A Killing NotionIf you’ve never experienced homecoming in Texas, you’re missing something big. Literally.

First, let me say that I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of girl. Even in high school, I made the homecoming dresses for my friends, but didn’t go to the dance myself. My joy is in the dressmaking and in creating something perfect for a friend…and lately, in the mum-making.

Have you seen the creations that Texas girls wear to school on homecoming Friday? The ribbons! The trinkets! The lights!

Yes, I said lights. If you’re a senior in high school, and your beau wants to drop $200 or more on a mum, then twinkle lights are a possibility. If it’s a double mum, then a harness is in order. Yes, a harness! But the mums I make are more meaningful than what you’ll get at a florist or a craft store counter, and by the time they’re finished, the mums are perfect for the girls who’ll be wearing them. From the colors of the ribbons to the baubles included on them, they represent the girls.

When I started my little side business of mums, I had no idea how they would become metaphors for the lives Gracie (my boyfriend Will Flores’s daughter) and her friends were leading. I’ve come to realize that sewing (and by extension, crafts) often creates a link between folks. The threads that hold a garment together are just like the connections between people. They grow, the bonds strengthening with each interaction.

Gracie and the other girls who are making mums at Buttons & Bows are creating something that feeds their strength, but more important than that are the bonds they’re creating with each other. Both the mums and the friendships are helping bolster Gracie during her ordeal with Shane. Having your boyfriend accused of murder has worn on her, beating her down. Her friendships are sustaining her. And wearing the mums and going to homecoming will be like a salve on a wound.

So, for me, the homecoming mum is big. More important than I ever realized, in fact. And I couldn’t be more proud to be behind the scenes helping girls like Gracie and her friends figure out how something like a mum can be a touchstone for their inner strength.

~ Harlow Cassidy

This is the 12th stop on the A Killing Notion Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, click HERE

You can read more about Harlow in A Killing Notion, the fifth book in the “Magical Dressmaking” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Pleating For Mercy. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6pm EST on April 15, and you will be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of either Pleating for Mercy, book #1 in the “Magical Dressmaking” series or Living the Vida Lola, book #1 in the “Lola Cruz” mystery series, winner’s choice. One winner will be chosen at random.

Bonus: Click HERE for a rafflecopter giveaway prize package from Melissa

Meet the author
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She MisaRfantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the Executive Publicity Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing and publicity guide for authors.

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