book giveaway · giveaway · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Aggie Mundeen from Smart, But Dead

Today on the Self-Rescue Princess, I’m chatting with Aggie Mundeen about her latest case, and the woman who is helping Aggie tell the world all about her adventures.

  1. SMART BUT DEAD cover frontTell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Pushing forty and appalled at the prospect of descending into middle-age decrepitude, I blasted off to the local university to study the genetics of aging. I’d find youthful hints for readers of my column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” and I’d learn how to stay young myself.

Despite conflicts with my professor, I was fascinated learning about  human genome projects and  DNA. Then I stumbled upon a dead academic. Detective Sam Vanderhoven, San Antonio PD,  reminded me to avoid the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, I  was compelled to find the killer. I wound up the prime suspect and was on target to become next campus corpse.

  1. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Nancy G. West, who tells my stories, heard that genes affect aging and wanted to know more about it. That’s what usually gets me into trouble. As a business and English literature major, she didn’t know squat about genetics. Her last science course was college biology. So she had to rely on scientists to explain genetics. Unfortunately, they speak their own language. She had to decipher what they told her and then put it into language she and I could understand.

  1. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Never. While working my way up to vice-president in a Chicago bank, like a squirrel counting nuts, I did think I should be enjoying a more exciting existence. When I had an unexpected windfall, I fled from the brutal winters and moved to Texas.

  1. Who would you say is least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

Detective Sam is appalled when I assist in his investigations. But it’s extremely satisfying to solve crimes and restore justice. He believes that, too, and I like being around him. He’ll just have to get used to me.

For Nancy:

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Weakness: I prefer writing scenes with Aggie and Sam before I’ve completed the research needed for the plot.

Strength: I love writing dialogue scenes with Aggie and Sam.

Strange isn’t it, how our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness?

  1. Describe what being a self-rescue princess means to you.

I’d rather die than become a clinging vine. But I’m not ashamed to ask for help when I need it.

  1. What one bit of advice/wisdom would you like to pass on to young women?

Take time to find out who you are before you go looking for somebody you think will make you complete.

  1. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Determination and perseverance wins. Even if the goal changes or moves farther away (or you’re arrested and somebody wants you dead), you’ve won the prize of being able to persevere.

  1. If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

Since we’re all multifaceted, our lives have many themes. I guess my song  would be “I Did It My Way”,— with help, compassion and the grace of God.

  1. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? (another book featuring this heroine)

If Aggie and Sam manage to get out of the mess in Smart, But Dead without killing each other, there will undoubtedly be another situation where  I’ll feel obligated to use my sleuthing skills.

Nancy has offered to giveaway an autographed Advanced Reader Copy to one lucky commenter on this post. Let us know about something you’d like to learn more about, and please leave an email so Nancy can contact the winner. The winner will be drawn August 30.

If you like to learn more about Aggie and Nancy, Aggie reveals more at Talk to Aggie on Nancy’s website:

www.nancygwest.com

facebook.com/authorNancyG.West

Twitter: @NancyGWest_

Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Marian Frances Selby from Brilliant Disguise

brilliant disguiseI’d like to thank Marian Selby for stopping by the Self-Rescue Princess.

  1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? I was married to my high school sweetheart, Lee, for 19 years. When he died 11 years ago, I swore there would never be another man in my life. I mean, he was the love of my life. Then, Detective Charlie McClung stepped into my life, investigating the mysterious death of my next door neighbor and friend, Diane. Now, I’m struggling with my feeling for him and at the same time trying to figure-out who killed Diane.
  2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor? Diane was like the little sister I never had. And when the chief of police closed the case as a suicide, I knew I had to get involved.
  1. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime? No. I never imagined anything sinister happening in my life.
  1. Who would you say is the least pleased about your sleuthing? Detective Charlie McClung. He knows this situation is a tangled web of deceit, corruption, and complicated shadows and doesn’t want me getting hurt.
  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses? I think my strengths, besides being a good cook, are being observant and discerning. My weakness, I sometimes forget to watch my back.
  1. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you. It means I can survive without having to depend on anyone else but smart enough to get help when I need it, surrounding myself with wise and trusted friends who will always be there for me. Does that make sense?
  1. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women? It’s great to be self-reliant but never forget you are a woman and act like a lady. Call me old-fashion.
  1. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life? It’s good to have a real man in my life. Not just any man but a dependable gentleman.
  1. If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be? In My Life by The Beatles
  1. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? Let’s just say, I’m always available, willing, and able.

If you’d like to get to know Marian better, you can find her story at:

Amazon

Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Ivy Meadows from The Sound of Murder

sound of murderWelcome to the Self- Rescue Princess, Ivy, please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

Though I’ve been pursuing my acting and P.I. careers, it’s been a little crazy since my apartment caught on fire (did you know that firefighters won’t let you back in your apartment to get your clothes? Not even your undies?) But things are looking up: I met the nicest fireman, got a great housesitting gig, and landed my first P.I. case, a suicide in the retirement community where I’m housesitting. My acting career is really taking off, too. A big New York producer is coming to Arizona to see me in the world premiere of The Sound of Cabaret (singing nuns AND Berlin burlesque).

Now if I could just get over my little fear of singing in public. And stop worrying about my cast mate, Marge, who seems awfully forgetful lately. And fix my car, which seems to be catching on fire even more than usual. And ditch the posse member who’s following me. Then I have just one more thing to do–figure out why all of this seems to be connected to that one simple suicide case…

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No. But when my friend and fellow actor, Simon Black died of an apparent alcohol overdose during a production of Macbeth, I knew something wicked this way came. After all, Simon had turned his life around. I knew he wasn’t drinking any more, no matter the evidence. My Uncle Bob—a P.I., my part-time employer, and the nicest guy in the world—agreed to investigate. But after someone poisoned my uncle’s Big Gulp, it was up to me to find the killer (you can read about the case in a book called Macdeath).

During that adventure, I discovered a taste for detecting. And though I’m still mostly on admin duty at Uncle Bob’s P.I. firm, I’m really excited to work my first case. I know I’m going to be a great detective. After all, it’s in the genes.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

I love that term—a self-rescue princess. I was always annoyed at those fairytale characters who waited for something to happen to them. “Go out and make it happen!” I wanted to shout. I made my life’s dream come true. When I decided to make theater my profession, my parents weren’t exactly thrilled (my parents aren’t thrilled with me in general, but that’s another story). There was no money and no support. But I made my way. Sure, I’m still driving old cars and eating lots of beans, but I am an actress!

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Channel one of my heroes, Helen Keller, who said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Be daring.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

“I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music. Julie Andrews/Maria may skip and swing her guitar case, but she’s singing to give herself confidence before a big adventure. That’s me—a little scared of leaping into the breach, but confident that things will somehow turn out all right (you can see why my #2 theme song is “Cockeyed Optimist”)

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

Funny you should ask. My uncle just got a call from Get Lit!, a book-themed cruise line (they’re the ones who had the husky incident on the S.S. Jack London). Seems there’s a theft ring onboard the ships, and they’d like the pair of us to go undercover on their Charles Dickens-themed boat. My uncle will pose as a wealthy guest, while I’ll work as an actress, playing Nancy in Get Lit’s version of Oliver Twist. It’ll be like a paid vacation with my favorite person in the world, plus a lead role, AND a $10,000 bonus if we crack the case. And we’re just talking about theft, so the job shouldn’t be dangerous…right?

If you’d like to read Ivy’s adventure, you can pre-order The Sound of Murder at these places (release date is Oct 6, 2015):

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1eJbMu3

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1JWrYmG

iTunes: http://apple.co/1Rm90wD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1LYt2K0

And if you’d like to read Ivy’s previous adventure, you can get Macdeath at the following places:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Kobo 

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

deadly assetsDeadly Assets is the second book in the Allison Campbell Mystery Book series. Even in the first book (Killer Image), I saw Allison Campbell has a self-rescuing princess. While her past affected her deeply, she never allowed it to control her and found a way to use her pain and insecurities as a way to not only better her own life but also others. I loved how Allison learnt from her past and was willing to acknowledge the mistakes she made that contributed to the issues she had.

In the second book, Allison’s first foray into amateur sleuthing made a big impact on her life and that of her close friends. Allison was considerate of their  concern for her, especially when she finds herself having to solve the disappearance of two of her clients, and at the same time asserts her independence. I loved how Allison was able to do that without alienating anyone and taking their feelings into consideration. It’s a hard balance for a woman to stand on their own without pushing everyone away…and also not putting themselves in unnecessary danger. Allison knows when to turn to others for help and I find that an important (and sometimes) overlooked trait for a self-rescuing princess. I know at times I believe the only way to be ‘truly’ self-sufficient is to do something totally on one’s own but shutting one’s self away from others can be a lot easier than allowing people into your inner circle.

I really admire the character of Allison Campbell because I see being able to reach out when necessary, and still maintain the strength to stand on her own when she knows it’s in her best interest. Allison doesn’t take unnecessary risks, yet has no problem facing danger when it will help her clients and friends. I can’t wait to see what happens in Allison’s life in book three (Dying Brand).

NOTE: Currently, the ebook version of Deadly Assets is on sale for 99 cents. I don’t know how long the sale will last. Please pick up a copy if you’re interested in getting to know Allison Campbell better. The first book in the series is Killer Image, and the third just came out on Tuesday, Dying Brand.

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Cam Shaw from Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

who killed the ghostWho Killed the Ghost in the Library was just the book I was looking for right now. We’re in the middle of a prolonged kitchen remodel and my stress level is a little high. I wanted a fun, engaging book that took me out of my life and put me into someone else’s and this book accomplished those goals. Cam Shaw is a headstrong, sassy, take-charge, yet still kind and trusting. Normally, I get annoyed with heroines who are so trusting they fall into the too-stupid-to-live category of heroines (and those books I stop reading after a couple of chapters). But, Cam’s trusting nature wasn’t because she refused to see what was in front of her, instead it rested in the fact she focused on the good in people and was willing to give everyone a chance.

With Cam Shaw, I found her accepting and trusting nature charming and a true part of her character rather than just a device for her to rush headlong into trouble. She believes the best about everyone and is willing to take them at their word, a little unusual for an amateur sleuth, but that’s what I loved that about her. Now don’t get me wrong, Cam isn’t a push-over. She’ll speak her mind and when she finds out she’s been lied to all bets are off.

I also admired the fact that Cam isn’t afraid to ask her friends for help when needed. It’s not a trait that comes easily to me and I found that very intriguing and admirable with Cam. I loved seeing a character who wasn’t afraid to reach out to her friends for help and accept it.

 

Books · Craft · Excerpt · Scrapbooking · West Virginia · Writing

Crafting Moment from Cropped to Death

With March being National Craft Month, I’m featuring some crafting…and love of handmade items…moments from my novels. In this scene, Faith is teaching homicide detective Ted Roget some basics of scrapbooking.

CROPPED front smExcerpt:

Since he wanted to play student, I’d oblige. I pulled the band from my hair and allowed it to fall to my shoulders. “I chose some neutrals paper for the background. If you want, you could pick out a different color or we can find a complementary color of cardstock to use as the photo mat for your project.”

“And that would be?” His gaze roamed around the store.

“Are you asking what is your project or what is card-stock?”

“Both.”

I let out a huff of breath. “The project is up to you. The cardstock I can show you. It’s a type of paper we carry. It’s down this aisle.” I pointed.

“How would I know cardstock from wide ruled paper?” He asked, humor lacing his words.

“For one thing, we don’t sell wide-ruled paper. We’re not a stop for back to school shopping.”

“I’m a guy. Paper is paper.”

Gesturing toward the multitude of color paper, I stepped aside. “This, Detective Roget—”

“Can you call me Ted?” He gazed into my eyes, the green of his a vivid forest. “The detective title sounds out of place.”

Flustered by the intensity in his eyes, I looked away. “Sure. Why not, that’s your name isn’t it?” What is it about Roget—Ted—that caused words to start flowing before the mind engaged?

His lips twitched into a smile and then slipped back in-to a straight line.

“This is cardstock. It’s heavier. Paper. Acid-free…” I clamped my lips shut and stopped the stumbling speech. Hard to inspire confidence when a person sounded like they didn’t know what they were talking about.

“I’m supposed to choose one from all of those?” He looked terrified at the prospect.

“It’s just paper.” Why did men get so bent out of shape by hues? I stood in the middle of the aisle and pointed at the reds and then the blues. “What color is predominant in the photo you’re using for your layout?”

He grimaced. “This was a spur of the moment decision. I had nothing else to do tonight.“

“I figured that.” I refrained from rubbing my hands in malicious glee. It was time to turn the tables. Let him feel uncomfortable and out of his league.

He reached forward and pulled out a burgundy sheet, the color closest to his reach.

The best way to know a person was to see what their private life was like. And this was my opportunity, so I went through the wide open door. “If you’re not going to enter into the contest, I’m willing to waive the subject of the photograph for your layout. Do you have an idea of what kind of picture you’d like to put on the layout?”

“Not really.” He returned the burgundy and removed a sheet of Christmas red.

“Please don’t tell me you’re not a picture-taking kind of guy.”

“Not too much in life to take photos of.”

I gaped at him. “Of course there is. Everyone’s life is worth documenting. What about holiday celebrations, mile-stones in your life, your work, or family?”

Sadness appeared in his eyes. He pivoted and continued down the row of paper. “My little girl loves green. The brighter the better.”

Questions tumbled through my mind about his daughter, but it was none of my business. Besides finding out what shade of green his little girl preferred. A jade green color caught my eye and I pointed it out to Ted.

With a blinding grin, he shook his head. Squatting down, he grabbed a handful of neon green cardstock from the bottom slot of the paper rack.

“This is Claire.” He waved the stack at me. “Can I use this as the major color and then use tan as the mat? Or whatever is the technical term you used. I’ll make something for her to hang in her room.”

The love in his voice for his daughter touched me. I felt my attitude softening toward Ted. Maybe his ulterior motive for stopping by was a good one. Not that I had any clue what it would be.

Blurb:

Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder, and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence. So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.
Cropped to Death is available in print, ebook, and audio. The book can be purchased at:
Books · Excerpt · Scrapbooking · West Virginia

Celebrating Valentine’ Day: A Little Romance from Cropped to Death

Today, I’m wrapping up my celebration of Valentine’s Day with excerpts from my Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series published by Henery Press. The first one is from Cropped to Death.

Cropped to Death:

Blurb: Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder, and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence.

So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.

CROPPED front smExcerpt:

At least I didn’t think so. I didn’t want anyone control-ling or managing my life for me. I’d make my own decisions, good and bad. I needed support, not advice. Well-meaning or not.

“I won’t be used.” Steve walked around the desk and stood behind his office chair, the desk a barrier between us.

“I’m not…” The remainder of the sentence stuck in my throat. The intensity in Steve’s fathomless brown eyes rendered me silent.

He leaned forward, never breaking eye contact. “Your grandmothers raved about you and I was intrigued. When I saw you the first time, I knew I wanted to get to know you better. But you were reserved, leery of me and everyone else, except for Cheryl and Hope. I didn’t know why, but I knew you needed space. I respected that.”

“I appreciated that.”

For the first few months, he treaded carefully around me and my grandmothers, not wanting to force himself into my life. It was hard as my grandmothers had depended on him for so long and he was a part of their life. I liked having a hot guy around. He was wonderful to look at and having my grandmothers’ focus on him gave me the breathing room I needed.

He offered friendship. I accepted it. Even added in some harmless flirting. It was nice knowing a handsome man found me attractive. Steve was safe. He never crossed the line I drew, which was both disappointing and a huge relief.

“I apologize for overstepping your boundaries,” Steve said. “I never intended for my concern to come across as controlling. Your grandmothers wanted you safe. I wanted you safe, and like most males, figured if physical harm came from your investigating, I could handle that better than you.”

“I know you meant well.” I twisted my fingers in the hem of my shirt. Steve and I never had a conversation like this. We hinted around about our feelings and joked with each other. I wasn’t sure how I felt about laying it all out like this. Or at least Steve doing it. My contribution so far was clichéd one-liners.

“I want you to need me, Faith, because you need me. I want you to want me, Faith, because you want me.”

“I don’t think you understand me,” I croaked out. “I want you in my life. Need you.”

With each word I said, Steve walked closer. “I don’t think you understand me.”

Steve wrapped an arm around my back and pulled me closer. His mouth settled over mine. Shocked, I remained still except for my trembling knees, threatening not to hold up my weight. Not a real problem as one of Steve’s arms tightened around me while the other hand trailed up my back and cupped the back of my head.

My hands inched their way from his chest, to his shoulders, then clasped around his neck, increasing the pres-sure of his mouth on mine. Reality was so much better than fantasy. Steve’s lips left mine and disappointed swelled in me. The feeling left when his fingers tangled into my hair and he dropped a feather-light kiss onto my cheek.

“Steve…” I breathed his name.

He cradled my head to his chest. “When you come to the place where you’re ready to trust again, Faith, let me know.”

*****

If you’re interested in reading Faith’s adventure, Cropped to Death is available at:

Mystery Loves Company (print copies)

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

Audible