Monday, May 30, 2016

Heading Back to Reality

We've had a wonderful time on our vacation. We headed to Murietta where we visited with eldest daughter and her family--our grands and great-grands. So great to spend time with family members we don't get to see often.

We managed to do a bit of sightseeing in Old Town Temecula and ate lots of wonderful food. I have to admit they grow great strawberries around there too. We had a super good time and on Friday we left early and drove to Camarillo, arriving in time for lunch. The big attraction there is our youngest daughter Lori, her hubby, and two more grands.

We were treated to son-in-law's barbecued salmon--the best ever. Lots of good catching up with everyone and a super surprise from grandson that I can't tell anyone about just yet. 

Early, early we were up and on the road to Nipomo. The attraction there was the Central Coast Sisters in Crime meeting. I am friends with so many of the members (and I'm a member too) that I love to attend when I can. The big attraction this time was seeing and hearing Sheila Lowe talk about her handwriting expertise and her books. (I've known Sheila for a long time.) I got her latest book and also Victoria Heckman's. Many of us went to lunch together. Hubby and I got to catch up with Barbara and Jeff Hodges because we sat with them.
Hubby, daughter Lisa and I had dinner in the hotel dining room and it was delicious.

Next morning, after a late breakfast, Lisa and I headed to the Zaca Mesa Winery where we joined 9 other authors from the CC SinC groups. Though we all had a good time visiting with one another, it wasn't the best, mainly because the band music was too loud, it made it difficult to talk to people who walked by or stopped to look at what we had on display. 

However, a big treat was the fact that Karen and Jim Kavanaugh stopped by, and then we all had dinner together. Don't get to see Karen often enough--and it's been a long time since we last saw Jim. It was the perfect ending to the weekend.

Now it's back to work and catching up!


Friday, May 27, 2016

On the Road Again

We've spent a delightful 5 days in Murietta, California, southern end of the state, with our eldest daughter and family.

Our first day here besides catching up on all the family news, we ate dinner at Bob Has Crabs--a fun fish place and hubby and I had crab legs.Yum! When we got home we were visited by our first grandson, Patrick, and wife and one of their daughters, Olivia. 

Hubby went to the March Airplane Museum with son-in-law the next day and went to Tom's Farm. In the evening, we went to granddaughter Genie's and enjoyed celebrating great-grandson's 11th birthday and of course got to spend time with great-granddaughter Peyton. It is amazing how much the kids have grown since we last saw them.

On Wednesday, I made a trip to Urgent Care. Nicest one I've ever been in. My problem was taken care of, and then from there to the AT and T store as my phone was not acting like it should. That problem was also taken care of quickly.

That evening we headed grandson Patrick's to see his new condo and visited with his wife, Lucy, and all three kids--Emily (who is now a cosmetologist and hair-stylist), Olivia who is going to be a senior in high school and has a part time job, and Ethan who is now 6 foot tall and a basketball player, but he's only 13. We had dinner there and lots of fun visiting.

Thursday was a trip to Old Town Temecula and we're headed north to Camarillo Friday a.m. We'll be visiting our youngest daughter and another grandson--love getting to see so much family.

It will all go by too fast.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"It Ain't Over Till It's Over' or...

When You Get to the End, STOP WRITING! by Gino Bock.

Among the authors I know there is no consensus about using story outlines. Some writers use outlines, some don’t. I’m one of those that don’t. I always plan to, just like I plan to put money aside to pay my bills or plan to lose weight so I’ll fit into that suit I don’t want to send to Goodwill, but the truth is I never do it. I jump at the keyboard, excited because I thought of a great, exciting issue or problem, usually from an incident in my own memory—something  that actually happened to me. Then I just start writing. After all, with such a great party-starter of an idea, this just has to result in a great story, right?

