Macarons of Love – Sweet Romance/Cozy Mystery Excerpt

yolandasyummery43DmedBy Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

Love, Valentine’s Day, Macarons, and … Murder?

Yolanda Carter is preparing for Valentine’s Day as romance and macarons are baking in Yolanda’s Yummery. But things take a dark turn when the body of someone she knows is found dead in a nearby dumpster.

Teaming up with Detective Winston Churchill to find the killer, some employees are suspects, including Yolanda’s boyfriend, Nigel Garvey.

A February 14 appearance on the TV show, America’s Best Bakeries, and the yummery’s upcoming first anniversary are overshadowed as she strives to run her business and help the detective.

Macarons of Love also contains recipes for French macarons and cupcakes.

THE EXCERPT

As the sun had finally shown its rays and brightened the day, she was about to return to the kitchen when the front door opened. There stood a handsome young man in his mid-twenties wearing an elegant hunter green jacket and tan corduroys. He beamed upon seeing her and she noticed that he was the one to initiate the first move by rushing across the store and behind the counter, where he greeted her with a big hug and kissed her gently on the lips. She felt the strong attraction and stared into his penetrating dark eyes. Beneath the light of the shelving units filled with bagged and boxed sweets, she saw that his natural golden brown wavy hair had more gold than brown. He had been in Miami for three days, which explained the difference.

“I missed you, Nigel,” she said as a way of greeting her boyfriend.

“Darlin’, you know I missed you. But I can’t wait to spend tomorrow night with you. There’s something very important I want to discuss with you—after we see ourselves on America’s Best Bakeries, of course!”

 

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1992 Los Angeles Riots Excerpt from ‘Diary of a Hollywood Nobody’

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

This is an edited excerpt from my novel, Diary of a Hollywood Nobody.

Wednesday, April 29, 1992

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaOn Monday, I began a new assignment in the basement of the Union Pacific Bank. There were several departments in the sprawling basement and I got lucky as the lawyer I worked for took every Wednesday afternoon off in order to perfect his golf game at the Wilshire Country Club.

George, the guy in charge of the mailroom, came over to the desk where I sat. My work consisted of alphabetizing loan applications for another secretary. I noticed his serious expression as he told me that the four cops who’d beaten Rodney King had been acquitted out in Simi Valley. The look on his broad Samoan face told me that he didn’t agree with the decision. Neither did I. “People are outside the court house yelling guilty, guilty.” He shook his head. “They’re saying it could get ugly…”

Quitting time was five o’clock and I drove home the usual way and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Until I got home and turned on the TV. I still didn’t have cable but that didn’t matter as every channel was broadcasting the events. Fires were set, looters invaded stores, and my adopted city was in a state of chaos. The only noise I heard was that of sirens screaming down Melrose and helicopters overhead.

Thursday, April 30

Early that morning I called Alltemps and asked if I should go in to work. The answer was yes. I guess being located in the middle of Beverly Hills changed their perspective.

I took Sunset to downtown and parked at the usual lot east of the business district on 6th and Bixel. There weren’t many cars. In the distance, I saw plumes of smoke. L.A. was on fire and I had to report to work in the basement of a bank.

The bank office was abuzz with static-filled radios. Iesha, a South Central resident, spoke of a night of terror. Luckily, her house remained intact and her kids were unharmed. Her husband was out of town so she and her three grade-school aged children endured a night of fires and looting and helicopters buzzing overhead. The nearby mini-mall was looted and burned. No more convenience store, video shop, or Chinese takeout remained.

Sybil was another black woman who had a firecracker of a night. She resided in Koreatown, a hard-hit area near 8th and Vermont. Her apartment was unscathed, but she received a free fire show. Windows broke. Gunshots rang out.

Every so often, someone would remember the employees below street level and announce another mishap. Looting on 6th Street. Fires burned everywhere. No work was done.

By noon, we were dismissed due to the ‘civil disturbance.’ Nerves were wrought. Various forms of panic seized the employees. George was accompanying Rosalinda to her bus stop near Skid Row.

I was driven to the outdoor lot across the Harbor Freeway. Two other cars remained in the $3 per day lot. Behind me, the smoke was billowing higher and darker. I locked my car doors. I was leaving work at lunchtime and wasn’t pretending I was sick; there was a legitimate excuse for going home early.

It started gradually. I noticed more pedestrians on the sidewalks than usual. Teens. Little kids. Mothers.  They headed westwards, about a half mile from Vermont Avenue. People trotting, some running. Uphill, at the intersection of Beverly and Vermont, traffic stopped at a green light.

