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.