Friday, May 30, 2008

Good new post by Carroll

I realized after posting Good News and Sobering Conversation that I didn't identify myself as the writer. Pretty important when there will be three of us Crusty Old Broads contributing. I'll figure this blogging thing out soon!

Additional information: For those of you who might not know, Gary and I live south of Tucson, about 45 minutes from the border crossing at Nogales.

Good news, sobering conversation

Great news! Our editor has made the galley corrections on Surprise Packages, the cover photo will be shot this weekend, and the book goes to the printer on Thursday. Yippee!

Knowing our book was on its way, I started my morning walk feeling great. The sun was shining, the air cool and full of birdsong. But then I had a sobering conversation with a couple I met on the road. The wife had a pair of binoculars, so I asked her what birds they were hoping to see. (Our area draws birders from all around the world.) The woman said she had her binocs not to spot birds but to get the license numbers of vehicles picking up illegals at the Lutheran Church we were just passing!

These folks, who live backed up to state land not far from Gary and me, have often seen illegals passing behind their house, waiting at the drop site (sometimes in the church parking lot), or being picked up. They've also seen the shocking amount of trash that mars the desert--the coyotes who pick illegal crossers up make them leave everything behind so they can put more people in their vehicles.

All of this wasn't new to me--I've seen the trash myself when walking west from our development along a dirt road leading out to a pair of water towers. I've seen illegals waiting to be picked up and even a couple in Safeway. But I was surprised to hear that the border patrol had recently told the folks I met this morning not to walk out in the desert behind their home anymore--the coyotes smuggling people and/or drugs wouldn't hesitate to shoot anyone they thought might be a threat!

Until recently, I've not been too worried when walking around the water towers (I'm always with someone). But with the level of lawlessness and violence increasing, I think taking that walk even with companions might be irresponsible on my part. With things the way they are, I can't be sure that I will be safe in one of the most glorious parts of God's creation.

That's sad.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So here I am, Carroll Morris, writing the first post for our blog, Crusty Old Broads. The other two women who make up the “Broads” in the name of our blog are my sister, Nancy Anderson, and our friend and writing partner, Lael Littke. We’ll be taking turns posting, so you’ll get to know all of us—like getting three for one!

I’m a newbie at this, so I’m imagining that I’m addressing friends as I write, people who are interested in the same things I am, or simply curious about what people are thinking and doing—and why.

That’s what interests me as a writer. My co-authors Nancy and Lael, too. Yes, the three of us have written not just one book together but a trilogy called The Company of Good Women.

I don’t know of any other novels written by a trio, so I guess that makes us unique. We started writing together after vacationing together for over ten years. One day when we were in Moab, Utah, my sister asked, “Why don’t we write a book together.”

It was a good thing we had no idea what we were getting into when we brainstormed about what the theme and story question of the book might be. We decided some things right then that became the basis of the trilogy. We would each write from the viewpoint of a female character. We would explore what it takes to heal the gulf between self and self, self and others, and self and God. Pretty lofty, but I think we accomplished what we set out to do. And told a darn good story in the process.

Anyway, that off-hand question became a commitment and then a driving force in our lives. As the amount of text we generated over the next several years piled up, it became clear that our story was going to be 1200 pages long—or a trilogy! When Lael e-mailed an editor at Deseret Book about our project, the response was immediate and positive!

The first two books in the series, Almost Sisters and Three Tickets to Peoria are available from and The conclusion, Surprise Packages, will be out in July.

Although the books are not autobiographical, it is interesting that three Crusty Old Broads from different parts of the country ( Nancy from Utah, Lael from California and Carroll from Minnesota and now Arizona) wrote about three female characters from different parts of the country and their quest to become Crusty Old Broads!

I just sent off the corrected galleys for Surprise Packages on Monday. What a relief that was. Writing the conclusion to the series taxed all of us, because we wanted it to be satisfying to our readers, to mean something. I think we succeeded in doing that. Now we’re waiting to see what the cover will look like and have the book out on the shelves in July!

Now that you know a little about us as a trio of COBs (Crusty Old Broads), here’s a little about me.

I'm married and the mother of four adult children. My husband and I live in a retirement community south of Tucson. Three of our children live in the West, a daughter lives in Germany.

I love to travel. My husband, kids and I will fly to Germany in the fall for our daughter’s. Then we’ll spend a week in Rome. We’ve rented an apartment by the Spanish Steps—how cool is that!

I love to explore the Sonoran Desert in SE Arizona, vacation in Rocky Point, Mexico (Arizona’s beach), and watch the dramatic storms that come during the summer monsoon season.

Of course, I love to read (currently I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love).

Lately I’ve taken up making small Zuni-type animal fetishes out of self-hardening clay. So far I’ve fashioned a coyote, a buffalo, and a bear.

I love watching American Idol (yeah David Cook!), Dancing with the Stars, and Law and Order.

And I love turquoise—I don’t think a woman can have too many pieces of turquoise jewelry!