Uh, not necessarily. To me a great story needs two things. A terrific beginning, which grabs readers and drags them into the story, hungry for what happens next. But  it needs a greater, even more terrific end, something that resolves the plot, does something unexpected and leaves the reader with some lesson learned or a new way to look at life…in other words, it changes the reader, maybe just a little or maybe a lot. That’s a GREAT ending.  The middle, where everything happens, has to be good- good enough to get the reader to the great ending and good enough to justify the terrific beginning. But the middle can be complicated and confusing (that’s why it’s referred to as the ‘muddle’) and doesn’t get the fun job of resolving all the conflicts and solving all the mysteries. 

If I were a part of a story, I wouldn’t want to be the middle. I’d have to do all the work and I’d get none of the credit. Too bad. There are no unions in Storyland. Tough noogies for the middle. I’d want to be the end. That’s where the goods get delivered. That’s what people remember. If the end of the story makes the reader stare at the last page, wailing, “NOOOOOOO!” then I can count on at least one sale for my next book.

That’s a heavy burden to put on a few pages or even a few chapters. That’s  asking a lot from a thousand words or so, many of which didn’t even plan on being in the book. The ending has a few big jobs to do. Primarily it must resolve the main plot- in a who-dun-it, we learn the who. In an on again-off again romance the couple either winds up together or apart, decisively, this time. Lassie finds Timmy and helps him climb out of the well.  The bad guys get punished, the good guys get rewarded (or vice versa, that makes a good ending, too) and all the subplots that are wandering around unattended like children at a carnival must be hunted down, corralled, fed, diapered and driven home for a nap.

The action comes to an end and all the questions are answered and everything is neatly tied up with a big bow. Does that mean it’s a great ending? Not to me. I’ve done all that stuff and more, yet still I kept writing because it didn’t feel like the book had ended. Something big was missing, like instead of finding an amusement park at the end of the road, I drove through the sign that said ‘bridge out’ and…well,  there ya go…that only really worked for “Thelma and Louise.”

Maybe an outline would have helped. But even if every line on the “Ending: To Do” checklist was marked complete, it still wouldn’t feel right. After all this blathering, what did I really want to say to the reader? Have I said it? Has this long journey been productive? What EMOTION is missing here? Does the end fulfill the promise made by the beginning? If not, I keep writing…and writing… I can’t end the book till I can figure out what’s missing.  When I find  it,  I put it squarely where the reader can find it. Then I go back and remove everything that doesn’t need to be there, no matter how much has to go. If I walk away, because everything’s been checked off so I must be done, the reader will disagree and  turn the page looking for the ‘real ending.’ If I do the job properly, the only reason I’ll write  “The End” is because I’m dying to see those words on paper. But they won’t be necessary. Both of us—the author and the reader--will know exactly when the story ends.

And when that happens, if I’m smart and paying attention, I hope I’ll STOP WRITING!

Bio: Gino B. Bardi was born in New York City in 1950, and lived on the South Shore of Long Island until he attended Cornell University in 1968, during the tumultuous era of Vietnam War protests. Armed with a degree in English/Creative Writing, he diligently sought work in his field and soon wound up doing everything but. For the next forty-four years he cranked out advertising copy, magazine articles, loan pitches and short stories while running a commercial printing company in Upstate New York. Along the way, he married his college girlfriend, became father to three lovely daughters and decided that winter was an unnecessary evil. In 2008 he sold the printing business, retired, and now writes humorous fiction in his home on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Two signs hang above his desk: "Bad decisions make good stories," and Mel Brooks' advice that "You only need to exaggerate a LITTLE BIT."

The Cow in the Doorway is his first full-length novel and won the statewide Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished New Adult novel for 2015.
Twitter:   ‘ginobardi1’   (just got it, nothing posted)
LinkedIn:  Gino Bardi
Skype:  gino.bardi
Buy link:


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries By Heather Haven

When I started the humorous mystery series revolving around the Alvarez Family, I wanted to show a family that wasn’t the traditional husband, wife, two kids, station wagon, and dog. Even when it starts out like that, life happens. At the very least, your car breaks down and your dog gets fleas. What we discover along the way is you need to hold on to what you have with a lot of love, humor, and flea powder.

Also, as a child, I heard stories of how hard life was for my Italian ancestors who immigrated to this strange but beckoning land during the early part of the twentieth century. My grandfather had two dollars to his name when he stepped off Ellis Island! Can you imagine? Not speaking the language, not knowing anything about the culture, but having the guts to seek out a better life, with only two bucks to your name? But he not only survived, he thrived. This determination was and is shared by many ethnic groups. I wanted to highlight one of the current ethnic groups making inroads into the fabric of American society, the Latinos from Mexico.

Everything I’ve said so far sounds serious, right? But humor is built on serious subjects. So enter a ½ Latina, ½ Palo Alto Blueblood, but 100 percent detective, the quirky Lee Alvarez. She’s bright, funny, loving, and driven half mad by the members of her family that own a detective agency in today’s Silicon Valley. It’s sparkly, humorous, and positive, with always the thrust on the family unit that makes her nuts, even when Lee's falling over dead bodies.

The first book of the series, Murder is a Family Business, won the coveted Single Titles Reviewers Choice Award 2011. The second, A Wedding to Die For was a finalist for the EPIC and Global Best Mystery of the Year Awards 2012. Death Runs in the Family, the third of the Alvarez series, won the Global Gold for best mystery novel, 2013. DEAD…If Only, taking place in New Orleans, Won Global Silver, 2015. I am currently working on the fifth of the series, The CEO Came DOA. The Alvarez, Family. I love ‘em.

I am proud to say Murder is a Family Business, Book 1 of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, is included in Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries. The lineup of the other nine authors is impressive. It includes Lois Winston, Jonnie Jacobs, Judy Alter, Maggie Toussaint, Camille Minichino, Susan Santangelo, Mary Kennedy, RP Dahlke, Vinnie Hansen, and yours truly. We are a murdering lot, but fun!

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy AlterReal estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends' funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn't realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan SantangeloCarol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME's On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP DahlkeWhen her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather HavenJust because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie HansenWhen the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

Buy Links

Bio: After studying drama at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, Heather Haven went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced at Playwrights Horizon and well-received. Once she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote "The Sands of Time" with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio - where she wrote comedic ad copy – helped develop her long-time love affair with comedy.

Heather lives in the foothills of San Jose with her husband of 34-years and her two cats, Yulie and Ellie. She is currently writing her ninth novel.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Heading Off for Some Fun

Hubby, daughter Lisa and I are embarking on another adventure. A mild one compared to those I read about from my friends--but an adventure nevertheless.

We'll be spending a several days with our eldest daughter and her hubby in the southern part of the state. She always keeps us busy with interesting places to visit and see. Best of all though is we'll bet to spend some time with two of our grandchilden and their families.

From their we'll head north, up the California coast to stop overnight to visit our youngest daughter and a grandson and granddaughter. The next morning we'll drive by the place where my fictional Rocky Bluff is set and on up to Nipomo to attend the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Their speaker will be Sheila Lowe who is a handwriting expert and also a friend. Lunch follows with CC SinC friends. I hope we'll get to do a bit of sight seeing afterwards. 

The next day, Sunday, May 29, from 1-3, I'll be joining some of the CC SinC members at a group signing at Zaca Mesa Winery in Los Olivos. We'll head home the next day.

Because we share out home with so many, son and wife, granddaughter and hubby, great-grandson and wife, don't have to worry about leaving our house. They'll all be there "holding down the fort."

I'll be letting you know how things go as we enjoy our adventure.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why Do I Keep on Writing?

A similar question was on one of the other blogs I appear on, except it was why do WE write.

I'm only going to speak for myself, but I must admit there are times that I wonder.

I received a quarterly report and royalties from one of my publishers--and it was just about enough for a nice dinner out for husband and me. Not much of a reward for all the time I put in writing.

On the good side, several of the books in that particular series were purchased--both paperback and e-books. That means people are interested in the series.

