was that Leilah O’Roarke and her husband were behind a shady land grab around the newly minted mobster-ruled playground, Las Vegas. Gwendolyn’s ex-boyfriend had discovered the scheme and become so frightened that he ran away to Mexico. Which was all very well for Linc, but not so reassuring for everyone who had done business with Leilah, legitimate and otherwise.

“So what do you think?” Gwendolyn asked.

Edith blinked knowingly. “I think that anyone with even so much as a passing acquaintance with that noxious hellcat needs to watch out. If she goes down, you can be sure she’ll take as many chumps as she can with her.”

~oOo~

Twisted Boulevard is due for release November 2016

~oOo~

AND IN OTHER NEWS…

Los Angeles Public Library Local Author Spotlight on Martin Turnbull

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I was recently featured in the Local Author Spotlight series run by the Los Angeles Public Library, in which they focus on L.A.-based authors. You can read the interview HERE.

~oOo~

A sampling of recent reviews for Martin Turnbull’s
Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels by Martin Turnbull

The Garden on Sunset: “My intention was to order a true history of the Garden of Allah hotel. Since there was no other new book to read I went forward, fully intending to take up some of my daily reading time, then give the book away. I was blown away! My reaction was completely unexpected. This book was great; kept me glued to the pages. After writing this review I’m going to see what else Martin Turnbull has to offer. If, like me, you like reading about old Hollywood and you’re not much of a fiction fan, I highly recommend you try this book anyway. I’m not a convert to fiction, but am to Martin Turnbull.”

Citizen Hollywood:Very well written and very hard to put down. I have been buying this series one after the other. Reading from cover to cover and really enjoying the feel of them all. I live 50 miles from Hollywood and am like the rest of the world fascinated with it. This is even better. These are the stars I seen in movies growing up in black and white, when glamour did not need color.”

Reds in the Beds:I’m no slouch when it comes to Hollywood history and Mr. Turnbull has an uncanny knack for intertwining his three fictional leads with all the characters and red-letter and events of old Hollywood. And they always seem to dovetail flawlessly. The man has done his homework.”

~oOo~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

For tons of photos and information about the places and people mentioned
in the Garden of Allah novels, visit Martin Turnbull on Facebook
and/or go to his Photo Blog on his website.

~oOo~

http://martinturnbull.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=62c973885c7e930d8b9a754aa&id=e5f41676a2

~oOo~

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