A Jolly Wee Tune and One Big Tease

Karin Kallmaker Checked Out 0 Comments

Fresh off the reel, here’s the trailer for Checked Out.


It’s a light-hearted tale that recognizes the importance of this time of year when, after the longest of nights, the light comes back. (At least in the northern hemisphere!) If you like grumpy meets charming with a touch of magic, this one’s for you. Books in the Coin of Love Series can be read in any order.

For those waiting on a paperback – shipment is now “promised” to me by tomorrow, 12/5. Orders will be in the mail on 12/6.

For those waiting on borrow services like Scribd, you should be able to find Checked Out on most, including Overdrive which feeds to Libby. If your library isn’t showing it in Libby, why not ask them to? Most systems have a request form. All you need to say is that you want to read it.

Hoopla, however, is still pending.

Happy reading to everyone, and a happy, safe holiday season however, if-ever, you may observe it.

Caption: “Peri thought a small-town librarian would be awed by her badge. It doesn’t go well. (Who could have guessed?) The disarming Lisette bakes cookies like a demon, wears sexy boots, and has a spine of steel. Dash of Grumpy. Dollop of Charm. Magical Attraction. eBook available everywhere. Paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Signed from Kallmaker.com.”

decorative fir and ivy winter greenery with red bow over a blue ribbon
Snippet from Chapter 21 of Checked Out by Karin Kallmaker

Holiday Baking – It’s All About Love and Cookies

Karin Kallmaker Checked Out 0 Comments

I’ve long known that food is romantic. How can it not be? The time spent planning, shopping, and making it becomes part of the gift in that way that means we do taste the love.

I come from a family of bakers and good cooks and only have a fraction of their skills, but it taught me to, as my father would say, “know what’s good.” Paraphrasing a poem, I believe that all types of love happen at a kitchen table, in a cafe, at a food truck, or over a picnic basket.

Or, say, in the mass baking of Christmas cookies for the annual gathering your best friend holds, as Lisette does in Checked Out. Not only does she bake so many cookies, she teaches unskilled Peri how to make cookies at the same time. For the sake of the cookies, of course. Not for any other reason, nope.

Snippet from Chapter Twenty-One, Checked Out by Karin Kallmaker

Snippet from Chapter Twenty-One from Checked Out by Karin Kallmaker

Bottom line? Cookies are love that anyone can make. You can quote me.

My Blogged Recipes All in One Place

When I really love a recipe (and am super chuffed at how good it turned out) I put it on my blog. It doesn’t really surprise me that they are all particularly nice during the cold, dark time of the year. One of the motifs in Checked Out is celebrating the cycle of growing dark to returning light. The playlist that goes with Checked Out ends with “Here Comes the Sun” – the ultimate Solstice song.

Tell Me About Your Favorites!

I’d love to hear from anyone who has a beloved recipe, a trick that makes baking easier, or if you’d tried one of these and how it turned out. We’ve got travel plans for a chunk of the season so won’t be doing much baking. I’m consoling myself by thinking about it.

And calling it, um, research.

P.S. The paperback of Checked Out is on its way, and I think it’ll arrive just in time to get them mailed in time for gifts. When you visit the page you’ll see a selection of very nice things readers have said about the humor and atmosphere.

The world conspires to keep women apart. To let their sacred knowledge disappear into the cracks between them. To keep them suspicious of their own strength. To reward them if they make enemies of each other. "Nomisma's Lament" from Wind in Her Hair. Cover, Wind in Her Hair.

“Pulp” vs “Purity” Romances and 1950s Women Somewhere in Between

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Wind in Her Hair 2 Comments

Perky. Courageous. Patriotic. Sensible, sacrificing, generically pious, always devoted to family. Virgin. All of those words describe the heroines of the many 1946-1970 respectable “purity” romances that I read like book candy during my teens.

Even if she was a widow, she was somehow a virgin. Or so lightly touched by a previous marriage she was considered pure enough for the purposes of being an appropriate wife in the 1950s post-war mystique, which was eager to yank women out of workplaces and into pedestal-shaped cages.

Pulp vs. Purity

Pulp Romances

At the time, there was a distinct separation between pulp romances and what I’m calling “purity” romances. Pulp romances were distributed through bus stations and drug stores. Their love stories didn’t arrive at a happy ending without lurid events, like lesbian side affairs or dalliances with bad boys that lead to brushes with the law. While they could be exploitative, pulp romances had real world problems like sexual assault, battering and bullying, substance and alcohol abuse, and the lack of financial autonomy that drove women to desperate measures.

Cover, Spring Fire by Marijane Meaker writing as Vin Packer, 1952

Pulp novels of this era were the first to posit lesbian stories that didn’t end in death for the “predator lesbian.” They were books so inexpensive and brief they could be read on a bus journey and left behind, no one the wiser that you’d been gobbling up tales of premarital sex, walks on the wild side, and the temptations of Those Kinds of Women. It’s a pulp romance, Spring Fire, that opens Irene’s mind in Wind in Her Hair to the idea that women can not only be true and valued friends to each other, they can also be lovers. Read More

blonde model "Irene" with Italian cut and cat's eye glasses, used for the cover of Wind in Her Hair by Karin Kallmaker

1952 – The Italian Cut, Juliet Caps, and the Touring Car featured in Wind in Her Hair

Karin Kallmaker Wind in Her Hair 3 Comments

If you’re a fan of fashion news and magazines, it’s probably not bewildering when names of hairstyles and types of makeup are dropped into conversations.

If you’re like me, however, the difference between a bouffant, poodle, and an Italian haircut for women escapes you entirely. Even after reading up on how they’re cut, layered, and styled I couldn’t tell you the difference.

It’s like that moment in The Devil Wears Prada when Andi rightly scoffs at people raving over the difference in color between two identical belts. (They’re identical, I tell you, identical!)

The Italian Cut

When creating the world that Irene Carson was going to inhabit, and having some fabulous cover art that immediately became Irene in my mind, I did some deep and often fun dives into fashion. For example, what’s the name of the haircut the woman in the cover art above is rocking? Read More