Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween and a Review of Dispel the Mist

Good friend, Pat Browing, reviewed Dispel the Mist.

DISPEL THE MIST by Marilyn Meredith
Mundania Press 2009

Marilyn Meredith lives near California’s Tule River Reservation but her Preface says that her fictional Bear Creek Reservation is just that – fictional; and while Yokuts tribes were the original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley, the Yanduchi branch in her Tempe Crabtree mysteries is fictional.

However, the Indian legends in this book are real, beginning with How People Were Made. It features the Hairy Man, who outwitted Coyote in a race to ensure that people would walk upright. The book’s cover is designed from Hairy Man pictographs at Painted Rock on the Tule River.

An excerpt from DISPEL THE MIST can be read on the blog of paranormal fiction author Lynda Hilburn, with this quote from Meredith: “The moment I stepped inside the rock shelter and spotted the pictograph of the Hairy Man and his family, I knew that my heroine, Tempe Crabtree, would not only visit this sacred place at night—which I’d been warned against doing—I also knew she would have an encounter with the Hairy Man.”

The book opens on an uneasy note. Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband Hutch, the community pastor, attend a blessing ceremony at the new Indian casino. The casino manager’s announcement of plans to build a hotel, golf course and indoor amphitheater gets a cool reception from the guest of honor, Lilia Quintera, a member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile, another controversy brews at a new gated community nearby. Someone bought one of the larger homes and plans to turn it into a residential facility for developmentally disabled women, much to the displeasure of the other homeowners. Lilia Quintera’s niece Suzy, who has Down Syndrome, will be one of the residents.

Following the facility’s open house and a nasty encounter with a pharmacist named Duane Whitney, Lilia Quintera has a fatal heart attack. Tempe is assigned as a temporary special investigator because of her Indian heritage.

Quintera’s parents are suspicious of Lilia’s husband Wade, a trauma unit nurse with a reputation as a Casanova. When he doesn’t show up at Lilia’s funeral, Tempe goes to the house and finds him bleeding from a half-hearted suicide attempt. Suspicion also falls on Lilia’s younger sister Connie, who is Suzy’s mother. Tempe’s investigation reveals that Connie and Wade were having an affair.

Seeking insight into the tangle of suspects, Tempe calls on Nick Two John who has previously instructed her on how to use the supernatural aspects of her Indian culture. He supervises the kitchen at the Bear Creek Inn, owned by his significant other, Claudia Donato. Construction of a new casino hotel will cut into their business but Tempe dismisses any thought of Nick or Claudia being involved in murder. Nick reminds Tempe that poisonous plants grow wild on the reservation. A few belladonna leaves made into a tea and slipped into Lilia’s cup at the open house could cause a fatal heart attack.

Back on the rez, Tempe sees a coyote and flashes back to her grandmother’s story of how animals scatter to forage for food when People multiply and take over the food supply. Exceptions are Dog, who decides to make friends with People in hopes they will feed him, and Hairy Man, who opts to come out only at night when People are asleep.

A pattern emerges. Grandmother’s stories lead to dreams that become nightmares. A late night phone call warns Tempe to stay away from Painted Rock. Puzzled and curious, Tempe and Hutch go to the rez to visit old acquaintances Jake and Violet. Jake takes them out to Painted Rock, where they see pictographs of animals and Hairy Man. It’s a busy place, with a rehab center and a sweat lodge located nearby, but Jake warns Tempe not to come out at night: “Too many spirits are here at night. Not all of them are good.”

The story builds slowly. This is a small book – 206 pages – and for the first 148 pages Tempe makes a pest of herself, asking questions with no proof that Lilia’s death was anything except a natural heart attack. When the supernatural aspects of Tempe’s Indian heritage kick in the story takes off in a dead run. The killer overplays his hand by luring Tempe out to Painted Rock at night, leading to a heart-stopping denouement.

Readers interested in Bigfoot/Sasquatch legends can read more at The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization,

Read Marilyn Meredith’s comments and an excerpt from DISPEL THE MIST at Lynda Hilburn’s blog,

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book.

Pat Browning
ABSINTHE OF MALICE (Krill Press 2008)
Now on Kindle $2.99

A Big P.S.

I am so thrilled with this interview: You'll have to copy and past it, but it's really terrific. Check it out and if so inclined, leave a comment. Anyone else with a book on Kindle, he’s looking for more Kindle authors.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Promotion Plan for Invisible Path

Of course the first thing I planned to do was have a book launch at the little bookstore in Porterville. Since the books didn't arrive on time that had to be cancelled. I'll figure out another date to have my books there soon, I hope.

I do plan to go to Sisters in Crime Saturday, if I have books, I'll take a few, if not I'll pass out cards that have the picture of the cover on them.

My next big promo plan is the mystery cruise to Mexico. Hopefully I will have some books to take along with me.

In December, I'll be at the Porterville Art Gallery on Main St. n the 10th and 11th from 9 to 5 both days.

During the month of November, I'll be on a blog tour.

Monday, November 1
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, November 2
Book spotlighted at Book Tours and More
Wednesday, November 3
Guest blogging at Kurt Kamm’s blog
Thursday, November 4
Guest blogging at Mystery World of Pat Brown
Friday, November 5
Guest blogging at Mysteryrat’s Closet
Tuesday, November 9
Book spotlighted at Noir World of GK Parker
Wednesday, November 10
Guest blogging at Authors & Appetizers
Thursday, November 11
Guest blogging at A Writer’s Jumble
Friday, November 12
Book reviewed at The Book Connection
Monday, November 15
Book Club Discussion at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, November 16
Book Club Discussion at Literarily Speaking
Book reviewed at Musings of an All Purpose Monkey
Wednesday, November 17
Book Club Discussion at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, November 18
Video Trailer featured at Down Under Views
Friday, November 19
Guest blogging at Thoughts in Progress
Monday, November 22
Book reviewed at C.N. Nevets.QST
Tuesday, November 23
Book reviewed at Thoughts in Progress
Guest blogging at Writing Daze
Wednesday, November 24
Guest blogging at Review from Here
Book reviewed at Ohio Girl Talks
Friday, November 26
Book reviewed at My Favorite Things

Later, I'll tell you what I have planned so far for 2011.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Serving on Panels, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

I've been on and observed lots of panels at mystery conferences over the years and I've seen some great ones and some that had real problems.

Just for fun I'll tell you about the bad and ugly.

Recently, I saw one of the panelists and the moderator chit chatting while other panelists were trying to give their view on a question. It happened more than one.

I was once on a panel where once each of the panelists introduced ourselves, the moderator did all the rest of the talking--we never had a chance to speak again.

Another time I was on a panel with two superstars (famous mystery writers, at least far more famous than I am) and the moderator never even turned in my direction. The two superstars spoke back and forth between each other. I tried to inject a funny comment now and then.

Once the moderator, a rather pompous man, asked questions using such big words and long sentences, I had no idea what he was asking--neither did the other panelists. When it was my turn, I just said what ever I wanted about my book. Later, one of the other authors asked me, "How did you know what he asked?" I told him "I didn't have a clue."

On to the Good:

A moderator who has read the books that the other authors have written in order to be able to ask good questions--and has the questions prepared ahead of time. This isn't always possible if there's not enough time. In that case, the moderator should go to each author's website and form some questions from the information there.

Even as a panelist, I've tried to read my fellow panelists books and/or read about them on their websites.

A moderator who has plenty of questions to ask and give everyone who wants to a questions to answer them.

A good panelist is one who answers the questions, but knows when to shut-up and doesn't try to monopolize the panel. This is a good way to alienate people in the audience--it will not entice them to buy your book.

If the moderator sent questions ahead of time, a good panelists has some answers already prepared. He or she will not read them, but will have a clue how to answer the question.

I like being a moderator and a panelist--and I try to follow my own advice.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping to the Task--Writing

Lately on some of the e-mail lists I'm on, people have been discussing writer's block. That's something I don't have a problem with. What I do have a problem with is keeping to the task of writing.

It's certainly not because I'm blocked. I'm nearing the end of a new Rocky Bluff P.D. book--as yet unnamed--and I really want to get with it and finish.

However, life keeps interfering. I have things I have to get done. I don't think I need to name them here because they are the same things everyone has to do to get along in their daily lives.

On top of that, I have a hubby who likes to do something interesting at least once a week which means heading to town, maybe shopping, eating out somewhere and going to a movie. (And I like that too--sort of like our dating time and even though we've been married for a million years, we like being together.)

Because I have a new book almost here--I'm tracking it and it's moving slowly across the country in a big UPS truck--I need to be arranging some in-person promotion events.

So the notes for the book sit beside my computer waiting for me to get back to my writing.

(Also trying to figure out the best way for me to get to Epicon next year.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does Social Media Help Sell Books?

According to a poll paid for by Sisters in Crime, the answer is no.

Though Word of Mouth was near the top of what does sell books, along with being on the best seller list, and paid advertising, I couldn't help but think that Social Media is a form of word of mouth.

Certainly Facebook and Twitter are seen by a lot of people. I know for a fact that social media helped Joe Konrath become a best seller in e-books. Ooops, maybe Sisters in Crime isn't all that interested in e-books even though Konrath is making more money on Kindle then he ever did with his paperbooks.

Speaking for myself, I've been intrigued by books I've read about on blogs, including my own. When I interview someone and their book sounds interesting, I've bought the book.

Whether the poll is right or not, I'm going to keep on writing my blogs, posting on Facebook and Twitter and interacting with people who read my books.

So what do you think?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I Didn't Like About San Francisco

Despite the fact that San Francisco is a beautiful city, like any place, it has its warts and I noticed some of them.

The biggest wart was all the homeless people. They congregated around the beautiful and expensive hotel where we stayed. Several had their dogs at their feet and others were smoking. Feeding a pet and smoking are expensive habits. I suspect the dog does help keep someone who is sleeping outside warm and is good protection.

And speaking of sleeping outside, when I left on Sunday at 5 a.m., I saw someone asleep on the sidewalk in front of a bank. Other homeless had already been rousted from their doorways because of the heavy police presence as streets were being barricaded because of a marathon. How did I recognize the homeless people? Because of the shopping carts filled with their worldly possessions.

When my roommate and I walked back to our hotel at 10 p.m. from Chinatown, garbage overflowed all the trash bins. Of course there were poor folks searching through the trash--and we saw a young woman with a shopping cart loaded with cans and even had bags of cans tied onto the cart.

While we toured the city in cable car busses, we passed several groups of demonstraters shouting and waving signs. One group protested the slaying of dolphins in Japan--not sure how they thought this would affect that situation. Another group surrounded the federal building. Their protest was concerning the war in Afghanistan. Again, not sure how this could possible change what is happening about that war. And there was one more group of noisy protesters, but I was unable to see the sign. If I spotted three on a morning tour of the city, I wonder how many more might have been going on in other areas.

The wonderful views, the interesting buildings and homes all attached to each other, the Painted Ladies, Fisherman's Wharf, lush parks with waterfalls, huge museums and much, much more, far outweighed anything that I didn't like.

I'd never be able to live there--in the first place I couldn't afford anything where I'd want to live and secondly, I could never get in and out of the tiny garages or drive on those hilly streets.


Monday, October 25, 2010

No One Would Ever Believe That!

This was another panel I attended at Bouchercon and it was about how much can you write that people will actually accept in a book. Panelists were Cathy Pickens, Sophie Hannah, GM Malliet, Diana Orgain, Stephanie Pintoff

Most readers will accept just about anything as long as it is plausible.

Could what you've written happen even once?

It's the authors job to make the reader believe.

If the writers does a good job, the reader should be transported to the realm of the book.

There is a big difference between possibility and probability.

A lot more is possible than what we think.

Our experiences aren't necessarily the same as those of others.

The general consensus was that if the reader likes the book, will probably suspend their disbelief.

My thoughts on this subject are that you want the book to be exciting enough that the reader won't even worry about the possibility. Most of the books we really love reading stretch probability.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From Bouchercon, Keeping a Series Fresh

This is one of the panel's I attended with some great authors: Larry GAndle, Parnell Hall, Twist Phelan, Donna Andrews, Ken Wishnia, Marcia Talley. I can't tell which one said what, but here are some of their hints:

Boring to have excessive back story.

Be careful not to let the series go stale.

The character needs to grow.

If you want the series to continue, don't tie everything up.

Keep the character arc slow.

Having two series makes it easier to keep it fresh because as an author you go back and forth.

Launch the character into a new place of topic.

Learn something new and involve the character in it.

Some series are publisher driven, wanting the same thing only different.

Looking to replicate results.

Most readers who read series feel like it's catching up with an old friend.

Parnell sang us a song.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some Comments from David Baldacchi

"Best fiction I ever wrote was when I was a lawyer."

David Baldacchi was one of the famous writers in attendance at Bouchercon.

He said he was a library rat when he was kid.

His sister was a journalist and went along with her on her interviews.

When he moved to DC, his paranoia increased.

His theme in all his book answers the question, "What is justice?" There is always a quest for justice in his books.

He believes in believable motivations for his bad guys such as: Left out of society; some are missing a chromosome, a silent inhibitor or no inhibitor at all. Some are like Ted Bundy, with a freaky brain. Others are born normal but change.

He takes an idea and captures it into a book.

He writes for himself about what fascinates him. He's committed to the subject matter.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Invisible Path, Book Launch Hopefully

On Saturday, October 23rd I planned to have a book launch for Invisible Path, the latest in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Oh, yes, they were ordered in plenty of time, but I learned on Monday that there was a problem with the bar code on the back cover and had to be re-done.

I learned from my publisher on Tuesday that there was no way he could get books to me on time. Am I disappointed? Sure. But it's not the end of he world. I've sent a message to the book store and to the newspaper. Fortunately, I hand't sent out any flyers yet.

I also need books to send out for review to people who need to read them before my blog tour in November. The publisher has promised to take care of that for me.

Sadly, this happens a lot in the book business. Planning has to be done for a book launch and I thought I did it in plenty of time since September is the usual time for a new Tempe book to come out.

I am not faulting my publisher as a lot has been going on in the publishing business and at the press's own business.

I'll just wait for my copies of the book before I plan anything else.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some Pithy Advice from Authors at Bouchercon

The photo was taken at Fisherman's Wharf.

Here are some tidbits that I wrote in my notebook while listening to different authors speak on panels.

