I’m so glad to have Ann Simas join me again on my blog! Ann is an accomplished and prolific author who knows how to spin a tale of out-of-this-world romance and intrigue. Read on!
The Grace Gabbiano Mysteries: How They Began and Where They Are Now
I was taking a Forensics class at the local community college a few years back when the idea for the Grace Gabbiano Mysteries hit me. The class was being taught by the director of the Oregon State Patrol Forensics Laboratory, located in nearby Springfield. I subsequently took a Criminal Investigation class, taught over the 12-week course by different law enforcement officials, one of whom was a former detective with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, and (at that time) the police chief of Coburg Police Department.
Both Lt. Mike Hurley and Chief Denny Ross were kind enough to let me pick their brains outside of class. These two intelligent men had spent their lives in law enforcement and had a wealth of information to share with me. As it turned out, how I was going to create the series turned out differently than I had originally planned, but I retained part of the original premise and it crops up periodically in the series.
The Grace Books, as I call them, feature Sgt. Grace Gabbiano, Police Chief Aidan Cruz, Grace’s entire Italian family, and a full contingent of CPD staff, officers, and reservists. Other characters make appearances throughout the books, but each story also has a new “cast,” so to speak. In Dressed to Die, Grace is faced with two murders, both men who are dressed in formal evening wear, wigs, and high-heeled sandals. Not your conventional deaths. In Sliced to Die, Chief Cruz signs Grace up to go undercover as a prostitute to help track down a serial kidney thief. Buried to Die introduces the reader to the body farm located in the middle of a large hazelnut orchard in Coburg. Grace discovers more than research is going on there when her former teacher turns up amid the corpses being studied. In Quilted to Die, the first body found is rolled up in the fund-raising quilt at the annual quilt show (which actually does occur in Coburg). In that book, I introduced the crop circles.
That takes me to Taken to Die, a July 31 release. I’m an avid stargazer and I’ve seen things in the night skies that are inexplicable. I watch Ancient Aliens and numerous other programs about UFOs and alien sightings. I’ve read The Day After Roswell and watched the Project Blue Book series. I’m not sure why I put those crop circles in Quilted to Die, but I knew I’d have fun with them in Taken. And, boy, did I!
I love research, and there is no shortage of information to be had about UFOs, crop circles, alien abductions, animal mutilations, Areas 51 and 52…I could go on. Typically, with the Internet, I research as I go and I never use anything that can’t be verified from at least three different sources. However, this time I reversed order and read Roswell first. I was constantly astounded by the facts presented by Major Phillip Corso, who was actually involved in the 1947 incident and the subsequent events connected to it.
When I contacted MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), I was told that some of what Corso wrote has been challenged. Regardless, I’m keeping an open mind. Our government is known to have withheld information on UFOs, as is the military. Only recently have armed forces’ pilots, commercial pilots, astronauts, and law enforcement officers been vocal about what they’ve witnessed from a vantage point most of us will never have. In essence, since they’ve spoken up, many with actual video footage, it’s forced the government and the military to be more open about what’s going on, not only in space, but on (and around) Earth.
I know there are people who pooh-pooh the idea of UFOs and aliens, and that’s fine, but for me, they exist. I’ve included some of the unusual things I’ve seen in the night skies in Taken. I knew when I wrote the last word in the book that the story couldn’t end there. I grew up in Colorado at a time when animal mutilations were rampant. Neither those nor the crop circles have ever been resolved, and I maybe they never will be. But there’s more to Taken to Die than crop circles and mutilations, and since I’m not giving any spoilers, you’ll have to read it to find out more.
What do I learn when dig into all this research I love to do? Two things: (1) You’re never too old to learn and (2) you never know what you’re going to learn that’s going to amaze the heck out of you!
Here’s a short blurb:
Mysterious crop circles, unexplained bright lights in the sky, UFOs, animal mutilations—what in the galaxy is going on in Coburg? Grace Gabbiano is determined to find out. Is it an alien invasion, or something more sinister and closer to home?
Available worldwide on Amazon
Free read on Kindle Unlimited
Ann Simas Bio
Ann Simas lives in Eugene, Oregon, but she is a Colorado girl at heart, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains. An avid word-lover since childhood, she penned her first fiction “book” in high school. The author of 27 novels, one novella, and seven short stories, she particularly likes to write a mix of mystery/thriller/suspense, with a love story and paranormal or supernatural elements.
In addition to being a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, Ann is also an award-winning watercolorist and budding photographer who enjoys needlework and gardening in her spare time. She is her family’s “genealogist” and has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct first-hand research in Italy for both her writing and her family tree. The genealogy research from century’s-old documents, written in Italian, has been a supreme but gratifying and exciting challenge for her.
Books by Ann Simas
Chloe’s Spirit Afterstories
First Star Afterstories
Blessed Are the EaglesH
Black Moon Rising
Here and Gone
Grace Gabbiano Mysteries
Dressed to Die
Sliced to Die
Buried to Die
Quilted to Die
Taken to Die
Praying to Die (coming July 2020)
Andi Comstock Supernatural Mysteries
The Wrong Wicca (coming Fall 2020)
Christmas Valley Romances
Candy Cane Lane
Let It Snow
Angels on the Rooftop
Deck the Gnomes
Jingle Bell Clock (coming November 2019)
Reindeer Blitz (coming November 2019)
Short Story Collection
RWA Golden Heart Finalists
Contact Info for Ann Simas: Writing books people love to read. Learn more!
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