Vinnie Hansen


Vinnie has joined misterio press. Get her latest books fresh from misterio including Black Beans & Venom.

Mysteries set in Santa Cruz by award-winning local author, Vinnie Hansen.

10 Nuggets from the Writers’ Police Academy

The Friday morning "announcement" at WPA was a staged car crash. They brought in a friggin' helicopter!

The Friday morning “announcement” at WPA was a staged car crash. They brought in a friggin’ helicopter!

For the Saturday morning "announcement," we had an knife attack in the lecture hall.

For the Saturday morning “announcement,” we had an knife attack in the lecture hall.

Attending the Writers’ Police Academy gave me a wealth of cop info. I offer these 10 nuggets:

  • A person will bleed out in three to five minutes.
  • If you’re bleeding out, I can improvise a tourniquet with a two-inch wide band of material and something to twist it up good.
  • In hand-to-hand combat, the rule is “flesh to bone and bone to flesh.” In other words, palm jab your opponent’s chin, but use a fist in the gut.
    After whipping out a baton, I assume the position taught in DAAT, Defense and Arrest Tactics.

    After whipping out a baton, I assume the position taught in DAAT, Defense and Arrest Tactics.

  • An SWAT officer’s vest weighs 25 pounds, but better to sweat than bleed. CORRECTION: I originally posted this as just an “officer’s vest.” A regular police vest is closer to 6 pounds. However, one officer, in responding, mentioned that he once weighed himself in gym shorts before suiting up at 165. After donning his uniform, vest, belt, and tools, he weighed 200 pounds! The bottom line is that along with the weight of the world, they carry a lot of physical weight, and lower back problems are common among police officers.
  • Officers wear tee-shirts to prevent chafing from the vest.
  • The police do NOT tell people to stay in town. That could constitute arrest.
  • Miranda Rights are given only in cases of a custodial interrogation.
  • Officers are twice as likely to kill themselves as kill another.
  • What is an officer’s most important tool? Answer: His discretion.
  • Racking a gun might sound macho, but officers carry their weapons “locked and loaded.”
    An officer shows us the SUL (Portuguese for south) method of holding a firearm.

    An officer shows us the SUL (Portuguese for south) method of holding a firearm.

     

    Robin Burcell hams it up with the silly Hollywood version of an officer holding her weapon.

    Robin Burcell hams it up with the silly Hollywood version of an officer holding her weapon.

 

Giveaway!

Squeezed & Juiced is now available in paperback! To celebrate I am giving away three copies via a Goodreads giveaway. You have one week to enter. 🙂

SqueezedAndJuiced-(original)

Her first real P.I. case, an ailing mother, and a stalled relationship. As Carol Sabala attempts to juggle the components of her life, they all threaten to crash.

Training to be a private eye, Carol wrangles a job to investigate a woman’s will. The more Carol probes the retirement home where the woman died, the more she grasps how easily one could kill an elderly person in such a facility. It is, after all, an expected last address.

With Carol’s mother intent on moving to the same retirement home, the stakes are high. Will Carol prevent this facility from being her mother’s final address? Can she keep all the pieces of her life in the air as she enters a world of drug addicts and murder?

For you who enjoy the grittier female protagonists like Kinsey Milhone or Aimée Leduc, discover how Carol Sabala reacts when squeezed.

 

Squeezed & Juiced (Formerly Tang Is Not Juice)

SqueezedAndJuiced-(original)Time for the misterio press re-release of Tang Is Not Juice (book 4 of The Carol Sabala Series). Notice the new title Squeezed & Juiced and the gorgeous new cover from Melinda Van Lone at Book Cover Corner. As with all the books re-released through misterio press, the innards are better edited, too. If you’ve read the book, it’s still basically the same story. For new readers, though, please make sure you buy my books as released from misterio press. You can recognize them by the cover background and same basic cover format.

The e-book is available NOW for Kindle. The paperback will be available in mid-June.

Sleuthing Women

Whoot! The big day has arrived just in time for all those spring birthdays and Mother’s Day. Sleuthing Women has gone live on Amazon and Kobo. Look at the company I’m keeping! I’m so honored.

_sleuthing women 3-D

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteriesis a collection of 10 full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by 10 critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in this set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars.

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…

MURDER AMONG NEIGHBORS, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

SKELETON IN A DEAD SPACE, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

IN FOR A PENNY, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

THE HYDROGEN MURDER, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

RETIREMENT CAN BE MURDER—A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

DEAD AIR, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A DEAD RED CADILLAC, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

MURDER IS A FAMILY BUSINESS, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

MURDER, HONEY, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

 

Hunting Inspiration With a Club

“Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, sink your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him against the wall until the tag line.”–Paul O’Neil

That’s the goal. On the literary blog The First Two Pages, writers discuss their opening salvos in traditionally published works. I have the honor to be at the site this week discussing CRITICAL MASS, my short story in the mystery anthology DESTINATION: MYSTERY!

Please drop by and see how this pantzer turned to plotting, which led to publication.

This anthology of mysteries in vacation destinations contains Vinnie's story "Critical Mass."

This anthology of mysteries in vacation destinations contains Vinnie’s story “Critical Mass.”

Sale & Sunnyvale

Did you make a resolution to read more? Have you joined the 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge? Do you want to consider more mysteries for upcoming awards? My 2015

The new cover with medallion!

The new cover with medallion!

contribution to the mystery genre was Black Beans & Venom, on sale this week for 99 cents!

Now what is this Sunnyvale thing, you ask? One month from now I will join some of my favorite Sisters (and one Mister) in Crime for a panel presentation to the AAUW Chapter in Sunnyvale.

Heather Haven, IPPY Award Winner for Death of a Clown, will be our moderator. Shamus-winning author J.J. Lamb, Bette Lamb, Elin Barnes, and Ellen Kirschman will round out the panel. I’m thrilled to be included and look forward to the event.

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Time: 7:15 p.m.

Location: Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church,. 728 W. Fremont Ave.

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NorCal SinC & MWA Holiday Party

Half the fun is getting there! The BART was full of Santas on their way to SantaCon in downtown San Francisco. The weather cooperated, taking a break in the rain to give us a crisp, sunny day. From the 16th Street Station, Danny headed off to a museum, while I walked down Valencia past city sights, DSCN0655including the colorful Clarion Alley. DSCN0675Nearby Borderland Books was again our gracious host for the party.

My friend Susan Bickford hangs out in the comfy bookstore, waiting for the party to get started.

My friend Susan Bickford hangs out in the comfy bookstore, waiting for the party to get started.

The buffet featured outrageously good treats, especially the breaded portobello mushrooms with aioli sauce. My friend and author Andrew MacRae regaled me with the tale that portobellos were originally called simply brown mushrooms.

Diana Chambers, NorCal SinC Events Coordinator, and Melena Elumaily, our Membership Chair, set up the feast.

Diana Chambers, NorCal SinC Events Coordinator, and Melena Elumaily, our Membership Chair, set up the feast.

The growers hired a PR firm to help them figure out how to market the product and the name portobello was born.

What a great time to catch up with Sisters and Misters that I haven’t seen for too long.

With Pat Morin and David Fitzgerald before Pat dashes off to the final production of her play, A Clean Well-Lighted Park Bench.

With Pat Morin and David Fitzgerald before Pat dashes off to the final production of her play, A Clean Well-Lighted Park Bench.

With our tireless, and tirelessly cheerful Pres, Susan Shea.

With our tireless, and tirelessly cheerful Pres, Susan Shea.

And what bookstore visit is complete without some new books to read? I picked up Camille Minichino’s Death Takes Priority (written under her pen name Jean Flowers), and Terry Shames’ Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek. DSCN0694 [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Listen to the Music

ALL-ABOARD-with-medallion

My husband is a secular Jew and I’m agnostic, but music knits our holiday season together. I’m a musician and he’s a music aficionado. We light the Hanukkah candles and I give my husband little presents each night, bound to include music-related items whether a CD (we’re old) or The Rolling Stones Illustrated History of Rock and Roll. On Christmas morning my husband pours a mound of presents into my lap as I enjoy coffee in bed. Last year I received a piece of original art, “Vinnie’s Piano Fantasy” IMG_2700and a new keyboard. The old one found a new home at an elementary school.

Contrary to the popular notion, my husband and I do not go out for Chinese. We prepare a lovely feast and watch a recorded Dave Letterman Christmas Show. Since 1998 Jay Thomas has appeared to tell the same Lone Ranger anecdote and I have never tired of it. But the highlight of the show for us has been the appearance of Darlene Love for a full-scale production of her song Christmas (baby please come home).

In 2010, my husband and I spent December in Cuba, planning our trip to include the International Jazz Festival in Havana. For ten dollars a night, we saw top-billed performers like Chucho Valdés. In this communist country we saw few signs of Christmas—and heard fewer. Even though Little Drummer Boy tugs my heart every time, I gladly traded it for the live Latin IMG_3425beats on cobblestoned streets. Piping Oh Little Town of Bethlehem over tinny speakers into throngs pawing through merchandise made in China crushes the spirit, anyway, while a clave rhythm stirs a person to dance.

Which is not to say I dislike Christmas music. Music, in general, is one of the things I miss about church. Hymns like How Great Thou Art strike right into the center of my being. Because whatever creative force exists, it is awesome to behold.

Two years ago, the ukulele group for which I play keyboards, the All in Good Time Orchestra, performed Oh Holy Night at two holiday events. When that music swelled and our vocals rose in “Fall on your knees/Oh hear the angel voices,” the vibration filled me with ecstasy.

Rockin' with All in Good Time Orchestra!

Rockin’ with All in Good Time Orchestra!

Since other groups also performed Oh Holy Night, the next year our director suggested we do a piece that no one else would do—a Paul McCartney song. I expected a familiar tune. Instead I was introduced to Junk, a short melancholy piece that stuck in my head like an earworm.

Junk is not a Christmas son per se. But after once again watching people on Black Friday punch each other to score a television set, the lyrics provide a poignant reminder. Buy, buy says the sign in the shop window/Why, why say the junk in the yard.

As the Christmas season approaches, it’s time to listen to the music. This year I’ll miss hearing Darlene Love. During this season, which songs lift your spirit?

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Do you have mystery readers on your shopping list? I’m having a Goodreads giveaway for 5 copies of Death with Dessert, a new release from misterio press.

The next stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is today, December 8, with N.W. Moors! Get on board.

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Guest Post & Giveaway


This week I have a guest post up at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. Learn how/why I made Carol Sabala a baker/private investigator. Included in the article is the recipe for traditional flan from my newly re-released book Death with Dessert.

DeathWithDessertThe post also contains a link to my Goodreads Giveaway for 5 copies of Death with Dessertstarts today and runs for 2 weeks.

Here’s a taste of the book:

A dead mother. A missing father. A mysterious man.

They all spell trouble for private investigator Carol Sabala. When Carol’s mother dies unexpectedly, Carol is left with no family—only money, grief, and an envelope. Her mother has charged her with a mission: deliver the envelope to her long-lost father. Enroute to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to track down her father, Carol encounters the alluring Mark Escalante, who snares her in a deadly pursuit of his own.