Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Kind of Heroine: A Strong Woman & Lady by P.J. MacLayne #Cozy #Mystery

You don't have to be masculine to be a strong woman—Mary Elizabeth Winstead

I was lucky to have a strong mother growing up. She had to be, raising nine children, and teaching them to stand on their own. Even in grade school, I liked my heroines to be strong. I remember writing an essay about Molly Pitcher in sixth grade when other girls were writing about male heroes like Paul Revere.

My mother also showed me, by example, that you can be strong and still be a lady, that a lady is defined by her actions towards others, and certainly not by money or social standing.

Naturally, now that I am writing books, that love for strong women has found its way into my stories. My heroines, while struggling with the challenges that are thrown at them by life, work hard to maintain their independence but balance that with being willing to accept help from their friends when it is offered.

Harmony, the main character in The Marquesa's Necklace, is a quirky but strong woman attempting to regain stability in her life after being arrested and switching careers. Life has other plans for her, of course, and it takes both mental and physical strength to navigate the pitfalls that are thrown at her. Even though she has friends to help her out along the way, in the end it’s all up to her. As it says in the book “Only one person could save me. Me. Harmony Duprie.”

So what’s my kind of heroine? A strong woman who stands up for herself, but isn't perfect. One who tries her hardest, but is willing to take help when she needs it. One who makes mistakes, and is willing to admit to them and do her best to correct them.

What's your kind of heroine?

Title: The Marquesa's Necklace


Date Published:  June

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Word Count: approx 65,000

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

Because it might.


            I giggled as Lando adjusted the support stockings. They hid the thick bandages he had wrapped each leg with to make them appear fatter. “Luckily it's getting chilly outside,” he said, handing me a heavy sweater. “The more layers of clothing you wear the less you resemble yourself.”
            With the foam form strapped around my belly, I thought I had plenty of padding already. It was designed to give a man the concept of the extra weight women carry when they are pregnant, but mostly it made me look fat. The over-sized dress with the huge Hawaiian flower pattern exaggerated the effect. Under all the foam and extra layers of clothing, it wouldn’t be long before I started to sweat.
            The gray wig was a nice touch too. It was hard getting all my hair to stay under it, and thank heavens the curly hair hid the lump my bun made. Lando worried the makeup he had applied didn't fill my face out enough, but he did the best job possible with his limited supplies. He hoped the huge glasses he'd found would help.  The plain thick glass meant I still needed my contacts. The ugly white nurse's shoes were a size too big, but with the thick socks they fit just about right.
            A cane was the last accessory.  To put any weight on it, I had to lean forward. He stood back, nodding and admiring his work. “Well, I think that's it, Aunt Martha,” he said grinning.
            I smiled back and pointed the end of the cane at him. “That's enough out of you, sonny.”
            He got thoughtful. “I almost forgot!” He dug into one of the bags. “Teeth!” he said. They were some of those fake ones that slip on over real teeth. I put them in and ran my tongue over them. I wouldn't be able to eat corn on the cob, but an ice cream sundae would a possibility

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Author Bio: 
I'm a computer geek by day and a writer at night. I grew up among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, and those hills provide a backdrop to my stories. I currently make my home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, and think I must have been a mountain man in a previous life.


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Melissa!

    1. Hi PJ,
      Your mom sounds like a wonderful lady! Thank you for sharing with us today, and also for participating in My Kind of Heroine! :-)

  2. I love your mother's lesson - a lady is known by her actions, not her social position. Excellent delineation. Congrats on your book release and best wishes for lots of sales!