There’s a trend in historical fiction to incorporate real people—both famous and infamous—into plots. Sometimes these characters are secondary to the story; other times they play an integral role in the narrative. The first book I ever came across to do this was E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. Great book! Great musical! I highly recommend both.
In contemporary fiction most authors shy away from using real people for fear of lawsuits, limiting references to such things as making comparisons about a character’s resemblance to a celebrity. It’s a great way to create a visual image without sticking a paragraph of boring head-to-toe description into a scene. In the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series author Lois Winston described Zack Barnes, my love interest, as “a guy who looks like Pierce Brosnan, George Clooney, Patrick Dempsey, and Antonio Bandares all contributed to his gene pool.” I don’t think she has to worry about receiving letters from any of their attorneys.
However, because I’m a crafts editor for a women’s magazine, I’m always on the lookout for new trends, both in crafts and in pop culture in general, for Lois to incorporate into her books about me. Sometimes I come across something too good to pass up, even if it is a bit outside the box of traditional crafting.
Such was the case when I learned about vajazzling. Vajazzling is a portmanteau that combines bedazzling with another word. (Use your imagination.) Here was something not only crafty but both fashion and beauty-related—not to mention mind-boggling. It also ticked off three of the monthly features showcased at the magazine where I work. Being that the mysteries Lois writes about me are humorous, vajazzling was just too outrageously funny to pass up. So Lois decided to incorporate the craft into Decoupage Can Be Deadly, the fourth book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
Normally, I’d give directions for a craft project here on the blog on Mondays, but given the nature of this particular craft and the fact that this is a G-rated blog, that’s just not possible. It’s also the reason Lois chose to feature decoupage projects in the book rather than vajazzling projects. However, if you enjoy a good laugh, you’ll love how she handles the topic of vajazzling in Decoupage Can Be Deadly.
Decoupage Can Be Deadly
Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy—rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena. During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?