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, January 9, 2019


As longtime readers of this blog, you know that we often like to freshen things up with new ideas for posts. Recently author Lois Winston, she who writes about me, decided to toss out a new idea to authors who might want to stop by for a visit.

If you’ve ever watched the Alan Alda/Ellen Burstyn movie Same Time Next Year, you’ll remember that George and Doris have a one-night-stand that winds up lasting decades, meeting for one weekend each year. Right from the beginning Doris is curious about George and his wife, but George is paranoid, worried that Doris might try to contact him or his wife after they part. So he comes up with the idea that they each limit their discussion about their respective spouses to two stories—one that highlights the best of their spouse and one that shows the spouse in a less than positive way.

So Lois’s idea for some interesting guest posts is that either the authors or their protagonists write a best of/worst of post on any topic they’d like. Our first author to accept the challenge is Lisa Preston. Read more about her and her books at her website

The Best and Worst of Rainy Dale

What a delight to visit Lois’s blog. I’m loving her idea of a nod to the classic characters discussing the best and worst of whomever or whatever as depicted in Same Time Next Year!

As some of you know, my Rainy Dale mystery series debuted in November with The Clincher. My editor at Skyhorse Publishing calls the novels cozy-plus. The stories offer the usual features of a cozy: no graphic or gratuitous violence; in fact, violence and sex tend to take place off-screen; little to no swearing; a small town setting full of lively, colorful characters; and an amateur detective.

This is probably the first and only series to offer a young woman horseshoer as the sleuth. And yet, the series pushes the cozy envelope on many of those traits, and the character development reveals a distinctly troubled past in a protagonist who is only in her young twenties.

The plus of the cozy+ gets us to the worst of Rainy, an aspect she’s taken a hit from on one or two reader reviews: she can be spiky. Overly defensive. Untrusting. Maybe a bit immature at times. But of course, the obverse of that coin is, she has plenty of room to grow. (I know I did at age twenty-three!) And as Rainy finds her way in the world, correcting her past as best she can, learning to love and be loved, enriching and empowering herself, she turns her lens outward.

She blossoms.

This segues to the best of Rainy Dale, the lion’s share that earned The Clincher a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as praise from Library Journal, Kirkus, and ace wordsmiths like Craig Johnson, J.A. Jance, Margaret Coel, James Ziskin, and Reavis Wortham. (Notice that these are all top novelists who are not classified as cozy writers!) At her core, Rainy is a big-hearted young woman who cares. She cares about others, about doing the right thing, about kindness. And that makes her worth sticking with in this fictional small town in central Oregon as she makes her place in the world.

The Clincher
A Horseshoer Mystery

The Clincher is the first in a series of horseshoer mysteries featuring the irrepressible, irreverent, and irresistible Rainy Dale and her loveable and unlikely sidekick, the culinarily-inclined Guy. 

Clinching is the technique used to bend a driven horseshoe nail to hold the shoe to a hoof. Rainy Dale is The Clincher, a twenty-something high school-dropout turned farrier (horseshoer) who is haunted by a secret she carries.

Estranged from her California d-list actress momma and her ranch hand Texas daddy, she tracked down her childhood horse in small-town Oregon, a land full of cowboys and their horses, then stayed to build a life with her tools, steel, and forge. She's sleeping in a garage and trying not to fall for her landlord, the hapless and hopeful chef, Guy, who is determined to create the perfect soufflĂ© while Rainy would prefer to just stuff her mouth with fuel for her physically demanding job. As the new kid in town, Rainy has an uphill battle to prove herself, but when one of her clients turns up dead, Rainy is in over her head as both a suspect and a seeker of the truth. 

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Lisa Preston said...

Thank you for hosting! Love the picture.


We're happy to have you stop by, Lisa.