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Swept Up

SWEPT UP:
A Maid in LA Mystery

by Holly Jacobs

Someone's Fifteen Minutes are Up! 

Quincy Mac's life has changed since the day she accidentally cleaned a murder scene. 

She's still a mom and a business owner, but now she's also pre-engaged and she's a writer. As she walks the Mortie Awards red carpet wearing her star-shaped glasses, she thinks her life is just about perfect. 

Until she's at her after-party…and finds the dead body of the most hated woman on set. How do you find a killer when all the suspects hated the victim? And Quincy has to find the real killer because her friends and family are all the suspects..





Book, Reviews, Excerpt 

Reviews:

The first Maid in LA Mystery book had reviews from my family...including a stellar endorsement by my son, "At least it's not a romance."  The second book had reviews from my Duets friends (comedy writers one and all) and for the third, a holiday novella, I had some help by a few holiday characters. So it should come as no surprise that I went looking for something a bit different for the 4th book, Swept Up.  In Swept Up, Quincy's first adventure, Steamed, is now a movie on the HeartMark Channel.  So I thought some movie reviews were in order.

(Fictional) Reviews for the (Fictional) Mortie-winning movie Steamed, based on (the very real) book by the same name and featured in Holly Jacobs' 4th Maid in LA Mystery, Swept Up (Did you follow that??):

"...A factual-ish movie based on a screenplay by first time writer, Quincy Mac, a one-time almost-actress, business owner and maid who accidentally cleaned a murder scene one day.  If you can follow that sentence, this is a movie for you." Hammer's Hometime Movie Reviews

"Steamed, the movie, has created a whole new genre of flicks--The Mommy Mystery.  Perfect for those mommies who want a laugh.  And hey, even if you don't laugh, it's a couple hours away from the kids." ~Mary's Mommy Blog 

"...at least it's not a romance." ~Miles Smith, screenwriter Quincy Mac's son

"Quincy is one of the ditziest characters I've ever watched.  Really, it takes a special class of crazy to think you'd end up in jail for accidentally cleaning a murder scene...now, committing the murder might be cause for worry. In retrospect, maybe Quincy was right to be concerned."  ~Rocko Bauers, Editor, Reporter and Movie Reviewer for the Orange County Prison Paper

Swept Up:
A Maid in LA Mystery #4

Copyright 2014 Holly Jacobs


Prologue

“Oh, no.  Not again.”

Chapter On

Two hours earlier

“Speech, speech, speech, speech,” everyone in the giant tent yelled.  I looked around my ex-husband Jerome’s backyard. Friends and family waited for me to say something.

My future-fiancé, Cal, offered me his hand and helped me up on the table.  I reached into the pockets that someday-famous designer Katelyn Campbell had made for me and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper.

“It’s been almost two years since I accidentally cleaned a murder scene,” I started, which made all my friends and family clap. I’m not sure that cleaning a murder scene by accident deserved applause, but I waited.

When they didn’t show signs of fading away, I said, “And,” very loudly.  They took the hint. 

“So much has changed in that time,” I continued.  “I’m still a mother, a daughter, a friend, a maid, a business owner.  But now I’m pre-engaged to the most marvelous man on earth and I’m a very lucky amateur detective….”  Cal shot me a glare, and I put my notecard down and added, “a retired, very lucky amateur detective.  And I’m a writer, too.  Frankly, it all feels surreal, especially the writer part.

“I wanted to give my writing teacher and mentor, Dick Macy, writing credit for his help on the script, but he said no.  But like I said in my acceptance speech, I wouldn’t be here without Dick’s help and tutelage.”  I nodded at Dick and sent him a smile.  He’d started out as teacher, then he was my mentor.  Now, almost two years later, he was a friend.  A very dear friend, and an occasional cohort.

“Dick believed in my abilities.  My family and friends believed in me.  The only person who ever voiced any doubts about my abilities was…me.  So tonight—”

I looked at the clock and corrected myself. “Well, actually this morning—as I stand here with a Mortie Award in hand.”  I realized I wasn’t sure where my Mortie statue had ended up, so I added, “Well, at least figuratively in hand, I want to thank all of you for your support and your belief in me.  And I want to remind you all, but especially my sons,” this time I nodded at my three boys.  Hunter, Miles, and Eli.  They were my heart.

“I want to tell you boys that dreams do come true, so dream big.  And for those of us who are a bit older, I want to say it’s never too late to live your dream.  Even if it’s a dream you barely know you have.  Even if you doubt yourself and have to lean on your friends’ and family’s belief in you.  Thank you, everyone.”

Everyone clapped wildly.   I resisted the urge to pinch myself just to be sure that Steamed really did win three Morties. One for director of a made-for-TV movie, one for costumes, and one for best original screenplay…that was mine.

 I reached in the pocket on the other side of my dress—seriously, I know that Katelyn’s going to make it big as a designer because she can make a dress that looks sexy in an age appropriate way and she put pockets in it—and pulled out the star-shaped sunglasses that Lottie Webber had given me twenty plus years ago when I left Erie, PA for Hollywood.

 “Lottie, I finally wore them on a red carpet for you.”  I slipped them on again.

She laughed, as did everyone else.  I’d heard the media had all commented on my glasses.

Let’s face it my five-minute cameo in Steamed hardly made me a movie star.  If you watch the scene where the-movie-Quincy—Pricilla Samuels—meets the-movie-Shaley—played by Peri (and we’re not going to discuss the fact that my ex’s current wife looks young enough to play a college student)—at the party, you can see me in the background.  I’m standing with an older man, sipping a drink. 

That five-minute cameo had been the hardest part of my agent’s negotiations with the movie powers that be.  The studio wasn’t thrilled when I told them I wanted to Stan-Lee the movie and have a cameo in Steamed, but my agent, Deanne Simon, somehow made that part of the deal.  And since I was up for a Mortie for best script, I didn’t feel too bad about wearing the glasses.  I wasn’t a star, but I was an award- winning writer.

Deanne was currently negotiating my script for Dusted, a second movie based on the art heist I’d solved.  I’d solved a third mystery, a very small mystery, over Christmas that same year.  But that one I don’t talk about.  I hadn’t mentioned it to Dick or Deanne because that one wasn’t fodder for a script.  It was personal.

I picked out a few members of the cast of Steamed who’d come to our after-after party.  I hoped they’d all sign back on for the second movie.  Pricilla Samuels who went by Cilla to her friends, made a much better Quincy than I felt I made.  I mean, I don’t think she ever needed to suck in her stomach, and she managed to make my irrational fear (yes, I can acknowledge that my going to jail because I accidentally cleaned a murder scene wasn’t very likely…but at the time I was terrified) about being arrested seem plausible.  She was standing in the corner with her husband, Dylan.  Dylan Daniels.  He played Big G in the movie.  Dylan and Big G shared a lot of physical characteristics.  And they were both very nice guys.  Just plain old if-I-had-a-daughter-I’d-be-happy-if-she-dated-them sort of guys.

Cilla spotted me and came up and hugged me.  “My agent said Dusted is looking good.  I told her I was in and she said no matter what, don’t tell anyone how much I wanted to play you again or else she’d have nothing to bargain with.  So don’t tell, but I so want to play you again.”  She hugged me.

Cilla was a hugger.  She was also a major actress who took the role of Quincy on the heels of her big budget movie that was coming out next year.  She was playing opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest names.  Deanne had mentioned the producers weren’t sure they could entice her back to another made for TV movie.

“I was afraid you’d feel it was a step backwards.  After all you just finished that movie where you and Robert Downi—”

She cut me off.  “Listen, Quincy.  I’m an actress.  And I love what I do.  Working on Steamed was so much fun, and playing you was even more so.  How could I say no to a chance to do it again?”

I knew exactly how she could say no.  I’d been on the fringes of Hollywood for years, thanks to my marriage to producer Jerome Smith back in the day.  A number of actors who made it big bought into their own hype.  Cilla was not one of those.  Neither was her husband, Dylan.

I circulated through the room.  Mom and Dad both hugged me and told me how proud they were of me.  Even my very stick-in-the-mud (or stick up the…well, you know) brothers hugged me.  It was sort of weird but in a nice way.

A lot of the cast, friends, and family came up to me as well.  After making the rounds of all the big parties we’d all come back to Jerome and Peri’s, where we  watched the show again. 

It was seven a.m., and I thought there was a very good chance that at some point I was going to simply topple over.  But I hadn’t reached that point yet.

Seeing my script turned into a movie had been surreal.

But tonight, watching it win awards—watching me win an award—that was even more surreal.  Surrealer?

I’d made my speech in my Katelyn Campbell designer gown and though it was as comfortable as a gown could be, I was ready for this Cinderella to turn from a princess back into herself.  And I’d thought ahead and left a bag in Hunter’s room here at his dad’s. 

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

From the book: Swept Up:
A Maid in LA Mystery
By: Holly Jacobs
   
Publication Date: 2014
   
Copyright © 2014
By: Holly Jacobs
 

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