Showing posts from January, 2014

Some Deputy Crabtree Mysteries Available as Audio Books


The Illustrious Client by Sandra de Helen

Marilyn, thank you so much for hosting me today. I'd like to talk a bit about what inspired my latest book.
I'm currently flogging: The Illustrious Client.

My first mystery novel launched a series about a private detective modeled on Sherlock Holmes. Shirley Combs became interested in A. Conan Doyle's books when she was just a kid because her name (said fast) sounds like his protagonist. That led to her passion for solving whatever seemed mysterious in her life. She became ultra-observant, and she found she could actually deduce solutionsfor life's little mysteries around home. (Who ate the last piece of that pie? Where do socks go when they go missing? How did that burn hole get there?)
Shirley got serious about becoming a private investigator after she met Dr. Mary Watson, a naturopath, at a self-help forum. They live in Portland, Oregon where the weather often matches that of Sherlock's stomping grounds. But they also live in present day. Their first documented case …

Demons of Gadara by John Cassara

Why I wrote the book:

After writing my first non-fiction books, Hide & Seek: Intelligence, Law Enforcement and the Stalled War on Terror Finance (Potomac Books, 2006) and On the Trail of Terror Finance: What Law Enforcement and Intelligence Officers Need to Know (Red Cell IG, 2010), I continue to be concerned about the intertwined threats of what the U.S. military calls “asymmetric warfare’ and “threat finance.” 
I do a lot of consulting and training and understand that many relate better to stories rather than power points and “white papers.”  So in searching for a new teaching medium, I decided to write a novel. Demons of Gadara takes place in various locations in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. I have traveled, lived, and worked in most the locations described.  
Although the book is fiction, many of the incidents in the book are based on fact, personal knowledge and experience. The story and characters are not James Bond fantasy.  The heroes, villains and cultures, inclu…

In The Throes of Writing

Really, that is where I am. I'm on Chapter 5 of my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

And I've also been writing post for the blog tour for Murder in the Worst Degree, due out in March.
Fortunately the blog tour itself isn't until April because I'm headed to Left Coast Crime for several days in March. From experience, I know it's difficult to promote a blog tour successfully when you are away from home.

Back to my work-in-progress, it has not been easy going. I'm not an outliner--wish I were because I might know where I'm going. The plot has taken a different twist than where I thought it was going when I began. I shouldn't be surprised, because that happens to me often.

I've had many distractions (health, family, the holidays, meetings, newsletters to write, a couple of projects that actually bring in money) so I'm woefully behind in my output. I need to at least be a chapter ahead to read to my critique group--and I suppose that kind of gives…

A Peek at the Cover of Murder in the Worst Degree

This is the cover for the ARC for Murder in the Worst Degree, number 10 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

When the book comes out the Rocky Bluff P.D. police badge will be in the space where the oval is.

This is the blurb for this latest entry in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series:

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Of course the cover depicts the wave that brings in a body.
These ARCs will go out to reviewers.
The book is due to surface in March.
Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

The Day is Getting Away From Me

I am determined to get some writing done today. I mean writing on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. But time is getting away from me.

Started the day answering emails that needed to be answered.

Did my Bible study--the day doesn't go right unless I begin that way.

Had three blogs to promote.

I'm the guest here today and talking about what prompted Spirit Shapes.

 And of course I needed to promote the blog.
I'm also a regular on and today is my day. Found a typo right off and had to fix it.
I'm also a regular on and my post is up there today.
So you can see I've been busy, but not necessarily doing the writing I need to be doing--so I'm heading there right now.

Planning Another Blog Tour

Planning a blog tour is a lot of work.

In March my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery will be available, Murder in the Worst Degree.
I decided to do the tour during the month of April to be sure that I'd actually have books for sale on Amazon and other places--and books to send out for review.
Next, I had to find 30 people willing to host me and get the dates lined up. I always ask if they have something in particular they'd like me to write about. Since I try to have something different on each post, if the host gives me an idea that helps. 
(And I've already had one host drop out--but since I've got two lined up for one day near the end of the tour, I'm going to leave it like that.)
Four of the hosts offered to review the book--and that's great. Of course it means hoping that they like the book.
Because it takes a long time to write or put together 30 unique and hopefully clever or at least interesting posts, I've started already. Of course nothing can be se…

Once Again Answering the Question, How Do You Get So Much Done?

First, I'd like to say that I don't get nearly as much done as I used to, though I still follow the same practice. Chalk it up to old age slowing me down.

My biggest advice to anyone is, don't procrastinate. If you have something that needs doing, do it. Get it over with.

Long ago, I realized that I liked the feeling I got when I accomplished a task.

So I don't forget what needs to be done or what I want to do, I make lists. I jot down what needs to be done right away and in another column I write what needs to be done eventually.

For example, what's been on my list for today and tomorrow, is write a program design. I've actually got it almost done--just waiting for more information for the people who want it.

I've done everything I wrote yesterday except start a newsletter that I need to work on.

On the side of tasks that need to be done--but not in any big hurry is writing blog posts for my upcoming blog tour for my next Rocky Bluff P.D. book. I have all …

Where Did HAVANA LOST Come From?

After finishing reading Havana Lost, I couldn't help wondering what prompted Libby Fischer Hellmann to write this most intriguing thriller. So like I've done before, I asked, and this is what she told me.

After I finished writing A BITTER VEIL a historical thriller set during the days of the Iranian revolution of the late Seventies, I was talking to my sister on the phone. I was already about 60 pages into my next Georgia Davis thriller, but something kept me from investing in it. I briefly considered writing a World War Two thriller instead of Georgia—I’m continually drawn to periods of extreme conflict in which some people are heroes, others cowards, and you never knew who to trust. However, I quickly realized there was probably nothing I could write about World War Two that hasn’t been done better by someone else.

Our phone conversation turned to other time periods and settings of extreme conflict, and my sister brought up Cuba. As soon as she mentioned it, I started to ge…

Oak Tree Publisher Gives Advice

Recently, Billie Johnson, Oak Tree Press Publisher, spoke to the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime.
For a query, she prefers three paragraphs:
1. A recap of the story in three to five sentences. 2. How you plan to market the book. 3. Something about the author. (My advice: any writing credits and why you are the one to write the story)
Read the publisher's guidelines so you aren't wasting time by querying a genre the publisher doesn't publish.
Once you've queried, don't bug the publisher or the acquisitions' editor. This process takes time.
Billie says she's not opposed to making a few adjustments to the contract, but will pass on publishing if the author wants too many changes.
She prefers working with authors who don't have a lot of delusions about the book business, stating that there are many layers to selling books.
Every author should prepare a marketing plan ahead of time that will show the author's depth of commitment.

Edith Maxwell Visits and talks about A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

Marilyn, thanks so much for inviting me over today!
I wanted to share my new project with your readers. I wrote a short story called “Breaking the Silence” last year. It came out in Best New England Crime Fiction 2014: Stone Cold from Level Best Books in November, and also won an Honorable Mention in the Al Blanchard Short Crime Fiction contest.
In the story, I imagined a young Quaker woman in 1888 in my small city of Amesbury, Massachusetts. She walks to Friends Meeting on Sundays, where she worships with John Greenleaf Whittier and a hundred other Quakers, and during the week she works as a mill girl. A real fire burned down much of the town’s carriage industry, and in my story Faith Bailey solves the mystery of who the arsonist is. I am also a Quaker and I walk to the same Friends meeting as Faith did. Faith and her family live in myhouse, built in 1880. The mill buildings she worked in are a block away, but now house a hardware store, a Flatbreads pizza restaurant, and offices.
When …

Advice to New Writers

Don't become the writer from hell.

Unfortunately, over they years I've seen authors who have become their own worse enemies. Often it's because they don't understand the publishing business. And more often, they don't understand what goes on in a small publishing house.

Make sure the small publisher you've submitted to has a distribution source like Ingram.

First off, the author needs to write a good book. It also is a great idea for the author to have someone other than relatives or friends edit the book. It should be someone who actually knows what editing means. Many small publishers don't have the money to hire in-house editors and do the editing themselves.

If your book needs lots of editing, the whole publishing process will be slowed down.

Even in this day and age with all the electronic help, there are many upfront costs for the publisher. He or she may or may not hire a book formatter, a book designer, and a cover artist. Many do farm out this kind…