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Do you watch the PBS shows on how to single-handedly build your own house, then get tool-envy as Norm whips out the correct jig from his endless collection to carve an intricate curve into mahogany? Or perhaps your taste runs more toward shirtless construction workers gulping Diet Coke?
Virginia author Millie Criswell has decided to make her fantasy reality by building her dream house. And, as expected, reality doesn't always live up to the dream. "I was really looking forward to watching all the cute construction workers," Millie said wryly. "But somehow or other, I got the geriatric carpenters' union. One of the guys is 75, and has his own pace-slow."
Millie and her husband, Larry, decided to act as their own contractors, and have had a rude awakening about the hitches inevitably involved with building a house. "I love 'Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House' with Cary Grant," Millie said. "We are living that story!"
Despite the headaches during the process, the end result promises to be...well, a dream. "It's on four wooded acres backing up to the Civil War battlefield where Stonewall Jackson was fatally wounded. That should insure no development will take place behind our home," she reports.
Many of the rooms will have 19 ft. ceilings, including a great room and their master bath, which will sport another unique feature. "Unfortunately, Larry has a green thumb," Millie grouses. "Nothing dies. When we were in Maui, we bought a small palm tree. It now reaches the ceiling in our house. So we have created a place to plant it in front of the huge window in our bathroom."
Not many people can claim to have a palm tree growing next to their tub!
Millie will be taking some time out of their building schedule to promote the beginning of a new trilogy. Following her successful Flowers of the West series, The Lawmen will feature three brothers: one that breaks the law, one that enforces it and one that defends it.
The first story, Desperate, debuts this month with Rafe's story. After finding his pregnant wife savagely murdered, Rafe leaves to mete his own justice. Almost immediately, he tracks down one member of the gang, and when the killer fires at him, Rafe shoots him between the eyes, with little remorse. And with the only witness declaring Rafe shot her lover in cold blood, Rafe is wanted dead or alive.
Although each book will have a complete love story, Rafe killing one of his wife's murderers sets up the plot line that will run through all three books. Ethan, hero of Dangerous, is a Texas Ranger dedicated to fulfilling the law, even if it means bringing in his own brother. And Travis, a savvy attorney, is determined to prove Rafe's innocence in Defiant.
Luckily, Millie has expert legal sources at her fingertips. Both her children have chosen to practice law. Millie quips: "I've told them both they need to specialize in publishing law!"
For color flyers and bookmarks for Desperate, write with an SASE to P.O. Box 41206, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. You can also contact Millie by e-mail at MillieCris@aol.com or you can visit her homepage on the internet at www.milliecriswell.com
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