Sweetheart DealI, Maddie Michaels, AKA Mrs. Frank “Finance” Michaels, AKA Mrs. Frugalicious, and now matriarch of the Reality TV hit, The Family Frugalicious, have had a surreal last year or so, to say the least.

I didn’t think things could get much for worse than the night my darling, dashing, but (as it turns out) not entirely devoted husband admitted he’d lost all of our savings in a Ponzi scheme. Seeing as he was Channel Three’s wealth-management guru, this news was not only financially devastating, but potentially career-ending as well. After all, who would watch his show, Frank Finance if Frank himself was bankrupt?

Under strict gag orders about our financial bind and obligated to keep up the appearance of what was suddenly our former lifestyle, I couldn’t exactly get a job as a cocktail waitress or really any place where I might be recognized as the formerly well-heeled wife of everyone’s trusted money expert. Seeing as about all I could do was clip coupons to make ends meet, I did just that. I also got what seemed like a brilliant idea and started mrsfrugalicious.com—a website devoted to learning and trading bargain shopping tricks.

I expected a little traffic, and, hopefully a lot of good advice. What I didn’t expect was that my blog would become a viral hit. The next thing I knew, my days were fuller than a coupon notebook as I, completely anonymous bargain hunter Mrs. Frugalicious, sniffed out the best deals. While researching “Frugasm” worthy deals on back-to-school shopping for my growing “Frugarmy” of devoted followers however, I was not only falsely accused of shoplifting by the manager of the Eternally 21, but found myself tracking down her murderer when she dropped dead at my feet. Oh, and somehow, I became the prime suspect, threatening both my true identity and my freedom. One crime solved and a holiday season later, I was knee deep in the Black Friday Eve hoopla at my local big box store when a pallet of toasters fell and crushed an outspoken critic of Mrsfruglicious.com named Contrary Claire. Once again, I found myself sleuthing for sales and murder suspects.

All the while, I was desperately trying to make sense of my personal life. You see, my dear hubby had not only lost the nest egg, but his mind over the most unexpected of beautiful blondes. Needless to say, there was big trouble in Paradise Lost! As it turned out, however, my now soon-to-be-ex was as resourceful as he was sneaky. Somehow, he managed to parlay my emotion and murder filled journey from clueless housewife to coupon clipper extraordinaire into a Reality TV show.

How, you may ask did that happen?

I, myself, wonder what that pitch meeting had to have been like. . .

Everyone loves Mrs. Frugalicious, murder, and comeback stories. What would you say if I could promise you all three. . .?

And why did I agree to what would inevitably become a circus based on anything but my true reality?

The answer, three of them really, was simple. We still had college tuitions to save for and the best interests (or so I thought) of my stepdaughter Eloise and my twin sons FJ and Trent to consider.

So, as I write to you today I am soaking in a few rays on a partly submerged chaise at the sunny, stunning Hacienda de la Fortuna where I am pretending to be happily, blissfully reunited with Frank between takes for an episode of our hit show, The Family Frugalicious. An episode that is supposed to be devoted to discount South-of-the-Border destination weddings.

And, I have just been informed, timeshare sales.

Will there be another murder to solve?

Given the events of the past year, I think I’ll have another (far too liberal) sip of my peach margarita and try not to think about the inevitable body I will trip over before this trip’s end.

After all, what would Reality TV be without things becoming entirely unreal. . .?

You can read more about Maddie aka Mrs. Frugalicious in Sweetheart Deal, the third book in the “Mrs. Frugalicious” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. The first two books in the series are Eternally 21 and Black Thursday.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on November 25 for your chance to win a print copy of SWEETHEART DEAL. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Linda Joffe Hull is the author of two standalone novels, The Big Bang (Tyrus Books) and Frog Kisses (Literary Wanderlust). She has also written three books in the Mrs. Frugalicious Mystery series featuring bargain hunter and sleuth, Maddie Michaels: Eternally 21 (2013, Midnight Ink), Black Thursday (2014, Midnight Ink), and the recently released Sweetheart Deal (2015, Midnight Ink). Linda currently serves on the national board of Mystery Writers of America. She is a longtime member and former board member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and was the 2013 RMFW Writer of the Year. Linda lives in Denver with her husband, daughter, and the various pets her sons left behind when they went off to college. Go Hawkeye Swimming and Diving!!!

Please visit her at www.lindajoffehull.com.

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