Thursday, April 30, 2015

Calling Dr. Watson by Chris Karlsen

 After a satisfying twenty-five-year career in law enforcement, nineteen of which were as a detective, I retired. When the job was exciting, it was very exciting. I'd met many interesting people, had a lot of laughs, and ended it happy and healthy. I looked forward to the free time retirement would give me and the opportunity to take writing lessons. I'd had a story in my head for a long, long time and couldn't wait to tell it. My story was a historical romance. 

The one thing I didn't want to write was a contemporary cop story. I love to read them, especially Joe Wambaugh, Mike Connelly, and John Sandford. Writing one myself held no interest for me. I never, ever thought I'd need to think about police work again, other than to watch NCIS and Castle.

That belief held true until book 2 in my historical romance series, Journey in Time. In that story, the heroine, a modern London attorney caught in a time warp and now in Medieval England must present a case before King Edward. She is both the accuser and the accused. I found myself reliving my trial experience in criminal court. It started with the scene of the crime where she both defended herself and is accused of provoking the attack. She must choose what can be used as evidence in her case against the attacker.  More important, she must choose what to use in her defense. The year is 1355. As there is no science to aid her, I had to make good use with what was on hand.

In my latest release, Silk, I did what I swore I wouldn't—wrote a cop story. The character came to me while writing another book. Everything about him was crystal clear in my mind from the beginning. However, in serving my love of history, I wanted to make the story my spin on a classic British mystery/suspense. My protagonist, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone (Ruddy), is a Victorian man. He is a detective with London Metropolitan Police Service and the year is 1888, the year Jack the Ripper appeared on the scene. Ruddy does not investigate the Ripper murders. I wanted him to have a serial killer of his own to discover.

He had many of the same issues as my heroine in Journey in Time: he lacked the benefit of forensic science. This setting is shortly before even the rudimentary study of fingerprints. Once more I went back to work I thought I'd left behind. Except this time, I didn't have forensics to rely on either. As I had Ruddy walk through the crime scenes, I "shadowed" him, noting what might be useful as evidence.

I gave him the ability to do ornamental iron work, a skill he learned from his blacksmith father. He creates pretty garden furniture and gates as a hobby and to make a little extra money. He works off sketches and uses his artistic ability to draw suspects from victim and witness descriptions. In Silk, he also uses it to recreate crime scenes for comparisons.

One of the problems that arose in the Jack the Ripper investigations was conflict between the two different police agencies involved. Another was how media presented the handling of those cases by the police. Both are issues that arise today with high profile cases. For many agencies, internal politics can hamper a detective's progress in various ways as well. I gave all three stumbling blocks to Ruddy to overcome or deal with as best he could.

To my surprise, I've had a lot of fun writing my cop story. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to solve a case using just old fashioned detective work. I don't think Ruddy ever needed fellow detective Sherlock Holmes but at times I'm sure he'd have welcomed Dr. Watson's help. He might not have used it, but I think he'd take suggestions into consideration.
Title: Silk                   
Genre: Thriller
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon

London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.

Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. She's had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.
After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May 1 - 5 Final Respects is Free on Kindle

Yep, it'll be free on Kindle beginning May 1 through May 5. (At least that's what's supposed to happen--we've had some problems, but I think the publisher has managed to solve them.)

The  AISN number was changed, and that link should work.

If you are one of those readers who insist on reading the first book in the series--now's the time to start the Rocky Bluff P.D. mysery series. 

The latest in the series, is #11 and called Violent Departures. I pride myself that I write each book as a stand-alone, for those who don't care where they start in a series. 

When I wrote Final Respects I had no idea that it would become a series. I had some ideas and began putting together a plot about a small police department in a beach community--a fictious place--but much like the beach community I lived in at the time.

My son-in-law was a police officer at the time and he told me some great stories about what was going on and his fellow officers, some of which I incorporated in the book. I incorporated bits and pieces of other things I knew or that happened to people I knew, and it wasn't long before I'd completed the book.

