The Musubi MurderDo you remember someone in your formative years, perhaps a high school counselor, telling you that if you do what you love, the money will follow?

That, as it turns out, is not a sound career planning strategy. Let me tell you what happens when you follow your dreams.

You might love books, for example. And writing. You might be really good at it. Good enough to get accepted into one of the top ten literature and creative writing programs in the country. And you’re good enough to stick it out, and make it through, and earn your Ph.D. Now you have ‘Doctor’ in front of your name. Fantastic, right? A dream come true. And you know what happens next?

What happens is that you you start looking for a job, and there are a thousand other poor suckers applying for every job opening that you’re applying to. And they have fancy Ph.D’s and sparkling CV’s and world-famous dissertation advisors too. A lot of other people are Doing What They Love, and they, unfortunately, love the same things you love.

So you broaden your horizons. And you apply to places that you’ve never even heard of. And when you finally, finally land a job teaching business communication at the Mahina State University College of Commerce, is your dissertation advisor happy for you?

Mahina State

No, he is not happy for you. Because not only is Hawaii “thousands of miles from anywhere that counts,” according to him, but even worse, you’ve committed the unforgivable sin of ending up in a business school.


So instead of saying congratulations on getting a real job with health insurance, he tells you that “teaching a roomful of slack-jawed baseball caps how to pad their resumes” is a grievous waste of your fine critical mind. And all you can say to him is that your ‘fine critical mind’ is telling you that after an entire year of fruitless job-hunting, it’s time to start earning a living wage.

Where was I? Right. Following your dreams.

My name is Molly Barda. Doctor Molly Barda, Ph.D. I teach resume writing to business majors at Mahina State University, an out-of-the-way campus on the rainy side of one of the neighbor islands. It’s not exactly the bustling urban environment I’m used to.


And you know what? I’m starting to like it here. Mahina is lush, low-key, and beautiful.

Sure, we’ve had budget cuts (I’m sitting on a yoga ball because my department won’t spring for an office chair), my students think “plutocracy” has something to do with planets, and the less said about the Student Retention Office the better, but I think I’m adjusting pretty well.

All I have to do now is keep my head down and stay out of trouble until I get tenure.

Unfortunately, some unpleasantness has just occurred involving someone else’s head.

And now, despite my best efforts and against my better judgment, I’m getting pulled into the middle of a gruesome murder.

So, do what you love, sure. And then be prepared for anything. I didn’t end up where I thought I would, that’s for sure. But my life in sleepy little Mahina is about to get a lot more exciting.

Listen to the first chapter of the audiobook here

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You can read more about Molly in The Musubi Murder, the first book in the NEW “Molly Barda” mystery series, published by Five Star.

About The Musubi Murder

“Our guest of honor, Jimmy Tanaka, may have been “The Most Hated Man in Hawaii,” but he was also the biggest donor in the history of the College of Commerce. We were in no position to be picky about the moral character of our benefactors. Not after the latest round of budget cuts.”

Small town life, big academic egos, corruption, revenge, and Spam musubis: The Musubi Murder is the first campus crime novel set in Hawaii, and the perfect read for mystery lovers, Hawaii expatriates, disillusioned academics, and anyone who fancies Spam (the meat).

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 14 for the chance to win an Audible edition of The Musubi Murder. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

Meet the author
FrankieBowLike Molly Barda, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, a loving family, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining.

In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally. Visit her website here.

[1] “KipahuluFruitStand” by Yurivict. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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