featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Today’s Book Club Friday guest is Charlotte Adams, the creation of award-winning mystery writer Mary Jane Maffini. In addition to the four Charlotte Adams books, the very prolific Mary Jane is the author of the Camilla MacPhee series, the Fiona Silk adventures and nearly two dozen short stories. Visit Mary Jane at www.maryjanemaffini.com

Mary Jane has graciously offered a copy of
Organize Your Corpse, the first book in the Charlotte Adams series, to one of our readers. Simply post a comment to the blog to be entered in the drawing. -- AP

 Charlotte Adams here! I guess you could call me the ‘star’ of the Charlotte Adams mysteries. I am thrilled to be a guest at Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. Honestly, it’s great to take a break from work for once. Between running
Organized for Success, my own professional organizing business, and finding myself pulled into investigating weird murders every couple of months, I barely have time to indulge my own hobby: collecting shoes.

I’m looking forward to this chat, although I am more familiar with crafty killers in the dictionary sense of ‘crafty’ being marked by underhandedness, deviousness, or deception. I suppose if I’d realized just how crafty some of these villains were, I might have thought twice about moving back to my home town of Woodbridge, New York, on the scenic Hudson.

Never mind. It’s the perfect place for me, reconnecting with my childhood friends – the misfits – in our friendly and historic town. It’s also a great way to make a living. I believe in the power of organizing. I think my writer, Mary Jane Maffini, does too, although you might not believe it from the look of her office right at the moment. “Deadlines! You wait until this #$%^ book is finished,” she puffs. I have tried to explain to her that a few minutes at the start or the end of each day would mean a much more manageable work space.

But never mind that either. I’m getting a bit off topic. I am told that I can be just the tiniest bit obsessive and even bossy. I mean really, what’s that about?

Today would seem to be a good opportunity to pass on to you crafty types a few tips that were useful to my author. She says ‘creator’, but I think that just screams hubris. She’s crafty too. In the sense that she loves to knit, sew, draw, garden, and attempt to train her miniature dachshunds (who are a lot like my own Truffle and Sweet Marie). She’s also hooked on television crime shows.

Last year she started carrying on about not having time for hobbies as she had three (!!!) series to manage. I bit my tongue and barely managed not to say that only one was really important. I respect my ‘sister’ characters too much for that. But back to topic.  I sat down and had a chat with her about a strategy. Well, I sat down. Mary Jane was stretched out on the sofa with a book. Did I mention she’s also addicted to mysteries?

“It’s all about choices and timing,” I said gently but firmly. I don’t huff or rant or shriek, no matter what she claims in the books. “Why not focus on one craft or hobby per season? You won’t feel so frazzled and you have to admit the price is right.”  I noticed Mary Jane eyeing me over the top of the book.  Maybe this once she was listening. I continued, “Remember how helpful you found my storage suggestion using clear plastic salad boxes for your ever-expanding stash of yarn?  You can see what yarn is where and you can stack them right up to the ceiling. They’re free too.” That may have been a nod.

Believe it or not, this worked for her. Concentrating on one hobby at a time, she got the new cushion covers done for the deck in the spring and knit a half-dozen of dog sweaters and one child sweater while glued to TV crime shows in the winter. To tell the truth, the garden has looked better and she has yet to pick up her sketch pad this year, but she tells me she’s very glad to have her knitting hobby back. She may have even said ‘thanks.’ Or that might have been a hiccup. Whatever. I’m here to serve.  And I have lots of ideas to help her out.

I love helping other people, not just her, and offer a bonanza of organizing tips in every Charlotte Adams book. They’re at the head of each chapter. Being adult readers, you are free to read and ignore or even skip over them.  I can accept that. I hope to meet you on the pages of Closet Confidential, my fourth outing as an amateur sleuth. It launches on July 6th. Mary Jane promises me I won’t have to worry about duct tape or fires or broken glass in this one. That’s a relief, although I don’t want to let my guard down. I hope you’ll drop in. I’m sure you will be safe. But keep in mind: show me your closets and you show me your secrets.

Thank you, Mary Jane, for allowing Charlotte to stop by today. Anyone want to read more about Charlotte? Post a comment to the blog to be entered in the drawing for Organize Your Corpse, Charlotte’s first adventure. -- AP


Theresa N. said...

Love the title of your new book! Glad you stopped by I love mysteries and yours sound wonderful.
Theresa N

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Theresa! I love mystery readers. Let me know if you have fun reading my adventures.

I have asked my author to post this, because I'm in the middle of a tricky situation involving uh oh!

Charlotte via Mary Jane Maffini

Charlotte Adams mysteries

PamelaSueJames said...

What a cute blog and I need every one of your books as I am NOT that organzied. I hope that there is hope for me. I would love to know Charlotte's favorite pair of shoes?


Kathy said...

Camilla, Charlotte and Fiona sound like interesting characters. More books on my summer reading list. Good thing I don't have to go back to work until September.

jeff7salter said...

I can't get motivated to 'organize' stuff.
Or, if I can gather a shred of momentum, I talk myself out of organizing by saying, "I need to write while I can write ... leave the toil until later." Not that grammatical, but I also left out the muttered cussing.
My question is: do you ever find yourself rationalizing a choice between writing and 'doing'?

Kttycat said...

Sounds awesome! The hot doggies are so cute!!! I use to have one named Texas.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Hi Pamela - you'll be seeing Charlotte's shoes here and there in the coming months. Maybe I'll have a contest!

Kathy - a whole reading summer sounds idea. I am jealous.

Jeff - better to write any time! But sometimes I do silly organizing things to avoid deadlines.

KittyCat - nice to own a dog. Texas is a great name. I'm guessing a small dog with a big attitude!

MJ (and Charlotte)


I want to thank Mary Jane and Charlotte for stopping by to visit with us for today's Book Club Friday and for all the great organizing tips. Don't forget, if you leave a comment this week, you're entered in tomorrow's drawing for a copy of Mary Jane's Organize Your Corpse.

Lynn said...

Mary Jane,
Great idea. I'm going to have to put your mystery on my TBR pile.

Put me in for the contest!

Margaret said...

Mary Jane, Looking forward to the new book. Have all the others in the series, but of course can't put my hands on them because they are in unlabled bankers boxes with other books I've read and kept. Someday, I'll get around to organizing the boxes.
Margaret Franson

G.M. Malliet said...

The pic of the dogs couldn't be any cuter!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for having me here, Anastasia. Lynn and Margaret, I hope you enjoy Closet Confidential.

Hi Gin! Nice to see you here.

MJ (and Charlotte)

Charlotte Adams mysteries

Linda Wiken said...

I'm so glad you're finally getting to the closets, Charlotte! I'm so in need. I've loved & used all your tips in your earlier three outings. And would continue using them if I could just find your books. Maybe in a closet....