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, September 18, 2019

AUTHOR INSPIRATION FROM ELIZABETH ZELVIN

Expulsion of the Jews from Spain
Elizabeth Zelvin is the editor of Me Too Short Stories: An Anthology (crimes against women, tales of retribution and healing); she's also author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga, a series of Jewish historical novels and short mysteries. She's been nominated three times each for the Derringer and Agatha Awards for Best Short Story. Today she joins us to discuss where she gets her ideas. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
On one level, I get my ideas from the same place as every other writer: from what I know, what I Google, and the voices in my head. On another, I'm still astonished that since I've been writing mysteries, I've never heard another author say, “I write because I have something to say.” (I was pleased to hear Bradley Cooper tell Lady Gaga that's why she should be writing songs in the new version of A Star Is Born. Yes!) The first Bruce Kohler novel started with a title. I was running a treatment program for homeless alcoholics on the Bowery, and I kept saying, “Someday I’m going to write a mystery and call it Death Will Get You Sober.” I wanted to write about the transformational power of recovery from alcoholism—not just a drunk getting sober, but deep emotional growth—and make it funny. And I did, though not till I quit my day job.

I come from an intellectual New York Jewish family for whom Judaism was bagels and lox and the occasional Seder, and that was it. I never had the slightest interest in writing about it. So imagine my surprise when a young Jewish sailor, Diego, came knocking on the inside of my head in the middle of the night, saying, “Let me out!” I didn't want to get out of bed, but he insisted I tell his story. The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, on the same day Columbus set sail, and Diego sailed with them. That's all I knew, so that's how I learned to do research, a skill set I'd avoided all my life. I also became much more knowledgeable about Judaism, especially its social justice agenda, tikkun olam—repairing the world—and passionate about cultural relativism. I didn't get there by “ripping it from the headlines,” but it sure is relevant.

The first short story was a mystery, with Admiral Columbus as the kindly father figure and detective. But I wanted to write more, so I turned to history for my ideas. And history is dark.

I found myself writing not only about the horrors inflicted on the Jews by both Spain and Portugal, but also about the genocide of the Taino in the Caribbean. Diego's sister Rachel was born to accompany Diego on the second voyage because I needed a female character. Becoming a protagonist, perhaps my most beloved character, was her own idea. She sprang to life and stole the show. These days she's solving mysteries in the Sultan's harem in Istanbul in the 1520s and going home to her delightful family at night. The ideas come from the constraints of history, the setting, and the backstory I've set up for the fictional Mendozas in previous work. The fun comes from not having to stick to the biases of the 21st century.  

And so we get to my new anthology, Me Too Short Stories. In thirty-five years in my "other hat" as a therapist, I have heard many, many stories. I used certain things I know to craft a short story, “Never Again”: that parental child molestation may start when the child is a toddler, and that obese women, who may have eating disorders and/or be survivors of sexual trauma, suffer overwhelming shame. As I considered where I might place this story for publication, I realized that not only was it too dark for the traditional mystery markets, including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock, but the noir e-zines wouldn't want it because it gave abused children and fat women a voice. Feminist journals? But it was crime fiction. Dark literary looking for something different? That editor doesn't like a happy ending, ie writer can't empower women characters. This story needed a home that didn't exist. I had to create one. And that's my biggest idea so far.

Me Too Short Stories, An Anthology
What do women want? A voice. To be heard. Respect. To be believed. Justice. To be both safe and free. The women in these stories have daughters, sisters, friends. The minister worries about her parishioners. The banshee worries about the Hippocratic Oath. The microbiologist worries about her obligation to the dead. They will use any means to protect themselves and those they love: a childish jingle, a skillet full of cornbread, a candle, their own quick wits. We cannot ignore their voices.



Buy Links

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--CRANBERRY BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD

Last week I offered a recipe for Apricot Applesauce Zucchini Bread. Today I’ve altered the recipe, substituting bananas for the applesauce, cranberries for the apricots, and walnuts for the pecans.

Cranberry Banana Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from about 2 medium/large bananas)
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini, laid loosely in cup and not packed (don’t wring out)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 1 4” x 8” loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

Soak cranberries in a bowl of water. Set aside.

To a large bowl, add the first six ingredients, whisking to combine.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to bowl, stirring to combine. 

