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

REFLECTIONS OF MY 2020 WRITING LIFE

As you may have already guessed, this past year was nothing like I expected—and no surprise to any of you because your lives weren’t anything like you expected either. For this post, I’m going to stick to what happened or didn’t happen as per my writing life.

Before I’d made up my mind whether or not to attend the two big mystery cons, Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, both to be held nearby, the virus struck and they were both cancelled.

I’d signed up for a local writer’s conference in March, and it wasn’t long before it was canceled too, as well as the wonderful Central Coast Sisters in Crime conference in April.

My favorite conference of all, the Public Safety Writers Association’s, held in July in Vegas. was axed too. Two big book fairs in October disappeared from the calendar.  In November, I was supposed to be the speaker for the Nightwriters in San Luis Obispo—but of course, that was cancelled too. 

The only in-person event that survived was a two-day holiday boutique held in the Porterville Art Gallery, and yes, I had a booth. People wore masks and kept their distance. I sold books and others sold crafts. No one got sick.

My latest book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series came out, End of the Trail, and I really thought it would be the last in the series. However, I’ve changed my mind, because when I made a trip to visit my eldest daughter, I got a great idea for another  mystery in the series.

I also finished Not As We Knew It in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I did the forbidden and included the virus because I felt I had to—the series is in real time and to be honest, I had fun writing it.

This is where a problem came along. I’ve always had parties on the occasion of a new book coming out, held in various locations. Of course, this year it couldn’t happen. This meant all my promotion efforts had to be online, and online they were.  I did a free e-book promotion for one of my favorites in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. It did a fairly good job enticing people to buy some of the other books in the series.

With End of the Trail it was mainly Facebook and Blog Posts. Certainly this was not nearly as profitable as doing in-person events.

What I’ve missed most is my writers’ critique group, being with my writing friends, and sharing out writing.

Lifting my cup of Chai latte, “Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us.”

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith