Showing posts from October, 2011

Why I Write Mysteries

My first published novels were historical family sagas based on my own family’s genealogy. I wrote about both sides of my family and once I’d finished, I wondered what I should write next. The answer came easily, what I loved to read most—mysteries.
We lived in a neighborhood filled with policemen and I became interested in them, their jobs and their families. The wives became coffee buddies and we all partied together as couples. My police officer son-in-law took me on my first ride-along and told me stories about his shift and the strange people and crimes he encountered. I began writing the Rocky Bluff P.D. series set in a Southern California beach community, similar to the one I was living in at the time. In those books, my goal has always been to show how the job affects the family and what’s going on in the family affects the job. That series is now on its third publisher and the latest is Angel Lost.
We moved to the foothills of the Southern Sierra in Central California and I w…

Tips for Writing a Mystery and a Series

Tips for Writing a Mystery
First, you need to decide exactly what type mystery you are planning to write. Hopefully you’ve read enough crime novels (seems to be the preferred name for the genre these days) to know what kind of novel you are going to write. To name a few: the private eye novel, amateur detective, usually someone with an interesting or unusual profession, can be hard-boiled or a cozy, the police procedural, romantic suspense, woman in jeopardy (think Mary Higgins Clark), historical mysteries–can be a combination of any of the above, thriller, when an innocent becomes involved, either by accident or coincidence, in dangerous events beyond his or her control (think Alfred Hitchcock movies), suspense, when the protagonist is in a constant and increasing state of danger.
Mysteries of earlier times were more interested in the hero solving the crime, now are as interested in the emotional impact of the crime of the hero and his or her private life. You have to create a credibl…

Guest Review from Carl Brookins/Murder in the 11th house

Murder in the 11th house by Mitchell Scott Lewis ISBN: 978-59058-950-2 a 2011 release from Poisoned Pen Press
A team of intrepid and intelligent agents in league with an astrologer take on difficult cases of potential injustice. The feeling one gets from this debut novel about the Starlight Detective Agency is one of a small team of right-minded individuals with varied skills united around common goals. When government doesn’t get it right, the agency will. And they’re not above bending the law for all the right reasons. How that affects the lawyer/daughter on the team remains to be seen. The agency does work with police in New York City whenever possible, and because of his wealth and reputation, that seems to be often, but David Lowell, Astrologer non parallel, is not above spending his considerable money and influence to right apparent wrongs.
Angry bartender Johnny Colbert has a loud confrontation with a judge in a small New York Courtroom. It’s a civil case but the jud…

Blonde Demoliton by Chris Redding

My latest book soon to be out is Blonde Demoltion.
Here’s the blurb:
You just can't hide from the past...
Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.
Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.
Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.
I think of all the books I’ve written this has the most interesting back story.
It’s actually two back stories come together.
Robert Crais wrote a bo…

Review of Bears With Us by Elizabeth A. White

“You aren’t going to be satisfied until you’ve uncovered whatever it is they are hiding, are you?” – Pastor “Hutch” Hutchinson

Hutch knows his wife, Deputy Tempe Crabtree, all too well because she absolutely will not stop until she finds out everything she needs to know to keep the people of Bear Creek safe. And this is a good thing for readers of author Marilyn Meredith’s charming series, as Tempe makes her return for an action-packed eleventh outing in the series’ newest entry, Bears With Us.

Located in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada, the small community of Bear Creek finds itself dealing with a handful of its namesake, as hungry bears preparing for hibernation begin showing up in apple orchards, garbage bins and, startlingly, snout-deep in a carton of Rocky Road ice cream in one unfortunate family’s kitchen. Unable by law to shoot the bears unless they present an immediate threat to life, Tempe finds herself coming up with creative ways to run the hungry critters off.

Even …

Learning New Stuff

To be perfectly honest, I don't really like to learn how to do new things. In this day and age, you are constantly challenged to learn something new.

If you get a phone, you have to figure out how it works. I have a Blackberry right now because my iPhone quit working right and I loved the Blackberry I had before that one. To tell you the truth, I'm not thrilled. Sometimes it works right and sometimes it doesn't--probably because I don't really know how to use it. Want to know something ironic? I don't really know how to use the phone all that well. I use it mostly to read my emails and Facebook when I'm away from home. I also love the GPS feature. We have a Magellan and I like them both--yes, we usually have them both going at once when we're on a trip.

When it comes to promoting books, there's always some new gimmick to learn. I love blogging, but it took me a while to figure out how the whole thing worked. I probably could do more with blogger, but I …

More Blogging Tips

Blogs are fun. Sometimes they are frustrating. They can be a great promotion tool.

I try to have new content everyday on this blog, not always an easy task. I cover a lot of topics: writing, promotion, what's going on in my life, an occasional guest, and some book reviews.

I'm also a regular on three other blogs:Make Mine Mystery and where I appear the first and third Tuesday of every month. I'm make an occasional appearance during each month at

One of my publishers has a blog too http://otpblog/ where I occasionally post--probably far more than any of the other authors because I'm a firm believer that a blog shouldn't become static.

And that brings me to why I'm posting. If you're guesting on a blog you ought to show up there at least once. If you've done a lot of promoting, then check and see if anyone has commented that you ought to respond to.

Though I did inc…

Our 60th Wedding Anniversary

Yep, we did it, 60 years together. Remarkable. No one thought it would last--most of all my mother.

The odds were definitely against us. We came from different worlds. Hubby grew up in a dinky Southern town, raised by a grandmother and two maiden aunts. (Well one was really a widow 2 times over, but neither marriage had lasted long.) He left home at 18 and went into the Navy.

I grew up in Los Angeles in a way more modern world. Both of us came from Christian households, but our churches were anything alike.

Hubby had no role models as to what married life was like.

We spent a lot of time apart because of being stationed in different places. I stayed home with the kids.

At times it was scary because of the three tours he did in Vietnam during the war.  Too often it was lonely. There never was much money. Sometimes we didn't get along.

Whenever he was gone, I got very independent--because I had too.

When he'd been in the service for 20 years, I put my foot down. It was time for …

Survivors by James Wesley, Rawles

SURVIVORS by James Wesley, Rawles
If I had to describe this book in one word I’d call it prophetic. With what is happening in our country right now economically this book is right on target—and yes, it’s a thriller, but it’s also downright scary.
We’ve been taught that history repeats itself, the author proves it through the quotes he uses at the beginning of each chapter. Many characters are introduced and followed as they attempt to survive a world that is turned upside down. Each person has his or her own strengths which contribute to survival: faith in God; ability to fix and create from what’s around; knowing what to gather and store; how to use and care for firearms; how to plant and grow food; how to organize others and much, more. 
One thing I found refreshing is the Christian element running throughout. Many of the main characters relied on their faith and that's what kept the going.
My only criticism is the book seemed to end abruptly and I’m guessing there is a sequel that…

More Planning for the End of This Year and Next

Received an email today from the local Art Council inviting me to have a booth at their annual Art and Craft Fair on December 9 and 10. This goes on all day both days and all I have to do is bring my table, chair, and my books. I've done this for the past few years and it's always been pretty good except the day it poured all day. It's fun too. I get to see people I only see about once a year.

I'm participating in a panel at the Sanger Library on Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m.

And on Saturday, November 12, I'm headed over to the San Luis Obispo Library to Celebrate Sisters in Crime's 25th Birthday Celebration with the Central Coast Sisters in Crime from 11 to 3.

In January, I'll be on a panel at the Fig Garden Library in Frenso at 7 p.m.

February, the Gillis Library in Fresno.

And in March, hubby and I are headed to San Antonio for Epicon.

At the end of March, I'll be going to Left Coast Crime in Sacramento.

Fine with me, I love doing these things.


Writing Struggles

I'm working on a new Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. In this one there is a murder right off the bat. My last two books didn't follow that rule and I don't think they suffered a bit.

In this one I have several topics, designer drugs, Post-partum depression, knowing the baby you're carrying has Down Syndrome and more. Because I use multiple POVs, I have to be careful to weave everything in that I need to make the whole story make sense.

I'm having difficulty making myself write--not sure why except that I've had a lot going on, not the least of these my ongoing blog tour which has taken a lot of time. There isn't a blog today, so I don't have to do any promoting of it.

I keep thinking of other things I need to do, like putting the laundry in the dryer, writing this blog, but I'm promising myself. I will get back to the book as soon as I finish both.


On the Choptank Shores: The Backstory

When I was a child, back in the late 1950s and 1960s, my family took wonderful trips out East to visit the relatives. One of my favorite places to visit was my Aunt Flossie and Uncle Otto’s peach orchard, set on the beautiful shores of the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
My siblings and I would spend hours swimming in the salty water (the Choptank flows from the Chesapeake Bay, and is thus a salt-water river), trying to avoid the jelly fish; jumping in the sand pit at the edge of my uncle’s property (something we weren’t supposed to do, as my uncle feared the sand pit would collapse and swallow one of us kids whole); and raiding my aunt’s incredible garden. We gobbled down handfuls of boysenberries, grapes, and yellow pear tomatoes. To this day, I don’t see how we could eat so much from her garden and yet never seem to make a dent in what was growing.
These were my favorite aunt and uncle. I wanted to be just like Aunt Flossie, who could grow such wonderful produce on land t…

Report on My Blog Tour

I have been so busy trying to keep up with my blog tour and everything else. This has been a particularly busy time for me.

To really be successful on a blog tour you must promote where you are visiting every day--and go back and check on the blog each day and acknowledge what people have had to say.

The rest of the blogs for this week include reviews of Bears With Us. That's always a bit scary, but so far the reviews have been really good.

This is where I'll be the rest of the week. Why don't you stop by and leave a comment?

Wednesday, October 19th
Book reviewed at Wakela’s World
Thursday, October 20th
Book reviewed at MysteriesEtc.
Friday, October 21st
Guest blogging at Let’s Talk about Virtual Book Tours

Good Information on How to Protect Your Home

Crime Never Takes A Vacation – One Expert Shares Secrets That Intruders Don’t Want You To Know
Nashville, TN, October 13, 2011 – Our lagging economy has spurned a dramatic increase in burglaries and home invasions across the country, with agencies reporting an increase in 2010 after falling for a number of years. What is especially troubling is that these crimes have increased in the suburbs and small towns – places where it rarely happened before. 
 “The numbers reflect what we have been hearing from listeners all over the country. The bad economy has caused an increase in crime and it is happening everywhere”, says home security expert, Alan Young. Over the past three months, Young has conducted nearly 100 radio interviews, giving listeners tips on how not to become victims of a growing burglary and home invasion epidemic. Young is CEO of Armor Concepts LLC and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and The Discovery Channel, as well as numerous local n…

2nd Day at the Apple Festival

Today was easy to set up because we left the tent, table and chairs. All we had to do was unload the car and set up. Sent hubby off to the Lion's pancake breakfast while I put up the books.

By the first hour I'd sold 4 books. Unfortunately the rest of the day wasn't quite so good. Oh, I sold quite a few books, but not 4 in an hour again. There were long period of time when no one came near my booth.

Will Lloyd, a Porterville video guy who I've known for a long time, came by and asked me to read a bit out of Bear With Us. I read one exciting paragraph. (Readings are not one of my favorite things to do.) He shot me so close you'll be able to counts all my wrinkles and flaws of which there are plenty. Who could pass up such a chance?

As with all events like this we saw many people we haven't seen for a long, long time. The only problem with this is sometimes the names come back easily and sometimes not. And again, we met lots of interesting folks.

I do think the …

First Day at the Apple Festival

We left the house at 7 a.m. Even though we had the tent set up, it's crazy in town with all the cars and trucks and people trying to fix their booths. The rule is, all vehicles must be off the premises by 8. (Of course there are many who don't know how to follow rules.) We had the car unloaded in about 15 minutes. Hap had the car tucked away quite nicely soon after. Parking is difficult as there is no parking on the street at all. People coming to the Festival can park in the rodeo grounds and the Eagle Mountain Casino provides shuttles into town and back out again.

People started meandering around town close to 9. Where we were didn't got a whole lot of traffic for a long time, but my advertising on Facebook about where I was located paid off, and people came looking for me.

At first it was cold and my feet froze--but it didn't stay that way long.

Surprisingly, I sold 3 copies of my book Two Ways West, which costs $20. The biggest seller was my latest book, Bears Wit…

White Girl Bleed a Lot by Colin Flaherty, reviewed by Dan Auld

"Don’t Call Them Flash Mobs”
White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Race Riots to America.
A book review by Dan Auld

When Colin Flaherty set out to write a book about an explosion of racial violence in this country over the last two years, he was often met with two reactions: Denial. Or explanations.
“Often at the same time,” Flaherty said. “The same people who denied it in one breathe, explained it in another. Strange. That’s why I wrote the  book. There are hundreds of cases of racial crime and violence in more than 50 cities in the last two years, and no one is talking about it.”

From White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Race Riots to America:
Groups of black people are roaming the streets of America -- assaulting, intimidating, stalking, threatening, vandalizing, stealing, shooting, stabbing, even raping and killing.”

Local media and public officials are often silent. Crime is color blind, says a Milwaukee police chief. Race is not important and if you notice, you are a …