Guest Chick: Laura Jensen Walker and #giveaway

The Chicks are thrilled to welcome Laura Jensen Walker for her first visit with us. AND she’s doing a giveaway for a copy of her brand-new cozy mystery, Murder Most Sweet. She also shares her powerful personal story with heart and humor.

No breasts? No biggie.

(Can I even talk about breasts on a cozy blog? Or will I get sent to cozy jail? If so, I hope someone will break me out.)

Some couples get season tickets to the theater or ballet for that first paper (or plastic) anniversary. Others get beautiful coffee-table books, original art, or colorful picnic ware.

I got cancer. Not exactly a gift that can be returned. (Although I tried.)

Twenty-eight years ago, the day after my first wedding anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstruction. Only problem—a few years later my (saline) implant burst when I was hoisting something heavy against my chest, leaving me with a flat tire where my fake boob used to be. Thus began the lopsided years. I had to start stuffing my bra again—flashbacks to junior high.

Five years ago when pre-cancerous lumps were discovered in my remaining breast, I decided to go flat. No more reconstruction for this woman. I’m not a Kardashian or Angelina Jolie and I don’t live in Hollywood. What do I need breasts for? Their only biological purpose is for feeding a baby and that ship sailed a long time ago. (Plus, after years of being uneven, I would finally match again—no more lopsidedness! Woo-hoo!)

When I decided to try my hand at writing cozies a couple years ago, I wanted to see a character like me; a breast cancer survivor who chose to go flat. (I hadn’t found that in other cozies.) Teddie, my main character, doesn’t let her flat state stop her from anything, including leading a fun, well-rounded life as a cozy mystery author and breastless baker, while catching the eye of a visiting author. Her lack of breasts doesn’t define Teddie, it’s just a part of who she is. And the best thing about her breastless state? She never has to wear a bra again. (Although now and then she’ll strap on a pair of knitted knockers when she goes undercover to sniff out a murderer.)

For a chance to win a copy of Murder Most Sweet, tell me, did you stuff your bra in junior high? Be honest. No judgment here.

About Murder Most Sweet: Everyone in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, knows Teddie St. John. Tall, curly-haired Teddie is a superb baker, a bohemian bon vivant, breast cancer survivor, and a mystery writer. Teddie is walking her American Eskimo dog, Gracie, when her four-legged friend finds Teddie’s missing silk scarf. Only problem: the scarf is tied tightly around the neck of a beautiful blond woman, the fiancée of a touring British author.

Before you can say “Wisconsin kringle,” Teddie becomes a murder suspect. Everyone in town knows all too well that the distinctive scarf was hers. When a second murder shocks the community, Teddie stands accused of not one, but two, murders. With the help of her Three Musketeers friends Sharon and Char, can Teddie clear her name and deliver a killer’s just desserts?

Laura Jensen Walker has loved mysteries ever since she read Trixie Belden in the fourth grade. A former journalist, Laura is the author of several chick-lit novels and humorous non-fiction books, including Thanks for the Mammogram! She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband and their canine daughter Mellie and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Murder Most Sweet is Laura’s first mystery. Find out more about Laura at www.laurajensenwalker.com and follow her on Twitter @LauraJensenWal1.

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781643855028

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Most-Sweet-Bookish-Mystery/dp/1643855026/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579191833&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-most-sweet-laura-jensen-walker/1136014119

80 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Laura Jensen Walker and #giveaway

  1. Yes, I did. My mother spied it right away and made me take it out. I tried to do it after I left the house, but my best friend said I looked “lumpy” and I gave it up as a bad job.

    My mother had breast cancer and she also decided not to do reconstruction. She had a “falsie” to use when she went to work or for special occasions, but otherwise, she went flat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mine looked lumpy too the first time I tried in junior high, but I kept on experimenting until I got it just right. Good for your mom for going flat. I go flat about 90% of the time (100% since COVID) but for a special occasion if I’m in the mood to have boobs again, like my protagonist Teddie, I’ll strap on my knitted knockers.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love that you made Teddie flat! There is too much emphasis on what women “should” look like, and it’s nice to see some diversity in character appearances and experiences. Also love that Trixie Belden was your intro to mysteries. She was mine too!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Marla. I agree. I’m all for diversity in character appearances and experiences. Plus, I really wanted to see someone like me in a cozy (even if I did make Teddie 20 years younger than me.) Isn’t Trixie the best?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. No, I never stuffed them, BUT I did buy the thickest padded bra I could find.
    A friend of mine, like you had breast cancer twice. Reconstruction the first time and not the second. Her daughter has now been diagnosed, and next week is having a double mastectomy. I applaud her for her choice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wore padded bras too (as a result of the mean girls in gym class making fun of me for still wearing undershirts and sending me a nasty note in homeroom asking me what color undershirt I was wearing that day.) My mom took me out bra shopping the next day. I actually didn’t have breast cancer twice, the second time it was pre-cancerous lumps, which is why I told them to get rid of that puppy before it could become breast cancer. I didn’t want to go through that again. I would love to give your friend’s daughter facing a double mastectomy next week a copy of my non-fiction book, THANKS FOR THE MAMMOGRAM, which was just rereleased yesterday (9/15.) I’m doing a giveaway on Twitter and my Facebook page if you’d like to enter. (If you don’t win, send me a PM.)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Laura, fantastic post! Absolutely, your health and YOU are the most important things—and now you’re here to continue writing and sharing your amazing books! So I was a competitive ice dancer in my jr. high/hs yrs. My coach was told by a judge that I needed to look more “mature.” (The updo and clown makeup were apparently not enough, lol.) My mom quietly bought me a padded bra, which I also sneakily switched into from my stretchy Danskin trainer on the way to school each morning. I don’t know how “real” it looked, but I sure was “mature”!

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Never did, and now that I have real ones, I wouldn’t mind if I went back to my pre-teen shape, to tell you the truth.

    Love that you put this into a mystery, Laura! And the new books sounds terrific! Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, and congrats on the release!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Leslie. I received a little bit of pushback from a couple folks in the writing community initially at my idea of a flat protagonist–wondering if that would be too much for cozy readers–but, happily, Crooked Lane, loved it and has fully embraced my flat Teddie. Delighted to be a guest at Chicks today, and thrilled to bits to now be a part of they mystery writing community–everyone’s been so welcoming!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m so glad your health is doing well! I never stuffed my bra but I wanted to. I have always been little in that area and it used to bother me a lot. Now that I’m a lot older, they are kind of an annoyance, even thought they are small.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Candace. I’m flat-and-happy and so grateful to be cancer free. My small boobs used to bother me back in the day too (my well-endowed older sister used to call my chest two fried eggs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I never did. I was fairly big already in 5th/6th grade and honestly I would have rather been smaller.
    I like that you chose to do the character this way. My great-grandma died of breast cancer so it’s something we watch for in my family. Awareness had improved so much and maybe your book will get people thinking even more. Plus how can you not like a book about baking, animals, and books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Alicia. I’m sorry about your grandma 😦 I’ve had several family members with breast cancer, so it’s definitely genetic. I went through genetic testing and found out that yes, I do have a mutation of the BRCA-2 gene. I’m glad awareness has improved so much over the years and hope my book will also help in that regard. I included several of the things I love in my first cozy: books, animals, and baking (although to be honest, I enjoy eating the baked goods more than making them myself–my husband’s the real baker in the family 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. No, I didn’t stuff. I had friends who did, but I have never wanted eyes to be drawn to my chest. I look forward to reading this book and meeting Teddi. I appreciate the candidness and openness being seen more and more in cozies!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Missy. I also appreciate the candidness we’re seeing more in cozies. We’re all diverse, different people, with a wide variety of experiences–time to show that diversity in our books! Hope you like Teddie. She was so much fun to write.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. No… I was one of those big chested girls at a young age. I hated it! I wore loose clothing to hide it. I hated changing in gym class because I felt like everyone was starring at me. (probably not) But, I finally caught up with the rest of my body. Whew! And my Mom is also a breast survivor, also having reconstruction, of 20ish years. Hopefully her tire doesn’t pop like yours did. 😕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you finally caught up with the rest of your body, Nancy, but I’m even more glad that your mom is also a breast cancer survivor! (Tell her not to hoist a heavy plastic tub full of Father Christmases against her chest–that’s what gave me my flat tire 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa Matthews, thanks for your kind words! How cool that you were a competitive ice dancer. I’m not the sporty type, but have always loved watching ice skating and ice dancing. One of the thrills of my life was when Peggy Fleming (also a breast cancer survivor) endorsed my book, Thanks for the Mammogram. Peggy Fleming, who won gold at the 1968 Olympics! I’ll never forget watching her as a tween on TV in that chartreuse skating costume–so elegant and graceful.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Teddie sounds like a character that cozy readers will cheer for — Looking forward to reading! Also love the title of your non-fiction book, Thanks For The Mammogram! You’re an inspiration, Laura — thanks for hanging out today with the Chicks!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This book sounds fantastic! There’s so much unfair pressure on woman’s bodies. Several friends were stuffing in middle school, but after one had a big piece of the end of the toilet paper end up sticking out of her shirt collar after recess, and another had some fall right out of the shirt, it seemed like a bad idea!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Katherine! Your middle school friends’ experiences sound familiar 🙂 Actually, my most embarrassing moment happened a couple years after breast cancer when I was working in the marketing department of a private company and giving a presentation. I’d stuffed my bra with quilt batting, but because I had no feeling on the left side of my chest after my mastectomy, I couldn’t feel that the batting had traveled over to the middle of my chest and was peeking out of my V-necked blouse. I discreetly, and professionally, whirled around and shoved the batting back down 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Cozy jail, ha. Not a stuffer. I was more focused on trying to get my curly hair to “feather” which required many daily flattening steps. 🙂

    Thank you so much for visiting us today, Laura. Teddie sounds amazing. You are amazing too…what a powerful story.

    Congratulations on your book!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I’m delighted, nay, ‘chuffed’ to be here (with a nod to Catriona McPherson and my inner Anglophile.) I hope readers will enjoy my unique protagonist–something a bit different.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. First I want to say prayer go out to you as you suffered so much I know when the dr said that they had to go further with my left breast I just wept so much. I was on of the few that didn’t stuff as my breasts were too large at that point which was not good for me as all the girls teased me and it seemed the guys noticed and i didn’t like that at all as you get unwanted attention this was in the early 60’s

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Peggy. That’s so kind of you. The hardest part of my breast cancer journey all those years ago was the chemotherapy. I chose to participate in a clinical trial that was trying to find out if more intensive chemo in a shorter period of time was more effective. I was ‘lucky’ enough to get the heaviest dose of chemo in the trial–so heavy in fact, that when the oncology nurse read the doctor’s instructions on my chart, she said, “This must be a mistake. I’ve never given a patient such a high dose of chemo before.” It wasn’t a mistake. However, another nurse made a mistake when she neglected to give me the anti-nausea medication before the chemo. The next morning I retched so hard and long, I sounded like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park. I wound up losing 30 pounds in 30 days–the chemo diet way. Not a diet plan I’d recommend. BUT, 28 years later, I’m still here, so the chemo did its job and I’m grateful.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Ellen! Thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m eager to read your Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, my fellow bra stuffer 🙂

      Like

  14. Nope, I never did. Though there were plenty of times I’d want to! I belong to the IBTC, and proud of it lol
    I also had a lumpectomy a few years back to remove a precancerous lump i had ignored for a good 10 years or so. That scar still isn’t pretty, nor is the divet (I call it a black hole) it created. I barely had enough to put in a bra in the first place, and now its so wonky. But thats ok. Its a part of me, and a story to tell… after all, isn’t that what scars are for?!
    This book sounds amazing, and not just because I’m from Wisc! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, we’re members of the same IBTC club (or at least I was back in the day 🙂 So glad your lump was precancerous! Thanks for commenting, my fellow Wisconsinite.

      Like

  15. I did not stuff my bra – attending an all girl Catholic school meant that we were all subject to enough scrutiny with out inviting it! I do love your positive attitude and sense of humor – and may I say, I LOVE the term “knitted knockers.”

