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MURDER, SONORAN STYLE by Kathy McIntosh

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My parents instilled in me a love of words, laughter, and nature, so perhaps it was inevitable that I became a writer of mysteries with a hint of laughter and a bias toward the environment.
My first two novels (The Havoc in Hancock series) are set in Idaho, where I lived for thirty-plus years after growing up in southern California.
I got the idea for my first book when our activist daughter invited me for breakfast with a friend of hers. A colorful character, Roadkill (he really calls himself that!) dressed in the skins of animals he’d found by the side of the road. With his permission, he became a character in Mustard’s Last Stand, where Roadkill convinces his screenwriter brother to help him fight a faux safari camp in North Idaho. He was such a reader favorite that I’m bringing him back in my next book, the second in my new series.
When we moved to Arizona, I knew I wanted to set my next novel there. I happened to spend a month outside the town of Benson, AZ, a town of 5000 so…

THE PEPPER TREE Origins, by Dave Freedland

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The Pepper Treewas my second book that followed Lincoln 9, which introduced the main character, Lieutenant Scott Hunter. I debated writing The Pepper Tree first, because it was such a great story, but opted to first write Lincoln 9, to determine whether or not I could compose a novel, and develop fictional characters.
With the success of my first book, I marched forward with a haunting story that followed my law enforcement career for several years. As a rookie cop, I was made aware of a landmark tree, along a dusty road through the Irvine Ranch, where three separate serial killers had left at least one of their victims. It was difficult to believe that the press had not picked up on the location, which was clearly visible from the San Diego freeway. What made it unique was the fact that the tree provided sufficient foliage to cover the dumping of bodies. In addition, the adjacent two-lane road provided a flat, unobstructed view for ½ mile in both directions, which prevented the perpe…

What I Am Missing Most

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This sheltering in place is not much different than my normal life, except being with my friends.

No writers group meeting, even though there are only 4 or 5 of us who regularly meet. When one of our member's husband who is a doctor, advised us not to meet, we took him at his word. But oh how I miss seeing everyone!
Though it hasn't been announced yet, I know our regular meeting of the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime will be cancelled. Our meeting place in Fresno is a restaurant and all restaurants are closed except for take-out. Plus the national organization of Sisters in Crime advised all chapters not to meet until this health crisis is over. I will miss seeing all of my friends.
Two writing conference I planned to attend have been cancelled. 
Two of my friends who live on the central coast are coming to a nearby city for a mini writing retreat. They had planned to go to our Sisters in Crime meeting, but of course that won't happen. But I am planning to visit them in the p…

A Few Thoughts About the Virus

What's with the hoarding of toilet paper? For goodness sake, folks, hoarding anything is ridiculous. And the this virus does not cause the runs. Didn't anyone tell people this?


If you are forced to use something else besides regular toilet paper, don't flush, throw away. Don't flush paper towels, Kleenix, or the like down the toilet or you'll have to call a plumber. And if you have your own septic system, if it gets clogs by such things as wipes, etc. at least $200 to fix the problem.
What's with hoarding bottled water? Our water supply can't give you the virus. You still have tap water. If you don't want to drink it, go get one of those water purifiers to  use.
Of course do all the things you've been told: washing your hands a lot, avoid big crowds, sanitize when you do have to go out.
For the kids that have to stay home from school, do your homework, don't get behind because you decided to take 3 weeks off. Stay off your cell phones and read s…

Doctors in General, My Docs Over the Years

A recent discussion with writer friends made me think about the doctors I've had over the years.
But first, I was brought up with this tidbit that my dad was fond of saying, "Doctors are just practicing," because of practicing physicians.
Our family doctor was an osteopath, Dr. Reed. He was great. He made house calls and had a charming personality. He also liked to play our piano. He took care of during serious bout of the flu, me when I had rheumatic fever, and he took out my tonsils. 
When my 2nd baby had a terrible infection on her toe, my mom's family doc at the time prescribed an ointment that didn't work. I turned to the father of one of my high school friend's dad, Dr. Trotter. He prescribed something that worked.
My first child was delivered by a popular doctor in Cambridge MD. Too popular, and perhaps the only one, it was a very small town then. Waiting time could be hours. Once I fell sound asleep on the examining table.
Because hubby was in the Nav…

My Best Selling Book--Cooking for a Big Family and a Large Crowd by Marilyn Meredith

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The cookbook started out as two that I printed with my computer and sold to others like me who owned and ran licensed care homes for persons with developmentally disabled.

I cooked or prepared 3 meals almost every day of the week for my family and the sometimes six women who lived with us. Usually there were more people at dinner time as for several years we had grandkids who lived with us, and sometimes they brought guests.
I always had to be sure I'd have enough food. I got bored cooking the same things so I did a lot experimenting. I cut recipes out of magazines. I never served anything exotic with strange ingredients, only meals that I knew everyone would like.
I ended up creating a second one too. 
I sold a lot of the books that I three-hole punched and put together with brads. I did offer it on Amazon too--but over the years I forgot about both books. 
My friend Lorna Collins found the books and suggest they be re-published on Amazon. She did all the hard work, editing, put…

When Killer Fiction Becomes Confessional by Betty Webb

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No, I’m not admitting to murder. Maybe I’ve sometimes been tempted (one former boss comes readily to mind), but I can truthfully say that I never shot, stabbed, clubbed, or poisoned anyone.
However, in “The Panda of Death,” my new Gunn Zoo mystery, I write about uncovering one wowser of a family secret, one that actually happened to me.
Halfway through the writing of “Panda,” I decided – mainly as a lark – to have my DNA tested. The story had come down through our family that at sometime in the mid-1700s, William Douglas Webb purchased his Delaware Indian wife at a New Jersey slave auction. An intriguing story to be sure, but the DNA test proved it simply wasn’t true; there was no American Indian blood in my lineage.
After a few chuckles, I put the test results away and continued writing “The Panda of Death.” I was having trouble with it, mainly because I couldn’t come up with a good-enough subplot, but I persevered. Then one day, my telephone rang. The caller’s accent alerted me to the …