Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Appearance at Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst

We always leave at 9 a.m. so we can arrive in Oakhurst around 11:30 or so in order to eat lunch with Sunny/Donna Baker and her hubby. Sunny and I go way, way back when we used to attend a chapter of RWA in Fresno.

I don't really like to eat much before I speak, but the place we met, called The Grinder, let's us hang around and visit until it's time to go to the book store. I always arrive 1/2 hour ahead of time so the owner, Monica McClanahan won't be nervous about me showing up. This time, when I walked in, people were already sitting in the chairs arranged at the back of the room.

I brought 20 handouts, because usually the crowd has been fairly small when I've come to talk. This time I ran out and there weren't enough seats, even though tables were cleared to become make-shift benches. One lady sat on the floor, and 3 for just stood in the back.

What a great bunch of folks--so attentive, listened to everything I had to say about the big changes in publishing and how best to work with small publishers. When I was ready to quite after 1 1/2 hours, people still asked questions. It was 4 p.m. before we got out of there and headed back down the mountain for home.

Oh, and I have to tell you, I sold lots of books.

The secret to any book store event is truly giving a talk of some sort--and even more helpful if the talk has something to do about writing.

Ms. McClanahan had done a great job of promoting, had a wonderful poster right on the front counter announcing my appearance, and I think she had the information in the local news as well.

I did my part on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyway, it was a great day, but must confess I was exhausted afterward.

My only regret? I forgot to take pictures--for which there is no excuse since I had my iPhone with me.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet, Daniel B. Silver, author of COP

Daniel B. Silver has played many roles in his thirty-something-year-old life: child actor, punk rocker, musician, high school dropout, miscreant skateboarder, Food Not Bombs activist, comic book nerd,retail clerk, emergency room volunteer, transport ambulance attendant,homeowner, 911 paramedic, comedy website writer, amateur poet, apartment renter,wannabe novelist, police officer and first man to set foot on Mars. Dan is lying about one of those things. He lives and works in San Francisco. Cop is his first novel.

Web Sites:

Artistic site:http://danielbsilver.com
Comedy site: http://theartofdansilver.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/CopANovel.

My interview of Daniel:

Marilyn: Tell me a bit about yourself.

Daniel: I'm a comic book nerd, sci-fi enthusiast and like my father, a writer of humor and sarcasm. I also have a serious side and when the mood strikes, I've been known to write a poem or two.

Like my protagonist, Dougie Cohen, I'm covered in tattoos and this creates unique situations to overcome in the law enforcement world, or if you're me, presents unique
opportunities to expand your career path in The City.

Marilyn: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Daniel: I think I've always wanted to be a writer, but my attempts to write as a teenager made me aware that I needed more world experience and to "get my hands dirty" for me to be able to put any weight to my words. I wanted to change the
world but I hadn't really seen the world yet.

Marilyn: What inspired this book?

Daniel: Everything I've seen and experienced in the academy and in my work inspired this book. My co-workers, my cases, and my fallen brothers; the thugs and criminals; the frustration and satisfaction of working in what often seems like a hopeless battle to ensure the the worst element on the street does not go unchecked by the rule of law – I drew upon a range of emotion and experience.

And a lot of Cop/Buddy/Sci-fi/Mel Brooks movies. And Batman.

Marilyn: Tell us about your book.

Daniel: Here's a summary.

Cop: A Novel is about Dougie Cohen a young, liberal, punk rocker who decides he can make a difference in the world by entering the police force. He encounters all of the frustrations, fears, traumas, and relationship troubles encountered by a cop in modern, gang-infested cities of America. It's full of the drama, humor, camaraderie and antics of inexperienced young men and women becoming experienced enforcers of the law. Some of my readers have commented that it’s really funny. Others have told me that it’s quite depressing. I guess it depends on what color the tint is on your emotional goggles.

Where can we purchase it?

Daniel: Cop is available on Amazon.com through Oak Tree Press for $5.95 in kindle

Here's the link:


(You'll need to copy and paste.)

Marilyn: Anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

Daniel: Thanks for reading, folks!

Marilyn: And thank you so much for the interview. Wow! I learned a lot about you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Photos from my Birthday Celebration

On my birthday, daughter Dana and I went to Ventura where we first stopped at a cousin's home--hadn't seen him in years. His wife invited me to speak to her women's group and we followed her to the location. They fed us a wonderful lunch and afterwards I spoke about my experiences as a writer and about some of my books.

In the late afternoon, we headed to youngest daughter's home in Camarillo. Lori and her hubby fixed us a wonderful dinner. Afterwards, of course, we had cake and ice cream. What a great birthday celebration.

Photo is of me, granddaughter, Lori and Dana.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Woo Hoo! Cover for Invisible Path

Here's the cover for the new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Invisible Path.

The book itself is due out in September.

I'll certainly be telling you a lot more about it was time goes on.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Wonderful Review of LIngering Spirit

After her husband Steve has a dark foreboding of his own death, Nicole Ainsworth moves with him to a new community where Steve believes his police job will be safer. But he is wrong.

Soon after the move, he is killed while on duty. Despite the help and concern of Steve’s co-workers, Nicole is left to cope with her grief, a young daughter’s guilt, and the odd happenings that indicate to her that Steve’s spirit is still around.

To help her and her daughters adjust to the terrible loss, Nicole moves her family back to their hometown. But, even after she moves into a house there, events continue to happen to indicate Steve’s spirit still lingers. In addition, Nicole is annoyed by the efforts of David Callison, Steve’s former undercover partner, who is following her and hanging out on the street outside her home.

Will Nicole find love again? Will Steve’s spirit continue to remain in her new home?

Author Marilyn Meredith does an outstanding job as she tells a poignant story of love lost and love regained.

Mary Montague Sikes, author
Night Watch, another Passenger to Paradise book
Dangerous Hearts, a Gothic romance

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nipomo Library Book and Craft Fair

As I do so often, I forgot to take any pictures at the book fair. However, I did take these photos at the Santa Maria Inn where we stayed for two nights.

What a great hotel, so full of history and ambiance. Of course this is where I managed to louse up my little computer and was no longer able to get on the Internet with it.

We had a delicious dinner and breakfast in the dining room and thought about all the old movie stars who once visited and stayed in the hotel.

Our day at the book fair was great. We saw so many people we knew and met others.

On Sunday, we headed down the coast, looked for places that could be where Rocky Bluff is (though none are exactly geographically as I've described), enjoyed the scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and finally arrived at our daughter's home.

