Tag Archives: Eileen Dreyer

My Friend Pierre Jalbert

Barbara Vey -- March 3rd, 2014
Eileen Dreyer

Eileen Dreyer

-11With the Academy Awards on last night, I first want to congratulate author Maggie Mae Gallagher’s brother, Robert Huth, on winning an Oscar for Frozen.  You can read Maggie’s story about Robert here.  Today, author Eileen Dreyer, shares with us her friendship with Oscar and Emmy nominated Pierre Jalbert.  Eileen is a retired trauma nurse, and lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.  Eileen is an award winning author of over 30 books.

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My friend Pierre Jalbert died last month at 89 years. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him. He made a career in Hollywood, but isn’t a household name. He won’t be in the Oscars remembrance clips. He was one of those yeoman workers who get thanked at speech time.

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I met Pierre by sending a fan letter. There was a TV show in the 60s called
Combat! I watched, critiquing it as a theater/film student (okay, so there were also
handsome soldiers in danger. Sue me). My friends and I would dissect each episode as if it were Hitchcock.

 

Pierre in Combat!

Pierre in Combat!

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The show came back on in the 80s, and to my relief, it really was as good as it had seemed to me as a teenager. Vic Morrow, the star, had just been killed on the Twilight Zone set. I figured if I wanted to reach the cast, I needed to do it then. So I wrote, just to say thank you. Somehow, serendipitously, Pierre and his wife became dear friends.

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Pierre had an amazing life. He was Captain of the 1948 Canadian Olympic
team and one of the first ski instructors at Sun Valley and Aspen. He was a film and dialog editor. In fact, if you can understand Marlon Brando in The Godfather, you can thank Pierre.

The Canadian Olympic team. Pierre is second from the right.

The Canadian Olympic team. Pierre is second from the right.

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He worked with the big names (“Marlon Brando is a pussycat, darling. A
pussycat”) on movies like Ben Hur, Singing in the Rain, Mutiny on the Bounty,
Blackboard Jungle, American in Paris. When he wasn’t editing, he was teaching the
same people to ski. So when Pierre and his wife dropped names, the ground shook.
Not to impress. Those were just the people they knew. Nureyev. Sinatra. Lazar.
Duvall. Chamberlain. Altman. Hepburn. Power.

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Pierre was such good friends with the legendary Norma Shearer, he was
married in her living room. The fireplace in his living room came from the set of
Gigi. He was Oscar and Emmy nominated, and still the fastest man down the ski
slope well into his sixties. And, by the way, to the day he died the sexiest man I ever
met. I mean, like, knee­-weakening. He loved women, and when he held your hand, you knew it.

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In the 60s, MGM asked if he wanted to act. They needed someone who
spoke French for a show about WWII. Pierre said no. He would have lost his parking
spot. They finally talked him into it, though, and he became an integral member of
the Combat! cast, doing some wonderful work.

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Pierre in later years.

Pierre in later years.

 

Of course, as a writer, I couldn’t simply waste all that wonderful experience.  I talked him into letting me watch him loop a movie and then sit by his pool talking of his life. I got a romance out of it (written as Kathleen Korbel) called Edge of the World.

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Pierre had an amazing thirst for life. Not just for his crafts. He was a
voracious reader, a dedicated historian (I still really want to do a miniseries of the
treatment he wrote about the Marquis de Lafayette), and a lover of art. I’ll never
forget being followed around the old Getty museum by guards after he laid himself
out on the floor to fondle the antique parquet floor.

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I met some people in the industry through him, other character actors and
technicians. I heard great stories and saw how the industry could wear you down.
And I learned that to survive and thrive, you have to be strong and self-­assured and
resilient. The people like him live from call to call, and I saw the impact when that
call didn’t come. But Pierre would simply shrug and open a book on Napoleon or
break rock to terrace his lawn or share a ski slope with his wife Joy. It’s a lesson I
took to heart in my own career. We can control very little. But we can make sure
what we do control is the best we can be. Because that is what remains.

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That and the memories. And Pierre left behind some wonderful memories.

Bottom Line:  I watched Combat! every week as a teenager and we’d all talk about it at school.  Great show!

Authors Recommending Books

Barbara Vey -- August 29th, 2013

authorsrecommendingbooks

Today is the first day of what I hope will become a regular feature on Beyond Her Book.  Authors will be recommending other books.  They can be current reads or favorite past reads.  I also encourage you to leave your recommended reads in the comment section, so other readers can add to their TBR pile.

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firelightDarkfever

Elizabeth Hoyt recommends Firelight by Kristen Callihan (Historical Romance) “Callihan is an amazing new author! Her Victorian London is mysterious, weird, and exciting. Her heroine is kick-ass, her hero dreamy and forbidding at the same time, and the romance singes the pages. I simply can’t wait to read the rest of this series!”

Maggie Mae Gallagher recommends Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning. (Urban Fantasy)

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Once Upon a TowerEileen Dreyer recommends Once Upon A Tower by Eloisa James. Eden's Sin(Historical Romance)

 

Barbara Bettis recommends Eden’s Sin by Jennifer Jakes.(Western Historical Romance)

 

 

 

Gnome on the RangeThe Lotus PalaceMichele Callahan recommends Gnome On The Range by Jennifer Zane. (Contemporary Romance)

 

Amanda Berry recommends The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin. (Historical Romance)

 

The winner of the Random House gift basket with Complete Me by J. Kenner from yesterday is Jennifer Yarbrough.  Please email sgrimshaw @randomhouse.com with your name and street address for your prize.  Congratulations!

Bottom Line:  Come back Friday to see the books the WW Ladies are recommending this week.

Authors at Libraries

Barbara Vey -- April 26th, 2013
Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Well, this is a big weekend for me.  Last night there was a library event I moderated with Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta and this morning I’m driving them over to be on The Morning Blend tv show.  Tonight I’m moderating a free community Q&A with about 20 authors in Milwaukee and tomorrow is the Second Annual Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.  38 authors will be here to meet, greet and dine with over 200 readers.

 

NeverAGentleman_200px

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It’s jam packed, but I love this stuff.  The library event last night went great.  All readers attended, but out of that group, several were writers.  It’s always interesting to hear the difference in questions asked between the two.  Readers want to know all about the author, their lives and what’s coming up in their books.  Writers want to know about the journey, the struggles, the successes and, I think, that affirmation that it’s possible for them to be a successful, published author.

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Speak of the Devil

Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta couldn’t be more different, but their love of writing is the bond.  Eileen was a trauma nurse for 18 years and started writing medical romance, suspense and now historicals.  She does her research well by taking the courses for SWAT, hostage negotiation and weapons training.  Allison was a Federal Prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, domestic violence and crimes against children.  She writes thrillers about (no surprise) a female federal prosecutor.

It was fascinating to listen to their journeys to publication.  Eileen’s been at it since the 1980′s, while Allison’s third book in her series comes out soon.

I can’t wait to have 20 authors on stage tonight and ask them hard hitting questions.  The readers/writers in the audience will have a ball!

So, what do you think I should ask them?

Bottom Line:  The door prizes for attending the library event last night was 2 tickets to my Reader’s Luncheon, given out by the library.  Isn’t that cool?

Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans

Barbara Vey -- December 17th, 2012

I’ve never gone to a writer’s conference in December, but if you want to attend one in an amazing city, head to New Orleans.  Heather Graham always did this conference over Labor Day weekend, but constant worry about hurricanes had her try a change in the date and I’d have to say it really paid off.

New Orleans in December is a sight to behold.  Gorgeously decked out in all the Christmas glory, the shops even have Christmas vampire and voodoo stuff.  I guess I never thought of the two items in the same sentence.  I’m glad I had a chance to experience it.

If you’ve never attended Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans event, you are in for a treat.  While it’s a smaller conference, the intimacy is what makes it so special. She hand picks her special guest and they all have something unique to offer.  There are the usual panels, but there are also interviews with the big name authors.  The questions and answers are are sometimes surprising, but always entertaining.

David Morrell, James Rollins, Cherry Adair, Jonathan Maberry

David Morrell, James Rollins, Eileen Dreyer, Jonathan Maberry

James Rollins is a New York Times bestselling author, but did you know he’s also a veterinarian?  He still volunteers his services and has found a special place in his heart and books for dogs used in the military.   Jonathan Maberry most notably writes horror, but has been writing a YA series about Zombies (the good kind).  Did you know he was a body guard earlier in his career?  Eileen Dreyer started out writing medical suspense books which would explain her nursing background.  David Morrell, best known for his Rambo series explained why he wanted to stretch his wings and try writing a western.  David feels that it helps the author to stay fresh when he/she tries new things.

Paula Eykelhof, Connie Perry, Joan Schluhafer

Cocktail party time with Paula Eykelhof, Connie Perry, Joan Schluhafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our audience

Our audience

I was on a branding panel with Joan Schluhafer, Don Lucey from Harlequin and Tony and Tori Eldridge.  Joan is a publicist, Don is the head of publicity for Harlequin, Tori adapts books into tv and movie as a screenwriter and Tony is a movie producer who’s next film The Equalizer will feature Denzel Washington and start shooting in spring.  All very fascinating and I felt out of my league.  They had so many interesting things to say that I was up at the table furiously taking notes to I can pass them all on to you in future workshops and panels I do.  Don explained that Harlequin is serious working with authors to give them everything they need to be successful and Joan (who is the very organized one of the group had meticulous notes and made us all look good.  Me, I stumbled my way through, but was well received which always makes me feel good.

Heather Graham and Shara Waas

Heather Graham and Shara Waas

I met Shara Waas , 2012 winner of Heather’s contest, Giving Back to Your Community.  Shara wrote about working and volunteering with therapy dogs for twelve years and the satisfaction and joy she received from it.  Shara was in awe of the authors and the whole event.  She told me she was thrilled to win and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Time for the Vampire Ball

Time for the Vampire Ball

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Heather Graham doesn’t just sit back and let others do the workshops, she is the driving force behind the shows put on during the event.  This year’s theme was Vampires on the Titanic.  It was a clever take on the idea that Jack could have been saved if 1) Rose would have just moved over on that plank or 2) the vampires had only made him a vampire and they turned everyone on the ship into vampires, it could be a happy ending.  The show was also dotted with Christmas songs that strangely fit into a doomed ship filled with vampires.

Also attending the conference was Heidi, one of the WW Ladies.  She won the trip from Heather at my Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon last April. Here’s her take on the event:

Cherry Adair and Heidi

Cherry Adair and Heidi

Heather Graham and Heidi

Heather Graham and Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was really impressed by the variety of panels scheduled during the entire weekend It was really hard to pick one or two to attend. The kick off of the welcome party was amazing. I was overwhelmed by all of the writers, publishers, agents and editors. PLUS to be able to meet Heather Graham, James Rollins and Eileen Dreyer, I think I said WOW a million times. But it was so fun to see them and have a regular type of conversation even though I was gushing like a school girl. James has a special place in my heart now being a Chicago boy! :)

On Saturday, I had the pleasure to hear Jonathan Maberry during breakfast, and it is truly amazing to hear what a unique background he has had. His sense of humor I enjoyed most of all. It made me feel right at home. He asked me later in the day what kind of writer I am. I never looked at myself as a writer, but technically I am now, so that was a really cool revelation.

The panel of speakers later in the morning were so awesome because you really got to hear all of their journeys into writing. I loved that is isn’t all cookie cutter writer stories of their beginnings. Eileen, James and Jonathan had me laughing quite a bit, I had a hard time taking notes. I kept thinking they are like secret agent writers: “trauma nurse by day, romance writer by night.”

The special dinner on Saturday was the most unique experience of my life. I never imagined vampires on the Titanic, but I sure can now!! To know that Heather had her band there, and wrote the play that went on during dinner really showed how much she loves her life. I have such respect for that.

Watching Barbara from the sidelines, talking to everyone at the event, as well as bringing in strangers from the hotel to meet authors, with such a passion and love of reading, was really a hoot. Barbara is truly gifted in her element and it was really fun to witness it.

All in all, it was such an honor to be able to attend this event, thanks to Heather Graham. To be able to meet so many people who love what they do, makes me want to work harder in my life, because I love that I do. I have been blessed to come to New Orleans and it will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

Oh, by the way, did I mention the food??? YUMOLICIOUS!!!

It’s obvious that Heidi enjoyed herself and together we explored some of New Orleans including the famous Cafe du Monde and it’s famous beignets.  I looked like the abominable snowman from the shower of powder sugar that loads down the pastry.  Of course, I’d do it again in a heart beat.

The conference ended with a book signing.

Kelli Stanley

Kelli Stanley at book signing

Kate Poole at book signing

Kate Poole at book signing

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Bottom Line: I’ve already been invited back for next year and I hope to see you there!

Weekly Giveaways

From Marilyn Baron:  FREE SWEET ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY WITH LOVE STORIES FOR EVERY SEASON PLUS TWO WEEKS OF FREE READS & PRIZES. Petit Fours and Hot Tamales bloggers have published a FREE anthology called SEASONS AND SEASHELLS just in time for the holidays.  You can read it here.  As a bonus, from December 17-Dec. 28, we will publish all or portions of each short story of our Group Novel on our blog. Author prizes awarded daily plus three great prizes to be announced on December 31. Visit our blog to find out more. Here’s what we’re giving away this year: A $5 Starbucks gift card; A PF&HT cookbook and the grand prize: A lovely pair of sterling silver seashell earrings from Nature’s Jewelry.

From Kristie Cook First, the first book in my series, Promise, is FREE (no end date as of right now) for all ebook formats:  Kindle:   Nook  Also on iBookstore, Kobo and Smashwords

Secondly, 13 other authors and I are doing a Holiday Hullabaloo giveaway with 155 prizes over 12 days, including a $200 gift card at the end. People can start at my website, where it’s going daily until 12/21 (started on 12/10), and the links to the other authors’ giveaways are at the bottom.
Third, I’m giving away a free ebook of any of my books here.
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From Katy Lee:  This week I am holding a Goodreads Giveaway of REAL VIRTUE! It’s just one click to enter, and you can find the link on my website. 
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From Pam, Affaire de Coeur Magazine: 3 contests! Spread the word. Links can all be found on our main page.
2. Kaylin McFarren’s — The Inspiration Behind the Story, Click here
3. Pambling Roads~~DC — have a story you want to share about a trip you have made or your visit to Washington, DC. You could win a “I Can’t Live Without Books” T-shirt purchased from the Library of Congress Gift Shop in Washington, DC. Click here.