Don't worry so much about the rules, just do what works for you. The question to answer it, does it work?

On a Writer's Block panel some of the comments were:

Everyone has a bad day here and there.

Writer's Block might be a form of depression.

Naming it will not make it go away.

There were several one-book writers with best sellers: Invisible Man, Dr. Zhivago, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, To See Mocking Bird.

Writer's block could be emotional: panic, fear, what might come after you've published.

Cures for Writer's Block:

Take a day off
Step away from the computer.
Be playful.
If blocked, may need to do more research.
Read the last 30 pages you wrote.
Having a deadline may get rid of writer's block.
Treat writing as a job, have a schedule and stick to it.
No day time TV

(I'll have more tomorrow on a different topic from Bouchercon)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bouchercon Itself

Bouchercon was huge. Lots and lots of people. In fact, so many that there were some that I knew were there that I never ran into.

The hotel was also really large and confusing to find all the places where the different panels and events were taking place.

Everyone found the hospitality room, of course. The Northern California chapters of Sisters in Crime and MWA served as the hosts and did they ever work hard. Drinks and goodies were available all through the day.

I was on what was called a continuing coversation. Different topics were discussed at different time with different people. The conversation I was involved in was about procedurals--Michael Black, a Chicago cop I know pretty well, was one of my fellow conversationalist, as was Dr. Lyle--who I admire because of his knowledge of forensics and have asked him a lot of questions via the Internet.

I have to admit I didn't go to many panels--it was far more fun to visit with people I know but don't get to see often.

I had wonderful converstations with Kathleen Ryan, Bonnie Hearn Hill (pictured above with me), of course my roommate, Gay Totl Kinman, (pictured), the two librarians who are running the next Mayhem in the Midlands, JoAnn Lucas who is president of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, Lance Zarimba, who'll soon have a new book out, and so many more--plus the new people I met here and there.

Frankly, this was kind of my intention. There were far too many super star authors in attendance to even worry about trying to sell my own books like Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Marcia Clark (yes, the Marcia Clark),Laurie R. King and many, many more. No, I didn't have any insightful conversations with any of them.

In the next few day, I'm going to write about some of the things I learned at the panels I did go to.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Highlights from the San Francisco Part of Bouchercon

I arrived in San Francisco around 1:30 p.m. and took a van into the gorgeous Hyatt Hotel. When I got up the room my roommate, Gay, wasn't there so I called her on the phone and learned she was waiting for me outside. I'd gone in a side door. Because we were both hungry, we headed out for lunch. We ate on the rooftop of a lovely restaurant.

The next morning we took a cable car tour, except not on the real cable cars, but busses they made out of cable cars. It was a three hour tour and I've included some of the photos. We went everywhere.

When we returned to the hotel, next order of business was eating--this time a Thai place.

That evening the Opening Ceremony was held.

I'll report on the Bouchercon events on another blog. On Friday night, Gay and I caught a real cable car which cost $5 to ride (years ago when I went there to a PTA convention, riding the cable car was free) to China Town where we attended a dinner and award ceremony for the Private Eye Writers. The restaurant has been there for years and is a tourist attraction in itself.

The highlight of the dinner for me was seeing Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, the first mystery writers I'd ever met, long, long ago.

When we left, we thought we'd ride the cable car back to the hotel but after waiting and waiting we decided we should walk back to the hotel. Thankfully it was down hill all the way.

I usually ate breakfast in the hotel and found some people I knew or didn't who invited me to join them. This is one of the big plusses of Bouchercon.

On Sunday, I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready to meet the van that would take me back to the airport at 5 a.m. I could hardly sleep for fear I wouldn't wake up in time--maybe the wake-up call I put in wouldn't do it. Of course I was aleady up when the phone rang.

The van came a few minutes early and I was ready. Now, that was one hairraising ride. Streets were blocked off because of coming marathon and the drive wove in and out. His next person to pick up was a young woman from Columbia who had been put up in a sleazy hotel in Chinatown by the company she worked for. Then more exciting twisting and turning until we headed into the Candlestick Park area. Our drive stopped on a steep hill, put on the emergency brake and got out to find the address. Eeek!

Forunately he soon got back in and the last passenger was waiting at the bottom of the hill.

I arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

San Francsico is a beautiful city for the most part, but there are a lot of homeless people around.

As you might have guessed, I ate a lot of wonderful meals.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Victoria Heckman

Victoria Heckman is the author of two Hawai'i mystery series: K.O.'d in Hawaii, a modern series starring Katrina Ogden, Honolulu Police Officer, and the Coconut Man Mystery series set in ancient Hawaii before European contact. She is also the author of numerous short stories and articles, as well as a stand alone mystery, Burn Out, about an animal communicator coming late fall of 2011. She is president of Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter. Visit her website at

My interview of Victoria:

Marilyn: Tell me about your latest book.

Victoria: What would you do if you received information that could save the lives of strangers but could also get you killed?

Nomadic basket weaver Coconut Man faces this when he wanders into a village to sell his baskets and overhears a murder plot that brings war not only to this village, but to the entire island. How does a man with no status in the community change its destiny?

For those of you in the California Central Coast area, the booklaunch for Kapu is on Sunday, Nov. 7 at Coalesce Book Store and Chapel, 845 Main Street, Morrro Bay, CA. 1-3 PM. We'll have readings and a siging, food and drink and a special treat is a performance of ancient hula by a local group. So, come with us to ancient Hawai''i.

Marilyn: Tell me about your background including why you set your books in Hawaii, besides that being a cool place to do research.

Victoria: Through sheer luck and understanding parents I attended the University of Hawaii and then never left. (Until I moved here to the Central Coast!) I thought about joining HPD so did a bunch of ride alongs and became best friends with an officer who is now my source. However, she became a Sergeant, then Homicide Detective and is now retired, so her career moved along much more quickly than my HPD officer K.O. While living there, I became immersed in the culture and history and my ancient Hawai'i series brewed in my brain for years before I felt ready to write it. The book-specific research took 2 years, and then 2 more years to actually write.

Marilyn: I met you at a mystery con in Texas when your boys were in grade school. Was that your first mystery con?

Victoria: No, my first was a BCon in Monterey, but Cluefest was one of my favorites for how kind everyone was. But now those boys are all grown up. The oldest (now in college) and I laugh about the many booksiginings he's been on and how he spent a lot of time under the signing table.

Marilyn: I also know that you were single when I met you, something romantic happened after that, care to share?

Victoria: Only to say that the next book features a fire fighter husband and a cat-loving wife.

Marilyn: How do you manage to squeeze any writing in with such a busy schedule teaching school, putting on plays with your drama classes, etc.?

Victoria: I have developed a technique of trying not to freak out when I can't write, which is most of the time during the school year. I write in the summer and then the school year is for signings, editing, and the business of writing. Oh yeah, and teaching.

Marilyn: What is your favorite kind of promotion?

Victoria: Bookfests, workshops and LIBRARIES! I like hand-selling and meeting people.

Marilyn: What's up next for you as far as far as writing goes?
The new book is finished. A stand alone (or so I think right now) called "Burn Out" that features Elizabeth Murphy and her fire fighter husband, Tig. They live in a small (unnamed town) on the Central Coast of California. She is an animal communicator (not pet psychic!) who carves out a small income serving local pet owners.

However, when a teporary data entry position opens at the Fire Department, she accepts to earn a little extra money and be closer to her husband. She notices a pattern in the frequency and severity of fire fighter injuries and when Tig is hurt on the job, Elizabeth intensifies her investigation. However, her witnesses are animals and they don't have a great track record with reliable testimony on the stand.

Marilyn: That sound like a great story--bet it turns into a series.

We've had a lot of fun at conferences when we're on panels together. When do you think we'll be making people laugh again?

Victoria: We will be offending and informing folks at PSWA in July in VEGAS!!!

Marilyn: Where can we find you latest book?

Victoria: You can always e me, or check on Amazon. Kapu is hot off the presses so it should be available to all very soon thrugh the distributors or order through your local book seller...

Marilyn: Anything else you'd like to tell us about?

Victoria: For fans of K.O., my HPD officer, she is off to the Banzai Pipeline for her next adventure, "K.O.'d in the Big Surf." She is not a surfer, but her 15 year old nephew is, and poor Auntie K, in a moment of weakness, agreed to chaperone.

Of course, that's not all that happens. I'm having a lot of fun with the research and although I do surf (I am possibly the worst surfer ever) I am leaving it up to the big wave pros to fill me in. Look for that in about a year! or

Marilyn: Add anything else you want.

Victoria: Okay. I want a baby muskox and a box of chocolates from See's but not the icky ones with tropical fruit and a foot massage, and, well, I'll let you get started on that. xo

Marilyn: Thank you, my crazy and talented friend. I can hardly wait to read your new books.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Facebook, Oh my!

I post on Facebook a lot. I enjoy it because I get to find out stuff about my family and friends I wouldn't any other way. I get to see photos quicker when they post them.

But--my goodness--I'm shocked by what some people post. Do they forget who their friends are? Do they really want everyone to know their private lives? If they put something about someone on Facebook that isn't very nice--that someone is probably going to see it.

Frankly, I'd rather not know anything about someone's sex life--and I've unfriended someone who wrote such graphic stuff I got a mind image I never needed to have.

I also could live without all this political bashing on both sides. No one is going to convince anyone if they are on the opposite side. The meaner things get the less I like it.

Telling your secrets on Facebook is not a good idea because everyone can read what you've written. I'm shocked by what some people write.

It kind of reminds me people who talk so loud on the cell phones while they are walking around a store that everone with ten feet or more can hear what's going on in their private lives.

In airports I've heard business men discussing things that I'm sure they didn't want everyone around them to know, but know of us could help hearing because they spoke so loudly, oblivious of all the ears taking it in.

Not smart. These days it would certainly be easy to be a corporate spy and cause problems for someone or a business.

Anyway folks, don't say anything on Facebook that wouldn't confess before an auditorium full of people--because that's more or less what your'e doing.

And that's my rant for the day.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mystery Conventions

There are many mystery conventions to choose from. I'm only going to talk about the ones I've attended.

The biggest, of course, is Bouchercon, where I am right now. Bouchercon moves all over the country and I've attended them in lots of different places including Wisconsin twice, Texas, and Alaska. Bouchercon is big--big name writers and lots of fans attend--as well as small press writers like me. It can be overwhelming and a good idea if you have a roommate. While there though, be sure not only to take advantage of the panels, and there are lots to choose from, also go take advantage of the other things offered to do. Talk to everyone, make new friends, speak to your favorite authors, let them know that you love their books. Have a good time.

Left Coast Crime is probably the next biggest I've attended and they are always supposed to be in the west somewhere. Not quite as many attend, though there are still a lot of people and the con is much like Bouchercon, just smaller. Sometimes they go to the same places as Bouchercon--as long as they are in what could be called the left coast. (They were in Hawaii once and also the Left Coast of England.)

Malice Domestic is the only mystery con I've been to on the East Coast. Though mostly attended by cozy writers and fans, other genres do pop in and are treated wonderfully well. Usually this one is held somewhere in the Washington DC area.

Hubby and I went once to Love is Murder in the Chicago area. This one is always held in February which can make getting there and back interesting. They always have great speakers and are author and fan friendly. We had a great time.

One of my favorites is Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. I've been to all of them but the very first. It's limited to 200 people and consequently I've made many good friends of both authors and fans who attend. It's held near the Old Marketplace which has wonderful restaurants and lots of shops. And Omaha has one of the best zoos in the world.

There are other mystery cons on the East Coast and Canada, but I've never been to any of them.

If you love mysteries, do treat yourself and attend one of these conventions.

And always, speak to srangers--that's how you make friends.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Getting the Most Out of a Writer's Conference

While I'm at Bouchercon, I know I wont take the time to write blogs, so I thought I write a few ahead of time that will appear while I'm gone.

A writer's conference is where you go to learn more about writing. Over the years, I've been to many. At first, I drank in all the presentations like a thirsty person in the desert. Oh, how I loved learning so much from such talented writers.

Year passed, but I kept going to writers conferences--and still do. I know a lot about writing now, but I still learn many new things.

Another thing about a writers conference is that it energizes you to get busy with your writing.

When you go always pack a good attitude, go expecting to learn, take notes so you don't forget. Participate in everything. Talk to everyone. Make new friends.

I've made friends at writers conference who've become friends for life.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about Mystery Conventions which is a whole different experience.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Loose Ends Kill by Robert Doerr

Loose Ends Kill Brief Summary

With nearly three decades of investigative and operational experience, Bob Doerr knows how to create a realistic and challenging murder scene. He combines his vast experience and writing savvy in Loose Ends Kill—the third mystery crime thriller in his Jim West series.

In this new novel, West comes to the rescue of an old friend suspected of killing his own wife. West rolls up his sleeves and begins to dig deep—perhaps too deeply—as someone begins to follow and target him.

It’s not long before West discovers that he didn’t know his friend’s wife as well as he thought. Everyone but West and his friend knew that she had many affairs. Any of her lovers could have had a motive to kill her.

As he investigates one lover after the other, West ignites an outbreak of more deaths and mayhem. The killer wants him dead. His friend’s lawyer wants him to go back home, and the police threaten to arrest him.

Feeling the pressure to solve the murder quickly, West sets a trap for the killer—using himself as bait. However, he soon learns he may have only outsmarted himself.

When asked for more information about himself and his books, this is what Bob had to say:

My goal is to write at least five Jim West mystery/thrillers. Loose Ends Kill is my third. The first two were set in New Mexico. Loose Ends Kill is set in San Antonio, and my fourth book is set in Colorado Springs.

A couple questions I routinely get asked:

(1) Are these stories based on any real investigations: No, they are completely fictional stories.

(2) Is Jim West me? No, my life was never that interesting.

I've been writing for fun for nearly thirty years, but only got serious about getting published a few years ago when I retired from my day job.

This definitely sounds like a fascinating book by an author who sounds far more interesting than he lets on.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Valley Book Fest

Sherman Lee from the Hanford Branch of the King's County Library took this photo. I was one of about twenty plus authors who displayed books at the Hanford Mall.

Because I have lots of books, I always have to choose which ones I'll take. Because Hanford is only about an hour and 15 minutes from where I live, I decided my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series would be a seller her, but I also brought Lingering Spirit and the two latest of my Rocky Bluff series. As always, I was surprised by the books that interested people.

