Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Me and My Electronic Toys

It's become obvious to me--and my husband--that I'm greatly influenced by what people say about their electronic toys.

My first cellphone was a Blackberry. I used it mostly to receive my emails when I was out of town. While at a mystery con, Mayhem in the Midlands to be exact, I was with one of my good mystery friends, Sara Weiss, and she showed me her new, updated Blackberry. As soon as I got home I got myself one just like hers. Of course I still mostly used it to get my emails, though it was easier to get on the Internet. It had its limits though.

When I was out of town, I always looked for a hotel computer so I could post to my blog, of course that cost money in most places. People began talking/writing about their mini computers online and I thought that would be great, a mini computer I could take with me on trips. How convenient. Of course I got one and it's really cute--but it's so sensitive that at times it drove me crazy trying to type on it, or go to the online places I really wanted to go.

In hotels that had free wi-fi, the computer worked great for getting online. One thing I soon learned, the cheaper hotels and motels had free wi-fi, the more expensive hotels charged $9 to $12 to use the wi-fi for a 24 hour period. Usually, I only wanted to use it for less than an hour each day, so that was a high price to pay. And I couldn't get online when visiting in someone's home.

Next purchase, a little gizmo from the AT&T store to plug into my computer that lets me get online no matter where I am. Of course I have to pay a monthly fee. Why AT & T, because where we live AT&T is the only wireless that works. It also means the mini-computer is a back up when necessary and I can use it in bed.

People began raving about their Kindles, the e-reader from Amazon. I've had three e-readers over the years. The first was the wonderful Rocket E-Reader. They were bought out by Sony a long time ago--but only recently came out with their own version. What I liked about the Kindle is you can order books without hooking up to your computer, they magically fly through the air into the device. Well, that's what it seems like anyway.

But there was a drawback. Remember I said we can only get AT&T Wireless where we live? Kindle uses something called Whispernet for the magical transfer of books--Whispernet does not work her. I solved the problem. I buy books online and when I go into town, I turn on the Kindle and the books appear--like magic. This is probably a good thing, keeps me from buying more books than I can read, it's far too easy.

My Blackberry started acting weird so I took it into the AT&T store and said I wanted to upgrade. Nice young salesman was happy to oblige, but told me instead of the Blackberry I should get an iPhone. He whipped his out and began showing me all the wonderful things it could do with the touch of a finger. I did tell him what I really wanted was to be able to get my emails and to go online. Oh, that was easy, he said as he demonstrated.

Yes, I bought the iPhone. Took it home and realized I had no idea how to turn it on. Pushed and prodded everything I could find. Decided the battery was dead and charged it--then it went on. But I still didn't know how to turn it on and off. Nor could I get it to hook up to my Internet server for emails. Finally I took it down to the office of my server, one of the young women there got me hooked up, finally, but she
didn't know how to operate it either.

A lady in the parking lot showed me a couple of things, but I still didn't have a clue how to turn it on or off. I went online to the help menu and still couldn't figure it out. Finally got on Facebook and asked for help. A young "friend" quickly told me where the off and on button was. Duh! Right on top.

While at our family reunion this past weekend, I enlisted the aid of a twelve-year-old great-grand-daughter. She showed me how to use the camera and where the photos are stored. She also showed me how to get more "apps"--though I don't think I really need to watch movies on that little gizmo. Oh and I know I could read books on it too, but it's far too small a screen for me.

While driving home from our reunion, I played around with the iPhone and learned a bit more about it. I'm having trouble getting used to the touch keyboard, but I assume eventually I'll do better. The emails are easier to read then they were on the Blackberry as is the Internet. But I haven't figured out how to post to Facebook yet--but I suspect I'll go online and ask someone.

Too bad the great-grandkids aren't interested in doing the same things on an iPhone that I am--I really don't want to listen to music or text. If they were I could learn even more from them.

I hope no one comes up with anymore nifty toys to tempt me, it takes me too long to figure out how to use them.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Is Your Favorite Author and Why?

Often when I'm being interviewed I'm asked that question. I have many favorite authors--some of them are also friends.

I know if I asked my sister that question she'd say Mary Higgins Clark. She's bought and read every single one of Ms. Clark's novels. I've met Ms. Clark twice and she's one of the most gracious and lovely women as well as being a famous author. I've read many of her books, she is an excellent writer, but the stories are always about a woman in jeopardy, not one of my favorite themes.

Others of my favorites are J.A. Jance and Jan Burke though I haven't read every one of their books, but I like both of their writing styles--and they are both super nice women too. I love the way James Lee Burke describes places and some of his books I like better than others--and no, I don't personally know him though I have seen and heard him speak at a convention. Wm. Kent Krueger does a fantastic job with description too and I've loved all of his Cork O'Connor stories. He's another down-to-earth person that I've met at several mystery cons.

There are many, many more. I have so many friends who write, most of them no where near as famous as those I've mentioned, but they are still wonderful writers.

Because I write mysteries I also love to read them. Among my mystery writing friends who are not as well known as the above are: Sunny Frazier, M.M. Gornell, Kit Sloane, Michael J. Orenduff, Sue McGinty, Victoria Heckman and too many others to name. If I left you out and you know I'm one of your fans, chalk it up to the fact that your name didn't pop into my mind while I was writing this.

So, tell me, who is your favorite author and why?


Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

Wow! Did that weekend ever speed by.

We had over 70 people who came, some for only Saturday. Most arrived Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning, giving us two nights for hilarity.

After I got there and unpacked, I sat in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express and acted as official greeter. Daughter Lori brought dinner--a wonderful taco salad and lots of it. Others brought fruit, veggie plates, home made cakes and cookies and drinks and goodies galore.

We ate, visited and granddaughter Melissa, organizer extraordinaire, had games planned for everyone including a bowling tournament by bringing her Wii. Hubby loved that.

The little kids, and there were a passel of them, had crafts to make and other fun stuff. Bigger kids and the oldsters played Estimation--we used four decks and for one of the games had fifteen players. Some just sat around and talked.

Saturday was filled with activity, relay races for everyone by the pool involving lots of water, a triathalon for the kids, a treasure hunt through the hotel, and lots of visiting. Hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch and lots of other stuff.

Some went off on shopping excursions as the hotel is right next to a mall.

At two, I had a booksigning in the breakfast room of the hotel, some of my relatives bought books and a friend who lives nearby, Madeline, came and brought a friends from her book club.

I made a huge pot of chili beans for dinner and it was nearly all gone except for one bowl eaten by one of the hotel staff.

A talent show began the evening. Hubby and eldest daughter resurrected a ventriloquest/ dummy skit they'd done 25 years ago. Just as funny this time around. We had singers--one seven, another seventeen, a violin solo by another seven year old who also did an Irish dance, a thirteen-year-old trumpet player, a karate demo and a jujitsu demonstration, and more.

Afterwards, once again some of us played Estimation, but other board games went on too.

I know some of the younger one stayed up until three and then packed up all the stuff and cleared it out.

Next a.m., there was another treasure hunt for the little kids, goodbyes for said and everyone headed off in different directions for their homes.

Everyone got along, and the only accident was two little cousins bumping heads.

We all had a wonderful time!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Great Review for Dispel the Mist

This review is posted on the Book Connection:

In this latest installment of Marilyn Meredith's award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, a Tulare County supervisor dies under suspicious circumstances. With her Mexican and Native American roots, Lilia Quintera was certainly a person to have on your side. Because of Tempe's ties to the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, she is called in to investigate Lilia's death. Tempe soon discovers that several people, including Lilia's husband, might have wanted her dead.

Tempe's unsettling dreams bring back memories of her grandmother's stories about the legend of the Hairy Man. Wishing she had thought to ask her grandmother more about the Hairy Man, Tempe wonders if these dreams predict the future. Once again, Tempe finds herself in danger. Only now, she fears no one will come to her rescue in time!

Dispel the Mist is an excellent new addition to the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I have been a fan of this series since Judgment Fire--the first of these books that I read--and they just keep getting better.

Hutch and Tempe are on track with their marriage, but that certainly doesn't mean life is dull. A new golf course and hotel project planned at the Bear Creek Reservation could threaten the amount of business heading to Bear Creek Inn, owned by Tempe's friend, Claudia Donato, who also runs the inn with the help of Nick Two John. The opening up of a home for women with disabilities in the new gated community of Shadow Hills has some of the residents up in arms. And Lilia Quintera had connections to both projects. So, again, Tempe doesn't expect things to go easily when Detective Morrison asks her to investigate the possibility that Lilia died under mysterious circumstances.

The unsettling dreams that Tempe experiences, along with continued involvement at the reservation, bring in the Native American elements that flow through the Crabtree books. One can certainly tell the level of research Meredith has undertaken in order to create this series. In addition, the author's past experience as a caregiver may have played into this book as well.

If you're looking for an excellent fall read, look no further than Dispel the Mist by Marilyn Meredith. Filled with suspense, mystery and legends, you'll keep turning pages until you reach a satisfying conclusion.–Cheryl Maladrinos

Title: Dispel the Mist
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press
ISBN: 978-1-59426-402-3
SRP: $12.95 (U.S.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nine Things Nathan Noticed At Night

Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night by Christy Baldwin is a children's book that should be added to church libraries and pre-schools that are run by Christian churches.

Each of the nine things that Nathan notices has a delightful illustration, an explanation and an accompanying Bible verse.

This is a charming book for a parent to read to his or her child and should bring some ideas for further conversation about the things Nathan noticed at night. Maybe the child could add some of the things he or she noticed at night.

Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night was published by Tribute Books and is available from

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Second Chance by Sandra J.Gerencher

Second Chance tells how adoption saved both a boy with autism and the dog from the shelter.

The story is told from the POV of Chance, the dog who is rescued from the animal shelter.

Because the story is all from Chance, there are some things not fully explained at first, but once the dog begins a relationship with P.J., the boy with autism, what has gone on before is revealed.

This is a heart-tugging story for anyone who loves dogs and knows what a dog can do for a child--even one with autism.

It lifts one's spirits to read a story like this with such a good outcome.

Second Chance was published by Tribute Books and is available from

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Am I Going to Write About Today?

