10 Interesting Facts About Sir Kay

I’m happy to welcome back author Rusty Rhoad to the Power of 10 series. Today, Rusty shares interesting facts about the hero in his latest novel.

Here’s Rusty!

Sir Kay, my hero in Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay is a particularly interesting character to me. If you’ve seen the old Disney movie The Sword in the Stone, you undoubtedly remember Sir Kay—the loutish buffoon who forgets his sword and sends Arthur into the churchyard to fetch the one stuck into an anvil there so he’ll have one for the tournament.

Lies, all lies. So in my friend Joanne’s blog today, I’m going to tell you 10 things about Sir Kay to set the story straight.

1. In the original Welsh legends, Kay (known then as Cei) was Arthur’s closest and most loyal companion. Along with Bedivere, he is one of the earliest characters associated with Arthur.

2. Kay’s reputation was seriously besmirched by the 12th century French romancers, most notably Chrétien de Troyes. In his search for a foil for the far more appealing Sir Lancelot, these writers sort of settled on Kay as a suitable target. Shows you how much the French can be trusted. When Mallory used their treatment as the basis for Sir Kay in Le Morte d’Arthur, Kay character was tarnished for centuries—perhaps forever, had I not labored to restore his good name.

3. If you search for “Sir Kay” in Amazon, you come up with only two works: my novel and a short story by Samantha Warren (which I haven’t read but just downloaded). That is not to say that other authors haven’t recognized the unfairness of Kay’s treatment and attempted redemption—they have. But you can tell from that evidence alone that I’m the foremost authority on the subject. And so . . .

4. Kay was born in 467AD, far earlier than smack in the late Middle Ages as Mallory and others would have you believe. Britain was in dire straits in the late 5th century. The Romans had pulled their legions out more than 50 years before, and the Saxons and other Germanic tribesman had their sights set on the rich, fertile farmlands of the British Isles.

5. Not one to change diapers, Merlin took the opportunity to travel, notably in the Middle East, while Arthur was an infant (it is rumored that he brought the Holy Grail back when he returned, but that is a subject of a yet-to-be published novel, so we’ll leave it as mere speculation). He returned when Arthur was 10 (and Kay 13) and took up residence in a cottage on the land of Sir Ector, Kay’s father and Arthur’s foster father.

While he was there, as we all know, he taught Arthur how to be a king. But finding in Kay an eager, nimble mind, he taught him the arcane arts of mathematics. During the height of Arthur’s reign, Kay was the only person in Britain who could solve algebra word problems.

6. Kay is geek chic, beloved by the commoners as well as most of the knights. He’s constantly posing questions like “If a knight rides forth from Camelot at 2 miles per hour …), to the groans but ultimate admiration of the folks in the taverns.

7. It doesn’t hurt that Arthur’s kitchen, supervised by Kay, provides the best fare north of Rome. When Arthur denies Kay a simple quest because he’s “needed” at home, Kay goes on strike and the food goes to hell. After only one meal, Arthur reconsiders.

8. Kay is the only person who has slept with TWO of Arthur’s half sisters. Morgan le Fay, of course, who uses enchantment to seduce him—although to be fair, he doesn’t put up much of a fight. And then there’s Morgan’s and Morgause’s older sister Elaine—I’ll bet you didn’t even know they had an older sister. Their romance is part of the story in Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay, so I won’t spoil the ending by telling you how it works out.

9. To be truthful, Kay is more of a thinker than a fighter—that much of his later reputation is at least partially true. But he’s nowhere near incompetent. He fought at Arthur’s side during the barons’ rebellion and later in the Saxon wars, and still competes in tournaments, albeit begrudgingly, to keep his hand in. Still, he’s somewhat below average at best. When he challenges Count Maleagan to a death match to free Elaine, he does so knowing that, barring magical intervention, he’s going to die in the process. So let’s not discount his martial prowess entirely, nor his courage even a little bit.

10. Kay is a lot more like me than I’d like to admit. And an excellent example of my typical “beta male” hero—he’s far less likely to beat up the bad guy and save the world and far more likely to make sardonic comments about it all.

Blurb

Peace has finally been achieved—and it sucks. At least for Sir Kay.

I mean, nobody really likes the cold and the fear of war, but compared with now? That delicious, dark-roasted heady beverage Merlin brought back from the Middle East, kaffka, is long gone. Arthur expects Kay to run castle and kingdom, just because he’s the only person in 6th century Britain who can do algebra (if a knight rides forth from Camelot at three leagues per hour . . .). Guinevere treats him as her personal gofer. Middle age is fast upon Kay, and the only quest available is to rescue Miffy, a fair-but-empty-headed lady’s imprisoned dog.

Ah, but who knows what adventures lie out there, away from the comforts of Camelot? The Holy Grail, if one were interested in such a bauble? Magic, in the form of an ageless beauty with a treacherous reputation, Morgan le Fay?

Perhaps the ultimate prize, a woman who reads.

Or maybe just a night under the stars with no liveried page, face and fingernails scrubbed clean of any trace of dirt, uttering those detested words, “Sire, the Queen requests your presence.”

Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay is a warm, humorous glimpse of Arthurian times through the eyes of a Knight of the Round Table who also happens to be a little . . . shall we say, geeky? Sir Kay is a keen observer—witty, introspective, and sarcastic at times—driven by a sharp intellect and a deep longing for something more.

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Bio

Rusty Rhoad grew up in Bluffton, South Carolina—the town that is the model for White Sands in Avalon, South Carolina as well as appearing in the novel in its current state of population and trendiness—before going to school in Houston, Texas (location of as yet unpublished novel Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail). After a stint in the army at Fort Polk, Louisiana—not currently in any novel, for better or for worse—Rusty and his wife Kate took a year-long camping trip in their VW bus, covering some of the same territory that Arnie Penders explores in Return from Avalon (and Points West) before temporarily suspending their wanderlust near Houston.

During the last decade of a 32-year career as a chemical engineer, Rusty began writing novels over lunch. And now safely out of the grip of the complexity of the military-industrial rat race, he continues to write. He has four novels published, a fifth looking for an adventurous publisher, a sixth in editing, and a seventh in progress.

Where to find Rusty…

Website | Facebook


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10 Interesting Facts About “Hotter than the Caribbean”

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Stacy Hoff to the Power of 10 series. Today, Stacy shares the ten interesting facts about her latest release, Hotter than the Caribbean.

Here’s Stacy!

It’s always a pleasure to be on Joanne’s blog! I love sharing ten interesting facts about my new releases. Here are my top ten for HOTTER THAN THE CARIBBEAN (Building Love #2)

1. The Building Love series is a sexy soap opera. Each Building Love book is grounded in family scandals, fortunes, and secrets. I grew up watching Dynasty and Dallas, and was completely entranced by them. Apparently, I’m still an eighties gal at heart since I wrote not just one soap-opera style book, but three. (Or more! Who knows how long my desire for drama will last?)

2. The series is based on the resort construction industry. In my “day job” as a lawyer, I handle construction contracts. This gave me solid ground; the construction-related descriptions in the book were fast for me to write. (I don’t always write about the fields I know. JOCKEYING FOR YOU, set in the world of New York horse racing, required months of research, plus travel to the Belmont and Saratoga racetracks, and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Fortunately, these destinations were only a few hours away from where I live.)

3. There were some aspects to HOTTER THAN THE CARIBBEAN that I did have to research. The heroine is an interior designer, one that specializes in hospitality design (used by the hotel industry). I had an interior designer friend of mine fact-check my draft. I am grateful for her help, because errors make me crazy. (I guess it’s my inner-lawyer.) Her name appears in the acknowledgment page.

4. I had the Spanish phrases (including some cursing) doubled-checked, too. I stopped taking Spanish classes in high school. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I wasn’t good at it. I had a Spanish teacher friend of mine proof-read HOTTER THAN THE CARIBBEAN to make sure my Spanish was correct. Her name appears in the acknowledgment page as well. (Believe me, it takes a village!)

5. Each book in the Building Love series can be read as a stand-alone novel, with its own HEA (“happy ever after”). That said, it’s fun to read the books in order. Some of the characters in BETTING ON LOVE IN VEGAS (Building Love #1) reappear in subsequent books.

6. I have traveled to Puerto Rico, where HOTTER THAN THE CARIBBEAN takes place. In fact, I’ve traveled there many times, including Condado Beach and Old San Juan. Most of HOTTER takes place in these two locations. When I was growing up, my mother had the travel bug, and a love for the Caribbean. She’s been taking me there since I was five. This summer, my mom and I once again returned to the Caribbean, although we headed to Puerto Rico’s next-door-neighbor, Dominican Republic. We traveled from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo. We took my kids, who were amazed by the eco beaches, sugar crops, and banana trees.

