Showing posts from May, 2011

Invisible Path on Kindle


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

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

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


Memorial Day and Personal Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Now we're both r…

The Inspiration for The Glass Cage

Marilyn recently asked me what inspired me to write The Glass Cage, book 2 of my McKenna Crime series. The Glass Cage is one of those synchronistic intersections of several facets of my life coming together with a dose of vivid imagination and a story that was just begging to be told.
I was a police dispatcher for a number of years and saw pretty much every kind of call that can from through from a simple guy on the side of the road with a flat tire to a bomb on an important politician’s route of travel. (Not a scare, but an actual bomb). I told calls for domestic violence, barking dogs, a murder/suicide and runaway juveniles just to name a few. As a dispatcher you are there as a first point of contact for someone having an out of the ordinary experience and the hope is you are going to make a difference in their lives by getting help to them. People don’t call 911 to say they’re having a good day.
A series of calls I took on one case was the starting point for the series and book one…

Dispel the Mist and why I Loved Writing This One.

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

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

I was fortunate to visit this site with an anthropology class. Our Ind…

The Time is Drawing Close

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

You can check out all the information here

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

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

And best of all, it's ju…

The Year of Cancellations

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

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

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

The Mayhem in the Midlands conference was cancel…

Review of Murder on the Interstate

Who would ever guess that a mystery about two middle-aged women traveling in a motor home would be filled with non-stop action? And I’m talking about motor home, semi-truck and car chases, shoot outs, foot chases, running from the enemy, escaping through bathroom windows, terrorists, and explosions. Yes, that’s all in Murder on the Interstate and much, much more!
I have a confession to make, I blurbed this book, but I only read enough to be sure it was going to be a good read and the major idea of the plot. When I received the ARC to review, I was delighted to know I could take my time and savor the story. Little did I know that my husband would grab it first and he got so caught up in the story I had to wait for him to finish it first. He loved it. And when I finally got my hands on it, I loved it too. Murder on the Interstate is truly a page-turner.
Jean Henry Mead you’ve got a winner!

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


My Upcoming In-Person Promotions

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

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

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

My biggie for July, of course, is the Public Safety Writers Association's Conference at the Orleans Hotel in July in Las Vegas. It's not too late to sign up, we've extended the Early Bird R…

The Effect of a Short Story by Carol Shenold

Even in grade school I liked short stories. The one that stuck with me was a very short one I read in a comic book. It involved a child coming home after school, reaching her house, finding it dark when she opened the door, calling out and receiving no answer, reaching in to turn on the lights. Instead of the light switch her hand lands on a large spider. She screams, wakes up from the (wait or it) dream, still in class.  After school she laughs at herself for being silly, reaches home, a dark house and no answer when she calls out. This time when she reaches out, touches the spider, she doesn't wake up. I never forgot the story. Never reach for a light switch in a dark room without the spider visiting me.
I graduated to Poe, Saki and other horror writers, read better crafted stories, but none of them took hold with the same intensity as the first. Of course, even before I read the horror comic, my grandmother prepped me with bed time stories about a killer in the 1940's who sca…

You Need Many Hats if You're a Writer

A writer is expected to wear many hats today.

Author and Editor Hat

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

Publicist Hat and Web Designer Hat

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

Most publi…

Library Event

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

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

This time we paid better attention, drove into the parking lot of the strip mall, and there on a storefront were the word Library. Obviously at one time this had been a store. Of course the library wasn't very big, but i…

Yes, I Have Another Life Besides Writing and Promoting

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

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

Recently hubby and I attended a baby shower for one of my grandsons and his hopefully to-be-wife's baby. It was a huge shower with many members of our family, lots of friends, and the mother-to-be's even bigger family than ours. It was held at a huge pavilion in a park. That same day I attended a church council meeting, a have-to because I'm the church clerk and must take minutes of all official meetings. I'm also the one who types and editsi the Pastor's Pen that is included in every Sunday's chur…

A Mystery We Write Blog Tour Coming Soon!