Drain cranberries. Stir together the bananas, zucchini, cranberries, and pecans. Stir to combine with other ingredients.

Pour batter into loaf pan. Back 1 hr. or until top spring back.

Allow to cool before slicing and serving serving.

Monday, September 16, 2019

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--GRAFFITI COMES OF AGE

Street Art
Graffiti dates back to ancient times, prior to written language. The word “graffiti” is derived from the Italian “graffito”, which means “a scratch.” Graffiti can be found etched into the stones of walls and monuments in ancient Greek and Roman cities. The Alexamenos graffito, graffiti purported to be the earliest known image of Christ, was carved into the wall of a room outside Rome sometime around 200 AD. In the 9th century Viking mercenaries scratched graffiti into stone at the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

Graffiti Tags
Modern graffiti, the kind we associate with spray cans and gangs, first sprang up in the early 1960s in Philadelphia and quickly spread to New York City, covering subway trains, inside and out with what were known as “tags”. Tagging quickly became competitive with the graffiti artists trying to outdo each other with multi-colored, stylized tags, moving from subway cars to buildings, bridges, and even rock formations.

Banksy's Girl with Balloon
However, in the 1970’s graffiti began transforming from gang tags to street art when it became part of the hip-hop subculture, beginning in The Bronx. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were instrumental in bringing graffiti mainstream and moving it from the streets into art galleries. Today the elusive Bansky is carrying on what they started. Nowadays, instead of painting over graffiti, many major cities are commissioning artists to decorate the sides of buildings.

The old form of graffiti never truly died, though. It’s alive and well inside public restroom stalls were you often find crude commentary scratched into the paint of the metal doors. Normally these messages are of the “For a good time call…” variety but not always. The other day I found myself in need of a visit to the ladies’ restroom in Penn Station, Newark. This is what I saw in the stall I stepped into.

"Learn Proper Grammar" bathroom stall graffiti

(And yes, this is the first time I’ve ever whipped out my phone to snap a picture in a public restroom, but can you blame me?)

Friday, September 13, 2019

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--INTERVIEW WITH ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AUTHOR MICHELLE FERNANDEZ

Today we sit down for a chat with romantic suspense author Michelle Fernandez. Learn more about Michelle and her books at her website.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’ve always wanted to write ever since I got my first diary from my aunt when I was seven. I wrote in it as if I was writing a story about my life and now as an adult, I’ve got a world of people dying to get out of my head and introduce themselves.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I am a person that has always struggled with self-confidence. Growing up, I’ve had people judge me for the wrong reasons, put me down and there was a point in my life I believed I could never be anything…until I met my husband. We met at work and immediately became office Best Buddies. He encouraged me, told me I can do and be anything if I truly believe in myself and ignore all the negativity.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Indie-published

Where do you write?
I write on my dining table, in bed or on the couch.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Silence is Golden! I don’t like music or any background noise.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My characters are bits and pieces of people I surround myself with. As for the plot…my mind is a crazy circus (my husband says) and I plot ideas from everything I interact with. My heroines are a part of me or maybe an alter-ego that I wish I could be. As for my heroes, my husband is a big part of them.

Describe your process for naming your character?
When naming my main characters, I make an inspiration board of their face and their characteristics. Then I start to throw names and see what sticks. And there are other characters that I will use my friends and family’s names (store clerk, little girl across the hall, receptionist) only because I know I can and they love to see their names in my book.

Real settings or fictional towns?
In my debut novel, it takes place in a real setting. However, there will be fictional places within the setting. For example, in the City of San Francisco, there is a pub that is fictional, The Tipsy Turtle or in the Bahamas there is a fictional club, The Atlas.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Chloe Channing, rambles and blurts out words when she’s nervous, like “Jimminy Christmas” when she was startled.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I can fall asleep very quickly, less than two minutes. Give me a pillow, a comfy couch, when I’m a passenger in a car, there is no doubt I will go to sleep. My husband says that I fall asleep in mid-sentence.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I could do high school again. I was so naïve, made friends and enemies. I had a blast just being a kid.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
A dirty kitchen and bathroom! Yuck!

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A flint stone, a machete/large knife and a pot  

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
A receptionist at a textile warehouse. My boss was a meanie!

