Carolyn Goes On Vacation

on June 25, 2019 Carolyn
Jitty's Jilted Hearts

How can I get my kids and husband to wash the dishes?
– Sink Slave

Dear Sink Slave,

This is an easy question for old Jitty. Back when I was young rollin’ in the sheets with my man Coker, we had to bring water in from the well, heat it on a wood stove, and scrub away on the dishes–clothes too. It was hard work and most men or young-uns helped haul water. It took ever’one workin’ through all the daylight hours to survive. Now don’t go thinkin’ it was so awful. Workin’ toward a common goal creates a bond that cements families together. It’s what makes families strong.

Now that my history lesson is over, here’s the answer. Stop cooking. Stop buyin’ groceries. Stop all household duties. Instead, read a book, (Can I recommend my latest adventure, GAME OF BONES? I really go on the war path in this one!) go for a walk, fix a vodka martini with lots of olives and sit under a shade tree. In other words, STRIKE! Don’t say a word. Don’t complain. Don’t beg. Just stop all the duties you’ve assumed as your own. These are family chores and should be shared. This will bring the chilluns in line quick as a wink. If the husband is a bit recalcitrant, just remember the wisdom of Lysistrata. Lysistrata ended a war with this tactic. Dishes should be easy.


Dear Reader,

I have bitten the bullet and bought a ticket to Mexico to visit several of my good friends who have moved there. It’s been a good, long time since I’ve had any kind of vacation. I used to “do” adventure vacations—horseback rides up the coast of Ireland, visits to Nicaragua when there was unrest (there is much unrest again, which breaks my heart for such a beautiful country). In the last two decades, though, I have had such intensive animal and family care that my wings have been sadly clipped. Now, I’m taking a week for me! It won’t be a long vacation, but it will be a grand adventure in a country I adore. Lots of pictures to come, so stay tuned to the newsletter and to FB.

Lots of exciting book news, too. Susan Y. Tanner’s new black cat detective mystery goes on sale July 8. TROUBLE IN ACTION is a fun-packed mystery with an intense romantic component. And of course Trouble knows more about reenactments AND romance than any biped does. This is one you don’t want to miss. Susan includes her love of horses and riding in this adventure.


Also, Claire Matturro, one of the Trouble black cat detective writers, has a hot new legal thriller out! PRIVILEGE is one steamy and twisty read! And because Claire is a fine writer but also a friend, I invited her to write a little note to my newsletter readers. Here’s what she had to say—


“Dear Readers,

Zapped from light to dark. And it’s all Carolyn Haines’ fault. Well, kind of, anyway.

See, my first four novels were all light-hearted, humorous legal thriller cozies. My fifth was a romantic suspense novel featuring Trouble, the black cat detective. In contrast to those cozy romps, Privilege (Moonshine Cove) veers sharply toward the dark side. It’s a steamy tale of a corrupted law firm, a beautiful but jaded attorney snared in her brutal marriage, a violent ex-con stalker, a murdered lawyer, and an honorable cop caught in the cross-fire.

Why go dark, deep into noir territory with Privilege after my cozyville lit?

In part because I was the kid who read Micky Spillane and Raymond Chandler noir detective tales when my teenage girlfriends were reading their mother’s Jackie Collins novels. But before I wrote my own version, it took Carolyn’s encouragement when we met at a writers’ conference in Gainesville, FL. Both of us were invited to teach, and Carolyn, a writer I’d admired long before I met her, was presenting a class on writing thrillers. Suddenly I heard Micky Spillane whisper in my ear that a noir detective novel and a thriller were siblings and I should go. Besides, this was Carolyn Haines, alive and in person.

So, I went.

Dang, Carolyn is good at teaching. She’s funny. And she lives in Alabama, my native state, and rescues animals (something my husband and I also did), and so I followed her out of class to introduce myself. We formed a bond over the open bar that evening, and I remember lots of laughter. Later, as Carolyn and I were packing our separate cars for the drive home, she said, “Now go write that thriller.”

And while Privilege is not a classical thriller in the sense of, say, Laura Benedict’s Stranger Inside, it surely qualifies as a legal thriller noir. I am equally confidant that noir fiction and thrillers are siblings. It took me a long time to finish Privilege, but I have Carolyn to thank for giving me the basic concepts and the encouragement to try writing something different.” – Claire Matturro

So when Claire gives me all of the credit and all of the blame—I take both with a lot of pride in the fact that I call her my friend.

I’m working on edits but caught a rare photo of Athena (front) and Ares lounging on the back porch. The humidity is dang sweltering but it doesn’t bother them.

So that’s all the news that’s fit to print this month. If you have a burning question for Jitty to answer in next month’s column, please write her at:

Lots and lots of things going on—and the summer is only getting hotter. Think of me on these warm nights, sipping tequila and getting into as much trouble as I can find. Until next month, take a listen to a mix of: Beautiful Spanish Songs



P.S. There are tons of free book giveaways on Writerspace. I’m giving a book away on that page as well!