Aggie Mundeen Mysteries and Nancy’s Suspense Novel Named Award Finalists!

Good news! Three of Nancy’s books about me, Sam and Meredith are honored as Finalists in Chanticleer’s International Awards.

 

As you know, I star in FIT TO BE DEAD, DANG NEAR DEAD, and SMART BUT DEAD. I’ll also be featured in the next book in the series.

FIT TO BE DEAD is 2015 CHANTICLEER WINNER,

MYSTERY & MAYHEM CATEGORY.

                DANG NEAR DEAD is 2015 CHANTICLEER FINALIST,

MYSTERY & MAYHEM.

Mystery & Mayhem  is the appropriate division for my chaotic adventures,  don’t you think?

   SMART, BUT DEAD, released 2015, has great reviews:

http://tinyurl.com/pxg2bmt

I’m filling Nancy’s head with tales about my antics for BOOK 4

         Stay tuned . . .

 

Smart, But Dead released!

Aggie and I are thrilled. Her third story, SMART, BUT DEAD,  is finally out.

Here’s a summary of the book and some reviews:

SMART, BUT DEAD #3. Aggie, fast approaching the big 40, returns to college to learn about the genetic effects of aging. She’s thrilled by what she discovers, but when she finds a dead academic, becomes prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse, she gets a crash course about love and about staying alive.

From Library Journal:

The third book in a cute cozy series (Fit To Be Dead; Dang Near Dead) features an appealing heroine with a self-deprecating wit and a determination to never grow old.

From Carolyn Hart:

Hurrah for Aggie Mundeen, an effervescent heroine who finds trouble wherever she goes even when the initial pursuit is purely intellectual. Aggie’s pluck, humor, intelligence and loving heart will keep her young and make readers smile. Carolyn Hart, Award Winning Author.

From James W. Ziskin:

Smart. Aggie Mundeen is smart.
But. But she’s also a little clumsy, irrepressible, and irresistible.
Dead. She might well end up dead if she continues nosing around the university where her questions are not wanted. Smart, But Dead is the perfect combination of brains and heart. A tight mystery, an irrepressible heroine, and superb writing. James W. Ziskin, Award-winning mystery author of the Ellie Stone Series.

From Mystery People:

Smart, But Dead features an impetuous, warm-hearted heroine, blessed with an insatiable curiosity, passion for learning and an unquenchable zest for life. Carol Westron, author, reviewer and columnist for Mystery People.

Mystery People is a subscription (print and ezine) publication from the UK which covers the mystery community worldwide and includes reviews, interviews, articles, bios of Golden Age mystery writers and summaries of mystery conventions—a wonderful, comprehensive magazine.

From NetGalley Reviews:

Funny with snappy inner dialogue, The content regarding the aging process and facts about the human genome are interesting and entertaining. Suspenseful. Elaine O’Connor, NetGalley Reviewer

From NetGalley Reviews:

The characters are all very engaging and the story was great. I can’t wait to read more from this author. Jennifer Schell, NetGalley Reviewer and blogger at Bookschelves.

From Urban Book Reviews.

One of the funniest yet most intriguing novels readers will read...I have read her entire series and highly recommend readers around the world to do so.

Thank you all for reading and reviewing this book and to the wonderful bloggers who hosted me on their sites. I am forever grateful.

Nancy G. West

 

 

How Aggie Got Into Nancy’s Head

Dang Near Dead By Nancy G West
Review by Diana Hockley

Dang Near Dead is Nancy G West’s latest Aggie Mundeen mystery and believe me, it does not disappoint!

Fit to be Dead by Nancy G WestAggie, her friend Meredith and Aggie’s love-focus, Sam, head for a dude ranch intending to enjoy a short break. Aggie is particularly eager for the holiday to turn out well, because she has practically dragged Sam there.

As in the first of the Aggie Mundeen stories, Nancy West’s delightful heroine is pitched into a series of mysteries during which a young woman is attacked and lapses into a coma. Having heard that the former owners of the dude ranch died in what Aggie perceives to be questionable circumstances, Sam finally accepts that there is a mystery and things go downhill from there.
Well-paced and written, there are bursts of humor in this novel which had me roaring with laughter. The plot is intricate, with a satisfying ending. Sam and Aggie grow a little closer and he still does not know of Aggie’s secret grief.

A great read and highly recommended. I hope the author has plans to bring out more Aggie Mundeen novels, because there is a lot of scope for them and fans eagerly waiting!

This review first appeared in Kings River Life: http://kingsriverlife.com/

__Diana Hockley is an Australian mystery author who lives in a southeast Queensland country town. She is the devoted slave of five ratties & usually finds an excuse to mention them in her writing, including her recent novel, The Naked Room. Since retiring from running a traveling mouse circus for 10 years, she is now the mouse judge for the Queensland Rat & Mouse Club shows. To learn more, check out her website.

 

NANCY G. WEST TALKS TO HER CHARACTER, AGGIE MUNDEEN.

NGW:
I was writing a serious suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, about Meredith Laughlin, a graduate student facing a life-threatening dilemma. Why did you pick that time to pop into my head, Aggie?

Aggie:
Meredith needed a friend.

NGW:
Somebody with whom to share problems? Somebody to help her?

Aggie:
Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith is too serious.

NGW:
Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life is in danger. You showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?

Aggie:
To lighten things up.

NGW:
You appeared in my head making wisecracks about Meredith’s problems, about her outlook, about her husband, even about her professors ….

Aggie:
Yep. I was right there with Meredith in those classes at University of the Holy Trinity.

NGW:
You showed up in class wearing a warm-up and sneakers. With hair like a Brillo pad. Giving the professor a ‘show-me-something’ look.

Aggie:
The kids needed a role model.

NGW:
You made me chuckle, sitting there like you owned the place.

Aggie:
You needed to loosen up.

NGW:
You made it hard for me to keep ratcheting up suspense in Meredith’s story.

Aggie:
You needed contrast. Dark moments versus light. Scary versus comic … stuff like that.

NGW:
Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

Aggie:
I got in your head, didn’t I? You needed me.

NGW:
You made it hard to focus on Meredith. I’d be agonizing over how she could get out of her predicament, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Aggie:
Yeah …. I enjoyed that.

NGW:
My husband thought I was crazy.

Aggie:
You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.

NGW:
I’d be chuckling at my computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie did something hilarious.”

Aggie:
That’s one way to get him out of the office.

NGW:
I got so tickled at you, I could barely stay serious long enough to finish Nine Days to Evil.

Aggie:
You made it, though. It’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW:
By the time I finished Meredith’s story, Nine Days to Evil, you’d taken over my consciousness to the point where I knew I had to write about you.

Aggie:
And you knew that one book from my point of view wouldn’t be enough.

NGW:
I figured you would demand your own series.

Aggie:
If you hadn’t promised me that, I’d never have let you finish Meredith’s book.

NGW:
I realized that. So Aggie Mundeen’s first two mystery capers, Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead are out!

Aggie:
I like those books. You’re getting to know me, and I’m getting to know Detective Sam Vanderhoven better and better. I really like that part.

NGW:
Meredith’s still your friend … she’s in both your books.

Aggie:
Yep. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.

NGW:
But you still want to be the main character?

Aggie:
You bet. Now that their dude ranch vacation has ended and summer is over, Aggie and Meredith will be back at University of the Holy Trinity. I really want to learn about telomeres. Scientists think they might delay aging. I have to relay this vital information to my readers.

NGW:
For your column.

Aggie:
Naturally. I’ll talk Meredith into taking the course with me.

NGW:
Naturally.

Aggie:
Professor Carmody is going to teach it.

NGW:
You had serious trouble with him in Fit to Be Dead.

Aggie:
I thought he’d kick me out of school. In Dang Near Dead, the stuffed moose hanging in the dining hall reminded me of Carmody … something about the animal’s dull eyes. Anyway, I need to learn about telomeres, so Carmody will just have to deal with me again.

NGW:
He’d probably like to strangle you.

Aggie:
There’s always conflict in mysteries. Especially when I’m around.

NGW:
What about Detective Sam? You and he have plenty of conflicts.

Aggie:
We get along better now. He’s beginning to trust me. Mostly.

NGW:
That’s the first step. If you want him to love you.

Aggie:
…. I guess you could put it like that.

NGW:
What will happen next between you and Sam?

Aggie:
Why don’t you work on my next story? You’ll find out. When it’s time ….
Nancy G. West is writing Aggie’s third mystery caper. Nancy can’t wait to see what goes awry at University of the Holy Trinity. As for Aggie and Sam, stay tuned ….
—————
This interview first appeared in Kings River Life: http://kingsriverlife.com/

 

Tempted to Let Your Beloved Edit Your Work?
                      

 First, better give them this letter:

by Nancy G. West

Dear (beloved) Editor,

Your GOAL is to read this manuscript for the flow of the story and its entertainment value. Follow the logic of the story. Enjoy characters’ personalities. Discern their motives. Do they grow and change?

Different parts of the brain operate when you read for enjoyment as opposed to searching for grammatical or punctuation errors. Therefore, you will have another opportunity to act as copy editor during a second reading. If you feel compelled to correct grammar/punctuation on this page, inform the author (me) that you relinquish your editorial position, effective immediately.

Still with me? Okay. During the first reading, choose a number(s) from the following twelve-item list, bracket the text you’re referring to and pencil comments in the margin of the manuscript:

1. I like this character, description, scene or dialogue.

2. This moves slowly.

3. This made me chuckle.

4. Huh? (Try to explain your stunned reaction.)

5. Two much verbiage.

6. Needs further explanation. (What more do you need to know?)

7. Repetitious. (Find page where this was previously mentioned. Is new info. added here?)

8. Would character really say or do this? (No? Why not?)

9. Contradiction of logic. (Find earlier contradiction, note page number and bracket contradiction here.)
10. Is writer ahead of reader here? (Writer seems to assume something reader doesn’t know.)

11. This part created questions. It either (a) made me want to learn more or (b) made me wonder why author included this.

12. If you have other comments not included above, pencil them in the margin and bracket appropriate text.

13. Now tell me, TAHDAH! – WHAT YOU LIKED MOST ABOUT THIS BOOK! and what you liked least about this book.

One more thing: If, at any point, you feel compelled to be a smart-alec, try to be a helpful smart-alec.

Thank you,

Your (beloved) trusting writer.

p.s. Consider whether editing this manuscript will enhance our long, fruitful relationship, or whether your editing career will begin and end with this assignment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Article first appeared January 12, 2013 at http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com/2013/01/tempted-to-let-your-beloved-edit-your.html Thanks to Patricia Stoltey!

Aside

How Aggie Mundeen Popped into Nancy’s Head

NGW: I was writing a serious suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, about Meredith Laughlin, a graduate student facing a life-threatening dilemma. Why did you pick that time to pop into my head, Aggie?

Aggie: Meredith needed a friend.

NGW: Somebody with whom to share problems? Somebody to help her?

Aggie: Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith is too serious.

NGW: Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life is in danger. You showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?

Aggie: To lighten things up.

NGW: You appeared in my head making wisecracks about Meredith’s problems, about her outlook, about her husband, even about her professors ….

Aggie: Yep. I was right there with Meredith in those classes at University of the Holy Trinity.

NGW: You showed up in class wearing a warm-up and sneakers. With hair like a Brillo pad. Giving the professor a ‘show-me-something’ look.

Aggie: The kids needed a role model.

NGW: You made me chuckle, sitting there like you owned the place.

Aggie: You needed to loosen up.

NGW: You made it hard for me to keep ratcheting up suspense in Meredith’s story.

Aggie: You needed contrast. Dark moments versus light. Scary versus comic … stuff like that.

NGW: Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

Aggie: I got in your head, didn’t I? You needed me.

NGW: You made it hard to focus on Meredith. I’d be agonizing over how she could get out of her predicament, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Aggie:
Yeah …. I enjoyed that.

NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.
Aggie: You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.
NGW: I’d be chuckling at my computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie did something hilarious.”

Aggie: That’s one way to get him out of the office.

NGW: I got so tickled at you, I could barely stay serious long enough to finish Nine Days to Evil.

Aggie: You made it, though. It’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW: By the time I finished Meredith’s story, Nine Days to Evil, you’d taken over my consciousness to the point where I knew I had to write about you.

Aggie: And you knew that one book from my point of view wouldn’t be enough.

NGW: I figured you would demand your own series.

Aggie: If you hadn’t promised me that, I’d never have let you finish Meredith’s book.

NGW: I realized that. So Aggie Mundeen’s first two mystery capers are out. Fit to Be Dead was a Lefty Award Finalist for best humorous mystery of 2012. Dang Near Dead has been released.

Aggie: I like those books. You’re getting to know me, and I’m getting to know Detective Sam Vanderhoven better and better. I really like that part.

NGW: Meredith’s still your friend … she’s in both your books.

Aggie: Yep. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.

NGW: But you still want to be the main character?

Aggie: You bet. Now that their dude ranch vacation has ended and summer is over, Aggie and Meredith will be back at University of the Holy Trinity. I really want to learn about telomeres and biomarkers. Scientists think they might affect aging. I have to relay this vital information to my readers.

NGW:
For your column.

Aggie: Naturally. I’ll talk Meredith into taking the course with me.

NGW: Naturally.
Aggie: Professor Carmody is going to teach it.

NGW: You had serious trouble with him in Fit to Be Dead.

Aggie:
I thought he’d kick me out of school. In Dang Near Dead, the stuffed moose hanging in the dining hall reminded me of Carmody … something about the animal’s dull eyes. Anyway, I need to learn about telomeres and biomarkers, so Carmody will just have to deal with me again.

NGW:
He’d probably like to strangle you.

Aggie: There’s always conflict in mysteries. Especially when I’m around.

NGW: What about Detective Sam? You and he have plenty of conflicts.

Aggie:
We get along better now. He’s beginning to trust me. Mostly.

NGW: That’s the first step. If you want him to love you.

Aggie: …. I guess you could put it like that.

NGW: What will happen next between you and Sam?

Aggie: Why don’t you work on my next story? You’ll find out. When it’s time ….

___Nancy’s conversation with Aggie originally appeared in King’s River Life.

A review of Fit to Be Dead and interview is at http://tinyurl.com/bf5t977

BRAIN CLASH: West vs. Mundeen

Hey. Aggie Mundeen here. It’s time to address brain clash. I successfully got into the head of Nancy G. West: thus, the Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Without me, West would be nowhere. We frequently disagree: that’s where brain clash comes in. For instance, her New Year’s Resolutions and mine are different. See below.

With MIDDLE AGE approaching like a run-a-way train, I’m naturally intrigued by exercises, products or miracles that prevent decrepitude. You and I (Dear Reader) can discuss products and lifestyle changes that promise perpetual youth. We’ll try to keep Nancy G. West out of it.

To illustrate brain-clash, here are Nancy and Aggie’s 2013 New Years Resolutions. Do other authors and their characters have similar problems? Comments are welcome.

Nancy
Aggie

1. I will start research for Aggie’s third mystery caper. 1. It’s about time. You’ve been thinking about it for six months.

2. I will finish the research this spring and start Aggie’s book this summer or earlier. 2.  Earlier is better

3. I will not let Aggie distract me with her funny fiascos while I’m working on the plot. 3. Ha. You know those are our favorite parts. Once I stumble into funny situations, you’re a goner.

4.  Okay. Maybe I’ll write the funny scenes separately and work them in later. 4. That’s more like it.

5.  I will finish the book before letting ANYONE read part of it. 5. Good idea. You’re tempted though, aren’t you? You get excited about my new book and want to share it.

6.  I’ll do a better job requesting pre-publication reviews four months ahead of publication.  6. Good idea, but unlikely.

 7. I won’t take on too many obligations while I’m trying to write this book.  7. You always say that. You’re getting better, though.

 8.  I’ll schedule AT LEAST two full 12-hr. days per week to write the book—not to read writers’ magazines, books on writing, promotion, internet chat rooms, email, website updates, blogs . . .  8. Two 12-hour days? Alone? To write? I told you not to share an office with your  husband. (You can do that other stuff when you’re too exhausted to write any more.)

  9. I won’t let Aggie’s fourth book intrude into my brain while I’m writing her third book. 9. Uh huh. Sometimes we get tickled about what’s coming next. You might as well just write it down. Then go back to the book you’re working on.

 10. I’ll try not to take on other writing projects, even though I have other ideas. 10. You have a ton of ideas. But you won’t have near as much fun working on those as you do writing about me.

11. I won’t get discouraged. I’ve written three mysteries (including the suspense prequel to Aggie’s capers), a biography and umpteen magazine articles. What would I rather do than write? It’s become a necessary bodily function. 11. You can do it. Make the time. I’ll be there with you. In case you need me.

Visit Nancy’s Website at http://www.nancygwest.com.

Yoga keeps you young?

Hey. Aggie Mundeen here. This is an anti-aging blog. Since I’m way past thirty, single and terrified of becoming decrepit, I search for every available remedy to stay young. Sound good? Then let’s collaborate. We know staying young requires exercise, a healthy diet and trying every product on the market that promises perpetual youth. Exercise is a broad field (I had trouble with exercise at my health club; see my story Fit to be Dead), so lets break it down. Consider yoga, for instance. According to yoga, age is determined by the flexibility of your spine, not the number of years you’ve lived. Really? I stretch my spine to stay limber, but yoga people say stretching the spine also helps one’s digestion and nervous system. How does that work? According to ancient yoga masters, the sirsasana or headstand (the “strongest anti-aging Asana”) increases circulation of blood and nutrients to the brain and gives inner organs a break by reversing gravity. They say headstands, done correctly without stress, gives the heart a rest and the lymph system a boost. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand on my head without stress. I’m afraid I’ll break my neck. What do you think? Write to me, Dear Aggie, stayyoungwithaggie.wordpress.com.