Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Virtual Book Tour for Smell of Death

This is where I'll be bopping around on my virtual book tour for the month of February. Do come and see what I'm up to.

Feb 4 (spotlight)
Feb 5 (interview)
Feb 6 (interview)
Feb 7 (interview)
Feb 8 (forum Q & A)
Feb 11 (guest post)
Feb 12 (review)
Feb 13 (interview) and (podcast)
Feb 14
Feb 15
Feb 18 (guest post)
Feb 19 (if I have time to review the book I will)
Feb 20 (review and guest post)
Feb 21 (interview)
Feb 22
Feb 25
Feb 26
Feb 27 (interview) and (interview)
Feb 28
Date: TBD Mystery Dawg


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Luv is Murder

Thursday morning around 3 a.m. hubby and I will be heading off to the airport to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Chicago. We're attending Luv is Murder, the mystery conference, for the first time. Fellow author and friend, Mary Welk, suggested we try it.

Hubby and I both enjoy going to mystery conferences and conventions. We've made a lot of friends who it's always great to see once again. Of course this is also a way to hopefully find new readers for my books. I'll be on two panels and there are plenty of others I want to visit.

I'll be joining two authors who are on other blogs with me, Morgan Mandel on Mystery Turles, and Evelyn David on the new Stiletto Gang Blog. The first post will be up tomorrow. I'll be posting regularly on Tuesdays.

One great thing about attending a con of any kind, is that you leave all your daily duties behind. Though I may think about what I ought to be doing occasionally, most of the time I'll be having fun talking to people who are writers like I am, people who understand what we do and why we do it.

When I get home, I'll share some of the highlights.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some Tidbits about Smell of Death

My latest book, Smell of Death, the fourth in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series has it’s roots in several places.

I began writing the series with the idea in mind of showing how the families of police officers and what goes on with them affects the job, and how the job affects the families.

Many of the characters, good and bad, in the first three books were inspired by the police officers and their families who lived in our neighborhood years ago. These were people we partied with, and I had coffee breaks with their wives.

Another inspiration was my son-in-law who was a police officer in Oxnard for 15 years and later lost his life as a deputy in El Dorado County. He bravely took me on my first ride-along; letting me follow him around as long as I promised not to tell anyone I was his mother-in-law.

When I moved to Springville, I went on two ride-alongs with officers of the Porterville P.D. Because I arrived early, I sat in on the shift change. When the men learned I was an author, they began telling stories, some of those stories have made their way into various books in the series, including one of the plot threads in Smell of Death.

I’m a member of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, and I dedicated the book to them and in particular to members and friends, Kate Anderson and Sunny Frazier. Both women were instrumental in bringing various law enforcement speakers to our meetings who also piqued my imagination.

Another strong influence on the writing of this series are the men and women who beong to Public Safety Writers of America, some active duty law enforcement, others retired.

Though I’ve certainly borrowed from real life, all the characters and situations are fictional though the people and men and women in the Rocky Bluff P.D. are quite real to me.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Smell of Death, you can read the first chapter on my website:

The book can be purchased through my website or from


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

Yep, I'm doing it again. In February, I'll be bopping around in space, visiting one blog after another.

It should be interesting. I've certainly answered the most unusual questions and as directed, written some amazing and unusual articles about Smell of Death, the latest in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

If you're interested, you can take a look at

to give you an idea about the book and what I'm doing.

I've written it under the name of F. M. Meredith, but obviously it's no secret that it's me who wrote the book.

Years ago, I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of families where the husband was in law enforcement. We all partied together and the wives and I did coffee and our children were friends. I learned a lot about how the job affected the families and what was going on in the families affected the job.

Later, my daughter married a police officer. I experienced a lot first hand with him. Nearly every morning he came and had coffee with me and shared his experiences. I even went on a ride-along with him. He loved to tell his "war" stories.

We also lived in a beach community much like Rocky Bluff where Smell of Death and the other Rocky Bluff P.D. stories are set.

Like the other books in the series, this book is much darker than those in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I feel I must warn people who are fans of my Tempe books.

