Guest Chick: Linda Lovely

Please join us in giving author Linda Lovely a very warm welcome! Linda has kindly offered to give away one copy of With Neighbors Like These–all commenters below today will be entered to win.


The HOA Funny Papers

With Neighbors Like These, the first book in my new HOA Mystery Series, doesn’t fit in the humorous mystery category. Yet, since homeowner associations provide the homicidal backdrop, I couldn’t resist weaving a bit of humor into the mystery. The heroine of this series, Kylee Kane, is a retired Coast Guard investigator. She’s helping a friend who owns an HOA management company. As a security consultant, Kylee attends HOA board meetings and bites her tongue as she listens to directors deliberate policies and penalties, some of which she finds giggle-worthy.

I’ve lived in four HOAs, researched community disputes, and listened to tales repeated by friends and family. Some sound like urban legends, but I’m sure somewhere there’s an HOA director ready to make and enforce rules to prevent the homeowner “horrors” noted below. I’ve included how Kylee (and yours truly) might suggest enforcing these rules if her consulting gig didn’t require her to keep her mouth shut.

Shades of Nitpick: An architectural review committee must approve all exterior paint colors including contrasting trim for doors, shutters, etc. The trim is where my husband and I once got in trouble. We had a grayish house and wanted a splash of color at the entry–a red front door. We were told the red we’d chosen wasn’t an approved shade.
Enforcement: To help homeowners avoid inadvertently choosing verboten shades, advise them to look for colors with names that imply they bear little resemblance to the prime color, e.g. Murky Red, Ancient Brick, Dusty Auburn.

Obese Pets: Some associations, especially condo and townhouse governing bodies, impose weight-limits on pet dogs. For example, your pooch may be illegal if he tips the scales at more than 35 pounds. While the intent may be to discourage ownership of larger breeds, small fat dogs could be rule breakers.
Enforcement: Set up a weight management program for pet dogs with weekly weigh-ins just like Weight Watchers suggests for humans. Owners can take off dog collars prior to weigh-in, but no shaving long-haired breeds to shed unwanted ounces. Overweight dogs must report to fitness centers for daily sessions with owners and pups both hoofing it on treadmills.

You Say ‘Tomatoes’ I Say @&*#(&: Some associations prohibit veggie gardens, even in backyards, as persnickety neighbors consider tomato plants with haphazard growth and yellowing leaves unsightly.
Enforcement: Prohibit netting/fencing around gardens. In no time, rabbits, chipmunks and/or neighborhood deer will nibble the offending plants to stubs.

Holiday Décor: Some HOAs limit outdoor holiday lighting to white bulbs, no gaudy reds, greens, or blues, please!
Enforcement: A giant Rudolph the Reindeer wreath with a brightly-lit red nose will be placed on the front door of any offender as a means to shame the owner in their bright-white communities.

Throwing in the Towel: Hanging towels (or clothes, sheets, etc.) outdoors on balcony railings or clothes lines is no-no in some communities.
Enforcement:  Equip a drone with a bird doodoo option. Fly the drone over the neighborhood and bomb any wet items on display with guano. This is sure to discourage repeat offenses and/or increase the incidence of drones lost to enemy fire.

Parking Peevement:  In neighborhoods that dictate all vehicles must be garaged, there’s often a provision that guests can park their cars and trucks in driveways or on streets so long as they’re moved before a 24-hour clock runs out.
Enforcement: This provides an excellent opportunity to employ neighborhood teens of driving age. They can be hired to joyride so the vehicles never sit in the same spot for 24-hours. Owners pay up if the vehicles are returned undamaged.

So, HOA dwellers and/or directors, what rules would you like to change? Which ones are written in a way that makes them impossible to enforce? Do any of your rules seem silly?


A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel.

Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript.

Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery.

For more information, please visit lindalovely.com.

 

 

Managing an HOA can be murder

Murder victims in separate Lowcountry homeowner associations appear to have had only two things in common—they antagonized neighbors and their dead bodies were posed to shock. Are HOA feuds provoking these murders? Kylee Kane, a retired Coast Guard investigator, agrees to help her friend’s HOA management company find the answer. After uncovering decades-old links between the murder victims, Kylee IDs the killer’s next target. Can she foil the third act in the killer’s death-as-theater game or will she be the next corpse on display?  

