Mystery Author Nancy G. West

Nancy G. WestA Secondary Character Appears Mid-Stream and Demands Her Own Story: Nancy G. West Interviews Her Series Protagonist, The Inimitable 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 she could share problems? Somebody to help her?

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

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

Aggie: To lighten things up.

NGW: So 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 for me to focus on Meredith’s problems. I’d be concentrating on how she could get out of her predicament, agonizing over it, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Aggie: Yeah. I enjoyed that.  Fit to be Dead

NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.

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

NGW: I’d be chuckling in front of the computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie just did something hilarious.”

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

NGW: I got tickled at you so often, it was difficult for me to stay serious long enough to even finish NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

Aggie: You made it.

NGW: Yes.

Aggie: And it’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW: By the time I finished NINE DAYS TO EVIL, Meredith’s story, 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 NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

NGW: I realized that. So your first mystery caper, FIT TO BE DEAD is out now. Your second mystery caper, DANG NEAR DEAD comes out December 1st.

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.   Dang Near Dead

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

©Nancy G. West 2012


Nancy G. West is the author of an artist’s biography, the suspense novel NINE DAYS TO EVIL, numerous magazine articles and two books in her new Aggie Mundeen mystery series, Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead.

FIT TO BE DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #1)
Aggie, single, pushing forty and terrified of becoming decrepit, tries to get in shape before anybody discovers she secretly writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” At the health club, she deals with killer machines, muscle maniacs and disgustingly-fit fillies until a girl turns up dead. So curious it makes her feet itch, Aggie is determined to flush out the killer, despite warnings from the SAPD detective appalled by her sleuthing methods. When the killer comes after Aggie, and the club evacuates members in less-than-dignified attire, Aggie really has to get creative . . . while she tries to stay alive.

DANG NEAR DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #2, coming December 1, 2012)
Aggie vacations with friends at a Texas dude ranch. She’ll advise column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When the assistant ranch manager, an expert rider, is thrown from her horse and lies in a coma, Aggie thinks somebody caused her to fall. Determined to expose the girl’s assailant, Aggie concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain her dicey relationship with the handsome detective traveling incognito. When Aggie scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.

Follow Nancy:




Tami Hoag

NY Times bestselling author Tami Hoag was the guest speaker at the Florida Romance Writers August 11th meeting. Tami began by describing how different things were in the publishing world when she started out at this career. She wrote in longhand and typed up her pages. Then she sold the second book she’d written and the computer age dawned. In those days, computers were expensive, unusual to own, and not justified in her mind until her career blossomed.

Tami RoseSml   Tami Nan

Tami Hoag and FRW President Rose Lawson        Tami, Rose, and Nancy J. Cohen (center)

“I always wanted to be a writer”, Tami said, but she admitted that in those days, she didn’t read romance. She was a self-confessed “book snob” with preconceived notions about the romance genre. But then a friend at an event gave her a historical romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and on the way home, Tami’s car broke down. She had nothing else to read and started the book. That hooked her, and she went on to become an avid romance fan.

Still, she wanted to write but wasn’t sure where to start. She’d been learning about the business through Romantic Times Magazine and didn’t know any other writers in the area. After researching the markets on her own, she realized she could write comedy and chose Bantam Loveswept as her target. She liked them because they didn’t pigeonhole their authors. They allowed their writers to push the boundaries within category romance. Tami acquired an agent and got published writing romantic comedies. She joined RWA and eventually crossed over into suspense.

Tami1  Tami2

My camera battery is about to die; hence the discoloration.

Why does she like to write dark stories now? Her interest in psychology compels her to write edge-of-your-seat thrillers. “Character is the heart of everything.” Psychology and the dynamics between characters are the driving force behind these tales. “Crime is the structure for human interaction.” Also, readers must care about the characters. She begins her stories with a crime and then focuses on the investigators. The cops are the linchpins who can see all sides of a case and who can delve into the psyches of the other characters. Tami admits she’s a pantser rather than a plotter, and she never outlines. Does she ever face a hurdle? Sometimes she’ll write a character into a corner, but she views this as an opportunity, not a blockade.

Tami has another occupation, and that’s what keeps her sane. She’s into horse dressage or “horse dancing”, as some people call it. Both this field and writing require strict discipline. She enters show competitions during the winter. Whenever deadlines are getting to her, she tells herself to “go to the barn.” Being with her horses frees up her subconscious. She compares being on a horse and centered on what she’s doing to meditation. “It’s essential to my creative process.”FRW Aug12   FRW BoardSml

Chatting before the meeting                                   FRW Board/Past and Present

Does writing get any easier? Her answer is negative, not even after so many books. As for the current state of publishing, “It’s a fear-driven business.” The market is terrible, and there’s competition from other media. You won’t find the same optimism that we found in the eighties. Back then, publishers said, “there are so many readers, we want content!” Now they say, “there are so many readers and we want content, but we have no money to pay you.” The prevailing climate is one of fear and desperation. On the good side, more opportunities exist for new writers to break in.

Regarding research, Tami started out with a hands-on approach, where she consulted cops and FBI personnel, but by now she pretty much has a handle on the procedures. Movies? A two-part miniseries was done on her book in 1997 but nothing since. She’s had a lot of film options but they haven’t led anywhere.

What’s next for her? The Ninth Girl brings back homicide cops from Minneapolis who appeared in a previous story. Pressured by her publisher to write an ebook, she penned a novella that acts as a prequel. Normally, Tami says, “I’m not known for brevity. I don’t write short stories.” As for her novels, she has ideas “stacked up on the runway.” While friends of hers are writing to double their capacity, Tami believes you have to fight for time to enjoy life. And although she likes to challenge herself and grow as a writer, Tami still manages to be surprised when she achieves something new.

After the morning meeting adjourned, a bunch of members took Tami to lunch at The Field Irish Pub in Davie.

My husband and I had just eaten there the night before, so I didn’t go. It’s a neat place with entertainment on weekends.

The Field1    The Field2

Hummus Aug12   P1010822 (511x800)

Hummus Appetizer                                        Here’s a toast to you!


Tami Hoag asked her Facebook friends the following question. They voted for number one. What would you say?

Would you rather (1) wait for a really good book by your favorite author, or (2) have your favorite author produce more books at a faster rate but knowing that might lessen the quality?

Author Interviews

I’m interviewed at several new sites this week  if you’d like to check them out:

Coffee Time Romance:

Kate Hill’s Blog:

Vampire Books:

Roses of Prose:

And every other Wednesday, I post at Kill Zone Authors.  My blog topic this week is Technology and You:

Also, I’d like to remind you to sign up for my quarterly  email newsletter to receive breaking news about book sales, contest bonus awards, and more.  Go to and fill out the opt-in form in the sidebar.


This is a frenetic week with lots of online visits re blogs and author interviews.  Visit the Science Fiction Romance Brigade TODAY to read excerpts from Silver Serenade and author interview. Leave a comment to enter a drawing for a free pdf copy of my new release.
We’re in Orlando helping our son move so I’m using our condo computer. Every now and then, this one makes strange noises. I cringe, because this will probably be the next machine to break down. When we get home, I have to work on my laptop until the new Dell desktop arrives, then hope I can reinstall everything including my email files. We’ll see. This may be the first time I use the restore feature on Mozy online backup. It leaves me unsettled and anxious not to have an office computer up and running. I use an ergonomic keyboard so I miss that as well when I use the laptop. And in another week is the RWA conference so I won’t have time to do much in the interval.
If you’ve sent me important emails recently, please be advised that I am doing my best to print or save them or send them to my alternate email addresses but things may get lost in transit. Resend if you don’t get a response.


Join me for a discussion of Settings that Sizzle over at Babes in Bookland!

Prize drawing for $7 gift certificate for TWRP from all my blog commenters in July so please leave a comment.

Here is the Babes in Bookland fabulous review of Silver Serenade:

Silver Malloy is an intergalactic assassin for S.I.N. from earth. Her first assignment is a dream come true – to eliminate Tyrone Bluth, the cruelest, most ruthless outlaw in all of the galaxies. Tyrone is also responsible for the death of her family, which he must pay for with his life.

 While implementing her mission, Silver is tackled by a tall, handsome Kurashian named Jace Vernon. Jace is a wanted man on the run with a similar mission; only he needs to capture Tyrone Bluth to clear his name and regain his royalty status on Kurash. The future of his world and the lives of many depend on this.

 Jace needs Tyrone alive; Silver needs him dead!

