Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Review and Interview)

About the Book

Meg Barnes, a beloved actress for her role as TV detective Jinx Forgarty,  has it all but thanks to her newlywed con-man  husband,  loses everything and ends up living on the streets of Tinsel Town in her Ritz-Volvo. This fun, light-hearted romance takes us into the Hollywood social swirl, but also delves into the gritty truth of what it is to be “homeless and hiding it” in one of the most glittering, fashionable cities in the world. It’s also a story of redemption with a “Thelma and Louise” twist as Meg, incorporating skills she learned as a TV detective, tracks down her fugitive husband and struggles to regain her reputation, career and friendships.

My Review

I adored Meg and her interactions with the handsome FBI agent, Jack Mitchell, and her new found friend Donna.  There were so many well-crafted scenes that it actually made you feel as if you were standing right by Meg's side throughout her ordeal.  There is the perfect blend of mystery, romance and humor throughout the story.

The author is a former actress so all the entertainment references feel very realistic and she clearly knows her stuff.  This is a fun book that keeps you guessing and has you laughing at the same time.   It makes for great summer reading, but will lighten your mood at any time of the year.  I hear there's a sequel in the works and I'm ready to join Meg Barnes for another adventure.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Book Excerpt

Excerpted from Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott, © Montlake Romance 2013

Actress Meg Barnes, homeless and living in her car, hopes to spend the night in a safer place than parked at the curb of a local park for the night. She needs a good night’s sleep because she’s got a job guest-starring in a TV pilot.

I park up the street in a cul de sac off the main road. Then, my overnight bag slung on my shoulder, I slip through a break in a boxwood hedge. In the shadow of a sycamore tree, I pause, listening to the sounds of the night. The lights are off in Marjorie Singleton’s house, my benefactor tucked in for the night. I don’t know Marjorie well, though whenever I voted, it was in Marjorie’s clean, spacious garage, her Bentley parked on the street to make way for a bank of polling booths on election day. I’m sure Marjorie, if she knew, would be only too happy to extend a neighborly welcome to me.

It’s Wednesday: Marjorie’s son, who lives in Encino, is home with his family and won’t stop by again until Friday afternoon, when he’ll bring her Chinese takeaway. I know the rituals; I’ve watched Jake Singleton come and go. This is a safe night, and all is quiet.

I follow the flagstone walkway around the swimming pool, past the rose bed, and turn the knob on the side door to the garage. It’s unlocked, as usual. Inside, I slip quietly along the west wall to the workbench Marjorie’s long-dead husband built, and set down my carryall. I plug my laptop and cellphone into a wall outlet to top up, then move through the darkness to Marjorie’s Bentley. She rarely drives it anymore.

I toss my sleeping bag into the back seat. Tonight I can pack in a good six hours and be gone before the gardeners arrive. On those nights when I’ve had to spend the night in my own car, I remain fully clothed, doors locked, windows open no more than a finger-tip wide.

Usually I find a spot on the street around Holmby Park, the gates to Aaron Spelling’s mansion within spitting distance. Should his ghostly presence be hovering above his former abode, I can imagine his bemusement seeing me camping out a stone’s throw from his old bedroom window. I still get residuals from his shows, blessed checks from repeats of mindless fluff that pay my car insurance and buy me another month at the health club. But those nights parked on the street, hiding under spread newspapers, even with the tinted windows, are the tough ones, the only time it really hits me that I’m homeless.

More accurately, I am without a home. I am not actually a Homeless Person. I always manage to have a roof over my head, even if it comes with four wheels and a dashboard. I’m not a bag lady, a bum. I’m not a thief, though I suppose I’ve stolen a few pennies’ worth of kilowatt juice from Marjorie. But the back seat of an old lady’s car is only temporary accommodation, not Home, Sweet Home. I awaken too often in the night, dozing more often than sleeping.

I slide my legs deeper into my sleeping bag and hug my arms for warmth, trying to stop the rat-wheel of worry spinning in my head. I am far from complacent about the fix I’m in, yet I manage to drift off in welcome sleep.

Moments later—or is it hours?—I’m fully awake and alert, every fiber of my being a listening device. What is it? What did I hear? My heart bangs in my ears as I strain to sort out the sounds. The irrigation system kicking in? A squirrel on the roof?

Hearing footsteps falling softly on the flagstone walk, I slide free of my sleeping bag. Who’s coming for me? Who in hell knows I’m here? My fingers close around a small can of pepper spray. I don’t even know that the aerosol works. The container is old and I’ve never had occasion to test it.

The garage door scrapes open. A beam of light arcs across the windshield. A male voice booms. “C’mon out. Now!”

… It’s my Margot Kidder nightmare, a “caught-in-the-headlights” shot of myself disheveled, my arms clutching a sleeping bag, splashed on the cover of a supermarket tabloid: “Former ‘Holiday’ Star Down and Out in Beverly Hills!”

Tears sting my cheeks. Wouldn’t the paparazzi love this shot? Jinx, face puffy, mascara smudged, lurking in someone’s garage. I press my forehead into my sleeping bag, recalling poor Margot, missing her front teeth and in need of meds, cowering in someone’s backyard. What’s my excuse? If I’m busted now, it’s the end of my job next week, the end of pulling myself out of this confounding mess I’m in.

About the Author

Kathryn Leigh Scott is an actress, probably best known for creating the roles of Josette DuPres and Maggie Evans, the love interests of vampire Barnabas Collins in the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows.” Down and Out in Beverly Heels is her second work of fiction. Scott wrote Dark Passages, a paranormal romance, with more than a passing nod to the ‘60s soap and she appeared in the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton film Dark Shadows last year.

Scott is currently at work on a sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

To learn more about Kathyrn, please visit .

Author Interview

Please join me in welcoming author and actress Kathryn Leigh Scott to Socrates’ Book Review Blog. Kathryn is the author of a new book, “Down and Out in Beverly Heels” and she starred in the 1960’s gothic drama “Dark Shadows”. It’s a pleasure to have you join us today.

1. I was a huge Dark Shadows’ fan back in the day, can you tell us a little bit about the book you wrote based on the show, “Return to Collinwood” ?

Return to Collinwood is only of several nonfiction books (Dark Shadows Memories, Dark Shadows Companion, Dark Shadows Almanac, Dark Shadows Movie Book, etc.) that I have written about the show "kids ran home from school to watch" from 1966-1970. I appeared in the very first episode in June 1966 and stayed with the series for almost its entire run, playing four different character, including Josette DuPres, the fiance of the vampire. I felt that I had probably said all I had to say about the show until Tim Burton invited four of the actors from the original series to join Johnny Depp in the Warner Bros. film, Dark Shadows. I decided to do a book that would encompass five decades of the show, including the NBC and WB reboots of the series, the CD audio dramas, the two original MGM features and the new film. I was so fortunate that Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) was agreeable to writing a foreword for the book, his final piece of writing before his death in May 2012. I also prevailed upon my colleagues, Lara Parker (Angelique) and David Selby (Quentin Collins) to contribute pieces for the book. I am so pleased with the book and its huge success. I'm also grateful to Johnny, Tim and Warner Bros. for allowing us to use the photographs from the film.

2. Will there be more Dark Shadows’ based books?

In fact, I am writing a sequel to the novel, Dark Passages, which was published last year and is based on my experiences on the show. I joked that all the behind-the-scenes stories I couldn't relate in my nonfiction books, I poured into Dark Passages! The paranormal romance is truly written with a wink and a nod to "Dark Shadows." It's the story of a young ingenue who arrives in New York in the early '60s and is cast in a Gothic television soap that introduces a vampire... except she's a real vampire trying to pass for mortal and she falls in love with the British actor cast in the role of the vampire. Of course it's a humorous book, but also a coming-of-age story in which this young woman has to cope with being a vampire living in a world of mortals. After writing the sequel to Dark Passages, I may do another nonfiction "Dark Shadows" book to celebrate the 50th anniversary (!) of "Dark Shadows."

3. What made you go from actress to author?

Since I was a young girl, my twin career goals have always been acting and writing. I have been so lucky to work successfully at both. I won scholarships twice to study acting and I gained success in that career early on, so acting took precedence. Over the years I've written screenplays, magazine articles, short stores... if blogs had been around at the beginning of my career, I imagine I would have started out doing that! The turning point for me, when writing became a full fledged occupation, happened in 1985, coinciding with the deaths of Joel Crothers and Grayson Hall. I was asked to write a magazine article about these two beloved Dark Shadows actors and, once I turned in the piece, I just kept writing. It became my first book, My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows. I've now completed two screenplays and have two other books in the pipeline... while also continuing my acting career.

4. Your latest book is quite a bit different than the gothic of Dark Shadows. “Down and Out in Beverly Heels” is a romantic mystery. How difficult is it to switch genres? Do you have a preference?

I'd been aching to write fiction, but did not find the transition from nonfiction easy. I abandoned several false attempts before finding my voice with Dark Passages. I tend to write in a humorous vein and once I tapped into it I had a great time. Down and Out in Beverly Heels is a funny book, although I deal with a serious topic: homelessness. I think the new term for homeless is "unhoused" and that accurately describes Meg's situation. She's lost her home, along with everything else, and is forced to live on the streets of Beverly Hills in what she calls her "Ritz-Volvo." The mystery involves tracking down her fugitive husband, who is the cause of her predicament. I have almost completed the sequel. I love the character and find her very challenging to write! However, I will continue to write nonfiction, as well.

5. Will there be more romance and mystery books in the near future? What can we look forward to in the future? Any sneak peeks?

Sequels to both Dark Passages and Down and Out in Beverly Heels are forthcoming. The two characters are so different and they live in two different time periods, so distinguishing between them is easy for me. Also, one is paranormal romance, the other mystery romance. It's also possible I'll write a stand-alone novel as I have a story in mind that takes place at the turn of the last century.

Thank you for taking the time to visit us.


  1. Fun cover - makes me want to find out what the book's all about!

  2. I do like shoes out of window cover as I call it, lol

  3. This sounds cute and fun and I like the cover!

  4. I loved her as an actress, I think I will love her as a writer.

  5. Oh, I love the sound of this one! And I adored Dark Shadows....


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