Showing posts from December, 2011

Looking Back over 2011 from under my Author's Hat

I'm only going to relate what I did as an author, though the drama of a family as big as mine might be more interesting--but I wouldn't have room to write it all down.

I had a new blog every day whether it was a book review, guest author, or something I wrote. I also wrote something new the first and third Tuesday's of the month for Make Mine Mystery, The Stiletto Gang, and an occasional post on the Oak Tree Press blog.

When I was free, I attended the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime.

My first appearance of the year was in February at the Exeter Museum where I spoke to the Tulare County Historical Society.  I also gave a presentation to the Writers of Kern in Bakersfield.

In March, I headed to Ridgecrest and spoke to the Ridgecrest Writers group. I also had the book launch for Angel Lost at Books Off Main in Porterville. I did a month long blog tour for Angel Lost too.

In April, I had a booth at the Jackass Mail Run in Springville and I was on a panel with members…

Leaves from the Valley Oaks

My Review:

This is an eclectic collection of short stories, poetry and articles, most with the flavor of the Central Valley.

Winnie Enloe Furrer contributed true stories about the Huckababy family, a pioneering family complete with photographs. John Noel added a bit of non-fiction an some poetry. Mary Benton's short stories have their roots in the valley--and well-worth the read.

There is something for everyone in this anthology. Art Wallace Neeson's tales contain a wry sense of humor and Gloria Getman's stories often end with an ironic twist.

This review would be far too long if I listed every author and described every piece, so I'll conclude with anyone who has the opportunity to read this book will enjoy him/herself. Highly recommended and I give it 5 Stars.

From Gloria Getman:

Thanks, Marilyn, for inviting me to tell a bit about how Leaves from the Valley Oak came about. 
Last April I suggested to the Visalia & Exeter Writers that we publish an anthol…

Sail of Stone by Ake Edwardson

Another Swedish author, Edwardson, has spun a twisted tale of intrigue that is wrapped around historical events.

Don't expect another Girl With the Dragon Tattoo style of writing, Sail of Stone is much slower paced with pieces of the puzzle developing through tales of the past and unusual settings whose descriptions often are as important as what is happening.

Chief Inspector Eric Winter becomes entangled in a curious case of a missing person who is searching for his father or may or may not have died in World War II. At the same time, female detective Aneta Djanli is caught up in a suspected abused wife case which as it unfolds, seems to be as much a threat to Aneta as to the woman who now seems to have disappeared.

As both cases unfold in different locations, the reader is treated to wonderful descriptions of landscape, food and drink almost as intriguing as the solving of the mysteries. 

Review by Marilyn Meredith

The book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster

Editing my Latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree

This one is titled, Raging Water, thanks to someone in my critique group. Also thanks to them for listening to each of the chapters, finding mistakes, and giving me some great feedback.

Next, I did a spell and grammar check. Not so much to really check the grammar because I like incomplete sentences, and poor grammar in some characters' dialogue--but to find places where there are extra spaces, extra periods and numerous other oddball things that gremlins seem to put into manuscripts.

Now I've printed out the whole thing--the only way to really edit--and I going through it carefully. This is the only way to find holes in the plot, (yes, I'm finding them), name changes (oh, my, I can't believe I do that), loose ends (things I've left dangling.). This takes awhile.

Once I'm done I'll have to go back into the computer and fix the things I've found.

When I'm sure I'm done I'll send it off to the publishers. And then, thank goodness, it will eve…

Like Scary Books?

This story is based on something that really happened in our family--no, none of the people are based on us, just the plot idea.  The little girl on the cover isn't anyone I know--and the hair is the wrong color for the character, but I can tell you that the look in the eyes is definitely correct.
I think this is he scariest book I've ever written. One interesting comment is that one of my granddaughters who was about sixteen at the time, gave me some ideas for bad things the little girl in the book could do to her adopted siblings.
The book is what I call psychological horror and you can find it on Amazon.

Mundania Press is Having a Big Sale!

Now through January 2nd, 2012, Mundania Press, LLC is having a sale!

Enter the code SANTA at checkout and receive 25% off your entire order.

This would be a great time to try my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries. You can go toMundania Press and check on mysteries and scroll through to find all of the series

Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us.

That's the order of the series for those of you who like to read a series from the beginning. However, each book was written as a stand-alone in that the mystery is solved at the end of the story. The main characters are ongoing. Through each book, Tempe learns more and more about her Native American heritage.

This is a great time to try out this series.


The First Christmas

"About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's hometown, for the census. As a decendant of David he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel.
There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for eve…

T'was the Day Before Christmas

And because it is the day before Christmas and I'm sure you are all busy with plans for Christmas Eve and tomorrow, I'm not going to write much.

At this point, I have no idea if I'm having any company tonight or not. I bought what I call snick snacks just in case: cheeses, deli meat, crackers, dip, chips and pies. Enough to fill any bellies that might cross our door.

Tomorrow will be totally different--teaching Sunday School and attending church, then rushing home to put dinner together for my family who will be coming after church.

So, all I'm going to say right now is have a wonderful Christmas Eve and the Merriest of Christmases.


Our Critique Groups Christmas Dinner

lft side of table, Brent, Sharon, me and Hap, rt side of table, Joe, Shirley, Lisa, Kristi, Jann, and Laurel.

Because we have spouses and a friend with us for dinner, the actual members of the group are Brent, me, Shirley, Lisa, Kristi and Jann.

This year we decided to meet at the Thai Kitchen, a favorite of many of us. Shirley and I are the oldest members in two ways, age (I win) and we've been in the group the longest. (Shirley wins because she started it, but I've belonged since 1981 when I found a listing about it in the newspaper.)

The group has changed members over the years, nearly all have been extremely helpful and added a lot with their judgment and various forms of expertise.

We come from many backgrounds, religious faiths and politics--but it hasn't mattered a bit. The philosophy of the group has always been to critique the writing, not the subject matter. It really has never been a problem except once eons ago when I was writing horror and one of the one of th…

As Christmas Draws Nearer--

I've been thinking about Christmases past--way past.

The first one I can really remember was at my great-grandmother's house. Because my sister did our genealogy I know that she was a quite a woman. She started out in life as Desdemona Diana and along with her sisters who had equally lovely names, was adopted. Her adopted family changed her name to Minnie. As Minnie she married a man who was killed while driving a horse driven wagon. When he died she was left to figure out a way to make a living on her own and she opened her home up to boarders, mostly railroad men.

It was in this house that I remember that first Christmas. I wasn't five yet, because I didn't have a sister, who came along when I started kindergarten. This makes me think I was probably 4.

All I really remember about Great-Grandma Smith's house, was the living room was in the middle, no windows, just lots of doors that went to other rooms. The Christmas tree was in the living room, but I don't re…

Why is there a problem? Indie Pub vs. Traditional Pub

For those of us authors who are on various lists like Sisters in Crime and Murder Must Advertise and many others, an ongoing rather hostile battle has been going on between the two kind of publishing.

Those who are published by traditional publishers--the New York variety--look down with disdain on the indie published. Indie published can mean anything from self-publishing in the many ways of doing that these days and including various forms of e-publishing. And of course the others strike back with all sorts of arguments which I'm not going to bother to go into.

There is also the independent small publishers who may fall into one of the other categories or not depending upon which side you happen to be on.

The traditional publishers don't feel that those who are self-publishing or with small publishers are getting edited making their book inferior. (Frankly, I've read a lot of New York published books, especially by big name authors, that suffered from lack of editing.) T…

The Publishing of Next Rocky Bluff P.D. Crime Novel Moving Along

Despite the fact it's Christmas season, this author is still busy with all the facets of writing.

My publisher just read through No Bells, next in the Rocky Bluff crime novel. For some reason the last few pages of the manuscript were missing. I checked my file and everything was there as it should be. I sent the manuscript again as an attachment. It arrived safely, but there was another problem. She really didn't like the way it ended. I took another look and agreed with her specific criticism.

It didn't take much to make a change that she did like, so now we're off and rolling again. Or at least I hope that it is moving along. Not sure exactly what will happen next. I'm hoping for a cover fairly soon as I have blogs I need to do that want covers and I'm planning to set up a blog tour for April.

