Thursday, May 30, 2013


WRITING THE FICTION SERIES: The Guide for Novels and Novellas to Writer’s Digest Books by Karen Wiesner.

978-1599636900 (trade paperback) from
Coming May 30, 2013

What are the common pitfalls in a crafting a series, the best ways to get organized and plan it? The purpose of How to Write a Novel Series is to cover all things that need to be taken into consideration when writing a series and provide a one-stop resource for the who, what, where, when and why of this monumental endeavor. This helpful guide will give writers everything they need for creating their fiction series from dealing with story arcs and keeping things focused to characters, consistency, organization and more.

I received a copy of this book yesterday and haven't had a chance to read it thoroughly, but I did take the time to glance through it, and believe me, it has everything anyone contemplating or already writing a series needs to know.

The reason the author was kind enough to have a copy sent to me is because I contributed some thoughts to the book--and I'm only one among many authors who write series.

One thing I know about Karen Wiesner is she is an author who knows how to gather information about most any writing subject and present it in the most helpful manner possible.

Highly recommended as are all of Karen's books.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Deadly Trail, the Prequel

Deadly Trail was the first book written in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, but as I reported earlier it was not the first published. It was later picked up by Hard Shell Word Factory, which is no longer in existence, but promoted the book as a prequel to the series.

This was Deputy Tempe Crabtree's introduction and also her introduction to the enigmatic Nick Two John when he becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the owner of the Inn. (at that time I just called it the Inn, it has since become known as the Bear Creek Inn.) Much of the story revolves around the Inn which is based on the Springville Inn, physically it's a bit different though the early history is the same.

Pastor Hutch makes his first appearance in this one too. Tempe and he are not married yet, but the wedding happens between this book and Deadly Omen.

And if you would like to hear a bit of a a confession, there is an earlier book that I wrote as a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, but there was nothing in it about Tempe being an Indian, so I changed it including the location and the names of the characters. Another publisher picked it up and published it--and recently that company went out of business. I changed the title to The Devil's Foothold and it is available on Kindle. Though it has some great reviews, there are some mistakes in it. In fact, the preacher's name appears as Hutch once. If I ever get time, I'll take it down and fix it. Might be fun for you to get it and see how many mistakes you can find. No prizes for the most.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Where Did Tempe Crabtree's name come from?

Tempe Crabtree was my great-grandmother's name, my dad's grandma. Though he told my sister and me a lot about her, we never got to see her. We learned a lot about her, though, when my sister did our family genealogy.

Her family, (the Osbornes) were pioneers in the gold country in the Sierra. When one of her siblings drowned, the family packed up everything and traveled south, ending up in a place called Globe (no longer in existence, though there is a road called Globe Dr.) in what is now Springville. (Yep, it's where I live.)

Their homestead was close to the Crabtrees'. They had a son named Newt who took a fancy to Tempe and a romance ensued followed by marriage. The two lived on the Crabtrees' homestead for a long while and raised many children. Later, as they grew older, they moved to a smaller house in town.

I was always fascinated by the name. When I began formulating the idea of writing about a female resident deputy in a town similar to the one I live in, I thought it would be interesting for her to have some Native American blood. Of course, then I had to come up with a name that might be considered Indian. I learned that all the Indians in our area had very common last names that weren't the least bit ethnic sounding like Gibson, Manuel, Garfield, etc.

Because of this I thought Tempe Crabtree would work quite well and that's how my heroine, the resident deputy of Bear Creek, got her name.

This is the cover of the first book that was published--though it isn't the first in the series. The publisher at the time liked this one best.

It is depicting the murder victim in the story--a young woman running for Princess of the Pow Wow.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Thoughts About Writing a Continuing Series

The Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series is different in many ways from the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Probably the biggest difference is that most of the Tempe books are in close third person, but mainly from her point of view. The few times I've put something in someone else's point of view it has only been for a prologue or first chapter when there was something I really wanted reader's to know that couldn't come from Tempe's POV.

