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Reflections on My Birthday Month

August has always been special to me because it it the month I was born. I do not plan to celebrate the whole month, not even sure how I'll celebrate. What I do know is that I have a meeting to attend that morning.

At the age I am I have much to reflect on. Born at the end of the depression, and World War II during my growing up years, I still had a wonderful childhood. I was surrounded by loving family: great parents who worked very hard, two sets of grandparents, one aunt on my mom's side, one aunt and two uncles on my dad's side--and their spouses, and 6 boy cousins, and 3 girl cousins. 
I always had a great imagination, tried a lot of new things, did well in school, married right after graduation, moving from the West Coast to the East Coast--big city to a tiny southern town. What a culture shock! I survived. Had my first child there. Returned with husband and daughter to L.A. 
Got my first real job with the telephone company--not an operator--but filing of all things.…

Writing Today's Novel Combining Technology by Jamie Cortland

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The genre has already been decided upon; the plot has been outlined, the location and whatever needs researched has been done. The era the book takes place in is set, and the character sketch is complete.
In the past decade, the world has changed greatly though. In order to write a novel set in the present day I needed to consider crime lab techniques for one, driver-less cars, cloning perhaps, drones, and of course, robots. Since Judy Garland's Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, “Star Wars”  and “The Terminator,” robots have been on the horizon. In the Wizard of Oz, ”The heartless Tin  Woodsman”,  technically a cyborg, wrestled with a common problem  faced by all robots, the inability to feel and the desire to combat rust.  
With my overactive imagination. I have always hoped that robots would remain in the world of fantasy. Not so. We now have robots that belong in the realms of horror and those that are suited for children and Disneyland. To give you an example following are just a…

Formula for Writing a Mystery or Whodunit? by Mar Preston

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Did you know there was a formula to writing a mystery or a whodunit?
It may not be apparent, but there are rules that determine how satisfying your finished story will be to readers. You may have read dozens and dozens, maybe even hundreds of murder mysteries already. If you are an avid reader of the mystery genre you already know these rules at some level of consciousness.
Writing a mystery is hard. Plotting isn’t easy. People remember strong characters and situations. They often forget plots. They'll say something about my books, “Oh, yeah, it’s the one where Mason and that guy, you know…the lawyer.” They don’t know the head-scratching anxiety I went through to come up with that lawyer who play a critical role in getting my protagonist the next clue
Writing your first mystery will help you figure out whether you’re an outliner or seat-of-pantser. The important thing is that you just get going and start putting lines of words on paper before your idea cools. If it’s all up in your …

First Born's Birthday!

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Happy Birthday, Dana!

We recently had lunch with our girls. Dana is the one on the left, then Rick with youngest daughter, Lori, middle daughter, Lisa, and of course, my hubby and the girls' dad.

Dana was my very first, and I knew nothing about babies. Because she was born in Cambridge Maryland, 3000 miles away from my family, I relied on a Good Housekeeping Book about raising a baby.

She has always been as much a friend as a daughter.

I was the leader of her Blue Bird and Camp Fire Group all through high school until all the girls graduated. I had as much fun and learned more that they did.

When planning for her wedding, believe me we had little money, she made her own dress and most of the bridesmaids' dresses and the flower girl's. The theme was daisys and we picked them from a neighbor's yard. I cooked all the food for the reception, and a neighbor made the wedding cake. Everything turned out beautiful.

Dana is now the mother of two grown children: Patrick works f…

Last Library Presentation--at least as far as I know

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On August 12th at 11 a.m., I'll be finishing my circuit of the outlying areas in the Fresno Library system by visiting the Caruthers Library, 13382 So. Henderson Rd., Caruthers.

Because the audiences have been small at these venues, I'm not expecting anything else--just happy that anyone comes.
Because the librarian who booked me comes to them all, I'm sure he's bored to tears hearing my spiel over and over. No, it's not always exactly the same because I try to gear it to those who've come, but of course when I talk about my books it's going to be more or less a repeat of what he's heard before.
It will be a relief to be finished so I have my Saturdays free for something else, but I've enjoyed every visit. I've missed a couple of my San Joaquin Sisters in Crime meetings and a Tulare-Kings Writers meeting, it will be nice to get back into the normal groove. 
Of course I'm up for any library who'd like me to come and give a presentation. Y…

Busy Times: Writing and Promoting

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My latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, A Cold Death, will be coming out this month. Exactly when I don't know for sure.

However, as usual, I'm planning a blog tour for the book in mid-September.
I also have other events planned which will happen whether or not I have copies of the new book because I have so many other books.
Still to come: 
In September, I'll be at the Bakersfield Barnes on Noble on September 9 at 2 p.m. 
On September 23 at 1, I'll be at Branches Books and Gifts on Highway 41 in Oakhurst.
And in October, I'm headed to the Great Valley Bookfest on the 14th from 10 to 4.
That's it so far, always looking for new places and people to talk to though. We'll see what happens.
Of course once I get the cover, I'll be putting it up everywhere, and getting new business cards. 
In the meantime, I've been working on my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, have the theme and a tentative title, and also writing posts for the blog tour. 
Though I do so…

The Power of Identity by Donna Urbikas

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Author Wesley Adamczyk’s Polish language book, Kwiaty Polskie na Wygnaniu, Rebis, Poland, 2015 (Polish “Flowers,” referring to children, in Deportation) is a beautiful collection of children’s drawings, poems, letters and remembrances of their homeland, Poland, right after their escape from the Soviet Union’s slave labor camps and the Gulag from 1941/1942 and beyond.  These sickly, malnourished, orphaned children ranging from ages 5 or 6 and upward—younger ones mostly died during their imprisonment and escape—could think only of the warmth and freedom of their family life in their beloved Poland.  It was a freedom harshly disrupted by the Soviets when hundreds of thousands of Poles were deported from Poland starting in 1940, like my mother and sister.  The world needs to be reminded that it wasn’t only the German Nazis who invaded Poland.  These children’s identity was clearly with Poland.  Adamczyk himself was one of those children who later lost his mother to illness in Tehran and …