37 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Linda Lovely

  1. Congrats non the new release, Linda! I’ve never lived in a community with an HOA. Don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. Though I wouldn’t mind having someone plow my street during the winter.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have never lived in a HOA community and have no interest in doing so. We live on a street that most of the people our around our age and a nice young couple next door and we all watch out for each other. Here in FL most of us have our own pools and are retirees from up north. Congrats on your new book!!! Thank you for this chance of your giveaway!! pgenest57 at aol dot com

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love these! I can’t think of any unreasonable rules in the places I’ve lived, but I’ve heard some HOAs can be ridiculous. Fingers crossed I never experience those. Congrats on the new series!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Marla. I’ve lived in four HOAs. They’re like small towns. They can be idyllic until … That’s the problem. You never know when the until will happen and a newcomer joins the board or starts a push for change.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never lived in an HOA, but The Hubby and I toyed with the idea of buying a condo at a local ski resort. We were not thrilled about the HOA fees, but we could swallow them – it was the “special assessments” that could happen at any time and be for any amount that killed the deal for us.

    Congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Every association I’ve ever been a part of has had a board composed of frustrated politicians and other busybodies who become nearly orgasmic at the though of promulgating regulations for others to follow. That’s why we don’t and never would live in a community with an HOA. Instead, we live in a sleepy little southern tobacco town where no one gets too upset if we plant tomatoes in the front yard where it’s sunniest or the chickens get out onto the sidewalk, and our annual murder rate is per decade rather than per year.

    Your new series should be a raging success, as HOAs can provide hundreds of reasons for murder. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lol, Linda! I used to represent a HOA when I worked as an attorney and I can see how it would make for a MARVELOUS murder mystery plot!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, and congrats on the new book–I LOVE the title!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A pleasure to be on with the Chicks today! I love the title, too. Am trying to come up with an equally good one for book two. Any ideas welcome. I think it should have neighbors in it.

      Like

  7. Linda, thanks so much for visiting Chicks today! So…are you sure your mystery isn’t humorous, lol? And you were just kidding about all of these rules, right? Actually, I did some book research on a town in FL where your front window blinds had to be kept shut. I didn’t believe that, either–but while I was visiting they did make it fake-snow in the town square. I’m afraid I can’t add any other awesome rules–I’m in the Live Free or Die state, and while there are HOAs, none of them are in my more rural area. We have actual ghosts who make the rules here. They can be tough.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Linda! Congrats on your new HOA series! It sounds like it could be a *long-running* series with all the potential conflicts.

    I really don’t get some of the HOA rules. My friends generally have landscaping issues, like grass that’s not the right length. One even had a fence constructed that was the correct height…until they changed the requirements right after its construction.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I live in a condo, so I have an HOA. I wish they would do something about the parking. It is abysmal around here. Part of that is the design. We have two car garages, but they are tandem parking, so if you do have two cars parked in there, you can’t get the back one out without moving the front one. Since I now live alone, that isn’t as big a problem for me. Still, people will park for days (weeks, months) in the same spot on the street. And, because street parking is horrible, they will have visitors park in the allies where the garages are when they come to visit, making it impossible for us to get into or out of our garages.

    Yeah, I’ve considered murder over the parking, why do you ask?

    The funniest (in some ways) was the year they sent us reminders that outdoor Christmas lights had to be down by January 15th. They sent the reminder out with our monthly statement – which arrived on 12/23. And a Bah Humbug to you, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That’s hilarious, Linda! Apparently our neighborhood had an HOA for about 8 seconds until people realized how awful it would be. A friend of mine in an HOA neighborhood leaned her snow shovel against her house while she took a lunch break from shoveling. When she went back out, there was a “no-no” note taped to it. And wind chimes! I’ve heard horror stories about wind chimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Linda, congrats on the new series — it sounds fun! I think it would be perfectly believable if in some neighborhoods, HOA committee members were being murdered one by one, lol! Thanks for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Linda, thank you for visiting us today–very happy that you’re here!

    This post makes me think that there are SO many scenarios for your series to address…never thought about how rich an HOA was in potential conflicts but you’re right!

    Congratulations on your new series. Looking forward to reading.

    Like

  13. My Sister lives in a townhouse and they have a 2 pet limit and they also asked them to pull weeds so they don’t have to pay the lawn service. I thought that’s why you live in a HOA so you didn’t have to do yard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Luckily, your and my HOA doesn’t get into the issues listed. But there are plenty of others that keeps the Board busy…

    Like

  15. Linda,
    I live in an HOA and never realized how lucky I was, not having to deal with any of the situations you’ve mentioned. I can see where your new series will have plenty of fodder for wonderful plots, murder and mayhem.

    Like

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