Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back over 2011 from under my Author's Hat

I'm only going to relate what I did as an author, though the drama of a family as big as mine might be more interesting--but I wouldn't have room to write it all down.

I had a new blog every day whether it was a book review, guest author, or something I wrote. I also wrote something new the first and third Tuesday's of the month for Make Mine Mystery, The Stiletto Gang, and an occasional post on the Oak Tree Press blog.

When I was free, I attended the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime.

My first appearance of the year was in February at the Exeter Museum where I spoke to the Tulare County Historical Society.  I also gave a presentation to the Writers of Kern in Bakersfield.

In March, I headed to Ridgecrest and spoke to the Ridgecrest Writers group. I also had the book launch for Angel Lost at Books Off Main in Porterville. I did a month long blog tour for Angel Lost too.

In April, I had a booth at the Jackass Mail Run in Springville and I was on a panel with members of SincLA at the Burbank Library. I also spoke to college students at Mount San Antonio college.

In May, I gave a presentation out at West Hills College in Lemoore. We headed out to Las Vegas where I spoke to the Las Vegas chapter of Sisters in Crime at Barnes and Noble. I sold book at a booth at Visalia's Young at Heart Days and participated in a mystery panel at the Cedar Clinton Library in Fresno.

In June, Hubby and I boarded my daughter's mobile home and headed to Sedona AZ where I gave a talk at the library and another at the Well Red Coyote Bookstore. (And also had a lot of fun.) This month I was also on an 11 day, 11 author blog tour. At the end of the month, I gave a talk to the writers group at Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst.

July found us back in Las Vegas, this time for the Public Safety Writers Conference--my favorite conference of all.

We joined several other writers and some crafts person at the Nipomo Library in August. Killer Nashville in TN was our next big trip. We had fun and I spent time with my OTP publisher and say many writing friends.

In September, I was a presenter for the Central Coast Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo. That was great fun. I also had a table at the Central Coast Book Fair. My next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Bears With Us made its appearance.

In October I had the book launch for Bears with Us at Books Off Main. We spent two days selling books at the Springville Apple Festival. I also had another month long blog tour.

In November, we went on a week long mystery cruise to Mexico. The last week in November and the first week in December, I participated in an 11 day blog tour with 11 authors, a bit frantic but also fun. We also helped celebrate Sisters in Crime's 25th birthday with the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

December I spent two days at a Christmas Boutique at the Porterville Art Gallery with my books and that was it for this year.

And that was what I did to promote my books. It will be interesting to see what opportunities 2012 brings.

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Leaves from the Valley Oaks

My Review:

This is an eclectic collection of short stories, poetry and articles, most with the flavor of the Central Valley.

Winnie Enloe Furrer contributed true stories about the Huckababy family, a pioneering family complete with photographs. John Noel added a bit of non-fiction an some poetry. Mary Benton's short stories have their roots in the valley--and well-worth the read.

There is something for everyone in this anthology. Art Wallace Neeson's tales contain a wry sense of humor and Gloria Getman's stories often end with an ironic twist.

This review would be far too long if I listed every author and described every piece, so I'll conclude with anyone who has the opportunity to read this book will enjoy him/herself. Highly recommended and I give it 5 Stars.

From Gloria Getman:

Thanks, Marilyn, for inviting me to tell a bit about how Leaves from the Valley Oak came about. 

Last April I suggested to the Visalia & Exeter Writers that we publish an anthology. Each member had written some outstanding pieces and it seemed like they deserved to be published.  But the market for them is small and the competition is great. They agreed that they liked the idea—if it would be done economically. CreatsSpace seemed to be the best option, and Mary Benton and I volunteered to be the editors. 

Editing and organizing the pieces was the easy part. Formatting a book with twelve contributors was the hard part. Word is a wonderful program, but tricking it into the desired format is a challenge. Each header needed to reflect the contributing author. 

I downloaded the CreateSpace template and loaded the book into it. Each time I put in a page break everything in the book moved, fouling up the header and footers. To say I learned a lot is an understatement.
In the meantime, we decided we wanted to make our own cover. Mary and I took out trusty cameras and went looking for an oak tree to photograph. A dozen pictures later, we settled on the ones we liked best. Fortunately, Sylvia Ross, one of our members, is a whiz with Photo Shop. She made all our pictures better, so much better that the cover picture file was too big. She put a nice frame around it and then the people at CreateSpace accepted it.

