Showing posts from December, 2010

New Year's Eves Past and Non-Resolutions

We've gotten to the stage in our lives that we don't do anything spectacular to celebrate New Year's Eve. In fact, I'm usually in bed and asleep long before the clock strikes twelve.

When hubby was still in the Seabees he was gone a lot of New Year's Eves. The big treat for the kids was root beer floats and watching scary movies. Sometimes I took care of all the neighbors' kids too and it was like a giant slumber party.

When he was home, we had New Year's Eve parties at our house. In fact, we used to have parties at our house all the time. When we lived in Oxnard we had a great party room with plenty of space for dancing.

One year we went to a formal party in the Bard Mansion on the U.S. Seabee Base in Port Hueneme. I don't remember a lot about it except for some of the people we went with and that the dinner was wonderful. The Bard Mansion is supposed to be haunted, but I didn't see any ghosts that night.

After we moved to Springville and had our l…

Grandaughter Begins a New Christmas Tradition

Granddaughter Genie planned a trip for Christmas for her family and kept it a secret until a few days before Christmas. She told her hubby (yes, she kept it a secret from him too) and two kids, Peyton and Garrett, that they were celebrating Christmas early and kids got to open some presents. One of the gifts told them where they were going to spend Christmas--Oahu, Hawaii!

In fact, they were leaving the very next day! I don't know everything they did yet, only bits and pieces as she's posted on Facebook.

I know they stayed at a resort that catered to the kids. It rained a lot but didn't stop them from doing all that they planned, including a maze through a pineapple plantation. They snorkled and played in the surf.

One day, the four of them climbed to the top of Diamond Head to see the view. (top pic.)

Peyton decorated a hat which she's wearing in picture #2.

The final picture is of 15 foot waves at the North Shore.

I'm anxious to hear more about their adventure.


Mundania's Big Sale

From 12/25/2010 through 01/02/2011, readers can take 20% off all Mundania Press, LLC ebook and print titles purchased directly from the Mundania Press website. At checkout, use discount code: SANTA. All my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries are available at Mundania. The latest is Invisible Path and the one right before that Dispel the Mist.
And all you new Kindle owners and other e-readers, most of my books are available in all different formats—including the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, under the name F. M. Meredith. And others of my books under the name everyone knows me by, Marilyn Meredith. Look for No Sanctuary and An Axe to Grind, plus there's Lingering Spirit too, and others that might interest you.
Happy New Year!

The Dead of Winter by my guest, Kate George

The Dead of Winter
Here I am in the dead of winter thinking about the dead of winter. Writers’ brains do that kind of thing, probably other people’s brains too, but I can only speak for myself. Words are a writer’s life. Playing with words comes naturally and what starts as a simple title can morph into something more, given the slightest bit of encouragement.
I was going to talk about winter here in Vermont. How the snow is barely covering the ground at the lower levels of central Vermont so that stalks of wildflowers and harvested crops are still sticking up making the landscape look barren and more than a little creepy in places. Gloomy. Like a setting for a horror flick.
I hear that there is more snow north of here. So they probably have the pristine white and sparkly landscape, the kind that we enjoy at the beginning of winter, when the snow is new and beautiful.  It’s what we expect this time of year. Snow, and snowmen, snow balls, snow tunnels, snow forts. Even snow sculpture on o…

Some Photos from Christmas Eve

Great-granddaughter Kay'Lee in her Christmas finery. She served as Santa's helper and handed out the gifts.

Son Matt and his wife Elaina. No smiles, that's what I get for shooting photos when no one knows I'm going to do it. Note bottle of Ranch Dressing, son puts it on everything, no matter what.

Granddaughter Jessica, who has already eaten, Grandson Nick's girlfriend Crystal, they got there a bit late.

We did have a great time, others there were my hubby, of course, Nick, my other grandson, Nathan, and grandson, Chris, who lives with us.

Christmas Eve is when we always open our presents. We never have the same menu. Over the years we've had a full blown Christmas dinner--too much clean-up afterwards and people are too anxious to open gifts; pizza; Chinese food. This time is was a Honey-baked ham, buttered red potatoes, sour cream and chives, cheesed brocolli, and green bean casserole. We also had a very interesting cake made with Pillsbury biscuits, brown sug…

The Day After Christmas

We survived. We fed tons of people at church but this year it turned out to be mostly our church family. We expected so many more--so guess what? Today after church we'll be eating leftovers at the church.

