Showing posts from October, 2009

Hallopalooza Scavenger Hunt, Clue #4

Buffy St. James was … Milla thought a moment. The girlfriend of G. Winston Howard was … unexpected. Not a model. Not a socialite. She was a middle-aged librarian at one of the city libraries. Her high cheekbones, copper hued skin, and dark hair more than hinted at her Native American heritage. Her beaded leather costume proudly claimed it. It also proclaimed she spent a lot of time around a smoker. Her clothes reeked of cigar smoke.

"Miss St. James, how long have you known Mr. Howard?"

Buffy St. James smiled. "Two years. He's on our Friends of the Library board. The board raised funds for our new building. Winston was very involved in overseeing the construction. He's a detail person; we have that in common. We've been dating about half that time."

"What did you think of his assistant, Carla Jordan?"

Milla watched the librarian as she fingered an expensive-looking silver cuff bracelet, while considering her answer.

"The old adage that you…

Your Invitation to Hallopalooza

Your Invitation to Hallopalooza
October 30 - November 1, 2009

Do you have plans for Halloween? How
about an on-line mystery Scavenger Hunt
with free prizes?

On Oct. 30, 2009 at 8 AM, the 1st Annual
Stiletto Gang Hallopalooza begins. Or at
least we hope it's going to be an annual
event. Everything depends on you, our

What is Hallopalooza? It's an on-line
mystery scavenger hunt. Twenty-three
of the best, most interesting, coolest blogs
on the net have agreed to participate. There will be lots of great prizes! Lots of fun! Lots of clues!

Yes, clues. The Stiletto Gang has written a short story - did I mention it's a murder mystery - just for the event?

How do you play?

Let's start with when you play - the Scavenger Hunt starts at 8 AM Eastern on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. It ends at 5 PM Eastern on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. Winners will be announced at noon eastern on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.

What are you hunting? A killer! Okay, really you'll be hunting clues to the…

Being Ahead on Things

My husband and I are the opposite on this. I always get ready for anything way ahead of time. He always waits until the last minute.

I want to be ready because there's no telling what might pop up at the last minute that might delay progress on whatever it might be.

If we're going on a trip, I start deciding what I'm going to wear while I'm gone and begin the packing. Hubby takes twice as much as I do because he has no idea what he'll want to wear.

When I'm writing a book, I'm working on one a year ahead of time while the publisher has the book already for the next year's publication. Since I write two series, that means I have to write two books a year--and I can't wait until the last minute like some authors do. Working under that kind of a deadline would be torture for me.

When I'm going to do an appearance somewhere, at least a week ahead of time, I've decided what books I'm going to take. If I'm giving a talk, I've got the hando…

A Reminder, Halloween etc.

Be sure to take a look at and check out the neat Hallopalooza Scavenger Hunt. It begins on Friday and runs through the whole weekend. Follow the clues (from blog to blog) and figure out the mystery. Prizes galore. That's the reminder.

On the same blog today, I'm talking about Halloween past and present.

Okay, now for this blog. I'm at the beginning of a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. If I could get some time I'd be much further along than I am. I have an Indian legend to begin it, I have a semblance of an idea about who is going to die--who is going to do it--and some of the other stuff. Until I actually get to writing, though, I won't know much more. I've gathered lots of material which may or may not go into the book.

I need to get cracking though, because I'm almost done reading my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery to them. I like to be ahead on these things. Frankly, I like to be ahead on everything. That's probabl…

Blog Tours

This is the last week of my blog tour for Dispel the Mist.

I truly enjoy answering the different interview questions and attempting to come up with something new that might pique someone's interest enough to buy a copy of Dispel the Mist.

I've visited on some wonderful blogs--some that belong to friends--people I've actually met along the way, some who are people I only know by their name, and others who willingly agreed to host me on their blog but I hadn't heard of before.

My blog was set up for me by Pump Up Your Promotions and most directly by the wonderful Cheryl Malandrinos. And no, I don't really know Cheryl, though we've worked together before and I feel like she is a friend.

While on a blog tour you can't just sit back and do nothing. It's important that you visit each blog when you're there and leave a comment, at the very least that you appreciate the hospitality of the host. And even more important, you need to let people know where you ar…

How we Spent our Anniversary

We celebrated on Friday--went to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant and on to the movies. Came home and watched another movie on DVD, though hubby slept through most of it.

But yesterday, the actual day, we decided to clean house. Our grandson is usually the one who does it, but he has other priorities right now to do with the mobile home he lives in.

I always clean our bedroom, bathroom and my office--but we have a lot of house--too much really for too old folks. And if you are a writer, like I am, you need time to write.

But yesterday, I washed rugs, wiped down the kitchen, dusted the living room, dining room, and cleaned the guest bathroom. We have three other bedrooms and a bath that we don't do anything with unless company comes, or someone comes to live with us which happens on a regular basis.

It's good to see that we both still have the stamina to do all this--maybe we should do it more often, it is really good exercise. Maybe we'll have too if grandson doesn't ge…

58 Years and Still Together

Couldn't find a picture of hubby and me by ourselves so this one with our eldest daughter and hubby will have to do.

Yes, 58 years ago today that cute sailor and I were married in the Methodist preacher's home in Cambridge MD.

Everyone said it wouldn't last. We met on a blind date. He came to visit nearly every weekend though I think my dad's shop, our speed boat, and my mom's cooking may have been part of the draw. No matter, on one of the few real dates we went on, to the movies at the Alex Theater in Glendale, the cute sailor proposed.

Was I in love? Thought so at the time, but now I know I was infatuated with the idea that this most handsome sailor--he looked like a young Frank Sinatra with a lock of black hair that hung down on his forehead--actually wanted me. He also could play honky tonk on the piano. He couldn't dance, but after we were married for awhile, I taught him.

First few years were rough. Navy pay was lousy. We had a baby the year after we were m…

Hallapalooza Prizes

You'll definitely want to join the Stiletto Gang's Scavenger Hunt when you look over this list of prizes:

Jungle Red
Signed copies of Jungle Red Authors' books for the best comments on Jungle Red Blog

Marilyn's Musings
An autographed book by Marilyn Meredith..

Meanderings & Muses
Kaye Barley will give away a copy of IN THEIR BLOOD by Sharon Potts. People who leave a comment at her blog during Hallopalooza will be eligible for the drawing for the book.

America Comes Alive
Kate Kelly will give away a $20 gift certificate as a prize (from a drawing of those who sign up for her newsletter). The runner up will get a copy of Election Day by Kate Kelly.

Type M for Murder
At Type M for Murder we will have FIVE prizes for visitors to the blog. All readers have to do is drop by and leave a comment somet…

This and That

This is the newest addtion to our ever-growing family, Jaslyn. (She is named after her father, Jason.) A real cutie, she smile all the time. Her grandma is my middle daughter, Lisa, which, of course makes her another great-grandchild.

Today I had a haircut and while I was there the hairdresser told me that her friend really liked my book, Dispel the Mist, but her friend's husband loved it. While he was reading it he kept telling his wife, "Listen to this," and he'd read a paragraph or too. Thrilling words for the author.

I've actually started the book in the series that comes after the one that's expected in September. I don't have a title yet but I do have most of the characters in my head along with some ideas about where I'm going. Sometimes it works best when I just start writing and that's what I'm doing this time.

Once I get the words down, the story will begin to flow. Though titles used to come easily to me, nowadays I seem to have to wo…

Report on the Apple Festival

The crowds were huge, especially on Saturday, and people were buying.

I always advertise in the program that they hand out and fortunately, this year, my ad landed at the front and on the right hand side. Some people came to my booth, paper in hand, looking for me. Of course there were others who merely stopped because they were curious.

The only way to sell books at these affairs is to smile and speak to everyone who passes. Those who read will stop and take a look. At that point I begin telling them about each book. I have a one sentence blurb or "elevator pitch" for each one.

I brought 20 of my own titles with me and also a friend's book. You never know what might interest someone. Some covers attract people--but not the same covers. I had only two copies left of one book and only one of another. I put them on the table with a sign saying these were the last. They were snapped up immediately.

I did very well both days though the majority of the sales came in the morning a…

Prizes for Hallopalooza

Check out these prizes--be sure and enter this great Scavenger Hunt!

Hallopalooza Prizes

Jungle Red
Signed copies of Jungle Red Authors' books for the best comments on Jungle Red Blog

Marilyn's Musings
An autographed book by Marilyn Meredith.