    Like

    1. Thanks, Autumn. I wish I could say I came up with the term, but I actually first heard it on Facebook a few years ago when I watched a video of a woman in Scotland talking about her “knitted knockers.” I Googled it, and found there’s actually an organization with local chapters of people knitting knockers all throughout the U.S., so I bought a pair. I thought it would be fun to have Teddie strap them on when she goes undercover 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Knitted Knockers folks have very specific yarn and patterns you’re supposed to use, in all flesh-colored shades, with or without nipples. It’s a simple thing but means so much to women!

        Like

  16. No I have never stuffed my bra. I have always had to deal with too much. My grandma had breast cancer and I always thought I would get it too but I have had thyroid cancer twice instead. Congratulations on your new book.

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  17. Laura, thank you so much for sharing your story–and your fabulous wit! My mother chose to go flat after mastectomy, too, and had similar sentiments.
    As for my own bosomy region, I trusted the gods of padding to give me the lift and thrust I was looking for.

    Thanks for being here and congrats on the new release!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. Good for your mom. Love “the gods of padding” and “lift and thrust” 🙂 I’m more delighted than I can say to be back writing again after an 11-year absence. AND to be writing cozies! An unexpected delight. I’m loving every minute of it!

      Like

  18. This sounds like a series I will really enjoy. Added to my TBR. What a story you have to tell. Thanks for writing a series like this. And I guess we’ll find out if it’s okay to say “breasts” in a cozy ha ha.

    No bra stuffing. I was one of those “early developers.” First bra at age 10. I remember our music teacher in grade school had very large breasts and I thought wow, that is not right, looks uncomfortable, blah blah. Didn’t think I would ever actually know how she felt. ;-(.

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    1. Thanks, Sally! My grade school music teacher was short and “elderly” (I wonder now hold old she really was–to an 8-year-old, she seemed ancient.) Her breasts hung down to the belt at her waist, where she always kept a tissue tucked into the belt. It was fascinating to watch her periodically remove that tissue to wipe her nose and basically have to move her breasts out of the way to get to the tissue.

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  19. No, but in 7th grade I lived in this enormous bulky sweater to hide the fact I was boobless. I’m sure nobody ever saw through my clever ruse.

    Knitted Knockers made me smile. Just today I was going through some things and found all my info about them. My mom was a skilled knitter her entire life and when she moved into a nursing home and began to get bored, I put her to work knitting knockers. It gave her purpose again.

    Thanks for sharing your story here with us at Chicks, Laura. Congrats on your new release!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Becky. Bulky sweaters helped me too–particularly during those Wisconsin winters.

      How wonderful that your mom made knitted knockers! Not only did it give her purpose, but it helped many women. A win all the way around.

      Thanks to you and the rest of the Chicks for giving me such a warm welcome–I’m delighted to be a guest chick today.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve never had to stuff my bra..always had enough..I applaud your surviving BC.. a sweet cousin of mine is a 2 time BC survivor. I’ve only had basal cell carcinoma in several place that required plastic surgery, but nothing like what anyone with breast ca. or any other type of bad ca.goes through. My aunt has a rare ca. yoke sac..my mother is recovering from lung ca. It’s everywhere and most people knows someone who has it or has had some form. Keep telling your story, the more it’s told the more it helps others, that’s what my cousin does. So yes, go flat.. my mother has gone flat for years..hahahah!! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Sheryl. So happy to hear that your cousin is a 2 time BC survivor. It’s a tough one, but you’re right sharing our stories helps others. That’s why I wrote THANKS FOR THE MAMMOGRAM all those years ago–to offer some hope and encouragement to other women traveling that breast cancer road after me. Cancer is definitely everywhere, unfortunately 😦 I’m so grateful to be 28 years cancer free and to be here to share my story.

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  21. From a fellow survivor, I say THANK YOU!! Of all the protagonists to write about I would have never thought of a post-cancer flatter. HAHA. I am looking forward to reading your book. Congratulations on your many years of cancer free and many more to come.

    Like

  22. Good afternoon
    I have done a Dolly Parton look alike from the chest up with balloons before. Lol!
    Does that count?
    Congratulations on your new book coming out and glad you are doing well!
    Have a wonderful day!!!

    Like

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