Showing posts from February, 2014

Deborah Reardon --Author of Blue Suede Shoes

I know . . . the oft-missed stuff of everyday life gets magnified in the fresh mountain air and the still of the forest. My breath was taken away . . . literally, I trudged huffing and puffing up a steep incline. This is not a - stop and smell the roses - lecture that has my head spinning (part of it is the high altitudes) – because most of us relegate our reflective zones to vacations.

I’ve a bone to pick with the intrusion of (not the usefulness of) technology - because who could argue the magnificent medical advances and educational enhancements and such.  But when did paying attention mean – as long as no one notices the handheld device on ones lap at a conference? It’s the elbow by the parent next to us to look up because our kid is up to bat, that kind of stuff. It wasn’t the vistas or the golden Fall leaves on this outdoor adventure that had me reeling, I’ve been noodling over this subject for some time, a long time in fact. Ever since a poet at a writer conference lectured about…

Writing, Reading, TV and Movies and Lots More

Because I'm a writer, I do spend a great deal of time writing--working on my latest book and thinking about the latest book. I also work on promotion for the next book coming out, Murder in the Worst Degree. I'm planning to go to Left Coast Crime in Monterey which of course falls into the promotion category, but also will be fun! A chance to hang out with readers and other mystery writers--wonderful!

Anyone who knows me or has been following me on Facebook knows that I have a big family which means spending time with them--that's important to me. When possible, I'll visit those who don't live nearby.

Hubby and I love to go to the movies--at least a couple of times a month. But we also enjoy watching series on TV--usually a year behind, either on DVD or on the Roku. What a marvelous device that is--and one that I actually was able to figure out.

And yes, I read a lot of books too--paper and on my iPad. These days it seems I spend more time reading books written by p…

WHY I CAN'T EDIT MYSELF by Ilene Schneider

The other day, I noticed the name of a salon: [something]’s Kutz. Why, I wondered, would anyone want to get a haircut at a place called Klutz?
A while later, I read about the formation of an organization, but I thought the article’s author had written “fornication.” There are three things going on here. One, I have a very disturbed subconscious. Two, it’s time to go to the optometrist and get my prescription for the reading part of my lenses changed. And, three, we see what we expect to see.
It’s because of the last factor that I am completely unable to edit myself. (It’s also because that same pesky subconscious is convinced that every word I write is perfect and should not be changed or cut even if it is misspelled or unnecessary.)
Each of my books underwent numerous edits, readings, re-readings, re-edits, re-re … the same as all works by all authors do (or should). Inevitably, though, typos and worse still existed in the final printed copies. The nonfiction TALK DIRTY YIDDISH has at …

My Hour with Third Graders

My great-grandson Garrett asked if I could visit his class so his classmates could meet a "real author." Since I write murder mysteries, I had to think a bit about what I could do or say that would be appropriate for a class of third graders.

Since his mom, my granddaughter, told me they were learning how to write essays, I decided that it would be fun to show them how to write a story.

What an enthusiastic bunch! After my preliminary self-introduction (and by the way, they seemed impressed) we began talking about what needs to be in a story. From there we decided on who are main character should be and voted--the winner Pac Man. Since every hero needs a side-kick, Ghost was the chosen favorite. The setting? A Shark Tank. Main obstacle? Easy, avoiding the sharks and getting out of the tank. And yes, they came up with a solution.

They came up with lot of other ideas too--the hero and side-kick I liked best were the baseball player and his side-kick, the female dirt biker.


Murder in the Worst Degree--a Bit of a Teaser

This is the cover and I think it's terrific!
I love the title too, but I can't take credit for that. Friend and fellow author, Wanda Porter sent the title to me and said I ought to use it. So without an idea for a plot, I started writing.
This is the first line of Chapter 1:
Except for the dead body washed up on the sand, conditions were perfect for surfing.
I really had a good time writing this book. And the winner of the contest to be a character in my next book has a most important part. I hope she likes it.
I've been really busy working on my blog tour. Right now I'm sending the posts and all that goes with them to my blog hosts. It all takes time.
When March comes and the book is available, I hope some of you will take the time to read it.

Are You a Plotser or Pantser? Err...Or However that Goes

You’ve heard the heated arguments. “I have to plot every detail, or I’d have a mess to edit.” “I let the story lead me. Plotting stifles creativity.”
Plotter or Pantser--each proponent is passionate for his or her method. Are you a plotter, or do you fly by the seat of your pants when you write? I have done both--very effectively I believe. And each method has its benefits as well as pitfalls, but I have to say I’m about 90% plotter at this point. But I still let ‘er fly about 10% of the time. Just write!
But, see, I don’t think plotting interrupts creativity unless you are anal retentive. If you CANNOT let go of your outline and follow a character’s lead on occasion or realize there is a plot point you need to include, then this post isn’t for you. For the rest of us, we see the value in having a structure made of malleable material.
I’ve read a great deal about plotting methods trying to find something to work for me. My methods puts together pieces from a lot of folks. My conclus…

Sound the Retreat! Why Workshops and Retreats Can Be Inspiriting Stations on the Writer's Journey

By Sheila Webster Boneham
Writing is a solitary pursuit. Even those of us who like to write in a cozy coffee-shop booth surrounded by a human buzz are alone in the work itself. (I could argue that we’re never alone, of course, because we have all those other voices in our heads, but I’m not sure I want to mention that.) We move into the work itself alone and naked, armed only with our minds and our writing implements. Writing is a quest of the highest order.
But writers also need people. Our work needs people. We need readers, editors, caregivers, brainstormers. We need people who encourage us. We need people who say, wait, this isn’t working, but maybe you could try this. (For most of us, these people should not be spouses or blood-relatives. ) We need the members of our tribe.
Some of us are lucky enough to belong to excellent critique groups that meet frequently and regularly. Finding or assembling the right group can be a challenge, but once you do, the benefits of mutual support an…

Changing Times by Beryl Reichenberg

For those of us who grew up with Dick and Jane, Nancy Drew and the Three Little Pigs, reading children’s books today is fascinating.  In one sense, little has changed. There still is the big bad wolf in one guise or another. Nancy isn’t solving mysteries anymore, but there is a whole lineup of new detectives, who are. Dick and Jane stories have morphed into a multitude of early readers. Many of the story themes remain the same.  Good and evil still battling it out.  Lessons are learned, sometimes the hard way, and problems are eventually solved. It is as if the human spirit needs these reoccurring themes to make sense of the world.
Yet, children books of today are much more varied and sophisticated. There are stories about multi-cultural and multi-racial families.  New super heroes like Ninja Turtles and Warrior Cats have emerged, righting the wrongs of the world. There is an invasion of rhyming books thanks to Dr. Seuss. Disney and Star Wars characters abound with Harry Potter not far…

Reviews Have Started to Come in For Murder in the Worst Degree

I sent out 11 copies of the uncorrected Advance Reading Copies of Murder in the Worst Degree for review. Unless you're an author you have no idea how scary that is. Waiting to hear what people think about your latest book, is most nerve wracking.
But here are the first three reviews and I'm happy to say they are both wonderful!
Review: F.M. Meredith has outdone herself with Murder in the Worst Degree. I have enjoyed this series ever since I read my first one, but this is the very best one yet. All the familiar characters return. their lives continue to change and progress. When an elderly man’s body washes up on the beach at Rocky Bluff, the police begin their investigation, only to discover he was already dead before his body went into the water. In addition, a rapist strikes. As always, all the plot lines are completed, and the ending is very satisfying. This is a great read and highly recommended.
--Lorna Collins

This is my first review ever. I received an ARC of Murder in the …

Blast Out of the Winter Doldrums with a Thriller--Ignore the Pain

I’ve never liked February much. More snow, ice, and cold. This year with record-breaking winter weather, I bet a lot of readers are eager to forget winter. How about curling up with a thriller – Ignore the Pain? Besides being exciting this book gives you a chance to do some armchair traveling to Bolivia, possibly a place you’ve never considered.
Let’s start with a fast-paced plot. In Ignore the Pain, Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to assess children’s health in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past is chasing her through the Witches’ Market and churches of La Paz. Unfortunately, she can’t decide whether to trust any of her new colleagues, especially the unsavory Xave Zack, as she learns more about coca production and the god Tio of the silver mines of Potosí than she ever wanted to know.
The let’s add the excitement of an exotic location. What do you like to do when you travel? See historical sites, shop for unusual items, lea…

Writers' Organizations

Which ones do you belong to and why?

I belong to several.
Mystery Writers of America. I joined long ago when my first book was published--and it wasn't even a mystery. I've maintained my membership through the years. And to be honest, I've kept it mostly because of the prestige associated with it. I've never lived close enough to either the Southern or Northern California chapters to attend any of the events.
Sisters in Crime. I joined the national group year ago, before there were many chapters. I get a lot of information from being on the listserve.
I went to the first get-together where a group of mystery writers gathered together in Fresno to talk about organizing a chapter--now the San Joaquin SinC. I've belonged ever since and do attend meetings whenever I can. I've gotten a lot out of these meetings, besides making many, many friends and hearing lots of interesting speakers, buying lot of author's books, I also got some ideas for books from speakers …