In the new one, Spirit Shapes, the whole story unfolds through Tempe's eyes.

With every Tempe mystery there is a touch of Indian spiritualism or supernatural of some sort--and in Spirit Shapes there is lots, but in a different form than I've ever written about before. I don't want to say anymore as I sure don't want to spoil what's coming--and it's still a long ways off.

Tempe has been a part of my life for many years now. And of course her life isn't moving as fast as mine--a good hing, or she'd be getting too old to be a deputy.

Having her job be a resident deputy in a small mountain community has kept me from having to deal with gangs or too much of the drug culture--though I have put a bit of that in a couple of books.

The setting of the series is mainly in a mountain community near an Indian reservation--similar to where I live. There is a problem here with meth--though the real resident deputy who is male is really trying to get rid of all the dealers and addicts. Probably an impossible path. I've chosen a different way to go with Tempe because I think it's a lot more fun to write about unusual crimes--and read about them too.

Tempe is married to a minister--and I've tried to show him as a real minister, one who reads the Bible, preaches on Sunday, but also takes care of his flock. That was most evident in Raging Water where the church housed and fed those who had been displaced by the flooding of Bear Creek and the road from town being blocked by a mud slide.

Because it is a small town, he often helps Tempe when he can, supporting her in many different ways including spiritually.

And I must confess, there are far more murders in Bear Creek and around than there have been in the town I live in. In 30 years there have been only two--one that was difficult to solve and another that was quite obvious who the killer was. However there were two suspicious deaths of women I knew but never investigated which was the basis for the mystery in Raging Water.

As time goes on, I'll be telling you more about Deputy Tempe Crabtree and the series in general.


Available in many places online including the publisher's website

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where I am Spending the Weekend


Paradise Springs

One of our grandsons is getting married this weekend and they've chosen to have the wedding in a beautiful place in the midst of old-growth giant Sequoias. The area once was a logging camp which has been greatly upgraded into an ideal setting for weddings and other events.

I noticed the absences of any mention of WiFi or Internet connections so I'll be out of touch with everyone. What I do plan to do is take my iPad and use it to take picture of the surroundings for future Deputy Tempe Crabtree blogs.

You may not know it, but Bear Creek where Tempe lives and works though based on the village where I live is fictional. I've moved it up in the mountains 1000 feet for better trees, the kind of trees you see in this photo. There are giant Sequoias in the area that I write about and in fact have appreared in several of the Crabtree mysteries--and I'm sure that they will again. Some of these giants are located on Indian reservation land.  

Because I'll have my iPad, I'll probably take notes about the book I'm working on now--a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel, and I have books to read on it too. Then again, maybe I'll have too much fun walking some of the trails, visiting with new in-laws and the relatives that I already know.

And of course, the best part will be watching my grandson marry the woman he loves.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Planning Ahead for my Next Deputy Tempe Crabtree promo

Mundania Press has a form to be filled out after you've sent them a copy of your new book. Among other things, you must write a short blurb for the back of the book, a synopsis, and what  you'd like to see on the cover. Fortunately, my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series covers have been assigned to a cover artist who uses Native American designs in the covers. I'm hoping for something wonderful once again.

Spirit Shapes is the title of this book and the story has many spirits, ghosts and even demons in it--and of course several murders--one new and two from the past. I hope, somehow, the artist will be able to convey some of that.

Now it's time for me to think about what kind of things I should do for promotion of this book--and that's where you can chime in. Is there anything in particular you'd like to see me do?

Of course I'm considering a blog tour--and I'd love to have some volunteers--if I don't get any, then I'll chase some folks down. And with a blog tour, I need a contest. What kind of contest do you prefer? To have your name used as a character in my next book? Or would you rather choose a copy of one of the books in the series before Spirit Shapes? (I never give away the book I'm promoting because I'm hoping people will buy it because of what I'm saying about it.)

