Collecting can be murder — Diane Vallere — #bookgiveaway

Diane -- Barbie Collection CollageWe’re celebrating the upcoming release of my third Food Lovers’ Village mystery, BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 7—save the suspense and pre-order it now!), with a glimpse of some of your favorite authors’ prized collections.

Today, we’re peeking into Diane Vallere’s not-so-secret obsession!

“You may have heard me say that I write about shoes, clues, and clothes…well, this little lady had something to do with that. yep, I’m a Barbie fan. I didn’t always collect them, though. One day I was wandering the aisles of Toys R Us (long story) and ended up in the Barbie aisle. The first in the seasonal series, Autumn in Paris, was marked down to $20. I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like a child, standing there, holding the box, staring at this little doll. Sure enough, she went home with me, and slowly I started collecting more. Several of these were gifts, and I’m totally fine with that. There used to be more, but space limitations forced me to streamline my collection. They all used to reside in a box in a closet until a pipe burst and ruined the packaging (blog post about that traumatic event here). Now I enjoy the sight of them every day!

PS: the background of the photo is officially called Barbie Pink, otherwise known as Pantone 219. I even used that color in my 2015 mailing!”

SuedeToRest_final cover CrushedVelvet_cover


After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. SUEDE TO REST, the first book in the bestselling Material Witness Cozy Mystery Series, was a Lefty/ Best Humorous Mystery nominee. CRUSHED VELVET, book two, comes out August 4. Diane is the current president of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, and co-chair of the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference. She also writes the Mad for Mod Mysteries and the Style & Error Mystery Series. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Connect with her on her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Leslie says: I’ve still got my original Barbie from 1963, in the case, plus the raft of handmade clothes that came with it, courtesy of a church fundraiser. Diane and I would love to hear about yours!

Leave a comment on my Facebook page or blog for a chance to win a SIGNED copy the SUEDE TO REST, first in the Material Witness series from Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House. Ruff the Cat will choose a winner at random—check back in the morning to find out!

cat on desk

Butter Off Dead (final)And today on Killer Characters, Erin is telling you a little about BUTTER OFF DEAD and the Food Lovers’ Film Festival!

(Hint: if you subscribe to the blog, you’ll receive the posts by email and you won’t have to hunt for them on FB.)

(This contest is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.)



Dressing Your Female Lawyer for Courtroom Scenes

Over the years, I’ve wanted to write about dressing the woman lawyers on your pages. Yeah, yeah, everyone who knows me, stop laughing now. I may be a jeans and boots fiend now, but in my city lawyer days, I had a Nordstrom’s card and I knew how to use it. But I am too far removed from daily urban practice — and Nordy’s — to give sound, up-to-date advice.

So now, Michael Heatherly, editor of NW Lawyer, the journal of the Washington State Bar Association, has stepped into that void. More accurately, he wrote a piece for men on dressing professionally in the June issue, and invited readers to submit an article for women. Seattle lawyer Lisa DuFour took the challenge. Here’s her piece.

A few comments: Remember that the articles advise on courtroom attire, not office wear. The editor titled it “Fashion Tips for Gals,” no doubt to parallel the original piece, “Fashion Tips for Guys.” The word “gal” is more accepted out west than in other parts of the country, but still, in that context, I would not have used it in a headline — although as a novelist, I may occasionally use it in dialogue.

Regional differences apply to fashion as well as language. While Seattle certainly has its urban and high-fashion streaks, it’s also a laid-back city under the influence of REI, Eddie Bauer, North Face, and other outdoor performance wear manufacturers. Hence some of the comments about shoes — the black strapped sandals with the open toes in the “don’t” picture might well be acceptable in other cities. Similarly, bare legs with suits or professional dresses are acceptable in the west, but not elsewhere. (One of the criticisms leveled at Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe, one that fashion advisers across the country recognized as a regional difference rather than a lapse of judgment.)

Finally, I thought it hilarious that the very next issue showcased the new state bar president, a man in his mid 40s, in a cobalt blue suit that probably violates all Heatherly’s advice for “guys” — but that’s the difference between magazine cover and courtroom protocol!