Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saying Goodbye to 2008

Hubby asked if we were going to stay up to see the New Year in--I said I'd try, but would probably be in bed long before midnight.

I thought back about all the New Year's Eves we've celebrated. We've gone to fancy dinners and dances in many different places. One I remember most was on the Hueneme Navy Base in the Bard mansion that was reported to be haunted. Don't remember seeing any ghosts, but do remember having a nice dinner and dancing all evening. (Haven't been able to get my husband on the dance floor for years.)

Another New Year's Even I remember well was when hubby was in Vietnam so I offered to babysit all the neighbor kids for the night so their parents could go out. I don't remember exactly how many, but there was a bunch, and it was like a crowded slumber party.

When my kids were young, the big refreshment for New Years Eve was always root beer floats.

When my husband and I had our residential care home, root beer floats along with lots of snick snacks were the rule for New Years Eve. One New Years we invited another care home to bring their residents to celebrate New Years with us-- after the goodies and while watching a movie, by nine o'clock everyone had fallen asleep in their chairs. The other providers decided they might as well gather up their ladies and go on home.

Because we live in the country and everyone around us seems to have guns, whether we are asleep or not when it's time to say hello to 2009, we'll know doubt we awakened by gunfire. I'll roll over and give hubby a New Years kiss.

2008 was a good year. I had two new books come out, Smell of Death and Kindred Spirits. We traveled many interesting places, made new friends and renewed old friendships. We spent some quality time with our family near and far as well as our Springville friends.

We were blessed.

Happy New Year to all of you!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Intentions Go Astray

Yep, I had every intention of doing more work on the new Rocky Bluff P.D. book.

First, though, I read my email, took care of stuff that needed to be done. I did a couple of loads of wash, changed the sheets on the bed, cleaned one of the bathrooms. Started to write, but husband sat down and asked me some questions. He went after the mail and came back with some things that needed to be taken care of.

After I did that, decided I'd go ahead and do all the bookkeeping for the end of the month. Once I finished, though I should just go ahead and set up the books for next year and do some stuff to prepare for doing income tax. When I'd finished it was time to cook dinner.

Made the best potato soup for supper--everyone liked it.

By that time, I was through for the day.

Hubby and I watched a DVD, he left to go to church, and I'm headed to bed.

Wanted to write about how easy it is to not do what you intended.

Tomorrow I hope to at least do a couple of pages though I do have a hair appointment right after lunch. And of course tomorrow is New Years Eve. No, I don't have big plans except to make pizza from scratch. Haven't done that in a long while.

And then there's New Year's Day. No writing then.

Ah well, there's all of 2009!

Happy New Year!


More About the Two Young MenThat Were Stabbed

My granddaughter reported that the son of her senior pastor was stabbed to death and his best friend, also a son of a preacher was stabbed at the same time but expected to live.

Because these two young men, both 21, were sons of preachers, my first thought unfortunately was that they were someplace they shouldn't have been. There is a general feeling that preacher's kids are wilder than most. And of all people, I shouldn't believe that. After all, two of my granddaughters are preacher's kids or PKs as they are often referred to in the church world.
The oldest is the mother of three great kids, works with the church kids, volunteers for everything at the schools her kids go to, and she and her husband take in strays--and I'm not talking about animals--stray teens who have no where else to go.

The other daughter is also grown, worked all through high school and is still working, helped her husband build their home, and is expecting her first child.

One of our pastors at our church a few years ago had three daughters, all three have turned out great.

Of course there are some PKs who rebel during their growing up years, I knew some of them too. Even Billy Graham's son had some problems.

But it's always dangerous to generalize. And I was guilty in this case.

As it turns out the young men stepped in to stop a fight. Something few people do, and in this case it didn't turn out well.

My heart goes out to the two families and friends. What a tragedy.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Tough Times, Book Review

Do your know someone who is hurting? Someone who has just received dreadful news? Someone who lost a loved one?

It seems as though bad things happen during the holiday season. About a week before Christmas my daughter told me that her best friend, the friend who had helped her most when my daughter’s husband was killed in a dreadful accident had just learned she had incurable lung cancer and only has a short time to live.

Right after Christmas my granddaughter emailed me asking for prayer for her pastor’s family–their oldest son had been killed horribly by someone he didn’t even know.

We lost our son to cancer several years ago and his birthday was three days after Christmas. Because I do know where he is and that I’ll see him again, I don’t mourn like someone without such an assurance might–however, I do miss him and can’t help feeling sad.

When I read Tough Times it touched my heart. This little book would be the perfect gift for anyone who is having a difficult time. In a simple but compelling manner, Lucado points through the Bible just how much God loves us. The book ends with the perfect prayer for troubled times.

Highly recommended.

Marilyn Meredith

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Great New Interview.

This one is all about what was behind Kindred Spirits:

Coming Soon, No Sanctuary

First on the scene of a traffic accident that turns out to be murder, Officer Stacey Wilbur calls Detective Doug Milligan. Despite her former vow to never date anyone on the Rocky Bluff P.D., she and Milligan are romantically involved. Finding time to be alone together isn’t easy.

The murder victim is the wife of a popular Rocky Bluff minister, and several suspects immediately come to the forefront, the minister himself, his nosy secretary, the choir director, and a nerdy stalker. Stacey helps Doug with the murder investigation, but the Chief asks her to go undercover as a prostitute to expose a pedophile which leads to a surprising job offer.

Stacey must make two major decisions that will change her life forever, and a third that nearly causes her to lose her life.

That is one of the blurbs for my new Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel, No Sanctuary.

Because I am a regular church goer, I want to clarify that I am not making fun of churches. Churches, temples, synagogues are where sinners go to worship and learn how to live more godly lives. Unfortunately, men of faith, including those who have been called to lead, are sometimes tempted to do things they shouldn’t. Some of the more prominent ones even make the news when they yield to their temptations.

One theme that runs through every book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is how the personal and family lives affect the job and how what happens on the job affects the officers personal and family lives. No Sanctuary is no exception.

Having been neighbors with several police families and having members of law enforcement in my family, and being friends with several retired officers, I have seen these dynamics first hand.

No Sanctuary is due out from Oak Tree Press sometime at the beginning of the new year. Watch for it.

Marilyn Meredith

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Local Indians Create a New Gathering Place

We live very close to the Tule River Indian Reservation. With the advent of their casino (small by most Indians casino standards) life for these Native Americans has been a change for the better. The reservation is tucked away in a narrow valley between huge mountains. The reservation has more acreage than any other California reservation. However, much of it is inaccessible and includes part of an old growth Sequoia forest.

The Indians now have their own health clinic, a modernized recovery center, day care, their own police force and fire department. Off the reservations they own and operate an air park at the Porterville airport where they do all kinds of air plane repair and other industry. They have plans for a hotel and a new casino in that area.

Something else they have done off the reservation is built a gas station and mini-mart which is state-of-the art–the nicest gas station and mini-mart I’ve ever seen. It’s built off the main highway to Springville, where I live. The gas is the cheapest you can find anywhere around. The place is well-lighted at night and there is always a Tule River tribal policeman on duty.

With this new establishment, they’ve also created a new place to meet people and see old friends. Obviously since the gas is cheaper, people make the extra drive to buy there. Sometimes you have to wait for an open gas pump. Because they also sell essentials along with Subway sandwiches and drinks, many customers venture inside.

It’s amazing how many old friends you bump into while pumping your gas. My husband manages to make new friends every time he takes one of our vehicles to fill up. You see people smiling and chatting everywhere. The last time I was there, I got a big hug from one of my son’s first girlfriends–when we knew her best she was a single mom with a three-year-old son, now she’s a grandma.

These are the Indians I borrow from in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. In my books they haven’t quite reached the enterprising spirit that they really have. It’s amazing to watch how they’ve not only provided new jobs for themselves, but also employment opportunities for non-Indians.

My latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is Kindred Spirits available from the publisher, or any online bookstore. Though this book focuses more on the Tolowa people of Crescent City, other books in the series describe life on the fictional Bear Creek Reservation and the people who live there.

Marilyn Meredith

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Best Christmas Eve Ever!

We do our big celebrating of Christmas on Christmas Eve. First we eat--had a great dinner, turkey turned out perfect. Those who celebrated with us were middle daughter and her husband, youngest son, his wife and daughter and a young woman who lives with them, and three grown grandsons.

