Friday, May 28, 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.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

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 writing. From there on, I'm kind of writing by the seat of my pants.

Do you experience writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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 spirit hung around for awhile. First, during the wake, I stayed in his home babysitting his youngest child and the five-year-old daughter of a fellow deputy. The little girl came into the living room where I was sitting and said, "Marilyn, there's a great big man in L...s bedroom."

There was no way anyone could have gotten into the bedroom without me seeing him from where I sat--I knew it had to be my son-in-law.

When everyone came back to the house after the wake, my son-in-law's radio in the garage suddenly turned on very loudly to a country music station he always listened to. No one was in the garage. During next few days, all three of my daughter's children said their dad came into their room and kissed the. The same thing happened to my daughter.

That was the beginning of the idea for my book, Lingering Spirit. Though the story was created from real incidents, it grew into something far different from what really happened--or as I like to remind people, "I'm writing fiction."

So what about you? Do you have any ghostly experiences to tell?


P.S. Depending upon what time you're reading this, I'm traveling to or in the airport waiting for our flight to Omaha, flying to Omaha, arriving in Omaha, seeing people I haven't seen for a year. Eating a fabulous meal in one of the Old Marketplace's great restaurants.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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 digressing. Perhaps the same is true of male mystery authors, that many don't have any children at all--but I don't know, I'm not friends with many of them. I do have lots of female mystery authors though, and of the ones I know, only a handful have kids.

I'm not sure what this means, if anything at all.

Anyone want to post a theory?


Monday, May 24, 2010

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, “boring.” He was ten, what can I say.

I told him that every book couldn’t start with the word blood. Of course, he wanted to know why not. I proceeded to say, “Blood oozed from the corpse’s ear.” Now at this, my step-son, who was fifteen, became interested. He said he’d like to read that book.

With one word, growing into one sentence, I began plotting the book. Like I said, I’m a romance reader. Mystery might be incorporated into a romance book, but the two are very different genres with different elements needed to make them work. None of this really mattered to me as only my son would see the finished product anyway. I bounced ideas of my husband, who would then tell me yea or nay. A few rounds of critiques from my wonderful, romance critique partners and a few months later, I had a mystery story with an underlying superhero theme (my step-son loves superheroes) to give to my children for Christmas.

I did get wonderful reviews from my critique partners, so I thought maybe I could get it published. I looked for avenues, but the story was too long for magazines and too short for print. And many e-publishers didn’t produce mysteries. The ones who did want longer stories. Finally I found FIDO publishing. A new e-publisher, but their sister site, eXcessica, is plotting along just fine in the e-business world. So, I thought I’d take a chance.

I submitted the story and three days later, I had a contract.
While my mystery/YA writing has taken a backseat to my romance writing, I’ve recently finished my current romance WIP and now have moment to write another mystery/YA. So I’m plotting out the sequel to Pieces of the Star along with another idea I have for a YA book. I hope to have a backlist soon.

PIECES OF THE STAR Blurb: Ex-cop and brain tumor survivor, Vincent Maxwell has been recalled for a special assignment: Capture a killer. With no obvious common links or clues, Maxwell must work fast before another body turns up. What he discovers suggest more than his reputation is at stake. Wrapped up in an unbelievable world of superpowers, he’s dragged in deeper with a connection he never thought possible. Can he use the information to his advantage and stop the killer? Or will death strike before he finds answers?

Bio: Country girl born and raised, KJ Roberts has been writing for longer than she can remember. It’s a natural part of life to her.

Indiana native, her stories are usually set in the Hoosier state. After a ten year stint in the military, she moved to Mississippi with her husband and two kids. She loves reading, listening to her son play guitar and watching her daughter dance.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

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 in at all, so I rent them and watch at home. Precious was one of these. Usually I don't like movies with a lot of language in them, and Precious has plenty, but it was an extremely well-done movie and certainly had a message. The actors deserved all the accolades they received.

Hubby will got to a romantic movie as long as I don't make him go to too many in a row. At home, watching on DVD, he might fall asleep in the middle. His favorites are action and war movies. I don't mind watching them if they aren't too full of blood and guts.

Horror movies used to be my favorites, but the ones they make these days are far too graphically bloody for my taste.

When I was a kid we went to the movies every Friday night--two features, newsreel, cartoon, and sometimes Keeno (a game where movie goers cold win a set of dishes).

So, what are your favorite movies?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

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 year it's going to be in a another venue, also outside, where they often have concerts and weddings.

Hubby has agreed to go, but I doubt I'll get him to stay very long. But at least we'll make a showing.

Years ago, we loved to go to parties and give them too--but that part of our life has passed into history.

What is your social life like?


Friday, May 21, 2010

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’ve developed is in crime fiction. I’ve been asked to edit three books of crime fiction. The third one under contract is due this July.

The most recent books I’ve edited are “Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery” which is the first volume of fiction by Latino authors to be published and the book that has just been released by Akashic Books (Brooklyn) entitled “Indian Country Noir.”

As you probably know, Akashic Books has been credited with almost single-handedly resurrecting the short story marketin crime fiction in America.

Marilyn: I asked Sarah about the famous authors who wrote stores for "Indian Country Noir."

Sarah: In terms of your question about how I persuaded some of the famous names in these two anthologies to write an original story for the project….I simply asked them. Typically, if an editor has an exciting project and a quality publisher, then the authors are thrilled to be asked to contribute. In both these cases, I proposed a winning project that had never been done before, with excellent publishers who have sterling reputations.

Marilyn: Both books sound fascinating. Where can people find these books?

Sarah: If you’d like to purchase either of these books – and have them autographed – please go to my web site at You can use PayPal for purchasing the books, and I’ll autograph them before mailing them.

Marilyn: What’s next on the horizon?

Sarah: Well, along with editing books for independent publishers, I have a thriving business as a freelance editor working with individuals to fashion their writing into the most marketable and highest quality product possible. There’s a stack of manuscripts on my desk right now.

Marilyn: Thank you so much, Sarah.

Sarah Cortez: Thanks for the time, Marilyn!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

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 two other authors. But better yet, we love Omaha. The hotel is right across the street from the Old Marketplace which is full of quaint shops and wonderful restaurants. My husband loves the hotel because it serves a free full breakfast every a.m. and you have the chef make an omelet with everyone you want in it. I love the conference because we've made so many friends who come every year just as we do--and many of them are fans.

Going to Mayhem is a bit like going to a family reunion. So we'll suffer through getting up at 2:30 a.m. so we can get to the airport in Bakersfield an hour before the plane takes off at 6 a.m. Our itinerary keeps changing so don't know if we're flying to Denver then Omaha, or perhaps to San Francisco or LAX first. Doesn't matter, we'll find out.

Now I have to decide what clothes to take--you never know what the weather is going to be like there. I'll wait until Monday and then check the weather for Omaha online. We're roasted and we've frozen over the years.

July and August are pretty open. If I don't fill up my calendar, maybe I can get the book done I'm working on.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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 people wouldn't vote for him to win the million dollars even though he lied to everyone. The gal who won probably didn't play the smartest game, but she didn't lie to anyone and made no enemies.

The Amazing Race is another I like to follow--partly because I have a granddaughter who really wants to do this one with her hubby. It's also fun because my daughter watches too and we like to talk about via email afterward.

I watch the Celebrity Apprentice off and on if nothing more enticing is on. I'd hate to have to do any of the challenges they are given.

By evening time, my brain is ready for a rest and I suspect that's why I enjoy watching these shows that take little concentration. Sometimes I read during commercials, but reading in the daytime is more fun for me. The big problem is there's little time in the daytime because that's when I'm writing.

Often there are shows on at 10 I'd love to watch, but I can't stay awake.

What are your favorite TV shows and why?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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 grandsons.

He was the police officer who told me stories and piqued my interest in writing about law enforcement. He worked for one department for fifteen years, then became a deputy sheriff in a different part of the state. After six months there, he was killed in the line of duty. What a tragedy! My daughter lost her husband, the boy lost their father, all of us lost a wonderful family member.

Lingering Spirit grew from that tragedy. The characters in the book are very different from their real-life inspirations, but I took a lot of what happened and fashioned a different story. I suppose writing that story became somewhat of a healing experience for me.

No, my daughter has never read the book--not sure any of my relatives have, probably not because it was and is only available as an e-book.

That will soon change. My publisher at Oak Tree Press put that book on Kindle and has always raved about how much she loved the story. Recently she asked if she could put it out as a trade paperback. Of course I said "yes."

It had been years since I'd even read the story, but when she sent me the proof pages to go over, when I started reading, I began to cry.

Now, I'm worried that it is too close to the real happening despite all the changes I made.

Time will tell.

My publisher is hoping to have the book done in time for the June PSWA conference. Once I know when it can be purchased, I'll let everyone know. If you have a Kindle, you won't have to wait, it's available now.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Sweepstakes

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Sweepstakes

Win a Borders Kobo eReader - Entry instructions on the Books We Love
website: To enter the contest simply visit five of the author pages
displayed on the web page index and sign the guest book of the author you
choose to visit. Then fill out the entry form on the website and click

PRIZES: (1) Every week until July 31 we will draw one winner to receive
their choice of an ebook from any one of our Books We love authors. (2) On
May 31, June 30 and July 31st we will draw three winners who will each
receive an autographed copy of one of the print books displayed on the
page. (4) GRAND PRIZE: Borders KOBO EREADERS on July 31st one lucky winner
will receive a Kobo and their choice of any five Books We Love ebooks.

