Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meet Lisa Love Harris-tireless junker and author of an intriguing Flea Market Mystery series!

We are delighted to feature Lisa Love Harris as our guest blogger for Petticoats on the Prairie today!  Lisa is one of the most genuine ladies we have been fortunate enough to meet in our journey, and we are honored to have her with us today! 

Hey,Y’all! THANK YOU to the the ladies at POTP for inviting me to post here. I’m Lisa Love Harris— gypsy spirit, vintage journalist, tireless junker, owner of Garden Cat Vintage, and author of First Monday Murder A Jimmie Rae Flea Market Mystery. Hey! Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute…an author?  
Yes. I write a Flea Market Mystery series starring a sassy independent Texas woman who moonlights as an antique dealer with an obsession for junk and cat-killing curiosity that lands her into heaps of trouble. I am often asked how in the world did that happen…how do ya mess with JUNK and WRITE a Flea Market Mystery series for cryin’ out loud?
Well, it’s not easy, but I've owned my antiques business for the past 17 years and have written professionally for more years than I care to admit to. And let me tell y’all, it hasn't exactly been the glamorous life I dreamed of many (okay, many, many) years ago as a journalism student. However, the road to writing and publishing a Flea Market Mystery series has been a serendipitous life journey that began with a passion for junkin’ and a 2003 breast cancer diagnosis.
You see, ten years ago on the verge of turning 40, I was blessed with the realization that life is short and I'd better get on with all those goals, dreams, and travels I'd been putting off. What was I waiting for? With a professional background in public relations and journalism what I really wanted to do was write fiction.  I believe cancer gave me the kick in the tush I needed to take the risk and realize my dream. 
A long time ago in a place far away I sat in Professor Jack Bickham’s Novel Writing class and tried to follow along. “Write what you know,” he said repeatedly.  Back then my life lessons were few. It took some valuable life experiences and a whole lot of junkin’ to fill in the gaps. 
While we lived in McKinney, TX  I discovered you could find incredible Victorian treasures right next to the Tupperware and Thigh Masters. An 1845 prayer book for a buck? Are ya kiddin’ me? A bag of tatted lace for fifty cents? Really? Yes, I’ve always been thrifty thanks to my Daddy who grew up on an Oklahoma cotton farm during the Great Depression, but even more than that was (and continues to be) the untold stories each of these wonderful pieces of history tells or at least conjures up in my vast imagination.

My protagonist, Jimmie Rae Murphy, was conceived and born as I recuperated from the umpteenth surgery.  At first she was shy and venerable -- and yeah, plenty boring.  I began to write and study and rewrite. Before I knew it, Jimmie Rae emerged as a strong, independent, boot-wearin', keester-kickin', God fearin' Texas woman who wasn't going to take any garbage from anyone. 

In the process of creating Jimmie Rae and plotting First Monday Murder I made a personal journey and discovered my seventh generation Texas roots run deep. 
I discovered a complete fascination with wearing cowboy boots, embroidered jeans, and sassy t-shirts. I fell in love with old time Texas swing bands like Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and Asleep at the Wheel. I listened more intently to my grandparents' stories of how they grew up in southeast Texas and managed to make a life together for more than 60 years despite all the obstacles in their journey together.

Back then music filled our Victorian house as I wrote and revised and wrote some more. Not the music of my pre-cancer life, but the raw, deep tones of Texas musicians like Lightnin' Hopkins, Leadbelly, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top, Steve
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Miller, Miranda Lambert, Dixie Chicks, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, and Susan Tedeschi. 
I created characters based loosely on the many people I met along the way.  I created an antique mall called Blessings From the Past in what was once an old church building. I even created an entire town, Niceton (Nice Town) based on a combination of several Texas towns. I wrote, and revised, and wrote some more. Write what you know,”  Professor Bickham’s words echoed in my head. 
“What did I know?”
Texas. Being a strong woman. Junkin’.

Somehow these ingredients began forming a plot…take an idea and begin creating it in words. Sprinkle liberally with imagination. Add a gorgeous Texas sunset, a salty honky-tonk, Texas music, lots of Lone Star attitude, and lots of JUNK. Add a cowboy or two…or three.Toss in a beloved location, a little romance, and a story begins to emerge. A novel is written.
From Pintrest pinned by
A job related move to Washington state five years ago, led me to meet my fabulous critique partner who suggested I combine my passions for both writing and junkin’.  In between getting my final First Monday Murder revisions together I began to set up my Garden Cat Vintage goods at vintage markets in the Pacific Northwest. It was at Funky Junk Sisters Junk Salvation in Hillsboro, OR that I met the ladies and first learned about the fabulous Petticoats on the Prairie— The Premiere Vintage Market in West Texas.
There’s been no looking back.  In the past three years, I’ve started a blog, published First Monday Murder, participated as a vendor in more than 16 vintage markets from Seattle, WA to Colorado City, TX, and moved our family back to Texas all the while meeting as many other creative folks as possible and writing the next Jimmie Rae Flea Market Mystery VINTAGE MURDER due out next spring. 
Yeah, it’s been a little busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Life is short. My bucket list is long. And there are so many wonderful people, new roads, and great things to discover along this life journey.
From the git-go my Flea Market Mystery series was inspired by the junkers, bohemians, crafters, dreamers, rebels, artists, vendors, road-trippers, gypsies, and pickers who keep our junkin’ community full of style, creativity, originality, and fun.
As I race toward turning 50 in a few weeks, I look forward to meeting more new friends, writing more stories, buying and selling more antiques, and traveling down that always exciting blacktop road of life.
I'll always remember not what cancer took from me, but what it gave me.  I'm very thankful and abundantly blessed.
Until next time,
Peace, love, and all
the good stuff to ya,
sweet friends!

Lisa is a member of Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, HoTX SinC, Romance Writers of America, Brazos Writers,and Writers' League of TX. Her book First Monday Murder is available on Smashwords and Amazon. She’s on Goodreads as Lisa Love Harris, Twitter as @txgardencat and Facebook as The Garden Cat. She lives with her 1981 prom date and husband of 30 years, their two almost-grown kids, a slightly spoiled, but sweet dog, and spunky old cat.


  1. I have followed Lisa's blog for a few years now and even on facebook. Her heart is so big and genuine and a true REAL person! I have never met her in person but i feel like i know her. Great guest post!!

  2. Love Lisa to pieces. She's just as sweet and talented too not only with writing but finding awesome antiques to sell in her booths. She's a great friend to have as well.

  3. Awesome story! I loved it!! I follow Lisa on Facebook, we have never met, but I feel like I know her. We are your newest followers...My daughter and I host two shows in Spokane, WA. The Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market, held annually at the end of September, this will be our 6th year. And, last her we hosted our first "Down the Rabbit Hole" that we host in a different garden each year, it is held in the first of May. Blessings Ladies for a Bright New Year!!