Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coronation Day for QUEEN OF HEARTS!

Hank Phillippi Ryan:  All this week we're peeking into your bedrooms--to see your TBR piles! And today, see below, we have even more of your wonderful stashes.

And here's a new book that we think--just saying--ought to be on ALL of them very soon!

Happy Book Day to our dear darling duchess, Rhys Bowen!  Her brand new QUEEN OF HEARTS already has two starred reviews
RTBR gave the Queen 4 ½ stars! And when a review starts “Climb aboard the crazy train…” and ends with “Bowen’s delightful royal is as charming and feisty as ever…the supporting cast of characters will charm new fans into discovering Bowen’s superior sleuth,” you know you’re in for a treat.

You know about the Royal Spyness books, right?  In this one, Lady Georgiana, 35th in line to the throne of England but penniless, finds herself dragged off to America in this 8th book in the Royal Spyness series. Her much married mother now wants a quickie divorce and Reno seems to be the place. On the Transatlantic crossing they encounter a jewel thief and a movie mogul who persuades Georgie's mum to appear in his new movie. Life among Hollywood's glitterati seems like a dream for Georgie, but is about to turn into a nightmare in which she might star in her own death scene.

So, yay for Rhys! She’s done it again. And in honor of QUEEN OF HEARTS, I did my best to get the scoop from our own queen of mystery, the hilarious and wonderful Rhys Bowen.  

Title of your autobiography?
   “Been There, Done That.”

Whoa. Wonderful. Why?
  I’ve had quite an eclectic life and the opportunity to live in different parts of the world.

So---what would you still like to do?
A safari is still on my bucket list. And I’d like to write that one definitive book, like To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind winning an Edgar either.  (Only modest ambitions, as you see.)

Very Rhys! Book you wish you had written?
     The Lord of the Rings.

Movie you would see again and again?
     Out of Africa

It’s so beautiful and so sad, and reminds me that I never experienced that great and doomed love. Also Robert Redford washes Meryl Streep’s hair in one of the sexiest scenes ever.

Exotic drinks--yes? No?
  When I’m somewhere exotic. Sangria when I’m in Spain, Mai Tai when I’m in Hawaii, Margaritas in Mexico. At home I’m sensible.

When in history would you choose to visit?
I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Rome.

 They were so modern in many ways. Central heating, lending libraries for novels! Of course I’d stay away from the gladiators.
Very sensible. Pizza or chocolate?
No contest. Chocolate. Dark chocolate. After 8 mints.

 Does that mean do I want one or have I got one? The latter. Doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t want to trade him in sometimes.

Kids?  Pets?
Four kids and now 5 grandkids. The latter are much easier because I can send them back. Actually they are all wonderful and adorable. I love them to pieces and we have great times laughing together.
No pets. We travel too much.
We travel a lot. I hike once a week with friends (saved a fortune in therapy bills). I sing. I paint (not very well) and I play the Celtic harp. All of the above only when I have time, unfortunately. With 2 books a year it’s not easy.

Yeah. Seriously, how do you do that?
  It’s part insanity, part not being able to say no.

 Well, we have a lot of land, but we live on a hill and there are deer so it’s impossible to grow much. Mainly citrus and lavender. Actually I have no free time for anything more right now.
Fear or phobia?
Hate spiders. Hate ‘em but I’m civilized enough not to kill them. I trap them in a glass and carry them outside, which I think is very noble of me.

What someone might not know about you.
  I used to sing in London folk clubs with Al Stewart and I knew Simon and Garfunkel.

Dish, please! Just tell us ONE cool thing about that.

I had been singing with Al Stewart. We were in a café late one night when Paul and Artie came in. They said they’d come to say goodbye because their manager wanted them to come home to the US. It seemed a record they had made, called The Sounds of Silence, was doing quite well. The rest, as they say, is history.

Paul and Artie, huh? Oh, Rhys, I bet you have SO many stories! But let’s see…
Do you have a recurring dream? What is it?
  I’ve had several. The one I have most often these days is rushing to catch a plane and trying desperately to pack but can’t find my clothes.
I also dream I’m in a play but don’t know my lines. Sound familiar?

Had that one myself. Last night, I dreamed I was supposed to find the cello player for the concert, which I did, and was so proud of myself. But then I couldn’t find him again, and the concert had started. Shaking head. DO you think we’re all a little...stressed?  Anyway. Relaxing.  Do you watch TV? What?
  Mostly PBS. Masterpiece and Mystery, and travel and Nova and British comedy.
I also like watching sports, especially tennis.