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
This is a hard one to answer…I guess the only way I can answer this, what book tugged at my heart strings? It was the duet, Consolation and Continuation by Corrine Michaels. I’ve read many books, emotional ones and that duet made me cry.

Ocean or mountains?
I love the ocean and the beach scene

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I grew up near a city and love it (sometimes). But I would like to be a country girl

What’s on the horizon for you?
My debut novel, Till I found You releases September 3rd and I am currently working on book 2, Till I Tempt You in this series and my projected date of release for Book 2 is Spring 2020. Then there is Book 3, Till I Claim You (Fall 2020) and Book 4, Till I Return to You (Winter 2020), then the final I Found You (early 2021). Then I have plans to work on another series that I’ve planted seeds throughout this series.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I hope that my books give readers the ‘feels’; pulls at their heart strings, makes them laugh and angry at my characters all the same time, because if it does, I’ve done my job. And when the reader has finally read the HEA, I’d like them to drop me a note via FB, IG or my email and let me know their thoughts…and if they truly liked it, a review on GR and Amazon is greatly appreciated.

I was recently announced the finalist for the 2019 Best Blurb Contest in The Emerald City / Greatly Seattle RWA. It’s such an honor and an exciting place to be even if I don’t win the grand prize. Just this accomplishment alone proves a new author like me is capable of anything. All they need to do is just believe in themselves, see the vision and go after it. If I can do this, so can anyone else.

Till I Found You
The Broken Hero Series, Book 1
 
Julian “Booker” Cruz, former Navy SEAL, joined an elite security ops agency with one goal in mind: to forget his past. With the overload of work, there’s no time for romance, nor does he want it. His rule—don’t mix business with pleasure. Until one assignment puts that rule to the test. Chloe Channing is not to discover his undercover role as her protective detail from an unknown psychopath. But as their days pass together in tropical paradise, it becomes difficult to keep his desire from compromising everything. Including her safety.

All Chloe wants is to remember, but so much of her memory was lost after her assailant left her unconscious. On a summer trip with friends at her family’s estate in the Bahamas, she yearns for the quiet respite from a previous heartbreak and her tortured nightmares. She never expects a man like Julian to help her find emotional peace and physical healing. But as she falls deeper, her flashbacks slowly come together, and they include glimpses of one handsome, mysterious, yet all-too-familiar face: Julian’s.

Is Chloe’s mind playing tricks on her again… or has she met this man before?

Even if Julian could let go and risk it all, could he ever forgive himself enough to fall in love again?

Buy Links

Thursday, September 12, 2019

GUEST AUTHOR KAREN CHRISTINO RECREATES 1926 NEW YORK CITY IN HER NEW MYSTERY SERIES FEATURING FAMOUS AMERICAN ASTROLOGER EVANGELINE ADAMS

Karen Christino recreates New York City in 1926 in her first novel, The Precious Pachyderm: An Evangeline Adams Mystery. Karen has also written horoscopes for Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire magazines, and seven books about astrology. To learn more about Karen and her books visit her website.

History for a Mystery
I easily lose myself in historical research, as it transports me back to a lost time. I had read many histories of the 1920s to write my biography of the famous American Astrologer Evangeline Adams. But when I decided to write a mystery novel about her, I knew I had to bring the period to life in a more vibrant way.


I’d already read too many mysteries set in the ‘20s featuring stereotypical mobsters and molls. Others made little attempt to capture the period. How might I bring real people to life while conveying to the reader the texture and feel of this long-ago time? My many office day jobs suggested I center the book round the astrologer’s office and her assistants. I expected I’d need to read more books, but I soon learned that my best sources were elsewhere.

My first real job had been working for an old film production company. They’d held onto their vintage switchboard for decades, and I was taught how to use it. I worked it into the plot since it would’ve been a key component of office communications – phones didn’t even have dials in 1926, the time I’d chosen to set my story.


I may have also been in the last generation to learn typing on a manual machine. Typewriters looked very different 100 years ago, but when I learned to type in high school, their operation, with carbon paper and few remedies for errors, was essentially the same. And I also remembered my brother’s retro-style candlestick phone, which had always been difficult for me to use – requiring two hands! But that was helpful, too.

As luck would have it, I discovered that my current job’s building had been built in 1927 – with many period fixtures of the time remaining. We’ve probably all gone through a revolving door – which I’m still never totally comfortable with. And the occasionally problematic elevator service would offer me an opportunity to ride the vintage freight elevator. I’d always been curious about it, but I now had an excuse to engage the operator and observe the mechanics.