7. My husband and I traveled to Puerto Rico five years ago. The trip was my surprise present to him for his fortieth birthday. (My mother’s gift to him was babysitting for the week.) I have a deep fondness for Puerto Rico and wanted my husband to have the same. Mission accomplished! Fun fact: my husband and I stayed at the Marriott hotel on Condado Beach that coincidentally appears on the cover of HOTTER THAN THE CARIBBEAN. I should send the cover artist flowers for giving me a book cover that doubles as a memento.














8. I already finished writing the third book in the Building Love series. It takes place in Madrid, Spain. I traveled to Madrid with my husband and kids last year. I’ll be blogging all about our journey soon. I’m excited to say that Building Love #3 will be released in March, 2018!

9. Several years ago, I traveled Las Vegas where BETTING ON LOVE IN VEGAS (Building Love #1) takes place. Who knows where I will travel next? Wherever it is could be inspiration for Building Love #4. (Any place can set off my imagination. My parents took me to Florida’s Everglades when I was a teenager. Roughly thirty years later the first book I had published, DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES (Desire #1), was born. But perhaps I should mention that I did not travel to Gates of the Arctic National Park, where DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC (Desire #2) takes place. I’m too timid to expose myself to either Arctic temperatures or hungry bears.)

10. Despite my periodic travels, my regular life is pretty staid. When I’m at work, I slog away at contracts. The only book I’ve written that is somewhat like of my normal life is LAWFULLY YOURS. (Although I never did sleep with the boss!)

Blurb

Luis Serrano, the unwanted love child of a hotel construction magnate, is determined to reach his father’s level of success. When Luis finds himself pitted against his half-brother for control over their ailing father’s company, sibling rivalry comes to a head. The stakes are high. The brother who best completes their portion of the Caribbean construction project will gain control over the entire company. To win, Luis hires an interior design firm. But the firm will have to perform difficult work under serious time constraints.

Melanie Merritt is used to sibling rivalry. She’s always been second best to her older sister, the “golden child” of their parents’ interior design firm. Melanie’s desire is to be an artist. She works for her family to appease them. Her newest task is to implement a complex project for Luis Serrano under an impossibly short deadline. If she fails, her family’s company may go bankrupt. But Melanie can’t keep her too-creative ideas away from her family, and the client.

Completing work on time won’t be easy. Especially when dual sibling rivalries threaten to destroy the project, and a passion hotter than the Caribbean.

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Bio

Stacy Hoff is a contemporary romance author, as well as an attorney. She has practiced law for over two decades, primarily handling contracts. Romance novels have always been her secret passion. She writes her romantic stories until the wee hours of the night. Stacy lives in New England with her husband and two boys.

Where to find Stacy…

Amazon | Twitter | Author Website | Publisher Website


10 Cool Facts About the Mesdames of Mayhem

I’m happy to welcome M.H. Callway and the Mesdames of Mayhem. Today, Madeleine (M.H.) will share ten cool facts about this intriguing group of Canadian authors and their anthologies: Thirteen, Thirteen O’Clock, and 13 Claws.

Here’s Madeleine!

On Saturday, October 28th, 2 pm, the Mesdames of Mayhem are launching their third anthology, 13 Claws at Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore, 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto. Our new book contains 17 crime fiction stories by 15 authors, all of the tales centred on animals. Three stories are by writers new to the crime fiction genre.

Here are 10 cool facts about the Mesdames of Mayhem:

1. We are all CANADIAN

Our goal is to promote Canadian crime fiction at home and abroad. Many readers don’t know that their favorite crime writers are Canadian – and many people in the USA and in Europe know little about Canadian crime fiction though it has been flourishing for decades!

2. We are four years young

Early in 2013 M. H. Callway persuaded her two literary critique groups to get together to learn more about and to master social media. Donna Carrick designed our website, set up our FaceBook and Twitter accounts – and the Mesdames of Mayhem were born.

To get our name out there, we decided to put together an anthology so that readers could sample our writing. If they liked our story telling, they could go to read more of our books. Promoting our anthology led to numerous public readings, warm partnerships with our public libraries and community theatres, participation in literary festivals like Word on The Street, radio interviews, you name it – more publicity than we ever anticipated or imagined.

3. Thirteen is our lucky number

When we put together our first anthology, we puzzled over the title. As luck would have it, 13 of us were able to contribute stories. With 13 authors in the book, we thought why not simply call our collection Thirteen? Even better, Thirteen launched close to Halloween.

To our delight, Thirteen, did really well with readers. Stories by Donna Carrick and Sylvia Warsh were nominated for the Arthur Ellis Short Story award. We were so encouraged, we went on to our second anthology, 13 O’Clock with crime stories focused on time. And now we have our third collection, 13 Claws.

4. We are not all women

In 2013, when the Mesdames first formed, we were all women. And indeed, one of our most important goals is to support the work of Canadian women crime writers.

Most of us are also members of Sisters in Crime, which has been working for more than 30 years to promote equality for women crime writers. Readers may not know that Sisters in Crime has Brother members, men who also strive for better recognition of women authors. The Mesdames also have a Monsieur of Mayhem, Ed Piwowarczyk.

5. Most of us are published novelists

Most of the Mesdames of Mayhem are published crime fiction novelists and many of us have written several books as standalones or as part of a series.

Many of the Mesdames are also proficient in other forms of fiction: Lisa De Nikolits and Sylvia Warsh are both literary authors; Melodie Campbell and Caro Soles have written many books in fantasy and speculative fiction; and Rosemary Aubert is a respected poet.

6. All of us are published short crime fiction writers

All of the Mesdames – and our Monsieur – are traditionally published short crime fiction writers. In addition to our three anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’Clock and 13 Claws, many of our stories appear in the three Toronto Sisters in Crime anthologies, The Whole Shebang series.
















7. All of us love animals

Choosing animals as the connecting element for 13 Claws came naturally, because everyone of us loves animals. Caro Soles has worked for many years rescuing dachshunds from puppy mills and Melodie Campbell‘s pet, affectionately known as “Frankenpoodle”, works as a therapy dog. All of us own – or have owned – a cat or a dog and in many cases, several of each at the same time! Cheryl Freedman though favours much more exotic pets: ferrets!

8. We love to teach

One of the best ways to promote Canadian crime fiction is to seek out and encourage emerging writers. Several of the Mesdames teach or have taught creative writing: Rosemary Aubert, Mel Campbell, Cathy Dunphy, Lynne Murphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh.

When compiling 13 Claws, we decided to run a contest for writers who had never before published a crime fiction story. Our winner, Mary Patterson, penned a delightful story about a cat detective though she’s actually a dog lover. Our finalist, Roz Place, had published literary stories, but had never before attempted crime fiction: she wrote a chilling suspense tale about a disappearance revealed by a cat. And in runner-up Marilyn Kay’s police procedural, a stray cat is at the heart of dark crime.

9. We are truth seekers

Many of us are working or retired journalists like Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy, spent their career in regulatory agencies like M. H. Callway or were down in the trenches teaching like Cathy Astolfo. And consequently, we don’t shy away from touchy subjects like financial fraud, residential schools and mental illness in our fiction. Readers might expect that 13 Claws contains nothing but cozies, but though we do have some in our collection, on the whole we have, in fact, taken a darker turn.

10. We are critically acclaimed.

Most of us have won or been nominated for awards: the Arthur Ellis, Edgar, Derringer, Debut Dagger, Bony Pete and Ippy. (For details visit the Mesdames website at http://www.mesdamesofmayhem.com)

Our previous anthologies have been warmly reviewed but we were especially delighted to be singled out by Jack Batten, the crime fiction reviewer at the Toronto Star, who had this to say about 13 Claws:

“In one especially clever story by Catherine Dunphy, we get a plot built around boxes of animal crackers.

But just because the contributors to the collection write out of an affection for animals doesn’t mean readers need similar feelings to appreciate the stories. There’s enough suspense and intellectual fascination built into the plots of the majority of stories to satisfy even the most ferociously cynophobic reader. Catherine Astolfo’s story involving a pig offers an intriguing way of giving Paul Bernardo himself a case of the chills. And M. H. Callway’s tale mixes snakes and the real estate business in a way that will make readers run a mile from both.”

Amazon Buy Links

Thirteen | 13 O’Clock | 13 Claws


10 Tips about…COOKING! (one of my favorite things in the world!)

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Peggy Jaeger to the Power of 10 series. Today, Peggy shares cooking tips and her latest release, A Shot at Love.

Here’s Peggy!

I love to cook…and I love to eat what I cook. But I don’t only like to eat my cooking. I enjoy dining out, and I especially love when I visit friends and they cook. Sharing a meal is something intimate – whether it’s shared by 2 people, or twenty. I feel we don’t spend as much time together, just relaxing over a home-cooked meal, as we used to. Busy lives, ridiculous schedules, endless social media outlets. All these things pull us away from a fundamental facet of the family: meal time. Sharing thoughts and events about our day, simply talking to one another face-to-face. As we fill and nourish our bodies, we fill and nourish our souls, our relationships, our minds.

And since I lovelovelove to cook (and eat!) I’m sharing 10 thoughts/tips concerning cooking and baking that I abide by.

1. Whenever you can, use fresh herbs. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, make sure you give yourself a little plot of land devoted to cooking herbs. Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro. The list is endless. Dried, container herbs are…okaaaaaaaay, if you have no other choice. But fresh picked is best.

2. Always use fresh produce. I can’t say this enough. Fresh is best. First, last, always. I understand that not everyone can get to the market everyday for the freshest ingredients. I get that! But if you can grow it in your backyard or even in a window box – do!

3. Baking uses formulas; cooking uses recipes, so you can experiment with recipes and should! The difference? You can’t change basic baking formulas. Bread will not rise if you don’t think you need to add the yeast the formula calls for! Just saying. But recipes are flexible. Want to add lobster to that mac and cheese? You can. Think some asparagus tips will taste great thrown into that alfredo? Toss them in. Be flexible here and experiment. It’s fun.

4. Cooks cook; chefs create. Be a chef whenever you can.

5. Involve the kids. What’s that old parable saying? Give a man a fish and he has dinner; teach him to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime? I learned to cook young out of necessity. I was a latch key kid and my parents didn’t get home until after 8 most nights due to traffic concerns. I either learned how to feed myself or I starved until they came home. I learned to feed myself by learning how to cook. And by that I don’t mean I read the instructions on a box. I actually had a cookbook purchased at a library fair for 10 cents and taught myself how to cook from its pages. When my daughter was two years old I started teaching her how to mix, add ingredients, etc. Today she is a fabulous cook.

6. Have tasting parties. Remember tip number 4? I like creating stuff but I’m never sure it’s going to be a hit or a miss. Inviting a few friends over and telling them upfront what you’re serving and why, and you’ll be sure to have a fun evening, even if the creation falls flat. And having said that…

7. Never serve something new that you haven’t sampled first at a dinner party. I did this once. Once was too many times too much! I won’t embarrass myself with telling you what I served but suffice it to say for the next five years after my in-laws always took us out to dinner when they visited. ‘Nuff said.

8. Be willing to fail. And you can see this goes hand in hand with Numbers 6 and 7! Learn from your failures. Why was that bread so doughy and tasted uncooked? Did that chili really need that extra tablespoon of powder? Learn from you mistakes and failures.

9. Savor the old recipes. I have cookbooks that date back to the 1920’s in my collection of over 130 cookbooks. These were found at fairs, library sales, etc. Yes, most of the recipes call for real, heart attack inducing items like REAL Fat milk (not skim) and REAL butter ( not margarine) and REAL mayonnaise ( not low cal salad dressing). But the food from the recipes tastes delicious!! Every now and again it’s okay to make something the old fashioned – or pre-fat-hating way. I can’t imagine biscuits or fried chicken made without Crisco! And I won’t. Ever.

10. Give a family recipe book as a wedding gift. I started doing this about 5 years ago and every bride I’ve given it to has been overjoyed. I purchase a blank recipe book ( usually found in the scrapbook sections of stores like Michael’s Crafts store, AC Moore, or JoAnn’s Crafts) and then I insert several of my time honored and family recipes into it, leaving blank pages for the bride and her family to add their own loved recipes. I’ll even put in a few photos I’ve taken along the way of the way the dish is supposed to look. This is a gift from the heart that will feed and nourish the new family for generations to come.

Blurb

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance…

Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love…..

Buy Links

Amazon | Kensington | Nook | Apple | Kobo | Google

Bio

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Where to find Peggy…

Website/Blog | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Instagram


10 Bridal Attire Superstitions

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Catherine Castle to the Power of 10 series. Today, Catherine discusses ten bridal attire superstitions and shares her new release, A Groom for Mama.

Here’s Catherine!

In my romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, the minute Mama finds a suitable man for her daughter’s groom, she begins urging the heroine, Allison, to start looking for her wedding dress. So, I thought it would be fun to discuss 10 superstitions about bridal attire. Maybe I can come up with some you’ve never heard before.

Did you know…?

1. White wasn’t always the preferred color for a bride’s dress. The white wedding dress didn’t come into vogue until Queen Victoria wore white. Until then many women were married in their Sunday best. But to avoid problems in their marriages they had to be careful which colors they chose to wear. Here’s a handy rhyme they used to make sure they got the color scheme right.

Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead. Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow. Married in Green, ashamed to be seen. Married in Pink, your spirit will sink. (Some sources disagree with pink, stating ‘Married in Pink, of you he will think.) Married in blue, you’ll always be true. Married in Grey, you will go far away. Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.

Additionally, brown was not a favorite choice, because “Married in brown, you’ll never live in town.” A statement that meant to say their husbands would never rise in business or acquire riches that would enable the family to move on up. Purple was also out because it was considered a mourning color, favored by widows from their second year of bereavement on.

2. A bride should never make her own dress. This wedding superstition states that for every stitch of the wedding dress the bride sews herself, she’ll shed one tear during her marriage. Considering the amount of fabric that goes into a wedding dress, I’d think this could be a considerable amount of weeping. Best to let someone else shed those tears on your account.

3. The material the dress is made from is also important to the marriage’s success. Satin brings bad luck, and velvet threatens the wearer with poverty. A dress constructed with a silk, unpatterned fabric is best. If you use a patterned material, avoid birds or vines. Don’t ask why, because I could find the answer to why you avoid birds or vine patterns.

4. Finding a spider inside your wedding gown before you walk down the aisle is good luck. According to English legend, this creepy arachnid is actually a “best of luck omen.” Personally, this would freak me out.

5. Wearing pearls with your wedding attire can be a good thing or a bad thing. This wedding superstition goes both ways. For those with a glass half-empty view, pearls represent future tears. Wearing them will bring many tears and heartache in the marriage. For the glass half-full kind of gal, the luckier version of this states that the pearls take the place of the bride’s real tears, thus she’ll have a happy, tear-free wedding and life.

6. Just as pearls on your neck or ears can bring bad luck, so can an engagement or wedding ring made with pearls. The tears the pearls represent bring bad luck.

7. Once your man gives you that engagement ring, don’t let your girlfriends, or anyone else, try it on. If you do there’s a chance your wedding will never happen because the person who tried it on will steal all your happiness and luck—as well as the heart of your husband. I remember my mother telling me this superstition when my sister asked if she could try on my engagement ring.

8. If you’re thinking about going veil-less consider this: your wedding veil offers you protection from evil spirits, according the ancient Roman tradition. Hiding the bride’s face keeps evil spirits away. And if you wear flowers in your hair without a veil, you’ll be sorry you married.

9. Never try on your complete wedding outfit before the big day. To do so tempts fate. If you just have to see how you look in the whole ensemble, leave some piece off. Consider leaving a stitch open in the dress, or slip on just one earring, or one shoe. That might keep the fickle fates away, since the wedding outfit won’t be complete.

10. No wedding attire is complete without the bouquet, but take care in the flowers you choose. Brides are destined for happiness if the first flower they see on their wedding day is white. But if you see a red flower first you will have unhappiness and heavy care in your married life. You might want to consider the meaning of the flowers you choose, too. Flowers have a language of their own which has been used throughout history to express emotions from the giver. Roses represent love, that’s why they are a favorite of brides. A bouquet of yellow carnations could symbolize rejection or disdain. White carnations stand for pure innocence and love, and would make a lovely addition to a bouquet of red roses. So choose wisely when fashioning your bouquet and create the language of love you want for your special day.

I know I said I was going to give you 10 Bridal Attire superstitions, but I just can’t leave without talking about the one wedding attire superstition we all know and have probably followed to the letter in our marriages and the marriages of our daughters:

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”

Something old represents the couple’s desire to hold onto important memories, something new represents the new union, something borrowed should be from a woman who has had a long and happy marriage, so her luck will transfer to your marriage, and something blue represents fertility in the marriage. And if you can find a sixpence for your shoe, stick it in that sole. You’ll have good fortune if you do.

Blurb

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

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About the Author

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her most recent release, A Groom for Mama, is a sweet romantic comedy from Soul Mate Publishing. Both books are available on Amazon.

Where to find Catherine…

Website | Blog | Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Stitches Through Time | SMP Authors


10 Things about Susan Hogan…and Cozy Heroines

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Judy Alter to the Power of 10 series. Today, Judy shares ten interesting facts about Susan Hogan, the protagonist of her latest release, Pigface and the Perfect Dog.

Here’s Judy!

Susan Hogan is the protagonist of my Oak Grove Mystery series. I meant her to be a bit different than the stereotypical cozy heroine. To some extent, I succeeded, because my main beta reader confessed he didn’t like her as well as the women in my other series, and one reviewer called her “prickly.”

With this list, I give readers a chance to judge for themselves, but I hope the list will make you want to read about Susan’s crime-solving adventures.

–Susan Hogan, associate professor of English at the fictional Oak Grove University, is thirty-five, single, and never married; she has, in fact, a bit of a fear of commitment that sometimes gets in the way of her relationship with Jake Phillips, chief of campus security.

–Susan Hogan’s romance with Jake pairis, a cop (pardon, law enforcement officer) and falls into the cozy cliché trap of heroine and police officer but works well for plot purposes.

–Susan is an energetic, stimulating classroom teacher; her field is American literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

–Raised by a maiden aunt in Wichita Falls, Texas Susan would like to feel she’s a free spirit, but she clings to many of Aunt Jenny’s preachings about life, morals, and manners.

—-She can cut up a salad and set a proper table, but don’t ask Susan to cook. Jake is a master at the grill, and Aunt Jenny cooks everything from pots of soup to King Ranch chicken, but Susan can’t figure out Hollandaise sauce.

–Susan wears her hair in a spikey cut and runs her hands through it all the time. She can’t be bothered with hair-styling and prefers jeans or, at the least, slacks, hasn’t worn a skirt in years.

–Susan is not status conscious. She drives a battered, old Honda but would really love to go back and forth to campus on Jake’s moped. Since she once wrecked it, Jake fears for the safety of both Susan and his moped and has forbidden her to ride it.

–Susan was at odds with the former chair of the English department, and she finds university rules and regulations cumbersome and restrictive. Professors whose field is Renaissance literature seem to irritate her.

–Susan is cautious about warming up to people—the city police lieutenant, the sheriff—and she can get crosswise, as she does with Marge the waitress who thinks she’s guilty of murder, but she’s fiercely loyal to those she loves—Jake, Aunt Jenny and her paramour Judge John Jackson, her fellow teacher Ellen Peck, and newcomer to the series, Gus Conroy.

–Susan Hogan is, at best a free spirit, representing contemporary feminist thinking in moderation and without the extremes, but tempering her freedom with a bit of the traditional role of women.

In short, Susan Hogan is someone I’d like to meet and hang out with.

Blurb

Susan Hogan thinks she’s about to meet her maker when she confronts a rifle-carrying man, who looks like a pig, in a grocery store. Jake investigates the body of a young college student, shot in the back and found in an empty pasture. Aunt Jenny showers love on the new puppy a young man from the grocery gave her but she has to get rid of that heavy collar.

Susan is associate professor of English at Oak Grove (Texas) University; her partner, Jake, is Chief of Campus Security. Aunt Jenny, the maiden lady who raised Jenny, came to Oak Grove to help Susan, who was accused of murdering a coed in The Perfect Coed, first book in the series How much help Jenny was is debatable, but she made a fast friend in Judge John Jackson and stayed in Oak Grove.

Trouble in Oak Grove begins with the open-carry protestors in the store and leads to a shooting, breaking and entering, threats and an attempted kidnapping, a clandestine trip to the woods late at night. Will Susan Hogan land in trouble…or the hospital…again? Will Susan and Jake survive this as a couple? Susan is still prickly but she learns some lessons about life, love, and herself in this second Oak Grove Mystery.

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Bio

Judy Alter is the author of seven books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, two books in the Blue Plate Café Mysteries; and two in the Oak Grove Mysteries. Pigface and the Perfect Dog follows The Perfect Coed in this series of mysteries set on a university campus. Judy is no stranger to college campuses. She attended the University of Chicago, Truman State University in Missouri, and Texas Christian University. For twenty years, she was director of TCU Press, the book publishing program of the university. The author of many books for both children and adults, primarily on women of the American West, she retired in 2010 and turned her attention to writing contemporary cozy mysteries.

The single parent of four and the grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her perfect dog, Sophie.

Where to find Judy Alter…

Blog | Amazon | Facebook