Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time's Flying By

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

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

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

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

My work-in-progress needs attention.

I have laundry to do.

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

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

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

Somewhere in all this today, I want to watch Survivor on the computer as I wasn't home to watch it on TV.  Maybe tonight, since there's nothing on that I really like.

To be honest, I'm not much good for brain work after dinner.

Marilyn

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Want to Help Me Out?

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

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

I've put short URLs for some of my e-books here to make it easy to do.


http://tiny.cc/dg9ea for An Axe to Grind

http://tiny.cc/1i4ub for No Sanctuary

http://tiny.cc/qezqy for Lingering Spirit

 http://tiny.cc/0tlyi for Invisible Path 

If your haven't read my books, you might just agree, if you have read one see if the tags fit or if there are more that you think might fit. 
I'd appreciate you doing this and we'll see if it really helps sales. You could do the regular books if you'd prefer.

Thank you,

Marilyn

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Income Tax Time

As usual, I'm really busy.

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

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

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

I've had two years it was more complicated. One was when I inherited a bunch of stocks from my mom. The stocks had all taken a loss over the years, so I didn't have to pay any extra, but figuring out what to put where was a tad more difficult.

We decided to get rid of three stocks we had with a company for a number of years--something we should have done much sooner. I knew we'd lost money, but I couldn't understand the paperwork the company sent us for taxes. Nothing seem to fit what Turbo Tax was asking for.

I made an appointment with H and R Block and took all the paperwork in, including what I'd done so far fully expecting to have them do the taxes and pay for it. I explained the situation, that I'd always done my own taxes, but couldn't figure out what this company had sent me.

She looked it over, pulled up the page on her computer where they would do this kind of reporting, she told us what had to be done and where everything needed to be entered. I asked her how much we owed her and she said nothing. Unbelievable in this day and age.

Before I could finish the taxes though, a lot of number had to added up-she's shown us exactly what needed to be done and how to do it. It took my husband hours to add up all the figures, which were teeny. Finally, he had the totals of everything we needed.

When I opened up the tax program I really thought I probably wouldn't be able to do what she'd shown me. I did have to work at it a bit, but in a matter of less than an hour, I had it done! Final totals were done by Turbo Tax and it all worked perfectly.

 And wow, did we lose a lot of money on that investment.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Didn’t Know You Wrote That!



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

So what’s an author to do?

I love my historical series, but the idea for THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY just floated into my head, and I had a great time writing it down. Here’s how it goes: Tori Van Camp awakens one morning on a cruise ship. She seems to be a welcome guest, and the ship offers anything she might require or request. But why does she have a clear memory of being murdered, and how can she find out why someone wanted her dead?

As I wrote, the ideas for two more Dead Detective Mysteries formed in my head. I have the second one outlined and will get to work on it very soon. Once I’ve done those three, I’m pretty sure I’ll be on to some new idea. From time to time, other topics occur to me, and I write those books too, if I can find the time. It is a great story idea that appeals to me, and though I love my characters, I don’t ever want to drag their adventures on too long. I liked Jessica Fletcher too, but come on!

Conventional wisdom says that an author has to have a “brand”, stick with one sub-genre, and keep producing more of what the fans liked in the last book. I guess I’ll never be that sort of writer, so readers should pay attention to the book descriptions to decide if my next offering suits their tastes. My books will always be about strong women, and they’ll always be great stories.

Peg’s website: http://pegherring.com


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Report on Book Store Appearance

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

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

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

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

Next on my calendar is the Jack Ass Mail Run in Springville. (where I live.) This is an outside event where's we'll have to put up our tent--and hope the weather has changed by then. Books don't do well outside in the rain. This is the 50th anniversary of the Jack Ass Mail Run. People on horseback escort the mail wagon from Porterville all the way up to Springville (17 uphill miles) which takes all day long. When the wagon arrives around 4 p.m. bandits try to steal the mail with a hug shootout. In years past, when drinking was allowed on the street, the major jackasses were of the two-legged variety.

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

My April schedule is very full. I'll let you know about each one and how they turn out.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Beginning of my In-Person Book Appearances

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

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

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

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

You never know how these things will work out. I had a nice article about the book and the signing in the local newspaper about 3 weeks ago and a notice was in again on Thursday in the weekend happenings. I've promoted on Facebook and Twitter, sent out invitations to people who like to come to my signings--friends and fans--and I've mentioned it on other online venues.

I'll report back how it went tomorrow.

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day

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

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

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

Wild flowers are beginning to bloom. I've seen a few poppies and lupine and there's lot so wild mustard and goldenrod. (Probably not the proper names, but one has yellow blooms, the other orange.) Amond trees are covered with white blossoms, and the red bud is in bloom. (It's more of a purple color then red but that's what everyone says it is.)

Where it will be golden brown this summer is now green.

All the different colors depending upon the season fascinated me when I first came here from the always green environment of Southern California.

According to the news, there are still more storms moving our direction. Hope they wait long enough for the earth to dry out a bit.

Marilyn, feeling a bit water-logged.

Book by Marilyn

Thursday, March 24, 2011

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

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

Good Morning!

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

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

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

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

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

And that barely are only a few of the things that keep me from being bored.

Marilyn

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Whew! What a Day!

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

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

I spent he first part of this day promoting the three blogs I'm on today.

http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com


http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com (don't you love the title of that blog?)

http://rebecca2007.wordpress.com/

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

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

Marilyn

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who's Who

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

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

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

I won't change my mind though, who needs another big book that has many names in it, including mine--certainly not me. If any of the rest of you happen to buy a copy be sure and look for my name, Marilyn Meredith.

You never know who'll be on the other end of the line when you answer the phone.

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Monday, March 21, 2011

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

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

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

Next, I have to make an appointment with a tax consultant. My taxes are done, but I have an issue I can't figure out and need someone smarter about taxes to help me. If I can get an appointment for today, I'll take it, otherwise whenever I can fit into their schedule and mine this week.

Hubby will be taking the mail to the p.o. Today I have two autographed books to mail that were ordered by a fan and a book ordered by Amazon Advantage. About every two weeks they order Deadly Omen, the first in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. When he returns with the mail, there will undoubtedly be some business for me to tend to.

I plan to do a little grocery shopping today, if I can fit it in. Need to figure out something easy to make for dinner because I'm going out for dinner. Shopping means driving 20 miles to the next town, which will take up most of the morning.

When I have a chance, I'll open up my work-in-progress and at least write a couple of pages.

At two, hubby and I always take time out to watch General Hospital. It's fascinating to see the wild plots the writers think up--and it's a good time to rest. Confession--sometimes we both fall asleep. Once it's over I may write for another hour, or put together a casserole and write while it's cooking.

Today though, I headed to a friend's where both morning and evening Bible study groups are celebrating the end of our study with a spaghetti dinner.

When I get home, I plan to watch Dancing with the Stars. By evening, my mind is mush and I seldom write.

The rest of this week is busy too. I have a meeting to a attend in a city 1 hour away. Usually I stay for lunch but can't this time because my hubby has an eye appointment and needs a driver--me--so I have to rush home to get him. Later that evening or the next day I'll be putting together a newsletter for the organization for the meeting I attended.

Wednesday I'll finish up the newsletter and get it ready to send out. (Means someone has to take it to town, hope it's not me, then I'll have time to write.) That evening is my writers group.

Thursday and Friday so far are free and besides squeezing in doing the laundry and cooking dinners, I should have some big chunks of time for writing. Because I like to have a new blog everyday, I'll be writing some blogs too.

Saturday is my official in-person book launch for Angel Lost at Books Off Main, on Oak St. behind Subway in downtown Porterville from 1 - 4. We'll probably go out to eat afterward.

And that's it, at least that's how it looks right now.

The other places for the rest of my blog tour are here:

Tuesday: Another review of Angel Lost Paperback Writer

Wednesday: Acme Authors Link

Thursday: Another interview. Writers Who Kill  (Don't you love that blog title?)

Friday: Another review: Book Reviews by Molly

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

and for the next stop on my blog tour:
An Interview: Examiner

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Social Network

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

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

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

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

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

What did you think about the movie?

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why We Read

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

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

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

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

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

Right now I'm really swamped with work--I do some consulting for people with residential care homes--and I'm trying to write a new book. But despite that I am reading two books. I read when I'm eating often and I also read during commercials when I'm watching something on TV I really want to see.

Why do you read?

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Non-Positive Review for Angel Lost.

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

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

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

I thanked her for reading the book and told her I was sorry she didn't like it. That's all that I can do.

For obvious reasons I'm not going to promote the blog.

 I guess I'll just have to go back and read all the great reviews I've received.

Marilyn

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Avalon Authors: Interview with Mary Benton

Avalon Authors: Interview with Mary Benton

A BARREL OF LAUGHS AND A BUNDLING BOARD

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

Harvard Commencement was a major holiday known as Commencement Day, with a splendid dinner and pieces of commencement cake which one brought home to share with one's neighbors.. In fact, there was a rather sweet custom of sharing any special dinner with one's neighors by bringing over a plate of goodies to them. Training Days were holidays where everyone gathered on the Boston Common to watch the men of military age drill and compete for prizes. Tents were erected upon the green where men, women and children repaired to celebrate the martial feats with a great dinner. Election Day was another holiday -- we should be so civilized -- with pieces of election cake distributed to one and all. The cake was a kind of fruit cake, which seems appropriate for politicians.

The Puritans celebrated what we call Halloween on November 5th, or Guy Fawkes Day. Guy was the guy who tried to blow-up the British Parliament -- he might have had more success if he'd used a piece of stale fruit cake. Anyway, people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires and built a "guy" made of straw, carrying it around the streets until they got into fights with rival "guys" or threw the guy on the nearest bonfire. After the Revolution the effigy of Benedict Arnold replaced the traditional Guy Fawkes. The American Revolution wiped out one of our early holidays, though. We no longer celebrate the King's birthday. The Fourth of July replaced that one.

