Showing posts from February, 2012

Louisa and the Crystal Gazer by Anna McClean

Interview of Anna McClean 
Please tell me about your background.
            First, thanks so much for hosting me!             I was a small town kid who spent an awful lot of time daydreaming and reading…and never outgrew that need to live many, many lives.  As a young adult, I studied literature and traveled in Europe, filling my eyes and my imagination, and as soon as I settled down again – first in Boston, then in the Finger Lakes area of New York State – I started to write.  I’ve worked as a waitress, apartment rental agent, hotel maid, bookkeeper,  journalist, and college professor…in that order.  But always, always, I was writing.
What inspired this particular book?
            Louisa May Alcott herself.  Her character, Jo from Little Women, was my role model when I was young.  I was delighted to realize that Jo, for Louisa, too, represented a combination of real and fantasy life.  Louisa, like Jo, was devoted to her family but also fiercely independent.  And she wrote secretly, s…

A Few Dead Men

A Few Dead Men – a Chick Dick Mystery launches on March 1st!
Life has dealt part-time mystery novelist Darcy MacDonald a lousy hand. The men she knows are either missing, dead, drunk or demented. Lying next to the corpse of her boyfriend, the head of Bloodhound Investigations, definitely qualifies as lousy since he’s the man who also issues her paychecks. The doctor says her boss had a massive heart attack during an orgasm, and it wasn’t Darcy’s fault. But she can’t help feeling guilty, since his orgasms were her responsibility. Or so she believed, until his grieving widow shows up, along with a mysterious, punk rocker chick who weeps inconsolably at the funeral and claims he was murdered. 

People often ask what inspires an author to write a book. In the case of A Few Dead Men - a Chick Dick Mystery, inspiration was easy. 

I used my youngest daughter's disastrous dating history. 

The 'dead men' in the novel are composites of every boyfriend and/or bad date she's ever had. …

My Review of No Substitute for Murder by Carolyn J. Rose

The heroine, Barbara Reed, is working as a substitute teacher to pay the rent and put food on the table. Being a substitute ranks as one of the most unpopular jobs there is, but for Barbara it is the beginning of a spiraling tail of woe.
When she discovers the history teacher murdered in his classroom, she’s assigned to take over his class. She can’t help but do a bit of snooping on her own and when she discovers another body, she becomes the prime suspect.
The mystery is full of fascinating and quirky characters from the not quite normal teaching staff, to her ex-husband and his girlfriend, her obnoxious sister, colorful neighbors, a couple of homeless men, and the most important one in her life, her tiny dog, Cheese Puff.
I’m a fan of Carolyn J. Rose and I always know when I read her books there will be some unexpected twists—and No Substitute for Murder is no exception.
If you love mysteries that are a shade different, you’ll love No Substitute for Murder.
Carolyn sent me a copy of the…

Fighting the Urge to Withdraw as I Age

By Carolyn J. Rose
Almost every day my husband and I walk our dogs—the intrepid Bubba and the not-so-daring Max—in a loop around our neighborhood. Along the way we pass the home of a man in his late 80s. His wife died several years ago and he lives alone in a house filled with things much as she left them. He no longer drives, but he has family just down the road, close neighbors who look in on him, and lunch deliveries every weekday.
But he’s lonely.
On warm days he plants a chair in his driveway and waves over anyone who passes for a brief conversation—always about the past. Some days we stop. On others, we acknowledge his wave and call out an excuse—have to get to the store, the library, home to do the wash.
Once I brought him a brochure for the local senior center and asked if he’d like me to drive him on the days I go to the nearby rec center to swim.
“I wouldn’t know anyone there,” he said.
“You might. You won’t know until you go,” I answered. “But even if you don’t, people are friend…

Not Having Enough Time to Write

Lately I've been frustrated by not having enough time to write. I've blogged about distractions that take me away from my writing--but a lot has to do with promotion I have to do for my new book coming.

A funny thing happened at my writers' critique group. I was reading the next completed Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel which at the moment has no name (remember the next one in that series, No Bells, is due out sometime in March. When critiquing time came, one of our new members pointed out that I had in one spot I had given Stacey a different name--Tempe. I didn't notice and neither did the old-timers of the group.

Tempe is the heroine of the Tempe Crabtree mystery series--and she and Stacey are not alike except for being female law enforcement officers and strong women.

I do know why it happened though, I go back and forth from writing a new book in one series and promoting the book that is out or soon to be out in the other series--and I usually have another manuscript …

Amazon: A Writer's Friend or Foe?

This is Guest Post by Ella Davidson of
Coupons is a savings and deals website that strives to provide consumers with the most authoritative couponing news on the Internet.
The sweeping technological developments of the past two decades have drastically altered the world of media. Information travels more quickly and in more ways than ever before. One area in particular that has seen major changes, especially in the last few years, is the process of publishing and publicizing books. The advent of the eBook has provided a method by which aspiring writers can take control of their work, and the commercial giant has in turn taken advantage of this new medium. But is Amazon’s model of eBook publishing and distribution ultimately harmful or beneficial to independent writers? Strong arguments flare from both sides:
Amazon is great for writers!
·On the most basic level, Amazon’s services seem like a godsend to anyone interested in distributing their personal written work, e…

Setting Up Promotion for No Bells

Anytime you have a new book coming out, you must get busy figuring out promotion.

Because I was going to do my own blog tour, awhile back I contacted different bloggers I know and asked if they'd be willing to host me on my tour for No Bells. As I received affirmative replies I lined up the dates. I also figured out a contest to hold on the tour. I asked each tour host what they'd like me to write about--and then I did it. Of course I had a standard blurb and bio to add to each post.

I borrowed an idea from Pat Browning to use different photos of me for each blog, in most of them I'm at some kind of promotion event.

I've ordered business cards with the cover on one side and information about the book on the other. I plan to hand them out at the two conferences that are coming up soon: Epicon in San Antonio and Left Coast Crime in Sacramento. I'll have other books for sale at these events, but I want people to know about the new book coming.

Some of the events I'…

Coming Soon!

The birth of No Bells is nearing.

I love the cover.

I've gone over the PDF file twice now and found those pesky errors that the gremlins stick in.

Though I have to confess that some of the errors were mine.

Because some of them were consistency errors despite what I thought was good note taking for my timeline, before I sent another book off to my publisher, I'm going to get another reader to go over it. For some reason my critique group didn't catch these kind of errors. And I really shouldn't expect them to since they only hear one chapter at a time.

All I can do now is hope that I caught them all.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

And This is What Distracted Me Yesterday

What I did today that Got in the Way of My Writing First off, I sent off blog post with photos the cover of my new book No Bells to the rest of the people who are hosting my blog tour. (I'd done part of them yesterday.)

Hubby brought in the mail and I had a bunch of bills to pay.

I had scheduled an author for a coming blog and the publicist sent me all the material so I got that set up. In case  your curious, check it out on Feb. 29.

Because I have a standing date to provide a post for the Stiletto Gang on the first and third Tuesday, I took the time to write that and looked for photos to go with it. I also do a post for Make Mine Mystery the same Tuesdays and I wrote one for MMM too.

And I must confess, I peeked at Facebook too.

Now I'm too tired to write and still have a couple of things I ought to do--and of course there's income tax looming over me.

Oh well, another day is coming.


Blood Orchids by Toby Neal/Review

In this fast-paced mystery set in Hawaii, we follow police officer Lei Texeira as she and her partner stumble upon a grisly find—two murdered teenagers. Lei knew one of the girls and is determined to find her killer though her help is not wanted by the lead detective on the case, Stevens.
As the multi-layered story unfolds, Lei’s past history becomes apparent, casing a psychological shadow which colors everything she does from dealing with a disturbing stalker to the unwanted attention of a neighbor. More murder victims turn up, and Lei becomes the target of a serial killer.
Blood Orchids is one of those books that once you start you won’t be able to put it down. Author Toby Neal, a native of Hawaii, adds plenty of island atmosphere to this fast moving tale of murder and suspense and a healthy sprinkling of romance.
Marilyn Meredith

Distractions from Writing

All authors have things/events that distract them from writing.

I'm going to tell about some of mine.

Life. Yep, you all know what this is, things that happen that take you away from writing. The not so good ones are getting sick, going to doctor appointments, having to take care of the chores of life such as doing your taxes, housework, laundry and cooking. Because I like to eat good food, I really enjoy cooking--most of the time.

Family. Because family is more important than writing, I love seeing my family which as most of you know is very large. I usually don't babysit because I think I've gotten too old, especially to take care of the little ones. However, I do babysit in emergencies. Recently I had a great-granddaughter come here after school because mom had to work. She's a delight and I enjoyed having her around.

Telephone Calls. I usually don't get many and I don't make many because I don't really like to talk on the phone. Once in awhile I get on…

New Death and Others by James Hutchings

I did a Bachelor of Arts majoring in creative writing and media, but I didn't do anything with it after graduating. Years later I created a fantasy city called Teleleli or Telelee as a background for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Once I finished I realised there wasn't any demand for it. My ex suggested I use it as a setting for stories instead, and that's how I got started.

Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'.

I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner. But I'm a lot more cynical about them than some cat-lovers. One reviewer…

Editing and Finding Consistency Errors

Received the first galley proof for No Bells.

Oh, my goodness. Something I learned immediately is I do have a problem keeping track of characters' vehicles. This is not a new problem. I believe it relates to a flaw I have when it comes to cars in real life. The kind of car people drive has never been important to me. If I go somewhere with someone, I need to stick with that person because if they park in a filled parking lot I won't be able to remember what their car looked like. I am most observant when it comes to everything else, just not cars.

In my first Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Tempe's official vehicle is a Blazer sometimes and at others a Bronco.

When I was writing No Bells I carefully wrote down what kind of vehicle each person drove after I mentioned it. (I usually ask my husband for kinds of cars, for instance, "What would be a good kind of sports car for a rich young kid to drive?" "What would be a classy older car for someone to drive?"…

Dead Witness, by Joylene Butler

Links: cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca
The ebook version of Dead Witness is available at MuseItUp Bookstore and The paperback version of Broken but not Dead is available at and
Bio: Joylene Nowell Butler, Metis, began writing in 1984 after the death of her father. Her first novel Dead Witness, published in 2008 is distributed across Canada by Sandhill Books. Her second novel BROKEN BUT NOT DEAD was published 2011 by Theytus Books, the oldest Aboriginal publisher in Canada. In November 2011, MuseItUp Published released the ebook version of DEAD WITNESS. Her current WIPs include a political thriller, a children's book, a suspense thriller, and the sequel to Broken But Not Dead. Joylene, her husband,and three stray cats in Cluculz Lake in central BC. 
Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal …

Happy Valentine's Day

Here I am with my Valentine of 60 years. Yep, we did it, even though everyone said it wouldn't last.

No wonder, when we married we really didn't know much about one another. We came from opposite sides of the country and different kinds of families. He grew up in a tiny town in Maryland, I grew up in Los Angeles. He was raised by a grandma and two aunties and had no siblings. I had a mom and dad and younger sister. And I could go on and on about our differences.

No, it wasn't easy. We had many problems along the way--but we never gave up.

After a few years and five children, we began to realize besides being man and wife we'd become best friends.

We not only have five kids, but we also have 18 grandkids and 12 great grands.

I hope that each and everyone of them will find that someone who will go through life as a best friend.

Here's a grandson with his Crystal and their son, Julius. One of the many that I'm praying will have a great life together.

Going through …

Time is Drawing Near for No Bells arrival

What is No Bells you ask?

Those of you who follow my blog can probably guess that's the title of a new book. It's the next one in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. I am particular anxious for this one to come out because one of the major characters in this mystery is Officer Gordon Butler. This series I write under the name F. M. Meredith.

Though Gordon is merely a patrol officer and one who manages to get into a lot of difficulties, he's managed to acquire quite a fan following. I'm eager to hear what his fans will think about this next big episode in his life.

And a fun element in this story is the fact that the romantic lead is named after a friend of mine. She was the winner of a contest to have a character in my next book named after her. She wasn't the one who entered the contest, her daughter (also a friend) did it for her. It was quite a task. The person who won commented on the most blog on one of my blog tours. The daughter diligently made a comment on e…

Death by Rheumatoid Arthritis by Carla Jones

Laurel, MD—May 14, 2010—By 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Three categories of AORC account for almost 80% of deaths: 22% of them are attributed to rheumatoid arthritis. Echelon Press, LLC announced today that Allentown author Carla Jones's eBook "Death by Rheumatoid Arthritis" will be available for sale June 1, 2010. With very personal ties to this disease, Ms. Jones will be donating her royalties to The Arthritis Foundation.
For twelve years Jones worked in the Pharmacy industry with another four years in Mental Health. Ms. Jones spent part of this time nursing her mother, who ultimately died from complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis. After her mother's death, she spent four years researching Death by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
"I hope this eBook will send a message to those afflicted with this incurable disease, to their caregivers and to the general public, warning them of the potenti…

The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg

Many reviewers have compared The Preacherto The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but I didn't think they were anything alike except for the fact that they are both set in Scandanavian countries. I loved the whole Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and I felt the same about The Preacher but I saw little similarities.
The Preacher is set in a Swedish fishing village and most of the actions takes place there and nearby.
Though the plot was dark, the main characters were wonderful, normal acting people. Patrik Hedstrom, the detective, is not an alcoholic or drug addict, and he loves his pregnant wife Erica. When he's faced with a most complicated case he sets about solving it in the old-fashioned way--going from place to place and talking to many people. Yes, he feels some guilt for leaving Erica alone so much, but he's compelled to find the answers to a most unusual case.
Besides the strange family who are tangled up somehow with newly discovered but old skeletons and missing girls…

Marja McGraw's Journey to Publication

Everyone takes a different path to publishing, and mine was rather bumpy, but it could have been a lot worse.
When I first started writing I lived in a small town in rural Nevada. I didn’t know any other authors, and I had no idea about finding information on the Internet. I was truly a babe in the woods. I sent out a few manuscripts to publishers and most of them didn’t even bother to reply. I have to admit, the book I was sending out was pretty bad. I kept it for many years because it had sentimental value, no matter how amateurish it was. Somewhere along the way it disappeared.
Anyway, a family member sent me a newspaper article about self-publishing. It sounded wonderful. I submitted a different book, and they just loved it. Oh, yes, they accepted it and told me I was every bit as good a writer as Sir Conan Doyle. I was going to be the new Agatha Christie, too. Looking back, I have to laugh at how gullible I was. I fell for it and submitted another book. And I waited for people to …