Read With Me: An Annotated Guide to Hollywood Ending Chapters 1 – 5

I loved annotating the first ten chapters of Hollywood Homicide last year–so much so that I decided to do it again for the second book in the series, Hollywood Ending.

Here’s some “insider info” on the first five chapters.

Warning: This does contain slight spoilers if you haven’t already read these chapters. It doesn’t ruin anything beyond these chapters though. I hope.

About the book: (First cool fact, my publisher actually lets us write our own back cover copy! So I did indeed write this one with a little input from my blog mates at Chicks on the Case.)

And the award goes to . . .

. . . Dayna Anderson, the semi-famous actress turned PI who steps up her sleuthing swagger in this follow-up to breakout hit Hollywood Homicide, winner of the Lefty Award and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel!

Tinseltown’s awards season is in full swing, and everyone is obsessed with dressing up, scoring free swag, and getting invited to the biggest awards shows of the year. But when celebrity publicist Lyla Davis is killed, the festive mood comes to an abrupt halt.

Apprentice private eye Dayna Anderson thinks she’s uncovered the killer. Unfortunately, what starts as an open-and-shut case turns out to be anything but. Diving deeper into the investigation, Dayna gets a backstage look at gossip blogging, Hollywood royalty, and one of entertainment’s most respected awards shows—all while trying to avoid her own Hollywood ending.


Hollywood Ending Cover Final

Hollywood Ending takes place during awards season so I loved when my publisher went with my suggestion to have Day on a red carpet. They sent me a mock-up of cover (the with a photo of Emma Watson standing in for Day!) and asked me for suggestions for what she should wear. They also had a few suggestions of their own, including Taraji P. Henson’s 2017 Oscar dress.

I instantly agree it would be great inspiration.

Taraji Oscar Dress

I loved it so much that I even changed the original description of Day getting ready to attend the Silver Sphere Awards to match the cover. (You can find it on page 287.)

Chapter 1

Bix Financial Check Cashing Services

If you’re like Dayna and decide to submit an anonymous tip for a reward, you won’t go to Bix. However, you will go to your local Nix Neighborhood Lending store to pick up your money. And yes, you will have to give them a code.

Page 4: At the time, I still had a year left on my contract,but they cited a small clause that I couldn’t be seen eating anything other than their two-piece combo deals.

Yes, companies actually do this. I remember reading about how the Spice Girls had a contract with Pepsi and their management freaked out because one of them was drinking a Coke.

Page 6: Sienna didn’t exactly cower in fear. “The vodka’s not for me, silly. It’s for the glycerin.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, since there was really nothing else I could add to the conversation.
She reached into the back to grab a spray bottle also filled with a clear liquid. I assumed it was the aforementioned glycerin but honestly was afraid to ask. She opened it and poured the vodka in, then noticed me staring. “I’m supposed to use water but the liquor store didn’t have any.”

Why yes I did google how to make fake sweat. And mixing water and glycerin (not vodka!) is indeed how you do it:

Chapter 2:

Page 11: You’d probably cast me in a group of black friends getting together for a fun vacation movie. I’d play the cute, annoyingly sweet girl currently dating the object of the
main character’s affections.

If you notice, I actually describe almost every character in the book by how they’d be cast in a movie.

Page 17: Tomari wasn’t a person. It was a rumor. One that had Omari dating A-list actress Toni Abrams. All the gossip blogs had run with it, but it was Anani Miss who’d given them the nickname Tomari. It was just wrong. The name. The rumor. Everything.


Yes, Tomari is back! If you read Hollywood Homicide, then you know exactly how this Tomari rumor came to be. I come from a TV background so you’ll find that a lot of stuff that happens in the first book has implications in the second. Of course, you don’t have to have read Hollywood Homicide to enjoy this book. It’s more like a “wink, wink” bit of insider info. And Hollywood is all about insider info.

Of course, if you do go back and read Hollywood Homicide, I’m sure you’ll be like “Oh that’s where that came from!”

Chapter 4

Page 20: The ATM on La Brea

I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore, so it was harder than I thought to name-drop as many real locations and streets in this book like I did in the first one. (I actually talk about it in this blog post for Mystery Fanfare, Inc.) So whenever I go to Los Angeles for my job, I’m always location scouting. This ATM is actually a Bank of America. I just didn’t put in the book.

Page 25: We went to a nearby donut shop to do a bit more research and divvy up duties.
Thank you Consuming LA blog for the photo!

There is nothing Los Angeles loves more than a donut shop.  Unlike New York and New Jersey–where you can find a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner–these tend to not be chains.

Confession: I actually do not like donuts. Shhhh. Or coffee. Double shhhh.

Page 27: Focals: The brand name was Focals. The tag line: Let’s get visual!!! Yes, with three exclamation points. Apparently it was some new gadget that let you record POV videos and send them directly to any social media app on your phone.
Focals aren’t a real thing. Snapchat Spectacles are though! Would you try them? I don’t think I would.
Snap Chat Spectacles.png
Page 37 – 42: Aubrey’s Backstory (SPOILER)
Aubrey not having a license was not in the original draft of this book. It just popped up in draft two. My plan is to dig deeper into another person in Day’s circle with each book.
In Hollywood Homicide we learn more about Sienna. In Hollywood Ending, we get to learn more about Aubrey. He’s such a mysterious character. I’ve had his backstory figured out long before I started writing the first book. I just didn’t have room for it in Homicide. So I’m glad I get to explore it in Ending.
For the third book, I’m hoping to go a bit deeper with Emme.

Chapter 5

Page 43: Day’s Mom’s Texting: Her texting game was even better than mine. Bitmojis. Ebrojis. Other types of ojis I hadn’t even heard of. And based on the call, she was now finally FaceTiming.
This is definitely art imitating life. My mom is a master of Bitmoji. My whole family uses it but I tend to just use one or two of the same ones. She, on the other hand, finds a bitmoji for everything.
Page 45: Boomerang reference
If you want to see the Eartha Kitt/Eddie Murphy scene I’m referencing, here it is on YouTube.  Apparently, I got the exact wording wrong. Oops! Probably should have watched that YouTube before I wrote the scene, huh?
page 48: “Not just ‘a milkshake.’ One rimmed with frosting and that had cotton candy, a lollipop, and that yucky rock candy stuck in it. I’m telling you, if I ever go to New York I’m getting one.”
Yes, this milkshake does in fact exist! It’s from a place called Black Tap Burger. Here’s a photo I stole from their Instagram.
Black tap Burger.JPG
That’s it for now. I will do chapters six through ten in a separate post.
In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up Hollywood Ending, click here!