Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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
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!
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
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.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
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.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
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, http://www.mundaniapress.com 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.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595544941
–Marilyn Meredith, author of Kindred Spirits, Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Reviewed by Dawn Dowdle
Monday, December 1, 2008
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: http://www.publicsafetywriter.com
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.