Wednesday, March 13, 2019


I'm happy to be a stop on the blog tour for
Book 1 in the DIY Diva Mysteries
by Paula Darnell

DIY Diva Laurel McMillan learns that the high walls and guarded gates of Hawkeye Haven can't protect her community. When Laurel takes her pampered, chocolate Labrador retriever, Bear, for an early morning walk, she finds her friend, security guard Bessie, bleeding and unconscious at her guardhouse post. If the attack on Bessie isn't enough to set the residents' nerves on edge, the murder of Victor Eberhart, the unpopular president of the powerful homeowners' association, certainly does the trick. Despite teaching DIY classes and writing project instructions for her latest book, DIY for Dog Lovers, Laurel manages to squeeze in time for some DIY detective work. But as she gets closer to the truth, Victor's killer would like nothing better than for the DIY Diva to take a dive.

LKBR:  Thank you for being here today, Paula!

PD:    It's great to be here!

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about you, and your book.

PD:   I'm a former college instructor with a B.A. degree in English from the University of Iowa and an M.A. Degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. Although I've taught many college English classes, I've also enjoyed the opportunity to teach other classes that were more fun, such as sewing, jewelry-making, and fashion design, because they relate to my own DIY hobbies. I've had an Etsy shop for several years, where I sell some of my handmade jewelry, hair accessories, and textile artwork, among other things.

          For seven years, I was a part-time fashion writer for the now-defunct, and I've written many print articles over the years, but it wasn't until I stopped teaching that I decided to write a novel. Cozy mysteries have always been a favorite of mine as a reader, so it was only natural that I decided my first book would be a cozy.

          In Death by Association, A DIY Diva Mystery, I called on my own experiences as a homeowner in a guard-gated community, a DIY hobbyist, and the pet parent of lovable Labrador retrievers. In the book, the amateur sleuth is Laurel McMillan, the DIY Diva, a young woman who has turned her love of crafty DIY projects into a job. She is a blogger, an author of DIY books, and a teacher of DIY classes at the community center in her guard-gated community. Along with Bear, her adorable chocolate Lab, she makes some frightening discoveries on their early morning walks, one of which is that her guard-gated, walled community isn't as safe as the residents thought it was, so the DIY Diva decides to play DIY detective.

LKBR:  Any hints or spoilers you can give us about your next book?

PD:   In Death by Design, the second book of the DIY Diva Mystery series due out this summer, the killer commits murder using an item made in one of Laurel's DIY classes.

LKBR: Have you ever written a scene that you loved but had to remove it for the sake of the story?

PD:  Yes. At one point, my former agent submitted the Death by Association manuscript to a publisher whose editor wanted to see some changes. I removed some scenes and re-wrote others based on the editor's preferences. Although a different publisher eventually published the book, I kept the changes.

LKBR: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Just find it hard to get into reading because you are so into your writing?
PD:  No. Not yet! I usually read several books a month, mostly cozies and historical mysteries.

LKBR: Are there any magazines that as a writer you subscribe to? 
PD:  Although I don't subscribe to any magazines specifically for writers, I do subscribe to a lot of magazines. Most of them concern crafting, sewing, artwork, or fashion.

LKBR: Any new projects in the works?

PD:   Yes. There are two new projects in the works for this year, the next two books in the DIY Diva Mystery series: Death by Design and Death by Denial. I'm shooting for a summer release for book 2 and a late fall release for book 3.

LKBR:   If you could ask your readers 3 questions, what would they be?

PD: 1. Do you like to see recipes or projects in the back of a cozy? If so, do you                 ever try them?
2.  How important is the book cover when you're choosing a book?
3.   Do you prefer most of the action to take place within the community (in Death by Association, it's the guard-gated community Hawkeye Haven) or would you like to read a story in which Laurel goes to another location and solves a murder there?

LKBR: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?

PD:   Author website -
          Pinterest -
          Twitter -
          Etsy -

LKBR: Thank you so much, Paula, for letting us get to know you better!

PD:     It was my pleasure!



 1 lucky reader will win print copy of


USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Winner will be chosen after March 24 at the end of the tour

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.



Author Paula Darnell’s debut book, DEATH BY ASSOCIATION is a great start to her DIY Diva Mystery series.

I truly enjoyed DEATH BY ASSOCIATION. I knew on page one that I was going to enjoy getting to know series protagonist, Laurel McMillan and her chocolate Lab, Bear. They were both a delight to read.

The mystery in this whodunit was well plotted by author Darnell. There were just enough clues to lead the me on the right path to the killer, but enough twists and turns to have me second and third guessing myself. In the end, I was sure I was close to solving it, but fell short. Once I read the reveal, I had that ah-ha-I-should-have-known-that moment that had me smacking my forehead.

Fun and interesting characters, an original setting in a gated community (Oh, the trials of an HOA), Bear the dog, and great writing all make DEATH BY ASSOCIATION a story worth reading, and a great debut for Darnell.

About the Author


 An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she's also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master's degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. Like Laurel, the main character in Death by Association, Paula enjoys all kinds of arts and crafts. Some of her memorable projects include making a hat and a cape to wear to Royal Ascot, sewing wedding gowns for both her daughters, exhibiting her textile and mixed-media artwork in juried art shows, and having one of her jewelry projects accepted for inclusion in Leather Jewelry, published by Lark Books. She sells some of her jewelry and hair accessories in her Etsy shop:

 Paula's interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications. Living in a guard-gated community governed by a homeowners' association gave Paula the idea for the setting of Death by Association. She finds that residing in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. A Happy-New-Year greeting from her community association called on residents to “start the new year by reviewing your Rules and Regulations booklet,” something unlikely to top anyone's list of New Year's resolutions. Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout. 

  Author Links

Purchase Links


  a Rafflecopter giveaway


March 11 – Readeropolis - SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – CelticLady’s Reviews – RECIPE POST
March 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 14 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
March 15 – Brooke Blogs - SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 18 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
March 19 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 20 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW
March 21 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 24 – Laura’s Interests – GUEST POST
March 24 – I'm Into Books – SPOTLIGHT


 1 lucky reader will win digital copy of


USA only


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Thank you for your review on "DEATH BY ASSOCIATION" by Paula Darnell and for being part of the book tour.

    Enjoyed reading the interview and learning more about this new to me author. In answer to her questions:
    1) Yes I do like recipes in the back of the book. I mean you get our mouths watering taking about them in the story and this way we aren't left hanging or wondering what all was in that dish. So yes, include extras at the end for those of us that look forward to them.
    2) I am attracted by color, subject matter as in hints to the storyline of the book and also a great title when it comes to covers. I think if it hits on all three then I am headed to the checkout with it. It helps a lot if it's not a book I have already heard about or that was recommended to me to find new authors.
    3) I like the location to change around some times. Spices it up some. Maybe she goes on vacation with her besies? :)

    I would love the opportunity to read this wonderful sounding book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thanks very much for being a stop on the blog tour for Death by Association. I'm so happy you enjoyed the book! I really appreciate your great review!
    Paula Darnell, Author

  3. This looks like a really cool book, I'm definitely going to read it!

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