Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on June 6, 2017

Marriage Is Pure Murder (A Blossom Valley Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (May 30, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages


Wedding bells are ringing at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa in California’s postcard-perfect Blossom Valley. The entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. But no one knew the nuptials could turn up so many secrets—or that marriage and murder could go hand in hand . . .

Dana Lewis is marrying Jason Forrester, a talented reporter and the love of her life. She couldn’t dream of a better venue than the farm where she works, and her friends are determined to give her the wedding of her dreams. Even her florist, Bethany Lancaster, is making sure she has just the right flowers. But Dana’s happiness wilts when she finds Bethany shot dead—and discovers her friend was a busybody with a blackmail list longer than a cathedral veil. With so many enemies, finding Bethany’s killer seems all but impossible. And when Dana herself is eyed as a suspect, she’ll have to chase down the culprit faster than she can say, “I do”—or she’ll be trading in her wedding dress for prison stripes . .

Guest Post

The Joys of Research

by Staci McLaughlin

One of the fun aspects of writing the Blossom Valley Mysteries is the research I get to do. A large part of each book takes place on the organic farm and spa where Dana, my main character, is not only the marketing guru but also a Jill-of-all-Trades. She helps Zennia, the cook, prepare and serve healthy meals to the guests of the bed-and-breakfast, fills in for the manager at the front desk when he’s called away on business, and even occasionally cleans out the pig sty for Esther, the owner. All of these jobs have required research on one level or another, particularly when it comes to Zennia’s cooking.

When Dana first started working at the farm, she was downright terrified of the healthy but unusual dishes that Zennia created for the guests. One dish that made her cringe was tofu fish sticks. Strips of tofu were first rolled in a combination of mayonnaise and milk before being rolled in a mixture of dry ingredients that included sea vegetable flakes. Apparently the flakes were supposed to provide a taste similar to traditional fish sticks.

While I wasn’t brave enough to make my own tofu fish sticks, even in the name of research, I did try a wheat grass shot, another thing Zennia absolutely loves, thanks to all those vitamins and minerals. I didn’t have my own wheat grass machine, but I managed to find a little packet of dried powder at the health food store. With my expectations high, I dumped the powder in water, stirred up the mixture, and took a good, long sip. The flavor reminded me of when I was a kid and used to wrestle with my sister on the lawn and end up with a mouthful of grass. The thick, goopy liquid was green like grass and smelled like grass, so I’m not sure why I expected it to taste any different.

After the wheat grass experiment, I decided to take a less hands-on approach and stick with the more traditional way of finding out information, namely through internet searches. One of my secondary characters in the series is a pig named Wilbur, who Dana likes to bounce ideas off of when she’s trying to solve a mystery. He usually doesn’t provide much of a response, other than the occasional oink, but she still finds it useful to talk to him. During one conversation, I wrote that Wilbur wagged his tail in reply to something Dana had said, and that got me thinking.

Do pigs even wag their tails, or was I breaking the laws of animal science? After searching online, I found out that pigs do indeed wag their tails, much like dogs. The same article mentioned that pigs also wag their tails to indicate they are looking for a fight, but Wilbur is a very even-tempered pig who gets along with all of his pig pals, so he only wags his tail when he’s happy.

Through research, I’ve also learned about different flowers in wedding bouquets, what sorts of tricks monster truck drivers can do, how communes are organized and run, and how to offset carbon footprints.

I can’t wait to find out what I’ll need to learn for Dana’s next adventure. Heck, if I’m feeling brave, I might even try those tofu fish sticks.

About the Author

Staci McLaughlin graduated from the California State University, East Bay before becoming a technical writer for a number of years. Now she is a stay-at-home mom and a cozy mystery writer in my spare time (Ha!). Once she can wrangle the kids into bed, my husband and I enjoy watching scary movies and playing both board games and video games.

She is currently a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, as well as a contributor to the LadyKillers blog at She lives with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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May 30 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 31 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

June 1 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

June 1 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 2 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

June 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 3- Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

June 3- Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

June 4 – Teresa Trent Author Site – SPOTLIGHT

June 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 6 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

June 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

June 7 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

June 8 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

June 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

June 10 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

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