I began to realize how many remnants of the past were still with us. Evangeline Adams’ offices adjoined the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. When I visited, an archivist took me to a suite that was similar to hers. There’s nothing like seeing a space first-hand, and the turn-of-the-century building had 12-foot ceilings with high and wide windows all around – like nothing I’d ever seen before.

And Central Park – where I knew Adams often walked her Pekinese dogs – was just a few blocks away. While contemporary autos and buses whizzed by, I could see that the Park itself and many of the nearby buildings were virtually the same when Evangeline had settled there over 100 years before.

My research eventually turned online for books, magazines and old films from the time. But my personal experiences had been the most helpful in convincing me that yes, we could reclaim the past!

The Precious Pachyderm
An Evangeline Adams Mystery, Book 1

Manhattan, 1926. A wealthy businessman found dead. A priceless elephant figurine gone missing. And famous astrologer Evangeline Adams is a primary suspect. To save their jobs, Adams’ assistants Mary Adler and Clara Cosentino investigate the astrologer’s classy clients, oddball employees and offbeat associates to help discover who really committed the crime. And Evangeline solves her first case with the help of astrology in this funny, fast-paced whodunit.

Buy Links

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--APRICOT APPLESAUCE ZUCCHINI BREAD

I recently took a two-week vacation and came home to find my garden overrun with ginormous zucchini. So I cranked up the air-conditioning, and in the middle of a summer heat wave I spent the afternoon baking loaves of zucchini bread. Here’s one of the recipes. Check back next week for another.

Apricot Applesauce Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini, laid loosely in cup and not packed (don’t wring out)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 1 4” x 8” loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

Soak chopped apricots in a bowl of water. Set aside.

To a large bowl, add the first six ingredients, whisking to combine.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to bowl, stirring to combine. 

Drain apricots. Stir together the applesauce, zucchini, apricots, and walnuts. Stir to combine with other ingredients.

Pour batter into loaf pan. Back 1 hr. or until top spring back.

Allow to cool before slicing and serving serving. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--MEET STAINED GLASS ARTIST ROSALIND DUKE, MYSTERY AUTHOR MICHELE DRIER'S NEWEST SLEUTH

Fifth generation Californian Michele Drier has lived and worked all over the state. As a reporter and editor at daily newspapers, she won awards for investigative series. Her fifteen books include the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a series of paranormal romances, and The Stained Glass Murders. Today she turns her guest spot over to her newest creation, widow and stained glass artist Rosalind Duke. Learn more about Michele and her books here.

I blame it all on the university.

In my first year, I took a required Art History course and it left me with a hunger for Medieval art, specifically stained glass, and a BIG hunger for the TA, Winston Duke.
We married, I began a career as a stained glass artist, and now I’m a widow, living on the Oregon coast with Tut, my rescue Greyhound and an international reputation as a top stained glass artist.

Need a big commissioned piece for your home or business or church? You’re going to get a recommendation for me.

One of the things I cherish is my schedule. I don’t have one beyond what I take on for myself.

My day is taken up with routine things mixed with creativity. In a typical day, I take inventory of my glass and cames (the leading that holds the pieces of glass together).

There are a lot of colors I stock: three shades of blue, four shades of red, a couple of yellows, an assortment of purples (pale lavender to deep purple) and some brown/beiges. As I come up with a design, I search my glass dealers’ sites for offbeat colors.

 Besides the large commissions, which make up the bulk of my work and income, I have a small business of selling stained glass kits to make at home. These contain the pattern, glass, caming, solder, a knife, a soldering iron and instructions. My catalogue includes reproductions of van Gogh’s Irises and Sunflowers, and I’m adding some from the coast where I’m living.

Today, I’m spending an hour on my deck sketching a design for a window that has a small piece of the ocean edged by forest and salmonberries, chosen because of their little, round shape that should look like Christmas ornaments shining beneath the trees. I have the design roughed out, it will be an oval, suitable for hanging in a window or inserting into a door. Now I have to search for the glass that will make up the berries. I found a dealer in Portland that has a nice reddish-orange tone, which should pop among the blues of the Pacific and the greens of the forest.

