Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Invisible Path on Kindle


That's the link to the Kindle version of Invisible Path.  Of course this is also a trade paperback of the same title.

If you liked the fact that the Hairy Man was in Dispel the Mist the legend continues in Invisible Path. One young Indian man's belief in the Hairy Man indirectly leads to his death and the false accusation of another. The setting includes the Bear Creek Indian Reservation and the recovery center and the mountains above the reservation.

The story deals with recovery from alcoholism, Indian legends, misplaced loyalty, and a paramilitary group.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and Personal Thoughts

These particular flags were flown for Veteran's Day, the yellow ribbons had the name of a particular veteran on it--one of which was my husband's.

Hubby, Arnold D. Meredith, better known as Hap, retired as a Chief Equipment Officer after serving 20 years in the U.S. Sea Bees. He traveled and was stationed in many places: Spain, Cuba, Newfoundland to name a few and of course different bases in the U.S. He served three times in Vietnam during the war. He loved his time in the Sea Bees.
Me not so much.

Though I was proud of what he was doing, I was left at home when he went off to these exotic places with an ever growing family--final total 5. With a houseful of teens, when hubby toyed with the idea of signing up for another tour of duty, I told him I'd had enough. It was time for him to stay home and help with the kids.

After that he worked for Sears for 15 years, then together we owned and operated a home for developmentally disabled women for 22 years.

Now we're both retired--sort of. Of course I'm writing and he's great about coming along with me on book events and helping out.

I do know that he looks back fondly on his military career--definitely the highlight of his life.

Again, my looking back is not so fondly. In fact I shed tears whenever I see the soldier coming home to their families from our latest wars--I can remember the heartache all too well. When you see anyone in the military do thank them for their service. It means a lot.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Inspiration for The Glass Cage

Marilyn recently asked me what inspired me to write The Glass Cage, book 2 of my McKenna Crime series. The Glass Cage is one of those synchronistic intersections of several facets of my life coming together with a dose of vivid imagination and a story that was just begging to be told.

I was a police dispatcher for a number of years and saw pretty much every kind of call that can from through from a simple guy on the side of the road with a flat tire to a bomb on an important politician’s route of travel. (Not a scare, but an actual bomb). I told calls for domestic violence, barking dogs, a murder/suicide and runaway juveniles just to name a few. As a dispatcher you are there as a first point of contact for someone having an out of the ordinary experience and the hope is you are going to make a difference in their lives by getting help to them. People don’t call 911 to say they’re having a good day.

A series of calls I took on one case was the starting point for the series and book one, The Spell. From there my heroine started looking at her life and just where she wanted to go with it and The Glass Cage is that bridge from Kelly’s old life to her new. At the start of the Glass Cage she is floundering about just what she wants to do. By the end of it she has a clear direction—at least I think she does. I wrote it during a period of my own transition from dispatch to returning to being a secretary—a job I always enjoyed. Experienced writers say to write what you know and in the case of my first two McKenna books that is quite true.

When I left dispatching I took a position that I felt sure would be low key, zero stress and ample time to focus on my writing on my days off. I quickly found myself in the middle of an unbelievable situation with myself as a witness to full of manipulation, alleged corporate theft and threats on a co-worker’s life. Not quite the peaceful, no stress, leave the job at work job I thought I took. When the business bought a new building, part of the construction was an 8 x 6 glass booth with one door in and out, one air vent similar to that as a movie theatre ticket window and one ventilation portal in the ceiling that was deemed essential to shut because it would affect ventilation in the rest of the building. Everyone knew the reception room had been built with the person who gave damaging evidence in mind. Lest anyone suggest she could have gotten another job, that would have been true in any other economic climate and if the owner of the business made every attempt to keep the person from leaving.  Once they left they could talk about all the goings on, but as long as they worked there, they couldn’t.

This was the jumping off point for The Glass Cage. When you write fiction you can have the ending that should have been rather than what is.


The Spell, book 1 of the McKenna Crime series: Stalked by an unknown admirer most of her life Kelly and her best friend move from their hometown to San Francisco. Certain she has left her stalker behind, Kelly soon discovers he is still there, watching and waiting.  When he sets a bomb on her car, nearly killing her, ATF Agent Ryan Michaels is called in—but how can Ryan explain the parallels between his life and Kelly’s?

The Glass Cage, book 2 of the McKenna Crime series: With her stalker behind bars Kelly is finally free to pursue the life she’s always wanted. The thing is, she isn’t sure what that is. Buying herself some time she takes a job at Hamilton & Myers as what she believes will be a secretary. Before long she is drawn into a world of corporate fraud and murder.


From earliest childhood Regan was an avid reader and upon discovering Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens she was hooked on books that carried the reader away to a different time and place. Preferring the quiet of her room and a good book to spending time with people she traveled far beyond those four walls.

It was while working as a police dispatcher, first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department, she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. In the spring of 2009 she returned to the day job she always liked best, working as a legal secretary. Although, curled up in her bunny slippers with her fur-faced children, Mel, Missy and Bogie, while writing is one of her most favorite things to do.

Thank you so much Regan, it was great to learn more about you and your books. 


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dispel the Mist and why I Loved Writing This One.

Everyone has heard of Bigfoot, but not so many know about the Hairy Man. On the Tule River Indian Reservation (Bear Creek Indian Reservation in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries) there is legend about the Hairy Man who lives in the mountains surrounding the reservation.

At the end of the reservation road there is a rock shelter named Painted Rock. This rock shelter was created by one boulder landing ontop of another during  a time when the Tule River flooded creating a large sheltered cave. Inside this cave, between 500 and 1000 years ago, Indians painted the walls and ceilings with colorful pictographs of Native symbols, animals, and a map of the Tule River. On the largest wall is a drawing of the Hairy Man (as you see it on the cover) except he is 8 foot tall, beside him is the 5 foot tall depiction of a female and a 3 foot tall child. It is the only Native drawing of a Big Foot creature in California or Oregon.

I was fortunate to visit this site with an anthropology class. Our Indian guide pointed out many things but seemed to be reluctant to talk about the Hairy Man. Of course I asked him to tell us about him. He explained the legend and reluctantly admitted that his father had once seen the Hairy Man. When he finished he looked at me sternly and said, "Don't you come here at night."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because there are too many spirits here at night."

Right then I knew though I'd never come at night, Deputy Tempe Crabtree would most certainly visit the rock shelter at night and she'd also experience the spirits who inhabit the place. And that is how Dispel the Mist began.

Though Dispel the Mist is not on Kindle as yet, it is available as a trade paperback from Amazon



Friday, May 27, 2011

The Time is Drawing Close

No, not for the end of the world, but until June 1 you can sign up for the Public Safety Writers Association' conference at the Early Bird rate. However, you need to print out the registration form and mail your check or money order in. You also must be registered by June 1 to be on a panel--if you want to be on one.

You can check out all the information here http://www.policewriter.com

If you write about or want to write about anything in the public safety fields: police, FBI, secret service, fire fighting, etc. this is the conference for you. You'll get acquainted with all sorts of people who actually work in the field--but also those who have knowledge about writing fiction and non-fiction, what's new in publishing and promoting.

Because it's a small conference there is only one track so you won't have to choose what panel or speaker to hear. You'll also make friends with people who can be your resource later for needed research.

And best of all, it's just a fun conference. Nothing is planned for the evenings, after all the conference is in Las Vegas, we figure you can probably find something fun to do on your own.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Year of Cancellations

Wow, I just heard that the mystery cruise has been cancelled. This is the same cruise that was cancelled last year because the ship it was going to be on had big time electrical problems--yes, the one that made the news. There wasn't time to get it fixed before our cruise.

WHOA! I learned that it's only the mystery conference part of the cruise that was cancelled. The cruise was actually quite inexpensive and my husband and I planned to celebrate our 60th anniversary on the cruise so I think at this point I'm still going.

The first reason given was only 40 people signed up--but the second was Mexico is too dangerous right now. (I'm not sure the 2nd reason has anything to do with it since the cruise itself is still happening.) I did go on a cruise with my high school reunion class and we had for less than 40 people who went, it was more like 20. Of course I'm disappointed, but at this point not sure what I'll do.

The Mayhem in the Midlands conference was cancelled too. This was one of my favorite conferences and hubby and I loved to go to Omaha. We made so many friends at that conference over the years--friends that we only saw when we went there. This one was also supposed to be because of not enough people signing up--but I heard other rumors. In any case, in order to save our air fare we're flying to Nashville for Killer Nashville.

Seems like it's always something. But I've learned over the years that often things happen for a very good reason. So, I'll swallow my disappointment and enjoy all the other things I have planned.

Do I sound like Pollyanna? Who is old enough to even remember the Pollyanna stories? My mother made me read the. The main theme was this, if Pollyanna broke her leg she was grateful she didn't break both of them.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review of Murder on the Interstate


Who would ever guess that a mystery about two middle-aged women traveling in a motor home would be filled with non-stop action? And I’m talking about motor home, semi-truck and car chases, shoot outs, foot chases, running from the enemy, escaping through bathroom windows, terrorists, and explosions. Yes, that’s all in Murder on the Interstate and much, much more!

I have a confession to make, I blurbed this book, but I only read enough to be sure it was going to be a good read and the major idea of the plot. When I received the ARC to review, I was delighted to know I could take my time and savor the story. Little did I know that my husband would grab it first and he got so caught up in the story I had to wait for him to finish it first. He loved it. And when I finally got my hands on it, I loved it too. Murder on the Interstate is truly a page-turner.

Jean Henry Mead you’ve got a winner!

Here's the link to order Murder on the Interstate:


Jean Henry Mead is giving away three copies of her book in a drawing on May 28 and naming a visitor who leaves a comment a character in my next book, Magnets for Murder.

--Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith, author of Angel Lost and Invisible Path

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Upcoming In-Person Promotions

This has been a really busy time for me in promoting Angel Lost and my other books. At times it's felt a bit too busy though I enjoy talking about my books, writing, and meeting readers.

 In June, we're combining our vacation with our eldest daughter and hubby to Sedona AZ with two presentations. On June 7th, I'll be speaking in the Community Room of the Sedona Library at 3:30 with a good and long-time writing buddy, Willma Gore. I'll be talking about working with small publishers on June 11 at 2 at the Well Read Coyote Bookstore. I'm really looking forward to visiting Sedona once again.

On June 18th, I'll be heading into the foothills of Oakhurst to speak about an Author's Platform for the writer's group that meets at 2 p.m. the Willow Bridge Book Store.

My biggie for July, of course, is the Public Safety Writers Association's Conference at the Orleans Hotel in July in Las Vegas. It's not too late to sign up, we've extended the Early Bird Rate to June 1--but you have to print out the registration form and include you check or money order and mail it in. PSWA to learn more about the conference and find the registration form.

In the meantime I'm writing a new post every day for my own blog, or hosting an author. If you'd like to be a guest on this blog, just email me at mmeredith@ocsnet.net  Of course, I do Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis.

If you are able to come to any of these events, be sure and say hello.



Monday, May 23, 2011

The Effect of a Short Story by Carol Shenold

Even in grade school I liked short stories. The one that stuck with me was a very short one I read in a comic book. It involved a child coming home after school, reaching her house, finding it dark when she opened the door, calling out and receiving no answer, reaching in to turn on the lights. Instead of the light switch her hand lands on a large spider. She screams, wakes up from the (wait or it) dream, still in class. 
After school she laughs at herself for being silly, reaches home, a dark house and no answer when she calls out. This time when she reaches out, touches the spider, she doesn't wake up.
I never forgot the story. Never reach for a light switch in a dark room without the spider visiting me.

I graduated to Poe, Saki and other horror writers, read better crafted stories, but none of them took hold with the same intensity as the first. Of course, even before I read the horror comic, my grandmother prepped me with bed time stories about a killer in the 1940's who scattered body parts in the sewers of Chicago, or the lady who kept hat boxes on her shelf with children's heads stored in them. Both supposedly true stories. If my grandmother had been alive when mother found out about the sweet bedtime visits we had, mother would have killed her.
Now, surprise, I write horror, dark urban fantasy, paranormal mysteries, and love it as much as I loved those first tastes of the macabre. Safe scares, that's what it's all about. And placing characters in the situation of realizing the monster under the bed is real.

Privy to Murder, By Carol Shenold


Mag the Ghost wasn't any easier to deal with in death than Mag the Terror had been in life. Living in Love, Texas, in her childhood home, wasn't the end of the world, but Tali Cates can't see the good things with her eyes clouded by murder and mayhem. The first party for her event planning business, Party On, is marred when Tali finds the hostess's dead body in the outhouse, the woman's ghost hovering above.

Ever since her paranormal gifts ruined her marriage, Tali Cates has tried to suppress her abilities. Now living at home with her son and her mother and trying to support her family, Tali is faced with a vengeful ghost, intent on ruining her life unless she solves her murder. Some human elements are showing violent intent and Tali has to come face to face with the very things she tried to leave behind, her gifts and violence.


The skunk headed straight for me. I tried to remember the rules—hold very still or run like hell? Hit it on the nose? No, that would be a shark. Pee was involved? Nope, jellyfish.

The skunk turned to spray. I bolted for the truck and gagged on the smell that now drenched my jeans. I shed them and leaped in, slamming the locks.

Now what? I was in the enemy camp in my bikini cut panties. I reached for my cell phone. Shit fire, it was in the pocket of my jeans, outside, smelling like ten skunks.

I crept out. How the blank was I supposed to empty the pockets without touching the jeans? I picked up a couple of sticks, slid them into the front belt loops, and tried to shake the stuff out.

I managed to get the scent on myself and nothing out of the pockets.

I heard brush crackling. Frank, Betty Ann, and Donna all stood there staring.

“What are you doing here in your underwear?”

“I always wear underwear, Betty Ann.” Just not in plain sight.

Coffee Time Review

Privy to a Murder is a fun and quirky murder mystery. It seems to have a little bit of everything, murder, love, mystery, and a haunting. The main character of Tali is a very likable character that is well written. The story flows well, and you can not help but manage to smile at all the mishaps, and bad luck that Tali finds her self being plagued with. This story had just the right mix of characters that it had you guessing until the end on who was the murderer.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Privy to Murder
Carol Shenold
ISBN: 978-0-9804133-7-3
Eternal Press
October 2007
Rating: 4 Klovers

Tali Cates was starting life over. Not that she had much choice. Her husband, disturbed by her admission of possessing a special gift of being able to see the dead, dropped her and their two children by the side of the road. Now she was back in her home town, living with her mother, starting a new business, wanting nothing more than a fresh start.

But murder gets in the way of her fresh start, making it more of a challenge then anyone deserves. Every where she turns, she’s making more enemies then friends and the trail of murder keeps following her. Until she learns to embrace her gifts and use them to find the killer, life in Love, Texas will continue to be Privy to Murder.

This was a very enjoyable, cozy mystery. I was immediately drawn in to the little town of Love. There’s nothing like a small town where everyone knows everyone else as a background for murder. Everyone is a suspect and no one is completely innocent.

Carol Shenold does a lovely job of giving us familiarity with the characters from the get-go. Tali Cates is full of spunk and doesn’t let life get her down, no matter how many curve balls are thrown her way. She was fun to spend the weekend with, and I am looking forward to her next foray in Bloody Murder, releasing in 2008. This was a wonderful start to a great new mystery series combining a little bit of humor, small town charm, realistic characters and a solid plot that will keep you guessing.
Reviewed by Terri Dukes

Come visit me at http://www.carolshenold.comcaro

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You Need Many Hats if You're a Writer

A writer is expected to wear many hats today.

Author and Editor Hat

First, you must write the best book possible and the edit it or have someone else edit it who knows what he or she is doing. You have to research the markets which means finding the publisher who is looking for the kind of book you've written. (Ideally you should have done this earlier so you're manuscript will be formatted according to the publisher's standards--or the same thing if you're trying to find an agent first.)

Publicist Hat and Web Designer Hat

While you're writing you should be planning on how you are planning to market this book. What is your platform? Do you have some special skills or background for writing this book? What will you be doing to promote the book? Do you have a website? A blog? Are you on Facebook and Twitter and other social sites? Have you signed up for Yahoo lists that deal with the subject or genre of your book? Have you collected contacts for reviewers?

Most publishers want to know all of the above, often right when you're querying them.

Speaker Hat, Performer Hat and Instructor Hat

Once the book comes out besides the online marketing, you need to get out and meet folks and sell your books.

Bookstore signings are much more successful if you can turn it into a speaking engagement.
Libraries are a great place to give talks, and most will let you sell you books or will have someone to do it for you.

You'll need to make contacts (if you haven't already, but it's an ongoing job) about other speaking engagements to service and social clubs.

If you feel you have information to offer new or aspiring writers, see if you can get on the faculty of writing conferences.

Social Butterfly Hat where you'll also be wearing your Promotion Hat

If you attend genre conferences, you need to polish up your social skills so you can meet people, make friends, and let them know you're a writer. Go to community gatherings, make contacts, let people know you're available to come and give a presentation about your book, writing etc.

Your Friend Hat

Make friends, be nice to everyone. Never judge anyone by how they look. The most unlikely looking people can become your biggest fans.

Get your Hat closet ready, because it's going to be busy.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Library Event

On Thursday, my daughter-in-law and I braved the afternoon traffic on 99 and headed to Fresno. We stopped long enough along the way to fortify ourselves with McDonald's coffee. We used Mrs. Magellan to find the particular branch of the library we were looking for.