As for my true motivation--writing is what I do. Everyone knows I'm a writer and that's how I spend a great deal of my time. (Another batch is spent in promoting--but I wouldn't even sell as many books as I do if I didn't spend time promoting.)

Because I'm invested in my characters, I need to know what is going to happen to them next and the only way to do that is write the next book.

I love my writer friends--and I have lots of them. Ones I actually get to see in person--once a week with my writers' group, ever so often for the two Sisters in Crime groups where I actually attend meetings and events, and the writers I've met over the years and still am in touch with And I have a whole bunch of writer friends that I connect with on Facebook.

And last, but certainly not least, there are the readers who follow my series and let me know when they really like the latest book.

Simply, that's why I keep on writing.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

P. S. It won't be too long before I'll be promoting another Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And the Winners of my Contest Are...

Yes, winners, there were two people who won the contest by posting a comment on every single blog post during my tour. And there was someone who came in a close third, but it's hard enough fitting two new characters into a series. However, I did appreciate her comments.

And I know this wasn't an easy tour to follow. There were two big glitches--one person never posted at all--and another didn't post until late in the day and didn't use my book cover or my photo. When hardly anyone commented, I knew she didn't have much of a following.

The lesson there is even though someone volunteers to be a host on a blog tour, check them out and make sure they have a blog that is followed--and they have the concept of how to set up posts.

Okay, enough chatter, here are the winners:

Joseph Haggerty and Susan Tuttle.

I know both of them because of my ties to the mystery community. 

Joe is a fellow member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and though he lives on the east coast, I've met him several times at the PSWA annual conference. He's retired law enforcement and really wants to be a villain. I'll be glad to grant his wish.

Susan Tuttle is a fellow member of the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime. Though it's on the coast and I live in the foothills of the Central Valley,  I try to get to a couple of meetings a year and have given presentations to them many times.  Susan also doesn't want to be a nice person, so I'll try my best to do what I can for her.

Despite the glitches, the majority of blog hosts were wonderful! And, I had a lot of fun. 

Yes, I am writing that book now with these two not-so-nice fictional characters.

Congratulations Joe and Susan, and thanks for following along as I talked about my new book:
A Crushing Death.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Writing Rituals--Do You Have Any?

Some writers do their best work in coffee shops. I can't imagine that. I can write most anywhere, but I know I'd be far too distracted by people watching. My preference for working on a book is in my office--no, I don't shut the door and lots of people come in and out--but that I'm used to.

Some writers have certain music that they like playing in the background. My house is noisy enough without me playing music.

Some writers do their best work late at night--I work best in the mornings. My mind seems to turn to mush in the afternoon. However, if ideas are tumbling, I might do some writing anytime.

Ideas seem to pop into my mind at odd times--and often when I'm lying down to sleep. That means if I'm going to remember, I need to jot down what has occurred to me.

When I first begin in the morning, I make myself a cup of Chai latte. I'm a slow drinker so I'm usually still sipping on it for a couple of hours.

When I work at the computer, I always have a notebook next to me to jot down character's names and descriptions, what day I'm on, and things I know need to be put in later. It's kind of a back and forth thing. I've always done it this way.

Even when I'm on a trip and trying to do some writing on my iPad, I still have the notebook beside me. 

It's interesting to me how different writing rituals and habits are among those of us who write.

Tell me some of the things that you consider your rituals.

Marilyn who is now at work on her 13th Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Our Family's Last Tent Camping Trip

Our goal was to reach Campbridge MD in time for a Meredith Family Reunion. Money was saved for gas and incidentals (no credit cards back then), and lot of planning was done.

We planned our route, bought a campsite book that listed every campground between Oxnard CA and our destination. I planned the menu for every single day and purchased the non-perishables needed for each day and put them in a sack marked with the day. Yes, I was that organized.

We drove a VW van and pulled a homemade trailer with all our equipment--took our youngest 3 kids and our clothes for the trip--and yes, I planned to do laundry along the way.

Things began okay, but quickly fell apart. 

Our old bus barely made it over the first mountain. To start the bus, we (me and the kids) had to push it, didn't take much effort even with the loaded trailer.

We had planned to tent camp on the mountain before going into Denver, but it snowed. We didn't have gear to stay in a tent in the snow. We had to find a motel--big bite out of a tight budget.

It took1 hour to set up camp (old tents weren't easy to set up) and 1 hour to break down before we left. This included cooking and eating.

From there on, we did okay with campsites--we stayed in the free country and state campground for 2 or 3 nights, then a KOA or other that we had to pay for so we could do laundry.

We saw a lot of the country from the bus--but had no time to stop for real sight seeing. 

We always had to put up the tent because no matter how pretty the day was, it rained almost every night.

Because it always took longer to get places, sometimes we couldn't get to the campground we wanted and had to beg to stay in private campgrounds--fortunately the owners took pity on this rag-tag group.

We were one day late to the reunion and everyone had left. We still got to see a lot of relatives. We put the bus into the shop to see if we could get the problem of it not starting repaired. We paid for the repairs, but once back on the road, it wouldn't start again.

We came home a different way, more southern, but we were still plagued by rain everywhere---except New Mexico where everyone's tent blew down except ours. (Hubby was diligent about make our tent secure.)

When we finally arrived home, I vowed never to tent camp again. Our next trips were made in a camper.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Have I Already Written the Last Book in the Series?

Goodness, I hope not. The folks in Rocky Bluff still have a lot of life left in them--or should I say, surely someone will die and the detectives I've created need to find out "who dunit."

It's time I got with the business of writing that next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

I have some ideas--mostly given to me by others--but nothing has really jelled yet.

I know I kind of had the same feeling when I began my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, but then it all began pouring out through my fingers onto the computer screen.

I have to admit, though, this is the first time I haven't had a chapter to read to my critique group ever.

I'm still attending of course, because I can help the other members.

Promoting my blog tour takes so much time, it's hard to concentrate on creating a plot with someone who has been murdered and those who might have wanted him dead.

Until next time, you know what a quandry I'm in.

Anything you'd like to see happen with the ongoing characters in this series, do let me know.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Camping in the Olden Days (My Olden Days)

The first family camping trip I remember was to Yosemite. My Dad built a tent camper much like the ones of today where the whole things folds out with a bed on either side. He was way ahead of his time.I don't remember sleeping it it, but I know we did.

My sister was still small enough that she could be confined to a play pen. My parents best friends were along and they had a toddler too. I must've been nearly six.

Yosemite was different back then. Everyone had a campfire. People fed the deer that wandered through camp. At night we drove to the dump to watch the bears come and eat. Every night there was a fire fall. Yes, fire was thrown off a cliff like a waterfall.

As we grew older, tent camping at Bass Lake was our favorite 3 week vacation. Dad and Mom had a tent, and sis and I shared one. These were not easy tents to put up.

Dad did all the cooking. He liked to throw everything together in a frying pan--didn't always turn out so good.

We had boats--an out board and inboard. The out board we kids could use on our own. Great for taking friends to unpopulated places on the other side of the lake to go swimming.

Of course the inboard was for water skiing and traveling to the Pines for groceries and to go to the movies--shown on the side of a wall. We all loved to water ski, and that was in the days of two skis, if you wanted to ski on one, you sent one off toward shore and balanced on the remaining one.

We actually got to camp right on the lake shore--I don't think that's allowed anymore.

We always made lots of friends with the other kids camping around us--and we had friends and relatives from Los Angeles who often joined us.

It was a fun time--and those three weeks seemed really long. I have great memories from those camping trips.

Tell me about some of your early vacation trips.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

My mom was wonderful.

She worked hard all the time during our growing up years. A war was on and she grew a Victory Garden along with all of her beautiful flowers--after all she belonged to a garden club. Plus I think she really enjoyed gardening.

She tried to raise chickens, but that didn't work out at all.

She did her laundry and hung all the clothes out on the line--hat was on Monday, of course. On Tuesday's she ironed, both at the ironing board and with a mangle--she did all the sheets and towels and I don't know what else. I never learned to use ti. 

She did all her own housework--even the short time she had a housekeeper--she had to clean the house before the woman came.

She made a lot of my sister's and my clothes.

Of course she shopped and cooked and did all the other necessary things. 

She also liked to read and belonged to the Book of the Month Club. We made many trips to the library too--for her and my little sister.

Because she was busy all the time, when we weren't in school, we were more or less on our own. We just had to be home in time for dinner which was always at 5 p.m when dad got home from work.

We visited our friends. We skated down the sidewalk (we lived on a hill so it was scary and great fun). We rode our bikes. I rode wherever I felt like. Sometimes I walked.

My cousin and I at 10 years old, took the streetcar and rode all the way downtown and shopped on one side of Broadway and just one block. (That was the rule.) 

And I didn't live in some safe little small town, I lived in Los Angeles.

During the summer, we would go to the Lux Radio Theater where they put on their live radio shows and I got to see many of my favorite movie stars--and went around back to the parking lot and got many autographs.

We had great themed birthday parties--not elaborate like they have today, but we always had a birthday cake, even though sugar was rationed.

Most of the time my mother wore house dresses while doing all her work, but when we camped she donned pedal pushers.

Another day I'll write about our many camping trips.

Mom lived to be 97 and I miss having long talks with her.


Getting Old

I'm there already--old I mean. I'm so much slower--walking and getting things done.

I go to bed early because I know I'm going to wake up a little after 4 no matter how late I go to bed.

Yes, I have some aches and pains, but nothing I can't live with.

The blessing far out weigh the problems.

I'm still here to enjoy many of my favorite things:

Teaching Sunday School and going to church.

Reading and watching good movies.

Spending time with my husband who is also my best friend.

Writing and helping others with their writing--attending the same writing critique group I've belonged to for over 30 years. Having people tell me they like my books.

Seeing the beautiful sunrise from my office window.

Enjoying time with my family and loving the fact that I have so many grandkids and great-grandkid, and receiving lots of hugs.

Cooking for the family --especially when what I've cooked turns out good.

Going to my favorite restaurants and letting someone else cook.

Traveling to see the kids and grands and greats who live farther away.

Traveling to the coast and visiting with my many friends there.

Still being able to go to Las Vegas to see my sister and attend the Public Safety Writers Associations Conference and seeing all my friends and helping where I can.

And last, but not least, enjoying communication with my online friends.

Still loving life and its many blessings.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Bit of Rambling

Upon checking the schedule for this blog, I realized I have no guest from today through the 22nd, so decided I'd better get busy and write something.

Our home has been in a bit of upheaval as my granddaughter and family have moved in with us. I love it! Having two little girls around who ask me what I'm doing, give me hugs, and keep life interesting.

Hubby is having a bit more trouble adjusting. When our kid were little he was more often away on some deployment than being at home. He'll get used to it. Especially since the older girl loves talking to him.

Merging two households means there is a lot of stuff I need to get rid off, working at that slowly.

While all this is going on, I've been busy promoting my blog tour. 

It's been fun, but a lot of work. And of course the hope is that it will result in sales of my new book.

This is where I'm visiting today:


Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Have you ever heard of a Boston Marriage? In Nineteenth Century America, unmarried professional women (teachers, social workers) often shared living quarters.  Part of this was an economic necessity because, just like today, women were paid less than men. The other part of it was social.  Women developed close friendships with their peers and enjoyed each other’s company.  The author Henry James (you probably studied him in high school) wrote about one of these relationships in his classic novel The Bostonians.  Although the phrase “Boston Marriage” never appears in his novel, people started calling these relationships between professional women who lived together Boston Marriages, no matter what city they lived in. This is the part I love most about writing historical—learning all this trivia!

In MURDER IN MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, my protagonists Frank and Sarah Malloy have just opened a private detective agency.  They are hired to find out who killed a young woman who taught at a women’s college and lived with two of the female professors who had a Boston Marriage. They learn all kinds of fascinating things about life in a women’s college. They also learn some dangerous secrets, one of which got an unfortunate young woman murdered.

My fans have been thrilled that Frank and Sarah are finally married (after 18 books!), although one fan expressed concern that starting a detective agency would mean Sarah couldn’t participate in solving the crimes anymore.  Don’t worry about that!  Sarah is thoroughly involved in this investigation, along with Gino and even Maeve. And, as always, you’ll learn things you didn’t know about Old New York.

You can find Victoria at Follow her on Facebook at Victoria Thompson.Author or on Twitter @gaslightvt.


Edgar®  and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, MURDER IN MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, is a May 2016 release from Berkley Prime Crime.  She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master's program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Indiana with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Living Happily as a Writer and a Friend by Radine Trees Nehring

In times past some writers got into "the business" because they thought they'd make a lot of money. I have one friend who, early on, said she wanted to become a writer so she could quit her day job. She eventually understood there must be other reasons for writing, and has become active in a friendly, supportive critique group. Nothing published yet. She still holds that day job with no plans to quit, but, my-oh-my she enjoys writing and the friends she has made in her group. 

I may not be typical, but I began writing because I loved spilling ideas out on paper (using a typewriter). I was a mature adult with a full time job and no aspirations or ideas about how one got work published. However, when I submitted my first essay to an international newspaper, "The Christian Science Monitor," for their Home Forum page, they bought it immediately. When "Where Hummingbirds Matter" appeared in print, accompanied by a lovely art print of a hummingbird, I felt more numb than ecstatic. People all over the world were reading this! 

The Home Forum editor was friendly and supportive, and over many years I sold many essays and even one poem to her. 

Emboldened, I also began selling articles and essays to regional and national magazines, and worked as a stringer for an area newspaper. Friendships with people connected to the writing profession blossomed as friendships in general faded--I was simply too busy writing to take part in former "get together" activities with people who had no clue what my life was now like. Besides, I was a lousy bridge player.

Then, a non-fiction publisher in New York bought a collection of my essays and articles and published them in a book.  "DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow" came out in 1995, and by that time the publisher and I were good friends, though we had met face-to-face only once. Eventually she introduced me to the small press in mid-America who bought my new cozy mystery series. Friendship with editors there blossomed as they published five of my "To Die For" novels. I moved on then, making more friends, including fans who had begun to get in touch. 

I now have nine books in print, stories in several anthologies, and wonderful friends all over the map of the United States. They include writers met on line and at conferences, publishers I have worked with, people in story locations where I have done research. And, you know, my new friends--beginning with that New York publisher--have been responsible for much of the progress in my career. They share ideas, contacts, write articles about me as an author, recommend me for writing projects and for teaching and speaking opportunities, even introduce me to new publishers and, oh yes, teach me so much. I have returned favors as much as possible, supporting and helping other writers and working with those wanting to write--for reasons other than wealth, mind you! 

Isn't friendship wonderful?

For more than twenty years, Radine Trees Nehring's magazine features, essays, newspaper articles, and radio broadcasts have shared colorful stories about the people, places, events, and natural world near her Arkansas home.

In 2002, Radine's first mystery novel, A VALLEY TO DIE FOR, was published and, in 2003 became a Macavity Award Nominee.  Since that time she has continued to earn writing awards as she enthralls her original fans and attracts new ones with her signature blend of down-home Arkansas sightseeing and cozy amateur sleuthing by active retirees Henry King and Carrie McCrite King.

Website URL:
Twitter:   @RTNehring

Buy link for Portrait to Die For

(And a note from me, Radine is a personal friend of mine. We first met at Mayhem in the Midlands mystery conference, sadly no longer going on. We renewed our friendship at several conferences over the years, and I'll always cherish those great times. I'm also a fain of her series.)