Thursday, February 8, 2024

Who Doesn't Love a Bargain?

 Who doesn't love a bargain?

I love bargains and I unabashedly shop sales and clearances for just about everything. I also love Estate Sales, but I try to stay away from them because I don't need any more stuff.

About 24 years ago, we downsized our home and got rid of lots of stuff. Some of it was painful, like the set of Encyclopedias that we couldn't even give away, the snow skiing equipment that no one wanted. We'd already gone through the winnowing/divesting of stuff when my father-in-law passed, and we'd kept a lot of his tools. So, when the purge for us came in 2000, we went from a five-hammer family to just having two. Painful as it was, we settled into a smaller one-story home with no basement or attic.

Everything was fine until we wanted to turn the porch into a sunroom. We ended up with a tile cutting saw for that project. Then in the warmer climate, we needed a power washer. And so it went. Soon we had a shed brimming with tools and machinery. Then several more relatives passed, and we took in some real treasures of no particular value.

Seems we're doomed to have stuff! But it makes us happy and productive. That's a good thing!

Speaking of bargains, I have great news for you! 

Today, Feb. 8, 2024, IN THE WICK OF TIME, which I wrote under the pen name of Valona Jones, is sale priced at $2.99 and is the Kindle Daily Deal. Thanks to Crooked Lane for putting this book on such a wonderful sale.  GET YOUR COPY

More about the book: This is book 2 of my A Magic Candle Shop Mystery series. The amateur sleuth is Tabby Winslow, and she and her twin sister Sage are energetics. This is a kind of psychic that can manipulate energy. They live in Savannah, GA, one of the most haunted cities in the US. In this book, Sage's boss is poisoned, and the cops dial in on the stillroom in the back of the candle shop. (For those who don't know, this is like an apothecary shop where things are made but also herbs and spices are ground up).

Thanks for visiting! Happy Thursday, All

Maggie Toussaint

also writing as Valona Jones and 

Friday, May 19, 2023

May 2023 Online appearances

 I have two back-to-back online appearances in May as Valona Jones to talk about my new A MAGIC CANDLE SHOP MYSTERY series. I hope you will register for one or both of these fun venues where there is plenty of reader and author chatting!


I am pairing up with talented cozy author Lois Winston to appear at this Mystery and Mayhem event! It happens Tuesday, May 30 at 7:30-9:30 pm EST

REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT TODAY! There will be laughter, banter, Q&A, games and prizes, and more. Best of all, it's free! 

As I understand the format, author teams have individual Zoom windows. During the event, you click on the team windows you want to listen to, you can roam around or stay put. (Pick us!) I will be appearing as Valona Jones at this event

 Register HERE for Mystery and Mayhem.




Snuffed Out_RGB final small for webThis online event is hosted by the St. Joseph Public Library in Saint Joseph, MO. Librarian Jenny Ellis leads this online book club. On May 31 at 7 pm central / 8 pm eastern time, they will be discussing SNUFFED OUT, book 1 in A Magic Candle Shop Mysteries. I will be there as Valona Jones, and it's open to everyone!


I will be talking about my book, about me, about anything Jenny asks, but participants can ask questions too! We'd love to have YOU join us. Sign up today!


Registration is open for everyone for "Murder She Read." REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT: HERE


That's it for now! Sign up for my monthly newsletter to stay on top of current appearances. Sign ups are at and  One sign up will net you our joint newsletter from Maggie Toussaint and Valona Jones!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Release day for Snuffed Out, written under my pen name of Valona Jones

 Release day! It is always a shimmering, shiny day for authors, and now that I am two authors (Maggie Toussaint and Valona Jones, it's double the fun!

Today, the sleuth from the series, Tabby Winslow, a fraternal twin, psychic, and a candle maker, is appearing at Dru's Book Musing, sharing a Day in Her Life. Click here

Yesterday, Valona Jones had a post about "Living your best life," over at It's Not Always a Mystery blog. Be sure and check that out as it shares behind the scenes info for both author and characters in the series. Click here

The Great Escape Tour for Snuffed Out starts on Jan 12, 2023. The stops are listed below.

January 12 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 12 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

January 13 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – I'm Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Brooke Blogs – AUTHOR GUEST POST

January 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT


January 17 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 17 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 18 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 19 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

January 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

January 19 – The Book's the Thing – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 20 – Books to the Ceiling – SPOTLIGHT* Teresa will also be featuring the book on her podcast using the excerpt.

 January 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 21 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

January 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST 

 Tonight I will be at Cozy Mystery Party doing an Author Takeover for Snuffed Out. It's from 7-8 pm EST. I hope you can make it!


Last but by no means least, I'll be at the Facebook Party page I share with Nancy J Cohen for a Launch Party on Thursday, January 12, from 7-8:30 pm EST. There will be a game, reveals, and prizes. I hope you'll join me!

If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter, please do that at either of my websites.


Maggie Toussaint and Valona Jones and

Friday, April 15, 2022

 VALONA JONES is delighted to announce that her forthcoming book, SNUFFED OUT, is now available for preorder in Digital and Hardcover formats. Here is the info you need to get this Jan 10, 2023 book sent to you as soon as it drops:

Book Blurb:

Twin sisters Tabby and Sage co-own a candle shop, but will it all go up in flames in Valona Jones’ series debut, perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Bailey Cates.

30-year-old fraternal twins Tabby and Sage Winslow own The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah. Sage is hot-headed and impulsive while Tabby is calm and collected, making them the perfect partnership. When  one of their customers is found murdered, from a blow to the head, that partnership is put to the test.

Blithe McAdam had been seen in a heated argument with shop clerk Gerard, which immediately makes him suspect number one. The twins are convinced of Gerard’s innocence and start digging into Blithe’s past. But no one is cooperating. The neighbor who found the body isn’t talking, medical examiner Quig won’t give any details about the autopsy, and nasty rumors begin surfacing about the drowning of Blithe’s father years earlier—evidence that could seal Gerard’s fate.

Tabby and Sage dig desperately for the truth. But it’s not only their friend who’s in peril. With the clock ticking, the twins find themselves in the grip of an unseen and deadly energy that has seeped into their midst—and in the sights of a ruthless killer.


Preorder your copy today:

Hardcover Book     AMAZON     BARNES&NOBLE

Digital Book         KINDLE     NOOK     KOBO

Valona Jones Bio: Valona Jones writes paranormal cozy mysteries set in Southern locales. Her work blends mystery and the unexplained, along with a sprinkle of romance. A former scientist, she’s drawn to the study of personal energy. She sharpened her people-watching skills as a lifelong introvert and thankfully had a bank vault full of personal observations when she began to write fiction. Her forthcoming release, Snuffed Out, A Magic Candle Shop Mystery, is slated for a January 10, 2023, release. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where she’s seen time and tide wait for no one.

Friday, February 18, 2022

 It's the last day of the Booklover's Bench Anniversary Celebration! We're giving away 7 full length cozy mysteries to celebrate our founding nine years ago. Today, Feb. 18, is the last day to enter. I hope you'll click over and take a chance on us! 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Book of the Month: Gone and Done It

 Imagine my wonderful surprise when I opened Karla Brandenburg's newsletter this morning to find a large feature of my Gone and Done It as her "Book of the Month".

"Maggie Toussaint ‘s Dreamwalker series is one of my favorites, maybe because she taps into that spooky vibe that I like. GONE AND DONE IT is the first in the series, one which I’d missed while I was reading the rest of them, so I only recently got caught up.

Single mother Baxley Powell has inherited the family talent for Dreamwalking, whether she wants it or not. As she’s working in her landscaping business, she uncovers a skull, much to the chagrin of her client, and now the much-needed fee is being held hostage.

Baxley needs money to pay the bills, so she suggests to the misogynistic chief of police (who has been chasing her since they went to school together) that if she uses her family’s legendary psychic abilities to help him identify where the skull came from and who it belongs to, he will hire her as a police consultant.

The clues are handed to her bit by bit as the dead woman struggles to trust Baxley, and then a second person turns up dead beneath one of the trees Baxley planted. Now Baxley has two murders to unravel, but each walk among the dead for answers exacts a price. With the help of her hippie family and the support of her community of friends, Baxley ferrets out the answers and gets the job with the police department.

Baxley is a very likeable character. Her concern for the welfare of her child is her primary motivation, and her love of the family that surrounds her and nurtures her keeps her grounded. Her missing military husband adds another dimension to the story, leaving the reader to wonder if he’s the “watcher in the woods” who protects her from a distance.

For readers who like a supernatural tone, I highly recommend this series. Each book takes a deeper dive into the world of the dead, and each trip Baxley takes to find answers exacts a price. A great mystery/police procedural/supernatural story, set in coastal Georgia (hence the southern dialect titles!)."

Be sure and check out this first book in the seven book series!

Buy Links:




Happy November to all!
Maggie Toussaint

Tuesday, October 5, 2021


 Raise your hand if you are slap-tired of this pandemic! I certainly am. During the middle of the isolation and fear and vaccines, I got the brilliant idea that I could make a perfect bra. Usually if something is tailored to your body it fits better. Wouldn't that be a treat?

The more I thought about how great The Perfect Bra would be the more excited I got about the project. Soon I collected hooks, elastic of various widths, pre-made straps, several kinds of elastic, thread to match. I got really excited over some dusky pink stretchy fabric and thought wouldn't it be great if I bought enough to make mine and an extra for my sister. Oh boy. This was going to be a great project.

But then I realized that bra patterns weren't readily available. Hmm. Well, I could make patterns from almost perfect bras or I could use clearance swimsuit tops and reshape them into bras. So I tried a few swimsuit bras. And a pattern I didn't like began to emerge.

You see, once you adjust the strap length, the cup size, the band size, or the degree of stitching, something else always changes. I took a closer look at my purchased bras and realized that the stretch was different between the cups than in the cups. And the sides stretched different than the cups.

Okay, so I realized this project was slightly trickier than I originally thought it would be. To make matters more complicated, I had a back injury long ago at T-12 vertebrae which is exactly where the bra band hits. I also can't take the compression of sports bras. I also have bone spurs in my neck so halter tops are out, and due to both of those spine issues, bras whose straps cross in the back won't work for me.

So what would the perfect bra look like? It would have a wider band, but it wouldn't fit tight. I thought it might open in the center but that was annoying on several levels.  It would definitely have wide straps, preferably cushioned on the shoulders. No underwires, as I can't tolerate those either. It would fit comfortably without squeezing the life out of me and yet still support the girls. If it were made of wicking fabric, so much the better. 

All of you bra-wearers out there probably know that the less structure the bra has, the less support there is. However, I discovered a real-life hack that helped. Wearing a stretchy camisole atop a less supportive bra added support that was comfy all day long. That helped for 3 seasons out of the year but was miserable for summer.

I'm not saying I gained a lot of weight during covid. Instead, my bras shrunk over time ((grin)). Getting bra extenders helped with most of the band shortness issue I had. And again, the camisole on top covered a myriad of sins.

But I kept looking at the fabric. So I cut pieces out based on a current bra, but no matter how I turned the fabric, I couldn't get the stretch right. A closer look at the store-bought one revealed that the fabric in different parts of the bra were different thicknesses, different stretches, and different breathability even though it was all the exact same color.  Looked again at the local fabric store and those extra choices weren't available. Well, dang. that was discouraging.

By this time, stores were putting clothes on clearance again, including bras, so I bought some larger bras from online vendors and then customized them to fit, either by adding support stitches across the top of the cups and trimming the middle section between the cups. That yielded a few bras that had moderate support, especially when overlaid with a stretchy camisole. And the store-bought one pictured above met every criteria I wanted except for the one I didn't think to include - it has scratchy fabric. Grrrr.

A lightbulb finally went on. I should be sewing bras into camisoles. Not shelf bras that give you a uni-boob look, but real cups and a little bit more snugging down to simulate a band. Lo and Behold, several manufacturers must've been channeling the same idea, because this very concept hit the market. They came with a big price tag so I looked and wanted and waited. About six months later, those camisoles with real bras shaped right in the stretchy fabric started going on sale. I got one and I like it, but because its new and I'm stuck at home mostly right now, I am saving it for later when I'm out and about in the world.

Meanwhile, I found a few of the new bras I purchased worked well, like the pink bra in the First Solution Thoughts image. It washes well, still has the same elasticity after dozens of wearings, and it's comfy all day with good support. I bought a couple more of those and like my happy-color bras.

Now I have a leftover drawer of bra supplies, some stretchy fabric that won't be made into bras, and a bit of frustration that making the perfect bra was so darn hard. I started with those swimsuit-bras, patterned a Maggie-bra after a real one, modified a larger bra, and came up with the camisole plus bra life-hack. In every case, as soon as I adjusted one part that stretched, such as the band, the armpits became uncomfortable. Cutting the armpits down changed the stretch in the cups, causing gaping or too-tight straps. Inserting a padded section onto the shoulder section of a strap changed the stretch and sometimes made the strap too short and once it even pulled the band up. Not good. Too many variables in this stretchy equation.

In the lessons learned category, I have a newfound respect and admiration for bra companies. How the heck they come up with anything that works is beyond me. I'm not saying the average person can't make a bra; it's more that the average person is likely to give up before he or she figures it out. I know I'm throwing in the towel on this idea of The Perfect Bra.

And while I have your attention, my Doggone It is on sale right now for $0.99, down from $4.99. This paranormal cozy mystery of the murder than happens when a film company comes to town is a fun read for October, plus there's a ghost dog! Though this is book 3 of my 7-book Dreamwalker Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone. Get you copy now at:    KINDLE   NOOK   KOBO   IBOOKS

That's it for now, Happy Reading to All!

Maggie Toussaint