That evening we attended Mass with them at Santa Clara church. It's beautiful and very old church.

The days since have been very full.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Birthday Celebration

Eldest daughter, Dana, and I drove to Ventura to the home of a cousin I haven't seen for years. His wife had invited me to speak to her women's group at a luncheon. Once we got there, I learned I was the speaker for their monthly "cultural event." That made me chuckle a bit.

After a delicious lunch, I spoke about my writing from the days of childhood when my imagination led to some pretty big stories (lies), to the writing I did back then and when I was raising my family, the books I've written, and what the adventures and experiences I've had because I'm a writer.

That evening, hubby and I, Dana and her hubby all drove to Camarillo to youngest daughter's home. She and her hubby made a delicious dinner of salmon and steak, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, veggie platter, and of course, chocolate cake and ice cream. My youngest granddaughter, Alyssa, who is 17 and very much on the go, actually stayed home to help her grandma celebrate. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

And that's how I celebrated my birthday!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today is My Birthday

Yesterday we went to the movies with our two daughters, Dana and Lori. Great day.

Today I'm giving a talk about my life as a writer to a retired woman's group. In the evening we're doing something special with the girls and their families. Not sure what, but it involves eating.

When we get home on Wednesday, I'll blog about my day. See you then.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Been Offline for Awhile

I bought an tiny Acer computer so I could keep up-to-date on my blogs--something happened to it Saturday night and I can't get oline. I'm using my daughter's laptop now.

We went to Santa Maria and stayed in the historic Santa Maria Inn, beautiful place. First night we met Barbara Hodges and her husband Jeff for dinner. Had a great time visiting.

Saturday a.m., we were in Nipomo at the library by 8 a.m. We set up on the porch alongside Barbara and another author. It was a good day, sold 11 books which was really good for such a small event.

Back to the hotel where we had a lovely dinner. First thing in the a.m. we headed down the coast, what a beautiful drive, to Oxnard. Spent a relaxing evening with daughter and husband.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

E-Book Revolution?

It's amazing to me that people want to call what is going on an e-book revolution.

E-books have been around for a long, long time. When I was first published as an e-author the only way to read my books was on a computer.

Next came the Rocket E-Reader--a wonderful device. It was back-lit, you could download books from e-publishers (there were and are lots of them), and it shut off if you didn't turn a page for a long while. Perfect for reading in bed. Unfortunately, the sold out to Sony, who didn't come out with a new e-reader for a long time, and in my opinion, wasn't nearly as good as the old Rocket.

Other readers came along in-between and after, but the first to really take off--as everyone knows--was Amazon's Kindle.

New York publishers took awhile, but they finally saw the hand-writing on the wall and included e-rights in their contracts and hung onto a much greater percentage for themselves then any of the e-publishers do with their authors.

Dorchester/Leisure Books recently announced they now will only print POD books (standing for Print on Demand which is just a printing process which allows the publisher to only publish what is needed) and electronic books. Some say they are going this route because of financial problems--authors are gossiping about the fact that royalties are not being paid on time. How much is true, I have no idea.

Things are definitely changing in the publishing world--but they have been for a long, long time. Good changes for the author, in that we can now send queries and whole manuscripts in as attachments and receive out contracts the same way. When I get royalties from my publishers it's spelled out exactly where the sale came from: print book from a book store, Amazon, or the publishers' website; e-book from Amazon or other e-book seller or the publishers' website.

And of course, many authors are submitting their work directly to Amazon.

Do I still read paper books? Yes. Do I have a Kindle? Yes. Do I miss the smell of a book when I'm reading my Kindle? No. As far as I'm concerned, a book is a book.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Resa Nelson Interview

I want to welcome fellow Mundania author Resa Nelson to my blog. She's agreed to answer some questions and we can all learn more about her and her new book, Our Lady of the Absolute.

Marilyn: Hi, Resa, will you tell me about your background?

Resa: I've been writing all my life and have worked a wide variety of jobs to support my writing habit, including library clerk, copywriter, meeting planner, receptionist, journalist, and technical writer.

I've been selling short fiction professionally for 22 years, and I broke out with my first novel a couple of years ago. My second novel has just been published and I have a bunch more in the works.

Even though I'd categorize myself as a fantasy writer, I've been a huge fan of mysteries all my life, and that influences my work in a very big way. I'd describe my novels as fantasy/mystery/action/adventure.

When I was in grade school, I read all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. As a teenager I read pretty much everything by Agatha Christie. These days, my favorite authors are Harlan Coben and Dennis Lehane, and most of the novels I read are mysteries. As a journalist, I write mostly about upcoming movies and TV shows. Every so often I get invited to go on a movie set visit, which helps to feed my desire to travel. Last December I went to London to visit the set of Harry Potter and in April I went to San Francisco to do interviews at Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas's company. Although my main interest is writing novels, I really enjoy being a journalist and love writing about movies and TV.

Marilyn: What, what a fun job! What are the three most important things in your life?

Resa: Writing, the people in my life, and chocolate.

Marilyn: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Resa: When I was in the second grade. I had a class assignment to retell a popular story (The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens) through art, and it was the storytelling part of that assignment that grabbed me. As soon as I learned how to form sentences on paper, I began writing my own short stories.

Marilyn: Do you have any writing rituals?

Resa: Yes. Before I begin a new novel, I watch a Japanese movie called "The Mystery of Rampo," which is about a mystery writer. It's a reminder to me to always always always write from the heart. No matter how many times I watch it, I'm reduced to tears at the end. And every time I sit down to work on whatever novel I'm writing, I play the movie soundtrack. The composer was influenced by Prokofiev, and you can really hear that influence. Because I'm also a big fan of ballet, I love Prokofiev's work.

Marilyn: What inspired you to write this particular book?

Resa: My new novel is called Our Lady of the Absolute, and it's about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. It leans toward being a mystery/thriller.

I woke up one morning with the book in my head. It was the result of years of thinking about a personal issue in my life and things I needed to learn about myself. I decided the best way to approach the novel was to tap into my lifelong love and knowledge of ancient Egypt.

When the concept of this novel first dawned on me, it terrified me. I knew it was likely to be something that might have the potential to succeed in a big way -- or fall flat on its face. I knew I'd be investing two years of my life, and there was a very real possibility that it would be a complete and utter failure. I didn't want to throw away two years of my life, but I also couldn't bear to not write a novel that I knew I would love. Just writing the book is one of the biggest risks I've ever taken. I was sweating bullets when I ran the first draft through my critique group until my fellow writers began giggling with delight and told me they think it's my best work.