 The unlikely duo team up in their efforts to locate Tyrone and the excitement begins! They face Crockers and Weavers; find themselves in the most daring of situations; attend a very strange auction that takes them to the ultimate fantasy land most are unable to ever leave; and even acquire an additional Elusian companion.

 Having not been exposed to many sci-fi writings, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first opened this book. I am ecstatically surprised. If all sci-fi futuristic books are written as Ms. Cohen has written Silver Serenade, I would add many more to my shelves.

 Amazing Heroine, Sexy Hero, lovable sub-characters that truly complete the ensemble and the attention to detail is remarkable. Furthermore, I was impressed with the way Nancy Cohen incorporated the need for peace among worlds, their politics, and their leadership to this enchanting tale. Silver Serenade is a futuristic romance that holds a lot of worldly realism. Past, present, or future; there will always be war, a need for peace, differences of opinions, good, and evil.

 Silver Serenade is strangely captivating and oddly intriguing in an exciting, first-rate way. This is not your 1960’s Star Trek story. This is an exceptional, fast paced, futuristic book that takes you to different worlds and introduces you to a whole new outlook on this genre of writing.

4.25 Shoes

 Babes in Bookland


Interview with Author Sandra Sookoo     

Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction.  Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances and she loves to blend genres and spice them up and often times will add humor as well.    

After catching the writing bug at the young age of ten, she’s gone on to grow her unique writing style.  She’s a regular contributor for the Paranormal Romantic’s blog and blogs bi-monthly with a great group of women at Embrace the Shadows.

When not immersed in creating new worlds and interesting characters, Sandra likes to read, bake and travel.  Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World.  It’s where dreams come true, and that suits her just fine.

Writing is her ultimate dream job.



 My latest book is my first (and probably only) mystery, LOL. Why my only one? Because I really confused the heck out of myself while writing it, and it took a while to unravel. But it was great fun to write. It’s a “locked house” mystery where all the suspects are already there.

Here’s the blurb:

Dancing may be hard…but no one expected it to be murder.

When sexy tap dancer Abigail Carlton, a.k.a. Ruby Slippers, is found dead and arranged in an artistic fashion on her coffee table, it’s up to Special Agent Quentin Banks to solve her murder.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Not only is Quentin a FBI career man, he doubles as an officer for the Institute of Magical Instruction…and the dancer’s death has supernatural energy written all over it.

Quentin must find who murdered Abigail, and he only has 24 hours to do it before his superiors take over his case.

Book video:

Buy link:


 I’ve always been interested in mysteries. My bookshelves are full of cozy who-dunnits. One day I decided to try my hand at writing one, and while I had fun writing, trying to keep all the balls in the air while holding onto a story line, adding tension, etc., was a bit stressful. So, while I had a follow-up book planned, I’m not sure I’ll finish it. Of course, knowing me, that bug will come back to bite and I’ll be gripped by mystery writing again. LOL.


 Not a whole lot for this book. It ties into my Holiday Magic series (the first three books out now with Lyrical Press) so I already had a good handle on the magical side of the book. The rest was getting the characters down and motivation. After that, it pretty much fell into place.


 With this book, a few months; however, the edits took several weeks because of the details surrounding the mystery and set-up. Thank goodness for my super awesome editor (Steph Syzmanski) for her knowledge and insight into the crime solving world. Without her guidance, this book would have been one hot mess. LOL. I have a huge amount of respect for authors who write in this genre all the time. How do you keep the facts straight?


 On a good writing day, I’ll usually begin writing around one in the afternoon. Sometimes, I’ll be gripped by an idea and will start work earlier. Most times, I use the morning hours to do promo work or busy work (filling out forms, etc). Of course, all this is subject to change depending on my personal schedule.


 At the moment, I’m working on two books. The first is a historical romance set in 1900 Indiana. The second is a fantasy romance (which is a new genre for me).


 Always write. Write something everyday and don’t worry about the rules. You will learn the craft best by writing. And don’t ever give up no matter the negative you’ll come across.


 I would love to be able to tell if people were telling the truth when they talked.


 Hands down, Walt Disney World. The hubby and I try to go every year for our anniversary instead of giving each other gifts.


 My website:

I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. Links to both of these sites are on the front page of my website along with blog sites I participate in and a recipe of the month.

Thank you for having me on your blog today. As a special gift, I am offering a prize pak to a lucky commenter. Please remember to leave your email address with your comment. Winner will be drawn the following morning.


