Thanks to KJ Howe for inviting me to guest blog on The Romance Bandits.
I am a writer, a chiropractor, and a cranio-sacral therapist. Since my debut novel, Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys, was published by Krill Press November, 2010, I am also officially an author.
In 1992, I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago to marry the man of my dreams. I pictured sunny skies and marital bliss. I dreamt that we would learn how to rollerblade together on the path that wound around the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
When I decided to write a mystery whose protagonist, (here’s a stretch,) was a woman named Annie who moved to L.A. from the Midwest, I knew I wanted it to be a comedy. I also knew I had to poke fun of both parts of the country. Equal opportunity smart-assery.
Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys is about a baker with a pinch of empathic ability who is haunted by the ghost of the famous Self-Help Author who ruined her marriage.
I mined my life, the city of Los Angeles, and the Midwest for embarrassing and challenging situations in which to drop Annie, and then watch her claw her way out.
I thought The Romance Bandit’s readers would enjoy a behind the scenes look at some of the inspiration for Cupcakes, Lies and Dead Guys. NO SPOILERS for those of you who haven’t read the book yet….
Thai Massage Scene (L.A.). My friend found this place on some list for ‘The Best of the Cheapest in L.A.’ Were Happy Endings really happening at this slightly skivvy massage parlor? I don’t know for sure, but there was a lot of questionable ambience and there were definitely back rooms. I accidentally stumbled upon them once when I was slightly befuddled after a massage.
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Annie’s hometown. This is a real town outside of Milwaukee. I love saying the word. Try saying it three times in a row. My grandpa grew up in this town, so we’d go back to visit an aging relative or attend funerals. It has a gorgeous cemetery that is on a lake. I wouldn’t mind having my ashes there one day.
The Toboggan Accident. When I was a kid, we’d vacation at this fabulous Wisconsin resort called Lake Lawn where we’d ice skate, toboggan, and eat heaps of comfort food. Calories didn’t matter back then. I nearly drowned in the hot tub there when I was four year old but I was plucked out at the last minute.
Nancy. Annie’s mother in CL&DG. Yes, the character is loosely based on my real-life mother. Please don’t tell her.
The Sunset Strip. During the day, it’s filled with people shopping at the upscale boutiques and noshing at trendy cafes. At night, it transforms into a mixture of music lovers, perverts, partiers, and wannabes. I will not confess which category I fall into.
Derrick Fuller’s estate. You should see some of the mansions out here in L.A. They run the gamut from gorgeous to tacky beyond belief.
The Porn Movie Set. I made this up. Look over there! Is that Jennifer Aniston on a hot date? (Okay. Psst. I have a friend whose boyfriend is friends with some big cheese porn producer dude. When my friend and her BF visited me in L.A., I took them to Malibu, Venice Beach. Then I suggested yoga. They suggested a strip club.) I made this scene up. Really.
And last, I compiled a short list of The Midwest vs. L.A.: The Best, Worst, and the Most Ridiculous.
*Great sports teams and insanely supportive fans.
*Best comfort food, evah.
*Friends and family.
Los Angeles: Best
*Beaches, mountains, desert.
*A creative spirit that wafts through the air like—oh wait, that’s the smog.
*Drinking coffee outside on February wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops.
*How long Winter lasts (Approximately six months.)
*Scraping ice off your windshield.
Los Angeles: Worst
*Crummy public transportation.
*All the women under a size 2.
*How long it takes to drive anywhere on a Friday.
*Too many models and MTAs.
Midwest: Most Ridiculous
*That Marshall Fields no longer exists.
*That the Chicago Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908.
*Minus forty in the winter and 99 degrees in the summer.
Los Angeles: Most Ridiculous
*That you need to be on a guest list to attend a funeral.
*That it takes two hours to get fourteen miles away if you leave at 3 pm, but only twenty minutes on your return trip at 7:30 pm.
Midwest: My Favorites!
*Chicago all decked out for Christmas.
*Autumn in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois.
*Chicago’s Italian food.
*Chicago’s Printer’s Row.
*Taking the El in Chicago.
*Friends and family.
Los Angeles: My Favorites!
*Self-realization fellowship shrine.
Thank you. I welcome your comments and questions. Now please go read a good book and tell someone what you love about it!
It was great having you here, Pamela. Wishing you all the best in your pursuits! You can visit Pamela on her Facebook link at
It was great having you here, Pamela. Wishing you all the best in your pursuits! You can visit Pamela on her Facebook link athttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Cupcakes-Lies-and-Dead-Guys/145404255487900 KJ