This afternoon, I’ll finalize the sketch, take photos to upload to my computer, and then project the best one against a white wall in my studio. Then I tape a large sheet of tracing paper over the design on the wall, trace it out and move it to my light table. Once it’s firmly taped down, I begin working out the color scheme and cutting the individual pieces of glass.

I don’t even know if they could take my fingerprints, I have so many small nicks and cuts from handling the glass and the knives. When all the pieces are cut, I tape the edges and smother them in bubble wrap, packaging them with enough caming to make the joins, with a good amount left over, and ship them off.

It’s a labor-intensive job and requires patience and a fairly steady hand, but it’s labor I love. It keeps me in touch with Winston’s spirit and ties me to a craft that added beauty and light to the world for more than 1,000 years.

Stain on the Soul
A Stained Glass Mystery

Who murdered Winston Duke? Why?

His widow, Rosalind (Roz) had no answers but to put her life back together, the internationally known stained glass artist moved to a small town on the Oregon coast. Here, where she knew no one, she planned to use the beach, scoured by wind and water, to cleanse her soul and rebuild her creativity. That is, until one morning when her peace was smashed by the lights and sirens of emergency vehicles, and the sight of her neighbor’s bloody body being taken away. Meeting others from the town, Roz is pulled into a mystery of who the neighbor was and finds a circle of friends far removed the Los Angeles of her life with Winston.

Buy links
ebook  

Friday, September 6, 2019

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--AN INTERVIEW WITH RAMONA ARGROW FROM ELAINE ORR'S JOLIE GENTIL COZY MYSTERY SERIES

Today we sit down for a chat with Ramona Argrow from author Elaine Orr’s Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
A good bit quieter! I went to high school for one year with Jolie, but she moved back home. I ran into her again where I work, at an office supply store in Ocean Alley (the Purple Cow). That way I have income, but it's the kind of work that lets me have time for my art. I enjoy pen and ink drawings, but work in a lot of mediums.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I'm true to myself. For example, people think it's odd that I dress in flowing skirts and short vests, but I'm tall and I think the kind of hippie look of the 1970s fits me.

What do you like least about yourself?
Hmm. I think if I paid as much attention to selling my art as I do in making it that I'd have things like a cottage here at the Jersey shore, or at least be able to take a vacation to see the Louvre. But, I don't like numbers and routines.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
She got me to go with her to follow one of my friend Jolie's crazy hunches about who left a body under a pirate ship display. (One that I helped make! It's on the cover of Any Port in a Storm.) I told Jolie to mind her own business. But, I ended up getting her out of a bad scrape, so I suppose it's a good thing I went along.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Generally, no. I thought she made me look like a busybody for a while, but I pretty much got her to cut it out.

What is your greatest fear?
Don't tell anyone, but I've kept to myself for so long I worry about being alone when I'm older. What if I don't marry? I used to not pay attention to kids – unless I was doing a drawing of one – but now I find myself looking at cute toddlers on the boardwalk.

What makes you happy?
The perfect yoga pose. I've tried to explain to Jolie how fulfilling yoga is, but she doesn't like to slow down that much.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I always thought I'd live in New York City and have pictures in a gallery by now. I wasn't bold enough to head there on my own. I told myself it was too expensive to live there. But I should have tried.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Without a doubt, George Winters. He’s the best friend of Jolie's best bud, Scoobie, and he thinks he's some prize-winning reporter. He comes by the store a lot. I know he's just looking for chatter for his newspaper column. He also thinks he's really witty. I roll my eyes a lot when I'm with him.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
No one! I love my art. I suppose Jolie's Aunt Madge has an artistic flair. You see it in how she's decorated her B&B. But I wouldn't want to be anything but an artist.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Elaine did a lot of nonfiction work and used to think she didn't have much of an imagination. I guess it eventually got the better of her. Now she writes three mystery series and what she calls reflective fiction. Elaine isn't big on the term literary fiction. She also likes to write whimsical essays, but she hasn't gotten up the nerve to publish any of them. Elaine can barely do paint by numbers. Fortunately, Patty G. Henderson, who did the cover of Any Port in a Storm, is a very good artist. Learn more about Elaine and her books at her website and blog.

What's next for you?
I've been saving up to open a small studio, maybe teach some classes. Scoobie has dropped hints that George might like to go out with me, but I've ignored him. So far.

Any Port in a Storm
A Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery, Book 4

Someone is breaking into the houses Jolie appraises. Plus, a hurricane's on the way to disrupt the Talk Like a Pirate Day fundraiser for the food pantry. When a corpse turns up under the pirate ship, Jolie's name pops up as a suspect.

Soon she has less work. Who wants a possible murder suspect appraising their house? Scoobie's pirate limericks can't solve a crime, so Jolie and her sometimes buddy reporter George Winters look for the murderer and try to figure out who's trying to frame Jolie. They need to stay ahead of whoever's mad at her and off the radar of the local police who tell Jolie -- for the hundredth time -- to butt out. All this and Jolie has to deal with Aunt Madge's blossoming love life. And what about her own?

Buy Links

Thursday, September 5, 2019

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CAROLINE CLEMENS' PINKERTON MATCHMAKER HEROINE

Today we sit down for a chat with Magdala from author Caroline Clemmons’ Pinkerton Matchmaker Series.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I was living happily with my parents in Virginia while my father had an office in Washington DC. I say happily, but I confess I had this strange urge to seek adventure before I settled down. Mamá wanted me to choose a husband from her friends’ sons, but I wanted… more. Can you understand that? She can’t, but Papá is sympathetic.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I am adaptable to most situations without complaining. I have sarcastic thoughts but I don’t vocalize them.

What do you like least about yourself?
People think I’m a snob at times, but I’m just reserved. I don’t gush at people, but I really enjoy mixing with all ages and types. Well, not the criminal type, but all types of law-abiding people.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Hmm, if I tell you, it gives away part of her plot. I will say, I got my wish for adventure. <G>

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I do, but does she listen? No. I wanted to explain all about my family and former life but she insisted there was no proper place in the book. How could she say such a thing about fascinating details?

What is your greatest fear?
Being abandoned by the man I eventually love. This is one reason I’ve been so careful to whom I give my heart.

What makes you happy?
I can usually find something to be happy about in any situation. Well, I didn’t like being paired with my Pinkerton agent at first. The man was rude to me before he even met me. And there was one part of the book in which I was worried, but most of the time I’m an agreeable and happy person.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would include more of my history. I performed a great service for the King of Bayergrovenia and his daughter, Princess Maguerithe. I revealed a threat against our country and against the throne. I received a special award from the King. My author said there was no place to explain all that. Can you believe it? She thought the story should only be about the agent and me working together to solve a crime.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
That odious man Mr. Carl Kennedy. I can’t explain why, but he gives me the shivers. He wears a permanent scowl and I think he must not be a nice person.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
I’m happy with my place, but I do admire Ava McMillan. She has a normal life and a loving husband who provides well for her.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their three rescued indoor cats as well as providing nourishment outdoors for squirrels, birds, and other critters.

The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won several awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Learn more about her on her blog and website where you can find links to her other social media sites and sign up for her newsletter.

What's next for you?
A lot is happening this fall! On September 12th A Bride for Dalton, Proxy Bride Series, will release. On October 1st Christmas Wishes, an anthology, will be released. On November 8th Melody, Angel Creek Christmas Brides Series, will be released. And on November 29th An Agent for Lydia will be released.

Whew, and then I’ll take the month of December off for Christmas celebrations.

An Agent for Magdala
The Pinkerton Matchmaker Series

She craves adventure, but this may be too much.

His job means the world to him…

Capturing jewel thieves will test them…

Magdala leaps at the opportunity to become a Pinkerton agent. Learning the position requires a paper marriage shocks but doesn’t deter her. She plans to get an annulment before her unusual family learns of the situation. She’s determined to prove she has the grit to be an excellent investigator. But, why does she have to be partnered with the one man who has been rude to her?

Douglas “Cloud” Ryan loves being a Pinkerton agent. Otherwise, he’d never go along with his boss’ crazy plan to marry him to a female agent. He’s certain women have no business dealing with criminals. After barely surviving the stagecoach trip from Denver to San Antonio Maggie needs to stay in the background and let him solve the case. He has reasons to distrust women, especially women like Maggie.

Can Maggie and Cloud catch the jewel thieves plaguing an historic San Antonio hotel without becoming victims? Will they take a chance on the love growing between them?

Buy Links