Sunday, November 30, 2014

'Lilian's Last Dance' garners news stories, fine reviews for writer

THE FOLLOWING SPECIAL posting is one of several recently published newspaper articles.  It ran in the hometown paper of novelist Christene Meyers, a Montana native launching an international book tour in Australia and New Zealand.  Meyers grew up in Montana, where the novel is partly set. It is garnering praise on Amazon as an eBook.
"LILIAN'S LAST DANCE" features a love triangle, and a troupe of actors in New York, Europe and Los Angeles during the transition from silent movies to talkies.  Meyers began writing as a 17-year old student at Rocky Mountain College and worked as editor, arts review and travel writer for many years. She is also a poet, musician and performer, pursuing an advanced degree in poetry and play writing at Sarah Lawrence College.
WHERE IS COOKIE resumes its regular Wednesday and weekend postings Dec. 3, with a look at San Diego's innovative Cygnet Theatre and its holiday fare.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hooray for Hollywood! Studios provide feel for film, fodder for book in Los Angeles visits


As Cookie got her novel-writing groove back, she and Keller took to the road, exploring settings for "Lilian's Last Dance."
Here they are, above Los Angeles, their backs to the town, looking at the famed Hollywood sign.

CLICK HERE ==> Lilian's Last Dance

The following review is from: Lilian's Last Dance (Kindle Edition) Verified Purchase
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want an adventure, look no farther! ...November 14, 2014
Laurel Blossom (Edgefield SC USA)
If you want an adventure, look no farther! Christene Meyer's Lillian's Last Dance will amuse, shock, entertain, and inform you! She and the late Bill Jones cover so much territory with so much insight and knowledge, such charm and talent, you won't even know you're learning facts about Hollywood, theatre, the American landscape and the American dream... This is a delightful book! Put it under the Christmas tree.

Although Grauman's Chinese Theater was not around
in the novel's time, it remains full of history and nostalgia 

and was helpful in conjuring detail for "Lilian's Last Dance."

                           (and vintage from studio archives)

EARLY-DAY movie makers often had a background in Vaudeville, as did our major players in "Lilian's Last Dance." My grandmother Olive loved Vaudeville, and played for the silent movies.
An early-day cinematographer.
The action in "Lilian's Last Dance" moved from New York across the United States to Hollywood. That meant we needed to go to, where else, Los Angeles!
To get a feel for the days when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks roamed the lots, when United Artists was a fledgling enterprise and when MGM and Paramount entered into bidding wars over the top stars, we grabbed the popcorn and took off.
Paramount's past is linked to Hollywood and
the novel's study of the birth of modern-day film. 
In our novel, a troupe of gifted actors and musicians is yearning for challenge and change. We got into that spirit!
WE PORED over photos and found many of a famous "new face on the lot," a Biograph actress with long, cork-screw blonde curly locks, nicknamed "Little Mary."   We decided that Mary Pickford should ake an appearance in "Lilian's Last Dance."  "The Girl with the Golden Hair" became the first major star of movie-making during our novel's unfolding.
Mary Pickford takes a
cameo bow in
"Lilian's Last Dance."
Her career gave us a starting point for imaging the lifestyle of the Hollywood our characters inhabit.
ALTHOUGH he traveled to Hollywood and Los Angeles regularly during his 25 years as chief film critic for the Arizona Republic, Bill's open heart surgeries and cancer treatment left him weakened and unable to make road trips toward the end of his life.  Anyone who has been caretaker for an ailing cancer patient knows the trauma of chemotherapy, radiation, the eventual an air lift back to the desert Bill loved, and his death in hospice care at our Arizona home.
Cookie and Keller took several Hollywood "stars homes" tours to develop
a feel for the property the leading players in "Lilian's Last Dance" would buy. 
AFTER A FEW fallow writing years --  I began to get my old momentum back.  "What would Billy want?" I asked myself. "For you to get back on the horse," I heard him say.
The characters of "Lilian's Last Dance" would have
seen Hollywood Hills much like this vintage photo.
I had just the right person to ride with.  Bruce William Keller (who shares both my late husband's names, Bruce and William) said he's love to accompany me to cinema museums, on Hollywood show biz tours, driving tours of the West, returns to Europe.  An accomplished photographer and illustrator of this blog, he quickly caught the spirit: talking to hotel marketing people, librarians, public relations folks, historians.  He loved visiting a usually "off limits" room where we admired vintage posters.  We found several of  "America's Sweetheart," Miss Pickford, who commanded one of the highest salaries of the day. She was paid $175 week at first and then $1,000 a week for a five year period. Capitalizing on the intense bidding for actresses,  Pickford commanded an unheard of $2 million annual salary, with percentages from Paramount.  She would soon become a co-founder of United Artists, with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. This research played into the details of our novel's Hollywood days.
"A Christmas Carol" awaits.  Book your tickets early.
Cygnet, in Old Town, is a delightful venue with not a bad seat.

COMING UP: Cygnet Theater is a jewel in San Diego's theatrical crown.  The season is an exciting one -- and its annual holiday gift to the community, "A Christmas Carol," is on tap. While we're in the spirit of giving thanks, with a segue to Hanukkah and Christmas, a thank-you to Cygnet for its progressive, engaging docket. Explore, learn, live and remember: carpe diem.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Exploring the U.S. -- Oklahoma to Hawaii -- in search of book details

The gorgeous Parker Ranch in Hawaii inspired a passage
about paniolo life in "Lilian's Last Dance."


Click here ==> Lilian's Last Dance

ON THE TRAIL of local color and detail for the book, "Lilian's Last Dance," my late husband Bill Jones and I traveled to Hawaii, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois and many other states. We learned so much about the United States, obscure details I'd have never found had we not been researching our characters.
The late writer Bill Jones and Christene Meyers
on their journey to the Parker Ranch in Hawaii.
On our last road trip before Billy's final illness, we visited the site of the Miller Ranch near Ponca City, Okla., then drove to Illinois for a stay in Chicago's iconic Palmer House, a hotel still famous for its art collection and historic allure.
Chicago's Palmer House -- an homage to days past. 
It is also a setting for a scene in "Lilian's Last Dance." 

The story of downtown Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton is as romantic as the story of our novel.
POTTER PALMER was a Chicago business magnate—well-known for a variety of endeavors, including his staring role in the development of downtown Chicago’s iconic State Street.  Marshall Field of department store fame introduced Palmer to a younger, beautiful socialite, Bertha Honore, who had a yearning for learning. A romance and engagement followed, then he gave her the
A paniolo (Montanans would call him a cowboy) performs in a rodeo we took in during a Hawaii trip.
grandest wedding gift of all time – Palmer House. It was and is a fabulous Chicago Hotel and we spent two nights in it, given entree to vintage photos. Because our characters visit it, we wanted it to feel "real." Bertha Palmer was a friend of artist Claude Monet. Her art collection rivaled Gertrude Stein's, a cameo character in "Lilian's Last Dance.''
OFTEN OUR fictional characters and real people interlaced as we researched "Lilian's Last Dance."
Sometimes, our road trips inspired invention of a fictional place.  Other times, a real place, such as the Palmer House, seemed ideal for our character's road trip.  Lovely little offshoots were constantly occurring! In a sense, we were bit players in the novel, too!  Cherished, illuminating memories.
The Miller Brothers 101 Ranch hosts our main characters
for a time duri
ng the action in "Lilian's Last Dance."
IN OKLAHOMA, we interviewed historians about the Miller Brothers famed 101 Ranch.  One night, at a Tulsa restaurant, I played "Oh What a Beautiful Morning."  That night in that beautiful Oklahoma bar, we made friends including an elderly woman who shared information on early-frontier cowboys and their clothing.  We took careful notes.  She and the rest of the crowd surrounded the piano, teary-eyed and singing along as I played the entire score from "Oklahoma." .
THE 101 was once a stupendous 110,000-acre cattle ranch in the Indian Territory of northeastern Oklahoma, but it's a relic of grander days now. It's located near modern-day Ponca City, where I'd never been. I knew little about many of these places, until the novel!
When the 101 was king it was the largest diversified farm and ranch in America. So our characters had good taste! The place today is a National Historic Landmark, an homage to its 1903 grandeur when its owners hobnobbed with our novel's hero, Ballentine McCleave.
The Parker Ranch on Hawaii's Big Island provided background for "Lilian...."
 THE PARKER Ranch on Hawaii's Big Island beckoned, as we gleaned details about the paniolo cowboys of a century-plus ago.  We went to a rodeo there and spent time in a Honolulu library researching paniolo history.
History is people.  Everywhere we went, we found history through people, to give us a feeling for the novel's colorful characters. Our female paniolo, sometimes called a paniola, passes herself off as a Mexican bandita, or at least she tries to.  But she's really a purebred Hawaiian cowgirl with a fascination for Pancho Villa. And Ballentine has her number!

COMING UP:  "The Flickers."  That's what early-day movies were called. "Lilian's Last Dance" -- set in the early 1900s -- builds up to this exciting time in cinema history. Both Cookie (Christene Meyers) and Bill Jones, the novel's co-author, were arts writers and film critics during the early stages of the novel's development..  Continuing the research, Keller and Meyers revisited the birthplace of the modern movie industry. They prowled the grounds of the lots, looked at hundreds of old playbills and movie posters and took notes on four Hollywood nostalgia tours. Remember, carpe diem, so explore, learn and live and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at:

Friday, November 21, 2014

'Honky' amuses, intrigues, disturbs -- a quality work of theatrical art

San Diego Rep scores again with comic, provocative work about racism

and courtesy San Diego Rep, Scatena Daniels

San Diego Repertory Theatre, based downtown in Horton Plaza's Lyceum, is a beautiful
 venue known for its equally attractive work, done with enterprise, daring and excellence.
A QUALITY work of art should invite conversation.  It should make us think, encourage discussion, even debate.  It should linger in our mind, like a pleasant meal or a satisfying night out.
Above all, it should be viewed or inspected more than once.
This holds true for a fine painting, a quality poem, a symphony that scintillates.
It certainly applies to San Diego Repertory Theatre's current production of Greg Kalleres' clever and sometimes disturbing play, "Honky."
Many of the opening night audience wore sneakers, as the invitation suggested, in keeping with the storyline.  The playwright was inspired by the shooting death of a young black teenager killed because of his trendy new Air Jordan shoes back in 1989.  In Kalleres' drama, the shoes are flashy "Sky Max" basketball shoes.
REP ARTISTIC director Sam Woodhouse turns out a riveting, rollicking tour de force -- sometimes a "tour de farce" -- which wickedly send up the advertising "sell at any cost" mentality, and challenges our views of one another as diverse people sharing the same planet.
Flanking Jacque Wilke are Cortez L. Johnson and Deleon Dallas.  The three
actors are part of a tense but often funny and wonderfully acted play, "Honky."
A terrific cast of talented actors keeps the action lively and plays multiple parts.  You'll meet Frederick Douglass and Abe Lincoln, along with two basketball playing kids, a wiley ad man, an ingenuous blonde with a big heart and quick mind.  She acts essentially as the storyline's conscience, and various other "regular folk" woven into the tale as we question ethics, morality, propriety and doing the right thing.
Playing a major part in the riveting production is a fabulous, elaborate set designed by Sean Fanning. Imaginative use of high-tech graphics and video images provide background to the three-dimensional space.  Headlines and photos blend with furniture from the neighbor's parlor to stir the imagination and enhance the conflicts and emotional confusion the characters feel.
Woodhouse, a company founder,  is a master storyteller.  He pushes the envelope, as always, to deliver theater for the thinking person.
The Rep deserves kudos for this cutting edge choice, a work hard-hitting, funny and moving.
Bravo, Rep. A job well done since 1976 Thanks again for making us think while we're entertained and engaged.
www. and check out all the special artistic events surrounding the production.  

NEXT UP;  We're back on the trail of  "Lilian's Last Dance," our newly published novel. Exciting reviews are coming in to Amazon. We hope you're enjoying the eBook now.
Bill Jones' original watercolor of a cowboy or paniolo fording the stream.  It is part
of the cover design collage for the new novel, "Lilian's Last Dance."
...Celeste had this to say: "An amazing and exciting romp around the world. This Big Sky girl enjoyed traveling around with Lilian on her great adventure! The author's delightful prose and word paintings bring to life many intriguing characters and the locales they visit. Just enough intermingling of history's greats, along with a little sex, drugs & cowboys, and you've got an exciting read -- quick paced enough to keep one's attention riveted to the last page."  We'll explore the locations and people we visited in researching and writing the novel, from Hawaii's paniolos on the Big Island's working Parker Ranch to Chicago's Palmer House, a luxurious Chicago hotel where our characters stayed. Remember: carpe diem, so explore, learn and live and live and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at: 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making of a novel: research, road trips, reading, ocean crossings and patience

European travels took us to Paris to Gertrude Stein's home

Click here ==> Lilian's Last Dance

The legendary 
Gertrude Stein and Alice
B. Toklas made many
Atlantic crossings,
and are cameos in
"Lilian's Last Dance."
                           STORY By    CHRISTENE MEYERS

Crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth II was
part of the fun research for "Lilian's Last Dance."
Here William Jones and Christene Meyers enjoy!

CREATION of "Lilian's Last Dance" took many years and trips to England, France, Australia, Peru and 11 North American states. The idea survived the deaths of my two husbands, Bruce Meyers in 1992, and William Jones, in 2005.   Bruce and I had dreams of a Broadway musical about a sharpshooter from France.  Billy and I collaborated on the concept that would become "Lilian's Last Dance."
HE AND I determined to visit each place featured in the book. In the "good years," before chemotherapy and radiation, we made exciting pilgrimages to Europe and South America's rain forests.  We took a
dozen happy U.S. road trips. We plotted research weekends, working vacations and photo shoots. We read three dozen hefty books and studied articles on the post 1907-era.  We visited 20 museums and arranged interviews. We crossed the Atlantic three times, in the fashion of our invented characters and "real life" people who have cameos in our novel, including Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.
OUR U.S. TRAVELS took us through Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Montana, San Francisco and Los Angeles, places our characters inhabited before the novel's 1917 ending.
The iconic Eiffel Tower
plays a part in "Lilian....".
Our characters came alive as we retraced their fictional footsteps.  We felt that we, too, were players in the novel. We talked to working paniolos on the beautiful Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A trip to the lush Peruvian rain forest was part of our research for the
 birthplace of the character Elfego who becomes a famous painter in "Lilian...."


We interviewed historians about turn-of-century bank robberies.  We talked to fashion and art experts, to determine what kinds of guns and disguises our outlaws might have used, what fashions and paintings people were buying.
WE READ a dozen books about World War I, since part of the action unfolds on the Front.  We located Gertrude Stein's salon in Paris, where she and Alice  entertained at their famed salon. We saw in the fabulous Musee d'orsay some of the paintings which hung in the jam-packed treasure trove collected by Stein, Toklas the Gertrude's brother Leo.

Picasso's famous portrait of Stein.
She hung it in her Paris salon,
where our characters are invited.
  We booked shows in the  much photographed Moulin Rouge. 
Famous Parisian gardens, avenues and night clubs all
play a part in the drama of "Lilian's Las
t Dance." 
WE TRAMPED all over Paris -- from the Left Bank to Montmartre to the Jardin du Luxembourg, to the Moulin Rouge and  the Tuileries Garden, all of which were frequented by Stein and her lover cum secretary, Toklas. We found the home where Stein entertained, at 27 rue de Fleurus.  There, our character, Elfego Fuentes, comes calling, along with "real life" writers Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound.  By chance, we met an elderly woman whose aspiring painter grandmother was taken under Stein's generous wing. She provided marvelous detail.
PAINTER ELFEGO is one of the novel's major characters, a South American born artist whom Stein befriends. So we booked an Amazon cruise to find a village where Elfego might have grown up.  We flew to Quito, Peru, then cruised through the rain forests to Brazil.
Curiosity about the Hawaiian paniolo provided an excuse for
a return trip to Hawaii's Big Island and the Parker Ranch.
We were smudged by witch doctors. Deep in the Peruvian jungle, we found a village settled in the early 1900s.  This would be Elfego's birth place! More later...

WE'RE EXCITED about early reviews for "Lilian's Last Dance." Here's one from Elle Pieffe, of Rome, who liked the title character and her relationship with painter Elfego Fuentes: "Lilian's daring, beautiful soul shines in the brush strokes of her Peruvian soul mate artist, in the sizzling shots of a western gunfire duel, in the silvery rain blessing Paris in winter.... a colorful portrait of a person we'd love to have met.....and won't forget! You'll love this book, absolutely. (Find "Lilian's Last Dance" on Amazon eBooks.)

Bill Jones painted this
cowboy watercolor on
a research trip to Hawaii.

Terrific trio: Cortez Johnson,
Jacque Wilke, DeLeon Dallas are
terrific in San Diego Rep's "Honky,"
up next at: www.whereiscookie
COMING SOON:  Having fun revisiting the locales we researched for "Lilian's Last Dance."  Soon, we hit Hawaii to bone up on the Hawaiian paniolo, or cowboy, who figures in the plot of "Lilian..." in the form of a wahine paniolo, yes, a female, a cowgirl in love with Pancho Villa.  But first, we critique the raucous "Honky," just opened at San Diego Repertory Theatre.  It's a deftly written, well acted play about racism, consumerism, marketing hype and a drug that could cure bigotry!  Remember: carpe diem, so explore, learn and live and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Novel project spawned in 1997 reaches fruition as book -- at last!

The cover of "Lilian's Last Dance" is a collaboration:  Cookie collected
photos by Keller and Bill's cowboy watercolor. Celeste Barnett did the design. 

Racy historical novel now available to readers 

"...a marvelous romp through the history of film and performance, with a pure love for the stage, in whatever form it presents itself.....You'll love Lilian!" Acclaimed writer Ruth Rudner on “Lilian’s Last Dance.” 



LIGHTS, ACTION, drum roll! The book is out at last, a labor of love, a memorial, a tribute to time, technology, tenacity.
And the human spirit!
The project I developed many years ago with my late husband, William Jones, is a reality.
Research took our writers to Durango, Mexico, birth place of
bandit Pancho Villa, a minor player in the novel.--archival photo
Billy and I began writing it during his healthy years (1997-2002). After his illness and death from cancer in 2005, I boxed up our book drafts, computer discs, travel journals and photos.  A few years ago, I dug out the boxes and began the rewrite,  mindful of the old show biz and cowboy admonition: "talk's cheap."
NOW THAT IT'S published, after a protracted "pregnancy," a bit of reflection seems right.
"Lilian's Last Dance" was conceived on a lovely sunny drive in Arizona, heading home from a screening of "Good Will Hunting" in December of 1997 and a romantic night on the town.
BILLY AND I PLOTTED the story on that drive, along with settings and characters, determining to visit every locale and research each plot point. We did:  Montana's wilderness, the fields and ranches of Hawaii (one of the characters is a Hawaiian paniolo with a Pancho Villa fetish), Australia's center, where one of the villains grew up, and many locales in Europe, South America and a dozen U.S. states. Our characters got around, and so did we~!
The intricate story line spans an eleven-year period from 1907 to 1917. Vaudeville is alive and well, not yet fading.  The silent movies, the beloved "flickers" are paving the way for full-fledged "talkies."

Bill Jones and Cookie traveled several times to Hawaii,
researching for background of one of the novel's characters.
A LOVE triangle develops between an understated British filmmaker, alluring French born sharpshooter, and dashing Montana outlaw.  Bill and I spent time in both France and England, and made many U.S. driving trips from our summer home in Montana. Like the rep company, we explored Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nebraska and Texas. We spent many weekends in Hollywood, visiting the studio archives. Our years as film reviewers and my time on both sides of the footlights as performer and critic provided background and helpful contacts.
WE PAID attention to accents, landscape and weather, developing our characters' speech, dress and refining the plot. We had so much fun with our artists, actors, movie moguls, ranchers, cowboys, lawmakers and law breakers.  Each new place -- from Tulsa to Ten Sleep -- gave detail for the carnival of color we'd write the next few years.
On the trail of detail for our female villain (a Hawaiian born bandit and Pancho Villa wannabe) we went to Pancho's birthplace, a barren parcel in  San Juan del Rio, Durango. We found the farm where he grew up, but since he was born in 1878 and killed in 1923, there was no one left who could remember him.
It was fun to have an excuse to return to a favorite city.  Paris and its
Eiffel Tower play a part in the action, as does Provence in the south.
So we turned to books and museums, but through that visit got a feel for his home land, the scrubby hills he and his bandits galloped through. We tried our darndest to develop authentic people with believable traits.
We visited San Francisco's Columbarium, around for
 more than a century, setting for a cremation in "Lilian..."
THE TITLE character's French bakground gave us an excuse to visit Provence a couple times. Bill, a talented watercolor painter, took and taught watercolor classes during our times on the Continent. One of his paintings graces the cover of "Lilian's Last Dance."

JUST AS our characters enact their theatrical drama, we felt as if we were players in the novel, too. We talked to working paniolos on the gorgeous Parker Ranch on the Big Island near Waimea.  We interviewed historians about turn-of-century bank robberies to determine what guns and disguises our outlaws might have.
We visited railroad scholars for train trivia. We boned up on World War I, since parts of the novel take place on the Front.  We were thrilled to find Gertrude Stein's house in Paris, where she and Alice Toklas entertained literary and artistic luminaries.
Paris and the Moulin Rouge attracted a return visit to Paris.
The novel's action takes unfolds in France and the old West.
We -- like the characters -- moved from the streets and bistros of Paris to London theaters that were around 100 years ago, to rural Montana, where we invented a secluded hide-out in the Beartooths. We splurged for a night at the famous Palmer House in Chicago, where our characters stayed, and we spent a day in San Francisco's Columbarium where one of the characters cremains are placed after the quake.
REAL LIFE cameos include Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, Conrad Hilton, Edith Wharton, Ty Cobb, Pablo Picasso, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Gertrude Stein and others. We read biographies of all of those, to enhance our feeling for them and our knowledge of their time.

Cookie and Keller forged a new trail for "Lilian's Last Dance,"
revisiting places she'd researched
 with the book's co-author,
her late husband William Jones.  Here, Cookie and Keller
enjoy a cabaret at the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris.
With Billy departed since 2005, the dream of a novel rested in the garage in dusty boxes of computer discs, notebooks and travel photos. Cookie's partner of eight-plus years, Bruce Keller, urged her to "go for it." He suggested they recapture the momentum she'd lost for the project, spawned with Bill in the late 1990s. That meant revisiting settings for the action of "Lilian's Last Dance" -- London, Paris, the Texas panhandle, New York, rural Oklahoma, wilderness Montana, the Peruvian rain forest... The French born title character gave an excuse to return to Paris and Provence.
Remember: "carpe diem" as you explore, learn and live. Check out "Lilian...." and
We publish Wednesdays and weekends.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

JUST PUBLISHED: 'Lilian's Last Dance' available NOW



 Extra: "Something in addition to what is due, expected, or customary"

Roll 'em, friends! "Lilian's Last Dance"
is on Amazon eBooks today!!! Hooray.
 HERE'S A brief "extra."
We are thrilled to tell you that "Lilian's Last Dance" is finally up on Amazon eBooks.
This has been the longest 20 hours of my life, since we received Amazon's "thumbs up" on the final edit at 9:11 a.m. Wednesday.

Here's the link:
Click Here ==> Lilian's Last Dance
Writers Bill Jones, Christene Meyers
 on the Queen Elizabeth II, researching
"Lilian's Last Dance" in 1998.

Hope you have as much fun reading it as we've had writing it, designing it, following its characters around the world, editing it with painstaking persistence and getting it properly formatted for publication.
As our agent/guru says, "It's like giving birth.  And we're the midwives."
 I'm recalling Butterfly McQueen's famous line in "Gone with the Wind":
"Miss Scarlet, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies! ......
Christene Meyers (Cookie) and Bruce Keller in the Hollywood
Hills, on the trail of the characters in the just out novel.
But I do know plenty about performance, anticipation, waiting in the wings, stealing that extra bow.
Very happy at this moment, and grateful for all the support and encouragement.  "Lilian" has been a long time coming! Let's hope readers believe it worth the wait and share their comments on Amazon!
So happy reading. We'll be blogging about the ups and downs of writing, researching and getting the novel into print -- from its 1997 inception to its completion last week.
COMING SATURDAY: Where we went, how we crafted the characters in "Lilian's Last Dance." We followed the action from the rain forests of Peru to the Hollywood Hills, Gertrude Stein's art salon in Paris and more. Remember to explore, learn and live. Carpe diem! Tell your friends about

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

'Lilian's Last Dance' on Amazon soon! Hope you enjoy it -- we had fun!

NOVEL TELLS STORY OF EARLY AMERICAN FILM, STAGE STUCK PERFORMERS, LOVE, REVENGE, WITH WORLD TRAVEL AND MORE -- Montana outlaws, California connections, actors, painters, bank robbers  

Lively characters from France, England, Hawaii, Australia and the U.S.
are featured in "Lilian's Last Dance," on its way to eBooks Wednesday!

"Lilian's Last Dance'' is coming your way via Amazon!
It's a story of a traveling rep company enroute to Hollywood!
WE ARE still waiting for the publication of the novel, "Lilian's Last Dance." The cyber elves are apparently working overtime in the print shop. We have our copyright, ISBN number, publishing ducks in a row, final edit approved by Amazon. It should be "out there" for all of you later today.
The eBook will soon be in Kindle format at Amazon. But you need not have a Kindle to enjoy it. 
Keller uses an LG tablet to read e-books.  It's not a Kindle but works fine. When the book is "up" at last, search Amazon for the application appropriate for your device, download it, install it, and you'll have a new icon with which you can read Kindle e-books and "Lilian's Last Dance." Stay tuned, and e-mail us if you need additional advice or coaching:
Eiffel Tower -- Paris plays an important role in the novel.
MEANWHILE, HERE'S the novel's skinny: War threatens to rearrange the world’s boundaries as an unlikely trio discovers love crossing all lines. A dashing bi-sexual American bank robber, beautiful French sharpshooter and pioneering British film maker star in a tale of passion, vengeance and honor. “Lilian’s Last Dance,” spans eleven action-packed years, beginning in 1907, unfolding with a radical art movement, developing film industry and the Great War.
Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas
have cameos in the new novel.

Here they're on an Atlantic crossing.
                           --archival art
Outlaws, reporters, ranchers, actors, artists and ex-patriots converge, do battle, and occasionally break the law in settings ranging from New York, France and England to Texas, rural Montana and Hollywood. Real-life cameos include Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, Conrad Hilton, Ty Cobb, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Edith Wharton, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Gertrude Stein and many others celebrities of the day.
AUTHORS BILL Jones and Cookie crossed the Atlantic, tramped around London, Paris and Provence, and visited many U.S. states and five countries for inspiration on their characters' lives and haunts. Bruce Keller and Cookie returned to those places in editing and refining the original writing.
Please check back here for 7:30 a.m. Thursday, PST the novel was in cyber limbo, enroute to the "page" on eBooks. The book is $7.99. As we wait impatiently for the Amazon book to "appear"..... please be patience with us.  Last word is "Friday at latest...." We share your frustration and thank you for more than 100 e-mails and texts asking "when, when, when???"
Soon as we know, we'll follow up to you with a link to meet and read "Lilian..."  Future blogs will tell the circuitous, lively, sometimes bittersweet tale of the novel's beginnings, sidetracks and completion.
Remember, carpe diem.  Explore, learn, live and visit us Wednesdays, weekends and as the spirit moves at:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Red Lodge remains fun, artsy, historical with great eateries

Red Lodge, Montana, offers spectacular scenery and one of the world's most stunning drives.


WHEN YOU want a couple days off, to laze and be reflective, Red Lodge, Montana, delivers.
When you want a couple days off to party, frolic, be active and social, or take a wildlife-viewing hike, Red Lodge fills that bill, too.
This lovely little mountain town can be sophisticated or laid back.
You can dine elegantly with a nod to organic farming in a century-old brick hotel, or enjoy splendid pizza in a historic restaurant. You can shoot pool, play video poker, sing karaoke, dance and stay out late.
You can find bargain rack shopping with 50 per cent discounts for name brand tops and jeans.`
Buy homemade sausage and delicious pastries at two shops next door to one another.  Both the meat market and bakery have legions of friends, both locals and tourists.
Red Lodge, a mountain town, is nestled in a
picturesque valley, and is a gateway to Yellowstone.
I GREW up in a small town not far from Red Lodge, and we drove from Columbus to Red Lodge often for sports events -- our teams were in the same conference -- to Girl Scout and Lions camps up the road, and to favorite family dining venues, Old Piney Dell always a family favorite through the generations. We loved the old Victorians which stand sentinel and show community pride.
Red Lodge is famous for its beautifully restored Victorians.

The fact that it is still there and thriving makes this reporter happy.
Winters, took we took to the ski slopes, so it was a nostalgic afternoon when we drove recently up the six-mile road to the run of my youth.  While I mostly sat in the warming hut reading, siblings raced down the slopes and reveled in the excitement.
RED LODGE can deliver what you need -- excitement or calm.
I needed the latter. If you're overwhelmed with activity and challenge, too many activities, projects and people, Red Lodge offers an opportunity to regroup and calm yourself.  The "Red Lodge Anxiety
Main Street, Red Lodge, offers colorful marquees and neon.
Cure" works for me every time.
Wildlife is out the door, very near, if you base in Red Lodge. Here, mule 
WE RECENTLY ventured to lovely Rock Creek Resort for its picturesque restaurant's fine dining at Old Piney Dell. We also visited Red Lodge Pizza Co., in a beautiful brick building.  During my childhood, Piney Dell was a favorite as was Natali's (now the Red Lodge Pizza building). I walked down memory lane gazing at vintage Natali's photos in the back room! Food is still great there, and at Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen and Wine Bar, Bogart's, Cafe Regis and Foster and Logan's Pub. The Pollard Hotel's elegant lodging, top restaurant and pub continue to be favorites.  Not far from downtown, you can see wildlife, including both mule deer and white tails -- for photographic adventurers.

Our doggies, Nick and Nora, like Red Lodge
 for its many dog friendly accommodations.
For a fun time with kids, check out the Montana Candy Emporium, and Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique refuge for native animals found injured and rehabilitated in the center.
RED LODGE is a hot town in the winter when skiing begins, but it's a fine weekend get-away any time of year. Red Lodge Mountain is a quiet, no hype ski destination, growing in popularity with a national clientele.
People love it for its skiing -- "pure and simple," the p.r. folks say. "No lift lines, no attitude, no big prices. Just great snow and great people." My favorite time is summer!
But whichever your season, Red Lodge offersan authentic experience in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, summer or winter.  It's part of my history, and I love to share it.  Call 406 446-1718, the Red Lodge Chamber for more information. Or go to or

COMING NEXT: Exciting news. Our long awaited novel, "Lilian's Last Dance," publishes next Wednesday on Amazon e-books. It's writers are Cookie, aka Christene Meyers, and William Jones. We'd appreciate brisk sales the first couple weeks, anticipating a paperback version: Here's a synopsis to get your literary juices flowing: War threatens to rearrange the world’s boundaries as an unlikely trio discovers love crossing all lines. A dashing bi-sexual American bank robber, beautiful French female sharpshooter and pioneering British film maker star in a tale of passion, vengeance and honor. “Lilian’s Last Dance,” begins in 1907, unfolding during a 10-year span, against a radical art movement, developing film industry and the Great War. Settings include New York, France, rural Montana, Peru and Hollywood. Real-life cameos include Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, Conrad Hilton, Ty Cobb, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Gertrude Stein and more.
Wednesday's blog will herald the official release. Remember to explore, learn and live and stay tuned for the book and a series of lively stories about the travels, passions and sidetracks in the making of the novel since its 1997 inception.
At:  Please tell your friends!