featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Linda Rodriguez is an award-winning mystery author. Her first Skeet novel, Every Last Secret, won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition and an International Latino Book Award. Her second Skeet Bannion novel, Every Broken Trust, is a finalist for the International Latino Book Award and the Premio Aztlรกn Literary Award. Learn more about Linda and her books at her blog. 

Portable Projects
In the days before my Skeet Bannion mystery novels started publishing, I would design and make large, complex projects for family and friends by spinning, knitting, weaving, and quilting. I even took commissions to design and make one-of-a-kind hand knit lace shawls. However, writing a book a year and traveling all over to promote it knocked out most of the time I had previously allotted to my crafts.

I didn’t want to give up all the lovely handwork I used to do, so I had to change my M.O. to keep it in my life. Now, instead of large, complex projects—lace shawls, art quilts to display on walls, woven table runners and rugs—I focus on small portable projects, projects that can travel with me and can be picked up and laid down repeatedly without losing my place in an intricate pattern, projects that can be packed and carried in a small fair-isle bag that I designed and knitted just for the purpose of hanging from my arm or wrist while I knit.

Now, I knit lots of socks, mittens, and fingerless gloves while on the road. I’m getting ready to tour for the next Skeet Bannion book, Every Hidden Fear (which will publish May 6th), and packing plenty of these to knit. They’re ideal small portable projects, and everyone likes that warmth and softness at their extremities. And even the most complex pattern becomes manageable on such a small scale. Sometimes I make hats and scarves, but I find in general that the socks, mittens, and fingerless gloves are the big favorites when given as gifts, especially when I knit them in the luxury fibers I love to work with, such as baby alpaca, cashmere, kid mohair, lambs-wool, merino, and qiviut.

Sometimes we simply need to adjust the way we do things to fit our changed circumstances. I think everyone finds it difficult to make time for creative activities that feed our souls. Too many find that these endeavors get pushed completely out of their lives. But a focus on small, portable projects, plus some organizational planning so that you have everything you need packed into a small bag you can pick up at any time on your way out the door for your commute, the long drive to you sister’s house, or your own book tour or plane ride to a speaking event, means that you can be recharging your creative well at any time. And making gifts that will be truly appreciated by their recipients.

In my Skeet Bannion mysteries, Skeet is always knitting to help her think her way through the thorny problems of murder. Usually they are small projects, often brightly colored socks as a subtle act of rebellion against the stereotypes of women in police, especially in management positions. I first wrote these kinds of scenes because I have found knitting to be a terrific aid to problem-solving. Now, with my new program of portable projects, I, too, can make use of the creative problem-solving side of knitting as I knit and mentally untangle alibis, motives, and opportunities to commit murder.

Every Hidden Fear
Skeet Bannion's Cherokee grandmother has come to live with her and her teenage ward Brian, and Skeet is still trying to adjust to the change while also keeping the peace on the local college campus. Then Ash Mowbray, a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, comes back to Brewster as a wealthy developer, pushing plans to build a shopping mall on the outskirts of town that will destroy the town square businesses. The town council is split on his proposal, and emotions are running high.

Mowbray makes things worse by announcing that he is the real father of the high school athlete Noah Steen, having left Noah’s mother, Chelsea, pregnant as a teenager when he fled town after high school. Chelsea and her husband Elliott are horrified that Mowbray has publicized that Elliott is not Noah’s father and afraid that he will steal their beloved son from them. Noah is shocked to learn the truth of his parentage and furious with Mowbray. It’s not long before Mowbray turns up murdered with Noah as the prime suspect. Brian and Noah's girlfriend Angie turn to Skeet to find the murderer and save their friend.

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Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks for having me, Anastasia!

Reine said...

I love this . I love that crafts join crafts. Beautiful creations! xo

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Reine! Creativity in one form just increases it in any other form.

Angela Adams said...

Knitters have such a talent! Thanks for the post.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Angela, I think there are a lot of parallels between knitting and writing. Thanks for stopping by!