Enter Now:

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.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

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 best genes from all of her family members.

She's growing up quickly and probably won't have too much more time for her great-grandma. I'm just happy I can be as much a part of her life as I am.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

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 so I am able to see them often.

Daughter, Dana, is my eldest child and she still lives in Oxnard where we had our home for many years. She's the mother of my first grandchild, a son, and also a daughter. Dana retired recently from the Oxnard School District where she had many job titles. She and her husband do a lot of traveling in their motor home and fortunately one of the places them like to visit is here where we live.

And of course, the last person is me.

My youngest daughter is missing, she came up the weekend before.

I'm really proud of these girls as you can probably tell.


Friday, May 14, 2010

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 on typing paper around the house when I was not even in first grade. In high school I wrote poetry, and I was probably the only person in English class who actually enjoyed writing themes and research papers. I liked it so much I wrote them for football players, for a fee, of course. Sure glad all my old English teachers have passed on!! I’m really not a nerd, but I know it sounds like it from this description!!

Marilyn: Will you share some of your background?

Cindy: I grew up in East Texas, the daughter of two school teachers, who thought I could do anything. Although I am the baby in the family and only girl with two older brothers, I am extremely independent. I don’t give up easily, and am one of the most persistent people in the world. I went to Kilgore College and then to Baylor University where I received my BA in English and journalism.

I vowed to never teach, but found myself doing just that shortly after graduation, and remained in education for the next thirty years (when I determined people get out of the pen for murder in less time than that I decided to retire). While I worked as a high school teacher and then as an administrator, I attended the University of North Texas where I earned my Master’s and Ph.D. I served as an assistant superintendent and then as superintendent before teaching graduate school at the university level.

My experience as an educator has allowed me the opportunity to become a consultant for a worldwide school accreditation organization in my retirement. I am fortunate to travel all over the world to evaluate schools, which makes it possible to meet many wonderful people and share their cultures.

Marilyn: What kind of obstacles have you had to overcome while writing this book?

Cindy: Finding time to do everything I want to do. I experience a zillion interruptions to my writing time, because since I do consulting, educators from the schools I am evaluating are always calling with questions.

Although I love writing, I have many other interests such as traveling, gardening, drinking wine…and the list goes on. Writing blogs takes an inordinate amount of time, but I realize that they are important as is the website in general. I am fairly disciplined, however, and I never miss a deadline, so I guess you can say I do overcome my obstacles. Did I mention I like wine???

Marilyn: Did you have difficulties finding a publisher?

Cindy: Doesn’t everyone?? I think finding a publisher is one of the most frustrating endeavors I ever attempted. I wrote so many query letters that I could do it in my sleep. I don’t want to whine, but the whole process seems a little unfair, but then nobody said life was fair.

Marilyn: Has anything changed for you since the book was published?

Cindy: I would like to say “well now I am a celebrity,” but then my friends would read this and call my hand. Actually, the only real change is that I am busier than ever, trying to market the book and keep up with the blogs.

Marilyn: What do you find most challenging now?

Cindy: It’s hard to balance writing my third book and doing everything I need to do to market the first two.

Marilyn: What are your plans for the future?

Cindy: I plan to keep writing and continue traveling, and hopefully stay healthy without exercising or eating properly. I hate exercise, but I love being active. Working in my yard and lifting my wine glass are my kind of exercise programs.

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

Cindy: I have a great sense of humor, and find humor in most everything I do. I’m an extrovert who loves meeting new people and seeing new places. In the last eight years I have traveled to approximately 45 countries. Many of these places are incorporated in my books. I also tell my friends to be careful what they say or do—they might end up in one of my novels!!!

Marilyn: Tell my readers where your book can be purchased.
and (this link will be live in a couple of weeks)

Thank you so much, Cindy, what delightful answers.

We invite you to join us on the Promises Kept virtual tour and every comment you post on the tour posts – will get you an entry into a drawing for a copy of the first book in this series – Keeping Faith. Visit for the complete schedule. For more details about Cindy Bradford, visit and

Thursday, May 13, 2010

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 story in another blog...and I'll keep you up-to-date on the progression of it finally becoming a regular book.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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 Tahoe and San Diego, 1950; The Do-Re-Mi, rural Northern California, 1972 (a January Magazine best book of 2006 and finalist for the 2006 Shamus Award); The Vagabond Virgins, rural Baja California, 1979; The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 1926 (coming in May 2010).



When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ken: As far back as I can remember I imagined myself writing stories. We lived with my maternal grandma, an artist who would turn Les Miserables, or The Last Days of Pompei, or The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a childrens’ story and tell it to me and my cousins. Her stories were so real, in some ways they felt more real than my life.

Marilyn: What led you to write The Biggest Liar?

Ken: My dad grew up in Los Angeles. When he was young, Sister Aimee Semple McPherson made lots of headlines with her evangelism and healing services. I grew up hearing of her and when the series I write called for a book set in the 1920s, she came to mind. I like to explore religion and its effect on people. So I decided to link the story somehow to Sister Aimee. I started the research by reading about her, and that led me to other folks who shaped the era, such as William Randolph Hearst and Harry Chandler.

Marilyn: The research must've been exciting. Do you want to tell my blog readers something about that process?

Ken: When I learned the Ku Klux Klan had made a comeback in the early 1920s, sparked by the film Birth of A Nation, the image of a lynching came to mind. And reading about the Azusa Street Mission, a multiracial church that is called the birthplace of the modern Pentecostal movement, made me want to explore the racial attitudes of that time and place.

Tom Hickey needed to enter the story even though he was a bandleader at the time, not a cop. From that, the idea of a cover-up developed. And I had known long ago that Tom had attended the Azusa Street mission as a small boy, so I decided he knew the murder victim from the mission.

Since Hearst published The Examiner and Chandler published The Times, for a cover-up of a murder to happen in 1926 Los Angeles, those two would be involved, as would police chief Two Gun Davis.

I read a quote recently, about stories being not so much written as distilled. That’s how The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles happened, as if I was sorting out history to find the story that already existed.

Marilyn: What's been the most exciting thing so far about having finished your book?

Ken: Taking a break for a trip with Zoƫ, my seven-year-old.

Marilyn: What are your future plans?

Ken: The series calls for book set in most every decade in the 20th century. In my view, during those years, California transformed from a promised land into a prototype for much of the world. So I’m working on a book of the 1930s, about the Depression and the film industry and Tom Hickey learning what became of his father. And I’ve made notes for a book of the 1950s, set amongst the San Francisco North Beach jazz clubs and beat hangouts.

Marilyn: Where can we find your book?

The Biggest Liar
in Los Angeles came out simultaneously in hardback, trade paper, large print, and audio. It should be available at any library or online source. Any bookstore that doesn’t carry it can order it. My website links to some independent booksellers.

Marilyn: I'm really interested in this book as my mom and aunt went to Aimee Semple McPherson's church when they were teenagers. Thank you, Ken, for this great interview.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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 far. It was in 1968 when I sent a short story to a magazine now long defunct with an offer to purchase my first short story. That was followed by many others.

Then one of the editors sent a rejection that said, "This sounds like the synopsis for a novel." That's when I decided to learn how to write a novel. When finally completed, "Murder and Mint Tea" received many wonderful rejections from New York. Jane Toombs, friend and co-author on a book or maybe two suggested electronic publishing and on the first try "Murder and Mint Tea" was accepted.

Marilyn: Biggest disappointment?

Janet: Disappointments are few though I felt a pang when the Katherine Miller series was dropped but they were picked up soon after by another publisher. Probably my biggest disappointment is in not having twenty-four hours a day to write.

Marilyn: What you're most proud of--publication or otherwise.

Janet: There are two. First is Obsessions, a medical suspense that is a twist since this time it's the nurses and doctors who are being killed. The ending of that book gives me the chills and the villain is one of my favorite characters.

Murder and Mint Tea is another of my favorite children of the mind. I really identify with the heroine though she's a much better cook than I am. A

s for other prides, I'd say my five grandchildren, four bi-racial and one Chinese. They're bright and each is quite an individual. I'm also proud of my son-in-law who did the covers for Murder and Mint Tea and also for Obsessions.

Marilyn: Where can my readers find your books?

Janet: Books are available from Mundania Press LLC -- Publishers of Extraordinary Books Welcome to DiskUs Publishing Zumaya Publications Hard Shell Word Factory - Electronic & Trade paperback Books New concepts publishing Fictionwise, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Marilyn: What else would you like my readers to know?

Janet: My blog which focuses on several aspects of writing is Eclectic writer.

Marilyn: What writing advice do you like to give to new writers?

Janet: The advice I usually give is "Finish the book." Once the book is finished there is time to go back and retune the story and make it perfect. Continuing to go over the first few chapters can cause a block, but I am a draft writer.

Marilyn: Thank you so much, Janet, now I know you even better than I did before.

Monday, May 10, 2010


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 (especially the heroine) almost the way the Greek gods were once thought to interact with their toga-clad subjects. Both alternately protect and seduce, throwing in a few punishments for the vain and wicked along the way.

As an ardent vampire fan and an avid reader and writer of vampire fiction, I couldn’t be happier with the current explosion of principled vamps. One thing does worry me, though. Now that the rehabilitation of the vampire from fearsome monster to ideal mate is complete, where do we go with the genre? I suspect that romance readers are already starting to get a little bored with detectives who use supersensory powers to solve crimes and avenging angels with archaic vocabularies. This might be why werewolf tales are starting to take up the shelf space formerly occupied by our favorite immortals.

One possibility might be a return to a traditional Gothic format, with tormented guys pacing the towers of possibly haunted manor houses. Another might be an even more extreme version of urban fantasy or steampunk, with futuristic settings and high-tech methods for the hero to slake his need for blood. There have been some rumblings about a line or two of Christian-centered vampire romances.

I doubt the vampire hero will ever devolve—Count Orlock, with his oversized bald pate and frighteningly long nails and teeth, just wouldn’t fit the bill in a romance novel. On the other hand, teen vamp dreamboats with pouty red lips and a passing resemblance to Elvis in the 1950s have already become the objects of parody (and cell phone commercials). The publishing industry will soon try to convince us that vampires are last year’s hot ticket, pushed out by shapeshifters and even zombies, but the truth is that they’ll be back on top—as soon as writers can find a new angle to sink our fanged friends’ lovely teeth into. That’s what immortality is all about.

Cassandra Pierce’s vampire e-romance, HEIRS TO DARKISLE, is currently available from Siren-Bookstrand:

Readers can also visit her website at and check her out on Facebook!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

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. Most of the classes required writing of some sort, and oh how I loved it. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Education and taught in pre-schools and day cares.

My sister wrote our family genealogy; the facts were all there but not the whys or the details; many questions left unanswered. I began writing a historical family saga, fiction but based on what was in the genealogy and what I could find out by researching the places and times where the family lived and traveled. When it was done, I started sending it out to publishers. It was rejected nearly thirty times. I kept rewriting until finally one day I received an acceptance letter and my first book was published.

I wrote many more books and was rejected many more times--but I kept on writing.
After I'd finished writing about both sides of my family, I began writing mysteries, the first, The Astral Gift, about a young woman who astral projects but has no control over it and sees a murder and ends up being the major suspect. From there I began the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. In between I wrote three Christian horror and another book based on something that happened during my younger years, Wishing Makes It So.. I also write a supernatural romance, Lingering Spirit, based on a bit of truth and a lot of imagination.

Then Deputy Tempe Crabtree came into being and I've written several mysteries about her and her Native American heritage. The latest is Dispel the Mist.

These days, I write one Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel every year. I'm fortunate to have two great publishers who like what I write enough to publish it. My latest Rocky Bluff P.D. series, An Axe to Grind has gathered great reviews.

Everyday that I can, I sit eagerly down at my computer to find out what these characters who live inside my head have in store for me. Of course it isn't quite that easy, I have to do some research to get a plot growing around the characters I've created, but once I've got a few notes, know who the new people are going to be in the book--usually the murder victim and all the people who wanted the person dead--but, sometimes there might be an unusual turn of events with no murder victim at all--or nothing until nearly the end of the book.

Though it took a long time for me to get published--and stay published--the journey has been quite an adventure.

I hope you'll try one of my books and meet Deputy Tempe Crabtree and learn about the Indians and all the people who live in Bear Creek in the Southern Sierra--or maybe you'd prefer the men and women who serve on the Rocky Bluff P.D. in the small coastal town in Southern California and their families and friends.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

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 school.

And the one with the sleeping cap, she said to her husband, "You want to do what?"

All of us moms could certainly relate.

Looking back over the years, I remember my mom, who had far more patience than I did and she devoted herself to making a good home from my dad and my sister and I. One funny thing about her, for a short while she had a housekeeper, and she'd knock herself out the day before the housekeeper came, cleaning the house.

I had five kids and I'm afraid I resembled the drill sergeant and the witch the most.

Anyway, on this day before Mother's Day, I want to thank all the mothers who've worn all sorts of different hats every single day.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you.


Friday, May 7, 2010

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't work with my books.

Hope to see you there.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

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 mystery of the singer’s death is to work together.

TAURUS EYES is the second of the Star Crossed Series from Running Press/Perseus Books. ARIES RISING was published in March and GEMINI NIGHT will publish later this year. Bonnie Hearn Hill is a former newspaper editor. She is the author of INTERN and five other adult thrillers for MIRA Books, and her novels and nonfiction have been published in many languages all over the world. A national conference speaker, she has mentored numerous authors.


Marilyn: Bonnie and go back a long, long way. In fact, when she was still with the Fresno Bee she wrote a glowing review for my second published novel. We've run into each here and there since then, and I've been a fan of her books ever since she got published. This series is new to me however so I had a few question I wanted to ask.

What made you decided to start writing YA novels? It seems to be a big change from what you were writing previously.

Bonnie: Not a big change at all. I write character-driven fiction, and I'm not married to a genre. In fact, I didn't know my first book for MIRA was a thriller until we marketed it that way. I thought it was women's fiction that just happened to have a murder or two in it.

When I got the idea for an astrology series, I knew it had to be YA, because as far as I knew, it hadn't been done before. I have to tell you, Marilyn, as difficult as it is, I love this genre and I hope to write more YA books.

Marilyn: What is the biggest difference for you with this change?

Bonnie: The length, for sure. I write my novels in three acts, though, and once I got used to where Act I needed to end, I was fine. Another difference is writing first person point of view and having only one POV character in the book. It forced me to write tighter and to find more subtle ways of showing the other characters' conflicts.

Marilyn: What is the most exciting thing that has happened during your career?

Bonnie: What a great question. After 23 years of struggling to have a career as a novelist, I was pretty giddy when MIRA offered me a three-book contract in 2002. I was even more giddy when they changed it to six books.

Another high was having my Star Crossed series (then named something really stupid) getting picked up by Running Press/Perseus. The ultimate high was probably in 2001 when after some disheartening experiences with literary agents, I was referred to my current agent by a good friend and former publisher. The first time we spoke on the phone, she asked all the right questions. Then she said, "I'm ready to commit if you are." At that moment, I knew this relationship was going to change my life, and it has.

Marilyn: Do you have one word of advice for aspiring authors?

Bonnie: Two words. Don't settle.

Push your craft, push yourself, push your career. Don't every get comfortable with your situation. Always look for the next opportunity to grow. Don't write what's safe. Write what challenges you. Even if you fall, you will fall forward.

Marilyn: Thank you, Bonnie, what a great interview. For you authors out there, she's given lots of advice in her answers to my questions.

She's offered to give away a copy of her book, Taurus Eyes, to one of my blog readers, so this is what we're going to do:

Leave a comment with your email address included and on Monday, June 10th, I'll have a drawing from all the people who left a comment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

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 was kind of bossy. Poor girl, she comes by that naturally. I've always been bossy, and got the same report way back when I was Kay'Lee's age.

Still glowing from the wonderful time we all had at the Mother Daughter Luncheon. Certainly hope it becomes an annual affair.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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 takes the reader from the protagonist's coming of age in the Pocono Mountains to the massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. After the searing end of his military career, the reader accompanies Mortimer on a nationwide quest for understanding and healing. On this journey of discovery, he finds both happiness and sorrow in the backwoods of rural Mississippi, then a much darker side of himself on the unforgiving streets of south central Los Angeles. Only when he has lost everything and is finally ready for the release of death, does Mortimer discover that he already has the one thing he's spent a lifetime seeking, and with it, the chance to finally live again.

At once exciting, poignant, and disturbing, The Dying of Mortimer Post reveals the innermost of the title character in an almost Gump-like manner as he struggles to make sense of a senseless world. A true epic, it is part love story, part war chronicle, part police saga, and all tragedy, but more than anything, is a tale of redemption in a world where the very concept has ceased to exist.

About Barry Ozeroff:

Marilyn: Tell me a about your background.

Barry: I was born and raised in Warren, Ohio. I graduated in 1977 from Warren G. Harding High in 1977 and went to college for two years at Youngstown State University. I left college to get married in 1979, and began having kids a year later. By 1985, I had three daughters. All I wanted to do was to become a police officer, but I was unable to get a police job in Ohio, and moved to California at the beginning of 1986. At that time I was working as a store security manager for Fedco, a large Southern California membership department store. I immediately began turning in police applications, and nine months later, in November 1986, I was picked up by the La Mesa, CA police department.

Four years later, I found myself loving my job, but disillusioned with Southern California. By then, I had been divorced and re-married, and my new wife and I had a son, my fourth child. It took me two years, but I finally found a lateral police officer job in Gresham, Oregon. Having once moved to a place I had never been before and, having loved the experience, I took the offer and moved my family to the Pacific Northwest.

My fifth child, another boy, and my second divorce followed within three years of moving. I was remarried in 1999, and added a stepson to my list of children, giving me a houseful of 6 kids; 3 boys and 3 girls. By 1994, I had joined the tactical unit of the Gresham Special Emergency Response Team, or SERT. After a year as a SWAT inner perimeter operator, I became the team’s primary sniper, a position I held for the next four years. I left the team in 1999, but didn’t stay away too long. I re-joined SERT as a hostage negotiator in 2001, and quickly moved on to become the team’s primary negotiator, a position I still hold.

At the end of 2004, I joined the Traffic Division as a motorcycle officer, a dream I’d had since becoming a police officer. In 2005, I was the recipient of the Gresham Police Department’s Medal of Honor for disarming and arresting a man who had just murdered a relative with a butcher knife and was in the process of killing himself with the same knife. I was also recognized by the Oregon Peace Officer’s Association with a Lifesaving Award stemming from the same incident. That same year, I became a grandfather for the first time. I now have three grandchildren.

As part of my traffic motor duties, I am part of a crash reconstruction team that investigates all fatal crashes and serious injury crashes that involve a crime, such as drunk driving, hit and run, vehicular assault, etc. We are part of the major crimes team, and are activated for all murder investigations to accurately document the crime scene.

In the past, I have been a School Resource Officer a Field Training Officer, and a Public Information Officer. Of all the assignments the department offers, I like being a motor officer the best, and intend to stay in this position until I retire in 4 years. I also very much enjoy being on the Hostage Negotiations Team, and plan on remaining in that position as well.

As of this writing, my children range from 30 to 16 (I have had a child under the age of 18 under my roof every single day for the past 30 years), and I have 2 granddaughters and one grandson. Somehow, I expect that number will increase.

Marilyn: When did you first know you wanted to write fiction?

Barry: I found that I had a creative mind for fiction while in 9th grade English class, although it never occurred to me to write a book or a story until about 1996.

My first attempt was a science fiction/fantasy about a person who accidentally discovers a way to go back in time, taking with him all the knowledge he has attained up to his 40th year. It was, as is most first efforts, more of a learning experience than a viable novel.

The day before I met my wife, in February 1998, I decided to begin a serious effort at a SWAT thriller I’d been planning, and set my first words on paper. When that book started coming together, I knew I’d eventually be a serious writer. That book, originally entitled Shot of Opportunity, eventually became my first novel, Sniper Shot. There followed about 5 completed book-length works of fiction, some of which may yet get published, one of which is the completed sequel to Sniper Shot, entitled Return Fire.

Return Fire
is under contract with iBooks, Inc (the same publisher as Sniper Shot), but the publisher won’t give me a release date. It will eventually be published.

As for my short stories, the only one I’ve had published to date is "Bum Deal", about a police officer who succumbs to the stress of the job and personal problems and experiences a mental breakdown. It was published in the February 2009 edition of a magazine called The Midnight Diner.

I love writing short stories, but I don’t think I really understand the genre, at least in view of the award-winning short stories I’ve been able to slog my way through. To me, a short story is like a little novel. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with a clear plot, character development, and unexpected plot twists. The ones I’ve read, specifically ones that win awards, I never seem to understand. They seem like some bastardized form of story/poetry that is unclear and to me, meaningless. If I don’t like it, let alone don’t understand it, I can’t write it. I love writing my style of short stories, and folks love reading them. Just not the short-story critic type folks!

Marilyn: What was the inspiration for this book?

Barry: I was at a meeting for my daughter’s high school speech and debate class back in 1999, and a female student seated next to me smiled at me when I sat down. I didn’t know her, but her eyes reminded me of my old girlfriend’s eyes when I was in high school. The similarity was so stark I did a double take.

By this time, I had already written my first book and had the writing bug. I was trying my first attempts at short stories, and this experience made my creative mind think about a person who lost his love as a youth and then gave up on life, only to find her in the end, after he spent years at messing up his life. I wrote a short story about it, which I thought came out very well, but was rejected everywhere I submitted it. Years later, decided it would make a viable book.

I have a love of aviation (specifically helicopters) and included them in a couple of books, so the research would be fun. I set the story in the late 60s and began digging in. The book, as all mine do when I am enthusiastic about the story, pretty much wrote itself. Getting all the little details correct about military life during Vietnam was difficult but very rewarding and enjoyable.

Lots of what I write has a large police component, so that part was pretty easy and enjoyable as well. I wanted to write a departure from my forte, which is straight thriller, so I made this story a fictional biography of a difficult, almost depressing story with all the elements of a thriller. I knew from the beginning it would be a tale of ultimate redemption, but I wanted it to be one that tests the limits of the human spirit to the very limits, and I think I achieved that.

Some of my die-hard thriller fans might not agree, but I think The Dying of Mortimer Post is my best work so far. It is more introspective than Sniper Shot, and is written in a different voice. I really like the way it came out.

Marilyn: How difficult was it for you to find a publisher?

Barry: Being unagented, I anticipated a problem finding a publisher, especially one I could work with. But I don’t think I put out more than four or five queries before I got the attention of L&L Dreamspell, a small publisher out of Houston, Texas. They were quite enthusiastic about the book, and told me they only accept maybe one book a year, if that, which is written in the first person, but they immediately offered me a contract, based on the elimination of a few chapters of some really overly sweet feel-good setup at the beginning.

I instantly agreed with them (mostly because my mother had said the same thing—get rid of the sugary sweet crap and get into the hardcore reality, and well, she’s my mom!). I checked the publisher out and found nothing but good reports about them from current and former authors, so I accepted.

Unlike my former publisher, I have had regular contact with them. I was kind of stunned the first time I sent them an email and got a reply back the same day, but that has been the case throughout our relationship. They’ve been fantastic about everything from editorial process right up through seeing the book into print.

