Showing posts from 2015

Researching Dillinger's Decption by Ronald K. Myers

While doing research for Dillinger’s Deception and Impossible Gold, a suppressed memory of author Ronald K. Myers surfaced:

At the age of three, he was in the machine-gun turret protected Jungle Inn casino.  While his father was conducting some sort of business there, Myers was inside sitting on a wooden table that was close to one of the steel gun turrets.  Not only were machine guns in the turrets, shotguns were also ready for use  The man behind the turret must have accidently let a shotgun slip next to the long rectangular opening.  It rattled like thunder.  Myers jumped up off the board and cried.  The man laughed.  Every time Myers stopped crying and calmed down, the man rattled the shotgun and laughed.

The first in a series, Dillinger’s Deception starts us on a road never traveled before.  Here, sensible
Freddy, wise guy Rafferty, and the incandescent Neal McCord, push a 1940 hot rod Ford to the limit and race over the border to borrow a Canadian flag.  After they run smack in…

My Home's Story: An Historical Mystery by Lea Wait

My Home’s Story: An Historical Mystery             In the mid-1950s my grandparents and parents bought a Maine house built in 1774. Since then the house has served as a full or part-time residence for almost everyone in the family. I’m lucky to be the current (full-time) owner.             Of course, any old house comes with stories. In the case of this house, over 240 years of memories.             The house’s history has also landed it in many books on Maine history, and, although it has never been opened to the public, in many Maine guidebooks.             It’s known as the Marie Antoinette House.             Captain Stephen Clough, the house’s owner in the 1780s and 90s, was in the “salt and spar” trade: he took the trunks of white pine trees to Europe, where they became masts and spars for royal navies, and brought back salt, used to preserve fish for long winters. His business partner was James Swan, a Boston businessman he’d met when they fought together during the American Revolu…

Merry Christmas to You!

The first 20 people who contact me, I'll send them a Kindle copy of their choice of either one of my Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries or my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries. You can go to my website: and see what's there, even read the first chapter of most of the books. 

Email me privately with your choice:

Latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. is Not as it Seems.

Violent Departures is the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

I write this series under the name F. M. Meredith.


The Time, the Place, and the Story by Gayle Bartos-Pool

There are a lot of holiday books out there… and movies. I happen to collect Santas. 3500 and counting to be exact. I knew someday I would write a Christmas story, but what about?
I didn’t want to write a children’s story with twenty pages and big drawings. I wanted one that grownups would like. And not a retelling of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life. I like them just the way they are.
I was walking through the mall just as the stores had finished decking themselves out in tinsel and holly several years ago. I heard someone singing. He was using a microphone. He was also wearing a red suit. The guy had a great voice. A singer in a Santa Claus suit. An idea exploded in my head as I stood there listening to him.
I don’t live in Las Vegas, but what better place to locate my guy. Johnny Madison obviously isn’t a big-time singer, so I put him in an out of the way dive off the strip. He loses his job, but his agent who runs an employment agency, not a talent agency, gets him a gig si…

IN 25 WORDS OR LESS by Joanne Guidoccio

After completing my novel, I attended a number of workshops where the facilitators stressed the importance of a hook or logline.

What is a hook/logline?
Very simply, it is a concise sentence that answers the question: What is your novel about? An effective logline provides enough interest to prolong the conversation with a prospective agent or publisher, encourages readers to pick up the book, and creates tweetable buzz.
At first, I found it a daunting task. How could I possibly condense 69,000 words into 25 words or less?
I started by looking at the some of the great hooks in literature and cinema:
A man goes into the jungle to search for a missing general. (Heart of Darkness)
A reclusive chocolateer opens up his factory to the lucky children who find golden tickets. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
A sea captain forces his crew to search for an elusive white whale. (Moby Dick)
A train engine thinks it can make it up a hill. (The Little Engine That Could)
A young FBI cadet must confide in…

Let the Holidays Inspire Your Next (Fictional) Murder By Nina Mansfield

I think of the holidays, I think of family. And whenever I think of family, I think of murder. No need to start calling the proper authorities. Sure, my family drives me a little bit batty at times, but I don’t spend my time plotting their demise. However, whenever I am stuffing my face at one of those raucous holiday parties, I can’t help but think it would make a great setting for some murder mystery story.
After all, so many of the key ingredients for a good mystery are already in place. Means, motive and opportunity.

I’ll start with motive, because murderous motives can run high in families. I’m thinking fictionally of course. Kill off a sibling or two, and suddenly someone gets a much better share of that rich uncle’s inheritance. And speaking of inheritances, when is that rich uncle or great-great-Aunt what’s her name going to kick the can and leave you a fortune to squander? Money not your motive—how about revenge? The brother who stole your girlfriend in high school and ended up …

"Never Trust Your Memory" by Betty Webb

Like it or not, research is invaluable to writing a good mystery novel. But much of that research means double-checking things you already “know.”
For instance, I’ve lived in Scottsdale AZ since 1982, and much of my time here has been spent as a reporter, driving back and forth across the Valley of the Sun chasing story after story. So I knew the Valley pretty well, right? Wrong.
In the first draft of “Desert Noir,” my first mystery novel, I misnamed streets and put in intersections that don’t exist. I also wrote in tracts of empty desert that no longer exist, having long been replaced by sprawling subdivisions. I misnamed hotels, I misnamed corporations, I wrote in one-way streets running the wrong way.
How did this happen? Easy. I was writing from “memory of the known” only, and thus didn’t bother to fact-check my memory. Fortunately, in the second draft of “Desert Noir,” I fact-checked myself via a map and updated business and location information, so I caught those goofs before m…

Avoid the January Writing Blahs by J. L. Greger

I like to curl up in January and forget my writing. Big mistake! Do you lose energy during the cold days of winter? Maybe these tips will encourage you to make progress on your writing projects in January.
1)Write every day. My definition of writing includes: researching topics, composing text, editing, and publicizing the work. The advantage of writing a bit every day is I’m forced to think about my plot, characters, and style frequently.
2) Organize your writing.I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but I keep a running list of characters (with short profiles) and a timeline. These tools make it easier for me to quickly pick up my writing every day.
3) Edit. I know a few authors claim they only need to edit their work once; I'm not that good. I find the editing task less daunting if I break the process into three steps and do each after I complete a chapter or two. (Of course, I still have to edit again after I complete the first draft.)
These questions should be considered during …

THE HOOK by Kathleen Delaney

Cozy mysteries have been around since Agatha Christie started turning them out during the early nineteen hundreds. They’ve changed since then but still retain the same central core. Not too much blood, sex remains firmly behind closed doors, and the thrust of the story is who committed murder and why.
Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple knew everyone in her village, knew their parents and their children. She was a keen observer of human nature and a great listener. She also expected the worst of everyone and was rarely disappointed. The combination of village life and Miss Marple’s assessment of the people in it while she knitted garment after garment was The Hook. I don’t think Agatha used that term, but it was what made us come back, story after story.
Cozies are still grounded in one place, usually in a small town, and always with a small cast of characters who know each other well. Sometimes too well. Publishers want their heroine-it is almost always a heroine- to be an integral part of…


Edward Harlow writes etiquette books under the pseudonym of Aunt Civility, a secret shared only by his publisher and his brother, Nicholas.  He was hired to write the books by Classical Reads Publishing because he met their criteria: he could memorize facts, such as which fork to use to eat the shrimp cocktail; he turned out copy quickly; and he looked good in a tuxedo (for those times when he would appear in public as Aunt Civility's official representative.)
Good manners don't come naturally to Edward, and that's where his brother comes in. Nicholas, who is also Edward's secretary, keeps his brother in check. However, not even Emily Post anticipated the proper response to murder, and when a fellow guest at Inglenook Resort turns up dead, it's every man (and woman) for himself.
Though Edward is a fictional character in my latest mystery novel, Civility Rules, I think he serves to remind us that manners are the root of a civil society.  Remember when men removed …