Lee Hollis Blog for Poppy Harmon

I’ve been asked many times, what I do for a hobby (or hobbies), and I’ve always reply with my two standard answers— cooking and reading. Secretly though I would love to include arts and crafts, but sadly I don’t have a crafty bone in my entire body!  A lot of my friends do, however, and their homemade projects look like they flew directly off the pages of Pinterest or a glossy magazine.

A few years back I decided to finally try one of those crafts projects after seeing so many successful ones posted online. I mean, honestly, how hard could it be?

Since it was close to Halloween I decided to make cement pumpkins by pouring cement into plastic pumpkins to mold their faces, and then I would paint them for cute Halloween decorations.

I have no idea why I thought this was a clever idea because we live a little off the beaten path, and we have never ever had even one kid show up at our door and say, “Trick or treat!” So there weren’t a lot of people, maybe the mailman or a Jehovah’s witness who would even see my hand-crafted cement pumpkins!

It also turned out to be a stressful experience making them. It was horribly messy, the cement took forever to dry in the plastic pumpkins, and once I finally got them out of the plastic they must have weighed at least 20 pounds apiece! Lifting them wasn’t pleasant all, oh and I forgot to mention, by the time they dried Halloween was over!

Still, always trying to see the glass as half full, I decided they could be a cute fall decoration for Thanksgiving once I painted them, as I nearly broke my back setting them on the front porch steps while reminding myself to pick up some orange paint.

Well, Thanksgiving came and went and the pumpkins still sat lonely and unpainted, and now it was coming up on Christmas! The idea of going out and searching for Santa hats to put on top of them wasn’t very appealing to me so I finally called it quits. I heaved the pumpkins into a wheel barrel, and now three years later, those cement pumpkins still sit out behind an old shed, abandoned never to be used or seen again.

I still didn’t give up on trying my hand at arts and crafts. I tried knitting but couldn’t get the hang of it, cross stitch was a complete disaster, and latch hooking was another unfinished project. I even glued old teacups and saucers together to make bird feeders, which was another embarrassing failure because after I hung a couple of them in the trees it rained into the cups with the bird food and they crashed down due to the weight of water and soggy bird seed.

When I was asked by a magazine recently about my hobbies, I was gearing up to give my usual reply (“Cooking!”), when I looked around my house and it suddenly dawned on me that I have one more hobby I forgot about! I love hunting for old treasures that remind me of people or moments from my past. It started in the early 90’s while living at Travis Air Force Base in California. A friend and I started going to the outdoor weekly flea markets and I was suddenly hooked. At first I told people I was antiquing, but I soon realized antiquing usually came with a pretty hefty price tag. So I decided to call it what for what it really was— thrift shopping!

I started at first collecting salt and pepper shakers and ended up with a pretty giant collection. I finally had to stop because I no longer had a house big enough to keep them! Eventually I whittled my collection down to a few favorites so my house doesn’t look too cluttered. I certainly didn’t want to risk finding myself on an episode of Hoarders!

But to this day, poking around in old dusty stores, barns, and yard sales for that special treasure I can buy for a rock bottom price that evokes a smile or a memory is just about my favorite thing in the world to do!

Lee Hollis

Lee Hollis begins a delightful new series in which Poppy Harmon and her friends find that life after retirement can be much busier—and deadlier—than any of them ever anticipated . . .

When Poppy goes from complacent retiree to penniless widow in a matter of weeks, the idea of spending her golden years as the biggest charity case in Palm Springs renders her speechless. With no real skills and nothing left to lose, Poppy uses her obsession with true crime shows to start a career as a private eye . . .

But after opening the Desert Flowers Detective Agency with help from her two best friends, Violet and Iris, Poppy realizes that age brings wisdom, not business—until she convinces her daughter’s handsome boyfriend, Matt, to pose as the face of the agency. It’s not long before Matt’s irresistible act snags a client desperate to retrieve priceless jewelry burglarized from an aging actress at the Palm Leaf Retirement Village. Or before Poppy stumbles upon the bloodied body of the victim’s arch rival . . .

In a flash, Poppy’s innocent detective gig is upstaged by a dangerous murder investigation riddled with slimy suspects and unspeakable scandal. As she and her team uncover the truth, Poppy must confront the secrets about her late husband’s past and swiftly catch a killer lurking around the retirement community—even if it means turning her world upside down all over again.

Praise For Lee Hollis And The Hayley Powell Mystery Series

Death Of A Pumpkin Carver

“The mystery is well-written and the story will keep any reader’s attention. After meeting these hysterical characters there is no doubt that you’ll go back.” —Suspense Magazine

Death Of A Bacon Heiress

“A fun mystery that will have readers enraptured.” —Kings River Life magazine

Death Of A Christmas Caterer

“A fun Christmas cozy.” —Library Journal

Death Of A Coupon Clipper

“Hayley is a likable heroine that readers will cheer for.” —Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Death Of A Country Fried Redneck

“A snappy pace, fun characters and a clever plot. A tasty entrée for the culinary cozy crowd.” —Library Journal

Death Of A Kitchen Diva

“Lee Hollis’s debut mystery featuring food columnist Hayley Powell is delicious and satisfying. Another course, please!” —Carolyn Hart, New York Times bestselling author