Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Muddy Waters - successful blog tour

My recent release Muddy Waters is making a great showing. I'm very excited by the reviews that I've received, which I'll recap in a later post.

At my first Muddy Waters signing this past weekend, 40 books were autographed - pretty darned fabulous by my standards!

I mounted a supercharged blog tour to promote the release. I'll provide a recap here for those.

On Oct. 25, Vicki Hinze posted chapter 1 of Muddy Waters at her Chapter1Zone. Elise Stone won a copy of Muddy Waters. Congratulations Elise!

Also on Oct. 25, I was a guest at Long and Short Reviews, where I blogged about heroes who make you go ahhh.

On Oct. 26, I hosted a discussion on the Sisters In Crime yahoo loop about expectations.

That same day, I appeared as a guest on the SOS Aloha Blog, another interview, where I got to dish about the south and what part southern culture and conflict play on the stage of my books. Kim's blog is a great place to visit.

Oct. 27 found me at Between the Lines, Carol Ann Erhardt's blog, talking about Muddy Waters.

On Nov. 2, I returned to LASR for an interview where I got to talk about handwriting and the south. Joelle won an ebook copy of Muddy Waters.

I hit Liana's place next and I had a blast talking about the kayaking trip that provided a key story moment for Muddy Waters. There are lots of photos too!

Next up was my appearance at Between The Lines hosted by Linda Coker where I wrote a character interview of Sloan Harding, the leading man of Muddy Waters. I had many interesting comments on this one!

I blogged all week long from Nov. 7 to 14, that's right, 7 posts, about my writing journey. Allie, the site host, was amazed that I had comments throughout the week. Thanks so much to loyal fans for slogging through my personal history and the nuances for registering at this site! This was at Novelspotters in their Behind the Scenes feature: is the first column.

Over at the Lovestruck Novice, I blogged on Nov. 15 about obstacles in writing and the importance of Point of View.

Whew! That was some marketing campaign. I had a lot of fun and made some new friends who I hope will be along for the entire ride.

Maggie Toussaint

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baby Thoughts or a min-baby rant

With a new baby boy in the house we've been supplying words to the baby's every gesture, movement, diaper change, etc. While I have no way to knowing if any of this goes through a baby's head, I thought it might be entertaining to put down in a blog. Here we go:

What's with the brightness and the cold air? I liked it better when it was all warm and the light never changed. Heck I didn't even know what light was until a few days ago. I just enjoyed my cozy little den. Now I'm out here in the open, and it's not the same at all. I make little noises to show my discomfort and get lots of handling, but none of them seem to get it. Put me back in my baby-cave! That womb was just how I liked it. There was none of this clothes and diapers stuff, none of this sour liquid that burns up my throat.

Speaking of liquid, why does milk come in one flavor? Why isn't there a rainbow of flavors so that I'd get a little variety? Hour after hour, it's the same thing. Milk milk milk. I hate that I love it so much. Except for when it comes back on me. Then I want those curdles out of my mouth. Bleeck!

These people keep wrapping me up real tight and putting little hats on me. I've about got the hang of removing the hat. A few turns of the head and an arch of my back and the dreaded hat slips right off. Course, they keep putting it back on. It appears my staff aren't trainable. And the swaddling, Lord, I hate that. Don't they know I need to stretch out when I sleep? My right hand belongs right up next to my face, where I like it so that I can suck on my wrist when I like. A couple of times I outfoxed them and slipped my arm out of my sleeve and got it in position, but darn it all, they clothed me back up, wrapped me tight, and I fell asleep. Drat. I hate it when that happens.

Now they've got me in a sleep sack. Why didn't they think of this at first? To heck with wrapping me up like a tootsie roll in three blankets. In the sack, I'm warm as toast, and I can move my arms, thank you, Jesus. God bless the man who engineered sleep sacks.

