Tag Archives: Lyrical Underground

A day in the life of Maggie McDonald by Mary Feliz

Decluttering can be deadly

If you’ve been living on this planet, or even in a nearby solar system, you’ve been barraged by messages from news outlets, best sellers, and talk shows about decluttering, downsizing, and tidying up. They may have inspired you or, more likely, made you feel like a hoarder, a slob, or worse.

Rest assured, you’re probably neither. As a human being, you’re subject to the laws of physics, among them those involving entropy. Entropy is just a science-y word for the fact that disorder has a way of winning out over order. Always. It’s the law.

For me, that means job security. I’m a professional organizer, and I’m here to bust a few myths. Decluttering won’t make you happier, thinner, or more successful. It won’t make your teenager confide in you or solve a problem with a cheating spouse. If you’re seriously allergic to dust mites, it might make you healthier in the long run, but as you dig through your stuff, you’re going to inhale a lot of dust. It won’t be good.

Marie Kondo’s blockbuster The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing makes a case for the sheer joy of tidying up, as if it’s a new designer drug. It’s not. Tidying up is tedious. It’s hard work, it takes too long, and it’s relentless.

So why hire an organizer?

Because I can shorten the process for you. I can help you focus on your goals and keep you from getting sidetracked by your high school yearbook while you’re clearing your bookcase. I can prevent you from diving into an Internet black hole to discover what your prom date is doing now.

Once you’ve done the hard part of sorting, organizing, and paring your belongings to only what you need and want, I can set up a system to help you keep it organized with as little effort as possible. I can get rid of all the items you no longer want in a jiffy, no matter how bulky those items are.

Will I make you get rid of your grandmother’s collection of ornamental china? Or your childhood teddy bear? Or that pile of decaying rubber bands that you just might need one day? I’ll probably encourage you to toss the rubber bands. They tend to rot with age and become useless. But you can keep whatever you need to keep. My job is to help you decide, stay on task, and find a great way to store the items you’d like to preserve.

Will I judge you? Never. Talk shows and flashy magazines might make you feel guilty about your clutter, and many shops will urge you to ease that guilt with the purchase of matching hangers and nesting storage boxes. But I’m here to help however I can. For instance, if you love your grandmother’s figurines, I can help you find a way to safely display them, dust free, instead of keeping them stashed in a box in the attic. Or if you’re tired of packing them up with every move, I can help you sell them.

Many potential clients avoid calling an organizer because they fear what will happen when the expert goes home. Let’s look at that. If you’re like most of my clients, I’ll work with you as long as you’re willing to pay me and until you’ve got a firm handle on an organizing system that you understand and can use.

But if you’re like most people, your dedication to your new system will wear off. Life will intervene, and you’ll choose to comfort a crying child instead of sorting your bills. Or you’ll call 911 and get out of the house when a fire starts instead of folding all the clean laundry and putting it away. Life happens. Physics happens. It’s the law.

And that, again, means job security for me. If I’ve done my job well, I hope you’ll call me back from time to time to restore order and give your system a tune up. We can look at how things have changed in your life and what challenges you have. Maybe you have a puppy who likes to chew and you can’t store things on low shelves any more. Or you’ve had shoulder surgery and can’t reach any of those pretty hats you stashed on a high shelf. We’ll resolve those problems together to make things easier.

Organizers aren’t magic. But we can help quickly and without judgment. For some of us, receiving help without judgment is a mystical experience, but decluttering won’t solve all your problems. In fact, for some of my clients it can be downright deadly, but that’s another story.

To find an organizer in your area, consult the National Association of Professional Organizers at www.napo.net.


You can read more about Maggie in Dead Storage, the third book in the “Maggie McDonald” mystery series.

As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Maggie finds herself in the middle of a political hot-button issue when she discovers that only witness is an undocumented teen. Should he come forward and risk deportation or stay mum and let bad guys run amok? Or can Maggie come up with a unique solution before putting her friends, family, and herself at risk?

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About the author
Mary 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. The third novel in the series, Dead Storage, was released July 18, and is available in all eBook formats. Paperbacks can be ordered from any bookstore and online.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Dead Storage by Mary Feliz

Dead Storage by Mary Feliz is the third book in the “Maggie McDonald” mystery series. Publisher: Lyrical Underground, coming July 18, 2017

As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Now Maggie must devise a strategy to sort through secrets and set him free—before she’s tossed into permanent storage next . . .

When a friend become a prime suspect in a murder investigation, Maggie uses her organizational skills for decluttering the situation to clear his name.

The mystery in this book was nicely done with enough intrigue and curiosity as to how all will fare at the conclusion of this evenly-paced drama that was hard to put down. The author did a great job in providing a suspect pool that was so varied that it kept me guessing until I had that aha moment and knew who was behind it all. The narrative was visually descriptive keeping me immersed in all that was happening with all the characters who played pivotal roles that would eventually lead to the revelation and apprehension of the killer. I enjoyed the path that was taken to tell this story with an underlying message that added to this tale. Bonus to me was the organization tips at the beginning of each chapter, some of which I follow. This was a good read and I can’t wait to see what adventure awaits Maggie and her friends.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A day in the life with Amy Simms by J.R. Ripley

Hi, I’m Amy Simms and, if you don’t know me yet, let me fill you in. I’m CEO of a multimillion dollar, multinational corporation specializing in leveraged buyouts when I am not busy moonlighting as a crime-solving super sleuth. Okay, a slight exaggeration. There are no millions (unless I win the lottery-fingers crossed!), and the only thing multinational about my business are the few products I import. The last thing I leveraged was the trowel I used to remove a rock from the hole I was digging to plant a beautyberry bush. And super sleuth? Well, I have stumbled upon a dead body or two here in the Town of Ruby Lake. Not that I wanted to. Never my fault. I like to think I helped bring a killer or three to justice, not that our chief of police, Jerry Kennedy, would agree with that statement or ever thank me. I believe his less than appreciative attitude towards me has something to do with that one date we had in high school.

The truth is, I own a small retail store catering to the bird, bee and bloom loving crowd, aptly called Birds & Bees. You love birds, bees and blooms don’t you? Sure you do. So come on in and say hello, buy a little bag of birdseed to take home and feed the birds in your yard. Who couldn’t use a little birdseed in their life?

My employees are my mom, my best friend and a crotchety septuagenarian I like to call Esther the Pester. She prefers to be called Ms. Pilaster or just plain Esther. Personally, I think Esther the Pester has a nice ring to it, but why quibble? Esther was already living in the house when I bought it. She has a lease so we’re stuck with each other. She did once accuse me of murder in front of the police no less, but I’ve made my peace with that. Why? Like I said, she has a lease. Besides, I was standing in my own house with bloody weapon in my hands. I couldn’t blame Esther for jumping to the wrong conclusion.

It is summertime now in Ruby Lake, a real jewel of a town, nestled in western North Carolina. This is peak tourist time, if not peak bird watching time. Like most locales, we get our biggest numbers of birds in the spring and fall migrations. Not that there isn’t plenty of avian activity the rest of the year. There is. On a regular basis, I spot bluebirds, titmice, goldfinches, house finches, mockingbirds, cardinals (North Carolina’s state bird) and more. And that’s without ever lifting my binoculars to my eyes! Then there are the special treats. Like now, for instance. The front yard is aflutter with summer birds, including a dozen or more ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Birds & Bees occupies the first floor of an old Queen Anne Victorian (is there such a thing as a new Queen Anne Victorian?) located on Lake Shore Drive, our town’s main road. The second floor is occupied by Esther and another renter. My mother and I take up the top floor. I normally open the store at nine. Prior to that, Mom and I breakfast upstairs.

Next, I head downstairs. After making sure the store is shipshape, I step outside to check the bird feeders and refill them as necessary. That’s not as quick and simple as it sounds. I’ve got two hanging tube feeders, a hopper feeder, a bell feeder, a thistle sock and birdbaths galore. I rinse the basins out and top them up with fresh water every morning with the garden hose. If you want to attract birds to your yard, you need more than food sources. You need plenty of close-by shelter and fresh water, so there is always some gardening to do too.

In the winter, I also hang a couple of suet cages. If you aren’t familiar with suet, those cages aren’t for capturing the occasional wild suet, they’re for hanging suet cakes, which I generally only put out in the coldest months. Held together with such gooey delights as peanut butter and lard, the stuff tends to melt when it’s warm. Besides, there’s lots of other summertime food available for the birds. The neighborhood woodpeckers love suet although other, such as chickadees and nuthatches, seem equally fond of it.

I’m delighted today to see so many hummingbirds in the yard and not just because all the feeding and bathing birds warms my heart (okay, it attracts customers to our store, too) but my friend and former college professor, a real mentor of sorts when it comes to birds, is coming to town today. His name is Professor Mason Livingston and he is a world-class expert on hummingbirds. In fact, Mason is on a tour promoting his latest book, Hummingbirds and Their Habits. My friend Rose Smith and her daughter, Amber, will be hosting the book signing at Bookarama, our local bookstore.

Good friends, good books, cute little birdies…what could go wrong? Surely not murder. I mean, not again. Right?


You can read more about Amy in To Kill a Hummingbird, the fourth book in the “Bird Lover’s” mystery series.

For Amy Simms, owner of Birds & Bees, nothing is more important than impressing her old professor, but this odd bird is about to fall to earth . . .

When her favorite ornithology professor comes calling, Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms hangs six hummingbird feeders around the shop to welcome Professor Livingston with a flock of his favorite flying creatures. But Amy soon finds that the sugar water in the feeders brings more than a swarm of hummingbirds. It also attracts murder.

Professor Livingston is just as friendly as Amy remembers, but something seems to be troubling him. When Amy pays him a visit that night, she finds the professor slumped over a table with a pair of scissors buried in his neck. And standing over his body is Rose Smith, the local bookseller, who claims she killed him. But while the police believe they have a bird in hand, Amy thinks the real killer may still be in the bush . . .

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Meet the author
J.R. Ripley is the critically acclaimed author of multiple series and currently pens A Bird Lover’s Mystery Series, the Maggie Miller Mysteries and the Kitty Karlyle gourmet pet chef mysteries. J.R. is a member of the American Birding Association, the American Bird Conservancy, and is an Audubon Ambassador with the National Audubon Society. Before becoming a full-time author, J.R. worked at a multitude of jobs including: archaeologist, cook, factory worker, copywriter, technical writer, editor, musician, entrepreneur and window washer. You may visit jrripley.net for more information or visit JR on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

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Carter McDade and when the dream job becomes a nightmare by Laura Bradford

Fiona Renoir is the bane of my existence. Truly. She took what was my dream hair/make up job at the local theater house and turned it into a nightmare. She’s difficult, ornery, entitled, and, well, take your pick.

However, with the exception of my best friend, Tobi Tobias (whom I tell everything), and her grandfather, Stu (if you met him, you’d know why), I’ve bitten my tongue and kept my feelings for Fiona to myself. But she pushed me over the cliff the day she was cast as Rapunzel and refused to let me color her hair blonde. She told me to “just get a wig.”

A wig, can you believe it?!?!?

I wish I could chalk up her lunacy to some sort of mental breakdown, but I can’t. Fiona Renoir refused my hair dressing prowess for one reason and one reason only: to be cruel.

So, to make a long story short, I kind of unleashed six months of pent-up anger on her the other day. And trust me when I say, I held nothing back.

I told her she was a shrew.
I told her no one liked her.
I told her she’d make a lousy Rapunzel.
Et cetera.
Et cetera.
Et cetera.

To say my little hissy fit felt a-mazing would be the understatement of epic proportions.

But here’s the thing; when I finished my tirade, I turned around to find her uncle (aka my boss) standing not more than a foot away. And, yes, he heard. Every. Last. Word.

Yup. My days are numbered at the theater. Unless I can figure out a way to neutralize Fiona. . .


You can read more about Carter in 30 Second Death, the second book in the “Tobi Tobias” mystery series.

To help an old friend, Tobi Tobias gets a third-rate thespian a part in a commercial, and learns that in the advertising business, bad acting can lead to murder . . .

When Tobi Tobias opened her own advertising agency, Carter McDade was there for her every step of the way. A brilliant hairdresser, Carter has just landed his dream project: doing hair and makeup for a theatrical production of Rapunzel. But the dream turns into a nightmare when he runs into Fiona Renoir, a cruel, talentless starlet who won’t let Carter touch a hair on her head.

To get Fiona out of Carter’s hair, Tobi hires the difficult actress for a bit part in her latest commercial. But true to character, Fiona is a terror on set, and Tobi is starting to think she’s made the biggest mistake of her life. But things get even worse when Fiona drops dead in the hairdresser’s chair, and the only suspect is the man left holding the tainted hair dye, Carter McDade. And unless Tobi can prove his innocence, he’ll never do hair in this town again.

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About the author
Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at: @Bradfordauthor.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle/Nook copy of 30 Second Death. The giveaway ends July 13, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Never a dull moment in the life of Jill Gardner by Lynn Cahoon

Murder comes to South Cove – Special Edition

That should be Darla’s by-line for her story in the South Cove Gazette.

Okay, maybe its mystery writer comes to South Cove. Nathan Pike, who was featured as Coffee, Books, and More’s Mystery Author guest a couple of years ago, has decided to come back to South Cove to finish writing his newest creation.

I’m kind of excited. I’m a book nerd, but I’ve never seen an author create the stories they bring to the world. Well, I’ll be excited as long as he doesn’t park his butt in one of CBM’s chairs and try for free coffee all day. Especially on my shift. I like my quiet. It gives me time to read. I’m Jill Gardner, and I own the coffee shop-slash-bookstore here in South Cove. I say own and not managed, because my aunt does all the managing stuff. At least that’s what she tells me.

Somehow she tricked me into going back to school for my MBA. When I finished law school, I said never again. But you know what happens when you say never or always. Your plans get changed. I’m enjoying the classes and the discussions, even though Bakerstown College isn’t one of the top business schools in the country. The information I need to run the bookstore is all I need, not a referral to a high-pressure company job.

One of the kids who is in the class cracks me up. Deek’s a perpetual student and hasn’t had any real business experience.

Anyway, the mayor told Nathan that he could have full access at the police department and Greg. He’s really not looking forward to the month. Greg didn’t like Nathan the first time they met. How is he going to deal with the guy in his office day after day?

And Esmeralda’s being weirder than normal. Although how can you tell with a fortune teller? I’m just glad she works for Greg and not me. I’m not sure I could deal with all the woo woo.

I’ve got to go get ready for the party. Bill and Mary Sullivan, they run South Cove B&B. And they are hosting a meet and greet for Nathan tonight. I’m taking advantage of the impromptu party and going home to dress up. Or as dressed up as I get.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you soon. I’m sure Toby can help you pick out a book or two to take home with your coffee. In South Cove, we’re all about making visitors feel comfortable.

Jill


You can read more about Jill in Hospitality and Homicide, the 8th book in the “Tourist Trap” mystery series.

A visit to the serene coastal town of South Cove, California, could make anybody feel refreshed and inspired. But as Jill Gardner-owner of Coffee, Books, and More-discovers, some folks won’t live to tell about it . . .

Mystery author Nathan Pike checked into South Cove Bed & Breakfast to compose a compelling novel, not commit murder. But things get real when a rival B&B owner ends up exactly like the victim in his draft-undeniably dead. As Nathan prepares to complete his magnum opus behind bars, Jill’s the only one who can prove his innocence and deconstruct the plot of a twisted killer!

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About the author
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. LynnCGuidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also pens the recently released, Cat Latimer series. A Story To Kill and Fatality in Firelight are available in mass market paperback.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com.

Connect with Lynn on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle or Nook copy of Hospitality and Homicide. The giveaway ends May 20, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Dr. Greer Dobbins by Amy M. Reade

the-house-on-candlewick-laneEver since my daughter, Ellie, was kidnapped right in front of her school, life for me has been anything but normal.

I wish I had words to describe the heavy, haunting despair that fills my heart when I think what she’s going through right now. She’s only five years old. The last I saw her, she was walking across the street to Dottie’s house. Dottie is my neighbor, and most days she puts Ellie on the bus with her own children. When the school called to confirm that Ellie was absent, I didn’t think much of it at first because the school has made that mistake before. But as the minutes ticked by and no one in the school could find Ellie, I started to panic. And so did Dottie, when I called to make sure she had seen Ellie getting on the bus.

And once the horrifying truth of Ellie’s disappearance began to dawn on everyone, time simultaneously rushed forward and stood still. I couldn’t catch my breath, my head spun round dizzily.

After many long hours of gut-wrenching worry and several clues that point to Scotland, the land of my birth, I’ve arrived in Edinburgh. My sister came to stay with me, ostensibly to provide moral support (though sometimes she’s more of a hindrance than a help). Her boyfriend showed up with her. He seems nice, but he brought along some rather startling baggage of his own and I’m not entirely sure I can trust him.

My days in Edinburgh are taken up with endless frustrating and disheartening attempts to find Ellie. She’s got to be here somewhere, but Edinburgh is a big city. And it’s ancient, with hidden alleys, winding streets where someone can seemingly disappear without a trace, and nooks and crannies around every corner. In other words, a perfect place to hide.

Of course the police are involved, but leads have been elusive. I keep in constant touch with the police in Edinburgh, but I can’t sit around and wait for them to find Ellie. While they work on their end, I’ve been scouring the city, from tourist sites to playgrounds and parks, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. But so far no luck.

I know the time is coming closer when I’m going to have to face my past. I fear that the key to finding Ellie may lie in the house on Candlewick Lane, where my former in-laws live. The old house, on a farm outside Edinburgh, fills me with terror for reasons that reach back to the early days of my marriage to Neill Gramercy.

It’s all very overwhelming. All I can do is hope and pray that I find Ellie before it’s too late.


You can read more about Dr. Dobbins in The House On Candlewick Lane, the first book in the “Malice” series.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

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About the author
AmyMReadeUSA Today bestselling author Amy M. Reade is a recovering lawyer living in southern New Jersey. The House on Candlewick Lane is the first of The Malice Novels, Amy’s gothic suspense series set in the United Kingdom. The second book in the series, Highland Peril, will be released in the fall of 2017. She is currently at work on the third book. Amy is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade, all standalones of gothic suspense. She loves reading, cooking, and traveling.

Connect with Amy at amymreade.com, her blog, Goodreads, Amazon author page, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

The House on Candlewick Lane is available at online retailers.

Meet Tobi Tobias by Laura Bradford

death-in-advertisingYou’ve seen the movies where the hero (or heroine!) is hanging on to the side of a cliff by a fingernail, their demise looming below them like a veritable certainty.

Yeah, well, that’s been my life the past six months. Only instead of staring down at a canyon, I’ve been staring at a pile of bills on my desk that is multiplying faster than any bunnies I’ve ever seen. In an attempt to get rid of them (since I can’t pay them), I’ve tried to return them, burn them, hide them, and make them out and out disappear. But my efforts never last for long.

In a word, I’m screwed.

Technically, I suppose you might say my agency—the Tobi Tobias Advertising Agency—is what’s screwed, but since advertising has been my dream since I was old enough to understand the concept of a commercial, I’m screwed, as well. Because without my job, I’m lost. And, likely, homeless.

Ahhhh, yes, I. . .Tobi Tobias. . .am really living the life, aren’t I?

Fortunately for the hero (or heroine!) in those aforementioned movies, a hand always seems to appear at just the right moment to save the day. For me, that hand belongs to Andy Zander, co-owner of Zander Closet Company.

