Blues for Martha Stewart
It’s funny what can plant the first seeds of a novel in your subconscious. For my comic mystery, No Place Like Home, it was an odd news story about how Martha Stewart had learned to play the blues while serving her prison time for insider trading.
It put this hilarious picture of Martha in my head: I saw her with stringy hair, all grungy, sitting by a hobo’s campfire playing the blues on a beat-up guitar.
It turned out the story was totally untrue, but it stuck with me.
A few years later, I heard a story on NPR about a wealthy New York magazine editor who lost everything to Bernie Madoff.
I thought, oh, my: what if Martha Stewart had lost everything to Bernie Madoff, and instead of going to jail, she’d ended up homeless. Would she have bounced back so elegantly?
When I started to write that day—working on a whole different story—in walked a Martha-like home decorating maven named Doria Windsor, editor of Home magazine, married to a Bernie Madoff-type named Harry Sharkov, recently deceased.
So I burned her house down and left her penniless and on the lam as a suspect in her husband’s death (authors can be so mean.)
I changed the book’s working title to Blues for Martha Stewart.
Doria managed to find herself a trio of intrepid homeless friends named Lucky and Bucky and Joe—and an ugly little dog named Toto. Then she got a job working for Camilla Randall, my always-polite reluctant sleuth—who was supposed to be the heroine of the story. (Sorry Camilla)
I even got them all sitting around a campfire, singing to the strumming of a beat-up guitar.
But I never could get my “Martha” to play the blues. Somehow she never looked right with that guitar, no matter how I many times I tried to put it in the scene.
Eventually, Camilla re-asserted herself as the primary heroine by threatening to become homeless too. She set out to find out if Harry “the Shark” Sharkov was a murderer as well as the Ponzi schemer who stole her landlord’s fortune, and both she and Doria finally got homes and found a little romance along the way.
Little Toto made his way home, too.
Anne R. Allen is a former actress and stage director who lives on the Central Coast of California. She’s the author of six romantic-comedy mysteries. Her latest is NO PLACE LIKE HOME. She has written a guidebook for authors with Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of the iconic novel Pay it Forward.) HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…AND KEEP YOUR E-SANITY! She shares an award-winning blog with NYT bestselling author Ruth Harris at Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris, named one of the Best 101 Sites for Writers by Writers Digest.
Jack Lewis Baillot just released A Stretch of Loyalty, Book One in the Loyalty Trilogy. Congratulations, Jack!!
Pat Hatt made some awesome wanted posters for his blogger buddies. Check out mine! Thanks, Pat.
Sean McLachlan’s latest book just came out from Osprey Publishing - Tombstone - Wyatt Earp, the O.K. Corral, and the Vendetta Ride 1881-82. Congratulations, Sean!
And don’t forget the Wednesday Movie Quote – animal films!
Release date – July 15, 2013
Science fiction stories of time and space...
The future of humanity must be decided in Next Phase. Winning the Planetary Lottery is not as lucky as it first seems in Schrodinger's Gamble. An apocalypse and its aftermath threaten to tear one couple apart in Daiker's Children. In Life As I Know It a reclusive man finds both his heart and home invaded during an alien harvest. In Taking Time a demon seeking shelter on a distant planet finds himself facing a very different kind of demon, after answering a frontier settlement's plea for help.
Caught the 3D showing early on Friday and yes, it was awesome!
The actors did a great job – they picked the right people for the roles. Henry Cavill was perfectly cast as Superman. (I would like to see Laurence Fishburne more in the next film though.)
The special effects were excellent (as expected) and it had a solid plot. Purists might note some changes, but the film was patterned after the New 52 DC comics, and I had no problem with it.
Like The Dark Knight, this is a serious Superman. It’s heavy handed – almost too much at times – but that’s better than a cheesy adaptation.
I’m a huge fan of fight scenes, but even I thought “enough already” at the ending.
The only other problems included odd editing and a bit of a distant feel to the film.
However, it’s a great start to what will hopefully be a long running series – made $125 million this weekend. Recommended!
Now, where’s my Justice League of America movie?
Any odd news spark your creativity? Following Anne’s awesome site? Excited about all the new books? And did anyone else see Man of Steel this weekend?