Saturday, October 30, 2010
Halloween fun with Caroline Clemmons
Cate: Please welcome Caroline Clemmons to my special Halloween celebration. Caroline, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Caroline: Thank you so much for having me, Cate! As long as I can remember, I’ve made up adventures in my mind. In school journalism class I became editor of the school paper. As an adult, working for a newspaper taught me to make deadlines and write on demand. Not until much later did I begin writing fiction and find my niche. In the meantime, I worked as a secretary, bookkeeper, and assistant to a managing editor of a psychology journal. My husband and I live on a small acreage in rural Texas and I write full time.
Bio: Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventure. As long as she can remember, she’s made up adventures—although the early ones featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Read about her at www.carolineclemmons.com and http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com.
Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?
Caroline: I love to see little kids in costume. They’re so excited. I don’t see how anyone could fail to find pleasure watching them. As I said, we live in a rural area and don’t have trick or treaters at our home. Our church has a big Halloween party, though, as do a lot of churches in our town.
Cate: Cool! Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Caroline: Other than costumes for our two children, a fond memory I have is from when I was in high school. The youth from my church collected money for UNICEF. About six or seven of us would pile in a car and go door-to-door. Then we’d go back to the church to turn in our money and there’d be refreshments and a party for all of us who’d participated.
Cate: Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Caroline: Many! In our family we have clairvoyants, precognizants, empaths, and those who see spirits. I guess it’s the Scot-Irish in us. Some people call it a gift, but my grandmother called it “the curse” because you have to keep it quiet or people think you’re nuts! Oops, now I’ve ratted us out. My sister was a well-known California clairvoyant — though her children say she had the Biblical gift of discernment. They just want to reinforce that she used her gift to help people and never took payment because the ability came from God. I’ve “seen” events that later happened down to the sentences the person used. I’ve also seen spirits, but only conversed with one. Eerie, but I think we all have far greater gifts than we use or develop. The power isn’t evil unless we use the gift for evil.
Cate: Very cool! What frightens you the most?
Caroline: Random acts of violence. That’s why movies like “Psycho” and “The Net” are so scary to me. People were minding their own business, did nothing to attract a villain’s attention other than just existing, yet they were victimized. Being careful and being a good person doesn’t prevent that type victimization. Now that is scary!
Cate: Well said. Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Caroline: My husband and I went on the graveyard tour in New Orleans. When my youngest daughter and I attended a writers conference in San Antonio, we tried to register for the ghost tour and missed it by thirty minutes. Later, my daughter was there on business and started the tour when rain and hail forced cancellation. I don’t think we’re supposed to go on that tour. LOL My family and I have gone to other haunted places, like Winchester House in the San Francisco area. Our family stayed in the Excelsior Hotel in Jefferson TX. We didn’t see a ghost, but the hotel is supposed to be haunted.
Cate: Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Caroline: How about a nice Halloween punch? Actually, this is a punch I use often and has become a favorite at my church’s functions. It’s golden, so if spilled it doesn’t stain the way red punch does. Also, it tastes yummy! First, I freeze an ice ring in a pretty mold pan. Instead of water, I use pineapple and orange juice in which I place thin slices of lemons and oranges, (and limes if I have them). This looks nice in the punch and keeps it cool without diluting it. If you’re serving over a long time, such as a reception, you might make an extra ice ring.
For kids or at Halloween, you can freeze things such as stunt things like plastic eyeballs, vampire fangs, plastic frogs, rubber fingers—you get the idea—just make sure they are too large to be swallowed accidentally. For a Hawaiian theme party, I froze plastic flowers. Cheesy, I know, but it worked. I tried real flowers but they don’t hold up well when frozen. LOL
12 oz. Can frozen lemonade
12 oz. Can frozen orange juice
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
1 quart ginger ale (I use a liter)
Mix sugar and water to dissolve sugar. Add lemonade, orance juice, and pineapple juice. Chill until ready to serve. Add ginger ale immediately before serving. Serves 32 punch cups.
Cate: That does sound good. Thanks! Tell us about your release, and where readers can find it online.
Caroline: I have two recent releases, but for your scary blog tour, I’ll tell you about my paranormal time travel, OUT OF THE BLUE. In it, Deirdre Dougherty is a clairvoyant herbal healer in 1845 Ballymish, Ireland. After she plops down in 2010 Texas’ Possum Kingdom Lake, she helps Brendan Hunter solve the mystery of who shot him and killed his partner. Deirdre and Brendan barely escape death. Being here just before All Soul’s Day, also called All Saints Day, is appropriate. Deirdre is a good Catholic girl who was praying to Saint Brendan and Saint Brigid when she leaped from the cliff.
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Caroline: I’d love to share both. Here’s the blurb:
Deirdre Dougherty never cursed at anyone, much less put a curse on the potato crop of her remote Irish village. She’d rather take her chances with the Atlantic lapping at the bottom of the cliff than the mob intent on burning her as they have her cottage. Deirdre leaps . . . and plops down over 160 years later in a Texas lake. She doesn’t understand how she’s ended up with the man from her recent visions or why he has the same name as the saint to whom she prayed. She’s in danger of falling for the handsome policeman who rescued her, in spite of the fact that he thinks she’s lying to him. How can she convince him her story is true when she’s finding it difficult to believe the tale herself?
Police Detective Brendan Hunter wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details of the event? Her story has to be a colossal fabrication or else she’s a beautiful psycho. Either way, he wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. But he can’t let her out of his sight until she confesses to how she learned details no one but he and his late partner knew.
Here’s an excerpt from when Brendan and his mother, Blossom, take Deirdre to meet Deputy Sheriff Jim Graham at the top of the cliff from which they believe she jumped into the lake. Because she learned the rock formation she landed near is called Hell’s Gate, she thinks she’s in purgatory. Poor girl doesn’t yet know she’s traveled forward in time:
Standing at the cliff’s edge, Deirdre trembled and fought the terror washing through her. Something horrible was wrong. “Everything is different. Are you sure your boat was below here? Mayhap it was another cliff.”
His hands firm and insistent, Brendan pointed. “See those kids playing across there, near that dock? That’s the Boy Scout camp at Johnson Bend. Look to your right on this side of the shore, there’s Mom’s house at that point of land. Do you recognize it and my boat tied up at the dock?”
She took a deep breath and tried to speak. Her heart pounded in her ears. How could everything have changed? Her words, when she found her voice, rasped out in a hoarse whisper, “Yes, I . . . I see . . . the house.”
Merciful heaven, what had happened? Her legs threatened to give way again and she gripped Blossom’s arm for support. “Is the land we’re standing on Hell’s Gate?”
Behind them, Jim answered, “Been called that for over a-hundred-and-fifty years, ever since Comanche Indians caught those two trappers here.”
Talk of Indians and trappers made her head whirl more. She needed to sit down but she turned slowly again and searched for anything familiar. “D-Do you know which way Ballymish is from here?”
The sheriff’s man frowned. “Never heard of it.”
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Caroline: I read that an editor said she would like to see a time travel in which a woman came forward to today. That sounded like something I’d enjoy, so Sandy Crowley and I plotted it. Of course, I took a few side trips along the way and dropped in a few more bodies, but I always came back to that plot map. I need a firm plot plan to make writing go smoothly. OUT OF THE BLUE did and was fun to write.
Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Caroline: Oh, I always have something to add. LOL My latest release is a western historical, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. I usually write sensual romances, but something different in the works is a sweet contemporary, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME. That release date is yet to be announced. A western historical novella, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME, is under consideration. My releases are from The Wild Rose Press in print and download at www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html and at Amazon and other online sources.
Check my website www.carolineclemmons.com for excerpts, reviews, recipes, and news.
My personal blog is http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com and I invite people to sign up for my newsletter there to receive monthly news of reviews, FREE reads, new releases, and more.
I’m in several group blogs, the newest of which is http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com,
featuring fourteen authors whose books are set under Western skies. We’re very excited about this blog! I’m such a blog slut that I also blog at htttp://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com on the 7th of each month, http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com on the 20th of the month, and on the second Thursday at http://www.incurablediseaseofwriting.com You probably wonder if I write novels, but I do. My current WIP is another time travel tentatively titled TEXAS SHOWDOWN.
Thanks so much for inviting me, Cate. It’s been fun.
Cate: Thanks so much for being my guest, Caroline! Happy Halloween!