MY LAST POST FOR 2021

This past year has flown by. Christmas is over except for the memories. So what are your plans for the New Year?

Unlike some long-ago past New Year’s Eves, we won’t be doing anything special except for having tamales for dinner and toasting with hot cider. Our big celebration is on New Year’s Day. I always make my version of Seafood Gumbo and various members of my family turn up to eat crab legs and shrimp in a tasty broth served over rice. Afterwards we usually play a rollicking game of Estimation.

What about the rest of 2022?

First, I’m surprised I’m still here to see it.  My hope is to finish the book I’ve been working on.

I’m also having a .99 cent sale of a Kindle copy of Invisible Path, a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, from January 17 to January 21.

Like many, I’m hoping times will get back to normal—or at least a near-normal. A few days ago I had lunch with two of my writing buddies, and we decided to do it once a month. It was great to be together again. We are also contemplating setting up a book signing event.

Though I am no longer on the Public Safety Writers Association’s board of directors, they’ve asked me to attend their next meeting in February, sort of a transition. Since it’s in Vegas, I’m going since I’ll also be able to visit my sister who lives there. And I’ve already signed up for the PSWA writing conference in July.

I have an in-person event scheduled for April—we’ll see if that actually happens.

Though no one ever really knows what will happen in the future, it’s always fun to plan.

What are your hopes and plans for 2022?

And to all of you, I’m wishing for a happy and most wonderful New Year.

Marilyn

ONCE AGAIN THANKSGIVING HAS COME AND GONE

For years, I’ve been the one to do most of the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner, with others helping with some of the side-dishes.

Before the pandemic, our grandson, Nathan, invited us to his home in the foothills (about two and ½ hours away) to enjoy Thanksgiving. The cook was his father-in-law, a master chef. This year we’re invited there once again. My contribution is always a Honey Baked ham. We couldn’t go if it wasn’t for my daughter Lisa who drive us (and her hubby comes along too.)

Yummy appetizers awaited us to eat while we waited for the main course.

The day was glorious and most of the guests ate outside. (One year, tents were set up over the tables—a good thing because it poured.)

Besides eating the delicious food, we get to see a lot of relatives and others, and the one I looked forward to seeing the most was Scarlett who has just turned one. She is Nathan and Amanda’s youngest. Two other great grands were there, Nick and Crystal’s boys, Julius and Nathaniel  plus great granddaughter, Kay’Lee.  We many great conversations.

Thanksgiving always being back memories of past Thanksgivings—those my grandmother prepared, and later my mother, and then me. Believe me, at this stage in my life, I am quite happy to leave the cooking to someone else.

However, the next day I cooked a turkey breast which we ate with granddaughter Jessi’s  leftovers. (She stayed home because she wanted to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her family for the first time.).  

I have so much more to be thankful for: still having my husband of 70 years, four of my five children still living, many grandchildren, great-grands, and six great greats, with another expected early in 2022, to love and enjoy, the continuing ability to write and read, and so much more.

Here’s hoping you all had a great Thanksgiving, and best wishes for the coming Christmas season.

Marilyn

“STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS”

This has been something I’ve done all my life. When I start something, I have to finish, whether it’s a chore, a volunteer job, writing a book, or anything that comes up in life.

Yes, I’m old, so there has been a lot to finish along the way. Right now I have 20 books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series in print and available for Kindle, 16 books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series in print and on Kindle, 8 stand-alones, 2 short stories and one cookbook (which is always my best seller).

I’m working on a new as yet-unnamed Rocky Bluff P.D. and have had a lot of other things I’ve had to do, so it’s slow going.

However, my biggest accomplishment, one that isn’t finished yet, is the fact that my husband and I reached 70 years of marriage on October 24th. Believe me, it hasn’t been easy. We didn’t really know each other well, were just kids (18-21), came from two different coasts and very different families and cultures. Because hubby was a career Seabee, he was gone a lot during the time we had young children (five in all), not ideal. When he retired, life became better for all of us. Both of us worked various jobs. I went to college to get my AA Degree in Child Development.

When the kids were all grown and all on their own, but one, we moved from our near the beach home to the foothills of the Sierra and became the owners and operators of a residential care facility for six women with developmental disabilities. This was a great time for both of us, though lots of work, we loved it.

And yes, I wrote, published and promoted during this time. I also wrote articles for the local newspaper for several years. I did many other jobs related to the residential care business, teaching classes, publishing a newsletter for other providers, and putting together an organization for providers.

We also enjoyed many mystery conferences all over the country, saw interesting sites, made many wonderful writer and reader friends. We did other fun things, gave lots of parties, went on cruises, and traveled to meet with writing groups.

All that is behind us now, but they were good years.

We have a big family we love and enjoy and those who are close by give us much pleasure, and  needed support in what is called our “golden years.”

And yes, if I start a project or job of any kind, you can be sure I’ll stick to it until I’m finished.

Marilyn

WHY I KEEP WRITING

The simple answer is I can’t stop writing—and believe me there are times I’d like to stop and put my efforts into something else.

When I finished writing End of the Trail, I thought it was the last of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. After all, my heroine had decided to retire, time for me to do the same, right?

However, when I visited my daughter in Murrieta and she made a remark about her husband taking care of his trash harem, my curiosity got the best of me. When she explained, I had an idea for another Tempe mystery, The Trash Harem.

I’m not a best-selling author but I get great pleasure writing about the characters who live in my imagination and helping them solve the mysteries they are involved in.

I also enjoy talking about my books and writing with those who are interested. Plus, there’s great satisfaction when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed one of my books.

My latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Not As We Knew It, has received good reviews despite the fact that I included the virus that has invaded our world. I was warned not to do it, but couldn’t see how I could avoid it.

I’m now writing an as yet unnamed Rocky Bluff P.D. that does have the same kind of problems connected to the virus that we’re all facing—though it’s all in the background of the main mystery.

Life here in the foothills has become complicated. The big fire in the mountains that is burning some and threatening more giant Sequoias is causing our whole are to be full of smoke. We haven’t seen the sun in days.

The fire has driven the wild animals down into our community, and we and others have bear visits every night. We keep our trash in a big trailer to take to the dump once a week—and that’s a big attraction for our bear visitor. Bears have been seen all around, though usually they make their appearance at night.

We do all the things we usually do, hoping and praying the firefighters will eventually get this big fire under control. Life has been altered in so many ways, but no matter what, I am still compelled to sit in front of my computer and write.

Marilyn

Official Blurb for The Trash Harem:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree has retired from her job in Bear Creek when friends, who once lived in Bear Creek and attended Pastor Hutch’s church, ask her to visit them in Temecula. The husband, Jonathan, is a suspect in what might be a murder case. The retirement community includes many interesting characters, any of whom might have had a better motive than Jonathan. There is also a connection to Earle Stanley Gardner as well as the Pechanga Old Oak. What is a trash harem? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

To purchase The Trash Harem

My New Book and What Erle Stanley Gardner Has to Do With It

Though I thought I was done with my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, but after a visit to my daughter’s home in a gated community for seniors, another idea popped into my head and I wrote The Trash Harem.

It wasn’t easy. The fact that I couldn’t meet with my critique group due to the pandemic really hurt. Receiving their feed-back chapter by chapter has always helped so much and I’m considered them my first editor.

Erle Stanley Gardner

However, the ideas kept flowing, and because the story is set in Temecula, a place I’ve visited often, a thought popped into my head about a most famous writer, Erle Stanley Gardner. He lived and wrote most of his books while living in Temecula. I knew a lot about Gardner, not only from reading some of his Perry Mason books, but visiting the Temecula Valley Museum where the whole second floor is dedicated to the writer.

Not only is his writing desk available to be viewed, items from his office and other artifacts but also a multitude of photos of his ranch. Gardner’s ranch had twenty seven buildings including separate cabins for his full time secretaries. He loved camping in Baja California; he took his secretaries because he wrote even while on vacation, his doctor, and many others with him in a caravan of different kinds and types of camping vehicles. After his death, the ranch was sold, and resold to the Pechanga Indians.

I had the privilege of meeting three of his four secretaries who appeared at the Temecula museum for a celebration of Gardner. As they told those of us who had gathered, Gardner worked on four books at a time, he spoke them into a Dictaphone and were transcribed by his secretaries. When I met the secretaries who were in their eighties, they were all still lovely, bright women.

And yes, I did figure out a way for Erle Stanley Gardner to be an important part of The Trash Harem.

Marilyn

Official Blurb:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree has retired from her job in Bear Creek when friends, who once lived in Bear Creek and attended Pastor Hutch’s church, ask her to visit them in Temecula. The husband, Jonathan, is a suspect in what might be a murder case. The retirement community includes many interesting characters, any of whom might have had a better motive than Jonathan. There is also a connection to Earle Stanley Gardner as well as the Pechanga Old Oak. What is a trash harem? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

To purchase The Trash Harem https://www.amazon.com/Trash-Harem-Tempe-Crabtree-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B096KZDPH8/

Marilyn Meredith’s Bio:

She is the author of over 40 published books including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. She’s a member of two chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Public Safety Writers Association.

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: https://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith