By Caroline Clemmons
Now that the holidays are over, we can get back to what we do best. I hope you are busy reading the books of the Smart Girls authors while we launch into a new year of writing. We can’t help ourselves—we are happiest when we are pounding on the keyboard to create new books.
I'm working on the next Kincaid novel, GABE. Usually I work on one project at a time, but an opportunity arose for me to participate in a collection of western historical romance short stories, and I seized the chance. The collection will be released mid March. My story is a prequel to THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, and is about that hero’s parents, Houston McClintock and Gentle Dove Tall Trees, known as Dovie. I loved writing THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, Book one of the McClintocks. Oh, incidentally, the woman on the cover is my vision of the way I was supposed to look. I am still ticked off at fate because that isn't at all the way I appear now or at any time in my life. ☺
Revisiting the McClintock family reminded me of my extensive research about Irish superstitions and blessings. Heroine Cenora Rose O’Neill’s father, Sean O'Neill, has a toast for every occasion—for he is far better at talking than working. Dallas McClintock finds Cenora's countless superstitions annoying. I loved reading about both.
My family is mainly Scot-Irish, so I’ve always been interested in Ireland and Scotland. My grandmother would have denied being superstitious, but she was. The only time she ever scolded me was when I opened an umbrella in her living room. She said I would "cause trouble to rain down on the house." That scared me and I worried for days that something would drop from the sky and fall through the roof. I was a kid, okay?
She also had “the sight,” although she called it a curse. To my knowledge, the only time she was wrong was when I was in high school and she thought she would die soon. Instead, it was her second husband, my step-grandfather, who passed away. Grandmother had pneumonia each winter, but otherwise she was tough and lived to be 91. After my step-grandfather died, she told me she saw death hovering over the house and thought she would be the one to die.I could tell she was puzzled. She had even taught my step-grandfather to make cornbread for lunch and biscuits for breakfast, which he believed he had to have each day.(Supper was leftovers.)
When I was a girl and collected Storybook Dolls, my favorites were the dolls representing Ireland and Scotland. Sadly, all the dolls were ruined by a leaking storage building roof, so they have gone to dolly heaven.
My love for Celtic things continues. So, to start your New Year off on a good foot, let me share this blessing with you:
May you always have these blessings—
A soft breeze when the summer comes
A warm fireside in winter
And always—the warm soft smile of a friend.
And I'll add:
May you always have a good book to read!
Happy New Year to you and yours!