A Day in the Life of Kelsey McKenna by Marla Cooper

Terror in Taffeta“Destination wedding planner? What’s that?”

That’s one reaction I get when I tell people what I do for a living. Of course, I don’t hear it nearly as often as I used to, now that turning weddings into big group vacations is all the rage. Seems like everyone has a cousin who’s getting married in Hawaii or a best friend from college who’s planning an intimate little ceremony on the Amalfi Coast.

Lucky for me, these things don’t plan themselves, and I get to be there for one of the most important days in people’s lives at least twenty times a year.

Another response I hear a lot? “Ooooh, you’re so lucky! Can I be your assistant?” Seriously, I get volunteers weekly. I could easily increase my staff to 73 people without even putting an ad on Craigslist. Anyway, for now I’ve got Laurel, and she’s doing a bang-up job of holding down the fort in San Francisco while I’m away.

Oh! The other reaction I get sometimes? “A wedding planner? You must really want to get married.” To which my response is, “Huh?”

I mean, sure, maybe when I meet the right guy I will, but that’s easier said than done when you’re more focused on everyone else’s happily ever after. Doesn’t stop my best friend Brody Marx from trying to fix me up—not to mention every bride I work with. They always seem to know someone in the wedding party who’d be just perfect for me. But if I took them all up on their offers, I’d have as many prospective husbands as I have potential assistants.

As for Brody, he’s a fabulous wedding photographer, and I try to get him hired as often as I can so he can come with me on my adventures. As much time as I spend with virtual strangers, it’s nice to have a friendly face in the crowd—plus he’s good to have around when something goes wrong.

And something always seems to go wrong.

Take this recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, for example. It’s this super charming little artists’ colony in Mexico with cobblestone streets and a gorgeous church overlooking the town plaza. I thought the bridesmaids were just hung over, until one of them pitched over into a big bouquet of flowers. Turns out, her problem was not the kind that could be fixed with a little Pepto-Bismol and a long nap.

But that’s a story for another day. . .


Terror in Taffeta is the first in a new series about destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna, published by Minotaur Books in March, 2016.

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted—she’s dead.

Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

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Meet the author
MARLA COOPER was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting Marla Cooperprofessor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She later became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything. It was while she was ghostwriting a book on destination weddings that she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat. Visit Marla at www.marla-cooper.com, on Facebook, or at her blog, www.chicksonthecase.com

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Terror in Taffeta. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 29, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

83 responses to “A Day in the Life of Kelsey McKenna by Marla Cooper

  1. What an interesting concept for a mystery series. I love the titles and I am sure I will enjoy reading your books.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Pamela! I got the idea when I was ghostwriting a book with a real-life destination wedding planner; I was sitting across from her thinking about all the trouble I could get her fictional counterpart in! 🙂

  2. After making four weddings with no help from the “other side” I can understand the trials and tribulations of this young ladies job. I’d love to get the opportunity to read this interesting new series.

  3. Celest Mattis

    This sounds like a great series in the making. I would love to win a copy of Terror in Taffeta to read. In the meantime I’m putting it on my wish list. Thanks for the chance to win.

  4. Sounds awesome and I can’t wait to read this book

  5. I’ve been fascinated by a wedding planner’s job ever since I saw the romantic comedy, “The Wedding Planner” years ago. So much can happen or go wrong & it’s sure to make a good backdrop for many a fun nurder to figure out.
    Terror in Taffeta sounds like a fun debut to this new series for first time author, Marla Cooper. It’s already gotten great reviews & is on my Goodreads list. I can’t wait to read it.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, BP! I agree; I find it fascinating too. I’m tempted to find a wedding planner and volunteer to help them out. Just think of the story ideas!

  6. Barb Goffman

    The book sounds great. A chance to travel without leaving home. A chance to be involved in a wedding without actually having to be involved in a wedding. Win win all around. Hope I win the book.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks so much, Barb! One of the fun things I get to do is decide where we’re all going next! 🙂

  7. Denise Zendel

    I got sucked in by the title and the sugar skulls on the cover. Also, I’m getting married myself, in July. Pick me, pick me!

    • Marla Cooper

      Awesome, Denise! Where are you getting married? (And glad you like the sugar skulls. I thought they were a nice touch myself!) 🙂

  8. Sounds like a terrific new series! I’m working a sugar skull jigsaw puzzle so the book cover is a big hit with me.

  9. Peggy Hyndman

    Terror in Taffeta sounds great. Thank you for introducing me to another “new-to-me” author.

  10. The background of the book sounds exciting. I’d like to read it! Thanks for a chance to enter.

  11. Our daughter is having a ‘venue’ wedding in Vail Colorado. Is Kelsey available to help her???

    • Marla Cooper

      Absolutely! Just come on in for a consult. 🙂 Congrats on the wedding and thanks for stopping by!

  12. Sounds great. Thank you.

  13. What a great idea for a cozy mystery. Count me in!

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Gram! I’ll mark your RSVP down as yes. Now, do you want salmon, steak, or the vegetarian option? 🙂

  14. Lisa Q. Mathews

    I’m totally engaged–this new series is destined to be a hit! Best wishes to Marla Cooper.

