Showing posts from May, 2010

Lingering Spirits Cover

This is the cover for my latest book, Lingering Spirit, a romance with a supernatural touch.

My publisher, Oak Tree Press, is planning to launch the book at the Public Safety Writer Association's conference in mid-June. You say that's kind of weird? Not so, two of the main characters are law enforcement officers.

After that I'll be taking off on a blog tour--don't know anything yet, just started making plans. If there's anyone out there who'd like to host me, just holler--well, an email might work better.

I'll also set-up a book launch in the area where I live, maybe two if I can figure out a place to do it in Springville. Perhaps the library up here, I'll see. And we have a new second hand bookstore in town that I know will host me.

Anyway, though I'll be in Omaha at Mayhem in the Midlands talking about my mysteries when this comes out, next on the agenda is Lingering Spirit.


Writer's Block

Frankly, I don't really ever have writer's block. Oh, I do sometimes have trouble sitting down and actually getting to the writing, but it's not because I have a block of any kind, it's just that I have so many other things that need to get done.

When I am writing a book, I've found that the greatest way to prevent writer's block is to always quit in the middle of a scene--a scene that you know exactly where you're going. That way, when you return to your writing, you can pick up right where you left off. That way you don't have to deliberate, wondering what to write next.

For those of you who have an outline, I supposed you never have a problem anyway. Though I know where I'm going when writing a new mystery, what I have when I begin is the crime, the suspects (or all the new characters since I'm writing a series), the motives for each one, the alibis, and I usually think I know who the killer is, though sometimes that changes when I'm writin…

Ghosts and the Afterlife and my coming book

Let me begin by saying I'm a Christian and believe in Heaven.

Having said that, I'd like to talk a bit about ghosts and what happens to people when they die.

For Christians, I've heard that some have witnessed their dying loved ones speak about seeing someone close to them who has passed on previously, or even stating that they are seeing angels. I know when my son died, he had a smile on his face leaving me to believe that he was happy to see whoever was greeting him. I have always thought it was my dad who welcomed him into heaven. My dad dearly loved his grandchildren, and my son was the first to leave this earth.

But what about ghosts? Spirits who don't immediately leave this realm when they die?

My husband says when his mother died when he was only five, she came and told him goodbye. He also says when his cousin passed, she also stopped by to wish him farewell.

When my son-in-law was killed in a tragic accident several things happened making many of us believe his spi…

Interesting Observation About Female Authors and Families

Everyone who has been around me or read my blogs, knows that I have a large family. Hubby and I raised five children, lost a son to cancer when he was in his early 40s, have 18 grandkids and 11 great-grands.

But one thing I've noticed about many of my mystery writing friends is that many of them are childless or only have one child. I wonder if that means anything? It does probably mean that they have less distractions. When you have a family the size of mine with many of the living nearby--distractions are inevitable.

Though I can't really call her a friend, even though I've met her twice, Mary Higgins Clark also has five children. I have no idea if there are greats or grands. I'm guessing though, when she's writing, she is probably left alone. Though I know she was single for many, many years, mostly raising her children along, it hasn't been too awfully long ago, that she remarried. Probably there are more distractions now of a pleasant type.

I'm digressin…

Pieces of the Star by K J Roberts

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY from the mouth of the author, K J Roberts

Pieces of the Star isn’t like anything I’ve ever written before. Normally, I’m pecking away at the keyboard trying to write a romance. When I’m not trying to write one, I’m reading one.

About three years ago, my son, who was ten, had to read books for school. After he read one, he would have to take a test. These tests would give him points and he had to achieve so many each grading period. My older daughter had to do the same thing.

Well, my son couldn’t find a book he wanted to read. Living in a rural area and attending a small school, the library is small too. I’d imagine the library budget is even smaller. I needed to find other avenues for my children to achieve their reading point goal. I had bought a book for my daughter, and she’d loved it. I read it myself and thought it was great. So I dug it out for my son. He opened the first page and read the first word. The protagonist’s name. He closed the book and said…

What About Movies?

We talked about the TV shows we liked, now what about the movies?

Hubby and I try to get to the movies two or three times a month. We call it our date night, though we usually go to the first movie of the day which is usually around noon, then we go to lunch somewhere.

I love to watch the previews of coming movies to kind of get a feel for them, to see if I really want to shell out the moola for the theater experience or wait and rent it from Netlix. Of course the 3D movies need to be seen in the theater. Avatar won't be the same on a smaller screen, though I really don't need the 3D. I think epic movies are more fun in a theater too, such as Robin Hood.

Speaking of Robin Hood, despite the fact it didn't get high ratings, we really enjoyed this new take on the old classic. The people looked more real as did the sets. Over the years we've noticed that some of the movies the critics didn't like turned out to be our favorites.

Some movies my husband isn't interested …

Our Social Life

Usually our social life focuses on mystery or writing events and an occasional church social.

This is the weekend for something different, though it begins with a church event. We have a fellow who goes to our church who used to have a restaurant. He's now the head of the church's fellowship committee. Because of that we've had some great meals at very low cost and fun with people we know and love to be around.

This Saturday night is a steak and scampi dinner. Hubby is never too thrilled about having to go out, but this one he's looking forward to--and I am too.

Tomorrow we have the other kind of social event, a wine tasting party put on by a friend of ours. I'm particularly fond of this friend because she's one of the biggest fans of my books. I can always count on her to show up for any of my book launches. We have something else in common--we both watch General Hospital, the soap.

She and friends put on this event. Last year it was in her lovely backyard--this …

PSWA Member, Sarah Cortez

Sarah Cortez is a member of PSWA and I've had the pleasure of meeting her several times at the PSWA conventions, and having dinner with her and her husband.

Here is our interview.

Sarah: Hi, Marilyn, you’ve asked about my background.

I had fourteen years in the corporate world as a public accountant and employee benefits consultant with a stint beforehand teaching high school.

My policing career began about seventeen years ago and I’ve served in patrol, civil, court protection, undercover ops, special ops, and as a patrol FTO.

My writing career began in the late ‘80s with publications in international fiction anthologies. In 1992, I began writing literary poetry and my first book published in 2000 (“How to Undress A Cop”) is a book of poetry.

Since then, I’ve been published in all genres – poetry, fiction, and essay (including memoir). I also write academic articles, prayers, book proposals, magazine articles, etc. You name it; I write it.

The most recent area of expertise I’v…

What's Up Next?

When I read about these authors who are on book tours traveling from city to city, state to state, I feel like a piker.

I have been out of the state this year, New Orleans to be exact, to attend Epicon. The flying and changing planes and airlines about did us in. Never again. In fact it changed my mind about going to some out of state cons that require too many airplane changes. We're getting to old to do all that hustling and bustling to get to one place from another while hauling our carry-ons.

I've done plenty in other places in California: author workshop in Morro Bay, author panel in Clovis, joint author signing in Morro Bay, book store signing in Porterville, a library author signing in Visalia, craft fairs in Oxnard and Fresno.

Blogs, Facebook and Twitter have kept me busy too.

Next up is Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. We've been to everyone of these except the very first one. This one is special, I'm on a panel, moderating a panel, and doing an author chat with …

Favorite TV Shows

One of my most favorites just came back to regular TV--Friday Night Lights. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's on Friday nights, appropriately, and it's all about a Texas high school football coach, his family, and his team. It's far more realistic than most TV shows about families. If you've never seen it, it's worth ordering the prior seasons from Netflix.

It's what I would call wholesome TV viewing.

Another favorite of mine is also on Friday nights, Medium. On another channel, I love the characters on this one--partly because they look like real people, not TV actors.

And anyone who has read my blog for long knows I'm a sucker for reality TV. Yes, I watch Dancing with the Stars, and actually have converted my hubby as a fan. He's far better at spotting their dancing mistakes than I am. Years ago we loved to dance, even won a dancing contest on a cruise.

Survivor was fun this year too because of one of the villains who just couldn't understand why pe…

More About Lingering Spirit

The first two books of mine that were published were historical family sagas based on my own family's genealogy. They were filled with romance. In fact, for awhile I really thought I might continue on and become a romance writer. I even belonged to Romance Writers of America for awhile, and the first organized writing group I joined was a romance writers group.

After that I wrote a mystery with a romance in it and a bit of the supernatural, called The Astral Gift. A lot of what happened to the main character as a child was what happened to someone I knew though the character was much different. And in the story, the character astral projected without having control over it. She was a day care center teacher and I based a lot of what happened to her at work on my own experience working in a day care center.