Can you sing?
I’m Welsh. All Welsh people can sing! But the answer is yes. I’ve sung all my life, from folk clubs to the local opera chorus.

Best concert you've ever seen?
Hard to think of this one. Harry Connick was terrific once. So was Pavarotti.

Secret talent?
I’m good at boogie boarding!

That I’ve GOTTA see! Thing you always say to yourself when writing?
   For the first half of the book it’s usually that this one will be a hopeless failure and I’ll be revealed as a fraud. Then by the second half I can see it’s going to be okay after all. But the one mantra is “Nothing is written in stone.” You mustn’t love anything so much that you’re not willing to axe it.

So—today is your pub day! Yay. Tell us about QUEEN OF HEARTS!
   It’s the 8th Royal Spyness book. Georgie is dragged across the Atlantic by her much married mother who wants to get a quickie divorce in Reno. On the way they meet a jewel thief and a movie mogul who persuades her mother to do a cameo role in his movie.
Of course I had to research this well, including taking the Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic. (How one suffers for one’s art…)
But such fun to satirize Hollywood in the 30s.

Whoo hoo! Does it ever get old—pub day? What are you thinking RIGHT NOW? 
    Never! It is still always a thrill to see one of my books on a shelf and to get fan mail. And to do a book tour and see expectant faces waiting for me.
As to what I’m thinking—I always worry that this book won’t do as well as the last one.

Tell us one more thing about that.
   What can I say—I’m a born worrier.

Are you working now? On what?
   The ninth Royal Spyness book called Malice at the Palace.

Are you…enjoying it?
   I’m still in the first half. But I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and these books are fun to write.

Can you believe how amazingly your career has turned out?
  I still remember my first mystery with a first printing of 2500 and I realize what a big part luck plays. I think I’ve learned how to craft good books, but so have many people whose books have gone unnoticed. Being a friendly person has helped with all those fan-based awards. Paying my dues in writing and travel and outreach have certainly contributed.
But things like being an Audible bestseller—that was pure luck for me. Right place at right time.

Right place at the right time, sure. But with a terrific book, and a terrific attitude, and a lot of hard work. Right? Do you have a motto? (What is it?)
   No pressure, no diamonds. (I borrowed it from someone else, and now I don’t know who that was.) But I have it on my bulletin board.

HANK:  Terrific.  And readers, the Reds want to award a copy of The Royal Spyness book of your choice to one lucky commenter!  So---in honor of QUEEN OF HEARTS, what’s your favorite old Hollywood movie? I dibs…what’s the Preston Sturges movie where he plays the director, and it has Veronica Lake? That one. And Adam’s Rib. And Desk Set. (Which Hallie’s parents wrote!)

How about you?

(And talk about contests, check this out! http://hankphillippiryan.com/newsletters/newsletter-7-14.html)

Here's Pamela Stiehler! (very literary.)

Let's see nightstands!

Debbie Treadway Lyvers Krenzer (optimistic!)
Charlotte Gruber (elegant!)

Kathy Crowley Ahern (perfect!)
Laurie Evans (is it always this nicely stacked?)

Ellen Bird (so lovely!)
Erika Gustavsen Robinson (with guard cat!)

Victoria Scott (with Tab Hunter!)
Katie Kunsman (I spy THE OTHERWOMAN! xoxo)

Tomorrow, more photos of your night stands! And a fabulous insight from the amazing SJ Rozan.


  1. Happy Book Day, Rhys . . . I am really looking forward to reading Georgie’s latest adventure.

    Favorite old movie? No contest . . . San Francisco, with Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy . . . done in 1936, directed by W. S. Van Dyke, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer . . . .

  2. IF the books were confined to the nightstands, I might not have to sidle through the house. (Back in 1988, I was not originally a Dukakis supporter, but Time magazine showed a photo of his bedroom with stacks of books on the floor on both sides of the bed, and I knew he was a kindred spirit).

  3. Rhys, Happy Book Birthday—from Kendall and Reine! <3

  4. Congratulations Rhys--you're a bright star and we love having you as part of our constellation! You should all get QUEEN OF HEARTS on your nightstands or kindles--it's a hoot! xoxo

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  6. Congratulations Rhys!! Favorite old movie " The Fallen Idol" with the wonderful Ralph Richardson.

  7. Oh, Joan, I've never seen San Francisco. Hmm, is there such a thing as a TBW pile?

    Ellen, very wise!

    And yup, Reine, we are celebrating!

  8. Congrats Rhys. Queen of Hearts is next on my list for the blog. I am looking forward to the light and fun adventures of Lady Georgiana (and her mother) after the odd darkness of this current read.

    Have a great launch day and week!

  9. And the winner of the TRUTH BE TOLD arc is mmgage! HURRAY!

    Send me your address....to h ryan at whdh dot com

    And, oh, Kristopher...cannot wait to see what you think!

  10. Al Stewart--Rhys, do you mean THE Al Stewart? Who sang Year of the Cat??? Oh, I am thrilled! That album got me through my senior year in high school, when my boyfriend joined the Marines and I was sooo saaad. (My poor mother. My mooning around must have been unbearable.)

    Do you keep up with him? Is he a nice guy? Can you tell I was a groupie?

  11. Happy pub day, Rhys!

    Miss Edna and I both absolutely love Georgie's latest adventures.

  12. Rhys,

    Happy book birthday! Eagerly looking forward to reading your book as soon as the bookstore opens today and I can buy your book today :-)

    On my nightstand, I have ALL of the Royal Spyness books.

    Favorite old movie? Tough question since there are many old movies. Charlie Chaplin silent movies are among my favorites. There are many others. Gentleman's Agreement with Gregory Peck and To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant are tied as my favorites.


  13. Can't wait for the book, Rhys! Lady Georgie is one of my favorite characters!

    You are a nicer person than I am. I do not deliver spiders to the outside. I deliver them to heaven.(Well, maybe I AM nice, in that case.)

    My all time favorite movie is It's a Wonderful Life. I saw it for the first time when I was in second grade. The ending made me cry, which was the first time I remember crying because I was happy!

  14. Ramona, now that song is going through my head. Hmm. What does it meeeean?

    And oh, Diana, I loved Gentleman's Agreement. Very unusual. And of COURSE, To Catch a Thief. xxo

  15. Rhys, you are full of surprises. :-)

    Happy Launch Day! Really looking forward to this next Lady Georgie adventure. What a delicious way to usher out summer.

    My brother-in-law is also Welsh. Which makes two Welsh people I know. Hunh.

  16. I love the musicals of the 50s and 60s and I think Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelley and Debbie Reynolds is my favorite.

    I am looking forward to catching up with Lady Georgiana's adventures. I do enjoy this series!

  17. Oh, yeah, forgot to add my favorite old movie.

    Definitely Some Like it Hot. Hilarious, touching, and has my favorite Tony Curtis, as well as an incandescent Marilyn Monroe at her peak of both physical beauty, singing talent, and acting ability.

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  19. Hank, I think your Veronica Lake/Preston Sturges film must be "Sullivan's Travels"
    [from Paramount, 1941 . . . also stars Joel McCrea; Ray Milland is in the film, too, but is uncredited]

  20. Happy pub day, Rhys! (And to me, too! Fun to share a day with authors I know and whose work I adore.)

    I grew up on old musicals, so I'll have to pick one of those. Singing in the Rain is, of course, the classic. But I'm very partial to Fred Astaire (how about Swing Time?) and to Shirley Temple, especially when she was teamed with Bojangles (Bill Robinson). I mean, just check out Bojangles tapping up the stairs in The Little Princess: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjCFYpWDmfM. Epic and wonderful!

  21. Happy Pub Day! I can't wait to read the next Georgie installment! My favorite old movie is "Meet Me in St. Louis" with Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien. I also really like old Bette Davis movies, too, and the 1940's "Little Women". -beth of beth's book-nook blog

  22. Happy pub day Rhys! Once again, the Reds come to the rescue as I struggle through a first draft thinking, "Wow, this is it - I suck." =)

    Favorite old movie? Um, anything with Cary Grant. But someone reminded me of "Inherit the Wind" the other day; must watch. Oh! "the Sting" - Robert Redford AND Paul Newman in 1930s suits. *swoon*

  23. Can't wait to read this book!!!

    I love the Thin Man movies. Comedy and mystery - right up my ally.

    carstairs38 @ gmail

  24. Oh, Rhys, congratulations! I can't wait to read the new Georgie. She is my favorite mystery heroine, by a long shot! Uh oh, too many exclamation marks. The editor will be coming after me!

    I love, love, love old movies. I think my favorite would be It Happened One Night, with Some Like It Hot and Auntie Mame running a close second and third.

  25. Only ONE old favourite Hollywood movie?

    Okay, it has to be Holiday, with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, where he almost marries the wrong sister (you can tell she's not right for him when she makes her entrance wearing that terrible hat).

    Can't wait to read the latest Georgie adventure. Tons of fun.

    And as for nightstands, I'm so excited that I found a new-to-me nightstand for $5 at a garage sale a few days ago. I think it was an Edwardian era plant stand, and it has an excellent lower shelf ideal for books, with a little railing all around. It's for our cottage up north, and fits the old decor perfectly.

    (Trivia about Sullivan's Travels... the Joel McCrea character wanted to make a meaningful movie, instead of all his comedy fluff. The proposed title: O Brother Where Art Thou.)

  26. Congrats, Rhys! I love the Lady Georgie books and it will definitely be fun to experience Hollywood with her (especially since that's where I live). Fave old Hollywood movie would have to be Some Like It Hot--I've seen it so many times I can quote it. But that doesn't feel that old to me so I'd also say It Happened One Night. Darling!

  27. Congratulations, Rhys! Love Al Stewart. As one of a group of British teachers in Morocco in the 80s, 'The Year of the Cat' became our theme song. Can still bring tears to the eyes!

    Favorite old movie - The Philadelphia Story. Also Meet me in St. Louis. Also ...

  28. Of course, Sullivan's travels! I love DO brother where art thou trivia… I always think that's the title.

  29. Yay Tammy kaehler! Come back and tell us all about your new book… Right now!

  30. Congratulations Rhys. Rear Window is my favorite oldie. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  31. Happy Book Day, Rhys. Best wishes. Casablanca is my favorite movie ever and none can compare. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  32. And no one says GWTW? Honestly! The best. I tried to get a granddaughter to watch Scarlett and Rhett with me, but she kept saying, "it's sooooo long and soooo boring." Good grief. Also love the Hitchcock film Notorious (Cary and Ingrid -- so romantic, so swooningly wonderful).

  33. Favorite old movie? Tie between My Man Godfrey and Laura.

  34. I LOVE Queen of Hearts! Nothing is more fun than a new Georgie. Congrats, Rhys!

    I want to see Georgie in a movie!

    Old movies? How about The African Queen? Casablanca is way up there. North by Northwest. Charade. And I adored Gene Kelly, so Singing in the Rain, and An American in Paris.

  35. Thank you all for your good wishes! I'm excited and scared at the same time. What if I gave a launch party and nobody came.... you can tell I'm a worrier.

    And yes, it was THAT Al Stewart and we were closer friends (but not romantically involved). He played back-up on a recording I made! I've seen him fairly recently. He's now married, a sensible dad etc.

    And my favorite old movie: if it has to be the Thirties it's It Happened One Night.
    If it's just old--ie my childhood, then I choose the Court Jester. It still makes me laugh.

  36. Non-Hollywood: Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. Hollywood: Screwball comedies with Katherine Hepburn.
    I look forward to reading the latest.

  37. Happy Pub Day to Rhys! I was lucky enough to read Queen of Hearts as an ARC, and it is wonderful, as all the Georgie books are. My review is at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1005178321 Like Kristopher, who always has great ideas, I'm planning to feature Rhys and the Georgie books on my reading blog this week.

    And, Rhys, is it not enough that you have three successful series you've written? Now, you go and tell us that you play the Celtic harp, sing, and boogie board. By this time, my mouth is hanging wide open. When I read about Paul and Artie, I have realized that you are no mere mortal. I have a dream now of being in an audience for your show of playing the harp and singing, interspersed with you reading selections from your writing.

    Favorite old movie would have to be Rear Window with James Stewart and the rest of that fantastic cast.

  38. Favorite old movie? The Ghost and Mrs Muir. "Met" Rhys recently at a library round table in Sacramento, along with Catriona McPherson, Cara Black and Terry Shames. Tres Fantstique!

  39. Hank,
    Thanks ~ another favorite is It's A Wonderful Life with James Stewart.

    Rhys, one of my favorite former boyfriends is Welsh and as far as I know, my 2x great grandmother was Welsh.


  40. Sorry I am not reading any reviews until AFTER I read my copy of Queen of Hearts today.

  41. I agree with Joan. The movie San Francisco with Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy is my favorite. I grew up in San Francisco and indeed, left my heart there. My children grew up singing the song San Francisco in a bluesy way imitating Jeannette's performance at the theater, and my grandchildren (who live in The City by the Bay) will learn it too once they're old enough to talk. The end of the movie when Jeannette and Clark reunite in the tent camp and she sings the song again, I can't help but weep every single time. I can't sing along because of the tears.

  42. Happy Launch Day, Rhys!

    I had no idea you have an amazing past as a singer! I think we need to take advantage of your talents for the next Jungle Reds Bouchercon panel...

  43. Oh yes, Charade. And North by Northwest. And Vertigo. I love the perfect blend of comedy and suspense is movies like Charade. I think it's what I strive for in the Spyness books.

  44. I can't wait to read the latest Lady Georgie! Love that series.
    Favorite movie? Oh that's tough. I love anything with Ronald Colman, Tyrone Power, or William Powell. But I will always watch Mrs Miniver and none of them were in that!

  45. Julia, I was thinking along the same lines, a Bouchercon panel extravaganza. You would have plenty of time to plan one for the Bouchercon 2015, which I will be attending, and I would be happy to be the group's lackey, uniformed or not, for such an event. LOL!

  46. Yay, Lady Georgie and Yay Rhys!
    Safari and Edgar are on my list, too.
    Toasting you, Rhys!

  47. right now - I'd have to say "An American in Paris", but it does change occasionally.

    Congrats on the new Georgie book - can't wait to read it.

    and my nightstand is empty of books because the TBR print books are either in the bookshelf in the living room or on the dining room table (waiting to be cataloged) and YES, my books are cataloged - I only have around 7K print and 3K e-books

  48. on - and the anonymous "American in Paris" is Sara Hyman (annefitza at yahoo)

  49. Looking forward to reading the new Georgie. Favorite old movie-To Have and Have Not, with Bogart and Bacall

  50. So many wonderful old movies have been mentioned so far, but not my favorite: The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy. A few years ago my hubby gave me a a DVD set with all the Thin Man movies. Just wonderful!

  51. Congrats and Happy Book Day ! I love Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant, plus lots of Christmas movies - It's A Wonderful Life, The Bishop's Wife, Miracle On 34th Street, Holiday Inn, Christmas In Connecticut -

  52. Congratulations on the new arrival Rhys!

    Favorite old movie? Green Dolphin Street - loved the movie but really, really loved the book (Elizabeth Goudge), one of my all time favorites.

  53. Happy book release day, Rhys!

    Now that I know there's a jewel thief in the new book, I'm even more excited to read it ;)

  54. Oh, I love the court jester! The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true…

    Of course, rear window! And notorious! And suspicion.

  55. My favorite old movies are Casablanca, Gone With The Wind and Rear Window. :)

  56. Happy Pub day, Rhys! I'm so looking forward to reading your newest Georgie!
    My nightstand is full of books and I have a bookcase in my bedroom as well full of books already read, about to be read or waiting to be re-read or passed on.
    My favorite old movie is 'Rebecca"-so shivery and melancholy and suspenseful. Although...I just reread the book and found myself impatient with the narrator. I had to remind myself that she was very young and living in a different age and culture. So I'll rent the movie again. The spooky Mrs. Danvers is worth seeing again. I still would like to know the narrator's name!

  57. Ooh, congrats!

    And favorite old movie? An Affair to Remember. It's got such a great balance of emotional highs and lows. I cry every single time. My husband never fails to point out that I've seen it "a thousand times" (although the number varies depending on how recently I've watched it) but I go on and cry anyway.

  58. Can't wait for your latest Lady Georgie, Rhy!! Just the ticket for when things need lightening up! And, wow! Paul and Artie!! Swoon!!!

    My favorite oldie--anything with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, The African Queen, and not yet mentioned here, one of my all time favorite pairings--Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.

  59. An Affair to Remember? I think about it ALL the time. Way too sad, though.

    And Roman Holiday--Audrey Hepburn was so fabulous.

    And Jonathan votes: A Farewell to Arms.

  60. Congratulations on book day! Well I must say I do enjoy the Lady Georgianna series but I surely miss Evan Evans!

    Wow, only one favorite old movie? I guess I'd have to go with Philadelphia Story since I have it permanently loaded on my iPad.

  61. I have too many. Midnight (1939). Colette Colbert & Don Ameche...and Francis Lederer...and John Barrymore. Or maybe The Gay Deception (also Francis Lederer and Francis Dee). Or Tall, Dark, and Handsome (Cesar Romero). Or...well, you get the idea. I LOVE old Hollywood and its spawn. ;-)

  62. Yup, Philadelphia Story may be the BEST. I agree.

    And absolutely, Eileen!

    See all you wonderfuls tomorrow!

  63. Is it too late to chime in on favorite old movies? The Magnificent Seven made me want to be a movie star.

    And the Sting, because nestled into all that fun is such a sad single line it's stuck with me for twenty years. "It's two in the morning and I don't know nobody."

  64. My favorite "old time movie" is Bringing Up Baby with Gary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. I never get tired of it and it always makes me laugh.