Vanilla Beaned: Blog
“Viva, Las Vegas!” Admit it, you just heard Elvis singing that in your head, didn’t you? And you probably did a little Ann Margaret shimmy while you heard it, too. Yeah, you can’t fool me. I’m pretty sure a person has to be in a coma to remain unresponsive to the contagiousness of Elvis in his prime. And I know what I’m talking about, the entire time I was writing Vanilla Beaned I felt like Mr. Blue Suede Shoes was riding shotgun in the writing process, belting out that little ditty every time I got stuck.
True Confession: I love Elvis. Mostly, I love movie star Elvis. My crush began when I was a kid in Connecticut. During the cold, dark winter days, an Elvis movie would come on during Saturday afternoon and my brother and I would stop whatever we were doing to sit and watch the King. I don’t know if it was his dazzling smile, the way his thick black hair flopped over his forehead (did you know he was really a blonde?), his deep crooning voice, or the way he could swivel those hips, but I was completely enamored with the charm of Mr. Elvis Presley.
Now, I hadn’t really thought about Elvis in years until my characters in the cupcake bakery mysteries announced that they were planning to franchise the bakery. Okay, more accurately and much to chief baker Melanie Cooper’s dismay, Tate Harper, the money behind the bakery, decides they are ready to franchise. Now they could have opened up another bakery in the Valley of the Sun, but what would be the fun in that? When I pondered where I’d like to take a small mini-vacation, Las Vegas blasted me right between the eyes and so I packed up the Hub and the hooligans and away we went on a spontaneous elopement to Las Vegas. It was our 15 year wedding anniversary but also research, right?
While we walked the Strip, gorged ourselves on the chocolate fountain at the buffet, rode the crazy rides, won five bucks on the I Love Lucy slot machine, hung out with an Elvis impersonator who sang at our renewal of vows ceremony in a pink Cadillac, natch, I stared goggle-eyed at the eye-popping sights all around us and realized the person most likely to buy into the Fairy Tale Cupcakes franchise was someone in desperate need of a fairy tale ending of her own. And so, Vegas showgirl Holly Hartzmark came into my head and she just wouldn’t leave until I let her buy a bakery. Good characters are stubborn like that. Sort of like having an Elvis tune (“Viva, Las Vegas!”) stuck in your head, they don’t go away until you give them what they want.
And so, the bakers found themselves in Vegas, and because it is our wacky cupcake bakery crew, nothing goes quite as planned. Did I mention the Elvis Impersonators convention that just happens to be going on while the gang is in Vegas? Yes, that happens, too. And there might be a certain bald headed octogenarian getting his Elvis on and you know you don’t want to miss that!
Here’s a little more detail for you, while you practice your best Elvis moves. Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are taking a gamble by opening their first franchise of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes Bakery, so where better to hit the jackpot than in Vegas? Business manager Tate Harper has lined up a meeting with Holly Hartzmark, a former showgirl who’s looking to bring Mel and Angie’s sweet treats to Sin City, but Mel isn’t so sure she’s ready to hand her recipes over to a complete stranger—especially one as brash as Holly.
But after the potential bakery location gets blown up, Mel begins seeing another side to Holly—one that reminds her very much of herself. Determined to help a kindred spirit, Mel sets out to discover who is trying to keep the bakery from cashing in. But with a murderous mischief maker on the loose, the odds are stacking up against a happy ending for Mel and her friends…
“Viva, Las Vegas!” Oh, and there may or may not be an Elvis officiating a surprise elopement! So don’t miss it!
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I am looking forward to reading Vanilla Beaned by Jenn McKinlay.