Showing posts from March, 2010

Our Trip to and From Morro Bay

We always go to Morro Bay or any event on the coast the day before because it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive. Could be shorter, but we have to make a couple of stops--has something to do with age.

This time, hubby took me out to breakfast in Porterville. Then we headed to McDonald's and picked up a large cup of our favorite flavored iced-coffee, me vanilla, hubby caramel.

We take the short cut which means we drive past Corcoran Prison (formidable) and then turn on a farm road until we get to Utica Ave., which is also a two-lane farm road with nothing much to see except flat farmlands until we reach Highway 5. We get on it for a short 2 miles to 41. (We often make a stop there before traveling on.) Then we go west on 41 to where it connects with the next highway that leads to the Paso Robles and Highway 101. The wildflowers were spectacular--bright orange poppies, blue lupine, wild mustard and the hills were green. We didn't stop, so my photo was taken through the car window--hen…

More About Sunday's Booksigning

When I first got up to talk, I took a photo of the audience, then I asked who knew how to use the camera on an iPhone and a lady in the front row raised her hand. I gave her my iPhone and asked her to take a photo.

I only brought three books to sell because there were six authors speaking who also had books to sell. I brought Dispel the Mist, No Sanctuary and An Axe to Grind.

I told a little bit about my writing background and something about the two series. Because I thought it such a great review, I read the first couple of paragraphs that Mason Canyon wrote about An Axe go Grind. Afterwards, I answered questions.

When all the questions had been answered, I stepped outside to the table where my books were on display and several folks came and picked one up and asked for a personalization. (I'd already signed them all.)

Then the next person gave their presentation.

This was an extremely well-run author event--I give my congratulations to Sue, Karen and Victoria and the other members …

Book Signing at Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay

Victoria Heckman is the author in the Hawaiian dress, the other author with her in the other photo is Karen Kavanaugh, and Sue McGinty is the other author. The other photo is of the gorgeous patio garden.

The book signing Sunday at the Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay was a huge success. The little chapel in the patio garden behind the store was packed with people during the entire event.

Part of the success was due to the bookstore staff who did a marvelous job of promoting: great newspaper coverage and posters in the store. The store itself is wonderful. Tiny, but packed with books, both new and used. Down a flight of stairs in back and you step into the most gorgeous garden.

We had our books on display in the garden. Inside the chapel that they use for weddings and all sorts of events, the bookstore had already set up tables for coffee and tea which they provided, plus two bottles of wine. We six authors and other members of the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime brought finger …

An Axe to Grind Review Snippets

So far all the reviews for An Axe to Grind have been fantastic.

Probably the most heartwarming comments came from a friend who bought my book, then put on Facebook that very same day that she'd already finished reading it and loved it.

One of the best beginning of a review was this:

“I loved this book from the first few pages! Nothing like a good decapitation to get the vibes and imagination rolling!..." Jen's Book Talk.

Or how about this one:

"Who ever thought reading about a decapitated corpse couldn’t be funny hasn’t read, An Axe To Grind, by F.M. Meredith..." She went on to say However, author F.M. Meredith has found a way to write a gripping murder mystery while including enough light-hearted moments..." Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress.

This four star review from Cafe of Dreams ended this way, "Author F.M. Meredith has a delightful and wonderful writing style and voice that will instantly click with readers male or female. Her writing is in-depth an…

Off to Morro Bay Again

We love going to the coast, which anyone who reads my blogs has probably figured out.

This time we're going because I belong to the Central Coast Sisters in Crime and they are having a joint author signing at the Coalesce Book Store on Main Street in Morro Bay, Sunday, March 28th from 1-3.

We decided to go today and we're booked a room in another hotel we've never stayed in--sure to be an adventure like so many before.

Of course we plan to have a great seafood meal this evening and enjoy gazing out the window at the bay.

The signing itself sounds fun. I think each of us (authors) will have the opportunity to speak about and/or read a bit from our book. I'll be bringing An Axe to Grind and two other books.

So far, this will be my only signing in a bookstore. I've been to this bookstore before and it's charming. Each author is bringing some kind of finger food, so there'll be refreshments to entice people in.

When I get home, I'll report how it all went.


Robert Knightly, PSWA member, first book out

Marilyn: Robert Knightly charmed many of us with his understated humor when he came and spoke to us at PSWA about short story writing and many other subjects a few years ago. I've asked him a few pertinent questions so others can learn more about him. Robert, tell us something about your writing.

Robert: First realized my calling while a sophmore in college, so took creative writing course and did college journalism. After the Army, as copyboy on the former New York Journal-American, an afternoon daily, soon to become defunct. Next up, business journalism-- Asst. Editor of 'Maintenance Supplies Magazine', then Editor (briefly) of 'Contract Cleaning Magazine', till I was exposed as uninterested-- then a financial PR firm, even more briefly. Lastly, Writer of catalogue descriptions of electrical fixtures (the final straw).

Fleeing my writing career, I became a cop in the NYPD, and eventually and unavoidably, a reporter on SPRING 3100, the Department Magazine, and spee…

Be Sure to Add the Senses to Your Writing

Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling are the five senses. Do you use each of them when you are writing.

When describing what your character sees, don't forget to add colors and shapes.

What does your character hear when walking somewhere?

When you character touches something, how does it feel?

When your character eats, how does the food taste? Is there anything else your character tastes that should be described?

Last but not least are the smells. When I first started writing mysteries, my cop son-in-law bemoaned the fact that you couldn't smell anything in a book or a movie and that every crime scene, especially a murder, had many smells. That prompted my Rocky Bluff P.D. novel, Smell of Death. Unfortunately, that book can only be read as an electronic book and right now is only available on the Kindle.

In my latest book, An Axe to Grind, their are many scents, from the salty ocean spray to the disgusting odors emanating from an abandoned warehouse.

Adding all the five s…

Dancing with the Stars

Yes, I am an avid fan of Dancing with the Stars. My daughter-in-law usually comes and watches with me. For a long time she was the only one--hubby didn't think he was interested. Now he's become a fan too.

Hubby is better than the rest of us at catching mistakes: mis-steps, being out of synch with a partner or the music.

Monday night, though, we were joined by my forty-plus year old son and my 22 years old grandson. What was the attraction you might ask, if you didn't know who was one of the competing stars.

Pamela Anderson was the big attraction, and she didn't come on until last so the two men stayed through the whole thing.

She looked pretty good and even her dancing was good, so I suspect we'll enjoy the company of these two until Pamela doesn't get enough votes to continue.

I've watched since the beginning--and loved that one of General Hospital's stars was the winner that first time around.

As I've said before, by the time 8 o'clock rolls arou…

Celebration of the Whales

We've been gone all weekend. We went to Oxnard primarily to attend the Celebration of the Whales at Channel Islands Harbor--but we spent a lot of time with our two daughters and their families who have homes in Ventura County.

Of course attending the Celebration of the Whales was part of my promotion for An Axe to Grind which is the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. That series was born because of the Oxnard P.D. though the setting has been fictionalized and moved up the coast a few miles so Rocky Bluff P.D. could be a smaller beach community, more like the one Oxnard once was.

For those people who took the time to stop and talk to me about my books, many were intrigued by the fact the Rocky Bluff P.D. series was inspired by the Oxnard P.D. and the beach area of Oxnard.

Oxnard is an intriguing place with it's wealthy community down by the harbor and all along the beach front and the much poorer areas inland. Though quite ethnically mixed, a large part of the populations is …

Let's Talk About Writer's Conferences and Mystery Conventions

Yes, there is a big difference between a writer's conference and a mystery convention.
Though many mystery writers attend mystery conventions, they are primarily focused on the mystery reader/fan. The speakers might be a famous mystery writer or an expert in forensics. Panels will be about all sorts of topics and the panelists and moderators are usually authors with similar books. Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Mayhem in the Midlands, Malice Domestic are all mystery conventions.

Writer's Conferences are a geared toward writers and primarily set up to teach writers about writing and promotion. Recently I attended Epicon, which is the Epic organization conference for electronically published writers and their publishers. The programs offered were about writing and promotion. Publishers took appointments with authors. Unfortunately, the con was held in New Orleans in a hotel about 1/2 block from the French Quarter, so the offered classes weren't well attended because people chos…

The Real Miami Vice, Meet Michael Berish

Marilyn: What brought you to PSWA?

MIke: I don't remember exactly how I found out about PSWA. I believe I found it on-line, checked it out (it was an organization that was related to my field of writing) and joined in about 2005.

Marilyn: Tell us something about your background.

Mike: I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York; received an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice; graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology; and later earned my Master of Arts degree in Communications from Miami's Barry University, where I took courses in Production, Directing, Screenplay Writing, etc.

I worked as a patrolman, detective, and supervisor with the City of Miami Police Department for twenty-two years; thirteen of which were spent as an undercover detective in the REAL Miami Vice where he worked everything from Narcotics & Vice, Prostitution, Gambling and Pornography, to Dignitary Protection of President Jose Napoleon Duarte (of El Salva…

My Point of View On Point of View

Over the years I've judged many writing contests, read countless self-published and small press books, and too often have found the author didn't understand the proper use of point-of-view. Frankly, I had a hard time with it at first, not really know what people were talking about when it came to books.

The first thing an author has to decide is whose story is it? Are you going to tell the story in first person, using the I character, or third person, she or he.

First person is by far the easiest and with less chance of getting into POV problems. The author is telling the story as if he or she is the heroine or hero.

In third person, there is more than one way to go. You can write in third person, sticking with that one person throughout the book. This means that you'll only write what the person sees, thinks, hears, smells, does.

If you want to use more than one point-of-view, stick to one POV per scene. Decide which character has the most at stake in the scene, and tell th…

Today I'd Like You to Meet Author, Jennie Spallone

Jennie Spallone's Bio:

Suspense author Jennie Spallone wrote over one-hundred profiles and feature stories for local and national publications, as well as two special education texts, before putting pen to her first suspense novel. Deadly Choices won Third Place for Mystery Fiction at the Police Writers Conference (Name changed to Public Safety Writers) in Las Vegas, 2006.

Jennie, an active member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, speaks at local bookstores and libraries, in addition to Mystery Conferences throughout the Country, including Scene of the Crime, Bouchercon, Printer's Row, Sleuthfest, Malice Domestic, Magna Cum Murder, Midwest Literary Fest, Love is Murder, Public Safety Writers of America, and the University of Wisconsin Writer's Institute. She can be contacted for bookings or just to share comments at .,

My Interview with Jennie:

Marilyn: When did you know you wanted to …

A Visit with Elizabeth Eagan-Cox

(The photo with the two books together and the tea cup is from Joleen, Inkeeper of "Quite the Stir" B & B in Gettysburg, PA)

Marilyn: First, tell me a bit about your background.

Elizabeth: Once upon a time, in another life, I was a school librarian who moonlighted as a publicity writer. In addition to my librarian job and writing publicity I was a columnist, writing about the lesser-known aspects of California history and American history, mostly the 1800s and early 1900s. The columns were for two different publications, both of which are now defunct. I had fun doing that, being able to research and write about the quirky aspects of history. I also loved writing publicity for major corporations. Alas, that market went really soft, what with the major recession that California has been in for nearly the last decade. The magazines closed their doors and I switched to writing fiction in a genre I’ve loved my entire life: Cozy Mystery.

I grew up in the Inland Empire region of …

Gearing Up for My Next In-Person Jaunt

Next we're off to Oxnard CA. We lived in Oxnard for over twenty years and have two grown daughters who still live there, so going to Oxnard for an event is like going home--well, sort of. It does give us the chance to visit with our Oxnard family members, daughters, sons-in-law, and our youngest granddaughter (not so young, she's 16 already.)

The occasion is the Celebration of the Whales on Sunday. March 21st from 10 to 5 at the Channel Islands Harbor. All sorts of interesting things are sold at this event, crafts, jewelry and a lots of fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the area.

For this one we must take our tent, display tables, chairs and lots of books. I always have to decide which books will sell best at these events. Since some of my books are set in beach communities, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, I'll be taking those of course, and everyone seems to be interested in Native American mysteries, so I'll take my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series too.

And there's alwa…

High Desert Chapter of California Writers Club Visit

The fact that it's daylight savings time hasn't helped as far as how tired I feel. We arrived back home from Apple Valley around 5 last night and I was in bed by 7, still had to fight to get up this morning.

We left home around 9:30 on Friday, stopped at the post office, and then headed down to the Porterville Recorder's office. There I had my photo taken with An Axe to Grind and left a copy of the book with the editor, Claudia Elliott.

Next stop was the Book Store Around the Corner From Main and arranged for a book launch for An Axe to Grind.

From there, we stopped and got a McDonald's iced coffee, vanilla flavored for me, and then I programmed our Magellan for the hotel in Victorville. When I looked for a hotel or motel in Apple Valley I couldn't find any listed so I made a reservation for the Ambassador Motel--not really expecting much as it was pretty inexpensive.

This is the time of year to drive. On the way up the mountain to Tehachapi we saw lots of wildflowers…

First Review for An Axe to Grind

An Axe to Grind, review from the Book Connection

Doug Milligan, Stacey Wilbur, Abel Navarro, Gordon Butler, Frank Marshall, and more familiar names are back in An Axe To Grind, the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series by F.M. Meredith.

Doug Milligan and his partner, Frank Marshall are investigating the murder of a stalker. There are several suspects, which include the father and brother of the girl who was being stalked. Meanwhile, Stacey Wilbur, now a Vice-Officer, is working a case involving a soccer coach who might be a pedophile.

With their busy work schedules, Doug and Stacey's romance is pushed to the back burner, and even though Stacey and her mother, Clara, continue with wedding plans, a lot hinges on whether Gordon Butler can find himself an apartment so he can move out of Doug's house.

When Doug sets out on his own to corner the murderer, Stacey is in a race against time to find him before it's too late.

Right from the start, like Meredith does with all the boo…

Introducing New PSWA Member, John Bray

Marilyn: John Bray is one of our newer members and was brave enough to volunteer for an interview. I think this is a great way for us to get to know something about you.

John: I joined PSWA sometime last fall. I have been lurking, as it were, reading all the e-mails and occasionally taking advantage of some of the suggestions and insights.

Marilyn: Tell us something about yourself.

John: I was sworn into the New York City Police Department in May of 1959 and was assigned to a Queens precinct after the Academy.

After about two years, I wangled a transfer to a new unit called the Tactical Patrol Force. We worked in all the high crime areas in the City, both in uniform and civilian clothes.

When I graduated from John Jay College and got admitted to law school, I transferred back to a quiet command in Queens. I got promoted to sergeant in 1966 and was sent to the Manhattan precinct that covers Chinatown and Little Italy.

That was an adventure. The sergeants’ “club” arranged for my (ahem) t…

Golden Quill Award

Though I didn't win the Epic E-book award for No Sanctuary, I came home to learn that I did get the Golden Quill Award from American Authors Association for Dispel the Mist. Not too shabby.

Actually, I'm thrilled. I would've entered Dispel the Mist in the Epic e-book contest, but they'd changed the dates the books had to be published, and mine didn't fall in the right time period. I don't think it would've mattered though, Mike's book, The Pot Thief is a fantastic and unusual mystery and deserved the win.

The American Authors Association has been good to me, my mysteries have won other years. I do a lot of reviewing for them and have been able to read many good books because of it.

Thank you, American Authors Association, for this award.


Epicon Part III

For me, the highlight of Saturday was planning a mystery with the two New Voices young people. What great imaginations! They came up with a plot and characters that would make a great YA mystery.

For me, one of the best parts of Epicon is getting to see and visit with friends you've made at previous Epicons--and meeting people in person you know through email--two of those are Melanie Atkins and Kim McDougall a.k.a. Kim Chatel.

Of course we all looked forward to the awards banquet. The food was excellent and Dan Reitz was hilarious, as usual. All that laughing had to be good for us.

We sat with my Oak Tree publisher, Billie Johnson, Lai and Mike Orenduff, and Linda and her sister, and two lovely women whose last names I can't remember. Mike, Linda and I were all up for the mystery/thriller award.

As you can see by the photo, Mike won but I'm trying very hard to take the award away from him--all in fun, of course.

We told people goodbye that evening as we had to be up at 4 to …

Epicon, Part 2, Friday

Hubby went off to breakfast with another attendees husband and I joined the group for the goodies offered by Epic.

First on the agenda was a business meeting. I then gave a presentation on How to Write a Mystery and the group came up with a fascinating bunch of characters and a great plot.

From there I sat in on presentation on Income Taxes and the Writer.

Lunch, like all the meals, was great followed by a speaker.

More presentations in the afternoon--though none were well attended.

That evening, along with quite a few folks from the conference headed off on foot to the harbor where we boarded a steam boat. The photos are from the dinner cruise.

My publisher, Dan Reitz and his daughter, Publisher, Marci Baun and her daughter, two huge freighters we passed, and Kim McDougall who I've known on line for a long time, but met her for the first time at this conference. She's well-known for Blazing Trailers website and making book trailers.

Hubby and I loved the cruise and sat out on deck …

Hightlights of Epicon 2010 Part 1

Our first day in New Orleans we went sightseeing. Wow! What a place. We sort of ate our way through the French Quarter.

We had someone point us in the right direction to go to the French Quarter first thing in the morning and had breakfast in a tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe someone recommended to us. Great breakfast. Along with eggs and bacon I had grits. (When in the South do as the Southerners do, I always say.)

Walking down the narrow streets (we started off on Chartres St. more commonly called Charter) and believe me, it looks just like it does in the movies. Balconies with wrought iron railings, old, old buildings, lots of interesting and some weird shops, restaurants, etc. We wandered along until we heard live music and headed over to an outdoor cafe with a jazz band. Along the way we saw a living statue--we also saw her get down off her perch and wander off. We ate crayfish niblets in the cafe and drank coffee and enjoyed the music.

In Jackson Square we saw a bit of everything: artis…

March's In-Person Events

Besides my blog tour which is in full swing right now, I have a calendar full of in-person events.

On March 9th, I'll be on the radio with Leslie Kohler at 10 a.m. PST, Blog Talk Radio.

My Apple Valley visit with the High Desert California Writers Club is 10 a.m. Saturday, March 13 at the Apple Valley Library.

On Sunday, March 21 I'll have a booth at the Celebration of the Whales from 10 to 5 at Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard.

On Sunday, March 28th, I'll be signing books along with other Central Coast Sisters in Crime at the Coalesce Book Store in Morro Bay from 1 to 3. (Goodies will also be available.)

If you can come to any of these events, be sure and tell me you read about it on my blog.

So you can see I'm going to be busy the rest of this month--but that's what happens when you have a new book out. Yep, I should have my copies of An Axe to Grind by the time I go to all these events.


Too Much on My Plate, But I Love It

While you're reading this, I hope I'm in an airplane on my way home from New Orleans, tired but happy.

The other day I received and email from the president of a the High Desert chapter of the California Writers Club confirming my appearance at their club this month, March 13th at the Apple Valley Library. My heart sank. I didn't remember anything about it--maybe vaguely, but nothing concrete. I quickly checked my calendar, knowing that March is filled with personal appearances, something every weekend but one.

I looked, and thankfully, March 13 didn't have anything written on it, so I was able to email the president back and let her know I'd be there. Apple Valley is a long way from Springville--about a three hour plus drive. I knew we couldn't do it all in one day. Since the meeting is at 10, I decided we should spend the night before in a hotel. Guess what, there is no hotel in Apple Valley which Expedia quickly pointed out. The nearest hotels are in Victorvi…

Book Signing at Epicon, New Orleans

Anyone living in New Orleans, at 2:15 today, I'll be signing books in the bookstore at the Epicon conference at the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street. This will be the first time I didn't have to haul books in my luggage as Barnes and Nobel is taking care of the signing and ordered the books ahead of time. (At least I'm hoping that's what happened.)

No matter how it turns out though, I'm excited about visiting New Orleans for my first and probably only time.

Tonight is the big awards ceremony where everyone gets dressed up, attends a sumptuous banquet, and finds out how is going to win the awards for best in e-books. My book, No Sanctuary is a finalist in the mystery/suspense category. Though I certainly think my book deserves an award, it is up against three other books who also are wonderful and deserve an award.

No matter, I've gone to lots of these award ceremonies and they are lots of fun. My publisher, Dan Reitz, is the master of ceremonies, and he's a hoot…

John Schembra, Long time Member of PSWA

Marilyn: John Schembra is one of the first friends I made in the PSWA. I don't remember the exact place we did meet. But since that time he's attended several PSWA conferences and we've participated in the same book fairs.

John: Actually, I think we met at the Jack London Writer's Conference in Santa Clara. I happened to sit next to you during a seminar and we started talking. I hadn't been published yet and you gave me some very good advice both on writing and getting published. You told me about electronic publishing and about the PSWA. It interested me, especially since it's members were all part of the law enforcement community. I thought it would be interesting to attend the conference and meet the members. I was not disappointed! I attended the conference that year at the Reno Peppermill and found it to be very worthwhile and a whole lot of fun!

Marilyn: Tell my blog readers a bit about yourself.

John: About me- I grew up in Oakland and San Leandro,…

In New Orleans and Visiting Kaye Boone's Blog All at the Same Time

If all has gone as planned, I'm in New Orleans and spent the day sightseeing. When I get back I'll have photos and give a report. I've been looking forward to this trip so much I've even dreamed about eating crayfish.(As long as I don't think of them as the crawdads my kids used to catch, I'm okay.)

Today, I'm also on Kaye Boone's Blog, Meanderings and Muses. I don't know Kaye, but I feel like I do. She came from the same hometown and my husband, Cambridge MD. Hap left when he was 18 to join the Navy--and he's quite a bit older than Kaye, so they never crossed paths.

I've read most of Kaye's blogs so know quite about her even though we've never met in person. If you visit her blog, please let her know I sent you.