By September I had the entire manuscript fixed in place and made it into a pdf. But when I scrolled through, I saw that somehow page breaks had moved and page numbers were incorrect after page 150. Back to the drawing board. It took three times before I had it laid out right and sent it off for CreateSpace approval.
Getting the first proof back was a thrill—until we found all the mistakes. I took the book down at the site to make the corrections, sent it again and ordered another proof. We were satisfied and gave our approval. It was the middle of November when we ordered our author’s copies. Expense wise, the books cost us a tad over $5 per copy. Not bad. Another plus for CreateSpace is that the books they publish are printed in the good old USA; South Carolina, to be specific. 

DIY publishing has been made so easier with all the new on-line avenues. If anyone has questions, I can be reached  at Also check out my blog: and meet some of the contributors to Leaves from the Valley Oak.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sail of Stone by Ake Edwardson

Another Swedish author, Edwardson, has spun a twisted tale of intrigue that is wrapped around historical events.

Don't expect another Girl With the Dragon Tattoo style of writing, Sail of Stone is much slower paced with pieces of the puzzle developing through tales of the past and unusual settings whose descriptions often are as important as what is happening.

Chief Inspector Eric Winter becomes entangled in a curious case of a missing person who is searching for his father or may or may not have died in World War II. At the same time, female detective Aneta Djanli is caught up in a suspected abused wife case which as it unfolds, seems to be as much a threat to Aneta as to the woman who now seems to have disappeared.

As both cases unfold in different locations, the reader is treated to wonderful descriptions of landscape, food and drink almost as intriguing as the solving of the mysteries. 

Review by Marilyn Meredith

The book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Editing my Latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree

This one is titled, Raging Water, thanks to someone in my critique group. Also thanks to them for listening to each of the chapters, finding mistakes, and giving me some great feedback.

Next, I did a spell and grammar check. Not so much to really check the grammar because I like incomplete sentences, and poor grammar in some characters' dialogue--but to find places where there are extra spaces, extra periods and numerous other oddball things that gremlins seem to put into manuscripts.

Now I've printed out the whole thing--the only way to really edit--and I going through it carefully. This is the only way to find holes in the plot, (yes, I'm finding them), name changes (oh, my, I can't believe I do that), loose ends (things I've left dangling.). This takes awhile.

Once I'm done I'll have to go back into the computer and fix the things I've found.

When I'm sure I'm done I'll send it off to the publishers. And then, thank goodness, it will eventually be turned over to an editor who'll find all the things I've missed.

Writing a book is a lot more than just putting words on the page--despite what some may think.

The book itself will not appear until sometime next fall with an appropriate cover hopefully that will follow the Indian theme all the rest of the covers have had.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Like Scary Books?

This story is based on something that really happened in our family--no, none of the people are based on us, just the plot idea. 
The little girl on the cover isn't anyone I know--and the hair is the wrong color for the character, but I can tell you that the look in the eyes is definitely correct.

I think this is he scariest book I've ever written. One interesting comment is that one of my granddaughters who was about sixteen at the time, gave me some ideas for bad things the little girl in the book could do to her adopted siblings.

The book is what I call psychological horror and you can find it on Amazon.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Mundania Press is Having a Big Sale!

Now through January 2nd, 2012, Mundania Press, LLC is having a sale!

Enter the code SANTA at checkout and receive 25% off your entire order.

This would be a great time to try my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries. You can go toMundania Press and check on mysteries and scroll through to find all of the series

Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us.

That's the order of the series for those of you who like to read a series from the beginning. However, each book was written as a stand-alone in that the mystery is solved at the end of the story. The main characters are ongoing. Through each book, Tempe learns more and more about her Native American heritage.

This is a great time to try out this series.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The First Christmas

"About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's hometown, for the census. As a decendant of David he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.
 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel.
There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: "Glory to God in the heavenly heights; Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!"  (Luke 2:1-20)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good day.
christmas story

Saturday, December 24, 2011

T'was the Day Before Christmas

And because it is the day before Christmas and I'm sure you are all busy with plans for Christmas Eve and tomorrow, I'm not going to write much.

At this point, I have no idea if I'm having any company tonight or not. I bought what I call snick snacks just in case: cheeses, deli meat, crackers, dip, chips and pies. Enough to fill any bellies that might cross our door.

Tomorrow will be totally different--teaching Sunday School and attending church, then rushing home to put dinner together for my family who will be coming after church.

So, all I'm going to say right now is have a wonderful Christmas Eve and the Merriest of Christmases.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Critique Groups Christmas Dinner

lft side of table, Brent, Sharon, me and Hap, rt side of table, Joe, Shirley, Lisa, Kristi, Jann, and Laurel.

Because we have spouses and a friend with us for dinner, the actual members of the group are Brent, me, Shirley, Lisa, Kristi and Jann.

This year we decided to meet at the Thai Kitchen, a favorite of many of us. Shirley and I are the oldest members in two ways, age (I win) and we've been in the group the longest. (Shirley wins because she started it, but I've belonged since 1981 when I found a listing about it in the newspaper.)

The group has changed members over the years, nearly all have been extremely helpful and added a lot with their judgment and various forms of expertise.

We come from many backgrounds, religious faiths and politics--but it hasn't mattered a bit. The philosophy of the group has always been to critique the writing, not the subject matter. It really has never been a problem except once eons ago when I was writing horror and one of the one of the older members said, "I don't read this junk." Fortunately, nothing like that has happened since.

I consider this bunch my first editors. Shirley has taught me so much about grammar. Brent looks at things from a male point of view. Jann sees another way of looking at things. Kristi and Lisa add a lot when it comes to romance and a younger view.

I value each one's friendship and what they've done for my writing.

Here's wishing you all a great writing year and that you can find such a wonderful critique group as I have to help you on your journey.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

As Christmas Draws Nearer--

I've been thinking about Christmases past--way past.

The first one I can really remember was at my great-grandmother's house. Because my sister did our genealogy I know that she was a quite a woman. She started out in life as Desdemona Diana and along with her sisters who had equally lovely names, was adopted. Her adopted family changed her name to Minnie. As Minnie she married a man who was killed while driving a horse driven wagon. When he died she was left to figure out a way to make a living on her own and she opened her home up to boarders, mostly railroad men.

It was in this house that I remember that first Christmas. I wasn't five yet, because I didn't have a sister, who came along when I started kindergarten. This makes me think I was probably 4.

All I really remember about Great-Grandma Smith's house, was the living room was in the middle, no windows, just lots of doors that went to other rooms. The Christmas tree was in the living room, but I don't remember what else, though I think a long dining room table. That Christmas Eve I know I slept on a pallet in the kitchen. Sometime in the night I heard the reindeer on the roof and bells ringing. So I knew Santa Claus had managed to find me even though I was a long way from home.

And that's the very first Christmas I remember.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why is there a problem? Indie Pub vs. Traditional Pub

For those of us authors who are on various lists like Sisters in Crime and Murder Must Advertise and many others, an ongoing rather hostile battle has been going on between the two kind of publishing.

Those who are published by traditional publishers--the New York variety--look down with disdain on the indie published. Indie published can mean anything from self-publishing in the many ways of doing that these days and including various forms of e-publishing. And of course the others strike back with all sorts of arguments which I'm not going to bother to go into.

There is also the independent small publishers who may fall into one of the other categories or not depending upon which side you happen to be on.

The traditional publishers don't feel that those who are self-publishing or with small publishers are getting edited making their book inferior. (Frankly, I've read a lot of New York published books, especially by big name authors, that suffered from lack of editing.) They also proudly announce that they make far more money and have much more prestige. (Probably true except for a few e-pubbed authors who have figured out the secret to promotion.) Oh, and there's also the fact that an e-book doesn't smell like a real book. (I don't sniff my books.)

I think small presses should be looked at by themselves. Of course some small presses are better than others. Most of them now do e-books and trade paperbacks. Most small presses have editors and hire professional book cover designers. I think all my book covers are great and look better than many of the New York publishers' book covers.

No, I don't make much money, but though it would be nice, that's not why I write. I write because I have to write and I'm thankful I have two publishers who are willing to publish my books. I don't want to learn how to do that--even though it's much easier and less costly than it used to be. I do a tremendous amount of promotion for my books--something that most authors do no matter who publishes them unless they are a big name. Oh, there is publicity for the big names, but they didn't have to pay for it or arrange it.

And now to my point, ranting and raving about the differences and which one is better isn't going to change anything. However you're published, be thankful and move on. Write the next book. Plan the promotion. Be writing another book while you're promoting the last one. Not only be grateful to your publisher, but also to your readers.

That's how I feel. What about you?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Publishing of Next Rocky Bluff P.D. Crime Novel Moving Along

Despite the fact it's Christmas season, this author is still busy with all the facets of writing.

My publisher just read through No Bells, next in the Rocky Bluff crime novel. For some reason the last few pages of the manuscript were missing. I checked my file and everything was there as it should be. I sent the manuscript again as an attachment. It arrived safely, but there was another problem. She really didn't like the way it ended. I took another look and agreed with her specific criticism.

It didn't take much to make a change that she did like, so now we're off and rolling again. Or at least I hope that it is moving along. Not sure exactly what will happen next. I'm hoping for a cover fairly soon as I have blogs I need to do that want covers and I'm planning to set up a blog tour for April.

Just a hint about this coming book, it centers on Officer Gordon Butler. Poor Gordon, he's one of these people that seems to have a dark cloud over his head, if something bad can happen, it will. I've learned that many of my readers really like Gordon. I hope they'll like his new adventure.

Another fun thing about this book is the name of one of the main characters is the name of a friend of mine. She has a wonderful name and her daughter entered her mom in a contest to be a character in my next RBPD novel. It turns out that she's a prime murder suspect and a love interest.

Frankly, I can't hardly wait for No Bells to be a reality. Remember, this is written by my alter ego, F. M. Meredith.

I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Spotlight is on J. Q. Rose and Sunshine Blvd.

Sunshine Boulevard by J. Q. Rose—mystery/light horror e-book from Muse It Up Publishing

Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me today. I am thrilled to be here with you and your mystery readers. I am spotlighting my mystery, Sunshine Boulevard, on your blog. Because it is holiday time, I am giving away a copy of my holiday, short story, The Good Neighbors. Please leave a comment to be eligible to win. Don’t be disappointed if your name isn’t drawn, because the humorous story is available at Amazon at
All royalties from the sale of this story support local food pantries.

 What inspired you to write the mystery/light horror book, Sunshine Boulevard, Janet?

Sunshine Boulevard takes place in Florida. My husband and I visited Florida with our kids when they were young. We returned to Florida when we were full-time RV’ers, living in the fifth wheel trailer twelve months out of the year and traveling the country. We have met some real characters in our travels. It was only natural to combine those personalities and place them in Florida, famous for its quirky crime and unbelievable events. I chose a retirement community, not only because we are familiar with them, but because I wanted people to remember that just because folks retire, it doesn’t mean they lose their value to society.


Janet grew up in the Midwest amid flat lands blessed with fertile fields of corn and soybeans and wide horizons colored by vivid sunsets. The hard working people there have influenced her life values and writings.
Janet is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Those are the most important facts about her.  She is a wife to Ted, mother to their two grown daughters, mother-in-law (ouch), and grandmother to four young grandsons and one granddaughter. Aren't grandmas supposed to sit in a rocking chair on the porch and wear their white hair up in a fly away bun? Not anymore!!

She taught elementary school, then moved into the small business world when she and her husband owned and operated a floral shop, garden center and greenhouses. After the sale of the business, full-time RVing was the next life adventure as she and her husband chased the sunshine across the country seeing new places and making new friends while working on various projects. This fantastic lifestyle afforded many opportunities for writing travel articles and stories on the RVing lifestyle. Her first published mystery, Sunshine Boulevard, sprang from her experiences as she traveled the state of Florida. Her latest humorous holiday short story, The Good Neighbors, is the result from living in a Florida retirement community.

Janet spends her winters in Florida and her summers up north camping and hunting salamanders, toads, frogs, and snakes with her grandchildren. Blogging and photography occupy her spare time as well as playing her favorite board game, Pegs and Jokers

She continues to write new mysteries and short stories. She also has in the works, a non-fiction book to inspire middle grade girls and an idea for a non-fiction story for girls.

Tag line and Blurb:

Mysterious deaths upset the Florida retirement community interfering with their seasonal activities and turning up more than dead bodies


Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard?  Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed


Please tell our readers where they can find your book and more information about you.
Sunshine Boulevard is available at Muse It Up Publishing Bookstore 

as well as at many online booksellers.

The Good Neighbors is available at
All royalties support local food pantries.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Traditions are Great, but They Do Change

My family has had some great Christmases over the years and some that weren't so great.

When it was days late from the due date of my third child, we decided it wouldn't be smart to travel to L.A. like we usually did for Christmas, so everyone came to my house. Nine months and several days pregnant, I cooked a turkey dinner and served my grandparents, parents, sister, her hubby and her three kids. I'm sure they all helped though they came on Christmas day, so I'd done the major share of the cooking. (That baby arrived on the 28th.)

One in particular I remember when hubby was overseas and I was living on allotment checks that barely covered our bills and needs. I ordered the kids' Christmas gifts out of a catalog, only a few days before Christmas I was informed by mail that my order had been denied. Oh, my, what was I to do? We were leaving for my parents (where I knew they'd have some gifts) but I had nothing to take with me.

My mom took pity on me and gave me $20 and I managed to buy great gifts for all three kids. (That's back in the day when $20 was a lot of money.) I learned a big lesson from that experience, from then on I started buying, or making, Christmas presents all year long and I never had a disastrous Christmas like that again.

I did a great job of wrapping gifts and hiding them until the big day--or so I thought. After the kids grew up they informed me they always found the presents, unwrapped them and wrapped them back up again.

No one was supposed to open gifts until hubby and were up--so often the kids woke us at 4 or 5 a.m. One year they slept in, disappointing for me because I had to be at work early for a split shift. When I came home, of course they'd already opened their presents and I didn't get to watch. That was also the only Christmas that we ate our dinner in a restaurant because I suppose I was the only one capable of cooking Christmas dinner.

After both my sister and her family and me and most of my family moved to the foothills of the Sierra, we celebrated two Christmases. One with all our families, including grandkids, in our big house. As the family grew bigger, more grandkids, we moved to a recreation hall at a mobile home park where one of my nephews and his family lived.

Then another big switch came when my sis and her whole family moved to Las Vegas. About this time most of my kids decided to have their own Christmas celebrations. What family was left came to our house Christmas Eve for opening presents, and then back on Christmas day for dinner.

We don't decorate a big tree anymore, too much work. It was fun back when I had kids around to help me, but they've all grown up and have their own trees to decorate.

Because Christmas is on Sunday, we're having the dinner at our house after church--but I'm not going to work too hard, I ordered the whole dinner.

Merry Christmas no matter how you celebrate.

How are you celebrating Christmas?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

And Now Some More Great Grandkids

Emily opening her Birthday present from her Aunt Lori. It was a lei made of new dollar bills

And her birthday cake

On the left younger brother Ethan
I am so blessed with many grandkids and great grandkids. The above are two of the three kids of my first grandson, who was born on our wedding anniversary. I must confess that's the only date of my grandkids that I can remember.

Several of them are really talented athletes. Great-grandson Brandon, the first in line, is planning to be an MMA fighter and a preacher. (Interesting combination, right?) His brother, Aaron, is good at all sports. Sister Carolyn is great playing volleyball or on the basketball court. (They belong to granddaughter Melissa.)

Granddaughter Genie has two kids. Peyton is an Irish dancer and does exceptionally well. Her brother is not martial arts and soccer.

Had a phone call last night from Granddaughter Merenda, she said her almost 3 year old wanted to talk to her g-grandma and grandpa. That's us. We had an interesting conversation. I know she visited the next door neighbor and played with the dog, and she planned on playing with Barbies as soon as we said goodbye.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more.

Hoping you will all be surrounded by family on either Hannakuh or Christmas, whichever you celebrate.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

For all the details about the conference, check out the link.

This is one conference where all the experts and presenters are also at the conference to learn. They are available to network and answer your questions.

This year we're having a crime scene for all to participate in figuring out all the clues. We'll see how the novices do against the experts. This is being brought to us by retired Chicago police officer and mystery writer, Michael A. Black and Steve Scarborough, forensic expert and published non-fiction and mystery and thriller writers.

We have a forensic nurse, FBI men, retired police officers, casino security, retired military, firemen all from the public safety side, mystery writers, a publisher and editor who will be discussing the business side of publishing.

Anyone who would like to be on a panel will get to be on at least one. You may bring your books to sell and PSWA will do the selling and keep only 10%.

This is a different kind of writing conference,  you'll learn a lot no matter what you're writing, and I guarantee you will have fun.

There is also a writing contest--be sure and check that out while you're browsing the website.

The Early Bird price for the conference ends on January 31, so be sure to sign up before then.

See you in July in Vegas.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review of Frank Scully's Thriller, Empty Time.

This thriller begins at a gallop-Jim Lang is running for his life.

The story steps back in time to bring the reader up-to-date as to why Lang is being pursed.

After being framed for murder and stock fraud, a contract is put out on his life. On the run, Lang goes through one perilous danger after another. He’s shot and nearly drowns. Rescued, Lang recovers and figures out a way to get back at his former colleagues while putting himself in even more danger.

Scully has done a terrific job of describing shady business practices of a large corporation and portraying unsavory though respected people who manage big business, both with a ring of truth.

The story is filled with intrigue and almost non-stop action and suspense covering territory from California to Europe.

This book is recommended for anyone who loves a thriller based on events that could really happen and an average man whose circumstances have thrown him into situations he never imagined to protect his own life and the life of his friends.

--Marilyn Meredith, Author of Bears With Us, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Book Blurb:

Jim Lang’s life sputtered into a workaholic rut on a middle rung of the corporate ladder while his colleagues, using his business plan, became the international business titans he once aspired to be.

Bad memories of busted marriages and broken promises are all that keep him company in his personal hours so he is more than willing to sacrifice that empty time to his job to make the corporation grow.  His bosses have one more sacrifice in mind for him.  To die for them.

Deceived, betrayed and framed for murder and massive stock fraud, his bosses plan for him to die and disappear.  Disappear, he does; die, he doesn’t.

Lang must face and conquer his old fears and guilt, and live up to the potential within. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues in an inter-continental, multi-billion dollar, fast paced and lethal game of corporate intrigue and treachery with bloody traps and deadly counter traps.

Frank Scully’s Bio:

Frank Scully was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota.  He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U.S. Army in the U.S., Vietnam, and Thailand. After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors. In his professional career he has worked as an executive with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business.

Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken at other times. Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories that will entertain readers.

You can visit Frank’s website at:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's Going On in my Writing Life and Real Life

Besides the fact that it's Christmas time, I've been really, really busy.

I have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery done and I've just gone over some edits someone did for me. Still have a few last chapters to read to my critique group.

In the meantime I'm writing a new Rocky Bluff P.D. which is almost done too. Only have a couple of chapters to finish.

I have several things to do on my to-do list, as always, just haven't gotten to them yet.

My eighteen grandchildren are all grown up now--the youngest graduated from high school in June.
On the left is a very grown-up grandson, his sisters, Alyssa (the grad) and Erica.

My oldest great-grandson also graduated this year.
This Brandon before he got ready for his graduation.

My granddaughter, Jessica, got married in January, and she and her husband moved to North Carolina a the beginning of December. (She's always lived either with me or right next door--I'm going to miss her.)

My #12 great-grandchild was born this year.

It's great when one of our off-spring come to visit. Here's another great-grandchild who spent the evening.

Kay'Lee used Facebook to contact her mother and her grandmother.

And that's what's been going on.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Soft Target by Stephen Hunter, Review

This is by far the most exciting book I’ve read in a long, long time. A thriller, Soft Target, is about terrorists who lock down a huge mall and start shooting. Yes, they have demands, but there is far more behind what’s going on than that. This is what makes this thriller so exciting, the layers and layers of plot that intertwine in the most unusual and surprising ways.

It’s also a tale of modern times, true heroism, when politics get in the way of common sense, and the unfortunate goals of too many of today’s journalists. The hero is someone we all hope will be around when something as big as what is depicted in this story depicts.

Saying too much more might take away the sheer pleasure of reading this great page-turner. Can you tell I liked it?

(When posting this review on Amazon I was surprised by several negative reviews. My only thought was they let their own political views get in the way of enjoying a most exciting story.)


(I was given this book by Simon and Schuster, but in no way does that fact influence my views of the book.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review of Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli

  Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli is compelling and unique. Unique in that it is based on real people and occurrences, but fictionalized. It’s the story of the rise of the Italian mobs, the life of a gifted and popular singer and how they are intermingled. For the younger reader, this might merely be an exciting read. For someone more mature who lived during the time period of this book, it’s fascinating to follow along and see where fiction deviates from history. A masterful writer, Fusilli has created a story with all the flavor and nuances of the times and places the intriguing characters are moving through. 

That's the review I put on Amazon and I'd like to add a bit more. Though the mob plays a big part in this tale, one of the major characters is a singer very much based upon Frank Sinatra. Of course there are many differences, but having lived during that era it was easy to recognize what was true and what was fiction--and for me it added to the fun of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Narrows Gate and recommend it.

Marilyn Meredith, author of Bears With Us.                                                                                                                                                                                                         
I received the book from Amazon Encore and wasn't paid for my review.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Swimming in the Ocean

I know, this is a weird time of year to write about such a thing, but I watched a surfing movie a few days ago and it reminded me how much I loved swimming in the ocean. (Notice, I used past tense.)

When I was a kid and lived in L.A., my folks always made several trips to the beach. That's where I learned to swim in the ocean, but I knew how to swim since I was 5. (Learned in an irrigation ditch, it was swim or drown.)

I remember one trip as a teen with a church group to the beach. We had a big bonfire (yep, you could do that way back then) and I swam out past the waves (something I always did), but when I decided to come back in I didn't know where to go. I didn't have my glasses on and there were lots of bonfires on the beach. I decided to just go to shore, then try to figure it out then.

Yes, I got caught in rip tides, but I knew to swim parallel to shore to get out of them.

When my children were small (3 at that time) we'd start going to the beach in March. I'd put our blanket right by the life guard station (even though there wasn't one on duty that early in the season) so when I swam out past the waves, I knew where to come back. You can't wear glasses when swimming in the ocean.

I never worried about sharks either, this was before the movie Jaws. Once I was swimming and a helicopter came over and a loudspeaker warned there were sharks in the water. I didn't care, I hadn't finished my swim.

As I added kids to the family, finally had five, we always went to the beach. It was close and free. My kids loved to swim in the ocean as much as I did.

When we moved to the mountains that ended my ocean swimming for the most part.

The last time I ventured into the ocean to swim was in Hawaii when my sis and I and my mom went for a vacation together. Sis and I swam in the ocean at Oahu, in rough waves in Kauai, and out way to far at Maui. That was absolutely wonderful.

It's fun to look back at what I used to do for fun. Would I get in the ocean now? Not unless I was in Hawaii or someplace like that where the water is warm. I'd never get in that cold water I used to swim in--I'd probably die of a heart attack. I don't really remember it being all that cold back then, but I was so much younger.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Interview with Nicole Langan, Tribute Books Publisher

About being a publisher:
I've spent roughly the last 12 years in the publishing world. I have a B.A. summa cum laude in English and Communications. From 1999-2004, I went from being an intern to an editorial assistant to an associate editor of a regional magazine. In 2004, I started Tribute Books. Since that time, I've worked with dozens of authors, illustrators, photographers and editors in publishing over 30 books. Some of our books have gone on to win awards such as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Mom's Choice Award while others were endorsed by PBS and The Thoreau Society. We've published a wide variety of genres from children's picture books to history to sports under both traditional and subsidy contracts.

In 2012, we'll embark on a new transition becoming solely an e-publisher of young adult titles. There will be no charge for the young adult authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments.

What we are looking for:
We're primarily looking to work with authors who have been published before by a royalty-paying press and have already had their manuscript professionally edited before submission. Having a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account is a must.

1. Why did you decide to only publish young adult titles?
Our transition is based on three factors. On a business level, the young adult genre sells especially if it is well written and has a paranormal romance theme. On a marketing level, the devotion of the young adult fan base is unparalleled. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at I'm a believer in doing what you love and working with like-minded people, when it's at all possible.

2. Why are you focusing on the e-book market?

Currently, our ebook sales are currently outpacing our print sales by 2 to 1. The book industry is in a state of transition, and the shift in momentum is palpable. It is similar to the movement of when iTunes music downloads outstripped CD sales. All indications point to the ebook trend continuing to expand with the explosion of popularity of e-readers like the Kindle, Nook and iPad. As the prices of the e-readers continue to come down and with bookstores continuing to close, readers will be looking for the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to obtain their reading material.

3. There is a huge range in YA novels, do you have any specific genres you’re looking for?

Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, books written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.

4. How will you promote these books?

We try to keep an active online presence with our web site (, Facebook (, Twitter (  and blog ( What sets us apart is our one-on-one interaction with our authors. We go the extra mile in doing everything we can to promote our titles on a daily basis even years after a book's initial release.

5. Anything else you’d like to tell my readers and perhaps potential clients?

My hope is that we are able to recruit some talented writers of well-written, well-crafted stories in order to develop an eager fan base for the titles we publish. We want readers to be excited about the ebooks we produce. Young adult authors have the most devoted fan followings out there, and we'd like to introduce that audience to a whole new host of talent.
Web Site:

Thanks you so much for this interview, Nicole, I'm sure there are many authors out there who will be delighted to hear this news.
* * *

Friday, December 9, 2011

And to Sum it all Up

Wow, this has been quite a journey, fourteen mystery authors all visiting one another for fourteen days.

I knew some of the authors and their books before we started, others I only knew their names. Because we were supposed to visit each blog every day--not always possible--I learned even more about the authors I knew and became acquainted with the others.

Another plus was all the writing information that was produced each day. It was enlightening to read other writers' views about so many topics.

On my own blog, I asked each one to write about setting. What was so amazing was the different approaches to the same topic. Some wrote about the importance of setting, others gave examples of ways to describe setting, and still others wrote about the settings in their own mysteries. I hope all my visitors enjoyed reading the various posts as much as I did.

One other chore each of us was supposed to do was promote two blogs a day, his or her own and the one she or he was appearing on that day.

I promised to give a copy of my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Bears With Us, to one of the people who commented on one of my visiting posts, and I have randomly, Patricia Gilgor. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did writing it.

Would I do one of these again? You betcha. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Anne Albert was the mastermind behind this--the idea and the scheduling.

What's next? Maybe I can get some work done. (See below)


* * *
Meet Central Valley's Most Prolific  Author at Porterville, CA Art Gallery

Marilyn Meredith also writes as F. M. Meredith
Friday and Saturday, December 9-10

9 am to 5 pm 
Christmas Boutique
152 N. Main St, Porterville, CA

Praise for the Rocky Bluff PD series...  Angel Lost is the seventh in F. M. Meredith’s Rocky Bluff Police Department series, and fans of this series will be delighted to learn that it delivers everything we have come to expect in these books – characters that feel like neighbors and a handful and a half of subplots all neatly woven together... Meredith wraps everything up in a most satisfactory fashion. These books are a sort of cross between The Waltons and Hill Street Blues, and I hope there are many more to come.
J. Mike Orenduff, The Pot Thief mysteries

For more information, contact:
Jeana Thompson, Press Manager

Oak Tree Press
140 E. Palmer St.

Taylorville, IL 62568

217 825 4489  

Jeana Thompson, Press Manager
Oak Tree Press
Visit us at Oak Tree

This email was sent by Oak Tree Press, 140 E. Palmer Street, Taylorville, IL 62568, using Express Email Marketing. You subscribed to this permission-based list on 4/28/2008.
Express Email Marketing supports permission-based email marketing. You can change your preferences or unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time.

Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter