Saturday, April 30, 2011

Great Granddaughter Playing baseball

Be sure and check out Kay'Lee's pink helmet. She also has  pink glove--no one else on her team has anything pink--and of course her team uniform is read.

Though they aren't the best players I've ever seen (and yes, some of those little kids are really good), Kay'Lee did manage to hit some pretty good balls and run fast to the bases. And that day her team won!

You can see part of the beautiful view we are fortunate to have from the baseball field which is in the rodeo grounds.


Friday, April 29, 2011

My Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries on Kindle

I don't want to slight my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series for those of you with Kindles. For some reason that I do not know, not all of them are on there, but these are the ones that are:

Deadly Trail is the very first book in the series introducing Tempe, her son, Blair, and her new love interest, Pastor Hutch. Nick Two John plays a prominent role in this book as he's suspected of murder.

Deadly Omen is next, but for some reason isn't available on Kindle.

Unequally Yoked is the third in the series and it's only available on Kindle. Tempe looks for a missing child, participates in a Native American ceremonial, and learns that she and Hutch have a large problem in their marriage.

Intervention comes next and it's what you might call a locked room mystery. Tempe and Hutch are caught in a blizzard while on a romantic weekend at a rustic mountain lodge. A unique group of movie people are trapped with them and one disappears.

Next is Wingbeat, also not on Kindle though available as an e-book through Mundania Press.

Calling the Dead is next and Tempe participates in another ceremony to call back the dead to find out the truth about a murder and a suicide.

In Judgement Fire Tempe finds out why she hasn't really embraced her Native American heritage.

Next comes Dispel the Mist, but it is also missing on Kindle.
Invisible Path is the latest in the series, and deals with a murder on the reservation and a falsely accused Indian--but also a mysterious para military group operating in the mountains.

Those that aren't on Kindle can be ordered as an e-book from Mundania Press
Of course I have other books available on Kindle which you can find by doing a search in the Kindle stor for books by Marilyn Meredith.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Upcoming Schedule

I'm finishing the month by heading down to Mt. San Antonio College or Mt. SAC as it's more commonly known this a.m. Because it's at least a 3 1/2 hour drive (may be more as we are old and have to make stops along the way) we'll probably leave around 8:30 a.m. We'll find out motel first then go to the college. I am giving a talk at around 4:30 p.m. about my books and what inspired them. Afterwards we're having dinner with relatives who live in the general area. The next morning our plan is to visit my 99 year old auntie.

May starts out with a bang. I'm got to West Hills College in Lemoore on May 5th to give a talk about promotion writers have to do these days.

 The very next day we're headed to Las Vegas, first stop my sisters. On Mother's Day I'm giving a talk to the Las Vegas chapter of Sisters in Crime at 2 p.m. about where I get my ideas. I believe it's going to be at Barnes and Noble but haven't received the final word.

My eldest daughter is coming to visit the Monday we arrive home, so I'll be busy having fun with her. She's leaving on Friday  the 13th and we're heading to Mooney Grove in Visalia to put up our booth for Young at Heart Day--where we'll be selling books.

On the 19th, I'm on a panel at 5 p.m. with two other mystery authors at the Cedar Clinton Library in Fresno. That's it for book promo, but we'll end the month going to a grandson's high school graduation.

Whew! That sounds like an awful lot to do in one month!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rocky Bluff Crime Novel Kindle Books

When I read what others are doing to promote their books on Kindle I feel like a slacker. I have quite a few books on Kindle, under the name Marilyn Meredith and my Rocky Bluff P.D. author name of F. M. Meredith.

Final Respects is the very first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. This one introduces many of the characters who continue on through the series. You might be surprised by some of what happened here--and what influenced what happens in later books.

Fringe Benefits is about a very bad cop. For anyone who loves Gordon Butler in later books, this is where he makes his first appearance. No, he's not the bad cop--but their lives are definitely linked.

No Sanctuary is one of the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels. Officer Stacey Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan's relationship is growing as they investigate the murder of a minister's wife. The short blurb for this is two churches, two ministers, two wives and one murder.

An Axe to Grind is about a grisly murder and one that eventually leads Detective Milligan on a chase and Officer Stacey Wilbur desperately seeking his whereabouts.

As yet, Angel Lost hasn't made it to Kindle, hopefully it won't be too long now.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another One Leaving the Nest

Besides our five children we've helped raise several grandchildren--and each has finally taken wings and left the nest.

We had one grandson who lived with us from the time he was 11 until he was 22. His brother was with us too for a few years, but decided to return to his mom's for his high school years. The one who stayed with us the longest, we had many adventures with--some more than we wanted. Both young men are doing great now.

For three years plus we've had an adult grandson with us and we've watched a great change in him as he matured both as a man and a worker. He found work as a handyman, carpenter, gardener, what ever someone need done, he did it. He also went to college, taking night classes. He's getting ready to leave us. He'll soon be packing up his belongings and tools in his truck and trailer and heading for Washington State to go to work for his brother who owns a construction company.

We'll miss him. We're proud of him. We'll send him on his way with our love and prayers.

Hubby and I are getting older--but we live in this big house so I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone else doesn't move in with us for awhile.

We'll see what the future brings.


Monday, April 25, 2011

More About Water for Elephants

Since I wrote my review about the movie Water for Elephants, I've read the strangest comments about the movie.

One was that it was a direct rip-off of The Titanic. That one I can not figure out. The person said the circus was a substitute for the Titanic, and the main characters, replicas.

Of course there were some minor similarities, after all they say there are only 30 plots and they are reworked all the time. Certainly the same themes constantly appear in books and movies--but I felt this was certainly a refreshing movie, definitely displayed the time period, and what it was like to be in a minor circus at that time. Of course there is the inevitable romance--but even that was different. In the book, of course it was more layered, but well-done even in the shorter movie version.

The characterizations were criticized in another review--but in my opinion they definitely followed the book. The many faceted villain, the mistreated heroine, the young hero whose life plan was shattered and as he tries to make a new life for himself attempts to but unable to help everyone.

When the movie was over, the audience clapped. I think that says a lot right there about the entertainment value of the movie. Afterwards, I heard a group of women discussing what was changed in the movie from the book and that they thought the changes worked well.

That's my additional two cents about the movie.

Books by Marilyn

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Water for Elephants, the Movie

I read the book Water for Elephants twice. I didn't intend to read it twice. I'd read it when it first came out in paper, then while looking for something to put on my Kindle, I saw Water for Elephants and not remembering it, I downloaded it. Once I started reading I knew I'd read it before but didn't remember all the details.

I knew I wanted to see the movie because I liked the book, thought they'd picked a good cast, and they made a lot of the movie in Fillmore CA where they keep many old trains and the downtown is much like it was in the olden days.

Of course watching a movie after reading a book can be disappointing, but I can assure you that's not the case here. Yes, there are some slight differences but none that take away any of the essence of the story.

It's a love story with so many facets. Set during the Great Depression, 1930s, when people didn't have money, some no jobs or homes, the only excitement coming from when the circus came to town. In this case, the circus is struggling as much as the townspeople. The story is as about the many different characters who work for the circus--often without being paid. At times the story is brutal to both man and beast--exactly as it probably was at that time.

I'm not going to say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read the book and wants to see the movie. What I can tell you is that you won't be disappointed. It's the best movie I've seen all year.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Anticipation is something I suffer from a lot.

Usually it has to do with traveling somewhere to do a promotional event. This coming Thursday, April 28th at 4:30 p.m., I'll be speaking to students at Mt. San Antonio College. I'm not nervous about speaking, I'm going to be talking about my books and what inspired them--a subject I know. I love talking about my books.

The anticipation lies in the fact that we have to leave early to arrive on time to find the motel I registered us for sight unseen, but supposedly not far from the college or where we're planning to go the next day.

We've been given directions to the college, where to park, a number to call to get a guide to the proper venue on the campus--that part is under control.

After speaking, we're going back to the hotel and my cousin and her husband who live somewhere in the general vicinity are coming to take us out to dinner.

The next day we're planning to visit my 99 year old auntie, the same cousin's mom. I haven't seen her for several  years and thought a party is planned for her 100th, she's in frail health and this seems like a better opportunity.

Of course, as usual, I have plenty to do before we leave.


Friday, April 22, 2011


Ever so often while reading a book, I'll come across an inconsistency that the author and the editor didn't catch. Oh, my, they are can so easily slip by.

I've been working on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and mostly I've been doing it in bits and spurts because I've had so many pressing issues. Well, that sounds too important, mainly I've had other jobs I needed to do, some that paid and they always come first.

Writing a book like that is a recipe for far too many inconsistencies to pop up because the author, in this case, me, doesn't always remember exactly what happened earlier in the story.

