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Aggie’s Hope

Covid summer has passed and here we are in September, 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.

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 Retirement 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 coming in print soon 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 is about my first suspenseful, dangerous week at Pecan Paradise Retirement Center. Pecan Paradise has a slew of interesting characters and menacing possibilities.

Nancy is finished outlining and ready to write Book#2. Stay well and  stay tuned.



Book Club Discussion Questions for FIT TO BE DEAD, Aggie Mundeen’s First Story


  1. Have you ever tried to start life over? Single? Did you have problems like Aggie’s?
  2. Is Aggie’s health club like yours? If you don’t exercise, did you relate to her experience? (except for murder)
  3. Does Aggie, from Chicago, adapt to Texas ways?
  4. When SAPD Detective Sam, the man Aggie loved, appears at the health club to investigate the murder, how does he view Aggie?
  5. How do you see their relationship developing? Will tragedies in their backgrounds make it impossible for them to ever have a healthy relationship?
  6. What characteristics make Aggie a good amateur sleuth? Are her strengths also her weaknesses?
  7. Grace is Aggie’s friend and neighbor. What’s her role in Aggie’s life?
  8. Besides Aggie, are there other people in the book you enjoyed? Why?
  9. Of these themes, which interested you most:
  • How people’s choices shape their lives
  • How the past affects people’s mindset
  • The value/harm in keeping personal secrets

10. Can crime co-exist with humor?

11.The rocky road of romance

12.What scene grabbed you or surprised you?

Aggie and I would love to hear your book club’s answers.

Email us: ngwest at )



Aggie Worries about Nancy’s 2018 Resolutions

I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions since January 2013 when Nancy and I clashed brains on the subject. I try to make worthy plans, but my good intentions tend to evaporate. So I gave up. Nancy, however, has a bunch of resolutions, which worry me.

She says she will:

  1. Work on house plans with interior design software she got for Christmas. (Is this for fun or is she actually planning to build a house?)
  2. Have a furniture maker she knows help her design a table she sketched. (Okay. I can deal with a table.)
  3. Work on two short stories she found in a drawer. (There were several, and I read them all. The others were lousy.)
  4. Talk to interested groups about River City Dead during San Antonio’s 2018 Tricentennial celebration. (This is the story of my recent rendesvoux-turned-fiasco with Sam on the River Walk, so it’s okay with me.)
  5. Investigate participating in CASA, Child Advocates San Antonio, which recruits, trains, and supervises court-appointed volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children and youth and help place them in safe, permanent homes. (This sounds like a wonderful program and a MAJOR commitment.)

So where does that leave me for the future? Is she finished telling my stories? This brings us to her sixth resolution—the most important one. She’s working on a story about the most dangerous situation Sam and I ever faced. She resolves to:

6. Lengthen and polish the story. (It’s written, but she’s been thinking since November about how to intensify it.

There you have it. I have not been cast aside. Not yet. And Nancy is better at keeping resolutions than I am. I still worry, however, about the brain clash we had back in 2013 over New Year’s resolutions, especially numbers 7, 8, 10 and 11:

If you have an opinion, let me know.

And stay tuned.

Aggie Mundeen

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!


Spotlight: River City Dead by Nancy G. West


Source: Spotlight: River City Dead by Nancy G. West

Spotlight: River City Dead by Nancy G. West

River City Dead by Nancy G. West River City Dead (An Aggie Mundeen Mystery) Cozy Mystery Henery Press (January 17, 2017) Paperback: 224 pages ISBN-13: 978-1635111330 E-Book ASIN: B01MA6NALN Synopsi…

Source: Spotlight: River City Dead by Nancy G. West


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.)