Carla Interviews The ‘Fool’s Gold’ Anthology Authors

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to the Powder Horn Saloon – home to country music and cold beer in Bandit Creek, Montana. I’m seated beside Trip Williams, one of the seven writers whose short stories comprise the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released April 1, 2012. I recognized Alyssa Linn Palmer and Victoria Chatham from previous interviews, but Trip introduced me to Louise Behiel, Julie Rowe, Sheila Seabrook, and Brenda Sinclair.

Carla: Hello everyone. I’m delighted to meet with you today.

Cotton: <bartender approaches table> I turned the music down as Trip requested. Just wave if you folks want a second round. 

Carla: Thank you, Cotton. <bartender saunters back behind bar> Let’s get started, shall we? Now, today you’re sharing April Fool’s jokes that you’ve pulled on someone or been caught by yourself. Shall we start with Victoria? 

Victoria: Years ago I worked in a bookstore in England. A new title on the history of transvestism came in. I composed a letter, supposedly from the publisher, congratulating my boss on purchasing ‘this new and exciting social treatise’. He called friends and family, asked my colleagues if they were responsible. I carried on working, and somehow he missed me altogether. His wife came in later, took one look at the letter, and said ‘Oh, that’s Victoria’. It took awhile to live that one down, but he had to admit he’d been fooled. <chuckles> 

Carla: What about you, Brenda? 

Brenda: Unlike Victoria, I was on the receiving end. Several years ago, The Red Deer Advocate printed a front page story about the City of Red Deer issuing special bags for collecting doggie poop – blue for boy dogs and pink for girl dogs – and I read most of the darn thing, totally annoyed at the idea, until I caught on I was reading an April Fool’s story. I felt rather silly. <chuckles and smiles> 

Trip: I got caught by a newspaper item, too, Brenda. About six years ago, we had a winter packed with heavy snowfalls late into the season.  The sides of my driveway were piled to five feet and the snow kept coming. Unfolding the morning Sun, I was beside myself! The city declared that all streets in front of homes were now the responsibility of homeowners to keep clear. I was spitting mad and would not stand for this! By 9:00, I had written letters to my MLA and Alderman. This, I would not tolerate! At lunch I was informed it was April 1st.  Man, did I feel stupid. Laughing at myself, I could only hope the recipients of my letters found the same humor in them as well. <everyone laughs and sips their beer>

Carla: I travel the world, avoiding cold weather, preferring to lie on a sunny beach. But then I meet with friends for a ski week in Switzerland every year. <chuckles and shakes her head> Whose next? How about you, Sheila?

Sheila: We “sent” 12 employees to a conference at $500/person and stuck the requisition in a stack of paperwork for approval. Our boss marched out of his office, face sweating, hair on end, and told us we couldn’t spend this much money without head office approval or he was going to get fired. When we told him we’d already paid with the company credit card, he looked ready to have a heart attack. Finally we yelled, “April Fool’s Day!” and his chin hit his chest.

Carla: Six thousand dollars! No wonder he almost had a heart attack. <joins laughter> Alyssa, what happened to you?

Alyssa: A friend of mine once blogged about learning he was a father, from a relationship he’d had nine years prior. Of course I believed him, since it wasn’t something anyone would joke about. And later that day, he owned up: it was only a joke. I’d never been so annoyed. I still can’t believe anyone would joke about such a thing.

Carla: Men aren’t always the most sensitive beings on earth.

Trip: Hey, I don’t agree with that.

Carla: You’re an exception, Trip. <smiles> Who’d like to share next?

Louise: I will. My department doesn’t play pranks on each other. One morning my office door was unexpectedly locked. I had a big presentation to finalize for the executive committee, and needed to work on my unnetworked desktop. But my secretary couldn’t find the key, so called maintenance.  He couldn’t open it either.  I steamed from both ears and sweat pooled everywhere. The key guru came but couldn’t open the door.  Panic overwhelmed me. Finally an hour later, my secretary dangled the key in front of me.  “April Fool’s” she yelled.  She’d been notified that morning the meeting was re-scheduled. <smiles and chuckles>

Carla: Julie, finish our interview off. What happened to you?

Julie: The best April Fool’s joke I’ve ever witnessed is one a good friend of mine played on her husband. My friends have four kids. The first two were planned, but #3 happened when the IUD failed and #4 happened when the condom failed. They decided he better have a vasectomy before #5 ‘happened’. April Fool’s day fell shortly before his surgery. She phoned him at work to say her period was late. His response: total silence. So, she went on to say she’d done a pregnancy test. It was positive. He broke his silence at that point with some very creative remarks, which I won’t repeat. Then he hung up. She called him back and as soon as he answered the phone said, “Honey, what day is today?” Then SHE hung up. <lots of smiles and laughter>

Carla: Thank you for sharing these wonderful pranks with me. And I look forward to seeing all of you again one day.

For more fun and famous April Fool’s jokes and pranks, please check out this website:
Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.

Pick up a copy of the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released on April 1, 2012 .

‘Always a Lady’ Released Today!

Don’t Forget to pick up your copy of ‘Always a Lady’ today!

Available in Kindle format!

Always a Lady by Victoria Chatham

Lady Serena Buxton follows her husband from England to Bandit Creek, Montana. Randolph is a partner in the Ellis gold mine, but when she arrives, she is horrified to find that Randolph is missing.

Sheriff Wilson seems to be keeping a watchful eye on her. Why? Douglas King, the mine manager, treats her as if she is already a widow. What does he know? The bank manager refuses her request for access to Randolph’s account. With no husband and no money, what is a girl to do?

Serena has an unsuspected and quite shocking talent. She can belly dance. With the help of two enterprising local ladies, Serena prepares for a public performance. But when the news leaks out, she finds the only venue she can secure is in the Men’s Club owned by King. Like it or not, she has no option but to ask him regardless of what terms he may insist on. Billed as Ayesha, Oriental Dancer Extraordinaire, she prepares for her show which she hopes will make enough money for her to stay in Bandit Creek until Randolph is found.

The whole town, as well as a train full of people from nearby Missoula, turns out for her performance. The Club is packed. But who is in the crowd, watching? Will King insist on exacting his fees? And will Serena be reunited with the husband she loves?

Read an excerpt.

Carla Interviews Victoria Chatham about ‘Always A Lady’

Always a Lady by Victoria ChathamHello, Carla Roma here. I’m back in Bandit Creek again after a quick trip to England and, as always, I’m thrilled to meet up with one of my authors. Victoria Chatham is English, and I couldn’t think of a better place to chat with her than the Grey Rose Restaurant. Although this is a thoroughly modern setting, the walls are decorated with photographs of historical Bandit Creek, showing the old Powder Horn Saloon, Golden Nugget Hotel and many more. With a fresh pot of Earl Grey tea and a selection of fancy pastries at our disposal, I was looking forward to finding out why Victoria chose the period she did for her story.

Carla: What made you decide to set your story in 1907?

Victoria: There was a series on British TV called Upstairs, Downstairs. It ran for 68 episodes and I loved them all but particularly the first two series that covered the Edwardian era of 1903-1910. From the characters to the costumes, the story lines, the settings, it was classic. I just picked a year and went from there.

Carla: Lady Serena is well travelled for a woman of that time. Have you also traveled extensively?

Victoria: I’ve been to Spain several times, Singapore, New Zealand and San Francisco twice. But I’ve always been fascinated with the history of English and European women who, from the early 1700s to the early 1900s, traveled freely in what was then referred to as the Orient, which meant any country east of Europe. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu visited Turkey in 1717 and reportedly envied the freedom of nude bathers she observed in a Turkish baths. Lady Hester Stanhope, Lady Anne Blunt, Olympe Audouard and Jane Dieulafoy are a few of the many women who toured and lived in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Mesopotamia, now Iraq, and Persia, now Iran. They were writers and artists, some were archaeologists and Lady Anne Blunt and her husband, Wilfrid, acquired pure Arab breeding stock for their Crabbet Park stud in England.

Carla: Is travel a thread you deliberately put in your novella because you can relate to her?

Victoria: Partly, but more because it has always intrigued me as to where and why people traveled. And remember, gold fields were like honey to a bee and drew people from all over the world. A gold mining town anywhere would have been a melting pot of all nationalities. I hoped to show a little of that with the different characters I introduced.

Carla: Do you think you would have enjoyed traveling like those women did?

Victoria: Not a chance! I like my creature comforts too much. And I can quite see why many of these ladies quickly got out of their corsets and into the comfort of whatever the local costume may have been.

Carla: So there was a strong precedent for Lady Serena casting off her corsets and belly dancing? Can you belly dance?

Victoria: Yes, and yes. I love belly dancing. It’s a terrific workout exercise and you don’t need a partner.

Carla: Do you share any of Lady Serena’s characteristics?

Victoria: Um, I have to say yes on that one. I’ve always been very strong willed and independent and I’m not particularly patient. But then, I’m a first born and a Virgo, so I come by it honestly.

Carla: What is it about Randolph that appeals to women? What makes him a good hero?

Victoria: He’s loyal, handsome, and in the true way of gentlemen, lets his wife be front and centre as her story was much more interesting. In this story anyway.

Carla: Aha! So there is going to be another story?

Victoria: I think so. I like the challenge of pairing a husband and wife team. I’m probably giving my age away, but I thoroughly enjoyed Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles characters in The Thin Man. And the Hart to Hart television series with Robert Wagner playing Jonathan and Stefanie Powers playing his wife Jennifer, so I think it’s a theme that has merit.

Carla: Last question. Can you give a hint as to what the next story will be about?

Victoria: Well, there always have been and, I suspect, always will be spies and Europe has always been intriguing, don’t you think?

Carla: And that’s all you’ll share?

Victoria: More tea?

Victoria Chatham’s Bandit Creek story, Always A Lady, debuts March 15th, on Amazon.com. In the meantime, you can link up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

‘Spunky’ Released Today

Don’t Forget to pick up your copy of Spunky today!

Buy the book on Amazon (Kindle format), or for other ebook formats and readers on Smashwords!

Tap dancing and riding her dilapidated bike are ten-year old Sarah Crawford’s, better known as Spunky, favorite activities. After moving to Bandit Creek with her mom, Spunky discovers the old lady in the basement apartment dislikes both her and her dancing. While practising her tap steps in the garage, Spunky devises a wonderful scheme to raise cash for a new bike. However, disaster strikes when she is accused of theft and her great money-making plan is squashed. Just when Spunky thinks that Bandit Creek is a horrible place to live, she’s forced to defend her beliefs and her whole world changes. She discovers the town may be more exciting than she ever realized.

Click here to read the first Chapter.