Please welcome my very special guest, mystery author, Heather Haven. Heather writes a series of books about the delightfully entertaining Alvarez family. Heather pens a variety of personalities in her intriguing mysteries keeping the reader glued to the pages wondering what's next. You'll enjoy reading about her series in her post today with a focus on her "middle child," A Wedding to Die For.
Her first book in the series is Murder is a Family Business, the second or middle child of the series is A Wedding to Die For, and soon to be released third book, Death Runs in the Family from Muse It Up Publishing. Today, Heather is feeling a bit guilty about neglecting her second book. Read on to discover why, then leave a comment to WIN a copy of A Wedding to Die For.........
When the first book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series came out last January, I almost threw a ticker-tape parade. The main protagonist of this humorous series is Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch’ Stephanie Plum. This 34-year old divorcee works as a private investigator in the family business, Discretionary Inquiries, a successful
Silicon Valley agency
that normally deals with the theft of computer software. Since the death of
Lee’s father, her beautiful ice-princess mother, Lila, has taken over as CEO
and head of the business. Lee’s younger brother, Richard, is the head of
Research and Information Technology. Her Uncle Tío is a retired head chef of a
well-known Mexican restaurant. Even the new foundling kitten, Tugger, becomes
head of the household in Lee’s small, two-bedroom apartment over the family
garage. Lee isn’t head of squat, thank you. But she’s got the heart of a lion,
eyes the color of twilight, and the instincts of a first-rate PI, which is
good, because she’s always getting herself into trouble.
Ever since the first book came out, I’ve been blogging, promoting, bragging about, interviewing for, and in general being pretty obnoxious about Murder is a Family Business, the fore-runner of the series. At the same time, I was in the process of writing the 3rd book of the series, Death Runs in the Family. Every writer knows there is nothing as all-consuming as the current project.
But somewhere along the line, the 2nd book of the series, A Wedding to Die For, has fallen by the wayside. It quietly got published April 22nd and came in, not as a lion, but as a mewing lamb. You could say, this is my middle child. I’ve read lots of articles proclaiming the middle child is often the one apt to be overlooked, even by the most caring of mothers. Well, just smack me silly. How could I do that to my little darling?
I mean, this is such a fun story! It starts out with troubled upcoming nuptials, due to the groom being arrested for murder. Even the most Bridezilla of us can’t pull off a wedding without a groom; nobody’s that good. Enter an ancient, missing statue of a blue dog, a crushed diamond stud earring, and our gal, Lee Alvarez, is off to the high mountains of Mexico, amid spectacular views and 16th century cities, in search of pilfered Mesoamerican artifacts. Throw in a mysterious, gorgeous guy who keeps popping up in the oddest places, add a couple of dead bodies, toss in a kidnapping or two, sprinkle it with laughs, and top the whole thing off with the best tasting tamales ever. That’s the recipe for A Wedding to die For, sitting on the countertop of life waiting for someone to gobble it up.
I have to face it. I’ve been a neglectful, lacking mother. I’ve failed my middle child, who never asked to be born in the first place. All it wants is a little love and attention. Here goes: Who loves ya, baby? Who loves her widdle A Wedding to Die For, sweetie-pie, like nobody’s business? Who just wants to hug the words right off your pages? Me, your mumsie, that’s who.
Whoops! Still not enough?
Okay, I have to try to make it up to the little tyke. Below is an excerpt from the 2nd book, A Wedding to Die For.
Via a random drawing, one person who leaves a comment on this site will get a
FREE pdf copy.
I did the same for Murder is a Family Business, and as we all know, what you do for one kid, you gotta do for the other!do for one kid, you gotta do for the other!
I Love to Cry At Weddings
Dragging out a dog-eared, worn sheet of legal- size yellow paper, I read it carefully. “Wow! I don’t think there’s much more.” I giggled with relief. “I signed the contract with the two bands yesterday. One is an eleven-piece mariachi band that our very own Richard plays guitar with now and then. He’s agreed to play a set with them. I thought that was a nice touch. The alternating band is a three-piece jazz combo. Something for everyone.”
“Indeed,” Mom responded.
“Allied Arts is renting us the restaurant for the reception, including the outside patios, from five-thirty to eleven-thirty p.m. Do you think ten cases of champagne, plus five cases each of Chardonnay and a
cab are enough?” Napa
“That sounds more than sufficient. What else?”
I started counting off items on my fingers. “Bridal shower, next week. Richard is in charge of the bachelor party. The tuxes are ordered. The gowns arrive this afternoon, and I have two seamstresses set up for the fittings. I haven’t seen a picture or rendering of the designs yet, but I’ll bet they’re incredible. Mr. McFadden designed them himself, something he hasn’t done for years. He said he chose a ‘theme,’ which reminds me, I’ll have to get samples of the fabric to the florist. Don’t you own one or two of Warren McFadden’s dresses?”
“No. I find him a little avant-garde, Liana,” Mom said.
“I think they call it cutting-edge now, Mom,” I corrected.
“If you say so.” She smiled and changed the subject. “Did you find a photographer?”
“Yes, finally. I thought I was going to have to buy a camera and take pictures, myself.”
“Who is it?”
“Did you know the reason the wedding got canceled that was supposed to take place at Mem Chu was because the bride came out of the closet and is now living in San Francisco with her lover, Charlene?”
“Get to the point, dear.”
“I thought you might be interested in hearing the lead-in.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, this guy was supposed to be their photographer, so he was available. I’ve seen his portfolio. He’s good.”
“That sounds fine,” Lila said, somewhat mollified. “What about the rehearsal dinner? Didn’t John offer to take care of that part of the festivities?”
“Originally, but he had to bow out due to a heavy work schedule.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Yes,” I said and nothing more. My latest love had been pulling back big-time on a lot of things, but I didn’t want to admit it or deal with it yet. “However, Carlos took over and got us a private room at the new Japanese steakhouse for after we go through our paces.” I looked at the tattered list again with all the checkmarks indicating completion and would have done cartwheels around the room if I hadn’t been so tired.
“Mom, I think I’ve done it. After I order the flowers and take care of the fittings, I’m done,” I said with pride. “This wedding is completely done and Good-to-Go.”
Five hours later, I stood in front of a mirror, enveloped in what felt like eighty yards of a chartreuse moiré taffeta laughingly called “Whipped Lime.” Between the starched crinoline underskirt, ruffled hem of the overskirt, and tufted bodice, all in a hideous yellow-green, I looked like a New Year’s Eve float depicting baby poo.
I ripped open the other boxes to find matching gowns in different odious colors sporting the names of “Pineapple Fizz,” “Mango Madness,” “Orange Frappe,” and “Passion Fruit Frazzle.” Mr. McFadden had created a theme, all right. Jamba Juice Rejects. And in moiré taffeta. When Mom called his work avant-garde, she was being kind.
The phone rang, but I was afraid to move. On top of how I looked, any movement sounded like leaves trapped in a wind tunnel. No wonder no one wore taffeta anymore, I thought. Noise pollution. One of the seamstresses answered the phone and slapped it into my frozen hand.
“Hello?” I said.
“Lee, it’s me. We need your help,” Mira said. Her voice sounded frantic and as if she’d been crying.
“Mira? Are you all right?”
“No, I’m not,” she sobbed. “Carlos is being arrested for murder.”
“What?” I said, sinking straight to the floor, buried in a mound of taffeta. “Carlos is being arrested for murder?”
“Yes, they say he murdered the thief who broke into our apartment last night. They’re taking him away,” she wailed.
“Wait a minute. What thief? What murder? Mira, what’s going on?” She tried to tell me, but between the hysteria, coughing, and wheezing, I couldn’t understand her.
“Never mind,” I interrupted. “Hold tight. I’ll be right there.” I struggled to my feet and thought, with the groom arrested for murder maybe this Good-to-Go wedding just Got Up and Went.
You can find the first chapter of book two, A Wedding to Die For, in its entirety and book one, Murder is a Family Business, on Heather's website: http://www.heatherhavenstories.com/
For some other internet things,
Follow Heather's blog at: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp
Follow her character Lee Alvarez's daily Twitters at: http://twitter. com/PILeeAlvarez