M.E. Kemp on Salem Witch Trials

M. E. Kemp, author of DEATH OF A BAWDY BELLE and DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER, was born in Salem in 1636 — whoops, that’s when the first family baby was born.  Her roots do go back to the first settlement of Oxford, MA in   1713, the town where her family still lives.  Kemp grew up in Oxford with a strong sense of local history, so when it came time to begin writing her first novel  — after a career in journalism — she returned to her early interest and set her first mystery in Boston with two nosy  Puritans as detectives.  Kemp lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with husband Jack and two kitties: Boris and Natasha.

 “Which Witch is Which? – The Salem Trials of 1692”

            There is no incident in our history that grabs our attention quite like the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  Even today the topic fills lecture halls and continues to inspire artistic endeavors in film, theatre, poetry and prose.  Indeed, the number of books written today on the topic would fill the average person’s bookshelves.  Just to recap: 19 people were hung and one man pressed to death as a result of the trials.  I like to point out that in Europe at this same period thousands of people of both sexes and ages were being burned at the stake as witches.  Kind of makes our twenty victims a dot on the map.  To be sure, the jails of Salem and Boston were filled with hundred of the accused, but these people were released as sanity returned.  The European victims were not so lucky.  Persecutions continued there well into the 18th century.  (By the way, the Salem victims were tried with the use of English law books.  Judicial proceedings were followed, not that that was any comfort to the families of the victims.  I give an actual sample of trial testimony in my book, DEATH OF A BAWDY BELLE.)                         

            In the Colonies we did not burn witches, we hung them.  Since one man, Giles Corey, refused to plead guilty or not guilty, he could not be hung; he was pressed to death with huge boulders.  This incredibly brave act saved his property for his family.  We have to keep in mind that witches were very real to the early colonists, as were ghosts.  In fact, when the testimony of ghosts (“spectral testimony”) was finally disallowed, the trials collapsed.  How did this whole thing happen in the first place?  There are many books and television shows written about the causes.  One of them suggested “Ergot” or infected rye bread as the cause.  But it hardly seems possible that hundreds of people ate the same ergot-infected rye; most people grew their own.  

The French and Indian wars have been blamed; ostensibly the survivors came down from Maine to infect the Salem people with hysteria, but what has that got to do with witches?  People already recognized the dangers of the Canadians and their Native allies.  The media, even today, often blame Puritan cleric Cotton Mather for the Salem trials, but this is patent nonsense, as Cotton Mather at that time was only 26 years old.  The judges were colleagues of his father so he felt he was in no position to criticize these older pillars.  There is no evidence that he ever attended any of the trials, although he did ask the Secretary for transcripts so that  he could write a book about it.  Cotton Mather wrote over 400 books, so this was only to be expected.

            Town and village property and family quarrels has been proposed as the cause, and in some cases that may have been a part of the dispute, but hardly the cause.  Perhaps there was real witchcraft going on, as one book proposes?  They found an old rag doll in the cellar of one of the accused women, and that was enough to set the hounds in motion, but a toy left behind by a child in our minds today is just that: a toy left behind by a child.  One cause hits close to the truth — girls without husbands as yet.  The accusers were mainly in their teens and early twenties — had these girls been married, home and children might well have kept them too occupied for mischief.  As it was, it was a long, cold winter and a group of teen-age girls were bored.  They began to accuse some local old women of tormenting them by pinching and choking them through use of the old ladies ‘spirit’ selves.  “We must have our sport,” as one of them later said.  The village minister cried “Witchcraft!” and the hunt was on.  At first the victims were old and poor, unable to defend themselves from the charge, but seeing a chance to wreak more havoc, the “afflicted children” – remember, these girls were mostly in their late teens — began to accuse men and women more prominent in the community.  The only real defense was to run away and hide, which is what the son of pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden did.  It was either run or confess, if you wanted to stay alive, for if you confessed you were let go.  Let go for confessing?  Why didn’t the twenty victims just confess?  Because that would have been a lie and these were people of great Faith.  I’m sure I would have lied like a sneak-thief, like Baron Munchausen, like Pinnochio, if it meant saving my life!  Ah, but our Puritan forefathers were made of sterner stuff.  It’s not widely known that there was official remorse after the event and compensation was paid to the families of the victims.  One of the judges and several of the accusers later confessed their roles in the tragedy and apologized for their parts in the drama.  I doubt that ever happened in Europe.                 


“Kemp paints an entertaining picture of Colonial Boston and its surprisingly high-spirited Puritan inhabitants. Amateur sleuth Hetty Henry is plucky, independent, and a lot of fun.” –Beverle Graves Myers, author of the Tito Amato Mysteries

For more details about the author and her books, visit



SAPPHIRE PHELAN is an author of erotic and sweet paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction romance, along with a couple of erotic horror stories. She also writes as Pamela K. Kinney, for horror, fantasy, science fiction, and two nonfiction ghost books, Haunted Richmond,Virginia and Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, Ripley and Bast. She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it!                          

How did you get started writing paranormal romance?

I started out published as a horror, fantasy and SF author, but been reading paranormal romance and I wanted to do that, too. So I wrote two short stories (both more fantasy romance than paranormal) and submitted both in 2005 to this publisher who was looking for fantasy romance stories for their print anthology. Both were accepted. Unfortunately, a year later the publisher closed its doors and gave everyone back their rights to their stories. During at the same time, I had just submitted an erotic medieval fantasy romance story, “The Curse” to this ezine, which was accepted. It was at that time I started to use the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, for any erotic paranormals I wrote. In 2006, my erotic paranormal SF romance short, Crimson Promise was accepted for Lady Aibell Press, an e-publisher (when LAP closed its doors and I got my rights back, I added more story to it and Crimson Promise was accepted by Phaze Books). From then on, I’ve been writing in this genre.


Has this always been your favorite genre?

Yes, though I love straight horror, fantasy and science fiction without romance, too.


How long did it take you to get published?

I actually got published for three poems of mine back in spring 1972—for Hyacinths and Biscuits Poetry Magazine. Then I was published over years, mainly in poetry and one article. It took until 2005 for my first fiction piece to be published.


You’re a member of Central Virginia Paranormal Investigations. Can you share some of your more unusual experiences?

Since I write nonfiction ghost books as Pamela K. Kinney and been to haunted places for that and later, with CVPI, did investigations, I’ve gotten evps (electronic voice phenomenon) on my digital recorder, snap photos of orbs and anomalies, and had personal experiences.


You wrote a non-fiction book titled Haunted Virginia. What does it include?

Ghost stories (more the myths and legends, though have some real paranormal experiences too—like the owner of Natural Bridge Hotel killed his wife and kids and they haunt the grounds of the hotel. The real story is that it is a manager who committed suicide and he is the spirit that haunts the hotel), monsters, urban legends that are fake and some that been proven true, myths of famous Virginians (like George Washington and Edgar Allan Poe), African-American and Native American Virginia tales, and true stories that people think are myths, but are proven to be real (like the house made of Civil War tombstones in Petersburg, Virginia).


Tell us about your writing process.

I write during the week most of the time and during the daytime when my husband is at work. This way, when he comes home from work, I can spend time with him. But I have written at night and on weekends when I have a deadline looming. Like now, I have a third nonfiction ghost book manuscript that is due by the end of May. And I wrote all month the sequel to Beast Magic, Dark Leopard Magic, so I could turn it in by February.


What is your current book about?

A divorced man who is tired of the women he meets who want to get married or want the bad boy types, listens to a friend who lends him this book, The Dummy’s Guide to Demon Summoning, so he can summon a succubus. He does get one, but finds that it will be more than a one night stand.


What is a succubus?

A succubus is a demon that seduces human males, mostly through nightmares while asleep. This would explain ejaculations. Same goes for incubus–seduces human women and even getting them pregnant. Of course, all is found is human male sperm, explained by they stole it from human males. 
What are you working on next? 
 I am working on the third nonfiction ghost book, Haunted Historic Triangle and Charles City now, then I will be working on sequel to Being Familiar With a Witch, A Familiar Tangle in Hell.
Ain’t Nothin’ Like Succubus Lovin’ blurb:
Finding a date was never more hellish. When Jordan Hudson borrowed his friend’s A Dummy’s Guide to Demon Summoning and called up a succubus, he found that dating and making love to a minion of Hell proves to be more than a one night stand.



Being Familiar With a Witch:

Unwitting Sacrifice (erotic Lovecraftian horror novella):




Advice to aspiring writers?
Keep on writing and submitting. If you want your dream bad enough, never give up. And join a writer’s critique group to help you hone your craft better.