Because I love music, a lot of musicians end up in my novels. In MARIACHI MURDER, Andy Veracruz is a band leader in Southern California… until he really gets into trouble!

Posts tagged ‘arizona dreamin’

Four Broads for Broadway


When I signed up for the Arizona Dreamin’ Conference, I had no idea what it might be like. When I saw that the entertainment included The Broad’s Way Musical Performance, I didn’t know what that would be like either. To my surprise, the group consisted of four strong singers who entertained us completely. As Kris Tualla explained the outline of writing a romance novel, the quartet sang songs illustrating the steps along the way. Kris had even written words for a couple of tunes. In the meantime the singers traded off, sometimes singing together, sometimes singing duets, sometimes solos.


More importantly, they were really having fun. My only regret was that I wasn’t up on stage singing with them. (My friend Cookie and I have formed a similar group to cover Italian folk songs.) While the women all sang well, interspersing joking and arm movements along the way, it wasn’t until they sang “I Have a Dream” from Les Misérables that I realized just how talented they were. This piece had been orchestrated by one of the group members. Instead of using a sound track as they did for the other songs, three of them sang harmony while one person carried the melody. They bounced the melody lines back and forth while keeping the difficult harmonies right on track. I was amazed at their ambition and talent. Since I was sitting in the front row, I only hope they realize that the tear I shed at the end of the song was a sign of intense beauty rather than sadness!

In novel writing and especially in romance novel writing, there is often a “black hole” in which it’s certain that the heroine will fail, she’ll never get her man, she’ll languish in a terrible job, and the rest of her life will be horrible. The gals had a perfect song to illustrate this problem. With the help of Kris, they launched into “He Had It Coming” from Chicago. The romance writers and readers in the room howled with laughter. How often have we killed off our own terrible male protagonists? In romance novels this doesn’t happen too often, but perhaps this is why I mostly write mysteries.


After reaching the black hole, however, the gals got us back on track by climbing every mountain and finishing up with the Arizona Dreamin’ Song. (This includes the famous line about all the guys being hot.) The quartet kept us so thoroughly entertained that they might well have stayed another hour or two. Not only did they have repertoire, but they had pizzazz.

After the performance Kris explained the origin of the group. During a winetasting trip they started reminiscing about their younger days, including opportunities they had to sing solos in high school and the tunes that they wanted to sing but never had.

Then they had to ask themselves: Why not starting singing such songs now? What started as a whim and a small performance for some friends has turned into an alternate job for these four strong singers. They’re examples of how the power of song can lift our hearts so that we can soar. They’re also examples of how we need to follow our hearts’ desire—to sing, to dance, to write, to perform.

Contact them at or

To read about my own romance, THAI TWIST: