Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Down And Out In Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Down And Out In Beverly Heels by author Kathryn Leigh Scott!

Author Guest Post

Megan And Maggie: Mad Men And Dark Shadows
By: Kathryn Leigh Scott

Megan Draper, in an episode fatefully titled “Dark Shadows,”pokes fun at another actress who is auditioning for a role on a soap featuring vampire Barnabas Collins—the show I happened to be in from its first episode in June, 1966. Megan’s trajectory as a young actress launching a career in New York seemed to mirror mine―that is, until we bumped up against Episode 9 in Season Five of “Mad Men” in which she described “Dark Shadows” as a “piece of crap.” I am admittedly prejudiced, and more than a little defensive, about the cult Gothic series that “every kid ran home from school to watch”—but 47 years later, I am also still collecting residuals on the 1,225 episodes! 

I realize Megan’s character has been constructed with a larger dramatic purpose in mind, over which she has no control, so I can hardly blame her for a path not pursued. But Megan subsequently takes a role on another soap, in which she plays two characters, and seemingly worries constantly about being fired. 

“Dark Shadows” was also my very first job on television and I ended up playing four characters during the four-year run of the show. Unlike Megan, I was not terribly concerned about being dropped from the series because no matter what role I played, I was always the main squeeze of Barnabas Collins, arguably the template for all modern-day vampires. Our love scenes involved fangs, bats, bites and a good deal of fake blood, all of it presaging Twilight, True Blood and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.“Dark Shadows” actors were never concerned about being killed off because we inevitably came back as another character in another time period. 

For whatever reason, show creator Matthew Weiner chose to place Megan on a troubled soap that she feels will stymie her career. But “Dark Shadows” was the launching pad for many of us who were regulars on the series, including Kate Jackson;appearing in guest roles were Susan Sullivan, Donna McKechnie and Marsha Mason. If Megan had got a role on our show, she may also have had a crack at starring in an MGM feature film based on the series. In 1970, I starred with Jonathan Frid, Joan Bennett and Grayson Hall in House of Dark Shadows, which was a critical and box office success that helped save the studio from bankruptcy that year. 

Megan would also have had a chance to develop her acting chops doing period drama on stories drawn from classic literature: Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Turn of the Screw, among others. While other soaps were largely domestic dramas where characters gossiped over coffee, Dark Shadows actors were doing stories involving the paranormal and time travel in what was virtually a classic anthology series. 

We had our own repertory company of actors, all of us playing multiple roles, working with wonderful, innovative directors—including, Lela Swift, an award-winning woman director in the pioneering days of “live” television.What other soaps featured original orchestral music? Bob Cobert composed the evocative theme music for “Dark Shadows,” with a number of his compositions appearing on the Billboard charts. For its time, the period-accurate sets designed by Sy Tomashoff far outshone anything one could see on the other soaps of the day, all of it crammed into tiny ABC Studio 16 on West 53rd Street. What a great opportunity for young actors to hone their skills, working with wonderful veteran actors in a show that afforded so many challenges playing completely different characters with different accents in different centuries. Aside from that, the show was great fun! 

Dan Curtis created a classic with “Dark Shadows” and secured his legacy with “Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.” Thanks to Dan,“Dark Shadows”lives on, attracting new generations of viewers to the series on DVD. It’s still a fun—and Megan Draper could have joined us for the ride! 

Kathryn Leigh Scott is a Dark Shadows actress and author of Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood and Dark Passages,has written the newly-published mystery romance Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

About The Author

Kathryn Leigh Scott is an actress, probably best known for creating the roles of Josette DuPres and Maggie Evans, the love interests of vampire Barnabas Collins in the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows.” Down and Out in Beverly Heels is her second work of fiction. Scott wrote Dark Passages, a paranormal romance, with more than a passing nod to the ‘60s soap and she appeared in the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton film Dark Shadows last year. Scott is currently at work on a sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

Down And Out In Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Pump Up Your Book!

Book Review

Down And Out In Beverly Hills by Kathryn Leigh Scott
Publisher: Montlake Romance 
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback - 310 pages / Kindle - 1365 KB 
ISBN: 1611098866
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Mystery / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Down And Out In Beverly Heels

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description: 

Meg Barnes, a beloved actress for her role as TV detective Jinx Forgarty, has it all but thanks to her newlywed con-man husband, loses everything and ends up living on the streets of Tinsel Town in her Ritz-Volvo. This fun, light-hearted romance takes us into the Hollywood social swirl, but also delves into the gritty truth of what it is to be “homeless and hiding it” in one of the most glittering, fashionable cities in the world. It’s also a story of redemption with a “Thelma and Louise” twist as Meg, incorporating skills she learned as a TV detective, tracks down her fugitive husband and struggles to regain her reputation, career and friendships.

Book Excerpt:

Excerpted from Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott, © Montlake Romance 2013

Actress Meg Barnes, homeless and living in her car, hopes to spend the night in a safer place than parked at the curb of a local park for the night. She needs a good night’s sleep because she’s got a job guest-starring in a TV pilot.

I park up the street in a cul de sac off the main road. Then, my overnight bag slung on my shoulder, I slip through a break in a boxwood hedge. In the shadow of a sycamore tree, I pause, listening to the sounds of the night. The lights are off in Marjorie Singleton’s house, my benefactor tucked in for the night. I don’t know Marjorie well, though whenever I voted, it was in Marjorie’s clean, spacious garage, her Bentley parked on the street to make way for a bank of polling booths on election day. I’m sure Marjorie, if she knew, would be only too happy to extend a neighborly welcome to me.

It’s Wednesday: Marjorie’s son, who lives in Encino, is home with his family and won’t stop by again until Friday afternoon, when he’ll bring her Chinese takeaway. I know the rituals; I’ve watched Jake Singleton come and go. This is a safe night, and all is quiet.

I follow the flagstone walkway around the swimming pool, past the rose bed, and turn the knob on the side door to the garage. It’s unlocked, as usual. Inside, I slip quietly along the west wall to the workbench Marjorie’s long-dead husband built, and set down my carryall. I plug my laptop and cellphone into a wall outlet to top up, then move through the darkness to Marjorie’s Bentley. She rarely drives it anymore.

I toss my sleeping bag into the back seat. Tonight I can pack in a good six hours and be gone before the gardeners arrive. On those nights when I’ve had to spend the night in my own car, I remain fully clothed, doors locked, windows open no more than a finger-tip wide.

Usually I find a spot on the street around Holmby Park, the gates to Aaron Spelling’s mansion within spitting distance. Should his ghostly presence be hovering above his former abode, I can imagine his bemusement seeing me camping out a stone’s throw from his old bedroom window. I still get residuals from his shows, blessed checks from repeats of mindless fluff that pay my car insurance and buy me another month at the health club. But those nights parked on the street, hiding under spread newspapers, even with the tinted windows, are the tough ones, the only time it really hits me that I’m homeless.

More accurately, I am without a home. I am not actually a Homeless Person. I always manage to have a roof over my head, even if it comes with four wheels and a dashboard. I’m not a bag lady, a bum. I’m not a thief, though I suppose I’ve stolen a few pennies’ worth of kilowatt juice from Marjorie. But the back seat of an old lady’s car is only temporary accommodation, not Home, Sweet Home. I awaken too often in the night, dozing more often than sleeping.

I slide my legs deeper into my sleeping bag and hug my arms for warmth, trying to stop the rat-wheel of worry spinning in my head. I am far from complacent about the fix I’m in, yet I manage to drift off in welcome sleep.

Moments later—or is it hours?—I’m fully awake and alert, every fiber of my being a listening device. What is it? What did I hear? My heart bangs in my ears as I strain to sort out the sounds. The irrigation system kicking in? A squirrel on the roof?

Hearing footsteps falling softly on the flagstone walk, I slide free of my sleeping bag. Who’s coming for me? Who in hell knows I’m here? My fingers close around a small can of pepper spray. I don’t even know that the aerosol works. The container is old and I’ve never had occasion to test it.

The garage door scrapes open. A beam of light arcs across the windshield. A male voice booms. “C’mon out. Now!”

 … It’s my Margot Kidder nightmare, a “caught-in-the-headlights” shot of myself disheveled, my arms clutching a sleeping bag, splashed on the cover of a supermarket tabloid: “Former ‘Holiday’ Star Down and Out in Beverly Hills!”

Tears sting my cheeks. Wouldn’t the paparazzi love this shot? Jinx, face puffy, mascara smudged, lurking in someone’s garage. I press my forehead into my sleeping bag, recalling poor Margot, missing her front teeth and in need of meds, cowering in someone’s backyard. What’s my excuse? If I’m busted now, it’s the end of my job next week, the end of pulling myself out of this confounding mess I’m in.

My Book Review:

In Down And Out In Beverly Heels author Kathryn Leigh Scott utilizes her personal experience in the entertainment industry to weave a quirky tale that has a great mix of mystery, comedy and romance.

Set in glitzy Beverly Hills, the story is written in the first person narrative that follows the trials and tribulations of Meg Barnes, a down and out former actress, as she goes on a search to track down Paul, her con man husband, who has disappeared after swindling people in a real estate scam, leaving Meg penniless, homeless and living in her car. FBI agent Jack Mitchell is on the case and thinks that Meg was involved, with the help of her best friend Donna, Meg teams up with Jack on a madcap adventure to find her con man husband, prove her innocence, and maybe even find romance along the way.

This fast-paced mystery story has enough suspense and intriguing twists and turns, flashbacks on Meg's past, comedic humor and a light touch of romance that keeps the reader entertained. Rich in detail of familiar Beverly Hills and Hollywood landmarks, the reader can easily visualize being transported to Tinseltown as they follow Meg on her crazy adventure where murder, mystery, mayhem and mishaps ensue.

With a quirky cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a crazy madcap mystery adventure featuring a spunky former actress, a hilarious best friend sidekick, and a handsome FBI agent; Down And Out In Beverly Heels is an enjoyable and entertaining summer read.


Down And Out In Beverly Heels - Trailer

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, July 1 – Book Review at Griperong’s Bookmarks
Monday, July 1 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Monday, July 1 – Book Featured at Margay Leah Justice
Tuesday, July 2 – Book Review at Hanging Off the Wire
Tuesday, July 2 – Book Featured at Naturally Kim B
Wednesday, July 3 – Book Review and Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Wednesday, July 3 – Book Featured at Dr. Pepper Diva
Friday, July 5 – Guest Blogging at Hanging Off the Wire
Friday, July 5 – Book Review at Queen of All She Reads
Monday, July 8 – Book Review at Steph the Bookworm
Monday, July 8 – Guest Blogging at The Paperback Pursuer
Tuesday, July 9 – Book Review at All Grown Up?
Tuesday, July 9 – Character Interview at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Wednesday, July 10 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Reading Reality
Thursday, July 11 – Book Review at Sidewalk Shoes
Friday, July 12 – Book Review at Readingnks
Friday, July 12 – Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader
Monday, July 15 – Guest Blogging at Mom Loves 2 Read
Monday, July 15 – Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Tuesday, July 16 – Guest Blogging at My Reading Table
Tuesday, July 16 – Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Wednesday, July 17 – Book Review at Create With Joy
Wednesday, July 17 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, July 18 – Book Review at 4 the Love of Books
Friday, July 19 – Book Review at Janna Shay’s Fair Play
Monday, July 22 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Inside BJ’s Head
Tuesday, July 23 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Must Read Faster
Wednesday, July 24 – Book Review at Literary Winner
Wednesday, July 24 – Book Featured at Cindy’s Love of Books
Thursday, July 25 – Guest Blogging at My Devotional Thoughts
Thursday, July 25 – Book Review at 2 Kids and Tired
Thursday, July 25 – Book Review at Literarily Speaking
Friday, July 26 – Book Featured & Giveaway at My Cozy Corner
Friday, July 26 – Book Review & Interview at Socrates Book Reviews
Friday, July 26 – Guest Blogging at Books Books the Magical Fruit
Friday, July 26 – Book Review at Booksie’s Blog


  1. Mystery, comedy and romance... set in Beverly Hills? I'm sold already! Love the cover and the title, and it's a great review, too ~ thanks to Kathleen for featuring this book and congrats to Kathryn!

    While we're on the subject of great... Kathleen, I'd love to nominate your blog for the Sunshine Award. I just simply love what you do here and the great care you take about your every review. I don't know if you're accepting awards on this blog, but here it is anyhoo:

    Happy blogging, and thanks again SO very much for everything you do. Rock on! XX

    PS ~ if this isn't a good time or you're too busy to accept, or indeed if you're an award-free zone, I'll totally understand. It's just for a bit of fun, really, so don't worry! XX

    1. Hi ya Nicky! Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comments.

      Thank you for the nomination, that's awesome! Wish I had the time to respond to it, but I'll be away this weekend and won't have the time. Thanks anyway, I appreciate it!

      As always, you ROCK girl! :)

  2. Wonderful post and Review! =)
    I'm on the Tour for this book also. Im really enjoying it!

    1. Hi Melissa! Thank you for visiting my blog and posting your kind comment. :)

      This was such a fun story to read, I enjoyed it too! :)