Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And the Promo for River Spirits is About to Begin by Marilyn Meredith

Yes, it's that time again. I have a new book out in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series: River Spirits.

You might think I have a "thing" for titles with the word Spirit or Spirits in them. After all, the last book was called, Spirit Shapes.

I can assure you, it wasn't planned. I didn't even have a title for this latest book until near the end. In fact, I didn't know there would be spirits of any kind in the book until I was writing the final chapters.
Yes, I'm one of those who doesn't plan ahead anymore than knowing a brief structure of what I want to happen in the mystery.

I think the author did a great job of capturing the river spirits. In fact, I like all the covers she's done for this series.

I'll be embarking on a blog tour for River Spirits starting on November 1. Of course there is a contest to go along with it. 

In my next blog post I'll include the first week tour schedule and the rules for the contest. Stay tuned.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Missing Bouchercon This Year by Marilyn Meredith

Despite the fact that Bouchercon is in California again this year, Long Beach to be exact, I've chosen not to go.

It makes me sad because I'll miss seeing all the authors who attend, many of them are friends that I only get to see at events like this. Many mystery readers also go to Bouchercon and I'm friends with many and won't be seeing them either.

At first I did plan to go, even had a roommate all scheduled. But unfortunately she only made reservation for Friday and Saturday night at the hotel. Frankly, it's best to arrive on Wednesday because other events are always planned. Also, if you are a small press author, the probability is that if you are put on a panel it will be on Thursday or Sunday.

Also, the only way I'd go would be to fly (I never drive in L.A. anymore, far too scary for this old lady). I'd have to fly from Bakersfield into LAX then take a taxi or other mode of transportation to the Long Beach hotel. For two nights, it just wasn't worth the hassle. So I canceled my reservation for the event and the room share.

I am weighing all events carefully these days and how my ancient body will handle them. 

I no longer want to heft heavy luggage around on and off an airplane. Nor do I want to run from one place to another to change planes. I've had too many bad experiences. 

When it comes to other events, the tent, table and chairs better be provided. Just hauling my books and setting up is all I'm willing to do these days.

Bouchercon is a wonderful event--and I have fond memories of many of them in cities all over the United States, places I would never have visited otherwise. One of my favorites was Alaska where I got to visit with a friend I'd met a few years earlier when attending a Left Coast Crime. 

Maybe I'll do another one day, but perhaps not. 

To all of you who will be gathering in Long Beach, have a wonderful time. Talk to everyone--buy a lot of books.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

HEALER by John Wills

Hi Marilyn. Thank you for allowing me to visit with you and your readers.

I have exciting news!—my latest novel, HEALER, is now available on Amazon, or at my publisher’s website: Oak Tree Press. HEALER is the heartwarming story about 16-year-old Billy Anderson. Billy has experienced more than his share of tragedy in his young life. Made fun of in school because of a birth defect, he first endures the loss of his mother, and then his father dies in the war.
One day, as Billy attends Mass, his life takes a dramatic turn. An elderly woman dies in his arms. But before she takes her last breath she tells him, “Receive the gift of healing.” Those words instantly change his life. However, Billy has no idea whether his supernatural ability will be a blessing or a curse.

Also part of Billy’s journey is Police Officer Sheila Chambers, who comes into Billy’s life after answering a call about a teen out past curfew. Sheila instantly senses Billy is troubled, and without giving away the story line, she ensures Billy gets the help he needs. The officer has been involved with foster parenting and her compassion for the orphaned teen is a major part of HEALER.

Billy’s story will both surprise and comfort readers. He’s a remarkable young man whose parents imbued in him old fashioned values, morals, and ethics. His honesty and compassion will refresh and inspire. HEALER is a story the entire family will enjoy—from young adults to senior citizens. It’s a journey of faith and courage that will both leave you in tears and soothe your soul.

I was inspired to write this story after reading stories in the Bible about the Apostles and other saints who had the ability to heal those who were sick or lame. I wondered how such a gift might be looked upon in the present day. But as with much of my writing, I didn't shy away from the reality of human nature. I include hardships like crime, addiction, homelessness, etc. Real life is gritty. To ignore that fact would certainly detract from my stories.

My previous novel, The Year Without Christmas, is an award-winner that chronicles how homeless people survive on the street. It’s a gut-wrenching story about a small town family whose peace is shattered by a tragic accident. The husband, a police officer, disappears as his grandson faces a life-threatening disease. It’s a tale about loss, faith, and the power of love.

About me: I served 2 years in the Army, and then 12 years as a Chicago cop. I left the police department to join the FBI and retired after 21 years. I’ve written 10 books and published more than 150 articles on police training. I also write short stories and poetry. I live in Fredericksburg, Virginia with my wife Christine. We’ve been married 44 years and have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

My website:
Amazon Healer link: HEALER

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Publishing in the E-Age Panel

Once again I'm fortunate to be joining a panel of members of the Central Coast chapter of Sister in Crime for a panel on the E-age.

Frankly, the Internet has opened up a whole  new way of doing things for me--and for the people on the panel. 

We'll be meeting in the Atascadero Library on Saturday, October 25th, 1-4.

I hope some of you in the area will come and see us.

Our illustrious panel consists of:

Susan Tuttle

Professional editor and award-winning author of the "Write It Right" 5-star review e-Book series now available on Kindle, "Tangled Webs," a novel of suspense available on and Kindle (print and ebook). Just released! "Proof of Identity" as both print and ebook on Check out my blog at: <>

Barbara M. Hodges

Barbara M. Hodges is the author or co-author of nine published works of fiction.  She was introduced to e-books fifteen years ago when Hard Shell Word Factory published her first book, The Blue Flame, in electronic format as well as print. Barbara bought her first reader not too soon after, and has been a huge fan of the format every since.

Three years ago Barbara became interested in Indie publishing and has published her last five fiction books herself in print format as well as electronic format.

She has two traditional publishers for four of her books as well as her indi published books and is proud to say that when side by side you cannot tell the difference between any of the nine.

Barbara’s books can be found at all online book sellers as well as many brick and mortar stores.


Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Spirit Shapes from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Murder in the Worst Degree from Oak Tree Press. She was e-published long before there was such a thing as an e-reader. 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. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit  her at and her blog at

Paul Alan Fahey

PAUL ALAN FAHEY writes for JMS Books. He is the author of the Lovers and Liars gay wartime romantic suspense series, and the editor of the 2013 Rainbow Award-winning anthology, The Other Man: 21 Writers Speak Candidly About Sex, Love, Infidelity, &Moving On. His first LGBT novella, The View From 16 Podwale Street, published by JMS Books, won a 2012 Rainbow Award. Over the years, Paul’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals such as Byline, Palo Alto Review, Long Story Short, African American Review, The MacGuffin, Thema, Gertrude, Kaleidoscope, and in a variety of fiction and nonfiction anthologies from Carry the Light, Cup of Comfort, My Mom’s My Hero, to Writing on Walls, and Somewhere in Crime. He lives on the California Central Coast with his husband, Robert Franks, and a gaggle of shelties.

You'll find out about publishing electronically and the promotion that goes along with it.

We'll all have copies of our books for you to peruse and purchase if you're so inclined, and of course where to find them if you'd rather read on your electronic device.

Marilyn aka F.M. Meredith

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Novel Circle's Fascinating Turn by Syd Blue

My second novel Circle has taken an interesting turn. It is finding a home in education because of the sea change in that system this year.

The idea to create curriculum from the novel came from a teacher who found her students didn’t want to stop reading the book in class. In the backdrop of chase drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets, the gripping adventure captivated even the most reticent student. She found that all types loved Circle. Tracy Tokunaga developed the course because it was a combo of literacy and science, which fit in well with the new educational edicts.