Read more about the riots as well as the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood. This unique diary is available here:
Amazon link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

B&N Nook link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

iTunes link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

Kobo link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

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Smashwords link: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

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“North of Sunset” New Cover + Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2015

2010 cover
2010 cover

I first published NORTH OF SUNSET in late 2010—back when Amazon allowed us to put books into five categories rather than just two! Anyway, I finally found the time to get the cover redesigned as the first version looked like this small cover to your right.

Pretty lame, I know. I was adamant about using the cover photo because it was taken at Santa Monica Beach right at the edge of Sunset Boulevard and at 5:00 PM in December – sunset for real!

2011 cover
2011 cover

A year later, I fixed the font but the result wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I was going to get it professionally redone when I got involved in some soap crafting projects that kept me away from my Fireworks program. However, I hired a cover designer and the third cover below reflects the somberness of the book. This isn’t a conventional romance, it’s more of a contemporary fiction tale, a Hollywood story about a man who lives in that expensive enclave overlooking down the city of Los Angeles.

Here’s the new blurb: Sherman Lee is a volatile action movie producer in search of critical acclaim. Best friend Wesley Barron stars in his hit movies and knows about the producer’s troubled past. Emily Karelin is sent to work for Sherman due to her lack of show biz knowledge. Temping to support her figure skating habit, Emily works in his Beverly Hills mansion, unaware of how her life will drastically change. NORTH OF SUNSET explores the life of an ambitious man living above it all. Someone whose motto is “the only problem with being #1 is that it never lasts.”

north of sunset by lisa maliga
NEW 2015 cover

CHAPTER FOUR

The phone rang. He grabbed it. Silence. Then the sound of a static-filled voice: “Hi, this is Computer Components calling to let you know…”
“Go to hell!” Sherman shouted and hung up.
He was irritated. Just like he’d been that morning when he drove up to see that dented red Toyota parked beneath the basketball hoop. Reed had started on Friday after he’d fired that Cheetos and Pepsi drinking woman. Reed proved to be a decent assistant. Quick on the phones. Eager to please and he knew all the key names. But he was a lousy typist.
Sherman had been location scouting in Phoenix and was tired. Reed had made sure that a limo was at the airport, but the driver was one of Reed’s struggling actor friends who kept trying to talk to him when he wanted to sleep.
By Monday afternoon Sherman was furious. Reed was simpering on the phone to a bimbo model/actress. Then he offered Sherman the trades and had circled items in red pen, starring the cover page article on North/South Productions’ deal with Fox, Sherman’s company. Obviously Sherman had known about the information for months! So some pipsqueak wannabe producer was pointing it out to him!
Reed took another call for Sherman. “Who’s calling for Mr. Lee? Jerry? Which one–Lewis?” Reed crossed his eyes and made a stupid face.
Sherman lunged for the phone and took the call. “Jerry? Where are you? I’ll call you right back.” He slammed the phone down. “Reed, you’re fired.”
“What?”
“YOU’RE FIRED!” Sherman yelled, his Texas accent very clear. “Get out now!”
Reed decided that the producer wasn’t kidding around. The skinny young man looked very scared. The eyes he’d crossed in mockery were now welling up with tears. “Please, Mr. Lee…I…”
“Get out, you little piece of sh*t.” Sherman saw the fear in the young man’s eyes and felt power surge through him.
Reed headed for the doorway, not wasting an instant.
“You’ll never temp in this town again!” Sherman bellowed.
On Tuesday morning he called Jobs Co. and asked for someone who was competent and didn’t want to make it in show biz.

 Read the official blurb and see where you can get North of Sunset 

 

 

Diary of a Hollywood Nobody ~ A Show Biz Excerpt

Copyright 2011-2015 by Lisa Maliga

Wednesday, July 22

9:20 PM. Back in the world of show biz. 

diary of a hollywood nobody lisa maligaHollywood Financing. The office was on Sunset just east of Beverly Hills. I was a receptionist and the pay sucked but I could have all the free beverages I wanted. Reading on the job was okay. Eight executives worked there and they were a decent bunch. Jack, the lawyer, was in his mid-thirties, but his office was furnished like a kindergarten classroom. He had several cans of Play-Doh and had created some pretty weird sculptures. A fleet of Matchbox cars was parked on a Persian rug. Comic books were stacked on a couch in his suite overlooking Sunset Boulevard. And best of all, there was a kid-sized table and chair for his frequently visiting son that housed an array of coloring books and a box of crayons. Jack rarely accepted any calls and the messages multiplied between the scripts and contracts on his cluttered desk. 

I was allowed to read scripts so I didn’t bother bringing books. Everyone knew I was an aspiring screenwriter and I was glad to work in the Biz again. Leona was from Pennsylvania and said I could call home if I wanted. She was a production coordinator on a recent movie that hadn’t been released yet and had worked with Stallone. She was almost my age and drove a Chevy Blazer and lived in Beverly Hills. I imagined she was making more than what I made.

Here’s the official book description:

Chris Yarborough is a Midwesterner as green as the corn back home in Ohio. This former bookstore employee moves out to Los Angeles to pursue a profitable career in screenwriting.

She finds an office job in a Century City-based tax and financial planning company. The business closes in six months and her career as a temp is launched.

Chris temps in various locations from East L.A. to downtown to Santa Monica and the Valley. Jobs in movie studios bring her in contact with famous actors. As a temp she’s a nobody that’s as disposable as toilet paper.

Searching for a literary agent and that elusive script sale, Chris encounters an array of unusual characters. A partying apartment manager, an important film director who can launch her career, a lawyer with an office furnished in kindergarten motif, and several household names. Sometimes working in the entertainment biz, including stints at Playboy, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros, to jobs in unrelated fields, the plucky screenwriter perseveres.

We’re shown the excesses of the 1990’s as a nobody tries to become a somebody in Hollywood.

Available at Amazon and other online bookstores. See the following page for a full list of online book stores: Diary of a Hollywood Nobody

“The Narcissist Chronicles: The WHOLE Story” plus an Arlen in Action Excerpt

narcissist chronicles love me need me a narcissist's tale i want you seduction emails from a narcissist lisa maligaBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2011-2015

Here’s a new excerpt from the eBook The Narcissist Chronicles: The WHOLE Story. Read about Arlen Stevenson’s first meeting with a woman he met online. A woman who sent him naked pictures of herself and is a fan of his zombie books. Mavis Preston is a lonely divorcée who enjoys trash talking with Arlen via IM and email. How will their planned weekend rendezvous turn out?

“Hello? Is this Arlen?” asked a breathy high voice.

“The one and only. I’m at this address here, numbered 6656 Bel…”

“Arlen, you’re here! Now!?” the phone clicked.

I looked up to see a stout woman with graying tightly permed curls and a pair of oversized glasses popular during the Reagan era, rushing toward me, her powder blue tracksuit emphasizing her undulating bulges and ripples. I pocketed my phone and embraced her, as I knew that was expected of me. I hid my disappointment beneath my pasted on smile—she looked absolutely nothing like those pictures she had sent…

Once I was inside her recently built home, I was impressed enough with the two story living room sporting a marble fireplace and walls containing built-in bookshelves. There was a large deck outside and a brand new gas grill that looked like it would cook lotsa steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and a few lobsters. The biggest turn on was the master bedroom with the elaborate king sized bed below a mirrored ceiling, plush beige carpeting which I wanted to test out when I got to some of my advanced sexual techniques, and the whirlpool tub in the adjacent bathroom made her look a whole lot better. Maybe ole Mavis was as good as she’d wrote.

When we went into her writing room, I saw that her computer was a laptop off in a corner next to a sewing machine and for some reason that disturbed me. Other than her bedroom, the suburban home seemed so normal and unsensual. Maybe it was the presence of a teenager; a door that was decorated on the outside with a poster of Hannah Montana, and remained closed because I doubted the woman wanted me to see evidence of her offspring. “Jeffrey, my only son! He’ll be spending the weekend with his father, like I told you earlier,” she assured me. The 4,000 square foot home was all ours from Friday through Sunday afternoon.

“I want you to autograph some books,” Mavis declared, leading me back downstairs into the living room. She immediately went over to a section and pulled out all three of my hardcovers, and I reasoned she didn’t break the bank to buy ‘em. Naturally, I always preferred it when they bought the more expensive and longer lasting version, and she happily handed them over.

“Why sure, Mavis, I’d love to…” hell, I just loved the fact that people actually bought my books and then wanted me to scribble in ‘em! I obliged her, thinking I was glad I’d left my overnight bag in the truck.

After the impromptu autograph signing, I pulled out my keys. “Mavis, I haven’t had a lot to eat today. Let’s say you and me go pick something up…”

“Nonsense, I won’t hear of it, Arlen. Why don’t I fix you a sub? I can make it to your liking…” she smiled suggestively.

 

Amazon Kindle version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

http://www.amazon.com/The-Narcissist-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0053YUBCK

Amazon UK Kindle version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Narcissist-Chronicles-Lisa-Maliga-ebook/dp/B0053YUBCK

Barnes & Noble version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/narcissist-chronicles-lisa-maliga/1102941036?ean=2940012919106

iTunes version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id664385143

Kobo version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-narcissist-chronicles-the-whole-story-1

Scribd version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story https://www.scribd.com/book/230453823/The-Narcissist-Chronicles-The-WHOLE-Story

Smashwords version: The Narcissist Chronicles: The Whole Story

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86256

“Notes from Nadir” 4 Years Later

notes from nadir lisa maliga ebook cover

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

On October 21, 2010, the first eBook edition of Notes from Nadir was published on Kindle. Written as a series of blogs, Notes from Nadir made its online debut on March 3, 2010. My blog gradually began to attract readers. They seemed interested in reading the forthcoming novel that Notes from Nadir would later become.

Last year I published the second edition of “Notes” and even with a book tour, sales and reviews weren’t happening. The problem may be the title – nadir isn’t a common word. So, if you’re curious, and haven’t already gone to Dictionary.com to check it out, here’s the official description along with a summary of what Notes from Nadir is all about.

If noon is zenith then nadir is 6:30. And it was 6:29 and counting down. Way down. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “The lowest point.” Nadir – it was the place where I was inevitably going. Lots of stuff got me headed in that downward direction. Decisions made too late. Unmade calls. Calls made that weren’t answered. Missed connections. Being at the right place at the wrong time. Excuses. I was caught in the web of my own cause and effect and the resulting karma was ripening. Ripening of karma meant that payment was due pronto. And who paid for my own karma? Me. No checks accepted. No credit cards. And there sure as heck weren’t any I.O.U’s.

Only one place left to go. Back east. Back to a place I no longer called home. Back to a mom I hadn’t lived with or seen in many years. She had a new house in a quiet semi-retirement community. She had a spare room. Two-car garage. Free internet. And a few conditions…

Chapter 5 – Arriving in Nadir

In the morning, I awoke before sunup, knowing that it was my last day on the road. I didn’t want to hang around a motel room when I still had a few hundred miles to go. Soon I’d cross the Mississippi River and be in another state. I’d see things that hadn’t been seen in years: Hardee’s, Sunoco, Steak ‘n Shake, and White Castle.

Driving into the rising sun. Crossing into a state that had a top speed of 65. I saw more snow. When I was partially through the state, I stopped and got gas. It was definitely colder and I stepped over some snow to get to the pump. Being almost “home” was starting to suck.

The end stretch of the 2,000-mile journey led through flatlands and farmlands with intermittent groves of trees to eradicate the geographical monotony. How dull and colorless compared to the dramatic scenery of Arizona and New Mexico. Those miles rolled by as I reluctantly headed east to a “home” I had never seen since Mom moved to her one-story dwelling eight years ago.

The miles vanished. My arrival was imminent. I glanced at traffic heading west and recalled how it was when I was driving in that direction—full of hope. Now, I was full of despair, full of failure. Each mile led me closer to the “cornfield with lights” as my father, who had escaped before me, referred to it.

I changed to a smaller two-lane road that would lead me to within a mile of Mom’s new house. I had long ago memorized her address and she’d told me which streets to take and how easy it was to find. The new subdivision was called Hampton Lake and it was for older people. She’d sent me some pictures of her house and it was as generic as any modern one-story frame house with neutral colors and a few windows offset by some shrubbery and trees. Passed a place where I used to work and saw it had been replaced with a mart type store. Couldn’t help noticing the traffic signals were the old fashioned kind that were strung on wires rather than posts that extended across the intersection like they did in L.A.

I took a wrong turn and had to go another mile in some suburban/country area before I found the right street. I drove slower than normal until I saw the large wooden Hampton Lake sign. Next to it was an American flag. As I drove to the end of the cul de sac I had reached the End Point of my journey.

 

notes from nadir paperbackAmazon Kindlehttp://www.amazon.com/Notes-from-Nadir-ebook/dp/B00486UDJA

Paperbackhttp://www.amazon.com/Notes-Nadir-Lisa-Maliga/dp/1493519077/

B&N Nookhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/notes-from-nadir-lisa-maliga/1100144163?ean=2940012697790

More links can be found here: http://lisamaliga.com/notesfromnadir.htm 

Magical Cakes of Love: (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2) – Plus Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2016

magical cakes of love yolanda's yummery series book 2 lisa maligaIn Magical Cakes of Love, there is romance and mystery as one of Yolanda’s regular customers has gone missing. For those of you who’ve read The Great Brownie Taste-off [which is now FREE], you’ll know that Yolanda Carter always refers to her customers as appreciated guests. In the second book, appreciated guest Captain Angus, a homeless man who enjoys her brownies and cupcakes twice a day, mysteriously vanishes. As the story unfolds, the lead investigator thinks that either Yolanda or her best friend, Teagan Mishkin, might know more about the missing man’s whereabouts. Way more as they’re his suspects.

Here’s the official description:

With the successful launch of Yolanda’s Yummery in the trendy Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood, Yolanda Carter is on a roll. Her fame is starting to grow as news spreads about all her delicious desserts. An accompanying Beverage Bar will open in three weeks. She’s involved in a budding romance with sophisticated British tea baron, Nigel Garvey. Life is sweet.

Complications arise when Captain Angus, a regular homeless customer, disappears…and Yolanda becomes a suspect. 

Someone is framing Yolanda for the crime. Lead investigator Detective Churchill is certain that she murdered the captain. Best friend Teagan Mishkin is also a suspect and wants to clear both their names. Will Yolanda’s relationships be derailed by the daily disasters she’s encountering? Can those Magical Cakes of Love save her and the yummery?

This is a clean romance/cozy mystery, and not only was it fun to write, the cover was a joy to photograph. Yes, I had to go to the yummery to pick up one of those Decadent Chocolate Magical Cakes of Love and take almost 100 pictures of it. The day was warm and sunny with a high of 85 and even though I’m cold blooded I had to lower the temperature of the air conditioning unit from a comfortable 78 down to 70 degrees.

It was difficult to avoid sampling the cake, and I thought about cutting a slice and putting it on some fine china but I did that after I finished taking and previewing the pictures.

I’d like to stress that Yolanda doesn’t ordinarily make wedding cakes but in this book she makes an exception, as a favor to a good friend’s sister who’ll soon be tying the knot.  Here is part of that scene:

Excerpt from Chapter 2

Suddenly a shorter woman with dyed black hair pulled into a stubby ponytail walked in, looking around. She wore a shapeless mauve sundress paired with black sneakers. “So this is the yummery,” Rosemary said. “Kinda on the small side…” She walked over to the display case and saw only three Magical Cakes of Love and barely a dozen brownies. “Did we come at a bad time?” Rosemary asked, her forehead wrinkling.

“Rosemary! So nice to see the bride-to-be,” Yolanda said to the disgruntled woman. “Well, no, you came at the end of the day. I was just going to put everything in the fridge, but I made sure to save you a Decadent Chocolate and a Fancy Vanilla Buttercream Magical Cake of Love to test.” She gestured, moving towards the back of the store. “Let’s go back to my office and we’ll sample them.”

Thirty minutes later and they were still in Yolanda’s office with the two cakes cut into several slices, and the chocolate cake had fewer of them.

“Now I tried on 128 wedding dresses before I found the perfect one…” Rosemary commented, taking another bite of the chocolate cake slice on a paper plate. “It was a nightmare trying to get one in my petite size and style because I wanted the Sweetheart Serenade model. It’s ecru lace with puffed sleeves edged with rhinestones and pearls and a silk crinoline skirt with a detachable eighteen-foot lace train edged with pearls…oh you’d think I was looking for something unusual!” She sighed and rolled her big watery blue-gray eyes. Rosemary pulled out her iPhone and punched the screen a few times. “Here’s the winning dress…” She turned the phone’s screen so it faced Yolanda and a blurry shot of some off white creampuff meringue of a wedding dress was seen.

“That looks nice,” Yolanda stated diplomatically, glad when the phone was removed from her line of vision.

“Well it should. And let me tell you about the sixty-one punch recipes before the right one … and I think the florist is going to be changing again soon…” She enjoyed another bite of her cake, paused, and took another. She sighed loudly. “You’d think people could handle brides changing their minds occasionally.”

 

Magical Cakes of Love is available at Amazon and other online bookstores.

Amazon: Magical Cakes of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2)

Amazon UK: Magical Cakes of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2)

Barnes & Noble: Magical Cakes of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2)

Kobo: Magical Cakes of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2)

Smashwords: Magical Cakes of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Book 2)