No brilliant ideas are coming to me--no new reviews to post either about books I've read or for my own book.

Today I'm busy getting ready for our big family reunion which we hold in Barstow at the Holiday Inn Express on Lenwood. We have about 70 people coming of all ages--babies to us older folks, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas and grandpas, including greats and of course moms and lots and lots of kids.

I always make my famous chili--which I'll cook all day on Saturday to eat that evening. I got everything ready for it today.

We have to get a replacement for our windshield. When I left for my writing group last night, I noticed a crack--not a small one either. That'll take up most of hubby's day. It's always something.

I'm nearly packed--but have a lot of other things that I need to take care of today.

A bit of cleaning needs to be done.

I should edit the chapter my critique group heard and suggested changes for last night while it's still fresh in my mind.

I'm not thrilled with politicians right now--any of them, really--not happy with the Democrats or the Republicans. Don't like the way California is going or our federal government. Everyone is out of touch with the people who put them in office. But that's all I'm going to say about that.

It's just easier to stay in my own little world--enjoying my family, pursuing my writing career, watching silly stuff on TV like Dancing with the Stars and Survivor and discussing both with family and friends like it matters.

And so that's what I'm writing about today.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dispel the Mist

The reviews are starting to come in--three to be exact, all terrific. Only one is up on Amazon so I'm anxious to see if there will be more.

My numbers are going down on Amazon which means my promotion is paying off. Oh, my numbers are nothing like the big name authors, but they are low for my books.

An article about my talk at the library was on the front page of the local newspaper! And it also appeared on the online version. Exciting stuff!

My signing at Kirby Farms was super--sold books, met some new people, had fun conversations, and my biggest fan, Sheri Smith, stopped by. Oh, and the cookies were delicious as was the lemonade. Besides produce, these folks sell homemade pies, cookies, muffins, delicious bread, and they have two rooms with boutique items. For anyone who reads this blog who lives in Springville, this is a wonderful new place.

Next up is my family reunion in Barstow. I'll be having a signing at the Holiday Inn Express--the one by the outlets--at 2 p.m. on Saturday. I suspect most of the people who come will be my relatives who are already there, but have had a promise of a visit from a good author friend who lives outside of Barstow.

For that event I'm making a huge pot of my chili beans. They were a hit last year, hope they turn out as well this year. I don't use a recipe, so you never know. No matter what, the weekend promises to be fun.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Red in the Flower Bed by Andrea Napa

Red in the Flower Bed is a children's book with a simple message about embracing someone who is different.

A rhyming book, this would be a good book to read to pre-schoolers and has beautiful illustrations.

The author's intent is to explain about interracial adoption which she manages to do in the simplest manner.

It's the kind of book that could be a good teaching tool not only about interracial adoptions but about anyone who is not exactly like everyone else.

Having once been a pre-school teacher, I know this age group would enjoy having the book read over and over.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Library Event

A lot of things were going on this past Saturday, a Jr. Rodeo in Springville, the Tulare County Fair, a Pow Wow on the reservation--and my library event.

We came early, got everything set up and the librarian and I sat down to visit. Five of one, my good friend and leader of our critique group arrived. Then another good friend. A reporter and a photographer came next.

I decided it was about time for me to get up and start talking. I love telling about Deputy Tempe Crabtree and how she came to be. And it's exciting to me to explain how I incorporated the Hairy Man in this latest book called Dispel the Mist.

Five young girls arrived and listened intently.

When I had spoken for about a half hour another couple arrived. Turned out they'd come all the way from Fresno and their Mapquest directions led them astray. Even more interesting, they came because the husband is a friend of mine on Twitter--someone I'd never met before and learned about the event through one of my tweets about it.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and I sold a few books.

Also, the librarian and I talked about putting on an author/book event at the library sometime in the spring.

I had a good time, people learned about my book, and I met someone new. We had a nice visit on our way to the parking lot.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Different Kind of Hero by Leah Beth Evans

A Different Kind of Hero is about a monkey named Tomagochi and his friends, Peshe, the tiger, and Mocho, the Tucan who live in the rain forest.

Tomagochi feels his nothing but an ordinary money while his friends are special--the tiger with his strips and the Tucan with all his colorful feathers and the ability to fly.

The story centers on a potential disaster when bulldozers arrive to cut down the trees in the rain forest. The only one brave enough to protect the animals' home is Tomagochi.

The illustrations in this book are delightful.

That author, Leah Beth Evans, was a fourth grader when she learned about the rain forest and wrote this book.

Not only will youngsters enjoy reading about the monkey who becomes a hero, but this book could be a means to begin a discussion about the rain forest for teachers and parents.

A Different Kind of Hero is published by


I enjoyed reading this book and the lovely illustrations.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Review for Dispel the Mist

It's always a bit scary when that first review comes in for your book. While I was out yesterday I received this review via email. Needless to say I was absolutely thrilled.

REVIEW: I found Marilyn Meredith's "Dispel the Mist" to be a wonderfully engaging story filled with suspense and intrigue. The plot was rich with characters and a story line that pulled at the detective in me. Just when I thought I had the solution, a new suspect would spring forth and throw me off balance. I especially loved the inclusion of Native American folklore, which added even more mystery to the story. This story was like being on a roller coaster that only went uphill. It filled me with the same breath-holding anticipation of what was to come when I finally reached the top. This is a very good 5 star book and I will be recommending it to all of my friends and family.

***** 5 Stars
Marilyn Thompson, Author /Reviewer
Mind Fog Reviews

Can't ask for any better. I'm celebrating with a vanilla iced coffee! Woo hoo!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Exciting Times When We Lived in a Neighborhood

It's been awhile since we lived in a city or a real neighborhood--but I was thinking back about some of the excitement I remember from back then.

One night, while I was asleep in our back bedroom--with the drapes open, after all we had a six foot high fence all around the yard--a police chase ended right outside the sliding glass door. I never woke despite the fact our dog, a German Shepherd, cornered the suspect right there. The police, one of whom was my son-in-law, arrested and hauled the guy away. My dear son-in-law told me that my nightgown had hiked up and I mooned the whole bunch. Dear hubby affirmed this. (Why on earth didn't he come inside and cover me up?)

Another time, our whole family was sleeping and my middle daughter ( a teenager at the time) came in to tell us someone was on the roof. Once we were good and awake, we could actually hear someone clomping around up there. At the time hubby slept in the all together. He leapt out of bed, dasjed out the back door, grabbed an ax he had there, climbed a ladder and got on the roof. We could hear him yelling and chasing the intruder. Daughter and I fell into fits of laughter picturing hubby and father running across the roof, buck naked, hollering and waving an ax. We hoped he neighbors wouldn't see him and call the police. He didn't catch the guy, but no doubt traumatized, the roof walker jumped to the ground and hightailed it down the street.

And that's my two prowler stories. No doubt there were more, it was a wild neighborhood despite the fact several police officers lived there, but those are the ones I remember, and probably the funniest.

Now we live in the foothills and our intruders have been limited to bobcats, possums and raccoons.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terrific Cook Book: Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Stir, Laugh, Repeat is my kind of cookbook.

Martha A. Cheves has compiled recipes that are easy to cook, with a minimum number of ingredients--many of which you probably already have in your pantry--and best of all, each one comes out tasting great.

I'm not fond of baking and I get tired of cooking dinner since I've done it nearly every night for 58 years, one in awhile for two or three, sometimes for seven and often more. I'm always looking for something different, easy, inexpensive and delicious to fix--Stir, Laugh, Repeat does all this and more.

And, as a bonus, great cooking tips are scattered throughout.

Stir, Laugh, Repeat would be the perfect shower gift for a bride-to-be.

Marilyn Meredith

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Widow's Walk by Ken Weene

Review: Widow's Walk by Ken Weene

This is the story of a woman, Mary Flanagan, a widow whose Catholic faith plays a predominant role her her life. When her son returns home from the war as a quadriplegic, he becomes her whole world, and in so doing she takes away his independence.

When her son goes off to a rehab center, Mary's life begins to take-off in a new direction, a direction she'd never have expected in her wildest dreams.

This is a love story, a tales about religion and faith, marriage, life and death. It's not a particularly happy story, but it is a a true slice of life, wonderful at times and heart-wrenching at others.

Author Weene's characters are realistic and multi-layered. This is the kind of book that will make you think while the people who fill the pages are working out what life has brought them. It's the kind of book that keeps you turning pages as you follow along in these people's lives.--Marilyn Meredith

Giveaways for those who visit along the way and leave comments:

*The first giveaway is Kenneth Weene's poetry book which will go to a few different commenters.

*The second giveaway is a copy of his book Widow's Walk to one lucky commenter

Winners will be drawn at random from all those who leave comments along the tour.

To learn more about the author's tour schedule, visit

About the author, Kenneth Weene:

A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Ken Weene’s career – primarily in New York – included teaching, pastoral care, and psychology. Throughout his career Ken has also been devoted to writing. His poetry has appeared in a number of publications – both print and web. He authored a number of professional publications. His short stories and essays have also been published. One of his short plays was recently workshopped. An anthology of Ken’s work, Songs For My Father, was published 2002. His novel, Widow’s Walk, has been published in 2009. Ken and his wife, Roz, now live in greater Phoenix where he spends much of his time writing.

He started writing, primarily poetry, in the 1980s. Regarding Widow's Walk, Weene says, "Stepping away from full-time work was the best decision I ever made. Writing this story has given me tremendous personal satisfaction, and it has shown me an avenue for expression I will always treasure."

If you haven't already read Widow's Walk, be sure to pick your copy up at Kenneth Weene’s Author Website -

You can also connect with him on Facebook - or Twitter -

And of course Widow's Walk will also be available at


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

Promoting is really time consuming.

Monday morning I went to town to deliver copies of Dispel the Mist to the Porterville Recorder newspaper and to the weekly newspaper, the Southern Sierra Messenger. I also took a copy to the librarian. They have a nice little display up with the poster I made for them about my appearance on Saturday on a bookshelf right as you enter. They also have a huge poster up by the front desk.

In the afternoon I wrote a recipe for a blog where my book will be reviewed and I will be doing another recipe for another blog. That blog owner wants a photo of my favorite recipe. If one comes out looking good, I'll take a picture and that'll be the one.

For the next few weeks I'm going to be busy.

This Saturday at 2 is my Porterville Library appearance, then on Sunday, from 1 to 4:30 I'm having a signing up here in Springville at Kirby Farms.

The following weekend is our Mitchell Family reunion (so far no Mitchells have ever shown up, but we all sprouted from the Mitchell family tree) in Barstow at the Holiday Inn Express. At 2 on that Saturday, I'm having a booksigning in the hotel. I suppose the majority of people who come will be those who are there at the reunion--relatives. However, I do have a good friends who lives fairly nearby who has promised to show.

October is busy too. I'll be having a blog tour, don't know the dates for all that as yet, but on the 4th I'll have a table at the Central Coast Book and Author Festival and I'll be talking about my publishing journey on a panel at 10 in the Library Community Room. The 17th and 18th is the Springville Apple Festival and I'll have a booth from 9 to 5 both days.

Not too much set for November and December, but I'm sure things will pick up.

And, I must begin a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery as I'm putting the finishing touches on my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

Believe it or not, I do have a life in between. I cook, do the laundry, and some cleaning, though I have a grandson who does the big stuff. I teach Sunday School when I'm home and go to church, I attend a weekly Bible study class. When we can we visit relatives and friends--in fact had breakfast with the my last living friend in the group I hung around with through grammar, junior and high school this past Sunday.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nipomo Book Event

This is the first photo (that came out half way decent) taken with my new iPhone.

On our way we stopped at Jack Ranch for lunch in Cholame--famous for the fact that's where James Dean died on the highway. There are photos of James Dean on the walls of the little cafe--which has wonderful fish and chips, by the way.

We had a great time in Nipomo. Actually we stayed Friday night in Arroyo Grande and had dinner in Pismo at Steamers with Barbara and Jeff Hodges. I've known Barbara since Win Win Writers Conference Days--and thought we've done a couple of booksignings together in the pasts it's been awhile seen we've seen one another. Food was excellent and we had an ocean view window and we sat and gabbed for a couple of hours.

The next day we drove to the Nipomo Library, once again thanks goodness for Mrs. Magellan because she took us right there. It was a smallish event with mostly craft booths. Barbara and I were on the porch and good friend and mystery writer Sue McGinty had a table out on the grass. There were a couple of children's book authors and two other authors that I never had time to meet.

As usual, the only way to sell books is to engage people in conversation--which I did, of course.

This was the first time the Friends of the Library did this event and I thought it went quite well. I'd love to do it again. (Besides, I love going over to the coast.)

That evening hubby and I went to A.J. Spurs for dinner--they give you way too much food. If we lived near one hubby and I would either share a meal or take home half the food for the next day.

The drive there and back was great.

And that was our wonderful weekend! By the way, can you tell we like to eat out?


Friday, September 11, 2009

Me and Technology

My first computer was purchased from a catalog. When it arrived, I opened it up, followed all the directions, but couldn't figure out anything. (Of course this was in the beginning days of personal computers. No one else had one, but I knew it could make my writing life easier.) Two a.m. I woke up and told my husband we were sending it back.

We had a church friend who was selling Kaypro computers. I told him I'd buy one if he helped me learn how to use it. The first one had two floppy disks and I mean floppy, one for what you were writing, the other for the program you were using. The poor man suffered through many a phone call.

I bought two more computers from him along with new word processing programs: Word Star then Word Perfect which I still use a lot. Because my publishers all want Word, I have it too--though I don't like it nearly as well as Word Perfect despite the extra features.

I've hired computer whiz's to help me switch from one computer to the next as I kept moving upward along with the technology. I learn what I need to know to do the things I have to do. It all seems like magic to me anyway.

I bought a tiny computer to take with me on trips. When I got tired of paying hotels for WiFi time, I bought a gizmo to plug into my computer that brings me the Internet. My sister showed me how to do some stuff on it and my daughter explained how I could play Solitaire. Important stuff.

Oh, and of course I had to have a Kindle. After all, most of my books are on Kindle, I need to see how they looked, right? And a Kindle with all the books I want to read loaded on it is a lot easier to haul around on a trip then two or three books.

We're on our second GPS. We started with a Garmin and now we're in love with Mrs. Magellan.

I've used a Blackberry for a long time. Our first phone was the size of a brick and we kept it in the car for emergencies only. After that I got a Blackberry, then another. Now I have an iPhone. It's new and I'm just learning how to use it. I had to take it down to my Internet server to have them put my email address into it so I could get my email--the most important function of a phone as far as I'm concerned. I only want the phone for emergencies or calling my husband. I don't like talking on a regular phone and a cellphone is no better. I don't want to be one of those people in restaurants or airports telling all their secrets at the top of their lungs into their cell phones.

I'm still struggling with the iPhone. I learned my great-grandson who is high school has one and uses it all the time. What I can't figure out on my own I'll ask him. It'll be a long list.

Though I like all these techie toys I'm afraid I don't understand them very well. When things work right I feel like whenever I've succeeded in making one of these gadgets work and it actually does what I hoped for, it's a form of magic. How on earth anyone figured out how to make these things is mind-boggling. I'm just glad they did--most of the time.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Extra Hour Every Day

Wouldn’t everyone like an extra hour a day? Author Soergel has a plan to actually make that happen in his new book, Happy About An Extra HOur Every Day.

Some of his tips aren’t surprising, like cutting down on mindless TV viewing and computer games. Beginning each day with a list of what you hope to accomplish is something most of us do, but he’s come up with ways to refine the list and be more apt to accomplish your goals for the day.

There are tips on how to most efficiently use your phone–some really good ones.

What I enjoyed most because I hadn’t heard some of these tips were the ones on traveling, booking hotels and airplane travel.

Everyone who is still working an eight-to-five job should read this book. Even if you only find one or two tips you can incorporate into your daily life, it will be worth it. And if you work at home, like I do, there are plenty of ideas to make your life run more smoothly.

An Extra Hour Evey Day will benefit:

* stay at home moms

* working moms

* small business owners

* entrepreneurs

* and anyone who has a busy life.

Some of the topics that the book discusses, includes:

* How to save time housecleaning

* How to save time traveling

* How to save time dealing with other people

* How to save time at the office

About Happy About An Extra Hour a Day

Every day has exactly 1,440 minutes in it. Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, run your own small business or are an independent freelancer, the way you spend those minutes helps or hinders the goals you want to achieve.

Nicolas Soergel, author of the new book Happy About An Extra Hour Everyday (Happy About, 2009) says anyone can create extra time in their life by increasing their efficiency. “If you can save one minute, 60 times a day, you can gain the extra hour needed to make your dreams happen,” says Soergel.

Throughout Happy About An Extra Hour Everyday the author offers easy to implement, time saving tips that he terms "quick wins".

About the Author -

Nicolas Soergel, was born in Germany in 1969. After completing his studies in business administration at the University of Cologne, he began his career in finance with Sony. Soergel later played a major role in setting up the German, Austrian and Swiss operations of the British vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson.

In 2000, Nicolas moved to Japan where at the age of 34 he became CEO of the Japanese subsidiary of T-Systems – a Deutsche Telekom group company. 3 years later he took over responsibility for the APAC region.

Throughout his professional career Nicolas has had the opportunity to meet and interview executives from around the world on the practical ideas they use to save time and get organized. You can read more at Nicolas’s blog:


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gearing Up for A New Blog Tour

Oh yes, I will be off on a new blog tour in October. It's not as easy and just visiting one blog after another, all these tours are set up in advance.

Because I wasn't sure when my copies of Dispel the Mist would arrive, I decided to have the tour the month after the publishing date. That was a good thing because some of the blog hosts want copies of the book to review. All of them want new content for my visit.

When someone sends an interview, that's the easiest because it's merely a matter of answering questions about myself and my book. The trick is to make it interesting and different from other things I might say for other blogs.

The more difficult blog posts are where they say you can write whatever you want. It's a matter of trying to figure out what might be interesting to the regular readers of that blog. Sometimes the blogs are geared toward new writers who want helpful information. Other times the readers are looking for something fresh and witty. Of course because I'm on a blog tour to promote my book, I want to write something about it too without being obnoxious about it. (That's hard too because I've read some blogs where the promotion was far too heavy-handed.)

Anyway, today I have two blogs I need to write something intelligent, bright, witty, humorous or instructive for--or if I'm particularly clever, all of the above.

Wish me luck,


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Views on Camping

Yesterday I eluded a bit to what I think about camping. Believe me, I've done plenty of it over the years. Thursday when we were driving home through the mountains, we saw people camping so close to one another along the shores of Lake Isabella and the Kern River I don't think that could possibly be fun or relaxing.

When I was a kid our family went camping every summer. I don't remember every camping trip, but I do remember camping at Yosemite when the deer and bears were plentiful and wandered around all over. Later we went to Bass Lake for three weeks where we camped, swam and went water skiing.

With my own family, we tent camped first. And I took my Camp Fire Girls camping a lot. We went to primitive camps and state parks and we camped at the beach. I could cook just about anything anywhere. We back packed into the Sespe where we did find primitive campsites--and brought everything in we needed. Same when we camped on Anacapa Island--we even brought all our water with us.

My final tent camping trek we took with our three youngest children on a trip from California to Maryland and back. We drove a VW bus pulling a small trailer with all our camping supplies. It took us one hour to set up at night and one hour to pack up in the morning. We did see a lot of the country but it was a whole lot of work.

When we returned home I said I'd never do that again. We bought a small camper that went on our truck. With that we camped along the California and Oregon coast and back again. After that trip, I said we had to put a porta potty in the camper. We did and went on a trip with our youngest son to Yellowstone. We had a great time, but I think that was our last big camping trip.

I know my husband would love to get a motor home, but I'm not that thrilled with the idea of driving such a big thing on the highways. I'm quite content to drive our Ford Edge to a nice hotel where I don't have to make up the beds or cook the meals.

And that's how I feel about camping.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

My plans for labor day are to do just that--labor.

Time to do the laundry, put it off far too long. It's so strange only doing laundry for two people. I raised five kids and until the fifth one arrived I didn't have a dryer, so all that washing was hung up on the line--though it was actually lines, I think I had five. I washed nearly every day. Things were much easier when I got the dryer.

When we were down to two kids (one of ours and one we'd taken in) we became the owner/operators of our own licensed facility for six developmentally disabled women, so I was back to washing every day. After twenty-three years we retired from that but we've had different folks living with us off and on, grandsons and the like, so there was plenty of wash to do. Now it is just the two of us and I can go for a longer period of time before I feel the need to do the laundry.

Friday, my grandson--another one--came and cleaned house and Saturday he was back to shampoo the carpets. What an improvement. But I always clean our bedroom and the bathroom we use--and it's time for that too.

So that's what I'll be doing all day--laboring. Perfect occupation for the holiday.

Oh, I know, most people are camping--don't do that anymore unless we're invited along with our daughter and her husband in their fancy motor home--but I enjoy my own bed too much. Yes, I do go away on book adventures, but we always stay in hotels.

In fact, that reminds me of one more job I have to do and that's pack up my books and stuff for the coming weekend. We're headed for Nipomo and the library for a pleasant day selling books in a great location.

That's my labor day.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday's Plans

I'm writing this on Saturday, hubby's birthday, but he's off buying cat food for all of his cats, inside and out. I was the person who loved cats--but now not so much because we have way too many.

Today, as usual, we'll get up and get ready for church. Hubby already informed me he'll be leaving early as he must set up communion--we always have communion the first Sunday of the month.

I teach the 3rd - 5th grade boys and sometimes I have a girl when my granddaughter who teaches the girls' class skips a Sunday. (She fills in for me when I'm gone and I'm gone quite a bit, especially now while I'm doing promotion for Dispel the Mist.)

After church we're having a spaghetti dinner. We now have a man in charge of fellowship and he used to own a restaurant so I suspect the spaghetti will be good. (My hubby doesn't like spaghetti so he's not particularly thrilled.) All we're supposed to bring is dessert.

I bought a beautiful German chocolate cake when I went up to Kirby Farms to see about having a book signing there (I am) and I also got some cookies and some wonderful produce. It's not really a farm, it's a little house on the main road through town. They have it set up with table and chairs and serve coffee to go along with slices of cake and pies and muffins. The produce is being sold out of the car port next door.

I suppose hubby will have to help with clean-up--since he just turned 79, he keeps saying once he's 80 he's not doing all this stuff anymore. We'll see. But I suspect the rest of tomorrow will be spent vegging on the couch.

I had a wonderful idea for a blog last night and meant to write it down. I didn't so of course I can't remember the wonderful idea.

Maybe it'll come to me again tonight.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oh My Goodness, I Did it Again!

Today my Blackberry quit working. I couldn't get the trackball to go up and down. So I took it to the AT &T store to have them fix it. Anyone who knows me knows I never go anywhere without my Blackberry.

While there the young salesman (they were all young) talked me into getting an iPhone. Why on earth I succumbed I do not know. I hate learning how to use new things. It looked so easy while he was doing it. When I got it home, I couldn't even figure out how to turn it on.

Oh, he put all my information in it, but left it up to me to configure the email. Of course I couldn't do that either. I emailed my Internet server and they emailed me back what to do.

Tomorrow my grandson's friend who has an iPhone is coming to show me how to use mine. When all else fails with gizmos and gadgets always find a kid to help out.

I'm sure once I play around with this for awhile I'll catch onto how this all works--but I don't need iTunes even though the salesman told me where and how to get free ones, I doubt I'll ever watch a movie on it--though I might some day. I don't need to read books on it because I have my Kindle.

And it even has a GPS. Do I need a GPS when I have Mrs. Magellan to tell me what to do? Knowing hubby and me, I suspect we'll use both and that way get a second opinion.

That's it though, I swear, no more gadgets for me.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Meeting with the Ridgecrest Writers

This was taken with my Blackberry through the car window on our way home. The trees were magnificent, the road was windy like a coiled snake and scary as can be. I put other photos on my Facebook page.
We really enjoy meeting with the Ridgewriters in Ridgecrest. This was my third time to give a presentation to them. 
Ridgecrest is way out on the high desert, right next to the China Lake Naval Air Station. Most of the people who live there have or have had something to do with the base. It was really hot--it's really hot where we live too, but it was hotter in Ridgecrest.
We first went to the wonderful BevLen Haus Bed and Breakfast where the Ridgewriters were putting us up. We stayed with Bev previously and it was great to see  her again. Then we met the president and Donna, who is a great gal, for dinner beforehand. I won't say anything about the dinner because mine had a problem, but the conversation was great. 
The meeting was held in the library of an assisted living facility and I believe there were close to 25 people in attendance as I don't have any of the 25 handouts I brought left.
My talk was about electronic publishing, the Kindle and promoting on the Internet. Many questions were asked and answered.
One highlight was meeting a friend who is on  Facebook with me. Most of you know that many of the friends you have on Facebook aren't necessarily anyone you've met before. 
Our night at the B and B was wonderful and so was breakfast. Bev is a good cook and she is a congenial hostess. We look forward to seeing her again.
And then we decided to tell Mrs. Magellan to take us the shortest route home--and that blog is just below this one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Long Way Home

I wanted to show some photos that I took on the way home, but the photo gizmo has disappeared, so I'll tell you instead.

We decided to come home a different way from Ridgecrest and put Shortest Way into our Magellan. We know we'd be going through the mountains, but I had no idea what that entailed.

First we took off through a gorgeous but remote stetch of high dessert filled with green clumps of some sort of vegetation and huge Joshua trees (maybe--or at least some kind of desert looking cactus type plants). The hills were high and got higher the farther we drove.

We passed tiny little communities--one named Onyx. There were ranches and ranchettes and some gorgeous homes here and there on the hillsides.

On we drove and climbed until we reached Lake Isabella--which is a good-sized lake. Some mansion type houses overlooking the water--and lots of interesting campgrounds already crowded with tents and small campers because of the Labor Day weekend coming.

We drove through Kernville--not too big, but interesting with a Western flavor.

We kept on going, the road was two lanes only all the way, and we kept on climbing. There was hardly any other vehicles on the road--no wonder, the road was so crooked and it didn't seem to be leading anywhere except higher into the mountains. And yes, the roads were called Mountain Road number this or that.

The scenery was beautiful, tall pines, manzanita, and scrub pines. A bit eerie too though considering all the fires going on down south and north in the Yosemite areas.

Then we found ourselves surrounded by Giant Sequoias--beautiful and tall. And then the road became 190. Guess what, that's the one we live on. I've been on 190 up in the high country long ago and vowed never to do it again. Too late--we were committed.

By this time we were getting hungry--and came upon the Ponderosa Inn. I've heard about it a lot, but never seen it. Quite a place--it's a lodge, has a tavern, diner and a general store. Lunch was simple but good, and hubby and shared homemade Apple Crisp for dessert.

Then it was back on the road. 190 doubles back on itself many times, and of course now we were going downhill. Very scary for me. Hubby did great driving--didn't bother him at all.

We got home in time to collapse and watch General Hospital.

Next time we'll go the tried and true way--lots more traffic, but easier driving.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Juggling Again

I'm working on the PSWA program--something that I'll be doing off an on until the conference itself arrives in 2010. Meanwhile I have to promote it. The cheapest rate to sign up is October 31 so I want to let everyone know about that.

And of course I have to work on the promotion for Dispel the Mist. The copies I've ordered haven't arrived yet, but when they do, I have to up the promotion, send out review copies and find more places to give talks about it.

While all this is going on I'm also working on my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel. Actually it's all written, but I still have to finish reading it to my critique group and there are other changes I need to make. I do have a title though, Angel Lost, at least I think that's what it's going to be. I've had a couple of others before this one.

I'm spending time on Facebook and other sites like that because I need to keep reminding people about the PSWA conference and Dispel the Mist.

Today I take off for Ridgecrest for my talk with the Ridgewriters group. I'm going to show them my Kindle, talk about books on Kindle, as well as all the things writers can do on-line these days to promote their books.

What really surprises me is how many writers don't know what they ought to be doing. Some are my friends--and don't think they have enough time to do online promotion. I'm not going to argue, but that is not the best way to look at promotion.

Anyway, what it comes down to is a juggling act--one that must of the writers I know who actually want to sell their books and make their name known--have figured out how to do.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

PSWA Conference

PSWA Writing Conference 2010

June 17 – 20 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

This conference is for all writers who are interested in writing fiction for non-fiction about any of the public safety fields (law enforcement, fire fighting, ambulance, EMT, border patrol etc.) This is also the perfect place for mystery writers to ask questions first hand of those who are working in these fields.
For more information and registration form, go to there is an early bird registration fee good until October 31.

Simon Wood, our keynote speaker will tell us how to create suspense. Simon has had over 150 stores and articles published and is an Anthony Award winner. His next thriller, Disgruntled will be out in April.

Sunny Frazier is going to let us know “How Much Sex is Too Much.”
Sunny’s short mystery fiction has won over 30 awards. Where Angels Fear.

“How to Plot Your Novel in an Hour” will be Michael A. Black’s topic. He’s had a thirty-year career as a police officer in the suburbs of Chicago and has written over forty articles on subjects ranging from police work to popular fiction as well as many mysteries including Windy City Knights and Random Victims.

Joyce Spizer Foy will tell us “Sizzle in Your Screen Play Sells.” Joyce has written mysteries, true crime and non-fiction and has several screen plays in development. She is a partner in two development/production companies.

“A Book Cover is Worth a Thousand Words” will be shown through good and bad covers by Michael and Lai Orenduff. Michael is the author of The Pot Thief and his wife Lai is an art historian who specializes in the power of images.

Kregg Jorgenson’s magazines credits include everything from Kwon Do Time magazine to Real Travel Adventures. He’s Vietnam veteran, a graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, U.S. Customs Academy, and other law enforcement schools. His topic is “How to Target Articles for Specific Magazines”.

Steve Scarborough, forensic expert, will also be giving a presentation but hasn’t decided on a topic yet.

If you want to be on a panel, signify on your registration form.

You may bring your books to sell, PSWA gets 10% of the sale price.

Early bird registration until October 31, 2009.