Welcome to my stop on author Ritter Ames’ Virtual Book Tour for Organized for Murder, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Please leave a comment or question for Ritter to let her know you stopped by. You can enter the tour wide giveaway for Organizing Goodies and a print copy of Organized for Murder by filing out the Rafflecopter form below. Ritter is also giving away an ebook copy of either Organized for Murder or Counterfeit Conspiracies, winner’s choice, at this stop. Please leave your email address with your comment to enter for the ebook copy. You can also follow the rest of Ritter’s tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.
One of the lessons I took to heart as a writer was to write the book I would want to read. I grew up devouring Trixie Belden books and later Agatha Christie, and read biographies that offered interesting history lessons and detailed fascinating places and people. I also loved reading newspaper columns like Dear Abby and Hints from Heloise. As varied as these types of reading matter are, all of them combine to help me write my two mystery series.
My latest series, the cozy Organized Mysteries, with the first book in the series Organized for Murder, lets me combine two of my favorite things, cozy mysteries and tips to keep families running smoother in our chaotic world. My protagonist, Kate McKenzie, is the happily married mother of twin first-graders, and is an organization expert who now lives in a new hometown, is starting a business, and soon finds herself suspect number one in a murder investigation.
While I have no experience keeping myself out of a jail cell, as a mom I do have a good amount of experience keeping my family on-track and keeping ahead of the stressful situations that plague us in our ever faster-moving lives. I’m considered “the finder of all lost things” in our household, chiefly because I automatically scoop up out-of-place items as I move through my house, so know where they actually belong. My family learned early that chore charts were posted for a reason, and the whole family got to do more fun stuff when everyone pitched in to keep the house running smoothly.
I’ve found ways to help little ones actually want to keep play areas neater, and the best way for our family laundry to be done. I share these tips within the pages of the cozy mystery. I also discovered how to get kids to not only fold sheets, but also use all the matching pieces from the linen closet instead of just grabbing the first handy sheets and pillow cases, and shared this tip recently on my blog to promote the release of Organized for Murder..
My house is home to an active family. I’m no clean freak, but I also don’t have an anxiety attack if guests show up unexpectedly. I accomplish this delicate balancing act by using specific organization tips daily to keep messes at bay and stresses at low levels, while we all move through our daily tasks.
When I started writing Organized for Murder, one of the reasons I made Kate an organization expert was because I’d been to too many book events where the author only talked about writing, or read a long excerpt from the book. I knew if I became a published author, I wanted to be able to run a program that engaged those attending, gave them something they couldn’t get from just reading my latest novel or scanning a magazine article. So, I thought about how everyone always loved the tips I shared, and realized I could do this same thing in a cozy format.
So, now, I periodically run organization tips on my Facebook page, my Pinterest boards, and my blog at http://ritterames.wordpress.com. Here’s a couple of tips I give in the book, things to make life run a little smoother for you and your family. First, a recipe you can start the night before, and have ready when your family rises in the morning:
A Recipe for Organization – Crock Pot Oatmeal
Nothing's better than waking up in the morning to an already prepared breakfast and more time. Measure rolled oats (not quick oats) into a crock-pot using a ratio of one cup oats to two cups water. Cinnamon, dehydrated apples, brown sugar, maple syrup (from Vermont, of course), or chunky walnuts can be added for additional flavoring. Turn the crock-pot on low overnight (about eight hours) and wake knowing breakfast is ready and waiting and oh, so yummy.
And here’s how Kate starts every organization project:
KATE MCKENZIE'S 5-STEP ORGANIZATIONAL START METHOD
BEGIN ANY DE-CLUTTER PROJECT BY COLLECTING AND LABELING FIVE LARGE BOXES:
REJECT—items un-repairable, missing parts, past expiration, or like half-a-dozen others already in the house.
RECYCLE—gently used, unwanted items for charitable organizations or Freecycle.
RESELL—through consignment shops, tag sales, eBay, Craigslist, or newspaper ads.
RETURN—sporting goods, toys, books, tools, etc. that belong to family members, neighbors, or friends.
REVIEW—things requiring extra thought before fate is determined.
Completely unload the room or closet, distributing discarded items into correct boxes. Return only "keepers" to the target area.
I appreciate the invitation to blog here today. Thanks so much.
Organized for MurderBy Ritter AmesOrganized Myteries, Book 1Publisher: Gemma Halliday PublishingRelease Date: February 21, 2014Genre: Cozy MysteryLength: 255 PagesISBN: 978-1495379956ASIN: B00ILBRNXCAbout the book:The right business hook is the most important criteria for success, and Kate McKenzie thinks she’s found a perfect one. As an organizational expert, Kate knows Americans are running out of space and money, and renting more storage units is usually not the best solution. Starting an organizational business, Stacked in Your Favor, in her new hometown of Hazelton, Vermont seems like an answer to her family’s budget problems and an answer to southern Vermonters’ prayers.Business looks good when she snags collector, Amelia Nethercutt, as her first client, signing on to organize the wealthy woman’s eccentrically-filled mansion. But things take a turn beyond chaos when Amelia is murdered and Kate’s fingerprints are found on the poison that killed her.
Admitting I’m somewhat of a “collector” of things, I have to admit I’m also collect books on “organization”, which of course made Ritter Ames’ new book, Organized for Murder, a perfect escape for me. Satisfying both my craving to read a cozy mystery, and my desire to read another book on organization, Ms. Ames’ characters kept me entertained and turning the pages to discover what would happen next. If you like reading cozy mysteries, this first book in Ms. Ames’ Organized Mystery series is not to be missed.
When Kate McKenzie and her family moved to a new town, Kate realized she could help her family’s budget and provide her new neighbors a service by putting her organizational expertise to work. Opening “Stacked In Your Favor”, where she’ll help her clients become clutter free and free them from their need to rent storage space, Kate is thrilled to snag Amelia Nethercutt as her first client. After all, what could be better than getting a testimonial from a wealthy woman with a mansion full of eccentric items? Only when Amelia is murdered and Kate becomes a suspect, she’ll have to put her organizational skills to find a killer before she finds herself having to organize a jail cell.
Ms. Ames does a really good job developing Kate’s character; she’s intelligent, likeable and really wants to make a difference in her client’s lives. When Kate realizes the job she’s agreed to take on is too huge for her to complete on her own, she reaches out to Eve, her best friend, for help. The relationship between Kate and Eve is enjoyable to watch and I felt it contributed quite nicely to the story. I also enjoyed how Ms. Ames added organizational tips in each chapter of the book.
The secondary characters are well developed and the mystery takes plenty of twists and turns. There were plenty of characters as suspects, Amelia’s whole family for starters, and I enjoyed watching Kate as she follows the clues. I also enjoyed watching Kate and Eve deal with Valerie, another organizer hired by a member of Amelia’s family, whose real purpose was to spy on what Kate and Eve uncovered while organizing and cataloging the contents of the Nethercutt Mansion.
Will Kate discover who killed Amelia? Will she manage to keep her business afloat and stay out of jail? You’ll have to read Organized for Murder to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this promising series.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns
About This AuthorRitter Ames lives in a small town in the middle of America, but spends each day globe trotting the art world from her laptop, with her cat riding shotgun and Pandora blasting from the speakers.COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES is her first full-length fiction. A second cozy mystery series, starting with ORGANIZED FOR MURDER will be released by Gemma Halliday Publishing in January 2014. She tries to blog regularly at http://ritterames.wordpress.com/ and uses her Pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/ to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books.Author Links:Web page: http://ritterames.wordpress.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ritter.amesTwitter: https://twitter.com/RitterAmesPinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/