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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Gatsby Game is Out!

My life continues to zoom along at warp speed. Mark Williams just told me that THE GATSBY GAME is up at Amazon this morning--a week ahead of schedule.

It's a book I had to write--one that's been sitting in my head  for decades. It's based on the mysterious death of David Whiting during the filming of the Burt Reynolds film, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. I knew David personally, and I've always wanted to tell my theory of how he might have died, based on what I knew of his quirky personality. (It was ruled an accident, but many people call it a suicide, and some think it was murder.)  The characters in THE GATSBY GAME are fictional, but some of the scenes really happened--and David was as obsessed with F. Scott Fitzgerald as my character Alistair Milbourne. A couple of letters that serve as clues in the novel are real--and I still have them.

This has been called one of Hollywood's Most Notorious Scandals of all time,  Here is what writer Phil Nugent said about it in his article in Nerve.com. Note he says David Whiting committed suicide, which was probably not the case.

#7: The STARS: Sarah Miles and Burt Reynolds

THE SCANDAL: In 1972, Miles and Reynolds, both of whose careers were just taking off, co-starred in the Western romance The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. In the movie, the rough outlaw played by Reynolds abducts and eventually wins the heart of the flinty English beauty played by Miles, in the course of a story that requires her to suffer at the hands of crueler, less photogenic men. Midway through filming, Miles herself was physically attacked by her business manager, David Whiting, and sought sanctuary by fleeing to Reynolds' quarters; the next morning, Whiting was found to have committed suicide.
THE FALLOUT: At first, the creepy synchronicity between the movie's plot and what happened on the set inspired a certain amount of interest and rumor-mongering, and Esquire ran a purplish article by Ron Rosenbaum titled "The Corpse as Big as he Ritz."...[Miles'] failure to become a star probably had little to do with the unhappy fate of David Whiting. As for Burt Reynolds, Cat Dancing was a blip in his career, sandwiched between his first big hits Deliverance and White Lightning, and was almost instantaneously forgotten."

In spite of what Nugent says above, the scandal did have a terrible impact on Sarah Miles. It destroyed her marriage (although she and Sir Robert Bolt did eventually re-marry) and her career came to a screeching halt. She's detailed these events in her fascinating memoirs, Serves Me Right and Bolt from the Blue

I've never met Miss Miles, but I have great sympathy for her. I think she was only guilty of too much compassion for David, who was a brilliant, tragic, and sometimes comically self-deluded man/child.

I have made the nanny the protagonist of the novel, giving her the name Nicky Conway, echoing the detached narrator of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway. Although there was a real nanny suspected in David's case, I know nothing about her, and Nicky is not meant to represent her in any way. 

I changed the setting of the story from the small town of Gila Bend, Arizona to the small California oil town of Taft, for no particular reason except I've always wanted to set a story in Taft, which has a tragi-comic history of its own (it was originally named Moron) and it's closer to me than Gila Bend.

THE GATSBY GAME (with a forward by Saffina Desforges) is available as an ebook at at amazon.com and at amazon.co.uk, and will soon be up at B&N and iTunes, and will be available in paper in 4-6 weeks. 

This book would never have been published if it weren't for my blog, so I'll be talking a little about the rumored "death of the blog" in my Sunday post, and I'd love to have readers weigh in on whether they think blogging (or not blogging) has impacted their writing careers.

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Blogger Spook said...

Aww, what a sad story! *sniffs* I think I may have to acquire meself a copy of this the moment I get my grubby paws on some cash!

October 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Ooooh! Exciting! Are you giddy? Or exhausted? Or both????

I love the mix of fact & fic and the idea of solving the crime. Great title, too...the bestest of luck, Anne! You've earned it.

October 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Kamille Elahi said...

Congratulations! I hope everything goes well for you.

This sounds rather intriguing. But due to my lack of cash, I don't have a kindle. I'll have to wait for a physical copy. Unless I get a Kindle anytime soon.

October 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Rick Daley said...

Sounds interesting!

October 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Ann Best said...

This sounds fascinating, Anne! I was obsessed with F. Scott Fitzgerald when I was nineteen. The Great Gatsby, in my view, is one of the greatest short novels in Twentieth Century literature, and I am so curious to see what you have done with all this. The Gatsby Game is definitely a book I will work into my kindle budget! Congratulations!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

October 6, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Spook--It's sad, but funny, too. Unfortunately it won't be in paper in the UK, unless we can get it through the Book Depository, which I'm working on. But the Kindle version is cheap. (Maybe Mark will give you a student discount, if he's not worried you'll be distracted from your writing on St. Mallory's:-))

Thanks, Ruth--I think all of the above would be the answer to that. Glad you think it sounds intriguing.

Kamille--This is embarrassing, but I don't have a Kindle yet either. But it's on my Christmas wish list.

Rick--thanks! And I'm looking forward to your guest post here soon!

Thanks a bunch, Ann. I'll be very interested in your reaction. I think you'll find one of the subplots relevant to your own history.

October 6, 2011 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Sarah Pearson said...

I have this on my 'to buy' list for next week :-)

To Kamille: I don't have a kindle either, I downloaded the free app for kindle to PC and I can read them that way.

October 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's up now? Wow!
And blogging has made a huge impact on my career!

October 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Bryan Russell said...

Congrats! It sounds absolutely fascinating.

October 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Kamille Elahi said...

@Sarah. I didn't know that *embarrassed* I think I'll wait for the paper version though. The bright laptop light gives me a headache.

October 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Wow, that sounds interesting!

October 6, 2011 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Donna Hole said...



October 7, 2011 at 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Sara Grambusch said...

Love when I see testaments to the power of blogging. Good luck on the continued releases.

October 7, 2011 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sarah--I'll be so grateful if you do--especially if you go to the trouble of reading it on your PC. I haven't been able to do that. The computer feels like work, and when I'm relaxing, I like to be in a cozy chair. I'll get me a Kindle soon, though.

Alex--I think the people who say blogging doesn't help authors should talk to you!

Bryan--You might like it. It's one of my books that's not even close to being chick lit. My publisher wanted to make sure the designer didn't put anything pink on the cover. So guys can read it without fear.

Michelle and Donna--thanks so much for your support all this time.

Sara--I agree. Blogging is a powerful tool for writers. Thanks for the good luck wishes. I'm going to need it. This is exciting, but scary, too.

October 7, 2011 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger February Grace said...

congratulations Anne! I'm so happy for you. Cheering you on every step of the way!


October 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger February Grace said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger February Grace said...

sorry for the duplicate- blogger hiccup.

October 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Patricia Gligor said...

Ann, your book sounds intriguing; another one to add to my "must read" list. I happen to be an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. My two favorites are "The Great Gatsby" and "Tender is the Night."

October 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Deearest Miss Allen,
Wahoo! Yikes? Does this mean I have to buy a Kindle? Have you become a Third Business in my path to non-luddite?
Mazeltov, I say.

October 9, 2011 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks, Bru!

Patricia--Those are my two favorite Fitzgerald titles, too.

CS--I think we're all going to have to buy Kindles very soon. But it will be out in paper in a month or so.

October 9, 2011 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

Anne - The story sounds fantastic, and I'm curious why Whiting originally attacked Miles. I've been to Taft, by the way. I worked on a Nike commercial starring Mia Hamm that was filmed there. Interesting little town.

October 10, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger TerryLynnJohnson said...


October 10, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

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