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Monday, January 29, 2018

EVENT: Porter Square Books Women Author Panel

Women authors of Best New England Crime Stories discuss why they enjoy writing female protagonists as murderers. Join Sharon Daynard and Connie Johnson Hambley, with Christine Bagley as Moderator, as they make you laugh - and your skin crawl…

When: Friday, February 2 at 7:00 pm
Where: Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Read Christine's "On a Winter's Night", Sharon's "Ghosting Mrs. Muir," and Connie's "Black Ice" in Level Best Books' newest anthology, SNOWBOUND.

Also, treat yourself to WINDWARD featuring Christine's "The Burren," Sharon's "A Glutton for Punishment," and Connie's "Giving Voice."

Friday, January 26, 2018



Thanks for having me back on Out of the Fog, Connie! From the moment I discovered your books and website, I knew that we had a lot in common. We’re both lawyers-turned-authors of crime fiction, who love to create strong female protagonists and throw them into the thick of things!

A lot has happened since December 2015, when I contributed “The Greatest Challenge” to your blog ( At that time, I had written two novels about prosecutor Dana Hargrove, and now, I’m about to release the fourth standalone novel in the series, Deep Zero.

Dana strives for justice in every case she investigates, juggling the demands of a high-powered legal career with her loyalties to friends and family. She’s a strong and smart woman, but not without her vulnerabilities. I love to challenge her with dilemmas of ethics and conscience, and many of her thorniest problems involve the intersection of career and family. As I said in my earlier blog piece, the biggest challenge in my legal career was to maintain a balance between the personal and the professional, especially when my kids were young. In the Dana Hargrove novels, I’ve taken this theme a step further, mixing Dana’s family and friends into the legal morass, often unwittingly!

The series has taken Dana from her rookie days in 1988 (Thursday’s List), into very different stages of her professional experience and family life (Homicide Chart, 1994, and Forsaken Oath, 2001). In Deep Zero, it’s 2009, and Dana is the newly-elected District Attorney of Westchester County. Dana and her husband, a civil litigation attorney, are raising their two teenage children in the county where Dana is the chief law enforcement official. Things heat up very early in her new administration when she’s hit with a tragic cyberbullying case and other crimes involving teens in the very school district where her own children are enrolled. She comes under fire in the media for her handling of these cases, and even for her personal parenting choices!

After six years and four books, Dana, her family and colleagues, have become a part of my life. It’s a lot of fun having a second family. They’re an interesting bunch, and I hope you get to know them.

Book blurb:
It's one a.m. Do you know where your teenagers are? Prosecutor Dana Hargrove makes it a point to know. But one night, in the dead of winter, she should have known more.

In February 2009, Dana is the newly-elected district attorney of a suburban county north of Manhattan, where she lives with her husband, attorney Evan Goodhue, and their two teenage children. The Great Recession has seen a rise in substance abuse and domestic violence. It's also the era of burgeoning social media, an intoxicating lure for wayward and disaffected teens who find new methods of victimization: a game to some, with no thought of the consequences.
During an arctic cold snap, the body of a high school student is discovered, lodged in the ice floes of the Hudson River. People are crying for justice, but there doesn't seem to be a law that fits. Days later, in one hellish night, Dana's children are sucked into a criminal investigation against several of their classmates, making her a convenient target for community outrage.
In Deep Zero, the fourth standalone legal mystery featuring the dynamic prosecutor, Dana walks the tightrope like never before in her tricky balance between professional ethics and family loyalties.

Author bio:

V.S. Kemanis has had an exciting and varied career in the law and the arts. As an attorney, she has been a criminal prosecutor for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked for appellate judges and courts, most recently as a supervising editor of appellate decisions. Ms. Kemanis is also an accomplished dancer of classical ballet, modern jazz, and contemporary styles, and has performed, taught and choreographed in California, Colorado and New York.

Short fiction by Ms. Kemanis has been published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Crooked Road Volume 3, and several noted literary journals. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Her award-winning short fiction is available in four collections, Dust of the Universe, Everyone But Us, Malocclusion, and Love and Crime. Legal mysteries Thursday's List, Homicide Chart, Forsaken Oath, and Deep Zero feature prosecutor Dana Hargrove who, like the author, juggles the competing demands of family with a high-powered professional career in the law.


Deep Zero on Amazon:

Deep Zero on NetGalley:


 Author video on YouTube, “The Dana Hargrove Novels”:

Amazon author page:

Goodreads page:



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ready for the Olympics?

It's always fun and games at the Olympics. Right?

Guess again.

The drama for these Olympic Games in South Korea has almost eclipsed the inspirational stories of the athletes themselves. An unpredictable neighbor with an itchy trigger finger hovering above the nuclear button has a way of capturing our attention.

We want our focus to stay on the athletes, but the sad truth is that history happens. We know world governments are working feverishly to ensure a safe event. We can only imagine the lengths they go to identify, assess, and deal with every threat.

Most of my readers will recall that the last Olympics to be held on U.S. soil was marred by a domestic terrorist. On July 27, 1996, a bomb exploded in Centennial Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Two people died. Over one hundred were injured. The scars from the shrapnel-filled backpack are still on the statue celebrating athletes and on our own hearts. We're were changed. 

We can read newspaper accounts of what happened that day and cringe at the rush to justice that ensnared an innocent man. We can marvel that the manhunt lasted years after the event. We can shake our heads at all we know now and wonder how so much went so wrong and how luck kept much worse from happening.

It's hard for me to write about why I set my books in the time period involving so much strife in Northern Ireland and the United States. History happens and we cannot undo what was done to us or to others. We can keep those touched by horrific events in our prayers in the same way we pray for all others to be safe from harm.

But, after I'm done with my prayers and wishes for a safer world, I write.

I cull history for facts. Some facts fit our world view and make us feel safe. Other facts rock us to our core and make us stare at dark ceilings in the early morning hours. Historical facts make my settings and time periods real. Human nature provides other facts that, when blended into my characters, make evil sadly real.

The Wake takes you to that hot summer night when a bomb exploded at the Summer Olympic Games.

Your imagination will take you even further.