Showing posts from August, 2015

Calling the Dead by Marilyn Meredtih

Anyone who has read many of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series knows that Tempe is often visited by spirits. This began when she called back the dead to find out the truth about a murder and suicide in Calling the Dead. 

From that time on, Tempe has had regular visits from the dead or other spirits in nearly every book

In Spirit Shapes, it's not only ghosts but also evil spirits who confront Tempe in a very haunted house.

A different kind of spirits greet Tempe in this story about a movie being made on the Bear Creek Indian reservation.

In the latest, Not as it Seems, ghostly visitations abound when Tempe visits Morro Bay and becomes involved in a murder investigation.
All the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, are avaiable in various formats direction from the online bookstores, by ordering through a physical book store, or visiting the publisher:
Marilyn Meredith

Last Two Free Days for No Bells

When I was planning No Bells I went to my police buddies and asked for a funny vice crime.

And boy, did I get one. When you read NO BELLS you can't miss it--and it was perfect for this book. 
As usual, Officer Gordon Butler is sent to tackle the strangest crimes. Besides the one I mentioned above, he also has to tackle a trespassing seagull.
In case you didn't know, Rocky Bluff, the setting of these mysteries is a small beach town between Santa Barbara and Ventura. It is also a fictional town with a fictional police department. You won't find either one if you travel down 101. 
However, it has some resemblances to other small beach towns in the nearby areas. Though because it's between two big tourist attractions, it doesn't  receive much attention or tourist dollars. 
I hope you'll try NO BELLS--free on Kindle only today and tomorrow.…

One of my Favorite Characters--The Hairy Man

The Hairy Man, similar to Big Foot, is legendary on the Tule River Indian Reservation. Many sightings have been documented. In a rock cave on the reservation there's a pictograph of the Hairy Man, his wife and child.

The Hairy Man makes his first appearance in Dispel the Mist. On the cover is a depiction much like it looks on the rock wall--except there he's 8 foot tall!

and of course on Amazon.
He also is mentioned in Invisible Path.

And also on Amazon, of course.

River Spirits is he latest book where the Hairy Man shows up.

For all formats: 

and on Amazon.

Because the Hairy Man is such an important part of the Tule River Indian Reservation, of course he needs to be an important part of the Bear Creek Indian Reservation too.
If you haven't already, you might enjoy rea…

A Gift to You on My Birthday

Yes, that's right, from today, August 24 through August 28th, NO BELLS will be free on Kindle!

Officer Gordon Butler is a hard-luck guy. Things just never go right for him, but he's won the heart of many of my readers.
In NO BELLS Gordon meets the woman of his dreams but she's a murder suspect.
If you haven't met Officer Butler yet, this is a good way to get acquainted.
And if you've never read a Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, you might start here.
F.M. aka Marilyn Meredith
This is a great way to wish me a Happy Birthday!

Another of my Favorites: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits is high on my list of favorites in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.

Not only are there many kindred spirits in the book, I met a kindred spirit who was the inspiration for this book. Junie Mattice, a Tolowa Indian, who hosted a book signing for me, told me all about the history of the Tolowa people, and became an instant friend. She has such a strong personality, I created two characters based on her in the Crescent City part of the book.
Junie is no longer with us, but her spirit certainly lingers on. 
Besides the history of the Tolowa, some of which is included in Kindred Spirits, she also told me about her knowledge and experiences with Big Foot. (This led me to learning more about the Big Foot legend and a similar character who lives on the Tule River Reservation, the Hairy Man. I'll write about him in the next blog post.)
When the book came out, I had a wonderful book launch at a bed and breakfast in Crescent City. Junie and I both spoke at the event, and …

Which Book is Your Favorite? by Marilyn Meredith

When I have my book on display, readers often ask me this question as a way to decide which of my books they should purchase.

That question is much like asking a mother which of her children is her favorte.
Frankly, I don't have a favorite. For the next few days I'll write about some of the books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and what I like about each one.
Today, I'll write about Bears With Us.
First, I really love this cover!
Right now, we're in the middle of a drought here in the foothills of the Sierra, which means we've had several fires around us--and the wildlife has come down to find water and food. And among this wildlife, of course are bears.
Neighbors have reported bear scat on their patios. One scared woman posted that she had a mama bear and two cubs roaming around her house and was afraid to come out. Trash cans have been overturned. Yes, the bears are with us again.
Some of that was going on while I was writing Bears With Us, but the real impe…

It Won't be Long Now

Not as it Seems, the latest in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries will soon be available.

Exactly when, I don't know yet, but things are moving along as they should be. My best guess is sometime before the end of this month.
I did something different with this book. It's not set in the Sierra. Tempe and her husband Hutch have gone to Morro Bay to participate in their son, Blair's wedding. Hutch will officiate. This is the first time they get to meet Blair's fiance, Amaresh. 
Of course there's a mystery to solve--Amaresh's maid of honor is missing.
Usually I write about fictious places with some resemblance to real places. This book is different. Morro Bay is a very real place--one that I love to visit. I've included many of the real places to visit and eat in and around the area.
I do hope that I got everything right. I had a lot of help from my friends in the Central Coast Sisters in Crime who live there--but if I got something wrong, it's my fault, no…

Working on Two Mystery Series

The last of my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series has been out for a half a year. During that time I've been promoting it a lot.

A writer today spends as much time promoting as writing. And believe me, we'd all rather be writing. But--how are readers going to know about our books unless we tell them?
While I was busy promoting Violent Departures I was writing the next book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series--Not as it Seems. While writing I was reading it chapter by chapter to my critique group.
One all the chapters had been read and worked over, I went over the whole book again, and finally sent it off to my publisher, Mundania Press. I soon received back the edits, agreed with most, and sent it back. Got it back a second time and found a few things to change. Next was the galley proof--again I found some mistakes. 
Now, it's waiting time. I haven't seen the cover yet, and I must confess, I'm anxious to see what the cover artist will come up with.
But no, I'm no…

HEALER by John Wills, an update.

Hi Marilyn. Since we last talked, my novel, HEALER, has done quite well. In fact, it won an award at the 2015 Public Safety Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas. For those who have yet to read HEALER, here’s a short blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Billy Anderson’s short life has been full of daunting challenges. A birth defect, and later, the death of his parents, has forced him to live with his Aunt Staci who serves as his guardian. That situation becomes untenable for Billy and he chooses to live on the street, rather than suffer the humility and neglect from his own relative. One day things change dramatically for Billy when he receives the “Gift of Healing.” Not only does Billy’s own life take a dramatic turn, but also his new gift affects those around him. Is this gift a blessing or a curse?
I’ve had many favorable reviews. said, “The hardest thing for Christians to comprehend is the mind of God. The most common question asked of Him is “Why?” At the heart of …

Paths to Publishing from the PSWA Conference

A popular panel at the recent PSWA Conference was about publishing. Those on the panel were:
Billie Johnson, Geno Munari, Mysti Berry, Thonie Hevron, Bob Doer, Kathy Ryan. Michelle Perin moderated.

How to get a publisher was discussed.

Panelist also talked about their own paths to publishing.

Munari said he'd print a book at a competive price and do it quickly.  He is also becoming more selective about what he's publishing, would like more unusual topics. But the author needs to do his own marketing.

Kathleen Ryan told about writing stories of 20 words or less led to a New York City booksigning.

Billie Johnson, publisher of Oak Tree Books, said you need to know your market and to look for a publisher who has good distribution.

Bob Doer reminded authors that they need to have their book edited before looking for a publisher.

You need to understand the publisher's contract.

You need a marketing plan ahead of time. (Many publishers ask for this when you submit your query or p…

Good Writing is Rewriting

This was another panel topic at the PSWA Conference this year.

On the panel were Eileen Magill, Bob Doerr,  Scott Decker, Michael Brandt, and Sam Bradley. Marilyn Olsen moderatied.
Get everything out first--then do the rewrite.Different author do things their own ways, some editing as they write.Discussed who else might be involved in the rewrite: An editor, critique group, readers. Be careful who you use as an editor.Don't over analyze.One writer sees the story in his mind, then blazes his wayt though the story.Need to make it clear for the reader.Be sure to incorporate dialogue.Be careful not to rearrange chapters ot that big clues come to soon.
What to avoid when rewiring.
Don't fall in love with the first draft.Don't keep rewriting the first three chapters. There was more, but that's all I managed to catch in my notes.


My recently released book FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST has a bit of history…about 17 years’ worth, to be honest.  I actually first wrote the original manuscript and title for this book back in 1998.  At that time, I was only writing articles and short stories, mostly through the Public Safety Writers Association (known as the Police Writers Club). 
Having never written a book before, I spiral bound it at home and put it aside.  I ran across it again early in 2014, sat down and read through it one more time.  That’s when I decided to give it the acid test and submit it to the Public Safety Writers Association’s 2014 Writing Competition.  My decision was, if it bombed there, that was to be the end of it.  Imagine my surprise when it won First Place in the Fiction Book Non-published category.
At that point, I was inspired to see if I could have it published.  So,I  rewrote it until a fellow author told me to stop  because I could rewrite myself into eternity.  Since I respect his opinion on su…

Spicing up Presentations by Ron Corbin

This came from my notes taken at the PSWA conference. This was an excellent presentation.

Ron's stated goal was to improve our presentation skills and grab the attention of the audience.
Start and stop on time. 
Difficult times for presentations:
Right before lunch. Last time slot of the day. Last day of the conference.
Emotions/Connected to Topic
Environment Your Dress Your Attitude Audience Needs to be Able to Understand you (Don't say ah)
Audience Participation
Set guidelines for audience questions. Walk toward the person and make eye-contact. Walk backward, respond to the audience.
Control Stage Fright
Know your target audience Prepare Practice  Make eye contact. Use Humor
Use Training Aids
Whteboard Flip charts Handouts Overhead projector Video Equipment Powerpoint Actual Objects
Be prepared for problems
Summarize what you said.
Questions and answers

You Based that Character on Me!

Yes, I have based lots of characters on people I know.

I have a friend who asked me to put her in a book, I didn't use her name, just everything else about her: her looks, her personality, her dogs, her house. All of her friends said I did it perfectly. I followed up by putting her in a second book.
One of the main characters in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries is Nick Two John--his looks came from a local Indian whom I've never met in person, but have seen numerous times from afar.He called me once and I thought he was going to say something about that, but he didn't. He wanted to compliment me on what I wrote about a Pow Wow.
Bits and pieces of people I know or met along the way from appearance to personality quirks I've borrowed for my characters, and no one has ever recognized themselves.

But recently, my sister read my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures, and she mentioned on Facebook that I'd used her as a character. If I did, I certainly d…

Some Advice to Those Who Are Planning to Write a Book

Number one, learn about the craft of writing. Yes, there are rules--and rules can be broken, but not before you know what they are.

Read books and magazines about writing, go to writers' conferences, join a critique group. Read the type of books you want to write.
Know the basics.
Do you know what POV means and how to use it correctly?
Do you know how to use dialogue effectively and how to use actions and description as dialogue tags?
Do you know how to develop interesting characters?
Do you know how to balance action, dialogue and narrative?
Do you know how to get rid of your pet words and phrases?
If you plan on self-publishing at the very least your book should have:
Page numbers
Chapters that begin on the right hand page.
No page numbers on the first page of the chapter.
Alternating the title and the author's name at the top of the page, not appearing on the chapter page.
A separate page for each, title page, dedication and acknowledgements.
Indentation for the beginning o…

LINCOLN 9 by Dave Freedland

Dave Freedland is one of the members of PSWA who attended the recent conference. It's a pleasure to have him visit my blog and discuss his book.
Lincoln 9 Inspiration
It had always been my plan to write following retirement; but I chose fiction because I thought that it might be an interesting way to be creative. I had saved most of my “day-timer” calendars and steno pads over the years with the cryptic notes chronicling my numerous calls for service, crimes investigated, and SWAT call-outs.
I wanted to write something which I felt had not been sufficiently covered in works of either fiction or non-fiction. For years, the image of Special Weapons and Tactics teams members had been that of knuckle-dragging, heavy handed individuals whose only solution to problems was the application of force. However, over time that stereotype began to evolve as more educated, problem-solving leaders filled the ranks of SWAT operators, as evidenced by their frequent top tier placement in supervisory pr…