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Video: ‘Mama Sees Stars’ in new thriller

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    >>> back now a movie shoot in a southern florida town that turns deadly and that's when the fun begins. the presence of mama sees stars." deborah sharpe, the author is here, practically related to us, also the wife of nbc's kerry sanders . deborah , good to have you here.

    >> thank you, great to be here.

    >> tell us about this latest one, mama sees stars, hollywood comes to your fictional town of himershey, florida .

    >> gave me the opportunity for the fish out of water . a hollywood movie company invades this town. mace bauer gets her job as a horse wrangler and her mama sees this as a chance to become a star.

    >> as the title indicates. what is mama's behavior?

    >> always over the top , happily over the top , right, and she just cannot wait to get a speaking role in this movie and she spends her whole time trying to do that. unfortunately, they find a body, and that kind of throws things --

    >> i was going to say the drama seems to happen behind the scenes instead of in the movie, the executive producer turns up dead. how did that happen?

    >> well, it's funny, people always ask how do you get your ideas? this particular idea i was a former journalist, and i had an assignment to go and trail somebody on a movie set so i went to a big hollywood movie set shooting in florida , and this executive producer was so obnoxious to me and he yelled at me and he did this and he did that. he made me feel this small, so i thought 20 years later, so i'm going to kill that guy.

    >> you don't hold a grudge or anything.

    >> still hold a grudge, that's where the idea came from.

    >> turns up there are a lot of suspects. this guy is so mean, so nasty.

    >> that's right.

    >> he's got a lot of enemies.

    >> he really does, conkniniving crew members to the spoiled stars, a lot want him dead.

    >> there's humor in addition. mama, who is settling on her fifth husband.

    >> number five. he is a keeper she believes. we won't say that for sure.

    >> mace has complicated love relationships.

    >> mace bauer is the main character although mama thinks she's the main character .

    >> she does get the title character all the time.

    >> the middle daughter mace is the main character and the amateur sleuth and has a rocky relationship with her hot, hunky detective from miami, florida .

    >> the library journal gave you a starred review which is great. they noticed how you mixed humor in a murder mystery . is that hard to pull off?

    >> it is a little hard and a line to walk. really homicide is not funny. i was a reporter for many years but you have to find funny ways to go over the top with these characters and whatnot so that's what i try to bring the humor in.

    >> the nice buzz on the book and had a red carpet book signing i believe. we have video of you on the red carpet . ooh there's a lone paparazzi. no, i thought we were going to see keri there. you have legions of fans.

    >> legions.

    >> it's just you and i. is kerry supportive of your writing?

    >> he's incredible.

    >> did he ever give you good ideas?

    >> he does give me good ideas and he actually reads the book.

    >> good for him. is he legally required to?

    >> he must.

    >> are you working on your next one?

    >> i am, that's called "mama gets trashed."

    >> my goodness. based oen what we know about mama that's not really a surprise. deborah sharp great to have you here. shells are a vehicle to get the luscious lemon

TODAY books
updated 12/28/2011 7:35:16 AM ET 2011-12-28T12:35:16

Deborah Sharp's fourth installment in the Mace Bauer mystery series finds the protagonist working as an animal wrangler for a big time Hollywood film. Things take a turn for the sinister, however, when the film's executive producer turns up dead. Here's an excerpt.


I waited out of camera range, holding the bridle on a saddled horse. Movie lights flooded the scene with brightness. The set was pin-drop quiet.


I let go of the bridle, slapped the horse on the rump, and stood back so the camera operator could capture the animal racing past. Just as the riderless horse entered a clearing, gathering speed to a gallop, a voice rang out into the silence.

“My stars and garters! Somebody’s let a horse get loose. Don’t just stand there, Mace! Come help me catch him.’’

An orange blur dashed into the animal’s path, waving arms and yelling.

“Cut!’’ The assistant director put his fingers to his temples and massaged. I could tell him it’s not so easy to rub away this kind of headache.

A short bald man in a bright red shirt kicked over a chair on the sidelines. “Security!’’ The word exploded from his mouth. “Would somebody grab that stupid hillbilly?’’

A muscled guy in a baseball cap started toward The Hillbilly, a.k.a. my mama. Cringing, I stepped forward. “She’s with me.’’

The short man came closer and leveled a glare. “And who the hell are you?’’

“Mace Bauer.’’ I offered my hand. He looked at it like it was bathed, palm to pinky, in manure. “I’m the animal wrangler.’’

Midnight Ink Books

“And I am not impressed.’’ His leathery face scrunched like he smelled a load of hogs.

As I slipped my unshaken hand into the pocket of my jeans, Mama marched to my side. She smoothed her orange-sherbet pantsuit, fluffed her platinum hair, and straightened to her full four foot, eleven inches. The jerk in the red shirt may have had her by a few inches, but she had the Mama Glare, and it was set at stun.

“Well, who the blue blazes are you? All we know is you’re a rude little man who has no idea how to talk to a lady. By the way, Florida’s as flat as a frying pan, so I can’t be a hillbilly, can I?’’

Whispers and a few snickers traveled around the set. His beady eyes met her glare. “I’m the boss here. The top dog. Let me put it in terms you’ll understand. If this movie set was a barbecue joint, I’d own the building. I’d own the chairs and tables. I’d even own the pigs. And I’d get to say who gets to sit down for dinner, and who doesn’t.’’

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Mama, brows knit, glanced at me. “Is he saying I can’t come to his rib joint?’’

I shrugged.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to go there anyway,’’ she said. “I can tell you it’ll never be as popular as the Pork Pit, which has been in Himmarshee forever. Not only do they have ribs to die for, they make the best peach cobbler, too. Besides, the folks at the Pork Pit know how to treat their customers. You certainly have a lot to learn about how to treat people …’’

As Mama went on, I tried to imagine I was somewhere else. The assistant director massaged his head so hard, I thought he’d rub the hair right off his temples. Meanwhile, the old guy’s face was getting purple. Jabbing his cigar, he looked mad enough to pick Mama up and toss her off the set himself.

Just then, a woman stepped up to him with a cell phone in one hand and a sandwich in the other. She whispered in his ear. He handed her his cigar, took the cell phone, and jammed half the sandwich in his mouth. Then he began shouting into the cell.

“What kind of idiot do you think I am? I’ll have your ass in the courtroom faster than you can say breach of contract …’’

He stomped away, Mama’s transgression seemingly forgotten. As he left, little missiles of what looked like roast beef launched from his mouth. I pitied the person on the other end of the call. Even though the woman was almost a head taller than him, she had to run to keep up.

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The assistant director scolded Mama through tightly pursed lips: “You ruined the shot. This is your first—and last—warning.’’

“It’s her first time on a movie,’’ I apologized, as he stalked back to the director’s tent.

Next to us, the behemoth in the ball cap still loomed. “Don’t worry,’’ I told him. “I’ll make sure she understands the concept of Quiet on the Set.’’

The three of us watched the departing loudmouth in red. “Who is he, anyway?’’ I asked the security man.

“You mean besides being a First Class A__hole?’’

“Language, son,’’ Mama said, but she was smiling.

“Norman Sydney. He’s the movie’s executive producer, but he thinks he’s God.’’

Mama Sees Stars: A Mace Bauer Mystery © 2011 by Deborah Sharp. Used by permission. Midnight Ink Books www.midnightinkbooks.com

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive


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