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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Knitting fail
Ann Myers writes the Santa Fe Café Mysteries featuring café chef and reluctant amateur sleuth, Rita Lafitte. When not writing, Ann enjoys cooking, crafts, and reading other authors’ cozy mysteries. Learn more about Ann and her books at her website.

Failures and Frustrations

Failures and frustrations…oh, where to start? I’ll confess first to crafting flops. There have been a lot. The cardboard sculptures that went straight to recycling. Sewing, particularly pants. A glass bead workshop I fled because of my totally reasonable fear of giant shooting flames. Metalsmithing went slightly better, but only as far as soldering with a crème brûlée torch. Then there’s knitting.

Those of you who knit probably think it’s as easy as devouring pie. Not for me. Friends and family have tried to teach me. I’ve watched videos and envied people who can knit in waiting rooms or on planes. How do they do it? I’ll probably never catch on. Even my dear, sweet grandmother lost hope. “You’re good at other things,” she told me.  

Which leads to other things: career failures. To better understand, let’s label me: I’m an introvert with an active imagination regarding murder. So, living in Florida in the boom years, I decided to sell real estate. Why not, I thought. I love looking at houses! I didn’t think about how I’d find clients, or about meeting people (potential murderers) in empty buildings. I had two listings: a beetle-chewed shack and a ’60s ranch home with a pool owned by a man who claimed to run an international spy agency. He also claimed the pool required expert care. That was true. It turned green, he changed agents, and I sold the shack and quit real estate.

You’d think I’d learn. No, I turned to insurance sales. With my expect-the-worst tendencies, I’m a big fan of insurance. However, insurance required cold calling. I dreaded this probably exponentially more than the average person dreads cold calling. And when I got appointments, they were on the other side of the state, across the vast Ocala Forest (a forest notorious for serial killings). I did meet lovely people and listened to a lot of books on tape. Predictably—in retrospect—insurance was another failure, and I moved on to grant writing and editing.

So, what did I learn? I guess I can’t change my nature. I’ll never be good at mingling, cold calling, or verbal persuasion. But I’ll always love books and solitary work, and what better way to channel my criminal suspicions than mystery writing? With crafts, I’m afraid I haven’t changed my ways. A friend and I are currently taking blacksmithing classes. Yes, more scary flames and a craft that’s a lot harder than it looks on YouTube videos. But we’re going to keep trying because that’s the fun part—and because bending steel seems a whole lot easier than knitting!

Feliz Navidead
Holly, jolly, and downright deadly—the third Santa Fe Café mystery unwraps surprises both naughty and nice…

It’s the most picturesque time of the year in Santa Fe, and Chef Rita Lafitte of Tres Amigas Café hopes the twinkling lights and tasty holiday treats will charm her visiting mom. Rita is also planning fun activities, such as watching her teenage daughter, Celia, perform in an outdoor Christmas play. What she doesn’t plan for is murder.

Rita discovers a dead actor during the premier performance but vows to keep clear of the case. Sleuthing would upset her mom. Besides, there’s already a prime suspect, caught red-handed in his bloodied Santa suit. However, when the accused Santa’s wife begs for assistance—and points out that Celia and other performers could be in danger—Rita can’t say no. With the help of her elderly boss, Flori, and her coterie of rogue knitters, Rita strives to salvage her mother’s vacation, unmask a murderer, and stop this festive season from turning even more fatal.

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vicki batman said...

This post had me laughing. The good news you tried something new! Not everything is for everybody. I probably wouldn't blacksmith. Would love to see what you do.

Angela Adams said...

Hats off to you for giving it a try!

Ann Myers said...

Thanks, Vicki and Angela. The blacksmithing in't going great yet, but my friend thinks we're on the verge of a breakthrough. Four hours of hammering the other night and I made a twisted piece of steel with a lopsided hook.

Ellen Byron said...

Fun post! And... blacksmithing??? I am super impressed.

Pam De Voe said...

As an introvert, I really had to laugh at your attempts to make a living doing exactly what an introvert would have a hard time doing! And I say this as someone who has done the same thing in the past. It's not easy getting past our natural inclinations--although it can be done, I'm sure. As with you, I've finally settled on my true niche (I think): writing and its need for research. Thanks for the delightful post!

Ann Myers said...

Thanks, Ellen and Pam, here's to our writing niches!

Jane said...

Fun column! Good luck with blacksmithing.