Showing posts from March, 2011

Time's Flying By

This is the last day of March--unbelievable. Time is scurrying by so fast I can hardly keep up.

Every day has been so busy. I never understand people who say they are bored. I don't have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, much less that which I have to do.

For example, today I have to work on the chapter my critique group went over last night.

I was just sent a batch of short stories to judge for a contest and that has to be done by mid-April.

My work-in-progress needs attention.

I have laundry to do.

I know I have a big project coming that I'll be paid for. I suspect most of the information will arrive today.

I had this blog to write because I'm committed to writing a blog every day. Of course that commitment is just between me and everyone who reads my blog.

I try to do a bit of promotion every day too. If you don't know yet, my latest book, Angel Lost, is now available from Amazon and if you want an autographed copy, you can order from my website…

Want to Help Me Out?

It was suggested on one of the lists that I'm on, that others go to a person's book on and agree to and/or add tags.

The tags are at the bottom of the page, and you can add more by going to the ad spot and click on T on your computer and the place to add will pop up.

I've put short URLs for some of my e-books here to make it easy to do. for An Axe to Grind for No Sanctuary for Lingering Spirit for Invisible Path 
If your haven't read my books, you might just agree, if you have read one see if the tags fit or if there are more that you think might fit.  I'd appreciate you doing this and we'll see if it really helps sales. You could do the regular books if you'd prefer.
Thank you,

Income Tax Time

As usual, I'm really busy.

Income tax time. Before I did my own I did my grandson's, his girlfriend's, my granddaughter's, my son's and his wife's. When it came to my own it was a bit more complicated this year. Mine s always more complicated because I count my writing income and spending as a business.

I've always done my own taxes--even before Turbo Tax. I'm good at reading directions and understanding them, I'm not good at math. When I use a calculator, if I add the figures 5 times, I'll come up with 5 different totals. In the days before computer tax programs, I made my husband do all the addition. I gave him the list of numbers and he added, gave me the totals and I put them in the proper spot.

Now, Turbo Tax (and all the other tax programs) take care of the math. All you have to do is put in the numbers.

I've had two years it was more complicated. One was when I inherited a bunch of stocks from my mom. The stocks had all taken a loss o…

I Didn’t Know You Wrote That!

The tiny bit of fame I have as a writer comes from my historicals. My Tudor mystery, HER HIGHNESS’ FIRST MURDER, garnered very nice comments from all the Big Guys in reviewing, which pleased and surprised me.( I had no idea they even noticed writers from small presses!) The second in that series (POISON, YOUR GRACE) will come out in November of this year, and I am at work on #3 these days. On April 1st I have a totally different sort of book coming out, and that’s a slightly scary prospect. Those people who praised my attention to the historical detail of the Tudor era might not be interested in a paranormal, contemporary mystery. They might even find THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY unsuited to their tastes , despite what one advance review calls my “wickedly dark humor combined with regular laugh-out-loud moments.” (Sam Millar, New York Journal of Books)
So what’s an author to do?
I love my historical series, but the idea for THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY just floated into my head, and I had a gr…

Report on Book Store Appearance

First stop on my personal appearances was Books Off Main in Porterville.

Yesterday was a gloomy, off and on rainy day. Traffic was extremely light and I didn't have my usual faithful followers turn up--but I did have two who came because of the newspaper article. My daughter came and kept me company during my stay. And two friends from church who'd never been to one of my book signings showed up.

Because  a couple of folks purchased two of my earlier books in the series besides the new one, sales weren't bad at all for a tiny used book store off the beaten path. Having my book launches at this little store has increased traffic for the store and that's a good thing.

I always have a good time at these events no matter what.

Next on my calendar is the Jack Ass Mail Run in Springville. (where I live.) This is an outside event where's we'll have to put up our tent--and hope the weather has changed by then. Books don't do well outside in the rain. This is the 5…

The Beginning of my In-Person Book Appearances

Today, from 1-4, I'll be at Books Off Main on Oak Street in downtown Porterville I'll be talking about and signing copies of Angel Lost..

This is the only bookstore we have in Porterville. It's a neat and well-organized used bookstore. The only new books they carry are by local authors like me. The owners are two retired nurses who are also best friends. Both have little dog companions they bring to work with them.

They kindly set up refreshments when I do one of these signings. It's a tiny store and they don't have much seating, so today we're bringing four folding chairs. Though I don't give a talk when I make an appearance here, in the past people like to hang out and visit. When it get crowded, some leave and others sit down to chat.

As I'm writing this it's still dark outside so I have no idea what the weather will be like today.

You never know how these things will work out. I had a nice article about the book and the signing in the local news…

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day

We've had rain off and one for at least three weeks. This is unusual for our part of California--the Sierra Footihills of the San Joaquin Valley. Usually, the news reporters and papers are full of talk about lack of rain. Now it's all about the earth being saturated and flooding.

It rained so much and so hard last night, it woke me up several times. We live above a small river, and we can always tell when there has really been a lot of rain because a huge boulder that sits in the middle of the river will get completely covered, something that doesn't happen most  years.

Along with the rain there's been an abundance of snow in the upper elevations making a gorgeous view from the house and even more so when we're driving home from the Valley. Coming up 190 at times you can see much of the lower rang of the Southern Sierra, a beautiful sight covered with snow.

Wild flowers are beginning to bloom. I've seen a few poppies and lupine and there's lot so wild musta…

Angel Lost, New Rocky Bluff P.D. Book by F.M. Meredith - Broowaha

Good Morning!

I always like to sound positive even when I'm not totally feeling that way. However, I'm blessed to still be here and enjoying life, my family and my friends.

One thing I never am is bored. I'm always amazed when I here people say they are bored. I don't have time to be bored. I always have something I need to do and most of it is interesting. Of course I look forward to things others might not such as:

Working on my latest book.
All kinds of online promotion.
Reading emails.
Reading someone else's book to write a blurb.
Reviewing someone else's book.
Going to my critique group.
Editing a chapter in my own book after critique group has made suggestions.
Writing blogs.

Those are all writing things. I also look forward to:

Visiting with family members and friends.
Going to Bible study.
Teaching Sunday School and going to church to worship and fellowship with my church family.
Going to a movie.
Watching a movie on DVD.
Silly reality shows.
General Hospital on TV

Whew! What a Day!

Of course nothing ever goes as planned, but today the plan is to complete a newsletter that I hope to have ready to take to the printer tomorrow--the same day as I got see the tax man.

I have to print out the labels but will wait until the mail comes in case someone else pays their dues.

I spent he first part of this day promoting the three blogs I'm on today. (don't you love the title of that blog?)

If you'd like to leave a comment on any of them that would be great.

Tonight is my writers critique group, looking forward to that.


Who's Who

We've all heard about the Who's Who publication and the other day I received a FAX questionnaire saying I'd been chosen to be in the next one.  I didn't put a whole lot down, just my name and that I was a writer.

The next day I received a call from a charming gentlemen who said I'd been approved to be included in the Who's Who directory and he'd like to ask me a few more questions. He asked all sorts of things about my writing and you know, it's always fun to talk about yourself, so I did. In the back of my mind though I kept wondering when he was going to ask me to buy a copy.

After a pleasant chat that lasted about a half hour it came. Surely I'd want my own copy to see how he'd written up the information--at only a mere $200. And no, they wouldn't be doing an electronic copy for a long time after the printed one came out. I asked if he could send me an order blank so I could think about it. No, they didn't do it that way. He did give …

A Day in the Life of an Author--and the Rest of the Week

I bet you think the first thing I do is sit down at the computer wearing my p.j.'s. I know there are many authors who do just that, but not me. I shower and dress because I never know what the day may bring. With a family as big as mine, sometimes things come up I hadn't planned for and it's always best to be ready to go.

Because I'm nearing the end of my blog tour for Angel Lost, the first thing I'm going to do today is check out the blog I'm visiting, and today it's an interview at Examiner . Once there I'll read it, leave a comment, and then spread the word (and the link) through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks and on some of the lists I subscribe to. As the day progresses, I'll check the blog to see if there are comments I should subscribe to.

Next, I have to make an appointment with a tax consultant. My taxes are done, but I have an issue I can't figure out and need someone smarter about taxes to help me. If I can get an appoin…

The Lincoln Lawyer

Hubby and I watch a lot of movies. Now that we're older, a date usually involves a movie downtown and a meal in a restaurant.

We went for late breakfast and then to see the first showing of The Lincoln Lawyer in town. For a movie with as much promo as this one had, the theater wasn't very full, hopefully the later showings had better attendance.

I like to watch a movie before I read the book, but as the movie progressed I knew I'd read this one already. Before I go any further, the movie was really good. Of course not every plot twist that was in the book was reproduced, but all the important ones were there.

