First things first: For fans of my 5-book Laramie Series, my new novel ~ The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone ~ has absolutely nothing to do with Blessing, Kansas or the Davisthedangerousthawofetta clan of family and friends as you’ve come to know them spread across years and geography. I hope to have the sixth and final book of that series available sometime in 2014—a story set in World War I that will bring the entire Laramie Series full circle. Think ‘boxed set.’

This new book, however ~ this Dangerous Thaw ~ stands alone. No prequel, no sequel. The female lead, Etta Capstone, was cooked up by a perfectly innocent find during my annual (oh, all right: biennial) cleaning of kitchen cupboards. There among way too many cookbooks was one I’d brought with me when I moved to Ohio from Texas in 1984. For 25 years I’d held onto the compilation of “Treasured Receipts” from a group of women in Lubbock, Texas, and never tried a single recipe. Into the Goodwill bag was the plan, but then I opened the cookbook and started to page through the “receipts” and Etta Capstone was created. Literally. Just like that. A woman who uses food as a substitute for affection. A woman frozen in the past by grief and fear and terrible memories, who can demonstrate love only by serving up her prize meat loaf or a big slab of butter pecan cake. It may seem inexplicable and exaggerated that a cookbook could send me to my laptop to write and finish—eight weeks later—the story of Compassion, Texas, and its cast of memorable characters [sometimes I can’t believe it myself] but it did. One old cookbook. I should clean my cupboards more often!

When no agent or publisher saw commercial value in the book—set in the Pineywoods of East Texas? In the late nineteenth century? No vampires? No time travel? Seriously???—I gave a heartfelt sigh, stashed the manuscript on an e-shelf, and tried to forget about it. A useless attempt. Etta Capstone is too memorable a woman to be sitting in a flash drive so I decided to release her to the reading public. Her story is a parable, of sorts. A parable about the narrow line between good and evil, about vengeance in its finest form, about taking chances, about debts owed and paid, about balance and priorities. Timeless issues all. Whether you enjoy the story purely at face value or for its layered meaning doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy it. I hope you do. I think you will.

The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone is available at Amazon, at the CreateSpace publishing bookstore (go to www.createspace.com / click on “site”, then on “store” & put in my last name,) from the Kindle store as an eBook, or from my own website. Just click on the “Purchase Karen’s Books” tab at the top of this page.

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