One of these grandsons has not had a Christmas at home in six years. His mom sent him lots of gifts and everyone else had given him gifts. He was so happy! And it made all the rest of us happy too.

Today, we are having another dinner, but not as many people--the one addition will be granddaughter's boyfriend--and we're having a standing rib roast--and leftovers.

I did everything the easy way this year.

Later in the afternoon we'll head over to another granddaughter's who has three kids and visit for awhile. While there we'll also get to see her sister who is expecting her first child in February which will bring the number of our great-grandkids up to 11!

I am truly blessed this Christmas.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Countdown to Christmas

I have a feeling no one is reading blogs during the holiday season. Since writing a blog is a way of putting off what I really should be doing--working on my next book--here I am.

I've only two gifts left to wrap, one I didn't plan to buy and one for someone I didn't know was coming to our Christmas Eve celebration.

Because I'm the cook, I'm preparing all things easy--a turkey (yes, baking a turkey is easy), Stove top dressing, instant mashed potatoes (the ones that are flavored), granddaughter is making the green bean casserole, gravy from a jar, green jello salad with Kool-Whip and crushed pineapple. Pies from the bakery.

Christmas Day we'll have left-overs and I'm cooking a standing rib roast--also easy.

Oh, I do know how to make all those things from scratch and have many, many years--but this time I want it to be easy for me. The older I get, the less I feel like doing things that are work.

I'm blessed that I'll have lots of family around and that so far I seem to be healthy--as opposed to Thanksgiving where I was too ill to enjoy as much as I'd hoped for.

One thing I've noticed this holiday season when you're out and about, if you keep on smiling you'll be surprised how many people smile back at you. Definitely works for me.

A cloud is sitting right on top of us and it's raining. We need rain, but it makes it awfully gloomy. I'll take my own advice and smile at everyone who comes into the house today as I don't plan on going out.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reflections About My Son, Mark

When I was having children, you had no idea what you were going to get until the child was born. After two girls, my husband and I were thrilled when three days after Christmas, our first son, Mark was born.

We'd had to change our Christmas plans because I was overdue. My parents, grandparents, sister and her family all came to our house on Christmas day for the first time ever. I was huge and uncomfortable but still managed to cook the big dinner.

The 28th was night Perry Mason came on TV--my very favorite program. Labor pains started in earnest right during the show. Hubby was timing them and as they neared five minutes apart, he begged me to let him take me to the hospital. Nothing doing--I stayed until the end.

Mark was a fun kid. He was adventuresome and made friends with everyone. We lived near the beach and one summer he was always up and gone before day break. It took me awhile to find out he was going out on a fishing boat and earning money fileting the catch for the fishermen.

At 12 he worked as a dishwasher at a friend's restaurant. When he was in high school, he worked as a janitor on the Navy base. Married at 17 with a child on the way, he worked as a janitor in a small hospital--even helping to deliver a baby one night when only one nurse was on duty. The marriage failed, not surprisingly. Mark held lots of other jobs, he made doughnuts, worked at a camp for developmentally disabled adults and children, drove a bus for a sheltered workshop, worked in a residential facility for developmentally disabled adults, led a work crew, worked for a Walmart Distribution Center as a mechanic, and finally as a forklift driver in a box factory. He remarried and became a father to three children and grandfather to two girls--a role he loved the best. He was proud when he was able to buy his first and only house.

Mark sang in the church choir and he was an artist all his life.

There's so much more I could say about our son, but most important is that we were blessed to have him as a son even if the time was too short. Because he loved God and had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, I'm confident that one day I'll be with Mark once again.

Christmas always makes me think about Mark because of the Christmases we had him, and in a few days it will be his birthday.

Merry Christmas to all of you who may read this post.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Sale at Mundania Press

If you've been wanting to buy a Mundania book, (the last three books in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree books are from Mundania: Kindred Spirits, Judgment Fire, and Calling Back the Dead, now is a great time to
do so! Until January 1st, you can get 25% off your purchase of books
through the Mundania store. At checkout, just include the coupon
code SANTA and you get your discount!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Celebrations

The older I get the harder it is to do all things people do for the Christmas season.

Though I decorated, we didn't put up a tree because last year the cat's completely undecorated it and broke all the glass balls. I gave out Christmas cards to everyone at church rather than mailing them. (Did mail out to those who were missing.) For my other friends, if they sent me a card, they received one in return.

The weather has been very cold, lots of snow on the mountains and that helps with the Christmas spirit.

Hubby and I attended our church's Christmas party last weekend, which was, as usual, lots of fun, good food, and a wild time as we played our usual game where we bring ornaments, open them one at a time, or choose to steal one we like better.

Tonight, we're going out to dinner with my writing critique group, another Christmas tradition.

Tomorrow afternoon, we're going to my good friend and fan, Sheri's home, where I'll get to enjoy her Christmas decorations and we're going to watch General Hospital together. Yep, I confess, been watching that soap opera for years.

In the evening we're going to a concert given by the local high-school's chorus.

On Friday, taking my middle daughter Christmas shopping. She's the only one I do this with. First, because I hate shopping, but as a pastor's wife they have very little money and I love to buy her some new clothes for the coming year. We'll go out to lunch too and do a bit of catching up.

Next week, preparations for Christmas Eve and Day will begin in earnest. I usually cook for both occasions, so it's time I figured out the menus.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who reads this blog.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Unseen, A Book Review

The Unseen
T. L. Hines

Wow! This is one of the most unusual books I’ve read in years. Once I got started, I couldn’t put it down.

Lucas is an unusual hero. He knows very little about himself, and what he does know is suspect. Uncomfortable around people, he’s created his own world by spying on others who work in offices all around the city. He sleeps in crawl spaces, on the commuter trains, and has secret places all over the city.

When he learns there are others doing much the same as he, though they like to watch people in their own homes, he thinks he’s finally found kindred spirits. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out like that.

The book takes a whole new twist, when he finds out how easy it is to get into and spy on residents of their homes. He also finds out that things are happening that he just can’t ignore and feels compelled to stop. And guess what? He also learns that he’s being watched too.

The book may make the reader feel a bit paranoid–could someone be doing what Lucas and others are doing?

If you love a book that you will not be able to second guess, one that is full of suspense and action, with a hero that you’ll be compelled to cheer on, The Unseen is for you.

--Marilyn Meredith, author of Kindred Spirits, the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery

Monday, December 15, 2008

Report on My Art Gallery Signing and more

The more I write about these appearances, the more I realize I'm somewhat of a Pollyanna. If you don't know what that means, you are much younger than I am--which most people are.

Pollyanna was a fictional character who always looked on the bright side of everything. If she broke her leg, she'd say gaily, "It's so wonderful that I only broke on leg."

My first stop on Friday was Coffee Etc. where I picked up my first batch of cookies. Luwana, who owns the shop with her husband, is a great cook. The cookies were fantastic! From there hubby drove me down the hill to Porterville and the Art Gallery. My table was set up in the back of the room (took care of it the night before) and I greeted everyone, put the cookies on the refreshment table and settled myself for the long day ahead.

A long day was right--hardly anyone came in despite all sorts of publicity by the Art Club and me. I sold one book and that was to one of the artists. I did meet lots of people--the artists--and had some lovely conversations.

Saturday we woke up to rain. Ugh! Picked up more cookies and arrived at the gallery a little before ten. Despite the weather, more people dropped in and looked at the paintings, the greeting cards, the jewelry offerings, ate lots of cookies, and my actually looked at my books.

I sold 16 by the time the day was over and handed out far more cards to people.

Three of my friends stopped in, chatted and bought a book. I also met a lot more people and talked about my writing. I always feel like if I've visited with someone, given them a card, there's always the possibility they'll visit my website, read the first chapters of some of my books, and perhaps order one.

Hubby came and picked me up around five, we packed up the car and headed toward the mountains and a Christmas party put on by our church. It was great fun even though I really just wanted to go home and to bed.

The next morning, I taught my Sunday School class. Had two boys--both of whom have some behavior problems, one way more than the other. We discussed the lesson, all about the angels visiting Mary and Joseph to let them know about Jesus' impending birth. Despite the boys' behavior, they knew this story already. From there we spent a lot of time talking about getting in trouble at school and ways to avoid this. I won't go into detail, but it's amazing how much two 10 year-olds are willing to reveal to a great-grandma.

