Friday, February 19, 2016

Yet ANOTHER Great Idea!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yes, the theme of the week. Great ideas! 
Today the wonderful Ritter Ames has SUCH a great idea—and it's also a great excuse.  
How about:  It's not sittin' around watching movies. It's--RESEARCH.  
Yes.
(And she's giving away a book! Another great idea.)
It’s a Marathon Weekend—a Movie Marathon, that is 
I love smart characters. In particular, I’m a sucker for old Cary Grant movies where the dialogue is fast, the humor is faster, and the lead actor figures a way around every obstacle—no matter how things are going. I also love television shows like “Castle” and “Scorpion,” where you have a little humor mixed with the drama, and unabashedly intelligent people to figure out whodunit or how to meet an objective, all while they acknowledge the talents of the others. Sometimes a bit grudgingly, sure, but still…
One of the reasons the titles I listed are favorites of mine is because there aren’t just strong male roles, but strong female roles as well. When Katherine Hepburn punches Cary Grant in the nose in Philadelphia Story, you have no doubt she could do it in real life—even if she’s wearing a designer gown at the time.
And while Beckett is a cop in “Castle” and Rosalind Russell was a reporter in His Girl Friday, both women are definitely respected and tops in their fields—regardless of the fact that the eras they lived in are more than half a century apart. 
If the story has some funny—but natural—scenes, and quick dialogue is bantered between the male and female protags…Well, all the better. 
Strong women—and the smart men who appreciate them—are a weakness of mine. As an author I can claim it’s research when I hunker down for TMC movie marathons, or stream back to back Avengers episodes so I can watch Diana Rigg take on any villain with those iconic kicks in those lovely iconic boots. And if she does have any difficulty, John Steed is right there to drop his bowler and toss his walking stick into the mix. Oh, yeah, and if the male actor has a British accent, well, I’m kinda hooked for sure then. Don’t even get me started on gadgets or James Bond. 
This is one of the joys of being a mystery author. What looks like someone goofing off and watching movies to others is actual research. And if I’m sitting with my feet propped up on my desk, computer in my lap, and watching YouTube videos—well, I’m brainstorming locations. 
Don’t believe me? Neither does my husband a lot of the time. But no matter. Let’s check out what’s on AMC and Netflix. I’m predicting a movie and television series marathon in the near future. It’s all research—really—I promise!
What do you do under the guise of “getting the job done” that others may not agree with the way you classify the task?
HANK: Ha! I love this. Well, sitting on a train and looking out the window. That is definitely not doing nothing.  Sometimes I’ll lie awake in bed, staring at the (too dark to see) ceiling. “What are you doing, honey?” Jonathan will whisper. Writing, I say. And most absolutely definitely, watching movies.  Reading the paper. Eavesdropping. And on and on…all research! How about you?


Ritter is giving away a signed copy of either Counterfeit Conspiracies or Marked Masters (winner's choice) to a lucky commenter on the blog. The contest closes at midnight on Feb. 20th

ABOUT THE BOOKS: Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.
The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.
COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES is the first book in the Bodies of Art Mysteries by  Ritter Ames, and is published by Henery Press. It and the sequel, MARKED MASTERS, are currently on sale for $2.99 in all ebook formats, and can also be purchased in trade paper and hardback from Amazon and Barnes Noble.
 Ritter Ames is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries and the Bodies of Art Mysteries. She lives atop a very green hill with her husband and Labrador retriever, and spends each day globetrotting the art world from her laptop with Pandora blasting into her earbuds. Often with the dog snoring at her feet. She’s been known to plan trips after researching new books, and keeps a list of “can’t miss” foods to taste along the way. Visit her at www.ritterames.com.

56 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Movies for research . . . what a great idea! I’ll always drop everything to watch Clark Gable, Jeannette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy in “San Francisco.”

Your thoughts on old movies and television shows with strong women characters reminded me of an old “Frank and Ernest” comic strip in which Bob Thaves wrote that Fred Astaire “was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards . . . and in high heels.”

I'm looking forward to reading your books . . . .

Edith Maxwell said...

Love the post! One of my series takes place in my town ... in 1888. So just walking the streets, spying carriage houses tucked away to the side of homes, hearing the clop of hooves, imagining my characters getting up to crimes and crime solving - it's all writing.

Gram said...

I wanted to be Diana Rigg when I grew up. I haven't watched either of the TV programs mentioned, but now I am going to look for them. Thanks.

FChurch said...

Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn movies? The Avengers? We must be BFFs but just don't know it yet! And your character sounds like she'd be right at home IN a Cary Grant movie! Those screenwriters knew how to write a script--all of it, the humor, the dialogue, all still as much fun as the first time I watched any of those movies. And me, too, Gram--I wanted to be a kick-ass in a bodysuit and drive fabulously futuristic cars!

Can't wait to get my hands on your books to see the results of all that research, Ritter!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes, I agree! Those Hollywood screenwriters--yooo hoo Halllie--sure knew what they were doing. As you all know I think DESK SET is the PERFECT example--the discussion/ test between Tracy and Hepburn as they eat sandwiches on the roof is the greatest of all time. (And we all know now who wrote that, right?)

What's your favorite scene?

I am off to the airport, and will catch up en route…xoxoxooo

Kait said...

They used to write great women in movies (still do at times). Who can forget the chemistry between Tracy and Hepburn? And Hepburn never gave an inch. The Avengers was magical. I didn't know it was still available. Guess what just moved to the top of my to do list. Research for me, well, my character is a SCUBA diver. Guess what I do every chance I get. In the next book, she's diving in Belize--the Blue Hole for one place. I've been there, but I'm thinking, you never know, it may have changed...research. What a tough life!

Hallie Ephron said...

Ritter, Love your thoughts about strong women who are appreciated by their men... Add Loretta Castorini (Cher) in Moonstruck. Tiffany (Jennifer Hudson) in Silver Linings Playbook.

It's harder to come up with strong women who don't need a man. Gypsy's Mama Rose? She was a mixed bag. Kinsey Milhone!

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Welcome Ritter! great topic. love your suggestions Hallie, as those were movies and plays I adored. I think the writers for JOY tried to take the strong woman as far as it could go, but it fell a little flat in my opinion.

I walk around Key West, and I eat out. that's my research!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh I always think of Mama Rose as a tragic figure. And Meryl Streep in devil wears Prada.
But how about Working Girl?
And I'm doing research right now --eavesdropping at my airport gate!

See you when I get to south Carolina -- so keep chatting without me!

Xxx

Ritter Ames said...

Joan Emerson, I love "San Francisco" and that quote about Ginger Rogers is one of my all-time favorites!

Ritter Ames said...

What a marvelous research activity, Edith Maxwell! I love the idea of walking and "time traveling" at the same time. Finding those hints of yesteryear as you walk today's streets.

Ritter Ames said...

Wasn't Diana Rigg simply fabulous, Gram? She could handle anything, and just exuded confidence! It was like those boots were her version of a tiara.

Ritter Ames said...

Thanks, FChurch--happy to meet another kindred spirit! Yes, I think Laurel would feel right at home in many Cary Grant movies, and probably needs to channel Katherine Hepburn and Grace Kelly many times in her work each day.

Ritter Ames said...

Hank and Kait--yes, love Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn in anything together. As much as I've Always Loved Jimmy Stewart, I've often thought about how Katherine Hepburn originally wanted Tracy for the role Stewart played in "Philadelphia Story" but couldn't get the studio to comply. Love their exchanges! Feel the chemistry.

Ritter Ames said...

Hallie, what great additions to the list! Loved Cher and Jennifer Hudson. And, yes, Hank, "Working Girl" definitely should be there, and I loved "The Devil Wears Prada." My watch list may be expanding this weekend!

Ritter Ames said...

Lucy, eating and walking is my preferred method of planning our vacations. My husband swears he knows when I'm planning our next trip because our dinner menus change countries. He's not often wrong either--but that's what he gets marrying a strong woman character :)

Julia said...

Ritter, the book sounds wonderful, like - speaking of old movies - The Thomas Crown Affair. As for research that doesn't look like research, I take trips to visit my BFF. She lives in the small town upon which I model my fictional Millers Kill. So, sure, I spend the weekend driving around, taking walks and gossiping. But it's all for the writing. Mostly.

That, and showers. I can't be the only one who "writes" in the shower!

Ritter Ames said...

Hank, what a great way to spend a morning. Okay, getting up for an early flight--not so much--but the eavesdropping research aspect is wonderful!

Ritter Ames said...

Julia, I love your researching field trips--yes, that's definitely research! And I love "The Thomas Crown Affair"--both versions. What a great script!

Mary Sutton said...

I love Tracy/Hepburn movies. They are so perfect for each other.

Since I write procedurals, any type of crime fiction/true crime TV is perfect "research" for me. I also love watching anything Joss Whedon writes/directs. His character interplay, dialog, and storytelling is so wonderful to watch.

Ritter Ames said...

Mary, I share your love of "all shows Whedon." I would love to be Zoe in Firefly, and the I still love his quote from ten years ago (yes, a decade ago, and it's still news!) to the question “So, why do you write these strong female characters?" answer "Because you’re still asking me that question."

Susan D said...

Oh yes. Tracy and Hepburn (Adam's Rib excluded). I feel the urge to step away from the computer and go do me a little research with Pat & Mike. ("Not much meat on her, but what there is is cherse.")

And while we're at it (since Joss Whedon came up) Much Ado About Nothing. Any version (including my memory of Brian Bedford and Maggie Smith at Stratford). Beatrice and Benedick and chemistry. There's research for you.

libbydodd@comcast.net said...

What a great discussion.
I can't decide which quote I like better:
“So, why do you write these strong female characters?" answer "Because you’re still asking me that question."
or
"Not much meat on her, but what there is is cherse."
I choose not to choose! They are eaually winners.

Ritter Ames said...

Susan D, I completely agree with you about Much Ado About Nothing--so many versions, so much fun! And like Hank, I'm partial to Desk Set when I think of Tracy & Hepburn, but those nine films they did together--what a great legacy. I think I'm going to add Pat & Mike and Woman of the Year to my list for the weekend :)

Ritter Ames said...

I'm with you libbydodd--no need to choose when they're both fabulous quotes. Thanks for adding the Pat & Mike quote. It's "cherse." :)

Kathleen Costa said...

I write, mostly for fun, because while watching my favorite movies or television series I get ideas that I think would have made them better...another character, another scene, a different ending, or motivation. I also change stories to include a female lead...Private Eye Phyllis Marlowe!

Grandma Cootie said...

Cary Grant - yes, sigh. TCM is always on and I always have a book handy, usually involving murder. But since I'm a reader and not a writer if I tell my husband it's research I'm afraid it might scare him.

Love your series and blog. Thanks for the giveaway.

Ritter Ames said...

Phyllis Marlowe, PI--what a good idea Kathleen Costa!

Ritter Ames said...

Ha, ha, ha! Love that Grandma Cootie! Yes, I can see how saying it's research could scare your husband :)

Deborah Crombie said...

Hi Ritter! What a fun post. I LOVE those old movies, too. And now I want to watch The Thomas Crowne Affair... Love Castle and love Joss Whedon, all the way back to Buffy, who is still iconic to me. My daughter and I watched every episode together.

My research leans towards watching British detective shows on telly, but hey, what's not to like??

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Sitting at gate D 40 in Atlanta, waiting for my flight to Columbia. They are now so over sold they are offering $400 to change flights. It is often so tempting… And it does seem like a perfect meet cute movie opening, doesn't it?

Kathy Reel said...

My husband has always had a crush on and a soft spot for Diana Rigg, and I think it's great. After all, he is admiring a strong, capable woman and that's a good thing. Isn't it interesting that the old movies had so many strong women characters in them? And, Ritter, I love Castle with the respect Castle and Beckett have for one another and the great witty dialogue. I can definitely see where all of this movie and television viewing can be considered research.

Joan, I love that quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Julia, doesn't everybody do their best work and thinking in the shower? Lucy, I think you have some of the best research adventures.

Ritter, I love the combination of mystery and art in books. I even have a category on my Goodreads list for art in fiction. I'm looking forward to getting acquainted with your books, and I'm a fan of Henery Press.

Ritter Ames said...

Absolutely agree, Deborah. My husband knows if there is anything BBC on the television schedule that's what we'll be watching that evening. From Inspector Lewis, to Sherlock, to Grantchester and on, I'm a Masterpiece and Masterpiece Mystery fan. And I loved Buffy--basically anything by Joss Whedon. Right?

Ritter Ames said...

Yes, cute opening, Hank. My husband has a theory that many of the overbooked flights are actually due to people who book only to get the overbook perks if they give up their seats. He's convinced they never plan on paying to go anywhere, just always book on the flights known for being the most overbooked, then go and sit at the gate until the airlines offers money and vouchers for them to stay home. Then they vacation for free when they really want to go. My husband is a little jaded--LOL!

Lisa Alber said...

Ritter, reading your post filled me with longing to hole up this weekend (it's been a busy week) with some old classics. Grant and Hepburn and Russell -- yes yes yes! (What should my special holing-up food be?)

