Showing posts from February, 2011

Interview with John Desjarlais, author of Bleeder and Viper

Marilyn: Please tell me a bit about your background.
John: I was a Radio/TV/Film major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked in radio and video production for nearly twenty years. When I was let go by Wisconsin Public Radio in the recession of 1993, I returned to grad school for a master’s degree in English/Writing so that I could teach at the college level and continue to write.
Marilyn: When and why did you start writing?
John: I wrote spy novels in junior high and high school for my entertainment and perhaps because I fancied myself becoming a TV scriptwriter someday. I worked on the high school newspaper and literary magazine. In college, my attention turned to radio and TV.
After graduation, I worked for a small media company writing scripts for training videos and fundraising material for non-profit groups. 
My serious fiction writing came in my 30s, after a documentary I produced on the history of Western Christianity got me interested in Irish monasticis…

And a Trip to Ridgecrest is Planned

I enjoy speaking to writers' groups and there are several that I always hope will ask me back. Ridgewriters, a branch of the California Writers Club, is one of my favorite places to visit. The group is located in Ridgecrest which is way out on the high dessert with it's main claim to fame, the China Lake Naval Air Station. During the spring, the desert fills with colorful wildflowers--wildflowers you don't see in other places. When I contacted them about coming again to speak this year, they already had a speaker for March. As it turned out, that speaker was my good friend, Willma Gore. Willma taught me so much about writing during the years she lived in Porterville and we both attended the writers' critique group.

Willma has a new book out, a memoir, and she planned a book tour in California beginning with the Ridgewriters group. Something happened though, and the dates got muddled. Ridgewriters expected her on March 2 and she thought the date was March 9. She made he…

In Memory of Mike Cole

My son-in-law, Mike Cole, died 20 years ago today. He was on duty as an El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy at the time. He had been a cadet, explorer and reserve officer with the Oxnard Police Department, donating more than 1,200 hours, before he was appointed a regular officer at OPD where he served for 10 years. He was only 33 when he got into a fatal car accident and left behind his wife, my youngest daughter, Lori, and three sons - Robert (9), Gregg (5) and Christopher (3). Our family had always commented on how Mike packed so much into his life. Besides being a law enforcement officer, a good husband and father, he had a cabinet-making business and loved to pilot small aircraft. Maybe he had a feeling he didn’t have long to live.

Of course Mike is the one who got me started writing about law enforcement because he shared with me so much of what was going on after his shift when he came over for coffee. He even took me on a ride-along and impressed me with his skill in calmi…

Meet Geraldine Evans and Learn About Her and Deadly Reunion

Overview of my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series.
Detective Inspector Joseph Aloysius Rafferty is an ordinary ‘Joe’ – a working-class, lapsed Catholic Londoner who moved to Essex (England) as a child. He is cursed by coming from a family with a love for dubious ‘bargains’ and other pursuits on the fringe of illegality. Some of his family are of the opinion that – if they must have a copper in the family – he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. He is partnered by Detective Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, a university-educated Welshman who is Rafferty’s moral, intellectual and social superior. Although they no longer have the clashes their new partnership evoked in the first book in the series, they still have their moments.
What inspired your latest book, Deadly Reunion
I suppose it was the proliferation of social networking sites nowadays.I’ve succumbed and joined several as well as Friends  Reunited.  Although we’ve all read in the press about the young love th…

C. J. West's E-Book Gamble

 Last fall I moderated the e-books panel at Bouchercon in San Francisco. I had dabbled in e-books before then, but my research for the panel convinced me to dive into the fray. My change of heart began when I went to my local Barnes & Noble and shopped for books from the six authors on my panel. Only one of those authors was represented on the shelves.
The authors were all multi-published and had careers spanning several books each. All seven of us (including me) had books available for download in seconds. Getting our books from B&N would take days at best. It was then I understood that e-books level the playing field for lesser-known authors and give us an inexpensive way to reach readers globally.
My books were already available at most e-book stores thanks to Amazon and Smashwords, but they weren’t selling because readers didn’t know about them. Inspired by friends who had been selling very well on Kindle and Nook, I engaged readers on forums and boosted my sales.
Before Ch…

Author Photos

For a long time the photo I used for the back of my book and blog tours was a glamor shot where I had not only my hair done but make-up too. People would look at the photo, look at me and frown. That's when I decide to use pictures that had been taken recently that looked like me.

I've seen some wonderful photos of authors on the back of books that did look like the author--the difference being the author was young and good-looking, something I'm not.

I'm a great-grandma who could use some exercise and go on a diet. (I'm probably not going to do either.)

So, whatever photo you find on a book cover or inside, it's going to be what I looked like at the time the book went to press.

I love my most recent one take by my daughter at my granddaughter's wedding. I look happy because I was. All of my children were at the wedding. My son was the father of the bride, and all three of my girls came to see their niece married. The wedding was beautiful and everyone had …

7 Facts Award

I need to thank Tribute Books Mama  for this award.

Here are 7 facts about me, and I'm going to do what Tribute Books Mama did and list 7 facts about my life in the last week.

1. Every chance I got I stopped at McDonald's a got a vanilla flavored iced coffee with an extra shot. That's how I reward myself when I'm doing errands or grocery shopping. I don't enjoy doing either.

2. My daughter-in-law died my hair for me. I'm not a natural redhead and I never have been. I just like the color a lot better than my natural gray.

3. I love to eat at the Thai Kitchen in Porterville and we went there on Sunday. This time I had the seafood soup and the sweet potato fries.

4. Despite the fact everyone says there's no such thing as a free lunch, we had one at Red Lobster. They were a bit slow with hubby's lunch, believe me we didn't complain, and the manager came over and said he was paying for our lunch. We didn't argue.

6. Watching movies is one of our favo…

Resurrection Garden by Frank Scully

Official Blurb for Resurrection Garden by Frank Scully

Jake Turner, a scarred veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, has been a lone drifter through
much of the settling of the west. Opportunity was growing out of the newly turned sod of the
North Dakota prairie in 1904 when he stopped to take a part time job as a Deputy Sheriff,
expecting to move on again when the dark parts of his past catch up to him.

An investigation into a murder of a man hated by everyone has threads that lead to his best
friend, Isaac. Jake is ambushed and almost killed, but is nursed back to health by Isaac. While
Jake follows the clues into a labyrinth of hatred, sordid crimes and missing money he becomes
attached to an eight year old orphaned boy named Andy and falls in love with Isaac’s sister,
Alice. After being alone for so long with no hope or care for what tomorrow might bring, Jake
finds it difficult to accept these new emotional attachments.

Jake believes in Justice, but before he had only his own l…

Review of Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer is a compelling book despite the premise of Steven, a young boy looking for the body of his uncle who was sexually attacked and murdered when he was a boy. This murder and the fact that the body was never found changed the life of the family. It is also the story of the pedophile/serial murderer who has been imprisoned but is not the least bit sorry for his horrendous deeds. As the story progresses, the boy and the man become entangled. Bauer is able to create an atmosphere that compels the reader to continue turning the pages despite the threat of what is to come.
Though the plot is dark, the author is a master at creating believable scenes and a most original plot.
Though this book won the Gold Dagger Award for Crime Novel of the Year, it isn't a book I would've chosen to read. It was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster. However, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.
Marilyn Meredith

Writers of Kern

Friday night, or early a.m., I dreamed about my visit to the WOK group in Bakersfield. It went horribly, there was hardly anyone there and they were not at all receptive to what I had to say, even argued with me. I didn't tell my husband about the dream until I ate my cereal because my mom always said if you tell a dream before breakfast, it'll come true.

We had a wonderful drive down to Bakersfield, arriving a few minutes before the meeting started. Two other published writers were there, one I knew from long, long ago and they each bought a copy of Lingering Spirits.

The room was packed, close to 40 people. I hadn't brought enough handouts because every time I've gone before there were between 12 and 17 people and I thought 25 handouts would be more than enough.

I spoke after their business meeting. I love speaking to writers. My topic was blogging and blog tours--I certainly know plenty about both. What an attentive group--nothing like my dream. At the end I answere…

Writing About Small Towns

I've touched on this subject before. What can you do when you have a series (or two) that are set in a small town so that it doesn't become like Cabot Cove? Those who watched Murder She Wrote joked about the fact that so many died that perhaps Jessica might be the killer. It didn't get much better when she traveled, no matter where she went someone died.

In my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, even though the beach town is small it is on the California coast between two larger cities, Ventura and Santa Barbara. There is direct access to the town from the 101 freeway. This makes it much easier for bad guys to come in from somewhere else--though the town itself has it's share of not so wonderful inhabitants. Though I write about a police department and crime, my books border on being cozies as the focus is as much on the families of the police officers as it is on them. And as I said yesterday, I don't use bad words; I also shut the bedroom door.

It's a different story in…

Bad Words In Books

On DorothyL for the past few days there's been a brouhaha about swearing in books. It got so heated at one point a regular poster quit the list.

It was about whether or not profanity and guttural language should be in books or not.

Some said they absolutely would not read a book with such or use any of the words (and some were mentioned) when writing their own book.

Others said a book wouldn't be authentic without the language of the street.

I stayed out of the argument. I don't use profanity or gutter language in my books--most of the time. I might include an occasional "sh**" if it is the only word that fits the occasion. (It's the only bad word I say when I'm really upset.) However, I've read plenty of books with this kind of language and in most cases, I wasn't offended because I knew that's how those particular characters would speak.

When I'm writing though, I know my audience prefers the absence of swearing and crude language so I a…

Visiting Other People's Blogs

Today I'm visiting over at Kaye Barley George's blog talking about how it takes guts to write about people in law enforcement. At least how it takes guts for this 70 plus year-old great-grandma to write about this topic.

If you want to know more, hop on over to Kaye's blogspot.

We authors do this a lot as you may have noticed, we host other authors on our blogs and go visiting other authors blogs and even more fun when we get invited to someone's blog who just love reading and authors and that describe Kaye.

I have another connection to Kaye in that she grew up in the same little town my husband did, Cambridge MD. Cambridge is the actual place where I married my husband and I lived there for nearly a year. I've been back to visit with hubby a few times. It's a beautiful place located right on the Chesapeake Bay.

Help me let Kaye know I appreciate my visit with her by leaving a comment on the blog at http://www.meanderingsandm…

Realizing a Dream, Debra Shiveley Welch

Realizing a Dream
As a child, my favorite authors were Taylor Caldwell, Belva Plain, Nora Lofts, John Savage, and at 17, I feel in love with James Michener.  I loved the way they used words to paint a tapestry of sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.  I also admired the way they kept me turning the page, devoting hours to each reading session. But, the author that stands out most in my memory is Taylor Caldwell.  You can see her influence in my writing, and although she never knew it, she was my teacher.
Mrs. Caldwell instilled in me a love for the novel, and because of that love, I wanted to be an author someday.  It took a while, but I finally made it with my first traditionally published children’s book, A Very Special Child,published in 2005; I was 53.
Published in 2006, Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, a murder mystery, written with my cousin, soon followed. In 2007, Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher debuted in October, two weeks before National Adoption month.  I wrote it fo…

Night Shadows available today from Echelon Press!

Today is the launch day for Night Shadows by Stephen L. Brayton from Echelon Press.

When I asked Stephen for some background information, this is what he told me:

I’m intoTaekwondo. In fact in a couple of weeks I’ll be heading off to a black belt camp. I’ve also attended many tournaments and am an instructor here in town. 
Other things: two parents in Centerville (Dad works part time for a funeral home and I went with him one time to collect a body). Mom works for the government part time. One sister and three nieces (the twins’ basketball team, as of right now, are undefeated). I have a 13 pound cat. I live in an apartment house and I’m the only tenant within the last seven years who hasn’t been a criminal. (Okay, I’m not sure about the current tenant across from me, but he works for the landlord and HE’S has been arrested).
I’ve written short stories (four of which have been accepted for publication from Echelon), a couple of novels. Am working on sequels. 

From the above,…