I based the love interest in that book on my son-in-law who was a police officer and a darling man. Besides being married to my daughter, he also became the father of three of my …

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Sweepstakes

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Sweepstakes

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PRIZES: (1) Every week until July 31 we will draw one winner to receive
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I'm offering a print copy of An Axe to Grind--if you already have it, there are lots of other print books to choose from.


Genes are funny, aren't they?

Kay'Lee is one of my 18 great-grandchildren. She's my grandson's daughter. I love being around her because she reminds me a lot of me when I was her age. Not all of it is good--she's bossy like I was bossy.

She looks a lot like her dad's mom, especially around the eyes, and she inherited both her mom's and dad's curly hair.

Her imagination is great--she is able to play all by herself with a few props. Once while I was working in my office, she managed to put together a few things, stood by a dresser and pretended she was one of those gals who take orders at the window of a fast food restaurant.

Another time, she made the little closet under the stairs her office, using a lot of my used paper, a marking pen and a stapler to do all sorts of things. I could hear her talking away and at times she'd come and include me in her fantasy.

Of course it made me smile, I did so many of the same things when I was her age.

Now, what I am hoping is that she inherited the b…

Some of the Women in my Family

When we had our Mother Daughter Luncheon at church, we took a photo together.

From left to right:

Granddaughter, Melissa, the 2nd of my grandchildren. I actually was on hand when she was born, served as birth coach to her mom, Lisa, because her hubby was away in the Army. It was a wonderful experience. Melissa is married and has three children. Her son, is my oldest grandchild. I'm really proud of Melissa as she helps her husband with their pool cleaning business, volunteers for all sorts of things at her kids' school, and she's the co-youth leader with her husband at our church, among other jobs she does.

Daughter, Lisa, is my second child and the mother of two of my granddaughters. She's been a school bus driver among many other occupations, but now she's a pastor's wife. Anyone who has spent much time around a church knows the pastor's wife has many duties. Lisa has a wonderful voice and leads the praise team at church.

Lisa and Melissa live in Springville s…

Cindy Bradford, Author of Promises Kept

About Promises Kept:

Promises Kept is Faith’s story, an unforgettable young woman whose life’s journey has been filled with uncertainty, of searching for people and answers that others take for granted. Compassionate and courageous, she never gives up, showing strength and character beyond her years. It is also the story about the power of the human spirit, of family, friends and love.

About Cindy Bradford:

Cindy Bradford, Ph.D., is also the author of Keeping Faith and Promises Kept. She lives at South Padre Island, Texas, and spends several months a year in Ruidoso, New Mexico. She is a retired public school educator and university professor. She often incorporates her knowledge of wine into her writings and shares the beautiful places she has visited with her readers.

My interview with Cindy Bradford:

Marilyn: Tell me when you first knew you wanted to be a writer.

Cindy: I don’t ever remember not wanting to write or not writing for that matter. I wrote little stories …

From E book to Print Book

Usually it's the other way around--an author will have a book that's out of print or one they never could find a publisher for and publish it as an e-book on Kindle or some of the other e-book outlets.

My romance with supernatural touches, Lingering Spirit, was first an e-book with a publisher that I eventually broke ties with.

When Oak Tree Press started publishing my Rocky Bluff P.D. series and putting them on Kindle, I was asked if I had an other books that could be put on Kindle. Oh, boy, did I. The earlier Rocky Bluff P.D. books, of course, but I also had Lingering Spirit.

The publisher read the book and fell in love with it and soon it was available on Kindle. Recently she asked if she could turn it into a regular book. Of course, I said yes.

She sent me the page set-ups and asked me to review them. When I started reading the first pages, I cried. Can you believe that? My own book made me cry.

I'll tell you more about Lingering Spirit and what caused me to write that stor…

The Biggest Liar by Ken Kuhlken

Ken's Bio

After borrowing time from his youthful passions, such as baseball, golf, romance, and trying to make music, to earn degrees in literature and writing from San Diego State University and the University of Iowa, Ken got serious (more or less).

Since then, his stories have appeared in Esquire and dozens of other magazines, and anthologies, been honorably mentioned in Best American Short Stories, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has been a frequent contributor and a columnist for the San Diego Reader.

With Alan Russell, in Road Kill and No Cats, No Chocolate, he has chronicled the madness of book promotion tours.

Ken’s novels are Midheaven, chosen as finalist for the Ernest Hemingway Award for best first novel and the Tom Hickey California Century series:

The Loud Adios, San Diego and Tijuana, 1943 (Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin’s Press Best First PI Novel); The Venus Deal, San Diego, Mount Shasta, and Denver, 1942; The Angel Gang, Lake Taho…

Meet Janet Lane Walters

Marilyn: Janet and I are friend via the Internet and also from being together and several EPICons Despite that, there's a lot I don't know about her.

Tell me about your background.

Janet: I'm a retired nurse whit four children and five grandchildren. Living in the Hudson River Valley suits me to a tee. My writing career has been split. In the late sixties and early seventies, I sold a dozen short stories and poems as well as four novels. Then I returned to work and school, earning a BA in English and a BS in Nursing as well as seeing four children to a higher education. I then returned to writing in the nineties and began writing and selling again.

Marilyn: When did you first start writing?

Janet: I've been scribbling most of my life but in the early days for my own benefit. Rewrote the ending of Anna Karenina in third grade for a book report and was nearly expelled from school.

Marilyn: What was your first break?

Janet: It's really hard to remember back that …


By Cassandra Pierce

The early descriptions of vampires that have come down to us through folklore, provide a stark contrast to today’s hunky, bare-chested bloodsuckers who no longer necessarily suck blood. It’s true that some of the old, scary vamps sometimes ran around shirtless (they might, for example, have escaped from their tombs clad only in a winding sheet), but in those cases they tended to show off discolored, cadaver-like rib cages rather than sculpted pecs and perfect six-pack abs. They also had terrible breath, bad skin, a hollow gaze, and a complete disregard for their human prey. Not exactly the stuff of sexy dreams.

Nowadays, in addition to having excellent hygiene, many vamps are also loathe to drink human blood, and those who aren’t rich (though most vampires are, probably thanks to earning centuries of compound interest) may work in life-saving professions like law enforcement or medicine. These new, sexy vamps move among humans (especial…

My Writing Journey

Thank you for stopping by my Blog! Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to . If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to

Recently on another blog, the blogger told about how difficult it was for her to write. She procrastinated with one thing or another before finally sitting down at her computer. Writing to her was painful.

For me it is just the opposite, not writing is painful. I've been that way all my life. Before I could actually write, I told a story by drawing pictures. I wrote stories, plays and full-length books all through high school. I took a break when I got married and started a family--a big family, five children in all. Then I began writing again, some stories, but mostly things like PTA newsletters and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to perform.

I didn't begin college until my youngest was in kindergarten. I began with one night class and then two, and more. …

About Mothers

When this blog comes out, I'll be busy at the Jane Austen Fair. And tomorrow, Mother's Day, I'm part of the Blog Jog Day, so decided I'd write about mother's today.

Last Saturday, at our church's Mother-Daughter banquet, my granddaughter put on a skit about all the different hats mother's wear. I didn't get a picture of all of them, but this will give you the general idea.

What a funny skit--and did all the mother's in the audience laugh.

Melissa carried the baby with her no matter what she was doing, getting the kids up out of bed and getting them ready for school, for this one she wore a drill sergeant's hat and sounded just like one, "You will get up out of bed, wash your face, brush your teeth...."

When she had the witch's hat on, she was yelling at the kids who were fighting and one line was, "Stop your crying, or I'll give you something to cry about!"

When she wore the stocking cap, she was sending the kids off to sc…

Jane Austen Fair

Once again I'm getting ready for a fair--this time the Jane Austen Fair. Not sure how appropriate it is going to be for a contemporary mystery author to have a booth at a Jane Austen event, but they want me because I'm a local author--and I definitely will be there.

Though I am going to take my two latest Rocky Bluff P.D. series books, mainly I'm taking the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

I'll be giving away Deadly Omen, the first in the series, to anyone who purchases one of my books.

The fair is being held in the St. Paul Newman Center in Fresno from 9 to 5. Anyone in the area, do come and say "hello." A familiar face always is most welcome.

My books are packed, don't have to take a table or tent--making things easier. We're leaving on Friday because there is a period of time that afternoon we can set up which will make it easier in the a.m.

