Wednesday, February 23, 2011

by KJ Howe

Please welcome Pamela DuMond from LA, who is here today to share her adventures during the writing of Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys (what a great title!).

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.

Instead, I spent my honeymoon with friends because hubbie wanted to work. Imagine my surprise when my marriage tanked several years later. This was the part where I was supposed to pack up the kitties, the dog, and move back to the Midwest. But I rebelled. Much to my mother’s dismay, I stayed in L.A. because I fell in love with this bizarre town.

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.

Midwest: Best

*Great sports teams and insanely supportive fans.


*Friendly people.

*Best comfort food, evah.

*Friends and family.

Los Angeles: Best

*Awesome Weather.

*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.


Midwest: Worst

*The Weather.

*How long Winter lasts (Approximately six months.)


*Scraping ice off your windshield.

Los Angeles: Worst

*The traffic.

*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.

*Celebrity Spottings.

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!


*Malibu Beach.

*Thai massage.

*Self-realization fellowship shrine.

*The weather.

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 KJ


BJ said...

Wow This sounds like a fun read!!!
I've actually lived in both places so I can totally relate!!!
Now I live in CO....I still long for Christmas in Chicago (gosh it's the best!) and I do miss the beaches of the west!!!! Thank God I still have my buddies that live in both cites I can visit or I might go NUTS!!!!

BJ said...

LOL...Oh Let the rumors begin!!!
I hate to think what he has been up to while I've been away!!!!

Jane said...

Congrats on your debut release, Pamela. I love the book title, too. Chicago is a fun city. We had drinks at the top of the Hancock Building and had some deep dish pizza.

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Thanks B.J. and Jane! It's been a really interesting journey and a fun ride. I hope you enjoy the read.

Thanks Romance Bandits and Kimberley for having me guest blog. And Thanks Grant Jerkins for hooking us all up! You are awesome, sir!


Pam DuMond

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! The title is fabulous ... and so are you for staying in LA!

Many of your "bests" for LA are the same here in Hawaii ... except that we don't have as many size 2s as you ... the Native Hawaiians are quite large!

We do wear "slippahs"* while drinking Blue Hawaiians on the beach!

* Slippahs is the Pidgin word for flip flops. If you call them flip flop, you'll be laughed off the beach as a tourist!

barb said...

Well done BJ enjoy him ... he might need a run round the block as I think he ate too many tim tams

Sounds a good book Pamela.... can't say anything about the different cities as I have never been to the US......
Kim they call flip flop thongs in Australia

KJ Howe said...

Hi BJ, Congrats on the GR!!!!

KJ Howe said...

Jane, i love Chicago--best shoe shopping I've experienced. :)

KJ Howe said...

Welcome, Pamela. Looking forward to having some fun today. You were very brave staying in LA, but it looks like it turned out quite well.

KJ Howe said...

Hey Kim in Hawaii--now that's where I'd like to live. I was there for the writer's conference and I'm quite sad it is now defunct.

KJ Howe said...

Barb, you'll have to come over to North America. I love Australia. My brother lived in Sydney for four years, so I had the chance to visit.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, BJ, he's back with you today!

Pamela, welcome to the lair! I have to say that's such a GREAT title! Congratulations on the publication of your debut!

Donna MacMeans said...

Welcome to the lair, Pamela!

What a great title - and the trailer is a lot of fun as well.

I moved from the east coast to the midwest around 6th/7th grade and must say, I do like the people here. Who knows - eventually I'll make it to the West coast for more than a visit. I do love Chicago, though. Great city - to visit. Not sure I could handle those winters.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Pamela! Welcome to the Bandit Lair! What a great title. And I ADORE the best/worsts.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cripes, my post finger was too twitchy. Grins.

BJ! Congrats on catching the golden rooster.

Sounds like you can relate to Pamela's best/worst list.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kim in Hawaii said: * Slippahs is the Pidgin word for flip flops. If you call them flip flop, you'll be laughed off the beach as a tourist!

OMGosh, LOL about this. In NC, growing up, we called flip-flops "thongs" - now that has a WHOLE different meaning and I snicker everytime I think about it.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Barb said: Kim they call flip flop thongs in Australia

OMGosh, there too? What do they call thongs? SNORK!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey KJ! I have to agree with you on the shoe shopping in Chi-town. My DH is a Chicago native and, Pamela, one of those long-suffering Cubs fans.

Seriously, can they not get a team that can go all the way? ARRRGH! My boys all "bleed Cubbie blue" so I've gotten to know quite a bit about Da Cubz.

I'd rather shop for shoes on Michigan avenue, I must confess, but going to Wrigley's a heck of a lot of fun too.

June M. said...

Love the title of your book!

Julie D said...

Great, Pam. I love to say Occonomoc, too. Great book, great title, terrific blog post. AND, I love LA and Wisconsin.


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Sounds like the beginning of a fun series, Pamela. Love all your Best, Worst and Most Ridiculous lists. :)

KJ Howe said...

Thanks for stopping by, Donna. If you'd like some winter, come visit me in Toronto. We are having a whopper, with record snowfall and freezing temps. I want to be a Southerner!!!

KJ Howe said...

That's it, Jeanne, you, me, and shoe shopping in Chicago! :) Wouldn't that be fun?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

KJ said: That's it, Jeanne, you, me, and shoe shopping in Chicago! :) Wouldn't that be fun?

I'm SO THERE!!! Grins.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Pamela. Congrats on your release - sounds like a fantastic read!!

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Okay, you girls are a riot! Slip me whatever you're drinking.

Thanks for the lovely welcome. And thanks Julie Dolcemaschio for attempting to say Oconomowoc.


Pam DuMond

Helen said...

Well done BJ have fun with him

This book sounds like a lot of fun I must read it. I so love the descriptions of the areas and towns seeing as how I live in Australia and as much as I would love to visit The States one day I don't like my chances so descriptions are good.

Congrats on the book Pamela and thanks KJ for inviting Pamela along today

have Fun

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Hey thanks, Helen! Please come visit our wacky country.


Pam DuMond

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Pam, do you love being a chiropractor? I swear by mine. She's an angel and got me through both my pregnancies with no back pain.

Needless to say, I adore her. :>

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Hi Jeanne the Duchess:

I'm so glad you've got a great chiro. I love being a Chiro. I work with people for 1/2 to 1 hour. Long, I know. But I do more bodywork - cranial, soft tissue, visceral, reflexology, all that kind of good stuff. It's a great job. But I'm tired at the end of the day, that's for sure.

Thanks for asking!


Helen said...


What you call thongs we call
G Strings LOL

Have Fun

Pat Cochran said...

Gotta read this book! Especially
if it is as good as your lists!
Thanks for visiting the Lair!

Pat Cochran

Grant Jerkins said...

What's up, Bandits? I know, I should visit more often. Like Pamela said, I told her about you guys, what a great community you've built here, and the warm reception you all gave me and my book. You guys are great.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Grant! Welcome back! It's always lovely to have new authors come hang out with us in the Lair. Grins. Thanks for introducing - via KJ - Pamela to the Lair.

KJ Howe said...

June and Julie, I also love the title...Pamela, did you come up with it yourself or did you work with the publisher to develop it?

KJ Howe said...

Helen, isn't the internet the best invention? Now we can communicate with people worlds away. Love it!

KJ Howe said...

Grant, fabulous to see you! Looking forward to having you back for your next book.

KJ Howe said...

Hi Pat,

Definitely a great read!!!

KJ Howe said...

Waving hi to Trish!!! Thanks for stopping by.

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Okay. I'm joining your group. You all are hysterical.

Thanks for having me on board. And thanks Grant!

The title was my idea. I knew my girl was going to be a baker, I knew there would be a lot of lies and there was obviously a dead guy. And - it's another list! (I'm a little OCD that way.) For about 2 weeks it was 'Margaritas, Vibes and Dead Guys'. But then I returned to the first title.

Thanks K.H. and the Romance Bandits for being so welcoming and such a blast! Drinks are on me!

Pam DuMond