I do hope some of you will follow along on my virtual book tour and be brave enough to try Smell of Death.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Revisiting Sherlock Holmes

I belong to three Sisters in Crime chapters, San Joaquin, Central Coast and the Los Angeles chapters. The San Joaquin sisters meet in Fresno, the closest to home, though it takes about an hour and 45 minutes to get there, if there isn’t much traffic. I go whenever I can for two big reasons, I enjoy the company of mystery lovers many of whom are good friends, and there is almost always an interesting speaker. This time it was Wally Conger, a life-long Sherlock Holmes fan and collector.

He shared many interesting facts about Sherlock Holmes that I had never heard before and some intriguing insights. He pointed out that the hero on House is based on Sherlock Holmes in many ways. The doctor, House, is certainly a detective, he’s anti-social, a drug addict, doesn’t do well with relationships, all traits he has in common with Holmes. Another TV detective who has Holmes' traits is Monk.

The Sherlock Holmes books were published between 1887 and 1927. Conger believes the first books are the best. The worst stories were written after Homes “came back to life.” The popularity of the books came about because the first ones are really good. Most are short stories which came out as a series; the first two dozen came out once a month.

Moriarity is only in the final story when Holmes disappeared, presumably dead.

Conger said the reason they are so popular is because they are good stories set in the Victorian era with plenty of atmosphere. Holmes is a unique character, a problem solver, and a Sir Galahad type.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cared nothing about consistency. He was only concerned with the dramatic effects and didn’t worry about errors. For instance, Watson’s first name is John, but once his wife called him James. Some stories were written during the time Holmes was supposed to be dead. In different stories, Holmes' war wound turns up in different locations.

Most are written as though Dr. Watson wrote the stories, with only two coming from Holmes.

“The Cardboard Box” is considered the most risque of the short stories, though many have sexual elements.

Many authors have written new books with Sherlock Holmes as a character. There are even parodies of Sherlock Holmes, one was written my Mark Twain. Conger doesn’t like it when authors change the basic personalities of Watson and Holmes.

There are now three new movie versions of The Hounds of Baskervilles. There are other Sherlock Holmes movies that sound interesting that I’ll try to find and watch. “The Seven Percent Solution,” “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother,” “The Private Live of Sherlock Holmes”, “Study of Terror”, “Murder by Decree,” and “The Case of the Silk Stitching.”

The Sisters in Crime meeting made for a nice break in a very rainy California weekend.

There are even people who think Sherlock Holmes was a real person.

This was a fun meeting and I heard a lot I didn't know about Sherlock Holmes.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Off and Running

Yep, I'm off an running in planning my promotion for Smell of Death. Have the launch party lined up--have to make the invitations, but my posters to put around town are done.

I'm getting bookmarks made (if you want one, let me know), and I've been working on some of interviews for the blogs I'll be visiting on my Virtual Book Tour. That is far more time consuming than you might imagine. You want the interviews or articles to be interesting enough that people will want to read them, and you have to make sure each one is different.

In between, I've been skimming emails and trying to work on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. (Oh, and I did the laundry and changed the sheets on my bed--you know the stuff you have to do.)

We are in the middle of the first big storm coming through California and there's a leak in my office. Hubby has put up something to catch the drips--but will have to wait until this rash of storms is over before he can do anything about the roof.

Once I know where all I'm going on my Virtual Book Tour, I'll post it here and everywhere else I can think of.

Off I go again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Achieving Your Dream

"Every step I take brings me closer to the realization of my dreams." I was encouraged to repeat this phrase by Judi Moreo, author of You Are More Than Enough Achievement Journal (Stephens Press, Dec. '07) until I understood exactly what it meant.

I suppose I've been floundering around hoping that the things I've been doing would indeed bring me closer to my dream. And what is my dream? In the beginning it was to be a published author. I've certainly achieved that dream--but what I'm reaching for now is more readers. It's so wonderful when I hear from someone who has finished reading one of my books and enjoyed it enough to let me know.

So, of course, every step I take to let people know more about my books is a step closer to that dream--reaching more readers. to see the cover of Judi Moreo's book.

So what steps have you taken to realize your dreams?