“North of Sunset” New Cover + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2015

2010 cover
2010 cover

I first published NORTH OF SUNSET in late 2010—back when Amazon allowed us to put books into five categories rather than just two! Anyway, I finally found the time to get the cover redesigned as the first version looked like this small cover to your right.

Pretty lame, I know. I was adamant about using the cover photo because it was taken at Santa Monica Beach right at the edge of Sunset Boulevard and at 5:00 PM in December – sunset for real!

2011 cover
2011 cover

A year later, I fixed the font but the result wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I was going to get it professionally redone when I got involved in some soap crafting projects that kept me away from my Fireworks program. However, I hired a cover designer and the third cover below reflects the somberness of the book. This isn’t a conventional romance, it’s more of a contemporary fiction tale, a Hollywood story about a man who lives in that expensive enclave overlooking down the city of Los Angeles.

Here’s the new blurb: Sherman Lee is a volatile action movie producer in search of critical acclaim. Best friend Wesley Barron stars in his hit movies and knows about the producer’s troubled past. Emily Karelin is sent to work for Sherman due to her lack of show biz knowledge. Temping to support her figure skating habit, Emily works in his Beverly Hills mansion, unaware of how her life will drastically change. NORTH OF SUNSET explores the life of an ambitious man living above it all. Someone whose motto is “the only problem with being #1 is that it never lasts.”

north of sunset by lisa maliga
NEW 2015 cover

CHAPTER FOUR

The phone rang. He grabbed it. Silence. Then the sound of a static-filled voice: “Hi, this is Computer Components calling to let you know…”
“Go to hell!” Sherman shouted and hung up.
He was irritated. Just like he’d been that morning when he drove up to see that dented red Toyota parked beneath the basketball hoop. Reed had started on Friday after he’d fired that Cheetos and Pepsi drinking woman. Reed proved to be a decent assistant. Quick on the phones. Eager to please and he knew all the key names. But he was a lousy typist.
Sherman had been location scouting in Phoenix and was tired. Reed had made sure that a limo was at the airport, but the driver was one of Reed’s struggling actor friends who kept trying to talk to him when he wanted to sleep.
By Monday afternoon Sherman was furious. Reed was simpering on the phone to a bimbo model/actress. Then he offered Sherman the trades and had circled items in red pen, starring the cover page article on North/South Productions’ deal with Fox, Sherman’s company. Obviously Sherman had known about the information for months! So some pipsqueak wannabe producer was pointing it out to him!
Reed took another call for Sherman. “Who’s calling for Mr. Lee? Jerry? Which one–Lewis?” Reed crossed his eyes and made a stupid face.
Sherman lunged for the phone and took the call. “Jerry? Where are you? I’ll call you right back.” He slammed the phone down. “Reed, you’re fired.”
“What?”
“YOU’RE FIRED!” Sherman yelled, his Texas accent very clear. “Get out now!”
Reed decided that the producer wasn’t kidding around. The skinny young man looked very scared. The eyes he’d crossed in mockery were now welling up with tears. “Please, Mr. Lee…I…”
“Get out, you little piece of sh*t.” Sherman saw the fear in the young man’s eyes and felt power surge through him.
Reed headed for the doorway, not wasting an instant.
“You’ll never temp in this town again!” Sherman bellowed.
On Tuesday morning he called Jobs Co. and asked for someone who was competent and didn’t want to make it in show biz.

 Read the official blurb and see where you can get North of Sunset 

 

 

Diary of a Hollywood Nobody ~ A Show Biz Excerpt

Copyright 2011-2015 by Lisa Maliga

Wednesday, July 22

9:20 PM. Back in the world of show biz. 

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaHollywood Financing. The office was on Sunset just east of Beverly Hills. I was a receptionist and the pay sucked but I could have all the free beverages I wanted. Reading on the job was okay. Eight executives worked there and they were a decent bunch. Jack, the lawyer, was in his mid-thirties, but his office was furnished like a kindergarten classroom. He had several cans of Play-Doh and had created some pretty weird sculptures. A fleet of Matchbox cars was parked on a Persian rug. Comic books were stacked on a couch in his suite overlooking Sunset Boulevard. And best of all, there was a kid-sized table and chair for his frequently visiting son that housed an array of coloring books and a box of crayons. Jack rarely accepted any calls and the messages multiplied between the scripts and contracts on his cluttered desk. 

I was allowed to read scripts so I didn’t bother bringing books. Everyone knew I was an aspiring screenwriter and I was glad to work in the Biz again. Leona was from Pennsylvania and said I could call home if I wanted. She was a production coordinator on a recent movie that hadn’t been released yet and had worked with Stallone. She was almost my age and drove a Chevy Blazer and lived in Beverly Hills. I imagined she was making more than what I made.

Here’s the official book description:

Chris Yarborough is a Midwesterner as green as the corn back home in Ohio. This former bookstore employee moves out to Los Angeles to pursue a profitable career in screenwriting.

She finds an office job in a Century City-based tax and financial planning company. The business closes in six months and her career as a temp is launched.

Chris temps in various locations from East L.A. to downtown to Santa Monica and the Valley. Jobs in movie studios bring her in contact with famous actors. As a temp she’s a nobody that’s as disposable as toilet paper.

Searching for a literary agent and that elusive script sale, Chris encounters an array of unusual characters. A partying apartment manager, an important film director who can launch her career, a lawyer with an office furnished in kindergarten motif, and several household names. Sometimes working in the entertainment biz, including stints at Playboy, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros, to jobs in unrelated fields, the plucky screenwriter perseveres.

We’re shown the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood.

Available at Amazon and other online bookstores. See the following page for a full list of online book stores: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Movies & Writing

By Lisa Maliga

Interior of a Movie TheaterHow can movies inspire a writer? Naturally, I’m a movie buff and I’m inspired by so many of ’em!

Watching The Shining many times I not only thought that Jack Nicholson was sexy—well, before the character of Jack Torrance went haywire—but there’s a scene in that movie that I can identify with strongly. I even made sure my Mom saw this part [when I was living at home], and said that whenever I was in my room working on my computer that’s what I was doing – working. She was offended because the character was a man who cursed and she always thought that Jack was so dirty that “he could stand underneath a shower for two weeks and he still wouldn’t be clean.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIqq9GusbSQ That famous scene!

There are loads of movies about writers. In My Brilliant Career, Judy Davis plays a young Australian aspiring author back in the early 1900s and the handsome and debonair Sam Neill portrayed her suitor. He actually was one of the inspirations behind the Alexander Thorpe character in OUT OF THE BLUE.

Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz played roles in my Hollywood novel, North of Sunset. The main character, Sherman Lee, is an action movie producer so back in 1996 [when the novel takes place] he’s watching the mega long version of the Vietnam war film which wasn’t available to the movie-going public back then. On a personal note, I was privileged to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen in the now defunct Hollywood Galaxy theatre. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in the movies and I had a different perspective and saw character interactions that I’d never noticed when viewing it on TV, whether via the VCR or DVD player.

I find Sunset Boulevard depressing and Julie & Julia charming but I’ve not seen every movie that deals with writers. I try to imagine my books as movies, and when writing a scene in Out of the Blue, I listened to music from Rod Stewart to soak myself in the mood of that time period. The song I mentioned, “Passion,” was heard in a 1980’s movie that I managed to miss, New York Nights. That’s why I thank the singer/songwriter in the Acknowledgments section of my book, as his music inspired the scene where Sylvia Gardener, my main character’s driving in the snow and imaging Alexander as she listens to the song, almost getting into an accident. Even during the final read-through, I was transported to the imaginary Southern Illinois city of Richport to a cold and snowy December evening…and I hope the reader will also escape to another time…another place. 

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