Monday, March 5, 2018

Grinders Corner

Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity.  Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.

In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.

As time went on, I realized customers were asking me to dance less and less.  I was staying barely above the two-bucks-per-hour guarantee.  I asked one of the old timers about it.  A bit condescendingly, Lamour (that was her name—I’m not kidding) put me straight regarding the realities of life in Romanceland.

She said, with authority born of experience, my drop in popularity was due to the fact that the regulars had all danced with me and discovered I wasn’t a sexual opportunity.  So, she explained, I was going to have to go out with them after two a.m., when Romanceland closed.  If I didn’t, I’d go broke.  I said I’d starve first, and she said:

“Lissen, Baby, they’re not that bad.  Just a little good night kiss and they’re happy as a kid with a lollipop.  You gotta think devious to succeed in this business.  Just promise a lot and give as little as possible and you’ll get along okay.  You got good legs and a good personality, but you’re too naive.  Start thinkin’ devious.”

Lamour’s name didn’t match her personality; she was hard as nails.  I liked talking with her.  Not that I meant to take her advice.  It was just that I’d never known anyone like her.

“Baby, love is for the birds,” she’d say.  “It don’t exist.  What makes this world go round is bull.”

“What do you mean?” I wanted to know.

“Okay, like—I overheard you talkin’ to a customer who asked you what your hobby is and you said you take an English Lit course at night school.  Then he asked you what Lit is, and you told him.  Now I’m tellin’ you.  You never wanna tell a customer a thing like that unless he’s a professor or somethin’.  You got me?”

“Yes, but . . . well . . . why not?”

“Because you never want to be above them in any way.  You shoulda told him you read True Confessions and maybe he coulda grabbed onto that.  You got me?”

“I got you.”

It’s difficult to describe this book but not because it isn’t well-written or enjoyable.  It’s almost a history lesson full of really good laughs.  It was sexy yet sexy with a big dose of sarcasm.  Girls (I use the term to match the times) laughing at society and laughing just to get through the job. Though fictional, I would imagine it was pretty close to realistic concerning taxi dancers and dance halls. While I didn’t live during the time they were big, I can sure remember my mom singing “Ten cents a dance” written because of taxi dancers, or “dime a dance girls” as she called them.  Taxi dance halls were at their heyday in the early 20th Century, basically 1920 through 1930.  Taxi dancers did resurface in the 60’s, which is the setting of this book.

There is some very colorful language in the book. Personally I thought it fit the story line but if you are offended by such language you should check the book out before you buy it.  However…remember that taxi dance halls were for guys of all kinds to buy a ticket to dance with a girl. Since many of the men were those that couldn’t get a dance with a girl other than having to pay for it, you can probably imagine what those poor girls had to deal with.  Then again, it was a living.

As I said, this was a funny book.  The girls were hilarious, talking through their nights and their woes and of course, their love life.  Each character was vividly described and defined.  An unusual subject written in an unusual style in a book I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Ferris H. Craig & Charlene Keel will be awarding two winners, a free copy of Grinders Corner (print or ebook). (U.S. only for print, International for ebook) to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (see below)

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Ferris Craig is a professional dancer, choreographer, actor and writer. Her credits include The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners, The Golden Girls and many TV commercials. In the 1970s she performed with The Hollywood Hoofers in Las Vegas, later establishing The Burbank Academy of Performing Arts where she taught dance and acting. More recently, she choreographed and performed for The Broadway Seniorettes, and with Recycled Teenagers (dancers over 50). Currently she lives in Southern California with her three delightful dogs. Connect with Ferris on Facebook:

Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books. Shadow Train, the final installment of her YA supernatural trilogy, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award, and The Congressman’s Wife (for Red Sky Presents) is getting rave reviews. Her new blended-genre novel, Lost Treasures of the Heart, was released in November, 2016.

Keel has also worked as editor for international magazines, including Playgirl, For the Brideand Black Elegance.  She says the most fun she’s had as an editor (so far) was at Spice, a fanzine featuring rap, R&B, soul and gospel music. During her time there, she enjoyed going to parties for such notables as Puff Daddy, having lunch with Gloria Gaynor and attending a pasta dinner where Mariah Carey did the cooking.

Keel’s editorial assignments include The Health of Nations, a book on political philosophy, and That Nation Might Live, a moving tribute to Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother. Her TV credits include Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and her book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. She also produced (for Romantic Times) the first annual Mr. Romance Cover Model Pageant.

Buy link:

The book is on sale for only $0.99.



  1. Thanks for hosting and for the wonderful review! We're so glad we made you laugh. By the way, none of it is fiction! Author Ferris Craig actually lived every minute of it. We didn't have to make anything up.

    We're also giving away a free gift bag from Karma, a new company with cruelty-free (no animal testing) skin care products. See them at Then come back here and say hello for a chance to win a book and a bag!

  2. Charlene, thanks so much for your kind words about my review but...I'm plain spoken and tend to say what I thought.

    What a wonderful idea about the gift bag. I'll go back and mention this on my Facebook too. Best of luck with Grinders Corner. Write some more ok?

  3. Oddly enough, I couldn't get Charlene's link to work so everyone please try the link below, I think it will get us where she means. Charlotte...correct me if I'm wrong.


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