Meanderings & Muses
Kaye Barley will give away a copy of IN THEIR BLOOD by Sharon Potts. People who leave a comment at her blog during Hallopalooza will be eligible for the drawing for the book.

America Comes Alive
Kate Kelly will give away a $10 gift cert as a prize (from a drawing of those who sign up for her newsletter). The runner up will get a copy of Election Day by Kate Kelly.

Type M for Murder

Boomer Chick

Yeah, But Houdini Didn't Have These Hips
"Welcome to Yeah, But Houdini …

More Information About Hallopalooza

I'm a part of the Stiletto Gang and we're having a great on-line scavenger hunt beginning Friday, October 30.

What is Hallopalooza? It's an on-line mystery scavenger hunt. Twenty-three of the best, most interesting, coolest blogs on the net have agreed to participate. There will be lots of great prizes! Lots of fun! Lot's of clues!

Yes, clues. The Stiletto Gang has written a short story – did I mention it's a murder mystery - just for the event.

How do you play? Thanks for asking.

Let's start with when you play – the Scavenger Hunt starts at 8 AM Eastern on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. It ends at 5 PM Eastern on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. Winners will be announced at noon eastern on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.

What are you hunting? A killer! Okay, really you'll be hunting clues to the killer's identity and motive. You will move from blog to blog reading the mystery and gathering clues. Each blog will give you a link to the next blog in the Scavenger Hunt line-up. You will st…

Book Festivals and Craft Fairs

This is a photo of friend and fellow mystery author, Madeline Gornell, and myself at the Central Coast Author and Book Festival in San Luis Obispo a couple of weekends ago.

You can't tell by the photo how cold we were. The wind howled through the festival blowing over displays and even taking off with a couple of the umbrellas. The crowd was fair but I'm sure would have been far better if it hadn't been so blustery and chilly. Sales were okay--but I'm sure would've been far better if the weather had cooperated.

Like with all these outdoor activities, you never know what will happen. Fortunately, besides the festival we had a great time with friends the night before, ate a lot of wonderful food, and stayed in a delightful Inn.

I've done a lot of these kinds of events--hot weather ones are usually good, but I don't do well when it's too hot. This weekend is the Springville Apple Festival, right in my backyard, and it'll probably be both cold and warm--th…

Hallapalooza Coming Soon

Hallopalooza coming at the end of this month

As a member of the Stiletto Gang I'll be participating in a fun scavenger hunt at the end of the month. You'll get a chance to win some great prizes at the various blog stops.

The Scavenger Hunt will begin 8 am ET, Friday, October 30.

It will end 5 pm ET, Sunday, November 1.
Winners will be announced at noon ET on Monday, November 2 at the Stiletto Gang blog site, at

The Stiletto Gang is writing a mini-mystery, with a different clue to solve the mystery found on the home page of each of the participating blogs. The mystery will begin and end at The Stiletto Gang, but in order to solve the mystery, the reader will have to visit every one of the 24 participating blogs.

Each blog will provide a clue which will be posted. The reader will move from blog to blog, collecting the clues which will help solve the mystery.

In addition to the mystery clue, each blog will post the name of the next blog the reader sh…

Reminiscing Again, My Teen Years

When people ask I always tell them my growing up years were very much like the old TV show, "Happy Days". When I was teen, the boys wore their hair slicked back into duck tails, Levi's low on their hips, white shirts tucked in, and leather jackets much like Fonz.

We had sock hops and slumber parties that were sometimes raided by boys (or at least attempted raids).

I hung out a lot, especially during the summer with my boy cousins. One was four years older than me, the other two years older. The eldest had a car. I loved my boy cousins even though they loved to scare me when I was younger.

They were quite adventurous. I went abalone fishing with them at the Palos Verdes cliffs. There were no houses there. Climbing down the cliff was scary, but I followed my cousins. I didn't dive for abalone like they did, but I swam in the surf. I doubt they followed any laws about abalone fishing. All I know is when we got home my aunt would fix the abolone and it was wonderful.

A whole…

The Fun or Not so Much Fun of Writing Two Series

Some of you may know that I write two series: the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series.

I'm right in the midst of promoting Dispel the Mist the latest in the Tempe Crabtree series. I'm giving in person talks, selling at book and craft fairs, presenting at writers conferences. All this month I'm doing a blog tour which means each week day I'm visiting one or more blogs for interviews and various other presentations. I hope some of you have visited one or more of the blogs.

While all this is going on, I'm finishing up another Rocky Bluff P.D. novel. No, not the one that will be coming out the beginning of next year. I just saw the cover for the new book, Axe to Grind, and it's terrific. My publisher, Oak Tree Press just asked me to come up with a 300 character blurb. That is really difficult to get the essence of the story into such a short blurb.

These series are very different. The Deputy Tempe Crabtree series always centers a…

New Review for Dispel the Mist

Across the North American continent, most Native American reservations were steeped in poverty until legalized gambling became a growing industry. Marilyn Meredith’s newest book in the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Dispel the Mist, unfolds in the backdrop of the reservation trying to expand its gambling enterprise with hotel and resort facilities. Lila Quintera, the first female county supervisor, is murdered. There is plenty of intrigue, but is her death the result of her opposition to expansion or to her support of a new facility for mental challenged women or just the tragic outcome of human immorality? Tempe explores all these possibilities with a new authority.

Tempe is asked to work as a detective on the case and for the first time, she is officially involved without having to also work patrol. She gains added dimension formally interviewing witnesses and potential suspects. While Tempe reaches a new level of respect in her job, she also has reached a level of real comfort…

I'm Going to Enjoy This Coming Week

Why? Because I spent last week sick and most of it in bed.

After a doctor appointment on Monday I plan to do a little shopping. Not much, because I don't really like to shop, but there are a few things I need.

I had planned to go to Bouchercon, even paid the registration fee, but after being so sick I know it's really a good thing I decided not to go. The reason I changed my mind is because the Springville Apple Festival is this coming weekend. Two days of selling books or trying to anyway to the 30,000 people who attend this event.

Yes, I'll miss the fun of Bouchercon and seeing lots of people I know and probably making new friends, but for this year, I'll be staying home.

What I will be doing this week is deciding which books to take to the Apple Festival and packing them up. We've done this so many times now, we know we have to take our tent, a table, two chairs, and the books, cash box, and guest log. We can put the tent up on Friday which will save time on Saturd…

A Lost Week

Though I have posted about my blog tour on Facebook and Twitter and other places, mostly what I've done this week is sleep. I didn't get up until 8 a.m. this morning. My usual rising time is 6 a.m. or earlier.

Though I hate wasting time, I don't think it was really wasted because I'm finally starting to feel much better. Oh, I'm still blowing my nose, but my ears and throat don't hurt anymore.

Last time I was sick like this was Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I wasn't the cook. We were at my youngest daughter's house and I spent most of my time there in bed. I know we went shopping the morning after but it was all kind of a blur.

My husband has been wonderful, catering to me. One day I made a huge pot of soup and we ate that for three days. He also went out and bought dinner a couple of nights, tasted like cardboard to me.

Now it's time to really perk up and get well. Next weekend is the Springville Apple Festival, which is two days outdoors. And I need to …

Under the Weather

I do not like to be sick! I don't suppose anyone does, but this is my blog and my opportunity to complain.

Hubby has had a cold for about two weeks and I was so proud that I hadn't caught it from him yet.

Sunday, I froze at the Central Coast Author and Book Fest--the wind blew and the air was chilly. After dinner, I was still chilly and went to bed to warm up. I felt fine the next day for our trip home. When I woke Tuesday a.m. I knew I was in trouble. By afternoon I knew that no way could I got to my writing group on Wednesday. Boo hoo! I let them know because we always print out copies of the chapter we plan to read.

Despite being sick yesterday, I did our laundry, changed bed linens, dusted and cleaned our bedroom and bath. I made wonderful chicken soup for dinner--son and daughter-in-law came over to eat it too (they've been sick with something else) and fortunately I think there's enough for dinner tonight.

Staying in bed isn't something I can do. Sick or not, I …

Some Writing Tips

I've spent several days reading and writing reviews for books.

Unfortunately there are only a few gems among them. A couple good enough I was sad to see that the author had chosen to publish with iUniverse or Publish America. Don't get me wrong, I have friends who have been published by similar type publishers because they got tired of rejections.

Because so many books that are published by these type of publishers haven't been edited bookstores won't order them nor will libraries. Even if the book was edited, it is almost impossible for the author to be asked to participate in a panel at a writing conference.

I just finished reading two romances that fell into this category. The plots of the stories were okay, but it was obvious the author hadn't taken any writing classes or learned some of the basics. Nearly every sentence in the dialogue throughout the book ended with an exclamation point. As most of us know, most of the time, if we've written the dialogue well…

Radine Trees Nehring's Review of Dispel the Mist

Radine wrote probably the most thoughtful review of Dispel the Mist I'll ever receive. Here it is:

How much of each writer can be found in his or her works of fiction?
Where is the author in what she created?

I can easily picture a perhaps younger Sara Paretsky playing the part of V. I. Warshawski in a movie or stage play.
Same with Sue Grafton and Kinsey Milhone
Randy Rawls as Ace Edwards? Definitely...and hundreds more examples like these in fiction.
The novels aren't autobiographical, but the authors are so THERE they could even step into a stage role as the book's protagonist, physically as well as in life motive and inspiration! (At least I see them that way.)

On the other hand, what about books like Betty Webb's Lena Jones series? No. Betty is not Lena. Or...could she really be there, somewhere inside Lena...?

And, what about Marilyn Meredith and Tempe Crabtree? Another no. No comparison. But....

In the latest Tempe Crabtree mystery, DISPEL THE MIST, Deputy …

Interview with Wendy Burt Thomas

GUIDE TO QUERY LETTERS                                   Wendy Burt Thomas

Today  I"m pleased to have Wendy Burt-Thomas visiting with me. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, "The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters" hit stores in January 2009. To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on 1. Q: Can you tell us about your book? The book was a great fit for me because I'd been teaching "Breaking Into Freelance Writing" for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I'm a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn't req…

Yeah, There Were Bad Things Too

My friend, Madeline Gornell, said she mainly remembered the bad things from her childhood. So to let you know nothing is every perfect, there were some bad things in my childhood too.

Before you start thinking bad thoughts, I was never molested nor did my parents beat me. Those were the days when parents were allowed to spank their children and I did get whacked with a yard stick by my mom a few times (deserved) and switched with a twig I had to pick out myself once or twice by my dad (also deserved).

I grew up during the second World War and though there were blackouts, air raid drills and what were thought to be real air raids, and shortages and food stamps, I was an optimistic kid and managed to have a good time no matter what was going on.

Yes, I had fights with my girl friends, but they never lasted long.

Once an old man scared me with a gun when I was trick-or-treating by myself (not allowed, but I wanted to gather all the goodies possible since this sweets were one of the things ra…

Happy Days Memories

While at our family reunion, my sis and cousin, who lived a block away, were reminiscing about our childhoods. Thinking back, we had it really good, growing up in an atmosphere much like Happy Days.

No, we didn't grown up in the Midwest--we lived in Los Angeles. Our neighborhood was interesting--the houses were small, mostly two bedroom and one bath, but none looked alike. Behind our house was a big hill. Stairs led to the top, 121 to be exact. Yes, we counted them. No houses were up there, it was just hills and a water reservoir. Now, in that same location is the Glendale Freeway. But when we were kids it was a good place to go hiking--though we weren't supposed to go alone because hobos camped up there.

When the weeds dried out, we'd slide down the hills on cardboard. Once in awhile, there'd be a fire--and the fire engines parked in the big circle in front of our house.

When my cousin and I turned ten, our mothers let us go downtown by ourselves on the streetcar to shop…

Next Up on the Promo Agenda

We'll be heading back to the Central Coast on Saturday. This time to participate in the Central Coast Authors and Book Fest next to the San Luis Obispo Mission. I'll have a table with my books. Hopefully there will be many book lovers out and about.

I volunteered to be on a panel. I've given talks and been on panels previous years at this event. I was chosen to be on a panel about the publishing process from start to finish, unfortunately I recently discovered that the venue for the panel was in a library several blocks from the book festival and it was a 45 minute long panel from 11 to 11:45. The thought of having to be coherent after walking uphill in time to get to the panel had me thinking. Before, all the things I'd done were in buildings or outdoors right on the same grounds--easy to get to and I wasn't away from my table for too long a time.

Because I paid to have a table at this event, I began thinking about being away from my books for at least 10 or 15 minu…