I told my husband though I feel far too old to be teaching these kids, I do have a soft-spot in my heart for troubled boys--goodness knows, we've had enough of them in our family. Guess I'm doing what I'm supposed to be.

Today, no matter what, I must get busy wrapping Christmas gifts.

I'm being interviewed on the radio this evening at 5:30 P.M. PST.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Moving Right Along

The paper came out today and had a nice paragraph about me being at the Porterville Art Gallery Saturday--but didn't mention that I'd be there tomorrow, Friday, as well. So I quickly sent out some emails to let people know that I'd be there then too.

We have the car loaded with all the junk I must take to do this: a table, chair, tablecloth, and all my books. We're to set up at 3:30 this afternoon. In the a.m. I'll stop at Coffee Etc. and pick up cookies that Lawana is making for me.

This morning, the reporter from the Visalia Times-Delta called and we had a great time talking about my books and writing etc. He was enthusastic and it was a fun conversation.

I also worked on the chapter of my book that my critique group heard and gave me suggestions for last night. They do such a good job finding mistakes and holes that need to be filled. When we were done, it was so foggy outside you couldn't see. Fortunately, one of our members, Brent Gill, drove ahead of me all the way, so it was a cinch--for me at least.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Interesting Developments

Since I did my stint in the back room of Jenuine Junque a couple of interesting things have happened.

First, Sabrina Ziegler, the young reporter I wrote about who came to interview me, did a very nice piece about all the activity in Springville on Saturday, which appeared in the Monday a.m. edition of the Porterville Recorder. It was on the first page, continued on an inside page where she'd written several paragraphs about my appearance. For someone who just graduated from high school, she did a wonderful job of writing.

We took some time off on Monday and went to see the movie, Australia. (Great movie, by the way, but a warning, it's three hours long so don't buy a huge drink.) When I got home, I had a message on my answering machine from a reporter from the Times-Delta, a newspaper in the next largest city after Porterville, Visalia. He wanted to know if I'd be interested in being interviewed for an article they are doing on local authors. (Of course!) I wasn't unable to get hold of him, but left a message.

He called today and made arrangements to call me tomorrow at 10 a.m.

I also received an order for a book via PayPal. Unfortunately, I'm all out of that particular book, though I have ordered more. However, the buyer specifically wants it for a Christmas present. I thought awhile and realized that they had a couple of copies of that book at the Patton House (nice little gift and 2nd hand shop in Springville), so I went up there and found the book and gave them copies of Kindred Spirits on consignment.

The book for the Christmas present I've already sent.

I'm not sure if all this means I'm getting some name recognition or not, but it certainly can't hurt.

Believe it or not, I've never really liked talking on the phone--email, blogs etc. are so much easier. However, I've overcome a lot of phobias I had as a younger woman. If an author is introverted--he or she should really force him or herself to do things that aren't comfortable. The more you do, the more comfortable you'll become.

Anyway, that's more or less what's gone on in the last two days.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Success in the Back Room of the Antique Store

I had no idea how it would go for me to have a booksigning in the back room of an antique store. To bolster my chances for success, I gave my book to the local newspaper editor along with information about my event. She praised the book, Kindred Spirits, called it my best ever and there was information about the book signing.

To help more, I sent invitations out to all my friends in Springville (where I live and the antique store is located), plus a lot of Internet advertising.

What really helped, I think, was a lot was going on in Springville yesterday. The Zonta Club was having a big arts and craft sale in the Memorial Building along with a tour of large homes all decorated for the holidays. Others took advantage of extra people in town and also had big sales going on in their stores or out on the sidewalk.

And yes, a lot of people on tour did stop by the antique store and pop into the back room. However, more people came because of my invites and the article in the paper.

The hot cider was an absolute hit as were the cookies which were made for me special by Coffee Etc., our only coffee place in town.

(The hot cider is so easy to make. I do it in a big electric coffee pot. Squeeze three or four oranges and put the juice in the pot, toss in about 3 cinnamon sticks, and pour in as much apple cider as will fill your pot and plug in. Doesn't take long before the aroma will entice everyone.)

While there I got to see and visit with lots of old friends and made some new ones.

A young reporter from the Porterville Recorder (the city that's 17 miles down the hill) came to interview me. She was darling, had just graduated from high school this past June.

When no one was there, I drank cider and ate cookies, but I really wasn't alone much. I sold over $200 worth of books--definitely surprised me.

Now next week, Friday and Saturday, I'll have a table all day at the back of the Porterville Art Gallery which is on Main St. same side as the subway shop, but across the street two doors. There should be more newspaper publicity and I sent out invitations to those I knew in Porterville, including my critique group. I'm bringing cookies but not any apple cider. I don't know where the bathroom is yet, but you can be sure I'll find out.


Friday, December 5, 2008

What's the Point of All This Social Networking?

A minute ago I just wrote on someone's Facebook wall--nothing important, but she'd written something on my wall and I was responding. Was it anything important? No. I'd written about Christmas shopping and the other person wanted to know if I'd had fun wrapping the presents. I wrote back to tell her I hadn't done it as yet, because I'd decorated the house instead.

Then I sent another message to someone I knew telling her about a book I'd finished and enjoyed by an author we both know and like.

What does this all have to do with writing or promoting books? Not a whole lot.

In the meanwhile I was thinking about what I needed to cook for dinner. I'd just finished signing a bunch of Christmas cards I intend to hand out at church (saving on postage that way), and instead of going into the kitchen, I decided to peek at my e-mail.

While pondering if I was just wasting time, I decided that talking to people via email or on face book or twitter was one way of feeling connected to others. It also makes a nice break when you're in the middle of mundane tasks. That's the good side.

On the not so good side, is that it is a terrible time waster. But is it so terrible to waste a bit of time once in awhile? I don't think so.

Tomorrow I have a big day. I'm heading to a local antique shop, Jenuine Junque, here in Springville around 9:30 I'll make a stop at Coffee Etc. to pick up cookies the owner, and friend, made for me. After I set up my books in the back room, plug in my pot of hot cider and arrange the cookies, I'll wait patiently for someone to come and talk to me about my books and maybe buy one or two. There was a good article in the local weekly about the event and I sent out invitations to people I knew. We'll see how that works.

Anyway, I'm doing it again, aren't I? By writing this post, I'm delaying my dinner preparations. I'm headed there now, I'm making a concoction with left-over turkey--no, not from Thanksgiving, but from the dinner I made on Wednesday so we'd have left-overs. It's going to be some sort of oriental dish with noodles and stir-fry vegies.

And I'm off....


Thursday, December 4, 2008

What's Happening in My Writer's Life

I'm not exactly writing at the moment. One reason is because I've been sick since before Thanksgiving. No, nothing serious, just this icky cold that has been going around and hanging on and on and on.

Instead of creating, which I'm aching to do, I've been continuing to promote Kindred Spirits, the latest in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. It's been encouraging because I continue to get excellent reviews for the book. I have to book events coming up, this Saturday I'll be in a back room of a delightful antique store called Jenuine Junque in my little town. It's a big day for Springville with arts and crafts being sold all over town, as well as a home tour. Besides having my books for sale, I'll be serving hot cider and cookies.

The following week, I'll be in the Porterville Art Gallery on Friday and Saturday from 10 to 5 both days along with the artists and craftsmen serving their wards.

I will have a new Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel, No Sanctuary, coming out at the end of January and I'm beginning to think about the launch for it. Actually, I've done more than think, I pretty much know what I'm planning to do. Just have to get a few things finalized.

Been doing a lot of reading too as you can see by the reviews I've posted. I'm about halfway through Wm. Kent Krueger's latest, Red Knife, and loving it.

Eventually I'll get down to business and start the next book--but I need to do a bit of Christmas decorating, have some more gifts to buy and wrap.

For everyone who reads this my wish is for you to stay healthy during this holiday season and enjoy your friends and family.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Great Idea for a Christmas Present

House of Dark Shadows, by Robert Liparulo

This is the perfect book for a boy who is a reluctant reader. When fifteen-year-old Xander King is forced to move away from his friends and interests into a backwoods town in northern California he isn’t the least bit happy. An up-and-coming film maker, he sees things a bit differently than any of his family. When his parents decide to move into a dilapidated vacant house with too many rooms to count, Xander is the first one to pick-up on the fact that something weird is going on with the house.

Xander and his younger brother, David have an eerie experience when they are transported from a spot in the house right into the school they’ll soon be going to. Things begin to get downright scary, when the boys learn that there are other weird things that go on in the house, including a monster-size man wandering the halls.

Once a reader gets into the story, he’ll have to read all the rest in the series because there are too many unanswered mysteries when the last page is turned in the House of Dark Shadows.

Filled with plenty of action and suspense, the book will keep any young (and old) reader captivated.

–Marilyn Meredith, author of Kindred Spirits, Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Terrific Review for Kindred Spirits

Reviewed by Dawn Dowdle

"Deputy Tempe Crabtree is working to make sure everyone evacuates due to the huge forest fire. By the time she heads to Vanessa Ainsworth's house, the first is too close for her to go further. So she heads back to town to check on her husband, Hutch Hutchinson who is minister of the local church. He has set up a temporary shelter for fire victims. She searches for Vanessa there.

"She gets called back to Vanessa's house which has been consumed by the fire. A body and a dog are found in the remains. It appears they died in the fire. Vanessa is identified, but it is soon learned that they both died from being shot before the fire arrived.

"Tempe often has an uphill battle with her work. First because she's a woman, and second because she's part Native American. She is sent to talk with Vanessa's cousin because she is also Native American. She finds herself deeper and deeper in this investigation. Can she discover the identity of the killer without putting herself or others in danger?

"I really enjoy these books. They are such a fun, fast cozy read. Tempe is a fun character. I enjoy getting to know more about the Native American culture with her. I like the peripheral characters in each of her books, as well as her relationship with Hutch. The location is great, too. The author does a great job of helping me see the place as well as the various characters she comes in contact with.

"I highly recommend this book."

Woo hoo!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Still Hanging On

Yes, my cold is still hanging on, but I managed to get a few things done today and among them, I went over the galley for No Sanctuary, the next in my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. Thrilled that I found a new publisher for that series--since my last one decided publishing wasn't the business for her.

I'm thrilled with my new publisher--could partly be because I also count her as a good friend.

I spent part of the day doing a lot of posting on websites both talking about No Sanctuary and the latest PSWA newsletter on their website:

On Saturday, I'll be spending the day at an antique store called Jenuine Junque in Springville. A lot is going on that day, sort of the kick-off for Christmas in our little town. A tour of holiday decorated homes, gifts being sold in the Veteran's Building and in the patio of the coffee shop, the lighting of the Christmas tree in the park--and me. I'll be playing hostess in the back room of the store from 10 to 5, serving hot cider and cookies, and hopefully selling a few books. Of course I think autographed books make great Christmas gifts.

So, tomorrow, I'm going to figure out how many of which books I should take to the bookstore, and packing them up. (I always do things way ahead of time, in case something comes up.)

And I guess that's about it for tonight.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Still Recovering

On the way to Camarillo I read Stephen Baldwin's book about his new found faith which was co-written by Mark Tabb (I've written about Mark previously) and on the way home, I read The Shack. Fascinating read. Saved my husband from my back seat driving.

Don't know what this stuff is that I have, but it sure does hang on. Stayed home from church--didn't want to pass on my germs. Family brought me dinner from the Mexican place.

I managed get a huge and difficult project done this a.m. that I've been working on for several days. Also got some end of the month stuff done. Spent the afternoon in bed and will be crashing again soon. Tired of blowing my nose.

I need to be tackling a new Rocky Bluff P.D. book but so far only have some wispy ideas floating around in my head. Hopefully, I'll feel more like doing some real work on it tomorrow.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

Oh, my, I truly am thankful for my family--especially after this Thanksgiving.

I woke Thanksgiving morning sick! We managed to pack our things and get on the road by 9. It was a bit foggy, rained some, but we arrived in Camarillo--though our Magellan certainly took us on the scenic route-- in plenty of time for our Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunate for me--and everyone else--daughter Lori had everything organized and cooking away. First time I haven't had to cook Thanksgiving dinner in years. Certainly worked out for the best.

Those who joined us for the feast were Lori's family, husband and two adult sons (one was home from the Aspen Police Academy, in two weeks he'll be graduated), the other is an electrician and their daughter, Alyssa, a sophmore in high school. Our eldest daughter, Dana and hubby Mike, arrived with their always present companion, Archie, the golden retriever. Son, Matthew, his wife, and daughter, Jessica, were with us too.

The food looked wonderful. Unfortunately, nothing tasted wonderful until the next day, when I thoroughly enjoyed the left-overs. The granddaughters and Lori left at 11 p.m. to hit one of the stores that opened then--can you imagine?

In the morning, all of us girls and Matthew went to Target and then to the Oaks mall where no one had been told anything about the economy since it was crowded and people were buying like mad. (I should have stayed in bed but wanted to buy the girls their Christmas presents.)

Matt and his family went home, but the rest of us went home long enough to gather the men and went to see Four Christmases. Pretty funny and an easy thing for a sick person to do.

Despite being sick, I had a great time hearing everyone's news and getting to see those I don't get to see often.

Friday night I had the weirdest dreams and remember them when I woke. We all had a delicious breakfast (yes, I could taste stuff by this time), said our goodbyes and headed home.

I am so thankful for an uneventful trip there and back, and for such a wonderful family.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kindred Spirits is Marilyn Meredith's best work yet.

I’ve enjoyed reading Marilyn Meredith’s work for a number of years, beginning with her “Two Ways West,” which was based upon the true story of the trek made by the Crabtree and Osborn families who ended up in Springville.

From this historical fiction she branched out, with a range of titles including the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, set in the community of “Bear Creek,” which bears a resemblance to Springville.
Marilyn and I have talked about writing from time to time. I told her once that my own attempts at fiction had been blocked by my failure to understand the concept of theme.

“Oh, I don’t worry about all of that,” she told me. “I just write stories that people might like to read.”

That’s true, and Marilyn’s prolific list attracts readers with online books and paperbacks. She’s also a teacher of writing and lectures at writer’s conferences throughout the country.

I settled in one recent evening to enjoy Kindred Spirits, Marilyn’s latest novel, expecting a good read and to wonder who the characters might resemble in real life or what local landmarks might find themselves transformed to her fictional setting.

I wasn’t disappointed.

But Kindred Spirits rises above Marilyn’s previous work.

Just as heroine Tempe Crabtree expands her horizons, traveling from Bear Creek to a special assignment on an Indian Reservation on California’s north coast, Meredith seems to have expanded her story-telling ability in Kindred Spirits.

Tempe comes into her own as a law enforcement officer, balancing her heritage, professional and personal relationships better than she has in the past and Marilyn skillfully weaves her character’s metamorphosis into a story which also introduces readers to the plight of the Tolowa Indians who live near Crescent City where part of the story is set.

For those, like me, who enjoy novels with realistic and somewhat familiar settings, Kindred Spirits offers the locale represented by Bear Creek along with Crescent City and Santa Barbara.
Meredith’s latest work is richly textured with interesting, well developed characters and a story line that leaves you guessing to nearly the last page. It’s her best work so far.

More information about Meredith and her work is available online at

--Claudia Elliott, Editor, Southern Sierra Messenger

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Latest Review for Kindred Spirits

I was thrilled to receive this review:

"I recently had the pleasure of reviewing KINDRED SPIRITS, the seventh title in Marilyn Meredith‛s well-received Tempe Crabtree series. Tempe must deal with the history and culture of the Tolowa tribe in this latest case involving an artist found dead in her studio after a forest fire. Husband Hutch is a Christian minister whose views on Indian culture and spirituality have sometimes been problematic, causing tension in his and Tempe's marriage. But in this novel, Hutch becomes more supportive of Tempe‛s work and her views on life and religion.

"I enjoyed this book mainly because of the unique characters involved in the story. Meredith's knowledge of Native American history and a plot involving several suspects added much appreciated depth of the story. If you'd like to read my full review of the book, please visit and search under 'Authors' for Marilyn Meredith."

Mary V. Welk

The Rhodes to Murder mystery series, including A Merry Little Murder
In print from Echelon Press LLC
Also available as an ebook at

You can order Kindred Spirits from
or through any of the online bookstores.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What I've Been Thinking About

First, I never intended to write in my blog nearly everyday--but that's what I've been doing lately. Partly because I wrote two book reviews that I wanted to post, but other things come popping into my mind.

