Ellen Byron’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me. She’s written over 200 magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. Now she’s writing the Cajun Country Mystery series. Learn more about Ellen and her books at her website.
My Growing Gator Jewelry Collection
Every so often I get what my mother calls a bug up my butt about something. (Although she doesn’t use the word butt. She’s a bit of a potty mouth.) This recently happened when I became obsessed with alligator-themed costume jewelry.
My Cajun Country Mystery series is set in, well… Cajun Country. The swamps and bayous of this fascinating region are rife with alligators. One day when I was looking for a new way to procrastinate, I logged onto eBay and typed in “alligator brooch.” I thought it might be fun to buy one and wear it to the Malice Domestic Convention. Lo and behold, a long list of options greeted me. So I started to shop.
I bought a number of brooches, many of which I gave away at Left Coast Crime and Malice banquet tables. I graduated to necklaces, then earrings, rings, and bracelets. My collection has even branched out into clothing. When author Sherry Harris posted a picture of a flamingo sweater she’d found on eBay for a friend, I wrote to her, “Hey, if you ever find a sweater with alligators on it, LMK.” Within minutes, she posted three of them. I bought one, and love it. It’s become such an obsession, that as I wrote this blog post, I got an itch to do an eBay search, found a great top, bid on it, and won. Score!
Friends get a kick out of my hobby. Author Alyssa Maxwell recently tagged me in a post where she wore a top decorated with a darling gator applique. (Alyssa, I so want a shirt like that!) A few weeks ago, I was in New Orleans to promote my newest book, A Cajun Christmas Killing, and mentioned my passion for gator jewelry to my friend Celeste. She said, “Oh, I’ve got a gator necklace I can give you.” I told her I wasn’t comfortable taking her jewelry. Her response? “No worries, I have two.” Yes, she had two of these necklaces. #onlyinNewOrleans.
Back to that Malice panel I mentioned earlier. Moderator Shawn Reilly Simpson sent us panelists a list of questions ahead of time, and one was “What’s your spirit animal?” Personally, mine is a rescue dog. But I realized that my series has its own spirit animal: the alligator. So when it comes down to it, I owe my whole collection to Shawn. I should thank her with some kind of present. Hmmm… sounds like it’s time to search “alligator jewelry, clothing, or anything” on Ebay again!
A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery
Maggie Crozat is home in Cajun Country during the most magical time of the year. But the Grinch has come to stay at the Crozat Plantation B&B, and he’s flooding travel websites with vicious reviews. Maggie ID’s him as rival businessman Donald Baxter–until Baxter is found stabbed to death. With her detective boyfriend sidelined as a suspect, Maggie must catch the real killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noel for her.