Bargain Books to Grab Right Now!

Last night I needed to wind down, and I grabbed a book in a “new to me” series by Leighann Dobbs–A Spirited Tale in her Mystic Notch Mysteries series, with the main character a bookseller in a small New Hampshire town. Am really enjoying this, and having no problem getting into it even though it’s book #2 in the series. I like nothing better than to find a new mystery series–especially when there are already more out there to read once I finish the first one. Even better, it’s on sale right now for 99 cents in all e-formats. And besides everything else good about the book so far, I love the cover, and have already fallen in love with the rest of the covers in this Mystic Notch Cozy series. If this piques your interest, here’s the link to the Amazon Sale Page for A Spirited Tale and a brief synopsis:ladast

A Spirited Tail
By Leighann Dobbs
A dead body, a mysterious library, a secretive ghost… Can Willa put the pieces together to solve a 50-year-old murder mystery? Fans of cozy mysteries and the paranormal will enjoy this entertaining page-turner from a USA Todaybestselling author.

But that’s not the only great bargain I have to mention today. I learned that the second book in the Brandy Alexander Mysteries by Shelly Fredman is also on sale right now for 99 cents. I paid full price for this book when it came out–in fact, I’ve paid full price for each book in the series–and felt I was getting a great deal at the regular $2.99 price. So, you can imagine what I think when I can recommend No Such Thing as a Good Blind Date–Book #2 in the Brandy Alexander Mysteries at 99 cents.  Again, here’s the Amazon link to No Such Thing as a Good Blind Date and the synopsis:

No Such Thing As a Good  Blind Date                                                                                                         ba2sf      By Shelly Fredman                                                       When childhood friend and recent parolee, Toodie Ventura, suggests he exchange his plumbing services for the spare room of twenty-eight year old Brandy Alexander’s house, the out-of-work new homeowner thinks it’s a pretty good idea. That is, until she discovers a dismembered body in her basement freezer and the suspect topping the list is the now missing Toodie. Brandy refuses to accept that her old friend is a cold-blooded killer and with the help of her ex-boyfriend, Detective Bobby DiCarlo and the sexy mystery man, Nicholas Santiago, she sets out to prove Toodie’s innocence. Soon, Brandy finds herself up to her neck in stalkers and deranged killers, all the while juggling some of the worst blind dates ever!

If you know about some good deals right now, feel free to add them in the Comments section to share with everyone else. In the meantime–Happy Reading!

 

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Lovely sales and giveaways going on

Since the weekend is coming, I thought I’d take a moment to give everyone the heads up on a few books and giveaways going on right now.

First, ebooks on sale or deeply discounted or even FREE for a limited time:

Heather Blake’s first book in the Wishcraft mysteries series It Takes a Witch is on sale in all ebook formats for only $1.99. It’s regularly $5.99, so grab it while it’s a bargain. She’s a personal favorite of mine, and I read all her series, whether she’s penning them as Heather Blake or Heather Webber :) And to celebrate the $1.99 sale on the e-book copy of IT TAKES A WITCH Heather is giving away a pre-release copy of SOME LIKE IT WITCHY, the fifth book in the series today on her Heather Blake FB page. All you have to do is to leave a comment telling which character in the series is your favorite, and she’ll choose a random winner tonight at 7 PM EST.

Another great author with a great deal right now is CJ Lyons, who has discounted her release from last fall Hard Fall, Lucy Guardino Book #5 at $1.99. It’s also regularly priced at $5.99. This book is also currently a finalist for the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious THRILLER Award.

Free today is Deadly Arrangements – Book Two in the Cozy Flower Shop Mystery Series. I’ve never personally read this series, but several of my fans have and liked it. And at this price it’s worth checking out.

Also free right now is Death By a Honey Bee, the first book in the Josiah Reynold’s mystery series by Abigail Keam. This book is setting in my TBR pile at the moment, and I paid full price for it. You can get a better deal now, and tell me what you think before I read it :)

At the Escape With Dollycas blog today, Elizabeth Lynn Casey is featured on the blog, and the giveaway is a copy of WEDDING DURESS, the 10th book in the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series.

Today at Dru’s Book Musing, author Duffy Brown details how she is a method writer, and what she does to craft her southern mysteries. She’s also giving away a DEMISE IN DENIM lunch tote to one lucky person who leaves a comment on the blog.

Okay, there’s just a few of the deals and steals going on right now to make your week end on a high note. I’m also running a contest in my newsletter for a $10 Amazon gift card, but you have to be a newsletter subscriber to enter. If you’re interested in hearing more about my books, check out the link in the black banner above to click over to the page to sign up.

Happy Weekend, Everyone! I’ll get back to a few more organizing tips next week.

 

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Spring Means Mud…Rooms

I started talking the other day about ways to transition from wintertime living rooms/family rooms to springtime ones. Today I’m taking a sweep at the Mud Room. Yes, the room has mud in its name and its function is to try to trap the dirt and grime before the mess enters the house. However, if your mud room is anything like mine, trapping dirt is just the beginning of the room’s job.

In our mudroom, we also have the washer/dryer, and a utility bathroom people are supposed to use to strip and shower when the filth is too much for the guest or master bathrooms. Clothes go right into the washer this way–at least on principle. But that only happens if everyone does his or her part. Too often, there are piles of everything all around. And the lovely cabinets and counter top I had the builder install so I had room to store clothes that needed to be put away, and fold things neatly on the Formica… Well, I let Life happen for a while and then everyone gets pulled in for another reminder that Mudroom does not equate with Catchall.

But winter and spring are particularly bad times for mud rooms, and there are a number of ways to help stem the tide of whatever rolls into your doors. Spring Cleaning is just one time of annual cleaning for this room. If you’re like me, you won’t expect perfection out of family members, but you won’t accept sheer laziness on their parts, either.

MUD ROOM

1. Like the front door waste basket I mentioned in the living room post, a waste basket tucked into a corner of the mud room saves many a mess. From dryer lint, to junk stuffed in jean pockets because a trash can wasn’t nearby, it’s just easier to get family members to actually throw trash away (instead of stacking it on the counter top or dryer) if there’s ready access to a waste basket that stays permanently in the room. A big plastic hook on the wall by the light switch tend to keep my husband’s keys from wandering off. I also keep a basket on the nearby counter top for hubby to toss his wallet into; another thing he would lose too easily otherwise.

2. If you have room in your mud area, and this is the more favored way to always exit your house, a set of sorting baskets can hold items handy when heading out the door–such as mail to post, videos, and library books–so nothing is forgotten. Large and small bins by the doorway are also great for holding shoes or seasonal items like caps and gloves. While winter accessories like gloves and hats are heavier weight and take up more space than spring caps and gardening gloves, it’s easy to recycle the same bins for whatever season the calendar says. If you don’t have bins available, and don’t want to buy new, look for heavy duty cardboard boxes and cover with wallpaper or contact paper to match the room, or discarded wooden crates you can paint, then stack or line them up near the door. When a few are kept at a low level, even small children can reach their own items and increase their independence.

3. Hooks serve many functions in a mudroom. Besides my hubby’s hook for his keys, we use hooks by the doorway for dog leashes, umbrellas, and whatever seasonal jackets we wear the most.  Use lower hanging stick-on hooks, too, so little ones can hang their own things, and the hooks can be moved up as kids grow.

4. If you prefer eye hooks for keys, screw the eye hooks into a board or picture frame for easy access by a door. This also provides a space on the wood for labeling which key goes on what hook. You can hang small bins this way, too, if you don’t have cabinets in there.

5. If you don’t have a counter top in your mudroom, but you have some room, fit a table–even a small one–into the space. This not only helps in getting laundry folded and sorted, and stacked so others can help mom put it all away, but it also gives a designated space underneath for laundry baskets and hampers and storage bags. Too often, if we don’t “have a place” for something, that something ends up staying in the middle of the floor.

Create an organizing method that works for you, and stick with it for a few weeks. Soon it will be second nature for you, and everyone else will see the beauty of its efficiency. When the weather finally settles into spring temps, make it a family activity to switch out winter clothes for spring, spring for summer, etc., laundering the heavier gear and storing it away until next year. Just a change out like that can make a space look new, as the lighter fabrics and less bulky jackets send out that quiet message that better weather is here!

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]

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Organizing Cheap and Easy — Part 1

Spring has officially hit the calendar, and that means we’re all ready to dig out from more than just snow under the windows.

While some people like to take their Spring Cleaning & Organizing in one big bite, I prefer little nibbles myself, so I don’t get off-track on all of the other to-do lists I have every day. If’ you’re like me, I offer my room-by-room spring cleaning and organizing ideas–but best of all, I don’t bring in anything new and costly to do the job. Look around the house and find amazing ways to re-purpose items for organization by thinking outside of the box.

I’m starting today with the Living Room with a Baker’s Dozen of tips, and I will be moving through other rooms in the house throughout the next week or so. So come back in the days ahead, and leave any springtime ideas you already use, or new ones you might think of from reading my tips :)

LIVING ROOM/FAMILY ROOM/GREAT ROOM — The place of community living

Yes, the whole family uses the living room or great room, and this room always holds way more than it should. Once spring temps arrive it’s time to put away all those comfy sofa blankets and afghans we’ve used all winter. Maybe you have a closet, or use the huge Ziploc bags like me to stow them under beds. They can also be packed away in large trash bags, with the extra air all mushed out and the openings taped up to be stacked neatly somewhere. More things to do as spring arrives–

1. Wipe off the fan blades of the ceiling fan, and reverse the rotation if you had them set for winter to push down the heat that gathered near the ceiling. We live in a summer hot zone, so we want the cool breeze the fans create, but prefer the warmer air stay up at the ceiling where the spiders can enjoy it. (No, I’m not a fan of spiders, either)

2. Keep a small waste basket right by the front door (or whichever door you use the most) to throw away junk mail and unnecessary flyers before they migrate into the living room.

3. Pull out all the furniture to find the favorite pet toy, missing library book, or lost DVD. Also check between the sofa cushions for errant action figures and the wandering universal remote. A basket that stays on a table or bookshelf is great to hold items like this. Another basket or box in a corner of the room can hold all the pet toys and small children’s toys like extra Legos. For the remotes, my favorite organizing tip for those is to stick one side of a Velcro piece to the remote, and the corresponding side to the item the remote controls. Then, the remote easily stays stuck to its video or audio device until you pull to remove it again.

4. Until the world goes truly wireless, all those tangled cables behind entertainment centers are here to stay. You can buy a cable caddy that sticks onto the entertainment stand or table top, but if you don’t want to go to that expense, you can cover an empty paper towel roll with wallpaper or contact paper that coordinates with your room, and run all the cables through the tube (or two) to keep things looking a bit nicer and better organized.

5. A bin or basket on the coffee table can hold small items, cards, game pieces, pens, or anything that might get lost or broken if just left on the surface. Keep a box of coasters handy in the room to help make using them regularly a bit easier, too.

6. Keep flat surfaces clutter free. We humans tend to toss all papers in the “kitchen or family area,” and often find them missing when we really need them. Designate a small table or desk for the area as the place for mail and any important papers that need to be signed and returned. A two drawer lateral file cabinet will work well for this, too, if you have a place in the room to store it. In our house, I have two upholstered cubes in the family room that can be used for extra seating, or if you lift the lid and turn it over, it becomes a handle occasional table to set a cup of tea and a book. But best of all, the lower inside is one big storage area. I use one cube near my favorite comfy chair to hold all the yarn for my current knitting project, and with the top on the cube everything stays neat and safe from the cat. The other cube I put near hubby’s reading chair, and that’s the one that holds mail as it comes in, and files we need for any kind of current household project. He also keeps magazines and catalogs filed there when he’s on the hunt for something new and wants to check out all of his options before purchase.

7. In the same vein, a lot of small photo frames tend to clutter a family room and makes the space sometimes go from “wonderful” to a little too much “wow” when there are more than a room can comfortably hold. Take back your table tops and walls by reducing the number of framed photos you display every day. You don’t have to take them all down, just think about displaying in a new way–like photo albums and collage frames, or digital photo frames that store hundreds of digital photos and rotate them constantly. For storing in photo boxes, organize by date or occasion and keep in a central location.

8. For “good work” pages that come home with your children and end up tossed someplace in the living room, assign a drawer just to save those items. Drawer space in the living room often works well. When the drawer starts getting full you can have a family night to decide which pages need to be saved and archived in a notebook or child’s memory box.

9. One of the saving graces in my household has always been Post-It Notes and Post-It Removable hooks. Both items can go on the wall anywhere you need to leave a list or note, or hang a small item, and are equally easy to remove when you need the wall space back in pristine condition.

10. I remember when I thought toys were going to take over every extra bit of floor space. Designate one less-used corner of a family as the toy area and transform into a mini kid zone. Yes, kids can play in their rooms, but they want to spend time with the family too. With a movable chalk board, a small bookcase and a kids’ table, toy clutter tends to stay contained and in its place. If you need a little more toy storage look at rolling bin options or cover storage boxes with pretty paper. In our house, this area morphed into our family game area as everyone got older, with an adult game table replacing the mini kids version.

11. Space behind the soft is great for storing extra blankets and pillows. We stick an extra flashlight there, too, so everyone knows where they can grab some emergency light in case of spring storms. If you use a sofa table behind yours, see if you can find an attractive box or trunk to store on the floor between the table legs for an added storage option.

12. Our family is moving away from DVDs and videos and streaming more entertainment. But if you have movies and shows you prefer to keep on hand, take a half-hour or so to sort through your collection. Make two piles: one for keeping, and another for either donating or selling online. At first we didn’t think we wanted to give any up either, but as we sorted through them each year, more and more were placed in the re-purpose/recycle pile, as new options for watching our favorites became available online.

13. Collectibles can take over a room and not only commandeer space, but create more dusting work as well. Large collections are revealed best when a smaller number of  pieces are displayed at one time. Use smaller groupings, or shadow boxes, and rotate the items to keep the look fresh. Think about doing what museums do, and how exciting it is for people to come next time and see new things, even in a permanent display. Put half of a collection in a sturdy box in a closet, and keep the other half out for viewing. Then rotate different favorite items throughout the year.

Finally, one last story. This isn’t really a tip, but it might give you some ideas on saving memories. When we built our house, my daughter was only five at the time, and while we were clearing up some of the building-mess in another room, she used her sidewalk chalk to draw a gorgeous scene on the yet un-carpeted cement floor of the family room. When we saw what she was doing the drawing was more than halfway complete, and neither my husband nor I wanted to stop her and erase the drawing. So hubby found some sealer to put over the drawing, and to this day it sits under the pad and carpet in that room. It’s just a kind of secret family thing we all know is there, and we all smile telling the story each time the carpeting is replaced :)

 

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]

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I Love Spring Bargains

Since I write the Organized Mysteries, I guess I should be doing a Spring Cleaning post, but here’s a twist instead on how to bypass clutter by filling your ereader instead of bookshelves. I’ve been talking lately about the 99 cent sales on Organized for Murder and the International Cozy Mysteries anthology, but there are so many other wonderful ebooks going on sale at the moment that I had to give a sample. After all, a Kindle doesn’t weigh any more when it’s digitally filled than when it’s empty, right?

Here are some great buys you can check out–but these 99 cent sales only last a few more days, so hurry while you can grab a bargain! The links below will shoot out to the Amazon pages, but they’re on sale at all booksellers. I just didn’t want to clutter things up with ALL the links :)

Here’s a free one that may make you think of herb gardens & spring:

Murder & Moonflowers (the Herbalist Book #1) by Leslie Leigh

Two new books in a brand new Danger Cove Mysteries series–

Secret of the Painted Lady: A Danger Cove Renovation Mystery by Christina A. Burke

Murder and Mai Tais: A Danger Cove Cocktail Mystery by Sibel Hodge now specially priced for preorder

Then there are some recent favorites–

Murder at Castle Rock (Amelia Grace Rock & Roll Mystery by Anne Marie Stoddard

Southern Peach Pie and a Dead Guy by A. Gardner

Remote Consequences: Working Stiffs Mysteries #1 by Kerri Nelson

30 First Dates: a romantic comedy by Stacey Wiedower

Bird in the Hand (Proverbial Crimes Book #1) by Dane McCaslin

Murder Al Dente (Southern Pasta Mystery #1) by Jennifer L. Hart

A Cereal Killer (Sibyl Potts Cozy Mystery Book #1) by Morgana Best

Spicing Up Trouble: a romantic comedy by Mary Jo Burke

Well, that’s a Baker’s Dozen of Bargains starting with the two books I’m in at the top, but you’ll likely find a lot of other bargains at the booksellers right now as authors and publishers offer “tastes” of their series. All of these ebooks are set to go back to regular price soon, so if you see one you like it’s time to scoop it up–your ereader will love you for it and your budget with smile and clap in delight :)

Have you seen any good book bargains lately? If you have, feel free to list them in the comments section of this post. Thank you!

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Another Giveaway Day & Fun Trivia

Thrilled to say the International Cozy Mystery Bundle is out and a hit on the charts, and we’re over at Laffeinated Ink today talking trivia about the featured books and giving away copies of the bundle! Best of all, my book, Counterfeit Conspiracies is smack in the middle of books by three of my favorite authors! The four-book mystery bundle includes:

International copyFashion, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mysteries book #1) by Sibel Hodge

Counterfeit Conspiracies (Bodies of Art Mysteries book #1) by Ritter Ames

Death Under the Venice Moon (Lella York Mysteries book #2) by Maria Grazia Swan

Chasing the Dollar (Miranda Vaughn Mysteries book #1) by Ellie Ashe

Here’s more great news, while it’ll be a steal at the $6.99 regular price next week, Get it This Week when it’s on sale for only 99 cents!

So drop by the Laffeinated Ink blog if you have a minute and answer the easy question to enter the giveaway, and celebrate our bundle that’s already at #2 on the Amazon Anthology Bestseller charts. And tell all your friends while the anthology is on sale–the 99 cent price is only going to be around the first week of release!

 

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Bargain & Giveaway Day

Short and sweet post to tell you I’m giving away a signed copy of Marked Masters  today at Dru’s Book Musing blog, and I let Nico do all the talking since Laurel never lets him :) So go check out the blog and leave a comment if you want to enter.

Also, Counterfeit Conspiracies is included in a great new anthology titled International Cozy Mysteries that includes full-length books by me (of course), Sibel Hodge, Maria Grazia Swan, and Ellie Ashe. To look at this sweet cover you’d never imagine gun play and murder is involved in the stories, would you? International cozy mysteriesBut even sweeter than the cover is the price the publisher set for the release–only 99 cents for now, but it will go to the regular $6.99 soon. So grab the bargain while you can! It’s on sale at all booksellers, but here’s the Amazon link where you can find more details on the anthology (and I’ll stop typing-lol).

Have a great day

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