I realized that I really liked the characters I'd created, the police officers and their families, and wanted to know what happened to them next. The only way to find out was to write another book. And I did.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

5 More Things you can do for an Author

Day 11:  Send them a photo of their books!  See your favorite author’s book in a library or bookstore?  Pull out that smart phone and send them a picture.  Believe me, nothing makes a writer’s heart sing like seeing their work out in the world.  And don’t forget to post that same photo on your social media pages!

Day 12: Attend their events, virtual or in person.  There is nothing worse than hosting an event that no one except your mother attends.  And sometimes even your mother is busy!  Make your favorite author’s day by coming to their signings, asking questions, and sharing your enthusiasm.  While you’re at it, bring a friend! I promise, we don’t bite, and many of us give out bribes. (Oops, I mean prizes!)

Day 13:  Preorder their book!  Does your favorite author have a book coming out in a few months?  Don’t wait until launch day to get it, preorder it! Bookstores LOVE preorders.  They are more likely to order extra copies of a book that they know already has fans waiting to buy it, meaning there will be more copies of the book on the shelf, which means greater visibility, which means greater sales, which means… Well, you get the idea.  Plus, you get bragging rights for being the first kid on the block who owns it!

Day 14:  Share their Facebook Posts.  Facebook is a funny creature.  It chooses what to show based on popularity of posts and, in the case of author pages, how much the author pays to have it seen.  On an author page, unless the post is shared, liked, and otherwise loved, Facebook may only show it to 1% of the fans of the page!  Don’t let your favorite author yell in a vacuum or spend all of their Valentine’s candy money to get their message out!  Share liberally anything you see from them that tickles your fancy!

Day 15: Sign up to follow their blogs.  Every time I post a blog article, I think of the old 
tree-in-a-forest joke.  If a blog posts in the internet wilderness and nobody reads it, does it really exist? Your favorite author probably blogs somewhere, and they likely have something interesting to say.  Most of them have “subscribe” or “follow” buttons on their blog’s site.  Follow them!  You never know what wondrous surprises await!  You can sign up for Tracey's blog at

And just click on Follow This Blog on the sidebar to follow mine.

Friday, April 24, 2015

And the Winner Is...

Anyone who has been following my blog, or is a friend on Facebook, belongs to any of the same groups as I do, or is a member of the same listserves, knows that I've had a contest on my blog tour for Violent Departures.

The idea was that the person who commented on the most posts during my tour-- a possibility of 22 times-- would get to have a character in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery named after the winner. Now that doesn't mean the character will be anything like the winner except for having the same name.

It wasn't long before I could see who really wanted to be the winner. Though there were several faithful followers of the tour, only one managed to hit nearly all of the blogs. One she couldn't find a place to comment, and sent the comment via email.

So, without further ado (as they say), let me annonce the winner:


Jackie is a fellow author and I've read two of her books:

We are Different Now
Footprints in the Frost

Of course I haven't even thought about what the next book will be yet, but once I get going, Jackie will be in it. Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries come out at the beginning of the new year.

This is the latest in the series.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five More Things You Can Do for an Author

Enter a Goodreads giveaway for their books! Many authors create Goodreads giveaways to help build the brand awareness and generate some reviews for their books.  Entering the giveaway does a number of things:  Gets the book on your shelves (which gives it exposure); makes the book more popular in the giveaway (which gives it exposure); perhaps scores you a free book that you can keep for yourself or give to a friend(which gives it exposure)! A triple win, all with a few simple mouse clicks!

Leave a comment on one of their blog posts!  Comments help the post show up higher in search engines and let your favorite author know that that people are reading their posts.  Blogging can feel like shouting out in a canyon.  Let your voice echo back!

Buy their books! (I wrote about this one before, but it is really important!)

This may seem obvious, and I know not everyone can buy all of the books that they read.  However, if you really like an author, purchase their books rather than borrow them.  Publishers drop series that don’t sell well, so the best way to help ensure you’ll see your favorite author’s next book is to buy it.   If you’re on a limited budget, save up for the books you really like.  Your purchase helps ensure that there will be a next book in the series!

