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Showing posts from May, 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 attrac…

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 Patri…

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

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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 terrificend, something that resolves the plot, does something unexpected and leaves the reader with some lesson learne…

The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries By Heather Haven

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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 …

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 memb…

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…

And the Winners of my Contest Are...

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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 coa…

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 not…

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-…

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 ong…

Camping in the Olden Days (My Olden Days)

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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 inbo…

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 w…

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.

Travel…

A Bit of Rambling

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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:
https://jtzortman.wordpress.com/…/f-m-meredith-is-my-guest…/ 
Marilyn

MURDER IN MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS By Victoria Thompson

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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…

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

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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 atypewriter). 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 mor…