Guest Chick: Diane Vallere

Lisa here, thrilled to welcome multi-talented mystery author and our ever-fashionable past Sisters in Crime president Diane Vallere to Chicks today. Even though it’s not technically Easter time (hey, candy is candy!), we readers always enjoy the thrill of the egg hunt. Read on as Diane shares how she hides those fun little nudge-nudge-wink-winks in her books…


by Diane Vallere

Thank you for inviting me to blog with the Chicks!

In the course of writing the tens of thousands of words that end up being a book, I sometimes write inside jokes that I don’t know if anybody will get, but the possibility that one person might tickles me to no end. With LOVE ME OR GRIEVE ME, Madison Night mystery #10 out in the wild, I decided to pull back the curtain on five Easter Eggs in the book. (No spoilers here! I promise! Just good, clean fun.)

So, without further ado, let’s go:

Easter Egg #1: “He strained his leash when we reached the car and raised his leg to pee on the rear right wheel of the red Lexus.”

The “he” in question is Rocky, Madison’s Shih Tzu. I’d just finished reading a book about astronauts (you can find it here) and learned that Yuri Gagarin, the first person to journey into outer space, peed on the rear right wheel of the vehicle that drove him to the space station the morning of his journey to space. Apparently since then astronauts have kept up the tradition for luck. Female astronauts bring a bottle of pee to sprinkle on the wheel! This may not sound very cozy, but I liked the idea of Rocky following in cosmonaut footsteps.

Easter Egg #2: “Age? Married life? Tired of being hit on by saxophone players?”

This is a reference to Some Like It Haute, which, nine times out of ten, I’ll tell you is my favorite movie. There is one particular reader of Madison Night mysteries who also is related to me and will definitely recognize the line and email me about it when she reads it!

Easter Egg #3: “First, there were the unis—uniformed officers: a five-foot-tall Mexican woman with long hair secured in a tight bun, and a six-foot-five bald black man…”

While writing LOVE ME OR GRIEVE ME, I was also binge-watching The Shield—you know, that cop show from the early 2000s? In an early draft, I named these two Tina and Julien after two of the recurring cop characters on the show, but in subsequent revisions removed their names since they never appeared again.

Easter Egg #4: “It was an article dated May 26, 1955, about a…”

It wouldn’t be a Madison Night book without a few references to Doris Day. May 26, 1955 was the USA release date for Love Me or Leave Me, the Ruth Etting biopic that starred Doris Day and was the inspiration behind this, Madison Night’s tenth mystery.

Easter Egg #5: “Sue ran her name through the system and came up with thirty-eight unpaid parking tickets.

I tend to like the number forty-seven, and I use it a lot when I need a two-digit number. (I don’t know why but being a fan of Alias might have something to do with it.) Originally, this was forty-seven unpaid parking tickets, but the number forty-seven is used in the very first line of the book, so I needed a different number. I looked around my apartment and my eyes settled on my TBR pile. Clearly more than ten books! Thirty-eight to be exact, so that’s how many unpaid parking tickets this particular character had.

Fans of the series will pick up on additional buried treasures, like many of the characters who sent flowers when they heard the news of Madison’s death.

Oh, wait, I didn’t tell you about that part, did I? I suppose if you want more than Easter Eggs, you’ll have to read the book!



Reports of Madison Night’s death have been greatly exaggerated…

When a junior copy editor at the local newspaper mistakenly uses interior decorator Madison Night’s life story in the obituary of a recently deceased woman with a similar name, Madison’s life turns upside down. Addison Nigh, a once in-demand jazz vocalist, had fallen into obscurity, and her death notice surprises only those who thought she died decades ago.

Canceled lines of credit and a swarm of condolences to Madison’s loved ones are just the tip of the iceberg, but when the decorator discovers evidence that the real dead woman played a part in an unsolved murder, their identity mix-up gives Madison backstage access to a life of secrets. As parallels between the singer’s life and her own become impossible to ignore, Madison questions the true price of fame. But Madison isn’t the only one to discover the singer’s buried secrets, and if she’s not careful, the next obituary might be her own.

Can Madison protect a mysterious past with notes similar to her own, or will exposing the truth be her swan song?

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National bestselling author Diane Vallere writes smart, funny, and fashionable character-based mysteries. After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, she traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. A past president of Sisters in Crime, Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Find out more at

Readers, do you have any favorite Easter eggs or details in your favorite series–and writers, do you plan your own carefully…or not? Let Diane know in the comments below!

28 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Diane Vallere

  1. I love a good Easter Egg, Diane. I always add a few to each book. They’re at random and usually refer to a family member or TV show I’m watching. It adds a bit of fun to the daily word count. Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Diane! So great to have you here!

    I laughed at the inspiration for the parking tickets. Perfect! I love bookish and cinematic Easter eggs, whether I figure them out on my own or get the meaning retroactively. And your new book sounds like eggs-lactly what I need to read!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such a fun post, Diane–with “bonus” eggs! Love Me or Grieve me sounds fabulous–and what a striking cover (as always). I think my favorite egg from your post is the dog lifting its leg. Who would have known? One of my favorite “egg” baskets is the movie You’ve Got Mail. Lots of little jokes/references that got the the ins and outs and characters of the publishing industry exactly right. (Of the time, of course, but things haven’t really changed that much, lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Diane. Some of my Easter eggs can be pretty extensive. I’ve never had any fan comment on any of my books (reviews excepted), so I don’t know if any have been noticed. For example, the serial killers in Killers! are all based on actual serial killers and have the same initials. Can you guess who Tommy Burke and Eugene Knott are?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wouldn’t have picked up on any of these Easter eggs, but I love looking for the movie related ones in this series. (And I guess it is time for an Alias rewatch because I don’t remember 47’s connection to the show.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love a good Easter egg, and tend to find them in a lot of sci-fi that I read. And now I’m thinking that it would be fun to write a book set at Easter time which is chock full of Easter eggs–both real and metaphorical!

    So fab to have you visit the Chicks today, Diane, and congrats on the new book! (And I love the ALIAS reference–ha!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been having trouble posting comments for the last week or so, but maybe piggybacking on someone else’s will work. (Thanks, Leslie!)

      Anyhoo …. Hi Diane! *waving madly* I love your Easter eggs and always end up with some in my books too. Careful readers have caught many of them which delights all of us. One of my favorites was when the protag from my Crossword mysteries is trying to hide from someone so she turns to face a store window. It’s a bookstore with a poster advertising an appearance from the protag from my Mystery Writer’s series. I also drop some silly inside jokes that only friends or family will get. It shows me who reads my books!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Diane — this is so cool! I do drop some little things in my books that refer back to small, obscure things from earlier books. And I dropped something into one book that was exclusively for my siblings.
    I’m a big X-Files fan and always enjoyed the Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the series!


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