Murder at St Margaret

If you have never heard of or read a cozy mystery, you are in for a treat. They are quick beach reads that features an amateur sleuth, no gore, a hint of romance, a steady pace as the protagonist investigates, and it is all set in a lovely place–in this case Oxford.

I had never read a cozy mystery before but my friend Lynn wrote this so I jumped at the chance to be one of her first readers and reviewers. Even though she is my friend, I don’t recommend books to friends that I didn’t fully enjoy myself. This book, I recommend!

Murder At St Margaret is an engaging and fun read! I thought all the characters complimented each other very well, and it was a spritely whodunit. H was hysterical; Harry was charming and sweet; Edward a complex and exciting addition to the crime-fighting team. But not nearly the MOST interesting. That, you will have to discover for yourself! It is the strength of the protagonist and her naively charming approach to larger-than-life problems that make you want her to succeed. Anyone who loves her Wellies as much as Nat does is welcome in my home any time. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

5 stars!

 

 

What Inspires Me #1

It can be lonely work being a writer. “And your taste is why your work disappoints you,” really resonates from the Ira Glass quote above. I keep plugging at it, sometimes with the pace of a molasses marathon, other times with the intensity of a teenage boy who just discovers porn.

I have been writing regularly for six years now, with a blog and four unfinished manuscripts to show for it. Since being in isolation, I think I finally understand what has been stopping me from finishing any of these projects. It isn’t a lack of interest, ideas, worth, or motivation. It is the fear of being vulnerable. Being exposed to myself and the world for my disappointment. Yet, that is exactly why I have to finish. Watch out! I’ve been a girl on a mission.

The Woefield Poultry Collective

I don’t think I’ve ever done a book report that wasn’t required by some curriculum. My goal this year is to finish reading 50 books. I like a little wiggle room for times when the book I am reading is tiresome and it takes longer than a week to read so that is why 52 is just too much of a goal.

The book I have recommended the most this year so far is:

The Woefield Poultry Collective, Susan Juby

This one is worth the price of admission as a satirical look at an NYC girl deciding to make a go of running a farm she inherited. Very few books make me actually laugh out loud even if they are humorous. The first chapter here had me spit out my coffee, and I didn’t resent the waste.

It is hard to write a protagonist as endearing as Prudence. She believes in everything organic, farmers’ markets, living off the land, good hard work will conquer all, and everything can be learned from a book and applied with impeccable results. But she does it all without the preachy vegan friend vibe that would seem to go with her personality. Instead, she is helpful and encouraging and engagingly optimistic.

What Prudence didn’t count on when she left her NYC high apartment was the state of the land she inherited on Vancouver Island. Rocks, sand, a partially sheared sheep, and a lack-lustre 70-something farmhand with a secret make the challenge of creating the ideal world Prudence envisioned a difficult reality. But she did get a few radishes…

A consummate dreamer rarely comes down from the clouds. Instead, Prudence lines her clouds with silver and maybe a touch of whimsy. The bank doesn’t have to know she has no qualifications to run a rehab centre, really? Or a writing group for that matter. Maybe she should have been a bit more forthright as the banker’s niece shows up as a reluctant candidate for rehab.

There is romance, chickens, port-a-potties, reunions, and it all adds up to a rebirth of Prudence and her merry band of misfits. It is hard not to love this book. I read it in a couple of days because I couldn’t wait to see what these characters got up to next. Would the sheep ever get the sanitary pads off his feet? Would Alec Baldwin win at the fair and make Sara the envy of the Jr Poultry Fancier’s Club? What really happened with Seth and his teacher in high school and will his heavy metal blog survive his being sober? Will all of this madness let Prudence keep her farm and get the handsome Vet to boot?

Pick up this book, sit back and enjoy the smell of bluegrass. It is definitely worth the read.

7 Steps to Kill a Blog Post

kill a blog post kristine laco

Pitfalls of blogging are everywhere. If you see yourself in one of these statements, maybe it is time to hire someone to help.

  1. Talk endlessly about your amazingness. You know, after all, this is your blog. If they are reading it, they want to know all about you, and it doesn’t matter if they relate. Don’t forget to tell them the time that Aunt Martha tried to braid your hair before a school picture. Clients love that.
  2. Don’t build on your idea. Rambling and redundancies are super awesome, and I can’t say enough about talking in circles and even about how terrific you are especially when you are at parties and have a couple of cocktails, you are totally the bomb. So that’s why you need an iPhone.
  3. Write to impress. Just as the Philippians sent Epaphroditus as an emissary, you too must be the conduit of communiqué aimed at your habitué. Capiche?
  4. If they can’t follow your train of thought, they should leave the station. You are the expert and when you want them to understand something they should just understand it. You shouldn’t have to spend time explaining yourself especially if you have a conductor in your corner named Paulie because that was an epic movie even though I didn’t like the Russian opponent but, at least, he wasn’t Mr T which seemed like a jumping the shark moment but without the shark like how Thomas the Train has a shark carrier in the wooden set. Like that.
  5. Say what you want and people will believe it. People will believe anything they read on the internet as long as it appears on Facebook.
  6. Words are fun. People want to hear what you have to say not see any supporting images. They are just a waste of time. Oh, and grammer and spellin dont count neither.
  7. Copy, copy, copy. Everyone knows that there are no new ideas so why reinvent the wheel? Just steal the info from another site, change the title and you are good to go.

Have you come across any of these types of bloggers?

Now, if you want the 7 Steps to Writing Killer Blog Posts, enter your email address to subscribe on the side and it will be in your inbox before you make any more mistakes.

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

why every business needs blog kristine lacoEvery business needs a blog and every business has something to blog about. Many entrepreneurs struggle with the ‘how’, but first, let’s tackle the why. Why every business, of any size, needs a blog:

Foster Relationships with Your Customers

The easiest way to develop customer relationships as an aggregate is by writing on a regular schedule. Any business can find something to write about. Maybe it is case studies, training courses, new items in your store, what is happening in your industry, a new recipe or how the dollar value is affecting your business. There is always something to write about and your customers are interested in what you have to say. After all, they chose you in the first place and trusted you to solve a problem for them. Customers who feel you are continually adding value, even when you are not being paid, are more likely to become repeat customers and refer you to others.

Your Brand Becomes a Valued Resource and Industry Leader

Establish yourself as an industry leader by providing interesting articles, sharing relevant content and making sure your customers know you are always learning. Blogging recommits to your audience that you are passionate about your topic. People want to do business with people who are passionate about their industry, brand and customers. Apathy is your worst nightmare.

Boost SEO

If you don’t know what that means, it stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is what Google looks for. Google’s algorithms check for new and updated content and presents only new relevant articles to the search engine results first. If the last time you updated anything on your website was months ago, you are not likely to not be found when people search for your business. Keeping current keeps the search engines happy. What makes search engines happy, will make you happy too. I promise.

Sharing is Caring

If a customer loves your article and thinks it can help a friend or colleague, they will share it. If you solely communicate great resources over the phone, it is lost when your customer hangs up. No one likes their business gold to get lost. Give some of your best information on your website and give people reason to talk about you.

Attract New Potential Customers

If I am in the market for a great coffee maker and I find a review of coffee makers on your site I feel is helpful, I will contact you. If I need a new dress and find nothing that fits, your article on finding the right fit for my body style will have me searching your site for additional resources available. Filling your potential customer funnel with a problem-solving article will attract new eyes on your offerings. You have baited the hook, now reel that lunker in!

Now that you understand the importance of a blog, there is no reason not to start. Your customers will thank you for it.