Just a hint about this coming book, it centers on Officer Gordon Butler. Poor Gordon, he's one of these people that seems to have a dark cloud over his head, if som…

The Spotlight is on J. Q. Rose and Sunshine Blvd.

Sunshine Boulevard by J. Q. Rose—mystery/light horror e-book from Muse It Up Publishing
Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me today. I am thrilled to be here with you and your mystery readers. I am spotlighting my mystery, Sunshine Boulevard, on your blog. Because it is holiday time, I am giving away a copy of my holiday, short story, The Good Neighbors. Please leave a comment to be eligible to win. Don’t be disappointed if your name isn’t drawn, because the humorous story is available at Amazon at All royalties from the sale of this story support local food pantries.
What inspired you to write the mystery/light horror book, Sunshine Boulevard, Janet?

Sunshine Boulevard takes place in Florida. My husband and I visited Florida with our kids when they were young. We returned to Florida when we were full-time RV’ers, living in the fifth wheel trailer twelve months out of the year and traveling the country. We have met some real characters in…

Christmas Traditions are Great, but They Do Change

My family has had some great Christmases over the years and some that weren't so great.

When it was days late from the due date of my third child, we decided it wouldn't be smart to travel to L.A. like we usually did for Christmas, so everyone came to my house. Nine months and several days pregnant, I cooked a turkey dinner and served my grandparents, parents, sister, her hubby and her three kids. I'm sure they all helped though they came on Christmas day, so I'd done the major share of the cooking. (That baby arrived on the 28th.)

One in particular I remember when hubby was overseas and I was living on allotment checks that barely covered our bills and needs. I ordered the kids' Christmas gifts out of a catalog, only a few days before Christmas I was informed by mail that my order had been denied. Oh, my, what was I to do? We were leaving for my parents (where I knew they'd have some gifts) but I had nothing to take with me.

My mom took pity on me and gave me…

And Now Some More Great Grandkids

I am so blessed with many grandkids and great grandkids. The above are two of the three kids of my first grandson, who was born on our wedding anniversary. I must confess that's the only date of my grandkids that I can remember.

Several of them are really talented athletes. Great-grandson Brandon, the first in line, is planning to be an MMA fighter and a preacher. (Interesting combination, right?) His brother, Aaron, is good at all sports. Sister Carolyn is great playing volleyball or on the basketball court. (They belong to granddaughter Melissa.)

Granddaughter Genie has two kids. Peyton is an Irish dancer and does exceptionally well. Her brother is not martial arts and soccer.

Had a phone call last night from Granddaughter Merenda, she said her almost 3 year old wanted to talk to her g-grandma and grandpa. That's us. We had an interesting conversation. I know she visited the next door neighbor and played with the dog, and she planned on playing with Barbies as soon as we sai…

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

For all the details about the conference, check out the link.

This is one conference where all the experts and presenters are also at the conference to learn. They are available to network and answer your questions.

This year we're having a crime scene for all to participate in figuring out all the clues. We'll see how the novices do against the experts. This is being brought to us by retired Chicago police officer and mystery writer, Michael A. Black and Steve Scarborough, forensic expert and published non-fiction and mystery and thriller writers.

We have a forensic nurse, FBI men, retired police officers, casino security, retired military, firemen all from the public safety side, mystery writers, a publisher and editor who will be discussing the business side of publishing.

Anyone who would like to be on a panel will get to be on at least one. You may bring your books to sell and PSWA will do the selling and keep only 10%.

This is…

Review of Frank Scully's Thriller, Empty Time.

This thriller begins at a gallop-Jim Lang is running for his life.
The story steps back in time to bring the reader up-to-date as to why Lang is being pursed.
After being framed for murder and stock fraud, a contract is put out on his life. On the run, Lang goes through one perilous danger after another. He’s shot and nearly drowns. Rescued, Lang recovers and figures out a way to get back at his former colleagues while putting himself in even more danger.
Scully has done a terrific job of describing shady business practices of a large corporation and portraying unsavory though respected people who manage big business, both with a ring of truth.
The story is filled with intrigue and almost non-stop action and suspense covering territory from California to Europe.
This book is recommended for anyone who loves a thriller based on events that could really happen and an average man whose circumstances have thrown him into situations he never imagined to protect his own life and the life of hi…

What's Going On in my Writing Life and Real Life

Besides the fact that it's Christmas time, I've been really, really busy.

I have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery done and I've just gone over some edits someone did for me. Still have a few last chapters to read to my critique group.

In the meantime I'm writing a new Rocky Bluff P.D. which is almost done too. Only have a couple of chapters to finish.

I have several things to do on my to-do list, as always, just haven't gotten to them yet.

My eighteen grandchildren are all grown up now--the youngest graduated from high school in June.
On the left is a very grown-up grandson, his sisters, Alyssa (the grad) and Erica.

My oldest great-grandson also graduated this year.
This Brandon before he got ready for his graduation.

My granddaughter, Jessica, got married in January, and she and her husband moved to North Carolina a the beginning of December. (She's always lived either with me or right next door--I'm going to miss her.)

My #12 great-grandchild was born th…

Soft Target by Stephen Hunter, Review


Review of Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli

Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli is compelling and unique. Unique in that it is based on real people and occurrences, but fictionalized. It’s the story of the rise of the Italian mobs, the life of a gifted and popular singer and how they are intermingled. For the younger reader, this might merely be an exciting read. For someone more mature who lived during the time period of this book, it’s fascinating to follow along and see where fiction deviates from history. A masterful writer, Fusilli has created a story with all the flavor and nuances of the times and places the intriguing characters are moving through. 
That's the review I put on Amazon and I'd like to add a bit more. Though the mob plays a big part in this tale, one of the major characters is a singer very much based upon Frank Sinatra. Of course there are many differences, but having lived during that era it was easy to recognize what was true and what was fiction--and for me it added to the fun of the book.
I thoroughly…

Swimming in the Ocean

I know, this is a weird time of year to write about such a thing, but I watched a surfing movie a few days ago and it reminded me how much I loved swimming in the ocean. (Notice, I used past tense.)

When I was a kid and lived in L.A., my folks always made several trips to the beach. That's where I learned to swim in the ocean, but I knew how to swim since I was 5. (Learned in an irrigation ditch, it was swim or drown.)

I remember one trip as a teen with a church group to the beach. We had a big bonfire (yep, you could do that way back then) and I swam out past the waves (something I always did), but when I decided to come back in I didn't know where to go. I didn't have my glasses on and there were lots of bonfires on the beach. I decided to just go to shore, then try to figure it out then.

Yes, I got caught in rip tides, but I knew to swim parallel to shore to get out of them.

When my children were small (3 at that time) we'd start going to the beach in March. I'd…

Interview with Nicole Langan, Tribute Books Publisher

About being a publisher:
I've spent roughly the last 12 years in the publishing world. I have a B.A. summa cum laude in English and Communications. From 1999-2004, I went from being an intern to an editorial assistant to an associate editor of a regional magazine. In 2004, I started Tribute Books. Since that time, I've worked with dozens of authors, illustrators, photographers and editors in publishing over 30 books. Some of our books have gone on to win awards such as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Mom's Choice Award while others were endorsed by PBS and The Thoreau Society. We've published a wide variety of genres from children's picture books to history to sports under both traditional and subsidy contracts.

In 2012, we'll embark on a new transition becoming solely an e-publisher of young adult titles. There will be no charge for the young adult authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits …

And to Sum it all Up

Wow, this has been quite a journey, fourteen mystery authors all visiting one another for fourteen days.

I knew some of the authors and their books before we started, others I only knew their names. Because we were supposed to visit each blog every day--not always possible--I learned even more about the authors I knew and became acquainted with the others.

Another plus was all the writing information that was produced each day. It was enlightening to read other writers' views about so many topics.

On my own blog, I asked each one to write about setting. What was so amazing was the different approaches to the same topic. Some wrote about the importance of setting, others gave examples of ways to describe setting, and still others wrote about the settings in their own mysteries. I hope all my visitors enjoyed reading the various posts as much as I did.

One other chore each of us was supposed to do was promote two blogs a day, his or her own and the one she or he was appearing on tha…