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Pagan Jones Book 3 – Soon!

A busy street in 1962, lined with palm trees on one side. Two women walk away from the camera, dressed beautifully. A man who has passed them glances back appreciatively.

The Croisette was the main drag of the City of Cannes, lined with palm trees, running along the beach. This was taken during the Cannes Film Festival in May, 1962, when the book takes place. You can see Pagan’s hotel, the Carlton, overlooking it all in the background.

Oh delightful readers, it’s been awhile.

Since City of Spies came out, I’ve written two books that NEARLY got published (I might have more on one of those soon), wrote several screenplays that went nowhere, grappled with the death of my father, moved my mother to live with me, moved my aunt to live with me, lived through a pandemic along with everyone else, worried myself sick over political upheaval, and kept trying to write.

I’m sure you all have similar stories, with or without the writing. For the first year or so of the pandemic I simply could not write. It was profoundly frustrating and depressing. A friend explained that large parts of our brains were busy grappling with basic survival fears, and that doesn’t leave much room for anything else. I’ve been writing stories since I was four, so I felt like part of me got lost.

Last year I decided to go back to a character I know and love so well it’s like she’s a part of me. That’s actress, alcoholic, and spy Pagan Jones, star of The Notorious Pagan Jones and City of Spies. I never got a chance to write the end of her journey because my publisher, after never supporting the first two books in any significant way, declined to buy the next two books in the series I pitched to them. I’d left City of Spies on a bit of a cliffhanger, with all sorts of plans to resolve things, and then never got the chance.

For awhile there was nothing I could do – I’d sold the rights to my publisher. But about a year ago, I got them back. Huzzah! I own my work again. The publisher keeps the rights to their cover art and how they formatted the interior of the books. I get everything else.

All of which means I’ve been working on the third and probably final book in the Pagan Jones series since then. Espionage, fashion, movies, romance, family drama! All will be revealed!

The tentative title of Book 3 in the Pagan Jones series is Festival of Spies, but no promises. It’s about 10k words away from completion. As I type that I knock on wood and make half-hearted warding signs against the evil eye, despite my supposed lack of superstitions. It’s been a long tough road, and I’m terrified I’ll never see the end of that road.

But it’s going to happen. The book will come out! I’m going to self-publish it along with the first two books. They’ll have fabulous new covers and new formatting, and will probably only be available as e-books. But they will exist, and you will be able to read them if you wish.

And… I’m very excited about this book! In it, Pagan Jones attends the 1962 Cannes Film Festival while secretly trying to convince the Soviets she’ll work for them, all in order to confront the man she believes killed her mother. And yes, she will collide and clash with familiar faces from the other books, including four different men with whom she has, shall we say, complicated relationships. We also get a glimpse behind the glamour as Pagan deals with a would-be rival starlet.

A photo looking out of a hotel room toward a balcony. The French doors are wide open, and a woman with her back to us leans her elbows on the railing, gazing out at the sea.

That’s Sophia Loren on her balcony at the Carlton Hotel during the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. Pagan would be staying right down the hall.

There are some juicy scenes in this book that were so fun to write! There’s the glamour and celebrity of the Festival (in real life it was attended by many movie stars, of course, and you’ll meet a few of them) plus the intrigue and danger of espionage, inextricably mixed together. It’s the perfect place for an actress who excels at lying and manipulation while wearing the latest fashion.

A model with her hair in an updo wears a white lace Dior dress. The garment is knee-length, with a full skirt and a white silky bow tied in the front. She also wears white high heels.

Dress from the Dior collection in 1962.

I’ll keep you in the loop as we get closer to publication.

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