Final Respects  is the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series. It was written long before I left Oxnard to move to Springville where I now live.  When I wrote it I had no idea it would become a series. My then son-in-law, Mike was an Oxnard Police Officer and he came over nearly every morning when he got off his shift. He came for coffee and told me about what happened while he was working. (My daughter, his wife, didn't like to hear about his work.) I was fascinated. What I wrote about didn't have much to do with his stories--yet--though I did use some of them in later books. What prompted this tale was the death of an officer who responded to a domestic dispute. My take on this kind of murder is totally different from what really happened. When we first moved into our neighborhood we had several police officers for neighbors. I was good friends with all the wives and heard a lot about their fears and discontent about being married to cops. I also saw how much lov

And Then I Did a Different Kind of Research

My next book was a mystery--sort of. I had to decide what kind of book to write and because I read so many mysteries that was my choice. I say sort of, because my idea was to add a touch of the supernatural. Not sure where the thought of using astral projection came from though I had dreamed about doing it--however not in the way it happens to my heroine in this book. As a child, she used the ability to leave her body to avoid the abuse she received at the hands of her mother's boy friend. As a young woman, a trigger brings back the ability, but she has no control over it.  In order to find out what astral projection was like, I researched it by reading many books on the subject.  I think I did a pretty good job, because after it was published, my publisher arranged for me to be interviews on the radio in Bakersfield. One of the callers told me that he knew I'd experienced astral projection because it seemed so real. I thanked up, but didn't tell him what I knew about the p

My First Encounter With Research for My Books

The first time I did any amount of research was for my historical family sage, Two Ways West. The story was woven around my father's family's genealogy. Once I began writing, I knew there were many questions and I needed to find the answers before I started writing. The most important items were the history of the man different places where my ancestors, the Crabtrees,  lived, especially at the times they lived there.  Once I learned the facts, I could imagine what it was like while they were there and what might have made them move so often. One most important location was Brownsville Texas. I knew nothing about it, and this book was written long before the Internet. I wrote to the Brownsville Historical Society and told them what I was doing. Amazingly, they lent me a huge book of the history of Brownsville. It proved to be the most important piece of research I had because the Crabtree family lived in Brownsville at two different times.  Because the family traveled across

Madeline Gornell's Latest

Thank you, Marilyn, for inviting me to visit and talk about my latest book. This one was a little different, in that it is my first Novella. I started my writing journey with short stories, with my first published story being rather short, and in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine—eons ago. I was working for a company at that time, but when that chapter of my life closed, I went to writing full-length books. With Rhodes – Never Forgotten, I finished telling my story in less than a full-length book—and a short story was just not enough. Voila! A novella. This Leigh Everett Rhodes’s adventure was inspired by the song, “Battle Hymn of the republic.” A little backstory information about me personally will explain. I’m tone death and “can’t carry a tune.” Basically, those statements mean I can’t tell one note from another, except maybe that one is high, and one is low. A circumstance which made for some interesting events—in that in my youth, I went to schools that required singing. My h

My Connection to Erle Stanley Gardner

To be perfectly honest, I really didn't know much about the author Erle Stanley Gardner until I moved to Oxnard, CA many years ago. There I learned that he set some of his mysteries there and that he practiced law in Ventura. I participated in two Erle Stanley Gardner days--one was held in a Ventura  park where people sold all sorts of things, and another mystery writer and myself sold books.  The biggie Erle Stanley Gardner celebration was in Temecula. That's where I learned so much about the author and the fact that after he quite his law practice he moved to Temecula and made his home on a large ranch. His secretaries (he had 4), , his doctor and others lived in cabins on the property. The Temecula Valley museum has a permanent exhibit all about Erle Stanley Gardner with loads of photographs.  On the day of this big celebration, I had the opportunity to meet 3 of his secretaries. At one point that weekend, I did a workshop on writing. In face over a period of 3 or 4 years, I

My New Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery/An Intro

Though I've finished my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, it's not really done. It's been sent off to beta readers for them to read, look for mistakes and all those weird things that seem to pop up in a manuscript once you think it's done. Then, of course, I'll do my best to fix it. Once that's finished, it'll be sent off to my editor and publisher. She'll go over it again to check once more for errors. Her husband will develop a cover for the book. All of these processes take time. Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some tidbits about what's coming for those of you who look forward to reading Deputy Tempe Crabtree's ongoing adventures. Perry Mason is part of this story. When I was a young teen, my mom and I went to many live radio broadcasts, including the Perry Mason show. I became enamored with the show, its remarkable twists and turns, and of course all the cast. While doing some research I learned the radio show didn't have the same ca


This was another question by one of my Facebook friends. And it's not so easy to answer because I don't remember a whole lot.  WWII ended on the day my middle school class celebrated our graduation at Griffith Park Zoo. The announcement was made over the loud speaker, and the lions roared! All of the students in that class moved on to different high schools depending upon where they lived. My close friends and I all went to Eagle Rock High.  It was a junior and senior high, and the other kids had been together since 7th grade. The school was close as the crow flies, but in order to get there all of  us in my neighborhood had to walk two or three long blocks to Verdugo Road, catch a bus to the streetcar, ride the streetcar to Yosemite Way, and walk several long blocks to the school. And remember, there were no backpacks in those days. We carried all our books. We did have lockers to keep them in during the day. (There was shorter way to go, but also dangerous, it was through the