And while we're engineering stuff, can we get a warmer for the baby wipes? Those things are cold, real cold, and I get startled and sometimes pee when I get wiped, then the whole clothing thing starts all over again. Can't they just let me be? I can hardly get any sleep for all these clothes changes. I'm not a fashion model.

Why don't they ask me my opinion? I'd tell them. Favorite position? In mama's arms. Favorite song? Silent Night. Favorite meal? Milk (Hey, i'm a one-trick pony at meals). Favorite blanket? Baby sack. Favorite diaper changer? My dad. He understands about boy parts. Favorite person? Mom (Hey Mom!). She makes the food. She's the best. Favorite dog? My Maddy. She likes to smell everything. I've got a pretty good smeller too. Least favorite thing? Hiccups.

And let me do a language decoder too. Big cry means I'm pissed. Little cry means you've got about twenty seconds before the big one comes, so hop to it. Whimper means I'm not ready to wake up but some lousy body process is happening. Clearing the throat and little grunts means I want my arms out. Enough with the swaddling folks. My arms need to express themselves.

See? Not much to this baby stuff. Now hold me again. I need a cuddle as I fall back to sleep.

- -
That's my take from a two-week old infant. Sound familiar?

Maggie Toussaint

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Read Chapter 1 of Muddy Waters

Chapter 1 of my just released book, Muddy Waters is available at Vicki Hinze's Chapter 1 Zone. Share Roxie and Sloan's adventure as they search for lost treasure in a coastal paradise. Here's the link:

The book is available in digital and print formats at Amazon (kindle!) and The Wild Rose Press.

Enjoy the read! Let me know what you think!

Maggie Toussaint

Friday, October 22, 2010

A super review of Muddy Waters!

Muddy Waters is out today. In honor of the new release, here's a review for my brand new romantic mystery:

The beauty of small town life is the sense of community and neighborliness that pervades everyday interactions and provides comfort in a time of crisis. The ugly underbelly is everyone knows what you did, what your daddy did, and what your granddaddy did, and those same neighbors are slow to forget or forgive.

Author Maggie Toussaint explores this yin-yang of small communitites in her delightful romance Muddy Waters-a book definitely worth staying up too late to finish.

Heroine Roxie Whitaker has sunk her roots deep in the small Georgia town of Mossy Bog. Despite the lack of eligible men, she loves the slower beat, the complicated interactions of its residents, and the fact that everyone knew and liked her grandmother, and by extension, knows and likes her. Yet she is fearful of missteps and the town's censure.

Sloan Harding grew up the town pariah thanks to his father's constant drunk and disorderly conduct, his grandfather's reputation and his own wayward youth. Yet he found freedom in not having to live up to expectations, and after leaving Mossy Bog, he became a successful Atlanta businessman. Now back to fix up the family home-and hopefully find the rumored Harding fortune-he must face the disapproval of a town that doesn't let go of the past.

And though Sloan and Roxie have to navigate the muddy waters of his past to reach their future, it's clear from the start that Sloan is the perfect complement to Roxie's take-no-risks nature.

Toussaint's book is a delightful, contemporary romance spiced with a mystery that keeps you guessing whether the Harding fortune exists or if it was just a figment of a drunken imagination. Sloan and Roxie's relationship unfolds in a natural way that draws the reader into their story. And the barriers between them and happily ever after are so organic to their personalities and their past that the reader truly wonders if these two will be able to work it out.

-Keena Kincaid, author of Enthralled

MUDDY WATERS IS OUT TODAY. IT'S AVAILABLE IN DIGITAL FORMAT FROM THE WILD ROSE PRESS AND IN PRINT FORMAT FROM THE WILD ROSE PRESS AND AMAZON.COM. If Blogger wasn't being stupid I could paste the direct buy links in here, but I'm on a borrowed computer for now and can't manage to find the right combination of keys. I hope stalwart readers can handle a little internet navigation.

As always, thanks for reading!

Maggie Toussaint

author of mystery and romance

Monday, October 4, 2010

SEMWA Skill Build at Honey Creek

A picture is worth a thousand words, well maybe, 820 after our revision workshop at the Skill Build. Hope you enjoy the photos.

What a perfect weekend! We had mild temperatures, a nice breeze blowing off the marsh, and eager writers excited about our Skill Build.

My friend Holly McClure, who's a literary agent, an author, and an ordained minister, helped me pull this workshop day together. We had sessions on revising your work, on marketing yourself, on getting yourself into print, and an extended question and answer period about the state of the publishing world.

Jack McDevitt made it sound so easy, but he also handed out great advice. Jack's been publishing fiction for more than 25 years. If there's anyone who knows what it's like day in and day out, it's Jack McDevitt.

Though our attendance was somewhat low, those who were there expressed pleasure at coming and of getting new information. Whether it was prologues, critiques, or editing, the meeting room buzzed with interest.

Thanks to Holly McClure and Jack McDevitt for making this such a success. (Maybe I should change my last name to McToussaint?) And thanks to Southeastern Mystery Writers of America for sponsoring the event and providing the seed money. Couldn't have done it without you!

Enjoyed it!

Maggie Toussaint

Saturday, September 25, 2010


What would Nora do?

I was stunned when my husband asked me this question as I dithered over outfits for a recent newspaper interview. I didn’t have to think about what Nora (Roberts) would do – intuitively I knew.

As a member of Washington Romance Writers, I was privileged for many years to hear Nora speak at our yearly Retreat at Hilltop House in Harper’s Ferry, WV. Nora’s talk religiously fell on Sunday just before high noon.

Over the years I’d heard about Nora’s childhood, about the beginning of her writing career, about a book tour (or two) from hell, and many more snips of her life. From this limited association, I could tell that the sass and spunk in Nora’s heroines comes as naturally to them as their dry wit.

Growing up with brothers and raising sons gave Nora a Clint Eastwood glint to her eyes when trouble strikes. She doesn’t suffer fools, and her conduct in public is strictly business professional.

When it comes to her appearance, she always looks put-together. You never get the feeling that her top came from the Macys clearance rack, the pants from Target, and the bag from an outlet mall. That’s not the Nora look; further, I believe her look is more than the clothes (and hers are flawless, of course!) or the hairstyle.

What would Nora do?

She’d wear whatever the heck she wanted to, and she’d do it with verve and class.

Just thinking about how she presents herself had me squaring my shoulders and raising my chin. The difference in the mirror, and in my attitude, was immediate.

Holy cow.

Just like that, my dithering ceased. I could do this, and I could do it in style.


Well, I liked how that catch-phrase carried me through the interview so much that I’m keeping it around.

(By the way, this is my friend Holly McClure, on the left, with me)

Maggie Toussaint
MUDDY WATERS, coming Oct 22 from The Wild Rose Press

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ta Da!!! Fab new cover

I had a wonderful knock-my-socks-off moment today when I opened the email containing my brand new bookcover. On The Nickel won't release until late March 2011, but still, I have a "face" to go with it.

In the story, the murder happens at the church. Mama's car runs over the church lady. The cops think Mama murdered her rival, but Mama swears otherwise. Sleuth Cleopatra Jones isn't about to let her mother go to prison, so she takes action.

This is the second book in the Cleopatra Jones series. The first book, In For A Penny, is out in hardcover. Visit for buy links, reviews, and an excerpt.

And now, without further ado, my beautiful cover for On The Nickel:

Maggie Toussaint
doing the happy cover dance

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Killer Nashville

Last week I attended Killer Nashville where I was on the Southern Fried Sleuths panel. Moderator Glen Allison kept the atmosphere light and fun, inviting panelists and the attendees to comment about what makes the South so memorable. From left to right, Glen Allison, Maggie Toussaint, Barbara Graham, Deborah Sharp, and Tony Burton.

I was also lucky enough to be interviewed by the Nashville Examiner. My interview is posted at:

I enjoyed meeting up with Barbara Graham, another Five Star mystery author. Barbara and I met at another mystery conference and hit it off, so it was very enjoyable to catch up with her. Other friendships, those with Beth Terrell-Hicks and Clay Stafford, were also renewed. Nothing like the fine wine of friendship.

I also made a new friend, Nelda Copas. She joined me for breakfast one morning and we had a few great chats about publishing and the conference.

Another conference highlight was finally meeting my Five Star editor, Deni Dietz. Deni is a force to be reckoned with, both her pen and her opinions are firm and sure. She signed one of her books to me as one of her favorite authors, which warmed my heart.

I also met Sunny Frazier of Oak Tree Press. She's a marketing dynamo and I enjoyed hearing about her possee on the marketing panel.

All too soon the weekend came to an end and we headed back to southern Georgia. I love this conference and highly recommend it to published and unpublished authors.

Hoping everyone is enjoying the last little bit of summer!

Maggie Toussaint
MUDDY WATERS coming October 22

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't pee on Grammy's bed

I've changed course this summer. Oh, I'm still writing and working on my next book, but I have a new reason to smile. The joyous occassion? The birth of my first grandchild.

There's nothing like a tiny baby to melt your heart with his smiles, his peaceful expressions, his cries of where is everybody. I've never been addicted to any substance, but I think elixir of grandchild has me hooked. I'm helping out my daughter and son-in-law for a couple of weeks, but its no chore at all to care for this baby.

It was a case of love at first sight. Such tiny perfection in the fingers and toes. Such a wonderfully shaped head and compact body. Such energetic arms and legs.

He's taken to his Grammy, too. Almost every time I get to hold him, I'm treated to a virtual moving picture show of facial expressions. They flow seamlessly from joy to scowl to yawn and hiccup and then there's that thing he does with one eye closed that absolutely reminds me of my mother's you've-got-to-be-kidding look. Bright eyed or conked out, it doesn't matter, I could gaze at him for hours.

Silly to fall so deeply in love again, but there you have it. My husband will have to understand there's stiff competition for my heart, though there is plenty of love to go around.

It's quite an adventure for me to have a grandson when my kids were girls. I've learned to be fast with the diapering. My daughter and I were admiring his toes during a diaper change and he decided to start peeing. We were so startled that we started laughing. Pee went everywhere and we had to wash the baby, change his clothes, wash the spread and the pillowcases.

I like to keep my family life separate from my writing life, so I won't post a picture of the baby here. But I wanted to let you know why I was awol this month. Like any proud grandparent, I can confidently tell you that my grandson is the most beautiful baby in the world.

Wishing everyone a summer of smiles!

Maggie Toussaint
coming soon: MUDDY WATERS, OCT 2010
coming soon: ON THE NICKEL, MARCH 2011

Monday, June 21, 2010


It happens to all of us, the hot-hot-hot idea we’ve been so excited about fizzles like a leftover firecracker. The words that should follow the brilliant prose we’ve already committed to paper/electrons are lost in the black hole of nowheresville.

What to do?

Solutions are as varied as writers. Speaking for myself, I have two methods that give me a leg up and out of trouble. One is to deepen characterization and the other is to George Costanza the reaction.


If I’m at a loss with what the character should do or how they should feel, oftentimes I don’t know enough about my character. It seems like every writing instructor or writing book has some sort of sheet that you can fill out about your characters. I’ve been known to write extensive notations about each character, which comes in darn handy when you get stuck. For example, a very confident heroine who doesn’t know how to swim will have a strong reaction when she’s plunged into water.