Not only the autumn harvest was celebrated by a Thanksgiving holiday, but the running of the shad and the salmon were also times of celebration, as was sheep-shearing in several states, and most especially on the island of Nantucket where everyone brought picnics to watch the sheep get fleeced. The season of strawberries was an unofficial holiday with boys and girls going off with buckets into the fields and coming back with red lips -- we won't say whether the color was from the strawberries or stolen kisses.... Jolly old sports such as cock-throwing and wolf-baiting were remnants of British influence, as was fox-hunting, although New Englanders did it in the dead of winter by luring the beasts with codfish heads and slaughtering them -- the best sport of winter, they declared. Dice, cards and nine-pins -- still played in New England bowling alleys -- were frowned upon by the ministers but were common. Cards had another legitimate purpose, for invitations to a frolic were written on the backs of playing cards. Dancing was frowned upon and forbidden by the magistrates -- as one minister complained: "lascivious dancing to wanton ditties with amorous gestures and wanton dalliances." (Sounds like our mothers and fathers, doesn't it?) This dislike of dance gave me the idea for my fourth and latest book, Death of a Dancing Master. When the Boston dancing master is found murdered there are many suspects, including ministers and magistrates who harassed the man with fines and sermons. Hetty and Creasy, my two nosy Puritan detectives, also have to contend with jealous husbands and deceitful wives. The book is based upon a true incident, but the real dancing master was merely run out of town. Besides, my poor dancing master could hardly compare to the real-life blacksmith, "a lusty big man," who bragged he could "have" the miller's wife any time he chose -- in fact, he "had" her four times in one afternoon. I guess he was "a lusty big man."

Nor were our colonial ancestors lean and hungry. They ate prodigious amounts of food and drink, and I'm talking real hard liquor. The tavern bills for a minister's ordination dinner show stupendous quantities of liquor -- rum punch bowls, brandy, wine and "six people drank tea." This was out of 80 ministers. I get the impression Charlie Sheen would be outmatched by a company of Puritan ministers. We should remember that ministers were the rock stars of the day. Women sought the prestige of kneeling in private prayer with a good-lookin' minister, and young Cotton Mather was certainly that. From the leading family of clergymen, Cotton Mather, but newly widowed, found himself in a romantic pickle when an entrancing young lady named Kate begged him to pray with her. His prayers must have been potent, as she claimed him for her own and Kate's mother pushed him to marry the girl. He might very well have if his famous father, Increase Mather, hadn't termed her "an airy person," -- meaning an air-head. The handsome widower solved the problem by marrying the widow next door.

Out in the country, wooers of a fair maid might ride many miles to court her -- clearly it would be too late to ride back, so the custom of the bundling board began. The two might share a bed for the night, but a large board was placed securely between man and maid. (Space was scarce in most houses in those days.) The custom seems to have lasted longest on Cape Cod. You can see that life was not so dull in Puritan days -- people ate, drank and loved without our hang-ups about calories, AA or expensive psychiatry. When you think about it, it doesn't seem so bad a life, does it? ### 

Bio:  M. E. Kemp writes a series of historical mysteries with two nosy Puritans as detectives.  She believes that American history is just as colorful and bloody as medieval Great Britain and set out to prove it with four books, the last of which, DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER, is her latest.  Her books are all based upon real incidents but in this case the dancing master was run out of Boston; it was her decision to murder him.  Kemp lives in Saratoga Springs with hubby Jack Rothstein and two kitties, Boris and Natasha, her most severe critics.  They literally tear her scripts to shreds. ###

Thank you, M.E., for being my guest today. I loved your post.


Marilyn

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Need to Get Going

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

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

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

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

So for today, that's all there is.

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

Marilyn


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

Monday, March 14, 2011

What is Happening in the World Today

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

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

My prayers go out to them all.

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

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

Despite all this life goes on. We have to continue moving along, doing those things we always do everyday.

But I for one am going to be thankful for my blessings and enjoy each day as it comes and all those that I love.

Marilyn

http://fictionforyou.com

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Would Love to Be A Best Seller

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost the whole Rocky Bluff P.D. series is on Kindle all written under the name F. M. Meredith:

Final Respects, Fringe Benefits, Smell of Death, No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind and also Oak Tree Press and under my name, Marilyn Meredith: Astral Gift and Lingering Spirit.

If you like paper books best, most of the above listed books are available through Amazon, if not, check my website. http://fictionforyou.com

So, I'm waiting, what can I do to become an Oak Tree Press best seller?

Marilyn

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Two Events Cancelled

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

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

Then, this week, I received an e-mail notice from the chairperson of Mayhem in the Midlands that this, one of my most favorite conferences has been cancelled. Not that's really sad. I love Mayhem and have been to all but one of the previous 10. I've made so many friends who come and look forward to seeing them. Cancelling the hotel reservation was easy--the airplane ticket not so much.

Unfortunately, it was a non-refundable ticket that cost more than $800. Both Hap and I planned to go.

I did take out insurance but it doesn't cover the cancellation of an event. For another $150 I can use the tickets to go somewhere else as long as I do it within the year--not sure if the year is from the time I bought the ticket or when we were supposed to go--but I suspect it was the former. I will do that once I figure out a good place and get the refunds back from registration fee from Mayhem.