Marilyn: Tell us about the book.

Resa: The book follows four main characters and how their lives interweave as they unravel a mystery. Meres is a woman who has a glamour job working as a scribe in the temple of Isis, aka Our Lady of the Absolute. Meres lives in the royal White Walled City in the Black Land, a present-day society that mirrors ancient Egypt but has modern technology. Meres is unhappy because she and her husband have no children -- she's never been able to get pregnant. In their society, having children is what defines a woman, so Meres feels like an outcast. Even though she loves her husband, she wonders if she should divorce him in case she might be able to have children with another man. She's torn between envy and joy when her sister-in-law Pu secretly admits she's pregnant. Pu is a member of the Pharaoh's harem and already has four daughters. But Meres is stunned when Pu says Pharaoh isn't the father, because being unfaithful to the Pharaoh is like being unfaithful to a god. It's a crime punishable by law. Meres should turn Pu over to the authorities, but for the first time in her life Meres breaks the law herself by choosing to protect her sister-in-law instead. As they scramble to figure out how to help Pu and her children defect, a mystery bubbles up to the surface, putting them all in danger.

Marilyn: Wow, it sounds extremely exciting. What are you doing to promote it?

Resa" Right now I'm making book trailers and putting them on YouTube. If you search on YouTube for my name, Resa Nelson, you'll find them. Look for titles like "What Is It Like To Live In The Black Land?" and "What Is The Black Land?" I'm lucky to have a little experience in filmmaking, and I decided to tap into that.

I wrote very short screenplays, which are interviews of different characters from my novel. I'm also lucky that I live in the Boston area, where there are thousands of good actors. Each book trailer is a video interview with four different characters from my novel, so I'm posting a total of four videos on YouTube over the course of two months. I already knew how to run a casting call, produce, and shoot, so this was a quick and easy project. And I love my actors! Each one knocked the ball out of the park during auditions, and it's so much fun to work with them.

Marilyn: Wow! I'm anxious to look at those book trailers.

Where can we purchase you book?

Resa" It's available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and directly from my publisher at Mundania.com. Also, any bookstore that doesn't already have it can order it.

Marilyn: Is there anything else you'd like my blog readers to know?

Resa: I have a monthly newsletter and sometimes give away free stuff. Anyone who would like to subscribe can do so by sending an email message with "newsletter" in the subject line to me at ContactResa@aol.com. Also, please feel free to visit my website at http://www.resanelson.com, which has links to my YouTube book trailers.

Marilyn: Thank you so much, Resa. I enjoyed learning so much about you and your new book.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nipomo Library Book and Craft Fair

Not sure that's the exact name, but I do know that at least two authors will be there with their books for sale, Barbara Hodges and me. We'll be up on the porch of the library, August 21 from 9 to 2 on Saturday, August 21.

We're headed down there the day before and staying at the historic Santa Maria Inn, a first for us. On Friday night we'll be meeting Barbara and her husband Jeff for dinner. We seem to do this once a year and have the best time catching up.

We'll stay one more night at the Inn, then we're heading down the coast to Oxnard where we'll be staying with #1 daughter. I have a speaking engagement with a women's group on the 24th in Ventura. That's also my birthday so I'm hoping we can go someplace delish for dinner. Our pickings are slim in Porterville for places to eat and Ventura county has loads of choices.

Looking forward to see daughter #1 and daughter #3 (birth order not perference) and their husbands too.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kim Baccellia Interview, Author of Crossed Out

Marilyn: Kim, will you please tell me something about your background?

Kim: I grew up in South Sacramento. One of my ancestor’s is buried in the Sacramento Historical Cemetery where some of the founding fathers of the city are buried.

I’m the oldest of seven. That doesn’t count my half brother and sister. With my mother’s remarriage, there’s now twelve kids!

I’m a former first grade school teacher. After teaching for fifteen years I decided to stay home to take care of my son and also to concentrate on my writing.

I took writing classes at UCI extension with the fab Lou Nelson, who teaches Writing the Novel.

Currently I’m homeschooling my son and finishing revisions on my third YA fantasy/romance, No Goddesses Allowed. I’m working on the sequel to Crossed Out. Plus an edgier, more intense novel is in the works too.

Marilyn: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Kim: In the sixth grade we were assigned to do a paper on the Nixon visit to China. I decided to act like a reporter, following Nixon on his journey. I got an A on that project. I realized then that I wanted to write. I wrote for both my middle school and high school papers. I even wrote for my junior college and put together slide shows with some of my poetry.

Marilyn: What inspired you to write Crossed Out?

Kim: Two things. My sister’s murder was hard on all my family. You only read about ex-boyfriends ‘losing’ it and actually following through with their threats. After a personal experience, I started wondering if maybe those who are murdered or die before their times, might not know they were in fact dead.

The other part was based on a ‘what if’ scenario. While attending a writer’s conference in Maui, my husband asked what if it was the job of someone to put those crosses you see on the sides of the road. This person had to decorate the cross with something that represented the person who’d died in order to help them cross over to the other side.

Marilyn: Have you had any supernatural experiences of your own?

Kim: The women in my family have a tendency to be more ‘sensitive’. I grew up listening to stories from my grandmother about some of these experiences. Mostly they come in dreams. I used this with Stephanie, who sees the dead to find out their murder sites.

Marilyn: Where can my blog readers purchase Crossed Out?

Kim: Amazon and on my publisher’s website:

Marilyn: Is there anything else you'd like them to know?

Kim: Crossed Out is a perfect summer read. Check it out! Follow my virtual blog tour and post a comment. At the end I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Crossed Out and some other swag.

Marilyn: My review of Crossed Out:

Crossed Out is a YA novel, but anyone who likes to read a well-written book about Stephanie who has gift to help the newly and not so so newly dead, cross over.

She manages to cope with that, though she'd rather not, but she's also faced with the same problems a lot of teen girls have, dealing with mean and hurtful female class mates, not being able to communicate with parents, and choosing the right boy to love.

While dealing with these everyday difficulties she is also confronted by ghosts at the most inconvenient times, and a handsome guy from school shows a sudden interest in her.

Crossed Out is told through Stephanie's point-of-view as she makes some wrong choices and find herself and her soul in grave danger.

This is a fascinating story for all age groups.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paula Deen, Savanah Style

About Paula Deen’s Savannah Style

Paula Deen's Savannah Style With its lush gardens, stately town houses, and sprawling plantations, Savannah is the epitome of old Southern style, and who better to give you the grand tour than Paula Deen, the city’s most famous resident and anointed Queen of Southern Cuisine?

In this gorgeous, richly illustrated book, Paula Deen shares a full year of Southern living. Whether it’s time to put out your best china and make a real fuss, or you’re just gathering for some sweet tea on the porch at dusk, Savannah style is about making folks feel welcome in your home. With the help of decorator and stylist Brandon Branch, you’ll learn how to bring a bit of Southern charm into homes from Minnesota to Mississippi. For each season, there are tips on decorating and entertaining. In the spring, you’ll learn how to make the most of your outdoor spaces, spruce up your porch, and make your garden inviting. In the summer, things get more casual with a dock party. Sleeping spaces, including, of course, the sleeping porch, are the focal point of this chapter. In the fall, cooler weather brings a return to more formal entertaining in the dining room, and in the winter, attention returns to the hearth, as Paula and her neighbors put out their best silver and show you how they celebrate the holidays.

Paula loves getting a peek at her neighbors’ parlors, so she’s included photographs of some of Savannah’s grandest homes. From the vast grounds of Lebanon Plantation to the whimsically restored cottages on Tybee Island, you’ll see the unique blend of old-world elegance and laid-back hospitality that charmed Paula the moment she arrived from Albany, Georgia, with nothing but two hundred dollars and a pair of mouths to feed. And she isn’t shy about giving you a window into her own world, either. From her farmhouse kitchen to her luxurious powder room, you’ll see how Paula lives when she’s not in front of the camera.
Packed with advice and nostalgia, Paula Deen’s Savannah Style makes it easy to bring gracious Southern living to homes north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

More about Paula Deen:

She is the quintessential American success story, a best-selling author and a television show host, a tastemaker to the stars and to the everyday housewife and family. She is Paula Deen, a down-home, strong willed mom who overcame personal tragedy, long odds, financial and physical challenges to carve one of the most effective and wide ranging entertainment brands that exists today. A brand that is idyllic, inspiring, fun and very much American.

For all her success, the Albany, Georgia native has remained very grounded, in part due to her down home Southern upbringing. She married her high school sweetheart, became a young mom to two sons, and appeared to be living the life she desired, before a series of tragedies, from the death of her parents and the failure of her marriage to a prolonged battle with agoraphobia changed the course of her life forever.

However out of those changes came the success that laid the foundation for the Paula Deen of today, someone who inspires millions through her regular appearances on Oprah, cooks for world leaders, is a best-selling author, and is seen concurrently on three shows running on The Food Network.

The one constant in Deen’s life has always been cooking. It was a staple of her young upbringing, and when times became difficult it was what she knew and could turn back to. In June of 1989, with a $200 budget and the help of sons Jamie and Bobby, she became “The Bag Lady,” creating a home-based meal delivery service in Savannah, Georgia that started the rise. From there, Deen moved to preparing meals at a Savannah Best Western, and followed that five years later by opening her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in Savannah.

The popularity of the restaurant led Deen into publishing. Her 1997 cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, gave her growing fan base the opportunity to try Deen’s recipes at home for the first time, and led to her first appearance on QVC, which took the brand from regional to national and began a stretch of consecutive New York Times best selling cookbooks. The growth continued unabated, and in 1999 USA Today food critic Jerry Shriver named The Lady and Sons International Meal of the year.

Deen’s success in publishing, where she has sold over eight million books, then translated into the magazine world, and Cooking with Paula Deen, her bi-monthly title, launched shortly thereafter, growing to a circulation of over one million.

Not to be outdone with print and restaurant success, the Deen brand then moved to television. “Paula’s Home Cooking” premiered on The Food Network in November of 2002, to huge audience success, and spawned her second show, “Paula’s Party” in 2006. Today Deen has four shows running concurrently on the Food Network, including the latest, “Paula’s Best Dishes“, which launched in 2008.

The next evolution of the brand took place in March of 2008, when Meyer Corp launched the line of Paula Deen signature cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and accessories both online and at retail, continuing the immersion experience for the brand with consumers.

In 2009, the Deen brand underwent further expansion with an added group of quality strategic partners. Wal-mart launched a new, exclusive line of affordable baked goods, while Smithfield, Kaleen, Nitches, Meyer, Universal, B. Lloyd’s, GOBO, Harrah’s, Quality foods, International Greeting and Cooking.com also began new or expanded partnerships in a host of categories. A compete digital relaunch, the expansion of special edition publications featuring both herself and her brand partners also came into play, making sure the Paula Deen name stayed fresh, relevant, and timely with a growing and more diverse consumer.

Even with the continued expansion, and more planned on a global level in 2010, Paula Deen has remained true to her fans, viewers and readers that look to her name for style, taste and inspiration in the kitchen and the home, all reflective of a climate where quality does not have to be sacrificed due to a challenging economy.

Her latest book is Paula Deen’s Savannah Style.

Visit her website at www.pauladeen.com.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Runaway Point of View

I've written about POV before, but decided it wouldn't hurt to do it again.

I recently read a published book that would have been quite good if it weren't for the problem of head hopping within scenes.

I'm not at all opposed to using different POVs in a book. My Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels are always told from multiple POVs--BUT I only use one POV per scene. The POV character is always the one with the most at stake in that particular scene. He or she is telling the story as he or see experiences it. So everything will be coming through that person. The narration is essentially what that person is thinking--so there's no need to say he thought, smelled, heard. Just put it what it is that he thinks, smells or head. For example:

He knew he'd forgotten something.

Oh, oh, the toast was burning.

Someone pounded on the door.

Remember, your POV character can never know what someone else is thinking. He or she can guess what the other person might be thinking or considering, but he can't get inside that character's head.

I hope that helps someone grasp POV.

For the reader, it can be disconcerting and even confusing when an author head hops.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming Next, a New Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery

Yep, won't be long now. Invisible Path is the name of the Tempe book that will be out maybe in September. I say maybe because we never know about the exact time of a book's arrival. Kind of like a baby.

This one takes place near Christmas. Her college son and a friend come home to visit. A psuedo military group surfaces in Bear Creek and piques Tempe's interest. A popular young Indian man is murdered on the reservation and the only suspect is another Indian, an outsider named Jesus. Tempe is asked to help with the investigation and must protect Jesus from those who want to see him banished from the reservation--or worse.

I've seen the cover which definitely displays the mystic of the book.

I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Review For An Axe to Grind

This new review is from an author I admire and respect. I love his Pot Thief series.

AN AXE TO GRIND is the sixth of F. M. Meredith’s Rocky Bluff PD series. The previous five, in order, are FINAL RESPECTS, BAD TIDINGS, FRINGE BENEFITS, SMELL OF DEATH, and NO SANCTUARY (which I reviewed on this site a year ago).

For those who might want the books, I should mention that FINAL RESPECTS is no longer available unless you can find a used copy. The next three are available only from the author’s website (www.fictionfoyyou.com), and the two most recent ones are available or can be ordered from anywhere you buy new books. All the books except for BAD TIDINGS are also available on Kindle.

When I first heard of the series, I thought it was about a private detective named Rocky Bluff, which struck me as a hackneyed-sounding name. I realized PD stands for ‘police department’ only when I started to read NO SANCTUARY. Rocky Bluff is a good name for a small fictional community on the California coast.

I enjoy Meredith’s unforced prose. Sergeant Abel Navarro is looking at a man whose head has been cut off, and he summarizes, “Including the missing head, he would be around five-foot-ten.” The arrival of Detective Frank Marshall leads to this exchange:

“Do we know the identity of the victim?”

“Nope, haven’t touched a thing, “ Abel said, and hoped he didn’t have to.

“Know where the head is?”

“No, but I didn’t look for it either.”

The people of Rocky Bluff are as real as your neighbors. Meredith is the American version of England’s Barbara Pym, a writer known for characterization and sketches of village life. Of course Pym’s books are comedies of manners and Meredith’s are murder mysteries, but good characters and good stories are what make any genre work.

The plot of AN AXE TO GRIND engages the reader comfortably. The beheaded man was a lout who had been stalking a young woman, so her protective brother, her hot-headed father and her jealous boyfriend all make interesting suspects. Meredith is also good at suspenseful finishes, and AN AXE TO GRIND does not disappoint on this score. With an old warehouse, lots of fog for which Rocky Bluff is famous, a cop following a hunch that backfires, and his fiancĂ© wondering where he is, it’s a nail-biter.

The Rocky Bluff PD books are police procedurals given depth by attention to how the officers’ personal lives are affected by their work. Over the course of the series, there are deaths, divorces, and weddings. Friendships are made then, in the next book, frayed. Each book is a stand-alone, and they needn’t be read in order, although I know many mystery fans insist on doing that. It may be a bit better to do that, but I haven’t and I’ve enjoyed the three I have read thus far.

I believe I bought one of the last copies of FRINGE BENEFITS. I look forward to reading the remaining three if I can find a copy of FINAL RESPECTS.

Michael Orenduff, author of the Pot Thief series

Thank you so much, Mike.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Adjusting to My New Computer

Almost everything is in its place after a mighty struggle yesterday. Some I was able to do myself. Amazingly I managed to set up Mozy--an off site back-up service. From Mozy I retrieved my data for Quicken. That made me feel like a computer guru for about 10 seconds.

Though both Word and WordPerfect had been transferred along with the documents, it took me forever to find documents as I needed them. I had a big list of things that I needed the computer tech to do. I'd tried several times to download Firefox but it would always time out. (No doubt I was doing something wrong.)

Now, the magical part. The computer tech has his own business where he does all kinds of work for big business and even the government at times. He put some gizmo on my computer where he could connect to my computer. He called and I gave him my list of woes and he told me what to do so we could be connected. How amazing that was. I was talking with him on the phone while he was doing things I could see on my computer!

Thanks to him, my word processing programs are now working the way I want them--almost, but I'll get used to it. I have Firefox again, though I have some twiddling to do with it yet.

This a.m. I finally did a Google search and learned how to put email addresses into my address book--at least from emails that are mailed to me, haven't learned how to just write them in yet. Why, when they upgrade a program do they make it more complicated instead of simpler?

So I'm almost back where I was. I've put out appeals for people to email me since that seems to be a fairly easy way to collect them into my address book. Now the next big job is putting together distribution lists, since those all disappeared from my address book.

In the meantime I'm going to at least write a few pages every day.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

This and That

This are photos I planned to post with my blog about Simon Wood at the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime.

The darling young girl has been a part of the San Joaquin Chapter of Sisters in Crime since she was teenie. As soon as she was old enough, she took on the job of passing out the raffle tickets for the raffle that takes place at each meeting. She's always been a cutie and a sweet girl. I'm proud to have her as a friend.

Simon was given several awards by our chapter, meaningful but also funny and that's what's happening in the photo of him and Kate Anderson with the chapter president in the background, JoAnn Lucas.

That was the "this".

The "that" is I have a new computer and it's driving me crazy. I'm having a hard time finding things. I don't know how to put my information into my Quicken program. Neither of my word processing programs are working right. I lost Firefox and can't seem to get it to load right. The Outlook program is a new one but half my address book has disappeared. I'm not fond of Explorer and can't get things to stick in it that I need.

Oh, well, I'll eventually have it where I can use it. Hoping the computer guru will return and help me fix the worst of it.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet Author Jeffrey Leever

Marilyn: I first met Jeffrey this past May at Mayhem in the Midlands which is always in Omaha Nebraska. I have a grown grandson in Nebraska somewhere I haven't seen since he was three--whose name is Jeffrey. Jeffrey Deaver has the right coloring and build--and he's a writer like me--so I couldn't help but wonder. I knew I'd be sorry if I didn't ask, so I did. Well, he isn't my grandson, darn. But we had a lot of fun with it at the conference.

So, Jeffrey,I hope I didn't freak you out about the grandson thing, but I thought it did add a bit of a spark to things and people actually asked me if you were my grandson.

Before we go too much further with that, though, tell me about your background.

Jeffrey: No problem, Grandma Meredith. I took it as an honor. I would much rather be referred to as someone's grandson than other things that are less endearing. :) Besides, isn't that one of the reasons why we authors go to conferences -- to make new fans, friends...and relatives?

I'm a lifelong fan of the mystery genre who went to college in the Midwest as an English major. I also studied journalism and have worked in PR and marketing. I've been writing stories since my early 20s. In the past three years, I've written a pair of suspense novels, Dark Friday (in 2007) and my most-recent book, The University. Both are trade paperbacks and available in, or through, bookstores as well as your favorite .com bookseller.

Marilyn: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

Jeffrey: Probably in high school or maybe even a little before. I was a kid who always liked to read. I remember some of my friends and peers who I was in sports with even mocking me a little because of it.

Marilyn: How much difficulty did you have finding an agent and/or publisher?

Jeffrey: I battled with this like most authors, I think. I found my current publisher through a writer's group I was in when I lived in Colorado a few years ago. I also had an agent at one point who I met at a writer's conference. She's pretty much retired now, though.

Marilyn: What inspired this book?

Jeffrey: The University is a mystery set on a college campus and involves a missing student and an unsolved murder. Back when I was in college in the Midwest, a faculty member once told me about a seldom-used series of tunnels that existed beneath the campus. It was a network that connected a bunch of buildings and even led underneath a few of the student dorms. Plus, it was an area that wasn't well-monitored by campus security...or so the story went. Anyway, that unnerving little tidbit was still stuck in my head 15 years later, and I thought it might make for an interesting backdrop for a novel.

Marilyn: Who do you see as the audience?

Jeffrey: Adult and young adult mystery readers. Plus people with short attention spans who haven't read a novel for pleasure in quite some time.

Probably my favorite unintended audience are moms who have teenage sons "who won't read" -- then they get a copy of either Dark Friday or The University...and I end up getting fan mail a few weeks later.

Marilyn: What are your future plans as an author?

Jeffrey: I'm working on a couple of novels right now and hope to have something else out by 2011 or 2012. I also dabble in non-fiction and am fond of both humor books and children's books. I also enjoy writing scripts. I guess my plans are to just keep writing and having fun with it until my hands wear out.

Marilyn: Now, back to Mayhem in the Midlands. We were on a panel together--frankly I can't remember the name of it, just who was on it. One panel I was on and you weren't, was Religion in Mysteries. It was an interesting group: an atheist who wrote a scholarly non-fiction book debunking all religions, a former priest who no longer believes at least in his former religion, a gal who wrote about a Muslim and Jew who were both in love with a Christian, another who dabbles in the black arts, and me a Christian who writes about Native American spiritualism. What I'm wondering is why didn't you get asked to be on that panel?

Jeffrey: You and me both. :) I don't really know. Instead, I typically end up on the panels that talk about how to kill off characters or something along those lines. I would've loved to have been on that panel.

There's a definite spiritual element to both of my stories. In fact, one of my books -- in a previous incarnation of the manuscript -- was actually under contract with a Christian publisher at one point. But that editor left and I ended up taking it somewhere else.

Everyone knows, of course, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Some people see my books and think right away that I'm this hard-core horror guy. That's not really the case. My stories are not really "Christian," per se, but they also aren't totally secular either. I refer to them more as "dark mystery with heart."

Marilyn: See, we really do have a lot in common. Anything else you'd like to tell my blog readers?

Jeffrey: How about I tell them something that I haven't even told you? You bear a physical resemblance to my late grandmother on my mother's side. Seriously, I'm not making it up. Coincidence? Your readers can decide.

If anyone is interested, either of my novels can be sampled at:

Marilyn: Be sure and let us know where we can get your book.

Jeffrey: If someone has trouble finding a copy of either of my books locally, I have lots of links on my website at www.jeffreyleever.com, including a specific "Retailers" page with all the pertinent info. Thanks for reading our interview!

Marilyn: That was fun! Thank you for answering all my questions, Jeffrey.

The story:

When investigative journalist Kevin Gibson lets his cousin, a former cop, talk him into looking into a student's disappearance at Tremont University, he gets more than he bargained for. A former student--injured in a brutal attack two years ago and in a coma--may hold a critical piece of information that can solve the mystery. Meanwhile, an attractive coed continues to hide a very dark secret.

Tremont junior Brett Duncan is determined to find out what happened to his best friend, who's gone missing. Along with his girlfriend Ciera Kindle, Brett is drawn into a cunning world few know exist--a conspiracy involving faculty, students, and some well-connected people in high places. Beneath the campus' wholesome exterior lie many secrets, and a pulse-racing mystery with plenty of chills along the way.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Busy, Busy Month

Today is my eldest daughter's birthday! Besides being my first born, she's also turned into a best friend. We'll be spending time with her and her husband in a couple of weeks--in fact, we'll be with them on my birthday.

I'm in the throes of getting a new computer. It's sitting here, but my old one is still being used (maybe by the time this appears it'll be functioning) but not everything has been transferred over. A computer tech is doing that after his regular business hours and he couldn't finish the first night.

In the meantime I got the first edits for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. When the first edits come, that means that the book may actually come out close to the time it is supposed to. However, I've learned not to make too big of plans until I actually have books in hand.

I've also been working on my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel which I struggled with at first, but now it's moving along nicely.

I've also been working on a couple of program plans for people going into the residential care business (something I did for 23 years), not my favorite chore, but it's a paying job and helps pay for my traveling expenses.

And...I'm still promoting Lingering Spirit and all the rest of my books. Will be heading over to the coast to have a table with my books at the Nipomo Library from 9 - 2. We'll be staying at the historic Santa Maria Inn while we're there. Also, I'll get to see good friend Barbara Hodges while I'm there. The only time we see each other is at one of these things. We became friends over the Internet years ago when we were e-book authors before most people even knew there was such a thing as an e-book.

What I love about Barbara is whenever we're together we have such fun talking about everything to do with writing and promoting.

From there we'll head to Oxnard and my daughter's. We always have fun when we go there--we lived in Oxnard for over 20 years and everything has really changed. On my birthday, I'm giving a talk to a women's group in Ventura. Not quite sure what I'll be saying, but I think I'm going to tell them about the adventures I've had since becoming a published writer.

And that's what I'm looking forward to for the rest of the month.


Monday, August 9, 2010

S. Connell Vondrak, author of No Evidence of a Crime

Today, S. Connell Vondrak, author of the new book, No Evidence of a Crime, is visiting.

Marilyn: Tell me about your background.

S. Connell Vondrak: My background is in forensics. In 1985, just out of college, I became a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police. It was a time when so much of forensics was changing; our capabilities expanding. If you think about the advances we, as individuals, have lived through since 1985, computers, iPods, cell phones, it is minor compared to the growth in forensics.

I worked in the forensic toxicology section until I became the director of training. The director of training position is responsible for overseeing training in the various specialties of forensics. Unlike television, most forensic laboratories utilize forensic scientists as specialists. The instrumentation in each section is so sophisticated and takes time to learn. Someone who is testing the DNA in a blood sample one day would not examine it in toxicology the next day. My position as director of training, in that respect is unique because I had to become versed, to a small degree, in every section.

Marilyn: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

S. Connell Vondrak: From a young age, I knew I wanted to be forensic scientist but knowing when I wanted to become a writer is more nebulous. Writing was just something I loved to do all of my life. Today, I see kids play video games with the same obsession that I have for writing. I can spend hours immersed in writing a scene or a dialog, visualizing everything, as it is happening with no sense of time. For me, writing has an allure that is hard to explain, a compelling desire to tell a story. To both family and friends, who are usually entertained by my stories, it is just accepted; I write. Maybe that is what it means to want to be a writer but I never thought of it with the same clarity as wanting to be a forensic scientist.

Marilyn: What inspired this book?

S. Connell Vondrak: When I took the position as director of training, it required extensive traveling. I would drive throughout Illinois for hours, sometimes, 8 or 10 hours a day. It is always dangerous to give someone who likes to make up stories that amount of time to daydream about the perfect murder, the perfect crime, and how forensics weaves its way through the story.

Marilyn: Tell me about your book No Evidence of a Crime.

S. Connell Vondrak: No Evidence of a Crime follows two Washington, DC detectives, newly partnered together, one ready to retire, the other a new recruit trying to convince herself this is the career she wants.

Their first case as the lead detectives involves a congressional aide, shot on the Washington Mall. All the evidence points to an unfortunate gang-style murder. The murderer soon shot by police in a shootout. The case is ready to be closed, but, small, lingering discrepancies in the evidence lead the detectives to take a closer look. When the detectives start a detailed review of the case, they realize evidence has been altered at the crime lab.

Marilyn: Where can we purchase it?

S. Connell Vondrak: No Evidence of a Crime will be out in late July, 2010 and can be purchased on Amazon.com or through Oak Tree Press

Visit me here: http://crimelabmysteries.com

Marilyn: Thank you so much for being with me today. The book sounds fascinating--as do you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Simon Wood Advises SJ SinC group

Simon Wood came all the way from the Bay Area to speak with the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime. He's a great guy, friendly, and I love his books!

He shared some of his wisdom and told the aspiring authors that if you want advances and to have your books in the bookstores you need to go the traditional way to be published:

1. Have the best possible book, already edited.
2. Find an agent so you can be picked up by a big publisher.

If you ever want to compete of the big prizes then you have to be with a big press. (Not always true but mostly.--my comment.)

Never, never pay an agent or a publisher or pay for a review. (I definitely agree.)
He added, there's plenty of other stuff you have to pay for yourself such as writers' conferences and mystery cons even if you're a big name writer.

Never disappoint your reader.

By the time the book hits the bookstore and has gone through the hands of the editor, the copy editor, etc. it is no longer your book. (Not so much with smaller presses.)

Remember, writing is a business and you must deal with the business stuff.

Simon still goes to writing groups and picks up new things.

He believes the poor economy has a lot to do with the state of publishing today.

This is all good advice--but there are other ways to go and one day I'll write about some of them. Anyone who has been following me and my writing, know that I've taken a different path.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

People Who Suck the Life Out of a Conversation

Yes, there are those folks out there who can really such the life out of a conversation.

In fact, they really don't converse--they get your attention and talk non-stop. That isn't a conversation. A conversation is when more than one person speaks.

Because I am around a lot of authors and wanna-be authors, this seems to be where I run into these folks the most often.

Recently at an event, a woman came up to me and not only did she tell me everything about the wonderful book she'd recently published she also told me all about her personal life--more than I needed to know. She wasn't the least bit interested in me or my books and when she was through she moved onto the next author and repeated the same information.

Then there was the author who was going to have her book made into a movie--not the usual way, she'd never do it like that, but she was the one doing the investing, etc. etc. Once the story was out, she moved on to tell it again.

This happens at writers' conferences far too often, maybe it's the "I" syndrome. "I did this and my book is about this" and on and on without a pause for even a comment from the listener.

Don't get me wrong, I do love to hear about what's going on in writers' lives--but I'd also like to have the opportunity to congratulate them, maybe ask a question. And it does bother me just a tad that they aren't they least bit interested in what I'm doing, writing, etc.

Fortunately, I have many more good writer friends who are not like this at all. People who are fun to talk to, laugh with, share anecdotes and ideas, all on a give and take basis. In fact the majority are like that.

One author friend who I only see maybe once a year is so much fun to be with. If we have the opportunity to spend anytime with each other we chat back and forth non-stop. Come to think of it, I have several author friends who are like that.

Stepping outside of the writing world, I do know other folks who I love being with because they are so much fun to be with, the conversation is two-sided and we both have the opportunity to share and find out about what has been going on in each other's lives. And then there are those like the ones I mentioned above who once they get started there is no breaking in--and you almost have to be rude in order to escape.

That's my gripe for the day.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Lingering Spirit Press Release

Lingering Spirit by Marilyn Meredith Receives High Praise

After a month long Virtual Book Tour with Pump Up Your Promotions for Meredith’s latest book, Lingering Spirit, she is thrilled to announce that the book has received wonderful reviews from many sources. During the tour Lingering Spirit made the top 100 best sellers on Amazon.

Book blurb: After, Steve, her police officer husband is killed in the line of duty, Nicole Ainsworth struggles with the changes forced on her life. Her efforts to focus on her daughter an cope with her grief are kept off-balance by Steve’s ghostly visitations who seems to be trying to communicate with her. Eventually, Nicole finds that Steve isn’t the only one watching over her, and discovers a second chance for love.

Review Snippets:

“…Meredith is a master of characterization. She fully rounds out the facets of her protagonists’ personalities and richly develops the details of the supporting cast. She does not hit any false notes with her dialogue and builds strong relationships among her characters. She realistically describes what a young widow would go through following the tragic death of her husband.
Overall, uncovering why this spirit lingers is an incredibly moving experience.”

--New York Journal of Books--Reviewer Nicole Langan owns the independent publishing house, Tribute Books

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book!
“…Lingering Spirit is well worth buying and spending time with. It'll give you a lot to think about after the story is finished. I loved it, as you can tell. It's the perfect summer OR winter read. Great book, one of my favorite reads this year.” --Beth Anderson, author and book reviewer.

“I rate this book 5 Stars out of 5 Stars!
I LOVED this book I could not put it down! I am telling you all Marilyn is a FANTASTIC writer and anyone who does not read this book is missing out on a fabulous read…” – Vanessa -Ohio Girl Talks

“,,,I polished this book off in two days and you won't want to stop reading it once you pick it up.
Lingering Spirit is the type of book that romance lovers dream of finding.” –Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

Watch Lingering Spirit book trailer for a preview.