  15. Barbara Hackel

    What a fun new series! Thanks Dru for the introduction. Thanks Marla for the chance to win a copy of Terror in Taffeta-a great title! 🙂

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Barbara! Glad you like the title. I brainstormed approximately a million different titles, and as soon as I got to that one, I was like, “YES!!” 🙂

  16. I love weddings and mysteries! What a great combination for a series. Sounds like there may be some romantic sparks along the way for Kelsey. Looking forward to reading this one!

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Donna! Definitely some sparks in store. I happen to have a mad crush on the love interest I’m introducing in Book Two!

  17. I love wedding planning mysteries! Can’t wait to read this one.

  18. I love the title of this–it sounds like a fun book and I can’t wait to start a new series.

  19. A wedding planner’s job has vast boundaries and apparently solving murders is one. Thanks for the snippet and review. I’m sure this book will find it on my to be read list. robeader53@yahoo.com

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, robeader! I have it on good authority that *most* destination weddings don’t end in murder, but when they do…

  20. Sounds like a fun read! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of Terror in Taffeta. By the way, I love the title!

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks so much, Linda! I was just telling someone above, I brainstormed a lot of different titles, and none of them felt quite right, but as soon as I got to this one, I knew it was ‘The One.’

  21. Charming sounding book. Would love to read it.

  22. I have never heard of a destination wedding planner. A cozy mystery mixed with exotic locales and a new-to-me career sounds like a lot of fun and I will be learning something new.

    • Marla Cooper

      Hi, JoAn! The destination wedding thing is a relatively new trend. They used to just call it eloping! Thanks for stopping by!

  23. Celia Fowler

    I wonder how many things a wedding planner has to do (or is expected to do) outside of her contract — “Make sure none of the bridesmaids gain weight, and, oh, by the way, please solve any crimes that may arise (in Mexico).” I love the cover and how it incorporates the Dia Dos Muertes (day of the dead – my spanish is probably atrocious) skulls with the flowers. I’m looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Marla Cooper

      Celia, yes! The mother of the bride in this book things EVERYTHING is Kelsey’s job! Your comment reminded me of a line from the book (okay, two lines):

      “You’re responsible for problem-solving, Kelsey. Don’t forget that your contract clearly stipulates that you will handle the regular list of duties plus any dreadful, unforeseen situations that might arise in connection to the wedding.”
      Darn, it did say something like that, although I was pretty sure she was paraphrasing; I would never use the word “dreadful” in a contract.

      Great minds and all that…. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  24. elainehroberson

    This sounds like a great book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  25. Doward Wilson

    Thanks for the chance to win. I have this on my TBR list. Great post!

  26. Linda Cundiff

    What a fresh idea for a plot. Am interested in reading this.

  27. 1st in the series and they travel, how fun, bet it will be a great series, would love to win, ty

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Betty! I love that they travel—because that means I “have to” travel to research them! 🙂

  28. Mary Jane H.

    Loved this review Dru Ann, and my thanks to Marla for the giveaway!

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks for stopping by, Mary Jane! What a fun bunch over here at Dru’s Book Musings!

  29. This captivating and unique cozy would be greatly enjoyed. A delightful start to a special series.

  30. Love the cover book sounds perfect for me can’t wait to read it.

  31. Sounds fun – will be interesting to discover if Kelsey has time to enjoy the destinations she travels.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Mary! I do occasionally let her have a few minutes of downtime, but investigating a murder is hard work! 🙂

  32. Another new series to follow and enjoy! So glad to find it. Love the cover design and the tiny sugar skulls – so colorful and eye appealing. Looking forward to getting carried away and enjoying a good mystery.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thank you so much, cheltgirl60! I love Dia de Los Muertos, and I was thrilled to see the little sugar skulls, as well. Hope you enjoy it!

  33. Wedding planner is a great subject matter for a book. Looking forward to reading. Great giveaway, thanks.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Dianne! Everyone I’ve ever known who’s worked in the wedding industry says, “Oh, have I got some stories!” 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  34. Vicki Highley

    This book has been added to my TBR list. Destination weddings and the planning of them what a great book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Terror in Taffeta.

  35. rosemary pfeiffer

    hello there..I just found you on a post from Jenn Mckinlays page and thought I would enter for this book..it sounds like fun and what a better way to find a new author to follow than with winning the first book..have found some of my favs this way..thanks for the chance.

    • Marla Cooper

      That’s terrific, Rosemary! Thanks for letting me know. I hadn’t realized she’d posted about it! Thanks for saying hi!

  36. Looks like a great cozy mystery and funny too Thanks for the chance to win a copy iamabho (at) gmail.com

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Linda! I love books with humor in them, so that’s definitely what I was going for! 🙂

  37. I bet there are so many funny and outrageous stories that happen at weddings! I can’t wait to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway.

    • Marla Cooper

      Thanks, Jen! I agree about the funny and outrageous stories—and I love hearing them! So much inspiration to be found.

  38. Sounds like such a fun series…would love to try!

  39. This sounds like a very good read.

  40. Susan Slovinsky

    Sounds like a fun read. Bet the author had a great time doing the research.

    • Marla Cooper

      It’s true! I had a great time with the research, and a great time writing it, too. Thanks for stopping by!

  41. Terror is Taffeta is a great title! Love the cover. With all that goes into planning a wedding. Nightmare. New author, and series. Looks like a thrilling read. Hope to be reading sooner rather than later. Thanks for the chance to do so

  42. Sounds like a winner to me!!!!
    Thank you for the giveaway…..