Share their successes!  Authors rely heavily these days on social media to spread the word about their work.  Help them spread their reach!  When your favorite author has something to brag about, share it with your Facebook friends!

Invite them to come to your book group!  Whether it’s in person or via Skype, it’s always fun to chat about your work with readers.  Many authors I know (including me!) would be delighted to meet with a book club to discuss their work, writing, maybe even the meaning of life.  You’ll never know if your author is available unless you ask. Even thanking gives the author an often-needed boost!

I'll have more good ideas from Tracy Weber, as you follow along on this blog.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, April 20, 2015

Take a peek with Peek-a-Bear, a Review

I only review children's books occasionally, but this is a perfect book for toddlers. Author Jill Mangel Weisfeld has written a cute story, perfect for little ones.

Not only does it have delightful illustrations, but there is something to do on each page.

At first an adult might have to guide the child, but it won't take long before most will want to do what needs to be done on his or her own.

I passed this on to two great grands, who had a great time with it.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Final Days of Violent Departures Blog Tour

            The Inspiration for Violent Departures

            Who Do I Write For?

            What Makes the Rocky Bluff Mystery Series Unique?

April 21
            Final Interview

April 21
              Who Inspired Me?

    Blurb for Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.
F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.


Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Five Things a Reader can do for an Author

I borrowed these ideas from Tracy Weber. She came up with a list of 50, but I decided to share only a few at a time, and pick the ones I liked best. So here goes:

Add your favorite author’s books to your Goodreads bookshelves.  “Shelving” your favorite books gives them more visibility to other readers.  Goodreads even has a way to automatically add the books you purchased on Amazon!

Write a short (1 – 2 sentences are great!) honest review of your favorite author’s book(s) and post it on Amazon.  Love Amazon or hate them, they are a key player in book sales, and reviews help your favorite authors rank higher in the search engines.  Some promotional opportunities are only available to authors if they have a certain number of reviews.

Tell them you love them!  Most of the authors I know make essentially no money on their writing.  (Sad, but true!)  So why do we write?  For our readers!  Drop your favorite author a line and tell them you appreciate their work.  Facebook message, e-mail, a tweet with their hashtag.  Believe me, you will make their day!

Tell a librarian about their work!  Librarians are in the business of matching readers with work they will love, but they can’t read everything.  Tell them about your favorite author’s work and what you love about it. Point out the cover if it’s already on the shelves. The more a librarian knows about a book, the more likely they are to recommend it to patrons that might enjoy it.

Sign up for their newsletter!  Facebook is a lovely community-builder, but it only shows a very small fraction of the posts written on author pages (considerably less than 5%).  So how can an author best communicate with her most loyal fans?  Via a newsletter!  If you go to your favorite author’s web page, they may have a link to their newsletter.  Join and be sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun! Tracy's newsletter is here:

You can receive mine by emailing me, or signing up on this blog.

And of course, the primary thing you can do is purchase the author's book. My latest is:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Giddy, Wind-in-Your-Hair Thrill of Writing By Kate Hannigan

Eleven-year-old Nell Warne couldn’t have imagined what awaits her when she arrives on her long-lost aunt’s doorstep, lugging a heavy sack of sorrows.

Much to Nell’s surprise, her aunt is a detective, working for the world-famous Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency! Nell quickly makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate…and not just by helping out with household chores. As her aunt travels around the country solving mysteries, Nell must crack codes, wear disguises, and spy on nefarious criminals.

With nation-changing events simmering in the background as Abraham Lincoln heads for the White House, Aunt Kate is working on the biggest case of her life. But Nell is quietly working on a case of her own: the mystery of what really happened the night her best friend left town.

Based on the extraordinary true story of America’s first female detective, Kate Warne, The Detective’s Assistant is full of feats of daring and danger, bold action, and newfound courage.

I write for children, and my first mystery for young readers, The Detective’s Assistant, came out this month. It’s about America’s first female detective, who was hired by Allan Pinkerton to join his National Detective Agency in 1856.

When I first stumbled onto Kate Warne’s name and a sentence or so about her, I knew I had something. That it eventually would become a middle-grade novel – fictional history with mystery – wasn’t so clear.

But reading about Kate Warne’s role as a Pinkerton detective thrilled me. I dove into Pinkerton’s accounts of his cases, written later in his career as he reflected on his life’s work. And as I learned more about her – that she dressed up as a fortuneteller to snag a suspected killer, that she posed as a Southern belle, a wife of a jailed forger, and more – I became obsessed.

Just as readers are always looking for that amazing book that keeps them up all night turning pages, I think writers are perpetually in search of the fascinating story to tell. And as I dug deeper into Kate Warne’s adventures as a Pinkerton operative, I got that giddy, wind-in-the-hair rush of excitement.

I used to work in newspapers, so the fear of being scooped was hammered into me. I set a Google alert to inform me of any reference to Kate Warne on the web, worrying that if I’d found her interesting, some other writer was probably penning her story too. Sure enough, a Canadian production company was working on a TV show featuring Kate Warne and the Pinkertons I had to act fast!

I began to get up before the birds, neglect my family, ignore the dog, skip bathing or any other task that took me away from my laptop! I visited Kate Warne’s gravesite here in Chicago, strolled the Chicago History Museum for inspiration. I wrote as if a pack of wolves were at my heels. And once I finished, I urged my agent to get the manuscript out into the world quickly.

That it’s now on bookstore shelves brings me real happiness. And I have more writing projects on my plate that excite me, more ideas bouncing around my head and taking shape. But I don’t know that I will ever have the same exhilaration again that I felt in creating The Detective’s Assistant. Maybe it’s called a writer’s high. Or a manic phase. Or just sheer joy.

Whatever the name for it, I loved every minute. And I hope readers get a sense of that excitement when they turn the pages and meet the story’s characters, both fictional and real.

Do you have an inspirational historical figure who has captured your interest? Would you consider writing about her or him?

Chicago author Kate Hannigan writes fiction and non-fiction for young readers. When she’s not shuttling family members to ballet, soccer, or fencing practice, she can be found writing and researching her next books. Visit her online at

Monday, April 13, 2015

Library Visit by Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

This coming Thursday, April 16th at 6 p.m. I'll be at the Porterville Library at 41 West Thurman.

This is the official launch of my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures. 

I'm going to talk about what got me started writing police procedurals, where my ideas and characters come from, and whatever else happens to cross my mind. And yes, I'll answer any questions anyone may have.

I'll have copies of this book and others in the series on hand and also the latest two books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, for anyone who'd like to purchase one.

To celebrate the occasions, I'm bringing cupcakes. No, I didn't make them--I have a good friend who is a wonderful baker who is creating her magic for this event.

If you're in the area, do come and visit.

Marilyn (aka F. M.) Meredith

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What People Had to Say About Final Respects

and the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

One of my favorites is by Miqui Miller:

"In the style of the best of Wambaugh, albeit with a gentler hand and less rugged language, F.M Meredith draws characters we wantto know better--brave men and women, who risk their lives for us on a daily basis. The members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. are definitely folks I want to visit again and look forward to riding along as they guarantee the triump of justive over evil."

Radine Trees Nehring said:

"Meredith has created a thrilling adventure that weaves together the lives of several point-of-view police officers. I truly, truly, truly loved every minute of this terrific story."

Remember, Final  Respects will be free on Kindle starting May 1.

F.M. aka  Marilyn Meredith

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Taussig and Tiedemann Mortuary

There is no such place as Taussig and Tiedemann Mortuary. I made it up.

However, it is based on a real mortuary, one that was a couple of blocks from our house. Behind the mortuary was the family's home where the mom and dad lived with their three little girls. One of my own daughters was friends with these girls and often went there to spend the night. 

I asked my daughter what she did when she went there, and she said, "We play hide 'n seek in the mortuary."

My response was, "Not where the dead bodies are, I hope."

"Yes, that's the most fun."

Of course that triggered another idea for the plot--and I had a lot of fun writing that part.

If you read the book, you'll see how it all fit in.

And you know it'll be free starting May 1 on Kindle!

Marilyn aka F.M.Meredith

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Next 11 Days in Violent Departures Blog Tour

            Coming Up With New Ideas for an Ongoing Series

Where Do My Characters Come From?

            What About the Dialogue?


            How I Keep Up With my Characters and What’s Happened

            After So Many Books, How Do You Get Fresh Ideas?

            When to Think About Promotion

The Good and Bad of Writing a Series

            Ghosts and Why I Write About Them

            Reading Reviews of my Books

            Stacey Milligan’s Dilemma

Blurb for Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.
F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.


Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Some Interesting Things About Final Respects

Back when I wrote Final Respects almost every police officer I knew--and I knew many because we had many police families in our neighborhood--sported a mustache. Plus my son-in-law was a cop and yes, he had a mustache too. Today, there aren't many officers with mustaches.

If I were to rewrite the book, I'd probably change many things--including one of the descriptions on the back cover. It begins: Publicity hound, Rick Strckland...but the character's name is Ryan. I must confess, I've called him Rick other times too.

I started writing the book when my son-in-law would come over to my house for coffee after his shift and say, "Do you want to hear what happened last night?" Of course I did.

He would often relate tales about his fellow officers that shaped some of the characters in this first Rocky Bluff mystery. 

One horrendous event happened within the police department that triggered the plot for this story.

Rocky Bluff is a fictitious place somewhere between Ventura and Santa Barbara--but it's not Carpenteria. It is imaginary but has some resemblances to Oxnard way back when it was still pretty much a small town. 

Next time I'll let you in on a little secret about the mortuary and the three little girls that torment the mortician.

Marilyn aka F.M.Meredith

Friday, April 3, 2015

Final Respects, the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series

Final Respects was published for the first time in 2001 as an e-book only. I found the publisher in Writers Digest big book of publishers and really had no idea what an electronic book was.

This was before there was any such thing as a reader or Amazon or a Kindle. No one could really figure out how to downloadthe book and if they did it was to their computer. Needless to say this was not a successful venture. 

I'd written Final Respects several years before and attempted to find publishers to no avail.

In 2004 it was republished by another publisher who did both an e-version and one in print. By this  time the Rocket E-Reader had come on the scene. (Sony bought the company out and didn't do anything with the reader for several years.) 

The first print edition of Final Respects looked great and I was happy with it. Things didn't go well between me and the publisher and we parted company after they'd published the 2nd in the series, Bad Tidings. 

I found another publisher for the next two books in the series: Fringe Benefits and Smell of Death. The books looked great, but the publisher decided to disolve her company.

Not too long after that, I met Billie Johnson, Oak Tree Press publisher. She gave me a contract for the next in ther series, republished the first four previous books, and has published the series ever since.

On May 1st, I'll be offering the Kindle version of Final Respects free.

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Promotion Schedule for April by F.M. Meredith

This will be a busy month.

First because my blog tour begins today and that means promoting each blog I'm visiting on the day I visit--and responding to anyone who comments. And because there's a contest involved, I'll be keeping track of each person who comments.

On April 2, I'll be joining four other mystery writers at 6:30 p.m. at the Fig Garden branch of the Fresno Library to talk about our mysteries.

On the 16th of April, I'll be celebrating the official launch of Violent Departures at the Porterville Library at 6 p.m. There will be cupcakes. I'll discuss what got me started writing this series.

Because I'm going to have Final Respects free on Kindle beginning May 1, I'm going to do a series of posts about the book right here.

And of course there's more to come in the month of May. Stay tuned for details.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith