Bio: Laura Mazzuca Toops is a Chicago-based writer with more than 15 years of professional experience. Her writing, editing and reporting experience includes stints at Chicago?s legendary City News Bureau, Crain Communications, freelance work for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and other local and national publications. She also worked for five years as a film critic for a Chicago monthly entertainment magazine. Her short fiction has been published in several local little magazines, and she has studied at writing workshops at the University of Chicago. Her nonfiction book, A Native?s Guide to Chicago?s Western Suburbs, was published in August 1999 by Lake Claremont Press. She currently teaches journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where she earned a BA in journalism in 1986.
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In the summer of 1926, jazz lovers from all over the Midwest go where the weather is hot and the music hotter--the Blue Lantern Inn on Hudson Lake, a rural Indiana dance hall where the season's resident jazz band features a young cornet player named Bix Beiderbecke. For Bix, Hudson Lake is a safe but temporary harbor from a failed romance, conflicts with his middle-class Iowa family, and a growing dependency on alcohol. To the redheaded known as Joy, Hudson Lake provides everything she needs--a ... more info>>
Harold Gilbert started out as a small-town kid on the vaudeville trouping circuit, and ended up as the world's most popular film comedian. He's got a million-dollar career, his own studio, an estate called Avalon, a cherry-red Bugatti sportscar, a beautiful wife and two children. But in 1927 Hollywood, nothing is quite what it seems?including Harold and everything that seems perfect in his life. His wife Ella, formerly his leading lady in his early comedies, is steeped in alcoholism and growing ... more info>>
Harold Gilbert comes to Los Angeles in 1912 to try and make it as a comic in the nascent California film industry; Max Randolph is a delivery boy and extra who dreams of making great dramatic pictures like D.W. Griffith. Together they launch a film company that Harold's comedic talent propels to success. But while Harold wants to keep making good pictures better, Max only cares about consolidating power, especially over his prime moneymaker, Harold Gilbert. When na´ve young Ella Davies joins the... more info>>