Friday, December 28, 2007

2008 Almost Here!

Hard to believe, it’s nearly 2008! Now the challenge will be to remember that and put it on my communications and checks.

What are you looking forward to in this coming year? For myself, I’m hoping the year includes continued good health–always something to think about when you get to be my age. However, I’m always optimistic and this year’s calendar is already filling up. I’ve even sent in money for a mystery con in 2009.

The end of January we’re flying to Chicago for the Love is Murder conference. All my friends in California feel that is being truly optimistic if not a bit foolhardy. I remind them that I went to Alaska to a mystery con in February and had a great time.

I’m planning a book launch for Smell of Death, the next in my Rocky Bluff PD series in February.

In March, hubby and I will fly to Portland OR for Epicon. My latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is a finalist in the mystery category for an Eppie. Whether it wins or not, Epicon is a great conference and I have many author friends I’m looking forward to spending time with. I’ll also be presenting while I’m there.

Writers of Kern is having their conference in March too, and I’m honored to have been asked to present a workshop on writing mysteries, in particular how to keep a series fresh. I’ll also be headed to the Kings’ County Library in Hanford to talk about writing and my books.

April will find me at the Jackass Mail Run with a booth–no, it’s not about a bunch of jackasses running–it celebrates the delivery of the mail from Porterville to Springville and a bunch of horses and riders along with the mail wagon make their way to Springville where a mock battle ensues with would-be robbers and the men on the wagon.

April also is the time for the Public Safety Writers Association’s conference. All the information is available at > This is another favorite of mine and I’m also in charge of the program. If you write about any of the many public safety fields–either fiction on non-fiction–you ought to try this conference.

If you want exact dates and times for any of these events, go to my website or email me:

And that’s probably enough of what I’ve got planned for the coming year.
For all of you who read this, my wish for you is a year full of love, happiness and prosperity.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Feeling Really Old or Aftermath of Attending Daughter's Retirement Party and some exciting news!

How on earth could I possibly have a daughter who is old enough to retire? I don't have the answer to that question--what I do know is hubby and I traveled to Oxnard yesterday to attend daughter Dana's retirement celebration from her job as an administrative assistant of the Oxnard School District.

The party was given by her boss and held in her boss' home--a gorgeous home beautifully decorated for Christmas. Besides about 50 of Dana's fellow employees, of course her husband attended, along with her daughter (my granddaughter, Genie) and her two kids (my great-grands--Peyton and Garrett), and my youngest daughter, Lori, and her hubby.

The food was abundant and delicious. Everyone was friendly and spoke so highly of Dana--it really made me proud. One of the highlights of the evening was when Peyton who is four, donned her dance costume and performed her Irish dance. She did wonderfully.

I met the current superintendent of schools and it certainly brought back lots of memories. When my kids were attending school in the Oxnard school district, I was PTA president four years in a row--two at the grammar school and two at the high school and knew the then superintendent quite well and his successor was one of our family's friends. Being around all those people made me think about events I'd nearly forgotten.

Dana and her husband hope to spend more time traveling in their motor home. I was extremely proud of her last night--and she looked beautiful.

We spent the night at Dana's and had a little bit more time enjoying everyone before heading home. For awhile, I put aside my writing life.

And now other news. Judgment Fire, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, is an Eppie finalist in the mystery category. I haven't had a book final in a few years and I'm truly excited. The Eppie's are presented at Epicon, Epic's annual convention--this year's will be in Portland OR in March. And yes, I'm going, I wouldn't miss it even if I didn't have an Eppie finalist.

This has truly been an exciting few days.

Next week I absolutely must spend some time on my work-in-progress.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Merry Christmas

The house is decorated and I'm exhausted. We don't have nearly as many decorations as we used to because we gave a lot of them away--still it seemed to take forever to put baubles and balls on the already lighted tree. Of course it was extra fun this year because it was the first thee for our three cats and they think it's a giant play toy just for them.

Yesterday I took one of my daughter's Christmas shopping. Shopping is not my favorite thing to do--but we had a great time together.

Hubby decided this was a good time to transfer closets--to put the decorations in the closet where we keep the luggage and vice versa. Since it's his idea he can do it.

Last night we were invited to dinner by my good friend, Saralee. She also invited a friend she used to work with--a delightful young woman. Why anyone would want to spend an evening with two old folks like us, I'm not sure--but I'm glad they did. We had a wonderful time and a great meal.

Had a bit of good news today via e-mail. One of my publishers, Tigress Press, wanted a dedication and some back cover copy as my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Smell of Death, is nearly ready for printing. What that means for me is I must get busy and start planning my promotion campaign.

It's hard to do normal jobs when the season is so festive. We have a lot to look forward to this holiday time. Our eldest daughter is retiring from her long time job as a secretary for the Oxnard School District. We've been invited to her retirement party and will definitely make the trip. It will give us the opportunity to deliver our Christmas gifts to the two families still living in Ventura County. I can't believe I have a daughter who is old enough to retire!

My critique group is going out to dinner together with spouses invited. We always have fun doing that.

And of course we'll be doing our usual Christmas Eve and Christmas day get-together with my son, his wife and kids.

Everyone, I hope your holiday--no matter what you may celebrate--is wonderful. Filled with love and friendship.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

I've received a few Christmas cards and I'm thinking about putting up the tree. My Christmas shopping is under control--well what I mean is I've purchased the majority of gifts.

The weather is cooperating too--we finally are getting some rain. I know, in parts of the country it's flooding--but we haven't had measurable rain for ages.

Yesterday, we had a grand surprise. Lee Emory (one of my publishers--Treble Heart Books) called to say she and her husband were heading home from Oregon and would be passing near out place and could they come visit. Of course I said yes.

Lee and I met at Epicon in Seattle WA years ago. Over the years she republished Guilt by Association and two of my Christian horror novels--Deeds of Darkness and Cup of Demons. Every year we met and visited at Epicon--in Tampa, Long Beach, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio. We enjoyed catching up on one another's news, enjoying the sights and having dinner together.

They arrived and we learned it was Lee's birthday. We went to a steak house to celebrate. They stayed the night and we bid they goodbye in the a.m.

It was a nice treat--and really felt like the start of the holiday season. There's nothing like being with old friends.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Offer

I barely survived Thanksgiving--not the food and company part--but I was struck down by the flu bug. Yes, I had the flu shot. My nurse friend assures me it could have been a lot worse if I hadn't had the shot.

Because of being sick, I haven't been able to tend to my writing business like I should have. My work in progress (the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery) has been put aside for a bit, I had two large projects that had to be done, and I have more to do on the ghost writing project I'm contracted for. As any writer knows, another important part of this profession is promotion. I try to do at least one promotion idea a day--hasn't happened.

To make up for this, I've decided that I will give away the first book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series--Deadly Omen--to anyone who buys any other book from my website. I'll also pay the postage. Autographed books make great Christmas gifts, especially for people have a clue what you should give them.

The Rocky Bluff P.D. series would make a great gift for any man on your list. Those books are: Final Respects, Bad Tidings, and Fringe Benefits.

Anyone who likes scary might enjoy Wishing Makes it So, Kachima Spirit, The Choice, Deeds of Darkness, Cup of Demons.

For readers who prefer historical novels, Two Ways West is a historical family saga based on my own family genealogy. This book is now in its third printing.

If you'd like a copy of Calling the Dead or Judgment Fire, these have to be ordered from Mundania Press or any of the online bookstores. Though I can't do anything about the postage, if you send me a copy of your sales slip I'll send you the free book.

Happy Holidays

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Legitimate" Authors and Bouchercon

Take a look at this, and go near the bottom and you'll see that the committee (consisting of Mayhem people) is going to come up with rules to exclude more authors. I can't believe this. They had lots of big name authors in Anchorage--but it was really expensive.

I guess author's like me don't count, not even my money.

Despite belong to MWA, Sisters in Crime, and other writers organizations, serving as an instructor for Writers Digest for 10 years and being invited to be an instructor at the Maui Writers retreat, having 20 published books, doesn't make me a "legitimate" author.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Award and Another Good Review, Etc.

Judgment Fire received the Golden Quill Award for Mystery from the American Authors Association. Needless to say, I am thrilled.

In this morning's email I was tickled to find the following review:

Judgment Fire
Tempe Crabtree mystery series
By Marilyn Meredith
PUB: Mundania Press
ISBN: 978-1594264849

Can Tempe Crabtree’s heritage and forgotten past help her find who killed a battered wife?

Fighting the prejudices of hundreds of years against Native Americans and women in “men’s jobs”, Tempe works as a Sheriff’s Deputy in the Sierra Mountains. She tries to ease the misgivings of her minister husband and her firefighter teenaged son while she tries to balance work and family.

Marilyn Meredith takes us into the spiritual world of the American Indian while she weaves Tempe’s story of arson and murder to a surprising conclusion in a well written book that’s over before you would like.

Review by Wanda C. Keesey (author of Lost In The Mist, release date May 2008)

Last weekend, by request, I gave my 2 hour "How to Write a Mystery" seminar at the Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Festival. The first hour, I talk about the different kinds of mysteries and the elements that need to be in a successful mystery. The second hour, the audience brainstorms, and plans a mystery of their own. It's great fun!

While there, I also spent time with two of my grown grandkids and their families. That also was wonderful. It's a long drive to that area from our house, and we only do it once a year, so it's very special.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Family Reunion

We just returned from a family reunion held in Barstow. Yep, Barstow CA. As it turned out it was the ideal place, an in-between place for the relatives who live in Vegas, southern, central and coastal CA. We did have one grandson who drove all the way from Sacramento.

One of our granddaughters-- a busy one at that--planned it all. She's an amazing young woman with a husband, three kids of their own and two teens they've opened their home two. She helps her husband with their pool-cleaning business, and the youth at our church, and the Wednesday night Awana program, plus does all sorts of things for the school.

The hotel was wonderful. It was a Holiday Inn Express with a free breakfast everyday, cookies, fruit and coffee and tea the rest of the time. We all began to gather after lunch on Friday. When everyone had arrived, there were 42 in all. My sis and my cousin were the matriarchs. What a weird feeling! We had offspring, grandkids, great grands and even a wonderful golden retriever. Yes, that particular hotel accepts dogs.

Melissa (the grandddaughter in charge), planned a western theme. We all had T-shirts with the Wanted, the Mitchell Gang, printed on them. The room where we all gathered was decorated with wanted posters with our baby pictures and others of relatives long gone, wagon wheels and barged wire. We visited and visited, ate wonderful food, the kids swam and had a treasure hunt, there were games for the little kids (youngest 2), and a crazy card game called Estimation that one night had 17 players and 4 decks of cards. (This was a favorite of both my mom and dad.)

We answered questions about the wanted posters, (amazing how few were recognized), had karaoke for awhile, watched a DVD made from old movies and saw our mothers and fathers young and sis, cousin and I when we were kids and including some of our time at Delevan Drive grammar school, took photos and had an all around great time.

We decided we should do the same thing again next year and hopefully the rest of the clan will turn up then. Melissa's great hope was to be reunited with all of her cousins once again--and she certainly was with a lot of them.

Home once again, all I can do is think back over how much fun we all had. The event certainly surpassed everyone's expectations.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Romantic Time Reviews

Someone just sent me congratulations for a four star review in Romantic Times for Judgment Fire. I hadn't heard about it so did a Google search and sure enough, there it was, four stars for Judgment Fire. The review is in the magazine but won't be on the website for two months so have no idea what was said.

While there, I noticed Calling the Dead received three stars. What was most interesting to me was the reviewer said that the Indian legends in the book detracted from the story. H'mm. Other reviewers made comments about how much the liked the legends. Another proof how different everyone's opinions are. The reviewer did mention that she liked the way Tempe called back the dead in the story.

One sure way to get a review in Romantic Times is to pay for an ad for your book. Ads are very expensive, but I went in with some other mystery authors for a joint ad which made it more affordable. RT has a large readership. It will be interesting to see if having the ads and the reviews result in more sales.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Giving Talks to Libraries and Service Clubs

One of the facets of being an author is having to promote in order to sell your books, especially when your with a smaller press (and in the case of a mystery author, a press that isn't recognized by Mystery Writers of America).

Independent bookstores are usually willing to have booksignings by authors who aren't so well known--but those bookstores are an endangered species. I will be having a signing at one of my favorite independents, Russo's Book Store in the Marketplace, Ming Ave., Bakersfield, Saturday, November 10th from 1 to 5.

Book fairs are great fun. This weekend I'll be in Springville with a booth at the Apple Festival both days. This is a fun event but exhausting.

My favorite thing to do is giving talks to writers, libraries and service clubs. With writers clubs, I love to give workshops on many different subjects, from craft to getting published--and sometimes I do that at libraries too. Often with libraries and service groups I'll talk about my writing journey (which has been pretty bumpy at times), perserverance and never giving up on your dream, and all of the adventures I've been afforded by being a published author.

Anyone who knows someone out there in California who would like to have me come and give a talk and have my books available for purchase, I'm available. Just email me at .


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tough Week

Writing is something I love to do--especially spending time with Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her family. Lately there's been no time for Tempe.

Last week, I was busy everyday with a class for administrators of adult residential facilities. I'm in charge of the training programs for an organization for administrators of licensed facilities and we do this particular class twice a year. Because I have to get up at 5 and don't get home until nearly 6 each day, all I had time and energy for was the required paperwork, snail and email.

On the weekend, I did some catch-up work and watched Netflix. Hubby and I love movies and when we can't get to a theatre, Netflix is second best. Saturday night I slept oddly and pinched a nerve or something in my neck and was in horrible pain all day Sunday. Still taught Sunday School, had three boys, two of them are ADD or something similar, another boy who used to be a problem but has really shaped up, and two girls. Church followed, then we took some family members out to lunch. Only home for a short while when it was time to go to a council meeting at church. Once that was over, I came home and crawled into bed.

Monday when I woke I was okay but--I went to the doc's and got a flu shot and within an hour I had another excruciating pain on the otherside of my neck! After a good night's sleep, it disappeared.

Did grocery shopping, worked on some writing projects that bring in money and took care of some business.

Today, after another writing project, I made airplane reservations for two conferences coming up at the beginning of the year, and a hotel reservation for one--amazing how long that takes. This week I'm doing all the dinner cooking. Last night we had tacos, tonight ravioli. I love to cook, fortunately my daughter-in-law is quite willing to clean up afterwards.

In a few minutes I'm headed to my writing critique group--something I haven't done for awhile.

Tomorrow night, I'm giving a talk on point-of-view to a writer's group in another city.

Saturday and Sunday is the Apple Festival. I'll have a booth as I've done for the last three years.

Hopefully, the following week I'll be able to at least write another chapter and see what kind of trouble Tempe has gotten herself into.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Looking Back on My Trip

My visit in Alaska was a great adventure. Katina topped it off by taking me to the Anchorage Museum. From there we drove around a bit in search of a moose we never found, but I was able to see the wonderful Native Medical Center and the campus of Alaska University.

The two of us had a fabulous dinner of reindeer sausage, shrimp and steak, and I finally had to tell Katina goodbye when she dropped me off at a hotel near the airport. My plane left at 6 a.m. and I didn't want anyone having to get up so early to take me.

My flights home were tedious--Anchorage to Seattle, Seattle to Portland, Portland to Fresno, arriving home at 5 p.m. I was so happy to see hubby waiting for me. When we finally got back to Springville, I did nothing but go upstairs and jump in bed.

The next day I had all sorts of messages to return, emails to answer, and bills to pay. It's great to be home!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Here I am in Wasilla AK

Bouchercon was absolutely wonderful! I met the most interesting people and visited with old friends. After my panel about Ethnic Detectives which I was on with Victoria Heckman, also my roommate, I did an Author Special with one person who was a good friend from the midwest, Boobye Johnson. Great catching up with her.

Most of the other panels I attended were on Forensics of one sort or another. My favorite was a Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard who was a real "Guardian" rescue swimmer out of Fairbanks, AK.

For some unknown reason, the person who was supposed to arrange my visit to the schools didn't do it. She also wanted me to drive a rental car which I didn't want to do. One day on the sidewalk, I met a woman who was attending the con. I told her my dilemma and she offered not only to drive me to the home where I was staying in Wasila, but also to the schools if I ever had one to go to. What a God send!

After the closing ceremonies, Pat, my new friend drove me to my hostess's home in Wasila. Katina Steward graciously opened her home to me. I met her and her sister Amber when I was in AK for Left Coast Crime several years ago.

The first night, she had her mom, dad, sister, sister's two boys, and a cousin come over for dinner that first night to meet me. What a grand time we had. Mom is a Native (Eskimo). Though Eskimo is not polictically correct, the Natives seem to call themselves that. Dad is part Cherokee. Mom told me some wonderful stories about growing up in Alaska, a very tough life. Dad owns a pawn shop and some other businesses and Katina has a tool store. Her husband is off working at one of the oil places way far away.

The next day I didn't have a school to go to so Pat took me to the senior center for lunch and then we went to the Iditarod Headquarters and a reindeer farm. (Reindeer are domesticated caribou--and the ones with antlers at Christmas time are pregnant females.)

That evening Katina and I went out to dinner at a Thai Restaurant. Wasilla has everything most cities in the lower 48 have. We've had a great time visiting.

Finally, I got to go to a school. Pat picked up at 6:30 a.m and drove me to Wasila Middle School (6-8th grades). School starts at 7 a.m. All day long I talked about writing to classes from each grade. It was fun but exhausting. Pat picked me up and drove me back to Katina's and we said goodbye.

Again Katina's family came for dinner and we had a great time chatting. Today, I repacked and am just waiting for Katina to get off work. She'll take me to Anchorage tonight to a hotel with a shuttle to the airport as I have a 6 a.m. flight. I've had a great time but I'm definitely ready to go home.

It's about 40 degrees here. Beautiful, the trees have turned color, gold and orange and the snow is covering the huge mountains that surround this valley. Have only seen a snow bunny in the way of animals, lots of beautiful birds, and Katina's sheep dog.

Next post will be after I sort of catch up on my work at home.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Off to Alaska

After trying to figure out what to pack for Alaska, I'm finally ready to go. We were told to bring layers--so that's what I've packed. I'll be there for 8 days, so I packed things I could wear a second time. Because I'm taking books too, my big suitcase is heavy. Since I'm going alone, I'm the one who will have to haul them around. Hubby doesn't like Alaska. He was there once during his Navy career.

Hubby and I are driving to Fresno where we'll stay in a hotel close to the airport overnight. Otherwise we'd have to get up soon after we went to bed in order to get there in time. The plane leaves at 6 a.m. It leaves at 6 a.m. when I'm coming home too--no telling how I'll get to the airport on time then. I guess I'd better not cross that bridge until I come to it.

My travel home is taking much longer than getting there. Not exactly sure why.

There is an hour time difference between Alaska and California but I don't know which way.

I'll soon know the answers to all these questions--won't I?

When I return, I'll give a report on what went on.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Despite the Error a Wonderful Review

Last time I wrote about the error a reviewer found--this is a review from another person and it's so wonderful, I have to share:

Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

"Mystery, murder, and mayhem--you'll find it all in Marilyn Meredith's latest installment in the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Judgment Fire.

"Deputy Tempe Crabtree continues to watch over the residents of Bear Creek and expand her knowledge of her Yanduchi Indian heritage. The warning of a shaman leaves Tempe with more questions than answers. Used to the dangerous situations her job constantly puts her in, Tempe pushes aside Dorothea's warning. But when a battered wife is murdered, and Tempe begins to receive threatening phone messages as she tries to uncover the killer, Tempe is drawn once again to the shaman and her Yanduchi heritage to try and make sense of the flashes of her past which keep appearing in her mind.

"Tempe feverishly works to eliminate suspects, but the list of possible killers continues to grow; the newly uncovered facts and unrest amongst Jackie's neighbors--some who may have wanted her or her husband dead--force Tempe to consider every possible suspect. And as the threatening phone calls increase, Tempe's family is scared for her safety.

"And when it's all over, Tempe discovers how much the past can influence the present.

"With Judgment Fire, Marilyn Meredith pulled me into the story in such a way that I must own the rest of the books in this fascinating series. I wasn't just reading the story; I was part of it. I drove in Tempe's Blazer as she traveled along the road and spotted Dorothea in her vehicle off to the side; I was inside Dorothea's burning van, gripping the steering wheel; I was part of Tempe's and Dorothea's conversations. What a powerful talent it takes to make a reader so much a part of what is happening in a work of fiction. As suspects were added to the list, then eliminated, and then added back to the list, each twist and turn left me eager for more.

Meredith added just enough backstory to allow me to get to know Tempe, without adding so much that faithful readers of the Tempe Crabtree mystery series would be flipping through pages to get back to the present day's action. Gripping, suspense-filled, and character driven, Judgment Fire by Marilyn Meredith should be on every mystery reader's wish list."

If only all reviews were so terrific!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Finding a Mistake in Newly Published Book

Nothing like having a reviewer burst your euphoria about having a new book out by letting you know about an error on one of the pages. Actually I appreciated her doing that.

Ironically, I got the message on my Blackberry while I was in Tampa at the WOW conference. My editor was there too and I told him. What he's decided to do is correct the error and issue a second edition. By the way, the conference was terrific.

I have copies of the "first edition" of Judgment Fire with the mistake and I am offering them to anyone who would like a copy for the $10 price and $2.50 for shipping along with a copy of the first book in the series, Deadly Omen, both autographed of course. Who knows, it may become a collector's copy. Anyway, if your interested, email me at and tell me you'd like to order the book and I'll send you my address.

Next week I'm leaving for Anchorage to attend Bouchercon. I'm staying over a few days to participate in the Authors to the Bush program. I'm not sure where I'm going, but I'll certainly have plenty to write about when I get back.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Does Anyone Ever Read These Blogs?

I do these blogs, not as faithfully as I should, but sometimes wonder if I'm wasting my time.

I am on Chapter 5 of my as yet untitled next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I've been doing a pretty good job of sticking to it, but Thursday I leave for Tampa FL and the WOW conference and will be gone until Monday and no writing will get done there. I know some people take their laptops on trips and continue to write, but I have enough stuff to lug and find when I'm busy at a conference or convention, when I get back to my room I'm ready to rest--or go to sleep.

This month is far too full. I've already been to a Sisters in Crime meeting in Fresno, and to San Luis Obispo to a Book Festival--great fun. I'll be home for one weekend, then I'm heading off to Alaska and Bouchercon. Will report when I get back.

October won't be much better. I have a class to teach one whole week--then an online class on mystery writing. I'm giving a talk on POV to a local writers' group. Then a two day festival here in town. And we have a family reunion planned in Barstow, of all places, but it's kind of halfway for all family members.

Now back to Tempe's world.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Starting a New Book

Yep, that's what I'm doing, beginning another Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I have the plot idea--not all of it, of course, but pretty much know where I'm going. It's the getting there that's going to be difficult.

For one thing, I'm still putting a lot of effort into promoting Judgment Fire. I'm going to a Sisters in Crime meeting Saturday with books, another book festival the following weekend. Then I'm off to Tampa FL for the WOW conference. I no sooner get home, then I have to pack a whole different bunch of clothes because I'll be a week in Alaska at Bouchercon.

Do you think I'll be able to squeeze in much writing? Nope, neither do I.

Other things crop up too--like writing jobs that pay money. When they come along I have to take them because they pay for the expenses of the trips.

And really, I do have a life. I cook meals for my family which I like to do, most of the time--unless I'm really under pressure. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law trades off with me on the cooking chores. Yesterday wasn't so great because I went to the beauty shop for a haircut and when I got home discovered my wallet was gone. I wrote a check for the haircut so guessed I left the wallet there. By the time I realized this the shop was closed. So I had a night of unrest as I thought about all the things I would have to do if my wallet wasn't where I thought.

Things like, you can't get on an airplane without picture ID. How long would it take to get a new driver's license with picture? Of course I tried not to think these things because after all, I didn't know whether or not I'd really lost the wallet.

First thing this morning, the owner of the shop called to let me know the wallet was indeed in the shop. I retrieved it gratefully, and everything was there that was supposed to be. Praise God!

Because I didn't get enough sleep last night, it was difficult to do all the things I needed to do.

Tonight I go to my critique group and read the first little bit of my book and see what my fellow authors have to say.

And now, to the kitchen to finish making dinner.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Interesting Week

I suppose the most challenging event to arise is Mystery Writers of American's decision to approve and disapprove publishers based on the number of books printed on a print run, advance, author not spending anything to be published. Because a lot of publishers are now using print-on-demand technology to print books (including some New York publishers) they wait to print books when orders come in. This is ecologically sound, but something MWA doesn't approve of. MWA certainly can make up whatever rules they so desire--but as a member of MWA I sure didn't have any input into these new rules.

My publisher is not approved, though Mundania has been trying hard to convince MWA they should be approved. They don't charge authors anything--they don't give an advance, but they do have a sound royalty system.

I'm a MWA member and have been for years and that won't change as long as I pay my dues.

The problem is now some of the mystery cons have decided that only those authors who are with approved publishers can be on panels. Mystery cons are fun, but if you aren't going to be on a panel you sure aren't going to sell any books. If you aren't going to sell books, the IRS is going to frown on you using the cost of the con and all that goes with it as a business expense.

Not all the cons have adopted this policy as yet. Those that I know about who have are Left Coast Crime and Mayhem in the Midlands. Some of the cons do have loopholes. If you find yourself in this dilemma, ask. One author I know was told she could get her money back from the con since she wouldn't be on a panel. Another was told that as a member of MWA she would get a panel.

This has been debated alot. Whether anything will change, I have no idea.

Saturday, Sunny Frazier and I had a booksigning in Hanford at the Artworks, a funky coffee and sandwich shop. We didn't have a huge amount of visitors, but those we had were wonderful. Among them was the librarina from Hanford who asked me to come and give a presentation next spring. Two of the West Hills College Faculty came and asked both of us to come to the college and give presentations to the students. Of course we said "yes."

I've done a lot of online promotion which take oodles of time. I need to be working on my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery which is only in the planning stages at this point. This weekend I'm headed to another book festival, this one at the Universalist Uniterarian church on Ralston in Ventura. I'll also be celebrating a birthday while I'm down there.

Doing blogs is another means of using up precions time, but I feel like I need to keep up with this one as much as possible.

Hope it's cooling off where you live,


Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Visit with Karina Fabian, Author of Infinite Space, Infinite God

I was honored to spend a little time with Karina to talk about her latest book and a little bit about her and her writing habits. Here is what she had to say.

Marilyn: Tell me all about your book and how you came to write it.

Karina: Infinite Space, Infinite God is thought-provoking sci-fi with a Catholic twist.
The 15 stories cover the gamut of future science, from genetic engineering to asteroid mining to interstellar travel. They span the topics of sci-fi: time travel, space opera, dystopia, psychological thrillers and sci-fi mystery. Finally, they examine the Catholic world view in the challenges of the future, from evangelizing to aliens to determining the soul-status of artificially created humanoids, to religious orders and even saintly miracles.
It won the EPPIE award for best electronically published science fiction of 2006 and is coming out in print August 15 from Twilight Times Books.

My husband, Rob, and I are long-time science fiction fans and faithful Catholics, so we'd always been a little miffed about the lack of faith of any kind inmost science fiction--or the misuse of science and pontificating of the early Christian fiction books. (The genre's come a long way since then.) So we decided to start our own stories, in a near future universe where humankind has colonized the solar system and there are priests and nuns in space.

The Sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue perform space search and rescue and are well regarded. We also came up with a spacer's Code of Conduct, which dictates a lot of interpersonal stuff including how and when to discuss religion and politics. It's a rich universe to play in.
In searching for homes for these stories, I got the opportunity to edit an anthology and dragged Rob into it with me. We edited Leaps of Faith, which was an EPPIE finalist and is in search of a print home, and later, Infinite Space, Infinite God.

Marilyn: What is you writing schedule like?

Karina: Erratic. I tend to flow in stages depending on inspiration, time and deadlines. When I get a deadline (whether self-imposed or externally set), I can get pretty obsessive and will write every chance I get from the time I wake up until late at night. Other times, I don't write much, except what I must. (I have two regular publications: "Montana Catholic" and "Hereditas".)
Regardless of what I'm writing, I try to write at least a sentence or two on whatever fiction project I'm involved in. Every day, I do my e-mail, web groups and some marketing. When Rob and I did the anthology, we put out the calls, and I did the first read on the stories. (Rob was working at the Pentagon, which means a long commute as well.) If I liked them well enough, I passed them on to Rob.

Some I wasn't sure about, I'd flag with my concerns. Then we'd discuss them. I handled rejections and acceptances, which was quite a learning experience. I can see why many editors prefer form letters!Once we had enough keepers, we went over them carefully. Some needed editing and re-writes, which I mostly handled, with Rob chiming in as needed.
Then we took the finished stories out to dinner--literally. Over a long candlelight dinner at Olive garden, we hashed out the order and roughed out the introductions, which I then wrote. Rob and I both proofed it, and we started the long hunt for a publisher.

Marilyn: What would you like to see happen with your book?

Karina: We want to see it in regular bookstores, Catholic stores and catalogues. We want sci fi readers of all faiths to pick it up because it's unique. We want university professors to use it in their class, and relatives to buy it as a unique Confirmation gift. Most of all, however, we want people to enjoy the book. If it makes folks think, we're thrilled. If it touches their soul in some way, we're ecstatic.

Marilyn: What are your future writing plans?

Karina: (Laughter) How much space do I have?

We're working on an ISIG II, so writers need to check in in January for submission calls (

I just finished a fantasy comedy mystery involving a cynical dragon private detective, Vern. Vern and his partner, Sister Grace, a Mage in the Faerie Catholic Church are "volunteered" to chaperone the magical folk at a Mensa convention. But when a Valkyrie start vamping, pixies startpranking, and elves high on soda try to declare war on Florida, it turns out to be more work than they've never gotten paid for. I've several stories about Vern, and several more that are clamoring to be written, including at east one novel. You can read more about him at

Rob and I are working on our first Rescue Sisters novel, in which three nuns from the OLR are sent to oversee the safety of the exploration of mankind's first-discovered alien starship. I started Discovery during National Novel Writers' Month and will probably end up finishing it then.

Marilyn: Thank you so much. I’ve read a lot of mysteries with Catholic protagonists but never a sci-fi with anything Catholic–and when there’s been religion it’s usually been invented. Using Catholicism in science fiction is a "novel" (excuse the pun) idea.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Judgment Fire/My Own Virtual Book Tour

Judgment Fire is now available. If you go to my website: http://fictionforyou and purchase through the Buy Now button you'll receive a 10% discount from the publisher.

I've been hosting authors on my blog and I'm also on a Virtual Book Tour. Here's where I'll be in the next few days:

August 14, 2007Boomer Chick

August 16, 2007Plug Your Book!

August 20, 2007 The Story Behind the Books

August 21, 2007 Virtual Book Tour de Net (featured author)

August 22, 2007 Virtual Book Tour de Net (interview)

August 23, 2007 Straight from the Author's

August 27, 2007

August 28, 2007 Author

August 29, 2007 The Book Connection

August 30, 2007 Leicester Review of Books

August 31, 2007 Published Secrets of Authors


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Making of Silenced Cry

Marilyn is asking author Marta Stephens about her newest book.

Tell me about your latest book.

Silenced Cry is the story of a young narcotics detective, Sam Harper. He and his partner, Gillies, are on surveillance of a drug supplier who had eluded capture. It quickly becomes evident that Gillies is intentionally muddying up the facts. Key points don’t add up and makes Harper believe Gillies is involved in illegal activities. His partner is shot and killed during the surveillance. When questions surrounding his partner’s death go unanswered, Harper suspects a cover up.

Harper is transferred into homicide and given a new partner, Dave Mann. Their first case takes them to the Harbor View Apartments, a building marked for demolition, where workers discover the skeletal remains of an infant entombed in one of the walls. The investigation into the infant’s murder opens the floodgates of questions when the suspects in the Baby Doe case all tie back to Gillies. Evidence mounds as quickly as the bodies in the morgue and the truth leads Harper to the person he least suspects.

Silenced Cry is a layered, multi-plot story about the events, disappointments, and successes that transform the character, Sam Harper, into the man who emerges in the final pages of Silenced Cry.

Where can we buy it?

Silenced Cry, ISBN: 978-1-905202-72-0, is a 248 page paperback available on several online bookstores including all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, ABEBooks, and Powells to name a few. It is being distributed by booksellers both here in the States and in Europe so most independent bookstore owners have access to the book and can make it available to their customers. My publisher, BeWrite Books (UK) makes both the paperback and the e-book version of Silenced Cry available on their website, For additional locations, please visit my website,

What gave you the idea to write Silenced Cry?

Silenced Cry was actually the third book I wrote in the series. I wanted the set to include at least four stand-alone stories. But once the first two books were drafted and I was ready to draft out the third, I decided that instead of moving forward in time, I needed to show the beginning and therefore, needed to delve deeper into Harper’s makeup, his drive. I quickly learned that there was a great deal more to the Sam Harper character than catching criminals. It was important that he become personally affected by the crimes and once I understood Harper’s motivations and the depths of his emotions, I set out to create criminals who were so vial and their crimes so vicious that it would push Harper to the brink of potentially crossing the legal line.

In short, Silenced Cry, is a story about Homicide Detective Sam Harper. He isn’t a flawless hero. He doesn't always get things right, the evidence doesn't always fall neatly into place, and doors don't always open to reveal the answer. His short-comings are what makes him human. Even though there are a multitude of crimes, criminals, interrogation scenes and visits to the city morgue in Silenced Cry, at its core, this is a story about the events, disappointments, and successes that transform Sam Harper into the man who emerges in the final pages of Silenced Cry.

How much of yourself or your experiences are in the book?

I’ve never dealt in drugs, never killed anyone, I was never arrested or raped, and I’ve never worked in law enforcement. Still, I can’t imagine a writer not bleeding a little bit into their books with what I’d call human experiences; grief, anger, joy, fear, resentment, worry, suspicion—everyone can relate to those feelings. I dug deep into my own emotions in order to understand how and why these characters acted and reacted the way they did. At times, it took some doing to step into the antagonists’ skin and to look at the world from their perspective. There’s something to be said about the writer’s belief system too and how it affects the plot and the characters’ behaviors. As much as I tried to step back away from my own viewpoint, I think a part of me snuck in between the lines.

What would you like to see happen with Silenced Cry?

Sam Harper is the new detective on the beat; Silenced Cry is his calling card.

The book introduces Harper and a host of characters to mystery lovers around the world. It’s a layered story with multiple subplots that pulls the reader from one twist and turn into another. While reviewers have repeatedly dubbed Silenced Cry a pager turner (visit for a complete list of reviews), one reader wrote, “Silenced Cry held my interest from the first gunshot, past the first, second, and third plot twist into the clubhouse turn and on to an ending I hadn’t anticipated.”

My first goal was to create a character readers could connect with and love. The second was to develop a story line that would draw and hold the reader through a battery of crimes and a maze of clues. As a first-time author, the challenge has been to create an awareness. We geared the promotional campaign to draw interest to the book. However, sales aside, I’ve found that in spite of all our marketing efforts, word of mouth is still the best sure-fire way to sell books. People pay attention to testimonials from those they trust. Nothing thrills me more than to hear that a reader has passed the book on to friends and family members and they in turn have passed it on to others as a must read.

Nearly all who have read Silenced Cry have asked about the next book in the series. This tells me that Silenced Cry is doing exactly what I hoped it would do; it has grabbed the mystery lover’s attention (and even a few non-mystery fans) and started a following for the series. To those who have read Silenced Cry, thank you! I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Sam Harper will be around for a long time. In fact, he’s already working on his next case.

What are your writing habits?

Time is precious. I squeeze it out of my evenings after work and on weekends to write. Still, I average three to four hours of writing every day—quite a bit more on weekends.

The first thing I do when I begin a project is to briefly outline the storyline. My outline, however, is never written in stone. It is extremely flexible and only used as a guideline that changes as the story develops. When I began to write Silenced Cry, it was a linear plot line; one case, one murderer, one solution. But then I started to wonder what could possibly happen next? That’s when a whole string of possibilities emerged.

I find it helpful to write bios and back-stories for each of the main characters. Real people don’t live in a vacuum. They have deep-rooted reasons for their behaviors, and have trigger points that have made them behave as they do. Back-stories tell me some amazing things that help me to create three-dimensional characters.

Once I understand where the story is going, I do extensive research on police procedures (including consultations with professionals in the field), forensics and anything else I need to understand. Research, however, is on-going.

After I’ve briefly outlined the plot line, have written character bios and back-stories, and researched my subject, I clear my desk and start typing. Some chapters come very quickly for me, but writing is a process that doesn’t always follow a logical path. I’ve written chapters and chapter sections out of sequence only because they came to me at the most unexpected moments and I had to put my thoughts to writing.

An important lesson I’ve learned is to not to fall in love with my writing. I’ve cut entire chapters from my manuscripts more than once. Some I’ve really liked. One in particular was a provocative and fast-paced chapter. It had great dialogue and tense action, but no matter how much I wanted it to add to the plot, I couldn’t justify it. It’s in a special file in my hard drive waiting for the day when it will be resurrected. I never know if and when I might be able to use deleted sections again so I keep a good majority of them. The second book in the series is a perfect example of how important it is to sacrifice words for the sake of the plot. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the book a couple of years ago. When it was time to revisit it, I didn’t have to read past the first chapter or two to know I had to start over. After cutting out around 45,000 words, the only thing that remains of the original story is its essence, but this is a story that Sam Harper fans will enjoy.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of the edits on my second book in the series. The reader will find a few familiar characters in it. When bodies start washing ashore no one, including Harper, suspects their murderer or his motives.
He is up against a cunning killer whose purpose and tactics would have escaped detection had it not been for a personality flaw—over confidence. This is a classic murder mystery with an added splash of the supernatural, a power-hungry drug dealer, a religious fanatic, and a hint of romance just to make things interesting.

Thank you so much, Marta, for answering my questions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Virtual Book Tour

I'll be hosting more authors on their virtual book tours this month. While I'm doing that I'll also be on my own tour. Here's the schedule:

August 1, 2007 The Writer’s Life

August 6, 2007 Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion

August 7, 2007 As the Page Turns

August 9, 2007 Be My Guest!

August 10, 2007 W.O.W.-Women on Writing

August 14, 2007 Boomer Chick

August 16, 2007 Plug Your Book!

August 20, 2007 The Story Behind the Books

August 21, 2007 Virtual Book Tour de Net (featured author)

August 22, 2007 Virtual Book Tour de Net (interview)

August 23, 2007 Straight from the Author’s Mouth

August 27, 2007 Storycrafters

August 28, 2007 Author Talks

August 29, 2007 The Book Connection

August 30, 2007 Leicester Review of Books

August 31, 2007 Published Secrets of Authors

It's going to be fun!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Christine Norris' Visit to My Blog

Hi, how’s it going? I know, right now you’re asking yourself if you’ve clicked the right link, or if you perhaps mis-typed the blog url. Nope, this is Marilyn Meredith’s blog, but I’m not Marilyn. My name is Christine Norris, and I’m a YA fantasy author. Marilyn has been kind enough to allow me to mooch her blog for today and pimp my new book to all of you.

When she agreed to this, I asked what I should write about. She said, ‘why don’t you write about the inspiration for the book?’

‘Good idea!’ said I. ‘Sounds like a plan.’

Wait, I guess I should tell you the title of the book first, huh. Return to Zandria. So, you’ve probably guessed there is another book, since this one is about Returning. You’d be right. The first one is called Talisman of Zandria. That’s really where I should start, because the two are interconnected, inspiration-wise.

The first book came about really as a bit of a lark. I had finished reading the first three or four Harry Potter books. I came late to the game on that front. I fell in love with the stories, like most other people, but read about how JK Rowling was a welfare mom, writing about Harry in a cafĂ©. I decided if she could do it, so could I. I could try at least, right? I only wanted to get to the end and see if it was good enough. That’s all.

Okay, so now you know about that. But what inspired the world of Zandria, and Ivy, the shy heroine (who is not so shy in the sequel!), and all the rest of it. You’ll probably be able to tell if you read the books that there is a lot of fairy tale romanticism in them. Pseudo-medieval setting, much like Narnia or Middle Earth. Elves, fairies, a twinkly-eyed old wizard and his apprentice. Years of reading C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien and JM Barrie (Peter Pan still being one of my favorite stories ever) were my guide, as well as a deep love of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm. I have prized hardcover editions of their complete works, and re-read them often.

I also have a bit of a thing for the real Medieval and Renaissance periods. Just ask my husband, who dutifully dons a ‘silly costume’ and trudges around the Ren Faire with me every fall. (Don’t let him fool you, he likes it!). Again, it’s more of a fascination with the trappings of the period, not so much the history, although I’ve kind of got a thing for William Shakespeare. Why else would I take a college course on his writings, not because I had to, but for fun.

Return to Zandria’s story was a little more difficult to write than Talisman’s. It took me a long time to come up with a reason for Ivy to go back. In fact the whole first chapter didn’t really fall into place until I was almost finished with the book. Then it became so clear I wondered why I didn’t see it earlier. I suppose I was focused on the latter half of the story (which is really good, by the way. Even during the final proofing, when I’m usually sick to death of a book, I still loved it.)

Once that last puzzle piece was in place, I saw the picture. There are themes, although I didn’t really plan them that way. If the theme of the first book is ‘believing in yourself’, then the theme of this one is ‘family’. It’s buried in there, underneath all the Dragons and adventure and wizards and fairies.
I guess what really inspires me is the desire to see the characters change and grow, and taking them on the journey is its own magic.

Much thanks to Marilyn for letting me suck up some of her space, and to you for listening to my rambling.

Make every day magical!


Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults. She spends her time divided between her writing, substitute teaching, and caring for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, a large dog whose greatest achievement is sleeping in one position for an entire day, and a small feline who is very adept in his position as Guardian of the Bathtub. She also works at English Adaptations of novels translated from other languages.

She is also available for school visits and to give talks to other writers, book clubs, and anyone who will sit still long enough to listen to her.

To learn more about Christine Norris, please visit Send an email to Christine at or through her MySpace page, at

Ordering information - from LBF Books ( or from Amazon ( )

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gearing Up for A New Book Promotion

The galleys arrived for Judgment Fire. I made the corrections and sent the pages back the fastest way possible. I'm on a panel about publishing at the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime on August 4th in Fresno--it'll be a miracle if I have books for that. I have been promised books by August 11th when my book launch is scheduled at the Springville Visitor's Center (my hometown). I'm publicizing it, so all I can do is pray.

Speaking of praying, since Monday I've been one of the helpers at Vacation Bible School at our church. I've been herding around 6 12 year-olds, 3 boys --2 act like they are about 6, and 3 girls, one who acts or thinks she's does anyway, 18. We have lots of older teen helpers and the girls flirt with the males outrageously. My job is making sure they all behave as we go from Missions, Music, Recreation (wild and involves getting wet), Bible Study and Crafts. I'm not sure this is such a wonderful job for a 73 year old great-grandma as I expect kids to be respectful and act reasonable. But I'll tough it out through Friday. Of course the temperature is soaring to three digit numbers.

Last weekend we went to Ventura again for the West Coast Author's Book Festival. It was right on the beach, though we were inside. Nice people and was thrilled to be visited by two friends from the Public Safety Writers Group. We also celebrated one of my grandson's 26th birthday with a wonderful dinner prepared by his mom and step-dad and we played a goofy game. Apples to Apples. Needs very little brain power and it's lots of fun.

Throughout August, I'm going on a virtual book tour visiting other people's blogs. I'm also hosting some other authors on this blog. These are the first few places I'll be and on those days.

August 1 – The Writer’s Life
August 2 – Plug Your Book
August 3 – The Story Behind the Books
August 6 – Pump Up Your Book Promotion
August 7 – As the Page Turns

Sounds like fun. Hope you'll visit some of them.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Animals in Life and Books

We've always had animals. We raised three kids and lots of animals: cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, snakes, guinea pigs, and that was when we lived in the city. We have plenty of animals in our life these days. Three inside cats, Sundance (looks Siamese), Butch (gray and white tuxedo), and Shirley, multi-colored and mother of the boys. Outside are a bunch of feral cats, where they come from we don't have a clue. Hubby feeds them along with a gangling mixed breed dog named Beau who loves the cats.

In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I have yet to include an animal. Why, I don't know. Perhaps it's because I haven't taken much from my own life experiences for these books. It's a different story in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. The idea for that series came directly from my friendships and acquaintances with the police officers who lived in our neighborhood though not at the time we were living there. When my daughter married a police officer, his story telling added to what was becoming more than an idea. He came to the house every morning after his shift, had coffee and told me what had transpired while he was working. One night he took me on a ride-along after making me promise I would not let anyone know I was his mother-in-law.

When I began writing the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, beginning with Final Respects, I borrowed liberally from my life experiences. In that series I wanted to show how the police officer's family life affected his job and vice versa. Also in that book, there is a family who runs a mortuary and their children use it as a playground--and important factor in the story. My youngest daughter had spent a lot of time with a girlfriend whose family ran a mortuary and the children always played hide 'n seek among the caskets. In that book there is a pit bull. My youngest son had several pitbulls, and we had a wonderful one for awhile.

We've had other Siamese cats and I put an incident with a Siamese cat that actually happened in the second book in that series, Bad Tidings. It isn't an important scene except to show more sides of one of the characters.

So, now I'm wondering if I should incoporate a cat or a dog in my next Tempe book. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Promotion Etc.

Life would be so much easier if all an author had to do was write books. Instead, a great deal of time is spent on promotion. If you don't do promotion, it's possible no one would hear about your books or have the opportunity to read them. No longer is it the publishers' responsibility to make sure the word gets out about your book.

Oh, sure, if your a big name author, money will be spent on promotion for his or her latest book, but it doesn't happen for the midlist author, or the author problished by a small press. Because I have a new book coming out, I'm spending a lot of my free time thinking up ways to promote.

My contest is one--see detail below. Actually, I've received some very good entries and it will be hard choosing which is the best. Might even have to give a second prize. We'll see. If you haven't entered yet, please do. It's free--and you might win copies of the earliest books in my series.

I hope all of you are managing to stay out of the heat. It's been 100 plus here for the last two weeks--not unusual for July.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Contest--Win Books

Here's a contest that will make you put on your thinking cap and use your imagination:

Submit an idea for a murder victim or villain to be used in my next mystery novel. It will be the one I start this summer.

Prizes: The first five books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. The first one is trade paperback,the other four are mass market paperback. They are all mysteries.

About the book series: Tempe Crabtree is a Native American female deputy in a small mountaincommunity in the Southern Sierra of California called Bear Creek. In eachbook, she learns more and more about her heritage. She’s married to a Christian minister who isn’t thrilled when she uses Indian spiritualismto help solve crimes. An Indian reservation is nearby–the closest small townabout 20 miles away.

Please submit entries to editor@clarylopez.comThe winner will be selected by the author (me) and announced on the Book Den site on August 1, 2007

I'll be looking forward to some innovative ideas.


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Marilyn: I understand that you've recently had a craft of writing workbook published.

Nadene: Yes, The Sense-bile Writer was released for publication the first of June 2007 by ePress-online Inc.

Marilyn: How long did it take you to write The Sense-ible Writer?

Nadene: I’ve edited other writers’ work since 1999. When I found an error in a manuscript, I made note of it to the author, along with what the author needed to do to correct that error. I also moved that entry to a folder I created especially for problems. As my editing work progressed, whenever I found an error, I checked that "problem folder" first. If I had already created verbiage about that error, I copied, pasted, and personalized it for this particular author.

Soon, it became time-consuming to locate an entry, so I created subfolders and organized the topics within the subfolders. In 2005 I recognized that the information I had saved in those subfolders might be worked into a Craft of Writing book. I worked on it occasionally when I had downtime from my other work. Then during the 2006 Christmas holidays, I had a good chunk of time to work on the book and realized that, with a bit of polishing, I could have the rough draft of the book completed quite soon. I made the work a priority, finished the rough draft, worked through three rewrites, and handed it off to my editor. I’m thrilled with the end result.

Marilyn :What is different about this writing-craft book?

Nadene: Several things. First, I walk with the student, step-by-step, from idea conception through to the revision of his manuscript. The second may be the most important, and was incorporated as a request from my editor-in-chief at ePress. I address the three modes of learning--visual, auditory, and tactile--and provide writing examples and exercises to make this material useful to a broad range of individuals.

Marilyn: Would you explain a bit about the learning modes?

Nadene: Sure. The person whose major mode is visual learns through his eyes: reading from the printed page, studying charts and graphs, looking at pictures, or watching a video.

The person whose major mode is Auditory learns primarily through hearing. He focuses his greatest attention on the spoken word, he hears and pays attention to the sounds around him. Some may want music playing in the background.

The person whose major mode is Tactile perceives his world through the sense of touch. He runs a hand across a surface to experience the roughness or smoothness, explores an object by holding it in his hand, reads by following a line of text or the path of a graph or a chart with his finger.

Many individuals use more than one learning style. One mode is usually dominant, with others in secondary or helping positions. For example, the Visual Learner may also use the tactile as a helper. It could manifest itself like this: A person is reading material that he needs to remember (use of the visual mode). He might take notes, or maybe underline or highlight important information in the text (use of the tactile mode as backup) to reinforce his learning.

The Auditory Learner might also use the tactile in the same way as the visual learner. During a lecture (use of auditory mode), instead of relying completely on learning the information through his ears, he may take notes (use of tactile mode) to reinforce what he has heard.

The Tactile Learner will need his hands to be doing something during a lecture. To reinforce the information, he may take notes or outline the information, but he may never need to look at his notes again, because the very act of doing something with his hands during the learning process makes it easier for this person to assimilate the information. The tactile learner will also likely find it helpful to have something in his hands while reading from the printed page--something as simple as a holding a pencil or playing with a paperclip can help.

Marilyn: This sounds like excellent material for the beginner and intermediate writer. Do you plan to teach classes?

Nadene: Yes. I have a website: where I will be teaching classes. I will also contact the community centers in the nearby cities and towns to see if there is enough interest to maybe teach group classes next fall and winter.

Marilyn: Thanks for the information about your new book and your classes. It sounds like information any writer could use. Good luck with your book and your teaching.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Interview with Kim Robinson

Kim Robinson is stopping by my blog on her virtual book tour. I almost participated in a booksigning with her in Los Angeles, but couldn’t find the restaurant where it was being held. On the Internet, I’ve known Kim for a long while.

Here’s the questions I asked Kim.

Marilyn: First, I feel like I already know you though we never actually connected.

Kim: We have connected you were one of the first ebook authors who participated in my virtual cookbooks, Sweet Satisfaction and Food for the Soul. Someday I hope to actually meet you. I know we will one day, and I am looking forward to it.

Marilyn: Your book, Roux in the Gumbo, is so rich with history and color of the time and place--and I know you wrote it with love. Did you have special feelings while writing it? Like were you were in touch with those you were writing about?

Kim: My Grandmother mostly but I do feel that people came to me in my dreams and showed me their lives. I feel like I am helping people know how hard it was back in the day. I don’t what I would have done if I had to find my own food in my back yard everyday, thank god for grocery stores.

Marilyn: What was your inspiration for writing this book? When did the idea first come to you?
Kim: One day we were watching Oprah talk about her life and upcoming book, Grandmother said "Shoot, I had more stuff happen to me than she did, someone should write my book. Shoot you should write one too." She started telling one them old stories, you know the kind you have heard a few times growing up and since the computer was set up right next to the pull-out couch in the den where I spent my days "I said, ‘ Let's do it. I bet everybody in the family would like to read it.’"

When she went back home I bought her a tape recorder so that when she thought of something she could tape it and send it to me. Every few months I sent her tickets and she would come and stay for a while and we worked on the book. I also went to Lafayette, Louisiana where my Great- grandmother’s name still rings like a church house bell.

My grandmother suffered a stroke during spinal cancer surgery and went into a coma. I printed out what I had and went to California, I would sit by her bed reading and the family asked me what I was reading. And when I told them, they said they wanted to read it, my mother made some copies and gave them out. One day while I was reading to my grandmother she said my name, though still in a coma.

She died the next day. Everyone said that I had to finish the book and share it with the world. When I went back home my family members would call and give me their memories and send tapes that I added to the book. My grandmother's sister, Genevieve, and I would talk over the phone. I sent her a ticket to come but, sadly, she got sick and died before she could come, but I did get everything she wanted in.

My mother came and started reading and giving me her memories and there you have it. The title is because everyone who has someone who influenced their lives just as the Roux (Roo) base or gravy in Gumbo influences every spoonful. The book details my families life from the 1800's to 1997.

Marilyn: What is the most exciting thing that's happened since the book was published?

Kim: Every booksigning, every review, every person that writes to tell me that they enjoyed the book

Marilyn: What are your future writing plans?

Kim: Next is my life story, raped by a preacher at the age of five, I had no relationship with God. I became a drug dealer and addict. Now I speak in churches helping others know they too can change. After that, is my G-mama series – this sixty eight year old believes it takes a village to raise a child, she sits on her porch with her gin and juice and as crimes cross her porch she makes the perpetrators an offer they can’t refuse. You see she also believes that the penitentiary ain’t nothing but college for criminals. You need to make up for your sins in God’s eyes. G-mama is a vehicle for me to shed light on a lot of wrongs in this world. Not only in the ghetto but everywhere.

I have several other books that will be coming out, you can read about them on

Thank you for having me, Marilyn. Can’t wait for you to blog with me.

Marilyn: Thank you so much, Kim. I’ll be looking forward to the day we can meet face-to-face. Good luck with Roux in the Gumbo and all your other writing.

Be sure and visit Kim's website.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vicki Taylor, author of "Trust in the Wind"

Author Vicki Taylor is visiting my blog today as one of the stops on her virtual book tour. She kindly agreed to let me interview her so I could get to know more about her and her latest book.

Marilyn : When did you start writing?

Vicki: I've always written in some format or other. As a career, I wrote technical computer user manuals for fifteen years. Through a set of unforeseen circumstances, I was able to fulfill my dream of writing fiction full time. That started around 1999.

Marilyn: Do you have a particular schedule for writing?

Vicki: I sort of do have a schedule. I like to write in the afternoons. I feel more alert and inspired at that time. I try to write for a couple of hours straight, then work on other things like editing, critiques - things like that. I also have to squeeze in some promotion every day as well. So that gets added to the schedule.

Marilyn:What do you think is special about this particular book? Or you might tell us what you enjoyed most about writing this book.

Vicki: "Trust in the Wind" came to me in a dream. The entire book from beginning to end. I filled in some of the plot developments in between, but the story arc was all there. When I woke, I furiously wrote everything down as fast as I could so I didn't forget anything. I liked writing the character, Joey. He pretty much steals the show in a few places. I'd never written a four year old boy before, but his character came shining through.

Marilyn: What is the best compliment a reader ever told you about your books?

Vicki: One of the best compliments I got for my writing was for a speculative fiction piece I wrote titled "Catch of the Season." It was inspired by a Red Lobster commercial I saw on television. The creative juices started flowing and I asked "what if". What if our TV signals are sent out into space? What if alien nations intercept the commercials? What if these particular aliens look like lobsters? What if they take offense to the commercial? What if they go to Earth to exact revenge with a side of drawn butter? A long time scuba diver read the story and told me that he would never be able to go back in the water without making sure to check behind him.

A compliment I received for "Trust in the Wind" was from a long term care facility and came in the form of a letter saying that they were reading my book to the residents and they were enjoying it very much and they asked for an autographed picture. I sent them a picture, bookmarks, and an autographed copy of one of my first books so they had another book to read.

Marilyn: And finally, what's the best advice you can give to a new writer?

Vicki: The same advice that was given to me. Put the butt in the chair and write the book. No one else is going to do it for you. Finish the book. And when you can, read. Read everything in the genre you're writing and read other genres as well.

Marilyn: That's the exact same advice I give to wannabe writers. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Vicki: Thank you for letting me visit and asking me questions. I enjoyed answering them. If anyone has more questions, I'd be happy to answer.

Vicki M. Taylor

Real Women. Real Life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Authors' Virtual Book Tours and In Person Book Signing

Starting next Wednesday, I'll be hosting a couple of authors on their virtual book tours. The next one will be for Vicki Taylor. I do hope you'll stop by and learn about her and her books.

I'll be having a virtual book tour myself in August to promote Judgment Fire, the next book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I'll post the schedule as soon as I have it.

On Saturday, June 23 from 1 to 2:30, I'll be Ventura CA at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore with a few other authors to sign books--I'll be signing Calling the Dead. Anyone who is in the area, please come and see me.

I've been really busy. Spent last weekend in Reno with the Public Safety Writers Association Board--and yes, we did work. I didn't put one nickle in a slot machine--it isn't my thing. Besides getting a lot done, we did laugh a lot. There's nothing like hanging out with a trio of retired cops and listening to their wild tales. To learn more about PSWA, visit

Whenever I come home from a trip I have lots of catch-up to do. I'm going to be part of an ad for mystery writers in the November issue of Romantic Times and had to get the proper information to the one organizing it. I did a big writing job that brings in some cash--always a good thing.

That's it for now,


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Home Again

What a vacation! We are usually only gone for a weekend with a day or two on either side. This time we were gone for about ten days. We had a great time. The down side was coming home to a stack of phone messages to return and a foot high stack of mail.
Mayhem as usual was great fun! We had Thursday a.m. to visit the Heritage Museum. Chose that over the zoo because it was pouring rain. For lunch, we went to our favorite Ahmad’s Persian Restaurant and we weren’t disappointed. Ahmad remembered us and called us California as soon as spotted us. Speaking of restaurants we found another good in the Old Marketplace, M’s Pub.

When we returned to our hotel, Pat Lang, our Omaha friend, came to visit us in our room. The opening buffet was that night. Mayhem is a bit like a family reunion because so many of the same people, writers and readers, attend year after year. So much fun to see and visit with everyone. I won’t name all the authors and fans that I’m particularly fond of–suffice it to say that I was happy to see them all.

Friday and Saturday were filled with intriguing panels and 20 minute conversations with authors.

Friday night was the Sisters in Crime buffet–good food and lots of great conversation. Saturday night was the mystery dinner where my hubby played Rick Bogart in a silly take-off of Casablanca. Everyone laughed a lot.

Sunday morning was the brunch with an interview of Margaret Maron by Nancy Pickard. Again, good food, conversations and goodbyes. Hubby and I were met at the front of the hotel by son-in-law, Mike, in his little Scion. He drove us and our luggage to Council Bluffs IA where daughter Dana, the golden retriever named Archie and the motor home awaited us. From IA we drove back into Nebraska and took some time out to visit an arch that goes over the highway and tells all about the western migration with pictures and tour.

We arrived in Breckenridge CO that night and parked the RV in the wonderful park with snow capped mountains all around. We swam in an indoor pool. Played a silly game. The next morning we visited the town of Frisco, window shopped and toured their museum of old homes and cabins. Had lunch in Breckenridge at Bubba Gump’s, then headed back to the RV park in a rain storm. We were treated to a magnificent thunder storm, then it snowed with huge flakes. The sky cleared and we went to bed. In the a.m. we were surprised by snow covering the ground.
From CO we headed to Utah and another campground. Early up the next morning so we could reach Las Vegas in time for me to take care of some business with my sister. Of course we spent time with sis and b-i-l before going to Circus Circus to the KOA there. You haven’t lived until you’ve stayed in a casino parking lot laughingly called a campground. From there we hightailed it home.

At home we made discoveries like there is a problem with our water system. Had to shut down half the house. Fortunately, the other half is working so we just changed bedrooms for awhile. The cats knocked the screen out in my office window, so that had to be fixed. Poor hubby. Today he was elected hamburger and hotdog cook after church.

Now, this coming week I play catch-up. I’m promoting the fact that Fringe Benefits, my bad copy novel is now available as an e-book from Fictionwise. In August, the next in my Tempe Crabtree series, Judgment Fire, will make it’s debut so I’m preparing for that promotion too.

It’s fun to go away, but so good to be back home.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Judgment Fire, Coming Soon

The latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Judgment Fire, is planned to debut in August.

Besides investigating the murder of a battered wife, she'll be calling back memories of her painful high school years.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's Been Going on With Me

Though I’ve managed to catch up on most of my work, and my latest manuscript in progress is now in the second go-round of editing by me, things will once again start moving at a fast pace.
Here’s some of the fun stuff that I’ve managed to squeeze in. I spent a late afternoon visiting over appetizers with Becca Buckley, the organizer of WOW (Wizards of Words) and Heather Howard, the author of The Chore Whore. We were celebrating the fact that Heather’s book may be made into a TV series. The book is about a personal assistant to the stars. Very funny and would make a terrific series. We also laughed a lot.

My weekend was great. My sis and her hubby, her daughter and two kids all came to visit. The event was to celebrate our little church’s 50th anniversary. We had a great turnout, wonderful food, and my good friend, mystery writer and gospel singer, Lorie Ham was our guest performer. Three of our teens also performed and did really well after one of them managed to get over the giggles. It was a fun day. Sis and I ended it by watching the finale of the Survivor. Yes, I got hooked on that show. I’m not good for much more than TV watching after about 8 a.m. Usually been going full speed ahead since 6 a.m.

I’ll be off-line for awhile beginning next Wednesday. Hubby and I are hopping a plan for Omaha and one of our favorite mystery cons, Mayhem in the Midlands. Looking forward to it and seeing old friends and hopefully making news ones. Instead of flying home, our daughter and son-in-law will be picking us up in their motor home and we’ll travel home with them. (They’ve been vacationing at Disneyworld and visiting relatives.)

In the good news department, Mundania Press will be releasing the next in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Judgement Fire, this summer. Oh and one other family tidbit, my middle daughter and hubby (the preacher) have obtained legal guardianship of a fifteen-year-old, so I now have 19 grandchildren!

That’s it for now.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Another Day, Another Post

I'd really like to do this once a week, but something I just get two darn busy.

I've been doing lots of classes for the residential care business which is time consuming and requires a lot of paperwork--but it does pay my credit card bill (much needed.)

Our church is planning it's 50th anniversary, and I've been involved writing articles for the newspaper about it. It was fun to tell everyone that our little church had its beginnings in a home, a gas station, and a chicken coop.

I'm still working on my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree book and hope to come up with some ideas for a Rocky Bluff P.D. book. The next one in both series is supposed to be out this fall. Tempe's book is called Judgement Fire and the Rocky Bluff one is Smell of Death.

As far as trips, our next one is to Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. This is another favorite as we've made a lot of friends in Omaha. It will be in a different hotel this year, more modern and closer to all the wonderful restaurants and shopping in the Old Marketplace. We are looking forward to a meal in Ahmad's Persian restaurant. Instead of flying home, our eldest daughter and her husband are picking us up in their motor home as they head back to Oxnard. So we'll get a bit of sightseeing in as well as visiting with our kids.

There are always a lot of things in the works, but I only worry about one day at a time, who knows what the future holds?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Public Safety Writers Association Writers Conference

Probably the PSWA conference was the most fun of any conference I've ever been to. Mind you, I always have a good time at conferences and cons. It's an opportunity to see writing friends and fans I haven't seen for a while and catch up on their news--and a time to make new friends.

What was different about the PSWA conference is there were less than twenty people there. Others might think it was a disaster--but believe me, it made for an intimate gathering. The presentations were exceptional and because the audience was small, people had an opportunity to ask questions.

We were graced with the presence of the Clark County Coroner, Mike Murphy, who gave an outstanding talk. Everyone who presented was knowledgeable sharing their expertise on everything from querying a law enforcment magazine, promotion, electronic publishing, working with editors, what a publishing house is looking for, importance of research, and much, much more. We laughed a lot and enjoyed each other's company.

Most of us went on a "Gangster Tour" learning about much of Las Vegas' history when the mob was in control and it was most enlightening as well as entertaining.

By the time the weekend was over, we'd become a family.

The criteria to being a member of PSWA is to be a part of something to do with public safety, past of present, or to be writing fiction or non-fiction about public safety.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Have to Brag

I've been chosen Author of the Month at My

Just click on my name to read the interview.

Sometimes you just have to brag.

I've been working so hard the last couple of weeks, I just haven't had time to work on my latest book, darn. I'm at an exciting point and I'm dying to get back to it. I've been teaching all over the place, then I have paperwork to do when I get home. I'm also working on the Public Safety Writers Conference which is next week in Las Vegas. Looking forward to that. While I'm there, I'll also visit my sister.

I'm going to be moderating a panel at Mayhem in the Midlands and I'm trying to read each of the panelists books so I'll have some intelligent questions to ask them.

We've had weird weather--several days of spring, then back to winter. I'm in Central California and we even had some snow in the mountains today. Sounds like winter just isn't going to give up easily.


Monday, April 9, 2007

Keeping up with a Blog is time consuming–and I have trouble remember that I should do it. Okay, here’s what I’ve been up to since my last posting.
Most of what I’ve been doing is taking care of the classes I’m in charge of for residential care. It is time consuming and exacting work–I also go to all the classes and do the registration. The best things about it is I get paid for doing it.
For writing related activities, I presented another promotion presentation for the Writers of Kern, a small group but I’ve been there enough that I count many of their members as friends.
I only managed to attend two of my own critique group meetings. This is something I thoroughly enjoy and it helps get my own manuscript in shape. It’s amazing how many errors they find even after I’ve gone over the chapter beforehand. The members of my group are not only friends, but good at critiquing.

Our church had a free pancake breakfast and it’s amazing how many people will attend anything where there’s free food.

Hubby and I headed to Elk Grove on the 30th of the month, a four plus hour drive. We did okay until we hit the Sacramento freeways. Our Map Quest directions let us down and we turned the wrong direction for our hotel. We realized the mistake right away and soon were registered. The next day, we headed back to Elk Grove for an Art’s Festival. The American Author Association sponsored the book and author part and we had a table among close to 100 authors in the huge gymnasium of a brand new recreation center. It’s always a joy to talk to readers and others interested in books.

After the festival we headed back to the hotel and met our youngest daughter, hubby and granddaughter. We had dinner with them and our grandson Gregg who is going to school at Sac State–and his girlfriend, Diya. It’s always great when we can combine something to do with book selling with a family affair.

I’ve also been busy preparing for the Public Safety Writers Conference to be held in Las Vegas later in the month. I’m in charge of the program and at the last minute had a speaker pull out through no fault of her own. I was fortunate enough to talk Sunny Frazier, author of Fools Rush In and many published short stories, to take her place. We’ll be visiting my sis in Las Vegas while we’re at the conference.

Unfortunately, I’ve had little time for writing. My work-in-progress is calling to me, but it will just have to wait. Darn!

Here’s hoping you all had a great Easter--mine was extra special.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fringe Benefits

The reviews for Fringe Benefits have been fantastic! Here are a few snippets:

"F. M. Meredith keeps you guessing throughout the book. I am hoping that she will continue the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series. This is the third book in the series and my first so I have some catching up to do. Fringe Benefits is a fast, interesting read and I think the police officers in Rocky Bluff are typical of police officers everywhere with the same ambitions and stumbling blocks but I hope there aren't too many Cal Sylvester's out there."

The third of Meredith’s Rocky Bluff P. D. series. Lets hope there are many more. 02/07 Jack Quick, Book Bitch Reviews

Highly recommended reading for those looking for a good mystery, an entanglement of lives and the results of deadly provocation." Review by Bonti

"In a way, Fringe Benefits is reminiscent of a Wambaugh novel...the plot takes a twist, which the reader (at least this one) doesn’t expect. It’s a fast and enjoyable read.."—Theodore Feit

The book was also reviewed in our local newspaper too--the reporter is a good friend of mine but mostly likes literary novels and non-fiction so I didn't expect her to like it. She called me before she wrote her article and absolutely raved about it and called it "wonderful." Needless to say, I've been floating about two feet off the ground.

This is particularly gratifying because I truly wondered how readers would take to this book since it is about an extremely bad cop. Oh, there are plenty of other good police officers in the novel, but you never know how things will be taken by a reader.

Now I'm off to the local book launch for Fringe Benefits.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fringe Benefits

Thought you might like to see the cover for Fringe Benefits.
I've been thrilled with the comments and reviews I've been receiving.
The best way to order the book is from my website,
It is also available from Amazon. com but if you order it from my website I'll autograph it.
If you prefer it as an ebook, go to Fictionwise or the publisher's site:

Left Coast Crime

As usual LCC was a terrific exprience. I've been to the airport (SEATAC) in Seattle before but never the city. Despite all the press about rain, it only rained one day while we were there. The rest of the time the sky was cloudless and sunny--however it was cold!I'm not sure what day things happened, so I'll just give the highlights.

First dinner we had at McCormick's which was two blocks down and three over from the hotel. The hills were daunting both going down and up. Second memorable dinner was at a Japanese restaurant with friends from Crime and Suspense--a couple I'd never met before. Dinner was scrumptious, conversation top notch.

Hubby and I went to three hours of forensic information arranged by author Jan Burke that was absolutely fasincating. All the panels I went to were either entertaining or informative. I was on one that talked about true or made-up settings. All mine are made-up of course though the small town setting in my Tempe Crabtree mysteries and my Christian horror are based on the town I live in. The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is a town on the coast about twenty miles north of Ventura CA--not fashioned after any real town.

We got to spend time with lots of our favorite mystery people too many to mention. The Anthony Award banquet had the best food I've ever eaten at a banquet anywhere. (I'm beginning to sound like a foodie.)I sold a few books, made new friends, and had a grand time.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Some BSP

When we started on our trip to Seattle and LCC, I discovered this on my Blackberry:
"The WOW January book selection is CALLING THE DEAD by Marilyn MeredithOne of our judges commented that it was like reading a book that J.A. Jance and Tony Hillerman co-authored."
Here’s part of my first review for Fringe Benefits:
"Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true. Officer Cal Sylvester certainly found this statement to be true in Fringe Benefits. Not only did he wish for another police officer's wife but he put a plan in motion to make his wish come true. The death of Cal's wife so that she would be out of the picture and the proceeds of her insurance to keep Darcy Gordon happy went a long way towards making his wish come true, but the dream turned into a nightmare."Fringe Benefits take you into the lives and homes of several police officers of Rocky Bluff a small community in California. You learn their interactions with their wives and families as well as their thoughts towards their jobs...."F. M. Meredith keeps you guessing throughout the book. I am hoping that she will continue the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series. This is the third book in the series and my first so I have some catching up to do. Fringe Benefits is a fast, interesting read and I think the police officers in Rocky Bluff are typical of police officers everywhere with the same ambitions and stumbling blocks but I hope there aren't too many Cal Sylvester's out there."
And here’s the second from Book Bitch Reviews:

FRINGE BENEFITS by F.M. Meredith: If you are going to commit a murder, it can be helpful to be a cop. Officer Cal Sylvester’s affair with Darcy Butler, wife of a fellow policeman, is going into the deep freeze. Only money will rekindle the flame and Sylvester thinks he knows how to get it, by collecting his wife’s life insurance. Of course, there is one little detail that needs to be taken care of. Enter sixteen-year-old Adler "Patch" Costello, who runs away from home and right into trouble. In the meantime there is a dangerous rapist on the loose who strikes every Wednesday. The third of Meredith’s Rocky Bluff P. D. series. Lets hope there are many more. 02/07 Jack Quick

To order FRINGE BENEFITS, head over to my website: