The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Dawn Greenfield Ireland's New Book: Bitter Chocolate
Book 2 of the Alcott Family Adventures - Hot Chocolate 1
Author: Dawn Greenfield Ireland
The characters you loved in Hot Chocolate are back with more escapades of life in Houston’s wealthy River Oaks.
Lila Mae is in a tizzy over the Chocolate Ball – a huge event that she and her sisters, Dorothea and Madge, host every year. But due to unusual circumstances, Dorothea and Madge dump everything in Lila Mae’s lap. If it weren’t for Julian Gillespie of Event Is King, the Chocolate Ball would have melted.
Bernie, the Alcott sisters’ 92-year old father, decides he wants his Bentley back. The sisters and Bambi are horrified. They hire Joseph’s cousin Chewie as Bernie’s new chauffeur.
Wolfram, Lila Mae’s new astrologer, gives clues of things to come. This leaves Lila Mae and her sidekick Amelia with brows furrowed.
On her day off, Amelia decides to bake a chocolate blueberry pie. She discovers she needs to make a grocery run. When she returns home, she discovers her kitchen door is slightly ajar. Arms loaded with groceries, she toes the door open.
Three things catch her attention: a vase of flowers on the kitchen island that was not there when she left the house, her marble rolling pin covered with blood… and a dead body on her kitchen floor.
Amelia’s eyes drift toward the dining room and beyond – is the house empty, or is there a murderer in the house? She backs up, turns and hurries outside. After setting the bags on the ground, she slips back into the kitchen and snaps a picture of the dead guy. Then she calls Detective Chance Walker, Lila Mae and finally… 9-1-1.
Lila Mae Alcott sat in her sitting room in front of her computer. She jotted notes on a slip of paper, then logged off and stood. Louie, Lila Mae’s fluffy, champagne-colored Tibetan spaniel jumped out of his dog bed, ready for action.
“Come on, Louie,” Lila Mae said. “We’ve got to talk to Amelia about this.” They headed through the master bedroom, down the stairs and into the kitchen.
Amelia Martinez, Lila Mae’s devoted housekeeper, cook extraordinaire and confidant was reading The Houston Chronicle at the kitchen island. “Hey, boss,” she said. “Don’t bother with the paper today… there’s no happy news to report.”
“Listen to this, Amelia. This was on one of the astrology sites I read today: There is a special caution to be aware of power dynamics between mothers and daughters.”
“Huh,” Amelia furrowed her brows in thought. “I wonder what that’s all about.”
“I don’t have a clue, but I thought it was interesting with so many possibilities in the Alcott circle, and Wolfram said my sisters and I have been dealing with family issues for a very long time there’s a lot of karma between us.”
“That’s easy to see.”
A caramel-colored Bentley pulled into the driveway and parked in front of the detached three-car garage. Lila Mae’s modest 4,100-square-foot house, with lush landscaping and front rock garden, was the envy of owners of larger bland mansions on Del Monte Drive in Houston’s elite River Oaks.
Louie ran to the French doors in the laundry room, barking.
Lila Mae and Amelia followed and looked out.
“Okay, Louie,” Lila Mae said. “Good job, but you don’t have to protect us against your auntie Dorothea. My baby sister isn’t a threat, as long as she’s not throwing a tantrum.”
“Just don’t mention astrology, and she’ll be okay,” Amelia said. “She’s been very sensitive lately.”
Amelia returned to the newspaper.
Lila Mae got a drink of water and grabbed a discarded section of the newspaper.
Amelia glanced at her watch. “What’s taking her so long?”
Lila Mae and Amelia went to the French doors and looked out once more.
“Maybe she’s on the phone,” Lila Mae said. She shook her head and wandered back to the kitchen table. “I guess she’ll make an appearance when she’s good and ready… and has center stage.”
After idling for several minutes, the motor shut off and the driver’s door opened. One very puffy foot in a Birkenstock Arizona sandal dangled about six inches above the pavement. The foot belonged to Dorothea Divine.
Pregnant at 55, and with two college-aged children, Dorothea was at war with the world. No one was exempt, especially Henry, the husband who doted on her and who Dorothea now referred to as “Mr. Responsible.”
The left sandal bounced about in the air, not followed by its identical right shoe. From the interior of the $276,000 Bentley came grumbling that hinged on ranting. Musical notes sounded as Dorothea punched numbers into her cell. Inside the house, a speaker phone rang.
“Lila Mae, I’m in your driveway,” Dorothea thundered into the cell phone. “I can’t get the seat back or the steering wheel to rise. I’ll have to call the dealer to come get it!”
The left foot returned to the interior of the car. Dorothea flipped down the visor and checked her Cleopatra eyes in the mirror, wiped a smudge, ran her fingers through her short brown curly hair and closed the mirror. The pampered baby sister of the three Alcott “girls,” Dorothea thrived on creating drama. Her floral, loose-fitting skirt was hiked above her knees.
Spider veins covered legs she barely recognized anymore. Her swollen belly was held captive by the steering wheel. Dorothea groped but could not locate the electronic seat lever on the side of the driver’s seat close to the floor of the car. Frustrated, her closed fist pounded on the metal plate.
She tossed the cell phone onto the dash and twisted her maternity top to straighten it out. She sniffed at her underarms before her sister arrived. She had once considered enhancing her 34A bust with cosmetic surgery. No more; it had expanded to grapefruit-sized proportions. Never again would she complain about being underdeveloped in the bosom department.
The kitchen door swept open. Amelia and Lila Mae, seven years older than Dorothea, rushed outside.
“We’re here,” Lila Mae hollered to her younger sister. She and Amelia approached the Bentley.
Amelia, decades younger than her boss, hurried ahead and assessed the situation. She reached down and pressed the electronic seat adjuster. The driver’s seat lowered. Dorothea let out a satisfied groan. Amelia pushed the electronic lever so the seat moved backwards until it reached the end of the track.
“Why didn’t it work for me?” Dorothea asked.
“I think you were grabbing this metal plate, not the switch.” Amelia extended her sturdy arm. “Here. I’ll help you.”
“Thanks, Amelia. Looks like I won’t have to call the dealer after all. I’ll just make sure Joseph goes with me everywhere from now on.” Joseph was Dorothea’s house manager.
Dorothea flung both legs out the door, barely missing Amelia’s shins. Latching onto Amelia’s arm, she hoisted herself out of the Bentley. “That’s what I get for being so short. I can’t reach anything!” She glared at the seat controls. “Why couldn’t I have taken after Daddy’s side of the family?”
“Will you quit complaining? You’re an inch taller than me,” Lila Mae said. “And think of poor Madge. She’s only five-foot-one!”
“My God, I can’t even drive for fear of being trapped in my car!” Dorothea wailed. “The main air conditioning unit at the house is on the fritz. Joseph called Scotts. They’re going to have to replace the compressor. There’s no way I can keep cool in that oven of a house. It feels like 80 but the thermostat says 70.”
Lila Mae rolled her eyes at her sister’s histrionics. Dorothea was the “me” girl of the family.
Dorothea’s 10,400-square-foot River Oaks mansion had three air conditioning units, and the house was wired for generators in case of power outages. Even the five-car garage had its own air conditioning and backup system to keep the luxury vehicles and equipment climate-controlled. Lila Mae was pretty sure the entire house was not sweltering otherwise Joseph would be in the driver’s seat this very minute.
Weather is not Houston’s most attractive feature. From May all the way through October, it is nearly impossible to live in the city of Houston without air conditioning, especially in the dead of summer. Fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the city’s sub-tropical climate produces humidity that hangs in the air. If humidity were visible, it would be an ugly grayish-green gunk that would require a well-honed knife to slice through it?maybe even a chainsaw. It saturates and penetrates anything that is exposed.
Clothes wilt. Hair frizzes.
Visitors flying into Houston airports in the summer months have a rude realization from the moment they step outside of the baggage claim area to their mode of transportation.
It’s sweltering hot. Without a high SPF sun-block lotion, sunburn is imminent. In a car with un-tinted windows, it’s guaranteed.
When it rains, it can be similar to a monsoon. The skies open, the rain pours and streets flood from the velocity and volume.
But ask longtime or native Houstonians about their fair city, and they exclaim there’s no place they would rather be. Houston is a large, sprawling international community with a wide variety of foods in grocery stores and restaurants. Whatever you want, Houston has it: opera, ballet, museums, sports, film and stage plays, high-tech companies, oil and gas, the best medical center in the world, Johnson Space Center, highfaluting shopping at the Galleria or Highland Village, and a cow or two.
Convenience can spoil anyone. Many grocery stores and pharmacies are open around the clock and shelves are stocked to the max. If you can’t find what you want in a Kroger grocery store or a Walgreens pharmacy at two in the morning, you probably don’t need it.
Mystery Thrillers, Fantasy,Professional & Technical
Dawn Ireland Writer
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Dawn Ireland is the CEO of Artistic Origins Inc, a 100% woman-owned publishing company that has been doing business since 1995. She's the award winning author of The Puppy Baby Book and Mastering Your Money.
Hot Chocolate her new wickedly funny cozy mystery novel is collecting 5-star reviews on Amazon. It is the first in the series, and her fifth novel. Stay tuned for Bitter Chocolate (she posts updates of her progress on Facebook).
Originally from Feeding Hills, MA, Dawn migrated to San Antonio in 1968, then when her first son was one year old (1971) her family moved to Houston where work was more plentiful.
Dawn is the co-author of the animated screenplay Memoirs of a Dog (with Barbara Mackey) which won the Spirit Award of the Moondance Film Festival (children's category) 9/2011. Her dark comedy Plan B was a finalist in the Table Read My Screenplay script competition in 2010. Mastering Your Money won the New England Book Festival eBook category in 12/2008. Melody, A Girl and Her Dog, and Passage were finalists in the Worldfest Int'l Film Festival Script Competition in 2005.
The Puppy Baby Book was proclaimed a finalist in the prestigious IPPY book competition (2001) less than 90 days after publication.
And years before any of these successes, Standing Dead won the Women in Film and Television (Houston Chapter) screenplay award in 12/99.
So many people have asked what she did to win the awards and get so many 5-star reviews on Amazon that she took action: like a good technical writer she wrote a set of instructions. Using PowerPoint creating 177 narrated slides titled How to Publish an Award-Winning Book. This is every writer's personal guide for creating the best book or report without overlooking critical details.
Dawn has been a member and benefactor of Women in Film and Television (Houston) for decades. Her day job is Sr. Technical Writer for an oil company.
Author's Book List
Hot Off the Press
Hot Chocolate is available as an ebook and paperback. It is 477 pages long, including reviews, snippets from the book, acknowledgements and dedications, the entire story told in 44 chapters. At the back of the book you will find eight mouth-watering recipes, and a look at book two in the Hot Chocolate series: Bitter Chocolate.
Meet the middle-aged Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks.
Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.
Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong.
The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
Mastering Your Money
If you or someone you know is constantly coming up short of money in your checkbook, or if you have checks bouncing like basket balls, Mastering Your Money will take the mystery out of maintaining your checkbook. You will soon learn:
* How to create a budget.
* Why checks bounce (Hint: you contribute to this).
* What happens when a check bounces.
* How to make your check register your financial guru.
* And how to maintain your checkbook so you can safely use online banking without disasters.
This book is perfect for:
* Young people getting started on their own.
* High school and college students.
* People starting over.
* Anyone thrust into the role of responsibility for their household.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
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