THE PARIS GAME now available for Kobo!

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As Sera stepped up to the microphone, she glanced at the band. Benoît gave her a nod and she heard the opening bars of ‘Le Vagabond’.

The first lines came easily and she saw the club’s patrons turn their heads to listen. Even Jean paused in his work, holding a snifter of cognac. Her confidence swelled and she allowed a small smile to hover on her lips between verses, widening as she saw Jeremy Gordon moving from the bar to a better vantage point. Perfect. Near him, Sophie waited her turn for a drink. Sera met Edouard’s gaze across the bar and knew he’d spotted her as well. She watched them until the song finished and she had to turn her attention back to the band.

Benoît had chosen a song by Dietrich for their next piece, one of her favourites. It seemed appropriate to sing about falling in love again as she watched Sophie hover by the bar with her drink, Edouard speaking to her every time he had a lull in his work. Satisfied, she let her gaze wander.

The flicker of a cigarette lighter in the gloom caught her eye. It flickered again and held, illuminating the face of a man she hadn’t seen in weeks. Marc Perron lit his cigarette and his features faded back into the shadows. Not that she needed bright sunlight.

He would be elegantly dressed—a suit, pressed shirts with cufflinks, and depending on his mood, a tie. For all his apparent fastidiousness, he was never a dandy. Even now, moving amongst the crowd to stand at the rail, clear to her gaze, he confidently filled his space. He had a certainty about him, even when they’d first met in that tiny bar years ago. He’d beckoned her over, introduced himself, and had her telling him all her troubles before the night was over. Tonight, he gave her a hungry look that caused her to catch her breath in the midst of the phrase she was singing. She saw that half smile of amusement as he sipped a glass of wine. No one else had noticed her distraction, but he knew.

THE PARIS GAME Release Day!

The Paris Game - Alyssa Linn Palmer It’s release day for the debut novel, THE PARIS GAME, in my new series!

On the darker side of Paris, it’s dangerous to not pay your debts…

A singer in a jazz club past its prime, Sera Durand must come up with thousands of euros to pay back her boss, a ruthless gangster.  A confrontation with her ex, an art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, leads her into a questionable wager, but one that could solve her problems.

Marc Perron knows a winning proposition when he sees one. Seducing a shy young woman of Sera’s acquaintance will be the easiest thing in the world, and the prize, to have Sera in his bed once again, is worth the chance of losing a sizable sum. What he didn’t expect was the depth of Sera’s desperation.

When one of his deals goes awry, Marc’s solution could cost them more than money…

Read an excerpt.

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Trade paperback purchasers can email Alyssa to receive a free ebook version in the format of their choice.

Praise for The Paris Game:

“The Paris Game is a sexy noir romance–a gritty, thrilling peek between dangerous Parisian sheets.” -Tiffany Reisz, Award-Winning and International Bestselling Author of The Original Sinners series (Mira Books)

“Characters who grab you. A plot that takes hold and won’t let go. Sexy and seductive, “The Paris Game” is modern noir at its best.” -Cathy Pegau, author of Rulebreaker and Caught in Amber (Carina Press)

“Dark, mysterious, sexy. Noir at its best.” -Roxy Boroughs, author of A Stranger’s Touch

“‘The Paris Game’, the first book in Alyssa Linn Palmer’s ‘Le Chat Rouge’ series, strikes a delicate balance between erotica and intrigue. … On the whole, ‘The Paris Game’ marks an exciting first instalment in a series that promises to thrill crime and romance readers – and those looking for some escapism in la ville lumière.” Ma Vie Française (myfrenchlife.org)

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The follow-up to THE PARIS GAME, entitled MOONLIGHT & LOVE SONGS, will be released in Fall 2013, as a part of the Le Chat Rouge series:

Take a walk on the darker side of Paris…

A jazz club on the Left Bank, Le Chat Rouge seems stuck in another era. Neglect and crime have left their mark, but the club is a haven for the desperate. Sometimes a singer whose talent is worthy of the world’s greatest stages, or a patron who has wealth to spare, find their way to its smoky interior.

Gangsters, drug dealers, con artists…many occupy Le Chat Rouge’s worn velvet banquettes and tread its creaking parquet floors, but all submit to Royale. The ruthless owner demands loyalty and few earn his favour. Those who do are as brutal as he is, and those who defy him might very well risk their lives.

It’s a dangerous place, but fortune awaits the most daring.

2012: My Year in Review

img_2877Lots of things this year, just like last year.

I finished a novella (The Artist’s Muse) and it’s now on submission.

I just (under the wire) finished my 1920s gangster novel, The Orpheus.

I went to Chicago in May for fun and research, including a day at the Newberry Library, taking a gangster tour and sailing the tall ship Windy, and enjoyed some great times with my parents and aunt and uncle, especially eating at some great restaurants.

In other writing news, I learned novel plotting from Michael Hauge, released my novella Prohibited Passion, and took several great courses. My story ‘Vee’ was a part of the Felt Tips: Office-Supply erotica anthology. I also attended the When Words Collide convention and spoke on a panel about historical romance.

I began working with The Author’s Red Room as an editor, and I’m so glad I’ve been able to work with so many great clients this year.

I also made a point of reading a lot of books (over 140, according to Goodreads), and watched many films. I reviewed some films on my blog: Tomboy, Shame, The Artist, In a Lonely PlaceCaché, and De rouille et d’os (Rust & Bone).

And, last but not least, I met James Marsters at the Calgary Comic Expo.

I have several goals for the coming year, including writing another novel and travelling to London and Paris. I’m sure 2013 will be as great as this year.

A tasty little snippet in time for Thanksgiving…

Here’s a little snippet from the first draft of my 1920s gangster novel, The Orpheus:

Finally, she felt his hands on her hips, his fingers dipping beneath the lace of her underwear, finding the hollows of her hipbones. She opened her eyes as his hot breath brushed her stomach. He kissed her there, just above her bellybutton, and she carded her fingers through his dark hair.

“Please,” she whispered.

And I’m going to leave you with that. Happy Thanksgiving! (for my Canadian friends)

A few lines on a Sunday….

A few lines from my work in progress, THE ORPHEUS:

“Do you always rough people up when you can’t get your way?”
…..
“Ask the lovely Miss Prescott to explain it to you.”
“I will ask her,” she replied. “But I don’t see why you couldn’t just tell me.”
He strode the few steps till he was next to her again. His finger raised her chin and she stared up at him, into his dark blue eyes.
“It’s power,” he said bluntly. “It’s how men like me survive. Now get your coat and I’ll take you to see your mother.”

Traveling is fun! Day 1 in Chicago.

I love traveling. At the moment I’m in Chicago, and it’s been delightful. Taking it easy tonight, but I’ve been here two days and it’s felt a bit non-stop. Today I went on a gangster tour, sailed the Tall Ship Windy, and then went to Gibson’s for dinner.

The front of the Newberry Library.

But, today’s post isn’t about those places. Today’s post is about the awesomeness of the research library, Newberry Library. (at 60 W. Walton Street, across from the Washington Square Park.) I spent five hours in their reading rooms. Truly, I could have spent a lot more time, but I just didn’t have that much time. My main research goals were to look at several maps, the Illinois Crime Survey (a massive tome), and part of the Bessie Barnes papers.

Ms. Barnes was a producer of nightclub entertainment in Chicago and Milwaukee, and she worked during the 1920s and 1930s, with celebrities like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The library has all her papers and production notes, and I went through a box that included theatrical photographs of some of the performers, some letters, a stack of receipts and bills for shows, and some postcards. Stuff like that is what can help bring a story alive, all those little details that can make things that much more vivid in the reader’s imagination. (It also gives me a good idea of the cost of things, what people were eating– there were several menus too –and what some of the costumes were like.)

One of my favourite items to look at was a map of gangsters’ saloons and clubs, marked on a map of Chicago that was created in 1927. All the red dots give an idea as to which neighbourhoods were the most criminally populated, and there were also notes about which ethnicities lived in which areas of the city. Perfectly handy for me to use to create my fictional spots in the Roaring Twenties Chicago landscape.

And then, going on the gangster tour, I got to see some of the places up close… but that’s another post!

My novella Prohibited Passion is released today!

Find it at Amazon or Smashwords!

Ruth wants to escape the boredom of Bandit Creek and the strict expectations of her father, the local pastor. Her life changes the day she meets CeeCee, a world-wise flapper, and an irresistible attraction develops between them. She’ll be disowned and shunned if anyone discovers their prohibited passion, but can they keep their growing affection a secret?

CeeCee is drawn to Ruth, but things become complicated when her gangster companion disapproves of their liaison. He’s in town to broker a deal with the owner of the local speakeasy, and he’s not above using them to further his own plans. Can CeeCee protect Ruth and their budding relationship?

As Ruth gets drawn further into their world, she must decide between her familiar life and a new, dangerous path with the woman she loves.

A Boxing Day Treat: An Excerpt from PROHIBITED PASSION

Bandit Creek, Montana
August 1929

Chapter One

Ruth thought her father looked ridiculous, his eyes closed and his hands raised to the heavens. His thinning hair had already gone grey and it fell untidily over his ears. A growing paunch strained the fabric of his clericals. She knew she would have to make him new ones. Just another task she couldn’t escape from.

Escape. She thought of little else. She wanted to leave Bandit Creek behind, but today, she’d satisfy herself by leaving the service. While the congregation followed her father’s lead, she rose silently from the end of the pew and crept from the church.

She had an excuse or two all ready if he asked her over dinner why she’d left the church.

I needed some air. I felt ill.

Not that he’d ask. As long as she had dinner on the table when he wanted it, kept the house in order and washed his clothes, her presence went mostly unnoticed. If she had been a boy, he would have taken her under his wing and taught her to follow in his footsteps. His sycophants hoped she might choose one of them to marry, and thus receive his blessing and the church’s leadership after he was gone. She disappointed them all. The thought of any of those young men – or any man – left her cold. She never understood how the other girls fawned over the attention from boys. She couldn’t feel an ounce of attraction to any of them, even if she tried to convince herself.

Ruth turned at the corner and strolled down to the small rail station, slowing her steps in the hopes of seeing strangers on the platform, hoping for a glimpse of the world outside. The platform was barren and the ticket office shuttered. She continued on to Main Street, where most businesses were closed for the Lord’s Day. She scuffed her toes in the dust as she crossed over in front of the hotel, the only building showing any signs of life.

If only she could go inside, just for a while. If she had money, she could order lemonade and sit at one of the tables in the tiny restaurant, pretending to be a lady on an exciting trip, waiting for her maid to finish packing. She never pictured herself with a husband or a chaperone; she wanted to experience the world on her own.

The lace curtains fluttered in the open window and Ruth lingered outside, carefully peering into the restaurant without seeming to peep. A woman sat alone at a table, a glass and a dirty plate in front of her. A napkin lay crumpled by her elbow and she absently turned her tea cup in its saucer. She seemed lost in thought.

Ruth stared. The woman had her dark hair cut into a stylish bob, with marcelled finger waves, and she wore a dress that left her arms bare to the shoulder and gave little shape to her form. Ruth fingered the end of her long, ginger braid and looked down at her homely and serviceable dress. The women of town would shun her if she dared wear a flapper’s dress or cut her hair, but she couldn’t help her attraction for the delicate and gorgeous woman. Her mouth had gone dry. A tremor went through her. From here, the woman’s skin looked pale and soft and Ruth wanted to touch her hand or run a finger down her bare arm.
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