I had sent out notices about the signing to several friends who live in Hanford and was pleased when two of them turned up even though they had a problem finding me.

The Hanford newspaper and the library had done a lot of publicity and the Mall had banners outside letting people know we were there. However, most of the folks who stopped by seemed surprised to see all the books and the authors.

I love doing this type of event for several reasons. I love meeting new people and talking about my books. Who knows, one day they might become a fan.

At most of these events people come who are friends of mine who I don't get to see all that often. After we were through, a bunch of us went out to eat at a local and excellent Chinese restaurant. We had a great time.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Packing for Bouchercon

Hubby and I have attended many Bouchercons in the past--but I've skipped the last few.
This year it's in San Francisco. Hubby dislikes San Francisco, but author friend Gay Totl Kinman asked if I'd be her roommate and I jumped at the chance.

The first time Gay and I met was when we arranged to be roommates at Epicon. Since that time we've been at other conferences together, roomed again in New York and Arlington VA for Edgar week and Malice Domestic. It's been awhile since I've seen her, so I'm looking forward to our reunion as well as a good time at Bouchercon.

Because there are so many superstars at Bouchercon, I'm not going to worry about selling books. I plan to have a great time going to panels that interest me, some of the side events we've signed up for, and seeing all my author friends and making some new friends. Oh, of course I'll have my cards handy to hand out to folks--but this time my main purpose is to enjoy myself.

I plan to only take a carry-on with all my clothes--so--the plan is to have clothes that I can mix and match.

I'll let you know how that worked out.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Marni Graff, author of The Blue Virgin

"In her stunning, debut mystery novel set in Oxford, England, Marni Graff keeps the reader guessing who-done-it. Her sophisticated literary style together with her compelling plot and cast of characters made the book impossible to put down. P.D. James step aside...."

--Joan Seliger Sidney, Body of Diminishing Motion

Marni (Marnette) Graff

Marni Graff was born on Long Island and lived there for most of her life before moving with her husband and youngest son of three to North Carolina fourteen years ago. Buying property on the Intracoastal Waterway in rural Hyde County, Graff’s family was looking for a change from the fast pace they were used to, and found that on the shore of the Pungo River.

For the first two years at Montgomery Point in northeastern NC, Graff wrote a column for the Beaufort-Hyde News called “Southern Exposure,” about a Yankee’s adjustment
to living in the south.

Graff started writing poetry in junior high and kept on writing. A registered nurse from the age of nineteen, she wrote throughout that career for several journals while studying writing. She completed her degree in Literature and studied writing extensively: Poetry at Harvard and Radcliffe Universities, Screenwriting at New York University, and Literarture at Oxford University in England. Twice the recipient of month-long writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Graff has studied at five different sessions at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Her influences from early on after the usual Nancy Drew run and Agatha Christie’s were Dickens, Lewis Carroll, and Wilkie Collins.

Graff met the four other women in her writing group at the U of Iowa in the summer of 2003. They started their own unique workshop method after Iowa turned their idea down. The Screw Iowa! Writing Group keep in contact by email and meet yearly for a week to critique their work. You can learn more about the group and their unusual workshop methodology by visiting their website:

For eight years Graff conducted interviews and wrote articles for Mystery Review magazine. “I was able to pick the brains of my favorite authors and learn about their creative processes, which were all different. My favorite interview was with one of my idols, P. D. James, whose psychological novels I adore, and those with Scottish authors Val McDermid and Ian Rankin, two gritty crime writers.”

Graff has also had poetry and creative non-fiction published in multiple journals, most recently an essay in Southern Women’s Review. She also co-authored a non-fiction book with the SI group, Writing in a Changing World, which is available on the group’s website as an ebook and will published in October by Bridle Path Press.

Graff is the author of two mystery series. Her Manhattan series features nurse Trudy Genova, who works as a medical consultant on soap opera sets, mirroring Graff’s own favorite nursing job. Death Unscripted is currently making editorial rounds through Graff’s agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Her second series features American writer Nora Tierney, who lives and writes in England. The Blue Virgin is the first of that series, set in Oxford, and was published in April 2010 by Bridle Path Press. Graff talks about the creative process that led to this first published novel.

“I’ve always wanted to write mysteries because it’s the genre I enjoy reading the most. I suspect it’s the idea of a puzzle to be solved, and the triumph of good over evil that I enjoy. The Blue Virgin was originally set in the Lake District in its first draft. After I’d traveled to Oxford, I knew I had to start Nora off there. The feel of the city fit my story, and the setting became almost a character itself. It’s one of my favorite places in the UK, with its history, the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera reading room, and the mix of ancient and modern colleges that make up Oxford U. It’s really small town with a big city feel.”

The book was re-written to reflect the change of setting in 2004-5. Over the next four years Graff polished and revised it numerous times while starting the Trudy Genova series and working on the craft book with the SI women.

“A writer can always look at her work and see something that she wants to change, tweak or strengthen. Since this is the first of a series, I took care in crafting the main recurring characters, especially Nora Tierney. She’s someone I knew I would be spending a lot of time with over the next years, so I had to make her a person I wouldn’t grow tired of quickly. A journalist who’s traded that job to write children’s books, she’s nosy (in a most charming way), lies easily (ditto), and if fiercely protective of those she loves.

“She’s also pregnant with her dead fiancé’s baby when the novel opens, and has decided to raise the child alone. So she has lot going on her life when she gets involved in clearing her best friend of a murder charge, to the chagrin of Detective Declan Hughes.”

Graff has always loved reading, a trait she credits to her mother, who taught her to read at an early age. “She’s still a big reader and we trade books back and forth. I read between three and four novels a week, depending on my time. I am never so happy as when I have a stack of books waiting to be read.” Her current list of authors she stays up reading at night includes Louise Penny, Reginald Hill, France Fyfield, Ruth Rendell and Denise Mina.

Graff started the Writers Read program in 2007, giving writers of all ages an opportunity to read from their works-in-progress and to receive immediate feedback, while providing them with experience reading in front of a group. She also writes a weekly blog with book reviews on and appears on the blog EcoWomen,(, an environmental group that passes along information and tips for home use. “I write monthly for them; my area is pets and I discuss information on pets from organic beds and toys to poisonus plants.” The Graff’s currently own Murray, a 14 yr-old rescue mutt, and Radar, a 3 yr-old Italian Spinone.

Graff and her husband raised three sons and have four grandchildren. “My husband Arthur has been my biggest supporter and fan.” He’ll be holding down the fort in October when she goes on a signing tour that will take her all the way to Maine and end with a workshop on “Creating Killer Characters” in Baltimore. However she adds: “Nothing beats sitting on our screened-in porch, watching the river and working on my laptop. The wildlife and birds we see every day, the soothing atmosphere and changing water, my dogs swimming in the river—it’s all heavenly and I’m very fortunate.”

The Blue Virgin can be purchased on and

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Camp Fire Girl Reunion Photos

We had such a great time at the Camp Fire Girl reunion.

These early photos are hilarious--check out the young me with curlers in my hair. I know we were at Bubbling Springs Park in Port Hueneme on a very foggy morning. Can't remember what all we did, but I think it involved catching crawdads.

The photo with the larger group was a trip we were supposed to be making to the Griffith Park Observatory in L.A. My car broke down and we ended up at my parents--but that worked out great because my dad had his own observatory on top of the house and the girls (and leaders) had a great time. In the photo is also a pic of my mom and my oldest son, Mark, who passed away from cancer when he wss in his 40s.

My oldest daughter Dana hosted a 20 year reunion of our Camp Fire group 20 years ago and then again, this past Friday night. Compare the photos.

I had a great time.

On the couch in the latest photo is Ruth Klinger, the first leader of the group when they were Blue Birds. I took over at the end of the first year. The woman in the middle is Marian Schleicher, who not only went on many of our camping trips, she became the Camp Fire leader for my 2nd daughter's group.

Of course girls left and new ones came in.

We had so much fun talking about our memories. I learned right along with them how to cook a turkey buried in the sand, all kinds of camping adventures including back-packing into the Sespe.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Camp Fire Girl Reunion

It seems my family is "reunion" crazy.

Twenty years ago my eldest daughter decided to have a reunion of the Camp Fire Girl group that I had for nearly 10 years. I kept the group until the young woman graduated from high school in 1970.

She's decided that since her high school is having their reunion this weekend, she wanted to get the Camp Fire Girls together once again the night before. She sent letters using all the addresses she had and many letters came back. And then she searched for people on Facebook to invite.

First let me tell you about how I got involved.

Dana, my daughter was in a Blue Bird group. The leader, who has been a good friend over the years and one of the biggest fans of my books, decided someone else needed to take over and called together the meeting of the mother. I was the youngest one there. (This was a long, long time ago.) No one volunteered. Feeling totally inadequate, I finally said I'd do it. My daughter loved being a Blue Bird.

I grew up with these girls. From Blue Birds they became Camp Fire Girls and earned all kinds of beads for their vests and sold more Camp Fire candy then most of the other groups in the city. They participated in yearly Council Fires.

We day camped together and somewhere along the way, I helped plan and ran many of the day camps which always had one overnight. We camped at the beach, the Hueneme Navy Base, and a school ground--probably some other places that I don't remember.

As a group we camped on weekends many places, up in the mountains where in snowed and Boy Scouts couldn't take it and went home, at the beach. We camped at the Camp Fire camp in Santa Paula when I was 9 months pregnant with my youngest child.

As they grew older we back-packed into the mountains--I had never done this before, but I learned right along with the girls. In high school, they became Horizon Club Girls, and we took lots of other trips. We went to San Diego to joint a lot of Horizon Clubs from all over--and had to fight off the sailors who realized all these cut girls had arrived in their teritory.

We went to Hollywood and took in free TV shows and went sight seeing.

These girls all came from poor families and we always had to earn our way to do anything. In their Junior Year we decided it would be fun to make a trip to the Grand Canyon. Oh my, what a great idea--but we had to earn every penny to go there. We collected green and blue stamps that could be turned into money. We put on plays.

One year we did a parody on Dark Shadows, the soap opera. The next year we put on a spoof of Peter Pan--turned both into musicals. What a talented bunch I had.

I signed a check with Greyhound of $1000 and we got another Horizon Club group to go with us and filled the bus with 40 people, 4 chaperones and the rest highschool girls though we did take my younger daughter and another younger Horizon Club girl to fill every seat. Remember, this was in the days before credit cards, so we had to earn all the money we needed for the bus, our lodging, and the food we ate.

We loaded the bus and headed first to a place where the water leaves the Colorado River to come to L.A. (The Gene Pumping Station) It was free lodging and wonderful food for just watching a movie about how the Hoover Dam was built. The next a.m. we headed to the Grand Canyone. We spent three days and two nights there exploring. And then it was on to Las Vegas where we stayed with other Horizon Club Girl's families. Each group had a different experience. We headed home exhausted, but what a wonderful way to end our time together as a Horizon Club.

The group was made up of girls from all different ethnic backgrounds and three high schools. We had a great time together and learned a lot. Looking back, I wonder how I had the guts to plan some of the things we did.

One of the girls who ended up being my middle daughter's sister in law told me many years later that what she learned from me was that you could do anything you wanted, all you had to do was work at it. Wow! That really made me feel good.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about how the reunion went.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Murder at Cuyamaca

Murder at Cuyamaca
by Sue McGinty

Bella Kowalski, former nun, now dirt-digging obituary editor, gets an urgent call from Magda Sereno regarding her sister's murder. Magda suspects Loreli's former fiancé, a maverick rancher who takes in the homeless on an ad hoc basis. Then Magda, a surfer, is brutally murdered on New Year’s Day at Cuyamaca Beach's annual Polar Bear dip.

This second book in the Bella Kowalski series leads readers through the dark underbelly of California's scenic Central Coast, where the homeless gather under bridges while the wealthy slumber beneath satin sheets, and where a crowded, sunny beach offers no guarantee of safety.

About Sue McGinty:

With little more than a dream, a few story ideas and a cat who’d never ridden in a car before, Sue McGinty left behind the corporate world of Los Angeles and escaped two hundred miles north to the Central Coast hamlet of Los Osos. Not the Cabot Cove of “Murder She Wrote,” but close.

Before the boxes were unpacked, Sue, also an inveterate Nancy Drew fan, began writing mysteries and biking around town in the best Jessica Fletcher tradition. Her award winning short fiction has been featured in three Central Coast Mystery Writer anthologies and she has served as both president and treasurer of the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. She also heads up the Lillian Dean Writing Competition held in conjunction with the annual Central Coast Writer’s Conference.

“Murder in Los Lobos”
(2008) introduces readers to former Detroit nun, Bella Kowalski, an obituary writer with a nose for murder. “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach” (2010) continues the saga of Bella, her ex-cop husband Mike, and Sam, their senior citizen Golden Lab. Sue's website

Interview of Sue:

Marilyn: Where did the idea for this book come from?

Sue: This book is about murder and exploitation among the homeless and addicted. The idea came to me one night when I was staying with the homeless at Grace Church, where my son and daughter-in-law are members. San Luis Obispo County churches have a wonderful program where churches take keeping any overflow from the Main Shelter, women with and without children, and intact families, in their facilities, usually gyms or rec. rooms. Since then, I’ve done several stints at different churches and I find it an amazingly rich experience.

Marilyn: Like me, you change the names of the settings though it is actually based on a real place. Tell me why you do it? And where is Cuyamaca Beach?

Sue: I change the names mostly for the fun of making up names, but also to add locations that aren’t necessarily there but suit the story, such as the graveyard on the hill in Los Lobos (aka Osos) and the ranch that takes in homeless people on an ad hoc basis (driving local officials crazy) south of Cuyamaca (aka Cayucos) Beach.

Marilyn: I know there’s a story about the covers of both your books, will you share with my readers?

Sue: The covers have grown into something of a family affair. My granddaughter Katie, then a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, now a teacher in Bakersfield, posed for the cover of “Murder in Los Lobos” on a cold windy February day at Escarpa el Dorado (Montana de Oro). My job was to rescue her if a big wave knocked her off the rock, a job that would have been neigh impossible now that I think about it. The photo shoot took three hours and Katie, the photographer and I were frozen stiff by the time we finished. Katie had to change her clothes three times because she kept getting soaked.