I decided I better go back to the beginning to see exactly what I'd done already. Good thing I did, because I found a lot that needed to be corrected. I made the corrections and hopefully I can forge ahead and get past the 100 page mark.

Though I have a fairly good idea where I'm going, I need to get it all down on the page. My advice to new writers is to go ahead and right the whole book then go back and fix it. That's what I usually do, but I had the feeling I needed to really take a look at what I'd done before and this time that was the right thing to do.

Hopefully, now that I've refreshed my mind a bit, I can forge ahead. Of course I do have some interruptions in the future:

1. I want to go see Water for Elephants.
2. I'm planning to fix some easy dishes but delicious dishes for Easter Sunday that I can just get out of the refrigerator when I get home from church. So on Saturday I'll be fixing deviled eggs, macaroni salad, cooking a ham and slicing it, Texas caviar.
3. We're going to the Easter Sunrise Service, then I teach Sunday School, then the regular church service.
4. Dinner

Hopefully, I get to the writing again on Monday. Tuesday I have a meeting and afterwards need to finish up a newsletter which will have to be taken in to be run off on Wednesday. Thursday we're leaving for Southern California again where I'll be giving a presentation to a group of college students. We'll stay down there and the next day we're visiting my ailing 99 year old auntie.

Anyway, that's the way things go and why it's hard to write uninterrupted. So, no doubt, I'll be looking for inconsistencies once again.

In the meanwhile, I know I ought to be promoting. Oh well, there's only so much I can do in one day.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Granddaughter Made Pizza

We were invited to our daughter's home to have pizza made by our youngest grandchild--who has turned 18. I took photos of the pizza too, but for some reason I couldn't get them to download. Whether you can see the photos or not, the pizza was delicious. She made one with veggie toppings and another with pepperoni.

It's always fun to share a meal with relatives, but this one was special because it was made by Alyssa.

We don't get to spend much time with her because they live about 3 1/2 hours away, but this past weekend we were able to visit with her a couple of times.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Joe DiMaggio, The Long Vigil

Author Jerome Charyn is on a blog tour for his book about Joe DiMaggio, The Long Vigil. 
My review of the book:

Joe DiMaggio, the Long Vigil gives an interesting look at a most enigmatic personality. Most of us know DiMaggio for two things: a baseball legend and his love for Marilyn Monroe.

Author Charyn has compiled many views of DiMaggio into this book giving us a peek into what made the man and how he became a legend, and includes his quirks and struggles with his popularity and his personal relationships.

Whether you love baseball or even know much about DiMaggio and his outstanding career, this outstanding biography brings forth some intriguing facts you might not have known before. And of course, there is much about DiMaggio ongoing love for Marilyn Monroe, a love that haunted him.

Charyn has done an excellent job writing about the life and times of the great Joe DiMaggio.--Marilyn Meredith
 Blog Tour web site:

Jerome Charyn's web site:

Jerome Charyn's Facebook:!/jerome.charyn

Jerome Charyn's Twitter:

Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil Facebook:!/pages/Joe-DiMaggio-The-Long-Vigil/173247736020293

Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil Twitter:

Yale University Press web site:

Jerome Charyn's  Bio:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Price: $24.00
ISBN: 9780300123289
Pages: 192
Release: March 8, 2011

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble

(This book was given to me by the publisher.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crossed Another Thing Off My Bucket List

I've belonged to the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime for years. I joined in the first place so I could participate in the booksignings at the L.A. Times Book Festival. I did that for about four years. Loved it, met new authors, saw some old friends, and sold books.

Last time hubby and I went, finding the right parking lot at UCLA, hiking up and down the hills with a cart full of books two days in a row turned out to be a great deal of effort for two old duffers like us. Though we enjoyed ourselves, we decided that was the last time we'd participate. Of course now the venue has changed to the USC campus, but at our age neither one of us wants to find out if it will be any easier.

Another thing, SinCLA has been doing is arranging mystery panels at various libraries. I thought that would be a fun thing to do. I'd been on lots of panels at conferences and enjoyed doing that so I signed up. When I got the call to be in a panel at the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Library I thought that was doable.

Hubby and I left at 9 a.m. last Saturday, set the Magellan for the address of the library and got on the road. We made it down there about an hour early, found a good parking place, and since we hadn't stopped to eat, we indulged in a hot dog and chips from a convenient stand right outside the library. The day was warm, we ate our lunch while seated on a bench, but went inside when through the enjoy the air conditioning.

The door to the meeting room was unlocked 1/2 early. A nice crowd gathered as the panelist filtered in.

