My friend Tim Jungr always introduces the last speaker at WRW’s Writer’s Retreat. It’s a tradition that has become one of my favorite parts of the conference. He’s witty and wise, a fabulous writer (three Golden Heart nominations). This year I was the speaker he introduced and he made me laugh so hard tears came to my eyes. I asked Tim for permission to share his introduction with you and he was kind enough to agree. Not only does this give me a chance to share his cleverness with you, but please pay attention to that next to the last paragraph. Tim knows how to skewer with the truth.

Now for my true reason for sharing this. I would love Tim to create a blog. He’s a man’s man in a romance world. He’s also a single dad. Lots of material for him to mine. I hope you will join me in encouraging Tim to hit the internet. We need his talent AND his sharp sense of humor–

Cathy Maxwell

When they asked me if I would introduce someone at this year’s Retreat, I said, that depends. I have a certain standing to uphold, you know. I can’t introduce just anyone. I only work with A-listers. They said, what about Cathy Maxwell? So I said, well, she’s no Nora, but she’s up there. I could do Cathy.

Of course, I wanted to make sure I got it right, so I Googled her.

It sounds dirty, but it’s not.

So what did I turn up? Pretty much what you’d expect. New York Times bestselling author of two dozen novels and novellas. Prominent member of RWA and WRW. A generous mentor to fellow writers. Upstanding member of her community.

So far so good. No surprises.

But I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. So I tried another approach. I Binged her.

Which also sounds a little dirty, but it’s not.

I found more of the same. Cathy Maxwell was, by all accounts, a model citizen and a model human being. Again, no surprises.

So I asked around. Agents and editors described not just a brilliant writer but a consummate professional. Perfect manuscripts delivered on deadline with no drama . Friends and family told of a devoted mother, a trusted friend, a loyal American with an honorable record of service to her country. Talented, funny, generous, kind. Goes to church, pays her taxes, rescues dogs, loves horses . . . you get the picture. No surprises . . . at all.

No matter how widely I searched, how deeply I probed, how much I offered in bribes, no one, anywhere, had anything bad to say about Cathy Maxwell. No scandalous Facebook pages, no kinky sex tapes, no illegal Guatemalan nannies. I even saw her birth certificate. There was simply no dirt to dig.

It seems almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Now, when you have lived inside the Beltway as long as I have, you know that nobody’s record is that clean — unless it’s been wiped clean. Around here, “too good to be true” can mean only one thing. Sleeper cell.

That’s right. Cathy Maxwell is a Russian spy.

Now that I’ve brought it to your attention, it jumps right out at you, doesn’t it? You’re wondering, how did I miss that? Well, you weren’t alone. It’s been going on for years, right under our noses. If you read Chapter 11 of Falling In Love Again backwards, it’s a list of CIA operatives currently operating in Eastern Europe. The Polish edition of The Earl Claims a Wife contains a microchip in the spine with the complete floor plan of the Pentagon. Written in invisible ink between the lines of In the Bed of a Duke are plans for the invasion of Alaska. With cross-hairs on Sarah Palin.

I have to give her, and her KGB handlers, a lot of credit. It’s really an ingenious plot. The romance novel is the perfect vehicle for transmitting intelligence. They fit neatly into a pocket or purse and are passed easily from one person to another. They are translated into dozens of languages and disseminated around the world. And best of all, no one in the ruling elite takes them seriously. They look at the covers and think “this is just a trashy bodice ripper; there can’t be anything substantial inside.” But we know better, Cathy. We’re on to you.

So now, Cathy will tell us all about her life and work. And then she will have to shoot us.

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