Schools have only one year left to change over to new curriculum that incorporates Common Core into every subject. And STEM is also a big push. STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Since our country has discovered a deficit in professionals in these fields and these fields offer better paying jobs, everyone is interested in encouraging students to dig into STEM.
Circle introduces genetic engineering, conservation, consumption, climate, astronomy and petroleum during the fast ride. Circle is about a 14-year-old boy who discovers an extraterrestrial girl, Mandy, hiding out in his house ever since the jet she stowed away on crashed in the desert behind his home. When the pilot is captured by the Air Force, Mandy is left lost and alone. She asks Spencer to risk everything to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get back home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive. As they’re on the run from the military, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what it is that Mandy and the pilot have really come to Earth for.
We will launch the curriculum nationally this month. You can see what the students are saying about the book here. In a time when students are proud to say they hate reading (I’ve heard that over and over when I give talks at schools) it makes us very happy to have a book that easily engages them and serves so many purposes. I believe there is nothing more important for the educational system to do than inspire kids to read. As I tell the kids: if you can read, you can learn to do anything! The wisdom of humanity is all contained in books, which are available to everyone! How awesome is that?
But I do know what an uphill battle it is to get kids to read when they have so many choices that may be more alluring. That’s why I thought making a trailer for the book would grab their attention. It’s fun to play in the visual medium and since I had experience as a producer, this was something I could do. The trailer accomplished its purpose of making young viewers curious about what happens in Circle. With almost 18,000 viewers, the trailer is reaching a large scope. Now comes the task of trying to convince the curious to pick up a book.

I know older generations grew up in a different world, where books provided much more interesting fare than the three TV channels on VHF. But times have changed and kids can play games during class on their cell phones. They have billions of choices of entertainment on their laptops and they can hardly even find a quite spot that isn’t full of attention-grabbing media blaring interesting offerings every second. Though the publishing industry has been slow to adapt a marketing strategy that includes live-action trailers, I think it’s essential. Why wouldn’t we utilize this avenue? I think book trailers that are strings of words with static pictures are arcane. Cheap, yes, but hardly in line with what is possible and competitive with every other entertainment industry on earth.

The next thing I hope to figure out is how to tell adults about Circle since young and old enjoy it. It has crossover appeal and a sweet coming-of-age love story. As one male reader wrote: “Reading Circle brought me back to my childhood! It was wonderful. I didn't want to put it down. Normally I'm very analytical and rational, but Syd brought me back to a world of possibility, idealism, and excitement!”
Can you imagine if your first kiss was with an ET? Mandy’s heart is wide open and it’s fun to see how she interacts with our world. To me, she makes it all worth it – this journey of launching a book in a crowded world of endless entertainment. I just keep thinking I want to be Mandy – to walk up to strangers and give them her standard greeting. I hope my eyes can find a bit of the innocent wonder she sees in Earth.
Student Art Based on Circle.
Circle Booth at STEM Convention

Brief bio and links:

As Chief Pilot running an aviation business specializing in aerial surveillance, Syd Blue lives a life in the skies from California to Texas. On the ground, Syd has also written, edited and produced for everything from TV stations to production companies, from book publishers to national magazines. Along with two books, Syd has had over 40 articles published, and supervised writing staffs around the world at magazines and a news service. She also produced an award-winning documentary, TV shows, commercials and short films. With two cats and one husband, she manages two corporations from her cabin in the woods.

The Circle trailer:
FlyGirl e-book on sale:
Circle e-book on sale:
 PJ Nunn 972.825.1171
BreakThrough Promotions

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finding that Elusive Fossil by JJ White

“Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

If you’ve already read, On Writing, then Stephen King has already set you straight that there’s no story fairy to conjure magic ideas and plots for nascent, or even best-selling authors. You’re pretty much on your own to find that once in a lifetime tale that brings success, fame, and untold wealth. After you’ve achieved that goal then you can write about anything and somebody will buy it just because you wrote it. King also said, “A story is a fossil you find on the ground, and you dig it out slowly, gradually uncovering its full potential.” which contradicts his earlier quote, somewhat. Still, I’m a firm believer in King’s philosophy and have searched and found those elusive fossils to use in my novels. These metaphorical fossils can be just one idea or several that morph together into a cohesive yarn someone will be interested in reading and even possibly moved by. These rare fossils inspire you to write something that will keep you and your reader interested for three hundred pages and hopefully more.
 In my novel, Prodigious Savant, I found two fossils to inspire me to labor tirelessly for eight months until I had an honest-to-God book, tangible and complete.  The first fossil was an antique and the other, brand new. When I was a young boy growing up in Vermont, I played centerfield for the South Burlington Braves in the local Little League. During an extra inning game, one Saturday, my team had used up all three of our pitchers. Our manager decided to use me as a relief pitcher since I was the only player who could throw a ball from the outfield to the infield.  As I threw my first pitch toward home plate, a huge explosion rocked the field, knocking all of the players and some of the parents to the ground. Two teenage boys had been shooting their .22s at a construction shed filled with dynamite over at the I89 construction site, a half-mile from the ballpark. Besides blowing out all the field lights, the resulting explosion killed one of the boys and blinded the other. I still have vivid memories of that blind teenager riding on the back of a bicycle-built-for-two with either his mother or father steering in the front. I always thought I would write his story, someday.
My other fossil came from a television piece about, Jason Padgett, an acquired savant. Jason had been partying at a local karaoke bar, when at the end of his night he was mugged outside the club by an assailant who hit him a vicious blow to the left side of the head. Much later, Jason woke from a coma in possession of new-found genius abilities in mathematics and memory. Apparently the damage to the left-anterior temporal lobe made the right hemisphere overdevelop, giving him these amazing abilities, and all without the usual mental disabilities that plague prodigious savants.
My job was to take these two fossils and meld them into a coherent and hopefully interesting story about Gavin Weaver, a seventeen-year-old every kid, who in 1962 Vermont, survives that explosion, waking with not just one genius ability but several, including mathematics, memory, music, and the arts. Gavin struggles with the celebrity his savant talents bring him, while fighting the demons that drag him toward madness. A little dramatic, I agree, but my point is any experience can be turned into a gripping novel if you know where to look. 

J.J. White

According to Dr. Darold A. Treffert of the University of Wisconsin, there are fewer than one hundred reported cases of prodigious savants in the world. Those few who possess the savant syndrome all have an island of brilliance that allows them to excel in some remarkable talent. Unfortunately, they all share various developmental disabilities.
Burlington, Vermont, 1962. Seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake possessing not just one savant talent, but several, including art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma.
The odds are slim Gavin will survive both the internal and external conflicts that keep him from the one thing he wants most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.
First place, Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award.
Second Place, Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest.

Bio: J. J. White

A native of Vermont, J. J. was dragged kicking and screaming to Central Florida by his parents when his father relocated to work at the Kennedy Space Center. J. J. was a precocious and adorable little boy who overflowed with the creative juices that would prepare him for success as a noted author. Unfortunately that was stifled at a young age by an overwhelming desire to take things apart to see how they work. Thus, the left side of the brain won the battle over the right and he became an engineer. He graduated from The University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Engineering and has worked primarily in the electric and electronic engineering field for most of his career. While this was going on he married the lovely Pamela and they raised two daughters who grew into wonderful young ladies.

A while back, as luck would have it, he ruptured the L5 disk in his back playing tennis as if he were eighteen–years–old, again. With nothing to do but lie on his stomach for days on end, the right side of his brain saw an opening, and pounced on the left brain and thus the creative juices once again surfaced.

Since that time he has penned seven novels and over two hundred short stories. He has had articles and stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Nine Hole League, was recently published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Volume 13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece Tour Bus, published in The Grey Sparrow Journal. His novel, Prodigious Savant is scheduled for publication by Black Opal Books in October, 2014, to be followed by Deviant Acts in 2015. He enjoys writing, surfing, golf and tennis and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor, and typist, Pamela. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Great Valley Bookfest


Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, CA!

Saturday, Oct 18th 2014 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Free admission!

The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley aka Bass Pro Center
Hwy 120 @ Union Road exit 280 ~ Lifestyle Rd., Manteca

Yes, I'll be there and you can find me and my books in the Author's Alley.

And at 2 p.m. I'll be speaking on Stage A about writing two mystery series.

If you are in the area, do stop by and say hello!