Marilyn: What are your plans for promotion?

Barry: I am a member of the International Thriller Writer’s, and I purchased an ad in the May edition of their monthly magazine The Big Thrill. I am also a member of the Military Writers Society of America.

I have a pretty intensive promotion campaign to the two specific groups in the target audience—Vietnam veterans and police officers. I managed to score a review in the Vietnam Veterans Association newsletter and the Americal Division Veteran’s Association newsletter (that’s the division in which my protagonist served), which together should reach about 8-10,000 Vietnam veterans.

I am embarking on a 31-day, 12-state book tour in May and June with my brother Mark Ozeroff, whose debut novel, Days of Smoke, a WWII aviation thriller, was just released in February. We are doing numerous TV appearances and signings across the country, and of course, I’ll be doing a lot of local signings when I get back as well.

I’ve also got a fairly comprehensive Internet campaign planned through Facebook groups and other such sites. It’s all about getting the word out there, and I’m doing everything I can think of. Of course, I’m always open to suggestions, too.

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

Barry: Nothing specific, but glad to answer any questions.

What other authors are saying about The Dying of Mortimer Post

"Barry Ozeroff has written a moving novel about a man's struggle to conquer the horrors of war. The opening chapter is gripping and Ozeroff's portrait of war and police work is fascinating, but the compassion at the heart of the novel is what makes it work."
--Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestelling author of Supreme Justice

“Barry W. Ozeroff’s The Dying of Mortimer Post combines the life-changing introspection of Mitch Albom’s The Five People you Meet in Heaven with the thrill ride of an Indiana Jones saga. A heart-opener and a page-turner and all in one!”
--W. Craig Reed, bestselling author of Red November, Inside the Secret U.S. – Soviet Submarine War

“Forget James Patterson, Lee Child, or Jeffery Deaver. Ozeroff is THE fresh
new voice. The Dying of Mortimer Post is a must read. “
--Thomas Fitzsimmons, Vietnam-era veteran, NYPD officer, and author of City of Fire

In The Dying of Mortimer Post, author Barry Ozeroff has written an emotionally-wrenching page-turner that scores top marks for its ability to sustain a high level of drama from start to finish. The Vietnam War sequences alone are the equal of anything written by W.E.B. Griffen. “
--Dwight Jon Zimmerman, author of The Vietnam War: A Graphic History

“Novelist Barry Ozeroff is truly brilliant in his tale of great loss and even greater love. The Dying of Mortimer Post is both a spiritual and emotional journey for the reader. It is totally original—there are not very many other novels written in the last 5 years that could keep pace with his. I fully recommend this book.”
--W. H. McDonald Jr., founder of The Military Writer’s Society of America, author, award-winning poet, documentary film maker, and Vietnam veteran

"This book is an emotional roller coaster that bares the feelings many veterans carried every day. It is exciting and drama-filled, holding the reader's attention."
--Samuel Beamon, Author of Flying Death: The Vietnam Experience

“This book has the feel of an epic.”
--Chuck Hustmyre, retired ATF agent and author of Killer with a Badge, An Act of Kindness (true crime), and crime novel A Killer Like Me

“This book captures the angst of a generation.”
--Michael A. Black--- Author of Hostile Takeovers and Random Victim.

The Dying of Mortimer Post is mesmerizing. The compelling story grabs the reader on the first page and doesn't let go until the last, and reaches into the self-reflecting core of one's soul. Barry W. Ozeroff knows how to get a reader's attention--and keep it.”
--Gary C. King, author of The Murder of Meredith Kercher and Rage

“Ozeroff has that indefinable storyteller’s knack of keeping the reader flipping the pages. I’ll be on the lookout for anything he writes in the future.”
--James Reasoner, author of over 200 novels

"Barry Ozeroff's The Dying of Mortimer Post is a compelling saga spanning four turbulent decades that is sure to win the author new fans while satisfying current ones."
-- R. Barri Flowers, Author of State’s Evidence and The Sex Slave Murders

“This fast paced and well-written book reminds the reader that sometimes our worst enemy is only a reflection away.”
--Tony Lazzarini, past president of the Military Writer's Society of America, and author of Highest Traditions: Memories of War

Definitely sounds like a book worth looking into, doesn't it?

Thanks for stopping by, Barry, and telling us about your book and yourself.

The Dying of Mortimer Post and Sniper Shot are both available now on and other major booksellers. Barry always appreciates reader feedback and tries to answer reader email as soon as he can. Go to for details."


Monday, May 3, 2010

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?


Sunday, May 2, 2010

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.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

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 movie, we went to a Chinese buffet.

Then we came home and gabbed for a bit, then watched the Sherlock Holmes movie. It was okay, but could've been tightened.

Today we're headed to the Mother Daughter Luncheon at church. I'll report on that tomorrow.