Showing posts from November, 2009
Today, Michael Angley is my guest. His books are fascinating--and so is he as you'll discover as you read his answers to my questions.

As a retired Air Force officer, what made you decide to write novels following your first career?

“I’ve always loved to write, but I postponed my long-term goals while I pursued my Air Force career. In hindsight, I think that was a good thing because it allowed me to focus on my writing with the precision it needed. I retired as a Colonel having spent 25 years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, or OSI for short. The OSI is the Air Force version of NCIS, so I had plenty of rich experiences to inspire my writing, from running felony-level criminal investigations, as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations around the world. In my last assignment, I was the Commander of OSI Region 8, at Air Force Space Command. I like to tell people, ‘If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, then I had a do…

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Well, doesn't it? We haven't even eaten the last of the leftovers, but now it's time to decorate for Christmas.

I don't really do nearly as much decorating as I used to--even though everything is easier. The last time we put up our big tree, artificial, but it looks real, our cats had a great time taking off all the ornaments. I have three small trees that I put around, all decorated, one with lights.

Our favorite decoration is a stuffed moose that sings "Grandma was run over by a reindeer."

This year I put our three ceramic Nativity scenes on the mantel and didn't bother with some of our other Christmas knick-knacks. Another sign that I'm getting older. I'm just grateful I can enjoy another Christmas with my family.

Since I have managed to take care of most of my Christmas giving, I'm hoping next week I'll be free to really get going on my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I'm four chapters into it and amazingly my plot is taking off…

Planning Ahead

I'm truly a planner. I like to know where I'm going and what I'll be doing. I have a calendar that I keep by my desk and one for my purse. Everyday, I check my calendar to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. Frankly, I couldn't get along without my calendar.

What do I put on it? Everything. Whatever I'm going to do that day goes on the calendar from working on my budget to a book signing event.

Coming up next week, I need to write a post for the Stiletto Gang on Tuesday, put up Christmas decorations sometime during the week, and my critique group will be meeting on Wednesday. Saturday I'm heading up to the Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst to talk about e-publishing at 2 p.m.

The main reason I keep an up-to-date calendar (and yes, I already have one going for 2010) is so I don't double book an event. But it does help me to plan my day. If hubby and I are going to a movie, I put that down too.

Oh, and I do make lists every day too. I love crossing item…

The Aftermath of Thanksgiving

I didn't even think about taking pictures during the meal--too busy getting it ready, serving it, and eating myself. We were already done, cleaned up, and playing Estimation when I remembered I'd charged my iPhone and brought it out for picture taking.

We ended up with only 15 people for dinner--some didn't come because they couldn't be torn away from the TV--however we had two that we didn't expect.

In the pictures are daughter-in-law Elaina and granddaughter Jessica. I couldn't have done the dinner with Elaina--she was so helpful making the mashed potatoes and her wonderful salsa, and just plain being my right hand lady before and after. Jessica made the green bean casserole and it turned out great.

The picture of Carolyn (great-granddaughter) next to daughter Lisa shows what we were doing after we ate and while we ate dessert. In another one it looks like hubby is peeking at grand-daughter Melissa's cards--don't think he was. Aaron (great-grandson) pla…

Happy Thanksgiving One and All!

I'm writing this post the day before Thanksgiving because I know I'll be far too busy tomorrow. Yes, I'm the cook again this year. We'll be having 17 people for dinner--but I'm a piker, my sis is having 30. Years ago when she still lived in Springville, we used to do Thanksgiving together at my house. She always brought the pies and cookies (I don't do well with either) and made the gravy. My aunt always brought the green beans and the sweet potatoes. My mom made her famous green pineapple jello. Of course I did the big stuff, turkey, ham, etc. Others brought other side dishes.

Our families continued to grow over the years and when all my sister's kids moved to Las Vegas, she followed. Now she has them, their kids and their kids' kids joining her and her hubby at the Thanksgiving table.

When we moved to Springville, we left two grown daughters behind. For a long while they continued to come to Springville for Thanksgiving--but now their children have grow…

Great-Grandma's Bragging

This is Peyton with her trophy and 2nd place ribbon she won in Denver this past weekend in the individual dancing competition for Irish dancing. It has a different name which I can neither pronounce or spell.

The dancing group she belongs to won 3rd in group competition.

Needless to say, we are all proud of her. She's only in second grade. She's the one that decided she wanted to learn how to do these dances. She's also learning the violin with the goal of being able to play the violin and dance at the same time.

She's quite a grown-up little girl.


The Life of a Writer--Mine

Many readers think of writers as having a life that is magical, much different from what every day folks experience. That might be true of the likes of John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark but it isn't for an author like me.

Anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows that I'm published by two small, independent publishers and that I have a very large family by anyone's standards.

I usually rise a little before six, dress and greet the day with a cup of Chai tea. Though I ought to immediately start writing, I must confess, I always check my email first--and if I have a blog to promote, I'll post about it on Facebook and Twitter.
Sometime during the day, I have to write something for this blog and I'm also on the Stiletto Gang on Tuesdays and I blog for I Love A Mystery on the first and third Tuesdays.

A couple of times a week I do the laundry. I clean our bedroom and bath, my office and the hall--though I manage to con relatives into helping with the other cleaning.

Epic Open Letter About Writers Association vs. Harlequin

EPIC Open Letter

The Writers Associations vs. Harlequin

The internet is abuzz with news of the backlash in the wake of Harlequin's new "Harlequin Horizons" (soon to be renamed)vanity line. Everyone has their two cents to add; EPIC (ElectronicallyPublished Internet Connection) is no different, though EPIC is in a unique position in this discussion.

Why is EPIC unique? Because we don't have a requirement that would preclude self/subsidy/vanity-published (s/s/v) authors or publishers from joining EPIC as full members. To be a member of EPIC, you must be a published author or industry professional…period. We don't require books or covers entered in our contests to be from conglomerates or even from royalty-paying press. Also, we are not a writers'association "of America" group. EPIC is a global organization that includes members from around the world from the US and Canada to the UK, Germany, Australia, India, and farther.

EPIC started in 1997 as a proposed…

An Axe to Grind

This is the next book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. Isn't this a great cover? I am so pleased.

I will be doing another blog tour in March so if anyone would like to host me for that, email me at

Also you can read the first three chapters here:

Please leave a comment.


Blind Side and New Moon

Yesterday, hubby and I managed a double feature. We went to see "Blind Side" first which started at 10:45 a.m. and were glad we weren't planning to see "New Moon" then because there was a huge line already for people who had purchased tickets ahead of time. We bought tickets for the 2 p.m. showing of "New Moon". We had only 20 minutes between the two shows.

We both loved "Blind Side". Sandra Bullock plays a rich, Southern, Christian white socialite who befriends and gives a home to a big, black teenager. It's definitely a feel-good movie--and definitely entertaining. Sandra Bullock was definitely the right person to play the part of this fearless woman who does what she thinks is right no matter what her friends or anyone else may think. Fortunately, her husband and children go along with her.

New Moon played in the biggest auditorium (as well as another small one at different times) and though there were lots of people there, it wasn'…

What I'm Thankful For

With Thanksgiving approaching it's time to think about all that I have to be thankful for.

First and foremost, for my faith in God and my belief that He is in control no matter what happens.

Of course I'm thankful that I live in the United States and because of that, as a woman I can do so much more than I could if I'd been born in many countries around the world.

I'm thankful for my home and the fact that we always have enough food on the table for us and whoever else happens to be joining us at the table.

I'm thankful for my family, husband first and foremost for all that he's put up with over the years, for supporting me both physically and mentally, and for being my best friend, companion and sweetheart for all these many years. For my kids, grandkids and great grands who have given me great joy. I'm truly blessed. Not many get to see, know and love their kids' kids, and then the next generation too.

I'm also thankful for my sis and her husband--she&…

Why I Watch General Hospital

Years ago I watched General Hospital because it came on about the time my kids were coming in from school--and often it was the first time I had the opportunity to sit down.

I watched Luke and Laura and their improbably romance that began with a rape (no doubt the writers were surprised by the chemistry between the two of them and changed the story line). I watched when Elizabeth Taylor played the part of one of the evil Considines and I believe she came to the wedding. Ms. Taylor is the same age as I am and since she liked General Hospital enough to become a part of it for a short while, then it made my watching even more okay--at least in my mind.

When I had my care home, I watched GH when I folded clothes. When it was over it was time to get up and start dinner and greet the ladies as they came in from work.

Now, my hospital watches GH with me in the afternoon and sometimes we snooze through parts of it. We guess at what outlandish thing is going to happen next. We yell at the charact…

Downloading Turbo Tax Made Me Consider My Age

Yep, it did. 2010 is creeping up on us.

Frankly, when I was young I certainly didn't expect to see the year 2010. I've lost many of my high school friends--some passed away at far too young of an age. One of the girls I went all through school is gone, several have lost their husbands.

What do I attribute my longevity to? Good genes. My dad lived to be in his 80's and mom was three years shy of 100. But, when you come right down to it, it all comes down to what the Bible says, "There's a time to live and a time to die." Only God knows when that time will be.

What is different about now and when I was younger? As a young woman, no matter what hours I worked, when I came home I always had to have an evening. That meant at least an hour to do something I wanted to do just for me.

When we had a houseful of kids, we always had a bedtime for them, which got later as they got older, but there was always a time when they were in their bedrooms and we had our "eveni…

Exciting Announcement!

Ever so often something really exciting shows up in my email box. This time it was an announcement from the Epic e-book contest committee that No Sanctuary is a finalist in the Mystery/Suspense category.

Wow! Of course I wanted it entered, but I've entered a book nearly every year since I joined Epic. I've even been a finalist three times.

I've also served as a judge every year though never in the category where I have books entered. Every year the caliber of the books has become better and better. Excellent writing, few mistakes.

The news about who actually wins won't happen until March of 2010 at the Epicon in New Orleans. I'll be there because I'm giving two presentations about writing mysteries, one for the adults and one for the kids.

I'm up against two authors that I know. Mike Orenduff who writes the Pot Thief mysteries--the first on is absolutely great, and Linda Faulkner whose book I haven't read yet but I've heard nothing but good things. The…

So What's Next?

Fortunately, I don't have many appearances before next year. I'll be heading up to Oakhurst on Saturday December 5th to give a talk about e-publishing at the wonderful Willowbridge Bookstore. On December 11th and 12th, I'll be spending all day, both days, from 10 to 5, at the Art Gallery on Main St, Porterville. Of course I'll have some of my books and I hope people will be interested in giving an autographed book as a Christmas gift.

During this quiet period--is it ever quiet with Thanksgiving and Christmas going on--I hope to move along with my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. No name for it yet, but will probably have something to do with bears since they play an important part in it.

January of 2010 is fairly calm except for a talk to the Clovis Libary Book Club on the 17th. I do have a board meeting for PSWA one weekend--but that should be fun.

Sometime in January my next Rocky Bluff P.D., An Axe to Grind will make an appearance. That means planning promo for tha…

My Bumpy Road to Publication Part III

During the time I was with Hard Shell, the publisher had one after another of the most horrendous family tragedies imaginable.

I sent the next Tempe book out to a larger small press with a great reputation. They were interested in the book but wanted me to make it 15,000 words longer. I knew I couldn't do it, so I had to find another publishing company.

By this time, I'd decided I didn't want to go with a house with only one person in-charge. While attending a couple of Epicons I met the publishers of Mundania Press. I had the opportunity to speak with Dan Rietz, one of the owners and publishers, and asked if he'd be interested in the Tempe series. I sent him Calling the Dead and he sent me a contract. Since then, Mundania has published Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, and Dispel the Mist. Invisible Path is next in line for fall of 2010.

While attending a Public Safety Writers Association's conference , I met the publisher of Oak Tree Press. Of course…

My Bumpy Road to Publication Part II

Besides mysteries, I also wrote Christian horror. The first one was really actually the first in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series though at the time I had no idea I would be writing a series. The title was The Choice. When I sent it out to mainstream publishers I got rejections that essential said the writing was great but the subject too Christian for their readers. Then I sent it out to Christian publishers, again the writing was great but the story far too scary for their readers.

I finally found a small press who also loved the story but wanted me to make it camera ready. Remember this was a long while ago. Yes, there were computers, but I only had Word Star and it needed to be in a more modern word processing program like Word Perfect. My friend who sold me my computer and had a computer store, let me come down to the store and work on his computer from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. when he came in to open the store. Of course he gave me lots of help along the way. When each page looked like i…

My Bumpy Road to Publication Part I

The journey began many years ago. Though I've always loved writing my first efforts to see a novel published began with a YA mystery I wrote featuring a family that I knew. I sent it off, it was rejected, and I gave it to the family. Then I wrote a romance of sorts, sent it off, it was rejected and I threw it away. (Yes, I am very sorry for my actions.)

Frankly, I knew very little about writing at the time. I hadn't read much about the rules of writing or submitting a manuscript, I only knew about the books that I loved to read.

This was long before computers and the Internet, and I don't think I knew about Writer's Digest or writer's conferences--couldn't have afforded to go to one in any case.

My sister researched and wrote up our family's genealogy. On my mother's side, the girl of a set of twins disappeared at the age of 16. No one knew what happened to her. I decided to write a book and tell what happened. With my trusty typewriter and after much rese…

Wars and Rumors of Wars

That's what the Bible says we'll have plenty of--and it has certainly been right.

Since I've been alive, I've seen a lot of wars go on.

World War II was first. I remember hearing about it on the radio when President Franklin D. Roosevelt told everyone the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. My childhood and teen years were greatly influenced by that war--shortages, food stamps, war movies, news reels about the fighting and other things. The war ended when I was in the 9th grade.

Hubby served as a Seabee during peacetime and also did three tours in Vietnam. This was the first time we could actually see the horrors of war while it was happening, thanks to TV.

And of course there was the Cold War and the Korean War and lots of other fighting going in places with strange names most of us had never heard of before. Israel always has it's problems (also talked about in the Bible) and of course Afghanistan and Iraq.

Will it ever end? No. As much as most of us would like peace,…

Veteran's Day Observance

Granddaughter Genie took hubby and me to the most awesome sight. This was in a park in Wildomar CA in a park between city hall and the library. The Rotary Club sold flags to people to honor fallen vets or those serving or who had served in the Armed Forces.

Genie and her husband purchased a flag in honor of her grandpa, my hubby, for his 20 years of service in the United State Navy Seabees.

This was a most impressive display. Flags in straight rows everywhere.

There are photos of hubby, and hubby and me with Genie and her kids, Peyton and Garrett. Of course Genie's husband, Mark was taking the photos.

This was an absolutely awesome display of patriotism.

Happy Veteran's Day everyone.


More on My Trip to Temecula

A big reason we love to go to Temecula for the Erle Stanly Gardner mystery weekend and the writer's conference is because we get to see our two grandkids who live in the area plus spend time with their families.

We spend the first night in Wildomar with Genie's family. She's always been a delight to us. She's a school speech therapist and her hubby a deputy. They have two children. Their pictures will be up on Wednesday, Veteran's Day.

We spend the second night in Temecula with Patrick's family. He's had a rough time lately because the job he thought he'd have until retirement disappeared. He has found another job but at the moment it's not paying the bills. His wife works full time and has a part time job. They have three kids. The youngest is in this one with his dad.

It takes a long time to get down to Temecula and we are not fond of driving on the freeways at all. Hubby likes to drive the speed limit--or 5 miles over--which does seem to upset the d…

Report on My Trip to Temecula

We had a great time in Wildomar and Temecula. Stayed the first night with granddaughter, Genie, hubby, Mark and two kids, Garrett and Peyton.

In the a.m. we headed over to Old Towne Temecula where I gave a talk on Novel Writing--though in one hour I only could hit the highlights, but I had handouts like I usually do.

At the booksigning time, one of my Blue Birds from years ago came to buy Dispel the Mist for herself and her mother. Wow, did that bring back memories from long long ago.

That is the picture I posted, of Debbie Klinger Stiver and myself. I was a really young mom when I first became a Blue Bird leader--I continued on with Camp Fire Girls and had the group until they graduated from 12th grade.

From there we went to our grandson Patrick's house--he was born on our anniversary year ago--and we had a great visit with him, his wife, Lucy, and there three kids, Emily, Olivia and Ethan--and we spent the night before heading home.

We also made one more stop--to see where we went a…

And On a Lighter Note

Today I'm in Temecula--hopefully--speaking to the Erle Stanley Gardner Writers Conference.

But while I'm writing this I'm still home. Because what I wrote yesterday was heavy, decided to write something a bit lighter.

I love reality shows--at least some of them. I've been following Dancing with the Stars faithfully, and I must say I'm very impressed with Donnie Osmond who is the old guy this year. The Amazing Race has been excellent--and I also tune into Survivor--and am amazed at how easy some young people can be manipulated by an older guy. Last summer I watched Big Brother--oh my, that is quite a show.

By the time 8 p.m. rolls around, the time most of these shows come on, I'm through for the day. I've written, done errands, laundry, answered people's question via the phone or email, cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and I'm ready to hang out and watch other people's lives.

And I have to confess, that if we're home, hubby and I watch Gene…

How to Deal With Living in a Scary World

Because of what happened at Fort Hood I decided to speak about something that is quite close to my heart.

We were military for 20 years--lived in base housing only twice. The majority of the time my husband was in the military and stationed at Port Hueneme Seabee Base, we owned our own home a couple of blocks from the main gate to the base. He served three times in Vietnam--so I really do know scary.

At this particular time we have a granddaughter with two children living on an Army base in Georgia.

But it really doesn't matter where one lives, bad things happen everywhere, there is no way to predict such horrors. Who knew something as horrific as 911 would ever happen in the United States?

The reality is there are crazy people everywhere. And unfortunately, many people who hate the United States--and quite a few of them are living among us. The men who flew into the trade center and the Pentagon had been living here a long while.

I met a man in Homeland Security and asked him how safe…

What's Next on the Agenda

Though I'm starting a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and in January a new Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is coming, out I still have to plan my promotion for the end of the year and for next.

Coming up, I'm heading to Temecula for the Erle Stanley Gardner Festival on Saturday and I'll be speaking at 10 a.m. in the Sr. Center behind the museum. The following Tuesday I'll be the speaker for the Porterville Rotary Club. Also coming up is a book store event and two days in December at the Porterville Art Gallery.

I'd love to have some more library events as well as service and social club events and I'll be searching out more craft fairs--but none in the middle of summer.

Of course I'm already lined up for several conferences in 2010, Epicon in New Orleans, Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha, and of course the Public Safety Writers Association's conference in Las Vegas and in the fall, Bouchercon in San Francisco.

As usual, I'm being optimistic and planning …

Follow Up on My Blog Tour

For the entire month of October, excluding weekends, I visited other people's blogs and either answered interview questions, wrote information about my latest book, Dispel the Mist, answered questions for my heroine, Deputy Tempe Crabtree, or gave writing or promotion advice. On some blogs, the host read and reviewed the book.

Though it's a lot of fun, it takes time. Writing everything and trying to make it unique for each blog take some work. On the day the blog appears, I visited and left a comment. I checked out the blog a few more times in case someone asked a question that I needed to answer.

To make sure at least a few folks visited each blog, I promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and every list that I was on--that meant every day.

Two of the best things about the tour are how nice people are when you are visiting their blog and the great comments people made.

I also had a wonderful book trailer made for this tour

Now, it's time to g…

Absolutely Fantastic Review for Dispel the Mist

There are some authors whom I really look forward to reading their newest books. Marilyn Meredith is one such author. Her Tempe Crabtree mystery series is as good as it gets. Truly she is an artist with prose. She can tell a most riveting story that weaves in the best of intrigue, murder. mystery, social issues, folk lore and relationship issues. In her latest book of that series "Dispel The Mist", she goes all out and leaves nothing wanting for the hungry fans of her books. It is top notch creative writing with great characters and an original and mystically inspired plot that entertains big time!

I have loved every one of her books in this series but this one is special and the emotional feelings in this new book seem deeper and more heart felt - as if the author has lived parts of this story herself. I got myself really into the book and found myself absorbed completely. It is the kind of book that you want to take along on your vacation so you can get some uninterrupted …

A Halloween Ball Mystery

This is the entire story the Stiletto Gang used for their Hallopalooza Scavenger Hunt. Read it and see if you can figure out who the villain is.

A Halloween Ball Mystery

Cast of Characters

Heroine - Milla Adams – private detective
Sidekick - Fletcher Jones – police detective

Victim - Carla Jordan – deceased, personal assistant to G. Winston Howard

Suspects -
G. Winston Howard – millionaire, host of Halloween Ball
Buffy St. James – librarian, current girlfriend of G. Winston Howard,
Walter Jester – aide to Carla Jordan
Alana Carter – groundskeeper
Liza Barrymore - hired by Diana Trent to do costume makeup for party
Amazing Harry – escape artist hired by G. Winston Howard for Halloween Ball
Mayor Juan Reyes and his wife Sonya – guests at the Halloween Ball
Steven McCall - owner of large construction company, friend of Howard family
Julius and Frieda Rosen - they run Rosen Catering, the company catering event.
Dr. & Mrs. Paul Trent – Diana is the first ex-wife of G. Winston Howard.

* * *
It was a ful…