When we got near the location, we diligently followed the directions and then Mrs. Magellan said, "You are there." We couldn't see anything that looked like a library. All that was there was a strip mall and a medical center. We drove to the next street, went in to turn around and I spotted to teens walking home from high school. "Where's the library?" I asked. The answer was, "Right down there" and of course both kids pointed in the direction we'd just come.

This time we paid better attention, drove into the parking lot of the strip mall, and there on a storefront were the word Library. Obviously at one time this had been a store. Of course the library wasn't very big, but it did have a good over all selection of books including a large area for children's books. There were plenty of tables and chairs for kids to do homework and judging from the activity we saw, this was a safe haven for many.

We were warmly greeted by the Friends of the Library members as well as the library staff. They'd set up a table for the authors, chairs, yummy refreshments and a selling table. Lorie Ham, a good friend, author and the brains behind the event arrived soon after we did. Besides our books, she was promoting her new weekly online magazine, Kings River Life--check it out, it's free and has lots of fun stuff, short stories, movie and book reviews and more. James Garcia Jr. was the third panelist.

James writes articles and reviews for the Kings River Life magazine. I've done some writing for the KRL but mostly book reviews and author interviews. James also wrote a dandy vampire mystery. Lorie is the author of several mysteries about gospel singers.

We had a small but nice gathering who were truly interested in what we had to say. After talking about our writing, we answered lots of questions, refreshments were eaten, and hooray, people bought books.

One man told me he thought I was really funny. Well, I learned long time ago if I could make people laugh, I would sell books--so I do tell some funny stories when I talking about my writing and research. And yes, it worked.

I love libraries and truly enjoy speaking engagements held in libraries. Thank you Cedar Clinton Branch for inviting us.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Yes, I Have Another Life Besides Writing and Promoting

We had a graduation party for our Bible study class which began with a great Chinese dinner! Afterwards we played games. These two lucky ladies were searching for three cherries hidden in a pile of whipped cream. When you study the Bible for a period of time with the same group of women, you really do get to know one another and create a bond.

By now, anyone who has been reading my blog regularly knows that I have a big family--and also an extended family of friends.

Recently hubby and I attended a baby shower for one of my grandsons and his hopefully to-be-wife's baby. It was a huge shower with many members of our family, lots of friends, and the mother-to-be's even bigger family than ours. It was held at a huge pavilion in a park. That same day I attended a church council meeting, a have-to because I'm the church clerk and must take minutes of all official meetings. I'm also the one who types and editsi the Pastor's Pen that is included in every Sunday's church bulletin. Every Sunday that I'm home I teach Sunday School to 3rd- 6th grade and of course, attend the church service afterwards. We usually go out to eat somewhere after church and often take some family members with us.

I'm hoping to squeeze in a haircut this week and also have a foot doctor appointment. I usually go to town once a week to grocery shop and do some errands.

I'll be attending a meeting of the board of CRSA which is an association for Administrators of residential care. Something I did for over 23 years. I still write and edit their monthly newsletter so that's why I have to go. When I come home I'll finish the newsletter, which I've already started and I have to take it to the printers to be put together and mailed.

We'll be going to a great grandson's graduation from high school, and his sister's graduation from middle school. I have a Sunday School teacher's meeting to attend, and in June hubby and I are traveling with daughter and her hubby in their motor home to Sedona AZ. We're camping and sightseeing, but I must confess that I'm doing two speaking events while I'm there.

When we get back to California, we're going to celebrate a granddaughter's graduation. Even though all this is going on, I'll be squeezing in some writing time and you'll see me on Facebook and Twitter.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Mystery We Write Blog Tour Coming Soon!

Preparing for the Mystery We Write Blog Tour

Thirteen mystery writers will participate in a virtual tour which begins the week of May 23 and will run through the week of August 14. Each person involved will host another person on the tour at least one day that week, a different person each week.

Each week I'll be hosting a different mystery author on my blog.

Mary 23rd--Carol Shenold
May 29th--Regan Taylor
June 6--Jennifer DiCamillo
June 13--Vivian Zabel
June 20--Anne K. Albert
June 27--Beth Anderson
July 4--Pat Browning
July 11--Sharon Rvin
July 18--Jackie King
July 25--Mary Martinez
August 1--Marja McGraw
August 8--Jean Henry Mead

I've only met three of these wonderful authors in person, Pat Browning, Marja McGraw and Jennifer DiCamillo, but I feel like I know others because we've had so much interaction on the Net.

Of course I'll be visiting each one of their blogs too. First, I'll be on Jean Henry Mead's blog. As the time draws nearer I'll be sure to let everyone know so they can drop by and visit.

This is going to be fun!

Marilyn Meredith

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Great Adventure by J. E. Taylor

The Great Adventure…

And here I thought writing a book was the great adventure. 
Try your hand at opening a publishing house. The flurry of activity to get to the point where you swing the doors open is insane.  Negotiations on Website design, distribution channels, submission guidelines, contract wording, royalties, business agreements, lining up cover artists and editors and everything else in between keeps you busy.  

Insanity at its best until that moment you flip the switch . . .  and then all you hear are crickets - no band playing When the Saints Come Marching In, no fireworks, just the sound of silence.  

Of course, this is accompanied by a spark of panic when you discover your website is down.  You made the grand announcement and there was nowhere for people to go.  


That Homer Simpson sound comes from your lips and you palm your face in despair.  Thank god for technology wizards.  They magically fixed the issue and bam.  That first chirp - that first submission appears in the inbox.  

You do a little dance because your fears of unending silence have been thwarted.   

Then you read that first submission.  

Another face palm.   

Heavy sigh.  

You were warned.  

Getting submissions is fairly easy these days with the sheer number of writers in the ring, but getting a quality submission seems like finding a raw diamond on a New England beach.  

Your inbox is now chirping like a hungry chick and you wade through the slush, searching for that diamond, that story that sets your soul on fire.  

There - in between the overdone and the passive voice – there it is, shining like a beacon and you thank the stars and the moon and the wind for bringing the story to your table. 
Each moment in the publishing journey is exciting from both the writing side of the fence -hearing that your work has been accepted – to the publisher side of the fence where you as the publisher are able to make dreams come true.  

I like helping to make dreams come true. Don’t you? 

If you’re wondering what I, as an editor, look for in submissions both at Novel Concept Publishing (www.novelconceptpublishing.com) or at Allegory (www.allegoryezine.com) swing into the following guest blogs and that will give you a pretty good roadmap.  

Thanks for swinging by Marilyn’s blog and listening to my ramblings.  

For more information about my books, or me please visit my website at www.JETaylor75.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fringe Benefits on Kindle

Fringe Benefits which is number 3 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is about a very bad cop who uses his job as a means to do things he ought not do. He is based on a police officer I knew years ago, who also wasn't the best cop or person--however, I can assure you he'd never recognize himself in the book.

Gordon Butler is introduced in this book. He has the unfortunate luck to be partnered with the "bad cop" during his training period. Anyone who has read any of the later books really should read this and learn what poor Gordon has to go through.

This book is a big grittier than some of the others, so be warned. However, it is one that I had a great time writing.

To buy it for your Kindle


Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Monday, May 16, 2011

Final Respects on Kindle

Final Respects is the very first in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and now only available on Kindle. When I wrote this book I had no idea that it would end up being a series. It does show what formed Officer Doug Milligan into the person he's become in the later books--and it's before Stacey Wilbur joins the RBPD.

I loved writing this book and like many of the books, some of the inspiration came from real life.


A lot of the book is about a mortuary and the three little girls of the mortuary's owner who love to play hide and seek among the caskets. When my youngest daughter was a kid, her best girlfriend's dad owned a mortuary. She loved to spend the night there and the girls played hide and seen among the caskets, even those with dead people in them. Read the books and see what happens when my fictional girls play among the caskets.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

This is news because we live in "sunny" California and are really having a wet year. Actually, we live in the Central Valley section up in the foothills today. By this time of year, the weather is usually headed into summer. Of course there are always exceptions. I remember a June day when my parents were moving into our little house next door and it poured the whole time the moving truck was being unloaded. One of the old timers and local historians loves to tell about the 1st of May annual Old Timers Picnic that was held outdoors and it snowed. From then on, they've held the event indoors.

Around the country the weather has been the source of news because it has truly been unpredictable. My heart goes out to those who live where flooding is a serious problem and some have lost homes and others are fearing it may happen to them.

One young woman I know is unhappy, I'm sure. She has a baby shower planned and it's to be held at a park. Fortunately, the park does have covered pavilions, but just the fact that it's raining may keep people away. I have my gift and we will make an appearance. After all, she's expecting a new great-grandchild for us.

Perhaps it will clear up enough for the party--will certainly hope so.

Before that, hubby and I will be heading over to church to teach our Sunday School classes--he the older adults and I will be teaching my 3-6 graders. My grandson-in-law is preaching today and I'm looking forward to that, he hasn't preached for a long time.

Because we almost always are complaining because of lack of rain, I'll have to count the showers today as a blessing.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finding Peace by Rie McGaha

Where I live everyone carries a weapon. We don't lock our doors at night, we don't lock our vehicles and the keys are usually left in the ignition. There is something to be said when everyone is armed – our crime rate is practically non-existent. When you know if you break into someone's house the chances are you're coming out in a body bag is a great deterrent. Here people are friendly and children are raised with manners. It's a laid back lifestyle with hardworking people who take the time to know who you are and consider you their neighbor no matter where in the county you live.

I've always lived in out of the way places, in mountains and close to water, but it seems that as I grew older, I wanted to be even farther away from people and traffic and the sounds of humanity. I like my peace and quiet. I like to run around naked and not worry that I'm giving some young person nightmares, or years of therapy to get over the shock! I like living where my dogs can run with no need of fences, and I can have chickens and cows, and when I look out my window all I see is trees and fields of grass and wild flowers. I like the smell of water from the nearby creek, and I like leaving my windows open so fresh air can fill the house.

Of course I had my years when I was a teen and early twenties when I wanted to be in the mix of it all. I wanted to live around people and be a social butterfly. Thankfully that passed many years ago and even when I have to go into "town" here, (pop. 1,100) I can't wait to get back home and away from the traffic. Ever since they put in that second stop light, things have changed and it seems there are more cars filing through town each summer. Perhaps there are but at least I can stay on the ranch and not have to deal with them. I have found peace in my life and for that and everything else God has given me, I am very thankful.

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Rie McGaha is an author, editor, and reviewer. She has more than a dozen books to her credit, with the other two books of the My Soul To Keep Trilogy being released later this year. You can join Rie, GA Hauser, & Stormy Glenn at Blog Talk Radio, for Blog Blast 2011 http://blogblast2011.blogspot.com/ on May 14th  at noon CST, with an all day group chat at Erotic Promo. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eroticpromo/


CALEN by Rie McGaha
He had seen his father lying on the ground with blood running from his head. And he saw the men ripping his mother's clothes until her skirt hung in shreds, baring her from the waist down. They had tied her hands and threw her over the chopping block and fell on her one by one. The little boy didn't know what they were doing, as they slapped her, shouting and laughing all the while her cries and screams scared him, and he covered his ears. The men were strangers to the child, but one stuck in his memory. Tall, with long, dirty hair, he wore all black and had whiskers all over his face, and this man hurt his mother more than the others. The little boy cried as he watched the men and he saw the flash of a silver ring on the tall man's finger as the man's plunged through his mother's back. The blood ran down her body, down the chopping block onto the dirt.
The boy ran then. He ran back to the place where his mother had hidden him in the dark, secret corner of the hut and made himself as small as he could under the furs. He heard the men come inside, and heard their laughter as they tore up the place. They broke what could break, kicked over the table and stools, and cursed when they didn't find anything of value to steal.
"Burn it!" One of the men shouted.
"Nay," the man with ring said. "We don't want to attract attention. Leave it be and mount up. We have to find the boy!"

The little boy was so afraid, he stayed hidden under the furs all the rest of the day until it was nearly full dark. But as night fell, his full bladder drove him out of his hiding place. He had to climb under and over logs that once made up the walls of his home. That was when he found his parents lying on the ground. He stood there crying, and pee ran down his leg. He went to his mother first and shook her, patted her back and called to her over and over, but she wouldn't answer him. He then turned to his father and shook him harder, but he didn't answer either.
As the full moon rose over the forest, he sat down and wailed. After a while he fell asleep and when he awoke, it was still full dark. He shivered, and used the moon's light to his way back into the hut. Dragging the furs behind him, he went back out to his parents' side. He covered his mother first, laid between them and shared a fur with his father.
When he woke in the morning, he searched through the hut and found some bread and dried meat to eat. With no concept of time, the child slept, ate, played in the dirt, and waited for his parents to wake up.
The next morning, the child awoke to the sounds of men shouting. Fearing the mean men had returned, he ran into the remains of the hut and slid under the fallen logs to the secret corner hiding place. He heard the horses snorting and the men talking. Their voices sounded grim and low, not like the loud laughter of the ones who’d hurt his mother. Shaking with fear, he lay still and tried to make himself very small so they wouldn't notice him. He heard them as they walked around the hut, and the sound of  the fallen logs being moved around told him they were inside. A very big hand picked him up, but he was too afraid to open his eyes.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Time, Stress and Spa Treatments by J.E. Taylor

I’ve talked about my books and writing up the wazoo over the past couple weeks so today, I’m going to focus on what to do when we’re all balled up with stress from the crazy running around with teenagers, juggling a day job and the night writing in between the insane schedule of baseball, dance, jukido, guitar lessons, kid’s jobs, driving lessons and everything in between. 

Time is a premium in our household, so when my daughter invited me to go with her for a day at the spa, I reluctantly went.  Outside of a couple pedicures over the years – and yes I can count these on one hand – I’ve never indulged.  Well, let me tell you, the twenty-five minute massage was NOT enough.  

While waiting for my daughter – she went in after me – I started leafing through the catalog of what’s available and my lord, I’d love to do a either a full or a half day of extreme pampering.   I now understand why folks plan spa weekends and all that hoopla.   It’s something I’d like to indulge in more.  A guilty pleasure with certain health benefits.  

And here I thought a long jog on the beach was the way to relieve stress – while it is good for you, it is not the ultimate muscle melting, stress-busting solution. No boys and girls, a day of extreme pampering is now my stress-relieving goal.  

So people, tell me, what’s your guilty pleasure?  

Any advice on what spa treatments are the bomb?  What to stay away from?

Thanks for indulging my mini-spa rant, now back to my regularly scheduled program.  My latest book that I’m touting everywhere is Hunting Season.  I’ve got a cool video book trailer on YouTube, Goodreads, Facebook and my website – check it out when you have a minute. 
In the meantime, here’s the book description, first chapter and buy links:
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.

Chapter 1
The thought produced a quiet humph and Steve studied the falling snow outside the window, waiting. His fingers rose to the eye-patch, grazing the pliable material that covered the hollowness of the socket underneath.  A shiver rippled through him and he clenched his teeth.
He flexed his right hand.  After six months of physical therapy, he still didn’t have the dexterity to shoot straight and his arm constantly ached where the bone splintered.  His leg screamed whenever a low-pressure-system arrived; making his slight limp more prevalent, and right now, it throbbed in time with his heartbeat.  Sighing, he returned his attention to the swirling white flakes.
Dr. Montgomery, the FBI sponsored psychiatrist assigned to his case, slipped into the room and took a seat, opening Steve’s file.  He adjusted his spectacles before resuming where they left off.  “You need to deal with what happened, Steve.”
“The son of a bitch is still out there.”
Dr. Montgomery leaned forward and folded his arms on his desk.
They had been through this routine a dozen times in the past few months.  Dr. Montgomery, always calm and reasonable, and Steve, always falling back to his unimpassioned crime scene analysis, avoiding the trauma he endured.
Steve watched the snowfall for a few minutes before continuing.  “I’m an FBI agent. I should be out there looking for him.”  He attempted to skirt his emotions, again.
“And what does the husband and father part feel?”
Steve’s jaw clenched.  “I’m not sure I want to answer that.”
“Why not?”
Steve turned toward Dr. Montgomery.  “Because you’ll never clear me for active duty.”
“Anger is a perfectly normal emotion Steve.”
Steve scoffed and turned, catching his reflection in the glass.  A single unwavering azure eye stared back.  He ground his teeth so hard they ached before meeting the doctor’s gaze.  “He blew up my daughter.”
“Keep going.”  Dr. Montgomery said.
“I want to kill him!” Steve closed his eyes, willing the rabid dog inside to stay caged.  He drew a deep breath and blew it out slowly, fogging the windowpane in front of him.
Steve turned his head toward the doctor.  Fury coursed through his veins.  He clenched his jaw and pulled the air in through his nose before he continued.  “I should have shot him when I walked in the door.”
“Why didn’t you?”
That question plagued Steve at least a dozen times a day since the explosion.  If he had, Jennifer wouldn’t be lying in a hospital bed with no hope of recovery.  Instead, he paused and that cost him his daughter and his wife.  “He had a detonator in his hand and he said if I didn’t put the gun down, he’d blow up Samantha.”
Steve’s jaw worked overtime grinding his teeth.  Anger pulsed through his body, making the tips of his fingers and toes tingle and his skin burn.
The rage consumed Steve.  Raw, unbridled, unstoppable rage.
Rage because he was stupid.
Rage because his baby girl was dead.
Rage because Kyle escaped.
Steve’s breath came in short gasps. His jagged nails dug into the soft flesh of his palms, tempering the rage a notch.  Slowly, he uncurled his fists, stretching his fingers as he stared at the floor.
“The fucker’s still out there. And he isn’t done with me yet.”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

On Being Called Grandma

The New York Times had an article about movie stars not wanting to be called Grandma, instead using a nickname either thought up by the grandchild, or some other name, that had no hint of the word Grandma.

I have no problem whatsoever being called grandma--and never did. In fact, when my first grandchild was born I was thrilled when he could first say, "Gramma." My great-grandchildren call me Grandma too, though a couple attach my first name as in Grandma Marilyn.

Friends of my grandchildren and the greats sometimes call me Grandma, others just call me Marilyn.

I have a glamorous daughter-in-law who also loves being called Grandma. In her case, everyone is surprised to find out she has three grandkids and two more coming. (Which of course means, I have two more great-grands on the way.)

Honestly, I love the name almost as much as I love the grandkids and great-grands. I consider it an honor to be called Grandma--and I don't really care who does it. If some young person likes me enough to call me Grandma, I take it as a compliment.

Marilyn, Grandma, Great-Grandma


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Donna Crow's Research for her Monastery Murders

 Several months ago Marilyn and I decided it would be fun to guest on each other’s blogs on the same day— my first ever blog exchange. So before I embark on the saga of my adventures as an intrepid researcher, let me invite you over to my blog (insert link) to read Marilyn’s account of (insert title).  And now, to the story:

I make it a hallmark of my writing to try to give my reader a “you are there” experience when developing the background of my novels.  And that means being there myself first.  I try never to set a scene in a place I haven’t actually been myself and never have my characters undergo an experience I haven’t had myself— with the exception of finding murdered bodies, you understand.

Since, like most of my books, The Monastery Murders are set in Great Britain and I live 7000 miles away in Boise, Idaho, research can be a considerable challenge.  I begin by doing all I can to develop my basic storyline at home from books and internet research. I like to have my plot well outlined and perhaps the first chapter or so of my novel rough drafted.  But when I know I’ve gone as far as I can go and I have a good handle on what I still need to know, it’s time for the real fun to begin— onsite research.

In A Very Private Grave,  book one in the series, Felicity Howard, a young American studying for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, is devastated when she finds her beloved Fr. Dominic brutally murdered and Fr. Antony, her church history lecturer, soaked in his blood.  The action races from their quiet monastery across much of northern England and southern Scotland with Felicity and Antony chasing and being chased by murderers.

In A Darkly Hidden Truth, which will be out this fall, Felicity has now decided to become a nun.  She departs to visit convents in spite of her estranged mother’s imminent arrival and Fr. Anselm’s plea that she and Fr. Antony recover a missing priceless Russian icon before the Patriarch of Moscow arrives at the community for Holy Week. Felicity’s discernment journey takes her to a variety of convents from northern England to London, but her discovery of a friend’s murdered body in a shallow grave, the disappearance of more icons, the shooting of a London art expert just after they visit him, the disappearance of Antony, and finally the abduction of Felicity and her mother teach her far more about motherhood, life and love than she could learn in any convent.

And now, book 3:  Felicity and Antony are leading a youth walk along a Medieval pilgrimage route in southern Wales when what should have been an idyllic ramble over sheep-grazed mountainsides turns very nasty, indeed.

That means I needed to experience two things:  southern Wales and a youth walk.

I spent the first week in April exploring Wales with my writer friend Dolores Gordon-Smith, whose Jack Haldean mysteries are highly recommended. (http://www.doloresgordon-smith.co.uk/)
 Since the root of the nastiness Felicity and Antony encounter seems to go back to Roman times Dolores and I began by exploring the Roman ruins in Caerleon.

We had no trouble picking up the beginning of the ancient pilgrimage trail in Llantarnam, but finding our way (or at least the pilgrims’ way) over the mountains became more difficult, especially when sheets of rain poured down on us with blasts of wind that nearly blew us off a mountain top in the Rhonda.

Undaunted, though we went on to St. David’s on the southwestern tip of Wales where the ruined Bishop’s Palace behind St. David’s Cathedral is an absolute gift to a mystery writer looking for nooks and crannies to hide spies and ancient artifacts.

Not to mention the stunning cliff walk just beyond offering sheer drops to the rocks below with the sea crashing white foam. Dolores pulled me back from too-enthusiastic picture taking over the precipice, but I’m wondering who will pull Felicity back?

Then on to London to meet a group of 18 mostly teens and 20-somethings where I would be a considerably overage pilgrim on a walk to Walsingham, following (again) a medieval pilgrims’ route.  I’m happy to report that I managed to walk about 100 of the 126 miles, taking only occasional breaks in the follow van.  We slept in church halls, village halls and a sports hall and, in spite of multiple blisters, I’m happy to report that our walk was considerably more idyllic than Felicity and Antony’s will be.  Well, what are mystery writers for if not to invent a grisley murder now and then?

Please do leave a comment or a question, then remember to hop on over the Marilyn’s post

 Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 36 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning GLASTONBURY, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus. Book 2 A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH will be out in 2011.  THE SHADOW OF REALITY, Book 1 The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries, is a romantic intrigue available on Ebook. A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE, Book 2 in the Elizabeth & Richard series is her newest release.

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic gardener.  To see the book video for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and pictures from Donna’s garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.  

and you can follow her on Facebook at:  http://ning.it/eLjgYp

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Las Vegas Sisters in Crime on Mother's Day

As usual I forgot to take pictures--but speaking to this Sisters in Crime chapter was my main purpose for going to Las Vegas.

Yes, the meeting was on Mother's Day which made me wonder how many people would actually come to hear me speak about where I get my ideas.

When I arrived, of course, no one in the store had any idea who I was and why I was there. The Customer Service Girl checked her computer and said, "Oh, that group meets the second Tuesday of the month." I was also told that it was Mother's Day--as if I didn't already know that.

I wasn't discouraged because I'd seen all the advertising Morgan St. James had done about my appearance, so I went to the Children's Section where I'd been told they'd meet. In a few moments a harried individual appeared who began setting up chairs.

One by one, people began arriving. The first was a woman who'd read about my talk in the newspaper. An old friend from years ago arrived, we'd been in a romance writers group which morphed into Valley Writers and finally San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime in Fresno. So much fun to catch up with her. A few members of the Las Vegas Sisters in Crime trickled in, including Morgan who'd invited me (I was delighted to see her again), and then a good friend from PSWA and his wife. All in all, I think there were 8 in the audience. Not too bad for Mother's Day.

Afterwards, four people bought books--so that was half the group and that's not bad. (Barnes and Noble had ordered copies of Angel Lost.)

My sister lives in Las Vegas so I had the added bonus of spending the weekend with her and her hubby. Along with my hubby, we had a great time. (The only Las Vegas type activity we did was hit a couple of buffets.)


Monday, May 9, 2011

Returning Home

As I write this I'm still in Vegas nd as yet not gone to the Sisters in Crime meeting to speak. When it appears I'll be on the road headed home--a six hour drive.

It is a boring drive for the most part across the Mojave desert. I did sww the remnants of wildflowers on the desert floor and some more colorful ones clinging yo the hillsides in the higher elevations of Tehachapi.

On the desert are the remnants of houses, small enclaves of deserted mobile homes, and the remnants of deserted businesses. It's harsh country out there and thousands of vehicles zoom by on there way to and from Las Vegas with no thought about the shattered dreams displayed so harshly on either side of the highway.

I can't hrlp but wonder about the untold stories.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

 (That's the beautiful bouquet my son, d-i-l and granddaughter gave me for Mother's Day. It makes the house smell wonderful!)

My mom lived to be 97. Though she became frail and had a hard time hearing, she still remained alert in her mind. Though I know she's in Heaven with all of our family who went before her, I do still miss her. There are times when I'd really like to tell her something that happened to someone in the family--or brag about one of the grandkids accomplishments.

Mom loved her grandkids and great grands, each and every one. When she was younger, she liked doing things with them, shopping, going out to eat, reading to them.

When I was a kid growing up, my parents weren't physically loving. The only time you got a kiss was if your were going a way for several days like to camp, or when I left to get married. However, I knew I was loved even though we didn't kiss and hug. Both my parents worked hard to give my sister and me a good life. Of course that meant when we were young we got spanked. Not with anyone's hand, dad liked to use a switch from a tree, mom preferred a yard stick. When I was growing up everyone spanked their kids--and I can assure you we deserved it the few times it happened.

We had a regular bedtime, 6 p.m. when we were in the early grades, 7 p.m. when we were a bit older. 8 p.m. when we went to junior high and 9 all through high school. Kids today would rebel at such early bed times. Of course I cheated, read books by flashlight under the covers and often listened to the radio in bed.

My mom and dad liked to have their evenings without kids. Not a bad idea when you think of it. I followed her example though my children's bed times were not quite so early.

Mom planned and gave us wonderful birthday parties, always with a theme and decorations. We had wonderful picnics and various parks with out extended family. Most Sundays, after church and dinner, we visited with aunts and uncles and various cousins.

Every summer we had wonderful camping vacations. When we were younger we went to Yosemite where the animals roamed freely, we watched the bears at the garbage dump, and fire fell like a waterfall. Every night a ranger told wonderful stories. Later on we spent 3 weeks every summer camping and boating at Bass Lake. In those days you could set up your tents right on the lake shore. We had three boats, a ski boat with an inboard mother, an outboard motor, and a tiny little boat made from an airplane fuel tank. Of course we learned to water ski and we also how to drive all the boats. As a teen, I usually managed to have a summer romance while we camped.

My dad always did the cooking on our camping trips--but mom cooked better than he did. He liked to throw everything together in one frying pan, and sometimes the mixtures weren't all that wonderful.

My mom belonged to lots of clubs while I was growing up: the garden club (and oh she was a good gardener with flowers--not so much with veggies though she tried during WWII). Another was 2:15 which was the young adults group from church. They had parties for everything and fortunately the kids were always invited. I remember scary Halloween parties and summer parties held outside and New Year's Eve parties where we ate homemade clam chowder and at midnight walked around the block banging on pots and pans with wooden spoons.

During the war, Mom made air raids fun. We went to a middle room where we could have the light on and we played board games and ate snacks.

She always dressed up, silk stockings, hat, dress to go to PTA meetings, any school functions, and of course, to church. She made sure we all went to Sunday School and church on Sunday and then evening church Sunday night for the adults and youth group for my sister and me.

The only time she wore slacks or pedal pushers was when she was gardening or camping. House dresses were the uniform for days at home cleaning, washing, hanging clothes on the line to dry, ironing, cooking, etc. For a very short while she had a housekeeper, but when dad found out she always cleaned before the woman arrived, he stopped that luxury.

I loved listening in when the neighbor women came over to gossip--and they did.

Mom also subscribed to three newspapers. One had lurid tales about movie stars. I remember reading all the details about Lana Turner's daughter killing Johnny Stampanato (sp) who was an abusive boy friend of her mother's.

Mom also belonged to the Book-of-the-Month Club. Some of the books she forbid me to read--of course I did anyway which I'm sure she knew.

During the summer, when I was in grade school she took me to the library every week where I'd check out 10 books at a time. That was the limit. Reading was something we all did at our house. Books were often welcome gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

When I fell in love with the sailor I met on a blind date, mom went with me on the train to my future husband's home for our wedding. After we had our first child (10 months later) she used the money she'd saved working as a substitute clerk at a school so that my dad and she and my sis could drive the 3000 miles across country to see her first grandchild. (She was much more interested in our first born than she was in me.)

Whenever something bad happened, mom was the one I consulted or ask for advice. She was also the one everyone asked to pray for them. It seems that mom's prayers were the best.

I miss my mother. Happy mom's day.

Your first born,