Showing posts from May, 2009

The Juggling Game

This is really about my life as it is these days.

Sometimes I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew. I certainly felt that way when we missed our plane connection in Denver and had to spend the night in the airport. I was getting over a cold and worn out from being at Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha--though I had a wonderful time.

I skipped my writing critique group this week because I knew I needed to stay home and rest.

We are in the process of remodeling two downstairs bedrooms into one so we can move downstairs. I love my upstairs room, but hubby's knees give him fits at times and he'd like to stop having to climb up and down. The process has gone on for awhile as we've had to rely on a grandson and friends who did most of the work--far less expensive than the job done on the bathroom by professionals--and frankly the time wasn't any more.

Hubby is finishing up and we'll soon be able to start hauling things down. Fortunately, the youth at church are ha…

Sorry, Can't Do What I Promised

Yesterday, I promised to write what some of the authors at Mayhem revealed about themselves, but my notes have disappeared.

I think there must be gremlins in my office. Or part of it is age. Hubby and I keep misplacing things--hubby always blames it on whoever might have been visiting (kids or grandkids), I prefer to think it's gremlins.

In all honesty though, I suspect it is what I said first, we misplace things and can't remember where we put them.

In my case I have notes all over my office for my ghost writing project and my own work in progress, the materials I'm taking with me to the Public Safety Writers Association conference (because I'm the program chair) and some of the new items I've purchased for our bedroom that we are supposedly moving into next week. (I'll believe it when it happens.)

Perhaps as the piles diminish around me, I'll come across my notes.

In any case, this is all you're getting for today.


Mayhem Panel on Forensics

Jan Burke, who is highly involved with the Crime Lab Project, pointed out that we need to be aware that there is a vast different between real life and TV and movies. The detectives still need to do their work. Many of the labs that work on DNA aren't accredited. Even the FBI has made mistakes with DNA. It's not the DNA that goes wrong, it's the people working with it who make the mistakes.

Because readers have a vague idea at least crime scene investigation techniques, the author needs to have some knowledge too.

Crime scene investigation varies from county to county, might even vary from shift to shift--and even who makes the decision as to whether or not there will be an autopsy.

There is always the possibility of human error and cross contamination no matter how good the lab and the pathologist.

Too much detail can date a book, because investigation techniques keep changing.

Some author are getting too fascinated by all the new stuff and are forgetting to write a good story…

More About Mayhem

Now I can tell you who exactly was in the photo yesterday--Jan and Time Burke, Jessica and Sean Doolittle, Andy Butler and Zoe Sharp, Hap and Marilyn Meredith, John and Radine Nehring.

The panel the spouses were on was called: Marriage is a Mystery: Meet the Spouses.

Sally Fellows, one of the organizers of Mayhem, moderated and had some great questions for our spouses.

Here are some tidbits of what we learned:

Tim Burke said, "I like to hear what Jan writes before anyone else does."

Jessica Doolittle said, "When Sean becomes more secretive about his writing it means he's stuck."

Andy Butler said, "I can read pages over her shoulder." (They share an office. He's a writer of non-fiction.)

Hap said, "All is well as long as I'm quiet and don't interrupt."

John said, "He travels with Radine to places she might set a book and takes photos for her."

Other interesting tidbits we learned was from Tim, that when Jan is creating, what she&…

Pictures from Mayhem

One of the panels that drew the most people and got the most laughs was the panel with the spouses of writers.

My husband and good friend Radine Trees Nehring's husband were on that panel along with Jan Burke's husband and others.

All my notes are in the luggage which didn't come home with us.

In case you haven't read my tweets and other postings, we were stranded in the Denver airport because of weather overnight. We could not get a plane to Bakersfield the next day either so had to fly into Fresno. Our son-in-law, God bless him, drove our other car all the way up there to fetch us, then drove us to Bakersfield to get our car.

So glad to be home.

When and if my notes arrive I'll have lots more to say about Mayhem, which was wonderful as usual.


Still inAirport

We slept here last night> Hubby on floor, me in 2 chairs. Maybe got two hours sleep in bits and pieces.

Airports are noisey, cold and way too light for sleeping at night.

when we first got to airport in Omaha we sat with Jan and Tim Burke.



T have lots to report but too hard in this wee computer. Thanks to tornado warnings we are stuck in the airport till noon on Monday' We fly to Fresno and will have to be picked up then go to Bkrsfld to get our car.

Mayhem was great.saw lots of people. Ate yummy food.



We've only eaten breakfast and said hi to a couple we know. Registration doesn't happen until this afternoon> Planned to go to the zoo but hubby isn't up to it. We will go to the Old Marketplace later and find a great place forlunch. Yes, food is important when you're in a place with so many great restaurants.

Will report more later. Marilyn

We"re here!

We got up aT 3 A.M.and left at 3:30 and arrived at the airport at 5. Poor hubby had to be wanded, he had a flashlight in his pocket and in another pocket, about 5 dimes.

We flew from Bakersfield to Denver, hiked a mile to get on the next plane. Good flights.

Next we're going yo Ahmad's for Persian food. Yum!

More later.


Reality TV

This is a confession--I do watch some reality TV. Most of the ones that I watch have concluded for the season.

Survivor ended on Sunday. I've watched faithfully since the very first one. Not always does the person win who I think should, but this time it turned out perfect. The fellow who was sure he had everyone doing what he wanted was fooled, and the young hillbilly who turned out to be much smarter than he looked, won the million dollars and he deserved every penny. He out played and out foxed everyone.

Dancing with the Stars ends tonight (I'm writing this on Tuesday because I'll be flying to Omaha tomorrow) so I don't know the results yet. The three finalists all deserve to be there. I think the judges have a favorite--we'll see how the fans vote.

Amazing Race is another one that recently ended. The best couple (brother and sister) won and they deserved it. At first they didn't play the game too well, but finally figured out what they were doing wrong and off…

Last Day at Home for Awhile

Since we're taking off in the early a.m. to go to the airport, I probably won't be writing a blog tomorrow--though I may write one today that will appear tomorrow.

I'm already packed, hubby is upstairs packing now. It's still early and not too hot up there--we don't have air conditioning and since the weather has been hovering around 100, anything done there needs to be done quickly. So you don't think we roast at night, we have a wonderful window fan that brings in the cool breezes from the river down below us.

I've done all the laundry and plan to spend the majority of the day working on the ghost writing project I've been busy with for awhile.

This evening though, we must watch the results of Dancing With the Stars. This is the first time hubby has watched this with me and he's actually enjoying it--and I'm enjoying his company.

I'm taking my mini-computer with me so will be reporting on Mayhem in the Midlands from day to day.


Getting Ready for Mayhem

Anyone who knows me, knows that Mayhem in the Midlands is one of my favorite mystery cons. Hubby likes this one too. We both enjoy Omaha, especially the Old Marketplace which is right by the hotel, with wonderful restaurants and unique shops.

Most of what I like about Mayhem is the wonderful people who attend--and many are returnees year after year. We've made good friends with a teacher who lives in Omaha and always look forward to catching up with her. A mother and daughter who are avid mystery fans we love spending time with and usually enjoy a meal together. One of my favorite authors, Radine Trees Nehring and her husband will be there, and we haven't seen them for a couple of years, so it'll be a real treat so spend time with them.

I'm going to be on two panels and moderate one--and hubby gets to be on one this year called Spouses of Writers. He did this once before and it was a hoot!

Of course I have to pack the books I hope will sell there and the clothes I think I…

Writers of Kern

Yesterday I was the speaker for the Writers of Kern, the Bakersfield Chapter of the California Writers Club. Though I am a member I don't often attend the meetings unless I've been asked to speak. I enjoyed seeing all of these people, but it's an hour and a half drive and when I'm promoting a book--which I've been doing since January, I limit what I'm doing to places where I'm speaking or selling my books.

I spoke about electronic publishing, something I'm really familiar with because I've been e-published long before there was any way to read an electronically published book except on a computer. Things have changed greatly since that time, there have been many e-readers offered including the iPhone--and now with the advent of Amazon's Kindle, more and more people are accepting the idea of reading electronic books. Actually, the words are the same as in any other book, just read on a different device.

I know I've talked about e-publishing to …

Proms, Grandchildren, After Hours Parties

I'm on Facebook with several of my grandchildren. It's fun to see most of the photos they put up (once in awhile there's one that makes me shudder) and see what they're up to these days.

One grandson has started his own construction business with a friend in Seattle and today he put up a message that he needed a bookkeeper. Makes me think the business is going okay. His brother is a rookie cop in Aspen Colorado and has put picture up of his windshield when driving through snow. Their little sister is the one I want to mention here.

She is sixteen, gorgeous, and going to her first prom. At first her messages were all about how excited she was to be going. Then I saw message that said, "I'm bummed." I asked what was wrong and she said there is going to be an after prom party at some guy's house and everyone is going--but her mother won't let her go.

I wrote and told her I though her mother was pretty smart. Among other things, I told her that there wo…

Update on What's Been Happening Lately

Sometime I think it's a good idea to share the fact that I have to do the same kinds of things as most everyone else.

Lately, I've been getting up earlier and earlier in order to work on the ghost writing project I'm involved with. I usually enjoy doing this--partly because I know the money will be forthcoming--but this one has been a bit more difficult than usual. Somewhat like doing a puzzle, trying to figure out where all the pieces fit.

Today, though, I had to fit in a few other chores. The dishwasher had to be run and three loads of laundry done--which then meant the dishes had to be put away, and the clean clothes folded. I also had to order a few things for the bedroom we're remodeling. I made lunch for hubby and I then a dinner that we can have a couple more times. Didn't do it on purpose, but after cooking for a family of seven, then for our six ladies when we had the care home, I still haven't figured out how to cook for two.

Hubby usually helps a lot, …

New Review for No Sanctuary

Hail, fellow readers!

Before you pick up a book by F.M. Meredith, do yourself a favor—reserve time for an uninterrupted read. Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop. No matter the topic, this author has an undeniable gift for hooking readers from page one and not letting go until its conclusion. No Sanctuary delivers well-developed characters and an intriguing plot with a surprising twist at the end. Congratulations, F.M. Meredith, on another winner. No Sanctuary qualifies as a fast and satisfying read. Loved it!

-- Karen Kavanagh, former Co-president of Sisters in Crime-CCC.

The TV Show Medium

Medium is one of my favorite shows on TV for several reasons.

I love the supernatural aspect of the stories--the writers do a great job of coming up with new ideas each week.

The main character looks like a real woman, one who might be your neighbor or the gal down the street. Her teeth on perfect, she's bit on the plump side, and though she's nice looking, she's not a raging beauty.

She and her husband love one another. He puts up with a lot--but continues to support her because he understand her gift--which sometimes seems to be more like a curse. He's pleasant looking, but not certainly not a handsome leading man type.

They have a family that looks like it might really be theirs. None of the children are perfect specimens though certainly healthy looking. The two oldest girls are good actors. The youngest not so, but she looks like a real kid, a bit gangly and wears glasses.

The show does a great job portraying a woman with a sometimes troubling ability who has a family …

The Start of the Day and My Life in General

I've been arising very early the last couple of weeks--one thing because our bedroom faces East and the rising sun wakes me. Also, I'm in the middle of an exciting ghost writing project and am anxious to get to it every day.

Yesterday, I'd gotten to a stopping point in that project, and wrote about five pages on my own book. It's at the most exciting point and it's hard not to work on it. My allegiance has to be to the ghost writing project at this time though. I'm not under deadline for my own book--though I would like to finish it this summer.

In the evening I went to my regular Bible Study--was wonderful. We're studying David and the three other women who were there last night are so spiritual and refreshing to be around. When I came home I watched Dancing With the Stars and then Medium. By evening time my brain is mush so don't like to do any big projects. Though I did spend some time sticking 2 cent stamps on already stamped envelopes.

Because I'v…

Where it All Began

I've been writing about Deputy Tempe Crabtree for a long while now. Though Deadly Trail is the first book in this mystery series, it wasn't the first to come out. The publisher I found wanted to begin with Deadly Omen.

Because I wanted Deadly Trail to also be available to readers, I contacted an electronic publisher who also does trade paperbacks, Hard Shell Word Factory, and she was willing to publish it, so it came out later and I promoted it as a prequel.

In Deadly Trail, Tempe is not yet married though the wedding is soon to come about. However, all her plans are put on hold when the owner of the local inn is murdered. The detectives arrest Nick Two John because he's been having an affair with the owner's wife. Tempe doesn't believe her Indian friend is the guilty party and strikes out to find the right person.

In this first book, thanks to Two John, Tempe begins to learn more about her Indian heritage, something she's ignored in the past. As readers of the w…

Planning for Promotions

When I was first starting out, I read and listened to what everyone was doing for promotion--and frankly, I still do, though perhaps not with quite as much diligence as I did in the beginning.

This is what I have coming up in the next few months--perhaps this will give some of you authors an idea or two about something you've never tried before.

On Saturday, May 15th, I'll be speaking to Writers of Kern (a branch of California Writers) about e-publishing, the topic they requested.

Wednesday, May 19th we're headed for Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. This is my favorite mystery con--only 200 people can come and the majority are readers. I'll be on two panels and moderating a third. For a mystery writer this is a fantastic con.

On June 13th, I'll be on a panel about electronic publishing for the California Crime Writers conference--again, I was asked to do this.

We'll be headed to Las Vegas the middle of the next week for the Public Safety Writers Conference. I'm …

Mother's Day Thoughts

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Frankly, I'm happy with a card and going out to dinner--even if I'm the one paying for it.

My own mother died about three years ago at the age of 97. Her mind was sharp until the end, her body was worn out.

I was raised during the time when most mom's stayed home. During the war years (I'm speaking of World War II), mom figured out how to feed us even though she had to use food stamps, still managed to bake birthday cakes and her famous Conga cookies. She grew a Victory garden and fed us vegetables out of it. When she went to school for PTA meetings wearing a hat, dress, stockings (even though they were hard to come by).

My dad rode his bike to work--long way--so we could save our gas coupons for going to church, mother's weekly grocery shopping trips, our Friday nights at the movies, and for our summer vacations at Bass Lake.

We made trips to downtown L.A. on the streetcar to shop at basement bargain sales and to take advantage of free …

Wrongful Death by Robert Dugoni

Author Dugoni did a terrific job of writing a story about something that could be going on right now, and probably is.

When the widow of a solider killed in Iraq asks him to represent her in a wrongful death suit against the government, he reluctantly takes the case. It isn't long before he realizes there is far going on than the widow realizes.

The action starts almost immediately, the lawyer's wife and children are threatened, witnesses are killed, and the lawyer almost loses his life.

A true page-turner.

Marilyn Meredith,

A Day Behind

Because I'm busily working on a ghost writing project, I've neglected some of the other things I usually do, like writing a new blog every day.

Last night I attended my writer's critique group that I've belonged to for 28 years. Of course there I'm reading my own work in progress which I'm not working on at the moment. I will fix the chapter I brought and once I feel I'm doing well on the ghost writing project, I'll take a day each week to work on it. I'm actually nearing the end of that one--and it's the most exciting part and I'd love to devote my time to it.

However, the ghost writing part is paid for so I'm obligated to give the majority of my attention to it, I have a due date--so I'm working under a bit of pressure .

Tomorrow though, is date day for hubby and me. That means I won't be doing much writing at all. I try to write at least five days a week, so I'll make up for it on Saturday.

So that brings you up to date on wha…

New Review at Books Bytes for No Sanctuary

Three ½ Paws
No Sanctuary

"F. M. Meredith’s Rocky Bluff series set in California falls somewhere between police procedural and the character importance and lighter reading more typical of the cozy. Police officer Stacy Wilbur has a five year old son and lives with her parents. Her love interest is homicide detective Doug, who shares a house with another cop Gordon. Gordon’s enthusiasm for the job leads him to funny encounters and provides comic relief. Sgt. Abel Navarro deals with his own home situation. The varied family life of each officer adds a lot of interest to the story.

Stacy finds a car that has hit a tree. Inside, a woman's body that is eventually recognized as the wife of a local clergyman. She has been shot. Investigation turns to a second minister and wife. Are these couples swingers or is something else involved here?

Other crimes are being investigated as well, and as a result of her work on a special investigation, Stacy is offered a promotion. Meredith offers an…

A For Real Romantic Tale

The bride has been in our life since she was 16. An abused child, she ran away from home and we took her in. By the time she was 18, she and our youngest son had fallen in love and married. Two sons came from that union--the young men in the photo.

Unfortunately, the love and the marriage didn't last. Deb had hard times and made some poor choices. We raised both boys for awhile, during grammar school years. The eldest went back home. We had the youngest until he was 20.

In the meantime, Deb's best friend died tragically. She and the widower mourned together. The inevitable happened, love and finally followed by the wedding we enjoyed on Sunday.

There is far more to the story of course, Deb married another time and had a daughter. That husband just couldn't stay away from the booze and the drugs. Life was tough for a long while. Deb supported herself and her family by working as a waitress in the same restaurant for years. The same restaurant where the reception was held yes…

Sunday's Wedding

This an ex-daughter-in-law's wedding. Turned out wonderful.

She was given away by my two grandsons, Nick and Nathan. The flower girl is my great-granddaughter Kay'Lee.

Beautiful day, and lots of happy people.

So happy for the new Mrs. John Wagner--she got a great man and another daughter as well as another grandchild.


On Blogging and Other Subjects

I've tried to write a new blog every day--not sure I'm going to be able to do that in the next few weeks.

I've already got a hectic schedule and it's going to get more-so since I've just received the go-ahead on a major ghost writing project. Because ghost writing pays much better than my own writing, I'm always happy to do one. The only problem is that they always seem to be offered to me when I'm at my busiest.

I'm still promoting both No Sanctuary and Kindred Spirits which means lots of social networking which takes a lot of time, to say nothing of thinking up something to say that just might lead to someone being interested in purchasing one of my books.

I still have a couple of conferences to attend and some speaking engagements. Love to do them all, but squeezing on my writing isn't going to be easy.

So much for retirement. I don't think I'll ever experience that as long as I'm able to sit in front of my computer.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. M…

About Birds

I'm not what you'd call a bird lover. I don't have a bird feeder nor do I try to identify the many varieties that land in our yard.

When we lived in Oxnard (coastal city in California) seagulls were abundant. (Back when I hung clothes on the line outside--with five children that was a lot of clothes--sometimes the seagulls would leave a mess on the flapping clothing and I'd have to wash it all over again.) My son raised four ducklings from their eggs and they followed him around the house like he was their mother.

Now we live in the foothills of the Southern Sierra with an abundance of birds. When we first moved here giant condors still few around. That was quite a sight! Now buzzards are the frequent clean-up crew circling overhead.

Blackbirds or ravens of every variety arrive daily to eat bugs. At the moment, we have lots feeding in the field in front of our house because hubby mowed it recently.

Geese and ducks are frequent visitors too--some pause in the swimming hole …

Today is a Goof Off Day

We don't take many of these days where we leave the house to do something fun. Today our plan is to take in a movie and have lunch in our favorite Thai restaurant.

If you've been reading my blog regularly, you know we went to L.A. last weekend to attend the L.A. Times Book Festival on the UCLA campus. Despite the fact we were away from home and ate our meals out, it was anything but goof off time. Because I had signing times both days, it meant traipsing down the hill from the parking garage to the festival itself (not easy when hauling books), finding the signing spot(s) and being there at the right time. And of course, going back up the hill to the parking garage, still hauling books--though a few were sold each day.

On Monday, company arrived--eldest daughter and son-in-law. They were here for three days and yes, that was goof off time too--but I had to squeeze in the "have-tos" on the computer, doing a bit of laundry and cooking a few meals.

We did eat out a couple …