Showing posts from May, 2014

Want to Help With Next Rocky Bluff P.D.Mystery?

Because I'm doing the final edits to the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, it's time to start thinking about what I should write about in my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Of course there are some ongoing plots:

How is Rick Strickland going to be as a father? And especially to a child with special needs.

What about the romance Gordon Butler is having with Lizette Gibbs? Will it go forward without any glitches?

What new might happen in Doug and Stacey Milligan's life that could cause an upset?

How is Chief Chandra Taylor fitting in?

Nothing much new has happened in the life of Abel Navarro and his wife, Maria. Any insights?

And then there's Vaughn Aragon who has gone through some tough times. Will life ease up for him?

Will things change in the town of Rocky Bluff after the natural disaster it experienced? And if so what?

There's some questions, anyone have some answers for me?

Of course I have some ideas myself, but I thought it would be fun to have some of my re…

Hard Decisions

Yes, I've had to make some lately about what I should or am capable of doing.

When I was younger, I drove everywhere to go to conferences and conventions. I flew to places I'd never been before, rented a car to get to the event, or took a shuttle, without any problems at all. I wanted to go so I did.

Hubby and I flew to all sorts of new places--switching airplanes and a couple of times even airlines.

I've slowed down a bit. It's no longer easy for me to dash from one place to another in an airport trying to get to the plane on time. Going to San Antonio the last time, I barely made it and only then because someone saw how distressed I was (thought I was having a heart attack) and put me in a wheelchair and took me where I needed to go at break-neck speed.

My plan was to attend Bouchercon this year, after all it's in Long Beach CA. I sent in my registration and someone asked me to be there roommate. Not only was the hotel expensive, but to get there, I had to fly fr…

My Fascination with Small Towns

You might think that because I grew up in Los Angeles is the reason I'm fascinated by and set both of my series in small towns. And you might be right, at least partly.

When I was growing up in Los Angeles, though it was a big city even then, my neighborhood was like a small town in many ways. We knew all of our close neighbors. We felt safe to wander here and there--and the rule was only that we had to be back in time for supper--5 p.m. for me and my sister. There were no close grocery stores--Ralph's was the first and it was too far to walk and bring home groceries. We had no park, but behind our house up a flight of over 100 stairs was a wilderness of sorts. No houses, lots of wild growth, a wooden and cement structure that was a reservoir. Now all that is gone, taken over by the Glendale Freeway. We could go anywhere we wanted on public transportation--downtown to all the big stores, the public library, and all the way to the beach.

My first experience with a small town w…


I first decided to write CONTEMPT OF COURT many years ago.I suppose I am like a lot of lawyers who promise themselves that one day they will write a great American novel.My book is not exactly that, but I hope that the reader will find it enjoyable. This is my first novel.
The story is about a Sacramento trial lawyer who is in trouble.He is still trying to come to grips with the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer five years ago.One day, he is mugged on the bike trail when out for a jog. The mugger takes his car keys, steals his car and ransacks his home.His law office is burglarized.He is smashed from behind one day when driving on the freeway.To top it off, he is held in contempt of court by a judge for no good reason and thrown in jail.Then things really go bad.Unfortunately, the authorities aren’t much help.So my hero and his law partner have to figure it out for themselves.
The stakes go up, and the question is whether they can figure it all out before someone is killed.
I have been …

Report on My Celebration of Murder in the Worst Degree

Unfortunately for me, the Porterville Fair and our church picnic won out and my event was poorly attended.

That's the bad news.
The good news is those of us who were there had a great time.
Son and his wife came along to help bring everything inside the Art Gallery and helped set up.
My friend, Karen, who traveled from the coast the day before, arrived before we did. She helped arrange the refreshments. The woman who was the hostess in the gallery was very helpful in many ways.
Her daughter and granddaughter who were visiting, also from the coast, along with Karen, were my audience.
I talked about how the Rocky Bluff P.D. series got published, first as an ebook, then a less than ethical publisher( though the books turned out great), picked up by another publisher who did two in the series and then decided the publishing life was not for her, and now Oak Tree Press who has reprinted all of the books.
I also explained how I kept track of the characters and the mistakes I've mad…

Celebration of Murder in the Worst Degree Today (May 17)

Though the book has been out for awhile, and I've been promoting it like crazy all over the Internet, today is the formal (well not formal, but you know what I mean) launch.