You see, Zander Closet Company isn’t doing a whole lot better than Tobi Tobias Advertising Agency. They need the kind of slogan that will stick in customers’ heads. . .and I need to create the kind of slogan that will stick in the heads of business types looking to up their game.

Sounds like a match made in Heaven, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I thought so, too.

Until my slogan (which was pretty darn clever if I must say so myself) became a blueprint for murder. . .

Yup, I’m really screwed now.


You can read more about Tobi in DEATH IN ADVERTISING, first book in the Tobi Tobias mystery series.

When Tobi Tobias decided to open her own ad agency, having to moonlight in a pet shop wasn’t part of her vision . . . of course, neither was murder.

Sometimes when opportunity knocks, the door you open leads to a closet. That’s certainly the case for Tobi, whose weekends spent cleaning cages in her best friend’s pet shop may soon be over. She’s just landed her first big break—Zander Closet Company needs a catchy campaign slogan ASAP, and Tobi thinks she’s got the right hook to knock ’em dead: “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.”

But when a real dead body topples out of a showcase closet, she’s about to discover there is such a thing as bad publicity. To save her fledgling business and not get killed by the competition, Tobi takes on a new pet project: solving the murder. But with a stressed-out parrot as the only witness to the crime, Tobi will really have to wing it to put the cagey killer behind bars.

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About the author
Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook at laurabradfordauthor. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at @Bradfordauthor.

All comments are welcomed.

Death in Advertising is available wherever you buy E-books (a trade paperback is also available).

My Musing ~ Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford

death-in-advertisingDeath in Advertising by Laura Bradford is the first book in the NEW “Tobi Tobias” mystery series. Publisher: Lyrical Underground, February 7, 2017

When Tobi Tobias decided to open her own ad agency, having to moonlight in a pet shop wasn’t part of her vision . . . of course, neither was murder.

Sometimes when opportunity knocks, the door you open leads to a closet. That’s certainly the case for Tobi, whose weekends spent cleaning cages in her best friend’s pet shop may soon be over. She’s just landed her first big break—Zander Closet Company needs a catchy campaign slogan ASAP, and Tobi thinks she’s got the right hook to knock ’em dead: “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.”

But when a real dead body topples out of a showcase closet, she’s about to discover there is such a thing as bad publicity. To save her fledgling business and not get killed by the competition, Tobi takes on a new pet project: solving the murder. But with a stressed-out parrot as the only witness to the crime, Tobi will really have to wing it to put the cagey killer behind bars.

We are introduced to Tobi Tobias who struggles to maintain her business until she get the lucky chance to come up with a winning slogan for a client. Who knew that the slogan would foretell where his body is found and it is this incident that propels our heroine to do all that she can do to save her business.

I love this book that immediately grabbed my attention and was hard to put down. I like how the mystery was set-up giving me enough clues to keep me intrigued in all that was happening on the pages. The narrative was perfectly pitched and visually descriptive in how this story was told as Tobi set forth on solving this murder. Tobi is a likable heroine surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters that included her friend/boss, her upstairs neighbor and her adorable grandfather. One aspect that I like as I was reading was the fact that Tobi did not snoop but rather asked questions that lead to the answers that she needed and it was that approached that enhanced how well this fast-paced drama was presented. With engaging conversations and a feel-good atmosphere, this was a great read and I look forward to reading the next book in this delightfully charming new series that is a welcome addition to the cozy mystery genre.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from publisher via NetGalley.

A day in the life of Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn by June Shaw

a-fatal-romanceHi, I’m Sunny Taylor, and I live within the unique bayou region and culture that make up south Louisiana. One day I might spend hours preparing seafood gumbo and creamy pecan pralines for the Gumbo Kitchen, our small town’s soup kitchen for the needy. On most days if I’m lucky I’m busting down walls or hammering wood to remodel a house into someone’s dream home. I notice details since I worked in the lingerie department of Sugar Ledge’s only upscale ladies shop, where I quickly recognized who might need a B cup or EE one for a bra. I could also tell who went around sans underwear, something I did not want to imagine or consider. I have since lost that job.

My attention to detail became an attribute to Twin Sisters Remodeling & Repair, the business my sister Eve and I started a few months ago, and I desperately need to succeed. Any severe thunderstorm might cause more troubles for my roof that I urgently require money to replace. Paying attention to detail also causes me to focus on problems, like why is that widow wearing a bright red sheath and matching spikey heels to carry her husband’s ashes into the church? She killed him, I figured right after she tripped and dumped him all over the floor. There was no bump in the carpet she had just stepped on, I’d seen. And her reaction to me after I offered to vacuum him up was horrible. Actually, I first sang a few bars of “Jingle Bells,” but that was just because I was afraid at first—a problem that started when I was eight and somebody murdered my oldest sister in front of me. I had no idea what to do while I waited for Mom and other people to come and see about her. If I’d cried, I knew I would never stop, so I sang. “Happy Birthday” and Christmas carols were the only songs I knew.

I’ve struggled for years to get rid of that affliction just like I’ve worked to overcome my difficulties with dyslexia. Early teachers and classmates thought I was only stupid until one wonderful teacher recognized my symptoms and told other teachers how I could learn best. She also let me know that Churchill, da Vinci, Edison, and Einstein all shared the same trait. Still, I get Eve to check any bids I develop, and so far they have all been correct. Eve is joining me with a remodeling project and trying to prove I wasn’t the killer after many people heard me arguing with the next person who died. Eve also wants me to find romance again. She really wouldn’t want that if she only knew that the one man who has finally interested me is the man she believes is her soulmate.

Hello, my name is Eve Vaughn. I look exactly like Sunny except I like to wear a little more makeup than she does, and I prefer my clothes slightly snugger and dressier. I have been married three times to wonderful men who still believe they should shower me with finery although I don’t think that’s necessary. Having my first husband give me my daughter made my life complete. I had lived out of town quite a while and don’t have quite the financial need that my sister does. When we aren’t working on houses, which we learned to do with our father, I am painting, although not very good, or working out at the gym. Sometimes we visit our loving mother, who insisted she live at the attractive retirement home once her rheumatoid arthritis got so bad, and now her Chat and Nap buddies can’t wait to give Sunny and me advice on murder and love.

While we try to work hard and stay out of trouble, I am waiting for my daughter in Houston who did like I did—got married really young—to give birth. I also need to admit I am rather forward with men, but I’ve met this man that I’m certain is the one I have looked for all my life. Now if only I could get my twin to also find a man she could love, I would be thrilled. And I need to stay away from a killer while proving neither my sister nor I am one.


A FATAL ROMANCE is the first book in the NEW Twin Sisters mystery series published by Lyrical Underground, January 2017.

Fixing up homes can be tricky.
Finding true love can be even trickier.
But finding a killer can be plain old deadly . . .

Twin sister divorcees Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn have had their fill of both heartaches and headaches. So when they settle down in the small Louisiana town of Sugar Ledge and open a remodeling and repair company, they think they’ve finally found some peace—even though Eve is still open for romance while Sunny considers her own heart out-of-business.

Then their newest customer ends up face-down in a pond, and his widow is found dead soon after. Unfortunately, Sunny was witnessed having an unpleasant moment with the distraught woman, and suspicion falls on the twins. And when an attempt is made on Eve’s life, they find themselves pulled into a murder mystery neither knows how to navigate.

With a town of prying eyes on them, and an unknown culprit out to stop them, Sunny and Eve will have to depend on each other like never before if they’re going to clip a killer in the bud.

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About the author
June Shaw grew up sharing swamps and bayous with alligators that don’t take up much room. She has written the highly praised Cealie Gunther cozy mystery series, books of many others genres, and now begins her Twin Sisters series with A Fatal Romance for Lyrical Press. To be published on January 24, it is available for pre-order now and will be followed in the fall by Dead on the Bayou and then Saving Mom. Follow June at juneshaw.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate. The giveaway ends January 25, 2017. Good luck everyone!