Nancy’s TV Debut

Shelly Miles, host of San Antonio Living on WOAI TV, invited Nancy to join her in a segment about Aggie Mundeen Mysteries. Naturally, I paid close attention.

Having never been on television, Nancy worried about attire and make-up. The sofa on the set was cranberry red. Should she wear a navy or black business suit to appear professional? She’d swelter under the studio lights. Rivulets pouring down one’s face is not a good look. She opted for a casual blue pantsuit with a loose top: light-weight cool fabric, long sleeves and demur neck. A microphone would be clipped to her somewhere.    

She emailed TV host Shelly: “Does the studio have a make-up artist?” TV cameras made a person look pale, old and ten pounds heavier, none of which Nancy needed. They had a bathroom and mirror. No make-up artist.  She consulted Melody, the master stylist who does her hair. Melody could apply TV make-up, but unfortunately, she would be out of town. She gave Nancy hints: “Apply eye liner above your lashes and blend it upward at the outside corner.” (Nothing on one’s face should trend down. Gravity took care of that.)

Nancy practiced. She wore contacts, so she had to keep the liner out of her eyes. She managed to draw a smooth line above her lashes, but when she swept the outside edges upward, they resembled curly mustaches. After multiple line drawings, scrubbing off a series of smudged flying corners and replacing two sets of contacts, she was able to draw lines—when she managed not to blink—that curved in subtle upward sweeps. She stared at the mirror bug-eyed, while her sweeps dried.

Melody said her cheek bones needed definition, so she bought several shades of blush at the grocery store. Poised at her bathroom mirror, she sucked in her cheeks and swept the pinkest shade on the bone from under her pupils toward her ears. She looked ready for a pow-wow. She tried a lighter color that looked more natural—so natural that a microscopic camera lens probably wouldn’t show it. She applied more of same figuring that should do it.

Her eyebrows, blonde and squiggly, did not make a nice frame for her eyes and would probably disappear under lights. What to do? Make arched brown bars totally foreign to her face? She tried it. Not good. Her brows would remain natural.

Dressed and made-up, she cruised with her husband down Highway 410 toward WOAI TV, which was located ten miles ahead on the access road. Then the traffic stopped. Vehicles came to a standstill, their motors idling and drivers fuming. There must be a major wreck ahead, and there was no other route to the TV station. After waiting in stalled traffic for twenty minutes, her husband suggested she call the station.

“This is Nancy West,” she said. “I’m supposed to be on San Antonio Living at ten  o’clock, but the traffic on 410 has stalled. I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

“Yes,” the receptionist said, “a four-car pile-up. Thank you.” Click.

As soon as Nancy hung up, cars miraculously began to move. Police must have cleared the wreckage. Hopefully, no one was seriously injured. They arrived at the station where people zoomed back and forth at warp speed between swinging doors on each side of a reception desk across from a small waiting area. She signed in, and they sat. A young lady brought a waver for her to sign: She agreed the station would own her television image in perpetuity, which undoubtedly included defined cheekbones, along with whatever words she managed to utter. The young lady asked if she could attach a microphone to Nancy and clipped a battery pack the size of a thick cell phone inside the back of her pants. Nancy shivered: she said it was cold and would remind her to sit straight for the interview. The girl had Nancy snake the wire under her clothes and clip a small microphone to her collar. Cool.

After “Finding Gently-Used Clothing for Back-to-School Fashion” and a segment about a school for boys practicing to be Ninja Warriors, Nancy was told to sit at the end of the rose sofa. Shelly Miles would sit on the adjoining sofa. Her books were placed on the coffee table in front of them, and images of the covers formed a portrait on the back wall.

“Just face me as though we’re having a natural conversation, ” Shelly said. After a countdown, the segment began. The lights were even brighter than we imagined. Shelly was charming, asked great questions, and Nancy had practiced some answers. The interview seemed to go well, although I doubt Nancy’s ratings rose to the level of Ninja Warriors.

Later, we watched a video of the show at home. Since Nancy had turned sideways to talk to Shelly, we mostly saw a woman with blonde hair talking to a younger woman who smiled radiantly for frequent camera close-ups. The woman resembling Nancy looked old and pale with invisible eye make-up, nondescript cheeks and squiggly eyebrows.

But she had fun.

__Aggie Mundeen



Aggie Mundeen Reflects During Spring Break

Here it is past the Ides of March and already St. Patrick’s Day. I love the idea of Leprechauns, but I ’m not worried that Shakespeare’s soothsayer foretold the death of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March. In fact, I’m not worried about much of anything. RIVER CITY DEAD was released a couple months ago. Reviews are great, and the book should be well-received because of the setting: Who doesn’t love the San Antonio River Walk? The city is a top tourist destination.

Nancy and I have our differences, but I loved her telling how Detective Sam and I planned our first rendezvous at Casa Prima Hotel on the River Walk. He and I have come a long way in our relationship over the course of four books, even though it could have been smoother. I blame Nancy for that.

Anyway, even though our rendezvous didn’t go exactly as planned (it was not my fault), Sam and I managed to work together most of the time, even when tragedy occurred. In the midst of catastrophe, our relationship blossomed. He did get terribly angry about a certain incident over which I had very little control.

I made new friends at the hotel, the Fabulous Femmes who held their convention there, and Sam and I immersed ourselves in the beauty and history of the River Walk.

Our reader friends seem charmed by the experience. RIVER CITY DEAD makes them want to visit River City, return, or if they live here, spend more time on the River Walk. And they like my story.

So now we’re at a lake on the Guadalupe River reflecting. Birds are singing, male geese strut on our roof trying to impress the females (it doesn’t seem to work all that well), the grass is greening and huge lakeside trees are sprouting new leaves. Lovely.

Until later,


p.s. Nancy is getting ready to send our newsletter about my stories and what’s coming up, including giveaways and bargains from her and other writers. If you’d like to be on the mail list, send us your name and email address. Look over in the right-hand column and click the link. Cheers!



It’s hot, and I’m bored. Nancy plans to learn Canva, clean her closet and our office, learn more guitar chords and tackle Scrivener, a program to help authors plan stories. We are also acquiring a new roof, which means we’ll both have headaches.

I’ll keep you posted.



July: It’s the end of July. The rain stopped and we’re baking under an unrelenting sun. Nancy’s glad she had a project to work on indoors, which is the story of my next adventure.

She answered editors’ questions and incorporated them into the story. She’s tired after working six-to-eight hours a day since early June, but she’s satisfied with the results. Now it’s time to clean out our office and closet clutter and perfect the art of being lazy. When I know her brain is receptive, I’ll suggest some ideas which she will try to ignore.

My forthcoming story is set in a place where EVERYBODY wants to vacation. Hint: it’s not the Caribbean or Hawaii.

I’ll keep you posted.

Aggie Mundeen

(Leave a comment or send Nancy an email. I’ll read it.)


It’s June already. What happened to spring? Rain mostly. Which meant my author couldn’t go to her lake place retreat. Which means she’s grumpy.

She’s describing another of my adventures and sent the first draft to her publisher a month ago on May 9. This story is set in a really cool place where Sam and I chose to rendezvous. But things rarely go as planned.

The publisher has scads of questions about what Sam and I and our new friends do in this tale. It’s perfectly clear to Nancy and me. She works hard to explain me.

I think Detective Sam finally understands me. He’s just not sure he can deal with me full time.

Right now, Nancy is fine-tuning the story. I’ve got to look over her shoulder to make sure she doesn’t distort the facts.

I’ll keep you posted.

Aggie Mundeen

(Leave a comment or send Nancy an email. I’ll read it.)

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.





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

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

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:

__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.



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?

Meredith needed a friend.

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

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

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?

To lighten things up.

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

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

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.

The kids needed a role model.

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

You needed to loosen up.

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

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

Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

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

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.

Yeah …. I enjoyed that.

My husband thought I was crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

I figured you would demand your own series.

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

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

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.

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

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

But you still want to be the main character?

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.

For your column.

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


Professor Carmody is going to teach it.

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

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.

He’d probably like to strangle you.

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

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

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

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

…. I guess you could put it like that.

What will happen next between you and Sam?

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:


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 Thanks to Patricia Stoltey!