A new Column below!
At long last, INDEPENDENT BONES is on sale! Jitty made me write this book—just so you know. She’s very tired of women being second class citizens in pay and job opportunity. And we all know that while Sarah Booth is extremely independent, the word was created to apply to Jitty. In her life, surviving was an outrageous act of independence.
I came of age in the 1970s, on the tail end of Gloria Steinem and the feminist movement. Then, as now, I do not understand how asking for—and expecting—equality can be considered radical, leftist, or anything else other than “normal.” Yes, this is still something of a hot button issue for me, since I’ve worked jobs and earned less than my male counterparts. Why, because I am a different gender, should that impact my pay or ability to be promoted?
Many of my readers came up during this time, too. And I have one terrific memory to share with you. My grandmother, who was a truly proper lady—in the sense that she was kind to everyone who crossed her path—was in the local hospital. Her health was fragile, but she never complained, and she had a good sense of humor. This was at the time that the centerfold of Burt Reynolds was published in Cosmopolitan. (I searched for the photo and found it but wasn’t clear about the copyright so I didn’t include it here.) It wasn’t all that racy, but at the time it was something of a scandal, especially in a small Mississippi town.
|Tundra basking in the sunlight|
As many will tell you, my mother and I had the devil in us. We loved to mess with people, and anyone was fair game. Even Grandma. I took the centerfold and taped it to the wall behind my grandmother’s bed in the hospital. She couldn’t see it. And she had no idea it was there. But all the nurses knew! And they loved it. My grandmother received plenty of attention during that hospital stay, and she would even say to me, “All of the nurses have been in to check on me. They’ve been so wonderful.” When I finally told her what I’d done and showed her the photo, we had a good laugh. “He’s a handsome man,” was all she said.
This is the 23rd Sarah Booth book, but they don’t have to be read in order (a lot of people prefer to read in order, though). Each book is a complete mystery, but the characters do grow and change. I’ve been writing about Sarah Booth for almost 25 years. I have definitely aged. Sarah Booth and Tinkie have aged less than two years. But poor Tinkie has been pregnant for three of my years (only 9 months of hers). While I’m eager to hear reader reaction to this story, I’m already hard at work on 24—LADY OF BONES (working title).
One independent bookstore that has supported my writing for many years is Murder by the Book located in Houston, TX. In fact, I’ll be participating in a Zoom event with the bookstore on Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. CDT with author Jess Dylan. Please join us. Click on: Conversations with Carolyn Haines and Jess Dylan. We’ll do our best to be lively and fun.
Speaking of independent bookstores, I wanted to ask if you have heard about Bookshop.org. Their website provides a fantastic way to purchase books while helping to support your small local bookstore and community, no matter which city you live in. You can buy books from any author and a nearby indie bookseller will fulfill the order. I was so intrigued by this that I decided to create my own shop on their website if you want to explore: Carolyn Haines Bookshop
And before I forget, I’m giving away one hardcover edition of ROCK-A-BYE BONES in my: Monthly Giveaway Contest
And get ready for Trouble, a new black cat detective mystery by moi, will be released June 28: TROUBLE RESTORED. I couldn’t resist a little bit of a ghost story for the fabulous black cat detective. In this story, Trouble is home in Wetumpka and gets involved in the renovation of Loftus Manor.
We’re expecting two more Trouble books this year—TROUBLE ON THE MOUNTAIN by Rebecca Barrett which is set in one of my favorite places, the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. My mom was there, on and off, for several years as a polio patient at the Warm Springs Foundation. We visited there every year as a family so Mama could visit with the nurses and people she’d grown to love.
And Susan Y. Tanner will take readers on a trail ride adventure they’ll never forget. So look for these new titles out later this year.
Here is something to make you smile – a snapshot of two of my rascals. I had gotten out of bed and was a little late feeding the horses. Piper was kicking her stall (you don’t realize how many princesses I have to please on this farm) so I rushed out to feed and forgot to make the bed. They sprang into action to leave grit and hair in my place. Those devils!
That’s all the news from me today, but read on for Jitty’s advice. And here’s a song that’s been earwigging me for a couple of days: Stand By Me
Carolyn and the Critters
One of my close friends from high school asked me to be her maid of honor, which was odd considering we have drifted apart for about a decade. But she reached out to reconnect with me (on Facebook) and two weeks later, she’s asking me to be her maid of honor. Since we were close in our high school years, I said yes. But now I’m really regretting my decision. A local bridesmaid of hers hasn’t helped in planning anything with me, while the other bridesmaids live far away and aren’t any help. Now, her circle of friends has bailed on her for pregnancy or COVID-related reasons which is why she’s asking me to plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. And she doesn’t have a mom or sisters to assist. As for me, I work long hours to save up for grad school and I help as much as I can, but I’m getting drained financially and mentally. I honestly feel like I’m not close with her anymore and I don’t feel a familiar spark of friendship with her and I probably won’t hear from her after the wedding, so what’s the point? But then, I might be an awful person for abandoning her like everyone else, so.. what do I do? I don’t want to invest the money and time to do everything she’s asking me to do but I also gave my word to be her maid of honor. Help!
What we have here is a failure to communicate—and you, Frazzled Maid, have been left holding the bag. You’re about to find yourself at two roads that diverge in a wood, and neither path is going to be easy. You’ll be communicatin’ with the bride in a way that should have happened from the get-go, or you can suck it up and quit.
Maybe this woman who asked you to be her maid of honor is a real friend, or maybe not. Jitty can’t tell from your question. But somewhere along the line the train of communication fell off the track. I don’t think you can back out now (depending on when this wedding is set to take place) but NOW is the right time to clarify your duties and what you’re willin’ to do. Jitty doesn’t like to be sandbagged, and this sounds exactly like that situation.
Talk to the bride. Tell her what you can and can’t do financially and timewise. Explain to her that the other maids aren’t living up to their obligations and that you can’t carry the whole load. Give her the option of finding another maid of honor or scaling back her expectations. Given the times with Covid and all, scalin’ back sounds like a smart choice.
Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of love. Being a bridesmaid is an honor, and it shouldn’t be a burden. Finding yourself behind the financial 8 ball doesn’t sound like a loving experience to me, but you need to rethink what you actually did commit to. And next time, ask yourself why you’re accepting such an honor from someone you don’t really view as a friend.
P.S. For everyone reading this, let me guide you honey chile. Get some advice by writing me at Jitty@carolynhaines.com