Showing posts from January, 2009

The Time is Drawing Close

Yep, won't be long now before I'll actually be holding copies of No Sanctuary in my hands. Once that happens, I have to speed up the promotion.

I do already have quite a few speaking dates lined up in the months to come. I'm planning my launch for the last Saturday in February. Don't have everything finalized yet, but will soon.

Of course once I get books, I'll be asking people for reviews. Always scary, sending your book out into the cold to let someone decided if they like it or not. This time I'll concentrate on reviewers who liked Smell of Death, the one that came out last fall.

I'm so grateful to Billie Johnson, publisher of Oak Tree Press for rescuing the Rocky Bluff series when my former publisher decided to close down operations. This is the third publisher for this series--it has become like the Little Engine that Could or I should say, the crime series that wouldn't die.

I'll keep everyone posted as to what is happening.

aka F.M. Meredit…

TGIF Time for a Date With Hubby

Friday seems to be the day that hubby and I take time out for our busy schedules (how on earth did it get that way when we're both supposed to be retired) and head for the movies and usually a bite to eat in one of our local restaurants.

Oh, I must confess, we always do a few errands while we're at it. Hubby likes to go to town, but I do not--unless it's for something fun.

The rest of the week I concentrate on writing my next work in progress and promoting the latest book. Right now, I'm letting people know about No Sanctuary the next in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series due out shortly from Oak Tree Press.

Of course I'm excited about it and I've been busy planning the promotion on the Internet and in person.

This series has an interesting history, this is the third publisher. It was inspired by my son-in-law, a 15 year veteran of the Oxnard P.D. He loved to tell me stories about what he did at work each night and he once took me on a ride-along.

It is situated in a…

A Lot More to Do Than Just Write

I really do have a life outside of mystery writing.

For years I've been the newsletter editor for the California Residential Services Association--for Administrators of Community Care Homes in California. It means that I have to keep up with changes in the industry. Besides getting news from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Developmental Services, I also receive updates to the state regulations governing community care.

Probably where I get the most pertinent news though is from the administrators themselves--through phone calls and also attending CRSA's monthly board meetings.
I write the newsletter, keep the membership list up-to-date, and see that the newsletter is printed and sent out.

And of course, I do have to do the usual things everyone does to keep a house running, the laundry, cooking meals, grocery shopping (though I try to con my husband into doing it as much as possible). I have a huge family as anyone who reads my blog already knows and I'…

Seeking Libraries Who Need a Speaker

First off, I'd like to say, I'm looking for libraries who'd like to have a speaker who is a mystery writer. I'm interested in libraries located in Ventura County and the Central Valley (California).

I love to give talks about writing to patrons of libraries. I can give a presentation about How to Write a Mystery where everyone participates, or What it Takes to Be a Writer, Alternate Means of Publication, Creating Three-Dimensional Characters, Setting as Character, or How I came to Write my Latest Books, and others. You can check out the list of presentations I've given on my website:

I don't charge, but I do like to be able to have my books available for sale and I'll give a copy of my two latest books to the library.

Anyone who might be interested may contact me at:


One Last Check of No Sanctuary

My publisher, Oak Tree Press, sent me the PDF file of No Sanctuary one last time to check that the errors I'd found had been corrected--and they have been.

However, any writer knows that there are gremlins at work in manuscripts who like to put in errors so that when the book is finally published a reader will point out what is wrong much to the author's embarrassment.

Gremlins have been after me since the beginning. In Deadly Omen one of the first Deputy Tempe Crabtree books, Tempe drives a Blazer then a Bronco and then a Blazer etc. No one noticed, not my husband, me, nor my editor. But I got a phone call after my first signing from a reader to let me know what I'd done. Embarrassing.

The worst though was on the dedication page of Kindred Spirits where I had the wrong last name for the wonderful woman who introduced me to the Tolowa people and planted the idea for the book. I know how that one happened though, with the spell check, and unfortunately I didn't really chec…

Monday, Monday

Today I planned to rise early and write. Instead, I once again went over the galley for No Sanctuary at the suggestion of the publisher. What a good thing I did. I found a big time inconsistency. It's fixed now, thank goodness.

Then I went to town to my Internet provider as I purchased a mini-laptop with Internet capabilities. Well--found out from the girl at the desk, that I'll have to use it in a hotel or coffee shop where they have Wi-fi. Well, that'll probably work since I bought the laptop to use while I'm on trips. I love my Blackberry and it's email access, but sometimes I need to do things that are far beyond what I can or want to do on the Blackberry.

They've made all sorts of suggestions such as getting a router--which I may. Not sure yet.

From there I went to the grocery store and then the bank. Stopped at Mickey D's and got two iced coffees, vanilla flavor for me, carmel for hubby.

Back home, I did some work on the w-i-p and found I had a problem i…

Pleasing News

Hard Shell Word Factory posts their best sellers both in e-books and trade paperbacks for the year and for the last quarter.

The first in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Deadly Trail, was the 20th best seller in trade paperbacks for the entire year. Pretty good since this book has been out for several years.

For the last quarter, Wishing Makes It So
was the 6th best seller in trade paperbacks. Again, this book has been out for awhile.

Amazing, and also good news!

That's one of the big pluses for print-on-demand, books using this technology never got out of print--they are always available when someone wants one.

Wishing Makes It So has always been one of my favorite books. It was based on something that our family went through though I can assure you I made it much darker than what actually happened, and the end results were much different.

Deadly Trail is the beginning of the Tempe series, and many of the characters in it have survived though they have grown and changed as we…

Rainy Day Blues

It's been raining steady for two days and one night. Yes, we need it, California has been suffering a drought for the last three years. But it is so gloomy outside!

And to add insult to injury, we have solar panels on our house which do no good whatsoever without sunshine.

Oh well, I just have to think about the river slowly filling up the lake which has been nothing more than a mud hole for this whole year.

Today, hubby went off to church to help kids make cars for the Gran Prix race coming up next Wednesday night at church. I did some writing, hope to do some more, but also helped someone with their income tax and another relative buy something off the Internet.

Also worked a little on the PSWA newsletter ( and the conference coming up. I'm in charge of the program.


No Sanctuary

This is the great new cover for my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, No Sanctuary.

More about this book later.


Review on What's Age Got to Do With it?

Robin McGraw, wife of the famous Phil McGraw has written a book about aging, What's Age Got to Do With It? She proudly proclaims she's 55. Because I'm far passed her age, a lot of what she's written doesn't apply to me.

Though I managed to get through menopause without much trouble, Ms. McGraw has written a wonderful section on menopause explaining what happens physically and emotionally and things women can do to be more comfortable while it's going on.

There are chapters on fitness, nutrition, skin and hair care, make-up and fashion. Ms. McGraw generously shares all her own tips about what she does and the products she uses. She also reveals her own religious beliefs and how they've helped her in her life.

The book is easy to read and follow. I recommend it to any woman who fears what is to come age wise.


About Blogs and Other Things

One of the promo newsletters I subscribe to recommended always doing your blog before 9 a.m. If I did that, I would never get around to writing. If promo was all I did, I could follow all these suggestions about blogging, but what would I blog about if didn't write and have books to promote? Politics? Religion? I do mention both at times when I think it's relevant or I'm feeling passionate about something.

I feel quite proud of myself that I'm blogging nearly everyday, doing the blogs I'm committed to weekly (Stiletto Gang) and every two weeks (Make Mine Murder) and commenting on both those blogs.

Now, on to other things. Yesterday we took my youngest son and wife out to dinner for their 17th wedding anniversary. We went for Thai food--theirs and our favorite. Afterwards I went to my critique group arriving very early because I didn't want to go back home because I'd have had to turn right around and come back again. Fortunately, our hostess for the group and…

New Great-Grandbaby

Here's a picture of brand new Jaslyn (she was named after her daddy Jason) and holding her is her proud cousin, Carolyn. So there are two of my great-grandchildren.

We got word that the baby has some kind of bacterial infection and will be kept in the hospital for 7 days to receive antibiotics. We're all praying for a quick healing and guidance for the doctor.

Hard to concentrate on things like writing.


Big News!

I was going to write about the Presidential Inauguration and parade which I watched, but just received a phone call with much bigger news, at least as per our family.

In a previous blog I wrote about the loss of my cousin. I just hung up the phone from my middle daughter who has been in the hospital with her youngest girl (my granddaughter) since yesterday. Merenda, who previously lost a baby, gave birth at 11:35 a.m. to a 6 pound 11 ounce girl. They've named her Jaslyn (after daddy Jason) Machela (not sure of the spelling.) Yes, my family is good at coming up with unusual names. I supposed because I didn't.

This new baby gives me 12 great-grandchildren!

What a delight. Probably won't get to see her for a couple of weeks. Hope to go up with my daughter on one of the many trips I know she'll be making back and forth.

Been an exciting day all the way around.


Goals for 2009

Should have done this earlier, but what the hey, it's still January, right?

1. Begin the day thanking God for all my blessings--and I have lots. (I already thank him every morning for giving me another day.)

2. Spend more time with family and friends.

(I regret that I didn't get to see my cousin Betty before she passed away. We almost made it a couple of times last year. I went to her sister's church--the one I went to when I was growing up--family camp but didn't arrive until after she'd already left, the same day. Though invited, she was unable to make our family reunion in the fall.)

3. Take one day off a week to spend with my husband. (We've been doing that, mostly
going to a movie and out to eat, just the two of us.)

4. Get to my writing first thing in the morning, do emails and promo once I've written what I can for the day.

5. Be more organized about doing my blog posts. Check my calendar to see which ones I need to do the next day--or post ahead.

6. Take t…

Life, Breast Cancer, Death and Life

Today I learned that my cousin, Betty Lou, passed away after a long and valiant fight with cancer.

We grew up one short block away from each other. My sister and I were best friends with our cousins, Barbara (1 year younger than I am), Norman, and Betty Lou who was the same age as my younger sister Margie. Though Betty was younger, Barbara and I often lured the younger kids into playing such things with us as ship wreck, and bomb shelter. (We grew up during the Second World War.)

My aunt, Betty's mom, died of breast cancer when Betty was still in high school. Unfortunately, Betty's inherited the breast cancer gene. A few years ago, her daughter died of breast cancer and left behind a five-year-old daughter. Betty loved her granddaughter so much. Then when Betty realized she had breast cancer, she vowed to live at least ten more years for her granddaughter. Unfortunately, she didn't meet her goal.

I'm sure her whole family is now enjoying memories of Betty (she dropped the…


Yesterday hubby and I took the day off and headed to Visalia so we could use some movie tickets we received at Christmas time. Hubby's turn to choose the movie and he picked Valkyrie, the story about one of many attempts to assassinate Hitler near the end of WWII.

It's strange to watch a movie that you know how it will end--far surpasses the predictable ending because that one you only think you know how it will end while it's progressing.

I can remember back when we heard about the attempt. Because I was a young teenager, I doubt that it had much affect on me at the time. Though, thanks to newsreels at the movies, I know how awful Hitler was and all the bad things he was doing. Though at that time, I don't believe the world really knew how many Jews and others he'd killed in his concentration camps. I'm sure plenty of people were wishing someone would be able to assassinate Hitler.

The movie is well-done, showing how the plan could have worked, and why it failed…

Having Fun With Blogs

I've been having a good time keeping up with the blogs I do myself and ones that I blog on a scheduled basis.

My latest is my blog for the Rocky Bluff P.D. where I talk about the Rocky Bluff Police Department and the different characters also blog.

I also post every two weeks with Make Mine Mystery and every Tuesday with the Stiletto Gang.

And I was asked to contribute articles about writing to yet another blog on a host site I won't name as I have too much trouble getting in there to post and have to sent the owner my articles.

Blogger is so easy, no wonder I use this one.

On the downside, keeping up with blogs does take away from my writing time and since I'm working on two book in different series, I do need to be writing.

Anyway, that's my post for the day.


Finally, My Computer is Back!

My computer was making a weird noise, hubby said he thought it was probably dirty. He vacuumed out the back, but said he could see more dirt in there. We didn't have any tool to take the side off so Monday we hauled it to the computer hospital. Once it was gone, I cleaned my office.

I could still get email on my Blackberry, but there was lots I needed to do with the computer, so I started making a list. I also did some writing, different scenes for my new book. Weird to be writing with pen and paper, so much faster on a computer.

I also went to the doc's for my regular check-up and grocery shopping. Really was having computer withdrawal though.

Got the call today that my computer was ready--sent husband off right away to get it. Everything is now hooked back up and I feel like a part of my brain that was missing has now been replaced.

Trying to wade through all the things I need to do, but since I couldn't blog yesterday, decided I'd better do it right away today.

While rea…

A Painful Separation

My computer is making a funny noise. Because I have three cats, I suspected that there might be cat hair inside the computer.

I asked my husband if he'd open the computer and clean it out. Unfortunately--or maybe fortunately--he didn't have the right tools to take it apart. However, he did manage to vacuum through the holes in the back and got a lot of stuff out of there, though he said there was a bunch more.

So the computer is getting packed up and taken down to the local shop. For someone like me who is on the computer nearly all day long, it's rather like having a limb amputated.

I plan to spend my withdrawal cleaning my office and doing some paperwork. Yes, I can work on my novel in progress, after all, I used to write my whole novels long hand and then transfer them to the typewriter.

So, I'll be gone for awhile, hopefully not long.


Ah, the Writing Life and Just Life in General

Somehow I've got to figure out how to keep up with all these promo duties and updating blog spots and answering emails and still keeping up with my writing and life itself.

Writing in this blog is similar to writing in a diary. When I was a teenager, I kept a dairy faithfully all through junior high and high school--that is until I met my future husband on a blind date. When my life got interesting, that's when I quit writing.

H'mmm, does that mean my life isn't interesting anymore?

Actually it is, just not quite the same as it was when I first fell in love. Love is better now, even if it's for the same man that I've loved and been married to for over 57 years. He's become my very best friend. And that love resulted in five kids, 18 grandkids, and 10 greats with another on the way. Which really means that our love has increased that many times.

With a big family like ours something is always going on--not always good, but more often wonderful.

And that's e…

Book Review: Rex

Rex, A mother, her autistic child, and the music that transformed their lives

by Cathleen Lewis, publisher Thomas Nelson

Not only was Rex born autistic, but he also was blind. How heartbreaking for parents expecting their first child. Like what happens so often, Rex’s father couldn’t accept his son’s handicaps and stepped away from the marriage--and his son.

Anyone who has seen Rex on TV with Lesley Stahl knows that this blind, autistic boy has an amazing musical talent. What this book chronicles is the struggle Rex’s mother went through to first understand her son so that she could help him, her battles with the teachers and schools who were supposed to teach him, her astonishment at the extremes of her son’s musical ability, her faith and sometimes lack of faith in God.

At one time I was a teacher in a pre-school for children with developmental disabilities, and through the years we had several autistic children as students. It definitely takes patience and understanding to work with t…

Gran Torino

Hubby and I took the morning off to do errands and go to the movies. We enjoy going to the first movie of the day (this time it was 11:40 a.m.) because often we're the only ones there. Not so today.

As we took our seats, more and more men of a certain age (near to my husband's and mine) came in and took a seat. (Hubby said, "Look at all the vets." and that's what they may have been, or else just Clint Eastwood fans.)

If you do not like strong language, you better skip this movie--however, it definitely needed to be there. The movie held my attention from beginning to end. It's a story of prejudice, friendship, terror, dealing with terror, examination of oneself, and so much more.

An added bonus is learning more about the Hmong culture. I was particularly interested to learn that Mr.Eastwood had open casting calls in three cities with Hmong communities, one of which was Fresno. In fact, some of the cast actually was chosen from there.

Terrific movie, well-worth th…

Going to Conference and Conventions

There are a lot of mystery and writing conferences to choose from these days, but I'd like to recommend the Public Safety Writers Conferences. Here's the blurb I've been sending out and I encourage others to copy it and pass it on:

Don’t forget, March 31 is the last day for the reduced rate for the Public Safety Writers Association Conference. If you write mysteries or non-fiction about crime or any of the public safety fields this is the conference for you. Not only do we have experts in the field of forensics, law enforcement, fire fighting and arson investigating, we are honored to have award winning mystery author Betty Webb as a key speaker. You can be on a panel if you so desire, and you can bring your book to sell in the bookstore—no matter who your publisher is. The conference is
June 18-21, 2009 at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. To learn more and register, go to and click on conference. Three meals are included in the c…

A Post a Day

I made a vow to myself to post once a day. I also vowed to write more. If I start the day doing emails and commenting on blogs and posting to my own blog, half the day is gone before I start writing.

Today, I did read my emails first but only responding to what was important, then got to my writing. Unfortunately, I had a lot of distractions and didn't get near the writing done I'd planned.

What kind of distractions, you ask? We're having two small downstairs bedrooms remodeled to become our bedroom and a large closet. It's being done by two grown grandsons. Believe me, they are much harder workers than the contractors we hired to re-do the bathroom and kitchen. Both young men have had some experience with all the tasks they need to do and grandpa is around to guide when necessary.

But it's different having grandsons who call out, "Grandma, come and see this." "Grandma, how does this look?" while they're playing their very loud music.

The end re…

Supposed to be Writing

I was determined to work on my w.i.p. today but instead this is what I've done:

Put together a Hungarian Goulash in the crock pot.

Made airline reservations to Omaha for Mayhem in the Midlands--found a flight half-price by checking more than one airline.