A few weeks ago I asked my accountant if I could count video rentals (I still go to a store to rend videos, isn't that quaint?), movies, and plays as expenses. Yes! D'oh, I wished I'd asked years ago. And eavesdropping! Yes, so that would mean every coffeehouse, pub, restaurant outing is writing-related, too? :-)

My weekends away are most often "work" too. :-) I mean, I'm relaxing/mind-wandering, and I do crack open the laptop at least once.

Ritter Ames said...

Hi, Kathy Reel--your last name even goes along with the research category :)

Love that all of these movies and shows have smart people--no throwaway characters for comedic value. I think that helps the stars come off that much stronger, too.

We're going to have to compare notes sometimes on art novels. I'll bet we have some in common :)

Ritter Ames said...

Gotta say, I'm having a blast today proving to Blogger I'm not a robot. Each time I answer I have to choose which pictures have noodles or cars or juice or grass or store fronts--a different thing every time to keep me awake. But I had to stop for lunch because all the "choose which pictures are food" quizzes were making me hungry. But at least Blogger is learning I'm not a robot :)

Pat D said...

Oh! Another Henery Press author! Mrs Peel was such a favorite of mine back in the 60s. That woman could do anything, wear anything. Love her! I also nominate Agent Scully from the X-Files. You could depend on her to shoot straighter than her partner Mulder and bail him out of trouble.

Ritter Ames said...

Hi Pat, yes, mine is a new Henery Press series. Loved, loved, loved Mrs. Peel. And I was a big X-Files fan from the beginning. I loved how the writers of that show gave viewers a payoff for being loyal by slipping in jokes and comments that would be missed by anyone who hadn't watched long-term. Scully was definitely in her element.

Carolyn said...

Great blog. Any excuse for a movie/show marathon, and yes, it is definitely research.

Ritter Ames said...

It's definitely something we should all strive for, Carolyn. A learning experience involving Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Can't get any better than that :)

Maria G. Swan said...

Oh, what a great blog and a fabulous subject, I'm lucky, already read both books, can't wait for the next one. Would love to stay and chat but I suddenly remember I have a long, long research schedule so ciao for now..keep up the good work Ritter, your readers need you.

Ritter Ames said...

Happy viewing, Maria...er...researching, I mean :) Thanks for stopping by!

Ritter Ames said...

Lisa Alber you definitely should ask those kinds of questions! Gives so many more reasons for us to research all weekend, right? And as far as food goes, I tend to stick with snack-y things. So I can easily take notes, you understand. Don't want anything to get in the way of my note taking when I in an intense research session.

Lisa Alber said...

:-) Very true, Ritter. Good point! Let's see ... snacks ... which of course includes vino, an Italian red, I think ...

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Travel over for the day! Whew. ANd you all are having SUCH a good time! Yes, wine, certainly. and maybe..popcorn? Just the classic snacks. :-)

Alexia Gordon said...

Hooray! Justification for my streaming services subscriptions and eavesdropping habits.

Ritter Ames said...

Glad you're flying day is over, Hank! Welcome back :)

Ritter Ames said...

Yes, Alexia--all research! We couldn't write without our streaming services :)

Robin Coxon said...

I have told my husband, "If I could stick a recorder on my brain when we go to bed, I could write a best seller." This is why I don't sleep well when it's time for bed. My mind replays different parts of the day as well as writing about things. No wonder I have bags so big under my eyes that I could go on a month vacation and still have room.

Ritter Ames said...

If I start writing at night, I never get sleepy. I have to stop and read for awhile after writing to wind down. Sounds like your brain is a lot like mine--when it's been in creative mode it has a hard time shutting down. I've always wished my brain was like my LiveScribe pen, and could deliver a PDF and playback of what I've been thinking when I need it later :)

Mary Preston said...

This is the kind of research I could get on board with. I think it's such a clever idea.

Ritter Ames said...

Join me, Mary! It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Robin, you are SO right! I have said the same kind of thing! It would be so great to just somehow..get things on paper without writing them …some how..

Ritter Ames said...

I should have said this before, and I'm sorry or being so late at it, but thanks so much Hank and Jungle Red Writers for inviting me here today. Y'all are such fabulous authors, thanks so much for sharing your forum (and the fun) with all of us!

joye said...

I like your justification for watching movies. When people ask why I read so much, I am going to say 'for research" even though I am not a writer.
jwisley(at)aol(dot)com