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Showing posts from 2017

Reminiscing About My Writing Life in 2017

This past year I had two new books published: Unresolved  in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and A Cold Deathin the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

It became obvious that Oak Tree Press was no longer viable, due to the ongoing health problems of the publisher, and I asked for the rights back for all of my books. At that time I really wasn't sure what I would do next.
I approached Mike Orenduff of Aakanbaaken and Kent about republishing the whole Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and he agreed. Of course this meant re-editing each book. So far, the first in the series, Final Respects is now available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.

However, Oak Tree Press had republished many of my other books and I had no idea what to do about them. Friend Lorna Collins came to the rescue, and what a friend indeed. On her own, she decided to republish them for me, and even found some books I hadn't thought about in years. He husband did new covers for them too. She and I re-edited them too. Now…

IN SEARCH OF CHRISTMAS PAST by Leann Betts

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About In Search of Christmas Past:
Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.
Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.
Can Grace and Luke solve the clues in her grandmother’s scavenger hunt and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?
Excerpt: Grace Bellows jammed the single sheet of paper back into its envelope for t…

Two Great Christmas Books by Donna Schlachter

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About The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado:
Matthew returns to Christmas Inn to celebrate his fortieth anniversary alone, intending to take his own life so he can join his beloved Sarah, who passed on to glory the previous January. Not certain how—or if—he will go on without her, Matthew learns on his arrival that the old inn will close its doors on New Year’s Eve. A developer has purchased the building and intends to tear it down and put up a chain hotel. Determined to keep his memories and his connection to Sarah alive, Matthew embarks on a harebrained scheme to keep the inn open.
Edith Cochrane, a widow, comes to Christmas Inn because she has nowhere else to spend the holidays. Her children are angry with her because she refuses to choose to live with one of them. Edith and her husband enjoyed a long marriage and a long mission-field ministry, but ever since his passing the previous year, Edith has found herself at loose ends. She comes to Christmas Inn to spend some time thinki…

Reminiscing About Christmases Past

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Been thinking about those after I had a family.

Many were spent at my mom's and dad's in Los Angeles when we lived in Oxnard.
The years I was expecting my 3rd child, first son though I didn't know it at the time, I was several days overdue and my whole family came to our little house to celebrate. Don't remember a while lot about it, but was so excited that even my grandma and grandpa came. Mark arrived three days later.
When we spent Christmas at home, I cooked the big dinner, but one year I had to work a split shift at the phone company. For the first time ever  we went out to dinner--and we chose the Colonial House in Oxnard--that was the top place to eat out at the time. 
My kids always got up really early but weren't to open anything until Dad and I were up, but they made so much noise it happened soon.
(While I'm writing this I'm waiting for Jessica's little ones to wake so we can see them open their gifts. And I know that Lisa (my daughter) told …

Countdown to Christmas

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It is really getting close, hope you are all ready.

My cards have been sent and as much decorating as I'm going to do has been done. I set out my manger scenes, and one is easily accessible on the coffee table. One of my great-granddaughters, the 3 year old, likes to change the arrangement periodically. At the moment, the figures and animals are circling baby Jesus in the manger.
We always have our big dinner and open presents on Christmas Eve. This year we'll have 3 extra folks, my daughter-in-law's father, her sister and niece. Our regulars are two grown grandsons and their families, son and d-i-l, one granddaughter and her family, on middle daughter and her husband. 
The menu is planned:
Spinach Dip Honeybaked Ham (it has arrived.) Potatoes Au Gratin Apple Salad (d-i-l makes this one.) Broccoli Salad (daughter makes this one.) Dressing because grand-daughter asked for it. Hawaiian Rolls
Christmas cookies and Brownies for Desert Hot Apple Cider
Because my family has got…

The New Year and my writing life

Though none of us really know what the future holds for us, we still make plans. And I'm right there with all the rest of you.
I've paid my dues for the three Sisters in Crime chapters I belong to as well as National, and my Mystery Writers of America dues. Though I plan to attend as many meetings as I can, I know that the most I'll go to will be the San Joaquin chapter in Fresno. I hope to get to at lease one or two of the Central Coast chapters meetings or events because I love to go over there and have many friends to catch up with. I probably won't get to the Los Angeles chapter,haven't been for a long time, but I enjoy their listserve and newsletter.
I'll be presenting to the San Joaquin chapter and have a great idea for my talk.
I've been asked to speak to the Springville Community Club about my books and writing. It's been a while since I've done that.

I'm hoping for more speaking engagements in 2018. 
My plans are to attend the PSWA annu…

What I've Been Up To

No, it's not the usual holiday hustle and bustle. I've done all that I'm going to do and I'm quite content. Looking forward to Christmas Eve when family (some I don't see that often) will gather for dinner and opening gifts.

But in the meantime I've been re-editing the first four books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series as Aakenbaaken & Kent are going to republish them. It's been an interesting process--partly because these first four books were written in the early 1980s and things have changed a lot since then. And no, we've decided not to update them but the publisher is going to put in an explanation that is the way things were back then.
I've also discovered that some of my characters have truly grown and made major changes over the time of the series--which is as it should be, but as the author, I never know if it's been done as well as I hoped. (Up until now, I haven't reread any of these books.)
The covers will look much as they did …

Singing the Praises of My Critique Group

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I've belonged to the same critique group since 1982. Oh, the members have changed over the years, but the value continues on.

Even though I'd been writing long before I joined this group, and had even been published, I truly learned how to write from the critiques and suggestions I received. And now, my writing is refined by my fellow critique members.
At this time, the active members consist of the following people:
Shirley Hickman, who started the group many, many years ago. She opens her home to us every Wednesday evening where we read our chapters, hear what the others have to say, and enjoy one another's company. She mulit-published poetry, articles, contemporary fiction, romance, and three wonderful memoirs about her growing up years. She was an honors English teacher too, so we can be sure any grammar mistakes will be pointed out. (She's a great editor.)
Brent Gill writes great articles about living on a ranch, sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, but …

Getting Behind--and it has nothing to do with Christmas

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The house is decorated as much as it's going to be--Christmas cards have gone out. The presents I'm giving are on the way. So what's the problem, you ask?

It seems that there is far too much to do in too short a period of time. And I confess, I'm much slower than I used to be.
My mind works best in the a.m., so that's when I try to get things done. But, like today, things come up like doc appointments and errands to run. 
What I need to do is finish a program plan for an in-house day program--almost done, probably two or three more hours.
I'd also like to finish the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery I'm working on and start doing some research for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
I have done no Christmas promotions, I never even had a launch for a Cold Death here in Springville. I've decided to do something here in January--but I need to plan that.
I should be promoting my latest short story that's on Amazon, so I'll do that here and now.



This is …

How Things Have Changed in RBPD by Marilyn Meredith

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Slowly but surely, I'm moving my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series to Aakenbaaken & Kent Publishers.

I have my latest mystery in the series with them now, Unresolved.

The publisher and I decided we'd start with the first one in the series--Final Respects. I received the text block to check it for typos, etc.
First thing I noticed was the overabundance of exclamation points! I took them all out.
Then came a lot of things that have changed over the years.
All my police officers had mustaches of one sort or another. You seldom see a mustache on a law enforcement officer these days. But back when I was writing the book, all the officers i knew and saw had a mustache. And with their dark glasses on, they tended to all look alike.
My detectives smoked--and they smoked in their office in the police department. Something that would not happen today.
No, I didn't change any of that--because it would make problems in the plots of later books.
Despite all that and other things I no…

The Suburbs Have Secrets--Thanks Mom!

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When I was a pre-teen and still dreaming about becoming a published author, my mother used to suggest I write a story like Peyton Place. For those of you too young to know what I’m talking about, Peyton Place was a blockbuster book about small town scandals and secrets that later became a TV series. It was the 1960s version of Desperate Housewives and Pretty Little Liars. My mother loved the idea of a novel about a fictionalized version of our street where everyone had some kind of dirty little secret.
Flash forward a couple years, and Murder She Wrote became a Sunday night staple in our home. Once again, my mom – who we discovered was a savant when it came to solving crimes before Jessica Fletcher – suggested that I write a small town  mystery story where everyone had secrets.
Interestingly, she never thought of writing the story herself. She only thought I should write one. Apparently, I was to be the conduit for her imagination. But, that’s an issue for another day (and maybe a l…

Ideas for a New Book Keep Flooding in

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And I need to be finishing the one I'm working on.

I'm guessing this is what happens with many writers--none of us have enough time in the day to do what we need to do, much less what we'd like to do.
The older I get the less time there seems to be in a day. When I was a kid, there was so much more times and it seemed like the days moved far more slowly.
I've always been an early riser, even when I worked late night shifts at the telephone company. The big change is now I go to bed far earlier than I ever did, sometimes as early as when I was in grammar school. Not all that long ago, I always needed an evening. No matter how late I worked, I had to have at least an hour of an "evening", when I did what I wanted.
When I had little kids, my "evening" was after the little ones went to bed.
Now my evening starts right after dinner. That's when I settle down with hubby and watch some TV. I may read at the same time, but it's still my "evenin…

20 Things about my Sleuth – Delanie Fitzgerald of Falcon Investigations

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1.

Thank you so much for letting me visit your blog today. I write mystery novels and short stories. The Tulip Shirt Murders is the second in the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series. She is a private investigator who lives in Central Virginia. And I’m often asked about what my protagonist is really like. Here’s my list of twenty Delanie facts.
1.Delanie is a redhead like 1-2% of the human population. She has grit, determination, and a spunky spirit. 2.She drives a Mustang, and she calls it “Black Beauty.” 3.She used her share of the money from her father’s estate to open Falcon Investigations. 4.Delanie chose the name for her company in honor of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. 5.My private investigator graduated from VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) with a degree in business. 6.Though she prefers the comfort of jeans and T-shirts, Delanie has a wardrobe full of outfits and shoes to create just the right look when she’s sleuthing. 7.Her partner is computer guru (and hacker), Duncan …