I definitely disappointed, but I'm one who believes things do happen for a reason--so I'm not going to mope around about it. I think I've got a substitute event for the Jane Austen Fest, something cheaper, much closer to home and only one day instead of two. And I'm checking into an event this August that requires flying. I'll keep you  posted. As they say, "Make lemons out of lemonade."

In the meantime I'm having fun on my blog tour.

 Next week's tour stops are:


Monday, March 14
Book reviewed at Thoughts in Progress
Tuesday, March 15
Book reviewed at Lynn’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, March 16
Book reviewed at By the Book
Thursday, March 17
Guest blogging at Nevets.QST
Friday, March 18
Interviewed at Murderous Musings


Marilyn

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some of my Blog Stops for My Tour

These are the place I've already been and it's not too late to go back and scroll down and leave a comment.

Monday, March 7
Book trailer featured at If Books Could Talk
Tuesday, March 8
Guest blogging at Thoughts in Progress
Wednesday, March 9
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Thursday, March 10
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!

Starting today, this is where I'll be today and next week. Do take a peek and leave a comment.
Friday, March 11
Character interviewed at The Plot
Monday, March 14
Book reviewed at Thoughts in Progress
Tuesday, March 15
Book reviewed at Lynn’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, March 16
Book reviewed at By the Book
Thursday, March 17
Guest blogging at Nevets.QST
Friday, March 18
Interviewed at Murderous Musings

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

I enjoy doing blog tours, but it's the most fun when people leave comments for me to read and respond to.


Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson



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

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

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

I loved it.

Marilyn

Book web site:  
http://www.blogger.com/goog_704623478

Larry Peterson Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/larrytpbx

Tribute Books website:
http://www.tribute-books.com/

Tribute Books Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks

Slippery Willie Synopsis:

Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and spins all over the place. But what he hates even more are the special shoes that have been made for him that will help him to walk just like all the other kids. Willie thinks that they are the "stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world."

Discover how sometimes we worry about things about ourselves when actually there is nothing to worry about in the first place.

"Adorable work!" - Tampa Tribune

Larry Peterson Bio:

Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.

YouTube video book trailer embed html code:



Buy links:
http://tribute-books.com/shop.html#children8

Excerpt:
http://www.freado.com/read/9129/slippery-willies-stupid-ugly-shoes

Looking for readers to share their thoughts about accepting differences at:

http://slipperywillie.blogspot.com/2011/01/share-your-thoughts-about-accepting.html

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Always Something to Do

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

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

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

Still there is a note to replace my red and yellow ink in my printer. There's also a reminder to promote the fact that Kindle Nation will have an excerpt from Invisible Path on Wednesday (today)and I'll need to promote that.

I'll be interviewed at Blogcritics

today, so I'll be busy promoting it on Twitter, Facebook and my lists. And of course, I'll be checking it from time to time to see if there are some comments to respond to.

Because I've been neglecting my work in progress, I plan to spend time writing. I really want to get the first draft done this month if at all possible. It isn't due until next year sometime, so I really don't have to rush. The next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is done and in the hands of the publisher for a fall release. But, the main reason I need to get it done is so I can start making notes for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. This is all a never ending process--especially when you have two series going at once.

What I won't be doing is spring housecleaning. I quite doing that years ago. My daughter-in-law does most of the regular housekeeping and once in awhile I might tackle some special project. I'm the laundress and chief cook around here which means I also do the majority of the grocery shopping.

Anyone who is my friend on Facebook also knows that I teach a 4th through 6th grade Sunday School class and attend a weekly Bible study and hubby and I participate in all the fellowship programs put on at the church. And I'm the church's clerk--which means I take the minutes of the council meetings and sign some official documents.

Besides all the online promotion I also have quite a schedule of in-person promotion. Next up is the local launch for Angel Lost being held Saturday, March 26 from 1-4 at Books Off Main in Porterville. Have some invitations to mail off and some info to send off to the newspaper.

Whew! That made me tired just writing it.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/An-Excerpt-from-Marilyn-Meredith-s-novel--b--i-INVISIBLE-PATH--b---i--is-featured-in-today-s-FREE-KINDLE-NATION-SHORT.html?soid=1102437388337&aid=0eyaIz14nss

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/An-Excerpt-from-Marilyn-Meredith-s-novel--b--i-INVISIBLE-PATH--b---i--is-featured-in-today-s-FREE-KINDLE-NATION-SHORT.html?soid=1102437388337&aid=0eyaIz14nss

What to Wear at a Book Event

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

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

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

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

There's always the chance at a big conference that you'll run into someone with the same outfit on that you are wearing. Yes, that's happened to me more than once. I even had an author email me and ask if I was going to wear a duplicate of hers to an upcoming mystery con.

There are a couple of cons that I go to every year and I really try to change my outfits around so I'm not wearing what I wore the year before. Not because I'm vain--far from it--but I know photos will be taken and I'd like to be seen in something different from the very last year--though it might be from a couple of  years before. No one's going to remember--it's those dang pictures that show up on the Net.

I've been staring at my clothes and trying to figure out how I can change things up so what I have looks different than it did another time.

I have one friend who merely changes scarves and jewelry but wears the same suit everyday. That works for her--but I'd be sure to slop food or drink on the one and only outfit and I'd be a mess the rest of the time.

So, that's one dilemma. So what do you wear when you're appearing places you've been before? Does it matter to you?

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

Satri's Self-Esteem Took Kit, for Writers




Virginia Satir, the famous family therapist, was fond of metaphors and collected them from a profusion of sources, such as The Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum. In that story, remember, the Wizard gave the Scarecrow a brain, the Tin Man a heart, the Cowardly Lion a badge of courage, and Dorothy the power to go home. According to Virginia, the Wizard's great secret was that each of his supplicants already possessed the tools they thought they lacked. The Wizard's job was merely to remind them. Well, writers need reminding, too–and, wrapped in our fictional worlds, maybe more than most.

From the idea that we possess the resources we need, but may have to be reminded, Virginia developed her idea of the "self-esteem tool kit"–a set of resources that each of us owns but often forgets to use when we're feeling powerless. A few years back, I wrote a book about this kit for consultants, More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit. It was well-received by my consultant colleagues, but also came to be discovered by my writer friends, when they asked me for help with so-called "writers' block."

As a writer, out there alone in a sometimes unappreciative world, I've frequently reminded myself of the metaphors in Virginia's original kit, so I thought I'd share the highlights on the BVC blog:

The Wisdom Box represents the ability to know what's right and what's not right for me. Without a Wisdom Box, I would find myself forever trying to write things that violated my principles, or for which I had no energy. At least once a week, I receive a proposal to write some new book, develop an on-line course, speak at some conference, or teach some class. Without my  wisdom box to guide me, I would be swamped doing things I didn't really want to do–and my writing would never happen.

The Golden Key stands for the ability to open new areas for learning and practicing, and to close them if they don't fit for me at a particular time. Without this Golden Key, my writing would become narrowly focused, or focused on areas in which I was no longer interested. Without the key, I would never have begun writing fiction instead of my assuredly-successful non-fiction. And, having begun with science fiction, the key encouraged me to branch out into mysteries.

The Courage Stick symbolizes my courage to try new things and to risk failure. The Golden Key makes me aware of new doors to open, but I also need the courage to enter those doors once opened. Without my Courage Stick, my writing turns to safe grape jelly, smooth and sweet, but not terribly exciting.

The Wishing Wand personifies my ability to ask for what I want and to live with not getting it. Without the ability to ask for what I want, I would fall prey to publishers' boiler-plate contracts. I cannot be an effective negotiator for my various writing contracts–not just publishing, but editorial work, cover designs, and various office services.

The Detective Hat is sometimes teamed with The Magnifying Glass, creating the ability to examine data and to reason about those data. Without analytical abilities, I would become a vendor of off-the-shelf, portion-controlled writings–rather than an original writer responding to my readers' real needs.

The Yes/No Medallion illustrates my ability to say yes, the ability to say no (thank you), and the ability to mean what I say. Without a yes that means yes and a no that means no, I would pander to my editors' prejudices and allow my writing to become someone else's. I actually have a silver-and-gold yes/no medallion that I wear around my neck when I'm entering negotiations.

These six tools formed Virginia's self-esteem tool kit, as I learned it. Over the years, however, various colleagues have helped me add other tools to my personal version of the kit, tools that are also helpful to me as a writer:

The Heart stands for my ability and willingness to put my heart into my work. My colleague Jean McLendon suggested that I include The Heart in my kit. She explained that Virginia left it out of her kit because she assumed people always have access to their heart. Writing fiction or working in technical environments, though, I've learned that I often need to be reminded of the hopes , wishes, fears, and sensitivities of others. The Heart gives me that nudge when I need it.

The Mirror symbolizes my ability to see myself, my writing, and to seek and use feedback. I'd always known that feedback was important for personal growth, but I learned the most about feedback from Edie and Charlie Seashore as I worked with them on our book about feedback, What Did You Say? Feedback is the mirror by which I can see myself and my work and monitor how my work affects those around me–but it only works if I remember to look in that mirror.

The Telescope stands for my ability to see others and to bring them closer to my understanding than my naked eye and brain can manage. In many ways, the mirror is the hardest tool for writers to use. Whom among us can accurate critique our own work? My Telescope complements the function of my Mirror, allowing me to see my work brought up for close examination.

The Fish-Eye Lens symbolizes my ability to see the big picture, the context that surrounds me and others and influences , us as we work together. It reminds me to use the many observational and analytical tools I already have, many of which I've written about in my books yet fail to recall when I most need them. Together, The Mirror, The Telescope, and The Fish-Eye Lens equip me with the Self, Other, and Context from Virginia's model of congruence–the ingredients that must be balanced if I am to write congruently.

The Gyroscope is my ability to be balanced, to use all of my tools, and to be congruent or centered. My father gave me my first gyroscope, and to this day, I remain fascinated by its ability to restore its balance when disturbed. Sometimes, I think that the Gyroscope is too complex a tool for my kit, but then I remember that restoring balance to my life is complex and that it is something that I must always try to do. Watching other writers, I see how easily they are knocked off balance, causing their writing to suffer–or to cease altogether. Any writer who knows how to use the gyroscope will never be caught up by the myth of "writers' block." See my interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77xrdj9YH3M">The Myth of Writers' Block

The Egg stands for my ability to grow, develop, and learn, using all the parts of myself that I need to become a complete writer. I like to collect eggs, mostly beautiful stone ones, but I'm allergic to the chicken kind. Perhaps this allergy explains why I took so long to associate The Egg with Virginia Satir's Seed Model–the concept that each of us comes into the world with all the tools we need to be complete human beings. When I'm stuck, in my writing or elsewhere, my Egg reminds me of the many tools I don't realize I have–and of my ability to choose or create my own tools.

The Carabiner represents my ability to ensure my safety and to avert unnecessary risks–so I can take risks when necessary. For those of you not familiar with mountain climbing, the carabiner is a metal loop used to attach climbing ropes to pitons–hooks embedded in a cliff face. They are meant to prevent climbers from falling. Linda Swirczek, an experienced climber, suggested The Carabiner for my self-esteem tool kit. It gives me a moment to double-check my actions, so I can write with confidence.

The Feather–the ability to tickle myself and others, and not to take things, or myself, too seriously. I learned about tickling from my father, Harry Weinberg, though it was a long time before I learned much about the right timing for tickles. The Feather reminds me that, as Oscar Wilde said, "Life is too important to be taken seriously," and the same is true of writing: "Writing is too important to be done without at least occasional humor."

The Hourglass–the ability to make time for what's good and to make good use of time. For me, the Hourglass is one of my most important tools because it's one that I tend to forget. When I'm writing, I can forget to eat, or sleep, or simply take care of my body. I have used an actual hourglass next to my computer to remind me to stop occasionally and take care of life. Nowadays, I use a timer on my computer–and not just to stop writing. Sometimes, I need to start writing when I've been preoccupied with life's other matters.

The Oxygen Mask–the ability to revive my capacity to help others. I like to help other writers–critiquing their work, leading them to useful resources, supporting them when they're feeling stuck.  Eileen Strider added the Oxygen Mask to my kit, reminding me of the safety instructions given on planes: "Before helping others with their oxygen mask, be sure your own mask is securely in place and operating properly." My Oxygen Mask reminds me to operate from a healthy place, the place from which I'm most able to help others. There, I'm less likely to inflict "help" that may prove harmful should I crash and burn and fail to follow through. The Oxygen Mask reminds me to use all of my other tools and to keep myself healthy and sane.

Altogether, these are some of the major tools I use in helping writers start their work, complete their work, ensure the quality of their work, and put their work up for sale. I hope some of them can help you in your writing—and in your life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gerald M. Weinberg incorporates his knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all of writing and consulting work (with writers, hi-tech researchers, and software engineers). He writes novels about such people, including The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, First Stringers, Second Stringers, The Hands of God, Freshman Murders, Earth's Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules—all about how his brilliant protagonists produce quality work and learn to be happy. Links to all his books and ebooks may be found on his website: <http://www.geraldmweinberg.com>

Earth's Endless Effort Blurb: 
The largest living being on Earth, LAFE (Large Aspen Forest Entity) is a single plant covering thousands of acres high in the Rocky Mountains on Colorado's Western Slope. LAFE's size and thousands of years of life experience provide the wisdom to escape notice and avoid the complexity of human society, but he has limitations. LAFE cannot move, sleeps all winter, and can be attacked with chain saws and fire. So, when a pipeline project threatens to cut LAFE's brain in half, LAFE overcomes long-standing antipathy toward human beings and seeks the aid of Daphne DeFreest. But first they must heal her broken body and find a way to communicate. Then Daphne must find the love of her life, and they all must cope with their common enemies.
This is their story.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2nd Half of Self-Editing Tips

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

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

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

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

When a new character makes an appearance, give the reader more than a name. There’s nothing more disconcerting than making a mental picture of someone as tall and lean and dark, and finding out later that he was pudgy, short and redheaded. Remind us every now and then of the character’s description and attributes.

Use a new paragraph each time a new person speaks or does something. Makes it much easier for the reader. Remember, white space is good.

Be sure each verb is the most descriptive possible for the action. Use active, not passive verbs. Get rid of as many of the "to be" verbs–is, am, was, were, are, will be, etc., --as possible. Find an active verb to substitute.

Look at each of your adverbs–are they really necessary or could you have used a verb that more aptly described the action. Use active, not passive verbs. Run a spell check on looked. There are so many verbs that are more descriptive: searched, studied, glanced, spotted, noticed, gazed, etc. Find the one that best describes what the character is doing. Use your thesaurus.

When you describe a character as looking a certain way, sad, disgruntled, or whatever, instead why not describe what it is that makes them look that way?

Be sure all pronouns refer back to the right person. A pronoun always refers back to the last person or thing mentioned. Use the character’s name whenever there’s any doubt.

Check for repeated words, or words that sound too much alike, being too near each other.
Be sure characters are speaking as they should for their age, time period, sex etc. Every profession has a jargon, use it, but use it correctly.

The dialogue must be realistic sounding, but not necessarily realistic since that could be boring. Leave out all the greeting information, and the "wells." Read all dialogue aloud, make sure it sounds natural. Avoid talking-head characters.

Avoid wordiness and redundancies–if you say someone is petite you probably don’t need to say how tall they are.

Be careful what you have characters’ eyes do. Often the word picture can be jolting as in she dropped her eyes, or his eyes danced around the room.

Point-of-View

Personally, I prefer one point-of-view throughout a scene. However, I do know that romance writers like to go from one to another especially in a love scene. If you’re going to do this make sure to use a good transition so your reader knows exactly what is going on. It’s best not to switch back and forth.

Remember when you’re in one person’s point-of-view that person cannot know what another person is thinking. They can guess by the other’s expression, perhaps the fact that their skin has changed color. Also the POV characters can’t see themselves, so don’t know they turned scarlet with embarrassment, but they can feel their skin grow hot or flush.

The narrative is essentially what the POV person is thinking, feeling, experiencing. There’s no need to say she thought this or that, and that way you don’t have to decide how to show something is a thought, just write it. If you really get inside the skin of the POV character and look out through his or her eyes, you’ll have an easier time with writing from that character’s POV.

Use quick, short sentences when the narrative is action packed. Longer, more fluid sentences work better in romantic scenes.

Make sure the action is described in the proper order.

Let us see where the action is taking place. Beware of talking heads. People move around and do things when they are having a conversation. This is where your better dialogue tags can come in.

Check for a speech that is too long. Remember, folks get impatient when a person talks too long and interrupt or ask questions.

Use dialogue to move the plot along and reveal character. Don’t bother with the mundane things we all say, get on with the story. Even though we all say, "well" a lot when we’re talking, eliminate the word from your character’s dialogue. Read all dialogue aloud and make sure it sounds natural–and right for the time period.

People use contractions in normal speech. However, when writing period pieces you probably won’t use contractions. If you are going to use idiomatic types of speech in dialogue don’t overdo. Don’t do anything that hinders the ease of the reading.

Don’t interrupt as the author. All information should come from the viewpoint character, or as the viewpoint character learns about the information.

Check for too many "had”s. Usually one will take care of letting the reader know something happened earlier.

Watch for continuity problems. What was a simple blue dress becomes a pink tea dress. Character’s eyes change colors.

If certain facts have been established about a character or location, those facts shouldn’t change.

Did you clear up all the loose ends?

When you think you’re through, print out the whole manuscript. Read it aloud so you can hear the rhythm and pacing. Listen to your words to catch awkward phrasing and repetition. Stilted dialogue becomes painfully obvious when read aloud. Mark everything that’s bothersome and continue to the end.

After the first read through, go back and fix everything you marked.

Take a closer look at descriptions. Do you have long passages of narrative that could bog down the story? Or do you have the opposite problems, with scenes and people so sketchily described the reader has no sense of what anyone or anything looks, sounds, smells or tastes like? Have you made good use of all five senses in your descriptions? You don’t want to go overboard, but the judicious use of odors, sounds and sensations can bring your story to life.

Study your transitions. Does the story move smoothly from scene to scene? Are point-of-view changes clear?

Do you provide enough clues for the reader to know when scenes take place in relation to each other? Has enough time passed for events to realistically take place in your story? It may be helpful to draw a time line to plot pivotal scenes in the book. The visual picture of the story line can be a big help.

Reread your chapter ending. Do they propel the reader on so they want to read just one more chapter? Or does every chapter end neatly with the close of day or the resolution of a problem, making it easy for the reader to set the book aside for another time? Consider ending chapters on a suspenseful hook, or an enticing question, or even in the middle of a scene. The next chapter might start with another character and something else going on. Just be sure to get back to the original scene before too much time passes.

Reread the beginnings of each chapter. Do your beginnings hook the reader, pulling them into the story?
Clean up dialogue tags. Can you eliminate some tags? Do you need to add others in order to help the reader know who is speaking? Replace awkward tags with a simple he said or she said, or he asked, she asked. They become invisible to the reader, the words like responded, questioned, interjected, tend to jar the reader out of the story.

Try to eliminate descriptive adjectives that describe emotions, such as angrily, wearily, happily. Instead use your character’s actions, facial expressions. Or use words to convey the emotion.

When naming characters avoid using the same first letter for names, names that rhyme or sound too much alike. Make sure the name chosen was used during the era of your book.

Don’t have your hero and heroine constantly addressing each other by name in ordinary conversation.

Eliminate or replace weak words.

Don’t make your reader look for a dictionary too often.

Be sure your writing is concise–write tight.

Delete unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

Vary sentence beginnings. Does every sentence begin with he or she? Use different sentence structures to add variety to your writing and improve the flow.

Hone in on the emotions. Readers want to be swept into the feelings of the characters no matter the genre. Have you dug deep enough to find the emotions your characters are feeling? Are your character’s emotional reactions appropriate?

Eliminate inaccuracies. Check the facts whether your book is historical or about modern times. Verify words you use are appropriate for your time period, or that you’ve used proper police procedure for the area you are writing about.

Does the ending point toward a deeper story? The best endings make the reader think about what has gone on before, perhaps speculate about a deeper meaning.

Final polish. Do another spell check. Proof the printed copy one more time. Make sure your format is correct for the particular publisher. If you have time, set the book aside and work on something else for a week or two. Print out a fresh copy and do another read-through. Chances are this time you’ll find only a few minor corrections. No book is ever completely finished, but if you do a good job of editing, you’ll be sending off a polished gem.

Next on the Blog Tour for Angel Lost:


Monday, March 7
Book trailer featured at If Books Could Talk
Tuesday, March 8
Guest blogging at Thoughts in Progress
Wednesday, March 9
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Thursday, March 10
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!
Friday, March 11
Character interviewed at The Plot

I'd love it if you'd leave a comment on one or more of these blogs.

Marilyn Meredith
http://fictionforyou.com         

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Few Self-Editing Tips

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

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

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

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

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

The less punctuation the better. Often a sentence with a lot of commas and semicolons might be a lot better if it was more than one sentence. Don’t use semicolons in dialogue. I tend to overuse ellipses for pauses in dialogue when a comma would be enough. Use exclamation points sparingly. Say it so the reader knows there’s a punch without the! In fiction skip the parenthesis, instead use dashes. Check your sentences to make sure they are varied in length and construction. They should be vivid, move the action, have sensory detail.

Use single quotes inside dialogue, double quotes in narrative.

When a noun serves as an adjective for another noun, connect with a dash as in two-way street.

First do all the obvious things–run the spell-checker.

Watch out for those words that are spelled the same but mean something different. You’ll need printed copy to check for those.

Compound words can be tricky. Check a dictionary when not sure.

All right–two words--still seems to be preferred usage by editors.

I/Me I is used as the subject of the sentence, me is used as the object. Example: I am going to town. Mary will go with me. Mary and I will go to the zoo. John will go with Mary and me.

Lay/Lie: Lay means to place or put down. Lie means to recline. Example: Lay the book on the table. Lie on the bed. Lie: lay, lain, lying–Lay: laid, laid laying

Remember it’s is the contraction for it is. Its is possessive.

Look for the words you must often overuse such as that, just.

(Continued tomorrow. Don't forget to check out the blogs on my tour.)


Wednesday, March 2
Guest blogging at The Hot Author Report
Thursday, March 3
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Friday, March 4

Marilyn

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hunting Season by J.E. Taylor



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

A brief look into the mind of Special Agent Steve Williams…

The scene from the balcony reminded me of Charlie’s city view and I shudder, sinking into the chaise lounge and studying my new partner.  He isn’t actually with the FBI.  Nope, he’s WANTED by the FBI.

Why haven’t I brought him in? 

Good goddamn question. 

I wonder why I haven’t either. 

He’s as dangerous as they get.  Even more so than The Slasher, but I need him.  His technological genius leaves anything we have at the FBI in the dust, never mind the other talents he brings to the table. You see, he’s the best chance I have of hunting down the bastard that targeted my family.   

“What are you looking at?” Chris Ryan asks, turning his steel blue gaze from the city to me. 

His sharp-eyed glare catches me by surprise. He was reading my mind again - my contemplations of putting him behind bars when this was all over. Yes, one of his many talents includes reading minds. 
Imagine a killer endowed with extra-sensory gifts like mind reading and the ability to control matter and you’ve got Chris Ryan – a.k.a. Ty Aris - a criminal mastermind that reinvented himself and snowed the authorities and inherited billions.  

Every fiber of my being wants to lock him up.  Except I can’t do that.  You see, I made a promise to a dying man and now I’m stuck.  Stuck between doing what I know is right and that stupid promise.   

“Why did you do it?”  I had to ask. 

He sighs and takes the chair next to me, his lips pressing together in contemplation as he surveys the city skyline.  “I’d like to say I was forced into it, but we both know that’s a lie.” 

“An honest criminal. How refreshing.” The sarcasm in my voice palatable.     

“Smart ass.”  A hint of a smirk appears along with a condescending roll of his eyes.

At least he didn’t drop a litany of excuses.  I had to give him that but it still didn’t erase my need to put him in jail.

“I’m not going to jail,” he says and retreats back into the apartment. 

The shit thing is even if I wanted to arrest him, I’m not sure I can. 
 + + +


Hunting Season is the follow up to Vengeance.  Here’s a little blurb about Vengeance:  

After an undercover bust goes to hell, Special Agent Steve Williams becomes the target of an assassin and his wife’s visions escalate, forecasting a brutal assault on their family. Escaping from the city and armed with scant details from Jennifer’s dreams, Steve trudges through a litany of past connections, searching for the key to stop the course of fate.  A brother with a grudge, a serial killer and a mafia assassin are all on his trail and the hunt begins . . .

Bio: 
 
J.E. Taylor is a writer, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order. She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:
“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes five+ novels either published or targeted for release along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within upcoming eXcessica anthologies.

Ms. Taylor also moonlights as an Assistant Editor of Allegory, an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and lends a hand in formatting manuscripts for eXcessica as well as offering her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.

For more information about J.E. Taylor, please visit her at her website or her blog.