I love giving talks about writing, publishing, promoting and about what gave me the idea for whatever book I happen to be promoting--or the series itself. Anyone who'd like to come have me speak, (California, Arizona or Nevada please), email me at

Of course I'll be going to writers' conferences--next year both Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon are in California and I'm already planning on going--if I'm able and like my husband always says, "And the creek don't rise." Well, we do have a small river behind our house and so far it hasn't risen high enough to keep me from doing much of anything. And of course, I'll make an appearance at PSWA.

Any other ideas? I'd love to hear from you.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Asylum, by John Harwood--my review

I received this book in the mail. I'm not sure why I got it, but no book comes into my house that I don't try to read. Years ago, I would never have stopped reading a book. Nowadays, I don't have time to keep on reading something that hasn't captured my attention in a few pages.

Truly, I did not know what to expect with this book. The cover, which for some reason I've been unable to copy, is that of a black and white photo of a young woman, sad and from an earlier time period. The title and author name are in pale yellow. An arresting cover.

The chapter headings are the names of the POV character for that particular segment. I found that helpful because at times I wasn't sure. One of the reasons is because this is the story of Georgina Ferrars who wakes up in an asylum with no recollection of how she got there. I had no idea where the story was going but immediately was caught up in the horrifying dilemma this young woman found herself in.

All of her pleading that she is not who the head doctor of the asylum says she is not believed.  Her back story is wonderfully told and I was immediately captivated, wanting to learn what happened to this young woman.

Years ago, I loved reading gothic tales and The Asylum has the same atmosphere--but not the standard plot by any means. The publishing company calls in a gothic thriller, but I'm not sure thriller is the best description. To me it was more of a gothic psychological mystery.

The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I loved it, brilliant writing, intriguing characters and a most complicated plot.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why I Chose a Small Independent Publisher(s) and More

The "and more" refers to why I've chosen to remain with my small publishers and not jump off and go the self-publishing route as so many others have.

First, I was thrilled when Mundania Press agreed to pick up my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series after I lost the first two publishers. I'd met the publisher at several writing conferences and he had the know how and business sense I was looking for.

Raging Water, the latest in Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series

I met the publisher for Oak Tree Press also at a writing conference. In fact I met her several times before I approached her about publishing the next one up in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I parted ways with the first publisher, the second one published two books and then decided to retire. Approaching Oak Tree Press seemed the next logical stop.

Latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Dangerous Impulses.

Why did I make that choice and stick with it?

Number one, I don't want to learn how to do something new. Frankly, I don't have the time for it. I want to have time to write my books. I don't want to design my covers and format the pages of my book. I don't want to deal with all those business things.

What do I expect from my small press publishers?

That once my book is accepted, that the book will be edited. Before I ever send it off, my critique group has heard it and critiqued it chapter by chapter. Next, I've had a beta reader or two. Then I go over it once more carefully. That doesn't mean there won't be mistakes--goodness, there always seems to be mistakes. But between me and the editor, hopefully we'll catch most of them.

And then the galley proofs--I will again go over the book looking for mistakes, typos, flaws.

I expect my publisher to come up with a great cover. If I have an idea what might work, I'll give my input. If there's something I don't like about the cover, I'll say so. Sometimes changes are made, sometimes not. I've loved most of my covers.

I'm the one who has to write a short blurb for the back of the book. I'm also the one who has to find authors to write something about the book--though one of my publishers makes great suggestions.

I expect my publisher to get the book up in all the places it might sell such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I'm the one who has to get a buzz going about the book and I try to get this started long before the book is to come out. I'm the one who will be doing most of the promotion. I am the one with the marketing plans. What venue will I be attending where I can talk about and/or sell my book? What online promo will I be doing? What blogs brought in the most visitors on my last blog tour? Should I plan another blog tour and who should I ask to be a part of it? What other social media should I use again, or try anew?

What I won't do? I won't bug my publisher or ask for things I know won't happen with a small press. A good way to lose a publisher is to be a pest. Another is to not understand the publishing business and ask for the impossible--and keep asking. For one thing, I'm way to busy for that.