My son Pat and daughter-in-law Diane, the same ones who attend Grace Church, posed for the cover of “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach.” Once again it was a cold, and this time, gray, day, and the waves disappeared before photographer Lynda Roeller arrived. Pat, an ardent surfer, was upset because there were no waves in the picture, and Diane, a lovely girl when she’s not soaking wet, thought her image was unflattering. I assured her, “Diane, it doesn’t matter. You’re dead.”

Marilyn: Sue lives in my favorite part of California. Tell us a bit about your home and what brought you to the area.

Sue: The Central Coast which comprises the area north of Santa Barbara to the Monterey Peninsula is not utopia, but close enough, an area known for windswept beaches, Monterey pines, towering oceanside cliffs and San Francisco fog, even tho’ it’s only halfway between Los Angeles and “The City”, as residents are fond of calling it. You have to love soupy weather to live here and I do—a great reading, writing and tea-making climate.

The cool weather brought me to the Central Coast when I’d had enough of the heat of Southern California, also the corporate environment where I worked for a couple of years after McGraw-Hill closed their LA office. Again Diane, (she and Pat weren’t married at the time), lived in funky little Los Osos, and I just fell in love with the place. I sold my house and a lot of stuff, packed up the rest and my cat, who’d never been in a car before, and moved up here the same day in 1994 that OJ made his famous escape through LA. I wondered at the time why traffic was so backed up, but had to keep a Mozart tape playing so the cat wouldn’t be upset, so I never turned on the radio.

Marilyn: We often do the same events, partly because I’ll jump on any chance to go over to the Central Coast. What are your favorite events, Sue, and why?

Sue: I love almost any event where I can meet the public and sell books. My favorite events are Central Coast Writers Conference, now in it’s 26th year, where for the last two years I’ve been the writing competition coordinator. I love presenting the awards to winners and seeing their faces when their names are called, probably the closest I’ll ever get to the Academy Awards. The same weekend is the San Luis Obispo Book and Author Festival at Mission Plaza, where it’s fun to meet the hometown readers and kibbutz with fellow Sisters in Crime buddies and other writer friends, especially those in NightWriters, an all-genre group I’ve belong to for 15 years.

I also enjoy our Central Coast Sister in Crime events at Coalesce Bookstore (805-772-2880) in Morro Bay and other Sister-attended events like the book fairs in Hanford and at the Nipomo Library. And of course, the LA Times Book Festival in April, which I understand is moving from UCLA to USC next year.

Marilyn: Is there anything else about the writing of this book you’d like to tell me and my readers?

Sue: Both of my books deal with social justice issues, and I try to make the case through stories that decisions made by both individuals and local governments have real consequences that affect real lives.

Marilyn: Where can we get a copy?

Sue: The easiest way is through Amazon, or it can be ordered from your local bookseller. If you want a personally inscribed copy (a great holiday gift) e-mail me:

Marilyn: Anything you’d like us to know?

Sue: I’m busy working on the third book, “Murder at the Naked Nun,” and there’s a big surprise for readers, and Bella, in this one.

Marilyn: Thank you, Sue, I learned a few things I didn't know about you and can hardly wait to read Murder at Cuyamaca.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mitchell Family Reunion group pic

Not everyone was here when the photo was taken, but a schedule of events was sent out and I have to give the girls in charge credit, they followed their schedule and things moved along one after another--no one had the chance to be bored.

On Saturday afternoon there was free time and a lot of the attendees took the opportunity to shop at the Outlet stores next door and I know some of the grandparents and parents did some Christmas shopping. I only went to one store and bought a new carry-on that I plan to use for Bouchercon in San Francisco. I don't want to have to pay to send any luggage for a 1 1/2 hour flight.

That ties up the family reunion. If you want to see more pictures, check out my family reunion album on Facebook.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dorien Grey, author of Caesar's Fall

A teaser about Caesar's Fall:

Elliott Smith has a new neighbor; a nice, average guy who has won $57 million in the lottery. The sharks start to circle, and Elliott tries to protect him as best he can. But a tragic accident throws Elliott, his partner-in-process Steve, and sleep-visitor John into the roiling waters.

I've "known" Dorien Grey for a long time via the Internet, but really didn't know much about him, so I asked for some background information and here it is. He's just as intriguing as I always suspected.

Background of Dorien Grey

If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fingers—to write. It has reached the point where Roger merely sits back and reads the stories Dorien brings forth on the computer screen.

It’s not as though Roger has not had an uninteresting life of his own. Two years into college, he left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Washing out after a year, he spent the rest of his brief military career on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean at the height of the cold war. The journal he kept of his time in the military, in the form of letters home, honed his writing skills and provided him with a wealth of experiences to draw from in his future writing. These letters will be appearing in book form shortly.

Returning to Northern Illinois University after service, he graduated with a B.A. in English, and embarked on a series of jobs which worked him into the editing field. While working for a Los Angeles publishing house, he was instrumental in establishing a division exclusively for the publication of gay paperbacks and magazines, of which he became editor. He moved on to edit a leading L.A. based international gay men's magazine.

Tiring of earthquakes, brush fires, mud slides, and riots, he returned to the Midwest, where Dorien emerged, full-blown, like Venus from the sea. They’ve been inseparable (and interchangeable) ever since.

He . . . and Dorien of course…moved back to Chicago in 2006, where they now devote full time to writing. After having published thirteen books in the popular Dick Hardesty Mystery series, the western/romance/adventure novel, Calico, and the imminent publication of Caesar's Fall, the third book in his new Elliott Smith Mystery series, he is busily at work on yet another Dick Hardesty mystery.

But for a greater insight into the "real person" behind Dorien Grey, the curious are invited to check out his website ( and his various blogs: Dorien Grey and Me ( and A Life in Photos ( among them.

There is nothing Dorien loves more than hearing from a reader...or potential. If you'd like to contact him, just drop him a note at

Thank you, Dorien for letting us know more about you and your other self.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Invisible Path on the Way, Reviewers Wanted

The day Invisible Path went live on Mundania Press's website I ordered 50 copies.

That may seem like a lot, but I'll be going on a blog tour in November and some of the blog hosts also review books.

I'll also be asking for other people to review Invisible Path, probably the same ones who reviewed Dispel the Mist the book that came out last fall.

Anyone else who'd like to review Invisible Path and put the review on Amazon and anywhere else you can think of, do let me know.

Now the fun begins--or it will once the book arrives.


Monday, October 4, 2010

More Reunion Photos

Here are some more pictures.

Granddaughter Melissa with her hubby, Billy. Melissa and my other granddaughter Genie, and niece, Linda, were the organizers for the event, each having particular duties they were in charge of. They did a great job.

The shot of my oldest girl and youngest shows that the theme was the color blue.

Daughter Lori cooked tortillas for our taco super on Friday night.

The only thing that went wrong was one of my great granddaughters got ill late Saturday night and on Sunday morning everyone pulled out after breakfast.

All together 49 people showed up--though they weren't all there together at the same time. One came only for Friday night and Saturday and went home in the afternoon. A couple of families arrived late Friday night and went home after dinner on Saturday. One family came at Saturday afternoon after a kid's baseball game and went home after the talent show. We had some missing who came other years and a couple of new ones this year.

The big thing we always do is play Estimation, a card game using 3 decks of cards. Lot of people play--all ages welcome. We do this in honor of my dad (the Mitchell of the Mitchell Family Reunion) because he loved to play this game--as did my mother.

We played Friday night, Saturday afternoon before dinner, and Saturday night. Of course there are those who play other games, and we had movies for the little kids.

Anyway, that's all I'll share about our wonderful reunion until next year. Needless to say, it went by far too quickly.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pictures from the Family Reunion

These are just a few photos to give you an idea of what was happening at our reunion. I'll post a few more tomorrow.

The teen boy was also the teen girl at the talent show. Since he's a really macho and most athletic kid (and one of my many great grandkids) it was hilarious seeing him dance and strut around like a really cute girl.

Many worked to make this event a success. In the photo with the food is my eldest daughter and her daughter.

There were lost of water games--oldsters against the kids and the oldsters won them all.

Young kids were kept busy all the time with crafts, a Wii, and lots of activities.

So much fun to see so much family all at one time.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

California's Budget Dilemma Hits Home

California's legislators and Governor are supposed to pass a budget by July 1. It is now October and still no budget. This is playing havoc on all state-funded businesses.
It seems to me if the legislators didn't get paid until the budget was passed and had to experience what all these people who rely on the state are now going through, they might get to business instead of taking summer vacations. (Yes, they did.)

My 19 year-old-granddaughter who lives on her own works for a state-funded day care. People who leave their children in this day-care are charged by the amount they make at their jobs--and the remainder is state-funded. The day-care has continued to operate the last few months but has finally exhausted its funds and had to close.

Not only does it affect all the teachers who work there but also the people who leave their children while they are working. Many have had to quit their jobs.

The owners of the day care have helped all their employees get on unemployment. My granddaughter is going to welfare today to apply for food-stamps.

This is just one example--the same scenario is going on all over the state.

We should do something about this situation. Somehow, as voters, we must change this. Until the budget is passed, the legislators should not get paid. Who else get paid when they aren't doing their job?

I seldom use my blog to rant, but I had to spout about this.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Eeek! Where are My Books?

My book launch for Invisible Path is schedule for Saturday, October 23rd--yes, this Saturday and I learned on Monday that there had been a problem with the bar code holding up production of the books.

I ordered 50, I've got reviewers waiting for copies to read before my blog tour in November. Time is running out.

This happens too often and certainly makes me nervous.

The last word is some of the books will be delivered via air transport, so I'll at least have some for the launch. I've sent a notice to our newspaper already and of course a poster for the bookstore, Books Off Main in Porterville, they have hanging in the store.

I'll be there at 2 p.m. with books or not.

All of you who read my blog posts, pray and think positive thoughts that my books arrive in time.

Marilyn, who hates when this happens.

Dr. Bob Maninger author of FLINT

Synopsis for Flint

In the small Oklahoma community of Flint, Dr. Bill Spence pursues a ruthless serial killer. The murderer is determined to make these crimes appear as though the Cheyenne are responsible. Diamond Oil Company refinery workers have gone out on strike and the tension is mounting. The evidence at the crime scene is a graphic replication of Native American battlefield mutilations. Bill Spence’s area of expertise leads him to uncover the killer’s intended scenario replicating the Greasy Grass battlefield. Bill receives assistance from his good friend and Cheyenne insider, Ben Freeman, as he navigates each terrifying crime collecting clues to help the local police solve these grizzly murders. Ben is implicated even though he appears to be above such a crime spree, because he keeps showing up at the scene at the wrong time. The Cheyenne decide it is time to step outside the law and perform the Sun Dance to purify their people. Bill relies on his friend Kristine to keep him focused on the terrible discoveries he makes as the killer seems to be focusing on Bill and intending to clue him in on the next move. Bill Spence starts to put the elements of the crimes together when he runs into an old high school sweetheart who has mysteriously moved back to Flint to date a man that suddenly becomes a person of interest in Bill’s mind. Bill swings by Kristine’s place to see her and discovers that she is missing. The police chase that ensues takes them to Tommy Nash and the Diamond Oil museum housed in the old family mansion. Can Bill make it to the serial killer before he ends Kristine’s life or will she be his latest victim?

Bob Maninger's Bio:

Bob Maninger grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and graduated from Po-Hi in 1979. He spent twenty years as a teacher and administrator in public and private schools in Iowa and Texas. He taught Math and US History. His love of history came naturally as his family was a part of the movement of settlers into the panhandle of Oklahoma 125 years ago. He is known is some circles as Dr. Maninger as he graduated from the University of North Texas with a doctorate in 2003. His move into academia has included a position at TCU and at Sam Houston State University.

He is currently an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Bob is published in academic journals and regular magazines. The topics of these articles include technology integration into the classroom, educational administration, and sustainability of natural resources. Dr. Maninger has had success with grant work as well. He’s even had an artistic furniture piece exhibit in a gallery in north Texas.

Dr. Maninger has a prolific record of conference presentations and teacher development workshops, too numerous to detail. He has also successfully taught nearly thirty different courses in academia to date. His honors include; the College of Education Outstanding Award for Teaching Nominee, the Outstanding Doctoral Student in C&I (twice), the KDP Doctoral Scholarship, and Administrator of the Year.

His books include the novel Flint and the non-fiction piece The Mathews Family. Bob first wrote and self-published The Mathews Family a two-part expose of members of his mother’s family. The first part tells the stories of his grandparents homesteading adventures in Oklahoma. The second part details stories of three uncles that went off to World War II and came home.

Flint is a novel in the murder mystery genre. A serial killer is running around the fictional town of Flint, Oklahoma killing a specific way that implicates local Cheyenne. The main character is a history teacher who is a student of the Cheyenne culture and historical studies. He helps local police solve the crime and find the killer.

Bob has two children, Laura (a student at UNT) and Clay (a student at SHSU), who have become passionate adventurers in their own way. He has a friend and fiancé, talented artist in her own right, Edie Wells. He also has another significant member of the family, Drew Brosnan, a talented IT guy who hangs out with Laura a lot. Bob enjoys advocating for and living an environmentally sustainable life, gardening, reading, hunting, fishing, and college athletics.

This is what Bob has to say about the writing of Flint:

I wrote Flint after having completed a non-fiction piece about my family. Of course, one’s family is supposed to like that, but other colleagues seemed to appreciate the stories and encouraged me to try the fiction genre.

The story came from life experiences and the “school stories” were fictionalized versions of things that have happened to me in my career. The serial killer and the cop actions I needed a little research to complete, but I had some help from friends that are in law enforcement.

I hope that Flint will be the first in a series. I have nearly completed the second one and have ideas for the third. I recently visited Mali, Africa and have another different kind of mystery novel spinning out of that journey. I write a lot, my profession requires that, as a university professor it is definitely publish or perish. I have endured enough in this arena to start to write about things I am passionate about, and one of those passions is Native Americans. I want all of our writing to properly reflect the Native American culture in a wonderful and exciting way. My first attempt at that was to make the Cheyenne the “good guys”, which was not difficult.

The idea was to make this novel tell a story, several in fact, with a few twists to the plot. I have had very good reaction to the book and I look forward to many more to come.

And to learn more about Bob and his books, visit