Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More About River Spirits

When I began writing River Spirits I wasn't sure exactly where I was going with it. The only thing I really knew was that I had to have a character named Kate Eileen Shannon. If the name sounds familiar to you it's because it belongs to an author. She won my last contest to have a character in a book named after her.

I only know Kate Eileen Shannon from the Internet and her books. However, isn't that a great name? It conjured up a great person. I immediately imagined a young and in some ways, naive person, with red bouncy curls. 

My Kate Eileen has a job that might've been fun under different circumstances as she's the personal assistant to a fading movie star. Unfortunately, her boss is a shrew. She treats Kate Eileen as a servant.

The only reason Kate Eileen doesn't quit is because her beau is the star's driver. If she quits she won't be able to see him.

Once I knew this character, the plot began unfolding.

Of course there is a murder--and because it  happens on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, Deputy Tempe Crabtree is assigned to investigate the case.

Book 13 of the Tempe Crabtree Mystery series (It's 14 if you count the prequel.)

161 pages
56400 words

Trade Paperback
224 pages

Women Sleuths

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered, and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty.

Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

River Spirits PDF (978-1-60659-410-0)

River Spirits Kindle (978-1-60659-410-0)

River Spirits Mobipocket (978-1-60659-410-0)

River Spirits HTML (978-1-60659-410-0)

River Spirits EPUB (978-1-60659-410-0)


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Countdown for River Spirits

It won't be long now until you can purchase River Spirits in just about any format you want.

This is always an exciting time for an author, knowing that the time is getting close when the book you've written, read to your critique group, edited, edited again, checked the galley proofs, is actually going to be a book.

The book will be available from Mundania Press in all formats, and of course from all the usual places.

One of the things I did which I hope will also encourage sales of this book and others in Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series is that one of the earlier books, Bears With Us, the Kindle version will be offered for .99 cents from October 13-17. You'll be hearing more about when the time comes.

In preparation for the advent of River Spirits I organized a blog tour which is a lot of work. It won't happen until November, but watch for it, as I'll be having a contest again. This time, the winner can choose to be a character in the next book or choose an earlier book in the series.

Of course I'll be telling everyone about the book on Facebook and everywhere else I can think of.

And here is what River Spirits is about:

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

You can read the first chapter by going to my website: http://fictionforyou.com/


Friday, September 26, 2014

Part III of Promotion--In Person

When you are dreaming about being an author, thoughts seem to go to doing book store signings. Many authors still do them and quite successfully.

In my case, bookstores have disappeared from our local areas. I still have a few favorites that I like to visit for a signing. However, I've found if I am going to draw people to the store for the event--it needs to be just that--an event. Give a talk and have refreshments. Even pick a theme to build the event around.

Libraries are among my favorites to visit. I like to do any kind of event in a library. Giving a talk of some sort is a must. Being part of a panel on a subject of interest is always fun. I just participated in one on cozies--and I'm going to be part of one soon on the E-Publishing Age.

But there are many other venues where authors have had successful events: restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, grocery stores, to name just a few. Think outside the box,  as they say.

If you have the right kind of book, schools can be another place to give a successful presentation. Whether or not it'll be a place to sell books will depend--but you can always hand out cards, bookmarks, and/or flyers for the children to take home. 

I have an author friend, Shirley Hickman, who has written a book that has caught the eye of her school district and teachers have purchased books for their classrooms. It's a YA book about a Latino family and the perils of being undocumented and working in the orange groves. The heroine is a senior in high school. It's well-written, exciting, and enjoyable for adults too.

Going to book fairs and festivals are also great places to meet readers and sell books. You must engage with the passerbys though--don't sit in the chair and read or do handwork like I've seen some authors do.

And there are writers conferences. If you can be an instructor that's a great way for people to get acquainted with your books and sell a few.

Different cons also are great places to meet readers and introduce your books to them. If you can be on a panel, great. If not, take the time to speak to everyone and hand out your bookmarks or cards.

Be sure and add other ideas in the comments.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mark S. Bacon, author of Death in Nostalgia City, Interview


 Mark S. Bacon began his career as a newspaper reporter covering, among other beats, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Glendale (Calif.) Police Department.   After writing news and features at two newspapers, he moved to ad copywriting when he joined the advertising department of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.  Bacon wrote commercials and ads for the Orange County theme park and he directed special events.

Later his career moved into other forms of communication but his early background covering a daily police beat and working for a theme park was part of the inspiration for his theme park mystery.
Bacon later wrote TV commercials for an advertising agency, was public relations manager for a financial trade association, marketing director for a southern California financial institution, and later managed his own marketing consulting firm.
For nearly 20 years Bacon had a parallel career as an adjunct college professor teaching business writing and journalism.  He taught journalism at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona, UNLV, the University of Redlands and the University of Nevada - Reno.   He taught business at Fullerton (Calif.) College and Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nev.
Write Like the Pros, published by John Wiley & Sons, was Bacon’s first book.  It applies the techniques of journalism and copywriting to written business communication.  His next book for Wiley, Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing: Secrets for Small Business, was named a best business book of the year by the Library Journal, was printed in three editions and four languages.  His most recent book was Mysteries and Murder, a collection of crime flash fiction stories published by Ether Books.

He earned a BA in journalism from Fresno State University and an MA in mass communication/media criticism from UNLV.

His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Denver Post, USAir Magazine, Trailer Life, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express-News, The Orange County Register, Working Woman, and other publications.  He is a former columnist for BusinessWeek Online and most recently was a regular correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle where he wrote on travel, outdoors and entertainment.   
            Bacon is a former president of the Orange County Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.  He and his wife, Anne, and their golden retriever, Willow, live in Reno, Nevada. www.baconsmysteries.com


He thinks he’s on edge now…then people start getting killed…

“Stressed-out” has been ex-cop Lyle Deming’s default setting for years, but his new job, driving a cab in a theme park, promises to cure his chronic anxieties. Nostalgia City is the ultimate resort for anyone who wants to visit the past. A meticulous recreation of an entire small town from the early 1970s, it’s complete with period cars, music, clothes, shops, restaurants, hotels—the works.

The relaxed, theme-park atmosphere is just what Lyle needs—until rides are sabotaged and tourists killed. Then park founder, billionaire “Max” Maxwell, drafts Lyle into investigating—unofficially. As the violence escalates and employees get rattled, Lyle gets help. Kate Sorensen, the park’s PR director—and former college basketball player—becomes another incognito investigator. Except that she’s six-foot-two-and-a-half-inches tall and drop-dead gorgeous. So much for incognito.

Together, Lyle and Kate unravel a conspiracy of corporate greed and murder.

Death in Nostalgia City is a fascinating mystery set in a highly authentic world of 60s & 70s nostalgia - and the story works compellingly on both levels.  It’s an excellent read that’s loaded with iconic touchstones of ‘60s-‘70s pop culture - music, fashion, TV, movies.  Death in Nostalgia City is a blast!”
--Dick Bartley - host of radio’s "The Classic Countdown" and "Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits" - member of the Radio Hall of Fame.

Write Like the Pros
How to use the techniques of ad writers and journalists in business
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1988
Selected by: Book of the Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, Fortune Book Club.
Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; First edition, 1992; Updated paperback edition, 1994; Second edition, completely revised, 1997.  Named: A Best Business Book of the Year by the Library Journal
Selected by: Book of the Month Club, BusinessWeek Book Club, Fortune (magazine) Book Club.  Printed in four languages; sold on four continents.

The California Escape Manual
How to relocate from urban California to a small town in a small state
Archer & Clark Publishing, 1998
Self-published book was marketing only in California and sold nearly 5,000 copies.  Favorably reviewed or subject of lengthy feature articles/photos/interviews in about 35 newspapers, magazines and radio stations.

Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words
Archer & Clark Publishing, 2012
Self-published flash fiction stories in e-book format.  Many of the stories were printed first in online literary magazines.

Mysteries and Murder
Ether Books, 2013
Crime flash fiction stories published by British firm for reading, via an app, on smart phones and mobile devices.

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Marketing Stuff, Part II

I know that most authors think, "When am I supposed to write if I have to do all this promotion?"

What it boils down to, is you sure better be doing something. Figure out what you like to do, or better yet, what seems to result in sales, and be consistent. Believe me, it needs to be more than one thing.

Some of the online promotion venues I didn't mention yesterday (and there are many more, but I can't possible write about all of them) are:

http://pinterest.com  This is a great place to post your book covers--and a lot more. I must confess I don't do as much on it as I could.

Your author page on Amazon. This is something that if you don't have, you should create right away. Be sure to keep it up to date.

Check out the reviews of your books on Amazon, and I think it's fun to thank those people who've written good reviews in the comment space below the review. However--don't argue with anyone who has given you a bad review--just ignore it.

With the best reviews, use part of those review in your ongoing promotion--let people know about them on Facebook, etc.

I had great success offering Angel Lost, one of my Rock Bluff P.D. mysteries free for Kindle for 5 days. I got thousands of downloads, made #1 in police procedurals for a short time and was in the lower hundred in mysteries for about three days.
Not only did I get many downloads, but also others purchased the book at the regular price. Other books in the series were purchased. This took a lot of promotion, some of it I paid for through the many places that promote free e-books. 

And yes, it took a lot of time, effort and money. I made the money I spent back plus a lot more--best royalty check I've ever received. Plus, at last count, I had 127 reviews for Angel Lost.

In October I'm doing a .99 ebook in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series for Bears With Us. Watch for it. Of course the reason behind it is to get people interested in the series and my new book, River Spirits.

In Part III, I'll write about in-person promotion. And as always, feel free to add what has worked for you.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Promotion for Books Today, Part I

Question? "What is the publisher going to do for my book?"

Answer: Publish it and all that entails. Formatting, Cover, ISBN number, Getting it on All the Internet Book Sites, Have it On Their Website, Perhaps some Promotion

Question? What do I need to do to promote my book?

#1 You need to let people know you have a book.

How do you do that?

Through everything that is available to you.

A personal website. Easy to do today--it can be set up on your blog. I choose to have a separate website. http://fictionforyou.com/  The first chapters of all my books are on my website.

It is not enough to just have the website, you have to keep it up-to-date. It should have information about you and your books.

A blog. This is my blog, of course. It's important that content change on your blog often. Once a week at the least. The more followers on your blog the better.

Make comments on other people's blogs. Follow blogs you like. Be a regular guest on other blogs.

I'm a regular blogger the first and 3rd Tuesday on the following blogs:

Be on Facebook. For this to really help you need to have a lot of friends. Then you should post several times a day. It doesn't have to be about your book all the time. It's like having short chats with your friends. Tell them what you're doing--but don't badmouth anyone and personally, I think you should stay away from politics. You can find me under my name Marilyn Meredith.

There are groups on Facebook for readers. Join these and let them know about your books. You don't have to bombard them, but when you have a new book or a bargain with one of your books, let them know.

Twitter. I'm not as good about tweeting as I should--but I try to tweet at least once a day.

Goodreads. Every author should have a page on Goodreads. I'm not nearly as active as I should be on there.

And of course there are listserves, I belong to several: Sisters in Crime, LA Sisters in Crime, Central Coast Sisters in Crime, DorothyL, both my publishers' lists--important to any writer who has a publisher. If your publisher has a blog, participate on it, leave comments on other people's blogs.

When your book comes out do a blog tour. I'm doing another the month of November for River Spirits.

If you rely on your publisher to promote your book you aren't going to have many sales--and you'll have no one to blame but yourself. Readers need to hear about you--and your book.

There's lots more you can do, that's just some of what has worked for me.

I'll have a Part II soon.

Add your ideas if you'd like.


More Writing Tips

Here are a few more tips I've passed on to contestants about their manuscripts.

Though it seems most authors should know the best ways for formatting a manuscript, not all do.

Time New Roman 12 point (not bold) is what most publishers want. (You should always check the guidelines.)

Double space.

Indent for paragraphs, no space between paragraphs.

Always a ragged right hand margin.

When writing dialogue, it needs to sound realistic—but not as we actually say it. Leave out all the "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine. What's new?" 

Dialogue needs to move the plot along and reveal character. 

Leave out fancy dialogue tags like responded and adverbs to describe it. The dialogue should do that for itself. Either just use said and asked, or better, use the character’s action. 

Be careful of talking heads—when people are talking, even during interviews—they move, scratch their heads, look off into space, adjust their position in their chair, etc.

Whoever the main character is in a scene, that’s who the narrative is coming from—that is his or her point-of-view.

Rewriting and careful editing should catch a lot—get rid of unnecessary dialogue. 

No matter how much you've gone over your manuscript, it still needs editing.

Today, most publishing houses expect you to have a well-edited manuscript before you send it to them.

If something I've written is not clear, leave me a comment and I'll write more about the subject.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Robert Hemphill, an Interview

·         What inspired you to write this particular book?

This book is a collection of letters.  I started writing to my father about my international business experience because I thought I was doing such interesting things in exotic places and having such funny and peculiar experiences.  Dad was a smart man, but a fighter pilot in WWII and a career Air Force officer who knew nothing about business.  This was a way of explaining what I was doing, and, I suppose, justifying the fact that I hadn’t decided to become an Air Force officer myself.

·         When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I had an English teacher my sophomore year in high school who liked the stories that I wrote so much that she said to me, “Bob, you just sit in the back of the class and write.”  Actually it’s a wonder that I ever wrote anything again.  I was already singled out as one of the “smart kids” and this further level of acknowledgement was enough to make me want to crawl under my desk.  I suppose I knew I wanted to be a writer, but not by being the teacher’s pet and sitting at the back of the class while everyone else did the things called for in the lesson plan.

·         Who is your favorite author--or do you have an author who has inspired you?

Probably every male kid with any writing aspirations at some point wants to be Ernest Hemingway and I was no exception, except the part about using a shotgun and blowing your head off in Idaho was a bit less appealing.  My favorite book of all time is Catch-22, and Heller’s career after that makes one nervous about how you maintain an on-going level of excellence in the book writing profession.  My favorite authors who have maintained such a high level are Kate Atkinson and Robert Parker, author of the Spenser detective series.  I have read everything each of these gifted persons has written.

·         What is your writing schedule?

I write mostly in the morning, but only after coffee.  Sometimes in the afternoon while sitting on the couch.  Never really at night.  Often on airplanes until the computer battery gives out.

·         What has surprised you most about being a published author?

Because I didn’t know any better, I approached the publishing business like any other business opportunity, stumbling around and learning what to do, who to do it with, whose advice to take and whose to ignore.  I had to learn the business so I could understand what my role should be.  And it has been fascinating, given the enormous disruptions facing book publishers.  My biggest surprise is how caught unawares the traditional publishers have been by the digital book/Kindle/Amazon revolution.  It’s not like the Scribner CEO couldn’t have looked at the music industry and said to himself, “Gee, some disintermediation seems to be going on, I wonder if analog books could be at risk?”  And then apparently, having asked this question, the answer came back: “No, that could never happen to me.”

·         When you sit down to write is there a particular ritual you go through? Music? Something you must have on hand to drink? Etc.?

I used to write in long hand on yellow legal pads, but once I got my first computer, a pretty primitive Mac, it was goodbye paper and hello keyboard.  No particular ritual, but occasionally an outline is useful.

·         What do you like to do most when you are not writing?

Advise the President on middle east policy, cure cancer and eliminate world hunger.  My obvious success in these pursuits has led me to continue to focus on writing.

·         What is your best advice for aspiring writers?

Honestly?  I wanted desperately to be point guard for the Celtics while I was growing up, but eventually it became clear that a short, slow guy with no jump shot was not going to achieve that particular dream, no matter how many hours he spent at the Mount Vernon Elementary School basketball court.  If writing comes hard for you, this isn’t your game.  Try something else.  


Robert Hemphill is an author and former senior executive with a global power company.  His most recent book, Dust Tea, Dingoes and Dragons, is a humorous look at international business.  To read more of Robert’s blogs, visit www.rfhemphill.com

Thank you so much, Robert, for this interview. Love the cover of the book and the title.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Few Writing Tips

I've served as a judge for many writing contests and some want the judges to leave comments about the manuscript on the judging sheet.

One thing I've seen far too often is wrong formatting in a manuscript. Most editors want the manuscript double spaced and an indent for the beginning of a paragraph, not a space between paragraphs. Before sending off to a publisher, check the guidelines and do what is asked for.

Active voice works so much better than passive. For an example:

Passive: Mary was strolling along the pier.
Active: Mary strolled along the pier.

When ever possible get rid of sentences with the was .....ing combinations.

Use strong verbs instead of adverbs to describe the verb.

Start a new paragraph when someone new does or says something.

Break up some of the long descriptions with action and/or dialogue.

Be sure something exciting or some conflict happens in each chapter—end a chapter with a reason to go on to the next chapter.

Use a person’s action or a description for a dialogue tag when possible rather than said, etc.

Remember, the point-of-view character can’t see how he or she looks. 

Be sure that each character is unique and different.

Put color, smells, sounds into the description of settings.

Make sure everyone doesn't drink the same thing unless there is a reason for it.

When something exciting is happening, use shorter sentences.

Avoid words like responded, answered; said and asked are preferable, but even better, use an action by the character or description as a dialogue tag.

When the dialogue is exclamatory, the reader can tell, you don’t need the exclamation points.

Stay in one person's point-of-view for scene. Should be the person who has the most at stake in that scene.

Only one space between sentences—not two.

These are just a few of the suggestions I've written on writers' judging forms.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Day in the Life of This Author

My day always begins between 4:15 and 4:30 because that's when I automatically wake up. I think it's because I had to get up at that time during the years I lived in and was the administrator of a licensed care home (mine) and I've never been able to break the habit.

Though I was gone from two days and got little sleep the night I was away (lumpy bed and people trying to get into our hotel room twice in the night), it was no different yesterday morning.

After showering and dressing, making a cup of Chai latte, I always do my Bible study first. Helps me get a positive start on the day.

I went through the email and answered the important ones. And yes, I admit it, I did take a peek on Facebook. 

My major task for the day was to go through the galley proof for River Spirits, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

It's always interesting to see what mistakes and typos are still there.

Now, you should know that this has been gone over twice by the editor assigned to the manuscript by the publishing house, to say nothing of the many times I went over it before sending it off. And of course my critique group has read and seen it before anyone else. They are masters at catching bloopers, typos, and repeated words.

Despite all this, I found lots of errors and things that have to be fixed--including repeated words too close to each other.

Other errors were out of order words, one wrong use of a word, same pronunciation different spelling, and missing words.

I've sent in my discoveries and now it's up to the person who does such things at the publishing house to fix them.

Despite all this, I'm betting once the book comes out there'll be something that all of us missed. Or like I'm fond of saying, that the gremlins put in.

Now it's time for me to take a break. 

I have another blog post to do and a couple of paid jobs to work on. Whether I'll get to them today I'm not sure.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Penny Warner Visited SJ SinC

Penny Warner writes cozies for adults and a great series for children. She came to visit the San Joaquin Chapter of Sisters in Crime and talked about her books and also gave us some promotion 

She's always a fun speaker. 

Her children's books are all about codes and decoding, and she said sometimes the kids write to her in code and she has a tough time deciphering them.

This is the latest in the code buster series.
I bought all three of the books for one of my great-granddaughters who likes to read.

This is her latest mystery series which she is writing under the name of Penny Pike. I've started reading this one and it's delightful.

What Penny said about marketing:

An author in the audience complained about the time taken from his writing to promote.

Her answer, everyone has to do it.

She does something special to give out for every book--made toe tags for one book, sign language cookies for her books with the deaf newspaper heroine.

She speaks at many places about her books and advised that a writer should book him/herself into as many places as possible.

And here's Penny Warner's bio from her website:

I've been writing since I read my first Nancy Drew in 6th grade. Since then I've had over 50 books published, fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. I've been lucky -- my books have won national awards, garnered excellent reviews, and have been printed in 14 countries, including Russia, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, India, Israel, Poland, Japan, and China.

My best-sellers include Healthy Snacks for Kids, Kids’ Party Games and Activities, Best Party Book, Games People Play, Kids’ Holiday Fun, Learn to Sign the Fun Way, Baby Play and Learn, Kids Pick-A-Party, and Kids’ Party Cookbook.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Master's degree in Special Education, and I've been teaching child development at the local college for over 20 years. I also teach writing tips at conferences across the country, including Pikes Peak, Whidbey Island, San Francisco, Jack London, and dozens of others.

I belong to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, Women Writing the West, and California Writers Club.

And I've appeared on television featuring ideas from my books, including the national Dr. Spock PBS series, “Parent Sense,” the “Later Today” show, “HGTV,” “Channel 7 News,” “People Are Talking,” “Mornings on 2,” and dozens of others.

In my spare time, I write a weekly newspaper column on family life (avaliable at ContraCostaTimes.com), and I contribute to popular websites including NancyDrewForever.com, BalloonTime.com, OrientalTradingCompany.com, ToysRUs.com, BirthdaysRUs.com, Evenflo.com, DrSpock.com, Fisher-Price.com, ParentalWisdom.com, iParty.com, and Party411.com.

My husband Tom and I write interactive mysteries as fundraisers for libraries across the country.
I live in Danville, California, have two grown children, and four adorable grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Headed to the Buena Vista Library

Yep, tomorrow I'll be going to Burbank to appear on a panel with L.A. Sisters in Crime.

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Library

Topic: Cozies

As most of you know, I write two series, both police procedurals. So how did I get on a cozy panel?

With the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, though she is in law enforcement, she serves and protects in a small town. Most, not all, cozies take place in small towns. The Rocky Bluff P.D. series also takes place in a small town--though there are different characters who play important parts.

Yes, there is usually a murder, one that always gets solved by the end of the book.

There is no bad language in either series, though I'm sure my characters may let loose with a swear word now and then, I don't quote them. I figure my readers have heard enough bad words to supply them if they want.

I always close the bedroom door.

Well, at least I do now. In the earlier Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries, the reader did get a sneak peek inside the bedroom once in awhile. Haven't done it lately, not because I'm a prude, just because it hasn't seemed necessary for the plots.

And in case you're wondering, why I'm going so far here's my answer.

I've belonged to the L.A. Sisters in Crime for a long time. Because of the distance, I seldom get to participate in anything with them. When I was asked to do this panel, I asked my daughter if she was willing to drive me there because neither my husband or I drive in new places at night. Obviously, her answer was yes.

I love library events so I'm looking forward to this and meeting some fellow members of SinC.

I do hope some of you who live in the area will come out to see the panel and introduce yourself to me.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.
Coming soon: River Spirits

Latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.
Busy working on the next one.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sisters in Crime SinC-Up

To belong to a chapter of Sisters in Crime, you also need to belong to the International organization.  They have a newsletter and in this one was the suggestion to join their Blog Hop.

I also belong to three chapters of SinC--The Los Angeles Chapter, the San Joaquin Chapter (the one I attend the most), and the Central Coast Chapter (the one I do the  most events with.)

We were given some questions to answer and I've chose a few, so here goes:

Which authors have inspired you?

In the beginning, Mary Higgins Clark, not just her mysteries, but herself as a person. I met her years ago at a small mystery conference at a rather campy retreat. She was gracious, helpful and friendly. Still a long time ago, but with many years in-between, I met her again at the agents and editors cocktail party during an Edgar week. When I reintroduced myself, she acted like she remembered me. Like an old friends, she brought me up to date on what she'd been doing and introduced me to her, at the time, brand new husband.

Many other female mystery writers have also inspired me like Jan Burke, and many not so famous but terrific writers who have become my friends such as Sue McGinty, Lorna Collins, Victoria Heckman, and oh so many others. Many of them I met at cons and conventions, others through Oak Tree Press--the publisher of my Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries.

One of my favorite male writers is William Kent Krueger. Met him several times at the now defunct Mayhem in the Midlands conference. I've watched him gather many awards over the years for his outstanding books, but despite his great success, he's remained a friend. 

If someone said, "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?

I'd probably say, "You  should try some women writers, you might be surprised." And then I'd suggest some I know along with their books.

What's the best part of the writing process for you? And what's the most challenging?

I write two series, and I love starting a new book and knowing I'm going to find out what's happening with these characters I've grown to love and care about over the years. If I don't write that next book, I won't know what's going on in their lives.

The most challenging is taking time away from the writing to do the necessary promotion. 

If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

Over the years, I've mentored quite a few new writers. One of the big things is letting the person know that they will probably not become an instant success or make a lot of money. Other advice I've given, is read the kind of books you want to write. Don't spend time telling everyone about the book, put your energies into writing it. Be sure you get it edited by someone who knows about mysteries and editing before you sent it off anywhere.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Birthday to my Hubby!

Happy Birthday to my hubby!

This is how my handsome hubby looked when I first met him on our blind date. We actually met on the sidewalk between my house and my girlfriend's house in Eagle Rock--probably a distance of 3 miles. He was so handsome, I had an immediate crush on him.

At the time he was stationed at Port Hueneme Seabee Base going to school. He managed to get back to our house most weekends, and it wasn't long before he proposed.

We've now been married nearly 62 years, raised 5 children, have 18 grandkids, helped raise 2 of them, have had other grandkids live with us at different time, and now have 14 great grands with another on the way.

I don't know that we'll do anything special for his 84th birthday, but I'll give him a big kiss and hug and thank God once again that I've had such a great husband all these many years.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today is my Sister's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Sis!
My sister, Marjorie, who has always been called Margie was born when I was five years old.

She was the cutest baby, little girl, and young woman and she really hasn't changed all that much.

When we were growing up, she was often a pain. We always shared a room and she was messy and I wasn't. Now I'm messier than she is.

As adults, we only lived close to each other for a few short years.Even when we didn't, for many years as adults our families spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Then both of our families got way too big. 

We moved to Springville first, then she and her husband built a house here. All of her adult children soon moved nearby. 

When the economy took a big dive, she and her boys all lost their jobs. One by one, they moved to Las Vegas, and of course the grandchildren went along too. My sis couldn't take the separation and soon moved to Vegas too--where she is today.

We get to see her about twice a year. We go to her house for a visit at least once each year and then we see her and much of her family at our family reunion.
This is not how I thought we'd end up. I figured eventually we'd live together as old ladies--but I know that will never happen. She'll stay in Vegas with her big family and I'll be here in California close to mine.

We do talk on the phone and of course, we know what's going on with one another because of Facebook.

My sis and her family a few years back in their front yard in Vegas.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kurt Kamm, An Interview

After reading an review Kurt Kamm's latest thriller, Tunnel Vision, which is available from Amazon today, I decided to find out more about him. He kindly answered the following questions:

When did you first realize you were a writer?

When I was at Brown, I took a career aptitude test and the first recommendation was that I become a novelist. I decided I would rather earn a living and went to work on Wall Street. Now that I am retired, I’ve had the opportunity to write, and I really enjoy it. Me? A writer? I’m still trying to find out.

Since you are such an expert about fires, firefighting and emergency services, tell us something about how all that came about?

I moved from Los Angeles to Malibu several years ago. Soon after I moved in, the Sheriff’s Department came at 4:00 A.M. and told us we had 15 minutes to evacuate. On the way out, I watched my neighbor’s house burn to the ground, along with a church and several other homes. The fire department was literally at my gate when I left, and they stopped to fire at my front door. During this episode, I got a firsthand look at wildland firefighting and thought it was something I had to learn about. Over the years, the LACoFD has allowed me to ride with their crews, attend their training camps, and simply spend time in the stations. It ain’t Wall Street.

How did you first get published?

I submitted my second novel, Red Flag Warning, to several small presses and the first to respond was Aberdeen Bay. At the time, it was relatively new, and I was impressed with the owner. Later I learned that the editor had only read the first two chapters, but I was on my way.

What has surprised you most about being a published author?

The number of people to whom I have sent a complimentary book—usually folks who helped me in my research—who have never even had the courtesy of even acknowledging  that they received it (let alone actually open it).

What do you wish you had known when you first began writing?

That POV is a living breathing thing, and you can mess with it and do a lot of imaginative things. It scared the heck out of me in the beginning

What kind of promotion works best for you?

I’m still trying to figure that out. I have a few thousand Facebook friends (mostly first responders) and have built up a small but loyal following. E-mail and Facebook announcements seem to work better than any number of advertisements and literary website efforts. I’ve done some paid ads in magazines and have had countless radio interviews, none of which have made any difference. Winning contests is nice for the resume, and gives credibility, but doesn’t seem to have any effect on sales either.

And what are you working on now?

Tunnel Visions is my 5th and last firefighter mystery. I’m about 1/3 of the way into a narco – novel, which begins in Guatemala, moves to Mexico, stops on Catalina Island (and yes, there is a hellacious fire), and finally returns to Guatemala.

Kurt kindly provided these pictures: