Friday, July 3, 2015

Celebrating the Fourth of July


The Fourth of July means different things to different people. It's also Indpendence Day.

To some it only means another holiday to sleep in, and later party with family and friends.

When I was a kid, it meant sparklers and watching dad set off fireworks in the front yard. I grew up during World War II, so there were no big fireworks displays. Now, because I live in the foothills of a very dry California, no fireworks are allowed here at all.

Of course the major reason for the celebration is to remember the lives that were sacrificed to gain our independence from England.

How you celebrate that freedom is the question I'm asking here.

Way back when we had a bunch of kids living at home, we climbed up on our patio roof to watch the fireworks show at the nearby beach. (We lived in Oxnard CA at the time.) Of course we'd already enjoyed hamburgers or hotdogs cooked on the grill.

In later years, when I had a licensed care facility for developmentally disabled women, we loaded them in the van and parked where we could see the fireworks display going on at the football stadium. No, we weren't too cheap to pay the admission, but it was far too difficult for them to climb the stairs to the seating in the bleachers. Plus, long before it was over, they wanted to return home. Of course, we always celebrated with barbecued hamburgers and watermelon. (They liked that part best of all.)

Now our celebrating will probably be limited to hosting some of the family for hamburgers and/or hotdogs and the fixings that go with them.

However, I can guarantee you we won't forget that we live in a free country. Hubby spent 20 years in the Seabees as his contribution to help keeping it free. We also won't forget all those who gave their lives over the years, to make sure we keep our freedom.

Great grandson Garrett, and the Seabee at the Seabee Museum at the Port Hueneme Seabee Base.

Happy Fourth of July no matter how you celebrate.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

May 28, 2015 – Global Publishing Group Proudly Presents:

                                  “FBI DIARY: HOME GROWN TERROR”
       (Inside the Investigation and Greatest Manhunt in the West)     
                         

May, 1998 – Three heavily-armed, survivalist, para-military men steal a commercial water truck and ambush Cortez, Colorado Police Officer Dale Claxton.  This is the complete inside story of that cold-blooded murder, decade-long investigation and search as only a few can tell it.  And until now, no one involved in the case has.

Pete Klismet was one of the original FBI Special Agents to arrive in the hours after the death of Officer Claxton, which was followed by a wild, bullet-riddled chase through Cortez, rivaling anything seen in an action movie.  Three officers were seriously wounded, seven police cars were put out of commission, and an entire community and region of the west was terrorized. 

Award-winning author Klismet captivated readers with his books FBI DIARY: PROFILES OF EVIL and FBI ANIMAL HOUSE.  

He has done it again with his latest release by Global Publishing Group.  Readers will step into the shoes of an FBI Agent as he works with many others to put together the pieces and uncover the clues the killers have left behind.  FBI DIARY:  HOME GROWN TERROR is spine-tingling suspense that heightens the senses and creates awareness of what really happened behind the scenes.  It is a meticulously-researched book, with every chapter ending in a cliff-hanger that drives the reader on to the next.

Available in print and Ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Information on the Author and his latest release can be found at:   www.GlobalPublishingGroupLLC.com.
Contact the author via eMail at crimeprof@yahoo.com to schedule an interview about this riveting book.

About the Author

                            













Pete Klismet served his country with two tours in Vietnam on submarines. Following military service, he earned a college degree, then worked for the Ventura Police Department in Southern California.  While there, he attended graduate school, earning two master’s degrees.  He was offered and accepted an appointment as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a twenty-year career with the FBI, the author was highly-decorated, served with distinction in three field offices, and received numerous awards and recognition from the FBI. Pete was selected to be one of the original ‘profilers’ for the FBI, perhaps the FBI’s most famed unit.  Before his retirement, he was named the National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Following his retirement, he accepted a position as an Associate Professor and Department Chair of a college Criminal Justice program.  Having now retired from that, Pete and his wife Nancy live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


(Pete is a friend with an exciting history as evidenced by the books he's written.)

 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Being Nice Goes a Long Way

That title seems rather simple--but recently I witnessed someone that I like attack another person that I like via the Internet. I'm not going into detail because the less said about the actual incident the better.

Unfortunately, the whole thing blew up with others in on it, and possibly more consequences to come--though I certainly hope not.

In our lifetime we run into people we don't care for, but it's best to keep our opinions to ourselves. We aren't going to like everyone who crosses our paths.

Years ago, I thought that everyone should like me, and if they didn't I could work harder and change his or her opinion. Wrong. The truth is there are folks that you are going to rub the wrong way no matter what you do to change their opinion.

My philosophy about this, is be kind no matter what. It isn't going to hurt you, and not being kind will. You ask how? Because others will see how you act and judge you. As the old saying goes, "Don't shoot yourself in the foot." And just for your own sake, you'll feel better if you are nice instead of being nasty.

I've seen too many people get their feelings hurt by someone being mean when it wasn't necessary. It certainly didn't make me like the one being mean.

To bring this around to the subject of writing, I'm asked to read a lot of books and review them. Do I like everyone? No. If the book has nothing whatsoever going for it, I won't do the review. However, there haven't been many of those. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to books. Even if the one I'm to review isn't to my liking, I can always find something that I did like about it to write in my review.

One of the reasons I do this is because someone else might love the book--and I certainly wouldn't want to be the one to discourage him or her from reading it.

No, I'm not perfect, and I know I've been guilty of not being as nice as I should at times.

A good rule is what the Bible says, "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."


Marilyn


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Writing About Older Women by Jean Henry Mead



When I wrote my first mystery novel, after five nonfiction books and a Wyoming historical novel, I agonized over my protagonist. How old should she be and what should she be like? Then a phone call from an old friend, who likes to reminisce about our single days, helped me decide. The two of us had a lot of fun together and she could always make me laugh. I reasoned that now that we were no longer young, why not write a book about two senior women who reluctantly decide to solve the murders of their friends and club members.

Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty were born on my computer screen and came to life in the Valley Retirement Village in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where I lived for more than a dozen years and met my friend Marge. I call my two amateur sleuths seniors but they’re actually baby boomers in their early sixties. Feisty and adventurous, they claim to be able to compete with younger sleuths, with the exception of roller blading and scaling tall buildings.

In their first adventure, A Village Shattered, their Sew and So (needlework and gossip) club members begin dropping dead alphabetically, and the newbie sheriff, a former dog trainer, can’t seem to solve the murders. Realizing that their own names are on the killer’s list, Dana and Sarah decide to solve the killings themselves, but not without consequences.

In book two, Diary of Murder, both women have sold their homes and purchased a motorhome to travel the West. They then learn that Dana’s mystery writer sister Georgie has died and her husband claims it was suicide. When they arrive in Wyoming, they discover Georgie’s diary, which details her husband’s infidelities and her miserable marriage. They further discover Georgie’s husband’s involvement in a vicious drug gang along with his brother, the sheriff.

Murder on the Interstate finds the two women traveling northern Arizona in their motorhome, where they discover the body of a beautiful young woman in her Mercedes convertible. Determined to discover why she was killed, they find themselves kidnapped by a homegrown terrorist group who plan to take down the government. Sheriff Grayson, who botched the serial killer murder case in A Village Shattered, has fallen in love in Dana and insists on helping to solve the murder, but winds up complicating it.

The two women move into Dana’s sister’s Wyoming mansion and are on a picture taking trip on Gray Wolf Mountain when someone shoots out a tire and causes a rollover. A quirky old man in a rusty pickup comes to their rescue and they learn that he rescues wounded wolves and nurses them back to health, because someone is shooting them. The shooter is soon targeting people as well. Dana’s journalist daughter Kerrie shows up to help in the investigation, as she has done in the three previous books, and falls in love with a Vietnam veteran who volunteers to help catch the killer.

Murder in RV Paradise takes place in northern Texas at an exclusive resort where Dana and Sarah discover the body of a woman in one of the small lakes the day they arrive. The woman, they learn, has a bad reputation and there are over a thousand suspects who might have killed her. The two amateur sleuths are suspects themselves when someone plants evidence against them. Sheriff Grayson arrives to help, despite Dana’s protests, and persuades her to marry him. And Sarah lassos herself a Texas cattlemen. But danger continues to stalk them all.

Book six was recently released. Murder at the Mansion finds Dana a widow and Sarah unhappily married in Texas. When Dana’s gardener is murdered in her yard, Sarah flies back to Wyoming to console her friend and investigate the mysterious killing. When the mansion is destroyed, the two women flee to Texas and the Alaskan outback, where they find themselves in even greater danger.



Bio: Jean Henry Mead is a former news reporter and author of 21 books, half of them novels. She writes the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series as well as the Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, Wyoming historical novels and nonfiction books. Her magazine articles have been published domestically and abroad, and she has served as a news, magazine and small press editor.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Truth is More Twisted Than Fiction by Velda Brotherton


Believe me, I can attest to that. Spending nine years working as a feature writer and city editor for a rural weekly newspaper has shown me some pretty twisted things. Stuff, if you put it in fiction, folks would snicker and say it was too twisted to happen.  All those stories and marvelous characters I met during that time are filed away. Frankly I never thought I’d use them. Writing Western Historical romances didn’t call for most of these modern day happenings here in our Ozarks.

But then one day, it occurred to me that I wanted to write something else as well. Since I like reading mysteries, the sexy, dark, and gritty kind, I navigated in that direction. Why not write about a reporter working for a rural weekly newspaper? Inspired, wasn’t I? And as for the sexy part, we needed a tall, dark and handsome hero. One with secrets and special talents. So Jesse West, my reporter and Dallas Starr, my Cherokee ex-narc who visits with those killed violently were born.

As for stories, I never covered a murder, but if my stories were to be dark and gritty we needed murder most foul. Considering suspects naturally drew me to the true story of “Caveman Jake,” not his real name. He lived in a cave above the river of the small town where our paper was located.

He came to the local store occasionally to cash his SSI check and buy food. His long black beard and tangled mop of hair hid all sorts of critters, everyone was sure, and so they steered clear of him.  As far as I could find out, he never spoke to anyone, just bought cans of potted meat, tuna and Spam, which he would often open in the store and dig his dirty fingers in to scoop up bites as he waited in line.

Caveman became a suspect in my first mystery, The Purloined Skull, #1 in A Twist of Poe series.



On the outskirts of our small town also lived The Snake Man. He spent the winter with his wife in a lovely cabin set deep in the bluffs above the highway and river. In the summer he took his entourage – reticulated pythons, cobras, rattle snakes, and a great mixture of smaller varieties of snakes – to Florida where he made his living from tourists wanting to see his offerings.

As a reporter, I decided one day I wanted to interview him. My boss was all for it, said no one else would go near the place. I figured, what could happen? I’d just sit in his cabin and talk to him, ask to take pictures of a few snakes in their cages, and leave. Yeah. When I arrived, parked and walked past a trailer advertising all varieties of reptiles, I shuddered. Inside the house, he introduced me to his wife, who was carrying a shoebox.

“Want to see some of our babies?” he asked. Without waiting for my reply, he nodded and she lifted the lid, reached in and took out a small white snake that coiled around her fingers and I swear, stared me right in the eyes. What appeared to be hundreds of others of several colors writhed about each other in the box. They were absolutely beautiful.

“This is an albino reticulated python,” he said. “It will grow up to thirty feet in length. I have some of those, as well.” He tilted his head toward the bluffs. “Want to go in the snake house?”

His expression challenged me, told me if I didn’t this, it might be the end of the interview. I took a deep breath and said something I immediately wanted to take back. “I’d love to.” My voice quivered, but this man wasn’t going to feed me to his snakes.

Surely, they’d be in cages and I could get my pictures.

Uh huh. Camera in hand, I followed him up the sloping yard to what looked like a rather large storm cellar butted into the bluff. At the door, he unlocked a padlock and opened the door. Stepped through. I had visions of many things in that moment, but wasn’t about to back down.

One step inside and I heard them breathing. I smelled a feral but not unpleasant odor, not as strong as barnyards, nor as foul as chickens cooped up, just an aroma that said wild. It was so dark inside it took a while for my eyes to adjust, when they did I stood in the center between two huge shelves hanging on the walls and enveloped with huge coils of snakes.

They were not in cages.

“Would you like to touch them? They really like to be touched.”

I prayed to every God I’d ever heard mentioned in this world, and gently lay one hand on a coil that rippled a bit under my touch. It was cool, smooth, and absolutely stunning. I swear for a moment I was transformed to the deepest jungles, surrounded by wildness.

I got my story, I held one of the huge pythons, I walked among snakes loose in the tour trailer, and I returned one day in reply to a phone call that a box of python eggs were hatching and I might want to take pictures. I did and they ran in the paper.

I expect The Snake Man and his wife will one day be characters in my Twist of Poe Series, as will their menagerie about which I have several tales, including rattlesnakes that escaped in his house while my grandson was with me.

Writing about the wonderful people I’ve met and some of the far out experiences I’ve had is like living them over again. And to this day it’s difficult for me to believe I got paid for this job.


In the second Twist of Poe, there is murder and a diamond heist and an abandoned  radioactive plant where the heroine is …. Well, you’ll need to read A Tell-Tale Stone to find out what happens. These are not your mother’s cozy mysteries.

Twitter: @veldabrotherton

A Tell-Tale Stone blurb: Follow Dal Starr, the sexy Cherokee criminal investigator who touches spirits of those involved in violence and Jessica West, a reporter who touches Dal Starr every chance she gets. These two can fight like badgers over a kill and make love like wild bunnies. They solve some pretty tough crimes, too.

Teaser from A Tell-Tale Stone: “There's a lot goes on over at that dreadful place. Folks hadn't ought to be messing about over there, but they are. Liable to make all their hair fall out. Since you wrote that blamed story, some nights there's flashlights all over the place.  A long while back pickups came and went at night. In and out, in and out. Stopped a few years ago. Now we've got ghosts wandering around."


 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Writing a Cozy Mystery by Joyce Ann Brown


What, no detailed violence or bloodshed in my mystery—in this day of Mission Impossible XIV (or whatever number they’re up to) and CSI morgues in living color? And what about including a hint of romance rather than steamy, explicit sex scenes? Would anyone read it? Shades of Gray was made into a movie, for heaven’s sake.

I started writing my first mystery at a workshop. It was love at first write. Mysteries have always been one of my favorite genres. Agatha Christie, Lilian Jackson Braun, Nancy Pickard, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Diane Mott Davidson, Carl Hiaasen, Tony Hillerman, and on and on. That there are sub-genres within the mystery genre didn’t give me pause. Until—people started telling me I needed to include sex scenes and gory details of the murders in my stories to appeal to today’s readers.
I struggled to include some gratuitous sex and violence in my otherwise strategy and clue-driven first mystery. It sounded unnecessary and even distracting. It was then I dug deeper into the varieties of mysteries. A revelation—I could write a cozy mystery, or a cozy. I looked back at my bookshelf. Sure enough, the definition of a cozy fit my most beloved mysteries.

Besides being G or PG rated, cozies often have an amateur sleuth, like Beth Stockwell, the protagonist in my Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series. Details about the sleuth’s profession or hobby become part of the story (newspaper reporter, baker, librarian, house builder, knitter, bookstore owner, etc.) Beth is a landlady with rental properties that become crime scenes. A cozy mystery takes place in an intimate village, town, or neighborhood that is visited throughout each story in a series. Readers learn to know the town as well as the characters. My stories take place in Brookside, a quaint neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri.

The converted Trolley Track Trail meanders through Brookside. The hiking/biking trail serves as a symbolic path Beth takes between her everyday home life and her dangerous investigating. Beth argues with herself internally while taking her daily walk, and she encounters different folks on the trail, both good and evil.

Pets. I can’t imagine Clive Cussler’s hero, Dirk Pitt, spending time with a cat. By no means all, but many cozy mysteries include a cat or a dog as a character. The pets provide humorous interludes, willing listeners, and avenues for foreshadowing clues or danger to come. Sylvester, the Psycho Cat in my series, makes brief, but important, appearances in each book. Although he’s typical cat at all times, he is the catalyst for discovering the mysteries and some of the clues.

The structure of a cozy is essentially the same as any mystery—three acts with plot points, climax, and wrap-up. The challenge faced by the cozy writer, in my opinion, consists of creating characters, plot, and climax that are intriguing and exciting for today’s readers without depicting grisly murders and titillating sexual encounters in detail. That’s okay by me. I love my mysteries to be mysterious and suspenseful, not clinical.


Joyce Ann Brown (http://www.joyceannbrown.com/) owns rental properties in Kansas City with her husband, but none of their tenants have so far been involved in theft, kidnapping, or murder. Her two cats, Moose and Chloe, are cuddly, not psycho. Besides being a landlady, Joyce has worked as a story teller, a library media specialist, a Realtor, and a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications.  


FURtive Investigation: Psycho Cat discovers a trunk containing a human skeleton in a duplex attic. Beth, the landlady, detects on her own when, on orders from higher-ups, the cold case investigation is curtailed by law enforcement. She must discover the identities of victim and perpetrator without becoming a casualty herself. The story moves back and forth between the present and the past as the reader learns the truth.


CAtastrophic Connections: Beth, a klutzy Kansas City landlady, with the help of a psycho cat, searches for her missing tenant, who is also her niece. Adrianna has been framed for embezzlement and murder. To vindicate her niece, she must bring the true evildoer to justice.

Joyce Ann Brown
Website: http://joyceannbrown.com
Link to CATastrophic Connections or FURtive Investigation on Amazon.com

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BACK DOOR PUBLISHING GIG by Thonie Hevron

I'm delighted to welcome my friend, Thonie Hevron, to my blog today. I met Thonie at last year's PSWA conference.

Thonie Hevron

Marilyn suggested I write about how I got published. It’s a great idea and may offer the unpublished writer some hope to be published!

I’ve been writing for years—since I could hold a pencil. About fifteen years ago, I got serious and decided to write a novel. It took several years but I completed Probable Cause which became By Force or Fear eventually. 

Getting serious included joining a professional writing association-Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA but in those days it was known as Police Writers Association). One of the perks of membership is a free manuscript evaluation by a professional editor. I sent Probably Cause in and was encouraged to submit it as an unpublished manuscript in the PSWA annual writing contest. I tied for third place in the unpublished fiction novel category. Woohoo! This made me an award winning author!

During this time, I continuously submitted query letters to agents and publishers with nothing to show for it but a growing rejection pile. In fact, until I signed my publishing contract in January 2014, I kept this up. This was the path of traditional publishing and for a long time, this was the route I thought I should follow. In early 2013, I began to feel the clock ticking and decided to independently publish. It was a cumbersome effort but in June 2013, I published By Force or Feat on Amazon. I had moderate success.

By now, I had a second book in the final stages, Intent to Hold. Following in my first novel’s track, I decided to enter Intent in the PSWA contest. Again, I won third place for unpublished fiction novel.
Yay! Okay. So, I’m getting tired of searching for agents. I’ve won two book awards on two books so there must be some merit to my writing. As I had earlier changed directions of my plan, I decided to hold off on agent queries and concentrate on contests.

In 2013, PSWA put out their 2013 Anthology-Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides, in which a short story of mine was included. I found the publisher of the edition—Oak Tree Press—and looked up their website.

Ohhhh, Oak Tree Press was sponsoring a contest! And in my genres—mysteries and cop stories. The winner would get his/her manuscript published in print and e-copy, (To date, By Force or Fear was only published in e-format) and provide editing and covers, plus public relations opportunities. Winning this prize would achieve my goal—to have a book published. So I entered and months later, found out I won—first place!

The road to getting Intent to Hold was not easy street. Editing proved to be a problem as I was so excited that I let many boo-boos slip through the galleys. Working with Billie Johnson, the publisher, was best when I did my job. It took a few printings to get all the mistakes corrected, but I’ve learned my lesson. Billie does her job and I do mine. 

The promised promotion opportunities have been consistently provided to venues I would not have found otherwise. I’m thankful to Jeana Lomprez of Oak Tree Press for her help. A huge part of what I consider my “success” is the marketing plan that OTP required up front. In doing research, I learned many places where I could market my book, plus organized my plan. OTP also published my first book, both debuting mid-July at the PSWA 2014 Conference in Las Vegas.

Fast forward to 2015: I’ve missed the PSWA contest deadline as With Malice Aforethought (my third Nick and Meredith Mystery) is not yet complete. When I do, I’ll be sending it to OTP’s Acquisitions Editor, Marilyn Olsen—the very person who recommended I submit my first story to PSWA.

At this writing, I do not have an agent, nor will I seek one.

--Thonie Hevron



Intent to Hold  Blurb:

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Reyes enlists the help of his partner, Meredith Ryan, to negotiate the ransom of a kidnapped family member. They fly to Mexico, where they are plunged into a morass of intrigue and betrayal which threaten the lives of the entire family. They battle nature, the Federales, a crime cartel, and even Nick’s wife to solve the crime.
--Thonie Hevron
Author of By Force or Fear Intent to Hold, award winners in 2012 and 2014
Website: Thonie Hevron