It’s release day for The Forgotten Flapper!

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I’m so very excited to announce that The Forgotten Flapper releases today! Yesterday, a lovely review was posted in the Rat Creek Press, a great little neighborhood paper here in Edmonton (see page 10).

Last night, I was able to take multiple copies to Audrey’s, our wonderful local bookshop, so my husband took me out for celebratory drinks on a nearby restaurant patio (a G & T on a warm day is a lovely reward. Trust me on this).

Until I can get it into the bookstore near you, please visit Amazon and check it out. If you like classic films (especially silent ones), and/or you like the recent spate of biographical fiction of famous women (Zelda Fitzgerald, Beryl Markham, Coco Chanel, and the like), I think you’ll enjoy it. And Olive, being the feisty, fun-loving girl she is, will love your support.

I’ve also discounted the e-book of my first novel, Love Lies Bleeding, to celebrate the release. So if you haven’t read it yet, this is a good time to!

For those of us in Alberta, this is a long weekend. Why not relax and enjoy it with a little reading?

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The first few steps up the self-publishing ladder…

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So it’s been a few weeks since I made my decision. I’ve already found a cover designer I ADORE. It might cost a bit more than some of the others that are out there, but I think it will be totally worth it.

I got some recommendations from a friend on editors who might be good with my genre. It was hard choosing between the two, but I made my decision this past week, and will be getting edited in January. So excited! Also beginning to build my email list.

After studying the ecopy, I ordered a hard copy of Catherine Ryan Howard’s Self Printed, so have been tabbing pages and underlining important content.

I’ve been setting up my marketing plan ever since I made my decision, hoping I’ll be able to get everything I want done. One of my ideas is to try to set up a table at Cinecon, but I have to see if they find my book suitable (since it’s fiction based on fact). If I can’t, I’ll have to network and print off a bunch of advertising postcards and/or bookmarks about it and just attend the festival.

The folks at the Hollywood Heritage Museum have already expressed interest in having me host a launch party there (so that’s the biggie!).

Yesterday,  I stumbled across my friend, Kim Grabas’  post on her blog, “71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book.” Thanks, Kim! There are a few more ideas here I need to put into effect.

Is your book underway? Mostly finished? Complete? Have you thought about your marketing plan yet? Your editor? Your cover designer?

Then what are you waiting for?

Lost Films

In my quest to learn everything I possibly can about the silent and early sound film eras, I’ve bought every old Hollywood biography I can find. Plus many other research books. I can’t even fit them all in a bookshelf any more. They’re clustered around the foot of it. One of the facts I keep running across that fills me with sorrow is the loss of hundreds (possibly thousands) of silent films.

I hadn’t realized until now that over 90% of silent films have been lost. 90%! That’s a lotta film. Not celluloid, mind you, but nitrate, which was the material they used back then. Unfortunately, the film stock itself was flammable. So with the constant threat of fire in the bad old days, one studio fire could eradicate an entire inventory of a company’s films, like the one in 1937 which wiped out all of Fox’s films from before 1935.

But as history progresses, copies of films are unearthed from the most unlikely sources. In the late 1970s, workers excavating for a new recreation center found that over 500 reels of film that had previously been considered lost. They were made from 1903 to 1929, and had been used as fill to cover up an old outdoor swimming pool! They now call it “The Dawson City find.”

Once in a while, an archive from someplace as remote as Australia or as close as Rochester, New York can unearth a film they weren’t aware they had. Someone cleaning out a grandfather’s attic might find a copy, or a widow finds out her spouse had old film canisters down in the basement she didn’t know about.

Just last month, a guy tearing down an old barn in New Hampshire (that evidently had been part of a boy’s camp that must have shown the films to its campers) found a copy of Mary Pickford’s lost Their First Misunderstanding. In it, she starred with her first husband Owen Moore. How cool is that?

Theda Bara is one of the main casualties of the period. Because she was on the Fox roster, hers were among those in the 1937 fire. I would so love to have seen what made her the Lady Gaga of her day– her outrageously revealing costumes for the period, her vamp persona– all of it.

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Theda in Cleopatra

Because I’ve written a book about Olive Thomas, I was sad how few of her films I was able to view to get a feel for her. I would love to have seen Upstairs and Down, where she played bitchy Alice Chesterton. It was that role that I consider the first flapper. From it, she became more popular, and was shaped into the Baby Vamp that became her main screen persona.

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Olive Thomas

In researching Marie Prevost, I’ve discovered how few of her films exist. The stills from her time at the Sennett studios are so fun and breezy, and being an animal lover, I’d have enjoyed seeing Teddy the Dog co-starring with the Bathing Beauties.

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Marie and Teddy the Wonder Dog

But one of the wonders of the film world that I’m bereft we’re still missing is London After Midnight. Lon Chaney was a genius. No one watching Phantom of the Opera or The Hunchback of Notre Dame can deny it. I’m hoping that there is an archive somewhere with a dusty corner closet they’ve been meaning to clean out, but haven’t had the time yet.

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Lon in costume for London After Midnight

Clean out your attics, people. We’ve got more movies to watch!