Friday, April 24, 2015

And the Winner Is...

Anyone who has been following my blog, or is a friend on Facebook, belongs to any of the same groups as I do, or is a member of the same listserves, knows that I've had a contest on my blog tour for Violent Departures.

The idea was that the person who commented on the most posts during my tour-- a possibility of 22 times-- would get to have a character in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery named after the winner. Now that doesn't mean the character will be anything like the winner except for having the same name.

It wasn't long before I could see who really wanted to be the winner. Though there were several faithful followers of the tour, only one managed to hit nearly all of the blogs. One she couldn't find a place to comment, and sent the comment via email.

So, without further ado (as they say), let me annonce the winner:


Jackie is a fellow author and I've read two of her books:

We are Different Now
Footprints in the Frost

Of course I haven't even thought about what the next book will be yet, but once I get going, Jackie will be in it. Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries come out at the beginning of the new year.

This is the latest in the series.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five More Things You Can Do for an Author

Enter a Goodreads giveaway for their books! Many authors create Goodreads giveaways to help build the brand awareness and generate some reviews for their books.  Entering the giveaway does a number of things:  Gets the book on your shelves (which gives it exposure); makes the book more popular in the giveaway (which gives it exposure); perhaps scores you a free book that you can keep for yourself or give to a friend(which gives it exposure)! A triple win, all with a few simple mouse clicks!

Leave a comment on one of their blog posts!  Comments help the post show up higher in search engines and let your favorite author know that that people are reading their posts.  Blogging can feel like shouting out in a canyon.  Let your voice echo back!

Buy their books! (I wrote about this one before, but it is really important!)

This may seem obvious, and I know not everyone can buy all of the books that they read.  However, if you really like an author, purchase their books rather than borrow them.  Publishers drop series that don’t sell well, so the best way to help ensure you’ll see your favorite author’s next book is to buy it.   If you’re on a limited budget, save up for the books you really like.  Your purchase helps ensure that there will be a next book in the series!

Share their successes!  Authors rely heavily these days on social media to spread the word about their work.  Help them spread their reach!  When your favorite author has something to brag about, share it with your Facebook friends!

Invite them to come to your book group!  Whether it’s in person or via Skype, it’s always fun to chat about your work with readers.  Many authors I know (including me!) would be delighted to meet with a book club to discuss their work, writing, maybe even the meaning of life.  You’ll never know if your author is available unless you ask. Even thanking gives the author an often-needed boost!

I'll have more good ideas from Tracy Weber, as you follow along on this blog.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, April 20, 2015

Take a peek with Peek-a-Bear, a Review

I only review children's books occasionally, but this is a perfect book for toddlers. Author Jill Mangel Weisfeld has written a cute story, perfect for little ones.

Not only does it have delightful illustrations, but there is something to do on each page.

At first an adult might have to guide the child, but it won't take long before most will want to do what needs to be done on his or her own.

I passed this on to two great grands, who had a great time with it.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Final Days of Violent Departures Blog Tour

            The Inspiration for Violent Departures

            Who Do I Write For?

            What Makes the Rocky Bluff Mystery Series Unique?

April 21
            Final Interview

April 21
              Who Inspired Me?

    Blurb for Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.
F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.


Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Five Things a Reader can do for an Author

I borrowed these ideas from Tracy Weber. She came up with a list of 50, but I decided to share only a few at a time, and pick the ones I liked best. So here goes:

Add your favorite author’s books to your Goodreads bookshelves.  “Shelving” your favorite books gives them more visibility to other readers.  Goodreads even has a way to automatically add the books you purchased on Amazon!

Write a short (1 – 2 sentences are great!) honest review of your favorite author’s book(s) and post it on Amazon.  Love Amazon or hate them, they are a key player in book sales, and reviews help your favorite authors rank higher in the search engines.  Some promotional opportunities are only available to authors if they have a certain number of reviews.

Tell them you love them!  Most of the authors I know make essentially no money on their writing.  (Sad, but true!)  So why do we write?  For our readers!  Drop your favorite author a line and tell them you appreciate their work.  Facebook message, e-mail, a tweet with their hashtag.  Believe me, you will make their day!

Tell a librarian about their work!  Librarians are in the business of matching readers with work they will love, but they can’t read everything.  Tell them about your favorite author’s work and what you love about it. Point out the cover if it’s already on the shelves. The more a librarian knows about a book, the more likely they are to recommend it to patrons that might enjoy it.

Sign up for their newsletter!  Facebook is a lovely community-builder, but it only shows a very small fraction of the posts written on author pages (considerably less than 5%).  So how can an author best communicate with her most loyal fans?  Via a newsletter!  If you go to your favorite author’s web page, they may have a link to their newsletter.  Join and be sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun! Tracy's newsletter is here:

You can receive mine by emailing me, or signing up on this blog.

And of course, the primary thing you can do is purchase the author's book. My latest is:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Giddy, Wind-in-Your-Hair Thrill of Writing By Kate Hannigan

Eleven-year-old Nell Warne couldn’t have imagined what awaits her when she arrives on her long-lost aunt’s doorstep, lugging a heavy sack of sorrows.

Much to Nell’s surprise, her aunt is a detective, working for the world-famous Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency! Nell quickly makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate…and not just by helping out with household chores. As her aunt travels around the country solving mysteries, Nell must crack codes, wear disguises, and spy on nefarious criminals.

With nation-changing events simmering in the background as Abraham Lincoln heads for the White House, Aunt Kate is working on the biggest case of her life. But Nell is quietly working on a case of her own: the mystery of what really happened the night her best friend left town.

Based on the extraordinary true story of America’s first female detective, Kate Warne, The Detective’s Assistant is full of feats of daring and danger, bold action, and newfound courage.

I write for children, and my first mystery for young readers, The Detective’s Assistant, came out this month. It’s about America’s first female detective, who was hired by Allan Pinkerton to join his National Detective Agency in 1856.

When I first stumbled onto Kate Warne’s name and a sentence or so about her, I knew I had something. That it eventually would become a middle-grade novel – fictional history with mystery – wasn’t so clear.

But reading about Kate Warne’s role as a Pinkerton detective thrilled me. I dove into Pinkerton’s accounts of his cases, written later in his career as he reflected on his life’s work. And as I learned more about her – that she dressed up as a fortuneteller to snag a suspected killer, that she posed as a Southern belle, a wife of a jailed forger, and more – I became obsessed.

Just as readers are always looking for that amazing book that keeps them up all night turning pages, I think writers are perpetually in search of the fascinating story to tell. And as I dug deeper into Kate Warne’s adventures as a Pinkerton operative, I got that giddy, wind-in-the-hair rush of excitement.

I used to work in newspapers, so the fear of being scooped was hammered into me. I set a Google alert to inform me of any reference to Kate Warne on the web, worrying that if I’d found her interesting, some other writer was probably penning her story too. Sure enough, a Canadian production company was working on a TV show featuring Kate Warne and the Pinkertons I had to act fast!

I began to get up before the birds, neglect my family, ignore the dog, skip bathing or any other task that took me away from my laptop! I visited Kate Warne’s gravesite here in Chicago, strolled the Chicago History Museum for inspiration. I wrote as if a pack of wolves were at my heels. And once I finished, I urged my agent to get the manuscript out into the world quickly.

That it’s now on bookstore shelves brings me real happiness. And I have more writing projects on my plate that excite me, more ideas bouncing around my head and taking shape. But I don’t know that I will ever have the same exhilaration again that I felt in creating The Detective’s Assistant. Maybe it’s called a writer’s high. Or a manic phase. Or just sheer joy.

Whatever the name for it, I loved every minute. And I hope readers get a sense of that excitement when they turn the pages and meet the story’s characters, both fictional and real.

Do you have an inspirational historical figure who has captured your interest? Would you consider writing about her or him?

Chicago author Kate Hannigan writes fiction and non-fiction for young readers. When she’s not shuttling family members to ballet, soccer, or fencing practice, she can be found writing and researching her next books. Visit her online at

Monday, April 13, 2015

Library Visit by Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

This coming Thursday, April 16th at 6 p.m. I'll be at the Porterville Library at 41 West Thurman.

This is the official launch of my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures. 

I'm going to talk about what got me started writing police procedurals, where my ideas and characters come from, and whatever else happens to cross my mind. And yes, I'll answer any questions anyone may have.

I'll have copies of this book and others in the series on hand and also the latest two books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, for anyone who'd like to purchase one.

To celebrate the occasions, I'm bringing cupcakes. No, I didn't make them--I have a good friend who is a wonderful baker who is creating her magic for this event.

If you're in the area, do come and visit.

Marilyn (aka F. M.) Meredith