Yesterday, I was up at 3:30 putting the turkey in the oven. And yes, I went back to bed. When I got up, I started in on everything else. I made big batches of dressing, green bean casserole, and candied yams. Because hubby had an eye doc's appointment, son and daughter-in-law helped me haul everyhting to the church. I'd sliced the turkey and put it in a big roaster. Other folks brought turkeys too, so we had plenty to eat.

What we didn't have was many off the streets despite hanging posters all over. When I finally gave up and came home, I know that we'd put together about 10 to-go dinners that were delivered to our folks living at the low-income place in town. (Seniors and disabled folks.)

I understand that today, after church, we're going to eat leftovers. …

Merry Christmas One and All!

Today I'll be up really early to get a 20 lb. turkey in the oven. I'm also making a large trays of dressing, candied yams, and green bean casserole to take to the church. Everything has to be over there by 11 a.m. So you can see I'll be hustling.

Our church has invited anyone in the community who has no place to go for Christmas dinner to come to our church between at 12 and until we run out of food. We did this last year too and it was great fun.

So that's what I'll be up to and I don't think I'll be messing around with blogs, Facebook or anything else.

I hope all or you have a wonderful day and have family and friends to enjoy it with.


Happy Christmas Eve

Our plans for tonight are a wonderful ham dinner with new potatoes, brocolli and cheese. We'll have Christmas cookies and a homemade Christmas cake (new recipe.) This is when we get our Christmas gifts.

Leading up to tonight has been a bit more difficult than usual since hubby had eye surgery (cataract) and we've spent hours waiting in the doc's office several times and of course in the surgery center too. And believe it or not, he has to go back to the doc's on Christmas morning! My son-in-law is going to take him down and back because I'll be busy cooking food for the free Christmas dinner we're having for whoever has no place else to go on Christmas Day.

Back to Christmas Eve--we're expecting son, his wife, granddaughter and her fiance, and three grandson's. Should be fun.

Merry Christmas everyone!


The Tourist, Movie Review

I loved this movie on many levels.

First, it was very much like the old Alfred Hitchock movies in that you never were quite sure what was happening--and it had a great surprise ending.

Johnny Depp was his usual wonderful self. He's one of the best actors around. He really gets into his characters, he's not just Johnny Depp, he's someone new in each movie.

Angelina Jolie is not one of my favorite actresses, but she did a good job in this one. Her wardrobe added to the '40s effect--but no matter what she wears, she's still gorgeious.

The movie reminded me a lot of a '40s movie with better acting and special effects.

There was NO bad language, none. It shows that a movie can be plenty exciting, this one was definitely a thriller with lots of action without all the language.

The scenery was gorgeous, it's all set in Venice. Absolutely no car chases, instead there were plenty of boat chases.

The Tourist is not getting the praise it deserves. I recommend it high…

Life Getting in the Way of the Holidays

I know this isn't the least bit Christmassey, but I wanted to show a picture of me and my hubby and I like this one.

We've spent two days now waiting in the eye doc's office and finally today, I waited alone while hubby had his cataract removed. This has all been hard on hubby because he love to drive and I've had to do the driving at night because he can't see good at night, and then going to the surgery and coming home. The fact that it's been raining non-stop and the roads are a mess, didn't help. But though I drive myself many places in the dark and the rain, he's always the driver when it's both of us--but for awhile he'll have to depend upon me.

What he seemed to be most interested in after the surgery was going someplace to eat. So after we picked up a medication he needs, we headed to a little cafe that has great breakfasts. Both of us were hungry because I didn't eat either. It doesn't seem fair to eat when the other half can…

Completed Another Christmas Tradition

One thing I've learned through the years is that traditions are never really quite the same.

Yesterday started out with everyone in our writer's group agreeing to meet at a restaurant in Porterville (17 miles from Springville where we live) for our annual dinner get-together. Before the day was over we learned that our leader had a health problem she was dealing with and wouldn't make it for the dinner but invited us all over for tea and cookies afterwards.

Via e-mail we agreed we should still meet at the restaurant. It had still been raining and there was lots of flooding everywhere so our son decided we should not drive ourselves. Hubby can no longer drive at night and I really wasn't looking forward to driving through flooded streets, so we agreed to let him take us.
It was pretty bad in places. Two roads that lead to bridges going over the river were closed (not ones we had to take) and there was a lot of standing water on our way to our destination.

He dropped us…

The River is Rising

It just keep raining and raining. This is how the river looked yesterday afternoon.

Usually the Tule River is not much of a river as compared to rivers in other places. It comes down from the mountains, fed by snow runoff mostly, and it runs behind our house. We're up above it, but there are many, many homes that are built on low ground.

So far I've heard that the two bridges crossing the Tule going to Globe Drive have been closed off to traffic.

The hill leading up to the Eagle Feather gas station is slowly dropping down onto 190.

We haven't driven anywhere except to take these pictures, so I don't really know anything about flooding condtions first hand. I did hear that 198 in Visalia was closed in place due to big-time flooding.

We've been through other flooding times here in Springville, some have been disastrous for people in the low-lying areas.

I've even written about flooding in my books including one called Guilt by Association where the deputy I was w…

Do Doctor's Think We Have Nothing to Do But Wait?

This is another rant. Hubby had an appointment with his eye specialist to view a movie at 4:30 p.m. about his upcoming cataract surgery. Right after we ate breakfast, his regular doctor's office called to say the eye doc wanted hubby to come in for a pre-op exam and she suggested a time around the first appointment. When I told what we had to do, she made it for 1.20 p.m. Then we had a call for the eye doc asking us to come in earlier than the appointment. We didn't eat lunch just hurried to town figuring we'd do one then the other and go eat.

We really didn't have to wait long for the pre-op exam, altogether we were about 45 minutes. We picked up a prescription and headed to the eye doc's, only a block away. Hubby was taken right in to see the movie. While I waited in the lobby with my Kindle, many more people came in and came out. I began to think perhaps hubby had fallen asleep and no one realized. Finally he came out and I thought, "Hooray, we can go eat.&…

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

I couldn't write that it looked a lot like Christmas unless you think fog is the kind of weather you should have on Christmas. There's plenty of snow on the mountains surrounding our valley but with a cloud or fog touching the ground, that snow isn't visible. Of course many people have decorated the outsides of their houses which can usually be seen through the fog.

I've decorated inside as much as I plan to do. We no longer put up a big tree because our cats thought it was a play toy for them to climb up and down and knock off all the ornaments. Instead, we have three smaller ones here and there and three manger scenes on the mantel. A collection of stuffed moose, a snowman on skis and
several Teddy bears are scattered around the hearth.

Christmas Eve a few relatives will be over to eat and unwrap gifts.

I'll be up early Christmas morning to put a 20 lb. turkey in the oven, make a large batch of dressing, candied yams, and green bean casserole. At noon we'll …

Things I Can Do Now I Couldn't Do When I Was Younger

After complaining about getting old in yesterday's blog, I figured today I'd talk about what I've learned over the years.

In my twenties and thirties I was introverted. Most people who know me now find that hard to believe.

Oh, I could always figure out ways to do things I wanted to do, but when I was elected PTA president for my kids' grammar school the first time, I truly wondered how on earth I could get up in front of all those people and run the meeting. (Back in those days lots of people attended PTA meetings.) I struggled through that presidency and another, then was elected to the PTA for the Junior High, I was even more afraid because a lot more people attended those meetings. The wonderful woman I took over from told me, "No one wants to be up there doing what you will be doing. Remember that." I did and it worked.

Since that time I've spoken in front of all sorts of groups without fear. What I learned was that as long as I really knew what I wa…

You Know When You're Getting Old When---

Oh, boy, I did it again. I sent an email out to the wrong place. You have no idea how upset it made me when I realized what I'd done. Even worse, I didn't realize it until it also came to me. Of course a young person might do the same thing, but probably not with something as important as this was. It made me come to a decision, I'm doing far too many things for a woman of my age and I plan to do something about it.

Of course I've had plenty of other big hints about getting older--all I have to do is look in the mirror and see all the wrinkles. I dye my hair but know I'm not fooling anyone, but it does make me feel better.

How about going into a room and not remembering why you came there? The only way to get the memory back is to leave the room, then it's "Oh, yeah, I was going after..." And it's possible, you might forget the second time around.

I have tricks I use to make sure I've taken the pills I need to take otherwise I truly wouldn'…

The Edge of Whiteness by Joe Montaperto

THE EDGE OF WHITENESS, although sort of a quirky coming of age story, is also a humorous and edgy social commentary on one community’s reaction to the inexorable march of change which defined a unique time period - the funky early 1970’s.
1969 Brooklyn smolders in the volatile aftermath of the recent race riots. The family of young Joey Montaperto flees their beloved Italian neighborhood for a New Jersey suburb so painfully white that it makes the TV show “My Three Sons” seem exotic. Ironically, when the high school there is then later forcefully integrated, the sensitive Joey in confronted with an even more brutal racial conflict. Unexpectedly rescued from a hallway ambush by a murderous yet artistic loner, though, he is subsequently introduced to a fascinating new world of black culture. Finding his soul and “soul” in the writings of Malcolm X, a doomed first love with a sizzling but heroin plagued Puerto Rican hairdresser, and ultimately, a spiritual journey into the study of Islam …

Time to Start a New Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery

I just received a contract for the Tempe mystery that will appear in the fall of 2011, and I'm working on the edits for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. novel which I don't have a title for yet. Now it's time to start gathering ideas and doing a bit of brainstorming about the plot for the next Deputy Crabtree tale.

One thing I know is that I'd like Nick Two John to play a bigger part in this tale. Another thing I know is that there won't be a murder on the reservation this time around. My murder victim will be someone who lives in Bear Creek and perhaps more than one. I do have to be careful though, I don't want Bear Creek to become another Cabot Cove of Jessica Fletcher fame.

I need some interesting and colorful characters who people will enjoy reading about whether they end up being murder victims or suspects.

In the next few days I'll start jotting down ideas, playing around with scenarios and see what I can come up with.

Anyone with some good ideas, feel free …

Porterville Art Gallery Boutique

After spending two whole days at the Art Gallery from 9 to 5, I must tell you, that though it was slow at times, we had two fun days--and sold a lot of books.

As usual, the best customers were the other vendors. Many of them have bought previous books in the series and wanted the next one. There were other people who read about me being there in the paper and came just to buy the latest book.

One nice thing was when anyone asked where they could buy my books at other times, we told them about the new used bookstore in town, Books Off Main, which is located right around the corner from the Art Gallery. Most of the people had no idea it was there. On my way home, I stopped in and the owner told me she had three new customers we sent over.

There was a man there, a potter, who played guitar and clarinet, who serenaded us with Christmas songs and also told some funny stories.

Hubby bought me a gorgeous cross from one of the jewelry makers for Christmas.

I enjoy being around all the artists…

Invisible Path, First Chapter

This in the beginning of the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and this chapter introduces one of the major characters, giving some insight to his background and an explanation of why he's where he is today.
Chapter 1
“Jesus, I need to talk to you.” My grandma was the only one who could get away with pronouncing my name like Jesus in the Bible. My friends say it like “Hay-soos.” Grandma didn’t like it when she heard someone say my name like that. She usually corrected whoever it was by saying, “My grandson is not Mexican, he is Indian. His name is Jesus Running Bear.” I don’t know what inspired my mother to give me such a name, and she wasn’t around to ask. Grandma fixed her small dark eyes on me. When she smiled her eyes became crescent moons. She wasn’t smiling now. Whatever it was she wanted to say, it had to be important. I put down the bowl I’d gotten out of the cupboard. Breakfast would have to wait. “You’ve been thinking about something a lot. Something that’s going to give y…

Porterville Art Museum Boutique

Today and tomorrow I have a table with my books at the Porterville Art Gallery's Christmas Boutique. I'll be here from 9 to 5 both days. If you are in the are do stop by. The Gallery is on Main St., on the east side close to Oak St.

This is the third year I've joined the artists and crafts people who are selling the most delightful gift items. Sometimes the traffic is great and at others not so. One day it poured down rain all day and barely a soul was out on the street. Last year it rained too, but we had lots of customers.

I'm looking forward to it. There are cookies and hot drinks to enjoy and lots of fun conversation with interesting folks.

This is one of the many in-person things I do throughout the year to sell books. I'm grateful to the members of the Porterville Art Gallery for asking me to join them.


Coming Soon, the Next Rocky Bluff P.D. Crime Novel

Angel Lost is the title of  the next in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. As yet, there is no cover and the release date should be sometime in March.

I had a great time writing this book. Though I do write each book in both series as stand-alones, the characters continue. Anyone who has read previous books in the RBPD series knows that there has been an ongoing romance between Detective Doug Milligan and Officer Stacey Wilbur. In Angel Lost the wedding draws nigh.

There's something quite unusual about this book and I'm anxious to see how many readers point it out.

If someone asks me where one of the ideas came from for this book, it was something that happened right in the closest city, unusual and ongoing. When I drove by it one night, I knew I had to put it in a book.

So, I suspect that's enough to say about Angel Lost at this point. You can read the earlier books on Kindle but be sure to put in the name F.M. Meredith. If you prefer paper--check out my website or the other bo…

Figuring Out Why Things Happen

Before you get started and think I'm going to give you the answer, let me warn you, I have no idea.

Why do some people die long before their time? Or why do some of the worst live many years longer than the rest?

I don't know.

Sunday, one of the young men who goes to our church and we've know since his days at Springville School died in a motorcycle crash. It was a horrible, probably avoidable accident, since he was going way too fast--but what young men don't drive too fast? He was a good kid, newly married and his wife is expecting their child.

Besides the family of  the young man, many of his friends congregated at the scene of the accident. Fortunately, the police kept them away from the body. His grandmother just died the week before, and he lost his mother only a couple of years ago.  His bride is having a problem realizing it's really true.

My granddaughter was his friend all through school and his sister her best friend. She was devastated by the news.


Grrr! I am so Frustrated!

I've go the new e-mail program, Microsoft Outlook, and it's driving me nuts.

What I can't figure out is how to just find an email address in the address book. When I write one in it always says it's not there.

I do a monthly newsletter and have lots of people subscribed, but when I get a can't deliver the mail from somewhere unless I have the person's name, I can't find the email address to delete it. Sometimes, even when people ask me to delete the address I can't find it.

This was so easy in the old Outlook Express.

Anyone have any answers to my dilemma?


Pearl Harbor Day

I was a kid, but I do remember the broadcast that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.

Life changed a lot soon after that broadcast. We lived in Los Angeles with the very real possibility we might be attacked. (In fact, shells were fired along the coast.) We had to put blackout curtains over our windows and during an air raid or what they thought might be one, the only place we could have any lights on was an inner room. We had one, a hallway that opened to the front room, bath and 2 bedrooms. Mom kept games in there and a camping light and also a stash of food including yummy snacks. We spent many an hour in there playing board games.

Food and gas were rationed and we had to use stamps to buy both. Dad rode his bicycle to work so we could save gas stamps for our vacations. Sugar and chocolate were in short supply so stamps were saved for special treats and birthday cakes.

At school we had air raid drills which meant we all went to the first floor hallway (in a two story brick building--how …

Life Getting in the Way of Writing

I've written about this before, but it seems like a good time to write about it again.

It's holiday time, I have presents to wrap, meals to plan. I'm the chief cook around here (because I like to cook) and that means grocery shopping and coming up with ideas for what to fix.

My granddaughter--the one who lived with me off and on during her growing up years--is getting married. There is lots of excitement and planning in the air about that--though all I'll be doing is attending the wedding. Since she and her mom and dad live in a house on our property, I get to hear a lot about what's going on.

Hubby will be having cataract surgery some time soon. That's going to be something I'll have to deal with too--I've had two cataract surgeries and I know he won't be up to doing a whole lot for a few days.

At the end of the week I have an event, on Friday December 10 and Saturday December 11 I'll be spending all day at the Porterville Art Gallery on Main S…

Christmas After Marriage

After I was married and had children, as often as possible we tried to get down to Los Angeles and spend the holiday with my parents.

Because hubby was a sailor there wasn't a lot of money for Christmas. I usually made a lot of gifts and charged some too. One year I ordered everything out of a catalog--and I learned my credit wasn't approved too late to do anything about it. My mom gave me $25 and believe it or not, I managed to buy some fine gifts for everyone. (I think I only had three kids at the time.)

After that I started buying gifts all through the year.

The year I was pregnant with my third child due on Christmas day, everyone including my grandparents came to our house in Oxnard for Christmas. I suspect I did the cooking though I don't really remember.

Another year I was working and had to go to work before the kids were up on Christmas day. I missed the present opening and we had to go out to eat. Not one of my favorite Christmases.

The last year we went to my Mo…

Reminiscing about My Childhood Christmases.

When I was a kid the first part of Christmas began at the evening service at our church where Santa Claus handed out a bag of Christmas candy to each child. My parents always took us to their friends' home where all the church people gathered for hot cider and everyone went up and down the street Christmas caroling.

We never opened presents on Christmas Eve so sleeping was difficult. My sister and I were not allowed to go into the living room until our parents were awake. We usually managed to get them up close to 5 a.m. Dad had to go into the living room and turn on the tree lights and get his movie camera ready before we could enter and see our gifts.

We always got great presents. The ones I remember most are a wonderful Shirley Temple doll with a baby carriage. Unfortunately, the doll had a China head and I broke it one day taking her for a walk in the carriage. I always received about three books which I usually had read by the time the day was over.

My dad built me a two stor…

The Jelly Belly Challenge

You've all heard about the disgusting tasting jelly beans in the Harry Potter books, well it seems Jelly Belly manufactures some of these jelly beans.

Thanksgiving Day one of the games we played was a challenge to see who got the icky jelly belly. It's pretty easy to figure out in these photos.

The first is granddaughter Alyssa and her boyfriend Healy.

The second is me and hubby, I got the bad one. I'm not sure hubby had a clue what was going on.

Daughters Lori and Dana both got centipede guts, which obviously tasted horrible.

Grandson in law got the bad one, great grandson Garrett's was fine.

Caitlyn is accusing grandson (her beau) Gregg of pretending to have a good one.

Both granddaughter Genie and great granddaughter Peyton had good ones.

Alyssa challenged Gregg to another try and Healy is glad not to be in on this one.

Some of the tastes were dirt, booger, and other disgusting flavors.

Oh, what interesting things the Meredith family does for holiday fun.

Yes, we a…

Another Terrific Review of Invisible Path

With no mental or physical demands on my time since my work at Ozark Folk Center finished a day early, I picked up my copy of Marilyn Meredith's new Tempe Crabtree novel, INVISIBLE PATH. If I am counting correctly, this is number nine in the series. I own and have read all of them, but staying with the story allowed me to live inside Tempe's life in a way I never have before.

I have learned to trust Meredith's insight into we how we humans tick, and her knowledge of American Indians and life on a reservation. In this novel she adds many today issues, including fear of "the other," and the clearest look inside a white supremacist para-military group I've ever had.

When the body of Danny Tofoya is found on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation near Tempe's home, an Indian "from away," Jesus Running Bear, is named as the killer by many living there. Detectives also believe Running Bear is the likely suspect, and Sheriff's Deputy Tempe Crabtree, who …

Of Good and Evil by Gerald G. Griffin

My interview of Gerald Griffin:

Marilyn: Tell me something about your background.

Gerald: Born in Flint, Michigan. Attended Mandeville High School there, where in addition to being a member of the track team, I was a varsity athlete on the football team. Received AS from Flint Junior College; BBA from GMI; and my MA and Ph.D. (both in psychology) from Michigan State University. Also, I attended one year at the University of Michigan Medical School.

I was a consulting psychologist in private practice --- individual counseling and therapy, testing, diagnosis, and consultant to industry --- for 14 years in Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Marietta, Georgia, during which time I wrote the professional, non-fiction book, THE SILENT MISERY -- WHY MARIAGES FAIL. Then I eased out of
private practice and more into full-time writing, doing ghost writing, screenplays, and writing several novels, three of them published --- THE CORRUPTORS. THE DEATH DISCIPLE, and THE LAST COMING. For more serene surroundi…