The panel was called,  "The Grim Reaper – Lies, Sex, and the Dark Side of Murder". The other panelists were Eric Stone, Jeri Westerson, Jeff Sherratt and Stephen Schwartz. Eric served as a most able moderator.

 I enjoy being on panels and love answering the questions even when my books don't exactly fit into the title of the discussion--I get to stretch my brain to come up with an appropriate answer. I also like the questions from the audience. The whole process is energizing to me.

Book sales were not wonderful, I sold two books and those were to the bookstore. No one else did particularly well either. I also donated two books to the library.

Another plus, for ages now I've been telling folks that I've published nearly 30 books. One of the audience members went on line and found my webpage and counted all my books. From now on I'll be saying I've over 30 books published.

From Burbank, we braved the Ventura Freeway and headed up to Oxnard where we visited our two daughters and their families.

So, I've now participated in a SinCLA panel--and drawn a line through that item on my Bucket List.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Scorpion Bay by Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy says:
My journey:
I was an avid reader from an early age and always enjoyed writing, but I became a novelist much later in life purely by chance.  My employer sent several employees to a one day seminar called “Power Goaling.”  Each participant was to select and implement one long term goal professionally or personally.  At the end of the day, I had narrowed it down to redecorating our house, writing a novel. I chose to write a novel within one year.  That began my journey as a novelist. Sometimes we have abilities in us and don’t realize it until outside forces intervene. 
By the end of the year, I had written about one of the formative years of my life, 1968.  The novel, Class of ‘68 won the Arizona Authors Association award for unpublished novel of the year and was ultimately published in 2007 by Wings ePress.  I’ve now had six novels published.  My seventh, Scorpion Bay, is the kind of novel I enjoy reading, suspense with humor and a twist at the end.
Book Blurb.
When a car bomb kills the prosecuting attorney and a key witness against a powerful bioengineering industrialist, the blast shatters the life of the attorney’s husband, popular Phoenix television investigative reporter, Parker Knight.  After authorities hit a dead end, Parker risks his career and his life to seek his own revenge. Riding a high tech motorcycle and wearing a black disguise, the crusading newsman inadvertently becomes a media created superhero jeopardizing his quest for justice.

Brief bio

Michael Murphy  and his wife make their home in Arizona with their two cats, four dogs and five chickens. He enjoys writing mystery and suspense novels with twists and turns and splashes of humor.  Scorpion Bay is his seventh novel. 


Thank you, for visiting today, Michael

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do You Like to Cook?

Actually, I do like to cook--what I don't like is having to do it every single night. I've done a lot of cooking through they years.

First, of course for my family and back then it was trying to figure out menus for the whole month and buy the food to make those meals. We got paid once a month, so that's what I had to do or we might have starved. I really knew how to make economical meals and stretch that food dollar.

When we had our care home, I cooked for my ladies and whoever else happened to be living with us at the time. We raised different grandchildren at different time periods, which also meant we often had their friends eating with us too--so that meant always cooking large quantities and it had to be good, healthy and tasty dishes.

I don't have any idea how to cook for two--I couldn't do that anyway since we have another grown grandson living with us and I figured it was easier to cook for my son and his wife too, since they live next door. Fortunately, my daughter in law is very helpful in the kitchen and she has some of her favorites she likes to cook too. I like to try new recipes and I also make some up so I can use what I have in the pantry.

What I don't like to do is cook complicated recipes with too many ingredients or that take a long time to put together. And whatever it is, I want it to taste good.

So tell me, what are your cooking preferences?


Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Kind of Rituals Do you Have for Writing?

Anyone who reads my Facebook knows I like to start the day with a cup of Chai Latte.

I always work in my office at my computer. Unfortunately, I'm often tempted to check my email and who might be writing something interesting on Facebook. And if I do that, I'll probably have to make a comment. Email might bring me a job to do or at the very least I'll have to answer.

But once I get to writing, I kind of zone out. I don't need music and in fact would find it distracting. I want to enter into the place where my characters are, feel what they are feeling, see everything surrounding them, smell whatever odors are wafting past and write down everything that's going on.

What about the rest of you writers out there? What do you need when you're writing.


Friday, April 15, 2011

How Did I Ever Used to Do it?

Looking back over my long and eventful like I wonder now how I managed to cram everything in.

Everyone knows how busy you are when you're raising five kids. I didn't have a dryer until my 5th one arrived and I finally didn't have to wash clothes and hang them on the line nearly every day. Oh, I still washed plenty, but having a dryer cut down on a lot of work. During those years I was the newsletter editor for the grammar school PTA two years in a row, secretary at least once, and was PTA president two year for the grammar school and two for the junior high. For ten years during that time I led a large Camp Fire Girls group and didn't quit until they graduated from high school. I also served on different committees for Camp Fire.

I held down jobs too. I worked as a telephone operator off and on or between babies. I also worked half a day for 10 years for a school for child development as a teacher. During that time I began taking college classes at night and during the summer eventually earning an AA in Early Childhood Development. My adult kids started falling in love and marrying and I helped plan weddings and put on receptions at our home.I also was writing and submitting manuscripts. Grandchildren started arriving and sometimes I babysat.

When we moved to Springville, only one child left at home by then, we bought, lived in and ran a licensed facility for 6 developmentally disabled women. My mom and dad soon followed and lived in a little house on the same property Besides taking care of the women, cooking, doing laundry I wrote.

My dad passed away and mom moved to Las Vegas with my sis. Other members of the family lived in the little house at various times. I began doing the newsletter for the organization of residential care providers, then helped develop state mandated classes for the administrators and taught some. And I wrote.

By this time several of my books had been published.

We retired from the residential care business finally and after a few years I also quit being in charge of the classes, though I am still doing the newsletter.

I should have more time, right?

No, for some reason, even though I still get up really early, I can't seem to get nearly as much done as I sued to.

One reason, I think, is I have to spend so much time on the Internet promoting each book when it comes out.

For some reason, it seems that the 24 hours in each day has shrunk--or I'm just slowing down. Anyone know the right answer?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Planning Ahead

On Saturday we're headed to Southern California, Burbank and the Buena Vista Library. I'm going to be on a panel called "The Grim Reaper-Lies, Sex and the Dark Side of Murder" at 2 p.m. with mystery authors Jeff Sherratt, Stephen Schwartz and Jeri Westerson. Jeri's the only one I've met before.

When I saw the title, I wasn't quite sure why I was asked to be on that panel--but we're all members of  Sisters in Crime LA and I've always wanted to do one of these panels--enough that I'm willing to drive 3 plus hours to get there.

Analyzing the panel topic, of course there is usually death in every mystery and murder is always dark--but though my characters do have sex, it happens behind closed doors. Sure hope I can keep up my end of the stick in this discussion. If nothing else, I can make people laugh.

A bookstore comes in to sell the book and of course they didn't order mine. (Not surprising since my publishers are both small.) So I'm bringing copies of my two latest books for the store to sell.

After the event is over, we're heading for Oxnard to visit our eldest daughter, I hope we'll be able to see our youngest while we're there too. It's always great when we have to drive somewhere for a book promotion when we can visit family while we're there.

My books are ready, I have the directions-and we'll rely on Mrs. Magellan's help too. Next, time to pack.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading Club, Great Day!

What a fun day.

Daughter-in-law was the designated driver and we left at 9:15 a.m. I'd figured out the mileage and time by using my GPS which said it would take 3 1/2 hours. We drove through the first McDonald's we came to and got two cups of vanilla flavored iced coffee to fortify ourselves.

Not only was the main highway crowded with cars and trucks, but there was construction--so as we drew nearer to Turlock, the time seemed to run out. We used the GPS instructions until it came time to look for the off ramp into town, then we switched to the directions the hostess had given me. Those took us right to the little cafe where she met us as we got out of the car. We were 10 minutes early.

Turlock is bigger than I expected and I hadn't realized that it is also a college town.

After a delightful lunch with two most gracious women from the Reading Club, we followed our hostess to the Methodist church, the site for the club's meeting and tea. The group of women was large, perhaps 40, and so welcoming.

I gave my talk about my writing career and the inspiration for some of my books. Everyone seemed interested and laughed in all the right places. Afterwards, I sold a lot of books.

We were treated to tea and the little goodies that go along with them. I had a good time and everyone seemed to enjoy my talk.

We packed up and headed home which didn't seem to take nearly as long as getting there.

That's what I call a great day!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Off to the Reading Club

Daughter-in-law and I are headed to Turlock this morning.

Why? Two years ago I was invited to speak to this Reading Club and today is the day. Turlock is about a 3 hour drive and since we've also been invited to lunch we'll be heading out around 9:15.

My books are packed, the ones I hope people might be interested in buying and I have 50 autographed copies of Wingbeat, an early Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery to give to each person there.

After I speak at 2 they are having a tea. So, it'll be awhile before we're back on the road.

I am looking forward to this, there is nothing better than speaking to readers.

More tomorrow.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Big, Busy Day Ahead

Seems like they are all that way, but looking at my list, I can see that I really do have a bit day ahead.

I've promised to write a letter for someone in the residential care business, it's a letter asking for more money to hire extra personnel to work with people who can't do much for themselves. I'll be paid for the job--and that's always a good thing.

I'll be on a friend's blog so I have to promote it--that's part of all this blogging stuff and I'm always amazed by those who never promote the blog they are visiting.

I need to make my hotel reservation for the Orleans in July--that's when I'm going to the Public Safety Writers Association's Conference, my very most favorite conference even if I do have to work hard at this one because I'm the program chair.

And I need to get my books ready that I'm taking to the Reader's Club I'm visiting on Tuesday. That will be quite a day and I'm looking for to it. It's about a 3 hour drive so we'll be leaving early because my daughter-in-law and I have been invited to lunch first by a few members. From there we'll got to the meeting room where I'll be talking about my books and what gave me the inspiration for them. So this means I need to figure out which books I want to discuss and which ones I think the group would be most interested in.

Afterwards, we are invited to tea. So you can see, it will be a big day.

No doubt other things will come up as the day progresses.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Infamous Jackass Mail Run

During one of the sunny times. A group of ladies line dancing.

Cloudy now, but look at the top and you can see the bad guys on the roof with their long rifles.

A shot of the front-runner to the mail wagon and across the street, the drinking bunch of the porch of the Inn.

Everyone anxiously waiting for the mail wagon, and another shot of the bad guys on the roof.
Despite the fact that this was the 50th anniversary of the Jackass Mail Run, the crowds were light during the early afternoon. Saw a lot of people I knew, but when it came to selling books, it was a wash-out. That was almost literal because it rained for a short while. It was also cold with ominous dark clouds overhead which may have kept people home.

The mail wagon took a long time to get there, but when it did  there was a real shoot-em up. Surprising how many people participated on the good guys side and the bad guys side. You knew who they were going to be because they walked around with huge guns in holsters and strapped to their legs.

Back in the good old days, people drank on the street and got rowdy. Now they drink on the porch of the Springville Inn and get rowdy. Though I did see a couple of folks swigging beer from their bottles in a paper bag.

Though the law was in evidence right before the mail wagon arrived, they weren't around much beforehand. Back in the day, the hauled the drunks off right and left.

Though this is a fun event, I've decided it's not one where people are inclined to buy my books--at least not enough to make it worthwhile.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Guardian

When this series was on TV I never heard about it. I do order movies and TV shows from Netflix and thought I'd try this out.

It didn't take long for hubby and me to get hooked on it. We even discuss the main character, Nick, like we know him. For a smart guy and a lawyer to boot, he sure doesn't have any people skills. Kind of reminds me of someone with Aspberger's Syndrome.

It certainly isn't feel-good show and the main characters sure do some stupid things.

Due to an arrest for drug possession, Nick, has been sentenced to many, many hours of community service working as an advocate for children and later adults too. This is not a fairy tale, most of the problems the kids and adults have don't have ideal endings, sometimes horrible endings.

The main characters make terrible choices sometimes--just as in real life.

The writers certainly did a great job on this show. Every evening that we're home, we've been watching 2 or 3 episodes.

What's up next? The last season of Friday Night Lights. We hated to see this one end, though I can see why it had to. All the kids that were on the show moved on as adults. This too is an excellent series with real life situations that don't always turn out the way we hope though it is a bit more upbeat than The Guardian.

While this blog is doing its things today, I'll be at the 50th annual Jackass Mail Run, sitting under my tent with my books and probably freezing since the high will be 60 if we're lucky. I'll report on it tomorrow.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Oh, boy, this has already started to be quite a day!

I'm guesting on a blog today where I talk about the "exciting" life of an author. Maybe some are, but mine just seem to be busy. Take a peek at what I wrote.

Today the big thing was having my hair dyed. Too much white was beginning to show through my red hair. Since I'm going to have a booth at the Jackass Mail Run tomorrow (not supposed to rain, but since we're surrounded by snow on the hills and mountains, it's bound to be cold) I want to look my best. My nose will probably match my hair.

I've read and responded to the first batch of emails.

I finally got around to working on the chapter I read to my critique group Wednesday night.

I've also done some work on the PSWA conference. We lost a speaker, but I can use the room for a panel, just haven't decided which one yet.

 In a minute I'm going to start reading the short stories I have to judge for a contest.

Does it sound like I'll be getting back to my latest work-in-progress anytime soon?


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Point of View Tips

It was through writing critique groups that I learned about POV--probably one of the most difficult concepts in all of the craft of writing. The only thing I knew about point-of-view when I began was that everyone had one.

In writing, everyone has one too, but it's far better if you as the author decide ahead of time through whose point-of-view are you going to be telling the story. Of course it could be the narrator's point-of-view but then you are distancing the main character(s) from the reader.

Using first person is the easiest POV to use, but even that can be tricky. The main thing to remember is you need to establish who that "I" person is right away; from whose eyes are we seeing this story through.

My favorite is close third person. In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, the story is always viewed through her. She's the one who is experiencing everything that's going on. In the narration, everything is what she's doing, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, thinking. When writing these mysteries, I try to climb inside her and see through her eyes. Once in awhile I might do one chapter from another's point-of-view like I did in Invisible Path. The very first chapter is told in first person by one of the main character's in that particular story. It seemed the best way to get his back-story across. From the second chapter on, everything that happened came through Tempe in third person.

In my Rocky Bluff P.D. series I use multiple points-of-view--but only one per scene. In this series I have an ensemble cast of characters. In each book, the reader learns what is happening to the police officers of Rocky Bluff P.D. and to their families and how the job affects the family and what's going on at home affects the job.

In one chapter I may have several scenes to show what is happening to each character at more or less the same time. But each of these scenes is handled as close third person, with the POV character being the one who is telling and experiencing what is going on.

No matter how you do it, the POV character should always be the one who has the most at stake in that particular scene.

Remember, your POV character only knows what he or she thinks, he can't know what anyone else is thinking. He or she can assume, or guess or figure out, but can never know what thoughts are inside another person's head. Also, the POV character can't see himself. He can't see tears welling in his own eyes, but he can feel them. He can't see his cheeks turning red, but he can feel his face warming.

Head-hopping is when the author jumps from one person's POV to the next. Some romance writers do this a lot, especially in love scenes--and I have to admit some do it quite well. But for most of us, it's far better to remain in one POV for an entire scene.

Hope this is helpful.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Celebrating Granddaughter's 21st Birthday at Big Bubba's

Granddaughter Jessica chose to celebrate her birthday at Big Bubba's. Those celebrating with her were her husband, Jerry, her mom and dad, and three of her girlfriends and a fiance of one's, and me and her grandpa.
Jessi has been friends with these girls since grammar school.

If you go to Big Bubba's on your birthday, they take $15 off your dinner price.

The place is very Western, loud country music, kids running all around because there's a tree house with stairs and lots of places for kids to explore.

And of course, the mechanical bull. Jessi rode the bull. I was kind and didn't take a picture of when she fell off though everyone else did. Lots more photos were taken with the friends together.

Everyone had to go to work the next day, so the party broke up early.

Happy Birthday, Jessi, it's hard to believe you are already 21.

See, I don't just stay home and write.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weather for Real and in my WIP

When I began working on my latest Work in Progress, a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, it was winter and we were having an unusually rainy season. The novel is set right after Christmas so all the rain and the havoc it was causing for real I reflected in what I was writing.

I definitely knew how it felt to drive through a downpour so I could write easily about Tempe not being able to see through the sheet of rain. The earth was so saturated, roads were blocked by rivers of mud, making it particularly hazardous for night driving. In places parts of the hillsides slid down bringing boulders along with the saturated earth. Trees fell, taking out power lines causing the loss of electricity. In some places, people were without lights and water for three and four days. All of this was great fodder for my story.

But I'm still in the middle of it and guess what? The weather has changed. Instead of being dark and gloomy, rain threatening every day, it's bright and sunshiny, colorful wildflowers are blooming all over the hills. So how am I going to sustain the mood?

I'm not going to open the curtains in my office, that way I won't be distracted by the glorious green, yellow, purple and blue hillside. I'm also going to climb right inside Tempe and look out through her eyes and experience what's going on in Bear Creek during the rainiest weather they've had in years.

And it's time to go there, see you tomorrow. To learn more about Tempe and her part of the Southern Sierra visit and read about the books in the series, the latest two are Dispel the Mist and Invisible Path.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Beautiful Monday

The sun is shining and I think Spring may actually be here, though I thought that Friday and Saturday and then on Sunday it was gray, sprinkling and 50 degrees when I headed to church.

I teach Sunday School to 3rd through 6th graders. Yesterday started off well, except we had a new boy who'd never been in a church situation a friend of one of my regulars. He decided to show off by picking on his little sister. Not fun playing referee.

When church time arrived, the new boy was not at all happy and he and his friend decided to leave. I had one of the teens intercept them, but they said they had a birthday party to go too. Sister remained and sat with me. I didn't for a minute believe the birthday party story, but you can't hog tie the kids. (They only live within walking distance of the church and both had their bikes.)

After church we took our daughter (the preacher's wife) out to eat Japanese food. Her hubby is fasting right now. How he can fast (no food at all and this was his 6th day) and get up and preach I have no idea. I'd faint dead away.

On our way home, daughter treated us to our favorite iced vanilla flavored coffee.

Spent the rest of the afternoon autographing books while watching TV. Tried to watch a new mystery on TMC but I think I'll wait for the DVD--far too many commercials.

Worked more on the PSWA Conference Program and did that this a.m. too.

Now on with Monday and enjoying sunshine.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Occupied My Time Yesterday

As the program chair for the Public Safety Writers Association's conference, I've been busy trying to plan the program. My speakers are set, but I have to figure out now who will be on what panels.

Most of the people who come to the conference are somehow associated with a public safety field: police, FBI, border patrol, airport security, CIA, coroner's office, fire department etc., but we also have a police psychiatrist, editors, a publishers, and several mystery writers. I want everyone to have an opportunity to shine as well as sharing expertise on the different aspects of writing and promoting.

This is a great conference, small enough to get acquainted with everyone, and plenty of great speakers. Since it's in Las Vegas, people can find plenty to entertain themselves after hours. We don't plan any evening activities except for a no-host cocktail and get-acquainted party on the first night.

If you're interested, go to the website and click on conference

While you're there, take a look at the great newsletter, there are informative articles, a funny one and news about our members.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

We Went to the Casino

One of the settings for several of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries is the Bear Creek Reservation and the casino. Those settings are loosely based on the Tule River Indian Reservation and Eagle Mountain Casino.

I heard on the radio that the casino had crab legs on Friday night and hubby and I invited son and daughter-in-law to go with us out there. We also asked son to drive. The closest road leading there is narrow, has sharp curves and lost of ups and downs. (The road closer to town is just as bad.) It scares me to drive there, which I've done a couple of times) because people are always in such a rush to get there and come back.

The reservation is tucked in a beautiful but rather narrow valley surrounded by huge mountains--part of the Southern Sierra.

Because of all the rain everything was green and water flowed abundantly through the Tule River. Some wild flowers decorated the hillsides, though in a few days more will cover them.

To get to the casino you don't go into the main part of the reservation, taking a right and following all the cars streaming in. Revenue from the casino has brought new life to the reservation. A new fire station as well as many other public buildings have been constructed to enhance the life of the Indians who live on the rez.

The parking lot is huge, with lot of space for private vehicles and the buses that transport people from Porterville and all the other nearby towns, including Bakersfield.

Our destination was not the casino itself but the buffet. Since I was there last time, the buffet area has been remodeled and enlarged. And yes, we got our crab legs--but they didn't have any utensils to crack them or poke the meat out. We struggled, but managed. Next time we go, we're taking our own crackers and pokers. Actually they are for cracking nuts and poking the nut meat out, but they work well on crab legs.

By the way, the clam chowder was the best I've had anywhere--more clams than anything else.

After we ate, son insisted we go into the casino and gamble. I've never enjoyed gambling and didn't have any spare money I wanted to waste. He popped a $10 bill in a penny machine and insisted I play. Oh, I pushed buttons, things spun around, sometimes I won, sometimes I didn't. Lost for awhile, then finally got the money back to where it was nearly what had gone in and I cashed out shy a few pennies. Hubby had a $5 given to him and after he got it back up to $5 he cashed out.

Frankly, I don't see any fun doing that at all. Some people must, the place was crowded. I saw more Indians eating than I did in the casino. I think they are the smarter folks.

Anyway, that was my night at the casino.

If you haven't seen it yet, do check out this great interview


Friday, April 1, 2011

Cocktails, Fiction and Gossip Magazine

Do take a look at this issue of this fun new magazine.

There are a lot of good articles in there, including one about me and Invisible Path, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.