I'd wondered about the casting, but everyone did a wonderful job in portraying the characters.

There aren't a whole lot of movies that are mysteries--I wish there were more and that those that are from books would be as faithful as this one to the written version.

Not that my opinion counts for much, but I'd give the movie four out of five stars.


The Social Network

Hubby and I watched The Social Network on DVD last night.

Hubby fell asleep. He doesn't do Facebook and really doesn't understand the fascination.

Though I found it interesting to learn how Facebook came about and everything that's happened to Mark Zuckerberg as he was developing and perhaps stealing some basic ideas and then afterwards, I didn't think it was Oscar material.

If it is an honest depiction of Mr. Zuckerberg, I would guess that he suffers from Asberger's. He came across as a genius with no social skills nor does he have any loyalty to friends or the capability to realize how he might hurt people.

What I would have liked to have learned was more about his early family life.

What did you think about the movie?

Books by Marilyn

Why We Read

I suppose I should've titled this why I read--but maybe some of you can relate.

I read first because I enjoy it. There's nothing like losing yourself in a book, becoming one with the characters, being in a new place, experiencing what they're experiencing.

This brings me to another reason, when things are going bad either personally or in the world like they are right now, through a book you can be transported to another place where usually things will all work out in the end.

As an author, I like to read what other people are writing these days. I also love reading what my writer friends have written.

These days I usually pick books I'll enjoy rather than ones that might teach me something--though almost every book has something in it that will be new to me.

Right now I'm really swamped with work--I do some consulting for people with residential care homes--and I'm trying to write a new book. But despite that I am reading two books. I read when I'm eating …

First Non-Positive Review for Angel Lost.

It had to happen. After all the really positive reviews I've received for Angel Lost I received a really bad one.

Of course it makes me feel bad, but I felt like she just didn't understand what was going on in the book. The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is about the men in the department and their families. My goal has always been to show how the job affects the family and how what's going on with the family affects the job. The focus in each book is on different characters--in this one it is mainly Officer Stacey Wilbur's story--though there is plenty going on all around her. What happens to her affects everyone else in the department.

Another thing the reviewer said that was absolutely puzzling is she didn't understand why I named the book Angel Lost. I'm not going to explain because it would ruin two of the plot threads--but there is a definite reason. When I read that I wondered if she'd actually read the book all the way through.

I thanked her for reading th…

Avalon Authors: Interview with Mary Benton


One of my reasons for writing historical mysteries with two nosy Puritans as detectives is to correct the myths and misconceptions surrounding those good peoples. The main myth is that the Puritans were dour-faced gloomy-Guses who found no joy in life. Forget that! For one thing, they were closer to Elizabethans than to the Victorian Era -- in fact John Winthrop, founding father of the Massachustts community, spent his first eighteen years under the rule of Elizabeth herself. The Elizabethans enjoyed life, Puritan or Cavalier. Even in Anerica, the New Land, they celebrated more holidays than we do, with the exception of Christmas, which the Puritans did not celebrate -- it was a rather rowdy holiday, at that, with a Lord of Misrule. They had more than one Thanksgiving, held in differing months, but they feasted on turkey the same as we do -- and the feast lasted for days.

Harvard Commencement was a major holiday known as Commencement Day, with a splendid dinner and pieces…

The Need to Get Going

I have a long, long list of things to do today, foremost a program plan for a woman who has left everything up to the last minute and has a deadline. I'm hoping to get that done today.

I have been unable to find the stop of my blog tour for today--frustrating. You can promote something you can't find.

What I'm going to have for dinner depends upon whether or not the leftovers I hoped for are still in the refrigerator.

And of course there are pressing items in my e-mail.

So for today, that's all there is.

I'm headed into the kitchen to make my Chai tea latte and begin what looks to be a very busy day.


Tuesday, March 15 Book reviewed at Lynn’s Reading Corner Wednesday, March 16 Book reviewed at By the Book Thursday, March 17 Guest blogging at Nevets.QST Friday, March 18 Interviewed at Murderous Musings

What is Happening in the World Today

(The author of the post that was supposed to be up today had trouble with her e-mail and I didn't get everything I needed, as soon as I do, I'll put that up.)

Last night I watched footage of the tsunami in Japan again. It was like watching a horror movie that is all too real. There's no way that we sitting at home can even begin to imagine what those poor people are going through. So many lives lost, the horrendous chaos, the continuous earthquakes, fear of what might happen with those leaky reactors, no longer having a place to live, being cold, not enough food and it goes on and on. Oh, and I heard this morning that a volcano is spewing ashes and rocks.

My prayers go out to them all.

It hasn't been that long ago that Australia had a similar, though not quite as huge, catastrophe. But for anyone who lives there, I know it was every bit as horrific. Haiti still hasn't recovered.

And in other countries there is war, nations wanting to get rid of oppression.

Despite …

I Would Love to Be A Best Seller

Wouldn't we all love to be a best seller? Oak Tree Press always puts out a list of each month's best sellers. I've had a book on it a time or two, but never been on top. And this time, despite all my promotion of Angel Lost, I wasn't on it at all.

H'mmm, what am I doing wrong? Or what am I not doing?

I don't have a clue. I've read the latest Sisters in Crime book on Blatant Self-Promotion and different people's blogs and I'm doing most of what people are suggesting, but there's not time to do it all.

All the reviews before hand and those I'm getting now have been wonderful. I heard from one of my cop friends and he said Angel Lost is the best in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Angel Lost is not yet on Kindle, so I can't expect anything there, though I suspect it will be soon, then I'll renew my efforts.

So, okay folks, what else can I do to let people know about my Oak Tree Press books.

Almost the whole Rocky Bluff P.D. series is on Kind…

Two Events Cancelled

The first I learned about while I was at Sisters in Crime. The speaker, Sharon Latham, is the author of Jane Austen books--what happened after the books ended. I mentioned that I'd be seeing her at the Jane Austen Fest coming in April. She got a stricken expression and said, "Oh, haven't you heard. We had to cancel the fest."
No, I hadn't heard and was shocked. She didn't give a reason, though it sounded like ti might have been some problems with people.

Though I always thought it was strange that I was invited to this event, I enjoyed myself when I was there and had sold books. So, I struck that one off my calendar. Of course it meant calling the hotel where I'd made a reservation. Now, I'm waiting to see how long it'll be before I get the fee back for reserving a table.

Then, this week, I received an e-mail notice from the chairperson of Mayhem in the Midlands that this, one of my most favorite conferences has been cancelled. Not that's real…

Some of my Blog Stops for My Tour

These are the place I've already been and it's not too late to go back and scroll down and leave a comment.
Monday, March 7 Book trailer featured at If Books Could Talk Tuesday, March 8 Guest blogging at Thoughts in Progress Wednesday, March 9 Interviewed at Blogcritics Thursday, March 10 Book spotlighted at The Plot Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!
Starting today, this is where I'll be today and next week. Do take a peek and leave a comment. Friday, March 11 Character interviewed at The Plot Monday, March 14 Book reviewed at Thoughts in Progress Tuesday, March 15 Book reviewed at Lynn’s Reading Corner Wednesday, March 16 Book reviewed at By the Book Thursday, March 17 Guest blogging at Nevets.QST Friday, March 18 Interviewed at Murderous Musings

It's even fun for me to read these because I wrote a lot of them a long time ago--and of course I'm always anxious to see what people thought of the book at the blogs where the blog hosts reviewed the book.

I enjoy doing blog tours, …

Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson

Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes is a fun book to read with great illustrations. Though there's definitely a message contained in the story, it is delightfully told. It's the kind of book that would be great to read in a classroom--and there's a bonus at the end: questions the teacher can ask the kids to get them thinking.

Author Peterson has done a fantastic job showing a kid who is different and how he's treated at school, but in a fun way.

This book is recommended not only for classrooms but also for moms and dads to read to their kids.

I loved it.


Book web site:

Larry Peterson Facebook:!/larrytpbx

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Slippery Willie Synopsis:

Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and s…

Always Something to Do

People often wonder how I get so much done. Frankly, I never do as much as I hope to do.

I make lists, not formal lists, just lists on post-its and tablets that are sent to me in the mail or I've picked up at hotels or conferences. I love checking off tasks I've completed. And yes, I write down almost everything I plan for the day--though sometimes I just do it without making a list.

Woke up on Sunday to an order for Deadly Omen from Amazon Advantage. Once I was up and at the computer, I just went ahead and fulfilled the order and got it ready to be mailed on Monday. I didn't put it on a list. However, from yesterday, I had a note to send Trail to Glory, my first book published, off to a place to be scanned in PDF and Word format. I no longer had it on my computer and I only had one copy left--except for the copy I autographed to my hubby. I'd like to see this one have a new life. I also want to send Bad Tidings there too for the same reason, though I have about 2 copi…

What to Wear at a Book Event

I doubt if male authors even think twice about what to wear. Most of them I've seen wear Levi's or jeans, a nice T-shirt or turtleneck and a jacket.

It's a bit different for a female author. One thing we always consider is that we don't wear the same outfit we wore to this bookstore, conference, writers group the last time we visited or spoke. If you do a lot of appearances this can be a problem.

I have a friend who when she's promoting a new book, puts together and outfit and that's what she wears at every event.

I don't like having pictures of me floating around on the web wearing the same outfit. And I do. In fact, the red and black and silver top that I wore to several events I also wore to my granddaughter's wedding. She wanted me to wear something red and that's all I had that would conform to her wedding colors.

There's always the chance at a big conference that you'll run into someone with the same outfit on that you are wearing. Yes…

Satri's Self-Esteem Took Kit, for Writers

Virginia Satir, the famous family therapist, was fond of metaphors and collected them from a profusion of sources, such as The Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum. In that story, remember, the Wizard gave the Scarecrow a brain, the Tin Man a heart, the Cowardly Lion a badge of courage, and Dorothy the power to go home. According to Virginia, the Wizard's great secret was that each of his supplicants already possessed the tools they thought they lacked. The Wizard's job was merely to remind them. Well, writers need reminding, too–and, wrapped in our fictional worlds, maybe more than most.
From the idea that we possess the resources we need, but may have to be reminded, Virginia developed her idea of the "self-esteem tool kit"–a set of resources that each of us owns but often forgets to use when we're feeling powerless. A few years back, I wrote a book about this kit for consultants, More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit. It was well-received by my consu…

2nd Half of Self-Editing Tips

Get rid of words that aren’t needed in a sentence such as up in wash up, etc. except in dialogue. Get rid of cliches. Substitute a cliche with something fresh and imaginative.

Fragments are okay if used sparingly and purposefully. Of course fragments are fine in dialogue if that’s how the person talks, or in instances where fragments would be most logical.

Check your dialogue tags. Do you really need them? Would the character’s action, or description serve as a dialogue tag? Remember to use asked when someone asks a question, not said. Said and asked are far less obtrusive than remarked, questioned etc. Sometimes one of those seems to be the best, but be careful not to overuse. Even better is when the dialogue is so unique to the character the reader can tell who is speaking without a tag. 

Be careful not to have a character tell something to another person that the person already knows.

When a new character makes an appearance, give the reader more than a name. There’s nothing more…

A Few Self-Editing Tips

First in importance in writing fiction is telling the story. Second is absolute clarity. Third is the language. All three need to be integrated in really good writing.

Nonfiction should be written like fiction with a good mix of dialogue, narrative and action.

Be sure your story actually begins in the right place. It needs to be when something exciting is happening. You can bring in the back-story and other such information in bits and pieces as the story moves on. Is the plot clear and compelling?

Always show us the most important scenes rather than telling about them. On the other hand, use narration to bring information to the reader that’s necessary for him/her to know, but not exciting enough for a scene. Be sure that events are in the right order and the scene builds toward a satisfying climatic payoff.

Editors and publishing houses have preferences for things like ellipses and dashes, and other punctuation. This is what I prefer:

The less punctuation the better. Often a sentenc…

Hunting Season by J.E. Taylor

HUNTING SEASON available May 2011.  When Kyle Winslow escapes from custody and targets everyone Special Agent Steve Williams cares about, a turn of fate brings Steve face to face with Ty Aris – a criminal mastermind topping the FBI’s most wanted list.  Torn between justice and vengeance, Steve must make a decision. Join alliances with Ty, or arrest him and lose his best chance to catch the bastard who destroyed his family. 

A brief look into the mind of Special Agent Steve Williams…
The scene from the balcony reminded me of Charlie’s city view and I shudder, sinking into the chaise lounge and studying my new partner.  He isn’t actually with the FBI.  Nope, he’s WANTED by the FBI.
Why haven’t I brought him in? 
Good goddamn question. 
I wonder why I haven’t either. 
He’s as dangerous as they get.  Even more so than The Slasher, but I need him.  His technological genius leaves anything we have at the FBI in the dust, never mind the other talents he brings to the table. You see, he’s the …