Archive | November 2012

A Heartfelt Letter of Marilyn’s


Once again another of Marilyn Monroe’s life pieces is going up for auction.  Even though it has been over fifty years since her death, she continues to draw world-wide attention and large dollar amounts from collectors.  On December 18, 2012, auction house Profiles in History is offering an extremely poignant, yet everyday, two-page letter signed by Marilyn Monroe. Undated but written c.1954-55 and composed in her own hand on Waldorf-Astoria stationary, it provides an intimate peek into the thoughtfulness and sadness of Hollywood’s most enduring and iconic sex symbol. This personally penned letter is estimated to sell  for upwards of $50,000.

In 1954, Marilyn Monroe left Hollywood for New York City to study at The Actors Studio, sub-leasing an apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria for the duration. There she was reintroduced to playwright Arthur Miller, whom she’d originally met in 1950.  She and Arthur began dating at this time.  Her neighbor in New York, Brooklyn-born playwright, poet, and novelist Norman Rosten, to whom the letter is addressed, was a friend of Miller’s; Rosten and his wife, Hedda, became good friends to Marilyn after Miller introduced them.

During this time, Marilyn was heavy into the use of  alcohol and prescription drugs because of her struggle with chronic depression.

With its many cross-outs, corrections, and confused handwriting it is not unreasonable to strongly suspect that Marilyn was  intoxicated when she wrote the letter.

It reads in full:
Dear Norman, It feels a little funny to be writing the name Norman since my own name is Norma and it feels like I’m writing my own name almost, However— First, thanks for letting Sam[photographer and MM confidant Sam Shaw] and me visit you and Hedda last Saturday. It was nice. I enjoyed meeting your wife – she seemed so warm to me. Thanks the most for your book of poetry—with which I spent all Sunday morning in bed with. It touched me – I use to think if I had ever had a child I would have wanted only a son, but after reading – Songs for Patricia [Simon and Schuster, 1951] – I know I would have loved a little girl just as much but maybe the former feeling was only Freudian for something…anyway Frued [sic] I use to write poetry sometimes but usually I was very depressed at those times and the few (about two) people said that it depressed them, in fact one cried but it was an old friend I’d known for years. So anyway thanks. And my best to Hedda & Patricia and you—

Marilyn M.


Monroe’s mention in the letter of her desire to bear a child was a tragically unfulfilled dream. After her marriage to Miller in 1956 she suffered a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy followed shortly thereafter. After these two events, in 1957, her use of drugs and alcohol accelerated.

The letter pictured above was professionally washed resulting in a slight bleeding of the ink which inadvertently gives the effect of making the letter look as if it had been washed in her tears.  This was not a happy time of her life, but she always tried to put on a brave face for her fans and her friends.
Blessings from us to you,
K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns
Twitter: whatsheknewbook
Facebook: What She Knew and KR Hughes and TL Burns authors

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d like to thank Kim Emerson of for tagging us in the Next Big Thing Blog tour!!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop with K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns, authors of “What She Knew”

What is the title of your book? “What She Knew”
Where did the idea for the book come from? A few years back, while we were both still living in Amarillo, Texas, Kim (K.R.) was taking a writing class for published authors. Kim has always loved writing and journalism, and has written five historical novels set in the Regency Era of 1811. I (T.L.) was kind of dragged into the business. The author giving Kim’s class, Jodi Thomas, has over thirty historical romances and is a best-selling author herself.
Kim and I went to dinner the next evening after her first class with our spouses. She told us she really thought she was going to love the class and what her first assignment was: write about something that has never been written about. Well, after the laughter died down, because, really, what hasn’t been written about? We put our thinking caps on and started to throw around ideas in the ‘what if’ category.
At this time, Anna Nicole Smith had just died and everyone was comparing her life to Marilyn Monroe’s. So, after several minutes of banter, we came up with – what if Marilyn Monroe had lived and because of living, it changes the course of history and John F. Kennedy is saved from assassination? Kim loved the idea. Everyone knows that Marilyn has never died to the public, and neither has JFK for that matter. Here we have two iconic figures in history, never forgotten with a story just ready to be written.

What genre does your book fall under? Alternate History/Mystery (with a little bit of conspiracy thrown in!)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? We love this question, because we are shopping the script around right now!! Here’s our wish list for three main characters:
Marilyn Monroe ~ Scarlett Johanson or Amanda Tapping
John F Kennedy ~ Matt Damon or Matthew Perry
Frank Sinatra ~ Harry Conick Jr.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Book one (of the three-part series) came out in April 2012 and was published by Gator Creek Artists Entertainment. We are not sure who will be publishing book two or three. Book two is in the editing process and Kim and I are about to start on book three.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? We had finished the first draft within seven months. Between families, jobs and volunteer work we were pretty proud of the fact that it took us less than a year to actually get it ready for publishing.
Give a one sentence synopsis of your novel: Marilyn Monroe lives; JFK plot foiled.

What other works would you compare your story to? It’s really a one of a kind. It seems that most of Alternate History works involve a time machine or black hole. Ours is simply picking up on the night of Marilyn’s death and saving her. We then put in a body double so the rest of the world believes she is dead, including her killer(s). The hero’s in the story must then find out why someone wanted her dead and who that someone was; all the while, trying to keep JFK from being assassinated.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I’d have to say Kim’s instructor from the creative writing class she was taking at the time. Because I had helped Kim come up with the idea, she asked me to do the research and she would do the writing for this assignment that was due the following week. I said sure. I love research. We worked together that week (having a blast!), came up with what is now chapter two of the book and she presented it to the class. The class loved it along with her instructor, Jodi. Jodi told her that if she didn’t finish this and make it into a novel, she was an idiot. This had the makings to be a best seller.  This from a best-selling author no less.
Well, the rest is history as they say. She came home from class, shared what Jodi had said and promptly announced that ‘we’ were writing a book. ‘We’ says I????? I’m not a writer. “No,” she said, “but you are an excellent researcher.” Well, I’m not one to back away from a challenge. We worked together between family, jobs, volunteer work and friends and one year later had finished “What She Knew.”

What else might pique the reader’s interest?
After much thought, K.R. and I decided we would give you the pitch we have been asked to give to movie producers. We are working towards the movie being out sometime late 2013 or early 2014. She and I have already written the screen play for it, and it is being shopped around.
“What She Knew” is a fast paced novel of intrigue and mystery involving America’s favorite sex goddess, Marilyn Monroe. This book has all the elements of the next blockbuster hit. We weave a story of intrigue, mystery, and a touch of conspiracy. In this period piece; high-profile, never forgotten, iconic, historical characters are resurrected and showcased in a new light; bringing humor, depth and warmth to an all-star cast.
The fascination with Marilyn Monroe hasn’t died nor have the questions surrounding her death been fully satisfied. This August marked the 50th anniversary of her death and she is hotter than ever. She has millions of fans worldwide; over three hundred thousand Facebook fans, and nearly one hundred thousand Twitter fans – most of which are under the age of 24; which makes Marilyn more ‘alive’ today than she was in the early 1960’s.
Stars like Uma Thurman, who sang as ‘Marilyn’ during a guest appearance earlier this year on NBC’s “Smash”. Scarlett Johanson perfected the ‘Marilyn’ pout for a Dolce & Gabbana spring makeup campaign in 2010. Michelle Williams earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her 2011 portrayal of Marilyn in “My Week with Marilyn”. These are modern-day glamour girls who ‘got the look’ of Marilyn Monroe and made a big splash with the public.
Given the popularity and our research on Marilyn Monroe; we’ve simply utilized the events leading up to her death and added our own take on what happened. Following the historical timeline closely as well as the world events of the day, we have created a compelling novel of what if Marilyn had lived and ‘what she knew’ was enough to save John F. Kennedy from assassination.
We have fans of all ages and backgrounds that ask us all the time where is Marilyn Monroe? One of our reviewers had this to say, ‘A book that makes you wonder…”Could it really be true?”‘ Our hope is that you too have a similar reaction and have a hard time putting the book down as many other reviewers have shared.

Tag, you’re it!! Please take a moment and check out these other great authors! Next Wednesday, they will answer some of the same questions we did about the awesome books they are working on.  Thank you again Kim Emerson for inviting us to be a part of the Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Daniel Neff:
Linda Bolton:
Kim Hughes:
Danny Kemp:
CJ West:

Turkey – Marilyn style!

It can be hard to picture Marilyn Monroe in the kitchen, wearing an apron and cooking.  Okay, maybe wearing the apron and posing provocatively, but cooking?

Or, Marilyn’s picture on an apron~~

With all we have seen of her, it can be hard to fathom Marilyn doing anything very domestic.  But, she did love to cook.  And this recipe is occasion-appropriate.  Marilyn’s own bird preparation recipe to mark Thanksgiving.  It’s found in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters — the same volume that gave us Monroe’s unpublished poems we shared with you a few weeks back.

Handwritten on a piece of insurance company stationery in 1956, the recipe is meticulously detailed, noting every step and every last ingredient.  She even took care to specify the quality of the produce needed.  Here it is below.  Because it is so faded after all these years, below each sheet is the recipe typed out.

Interesting, and detailed.

Fragments  is really a fantastic book — a treasure chest of surprising, stirring glimpses of the profound humanity of a woman too frequently and too tragically misunderstood and dehumanized by unapologetic objectification.

Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving,

K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns




Honoring an icon – Marilyn in the Hollywood Museum

Due to popular demand “Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit” which was an intimate look at the legend and the nation’s largest exhibit of authentic memorabilia celebrating the actress’ life, was extended through September 22 of this year at The Hollywood Museum.  This past August marked the 50th anniversary milestone of Monroe’s passing and to honor her life, many of her most famous items were gathered in one place for literally millions of people to see.

The scope of the exhibition encompasses Marilyn Monroe’s costumes from her films, publicity gowns, garments and furs from her personal wardrobe, original documents from her private files, furniture from her final home in Brentwood, original Marilyn Monroe artwork, photographs and many Marilyn Monroe personally owned artifacts including:

~~ The million dollar honeymoon dress that Marilyn wore on her honeymoon with husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in 1954.  This was Marilyn’s favorite personal gown, designed by Ceil Chapman, hand-beaded in Marilyn’s signature style.  She wore this gown on numerous occasions over the balance of her life, including on her USO tour to Korea (1954) where she entertained 10,000 troops over the course of several days.

~~ Marilyn’s famous cream-colored, beaded costume worn in The Prince and the Show Girl (1957).

~~ Personal wardrobe items including the lime green Pucci blouse Marilyn Monroe wore in the last ever photos of her taken alive, when she was staying at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, California.

~~  Marilyn’s favorite furs and accessories including  the natural mink fur collar Marilyn often wore in New York and London in the 1950s.

~~  Never before seen photographs, including the last photo ever taken in a photo shoot of Marilyn Monroe by her close personal friend George Barris.

~~  NBC’s critically acclaimed “Smash” has a special costume display featuring their Marilyn Monroe dresses.

~~  “Red Velvet” photo session and infamous “Golden Dreams” calendar. In 1949, Marilyn Monroe was a struggling young actress. To earn some quick money to make a car payment, Marilyn was paid $50 to pose for photographer Tom Kelley, for what became known as the legendary “Red Velvet” photos.

~~  The evening cape worn by Marilyn to the world premiere of the James Dean classic East of Eden (1955).

~~  Max Factor ‘s “Marilyn Monroe” makeup room where he created the famous “Marilyn Monroe blonde” hair including Marilyn’s makeup case and other personal items on display.

~~  A prescription pill bottle and the Decadron vial found on Marilyn’s bedside table the morning after she died.

~~  Furniture and artwork from Marilyn’s Brentwood home, including the solid wood dresser that was next to Marilyn’s bed in her bedroom the night she died.

~~  Original works of art by famed artists Robert A. Delgado.

~~  Original works of art by artist LUDVIC.

 ~~  A vast photograph collection of many never-before-seen photos of Marilyn’s childhood, family and early modeling career, including an array of photographs showing how Monroe lived, worked and played in Los Angeles.

~~  Marilyn Monroe’s annotated film scripts, personal letters, invoices, receipts and financial accounting documents, showcasing in great detail the personal and very private life of the greatest film star of all time.

~~  The Nikon camera and lens that Mr. Barris used for Marilyn’s photo sessions is also on display.

~~  And much more…

Another interesting fact is that The Hollywood Museum, in the Historic Max Factor Building, was considered the perfect venue for this exhibit since it was actually where the legendary Max Factor originally designed Marilyn’s hair and coloring. President Donelle Dadigan of the museum says, “When you walk into the ‘FOR BLONDES ONLY ROOM,’ you feel Marilyn Monroe’s presence.”

During the pilgrimage, fans of all ages flocked to Hollywood from around the world (as they do each year) to honor Marilyn’s life and memory.  The Hollywood Museum was just one of the places where devoted Marilyn fans found meaning and were able to pay tribute to the one and only.

K.R. and I had hoped to be there ourselves, but sadly we could not fit it into our schedule.  So for us, it had to suffice to see the literally hundreds of pictures that have been posted on the internet and to read the story’s that went along with them.  We lived the event through her loving fans.  Not a bad way to experience the 50 year celebration, with the many who are devoted to Marilyn not only on the anniversary of her passing, but daily throughout the years.  People from all over the world still love her and honor her life with their own.


K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns