Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tiara Trouble by Lane Buckman (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Tiara Trouble by Author Lane Buckman!

Author Guest Post

Thank you so much for hosting me as a guest today! I love getting to visit new places.

The question I am asked most frequently is, “Where does your inspiration come from?” The answer to that varies with the project I’m working on at the time, but in the case of Destinee Faith Miller and her mysteries, the answer is, “My inspiration came from a pair of tennis shoes.”

I drink way too much coffee, which means I’m always awake and always into something, as my long-suffering husband and overflowing craft closet can attest. Several months back, I had decided that I needed to paint sneakers. I was riffing on a pair of painted Tom’s I had seen, so I was working with hot pink, zebra print, and a lot of tiny crystals, and I was halfway watching Dance Moms while I painted. I was painting the vamp of the first shoe when I thought, “Destinee would love these.”

You see, I had started writing TIARA TROUBLE about six months before the shoes, but I had hit a snarl with the plotline, and couldn’t move forward. So, I had put TIARA TROUBLE down and gone to work on other projects. At the time, Destinee was a former beauty queen who had lost it all, gone home to Phenix City and found a job as a legal secretary. She was dating her boss, hating her life, and she wasn’t much fun at all.

I honestly have no idea what happened in my brain, but something in the combination of Abby Lee Miller and paint fumes made synapses start firing, and before I was finished with the second shoe, I had plotted out a brand new version of Destinee Faith Miller. This woman had risen from the ashes of her fall from grace harder, better, faster, and stronger. She came riding out of my imagination on the inside of a Ked, just like Aphrodite riding her oyster out of the sea.

Imagine that Botticelli had painted Destinee birthed from the Chattahoochee River in the arch of a white sneaker, with nymphs ready to clothe her in zebra print, and hot pink velour; cupids in full glitz attire blowing her up on the Phenix City side of that muddy water.

Two weeks later, I had my full first draft.

I never know when inspiration will strike, but I can almost always guarantee it will hit me at the most inopportune time. My fickle muse likes to start chattering when I’m shaving my legs, or driving in rush hour traffic, or trying to do math. And, honey, she talks fast. I just do my best to keep up.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Destinee as much as I enjoy writing about her. She continues to be a delightful companion. Currently, I am writing through her second story and this time I’m finding inspiration in music. The Jason Aldean song, The Only Way I Know is really doing it for the muse. That song fits Destinee’s life philosophy from top to bottom. Now, I’ve just got to find her someone to dance with, and we can have a lot fun.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I really appreciate it, and I appreciate your readers taking the time to get to know Destinee and me a little better. TIARA TROUBLE is available on, and in all your favorite bookstores. I post regularly at, and you can find me on Facebook at or on Twitter at Best wishes to you all, and as Destinee would say, “Y’all don’t be strangers!”

About The Author

Lane Buckman is a former beauty queen from Phenix City, Alabama. Growing up, she wanted to be Miss America, a criminal lawyer, a super model, the President, a Bond girl, a brain surgeon, a journalist, a back-up singer for Duran Duran, and a college professor of Medieval Literature. In order to fulfill those dreams, she became a writer. She lives in Texas with her family, and enjoys every miserably hot second of it.


Book Review

Tiara Trouble by Lane Buckman
Book 1: A Destinee Faith Miller Mystery Series
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback - 230 pages / Kindle - 609 KB 
ISBN: 1939816165
Genre: Cozy Mystery

BUY THE BOOK: Tiara Trouble

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

What happens when Dynasty meets Honey BooBoo, they have a baby, and that baby is raised by Charlie’s Angels? You get TIARA TROUBLE, a bedazzled cozy mystery full of gritty glitz.

One foreign policy question five years ago sent Destinee Faith Miller’s dreams of being Miss American Universe up in flames and landed her back in her hometown of Phenix City, Alabama, with her tail between her legs. But like the mythological bird that her hometown is misspelled after, she rose from the ashes to create Destinee’s Dolls, a thriving pageant consulting business knee-deep in pink, prints and tulle.

