What a day with Maggie McDonald by Mary Feliz

scheduled-to-deathDru asked me to share a typical day in the life of Maggie McDonald, sole proprietor of Simplicity Itself Organizing Services and the protagonist of the Maggie McDonald Mystery series. But she’s a take-charge kind of gal, and insisted on telling her own story…

One of the things I like best about being a professional organizer is that there’s no such thing as a typical day. My schedule depends on my clients’ needs and on how I decide to juggle my career with the demands of my life as the mother of two teenaged boys, the servant of two demanding cats and the best pal of a golden retriever with separation anxiety. And then there’s my adorable and supportive husband Max.

At first glance, there’s not much fodder in my life for mysteries, but as an organizer I’m required to rummage in some of the most private areas of any person’s world: their sock and underwear drawers, the darkness under the bathroom sink, and the furthest recesses of their kitchens, basements, attics, and garage lofts. That cliché about skeletons in the closet? That’s nothing. In contrast with the secrets stashed in an underwear drawer, a closet is very nearly public.

To forestall awkwardness, I insist my clients delve into their storage spaces and remove evidence of any secrets. I don’t want to find illegal drugs, weapons, or items that would make me blush.

That strategy doesn’t always work. A young woman once hired me to wrangle her wardrobe. Deep in the recesses of her closest, I found a rusty can stuffed with shoe-cleaning rags. I set it in the discard pile to be reviewed by my client.

golden-retriever-dogWeeks later, she phoned me in a panic. Did I put that can away? Transfer the contents to another container? Toss it? I reminded her she’d thrown it away herself. I make recommendations, but I never discard anything that doesn’t belong to me. For good reason. The young woman’s beau was a heroin addict and she’d deep-sixed a valuable quantity of his drug of choice. She dumped the boyfriend and added custom storage to his side of the closet.

On another occasion, a young lawyer hired me to help his elderly father evaluate his organizational needs. I phoned to make an appointment, but no one answered. After several tries, I stopped by to leave my business card. As I stepped up on the porch, I saw the curtain twitch and I could hear someone moving inside. I knocked, but there was no answer. The house was centrally located, so it was easy for me to drop by. I did, frequently, sometimes writing notes on the back of my card. Until one day, as I turned to go, the metal flap on the mail box stirred and a voice whispered, “Hello.”

I crouched on the doormat and peered inside. “I’m Maggie. Are you Walter?”

The flap quivered, but the voice didn’t respond.

“Your son hoped I could help you organize your things a bit.”

“Go away. I don’t need help.”

After a few more conversations through the mail flap, including the time I left a plate of chocolate-chip cookies on the mat, I was invited inside his immaculate home.

address-to-dieWalter poured tea and made cinnamon toast, cut in triangles. He told me that he’d initially thought I was a spy for his son, who urged him to move to senior living and sell his home and all of its furnishings. But Walter liked being alone, relished the company of two cats, and had friends in the neighborhood. Though his wife had died ten years earlier, he cherished the house filled with memories of the life they’d shared. He had no desire to move. Weary of arguments, he’d told his son he was welcome to visit only if he didn’t mention real estate or homes for the elderly.

“So what convinced you to open the door to me?”

“You’re stubborn. You remind me of my late wife. Feisty. Helena would have loved you.”

We created a plan to visit weekly over tea. Fighting off the cats, who stole pencils and ate paper, Walter paid his bills while I filed receipts. On every invoice I sent I told Walter’s son that his father had little need for my services. But the son insisted I continue. Walter and I became good friends, laughing over tea and shared stories.

Most of my clients are less colorful than Walter and the drug-addict’s girlfriend, but no two are alike. Individually tailoring my organizational systems and finding strategies that work in practice as well as they do in theory is what takes my days in unexpected directions.

Truth be told, discovering the occasional dead body can also throw my schedule for a loop. But that, as they say, is another story.

SCHEDULED TO DEATH is the second book in the Maggie McDonald mystery series published by Lyrical Underground, January 2017.

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer.

Maggie McDonald is hoping to raise the profile of her new Orchard View organizing business via her first high-profile client. Professor Lincoln Sinclair may be up for a Nobel Prize, but he’s hopeless when it comes to organizing anything other than his thoughts. For an academic, he’s also amassed more than his share of enemies. When Sinclair’s fiancée is found dead on the floor of his home laboratory—electrocuted in a puddle of water—Maggie takes on the added task of finding the woman’s murderer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list—Kill Maggie McDonald.

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Meet the author
mary-felizMary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Connect with Mary at www.maryfeliz.com

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Address to Die For and Scheduled to Death, either e-book (open to everyone) or print (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway ends January 19, 2017. Good luck everyone!

