New first in series: Engaged in Trouble (An Enchanted Events Mystery Book 1)

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When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.
Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.


Jenny, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist? 

JBJ: Paisley Sutton is a former member of an uber popular girl band. If you think about the band Destiny’s Child, there’s at least one member you might not be able to name. That’s Paisley. She rose to fame as a teen, but now over ten years later, she’s barely getting gigs singing on cruise ships. When she unexpectedly inherits her great-aunt’s mothball ridden wedding business, Paisley moves back to Sugar Creek, Arkansas, planning to keep the business afloat long enough to sell the vintage home its housed in and cash in the profits. But when she rolls in to Sugar Creek, she realizes the moldy business is now a booming event planning agency, which is just the beginning of her complications. A dead bride in a waiting room doesn’t help either.

How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

JBJ: I’d love to meet Paisley in real life. She wears her funky stage clothes to work, has stories of rock stars to tell, and has a gun-toting granny who’s former CIA in her corner. But Paisley’s also battling some demons and is the underdog. I’ll always root for the underdog. 
Paisley might be like me in a few ways—she’s sarcastic, likes to keep things on the bright side, and has a grandmother she adores.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

JBJ: I’m just finishing book two, Royally in Trouble, but the series is somewhat planned out. Paisley really struggles with self-esteem issues and earning the approval of her super successful parents. Her siblings are brainiacs, and Paisley’s always been the artsy gypsy who never quite fit their mold of what success should look like. Through the series she has to slowly let go of the old dreams to grab hold of the new ones life is offering her, including a romance with a man who was once her childhood enemy.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

JBJ: Ha, no, but maybe I need to up my game? I have named some bad guys or annoying characters after a few people who’ve crossed my path who weren’t the kindest.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

JBJ: My setting is very realistic. It’s set in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, which is an interesting blend of Mayberry meets Los Angeles. It’s the home of Wal-Mart, which means that celebrities are occasionally there to do business with the mega retailer. The downtowns in the area cities have undergone renovations and are rebuilding and rebranding, including some downhome stores/restaurants, as well as some trendy, urban upper scale venues. So you might go eat a favorite Mexican restaurant, walk the square, hear some bluegrass, and even see someone like Tom Cruise or Hugh Jackman. Sugar Creek is a fictional town on a very real creek that nestles next to these Northwest Arkansas cities. And a Rockwell town is a perfect place to have a fictional murder, right? The locals all seem so innocent…

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

JBJ: I’m not totally sure, but I do know I want a walk-on part. I think Emma Stone would make a great Paisley, and for her romantic interest, I’ve been modeling him after an actor named Ross Marquand. Luke Evans is welcome to audition as well. I wouldn’t turn him down, though I might make him go through a few call backs.

What’s the best advice you’ve had as an author?

JBJ: Six months before I got my first contract, I was at my first writing conference. I had paid to have a few chapters of my manuscript reviewed by an author I admired. She asked me if I had pitched to any agents or editors. I said, “No, I was told not to since my book isn’t done.” And she said words I will never forget. “The rules are made for everyone but you.” In other words, push through those barriers and doors. Assume the answer is yes until you hear a no. Assume you can be an exception. Expect a miracle. Years later that author and I are now friends, but I’ll be her fangirl forever and owe her so much. She passed my few chapters on to a publisher, and six months later, I had the contract that launched my career.


About The Author

Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

Webpage: www.JennyBJones.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jennybjones/
Twitter: @jenbjones

Instagram: @JennyBJonesAuthor
Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/JennyBJones

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New Wedding Planner Mystery: Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper

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When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can’t say no.

There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.

Babs’ high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that’s what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs’ funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.

Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper’s Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.


Aloha Marla, and thanks for stopping by! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist? 

Marla Cooper: Kelsey McKenna is a destination wedding planner who lives in San Francisco. She has a fun job that’s the envy of everyone she meets—but it’s not all international flights and champagne toasts. She also has to deal with tricky family dynamics… and an occasional murder.

How much of you is in Kelsey?

MC: There’s a lot of me in Kelsey. I love planning and organizing, and we also share the same sense of humor. Her best friend Brody is based on two of my real-life BFFs, and I love writing scenes where they’re together, because they banter in the exact same way we do. If I ever met her, we’d probably have tons of fun—or we’d find each other completely annoying in that way you do sometimes when you meet someone who is too similar.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life—on the pages of a murder mystery?

MC: Absolutely! In Dying on the Vine, a certain high-strung wedding planner is based on a former co-worker, and in Terror in Taffeta, the bridesmaid who dies may or may not share the same first name as my college roommate who was just as impossible as her fictional counterpart.

How realistic are your settings? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

MC: Each book in my series takes place in a different real-life location, and I love to give the reader a real sense of the setting. Terror in Taffeta is set in San Miguel de Allende, and you can’t write about it without mentioning the cobblestone streets, the gothic church that looms over the town plaza, or, of course, the tequila donkey (a local wedding tradition). Dying on the Vine is set in the California wine country, and although I didn’t use their actual names, each winery, restaurant and bed and breakfast is based on a real place.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

MC: I like the way you say “when” instead of “if”! The first book in the series, Terror in Taffeta, is actually under option right now, so someone could be sitting in a room discussing this very topic at this very moment. I usually pick Cristin Milioti to play Kelsey, but I just saw a movie with Anna Kendrick and I think she could pull off the humor really well. (Anna, if you’re reading this, call me!)

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

MC: There’s something I’ve seen bandied about on Twitter a lot, and someone liked it enough to turn into a graphic, but it’s never resonated with me at all: “Writers write. Every single day. Period.” I’m a writer, and I don’t write every single day. Sometimes you’re between projects. Sometimes you’re out experiencing life so that you have something to write about. Sometimes you’re in the hospital undergoing a minor surgery, or perhaps driving across country. If you told me I really did have to write every single day, I’d turn in my laptop right now.

On the flip side, there is a kernel of truth in that rather strict maxim. When you’re in the middle of a project, you should write consistently so that you don’t lose momentum. And you should definitely learn to write even when you don’t feel like it—because sometimes you’re just not going to feel like it. So yes, if you want to be a writer, you do have to actually do the writing. But please, take a weekend off every once in a while.


About The Author  

As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

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Character Interview and #Giveaway: Wedding Planner Kelsey McKenna from Terror in Taffeta

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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.

Terror in Taffeta Book cover


Q: Kelsey, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

A: First of all, there’s the whole marriage thing. Everyone assumes that since I’m a wedding planner, I secretly want to get married. But really, that’s like saying you secretly want to be an elephant because you work at the zoo. No, I chose wedding planning as my career because I’m organized and resourceful and I love a good party. Plus, it is pretty fun getting to be there on one of the biggest days of people’s lives.
I really do love my job, and I love traveling to different places. Take San Miguel de Allende, for example. It’s a really magical place, with cobblestone streets and a three-hundred-year-old gothic church sitting on the town plaza. A lot of artists live there, and most people who go there end up falling in love with it. If I ever do get married, I could see doing it in San Miguel. Or in a Tuscan villa. Or on a private beach on some faraway island… Actually, the expectations would be so high that I’d probably just elope.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?

A: Brody Marx. He’s an amazing wedding photographer, so I always recommend him to my clients—which works out pretty well because I love it when he gets to come along with me on a wedding. There’s nothing romantic between us, because I’m not his type. In fact, I’m off by a whole Y chromosome. But he’s a good guy to have on your side when you’re trying to juggle wedding planning and fighting crime. I always have to bite my tongue in front of clients, but when it’s just the two of us, I can say whatever I’m thinking and he doesn’t judge. Well, maybe a little. But we have fun.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

A: I had a hard time with the mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy. I can get along with anyone, and I’m used to demanding clients, but she must have thought I had magical powers, because she fully expected me to fix everything that went wrong, even though I’m pretty sure investigating a murder wasn’t part of my contract. I did it though, because I hate saying no to my clients. After all, my whole business is built on referrals, so I do whatever it takes to make them happy. That’s something I should probably work on.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author,  Marla Cooper?

A: We have a lot of fun together! She and I share a similar sense of humor, and she loves it when Brody and I get going. I catch her eavesdropping on us all the time and sometimes we say things that make her laugh out loud. She also doesn’t mind when I’m cranky from having to bite my tongue around my clients all day long. Sassy chicks unite!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m planning a wedding in the California wine country. It’s a little awkward, because my clients were using a rival wedding planner, then they fired her and hired me. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, though. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

 

 

 

 


 

About The Author  

 

As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

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