Where Do Your Characters Come From?

End of Trail full cover

This question is frequently asked of authors. My answer is “They come from many places.”

My heroine in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series was inspired by three women: A female resident deputy I interviewed for a newspaper article, a female police officer and single mom who took me on a ride-along and shared a lot about her life, and a native Yokut who grew up on the reservation.

Tempe’s husband is a composite of the many pastors in my life—some are relatives.

Nick Two John’s appearance came another native Yokut. (He read Deadly Omen and called to tell me I got the Pow Wow right but didn’t mention recognizing himself.)

Over the years, I’ve held contests for people to have a character named after themselves. When I do this, the character in the book is always much different than the real person. My friends and now editor, Lorna Collins, won one of the contests, and her namesake has now appeared in three Deputy Crabtree mysteries as a ghost hunter.

Another friend and fan of the series pleaded with me to put her in a book I did, in Raging Water. Because the character has my friend’s looks and personality (as she wanted), I changed her name to Miqui Sherwood. When her friends read the book, they said I described her perfectly. She has since appeared in two more books, including the latest, End of the Trail.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087SFTC6K/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1588514254&sr=1-1

Over the years I’ve met many interesting people, sometimes I borrow their personality traits to create a character or unusual appearance or way of dressing.

And often the character appears out of my imagination, especially the villains and the victims—though bits and pieces of real people might make up a part of one.

Over the years, I’ve heard of many ways that authors have created their characters, if you are an author, where do your characters come from?

Marilyn

 

 

More Disappointment

Escape Room 2019

Not to make light of all the horrible things that are happening because of this virus that has changed all of our lives, some in big ways and for others not quite so big, but annoying or disappointing.

So many things have been cancelled including all the wonderful events of the senior year for so many high-schoolers. I have one great granddaughter who is going through this disappointment, though her family has figured out lots of ways to make the passing days fun.

For me, it’s been one writing event after another.  I truly miss my writing friends.

Today, my hubby and I, along with my 2nd daughter who drives for us, had plans to drive to Murrieta to visit our eldest daughter and her husband. We do this once a year.

While we were there, we would have spent time with two of my grandkids’ families, four great-grands including the girl who is missing the fun of the senior year. I was also supposed to go visit her brother’s freshman English class to talk about writing. I went to his 3rd grade class year’s ago.

Our plan was to visit new restaurants and some of our favorites. We always picked a movie to go see in the theater. Another highlight was for all the females in the family to go to an escape room, which we’ve done three previous years. Our choice for this year was a Wizard of Oz themed room. Hopefully, we can get together later on. (In the photo above is all of us who participated last year, 3 daughters, a grand-daughter, and two great-grands and me.)

This is all so minor for what so many are going through. I have one grandson who delivers groceries to the markets and he’s working many long hours. I have two grandsons in law-enforcement, and two granddaughters who are nurses. I’m praying for them to stay safe. Many of my relatives are not working at all because of the crisis.

It is a difficult time for everyone. And a question for you authors who are sheltering in place–are you doing more writing or less? For me, it’s spurts, some days I do a lot, others, not so much.

Marilyn

 

 

 

Self-Isolation…or Not?

Spirit Wind cover

The Governor of California has mandated that all the old folks–60 and above–isolate themselves, meaning stay home. Well, I will stay home most of the time, but I’m never isolated because my house is full of people: my husband, granddaughter, husband, their 3 little girls,  and daughter-in-law who lives next-door and is here everyday off and on. And when my son is off work–he works M-T away–he’s here off and on.

I really need to go shopping, but guess I’m not supposed to. Will see about ordering on line.

Our church has not closed its doors, and I went yesterday and will go again next Sunday. It’s a small church, we had about 25 to 30 in attendance.

My writers group is still meeting once a week and I’m going to attend.

Along with other writing conferences two I planned to attend have been cancelled.

So what will I be doing? Much of the same things I always do, and I will be writing. This virus can’t stop that activity.  Most of the promotion I’ve done lately has been on line, so I’ll still be doing that too.

We can all catch up on our reading too. Isn’t it wonderful that we can transport ourselves all over to new environments without leaving home? The book I’m reading now is set in France.

As for my writing, I’m about 3/4 of the way through my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.  This one is set near where I live, though it is fictionalized, and has some interesting and quirky characters.

So what are you doing during this most unusual time?

Marilyn

 

 

 

Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime

Those are the two biggest mystery conventions and both will be fairly close to me this year, Sacramento and San Diego.

For years, my husband and I went to every Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. We visited wonderful cities all over the U.S., places we would never have gone otherwise.  When these two conventions were held previous here, I went on my own–by train to one, and traveling in a car with a friend to another.

I loved the experience and meeting so many wonderful writers and readers. I made so many friends over the years that attending one of these cons was like going to a family reunion.

Sadly, despite the proximity of both cons, I’ve made the decision not to attend either one.

The reasons? Partly my age. It’s not as easy for me to get around these days, and the huge cons require lots of walking, Another reason is the cost, the biggest being the hotel stay and restaurant meals.  Yes, I will miss seeing old friends, meeting new ones, being on a panel, learning a lot about authors whose books I enjoy.

A mystery convention is different than a writer’s conference. I am planning to go to two of those. In March, I’ll attend Writers of Kern in Bakersfield. My daughter is going with me, it’s held in one big room and it’s only one day. In July, I’m signed up for the Public Safety Writers Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas. Again, my daughter is doing the driving duty, and the hotel is not expensive, and one huge lunch is provided each day. The conference is held in one room–and I’ll get to see many of my friends, writers and folks in law enforcement and other public safety fields. Public Safety Writers Association

For those who are able to attend the big cons, have a wonderful time. Be sure and talk to people you don’t know, they may end up being a new fan of your books. If you are a reader, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your favorite writers.

And of course, in between all this excitement, I’ll continue working on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree myster.

Spirit Wind cover

Resolutions for 2020

2020 Happy New Year

I just wanted to write 2020. I can’t believe that amazing year is almost upon us. Frankly, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, never have and not going to start now.

However, I do have some plan in place for the coming year—some are on my calendar already, others are what I’m hoping to do.

I am signed up for the PSWA conference in July, I haven’t missed one since I began as program chairman years ago—thankfully someone quite capable took my place a few years ago. If you’re interested, go to https://policewriter.com/ and check it out. It’s a great conference for mystery writers. You get to hear from and mingle with law enforcement and other public safety experts, and you can share your writing expertise by serving on a panel if you so desire. The early bird registration fee runs out at the end of December 31.

I have my regular writing meetings to attend: my weekly critique group, the Tulare Kings Writers and the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime monthly meetings. Hopefully I’ll make it over to the Central Coast Sisters in Crime meetings a couple of times.

I hope to finish and get my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery finished, edited and published, and have plans to write the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. (Ideas are churning around in my head.) And of course, I’ll have to make plans for promoting both.

I’m planning a panel with two other writers to give at our local library, it’ll be called “Ask the Author.”

Hopefully, I’ll be participating in various book and craft fairs throughout the year.

That’s what comes to mind at the moment. I’m sure some of the more organized writers who participate on this blog have far more to report about their plans for the coming year.

No matter what comes up, whatever I do, I’ll enjoy every minute of it. Writing is my passion, meeting readers and writers is something I love.

And now, I’ll wish you all a wonderful New Year.

Marilyn

 

 

 

A Bit of This and That

person picking food on tray
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving is upon us, the time to reflect on all we have to be thankful. I have so much: a wonderfully big family, a loving husband, and a long life full of memories. And a biggie for what is happening on Thursday—I do not have to cook. My grandson who lives in the mountains has invited all of us to his house for dinner. After years and years of being the main Thanksgiving feast cook, I am truly grateful!

Of course I’m thankful for my writing career—though I’ve never become famous or a best seller, I have loyal fans for both my series and have had a great time writing, The creation of two different worlds with interesting characters has keep me busy.

With my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series, I’ve created a small beach town that seems very real to me, as well as the people who inhabit it—members of the police department, their loved ones, and the members of the community, and of course the villains and the victims.

Of course there’s the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series mainly set in a mountain community much like the one I’m living in now though I’ve made some major changes. I’ve grown to love Tempe and her husband, Hutch. I’m always eager to see what’s going to happen with them next.

However, as I’m writing the latest, which will be #18, I realize that Tempe is reaching retirement age, is it time to end the series? I’m going to have to make a decision about that. Maybe it’s time to move on, perhaps write a stand-alone. I don’t know.

Something else being a writer has done for me is being able to share what I know with other writers. I’ve been able to do that at writers’ conferences and conventions, in smaller groups and one-on-one. I’ve also enjoyed being a speaker at various venues, especially when I can make people laugh.

Over all, I have so much to be thankful for.

Marilyn Meredith who also writes as F.M. Meredith

Latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series:

Bones in the Attic

Buy link for Bones in the Attic: https://tinyurl.com/yxpd8mxy 

Latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series;

Spirit Wind cover

Buy link for Spirit Wind: https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Wind-Tempe-Crabtree-Mysteries/dp/1092112081/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=Spirit+Wind+by+Marilyn+Meredith&qid=1556631664&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Free Kindle Book and Some Halloween Trivia

callingthedead-sm

 

For Halloween I’m offering a free kindle book, Calling the Dead, one of the early Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries. It is free now through Halloween.

https://www.amazon.com/Calling-Dead-Tempe-Crabtree-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07S3RFZ29/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Calling+the+dead+by+Marilyn+Meredith&qid=1570114084&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

In Calling the Dead, Deputy Tempe Crabtree is challenged by a death that looks like suicide and a suicide that looks like murder and putting her job on the line when she investigates both on her on time, and jeopardizes her marriage to her pastor husband when she uses Native American ways to call back the dead.

orange and white squash
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Now for some fun trivia about Halloween:

  1. Halloween originated in Ireland
  2. A pumpkin is a fruit.
  3. The round orange pumpkin is a native to North America
  4. The first individually wrapped candies were Tootsie Rolls.
  5. Alabama doesn’t allow Halloween celebrants to dress up like priests or nuns.
  6. In 2020, there will be a full moon on Halloween night.
  7. In 2017 the most popular Halloween candy was Kit Kats.
  8. Jack O Lanterns were first made out of turnips.
  9. To protect yourself on Halloween you should carry salt in your pocket.
  10. Male witches are called Warlocks.
  11. The word witch comes from the Old English meaning Wise Woman.
  12. Trick or treating evolved from the Celtic culture.
  13. If a person wears his or her clothes inside out and walks backward on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.

A bit more about my free Kindle book offer of Calling the Dead.

I did not use BookBub to promote—two reasons, it wouldn’t have been accepted because of not enough reviews, though what I do have are great, and I can’t afford a BookBub promotion.

What I did do is pay for some much less expensive advertising through places that promote free-e-books. And of course I’ll do my own promoting on Facebook, Twitter, and the various Facebook groups I belong to.

And you may ask, what is the motive for giving away copies of the Kindle version of the book? Hopefully, readers will like it and buy others in the series. Calling the Dead seemed like the perfect tale to offer for Halloween.

Marilyn