The Highlights of June by Marilyn Meredith

As far as my writing life is concerned, the month of June has been most exciting.

Because I’m still promoting my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Seldom Traveled, I’ve been a guest on several blogs—which of course means promoting those blogs.

My first book signing was a success mainly because I picked a popular chocolate shop in a nearby city. (We don’t have any bookstores nearby). When I first got there, a local video reporter stopped by to interview me and later in the day a reporter from the newspaper stopped by. Besides readers, a group of my family members also stopped by.

Next up came a book signing at the Tehachapi Museum, located in the town where Seldom Traveled is set. Tehachapi is about a 2 ½ hour drive from my home. I was thrilled they invited me to come.

And I have a final signing at the end of this month set at a local coffee shop in the community where I live.

As part of my ongoing promotion, I offered the first book in the series, Deadly Omen, free on Kindle for five days. Over 1,600 copies were downloaded which I feel was quite successful. Of course now the hope is that after reading Deadly Omen other books in the series will be ordered. This seems to be happening, slowly, but it is happening.

While all this is going on, I’ve been working on the latest mystery in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, as yet unnamed.

Also, I belong to a small writers group that meets once a month. I’m not always able to attend, but this month’s meeting was absolutely delightful. We all shared what motivates us to keep on writing and where we do our writing. Everyone had such different ways of doing things.

However, my life is not all about writing. I have a big family and I enjoy spending with them. I think it’s important that writers take time off from all the business of writing and promotion to enjoy life. The great-grands that share out home and their parents, keep me busy and entertained.

To the other writers out there, what is your favorite get-away from writing?

Marilyn

SUCCESSES AND PROBLEMS by Marilyn Meredith

Lately, that’s been my writing life, good stuff and not so good.

My long-time publisher for my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series has closed its doors. I asked for and received my rights back for the series and the covers. Because the cover had been designed for the latest book and new designs done for some of the older books, I was pleased.

So what to do next? I decided the best route to take with the series was self-publishing, though I didn’t really feel up to the task. One of my friends, an expert at self-publishing, is taking on this huge job. I say huge because there are 17 books in this series.

The latest book, Spirit Wind, is now published and available in print and on Kindle.

The first batch of the printed books didn’t have the appropriate headers—so I’ve used most of them as review copies—and sold some at a big discount.

A few of the other books in the series have been done, but the old publisher’s copies are still the ones upfront and available. So far, we’ve been unsuccessful at getting them taken down or at least the latest ones the first to show up.

I’d like to do a .99 cent deal for one of the series, but that will have to wait until some of the problems are fixed.

How am I feeling about all this? I’m happy the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is now available. Though a bit frustrated about some of the other problems, I’m not going to lose sleep over them. One thing I’ve learned over the years, the author’s path is never smooth. I’ve had crooked publishers, and publishers who were friends die. This happened with the first publisher of this series.

I’m going to book fairs (I have plenty of books to sell) and giving talks to writers groups and others. The promotion goes on. And I’m working on a book in my other series.

One thing I can assure you, I’m never bored. I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

The official blurb for Spirit Wind: A call from a ghost hunter changes Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s vacation plans. Instead of going to the coast, she and her husband are headed to Tehachapi to  investigate a haunted house and are confronted by voices on the wind, a murder, and someone out to get them.

Marilyn

The Good and Bad by Marilyn Meredith

Poppies by the dumpTraveling the road of life is never smooth. It seems just when everything is going well, a huge boulder crops up to make the way difficult.

First off, my post is late because when I was writing it on Sunday, the power went out and when it came back on I had to be somewhere else.

Health wise, I’d done really well, until I took too bad tumbles—one that required a trip to the ER, and another when I decided to stay home. After a couple of weeks I still have very sore knees and following the doc’s advice to use a cane. (Would be okay except I keep misplacing it.)

My writing career has also taken a tumble in that one of my publishers seems to have problems. Lack of communication and royalty payments has made me come to the sad decision to ask for my rights back. Which means I’ll be self-publishing one of my series, hopefully.

One of my great-granddaughters (17) had back surgery—scary, but she’s already walking and climbing stairs. (She’s a super active young woman, a mountain bike racer—that’s how she got injured, works part-time while going to school, heads up a couple of clubs, planning on college.)

One of the great-greats who lives with us (4 year-old Priscilla) has a new pet—a worm named Sylvia. How can you be upset with life, when such fun stuff is happening?

Plus after years of drought here in California we’ve had lots of rain, and now the hills are covered with wild flowers—yellow, white, and most wonderful of all, poppies and lupine are sprouting all over the hillsides.

Back to writing—I’m moving ahead with the latest book in my other series and in April I’ll be presenting at a wonderful writer’s conference in San Luis Obispo about settings and characters, and sitting on a panel about research. I’m also going to have my books for sale at a big book fair in Visalia.

Being around other writers and talking to readers about books is a great way to lift my spirits.

Happy spring everyone!

Marilyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year- New Insights

Several of the Ladies of Mystery have some info about how they begin a new year or resolutions they make.


Amber in tree final

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. When I discover the need for change, I do it, no matter what time of year. I recently caught myself reading too much when I should have been writing—not exactly a vice for a writer, but still, it was taking me away from my work in progress. I now start the day writing. I limit myself to reading one book at a time, and have cut back on magazines and news articles. Not so much as to slip into ignorance, just reading in moderation. Writing before I do anything else is energizing and keeps the ideas percolating as I do other things before I resume writing at night. I’ve always written daily, but the morning writing is new.

My goal for the year is to complete the seventh Mae Martin mystery.  I’m entering such major revisions on it, the process will be quite an adventure. ~ Amber Fox

Website  | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon


Me at Caruthers Library 2I never write New Year’s Resolutions, but my plan—and you know what happens to plans—is to be more regular about my writing if possible. I’ve actually gotten rid of a couple of jobs so I should have more time, right? In any case, what I really want is to enjoy my writing. ~Marilyn Meredith

Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


2017 headshot newI don’t make resolutions, I make goals. My goal for the coming year is to put out a product (box set, book, novella, audio book) a month. I like to have something to tell my newsletter readers about.  And I  like to keep pushing out new material. My brain is so full of ideas for the series I have started and some I don’t that I have to keep pushing out the words and stories to make more room in my head.  ~Paty Jager

Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

What we are Thankful for.

Several of the Ladies of Mystery authors sent paragraphs about what they are thankful for to be put on this 5th Thursday of the month post.

~Marilyn Meredith~

Me at Caruthers Library 2

My family is at the top of the list. I have so many grands, great-grands and after Christmas, it’ll be 4 great-great grands, that I’ve quit trying to count them all.

They truly give me great joy—those I don’t get to see all the time keep in touch by email or Facebook. Three live in our home with us. They make us smile and laugh a lot.

Of course I’m thankful for having a comfortable home and living in America. And I’m thankful for the pleasure that being an author has given me.

Marilyn Meredith aka F.M. Meredith

Latest books:

A Cold Death, a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery

Tangled Webs, a Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery

Visit me at http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: https://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

~Amber Foxx~

standing twist better

I am grateful for New Mexico, for its open spaces and unique culture. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I have good friends in a community that thrives on art, eccentricity, diversity, and creativity. I’m in excellent health, for which I am more and more grateful as I get older. My network of supportive fellow writers and my readers who appreciate my unusual take on the mystery genre are reasons to give thanks. Also, I’m grateful to the authors of every book I’ve ever enjoyed, but especially Born to Run, which changed my running life dramatically for the better as well as being a true story well told. And I’m grateful to the teachers who taught me how to teach yoga and who still teach and inspire me, and to the students who honor me by taking my classes. The more I list, the longer the list wants to become. I’m grateful for my fingers as they type and for the invention of word-processing software. Grateful for this moment. For this breath. For you, the person reading this. Namaste.

Latest book: Mae Martin Mysteries Box Set Books 1-3 

Visit me at: https://amberfoxxmysteries.com

~Paty Jager~

20170514_145537

I am thankful for a husband who early in our marriage understood my need to write. Children and family who also take my writing as seriously as I do. I am also grateful to be able to live in a rural area and still be connected to my writer friends and readers through social media even though it gives me fits quite often.  I enjoy our simple life, writing, reading, being with family and friends and sharing my imagination with others.

Latest book: Dangerous Dance: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery

Visit me at: http://www.patyjager.net

Blog: http://www.patyjager. blogspot.com 

 

Holiday Recipes from the Ladies of Mystery

Since this is the 5th Monday of the month and we don’t have a person scheduled, we decided to make the 5th Monday or Thursday of a month a day when we gather and give you recipes, talk about our lives, or what is happening that you might be interested in as a group.

Today, because of the holidays approaching a few of us are giving you recipes. These are in the order in which they arrived in my inbox.

CANDIED SWEET POTATOES

Warning, I never measure.

As many sweet potatoes (the lighter yellow ones, not yams) as you think you’re family or guests will eat. Put this in pot and cover with water. Boil until easily pierced with a fork—but you don’t want them mushy. When cool enough, peel, and slice into half or quarters depending upon how large they are. Layer in a baking dish. On each layer put several pats of butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Be generous. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. If you prepare ahead of time and refrigerate, bake for 45 minutes.

My recipe is something I always fix for Thanksgiving. I like these way better than the canned yams with marshmallows so many serve. My aunt always made these for our Thanksgiving feasts all during my childhood and brought them when I became the host for the big dinner. She is no longer with us, but having them brings back memories of my aunt.

–Marilyn Meredith


From the recipe box of my character Shandra Higheagle

Shandra’s Sixty-minute Cinnamon Rolls

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 TBSP sugar

1 tsp salt

2 packages Active Dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

Brown sugar to cover the dough

Cinnamon to cover the brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

In a large bowl thoroughly mix 11/2 cups flour, sugar, sale, and undissolved yeast.

Combine milk, water, and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120-130 degrees F) ( I use the microwave and a pyrex measuring cup) butter does not need to melt. Gradually add this to the dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; place in warm (98 degree F) to rise for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out on floured board and roll into a large rectangle. Spread with melted butter, cover with brown sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon. roll up long side and cut in 1-11/2 inch slices depending on if you want fewer but larger rolls or more rolls. Place cut side down in a buttered 9″ x 13″ pan. Let rise in  in a warm, free from draft area for 15 minutes. ( I usually fill my small sink with hot water, place a cooling rack over it and set the pan on that with a towel over the top. My daughter uses the warming oven)

Bake at 425 degrees F, for 15 minutes or until done. Drizzle with a milk and powdered sugar glaze.

–Paty Jager


CARAMELIZED VIDALIA ONION DIP

2 T. butter or margarine

3 large Vidalia or other sweet onions, sliced thin

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (can use light)

1 8 oz. pkg. Swiss cheese, shredded (can use reduced fat)

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1 C. mayonnaise (can use light)

Vegetable Chips (I use Terra)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring often (30-40 minutes) or until onions are caramel colored (scrape the bits from the bottom). Combine all the cheeses and mayo in a large bowl and add and mix the cooked onions. Spoon into a baking dish and bake about 30 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly. Serve with the veggie chips.

Make ahead: You can make and assemble the dip the day before, put into the baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Bake as instructed above but for 45-50 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

–Karen Shughart

Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery and soon-to-be released Wheel of Death,  a mystery by 22 authors.

photo source: canstock

Oh My, I Forgot!

In my defense, I was thinking I was supposed to post on the last Monday, when actually it’s the 4th Monday, which is today and almost over.

I’d decided to write about “good” authors and “bad” authors, but not good and bad in the way you might think. I’m not referring to how someone writes, but rather, how someone acts.

Over the years, I’ve been around many popular or big name authors–and some who are only big name authors in the own minds.

In my experience, most of the most popular and well-known authors are friendly and nice, even to authors who aren’t as popular or well-known. Here are a few who come to mind: Mary Higgins Clark is probably at the top of my list because I’ve met her twice, once at a small mystery conference years and years ago, and the many years later at the Editors and Agents cocktail party in New York before the Edgars. She greeted me like we were old friends– and introduced me to her then new husband. She chatted with me for several minutes. A truly classy lady.

William Kent Krueger, who has won many awards for his writing, I’ve met many times over the years at various conferences and conventions. He always acts like he’s happy to see me and asks after my husband.

I can name others, but you get the idea.

Then there are those who are on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m not going to name names, but here are a few examples. There’s a quite popular author whom I ran into many times–but no matter how friendly I greet her, she acts like she has never seen me before or that perhaps I’ve turned invisible. I’ve seen her do that with others too, so know it’s not just me.

There have been a couple of times I’ve been on panels with authors who acted like I didn’t have the right to be seated by them–and certainly didn’t want to waste any time listening to what I had to say.

One more example, a writer who declared that far too many authors with small publishers attended a particular conference.

Guess what? I’ve never purchased another book by the above authors. No, of course it’s not going to hurt them any, but I know I wouldn’t enjoy reading something written by them once I knew their true feelings.

I’m not a “popular” or “well-known” author, but I if I were, I know that I’d be the kind of author that I am now–approachable and friendly.

Have any of you had experiences with the “good” and the “bad”?

Marilyn Meredith who is also know as F. M. Meredith