Showing posts from July, 2009

My Favorite Things

Thought I'd done a post for today, but I didn't so for fun decided to list my favorite things not in any particular order, just how I thought of them.

1. Spending time with my hubby away from home and projects that need to be done.

2. Newly remodeled bedroom.

3. My Blackberry, couldn't manage without it.

4. McDonald's iced coffee, vanilla flavored with an extra shot.

5. Good food, whether I fixed it or someone else did.

6. All the new things we can do on the Internet these days, blogging, Facebook, e-mail.

7. Having a car I can depend on. (For years I drove clunkers that had to be pushed to get started, or stalled on a distant freeway.)

8. All my family including in-laws and especially the little ones.

9. My writing critique group.

10. All my friends, church friends, old friends, author friends, new friends.

11. My faith in God and His answers to my prayers.

12. My country.

13. My Kindle and books to read. (I still buy paper books too.)

14. People who like my books and tell me so.


Tolowa Dancers in the Redwoods

In Kindred Spirits, the latest of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, there is a lot about the Tolowa people.

My friend, Junie Mattice, the wonderful Tolowa woman who is featured in the story as two women, sent me this photograph. Many of the dancers are her relatives. Check out the great outfits.

I loved learning about these wonderful, brave people.


Grandson Gregg and an Angry Bear

My grandson is a police officer in Aspen Colorado. He's been relating stories to me about the bears breaking into people's houses and getting into their refrigerators. Their preference seems to be ice cream.

I've been enjoying reading his escapades, as he and his fellow officers chase the bears out of houses. Unfortunately, too many residents have left doors unlocked and the bears have become quite adept at opening doors. Of course if the door isn't locked, they don't have any problem climbing through windoes.

A few years ago, many of my family members were at a camp in the Angelus National Forest. We'd been told to put any snacks we'd brought into the old lodge for safe keeping. My mom and aunt and another lady, all in their late 80s at the time, slept in the lodge.

Sometime in the night my mom got up to go to the bathroom which was down the hall a ways from where she was sleeping. She stepped out without her glasses on and saw what she thought was a very lar…

And Another Great Review for No Sanctuary

Subject: SMELL OF DEATH by F. M. (Marilyn) Meredith

"WOW, what a fabulous book! In the very beginning I wondered if I was going to enjoy this book as much as I have Marilyn's other novels, but before long I was absolutely gripped by the unique plot and didn't want to put it down to work, eat, or sleep. Truly.

The main character, as in the other Rocky Bluff P.D. series, is Officer Stacey Wilbur. But other officers in the department are along for the ride and a thrilling ride it is. The books slips easily from one to another of the men working in the RBPD, letting each tell his story (Stacey seems to be the only female officer) and bringing family members and situations into the plot. Point of view moves smoothly from life to life as we learn the problems and joys--at home and at work--that the several officers face. They are working on several cases, and we go back and forth from one to another, making progress, experiencing frustrations, and always digging and digging…

Great Review of No Sanctuary

Just had to share this terrific review of No Sanctuary I found on my publisher's blog.

"Crime fiction readers will find F. M. Meredith’s No Sanctuary deeply satisfying. It is an excellent police procedural and worth reading on those grounds alone. But there is so much more. Meredith rivals Ed McBain in her ability to create convincing cops and lead us through the twists and turns of investigation. She draws her characters and her setting in prose reminiscent of the British novelist Barbara Pym who was noted for her style, characterization, and sketches of village life. In short, Meredith has risen above genre fiction and created in Rocky Bluff a place you will enjoy visiting. Indeed, as I read the book, I kept having the strangest feeling that I had been there – this despite the fact that the place is fictional. Make no mistake, mystery aficionados will find their fixes in the intricate plot, the well scattered clues, the ‘aha moment’ (I almost missed it because it is so teasi…

Romance in a Crime Novel

(I wrote this article awhile back, not sure where it appeared, but thought it was good enough to repeat.)

Though I write mysteries and crime novels, I’m a firm believer that romance needs to be in every book, no matter the genre.

In my latest Rocky Bluff P.D., No Sanctuary, which I wrote as F. M. Meredith, there is an ongoing attraction between Detective Doug Milligan and Officer Stacey Wilbur.

In earlier books, Stacey had a strict rule not to date anyone who worked on the Rocky Bluff P.D. Because she was the only female police officer, her fellow police officers at first weren’t thrilled when she turned up as back-up for them because of her small stature. However, it didn’t take long for her to prove herself. Of course the single guys flirted with her, and the bumbling Officer Butler actively pursued her to no avail. A widow with a young son, she didn’t want a relationship to complicate her life.

When she first worked with Doug Milligan she found herself attracted to him, but didn’t brea…

Making Myself Do what I Need to Be doing

I have my latest book to edit. There is a big time-line problem that I need to get busy and tackle. Instead, this is what I've been doing:

Laundry--well, after all, we need clean clothes.

E-mail--something important might be in there that I need to take care of right away. And yes, I do need to comment on things from Facebook, don't I? While on the Net I might as well Twitter and let people know what I wrote about today.

Goodness, the bathroom needs to be cleaned. It's the one we remodeled, I want to keep it looking beautiful. While I'm at it, might as well do the floor. As long as I'm dry and wet mopping, I'll just go do the bedroom floors.

Now, here I am writing this blog.

Okay, I've done all this, NOW I'll get busy on the editing like I should have been doing in the first place.

Signing off,


Mom's 100th Birthday

If my mom were still alive, she'd be 100 today! She lived to be 97. Her sister is that same age and still living in her own home. Amazing.

I was missing my mom today. I miss writing her letters and receiving letters from her. She lived with my sister in Las Vegas.

We did have some quality time toward the end of her life. My sis went on an Alaskan cruise and I went to stay with mom. We had a great time. I cooked all the food she asked for. Twice we had lamb chops, baked potatoes and asparagus. I watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeproady with her. We talked about old times.

After that my sister celebrated her 50th anniversary by going on a cruise and taking her four children, most of their children and the great grandkids. One of my daughters and I went along. I'm so glad I did because again I spent some quality time with my mom. We had all our meals together and sat around and did a lot of visiting.

Mom was so good about listening to people's troubles and never passing judgment. An…

My Firty-Seven Years as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

Yep, that's how long it's been that I've shopped for groceries, cooked the meal and cleaned up afterward. When I began as a new bride I knew nothing about cooking. What I did know how to do was making fudge, baking cookies and cakes.

The first chicken I fried for my husband looked great on the outside but wasn't cooked on the inside. Yuk! I finally began to get the hang of cooking by watching other people--and figuring out what worked and what didn't.

Our first years of marriage we didn't have much money and the children kept arriving about every two and half or three years. I became a wizard at fixing one dish meals that used not much meat but lots of other filling ingredients. Chili with beans was a favorite, of course spaghetti--which my husband is not fond of to this day, beef and vegetable stew, fried rice with onions and whatever bits of meat we had and lots of soy sauce, tacos and I put the meat in each tortilla to make sure everyone got some. I've alw…

Doing More Reading Than Usual

Whenever I go to a conference or convention I end up buying books written by people I meet and like. (Yes, I must confess, if I don't like someone, I don't buy their books.)

At the PSWA Conference I purchased two of Betty Webb's books, Desert Cut and Anteaterof Death and enjoyed both of the very different books.

I also bought Michael A. Black's, Chicago Knights, which reminded me of the detective stories I read a lot of a few years ago. It was action packed, the hero was likeable and multi-faceted--and realistic, plus there was a touch of romance woven through the complicated plot.

The Pot Thief by Michael Orenduff was a terrific book! I had no idea what to expect when I started reading it, and it was definitely a unique book with captivating characters and an unusual plot.

Now I'm half way through Robert Haig's Fire Horses. Robert is the first fire fighter to attend the PSWA conference, and as you might guess, his book is about fire fighting. This is really a page…


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A Bit About the Setting for the Rocky Bluff Series

While at the Santa Barbara County Fair, I quite often explained to people who stopped by, that my Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a place sort of like Carpenteria. The real town of Carpenteria is located on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast, south of Santa Barbara and north of Ventura. There are other smaller towns perched on the hillsides here and there along the way.

Rocky Bluff really is nothing like Carpenteria, except for the fact that it is a beach community located between Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Actually, I've moved it closer to Ventura so it could be in Ventura County because I knew more about that county than Santa Barbara county. I also wanted the town to be smaller with more of the problems of a small town police department.

Another thing that is quite different is the geography. Rocky Bluff has a yes, rocky bluff on the north side and where it gets it's name. The richer folks of the town have their houses up on the bluff, and the most popular of two Protestant…

Thursday at the Fair

Though I am now home, thought I'd share this photo of me at the Santa Barbara Fair. Though it looks okay, we're hidden behind a plexiglass wall with nothing to let anyone know we are there.

A few people wandered back there to see the photography entries hanging on the wall. I went out everyday with my cards and handed them out and told folks we were back there. Oh yes, a few paused on their way to the restrooms.

In the hotel we were staying in, the shower didn't work right. Had a terrible time washing my hair because the water only dribble out of the shower head. We complained about it and were told it was fixed--oh was it, no water came out at all the next morning. I had to wash my hair under the bathtub spigot which did have some water pressure. The only way I could do this was to lean over the tub.

Finally, on Friday night someone came in and fixed it--we were able to have a decent shower the last day we were there.

On the way home, we stopped at McDonald's to get an …

What a Day!

We'd been having trouble with the shower, little water, and we reported it, told it would be fixed while we were gone. This a.m. when we got up, no water came out of the shower!

Washed my hair bending over the bathtub using the bathtub spigot and to wash up. Taking a bath was not an option, I couldn"t have gotten out of the tub, no grab bars.

At the fair today we did sell books. Hooray.

Had our last meal at Gillis, wonderful place, delicious food, friendly staff, especially Maria.

Going home in the a.m.



Yesterday was our first day at the fair. Difficulties from the beginning. Had to wait for stickers for the car and passes to get in. Someone had to lead us to the Art Pavillion (really the skating rink) and we were set up way in the back> few people ventured back there.

I went out with my business cards to drum up some business. that helped.

The people who ventured back there either came to see photos on the wall or use the restrooms. Took a lot of work to get people interestede enough nto buy a book.

we stayed until 4, the others with us stayed on. we've found a neighborhood cafe with great food and eaten breakfast and dinner there.

Heading back to the fair this a.m.



We put shortest distance in the Magellan tofind our way to Santa Maria. We wandered through farm roads we've never been cown before, finally ended up in Taft (Meteor the TV show is in Taft a lot) then up and over the coastal mtns> forever and ever. when we finally reached the 101 Hwt the GPS quit working. We had to look for the address the old fashioned way.

Used little computer to find out how to fix problem. got the answer and fixed it.

Little computer is hard for me to use, too touchy and keyboard is not quite the same as big one. taking it with me to the fair tomorrow.


More Photos from the PSWA Conference

Since I'm traveling today, thought it would be fun to show you some more pictures from the PSWA conference:

I'm not very good at placing photos, so these are kind of backwards. AJ Farrar are most competent MC is at the far left then we have Holli Castillo, Mike Orenduff,Me, Michael Black, and Marilyn Olsen. This was a panel about the importance of setting.

The one that kept everyone's interest here was the Publisher, Editor panel, with Billie Johnson, Oak Tree Press, Marilyn Olsen, and Joyce Spizer Foy.

This one should have been first since it is of our first get-together, at the time the photo was taken, this table had the largest group, however, people kept shifting places. We had registration from 3 p.m. on. When people started registering, they just sort of hung around until our party at 6.

It was a great conference, loved every minute of it.


Planning for the Next PSWA Conference

No, I'm not really ready to start--need a for sure date and place first. However, I am thinking about what we should do this next year and have some ideas.

Think we'll once again do the let every author give an elevator pitch about one book they have out or are writing. That's a good way to break the ice.

Also have had two people offer to talk about quite exciting topics.

I'd like to find a blood spatter expert. Of course I'm always looking for people who have an expertise in writing or law enforcement. And I'd love to have a fire person come talk about arson and fighting fires.

A literary agent would be nice too.

The drawback is the speakers are not paid, they have to pay to come to the conference and all their expenses. However, that didn't keep Sheila Lowe, the forensic handwriting expert, or the most wonderful mystery author, Betty Webb, from coming--and besides being great assets to the conference, they had a good time too.

I'm thinking and planning. Any…


Yesterday I went to the library in Bakersfield. This was the main branch and the biggest library I've been to in years. It seemed to me like there was quite a bit of activity for a Saturday afternoon.

I'd been invited to give a talk about my books and in particular the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I brought the last three, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire and Kindred Spirits. Plus, I had copies of Deadly Omen to give to anyone who came.

We were directed upstairs to a small meeting room. (Never a good sign, though I understand why, the air conditioning had to be turned on and it took a shorter time to cool a small room.)

As it turned out, we could've been in an even smaller room. Two women and a young man arrived and along with the librarian and my husband (who periodically nodded off, poor thing has to listen to my talks all the time).

Despite the fact it was small, the people seemed very interested, especially the librarian. Lots of questions were asked, and they seemed relu…

What I'll Be Talking About at the Library Today

The librarian asked me to speak about how I came to write my books--and in particular Kindred Spirits, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

Of course it all began like it does for most writers, I was an avid reader. At least ten books a week when I was a kid growing up--that's all the library would let me take home at a time.

Writing began as soon as I could write. I rewrote my favorite stories like some of the Little House on the Prairie tales. Wasn't long before I came up with my own ideas. From there I wrote short stories and plays.

Though after I graduated, I married and had a large family I continued to write--not very interesting things, PTA newsletters, some pieces of the newspaper. But I did write two novels that were immediately rejected and I threw them away. (Wish I had them today.)

My first books that were published were historical family sagas. Because I was reading so many mysteries decided to take a turn with them. We had a lot of friends who were police …

Researching for Your Novel

On one of the lists I'm on they are discussing research--how much and watching out not to dump what you've learned into one spot in your novel.

When I wrote my two historical family sagas I did lots of research, I wanted to know what the places the families lived in were like at the time they were there, what kind of food they ate, what they took with them when they traveled, what they saw along the way. I hoped that I could tell a story that the reader could actually see what the characters experienced. I learned far more than I could have ever put into the book.

Now that I'm writing mysteries with a certain degree of law enforcement in them, of course I've done quite a bit of research. With the law enforcement part, I do stretch things a bit, and as I remind my friends in law enforcement, I am writing fiction.

With the Native American tidbits in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, though I call the Indians Yanduchi, the real tribal name is Yaundanchi and they are a part of…

Phone Calls

I am not a phone person. I seldom call anyone to chat. I love my Blackberry but I use it mostly for emergency calls and to read my e-mail when I'm on the road.

Yesterday while I was writing my blog, my cousin, Barbara, called me. She is exactly 11 months younger than I am and we grew up one block away from each other. We played together a lot when we were kids, our mothers told us about the Birds and Bees at exactly the same time, told us not to tell anyone, and we cousins immediately met to discuss our new knowledge.

We both were married young, but I started my family right away, she went to work as a dental assistant and put her husband through college, including his doctorate. With the exception of her eldest grandson, I have great-grandchildren the ages of her grandkids.

We don't get to see each other a whole lot since she lives in L.A. and I'm about 3 1/2 hours away, but we have spent one week many summers together with our families or parts of our families at church cam…

Reminiscing About the Old Days

On another blog I told about my childhood during World War II. Actually it was a great childhood. You can read about it at

But that made me start thinking about my husband and my first home we owned. Hubby was a career Seabee and didn't make much money. The home was in housing development called Rose Park, down payment $100 which we didn't have an easy time scraping up. Our neighbor on one side was an older retired couple (probably the age hubby and I are now) and the woman became a surrogate grandparent to my kids, and on the other side a young couple who had just got married. Across and down the street were two cops, one the corner a fireman. Other Seabess, cops, firemen were scattered here and there.

When we moved there we had three kids, two young girls and a baby boy.

The house itself was three bedrooms, two baths, living room and kitchen. Every house in the tract was the same, the only difference was which direction it was laid out and where the …

What's Important to Me

Not Michael Jackson or all the tributes. Though the man's music was wonderful, his life left a lot to be desired.

Watched a Captain Sullenberg tribute--a real hero who actually lives a life to emulate.

But bringing it even closer to home, what's most important to me is my belief in God and the Bible is His word. Next comes my family with my husband at the top of the list. He is a true hero. He served over 20 years in the Seabees, with four tours of duty in Vietnam. He's managed to put up with me for nearly 59 years and believe me it hasn't always been easy. He's been my lover and my true friend all these many years.

He's the father of our five children and was a disciplinarian, just ask them. He's a grandfather of 18 and great-grandfather of 11. (Because new ones keep being added we have trouble keeping track of the actual number.)He has been there for everyone when they needed him, whether it was a helping hand with something, or just a lap to sit on and cry.

Plan for the Day

Since I felt lousy most of yesterday, due to my heat exposure from the day before, today I plan to tote up the money I made at the book sale on the 4th and organize books for my next event at the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield this coming Saturday, the 11th at 2p.m. This one's inside, hooray, hooray!

Once that's done, I hope to finish the book I'm working on. I've made it to the last chapter. When I type THE END, then it's time to start all over again and do some major rewriting. Actually, I like doing that.

This is when I can check what phrases I used over and over, if there are inconsistencies, things that need to be added or taken out, watching out for clunky dialogue--all those important things.

Of course I'll also be doing the laundry and what other household chores really need to be done.


Fourth of July Review

We spent the fourth setting up our tent and selling my books in the City Park in Exeter. It got to be 108 degrees, or some such horrible temperatures.

We'd planned for a hot day, brought lots of cold water and misters.

Around two I began feeling bad and told my husband we should pack up. The whole thing was over at 3.

We hadn't done badly, we made back the money we paid for our spot on the grass and then some. I love talking to people about my books, but as it got hotter and hotter I knew I should get out of there.

By the time we drove home, I was really sick. Hot and cold, sick to my stomach, bad headache.

That continued most of the evening and night, didn't even watch the fireworks on TV.

Not much of a way to celebrate. One thing I know though, I won't be doing anymore outdoor events in the middle of summer. Give me a nice air conditioned library or bookstore from now own.

Happy Fourth a day late.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Juggling--an important part of being a writer

Sometimes I feel like I'm juggling. Yes, juggling.

I have all these things that I have to do every single day. I'm not going to include all that it takes just to live, be married, and run a household.

At the moment, I'm finishing up my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel. No, it's not the one that will be out in January. That one is already with the publisher. Once I've finished, I have some things I need to plug in, then I'll do an edit. After I think it's in pretty good shape, I'll have someone else take a look at it.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about ideas for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. And again, not the one that will come out in September, that one is being edited by the publisher right now, but the one that I will ultimately begin once I'm through with the Rocky Bluff novel. (Haven't got a title for that one yet, so something else I have to do.)

Oh, and I do have another Tempe ready to send to the publisher. I'll take one…

Keep Most of it To Themselves Authors vs Tell All Authors

Ever so often I visit websites and blogs of big name authors. Some of them have very little about their private lives for readers to peruse. I might be the same way if I were a famous author.

I follow some of my favorites on Twitter and Facebook--but again there are those who tell all--or at least a lot--and those who keep private things close to the chest.

Some spout off their political views about global warming, what politicians we should love and who we should hate, what we should do about whatever war we happen to be involved in and what our spiritual beliefs should be, and yet don't tell one thing about their lives, who they care about, what they love to do, eat, listen to, watch on TV or movies, visit, plan for.

I tend to be one who keeps to myself my political feelings--I know I'll never change anyone over to what I think and might make them mad trying--and though I've probably said enough that most people know how I believe, I'm not going to rant and rave about m…

Why Did I Choose to Go With a Small Publisher?

My very first book, an historical family saga was published by Dorchester Press, not the biggest New York Publisher, but right up there. It actually did pretty well--and might've done better if I'd had a clue about promotion back then. This was before everyone had a computer and no one knew anything about the Internet.

Right after the book was published, my editor left and that was the end of my association with Dorchester. I had another saga published by an outfit that the owner and son turned out to be crooks--yes, crooks, they gambled away all the royalty money in Vegas and ended up going to jail.

Oh, and my time with crooks wasn't over, my first mystery, The Astral Gift, was published by a co-op publishers who did well at first, then absconded with everyone's money. In my case, only 50 books were printed and ordered by a bookstore where I had my first signing. The 50 books were sold and no more could be purchased because the publishers had disappeared.

Golden Eagle Pr…