Autographed copies of the book are available from the author’s website http://fictionforyou.com
and the book can be ordered from any bookstore and online at all the usual places.

Lingering Spirit by Marilyn Meredith
Oak Tree Press

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are You Really Going to Write That Book?

Often I have people come up to me and tell me that they are planning to write a book and continue on, telling me the whole plot.

What I've learned over the years that the person who does that will probably never write their book. The effort and time it took that person to tell me all the details about the book they want to write could have been better spent actually writing. No doubt this same person has told many others about the book he or she plans to write.

There is only one way to write a book: choose how you plan to write it, whether you're going to begin with pen and paper or on the computer, then plant your fanny in the chair and begin.

Once you've begun, write every day--or at least as many days during the week as you can even if it's only one hour a day. And keep on writing.

Like I've said before, don't keep going back and rewriting--keep on until you're finished. Once done, then you can do the rewriting.

The point is don't talk about it, do it.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Missing My Sis

When I was five and spoiled, and an only child and an only grandchild and niece on my mother's side, my baby sister came along and ruined everything. She was so cute and everyone was thrilled that she'd joined our family. I was too, though I really did have to take a back seat. I will say though, being the big sister made me feel really grown up. And nobody seemed to worry much about where I went or how long I was gone.

As a result, I visited the two old people who lived in a house that looked like it came out of a fairy tale at least once a day--and they always gave me cookies and milk.

I also hung out with the older kids who let me do all kinds of exciting and looking back, dangerous things with them.

I learned a secret way to get into one of my older friends' homes by crawling under the house and in through a crawl space to the kids' bedroom. If they weren't home, I often went in their to play. Once staying so long, my mom thought I'd been kidnapped. The grandfather of these kids figured out where I might be.

Now we're straying a bit from my sister, but it was mom's preoccupation with her that gave me all my freedom. Since nothing bad had happened to me, my mom continued to allow me to more or less come and go as I pleased, as long as I turned up on time for dinner.

During WWII when I was growing up, I told all my friends that my sister was a princess from Europe who'd been sent to live with us to keep her safe from the war. The only one who really believed this was my sister--and for years she thought she was adopted.

I married when I was right out of high school and moved across the country. And I really missed my family then. (That's a whole other story.) When we moved back home, I was thrilled to be around my sister again.

She married young too and we lived in separate places, but spent time talking on the phone.

For several years we lived in the same town (where I'm still living) as did my mom and dad. What a great time we had spending a lot of hours together, attending the same church, having out holiday gatherings together with both of our now large families.

One by one, my sisters grown kids moved with their families to Las Vegas in order to find jobs--and it wasn't long before my sister and her husband followed.

We make the trek to Vegas at least once a year to see my sis and her family, but it's not the same. Of course we email back and forth and talk on the phone.

Right now, though, she and her hubby are off on a cruise, and I'm really missing not having any contact with her at all. I hope they are having a wonderful time and I suspect they are. I'm anxious to hear all about it.

I'm really missing my sis.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Do I Do Next?

I had a great month on my blog tour letting people know about Lingering Spirit. The blog tour did make a difference in my Amazon rating--and for one day, my book was in the bestseller list for supernatural romances. None of my other books have ever been in the 100 best seller list.

Before my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree book comes out--it hasn't been through the editing process yet, so not sure it will meet the September pub date promised--I'd like to keep up interest in Lingering Spirit.

This month I have two in-person appearances, one at the Nipomo Library (near Santa Maria) on Saturday the 21st from 9 - 2 and then I'm headed back up to Oakhurst to the Willow Bridge Bookstore on August 28th to talk about working with small presses to interested writers at 2 p.m.

Anyone else have any ideas about what I can do to attract new readers to Lingering Spirit? May be ordered by your local bookstore, at Amazon as either an e-book or trade paperback. Or from my website for an autographed copy.


Monday, August 2, 2010

What Should An Author Do About a Poor Review?

Recently, on a list I'm on, authors were discussing what to do when a poor review was received for a book. In the case they were writing about, the reviewer had clearly gotten some facts wrong about the book, making the author wonder if the book had even been read.

Another author cited a really nasty review posted anonymously.

From there the discussion led to whether or not the author should try to defend the book to the reviewer or on the review cite.

The consensus was to leave it alone. That's what I've always done too. However, it's difficult, especially when you know the reviewer didn't bother to read the book, nor even glance through it, but only repeated what was in the blurb on the back of the book.

During my blog tour for Lingering Spirit, I received a review that criticized the book for something it wasn't and for not being the kind of book she wanted. Strange. I decided the best tact was to say I was sorry she didn't like the book while thanking her for taking the time to read it.

Of course, everyone has a right to his or her own opinion--and when you ask for a review you are asking for that opinion. We all know everyone has different tastes and preferences in books, so sometimes my book or your book isn't going to be the kind of book a reviewer likes to read.

I've had plenty of wonderful reviews from all sorts of places that I do not need to worry about the couple of reviews that weren't glowing with compliments.

So, it's time to take my own advice and forget the not so good reviews and rejoice for all the terrific ones.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Planning Your Mystery

Before you begin, read a lot of mysteries so you know what kind you want to write.

You can read all sorts of ways to write a mystery in both books and the Internet. Many will tell you to have a dead body within 50 pages. Having a dead body on the first page is what many authors do.

In any case, you need to decide on a sleuth--will he or she be a person in law enforcement, a private detective, a lawyer, or just an innocent by stander who has an interesting job or hobby that you know enough about to add details to the story? Your sleuth needs to be interesting enough with personality and maybe some oddball traits so that mystery readers are going to want to follow along with him or her on the adventure.

Who is going to be your murder victim? Is it going to be a really bad person who several people hated and had a motive for killing? An innocent killed someone no one would suspect--but you'll be able to plant enough clues for your sleuth to follow?
You'll need to know a lot about your murder victim--even though it will come out in bits and pieces as your sleuth begins to investigate the crime.

You'll need to know who all your suspects are and how your sleuth is going to find out about them. As you're writing, think in terms of keeping your reader interested and wanting to find out what is going to happen next. Play fair, the clues need to all be there as your sleuth is finding them, the reader should be able to see them too.

As your planning, think about the ending--remember, it needs to be exciting and maybe your sleuth will find him or herself in danger. If you can plan a twist, all the better.

Once you know all the rules, have sold one or two of your mysteries, you can break some of the rules--but don't do it in the beginning.

Good luck and write a mystery that we'll all want to read.