A death at the local level of a national event lands her the job of pageant emcee, and Destinee dares to dream of bigger things—maybe even a reality TV show! But when judges start dropping like flies, she has her hands full keeping herself alive long enough to see those dreams come true. Contending with catfights, car bombs, and the camouflage-colored funeral of a redneck’s dream, Destinee gets a little help from her friends, family, and a pit bull named Clarabelle.

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from Tiara Trouble, by Lane Buckman

The competition for the Miss Alabama American Universe title that would lead to a shot at the Miss American Universe event had been fierce. It came down to a real battle between Tonielle West, the sleek, elegant brunette representing Auburn, and Deenie Paul, the busty, bubbly blonde from Huntsville. When the final moment came down, the two of them standing there holding hands, grinning at each other, and whispering words of encouragement as they waited for the emcee to read the name of the winner, we were all holding our breath.

Personally, I was torn. I thought Tonielle’s beauty and interview had been the best, but Deenie had knocked it out of the park in swimsuit and talent. For me, it came down to the fact that our family Rolls Tide, so I just could not in good conscience root for anyone from Auburn—whether she went to school there, or not. For the record, she did.

Drums rolled for what seemed like minutes, and the tension built until the emcee opened the envelope and said, “Your new Miss Alabama American Universe is,” he paused again, causing Tonielle and Deenie to crunch up their shoulders and clutch hands even tighter, “Miss Auburn American Universe, Tonielle West!”

Both women screamed, hugged each other, and stayed there together for a moment, but then Judy Clawson, the current reigning queen, and I stepped up to draw Tonielle away into her own solo spotlight. I was a bit disappointed at the outcome, but not nearly so much as Deenie Paul was. Deenie clung to her victor’s arms, seemingly unable to believe Tonielle had won. In fact, I had to pry one of Deenie’s hands off Tonielle’s bicep, and the emcee had to help pull her backwards so that a junior girl could shove the First Runner Up trophy into her hands.

I had one eye on Deenie as I handed Tonielle her bouquet, and I couldn’t help thinking that the way she was looking between her trophy and the back of Tonielle’s head boded no good. It looked an awful lot like she might be thinking it was heavy enough to do some serious damage to her rival’s skull. But violence was avoided for the moment and Tonielle took her winner’s walk down the runway. Finally, after all the photos were snapped, short interviews were given, and autographs were signed, we were on our way back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham, the official hotel of the Miss Alabama American Universe pageant.

It was a short ride, and we arrived just after the bus dropping off all the pageant contestants was pulling away, so we entered the lobby to a rowdy group of young women in sequins, sashes, and sky-high heels, toasting one another with champagne—a few of them drinking straight from big, green bottles. Everyone was happy and cheerful, as most girls are after the stress of an event like that is over with, and the after party was in full swing only moments after we’d all gotten inside.

Girls crowded around Tonielle. Every one of the fifty losing contestants came over to offer their congratulations and make over her crown, her sash, her trophy, and her bouquet, fairly smothering her with tipsy affections until the pageant handlers eased a throughway so she could pass all the way inside the lobby.

I saw Deenie Paul in the crowd and thought she looked especially happy, her lips turned up in grinchy glee, as she buttered a roll she’d grabbed up from a catering tray nearby. I thought she might just be excited to eat a carbohydrate, as those are verboten during pageant events—no one wants to be puffy for her close-up—but then I saw that she was watching our new reigning Miss like a hawk.

An official pageant photographer asked Tonielle to climb up the wide, white granite steps that led up to the second floor conference area. He wanted to get a few shots of her alone, before having the other girls crowd in to fill the stairwell for a group shot. Tonielle made it up the steep staircase, holding on to the chrome-plated rail. She had a funny look on her face when she got to the top, and I realized she was having trouble walking. I was trying to figure out if the trouble was her shoes, or how tight her evening gown fit her, when she did a little shuffle with her feet. Her arms flew out to either side and she started flailing.

It wasn’t a second before she was falling backwards, crumbling and tumbling. She didn’t even have time to scream before her head hit the edge of that first stone step with a horrible crunch, and thenabout every other one on her way down, leaving splashes and slashes of crimson on the light granite stairs and the glass partitioning along the rails.

When she finally landed at the foot of the stairs, her limbs were akimbo, and her head was tilted at an angle far too square to her shoulders. Her mouth was twisted and eyes were wide and staring up as though mortified by the splatters of blood that painted the gowns and faces of the beauty queens crowded around her. For a moment it was absolutely silent. It was so quiet you could hear the false eyelashes batting, as the gathered girls blinked, squinted and tried to make sense of what they’d just seen. Then, one girl started to scream and that set off the rest of them like car alarms in a parking lot.

Deenie Paul put down her roll, daintily wiped the corners of her mouth with a cocktail napkin, and strode over; bending to pick up the crown that had bounced off Tonielle’s head, somewhere halfway down the stairs. She considered it, turning it over in her hands twice before using her thumb to wipe away a smear of blood. Then, she put it right on top of her hairdo, whipping out a bobby pin from her chignon to hold it in place. That done, she walked back over to where she’d been standing. She noticed me gaping at her, looked me in the eye and grinned. Then, she picked up her roll again and licked it right down the center, her tongue coming away yellow before disappearing back into her smile.

My Book Review:

Tiara Trouble is a laugh-out-loud cozy mystery with a beauty pageant theme that will keep the reader in stitches. Author Lane Buckman weaves a wickedly entertaining tale set in the deep South town of Phenix City, Alabama, told in the first person narrative by Destinee Faith Miller, a sassy hot mess of a gal with Southern charm and wit, who takes the reader on a behind the curtains look into the world of beauty pageant antics with a madcap murder mystery adventure added into the mix.

I have always been fascinated with beauty pageants since I grew up in Atlantic City, the home of the Miss America Pageant, so I knew that I was going to enjoy reading Tiara Trouble, and I wasn't disappointed! Author Lane Buckman uses her prior beauty pageant experience to weave a thoroughly entertaining tale with a cozy mystery twist. As a cozy mystery fan, I really loved the balance between the murder mystery and crazy beauty pageant antics. Destinee's Southern girl personality of grit, sass, charm and humor, witty one-liners, and southern wisdom kept me entertained and snickering, while the murder mystery aspect of the storyline was intriguing with its action-packed suspenseful twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the end of the story.

With colorful characters, a charming Southern setting, and a fast-paced storyline mixing beauty pageant contestants with amateur sleuths, Tiara Trouble is such a fun story to read, it will simply keep you laughing, while providing a page-turning murder mystery to solve. It is an entertaining Southern cozy mystery at its best.

Tiara Trouble is the first book in the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery Series.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: Oct 28 - Nov 18

Everyone who leaves a comment on Tiara Trouble by Lane Buckman ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Tiara Trouble before November 18 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

October 28 – Lavender & Camomile Press – Excerpt
October 29 – Musings and Ramblings – Review, Q&A & Excerpt 
November 4 – Chick Lit Plus – Review 
November 6 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Novel Spotlight
November 8 – Ai Love Books – Review & Excerpt 
November 11 – Book Mama Blog – Q&A & Excerpt 
November 12 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
November 13 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 14- Brooke Blogs – Review
November 15 – Steph the Bookworm – Review
November 18 – Everything Books and Authors – Excerpt


  1. Loved this one, thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Samantha! I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a fun read. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thank you so much for having me today! I really appreciate you.

    1. Hi Lane! Loved reading Tiara Trouble, it was a very entertaining story. I love Southern fiction and cozy mysteries, what a great mix! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)