Maybe I don't know everything that I ought to know, goodness, I certainly haven't made a fortune writing. I certainly haven't made the dollars some of my fellow authors are reporting. What I do know is that I have some loyal fans, I love hearing from them and when I am fortunate to, I love meeting them. And one more thing, I have a good relationship with both my publishers.

I'm sure there's a lot more. Chime in and tell me why you are doing what you are doing.

Marilyn aka F.M. Meredith

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How I Got from There to Here, Michael Bigham

Located smack in the middle of Oregon, Prineville, a small cattle and mill town, is nestled in the Crooked River Valley beneath rimrock plateaus of the Oregon high desert. I grew up there, a small town boy, among cowboys and loggers. During my college years, I fought range fires for the Bureau of Land Management. We bunked in a guard station fifty miles east of nowhere. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Every day, we’d journey up into the pine forests of the Ochoco Mountains or down into the sagebrush and juniper flats of the lowlands. We fought fires on isolated cattle ranches and on farms in lush river valleys.

After college, I spent my working life as a cop. Even then I was a closet writer and, after leaving police work, I decided I wanted write full time. I attended Vermont College and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. When the time came to create my first novel I knew it had to be set on the high desert. With my cop background, the mystery genre was natural.

I wanted to write a period piece, but not a traditional western, so I picked 1952 as my time period and created a fictional central Oregon town, Barnesville as my main setting. Here’s how I describe it in my mystery, Harkness, A High Desert Mystery:

Barnestown was a fair little burg.  We had one paved road, an official U.S. highway, running through the middle of town.  Every other street was dirt, dusty in summer, swampy for those few days in the spring when we got rain.  I cruised down the main drag.  Frank Flehardy, the town maintenance man, glanced up and nodded as I passed.  Half of his time seemed to be spent replacing pine boards in the sidewalk in what served as the business district.   I swerved to avoid the milk delivery wagon. There were as many horses on the road as automobiles, though the horse traffic had thinned as the pioneer generation died out.

Gravel crunched under my tires as I stopped in the county parking lot.  The county courthouse was the largest human construction in our town, with a granite clock tower built by the faithful at the turn of the century when Barnestown had been the hub of central Oregon.  People may not change, but times did, and Barnestown had slipped into the back eddies of commerce, still hanging on as a cow town, but mostly the postwar boom had eluded it.

My hero, Matt Harkness, is a flawed man. He drinks too much, falls in love with the local judge’s wife, and suffers from the trauma of fighting in the Pacific during World War II. Even with all that, he’s content until two young star-crossed lovers disappear. Then everything he knows and loves are at risk. You can pick up a copy of Harkness at Also check out my blog at

My thanks go to Marilyn for this opportunity to be a guest on her blog. I’m in the middle of her mystery, The Devil’s Foothold. Great stuff, pick it up.

About the book: In this thrilling debut novel, by Michael Bigham, Sheriff Matt Harkness faces a perilous challenge. He isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, he drives an old battered pickup and his faithful companion is a wiener dog named Addison. Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness has a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?

About the author: Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

Harkness Tour Schedule
Monday, May 6th
Book spotlight at Between the Covers
Tuesday, May 7th
Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
Author interview at Beyond the Books
Friday, May 10th
Author interview at Blogcritics
Monday, May 13th
Guest post at Murder by 4
Tuesday, May 14th
Guest post at Marilyn’s Musings
Friday, May 17th
Guest post and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Wednesday, May 22nd
Author interview at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, May 23rd
Book review at The Book Connection
Friday, May 24th
Author interview at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, May 28th
Thursday, May 30th
Book review at Thoughts in Progress
Monday, June 3rd
Book review at Community Bookstop
Tuesday, June 4th
Book review at WV Stitcher
Wednesday, June 5th
Thursday, June 6th
Friday, June 7th
Podcast interview at 6:30 PM EST at A Book and A Chat
Monday, June 10th
Author interview at Examiner
Tuesday, June 11th
Wednesday, June 12th
Author interview at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, June 13th
Book review at CelticLady Reviews
Monday, June 17th
Author interview at Broowaha
Tuesday, June 18th
Book spotlight at The Dark Phantom Review
Wednesday, June 19th
Author interview at The Dark Phantom Review
Thursday, June 20th
Book spotlight at Literal Exposure
Monday, June 24th
Author interview at Paperback Writer
More stops coming soon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remembering Mom

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there.

Of course I'm a mom too, but I want to talk about my own mom. She left this world to begin her new life in Heaven at the age of 97.

Things were different back when I was a kid. Mom had to work really hard every day. She did have an automatic washing machine for as far back as I can remember (Dad loved to get her anything new like that.) But she had to hang clothes on the line, bring them in when dry, fold and put them away.

Grocery shopping wasn't all that easy either. The first big store was in Glendale and started out in a big tent. As I remember it was Ralph's. It wasn't all that far, but we did have to drive to get there. Mom did all the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning and the paying of bills. With the exception of mowing the lawn, mom took care of all the gardening too.

It was a different time--and my sister and I had free run of the neighborhood. The only rule was we needed to get back home before our dad came home at 5 p.m. When she went to the school for PTA meetings or school programs, she always dressed up as did all the other mothers. Sometimes this included a hat.

She made sure we looked presentable for school, packed our lunches and was always home when we got there. We went to Sunday School and church every Sunday and when we were teens, to the night youth group. We always had a wonderful dinner after church and usually visited family after we ate. (I don't remember helping with the cooking or clean-up, though I know I did do dishes on weeknights.)

I got sick when I was in the sixth grade. Rheumatic fever. In those days, the doctors felt that anyone with this disease should not get out of bed at all. This meant a bed pan and meals in bed. Poor mom, she never wanted to be a nurse, but she took care of me valiantly for the whole six week recuperation period.

Mom was an avid reader. She subscribed to three L.A. newspapers--and one was like the Enquirer, filled with Hollywood gossip. She also subscribed to the Book of the Month Club and she took us to the library where I got my limit of 10 books a week. (Not sure, but I think that was mainly in the summer time.)
Both of us read Gone with the Wind over and over--and went to the movie several times.)

We went to the movies every Friday night no matter what was playing and stayed for both features.

The only time she really got a break was when we went camping for three weeks. Then my dad did the cooking. Weird food. He always put everything in one big frying pan--not always a success, but we had to eat it anyway. 

If mom had a failing it was not wanting us to try anything new because she didn't want us to be hurt. (Fortunately, that didn't keep my sis or me from doing whatever we wanted anyway.)

When I wanted to get married to the sailor I hardly knew who lived across the country, she went with me on the train so I could have my wedding. (It worked out, we've been married forever.)

Once the babies started coming, mom was delighted. There was nothing she loved more than being a grandmother. She loved to visit and for us to come visit her.

My mom nearly always had a smile on her face. She was great to talk with and I miss that.

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 10, 2013

Finally, Getting it Together for Next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery

Yes, I'm busy working on next year's Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

I have a title--actually had the title before I had any idea what the book would be about. A friend--one I've actually met--suggested it. I though, why not? As I began putting together what I wanted in the book, I knew the title would work.

So far I'm building around the mysterious death of an old man, his family, his three friends, their time in the Seabees together, and a mysterious woman who will have the same name as someone who won a contest.

A new female Chief shakes up the whole Rocky Bluff P.D.

Officer Stacey Milligan is called upon to investigate a serial rapist.

Officer Gordon Butler is put on graveyards, slowing his romance with Lizette Gibbs.

Ryan Stickland becomes a father and loses his position as public affairs officer.

Felix Zachary is now a Detective and Doug Milligan's new partner.

Yes, it is coming together. My biggest problem is having enough time to work on it.  And work on it I must. I need to keep ahead of my critique group. I've read them Chapter 3 and I'm only writing Chapter 7.

These are the things that interrupt the writing:

Other jobs that I have to do that actually bring in some money.

Keeping up this blog. I like to have a new post every other day, which means having a guest or writing one of my own.

Doing some promotion for my latest RBPD, Dangerous Impulses.

Working on the program for the Public Safety Writers Association's conference. (There are other things I have to do for the conference, too many to list.)

And of course reading and responding to my email and checking out Facebook.

There are other normal things I have to do also, like cooking dinner, eating meals, doing the laundry etc.
And once in awhile, hanging out with family.

You could help me along with the promo stuff by checking out and possibly buying one of my RBPD mysteries that I write as F. M. Meredith. It would please me and please my publisher. The latest is Dangerous Impulses.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Some Interesting Facts About Solving Crimes

While I was visiting the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the speaker, a criminologist, shared many interesting tidbits.

Among them were a few facts about fingerprints.

Latent fingerprints are collected from all over. The computer helps match fingerprints. Using both the state and federal system, sometimes will come up with a match in about two minutes. The latest FBI system will check against all fingerprints in the system. Of course, the fingerprints must be in the system.

State law prohibits including the fingerprints of teachers and others who have had to be fingerprinted for their job.

And murders.

There are very few true stranger murders. The killer is usually someone the  victim knows.

But--there are around 200 active serial killers in the United States now. Serial killers usually stalk their victims.

Profiling isn't always a good thing. Knee jerk reactions are almost always bad.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere.The average American is video taped 18 times a day. In England, it's 100 times a day.

The statute of limitations for an assault is three months.

Burglars almost always leave blood behind which means DNA.

Evidence in a murder is kept forever.

DNA is now collected of any person with a misdemeanor or felony.  DNA is just another tool.

There is a 10 year statute of limitations on a rape case and 6 years for a felony.

The TV show CSI has created problems for prosecutors.

In order to obtain fresh DNA from a suspect, he may be followed around until he throws away a cup he's been drinking from. It is legal for the investigator to retrieve the cup from the trash.

The speaker had many other interesting facts, but keep in mind this was all about San Luis Obispo county (which is fortunate in having modern equipment) which is in the state of California.

Anyone who is a fan of my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, knows that my fictional town is poor and the police department doesn't have much in the way of modern equipment and has to send  evidence to the lab in Ventura. My main reason for doing this is because I want my police detectives to mainly solve crimes the old fashioned way through asking lot of questions, paying attention to people's reactions, and following the clues.

My Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, is set in Tulare County. She doesn't have access to as many wonderful law enforcement tools. It's a lot more fun to write that way.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do Your Write When You Are Away from Home?

This is where I was this weekend, hobnobbing with the Cental Coast Sisters in Crime bunch!

When you are off on a trip for whatever reason do you do any writing?

I know some busy authors who when they are even at a big mystery convention, will make their scheduled appearances but disappear into their room for hours to work on their latest book. I don't do that at a convention or conference that I've spent my money to attend.

While I'm there, I'm going to go to the panels and presentations that most interest me, hang out in the lobby or wherever people are congregating and visit. I love seeing old friends and making new ones. A writer's life isn't filled with many exciting events--at least mine isn't--and I'm going to make the most of the opportunity to mingle with people who love to read and/or write.

However when I'm on a trip where we are driving somewhere, I often brainstorm with my husband about things that are going to happen in my book and find out if he has any suggestions as to problems the characters might face.

If it's a visit somewhere that we have a specific meeting to attend or people to see and there's lots of down time, I'll take along a few chapters I've already written to go over. Though I won't sit down and actually write more--what I do is begin to outline what's going to happen next. I may even write a snippet of dialogue that pops into my head. Being away from home with no one to distract me or the phone ringing with requests of things people want me to do gives me time for some major planning.

It's also nice to just get away, have new surroundings--though I love being home--a change can be inspriting.

What about you? Do you do any writing when you're away from your usual writing place?