Now, what should I take to wear? Some folks will be in period costume, but I'm afraid that won…

Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill


Monterey, California. When Logan McRae travels to a summer workshop, she takes part in a tour of the local ghosts, including folksinger Sean Baylor, who died in the late sixties. Logan tries to sit by her mentor on the bus, but an aggressive classmate shoves her out of the way, and she stumbles into the seat beside Jeremy Novack. He grabs her hand, and Logan feels an immediate connection. She’s sure Jeremy feels it too. She can see it in his soulful Taurus eyes. As strong as their mutual attraction seems to be, they are driven apart when they are both assigned the same topic: Find out what happened to Sean Baylor. She tackles the subject using astrology. Jeremy is determined to make her research difficult and will stop at nothing, including flirting with her, to try to get her to write about anything else. Then, at a hotel restaurant, they encounter what may indeed be Sean Baylor’s spirit. And Logan knows she must convince Jeremy that the only way they will solve the myst…

Great Granddaughter Kay'Lee and her Mom

When tickets were being sold for the Mother Daughter Luncheon, my great-granddaughter Kay'Lee told her Awana leader that she wanted to come to it with her mom. My grandson is her dad, but unfortunately he and her mother never married though they have remained friends and Kay'Lee is very much in her daddy's life.

I bought the tickets so Kay'Lee could attend with her mom. They sat across from me and it was great to have them there with us. The daughters were told to serve the mom's and Kay'Lee was the first out of her chair. Not only did she serve her mom, but she served many of the others with the help of an older teenage girl who is the leader of Children's Church.

Kay'Lee won the prize for being the youngest daughter. Prize winners could choose something from a table of prizes--she chose make-up. Just what a seven-year-old needs, right? No matter, she was thrilled.

Her mom told me she got really good grades on her report card though the teacher said she w…

Barry Ozeroff and The Dying of Mortimer Post

About Barry Ozeroff's Book:

The Dying of Mortimer Post: ISBN 978-1-60318-202-7

In the tradition of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, The Dyting of Mortimer Post is a first-person narrative chronicling the life of a young protagonist through the turbulence of a changing world after he undergoes a life-shattering event.

Mortimer Post is the quintessential product of late-'60's middle America. He is a college-bound physics major from a good family, engaged to his high-school sweetheart, and is at the forefront of his version of the American dream. Then, in twelve short minutes, he faces a loss so devastating it marks the end of his living and the beginning of his dying. But as the opening sentence suggests, some deaths take longer than others. Mortimer's takes a lifetime to complete; a lifetime best described not as a series of unfortunate events, but a series of unbearable tragedies.

Spanning four of America's most significant decades, The Dying of Mortimer Post t…

Mother Daughter Luncheon

Saturday, our little church held a mother-daughter luncheon that not only was well-attended, the food delicious, but the program was spectacular.

Daughters served mothers, and served anyone else who needed to be served. Our M.C. kept things moving. We had a wonderful speaker and two terrific skits. A mother daughter duo who sang, and our preacher's wife sang. She happens to be my daughter, so I was proud.

My daughter from Oxnard came for the weekend so she could attend. And sitting across the table from me was my nearly seven-year old great-granddaughter. Also there was my granddaughter, Melissa, who put on a skit about the many hats mothers wear--hilarious. Those photos I plan to put up on Mother's Day. Her daughter, and another of my great-granddaughters who is 13 also attended and was in a skit her whole family put on.

Afterward, the men of the church came in and did all the clean-up, including the dishes. Who could ask for anything more?


Doing What I Love to Do

This photo was taken while I was giving a talk on Point of View for the Ridgewriters in Ridgecrest.

I truly love to help writers mainly because so many helped me along the way.

Despite the fact that it takes more than three hours to get there, I love going to Ridgecrest and giving a presentation to the Ridgewriters. They are a most receptive and gracious group.

I also love talking about something that I know will help other writers.

This time they asked me to tell them where I got my ideas--how easy is that--and Point of View.


Jennifer Lopez and The Back Up Plan

Yesterday, with our daughter and hubby, we went to see The Back Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez. We all love movies, so it was a good way to spend the afternoon.

Despite what any of the movie critics may say, it is funny movie. We laughed a lot. No, there wasn't a huge message, except maybe to trust the one you love, but it was definitely entertaining. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's why I go to the movies--to be entertained.

Romantic comedies aren't the only kind of movies I like--being a mystery writer, I love a good mystery or thriller, I don't mind being scared (just as long as there's not too much blood and gore.) I saw Freddy Kreuger once, I don't plan on EVER seeing it again.

What I don't like is movies that have such a heavy handed message that it drags the story down.

No fear with The Back Up Plan--it was just good fun. Probably funnier for those of us who have given birth, though my husband and son-in-law laughed pretty hard.

After the …