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

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

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