Because I'll have a new book in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series I've been thinking about ways to promote it. Of course once I have a copy of the cover, I'll be making business cards. I've been thinking about where to have a book launch in my town, and where it should be. Because the book is called, No Sanctuary and about two churches, two ministers and their wives, and murder, I'm toying with the idea of having it in the fellowship hall of my church. Of course this is dependent upon whether or not the pastor is willing. We'll see. Haven't broached the subject with him as yet.

I have an author friend who was once the pastor at our church (when he was very young with a wife and three little girls) and when he first began writing I helped him--almost every day. He moved, pastored another church, and then got into writing full time. He's done quite a few spiritually oriented books, but lately has branched out a bit. He co-authored Steven Baldwin's story, and Alec Baldwin's latest about his messy divorce, and he also wrote a mystery with Steven. I'm anxious to read the mystery.

Tomorrow I head to the Chowchilla Library at Kings Ave. and 3rd St., where I'll have my books for sale along with other authors from 10:30 to 2:30. I'm pretty much ready for that.

Next week will be taken up with preparations for Thanksgiving--though I'll not be cooking, we're headed for our youngest daughter's for the big feast.

I've got about four pending jobs for writing program designs for people desiring to go into the residential care business. Though it's not my favorite kind of writing, it does bring in money. The hardest part is getting these people to give me all the information I need to write the program. For some reason, they seem to think I can read their minds.

And that's what I've been thinking about.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blast From the Past

Today I received an email from youngest daughter asking me if I remembered a friend of my eldest son's from long ago when both were in grammar school and Cub Scouts named Lydell. I not only remember Lydell, I also remembered his last name, Marsh.

As it happens, this now grown-up man plays keyboard for a Christian Rock Band that's been playing at my daughter's church. He told the pastor he thought he knew her, called her the carrot-top (she has red hair) and said he played at our house all the time when he was growing up.

Lydell was a skinny black kid. We lived in this marvelous mixed racial neighborhood during the 60s and 70s. I ate chitterlings for the first time at his house when visiting his mom.

Of course we were all poor, but we'd all managed to buy houses for little down. I was PTA president at the grammar school for two years. I remember one of the black mom's telling me, "All you white PTA ladies look alike." Made me laugh.

Our kids didn't see color. We had all shades running in and out of our house, spending the night, eating with us. It was strange, because it was during a time of really strained racial relations, but our neighborhood, black, white, Mexican, Oriental and who knows what else, managed to get along.

I can remember hoping that each of my five kids would marry someone of a different race so my grandkids would all look different. I managed to get part Native American grandkids and some part Mexican, but that's all so far. (I don't have any trouble telling anyone apart--though I do have trouble coming up with the right names sometimes.)

My son, Mark, who was friends with Lydell is no longer with us. At age 42 he lost his fight with multiple myeloma. Of course we miss him. But it was fun and a bit of tug on my heart to take this stroll down memory lane where Mark is still alive and well and bringing home all sorts of friends to meet his family.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Oh my goodness, how I wished I’d purchased The Frugal Editor when I first started hearing about it. The author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, also wrote The Frugal Book Promoter, my own copy is dog-eared and highlighted and I’ve given copies to my author friends.

Today I was fortunate to read The Frugal Editor for the first time. Every author, published or not, should have a copy of this guide to editing. Not only are the usual problems with editing covered: from the proper use of pronouns, how and when to use quotation marks and ellipses , when to use lie and lay, to finding your writing idiosyncrasies–and yes, we all have them–also included are many amazing ways to use your word processing program to help with your editing.

The book is easy to use and one of the most comprehensive instructions to editing I’ve ever seen. I should have had this one in hand when I edited my last book. It might have helped me to prevent the gremlins that crept into the galley.

I highly recommend The Frugal Editor.

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at


Monday, November 17, 2008

Book Review of Billy

Billy, by William Paul McKay & Ken Abraham, published by Thomas Nelson

Though I’ve read other books about Billy Graham, Billy takes an entirely different look at Billy Graham through the eyes of a good friend and fellow evangelist, Charles Templeton. Unfortunately Templeton loses his faith and tries to convince Billy that he’s naive to continue believing in the Bible as truth.

The story begins with Billy reveling in a baseball win at high school and follows him as he attends his first revival meeting–the beginning of his search for what he should do in life. While attending college he meets the love of his life, Ruth.

Billy’s faith develops and grows as he becomes a successful evangelist while at the same time, as Charles also becomes a successful preacher, his faith is shattered. While at Forest Home, a mountain top retreat, Charles does his best to shake Billy’s faith and nearly succeeds. Billy calls out to God and God speaks to him.

From the retreat, Billy goes on to have his first tent meetings in Los Angeles. He preached to drunks and movie stars as well as the ordinary person, offering them the chance to accept Jesus Christ as their redeemer. I particularly enjoyed this part as I attended a few of these meetings when I was fifteen and my parents were volunteer workers for this first Billy Graham Crusade.

I remember the huge tent and all the people, and the spiritual excitement as throngs who went forward when Mr. Graham called people to come forward and accept Christ as their Savior.

The book ends with a final meeting between Billy and Charles when both are elderly. Despite Charles’ lack of faith, Billy still loves his friends.

For those who like to read about influential people who are guided by their faith in God, I recommend Billy.

Marilyn Meredith

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Promotion and Etc.

I'll begin with the Etc.

After I finally was able to print out the writing job I'd been paid for (Word was giving me a hard time with page numbers--it was like a gremlin was at work busily changing numbers like crazy) and getting it ready for mailing, I headed down to Porterville to take care of some business. I was so frustrated I needed to get away from my computer for awhile. (I have three more writing jobs pending plus a ghost writing gig that may or may not come through. I need to get started on a new Rocky Bluff P.D. book. I do have ideas racing around in my head.)

Today I'm headed to Russo's Books on Ming in Bakersfield for a book signing from 12 to 2. As I've stated before, bookstores are my least favorite places for promotion. However, I love Russo's and lovely independent store. I try to do at least one signing there a year. I've sent out lots of email notices and a few snail mail letters. We'll see how that works out.

Next weekend I'll be with several other authors at the Chowchilla Library for a book festival from 10:30 to 2:30. I've done some online promo.

We have no bookstores in either Springville where I live or Porterville which is the nearest big city. I have to find other places to have signings. The weekend of December 6th I'll be in the Jenuine Junque (a unique second-hand store) from 10 a.m. to 5. Advertised as a time to come talk to me about my latest book, Kindred Spirits, buy a book for a Christmas present, and talk about writing or just visiting. I'll be bringing cookies. (In case you're near Springville and want to come, the store is on Highway 190 next to the parking lot of Sequoia Dawn.)

The following weekend, December 12 and 13, from 10 to 5 both days, I'll be in Porterville at the Art Association's Gallery. While the artists are selling their wares, I'll have a table with my books available. I'm taking cookies there too. (This one is located on Main St. in Porterville. There is parking behind the Subway store, the Art Gallery, is across the street, but on the same side as the Subway.)

For both events I should have some publicity in the local newspapers. I've given books and information about both my book and what I'll be doing to the editor of one and the events editor of another.

For me, these events are far better than getting my books in bookstores. I recently received a royalty check from one of my publishers for the sale of two older books both in the $13 range that sold through regular bookstores. The check was for $1.26.

That's when reality sets in. Even if my books were selling big in regular bookstores, by the time the bookstore gets its cut, then Ingram, then the publisher, there's not much left for me.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Email and Me

Every day I do all the many things everyone else does, just to get going.

Part of my schedule is reading emails. I get work through my emails: I work for a ghostwriting company and I always receive my jobs through email and I usually do all my back-and-forth interviewing for the ghostwriting the same way. I'm still doing program designs for people wanting to get into the residential care business--and I'm continuing on as the newsletter editor for one of the organizations for that industry. Besides getting queries for the program designs via email, that also is how I receive most of my news about the industry.

Of course email is the major way of keeping up with the writing industry as well as major promotion.

Though I still go out and do lots of personal promotion--more than half of my promotion is done online.

This Saturday (the 15th) I'll be at Russo's Books in the Marketplace on Ming Ave. in Bakersfield. Though this date was set during the summer, I went to their website and noticed my signing wasn't on the calendar. Since I've been plugging the signing for awhile, I quickly emailed Mike Russo who apologized and immediately put me on the calendar--oversight on his part.

Email is how I find out about many of my in-person gigs. Next weekend, Saturday, Nov.22) I'll be at the Chowchilla Library (10:30 to 2:30) at a bookfair. Notice of this came to my in-box.

I'm going to have a get-together and book signing at Jenuine Junque (a fun up-scale second hand store) in my hometown of Springville on Saturday, December 6th. I'm putting up posters and handing out flyers--but the majority of my promo is and will be via email.

The following Saturday (December 13th) I'll be joining artists from 10 to 5 in the Porterville Art Gallery, my books will be on sale along with the paintings. I met the president of the Porterville Art Association when I was selling books at the Apple Festival and she mentioned me joining them as a possibility and gave me her card. I followed up via email and was given the go-ahead the same way.

After all this I must confess that I have a phobia about making phone calls, email has been wonderful for me. Not only that, I can write an email anytime of day or night without worrying about finding someone home or disturbing a meal.

Email is probably the most wonderful invention to come along--at least for me.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Hubby and I have spent this Veteran's Day much like most others. Though he is a veteran of 21 years in the Seabees--and I'm a 21 year veteran as a Seabee's wife--though extremely proud of his time spent serving his country, he doesn't talk about it much. He's not one of these vets who hangs around the VFW talking about the war years.

Though he spent time in other countries: Spain, Cuba, Bermuda, Greenland, Alaska and three tours of duty in Vietnam during the war, once he got out of the service he moved on. He finally devoted his time to being a dad to his five kids, learning how to fix washing machines etc. for Sears, and after 15 years of that, moving with me and the one teenager left at home to Springville, where together we owned and operated a home for six developmentally disabled women. We did that for 23 years.

Now, in our senior years, he mostly does chores around this old house of ours and goes with me on book selling trips and mystery conventions. We've had a great time--flying to cities we'd never even thought about visiting, making all sorts of new friends. We're having fun and isn't that what you're supposed to do when you're in your 70's?

When we're flying somewhere though, and he's wearing his Seabee cap, he can't help being pleased when some young person thanks him for his service--something that never happened during the Vietnam War.

To all of the veterans and their families--enjoy the day and enjoy one another.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gone Again

We're headed to Temecula in the morning to attend the Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Festival and with good friend and fellow author, Sunny Frazier, give two presentations. We'll be talking about promotion in the morning and alternate means of getting published in the afternoon.

While I'm gone, I'll have my Blackberry with me for emails, but I don't take a computer which means no blogging.

I don't mind taking a break from blogging. Sometimes it consumes my day, and right now I have two books to finish and need to start planning two more. May do some of that while we're driving to Temecula--and maybe not since the traffic is horrendous going in that direction.

The first night we'll be spending with one of our granddaughter and her family. It's a good time to catch up with them. They have two delightful children: Peyton and Garrett, 6 and 2. Peyton does those Irish dances and competes and she's a Brownie. Garrett is all boy.

The second night we'll go to our grandson's and he has three kids: Emily, Olivia and Ethan. Great kids--lots of talent and extremely loving. We have a favorite Mexican restaurant we like to take them to down there.

So, as you can see, it'll be an extremely busy weekend--one I'm looking forward to.

Now, back to my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery in progress. Have to do the edits from last night's critique group.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

I read a lot of blogs and post on several regularly–including this one, which is my own. Sometimes it’s hard to come out with something interesting to say. Since today is election day, I could talk about the election, but I made up my mind and voted absentee ballot a long time ago. No matter who wins, things are not going to be mixed right away after the new president takes office.

I wasn’t thrilled with either of the candidates. Unfortunately, the old saying, “politics corrupts” is all too true. In order to even run for office, a candidate has to make concessions, often concession that even he doesn’t believe in.

But no matter, that’s not my point here, I’m supposed to be talking about blogs.

I try to put something on every day. I have no idea whether that’s helpful or not, but I have a lot of followers though I don’t know if that means they read my posts or not. I glance through the posts of people I’m following and most of what they have to say isn’t very interesting–I hope I’m doing a better job.

Every Tuesday, I post on the Stilleto Gang.
It is is a blog for cozy writers. I never thought my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries were cozies–but I don’t use bad language or write about explicit sex–so maybe that’s why my series qualifies. On that blog, I’ve noticed that some of my fellow authors have beliefs quite different from mine though no one has come right out and said they are for or against anything–but I’ve learned to notice the nuances. That’s what makes it fun. We are all unique.

I’m very fond of this blog because of the diversity of the topics and the bloggers, and I hope that readers enjoy the diversity.

Another fun post I do regularly is Make Mine Murder. . I post on the first and third Tuesdays with that one.

There are other blogs that I post on ever so often. The one thing about blogs is that it helps if people make comments–so I try to make a comment on every post I read. You also should sign up to be a follower of any blog you really enjoy.

Some blogs are just fun to read. Others are more promotion than anything. When I go on a blog tour, I get interviewed, am asked to post first chapters, tell where my plot came from and all sorts of interesting things. A lot of blogs have writing tips, or grammar and punctuation rules.

Times have truly changed. Whether or not blogging helps with the promotion of one’s books, I have no idea–but it has certainly created a community that no one even imagined merely a couple of years ago.

Blog on–


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Murder in Los Lobos by Sue McGinty

Marilyn: Sue, I've known you for a long time and we're friends through Sisters in Crime Central Coast chapter. I know you've been writing short stories and children's books. I've read your new mystery, Murder in Los Lobos, and loved it.

Sue: Thanks, Marilyn. I really treasure our friendship and all the direction, guidance and inspiration you've given me over the years. You're definitely on my short-list of heroes. As you say, I've written short stories, mostly mysteries as well as a passel of freelance articles. I've also completed a middle-grade novel set in the WWII timeframe, SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR. It's kind of a cross between Nancy Drew and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. At this writing, it's still "pre-published" as they say.

Will you please tell me what inspired you to write this story?

Sue: A combination of several things. At the risk of betraying my technical-writer background, here's a numbered list.

1) After meeting an ex-nun married to an ex-priest (they were 60 when they married) and reading SPIRAL STAIRCASE (a true story about leaving religious life), I became fascinated with what a woman's life would be like after 25 in the convent. How would she adjust to the fast pace of secular society? What about making a living, dating, sex? What if she married an ex-cop, since law enforcement comes with its own set of baggage?

2) Most of my writing "situations" are based on their real-life counterparts. As you know, my town, Los Osos, California, is infamous for its wastewater crisis, which has gone on for 35 years. One day I thought, "Someone could get murdered over this," and that started a "What if?" train of thought, the genesis for all fiction.

3) The loony-tunes family, the Mercados, were a composite of several dysfunctional families I've read about and known over the years. Family dynamics fascinate me and at some point they became very important to the story. And I had fun with the Los Lobos Coast Region Utilities District (CRUD) and all its foibles, not to be confused with my own hometown's sewer politics, you understand. Actually I went out of my way for obvious reasons to invent original CRUD characters.

Marilyn: Describe your heroine. Is she like anyone you know? You, perhaps?

Sue: Well, like the Mercados, Bella Kowalski a composite character. Outwardly feisty and no-nonsense, she struggles with an undercurrent of nameless, formless anxiety due to the murder of her sister. She also struggles with her faith, and has real doubts about the role of God in her life. I see this as a series of three. I've almost finished the second book and I'm still not sure how her crisis of faith is going to be resolved, or if it is. Mike, her husband, is a complex character and I'm not sure what happens to them as a couple either.

She's like me I guess in her love of tea. Bella and I can out-tea-drink the English and that's saying a lot. She and I have many good conversations over a "cuppa" and we help each other a lot. I never thought of this before, but I suppose she's the sister I never had. Due to her time in religious life, Bella has the strongly developed sense of justice that in the best Nancy Drew fashion, gets her into all kinds of scrapes.

Marilyn: Is Los Lobos a real place?

Sue: Sort of. It's based on Los Osos, of course, but to drive the story I added things that don't exist, like a cemetery on a hill behind the Catholic church and Connie Mercado's thrift store and wedding chapel across from Volumes of Pleasure, a real bookstore. The wedding chapel looks suspiciously like the one at Coalesce Bookstore in nearby Morro Bay.

Marilyn: The cover is absolutely gorgeous. Do you want to tell me a bit about how it came about?

Sue: You bet. The cover was done by Terre Dunivant of Gaia Graphics in San Luis Obispo. The first murder takes place in Escarpa el Dorado, which is really supposed to be Montana de Oro, a drop-dead (no pun intended) state park just outside of town. I wanted the cover to depict the murder scene and Terre took my ideas and just ran with them. The "dead" body on the rocks is my 21-year-old granddaughter. Terre took 200+ shots to get that great cover photo. It took three hours on a cold and windy February afternoon. My granddaughter got so wet and cold she changed her clothes three times. We went out for menudo afterwards to warm up.

Marilyn: What are your writing habits? Where do you write?

Sue: I pretty much write first thing in the morning before my head gets jumbled up with other garbage. If I start writing, even if it's only for an hour, I'll come back to it later. But if I start something else first, I seem to end up not writing at all. Lately, it's been harder, because there are so many details to attend to with the book coming out. I guess that's not news to you. One thing I don't do—wait for inspiration to hit. It's been my experience that it almost never hits if I don't sit down at the computer. I guess that comes from making a living as a technical writer. Due dates didn't allow time to wait for inspiration.

Marilyn: What kind of things are you doing to promote Murder in Los Lobos? I know you have a book launch planned. Will you tell about that?

Sue: Of course, my dear. We're having a "Scene of the Clue" book launch at the previously-mentioned Coalesce Bookstore and Wedding Chapel, 845 Main Street, Morro Bay, info: 805-772-2880. The date is Sunday, November 9th, from 1-4 PM. Food and drink, readings, a signing, the whole thing.

The book is going to be carried county-wide in the SLO library system and I'm giving a book talk at the Los Osos library on December 4th, at 6:30 PM. I also plan other library appearances, as many as possible. I'm making a brief speech about how the book got published at the Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College September 27th. I'm passing out author postcards everywhere including the Los Osos Chamber of Commerce. I also plan to contact various civic organizations about speaking engagements. I have a huge To-Do list at this point.

Marilyn: Do you have a webpage?

Sue: Is the Pope Catholic? It's done by Karen McCullough of Karen's Web Works and it's just beautiful. There's another Sue McGinty who's an Australian anthropologist and prolific author and that makes Googling my name difficult.

Marilyn: What plans do you have for the future? Is this book the first in a series?

Sue: As I said, I see the Bella Kowalski mysteries as a series of three. The second one, which I'm plugging along on, deals with murder and exploitation among the homeless, some of whom are sheltered in the churches in our area. It's working title is MURDER AT CAYAMACA BEACH. I'm also planning a prequel about what happens to Bella when she's still in the convent and her sister is murdered. Bella is from Detroit and her parents lived the whole immigrant experience and this in turn has shaped her worldview, which I think is pretty much the same as mine.

Thanks for the opportunity to do this, Marilyn. Some surprising things just kind of popped out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Adult Members of Our Houshold in Costume

Believe it or not, these are the adults who either live with us or in the rental next door--all relatives but one.

Jumpsuit is Chris, our grandson who is living with us for awhile, Holly, a Playboy Bunny for the evening, is granddaughter's friend, Jessi, granddaughter, playing a very sexy cop, Elaine, daughter-in-law is a lady boxer, note the pink boxing gloves, and my son, a very scary gladiator. The muscles are his.

Hope they have a safe and sane time. The younger ones all have dates. They're headed for a Halloween party at a club.

Glad I'm not going with them. Years ago when our kids were all still at home and young, we had lots of Halloween parties. The house we lived in then had a great party room. We moved all the furniture against the walls, put all the goodies on the ping pong table, and danced away the night.

The days are long gone for this old lady. Hubby and I are going to watch a movie on DVD and Ghost Whisperer. Tomorrow I've got a book festival in Bakersfield, so it'll be a fairly early night.


Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. When I was a kid it was a time to gather as many free goodies as possible. I grew up during WWII and candy wasn't easy to come by. Sugar was rationed, so even the baking of cakes and cookies was limited. My grammar school went all out for Halloween. Everyone wore their costumes to school and we paraded around the school yard. (I have old movies to prove it.) Then we returned in the evening for bobbing for apples, other old fashioned games and lots of goodies.

When I had my own kids, the oldest ones took the younger ones trick-or-treating, and I had the great fun of handing out the treats. Some years I dressed as a hag or something else scary. My favorite was when I made a scary looking box and the kids had to reach inside for their treat.

One of my nephews dressed up like a skeleton with a skull mask and a skeleton hand to give out the candy. He scared everyone so much that he didn't have to hand out much candy, instead the kids went screaming away from the house.

I've always loved scary movies (not the slasher kind), haunted houses, ghosts, and all things that go bump in the night.

Now we live at the end of a long, dark lane and very few kids are brave enough to traipse down here. I buy the candy, but we end up eating it.

Happy Halloween all you ghouls and goblins out there!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ode to Tony HIllerman

Tony Hillerman passed away this last week. He will be missed both as a person and a writer.

Though I was never fortunate enough to meet Mr. Hillerman, I read all of his books. Of course his books about the Navajo and other Indians had an influence on me--and was part of the reason I created an Indian heroine.

What he wrote gave me an interest in the Native American culture that I'd never had before.

What I've learned is that in many ways, Indians are much like all the rest of us. There are good and bad among them, they love and hate, care for one another and sometimes do things they are sorry for later.

I went to school with only one person of Native American heritage--and back then it wasn't popular to have Indian blood. My fellow student is now a professor and an expert on Native American culture.

When we first moved to the foothills of the Sierra, I had no idea we lived near an Indian reservation, nor anything about it or the people who lived there. As time went on and I learned more about the history of Springville and its surroundings, I also learned about the Yokut Indians, some of their past and their culture.

I met a woman who was an elder of the tribe, a most interesting and intelligent woman. Later, I met her daughter and learned more about this family.

I'm not sure when the idea came to me that the female deputy I was writing about should have Native blood--but this added another dimension to Deputy Tempe Crabtree. Along with this decision, I had to do some research and find out more about the local Indians.

Since then, I've made several trips to the reservation, talked to more Native people, learned more about their traditions and legends, some of which are reflected in my books.

I've branched out, learned about the Tolowa people, becoming good friends with a Tolowa woman, and writing about them.

Though I haven't written about the Native people of Alaska, I have several good friends there. One of whom I was fortunate enough to stay with for several days and got acquainted with her mom and dad and heard some great stories.

My respect for these people who have had a difficult past to overcome, but a rich and colorful heritage, has grown over the years.

If it hadn't been for Tony Hillerman's novels stirring my interest and curiosity, I might never have taken the time to learn about the Native people who live where I live and elsewhere.

Thank you, Mr. Hillerman, may you rest in peace.


Monday, October 27, 2008

This and That

Just got home from Las Vegas. No, I didn't go to gamble, hubby and I went to first, celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary and stayed with my sis and her hubby. Went to dinner, visited, watched old family movies and talked and talked.

Second, I had a booksigning at Cheescake and Crime in Henderson NV. That's is a wonderful bookstore! Didn't have many people at the signing, but those who came were greatly appreciated. Two PSWA members, a wife, and the president of Epic, as well as my sis and her husband. Instead of giving the talk I'd planned, we sat around a table and visited--talked about writing and all sorts of interesting topics.

While traveling I read David Morrell's Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing. Wonderful book on the craft of writing, in fact one of the best I've ever read!

I'm exhausted, but wanted to post a bit today.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Delightful Morning

This morning I gave a presentation to the Anthropology class at Porterville College. The first time I did it, the professor asked me to talk about the Tule River Indians. Those are the Native American group that I borrow from for my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.

I say "borrow from" because I've changed the name of the actual tribe in my novels. I certainly don't presume to be an expert. As I told the professor, I'm writing fiction. However, I went and talked to the young students and had a great time.

Because my latest book is about the Tolowa people, I offered to come and tell his class this year what I knew about them. He was enthusiastic as he said he didn't know much about them.

As usual, I gave everyone in the class a copy of Deadly Omen , the first book in the series. It has a lot about a Pow Wow and quite a bit about the local reservation--but, like I said, I borrow from it rather than give an actual depiction. (Igave the professor a copy of Intervention, because he already had the first book.)

This time I was able to show copies of drawings by Junie Mattice, my Tolowa friend, and also some photos she sent me of Tolowa dancers and drummers.

I think it's important to let people know how close to extermination the Tolowa people came during the 1800s--when the then Governor of California decided it was a good idea to tell the citizens (Indians weren't considered citizens) to get rid of as many native people as possible.

Though I was born and raised in California and attended California schools, I never heard about this attempted extermination of the native people. It's never too late to educate folks.

In my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Kindred Spirits, some of their history is part of the story.

This was essentially what I told the class about as well as my friendship with Junie and the fact that I based two characters in the book on her because she has such a dynamic personality.

It was an extremely attentive class and I enjoyed talking with them--and they asked interesting and intelligent questions.

Book Fair in Chowchilla

To Benefit Central Valley Writers Workshop
and Friends of the Chowchilla Library

Published authors from Springville (of course that's me) to Modesto will be available to sell and sign their books on Saturday, November 22 from 10:30 to 2:30 in the Chowchilla Library, corner of Kings Avenue and 3rd Street .

Pleasure reading, informative, and suitable for gifts,

they include:

Fiction and non-fiction; mystery to romance; Children's books; biographies and how-to books

Join us to meet our local authors. Support and encourage their writings.

Hope to see some of you there!

And I'm also on the following blog today:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Soap Box Time

(I wrote this on another blog I'm on, but I think it's important enough to repeat on my own blog.)

I'm back on my soap box once again. On DorothyL, the premiere list for mystery fans and authors, they've been discussing the fact that Bouchercon has voted against discriminating against small press as far as allowing their authors to serve on panels. (They won't let self-pubbed or those who paid to be published however unless they've won a prestigious prize.)

Left Coast Crime on the other hand will not allow any author published by a non-MWA approved publisher be on a panel. Though going to mystery cons is an enjoyable experience, they are very expensive. If you can't be on a panel, your books will not be in the book room. If you're not on a panel of course no one will be able to purchase your book. For an author, part of the reason to go to a con is to let people know about your book.

I've decided to only attend mystery cons and writers conferences where I can be on a panel or be a speaker, for several reasons. I want the most for my promotion dollar. I also want to be able to take the trip off my income tax. And most of all, I'm really tired of this discrimination against authors who aren't published by MWA approved publishers.

Another big decision I've made is not to pay my next year's dues to MWA. I've been a member for years--but they haven't really done anything for me except to discriminate against me. I get far more out of other organization I belong to such as Epic and the Public Safety Writers Association, and the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters and Crime as well as the Internet chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Now I'll climb off my soap box.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Review, Interview and Contest

If you have time I'd love for you to go to: and read the review, interview and enter the contest.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Tour and More

This where I'm visiting this week:

Oct 13

Oct 14

Oct 15

Oct 16

Oct 17

I just returned from the WOW conference in Scottsdale AZ and have tons of work to do--as usual, but it was a terrific conference. A highlight for me was meeting and introducing thriller writer, David Morrell (First Blood-Rambo and many others).

Of course I met many, many more lovely and great people. Becca Buckley should be commended for putting on a "Wow" of a conference.

The big thing I heard from all of the speakers--except the New York publishers--was things are changing. Small presses are blooming, ways of selling books are changing.

Since I just got home have mountains of work to do so that's it for now.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Moving Right Along

Here's a new book trailer for Kindred Spirits.

It's really a lot of work to promote a book. Blogging is great, but you must keep putting new content onto your blog to keep it interesting so people will want to come back.

It's also important to post on the listserves that you belong to, so people remember you and your book.

I've sent a lot of books off to folks for review and so far have only received three reviews. Two were wonderful, one was okay. The okay one kind of gives away the end, and also let me know that the reviewer doesn't understand that there are different kinds of mysteries, some are not puzzles, some the detective or sleuth knows or suspects who the murderer is but has to find a way to prove it--more or less what happens in Kindred Spirits.

My calendar is full of book signings, book and craft fairs, in fact, something is happening every weekend except for Thanksgiving weekend and including the first weekend in December.

And of course, I'm on a virtual book tour which means I need to check in ever so often at the blog sites.

That's only part of what's going on. The real life part of living is pretty hectic too.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

New Review Found on DorothyL

"Finished Marilyn Meredith's KINDRED SPIRITS, and was sorry it ended.

As always, I enjoy entering Tempe Crabtree's world. In this book, not only is there a murder--in the midst of one of those awful California fires we hear so much about--it's all tied up with
the Tolowa Indians and what our ancestors did to eradicate them. Not a pretty part of our history, but important for us to learn, I think.

Their story repeats, with even more devastation, what also happened to the Plains Indians in my area. (I was born in Oklahoma--Indian Territory--and now live next to one section of the
Cherokee's Trail of Tears.)

I continue to be amazed at how much truth, be it history, or current problems, that we can learn through reading fiction. I often speak of the importance of reading fiction in our learning
process. For example, many novels hold the voices of our past, even when the material substance of those voices has vanished.

That's certainly the case in this novel. And I am familiar enough with this author to trust the truth of what her novels teach me. I have enjoyed every one I've read!" Radine Trees Nehring

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Next Stop on Blog Tour and the Reagan Library is where I am today.

Tomorrow I'll be here:

We just got back from what my eldest daughter called a field trip. She and her hubby and mine all went to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. What a beautiful place! The setting is gorgeous as is the view. We toured the museum, went aboard Air Force One, saw a replica of the rose garden at the White House, visited Ronald Reagan's grave. Most exciting though was they had the actual Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Going on Another Blog Tour

This is where I'll be visiting all month long. Hope I'll see you at one of my stops!

Oct 1

Oct 2

Oct 3

Oct 6

Oct 7

Oct 8

Oct 9

Oct 10

Oct 13

Oct 14

Oct 15

Oct 16

Oct 17

Oct 20

Oct 21 and

Oct 22

Oct 23

Oct 24

Oct 27

Oct 28

Oct 29

Oct 30

Oct 31

First Review for Kindred Spirits

Reviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos on The Book Connection.

Murder, ghostly visions, and a quest for justice are woven together to create an engaging story in Kindred Spirits, the latest in Marilyn Meredith's Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

A forest fire rushes through the mountains of Bear Creek as Tempe searches for local artist Vanessa Ainsworth. When Vanessa's body turns up inside her burnt out studio with a bullet hole, Detectives Morrison and Richards seek Tempe's help in finding out who could have behind what might have been a perfect murder.

Even though Tempe and Hutch's marriage is on the rocks, Tempe takes a trip to Crescent City to visit with Vanessa's family and friends to see if she can find any clues to who might have wanted Vanessa dead. Tempe's involvement in the case puts her in danger, but she knows she'll never be rid of the ghostly visions haunting her until she brings Vanessa's killer to justice.

In this installment of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Meredith brings back Tempe, Hutch, and members of the Bear Creek Sheriff's Office and gives them a mission: to prove who killed local artist, Vanessa Ainsworth. While in Judgment Fire--the book before this one in the series that I reviewed here--Tempe and the gang had a full slate of suspects, in Kindred Spirits their efforts are combined to prove the one person who couldn't possibly have committed the crime, did it. And even though I typically prefer a "who done it" kind of mystery, this novel had me on the edge of my seat as Tempe dodged threat after threat to bring Vanessa's murderer to justice.

Again Meredith has woven Native American history, small town charm, and a quest for the truth to provide an entertaining read for mystery and crime fans. And while Tempe is still dealing with the prejudice of being the only woman in the Bear Creek Sheriff's Office, she finds Detective Morrison an unexpected ally in this latest installment, perhaps forever changing their working relationship and making me eager to see what the next book will bring for Morrison and Tempe. True to form, Meredith has made the personal lives of her characters an integral part of the story and the reader is eager to see if Tempe and Hutch, her minister husband, can find their way back to each other. Involving Hutch in Tempe's case makes for many tense moments as they each deal with concern for the other's safety, even though they are worlds apart on issues that might have forever changed their marriage.

A great read that mystery and crime readers will certainly enjoy, Kindred Spirits proves why Marilyn Meredith's fans keep coming back for more!

Title: Kindred Spirits
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press, LLC
ISBN-10: 1-59426-735-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-59426-735-2
U.S. Price: $12.95