The relationship with my author, Nancy G. West, is unsettling. I was her star for four Aggie Mundeen Mysteries. Then she went AWOL and was cruising along as if she didn’t know me anymore.
Last month she finished a novel about an eighteen-year-old baseball player, Decker Savage, whose parents are divorcing. In January of his senior year, he sits depressed and alone in a dark diner when a scruffy stranger in the far booth draws his gaze. His mother walks into the murky place and sits across from this man. Decker cringes down to watch. They chit chat, and she smiles. The man abruptly jumps up and blasts out of the diner. She looks perplexed, then angry. What does this creep have to do with Decker’s family? He has to find out. He sneaks out the back of the building and follows the man into life-threatening danger.
Possible titles: Desperate Measures – The Stranger in the Booth – Limbo Land. Since this book is different from her others, Nancy seeks agency representation and a new publisher.
What does this baseball player have to do with me? The book is filled with suspense and probably isn’t even funny. Nancy has obviously lost the plot. I’m a goner.
I do, however, have encouraging news. Second Editions of the Aggie Mundeen Mysteries are out, plus the prequel, Nine Days to Evil, where Meredith, the protagonist, meets me and Sam.
The Plunge, bridge to the Aggie Mundeen Lake Mysteries, is also out. In The Plunge, after Sam and I almost drown in a raging flood, our outlook and relationship change, along with my location. Near death experiences have that effect. A new beginning? A temporary relocation? A permanent shift?
Nancy is working on the second lake mystery. She hasn’t told me what will happen, but at least I’m in her head again
I’m afraid Nancy has lost the plot. She finally finished her suspense novel about eighteen-year-old Decker Savage who has a supportive family and a bright future – until he follows a mystery man into danger that threatens to destroy his family and his life. I admit it sounds like a good story. But here’s the weird part. After she queries agents and researches a few publishers, she spends part of every day reading Decker’s story out loud. She makes a few changes to the manuscript, then goes on reading. For crying out load, doesn’t she know what’s in it? It’s painful to watch.
What’s more, I’ve heard her musing about taking a vacation. This is in spite of the fact that she has a mystery/suspense novel about me that’s one quarter written, and it’s sitting on a shelf. It’s the second book in the new spin-off series, Aggie Mundeen Lake Mysteries. After Sam and I almost perished in a flood, I had great empathy for the survivors. So I moved to Seguin, a town near the flood, to see how I could help flood victims. Sam wasn’t thrilled with the idea (he is still a San Antonio Detecive), but I did it anyway. As always, things weren’t turning out quite like I anticipated.
The thing is, Nancy needs to get her head back into the book so we can both find out what happens. At least she hasn’t completely turned her back on me. I’ve just got to figure out how to get her out of this querying, reading, vacationing mode.
I’ll keep you posted,
GREETINGS from the thawing Texas tundra. Slammed with a sample of the snow belt, we were woefully under-prepared. (Sort of like coming to Texas in August without air conditioning or water). Thousands lost power and water. People stood six feet apart in heavy snowfall only to find grocery shelves virtually empty. Those with frigid homes piled in with relatives, friends, or lugged coats and blankets to warming shelters. Homeless people overfilled shelters and churches. Those with medical issues requiring power were whisked to hospitals with backup generators. Everyone helped.
The snow has melted, the weather is warming, and most people have power, if not water. Carrying buckets of snow-melt inside to flush toilets is not fun. We look forward to a balmy weekend with a lot of finger pointing at officialdom. Booked-up plumbers are looking forward to early retirement.
In the spirit of rejuvenation, Nancy and I are offering a free book with purchase at BOOK NEWS. Sign up on the right or at www.nancygwest.com to review the offer.
Stay Warm and Hopeful,
Covid summer has passed and here we are in November, wearing masks, washing hands and hoping the darn virus loosens its grip more and more and fades into memory. Loved ones we lost will never fade from our thoughts.
I’ll be first in line after the most vulnerable people get their vaccines.
Most of us are trying to work despite difficulties, but writers mostly stay at home to work, right? By now, there should be a book out on my new adventures as Activities Director for Seguin’s Pecan Paradise Activities Center.
Not exactly. Nancy’s brain was infiltrated by a baseball-playing high school senior who is depressed because his parents are divorcing. He sees his mother sitting in a dark diner with a scruffy-looking stranger and is compelled to follow the man into danger. This stand-a-lone novel, which Amazon will probably categorize as “Adult Coming-of-Age Fiction,” is currently under agent scrutiny.
What does this young man’s dilemma and his story have to do with me, Nancy’s original and ever-faithful protagonist? Nothing.
Meanwhile, second editions of Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead are available as ebooks and print to your library and stores. Definitely a step in the right direction.
The Plunge, lead-in to the new Lake Mystery series, is the story of Sam and me trying to solve a mystery in the midst of being caught in the raging 500-year flood in Central Texas. The flood made me view life—and death—differently, so I moved to Seguin to help post-flood victims. Book #2 (untitled) is about my first suspenseful, dangerous week at Pecan Paradise Retirement Center. Pecan Paradise has a slew of interesting characters and menacing possibilities.
Nancy has begun writing Book #2! Stay well and stay tuned.
Nancy and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by the San Antonio River. We started at La Villita, the oldest riverside village. The Little Church of La Villita, built in the village in 1879, is now home to a non-denominational congregation holding regular services and hosting weddings. Hundred-year-old buildings around the church housed art and crafts. In a pathway behind the church, food booths offered Irish, German, and Mexican delicacies and green beer. Delightful.
A short walk through La Villita led to concrete seating on a grassy slope across from the Arneson River Theater. Seating was separated from the theater by the San Antonio River, which was green on St. Patrick’s Day. Music groups and dancers performed on stage as river barges cruised by. Floats carried The Irish Singers and The Harp and Shamrock Society, interspersed with barge loads of tourists. Nancy spotted a flat bottom boat of Scottish invaders playing bagpipes.
Thirty-four and a half million Americans list their heritage as primarily or partially Irish – seven times larger than the population of Ireland (4.68 million). Irish is the second-most common ancestry among Americans, falling just behind German.
Nancy is English, Scottish, and Irish. She’s thoroughly English when she’s reading or writing, Scottish when she’s thinking about business or bookkeeping, and Irish when she’s having fun. With surnames in her mother’s family of Scanlan and Duffy, Irish probably predominates. But her father William Phillips Glass’s ancestors were from Glasgow. Naturally, there was a wee bit of slipover.
I identified with the Irish contingent and insisted that Nancy tell my stories. Aggie (Agatha) was reminiscent of Agatha Christi, and the surname Mundeen (never mundane) was surely Irish. Of almost six million surnames in the US Census, however, only about five lines were Mundeens (originally Munden). The origin of the name was unknown, but the meaning was said to suggest “an inquisitive and inventive person who likes to get to the very bottom of things and to rummage in books.” No wonder.
An Irish proverb says, “There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.”
Photos of St. Patrick’s Day by the San Antonio River are at https://www.facebook.com/authorNancyG.West
–Have you faced catastrophe? What happened?
–How did you survive?
–Did surviving catastrophe change you?
–How did it change your life?
–How were other survivors you knew affected?
–Is your outlook on life different now? How?
–Do Aggie and Sam react as you expect?
–Will they change more in the future?
In The Plunge, Nancy really led me and Sam into a catastrophe. We went to a lakeside cottage for some relaxation away from crime. That was the idea previously when we planned to rendezvous at the hotel on San Antonio’s River Walk in River City Dead. Didn’t work.
Anyway, Sam’s friend from Houston had his boat stolen from the dock at his Lake Placid cottage on the Guadalupe River. Sam would discretely investigate the theft while we took care of his friend’s cottage for the weekend. The cottage, nestled on a slice of paradise, promised renewal and retreat overlooking a peaceful, meandering river. Instead we faced a rampaging river and impending doom. Aggie tells how it began:
We spent time on the Lake Placid this summer, one of a string of lakes separated by dams on the Guadalupe River in Central Texas. The kids and foolish adults ride the Sea Doo, a two-person water craft, up and down the lake. Nancy decided to take a turn but was afraid she couldn’t dock the thingamajig. New carpet on the dock glides was slick. If she managed to maneuver the Sea Doo up onto the glides, the craft’s weight would probably carry it backwards into the water. So she asked Connor to swim out and get on the craft behind her. She would slip off the side into the water and swim to shore, and Connor could dock the craft later.
Connor climbed up behind her, rocking the small boat. After Nancy finished clutching the plastic windshield while hyperventilating, she was ready to slide off.
“Here goes,” she said and plopped into the lake. But her foot and ankle didn’t clear the craft and banged against the side. With three appendages operational, she dog-paddled to the dock ladder, the worthless ankle swelling into a goose egg. As she struggled to climb up the ladder, a sympathetic dog came over to lick her face.
Nancy limped to a patio chair where the kids brought her ice bags for the lump. As they issued instructions, admonitions, and poked way too close to her injury, she contemplated the extent of the damage. There was no pain, and she could walk, despite an eggplant-colored foot and ankle the size of a cantaloupe. The other empathetic dog stood guard under her chair until he got sleepy and crashed, paws gallantly wrapped around the chair leg. A small injury provokes a lot of sympathy.
Sometimes it’s worth it.