NOT THE THANKSGIVING I HOPED FOR

We’d been invited to have Thanksgiving with one of our grandsons and family and I really looked forward to it. We’ve gone there in the past. He lives in another foothill community, up a winding road to a hill top retreat. His father-in-law, a master chef, prepares the feast—always gourmet.

Besides the wonderful food, many other relatives and friends join the festivities.

However, this year for us it wasn’t too be. I came down with a vicious bug. No way could I go anywhere.

All was not lost, however. We share our home with our granddaughter and family and she looked forward to doing her own Thanksgiving. She and her hubby made the food with the help of her two oldest daughters.

Though I didn’t have much of an appetite, what I did eat was delicious, and hubby didn’t miss out on a Thanksgiving meal.

What does this have to do with writing? Not much, only that I haven’t felt like doing any. I’ve kept in touch with family members via Facebook. I learned my brother-in-law was too sick to go to their big family feast. One of my author friends has the same symptoms as I do, and she had chicken soup for her Thanksgiving meal.

I’ve had many great Thanksgivings in the past, many I prepared myself. These days, I’m happy that the younger generation is taking over those duties.

Despite not feeling well, I’m thankful for so much in my life, having my husband of 71 years, my big family, and my friends including all my author friends, the joy of creating a fictional world and sharing it with others, and still being able to enjoy life.

My hope is that all of you who read this post, had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to what’s coming next.

Marilyn

WHY KEEP WRITING?

Reasons for me not to write any more:

  1. Reached retirement age long ago.
  2. I’ve never been a best-seller.
  3. If I didn’t write I’d have more time to enjoy life, family and friends.

Despite the three reasons I listed, I still have  a need to write the last Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. She’s retired now and I want to send her off into a happy future and tie up a few loose ends for her and her husband. I’ve been hanging out with them both for so long, it is hard to say, “goodbye.”

I did manage to end my Rocky Bluff P.D. series (written under the name of F. M. Meredith) with Reversal of Fortune.

In case you might wonder if I have plans for another series, the answer is probably not.

I do want to write another mystery, a young adult set in Los Angeles during World War II. Why, you might ask. Because that’s where and when I grew up. It was a different time in so many ways and I have some great memories of what went on: Air raid drills at home and at school, Block warden meetings where the kids had a great time playing in the dark while the grown up learned to roll bandages and other tasks, victory gardens, food and gas rationing, being free to go wherever I wanted all day as long as I was home in time for dinner, and telling my friends wild stories like what I said was the truth.

Not sure if it will interest anyone, but I plan to write it anyway.

Marilyn

BACK IN THE GROOVE—SORT OF

Attending the PSWA Annual Conference was wonderful. So rewarding to see old friends and make some new ones—plus talk writing and hear speakers and panels on various writing topics.

I need to write another—and the last—Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Tempe is retired now and I’m ready to let her enjoy her retirement. Though I’ve had a request to put one of the ongoing characters in, one who is based on a real person and would like to see something specific happen with the character, that’s all I had. (I thought End of the Trail would be the last and then The Trash Harem had to be written. Now I need to send Tempe off with one last adventure.

In my newsletter, I asked my readers for ideas and did the same on Facebook. More ideas, but nothing that appealed.

While I was at the conference I some thoughts about what might be good in this final visit with Tempe started to pop into my brain. I even thought of a good beginning. No, I haven’t written anything down yet as I’ve had too many other things to do. When you come home from being gone six days duties pile-up: unpacking, laundry, and all the mail.

Frankly, I’ll be glad to actually be in the writing groove again, it’s been far too long. In the past, I’ve managed to write and publish two books a year. Nothing so far this year.

I’ll start like always, jotting notes down. Eventually getting to who turns up dead—where, and all those who might have wanted the victim dead. Naming and writing all the new character descriptions often comes next. Usually while I’m doing it, plot ideas will come tumbling unbidden but quite welcome.

Because I have other work I do for folks, sometimes it takes a while to get started on a new book. I am hoping for the best. I really, really want to get back to writing.

Marilyn

COMING UP DRY

It’s time for me to write a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, or at least I think it is. I thought I’d finished the series when I wrote End of the Trail, but then I got the bright idea for The Trash Harem. I was pleased to see a photo of a Facebook friend reading it while on the beach in Hawaii. The caption said she always took my latest Tempe book with her on vacation.  Well, if I don’t write one, she won’t have one next year.

I enjoy being with Tempe, but I haven’t any ideas for a great story for her. I was desperate enough to explain this dilemma on my Facebook page. Many of my friends gave me ideas—some pretty good—but nothing that really made me want to get busy jotting down notes.

In mid-July I’m headed to the Public Safety Writers Association’s annual conference. I’m hoping listening to the speakers and the panelists will give me some ideas. Most of the participants are great story tellers.

Truly, I’ve never had this problem before. And no, it’s not writers’ block because I’ve been doing plenty of writing, just not the fiction kind. Maybe all that extra brain and computer time has taken away my incentive for spinning a tale around my now retired deputy, Tempe Crabtree. I hope that’s all it is, and when my life calms down a bit, my imagination will be ready to give Tempe a grand adventure.

Anyone else have their imagination go dry? If so, what did you do to pump the well?

Marilyn

Back to Normal for Mystery Writers—Mostly.

The big mystery cons are ready and waiting for writers and fans to enjoy mingling, meeting authors and readers, and enjoying being together.

I have wonderful memories of the Bouchercons and Left Coast Crimes I attended over the years. Sometimes going to one of these events was like attending a family reunion. Often I was greeted with a big hug by someone I’d met the year before, and we’d have a wonderful time chatting.

There were also several smaller mystery conferences I attended that are no longer happening. My favorite was Mayhem in the Midlands, which happened in Omaha. I met so many wonderful people there, fans and authors. It’s where I first met Wm. Kent Krueger and his wife. And it’s where my husband and Kent vied for the best actor at the mystery dinner and play. Sometimes Kent won, and other times it was my hubby.

Once Kent’s wife and my husband were on a panel with Jan Burke’s husband and another spouse I don’t recall right now. The moderator asked great questions, and it was a hilarious panel.

My husband and I had a wonderful time hanging out with the most interesting people, and also traveling to many places in the U.S. we’d have never visited if it had been for these mystery events.

Now, hubby and I no longer fly, and I am only planning on attending one writing conference, the one put on by the Public Safety Writers Association in Las Vegas. (My daughter will drive me there.) This conference is small, attended by many still active and retired persons in all different types of law enforcement and other fields of public safety who are writing or aspiring to write, and mystery writers. The speakers and panels are a mixture of writing and publishing, and law enforcement information. Four publishers are expected to attend. https://policewriter.com/

What was once my normal, attending many mystery cons during the year, is no longer possible for several reasons, but I encourage those of you who can. And my advice to those of you who attend one or more event, don’t merely hang out with those you know, reach out and talk to everyone. Yes, I always did and shared some wonderful conversations and meals with interesting people for all parts of the country. You might become friends with a reader who will become one of your biggest fans.

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith

The latest and last book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series if Reversal of Fortune. And I’ve received lots of help for this series from folks I’ve met through the Public Safety Writers of America.