Showing posts from February, 2016

Introducing Dave Cropp

I am new to the blogosphere.
I am excited about my first novel that will be coming out this summer: “Valley Heat,” published by Oaktree Press:
It is based on my many years in law enforcement with a loose analogy to Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically his journey through hell (inferno).
It’s taken me years to write.  The idea fascinated me from the start, and the challenge of fitting my cop stories into a new fiction format was important to me.  I feel that Dante’s journey resembles the constant human struggle to define right vs. wrong, good vs. bad; and the ultimate attempt to validate our perceptions by pointing to the ultimate idea of consequences.    I do not take sides; do not support one religion over another, or even support religion over atheism.  The story transcends religious dogma.  At its core level it is about one person struggling with a soul that reaches out for as much fun a possible, and a cognition that knows better.  Initially, his soul win…

When Life Interferes with Plans by Marilyn Meredith

On the calendar this last week looked like it was nearly wide open to work on my latest w-i-p, which happens to be a Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Instead, life intervened as most of my readers knows.
Like I wrote about earlier, my husband got very ill and we had to go to the ER, spent 3 days at the hospital, and once home had a lot of adjusting to do.
The fact that he had a horrible cold, as did my daughter and I, didn't help matters any. I don't think I could have done it without daughter. She did all the driving and various other things here at home, including spending 3 nights with us.
I had two newsletters that needed finishing--fortunately both were nearly done. One just had to be sent off to the fellow who actually posts it--the other had to wait until I attended a meeting and got the latest information, but it was all done except for the last page.
For anyone who wonders why I do so much ahead of time it's because I know that emergencies tend to crop up and it's much…

A Personal Note

The last few days have been harrowing.

On Sunday morning, hubby wasn't feeling good at all. He had the flu, but also complained of feeling dizzy. I thought I'd take him into Urgent Care after I taught my Sunday School class, but when I told him he could drive over and pick me up, he said, "I don't think I can drive."
Since it's only 5 minutes from our house to church, I knew things were far more serious than I thought. My daughter came over and we took him down to the ER. When he got out of the car, a nurse who'd stepped outside and saw him, put him in a wheelchair and took him right inside. 
They immediately put him in a cubicle and started monitoring him were shocked that his heart was only beating 30 to 40 times a minute. It wasn't long before a doc looked him over and said he was going to be admitted. The admitting doc arrived and it wasn't long before he was moved to a room in the hospital. 
Somewhere along the line, we learned that a cardiol…

What was the Biggest Challenge You Faced Writing SHARDS OF MURDER?

I was excited to be writing the second book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series, but also pretty alarmed at the limited timeframe for turning in the manuscript to my publisher. This would be my first experience with a production speed writing schedule.
Luckily, my engineering background served me well in breaking down the task into manageable pieces. I estimated the number of words needed for the manuscript. I then divided the word count by the number of days until it was due and, voila! The result was the number of words I needed to write each day to meet the deadline.
I struggled some days, but I usually met my writing target often enough to make me feel like a true professional writer. The exercise taught me an important lesson. Basically, for me, the lesson is that in addition to creativity, the productive author needs to embrace a writing process sprinkled with a generous helping of raw discipline.
In each of the books in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series, I choose two things…


Over the years, I experienced lots of earthquakes.

When we lived in Southern California, we went through some big shakers. Ones that did lots of damage both in the town we lived in and much more in other areas. Outside of dishes sliding to the front of cabinets and having to hold on to something to keep from falling down, personally, I've never experienced any real damage.
A sound like a train coming close accompanied those earthquakes.
When the last big earthquake hit San Francisco, I was riding in a car going to a meeting. In Salinas, I thought something had gone wrong with the car. Then we noticed all the signal lights were out. We turned on the radio and heard about the devastating earthquake a bit farther North. We continued to Carmel where the hotel we were supposed to stay in had experienced damage. After hanging around for a while, we knew the meeting we'd planned to attend wasn't going to happen. We turned around and drove home.
Since we've moved to the foothi…

Our Trip to Ventura

We had a great time.

The trips there and back were uneventful. I'd hoped to see some wild flowers, but we didn't see any until we got back to Springville where they are out in full bloom.
The weather was interesting while we were there--mostly unseasonably warm except for one day when the fog rolled in and cooled everything off.
Unfortunately our accommodations weren't as great as usual--no handicapped rooms were available and our assigned room only had a king-size bed. Since there were three of us, this wasn't acceptable. Ended up, we got a rollaway and daughter Lisa put the mattress on the floor--better than feeling the springs through the mattress.
Our first evening we spent at youngest daughter Lori's house where we had a great dinner. Also got to see grandson Chris and granddaughter Alyssa. Eldest daughter Dana and her hubby were with us.
After a great breakfast at the hotel, I headed upstairs to the room where the PSWA board held their meetings--Friday, Satur…


How did you meet your boy/girlfriend? Spouse?
My mother met my dad at a roller rink. My in-laws met at work. I met my husband on a blind date. A good friend met his spouse at church. My daughter met her husband in high school. My son met his wife online.
Different times, different methods. I read that approximately one in four relationships start online. On television, we see advertising for matchmaking sites like eHarmony,, and many more. You can find sites for members of a certain religion, age, ethnicity, hobbies, etc.
Whatever the method of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right, caution is always advised. How did my mother know that the young serviceman she met was a nice guy? Who vouches for a prospective date? Is the person you met on a cruise who he says he is? Scammers are everywhere.
Most of us know better than to send money to strangers. But what if the guy (or woman) you’ve grown to really like online lives across the country and wants to meet you? But . . . S/He doesn’t have…

Mining Gold from Life Experience by Patricia Stoltey

Marilyn, thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today. It’s always a pleasure to see or work with you, whether we end up chatting at a table at a mystery writers’ conference (which happened to us too long ago to mention, although I can’t remember if it was in Omaha, Nebraska or Manhattan, Kansas) or just trading post appearances on our blogs.
You mentioned that you like to learn what inspired an author’s works. It’s a fun discussion to have with published writers because the variety of story triggers is amazing. For some it might be an oddball character encountered in a coffee shop. Perhaps a dream or a nightmare. Or perhaps a remarkable incident experienced as a child.
I have had three books published so far, have one in my publisher’s submission queue waiting evaluation, and four more stories in various stages from “probably permanent shelf status” to almost ready for final editing.
Each story and its characters came from a different place and time.

The most recently pu…

We're Here!

Thanks to daughter Lisa we had a great trip down here to Ventura. The weather is perfect. The Ventura pier is repaired after the huge waves tried to consume it during one of the past storms.
We spent Friday evening with family in Camarillo at daughter Lori's house and visited with her, son-in-law, and grandson Chris and a quick hello and goodbye with granddaughter Alyssa and met her boyfriend. Daughter Dana and son-in-law Mike were there too.

Yesterday morning after breakfast, I joined the other members of the PSWA board upstairs for our first meeting. Our President, Marilyn Olsen, went over the agenda of what tasks we needed to tackle. I don't want to get into it, as it will be announced to all the members soon. What I will say is we're upgrading things, and I'm positive all will be pleased.
We lunched outdoors and a classy restaurant on Main St. in Ventura. Hubby spent the day at Dana and Mike's trailer at a campground nearby. They wore out hubby because he didnt…

Heading Over to the Coast

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love the coast--meaning the Pacific coast. My destination is Ventura.

I'm not going for pleasure, though I know I'll have a great time. Our annual PSWA board meeting begins tomorrow--and believe me, we work.
However, I'm also going to see two of my daughters (the other one will be with me as she's driving.) One  youngest daughter lives in Camarillo which is nearby and the eldest is coming to Ventura and will be camping at the beach.
I'm also going to see friends (the other board members) who I only get to see twice a year--at the PSWA conference and this board meeting.
The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a fictional place above Ventura.
This first night, I'll be having dinner with family.
Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith

Semi-Colon or Not?

On one of my lists there's been an ongoing discussion about the use of semi-colons.

At one time I liberally sprinkled all my writing with semi-colons. Not anymore.
For one thing, I think they tend to stick-out and be far more noticeable than a comma. An if you really think a semi-colon should be there, why not just make the phrase into two sentences?
What really cured me was when I had an agent many years ago and he scolded me for using semi-colons in dialogue. What he told me was, "People don't speak with semi-colons."
When I'm writing dialogue, I hear the character's voice in my head. When he or she would pause for a breath, a comma seems to work best to convey this. Of course a period follows a complete sentence.
Frankly, unless someone sprinkles semi-colons throughout his or her writing, I seldom notice. The key really is if the writing captures my interest enough that I don't pay attention to things like the use of semi-colons.
What do you think? 

What I've Been Up to Lately by Marilyn Meredith

Yes, I've been busy--but I always am.

In the writing part of my life, I've been working on my blog tour for A Crushing Death. The schedule is set, the posts are all written and I've sent off most of them. Before I send each one, I carefully go over it, trying to eliminate all typos and other errors. From much experience, I know that I'll miss some that I won't see until the day they're printed.
I've also been working on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I'm at an exciting part, but haven't really had much time to write. I read a chapter each week to my writing group, which means I do have to be at least on chapter ahead.
Those who are my real life or Facebook friends know there are many other things that take my time:
Number one is family--and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my family and spending time with them.
Number two is my church. I teach a Sunday School class of 3rd through 5th graders, most boys. I've had anywhere from…

My Favorite Writing Conference

Over the years, I've attended many mystery and writers conferences. A couple of my favorites have disappeared.

Organizing and putting on a conference or convention is a major undertaking and depends upon willing volunteers. Sometimes, the volunteers wear out or get too old, leading to the demise of the event.
The two biggest mystery cons, Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime are going strong. I've attended many of both and they are great if you like to see many mystery writers and fans gathered together. Both are big events with lots of people. 
This year I'm only attending one conference and it's my favorite, the Public Safety Writers Association's writing conference. This one is small with only one track, and believe me everyone stays for everything.
Though the program isn't up on the website yet (will be soon), it will have a good mix of writing presentations and public safety topics, including some panels. Anyone who wants to be on a panel, just marks that on th…

On the release of my second Indie novel and what I've learned...

by Linda Hall

It’s relatively easy to get your first book out there as an Indie author. You probably already have that one novel in a drawer which has been through the rounds of agents, editors, elevator pitches, and fifteen-minute-conference-sessions-with-experts. Despite all the good advice, you still don’t have a publisher. So you decide to follow the lead of many modern authors and self-publish it. After hiring a cover designer and editor, it’s out there. And it wasn’t so hard. It’s really not rocket science. Getting that second one out there, however, and the third one, the fourth, can be more challenging.
After publishing twenty mysteries with traditional publishers in the Christian/Inspirational market I was ready for a change. I wanted to branch out and write not romance, but mainstream mystery. Everyone was down on the idea, though. My agent told me I would lose readers. Writer friends would say, “What if you lose your fan base. Do you really want to do that?”
Yes. I really want…


So, as I was trying to decide what to write for this post, I took a very unscientific and short poll of the people around me.  I asked; What’s one question you’ve always wanted to ask a writer? The results were…interesting. You see, unlike a lot of full-time writers who work from home or coffee shops, I’m lucky enough to have a co-working space near my home.  Co-working is a relatively new concept where people who are freelancers, or who spend a lot of time telecommuting, can have access to a shared workspace outside the home without the expense of trying to rent a whole office.  I know, working from home sounds fantastic, but after awhile with no one to talk to but the cat and the fridge, it can get a little lonely.  And the laundry can start to seem more important than meeting the deadline.
On top of that, there are fewer people you can consult when it comes to questions for blog posts.
The question my co-workers agreed on was this: Do you start at the beginning, the middle, or the…