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Showing posts from February, 2009

No Sanctuary Book Launch

Today is the day! I have no idea whether anyone will come or not. I sent out invitations both by snail mail and e-mail. I've had two notices in our weekly newspaper and at least one in the daily. I've got posters up in the coffee shop and the post office.

The fellowship hall of our church is decorated a big poster of my book, with signs appropriate for a police station including wanted posters. The refreshment table and table for people to sit at have black tablecloths and crime scene tape on them. The plates and cups for the food and drink are crime scene tape yellow.

I'm serving smoked salmon (sent to me by my friend in Wasilla AK), crackers, a plate of meats and cheese, and delicious cookies from Coffee Etc.

The scene is set. Hopefully between 11 and 4 some people will show up to hear about my book, maybe buy a copy, sign up for the drawing for the first four books in the series and lunch out with me at Coffee Etc. (Love that place and the people who own it).

I'll give …

Making Up Names for Characters

Characters names should really be special in one way or another. I have a system for picking names. I save graduation programs, Christmas programs, lists of names in the newspapers. When I'm trying to come up with a new name, I go through these and find a first name I think fits the character's personality and another last name that goes with the first name.

I try not to have characters whose names start with the same letter, however I have two detectives with last names that begin with M. Detective Milligan and Marshall. This is what happens when writing a series. These characters had prominent spots in other books, not the same one, and then ended up together in the last couple.

To complicate it even more, there's also Chief McKenzie. Probably when I started writing this series I didn't even think about having rules about names starting with the same letter. (I think I favor the letter M because of having two names myself beginning with M.)

Another thing that's imp…

Review of Rachel's Tears

Rachel’s Tears
Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott

This is a reprint of the same book that came out after the tragic Columbine school massacre with some added interviews.

Though I read the book the first time it came out, watched lots of TV coverage, including talks given by her father after the shooting, the story of this young woman and her tremendous faith, brought me to tears once again. Losing a child is one of the most horrible things any parent can go through.

What Rachel’s Tears does is let the reader know what the parents and siblings experienced and felt during this excruciating ordeal. More important though, is what they found out about Rachel through her own words in her journals and from her friends.

This young woman’s faith was far stronger and more real than many adults who profess their Christianity. Through the few years she had on this earth, she touched many lives. Through her death, she touched many, many more.

Rachel’s Tears is well worth a second read. For teens growing up n…

Choosing a Roommate From Those Who Plot Murder

Doesn't seem like anyone with good sense would actually do that, but it happens all the time among the mystery community.

Every time a mystery convention draws close appeals for roommates turn up on various lists, they usually say something like:

Looking for female roommate, Non smoker--or male roommate,non smoker. What makes it so intriguing, is that among these potential female or male roommates are people who figure out ways to kill people. I know this, because these same folks turn up on the same or other lists asking questions like: What would be a good poison that would look like natural causes? Or what kind of medication put into a drink wouldn't taste bad and would knock a man out for at least two hours? What kind of gun could kill someone who was shooting from 50 yards away? Actually the questions posed are far more intricate than what I made up here.

So, you ask for the roommate and hope he or she doesn't want to experiment on you, right?

Actually, I've been one …

New Review for No Sanctuary and Stuff

Received a new review for No Sanctuary.

A car accident or a murder? That is the question Officer Stacey Wilbur faces when she find a car smashed into a tree while working the night shift for the Rocky Bluffs Police Department. Stacey immediately phones Detective Doug Milligan who responds to the scene. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the victim had been shot in the head.

The victim is identified as Mallory Cookmeyer, wife of a prominent local minister. Rev. Paul Cookmeyer is shocked to hear of his wife’s death but can offer no suggestions as to who might want her dead. As Doug and Stacey and the other detectives work the case they find that there are a number of suspects including Paul Cookmeyer, his secretary, Ms Danfelt, the choir director, a minister of another church as well as that minister’s wife. When it is revealed that Mallory was pregnant, the case becomes even more complicated.

Stacey and Doug work together but are also romantically involved. Their relationship has no…

The Oscars/Little Slow This A.M.

What I'd most like to do when I come downstairs is get right to my writing. Instead, today I had to do some household chores and laundry.

When I downloaded my email, I saw that I had several things that needed tending. My wonderful Oak Tree Press publisher is putting some of my older books on Kindle and wanted a cover. I'm helping a fellow who is going to teach a class for residential providers spruce up the outline and he had a new one for me to look at.

I had a couple of posts that needed answers right away.

I'm presenting at Epicon (the conference for those who are electronically published) and the chairperson needed my handouts for the conference booklet.

And I suspect you've already guessed that I'm going to blame all this on the Oscars. Yep, I did stay up later than usual to watch them. I've always been a movie buff. Hubby and I try to go at least once a week, though sometimes there isn't anything we really want to see and in that case we watch whatever…

Learning More About Myself and How I Write

When I lost eight chapters of the book I'm working on, I was devastated. I used the Search tool on the computer but couldn't come up with anything. I'd about decided to forget the whole thing as I was sure I couldn't reconstruct what had disappeared into cyberspace.

Then I remembered that I had an off-site back-up. All I need to do was figure out how to use it and find what I'd lost. That took a long time. I'm slow to catch on to all this new-fangeled computer stuff. But, finally, I found and restored it, all but the last two scenes I'd written. They are gone forever.

I had big plans to rewrite them the very next day--but one thing after another happened and I couldn't get to it. I tried again the next day. Realized I had to go through everything I'd already written to get up to speed and of course there were lots of interruptions while I was doing that. By the time I actually had time to write, my heart wasn't in it.

What I was able to do, though,…

First Review in for No Sanctuary

The first review of No Sanctuary was on DorothyL this morning. DorothyL is a list for mystery readers and writers. Readers tell about books they've read and so do writers who also promo their own books. I offered a copy of No Sanctuary to the first three people who asked. This is the first review from that offer.

"As far as I could determine, one did not have to have read the earlier books in order to understand or appreciate this one. The book itself is an easy-to-read trade paperback with a very large typeface and good quality paper. It is a police procedural with a decidedly cozy feel.

Stacey Wilbur, a police officer in the Rocky Bluff Police Department, comes across a car accident. She finds a woman dead at the wheel. The cause of death is not the car crash but a bullet behind her ear. The victim is the wife of a popular minister, Paul Cookmeyer. Who would want this beautiful, sophisticated woman dead? When Stacey delivers the news of his wife's death, she finds the mi…

Religious Icons, a Nightmare and a Tasty Lunch

A good writer friend invited me to visit the religious icon art exhibit at the Porterville Museum with another writer and herself and go out to lunch.

I've been really swamped, but decided I ought to go just to take a break and I could do a couple of errands. The night before I dreamed I did all the errands but forgot to meet the ladies at the museum.

This is what really happened. The woman who invited me told me she and the other writer would arrive at the museum around 10:30. I did my errands and arrived at the museum on time. The only folks in the museum were the docents. I went ahead and started viewing the icons. Someone from the museum told me I had a phone call, it was the woman who'd invited me to say the other lady hadn't arrived yet. If finished enjoying the museum, looked at everything and the first woman arrived to tell me she didn't know what to do as the one we were waiting for hadn't arrived but she'd left a note on her front door. Her cell phone r…

Disaster While Reworking a Chapter

While writing my latest Rocky Bluff crime novel, I've gotten as far as Chapter 8.

But I realize that I've put in something far too soon, so my project for today will be taking that out and finding a replacement. I'll save what I wrote though because it does need to be there, just not yet.

As usual, I'm far too anxious to get to the most exciting parts of the story. I love writing the suspenseful, dramatic scenes.

As I was working on this, I got distracted by an email sent to me with a movie clip--showed it to my husband and then something horrible happened. What I was working on completely disappeared. Eight chapter in my new novel no longer existed on Word. I did a Search, nothing.

Frustrated and heart sick, I refrained from screaming and crying, though I certainly felt like it. I prayed. I felt if I couldn't find the chapters, I probably wouldn't rewrite. The notes I'd written for the previous chapters I'd thrown away which included some research items.

A…

When to Take a Break

After all the problems we had yesterday which were finally resolved thanks to my handy hubby,last night I went to Bible Study--doing a great session on Esther and How Hard It is to Be a Woman. Most calming. Though it was pouring outside, it was nice and cozy in the house where the study was being held. Afterward, my granddaughter drove me hom.

Today I went to the bank and did some grocery shopping. Granddaughter Niki is here from Georgia with her two little ones and had to get some milk. Actually they are next door with my daughter-in-law, but they eat most meals over here. While traveling, Niki lost her ID, so that will have to be taken care of before she goes back home.

When I got home I finished my income tax which gave me a headache.

Pretty soon I've got to start thinking about our trip to Las Vegas. We're going to Epicon which actually is in Henderson NV--but we'll stay one night before and after the con with my sister. More about Epicon as it gets closer.

Received an e…

Challenges and More

Glad this is a short month and once my commitment to blog every day is over, I can take a breather now and then.

It's not that easy to come up with something interesting to say each and every day--and maybe what I do say isn't that interesting.

We've had some challenges in our personal lives lately: heater went out during the coldest weak, telephone quit working, oven in stove quit working, well went dry. Thank God for a handy husband who manages to figure out how to fix things.

One of the toilets overflowed at church during the service--everyone pitched in to take care of that problem.

My daughter-in-law had to drive to the L.A. airport to pick up her daughter and children and I-5 is closed due to snow and she's having to drive through Tehachapi where there's probably even more snow. How she's going to get home, I have no idea.

And while all this is going on, I'm trying to squeeze in moments to do some promotion for No Sanctuary.

As Scarlet said, "There…

Just When I Think I'm Caught Up...

Feeling proud of myself because I'd written a couple of blogs ahead of time and had the set to go on the right date, twittered, put a new comment on Facebook, edited the next book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and sent it off to the publisher--it's the 2010 offering, worked on the one that will follow a bit, did the laundry and other mundance tasks suddenly I realized there were some important things I need to do.

Every month I write the newsletter for the California Residential Services Association. I usually have it started by the middle of the month (now) and have gathered pertinent information to put in it. Haven't started, but do have some information, so tomorrow, working on that newsletter will be my first chore.

Of course, anyone who reads my blogs knows that I'm planning for my big launch for No Sanctuary the last Saturday of this month. I've made some flyers to mail out, they are in addressed stamped envelopes waiting for the time to get closer. I've g…

At Last, Sunshine!

We live in the foothills of the Southern Sierra (Central California) and for the last two weeks we've had gloomy weather, lots of rain and a smattering of snow. There's lots of snow in the mountains making beautiful views. We really needed the rain because we're in our third year of drought. Weather man promises the biggest storm of all is coming tonight with snow levels perhaps down to 1000 feet--we live at 1000 feet.

Our weather is sort of like life--especially now with the economy the way it is--gloomy for awhile, then bursts of sunshine. Having lived through World WarII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Cold Wars and now what's going on in the Middle East, I can tell you that through all the gloom, there are always bright splashes of sunshine and happiness.

We've heard sad things like friends losing their jobs, salaries being cut, stocks in the toilet, and on a personal note, the lower oven in our wonderful stove pooped out on us yesterday while granddaughter was making …

Happy Valentine's Day and Other Stuff

Our church is having a Valentine's dinner, not sure exactly what's happening. Last I heard the men were cooking--but my husband knows nothing about it. Paid my money so I'm going.

In year's past, they've had other Valentine's dinners--great food and lots of silly games. One of the women who did a lot of it is now in the hospital, so makes me wonder if it's really going to happen.

We live in Central California, in the foothills, east and north of Bakersfield. During the winter, the mountains surrounding our 1000 foot location are covered with snow. Once in awhile the snow comes down right here. That's what's been happening. For those of you who trudge through snow all winter probably can't appreciate how delighted we are when it does snow here.

One year it snowed a lot. The school closed. Of course all the kids were everywhere playing in the snow--including the school yard. At the time we had two grandkids living with us, one in grammar school and t…

Bucket List

On other blogs people are doing this blog list, checking the things they have done. The hook is you're supposed to send it to 20 people, not something I like to do, so decided to do the list here and I added a few that I have done and took off the ones I haven't.

Things you have done during your lifetime:
(x) Gone on a blind date--sure have, that's how I met my husband.
(x) Skipped school--only did this the last week of my senior year in high school. Teachers weren't paying any attention, almost every senior was missing.
(x) Watched someone die--yes, my son from multiple-myeloma, it was a blessing, though he is truly missed.
(x) Been to Mexico--went a lot when I was a kid, went once on a date with an older boyfriend, and several times on cruises.
(x) Been to Florida--to Tampa and Orlando, both to writers conferences.
(x) Been to Hawaii--with my mom when she was 80 and my sis--we had a wonderful time. Back again with hubby when I was fortunate enough to be teaching at the Maui…

Working on Virtual Blog Tour

I know why I forgot to post on Tuesday and it wasn't merely because of going on errands all day.

Because I'm going on a virtual blog tour the month of March, I've had a lot of assignments to write articles for different blogs. Of course they all have to be different and unique--and sometimes it's hard for this old brain to come up with something that might be entertaining, instructive, and/or amusing. I worked on a couple yesterday evening--then I went to bed and watched NCIS and part of another show, but fell asleep. At 4 a.m. I was wide awake--and came downstairs and wrote two more articles that I'd thought of during the night.

So I'm blaming not writing a blog for Tuesday on just having too many other things to write.

Blog tours are fun, and it's amazing the kind of things the different bloggers want you to do.

Oh, and to add to my confusion yesterday, the copies of No Sanctuary that I ordered from the publisher arrived. They look great!

Now it's time to…

Darn, I Missed A Day of Blogging!

I don't know what happened, I was sure I'd blogged yesterday, but it didn't show up--and I probably didn't do it.

Yesterday was a busy day. I had a doctor appointment in the afternoon so we decided to go to town and do a bunch of errands. The bank was first, then we headed to Smart and Final where I purchased some supplies for my physical book launch at the Springville Baptist Church. I'm going to decorate the room sort of like a police station--at least I'm planning to put up signs like Rocky Bluff P.D., Interrogation, Fingerprinting, etc. Using the colors from crime scene tape, the table cloths are black, napkins, dishes, cups, yellow. Hoping to get some crime scene tape from a friend.

From there we went to Office Max and picked up some more supplies, paper, and the kind of sticky stuff you can use to stick posters to the wall that won't leave any marks. Had two prescriptions to pick up. We ate lunch at Rosa's Italian Restaurant where an ex-daughter-in-…

Kindle, Amazon's e-book reader and Lingering Spirit

My new publisher, Oak Tree Publishing, put an old romance of mine on Kindle--and amazingly it was there in a matter of hours. Lingering Spirit, and be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bu3v63 A romance with a touch of the supernatural the story was based on a family tragedy. Of course I fictionalized it, but it is based on fact.

My daughter was married to a police officer who wanted to move where there was less crime and became a deputy in a mountain community where he was killed in the line of duty.

This son-in-law is the one who sparked my interest in writing about law enforcement and the people who serve. He loved to come to my house in the a.m. after his shift, have a cup of coffee and tell me what he'd encountered the night before. Because his own mother had deserted him and his brother when they were little children, I became a mother figure to him. Losing him was tragic to all who knew and loved him.

I do hope some folks with Kindle will read Lingering Spirit and enjoy it.

Marilyn

Review: The Great Eight--Scott Hamilton

How wonderful to read a story about a celebrity who really is the kind of man we all thought him to be. Anyone who has been a fan of figure skating, recognizes Scott Hamilton’s engaging smile and his voice when he is an announcer at a skating competition. And if you’re old enough, like me, you remember how much fun it was to watch Scott skate.

The Great Eight, Scott Hamilton

How wonderful to read a story about a celebrity who really is the kind of man we all thought him to be. Anyone who has been a fan of figure skating, recognizes Scott Hamilton’s engaging smile and his voice when he is an announcer at a skating competition. And if you’re old enough, like me, you remember how much fun it was to watch Scott skate.

I learned a lot I didn’t know about Scott reading The Great Eight, which represents the figure eight which he practiced and practiced while learning to skate–and his eight secrets for living a happy life.

Though I knew about the cancer which afflicted him in his later years, I k…

My Ghostly Encounters

Because of a fascination with all things ghostly, I'm always delighted when we're going to stay at a hotel and learn that it's haunted.

The Queen Mary, permanently moored in Long Beach, CA has a long history of being haunted. Once a troop ship during WWII, it was attacked and many died. They have a ghost tour (phony, but fun) which of course I took. We went to a convention of the Queen Mary and stayed for three days and four nights. Believe me, you can feel the presence of other beings--or at least the echo of former presence. Everything on the QM is more or less as it used to be. One night I took the elevator to my deck and found myself all alone in the long corridor. Believe me, it was definitely eerie--even more so when I couldn't find my room. I had to go all the way to the middle of the ship and walk back in order to find it. Someone took photos and the awards ceremony and interesting little phantom blogs showed up all around people.

The old hotel across from the Al…

Contrast of Movies

We went to see Coraline, the 3D animated movie. Yes, we enjoyed it, though it would've been just as good without the 3D. Admission cost more because of the 3D glasses. Reminded me of a kind of scary children's book, but it was beautifully done--and hours and hours of work had to have gone into this movie.

When we came home, we had a new DVD from Netflix, 88 Minutes with Al Pacino. Wow! That was one intense movie. A mystery, my favorite kind. This is the kind of movie that even if you're sleepy, there's no way you will fall asleep.

Action packed and full of twists with the suspense mounting to a really surprising and intense climax.

I'm writing this on Friday, what has come to be our day off. Tonight we'll watch Ghost Whisperer and then Friday Night Lights. As you can tell, we both like contrasts.

Tomorrow, I'll be back at work on my latest--and probably do a bit more promo--but Friday was my day for fun.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Learning to Juggle and TGIF

That's what it seems like I'm doing.

I've always had to juggle my writing life and my regular life. Now, the juggling is going on in my writing life.

Having to series going at the same time is interesting--can't think of a more descriptive word--though I could have used any of the following: terrifying, frustrating, mind-boggling. I'm sure you get the idea.

This is what I'm doing right now:

Working on the promotion for No Sanctuary. Books don't sell without promoting them.
Doing a lot of online promo and planning a book launch.

Doing edits on the next book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. It's done, I just need to check it before sending it off to my publisher at Oak Tree Press. And--I'm writing another in that same series. I have a great plot going and don't want to lose momentum while it's percolating in my brain.

In the mean time, my wonderful publisher is putting some books that I've gotten the rights back from the former publishers up on Am…

Public Safety Writers Newsletter

As many of you know, I've been promoting the Public Safety Writers Association's writing conference coming in June. I'm the program chairman and I can tell you that we have some wonderful people coming to share their expertise. Everyone who wants to be on a panel will have that opportunity.

But right now, I'd like you to know that a brand new newsletter is on the website:

http://www.publicsafetywriter.com

This can be read by anyone and there are some interesting articles in it, just click on Mid-Winter Newsletter.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

In Love with My Blackberry but...

Anyone who knows me also knows I'm never without my Blackberry. I seldom use it for a phone--but receiving and sending email is wonderful. This is my second Blackberry--this one is red. My first one was blue. Why do they call them Blackberry?

With the first one, I thought it was magic. All the way in New York City (I live in California) my email came to me and I could answer it.

This new one is even better than the first one--Internet comes in better and I can get rid of emails either off the device or off the device and off the computer at home. (More magic.)

Guess what? I just got a new mini-laptop to take with me on trips. It's wireless so I should be able to get emails and post with it, keep up to date with my blogs and twitter (main reason I got it) and keep working on whatever manuscript I'm in the middle of. (I know never end with a preposition, but too bad, I'm in a hurry.)

Will I give up my Blackberry--heaven's no! I can peek at my emails during boring present…

LIfe Once Again Took Over

I'm determined to post every day. However, I had the opportunity Sunday to hop in the big SUV with my granddaughter Melissa and great granddaughter Carolyn to head up to Lake Don Pedro to see another granddaughter's Merenda) brand new baby! Of course I grabbed my nightie and a few essentials and went.

Melissa is an exciting driver--at times I felt like I was on Toad's Wild Ride.

I'm using everyone's first name because it gets to confusing with all the grands and greats. Melissa and Merenda are sister and their mom (my daughter, Lisa) was already there and had been for about a week helping out.

Merenda live in a brand new house that her husband built and what a house it is! A great pastoral view looking over grazing land, rolling hills and all the way to the valley. I hadn't seen the house before so I got the grand tour.

The baby, Jaslyn, is darling and very good...always nice with a first baby.

We had a great time gabbing, eating, more gabbing, oohing and ahhing ove…

My Best Advice to New Authors

1. If you want to be a writer, you must write. Too often I run into people who say they are going to write a book, but haven’t even begun. Being a writer means that you write. You need to write nearly every day. It’s best if you pick a time that works best for you, even if it means getting up two hours before your usual time.

2. Keep on writing until you’re finished with your project. It’s far too easy to quite when you’re only half way done. There are some books I’ve written that never got published, but I did finish them.

3. Once you’re done set aside for at least two weeks. When you pick it up again you’ll either be surprised by how much work it needs, or that is a pretty good book–or story.

4. No matter what you’ve decided about the value of your work, now is the time to do the real work. Edit your project.

Look for and eliminate overused words and phrases.
Get rid of adverbs and replace with the verb that accurately describes the action.
Like everyone will tell you, “Show, Don’t …

Taken, the Movie and Other Tidbits

Hubby and I went to see Taken starring Liam Neeson. This movie will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. Neeson did a tremendous job--but let me tell you that if you have teenage daughters you'll never ever let them go on a vacation out of the country unless you are along!

It was our day out--we always go to the movies in the day time for several reasons; it's cheaper, we can do errands on either side of the time spent in the movie, and we can have a nice lunch out--and still get home early.

Of course while I'm out, I always get messages on my Blackberry of things I really need to take care of. Received a message from each of my publishers that I had to take care of.

Back to movies, we like to see an exciting movie one time and funny or light-hearted one the next. While watching the previews though, we always decide which movie we'll try to see in the theater and which ones we'll wait to watch on DVD.

Anyone else do that?

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com