Why is it so late? The places to do something like this are limited. Our only book store closed. When I decided the Porterville Art Gallery would be a great place, they had their Saturday afternoons all filled until today's date. I jumped on it.
The date has turned out not to be such a great one as the annual Porterville Fair is going on. I'm hoping the readers and writers interested in books and writing have already gone to the fair or aren't interested in it.
From experience, it's best to come up with some kind of presentation if you want people to come to an event like this. I'm going to talk about the Perils, Problems and Joys of Writing a Mystery Series. And I'll answer questions people may have. And yes, I'm serving refreshments and have a couple of door prizes.
The Portervill…

A Mystery Writer Evolves by Patricia Skalka

Patricia Sk

Writing is a strange business. Sometimes you go looking for stories. And other times, the stories come to you. When I was a Reader’s Digest Staff Writer, I scoured newspapers and obscure publications searching for true-life situations I could mold into magazine articles. I wrote mostly medical pieces and human interest and competed with both in-house and other freelancers to uncover the next great story line. I have a thick folder of ideas, most of which caught my eye because they were interesting to me, not necessarily to my editor.
But since I turned to writing fiction full time, I find that mostly I don’t go looking for stories; instead, they come to me. The idea for Death Stalks Door County emerged from the depths of the starless, moonless night that enveloped me as I sat on a stretch of deserted beach along the peninsula’s Lake Michigan Shore. The water was quiet that night, the stillness broken by a soft shushing of waves along the sand.  I held out my hand. Nothing. …

One of my Favorite Reviews of Murder in the Worst Degree

Another spectacular installment of the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series is now available. Officer Gordon Butler is patrolling the beach when he is approached by a surfer about a body that has washed ashore. The Rocky Bluff P.D. is fairly certain they know who it is, but it will be up to Detectives Doug Milligan and Felix Zachary to figure out what happened. Meanwhile, Officers Stacey Milligan and Lizette Gibbs investigate the rapes of two women. The new police chief, Chandra Taylor, is making some changes at the department, one of which impacts Ryan Strickland, who is already on pins and needles awaiting the birth of his first baby.

F.M. Meredith shows she knows how to keep it fresh for fans of her long-running Rocky Bluff P.D. Series. Several changes have come to the department: a new police chief, some retirements, and a promotion for Felix Zachary to detective. That doesn't mean new fans will feel lost. Not only is there just enough backstory to help newbies feel comfortable, each book i…

Damaged Characters, Murder Mysteries, and Dealing With the Past

Damaged characters, murder mysteries, and dealing with the past
by Patrick Linder

I’m often asked how much of what I write about is real and how I come up with plot ideas. These are interesting questions for a writer of murder mysteries to consider, especially given the common advice that you should “write what you know.” Spoiler alert: I’ve never actually murdered anyone.
I write about murder, but I consider myself first and foremost an emotional writer. Perhaps a better way to say that is that I am a writer most concerned with the emotion(s) of the story. That’s one big reason why I love mysteries—to solve a murder you have to also solve what the motivation was and what the repercussions have been, and these are almost always tied to emotion(s).
If you take a step back and think about a mystery as this fantastic combination of crime, motivation, and repercussion, the emotional path often leads directly to any number of damaged characters. I love the emotional baggage that damaged c…

Springville CA Rodeo 2014

Tiny Springville, located in the foothills of the Southern Sierra hosts a rodeo once a year. This year, when the rodeo began on Friday evening, so did the rain. It rained and rained. Since California is in the middle of the drought, rain is welcome--but I'm sure many wondered why it had to come at the start of the rodeo.

The next day, no rain, but the temperature made a radical drop. For Saturday, the rodeo starts in the late afternoon, and usually Highway 190 in front of our house is lined with cars by 4 o'clock--but that wasn't the case. However, traffic began to pick up, vehicles began filling up both sides of the street, which mean the parking lot at the rodeo grounds was full.

 This was taken fairly early on--I beet the rest of those seats filled up before it was all over. We live close enough that we could hear the enthusiastic announcer late into the night.

No, we didn't go. Those seats are hard on the old bones, and frankly, rodeo is not my favorite entertainm…

How Writing about Rocky Bluff P.D. became a Series


Paul Fahey is the winner of my blog tour contest! He commented on the most blogs post on my tour. There were a couple of close seconds--but I recounted once the tour was over--and he definitely won. Now all I have to do is write the cook and decide who he should be. In Murder in the Worst Degree, the winner of the contest didn't make out too well in the end, though her character was pivotal.
When I wrote Final Respects long ago, I had no idea that it would become a series and I’d still be writing about the men and women who worked for that small department in a beach community. The ideas for that mystery came from several different stories my policeman son-in-law told me when we lived in a beach community. However, the book wasn't published until we’d moved to a much different locale.

Once the book was done, I couldn’t help wondering what was happening with the characters. Of course there was only one way to find ou…

When People Make Me Mad, I Just Murder Them

Lori Soard is visiting me today, and she seems to be in a mood.

This is what she has to say for herself:
It seems like everywhere you go, there is at least one difficult person to contend with. You know who I mean. That loud person, or that bossy person, or that downright mean and crazy person can drive you up the wall. I can overlook all of that, but if you come after me, my family or friends, I am going to kill you – in my next book.
The Gossip The gossip appears in a lot of my books. She is a useful tool to distribute information to my characters. In real life, she often comes out smelling like a rose, but in my books, she gets called out for her nosiness and for spreading rumors.
The gossip isn’t actually a character I tend to kill off in my books. The gossip does die a social death though, as her true nature is revealed to those around her. Readers often ask me if my characters are based on real people. While each character is completely unique, bits and pieces are based on people…

The Cultural Layers of Mexico by Robert Richter

I remember the first time I ever crossed the border into Mexico, forty-two years ago now.When friends and relatives found out I was going, and hitchhiking and riding trains to boot, they would ask, “Is it safe?”
Is it safe?  Is it safe?  That’s all I’d get.  Banditos, you know and ambushers and killers.  Won’t you be killed? And who would ever know?  In those days, when you crossed the border, you literally disappeared off the map.  Telephones existed in major cities where shabby offices hid booths with paper-thin walls, the erratic static navigated by an operator trying to connect you to a larger world she’d never spoken to before.  In emergencies, you might find a place to call; the phone might even work. But who would you call, and for what?  Stranded, you found what transport you could and took your chances. Sick or injured?  Limejuice and prayer were the recommended remedies.  Whatever your situation, you were on your own when you traveled, relying on companions—if you had them—or …

May Day of Long Ago

When I was in grammar school all those many years ago, we always had a May Day celebration. My memory may be sketchy on this, but we word costumes on that special day and had a big parade. I don’t recall exactly how the choice of costumes was decided, but I do know it was different each year. One year, during WWII, my class dressed in patriotic costumes, as nurses and in different military uniform.
In 6th grade, we dressed in Spanish costumes as we were studying Spain at the time and learning some Spanish. I know we learned the song La Cucracha with the famous line of not having any marijuana to smoke. I doubt any of knew what marijuana was in those days.
A princess was chosen from the Kindergarten class—and I even remember the little girl’s name who was chosen, Felicia Glass.
All of our parents were invited to the May Day festivities and each class had the opportunity to dance around the May Pole.
The school, Delevan Drive, was unique in that it had seat carved into the side of the hill for…