WINNER OF
2006 Golden Crown Literary Award!

COURSE OF ACTION

by Gun Brooke

A high-stakes romance among the jet-set crowd of actresses, producers, and world-famous entrepreneurs.
Carolyn Black – an actress driven by her ambition, desperately wants the starring role in an upcoming film based on a series of famous novels. With a reputation for being willing to do anything to get a part, the actress sets out to impress the woman behind the project. Annelie Peterson – the wealthy publisher with a mysterious past – owns the film rights and will decide who wins the much-coveted role. When Annelie meets Carolyn, the woman she has idolized for years, sparks fly. How far is Carolyn prepared to go for the dream part of a lifetime? And just how far will Annelie bend her principles in the name of desire?

READ EXCERPT!!!
Chapter 1-3 of Course of Action

Reviews:

Customer reviews at LIBERTAS

kisserman :

Fast- Paced, wonderful romance
Gun Brooke’s international debut of the romance Course of Action is a winner. I could not put this book down once I began reading the first page. It is tension-filled and fast paced with easy to follow dialog. It is a wonderful romance from a first time published author.

Annelie Peterson owns Key Line Publishing and decides to produce a trio of movies of the best selling Diana Maddox books. The character of Diana Maddox is a lesbian criminal investigator. Diva actress Carolyn Black is the very popular voice in the audio version, but she is not the front runner for the starring role. At forty-five, the marketing experts want a more bankable younger star. So the Diva pursues this role and Annelie as well, with dogged determination. She even states to her agent that she will do just about anything to secure this role. In the course of this pursuit Carolyn, who is straight, becomes attracted to Annelie. But is it all for show just to land this prime role or is it for real?

Brooke develops her characters through great dialogue that is to the point and flows smoothly which makes for fast reading. She doesn’t get bogged down in details that do not advance the plot. The author creates tension not only with words, but with descriptions of subtle inadvertent touching and physical closeness. Brooke illustrates the struggle and complexities of not only a gay-straight relationship, but one that crosses professional boundaries as well. Both Annelie and Carolyn begin to go down one path only to find as they get to know one another, the path changes. Annelie and Carolyn have to make personal and professional choices, and the author demonstrates that the choices each makes may not be what are best for their budding relationship. As the story progresses, Carolyn’s single-mindedness to get the role of a lifetime and Annelie’s stubborn refusal to give her the part because it may jeopardize her company, slowly melts away as the characters are fleshed out even more. Brooke’s words capture the intensity of their growing relationship. Her prose throughout the book is breathtaking and heart-stopping. The following quotes illustrate this.

“She lifted from the box a white gold bracelet, a simple chain with three charms attached to it-a heart, a cross, and an anchor…”( pg 186)

“The sound of Carolyn’s throaty voice was reassuring. It wrapped around Annelie’s heart like armor, and for a moment, she instinctively knew as long as Carolyn was there to love her, nothing could really pierce it.”(pg 209)

Where have you been hiding, Gun Brooke? I, for one, would like to see more romances from this author.

Midwest Book Review

Take one desperately determined middle-aged diva from Tinseltown and add one mysterious, megabucks publisher and philanthropist from Miami. Stir in personality clashes, ethical conflicts, and a slowly simmering discovery of desire and romantic awakening. What results is Gun Brooke's refreshing novel, Course of Action. Carolyn Black wants the role of a lifetime, transforming the popular lesbian criminal investigator Diana Maddox from the pages of the popular novel series to the big screen. Annelie Peterson owns the film rights and wants to interview and audition several actresses for the role. However, at the same time, Annelie possesses a secret or two when it comes to Carolyn Black, secrets better left undisclosed for the moment. These two likable career women have indeed found a worthy and challenging adversary in each other. Carolyn and Annelie are vibrant and charismatic women, but they are far from the carefully crafted public persona each willingly reveals to the world. Corporate machinations, Hollywood hype, family crises, and intriguing secondary characters all intersect to create varied conflicts, some of which appear to have no easy resolutions. Yet, beneath all the clever maneuverings and seemingly shady shenanigans, a relationship is being forged, but whether or not it is genuine, Carolyn and Annelie must discover for themselves.

Brooke has created an appealing set of circumstances. Finding the right actress to play the role of Diana Maddox so as not to disappoint the many fans of the fictional detective is the main premise of the book. The disparate characters each have a stake in seeing this project come to fruition. It is the discord that arises from this quest that provides the reader with a fast-paced reading experience. The plot flows naturally and uncluttered from one scene to the next. The various sub-plots are written in a contained yet expansive manner. The author has an easy comfortable writing style, and chapters are often marked by several scene breaks within the chapter. This device succeeds in rapidly driving the plotline; the reader's interest is piqued with every new scene.

A well-written novel has a strong and memorable opening, and Course of Action delivers. "That role is mine! I am Diana Maddox" (page 11)! With the exclamation of those eight simple words, the reader meets the whirlwind, Carolyn Black. Part of the pleasure in this book is determining if she indeed is the larger-than-life diva she purports to be. From the very outset the reader wonders if the reticent Annelie is also what she seems to be. Therein lays the basic contention for the reader to resolve along with these two women. The foreshadowing presented here is fairly elementary, but at the same time, it is intriguing for the reader to see if her expectations occur.

The setting created by Brooke is a glimpse into that fantasy world of celebrity and high rollers, escapist to be sure, but witnessing the relationship develop between Carolyn and Annelie is well worth the trip. As the reader progresses, the trappings become secondary to the characters' desire to reach goals both professional and personal.

Some may find the title a bit misleading, although there is a reference to it, "I guess we'll have to agree on a course of action before ." (p. 291). However, it certainly doesn't detract from the overall effect. This reader would have preferred a few loose ends be more tightly wrapped up, but, then again, that is the usual basis for a sequel, and Brooke has created a workable segue should she decide to continue. Course of Action is a commendable effort in the romance genre. The novel is populated with a host of captivating and amiable characters. The glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich and beautiful people are rather like guilty pleasures. The overall result makes for a most satisfying and entertaining reading experience.

Customer reviews from Amazon:
Romance! Drama!, January 4, 2006
 
Reviewer: Joyce McNeil (Metairie, LA)
   
Annelie Peterson, the mysterious owner of a publishing company, has something actress Carolyn Black desperately wants. A prime role - the role of a lifetime - in a movie based on a character Carolyn previously played in a series of electronic books. Convinced that no one else can play the character like she would, Carolyn sets out to do whatever it takes to get the part. One big obstacle stands in Carolyn's way - Annelie isn't convinced Carolyn would be the best choice.

When Carolyn and Annelie again meet at a charity function, Annelie - for reasons she can't quite explain - finds herself inviting Carolyn to her home. Something she hasn't done with someone who's virtually a complete stranger. Or is she? It's strictly a nice gesture to let Carolyn use her pool - isn't it? Slowly but surely, as they spend more time around each other, the two women find themselves becoming friends. Carolyn soon suspects that there is more to Annelie than meets the eye. It seems Annelie has secrets. Carolyn can't help but wonder what they could be. And what they would have to do with Annelie's reluctance to offer her the part Carolyn is seeking.

Carolyn's determination and Annelie's hesitation come to a head when, somewhere along the lines, both women begin to notice their feelings for each other are changing. The big question is - are they changing for better or for worse? Annelie wonders if Carolyn's feelings are true or another ploy in her attempt to gain the coveted role. As for Carolyn, she's never thought to question her sexuality so why is she doing so now? To add another obstacles into the mix, a crisis for one of the women threatens to derail any chance of a new love forming. Could fate be trying to tell them something?

Gun Brooke presents the readers with a terrific first book. Filled with drama, and suspense, with just the right touch of romance, Course of Action is a thoroughly intriguing and entertaining read - from the emphatic first line to its heartfelt ending!
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Tremendous story of life in movie business, October 10, 2005
 
Reviewer: E. B. MULLIGAN "Bronwyn"
   
This is a terrific novel of the film industry. The book is loaded with as much humor as it is romance, and the drama is first rate. Rather than portraying the lives of the beautiful people we are treated to the people who lead exciting lives yet have the same insecurities and needs as everyone. This novel is a true delight to read. It is an in-depth look at people's daily lives and the secrets we all have and decisions we all make. This novel is a keeper that you will want to read again. Don't lend this out as you will not get it back!

This from the publisher's web page - A high-stakes romance among the jet-set crowd of actresses, producers, and world-famous entrepreneurs.
Carolyn Black - an actress driven by her ambition, desperately wants the starring role in an upcoming film based on a series of famous novels. With a reputation for being willing to do anything to get a part, the actress sets out to impress the woman behind the project. Annelie Peterson - the wealthy publisher with a mysterious past - owns the film rights and will decide who wins the much-coveted role. When Annelie meets Carolyn, the woman she has idolized for years, sparks fly. How far is Carolyn prepared to go for the dream part of a lifetime? And just how far will Annelie bend her principles in the name of desire?

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Lesbian beautiful people in a fluffy romance, September 30, 2005
Reviewer: Portia H (Lexington KY)

This is the first romance by this author and it's very entertaining. Carolyn is an arrogant, beautiful actress who discovers she's a lesbian in her mid-forties when she falls for the woman whose movie she wants to star in. Annelie is also one of the lesbian beautiful people, having reinvented herself after winning a huge lottery. Carolyn wants what Annelie won't let her have, so there are sparks between these two divas when they first meet. The story keeps you turning pages and it's fluff - after a hard day at the office, that's okay! I recently discovered the existance of lesbian romances so I have a lot of catching up to do. This one was better than some of the others I've been reading and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a lighthearted story with a glitzy setting and tasteful love-making scenes.
 

 

Bold Strokes Books
Course of Action - ISBN 1-933110-22-8 is now available from Bold Strokes Books. Order from www.starcrossedproduction.comwww.bellabooks.com, or www.libertas.com.

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