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

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

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

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

Of course I'll be visiting each one of their blogs too. First, I'll be on Jean Henry Mead's blog. As the time draws nearer I'll be sure to let everyone…

The Great Adventure by J. E. Taylor

The Great Adventure…
And here I thought writing a book was the great adventure.  Try your hand at opening a publishing house. The flurry of activity to get to the point where you swing the doors open is insane.  Negotiations on Website design, distribution channels, submission guidelines, contract wording, royalties, business agreements, lining up cover artists and editors and everything else in between keeps you busy.  
Insanity at its best until that moment you flip the switch . . .  and then all you hear are crickets - no band playing When the Saints Come Marching In, no fireworks, just the sound of silence.  
Of course, this is accompanied by a spark of panic when you discover your website is down.  You made the grand announcement and there was nowhere for people to go.  
That Homer Simpson sound comes from your lips and you palm your face in despair.  Thank god for technology wizards.  They magically fixed the issue and bam.  That first chirp - that first submission appears in …

Fringe Benefits on Kindle

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

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

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

To buy it for your Kindle

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

Final Respects on Kindle

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

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

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

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

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

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

One young woman I know is unhappy, I'm sure. She has a baby shower planned and it's to be held at a park. Fortunately, the park does ha…

Finding Peace by Rie McGaha

Where I live everyone carries a weapon. We don't lock our doors at night, we don't lock our vehicles and the keys are usually left in the ignition. There is something to be said when everyone is armed – our crime rate is practically non-existent. When you know if you break into someone's house the chances are you're coming out in a body bag is a great deterrent. Here people are friendly and children are raised with manners. It's a laid back lifestyle with hardworking people who take the time to know who you are and consider you their neighbor no matter where in the county you live.
I've always lived in out of the way places, in mountains and close to water, but it seems that as I grew older, I wanted to be even farther away from people and traffic and the sounds of humanity. I like my peace and quiet. I like to run around naked and not worry that I'm giving some young person nightmares, or years of therapy to get over the shock! I like living where my dogs …

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

I’ve talked about my books and writing up the wazoo over the past couple weeks so today, I’m going to focus on what to do when we’re all balled up with stress from the crazy running around with teenagers, juggling a day job and the night writing in between the insane schedule of baseball, dance, jukido, guitar lessons, kid’s jobs, driving lessons and everything in between. 
Time is a premium in our household, so when my daughter invited me to go with her for a day at the spa, I reluctantly went.  Outside of a couple pedicures over the years – and yes I can count these on one hand – I’ve never indulged.  Well, let me tell you, the twenty-five minute massage was NOT enough.  
While waiting for my daughter – she went in after me – I started leafing through the catalog of what’s available and my lord, I’d love to do a either a full or a half day of extreme pampering.   I now understand why folks plan spa weekends and all that hoopla.   It’s something I’d like to indulge in more.  A guilty p…

On Being Called Grandma

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

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

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

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

Honestly, I love the name almost as much as I love the grandkids and great-grands. I consider it an honor to be called Grandma--and I don't really care who does it. If some young person l…

Donna Crow's Research for her Monastery Murders

Several months ago Marilyn and I decided it would be fun to guest on each other’s blogs on the same day— my first ever blog exchange. So before I embark on the saga of my adventures as an intrepid researcher, let me invite you over to my blog (insert link) to read Marilyn’s account of (insert title).  And now, to the story:
I make it a hallmark of my writing to try to give my reader a “you are there” experience when developing the background of my novels.  And that means being there myself first.  I try never to set a scene in a place I haven’t actually been myself and never have my characters undergo an experience I haven’t had myself— with the exception of finding murdered bodies, you understand.
Since, like most of my books, The Monastery Murders are set in Great Britain and I live 7000 miles away in Boise, Idaho, research can be a considerable challenge.  I begin by doing all I can to develop my basic storyline at home from books and internet research. I like to have my plot well o…

Las Vegas Sisters in Crime on Mother's Day

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

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

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

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

One by one, people began arriving. The first was a woman who'd read about my talk in the newspaper. An old friend from years ago arrived, we'd been in a r…

Returning Home

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

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

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

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


Happy Mother's Day

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

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

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

When I was a kid growing up, my parents weren't physically loving. The only time you got a kiss was if your were going a way for several days like to camp, or when I left to get married. However, I knew I was loved even though we didn't kiss and hug. Both my parents worked hard to give my sister and me a good life. Of course…