Sheets of paper eventually get misfiled in my office, so I have invented several short cuts for the furthering characterization means of getting unstuck. A diary entry, written in first person by your main character, will deal with their feelings and reactions to events in their lives. All those various research threads you’ve crammed into your head oftentimes come out in this type of freestyle writing, and I often learn more about my characters when I switch from the third person POV of the story to the first person POV of the diary entry. Another thing I’ve been known to do in a tight spot is to write down a list of twenty things I didn’t already know about my character. That list may never have anything to do with your story, but it gets your thought process going in a different direction, which I’ve found helpful.


Any Seinfeld fans out there? George was one of my favorite characters on this program. He had strong feelings about a lot of things and they oftentimes got him into trouble. After a particularly long run of trouble in his dating life and career, his pal Jerry suggested he do the opposite of his natural inclination. For instance, whenever he would normally say no to something, he would instead say yes. Almost immediately, he landed a girlfriend and a job with the Yankees. Turning the situation upside down opened new horizons for George, and it can do wonders for your characters too.

If my main character has gone along docilely with the flow in the last scene I wrote, the scene before I got stuck, then I go back and rewrite that scene with her reacting exactly the opposite. Possibilities for the next scene start humming along as soon as this new level of conflict is introduced. Or, if the expected reaction is that she will explode at a certain turn of events, you can switch that 180 degrees by having her be uncharacteristically agreeable because it furthers a hidden agenda she has which will now come to light. Just something small like that can launch the story forward.

Those are my thoughts about getting my story unstuck from a writing corner. I’d love to hear how you extricate yourself from a similar tough spot.

Maggie Toussaint

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gators - the wild kind and the publishing kind

Most folks associate gators with Florida, due to its balmy temps and large swamps. Others may think of the Lousianna bayous when the word gator comes to mind. But I'm hear to tell you we have lots of gators in coastal Georgia. The mighty Altamaha delta is near here, and it is truly a gator heaven on earth.

Thanks to my friend who works for Ga. Department of Natural Resources, I know just enough info about gators to get in trouble. He says gators are on the move this time of year, particularly the males, as they search for mates. If you come across one in your yard, unless the situation is dangerous, leave it alone and it'll keep right on going.

Wearing my hat of accidental reporter, I recently had the opportunity to write about the beautiful wood stork colony out at Harris Neck Wildlife Preserve, which is in my home county. The wood stork colony nests on an island that is surrounded by gators. The gators keep any raccoons from swimming across and getting into the colony, and the refuge manages the water level of Woody Pond to be too high for optimum feeding of the wood storks, so they mostly fly to other nearby areas for feeding, keeping them from being a home pie alligator snack.

And here's a pic of a Harris Neck gator in Woody Pond, courtesy of Sharon Lindsay, a wildlife photographer who subbed her pics for our weekly paper. She got a great shot, didn't she?

But to put this in context of writing, I think there are plenty of gators out there in the publishing world. We feel the pinch of their massive jaws when the rejection letters come in. We shudder in the death roll when an unflattering review comes out. For the most part we're content to plod along in the publishing world, walking among the gators, as it were, until one of them takes a chunk out of us. That smarts, but we knew they were there all along, didn't we?

Care to relay a story about your "gator" experience in publishing? I'd enjoy hearing from you in any event!

Maggie Toussaint
Muddy Waters, coming Oct. 22

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Here It Is!

Welcome, friends!!!

At long last, I've started a personal blog. I've been around the blogging world for awhile, posting around cyberspace on friends' blogs or on group blogs, but I never had a place of my own to call home.

I still don't know if I've done everything right in creating the blog. I suspect that I'll look down on my keyboard any minute now and see a few spare parts that didn't get used in the assembly of the thing.

Why mudpies and magnolias?

Just wanted something that meant "southern" to me, something that was both messy and pretty, black and white, and just about everything in between. I am from coastal Georgia, freelance for our weekly newspaper, and teach a yoga class for our fledgling YMCA. And I write books.

Nothing better than getting paid to make stuff up.

Anyway, I've officially taken the plunge. My shingle is out there in cyberspace.

Maggie Toussaint
MUDDY WATERS and ON THE NICKEL under contract