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Thursday, June 14, 2012


By Caroline Clemmons

Writers use universal truths to create stories that (we hope) entertain. True, most of our stories hold moral lessons. We champion the good in men and women, and punish the shallow and senseless.  Not that the lessons can be obvious. Nope. Our goal is to sneak them in when readers are concentrating on the plot. ☺

While I try to vary storylines with each book, my books tend to have several common themes: redemption, good defeats evil, love overcomes obstacles, and main characters achieve personal fulfillment. But I don’t want readers to dwell on theme. When all of the above happens, my desire is that readers fall in love with my characters. I want readers to think of them as real people, as they are in my mind, and yearn to read my next book. Nothing makes an author happier.  

One of my most popular books dealt with good triumphing over evil. Often evil doers believe themselves above the law and unconquerable. In my books, those people are always caught...eventually. I wish that were always true in life, but it sometimes happens. Let’s go with that, shall we?

THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE is about a marriage of convenience that blossoms into a true love match. The idea for the book came from a tiny kernel in the form of a story my grandmother once told me about a girl in her hometown who quit school because of all the rumors and teasing she was forced to endure. Although my grandmother didn’t know what happened to the girl, I wanted the poor girl’s story to end well. Each of us deserves happily ever after, right?

If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you know there are no secrets. Sometimes a person with evil in his heart forgets that fact and does terrible things to conceal a fact everyone already knows.

Here’s the blurb from THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE:

Wanted: one completely improper bride.

Even if Drake Kincaid had placed such an advertisement in every paper in the country, he couldn’t have found a better candidate than Pearl Parker...which is fine with him. After all, his parents’ will stipulates only that he marry by his thirtieth birthday, not that he marry well. And no one--including Drake’s grandfather, the man determined to hold him to the ridiculous provision--could possibly think tall, bossy Pearl with her ragtag siblings and questionable “cousin” Belle will make a good wife. Until Drake realizes that in her startling violet eyes he sees a beautiful woman with a generous soul...

Their life together may not have started with hearts and flowers, but Drake and Pearl will soon learn that real love--with a breathtaking dose of passion--will make their marriage a true romance.

Excerpt from THE MOST UNSUITABLE BRIDE Set up - Drake left his wife and her younger sister living in town with his Grandpa and snobby Aunt Lily while he and her brother went on a cattle drive to Kansas. After six weeks, Drake returns home to find things are nothing as he expected.

     On the road, he slowed his horse and tried to think. Storm had been right, Pearl apparently got fed up with Lily. Why hadn't he seen it?
     Maybe he should have made different arrangements for her before the cattle drive. Damn, it looked like a man could depend on his wife waiting for him. All she had to do was just bide her time. How hard could that be?
     When the ranch house came into view, he slowed even more. It looked different.
     Apparently Storm saw it too. "Things been fixed up some."
     Drake noted the gate now hung straight, bright flowers bordered the walk and porch. A bushy fern stood on the porch near the rocker he liked to use of a summer evening. He dropped the reins over the hitching post and bounded up the steps. The door opened before he could reach it.
     "Señor Drake, how wonderful you are home.” Maria beamed her cheerful smile at him. "Señora Pearl will be so happy."
     Inside the front door, Drake stopped in his tracks. Three people sat on a bench in the foyer, a bench that hadn't been there when he left. As he entered, they stood and nodded their heads in respect.
     The eldest, a man he recognized as Vicente's father, spoke. "Welcome home, Señor Jefe, Chief. Your trip went well?"
     "Yes, very well. Vicente brings our remuda and men back. He and the rest of the men will be home soon.” Feeling as if he overlooked an important factor here, he asked, "Is there something I can do for you?"
     The three shook their heads in unison. "No, Señor Jefe. We wait for La Curandera."
     Maria hastened forward. "Señora Pearl has helped so many with her medicines. People come from all over the county to see her. She lets them wait here until she can see them."
     Storm said, "She likes to help people. Pearl's real good with her healing."
     Close to snapping, Drake spoke slowly and clearly, "Maria, where is my wife?"
     Surprise showed on the housekeeper's face. "Why, she is still in town at her restaurant, of course."
     Hoping he hid his own surprise, he said, "I see.” But he certainly did not see. Not at all. What restaurant?
     Still beaming at him, Maria continued, "At this time she's still serving lunch to her customers. You can find her there, but she usually comes home about four with Señorita Sarah. Shall I find lunch for you and Señor Storm?"
     "Yes, please.” Storm said.
     "No.” Gesturing to his brother-in-law, he said, "You go ahead, Storm."
     "Señor Storm, my Carlotta will find food for you if you will go into the kitchen. Or, you could come with us to see the changes in your home. Come, let me show you the many things Señora Pearl has done for you.” Maria tugged at Drake's arm, leading him on a tour of his own home with Storm trailing along. "You see how she has used the pieces stored by your family to make this place welcome you. She has worked very hard.”
     He took in the rugs on the floor, the additions to the furnishings. He noticed little things like the placement of serving pieces on the buffet that used to sit in his mother's dining room--until she hired that fancy decorator. Drake had always liked that old furniture better than the ornate stuff the decorator ordered from all over the world. He wandered through the house taking in the changes as Maria chattered on and on reciting Pearl's virtues.
     In the door way of his study, he stopped dead in his tracks. The old rocking chair made from cattle horns stood waiting beside his desk. Though wood comprised the rockers and supported the thickly padded seat and back, a craftsman had used matched pairs of horns to form the legs, arms, splats, and a decorative fan across the top.
Not the same, but a cattle horn
rocking chair similar to Drake's
     Maria smiled and patted his arm. "Ah, I knew that would please you."
     "I thought Mother had it burned.” Although he and his father loved that chair and laughed about the eccentricity of it, his mother had called it an abomination and refused to have it in her house.
     Maria adopted her inscrutable mask. "It is possible Miguel misunderstood her. He stored it in a barn with other old furniture and covered it with heavy cloth to protect it." She shook her head. "Then, it seems, he forgot about it. But Señora Pearl found it. Oh, she laughed and laughed when she saw it."
     "She--she laughed?"
     "Oh, sí, yes. She said it was perfect for a rancher's home. I told her how you used to sit in it when your feet were barely long enough to touch the floor, how you would laugh at your longhorn chair.”
     Damn. Who would have figured her laughing? Just like he and his father had. Who could understand the woman?
     Storm sat in the chair and gave a push to start it rocking. The boy had a silly grin on his face.
     With a shake of his head to clear his brain, Drake turned and left the room.

THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE is Book One of the Kincaids, and is available for only 99 cents from Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/MOST-UNSUITABLE-WIFE-Kincaids-ebook/dp/B004OR1VOO/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338514599&sr=1-7 and from
Smashwords at

Thanks for reading!


  1. I love the premise of this book. To place an ad like that in the local paper--well, I don't know what to say. I would like to see the heroine get everything she wanted, and unless the hero changes a whole lot...well, to heck with him! But knowing you...you'll make him into The Most Suitable Husband. (your titles are wonderful.)

  2. I always find myself returning to the same few themes in my book, even if I don't initially realise that's what I've done. Interesting post!

  3. Very nice excerpt, Caroline. I enjoyed it a lot. I've never seen a chair like that cattle horn chair. I wonder where you found it. You certainly made Pearl a loveable characters.

  4. I've always loved that cover for Unsuitable Wife. It's so pretty!

    I agree about universal truths. They are compelling, because they are true!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Themes have always been a hard concept for me to grasp for some reason - but you've made them very clear here. Thanks so much.
    BTW love the chair!!

  6. Love the excerpt! Bet that chair weighs a ton.

  7. Excellent job! I also love the "good vs evil" and "family is everything" themes. I am reading a marriage of convenience book now and just finished one. They are different but the same.

    Your excerpt is a good choice to rope readers in.

  8. Excellent job! I also love the "good vs evil" and "family is everything" themes. I am reading a marriage of convenience book now and just finished one. They are different but the same.

    Your excerpt is a good choice to rope readers in.