Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boo! Happy Halloween!

Yesterday I wrote about scary things that  happened in my childhood--didn't write them all--didn't touch on the time I thought the Black Dahlia's severed leg was on my bed, but I think I wrote enough.

Today, I'll tell about some scary times that happened after I was grown and a mom. One New Year's Eve, Seabee husband was in Vietnam so I offered to babysit all the neighblorhood kids so the parents could have a great celebration. It was like a giant slumber party. After a treat of root beer floats and playing games, the kids settled down somewhat to wait for the New Year to arrive. Most, including my own children, were in sleeping bags on the living room floor--except for my youngest who was in my bed. That room had a sliding glass door to the outside.

Finally, things had quieted when my ltttle boy came into the room and announced, "Mommy, there's a big man in the bedroom."

Here I was, the one who had to protect all these children. I grabbed a baseball bat (my favorite defense) and ran to the bedroom, yelling, "Here I come!"

I go there just in time to see a leg disappearing through the open glass door. "I shut and locked it."

I don't remember what happened next. I may have called the police, I'm not sure.

Another time, one of my daughters came into our bedroom to inform us someone was on the roof. My husband (for once he was home), jumped out of bed in the all together (that's how he slept) and dashed out the back, picking up an axe on his way. He used a ladder propped against the house and climbed on the roof. We could hear both my husband and the intruder galloping over the roof. Daughter and I got to laughing over what a sight it must've been.

Husband returned soon--fortunately no one had seen him or he might've been arrested for indecent exposure. The intruder had jumped from our roof to the neighbors' and then dropped to the ground  and dashed down the street. No doubt traumatized by the naked man chasing him with an axe.

At that time we lived in a neighborhood in Oxnard, California. Now, we're in the foothills where the neighors are all farther away. We've had some exciting things happen, but probably the most exciting is that our house is haunted. More tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scary Stuff for Halloween

I visited a friend's blog today and she's relating scary stuff that has happened to her. I decided to do the same thing on my blog today and on Halloween.

When I was a kid of about 12 and babysitting two doors up the street for a policeman's two little kids, someone tried to get in the front door around 11 p.m.. The policeman had left a loaded gun home and told me where it was (can you imagine?). First I called my dad, then I got the gun and went to the door. Far braver than I felt, I shouted, "I've got a gun and I'll use it if you come in!)

My dad arrived about 15 minutes later (seemed like an hour) because he got dressed before he came up. I'm sure he thought I was imagining things. He checked all around the outside of the house and told me no one was there. Of course not by that time.

Another time when I was a teen, I got brought home after a young people's church group--my folks were still at church--unlocked the front door, came into the house and went straight to the bathroom. I didn't shut the door because no one was home. While washing my hands, I looked in the mirror and saw someone run past the bathroom (they'd probably been in my folks' bedroom), I went after him, stomping my feet, "I'm coming after you." (Pretty dumb.) Whoever it was came in through the back door which was still open. Next to the door was a little door that opened to a place where the milkman put our milk delivery--and those little doors were open too. I locked up, but was too scared to stay in the house so I went out on the front porch and sat until my folks came home. Also dumb. Why I though I was safer outside I have no idea.

And now one that happened on Halloween. I loved trick-or-treating. We never had many sweets on hand when I was a kid. Trick-or-treating was a great way to stock up. When I was a kid, people were still handing out homemade candied apples, cookies, and popcorn balls--and those were the best treats of all.

Slowly, the group I'd been going house-to-house with got smaller and smaller until I was the last one. I wasn't ready to quit and headed afar, places I hadn't visited  yet. I found a house near one of my girlfriend's that had many stairs to climb to get to the front door. I knocked with anticipation, wondering what goodie I'd receive.

The door opened and a man with a scowl and a rifle pointed right at me said, "You know what I do to trick-or treaters?"

I was sure I was going to be murdered right on the spot. The man's demeanor changed. He smiled and said, "I give them candy." And he did.

That was enough for me. I knew it was time to go home.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sell More eBooks - How to Increase Sales, Review


by Lucinda Sue Crosby and Laura Dobbins

For anyone wanting to sell more e-books, this is a wonderful guide. There is a big plus, in that the first part of the book explains how to self-publish and e-book with many easy to understand directions and tips.

Probably the most important tip is to first write a good book and make sure it is edited properly. Not doing this might mean that any books you publish after this one will not be purchased by previous readers.

When the book focuses on selling e-books, there are many tips on how to do this, including offering it for free for a few days--and how this works. There are directions and the URLs for places to promote your freebies and how to continue promoting after the book is no longer for sale.

I purchased this as an e-book, then went back and bought a paper copy so I could mark up the books

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Working on my Next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime Novel

Or at least that's what I should be doing. I've had so many distractions, it's going to take a bit of doing to get my mind set right.

I need to immerse myself in Rocky Bluff--the small beach community somewhere between Ventura and Santa Barbara. When I'm there in my mind, it seems like a very real place with the bluff that's give the town it's name, the battered rental houses on the beach front, the rotted pier, the homes that climb the sloping hillside leading to the freeway, the ranches and orange groves on the other side of the freeway, and the businesses that line the main drag, Valley Blvd.

Oh, I was going to tell you what story lines I need to continue, but I can't do that because it would spoil the book that is coming in 2013, Dangerous Impulses.

Sometimes this whole writing process is weird. One book at the publishers while writing the next one. And in my case, I'm also working on the edits for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery which I'll need to send off after the first of the year.

If you'd like to get acquainted with the Rocky Bluff P.D. officers and their wives, get a copy of No Bells by F. M. Meredith. Though the characters and what's going on in their lives continue, the main story is always completed in each book.

So, if I can just keep myself from reading new emails until later and keep off of Facebook, maybe I can get some writing done.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Friday, October 26, 2012

How My Writing Has Changed

Trail to Glory was my first published book. It was/is an historical family saga based on my own family genealogy. When it was published I really didn't know a whole lot about writing or getting published. It was rejected close to 30 times before Leisure books picked it up and published it as mass market paper back. I also knew nothing about promoting. I did send out flyers to announce the book to friends and family and arranged one book signing. And that was it.

I did get a nice advance and one royalty check.

The book faded into obscurity and truthfully, I forgot about it as I continued to write and eventually get other books published.

With all the excitement about Kindle books, since I had my rights back, I decided to publish the book on Kindle. I no longer had a copy on my computer due to many changes of computers and word processing programs. I sent the book off to a company that scans the pages and puts them into Word.

I got busy with other stuff and kind of forgot all about it.

One big thing I decided to do was change the title to Indian Paintbrush--my own title, the publishing company changed the title to Trail to Glory--why I have no idea--something about the title fitting on the cover better, but if didn't really fit the story.

I asked one of my publishers, Oak Tree Press, if she would be interested in it. When she said yes, then I knew I should get busy. Oh, my, what a mess. The formatting was all messed up, something I had to fix. I noticed a number of exclamation points right away and did a search through the document and there were more than two hundred. I changed them all to periods.

I'm working on putting every person's dialogue and/or action in a new paragraph. Something I didn't do back then, but always do now. Makes it so much easier for the reader to follow along.

Every conceivable word for said or asked is used as a dialogue tag-something else I don't do now.  Said and asked sort of fade into the background, while the substitutes jump off the page. I've barely scratched the surface, but I've found actions that can work as dialogue tags for many.

There's a lot of telling rather than showing, but I think there's enough showing to keep a reader interested.

Worst of all is the book is full of typos--amazing since this was a published book. Almost every book has a few typos--but this one is riddled with them. Hope I catch them all. There was no spell-check back in the days I was writing this.

The book was written way back in the 70s  when writing and reading styles were a bit different. At the time I'd been influenced by reading many romances--and it is full of romance.

Because I'm also writing another book for the same publisher, I only work on this in the afternoon and at odd times when I have a few minutes.

I enjoyed writing the book and many told me they loved it when they read it--perhaps new readers will too, when I get it done.