Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Still Waiting, So What Else Am I Doing?


Have not heard from my first readers yet, and yes, I'm getting anxious. It is so weird not to have a work in progress. 

So what am I doing? Well, I'm not planning the next Rocky Bluff P.D. tale which I could be doing but haven't thought up a victim, a killer, a reason for the murder, or the cause of death.

Instead, I've been doing jobs that bring in money. I've been writing program designs for people who want to have residential facilities. Because I had a facility for over twenty years and also taught Administrator and continuing education classes, I know the regulations that must be adhered too.

I've been working on a specialized home for adults with mal-adaptive behaviors and mental illness that has a set of new regulations. I've nearly finished with it. And I'm also working on a specialized home for children with a range of behaviors from autism to other behaviors. In some ways they are quite similar.

It's actually been quite interesting. Both homes require delayed egress devises on the outside doors, and a fence that is locked. This means special emergency rules need to be in place for the individuals who live there and the staff.

I once put a residential facility in one of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, it was a big part of the plot. The neighborhood wasn't thrilled with having the home there. 

And of course, that's the pictograph of the Hairy Man on the cover--just as he appears in the rock cave on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation (in reality the Tule River Indian Reservation).

Dispel the Mist, ttps://www.amazon.com/Dispel-Mist-Tempe-Crabtree-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07S7R5QN6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Dispel+the+Mist+by+Marilyn+Meredith&qid=1618152545&s=books&sr=1-1

I've also been doing some family things, the latest being my great granddaughter's baby shower. She's expecting her 3rd child. Lot of relative from her and her husband's side of the family were in attendance including my youngest daughter who I hadn't seen since last September. We had a great time at the shower and then later we had dinner with her and her husband. and lots of visiting, plus breakfast with them the next day before they headed home.

So it's not like I haven't been busy, every day is full, but I am anxious to get back to my latest.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Oh, My. I've Sent Off My Manuscript to First Readers


I thought this would be the last in the series, but I was wrong.

Yep, this is nervous time. 

This is the next offering in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. I really thought when I finished End of the Trail that would be the last one in the series. However another idea popped into my head, and I was off and running. Well, not really running, but working away on my computer.

While I was writing, I was having fun like I always do when I'm writing. And I don't know about the rest of  you writers, but when I'm done, or think I am, I begin to have doubts.

I'm doing something different this time. After going over it myself and finding lots of misspelled words and other things I had to fix, I decided to send it off to two friends who'd long ago offered to take a first look at a manuscript. I've done it. It's now in their hands, and yes, I'm wondering if they'll even like it.

We'll see. 

By the time this appears, I will have returned from a research trip to Temecula, to check and see if some of the things I included in the books will really work.  Yes, this latest takes place in Temecula, one of my favorite cities in lower Southern California. I have relatives who live in and around there, so I'm familiar with the area, though I wrote about parts I haven't seen. I also made up a place and I needed to see if it actually works as I wrote it. More about that in a later post. 

Hopefully, by the time this is posted, I'll know what I have to do on the newest Tempe tale.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cold, Challenges and Changes

by Janis Patterson

I’ll admit it - my writing schedule has gone to pot the last two months. And if you want to know the truth, I don’t care a bit. The Husband retired at the beginning of the year and even after 20 years of marriage (20! How did that happen?) it is a big adjustment to have him home 24/7. 

Before he retired we discussed with due seriousness that we both knew men who had retired after long and illustrious careers (like he did) and who died within six months (as I am determined he will not!) simply because they had no responsibilities and no direction. I am a quiet and reasonable person who rarely gives orders, but for this I made an exception. He can have 3 months of total relaxation. He can do - or not do - anything he wants. For 3 months.

We have 1 month to go.

In the meantime, we have been having fun - even during the recent Snowpocalypse, when we were without any light or heat for 30+ hours and the temperature outside went down to -1F. (Very unusual for our area, in fact almost unheard of!) We put on several layers of clothes and, wrapped in quilts, huddled in front of the gas fireplace. By the way, gas fireplaces put out LOTS less heat than a real wood one, but when it’s -1F who cares? It’s a fire... We gathered our dog inside the quilts with us and talked and laughed. When our teeth weren’t chattering, that is! 

So - what next? Actually, it has already started. After a career in science, The Husband is becoming involved in my career. It’s a big deal - he’s learning the business from a standing start, and has already aced putting up several ads for me! I am so proud of him.

That means he’s been taking classes, doing test ads and actually studying the business. It also means I have been trying to answer his questions and explain/justify things I really can’t, because I’ve always known them. It gets complicated. However - it’s wonderful to have a partner. I don’t know if we’ll make lots of money from this new partnership, but let’s face it - wealth really means more things than just money, and his interest in and support of my career make me a very wealthy woman!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Revisiting the Topic, Include the Virus or Not


As I wrote before, I chose to include the virus in Not As We Knew It  because the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is in more or less real time. And no, it didn't impede any of the action as people have suggested it might. It actually gave ms some ideas to add to the plot.

Remember, our police officers are having to deal with the virus every single day as they go about their usual business, enforcing the law and protecting the citizens of the city or county they work for and in.

Wearing protective masks and gloves is mandatory in most places. I wear a mask when I shop, and when I enter a restaurant. I don't wear one around the people I see all the time. What I find annoying about the normal mask is I can't see people smile. And without seeing people's mouths sometimes I don't understand what they are saying, since I'm a bit hard of hearing.

Wearing a mask and being around people who wear them definitely keeps one from seeing emotion in someone's facial expressions. This could give a police officer a false impression of someone, and his/her reactions to an event. Something to consider if you do include the virus in a book. 

Another problem I have is when someone is wearing a mask and all I can see is his/her  eyes, I don't always recognize the person. This has happened to me twice with old friends I haven't seen for a while. And in another case, some man hollered a greeting to me in a grocery store and I had no idea who it was.

Because of all the above, I purchased a clear, full face plastic mask, and it's what I wore at the two in-person events I've been to recently. I have another mask I wear when I'm shopping because I keep it in my purse. 

For anyone who is interested, Not As We Knew It can be purchased for Kindle or in paper from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Not-As-Knew-F-M-Meredith/dp/B08NDT3FW5/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

Remember, I write this series as F.M. Meredith.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Role if Any of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Today's Novels

by Linda Thorne

I’ve read many articles claiming the 1918 pandemic did not have a major impact on the written word despite its immense human and economic toll. I’m wondering if this will be the case with our pandemic. Will it make a mark in American literature or appear as the backdrop in novels set during its timeframe?

When this pandemic started, my husband and I watched old science fiction movies about pandemics, some reruns, others for the first time. We found these interesting because of the ability to relate to the similarities of our own crisis. I have read that others rushed to pandemic fiction books and movies for the same reason. 

But what about writing fiction now if your story is set in today’s world? The novels I have read over the past few months, even though up to date, do not mention the pandemic. There are no germs, no masks, people do not fear crowds, socializing. For those I've read written by author friends, I’ve asked the question. Some said their book was already written prior to the pandemic and they didn’t want to change it. Others admitted they started and finished their novel after the pandemic began but were too sick of it to include in their story. Others have unfinished manuscripts set in current time, and confess they are ignoring the pandemic. If you’ve seen novels that include it, I’d be interested to know.

What do you think? Has the pandemic created a hurdle that needs addressed when writing modern-day fiction?

Amazon Buy Link

Author Website

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Publishing - A Basic Primer - Part Three

by Janis Patterson

Hope you had a lovely and romantic Valentine’s Day! We didn’t do much - just exchanged cards and shared a bottle of our favorite Veuve Cliquot champagne while watching some unfortunately not very romantic movies on tv. (The Husband prefers action-adventure movies and I prefer having my romance in real life, so we’re both happy with the way the evening turned out!)

I hope all of you are warm and safe during this terrible weather. We were without power for 30+ hours and the low was -1F! Not fun...

As promised, here is the third part of my originally conceived of two part series on the varieties of publishing. Nothing every really goes exactly the way you want it to, does it?

In the first two installments I covered the basics of and differences between Traditional publishing and Self publishing. Now I’m going to talk about a fairly new version of publishing, the Hybrid. I do so with some trepidation, as while I have published many times in both Trad and Self, I have never done Hybrid. So - if I make any egregious mistakes and you know Hybrid, please elucidate in the comments.

As its name implies, Hybrid is a melding of both Trad and Self where - basically - the writer pays for most everything but the mechanics of production are done by the company. It sounds as if it were a panacea with everything perfectly set out, but if things sound too good to be true they usually are. Hybrid pubbing can run the gamut between wonderful and supportive and worth it to just about the worst scam that can be imagined, costing the writer many thousands of dollars and delivering little to extremely little to - in a few sad cases - nothing at all.

In an ideal scenario the writer produces a book and contracts with the Hybrid, who produces a good editing, a good cover, a flawless format and uploading to the chosen market)s) and decent publicity with the writer bearing the cost. It is a true collaboration in every way, with the writer involved in every step. The author benefits from the radiated glory of being published by an imprint of a well-known and respected house. (The reader rarely knows or cares that the MyNewBook imprint is a hybrid arm of BigPublishingHouse and not a regular imprint.) Like the Cinderella principle mentioned in the Trad pubbing blog, it does on occasion happen like this - but very very rarely.

In the worst case scenario the writer produces a book and contracts with the Hybrid, who gives a slap-dash editing if any at all, an execrable cover, a so-so formatting and the only publicity is a listing on their usually pathetic website. Sometimes this kind of Hybrid demands that you give them your email and sometimes snail mail contact lists so they can aggressively market to your friends, relatives and other contacts. Unfortunately, this is more often about soliciting new authors for their publishing services than about selling your book. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between these low-life Hybrid outfits and a pure scam dedicated to separating a writer from his money.

Yes, I am a cynic, but I’ve been in this crazy business a long time (since 1979) and know how bad it can get.

Worst of all, these kind of Hybrids offer low royalties, some as low as the genuine Trad publishers - literally pennies on the cover price. Getting your money - whether much or little - is the next problem. Sometimes writers never see a cent or even get a statement of how many books have been sold. If any. The line between Vanity and these low-type Hybrids is sometimes very blurred.

Now before you inundate me with emails praising your Hybrid publisher, let me say that there are good ones out there. Some are very good. Some are honest but not very effectual. Sadly, many more are barely a hairsbreadth above the scam level. 

Personally, I cannot understand why anyone would risk such huge amounts of money and - on occasion - losing the copyright and ownership of their book by Hybrid publishing when they could hire out everything on their own and retain control. I just can’t. I have seen a bad Hybrid contract where the poor writer paid in the lowish five digits for basically nothing - a badly edited, badly covered book that got no publicity from the ‘publisher’ at all. The royalty scale was less than 5% of cover price - and I don’t think there was ever a copy sold except those the writer guilted friends/family into buying, and he didn’t even get royalties on those! However, I know there are many writers who prefer Hybrid pubbing and they deserve the respect due their freedom of choice. 

So how do you find a good Hybrid? First of all, read everything you can about any Hybrid house in which you are interested - and don’t assume that just because they are affiliated with a recognizable publisher they are aboveboard and honest. There have been a couple of real scandals through the years about semi-scams - at least from the writer’s point of view - in which exactly that and worse happened. Thankfully I haven’t heard of any concerning a big house recently, so maybe that sad time is over.

Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t ugly sharks out there just waiting to gobble up little wide-eyed writers’ money! You must do your research! Google the company and look at both good and bad comments. Best of all, ask your fellow writers. Most writers today are connected through at least one eloop, or know someone who is, and your fellow writers are the ones most likely to know if a Hybrid is good or bad. If they say it’s good, believe them - but verify! If you can get hold of their contract, go through it word by word - and you might be best served if you show it to an attorney. Who owns the copyright to your book? What input do you have in editing/cover/whatever? What are they offering - i.e., what are they guaranteeing in writing - for the money you are paying? Don’t be dazzled by smoke and mirrors and pie-in-the-sky promises. Publishing is contractual, and the contract should be equitable and airtight.

There are good Hybrid publishers out there - there are so many more bad ones. If this route is your choice, do your due diligence and be careful in your choice.

So - these last three blog posts have been nutshell descriptions of our publishing options. I believe there are so many variations and permutations of these three basic types that it would take a work bigger than War And Peace to cover them all, and by the time it was finished there would be new ways appearing.

Whichever you do, be careful, look out for yourself and your work, and choose wisely. And whichever way you decide to go, I do wish you the very best of good fortune.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Deadly Trail is the first in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

On Facebook I asked what questions would people like me to answer about my books, writing, etc.

How much are my characters like me, was one, and I decided to answer it here.

The simple answer is hardly at all. I write about people much younger than I am--but I once was the same age as all of them. And, I have a good memory of what it was like all along the way.

In  my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, Tempe is a strong woman, and I consider myself to be strong--but that's where the resemblance ends. After all, she is a native American and I don't have one speck of Indian in me. I've never been in any type of law enforcement, but have many relatives and friends who have been.

The same goes for my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, none of the women are variants of me.

However, whenever a character is in a certain situation, I see what's going on through the eyes of the person I'm writing about, see what she or he is seeing and experiencing, and I know how they are feeling based on my own past experiences--or just knowing how I would feel under the same circumstances.

I know my characters well enough to know how they will respond in various situations. Each one is unique and has their own past and personality. All of that has to be taken into consideration when I'm writing about them.

And now, other writers, what about you? Tell us how much your characters are like you.