Monday, January 28, 2008

Los Angeles (and Park City) Author Appearances

Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse 2/13 7:30pm
Crowell Public Library (San Marino, CA) 2/20 7:30pm

Once Upon A Time (Monstrose, CA) 2/17 1:00pm

Dutton's Books Brentwood Courtyard


Book Soup

The Grove

Current signings, talks & appearances:

January 22 at Sundance (publication day)

January 25 at Dutton's Brentwood 7:00 pm

Feb, 17 at Once Upon A Time (Montrose, CA) 1:00 pm

Feb. 20 at Crowell Public Library (San Marino, CA) 7:30pm
Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Entertainment Weekly Talks Oscar Books

Okay. We are not going to lie to you. We wanted an "A" but Entertainment Weekly magazine which gives grades for books, films, etc., gave us a "B" but a "B+" on the online edition. We might get an "A" yet!

Still they could have reviewed anybody but they reviewed Oscar Season : A Novel so... "Do they like us? Do they really like us?"
(I had to use that sooner or later...)

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, January 25, 2008

Publication Date Came In Park City January 22, 2008

In the glitz, snow, hype and cold Mary attended Sundance Film Festival and Oscar Season had its official publication!

Click here for the online way to buy Oscar Season at or get a copy at your favorite independent or chain bookseller.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hollywood Heavyweights Like Oscar Season

"It is written 'we all have two businesses, our own and show business.' We in show business, thus, sadly, have but one business -- that which, thankfully, there is no business like, and which Mary McNamara chronicles and lambastes in her book sadly, ruefully, and with that inextinguishable insider's hope and love, which is the most wistful irony of all."--David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for "Glengarry Glen Ross," author of "Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business", two-time Oscar nominee for "The Verdict" and "Wag the Dog"

"More a whodunit than a who-won-it, Mary McNamara's Oscar Season whizzes by at at least twice the speed of the yearly, seemingly yearlong, event and is a hundred times more entertaining. I liked it. I really liked it."-- Larry Gelbart, two-time Oscar nominee for "Tootsie" and "Oh, God!", Emmy winner for "M*A*S*H", five-time Writers Guild of America writing awards, two-time Tony Award winner for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "City of Angels"

"In the weeks before the Oscars there are a lot more surprises in store than what's in the envelope. With a depth of character and an insider's eye that you don't expect from a mystery, Mary McNamara spins a sensational tale of gossip, intrigue, murder, and mayhem." -- Amy Ephron, author of "A Cup of Tea" and "White Rose "

"In Hollywood, Mary McNamara knows where the bodies are buried. Oscar Season is a terrific murder mystery and a dishy behind-the-scenes account of the sublime madness of the movie world."-- Peter Lefcourt, author of "The Deal" and "The Dreyfus Affair"

"The wildly self-absorbed rascals in Oscar Season have familiar names and others are modeled on not-quite identifiable celebrities. This delicious novel feels like the love child of Agatha Christie and Harold Robbins and reads like a favorite old movie. Figuring out just who's who will surely keep Hollywood guessing all through this giddy mystery."-- David Freeman, author of "A Hollywood Life" and "It's All True"

"Only an insider could write a compelling novel about the celebrity-filled world of the Academy Awards. Mary McNamara's Oscar Season leads us behind the big blue curtain to spy on the stars as they chomp on spring rolls, elbow one another out of the way to get in the big publicity photo, and plot the arc of fame. The author is a long-time entertainment beat reporter for the L.A. Times and her incisive observations stem from personal knowledge and experience. Her well-written Oscar Season - both a mystery and upscale women's fiction -- is a significant debut.---Gerald Petievich, author of "To Live and Die in L.A." and former U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to INTERPOL

"Using insider knowledge gleaned from a career of observing the cinema's bad and beautiful for the L.A. Times, debuting novelist McNamara provides us with a witty and suspenseful combination of tricky whodunit and sexy Hollywood romance complete with a fascinating cast of celebrities, both real and fictional. Its focus is on Juliette Greyson, the beautiful and efficient head of public relations for the city's most exclusive hotel as she struggles through the weeks before Oscar night, dealing with the most demanding of guests and a series of superstar-crossed events including murder, blackmail, muggings and even a romance or two. It's fast and fun and wouldn't be more welcome even if it came with a swag bag. -- Dick Lochte, book critic, crime novelist of "Sleeping Dog" and "L.A. Justice"

"A fast and funny whodunnit set during the frenzy of the Oscars, by someone who really knows the turf. Sly, well-plotted, and emotionally involving." --Dennis Palumbo, Hollywood psychotherapist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter for "My Favorite Year"

"Oscar Season is a funny, entertaining, celebrity-rich, un-put-down-able and thrill-packed mystery, every bit as good as a night at the Oscars. Even better, since neither gown nor tux is required while reading." --Diane Leslie, author of "Fleur de Leigh's Life of Crime" and "Fleur de Leigh In Exile" Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscar Town Paper Weighs In (Book Review --Los Angeles Times 1/23/2008)

A page-turner that focuses on the entertainment industry.
By Samantha Dunn, Special to The Times January 24, 2008

We should thank our lucky stars Mary McNamara's debut novel, "Oscar Season," arrives when it does, because if the writers strike goes on much longer it could be the only decent glitz, gossip and suspense we'll get this year about the Academy Awards.

This cheeky, engaging roman clef is a guilty indulgence, like watching "Entertainment Tonight" when you really should be tuned to "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." It's the perfect type of read for a nonstop flight between LAX and JFK and it's smarter and better crafted by leagues than any Jackie Collins paperback, so you don't even have to ashamedly hide it between the pages of the Atlantic Monthly.

"Oscar Season" centers on the mysterious, attractive, redheaded (isn't that redundant?) Juliette Greyson, PR director for the Pinnacle, a high-end Westside hotel that is more outre than even the Four Seasons or the Peninsula, out to gather the most Oscar nominees as its guests and thereby become the epicenter of glamour and power in the month surrounding the Academy Awards, a.k.a. Oscar season.

But, as in all good page-turners, things go wrong faster than you can say "Nicole-stop-with-the-Botox-already." For one, people start turning up dead -- first as a pre-Oscar prank to boost the award show's flagging ratings, and then for real. Those include a guest at the Pinnacle who gets his throat slit -- a no-talent hack once married to our fair heroine Juliette. Josh Singer had taken all the credit for a script she co-wrote, left her for the leggy blond starlet on the set and wound up as a nominee for a screenplay Oscar. In other words, sure, the screenwriter deserves it, but now Juliette is a suspect. Luckily for her so is most of Hollywood. After all, entertainment is -- as one character observes -- "a cutthroat business."

So whodunit? Could it be the power-hungry publicist Arnie Ellison, furious because the writer tried to get his starlet to defect to another agency, PMK? (And no, the Ellison character does not work for Wolf-Kasteler.) Or was it the twisted, jealous act of an aging diva trying for her last desperate go for the gold? Perhaps the machination of a Los Angeles Times reporter whose ambition to earn a Pulitzer for entertainment journalism (snicker, snicker) has eclipsed her better nature? Could it be the work of the rakish but secretly ill superstar Michael O'Connor (imagine a cross between George Clooney and Richard Gere absent any Bodhisattva tendencies), who may be in love with Juliette, as much as rakish superstars are capable of being in love? Or perhaps it is Juliette's elusive and handsome boss at the hotel, Eamonn Devlin?

McNamara, a Los Angeles Times staff writer, has covered the entertainment industry extensively, so her writing can't help being imbued with the confidence of a reporter who knows her beat well -- so well, in fact, that one suspects that she had become such a fount of juicy insider info that she had to write a novel. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Surely she knows where some bodies are buried -- metaphorically speaking, of course.

Before it's done, the tale will manage to weave in Margot Kidder's unfortunate transient episode, various flavors of sex acts, the Irish Republican Army, last-minute lipo and Palm Springs -- not necessarily in that order.

You can't help but enjoy McNamara's pithy dialogue, fast pacing and trenchant observations -- beyond the obvious cracks about Hollywood's strange parochialism and the communicable disease otherwise known as pathological narcissism. Every now and then a comment from one of her characters seems to reveal the writer's own respect for and lingering ideals about the art of moviemaking. This speech by longtime Oscar show talent coordinator Andrea Chapman, recently sacked by an evil producer, provides a case study: "I mean, the whole point of the Oscars, in my mind anyway . . . is to show people the faces they don't see, the people who put their hearts and souls into the movies and don't get the big paychecks and the free diamonds. I mean, you can see Brad and Angelina on the cover of every magazine nowadays, but don't you think the cinematographers and visual effects people, the screenwriters, deserve the same amount of glamour and dignity even for just one night?"

So what if the first couple pages of the book are a little purple, have so many tortured similes and overwrought metaphors they sound like an application for MFA school? And so what if there's a Perry Mason sort of scene toward the end where all suspects stand around, essentially confessing guilt? It's a good read and better than watching reruns of "Big Love." Again.

I was going to mention the limited appeal of the insider aspect of this story to readers outside of L.A., but then my mother called from her retirement mobile home park in Las Cruces, N.M., to tell me the tragic news of Heath Ledger's death, and mentioned, because I had not heard, that while Cate Blanchett had received a supporting actress nomination for her role in the Bob Dylan biopic, "I'm Not There," he had not, and she wondered if he had been moved to end his life over that. That call taught me that McNamara has understood far better than I that Hollywood is America's story.

"Oscar Season" ends with some questions answered and many others not -- will Juliette find love with a movie star or an Irish rogue? Will she move from public relations to screenwriting? I smell a sequel. There is, after all, still Cannes to consider. Stay tuned.

Samantha Dunn is the author of the novel "Failing Paris," the nonfiction books "Faith in Carlos Gomez" and "Not by Accident."

"Oscar Season, A Novel"
Mary McNamara Simon & Schuster: 324 pp., $24 Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kudos: means "fame" and "renown" resulting from an act or achievement. Extending "kudos" to another individual is often done as a praising remark.

For years, one good reason to read the Los Angeles Times has been Mary McNamara's savvy columns, wonderfully overflowing with rich and hilarious first-person narration. So among the many surprises in her deft new novel Oscar Season is that she's created a whole new voice for this dead-on mimic of a Hollywood pot-boiler crossed with a journalist's steel-trap observations that miss nothing. It's a smart choice that's not easy to pull off: Many fine essayists can never escape their own personae. But the versatile McNamara is clearly in control of this continually upped-and-raised guessing game, adroitly plotted with memorable characters and dialogue, strong settings, and skillfully turned phrases. It all speeds along an insider's track on extreme celebrity that is both irresistibly wicked yet actually humanizing: a highly entertaining, intelligent twist on entertainment itself, sure to be inhaled by readers and admired by other writers.

Alan Weisman, author, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award nominee for the New York Times Bestseller "The World Without Us" -- which was also selected as Time Magazine's Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, January 18, 2008

So What Really Goes On Backstage At The Oscars?

"...the book is at its clever best when delivering Oscar-y details that underscore
McNamara’s many years working behind the scenes." BookPage Feb. 2008

And that is what we like about Mary's Oscar Season. It's Oscar-y, insider-y, behind the curtain details that surround the mystery. Webmaster. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

S&S Publicity Department Works Overtime

What would a Oscar Season: A Novel launch be without a swag bag for bookish VIPs? Still trying to find out what's in them and wondering why the webmaster of this blog didn't get one!!?

UPDATE: The good folks at Simon & Schuster have provided me with a list of the contents of the "swag" bag for Oscar Season A Novel. Useful and fun:
1) Advanced copy of Oscar Season: A Novel by Mary McNamara
2) 2 Tylenol packets for post Oscar-party hangovers
3) Tin of Altoids mints for interviews
4) Travel-size hairbrush for red carpet fly-a-ways
5) Make-up from Neutrogena for healthy glows
6) Make-up kits from Bourjois to help be camera ready
7) ReVive Youth Recruit to be fresh-faced
Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Video Television Review Featured In Los Angeles Times

Our author in action at her day job as television critic of the Los Angeles Times. She can write and she can "video". Did we mention she is the author of Oscar Season: A Novel now in paperback (link to Amazon on the left; click the book cover)? Of course we did.

Sphere: Related Content

Oscar Season Now In Trade Paperback $14.00

The classic mystery novel and today’s paparazzi coincide in this engaging, insider’s look at Hollywood in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards.

She is one of the very few reporters allowed to witness pre-telecast rehearsals and for years has covered Oscar night from the celebrity side of the red carpet and backstage during the show.

A recent recipient of an L.A. Press Club and American Association of Features Editors Awards for her industry coverage, she has interviewed innumerable stars and directors, and used her experience to craft this deliciously entertaining whodunit.

Wide audience: This novel will fascinate the many readers captivated by Hollywood and the celebrity lifestyle, while also appealing to mystery devotees and fans of smart, entertaining women’s fiction. It’s equal parts Jackie Collins, Michael Tolkin, and Sue Grafton.