Made a hotel reservation for the Public Safety Writers Conference which is at the Suncoast Hotel in Las Vegas for June. Got a good price there too. And by the way, if you're interested in going to a great writing conference that's small and gives you plenty of networking opportunity, by all means check out this one:

Then I spent a bunch of time looking for a hotel for the Los Angeles Book Festival which is on the UCLA campus. Of course I want something close (driving in L.A. is downright scary) and affordable. Have yet to make a decision.

Oh, and I always rewrite and type our pastor's note about the sermon that goes in the bulletin for him--he has great ideas but lacks writing skills--and…

Giving a Presentation

Today I gave a presentation at the Porterville Women's Club. I love talking about writing and my books. It's been a long while since I've talked to this group, but amazingly I recognized several of the faces and people recognized me too.

I took the last three books in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series--Calling the Dead, Kindred Spirits and Judgment Fire. I told them about the three women who inspired my main character, Tempe Crabtree: The resident deputy of Springville who I interviewed for a personality piece in the newspaper who told me about her job and how difficult it was to work with the male deputies; the Porterville P.D. office I rode along with one night and when there were no calls for about three hourse told me all about her life as a single mother and her hardships in a male-oriented profession; and the lovely Indian woman who grew up on the reservation and told me stories about her growing up years.

I also gave them a thumb nail sketch of each book. In Calling the…

On a More Joyous Note...

After writing my last blog, thought I should add something a bit more uplifting.

Today in church, a large part of my family was there. I was thrilled when grandson Nick and his girlfriend Michelle arrived and had five-year-old great granddaughter Kay'Lee with them. She's a delight and we don't get to see her often enough.

She has very long curly hair, but today it was done up in four braids.

I used to see her more than I do these days and I miss having her around. She's always been precocious and reminds me a lot of her daddy who lived with us when he was little--and then we raised him from age 11 to 20.

But I did get to be with her for awhile this morning, and I guess you can tell by the pews, I took her photo before church began.

A proud great-grandmother.


Life's Experiences

My step-granddaughter's apartment was robbed--the burglars taking nearly everything she owned.

She went back to Georgia to visit her Army husband who was schedule to ship out to Iraq. After she got there with their two pre-schoolers, his orders were changed and she stayed on. She let her girl friend here stay in the apartment and drive her car. A car that she still owed two years of payments on.

New Year's Eve the girlfriend rolled and totalled the car. Daughter-in-law and son decided it was time to get the key back to the apartment and see what shape it was in. That's when they saw that the daughter had lost nearly everything.

When the police came and started to investigate they learned from neighbors that the apartment was always full of people partying. After asking more questions, the cops have a pretty good lead on who actually did the burglary.

Not sure what the point to all this is, but I do hope my step-granddaughter learns to be a better judge of character--or at leas…

San Joaquin Sisters in Crime

Drove to Fresno this a.m. taking two friends with me to the S.J. chapter of Sisters in Crime. Not only was I one of the founding members of this chapter, I so enjoy this group. They've supported me through my writing career, letting me be a featured speaker when I have a new book, and I've made so many great friends who are members.

Today the speaker was a young man named Adrian Rodriguez who runs the site: which features Fresno news as well as other interesting tidbits. It's interactive meaning that other people can add their comments.

His topic was using the Internet to further your writing--but it wasn't about promotion so much as just using the Net as a place to write.

He described himself as "a writer first and foremost."

Some of the things he had to say are truths we sometimes need to hear over and over:

As a writer we need to get used to rejection.

We need to realize that other people sometimes have the same idea that we do.

We need to e…
Just a quick message to let you know that I have a fun interview of Deputy Tempe Crabtree on Nikki Leigh's blog:

Of course, Tempe is the heroine of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.


Woo Hoo, January 2009!

Here I still am--who'd have thunk it! Actually, looking back through the years, I had no idea what I'd be doing now. One thing about life, it seldom takes you where you expected to go.

When I was in high school planned to be an artist, remain single and live a great life. Of course I got married right out of high school, had five kids, now have 18 grandkids and come February will have 11 great-grandkids.

Though I did paint in acrylics for awhile, I soon realized I had to decide whether I wanted to write or paint, and writing won out. Of course, both these ventures were merely hobbies for a long while as I was too busy raising kids, running a household, serving on PTA in many capacities including president for four years at the grammar school and middle school where my kids attended, leading a Camp Fire Girls group from 2nd grade until they graduated from high school. I also worked for ten years as a teacher in a pre-school for children with developmental disabilities, and severa…