42 responses to “What a day with Maggie McDonald by Mary Feliz

  1. Barbara Hackel

    New author and series for me. It sounds like something I need to read! Thanks Dru Ann for today’s post. Thanks Mary for the chance to win your books. 😊

  2. This is a new author to me so I would love to try her books! Thanks for the chance! lindaherold999@gmail.com

  3. We could sure use Maggie in getting FIL’s apartment dealt with so it can be sold. Toss my name in the magic hat please Dru. If I win maybe I’ll pick up some hints on how to sort out and finish up clearing the apartment out.

  4. This would be absolutely amazing! I would be really happy.

  5. Oh how exciting….a new author for me to try and a new exciting series to read! I love the awesome cover of this new book! I so enjoy reading cozy mysteries with dogs and kitties in them…..my favorite kind! Really looking forward to this new series! Thank you so much dearest Dru Ann and Mary Feliz for the chance to win! God bless both of you awesome girls!!!

  6. This is a new to me series. I can’t wait to read and may be I’ll get some hints on how to organize my own house.

  7. I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this one. Any book with a Golden Retriever in it is my kind of book. Maggie is a great character…I could use her organizational skills in my life!!

  8. I could use a personal organizer. Both books sound great. Thanks for the chance.

  9. Sounds interesting – and maybe inspiring. Unfortunately, organizing takes a back seat to reading! Sure would love to win.

  10. I think many of us could use the services of a professional organizer! Thanks for the chance to win.

  11. Looking forward to reading this series. Thanks for the chance.

  12. I LOVED the first book in this series! The family is so cute and they live in a really neat little town with very fun characters. Maggie’s teenage sons are typical boys but it’s obvious they have been raised right with manners and respect. I could go on and on. I’ve really been looking forward to this release. Thanks Dru Ann. And thank you Mary for your hard work and of course the giveaway! Keep it up!

  13. What a great post. 🙂 This second book in the series sounds like a lot of fun.

  14. I like the idea of a professional organizer and would like to learn more. Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway!

  15. Thank you all! Bec, I hope you love the second book as much as the first. Being typical teenagers, Maggie’s sons, Brian and David, might need to create some havoc so they don’t appear too perfect! And we could all use a personal organizer at our beck and call–me more than anyone. I’ve got this utility closet I’d unleash her on in an instant to maximize useful storage in a tiny place. I’m thrilled that so many of you would like to read the books. If you don’t win a freebie, please consider requesting it from your local library or picking up a copy of your own. Love to all!

  16. Maggie sounds great! I would want her for a friend as long she didn’t try to organize me too much.

  17. Brian Frauenknecht

    This sounds like a great series and I would love to win both of these books. I have seen the first book out there, just have not had a chance to purchase it yet and would love to. Thanks for the chance to win Dru!

  18. A wonderful series and captivating novel which I would enjoy. Thanks for your giveaway.

  19. Organizing specialist? I need her. There’s no murder to solve, just a mess in my sewing room.

  20. elainehroberson

    Sounds like a great new series. Thanks for a chance to win a print copy.

  21. Thanks for the introduction to Mary Feliz and her character, Maggie McDonald. I am not familiar with Mary and will definitely be checking her books out. I would love to have a print copy if my name is pulled.

  22. Sounds like another good series, thanks for the chance to win.

  23. conniepsaunders

    Sounds great. I appreciate the chance to win!

  24. Address to Die For and Scheduled to Death are wonderful books! I highly recommend them ~

  25. Thanks for introducing me to another author. I’d like to try this series.

  26. Pauline Barlow

    Do I ever need to read this new author (to me) with her organizer. Perhaps I could get some good tips from Maggie. Do “the two demanding cats” help with the mystery?

  27. What a delightful anecdote about the older man and her visits.

  28. This sounds like a great new series and author to me. Book sounds interesting, maybe I can learn some tips reading about a professional organizer.

  29. Doward Wilson

    Sounds like a series I want to read.

  30. New series and this sounds very interesting. Delightful premise and cover art. Excited to read and get good organizational tips. And a mystery featuring a family instead of a single young lady looking for the ‘right man’ – different and it sounds like it will be enjoyable getting to know Maggie.

  31. This sounds interesting, wonder if I could learn a new way to organize my stuff.

  32. Kaye L Killgore

    New author and series, looks very interesting.

    • Thanks so much, all! If you haven’t read the first one, you might want to start with Address to Die For, which introduces Maggie and her pals!

      Della, paperbacks are available at all the online outlets…or you can order one from your bookstore or request that your library purchase a copy.

  33. Perhaps I’ll learn some organizing secrets while reading the books.

  34. Della Williamson

    Loved the post. A new author/series is always so exciting. Has a great premise. A place for everything. And everything in it’s place. And the doggie side kick. The is a must read. so hope I can start sooner. Rather than later with this series. I prefer hardcopy.

  35. What a great looking series. I love the happy Golden on the cover of each book. Thanks for the chance to win ’em.

  36. Love this series. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway!

  37. New author and series for me. I could use some organizing!!

  38. Vicki Highley

    Thanks for introducing me to another new author and a very interesting book and series.

  39. **** WINNER ****
    of Address to Die For & Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz is cheltgirl60.