Sunday, June 28, 2015


When I opened a recent Sisters in Crime list I was startled to read posts in a discussion that might be titled, "I want to (or am going to) quit writing."   (And at this hour, the discussion is on-going.)

Names I know well entered the discussion saying some version of "I quit."  For example,  I learned that a long-time favorite author, Beth Groundwater, quit some time ago. (Wow, now that I think of it, I haven't seen a new book announcement from her for some time!)

Why? Why? Why?  I admit I had already guessed. Not the writing. All spoke of how much they loved writing.

Nope--it's the promotion burden, especially on social media.  Constant push from agent, editor, publisher..."Sign up for this author promo web site."  "Post on this."  "Do blogs." Join facebook, twitter, printerest, on, on on."  "Prove, when you apply to us, how active you are in social media."

If you are an author reading this, does the above sound familiar?  Sure does to me, and just reading about it wears me out. How can I be all things on all sites? What works best for me? (Oh gee, my fellow author keeps up two types of facebook sites, tweets almost constantly, and blogs every day.)

Y'know? Several of these "I'm gonna quit" authors said they couldn't prove all this commenting, contributing, being clever online, did much to increase sales. Maybe, maybe not.  One author I assumed had great sales and is with a well-known and admired middle-sized house said she'd done it all but her sales were still not all that good. Yes, she's one who is quitting the writing profession.

I liked best the comment of another author, (with Berkley), who said she did none of it.  "I know my sales would be much better if I was active on social media, but . . . " (Fill in) "I'm not going to ruin my life," "Ignore my family," "Have a nervous breakdown," "sacrifice everything for what people expect me to do in the way of promotion."

Whew. Well, in a way, this push to promote is to be expected. For years those of us who spoke/taught about writing as a career preached some version of "Yes, you can do it." And, with the coming of self-pub, I suspect most of our listeners did just that. In a way, those of us who have followed a writing career full or part-time and enthusiastically spoke about it, helped caused the glut of books available to readers.

Glimmer of hope?  At the recent Arkansas Writers' Conference in Little Rock, a speaker, Cara Brookins, talked to us about social media promoting an inch wide and a mile deep. Method? Twitter.  Okay to do an occasional facebook, et all, whatever, but even now these are fading as good promo due to diminishing returns. Twitter, she says, is where it's at, and it's amazingly uncomplicated.  (She advised: "80 % general and fun comment, 20 % direct promotion of your book/s.) Accept everyone you can to your list. Everyone who asks you or tweets to you should be there. (Delete later if they turn out to be porn or a similar negative.). You can reach thousands in a surprisingly short time. Well, of course, she and her team are equipped to help you with this, so her own self-promo was evident, but still--does tweet and tweet mostly sound possible?  I've begun to dip my toe into this particular pool.  And it's amazing how much of the social media promotion burden has lifted. Perhaps it will work. Twitter can be my main online connection.  I can continue, happily, with my weekend local book sales in an Arkansas-based grocery chain. averaging 20-25 books sold each time. I love meeting the public and chatting with them in this way. Beyond good direct sales, it has given me follow-up connections to book clubs and local speaking engagements.  Old-fashioned?  Maybe. Hard work? For sure. But fun and satisfying. Yes, that's for sure too.

And, I have no plans to quit being a writer.

Radine Trees Nehring, happily writing the "To Die For" mystery series

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Learned Helplessness

Most of my inspiration for this post came from a video on this topic ( that impressed me when I first saw it.

Here are the basics of what it’s about. The term “learned helplessness” was coined during (or after?) an experiment with dogs, a pretty cruel experiment. Two groups of dogs were given shocks. One group could not avoid them, the other group could jump over something and get away. After that session, both dogs were permitted to get away, but the first group did not do it! They had “learned” to be helpless. Only after lifting those dogs away at least twice, were they able to unlearn the behavior.

There’s much more to the video, but I’d like to use this part and relate it to two aspects of mystery writing.

First, our characters. We can use this knowledge to understand why abused women and children don’t escape their environment. They’ve been well taught that they can’t get away. If you ARE writing characters in similar situations, this gives you what you need to know to portray their plights realistically.

Second, we, the mystery writers. We’ve been given a certain amount of learned helplessness, too, Another part of the video deals with people and their roles as employees or managers. We tend to stick to our roles. The writers write. Only a few years ago we were completely dependent on agents and publishers. The employees, not the managers. And not in charge of our future. If we want to go that route, we still are.

However, many of us have learned to take advantage of opportunities that weren’t there those few years ago: small press publication and self-publication. None of us are dependent on agents or big publishers any more unless we wish to align with them. We have almost too many options! It’s hard to choose which route to follow. (I won’t go into it here, how I’ve followed all the routes at once. That makes me either ambitious or insane. Sometimes I don’t know which.)

We can not only choose how to get our work published, we can choose who to market it to and how to do that. We can hire a publicist or do it all ourselves. We can use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, giveaway contests, giveaway strategies, conferences, writing organizations, webpages, blogs, newsletters, and probably some other avenues I’ve left out.

Of course, no one human can do all that AND write more books. And stay sane.

But all we have to do as writers today is decide our path and follow it. We don’t have to wait for someone else to grant us permission.

The video ends with this quote, so I will, too.

Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

All pictures from

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Writing a Mystery Series

A Guest Blog by Patricia Gligor

When I decided to write my first novel, Mixed Messages, I had no intention of writing a series. The book was supposed to be a mystery/suspense standalone. But, as I was writing it, I realized there was more to the story and I needed to finish what I’d started. So, I wrote Unfinished Business and, by the time I’d finished that book,  I’d become so attached to my characters there was no way I was letting them go. I had to know what would happen to them as time went by and I wanted to watch them change and grow. The only way to do that was to write a series. I now think of my Malone mystery series as Family Drama mysteries because my books are about more than the mystery. They’re about the lives of the characters I’ve come to know and care about.

With each book, new situations and characters crop up that propel me forward and, in a series, there are always loose ends that need to be tied up. Sometimes, I deliberately plant something in a book which will lead to the next one but, other times, the subject for the next book is a surprise to me. For example, in Unfinished Business, the casual reference to a news story about a little girl who had gone missing led me to write Desperate Deeds where my main character’s young son, Davey, goes missing too. When I wrote about the news story, I had no idea that would happen. 
So, how did Mistaken Identity, my fourth Malone mystery, come about? Well, I decided that, with all the problems and stress I gave Ann in the first three books, she deserved to get away from Cincinnati for a while and to have a peaceful, relaxing vacation on Fripp Island in South Carolina. So, that’s what I gave her. Well, sort of.

About the book: Ann feels like she’s in Paradise as she digs her toes into the soft, white sand and gazes out at the ocean. She’s looked forward to this trip to South Carolina for a long time and all she wants to do is bask in the sun, resting and relaxing.

She and her two young children are enjoying their time on Fripp Island with Ann’s sister, Marnie, and Marnie’s elderly friend and former neighbor, Clara Brunner, a long time resident with a vast knowledge of the island and the people who live there. At the fourth of July fireworks, Clara introduces them to newlyweds Jenny and Mark Hall and their families.

But Ann’s plans for a peaceful vacation are shattered the next morning. When she goes for a solitary walk on the beach, she discovers the body of a young woman with the chain of a gold locket twisted around her neck and she immediately recognizes the locket as the one Jenny Hall was wearing the night before.

Shocked and saddened, Ann is determined to try to find the killer and to see them brought to justice. She convinces Marnie and Clara to join her in conducting an investigation but, in the process, she places her own life in jeopardy.

Mistaken Identity is now available at


Patricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling. She has worked as an administrative assistant, the sole proprietor of a resume writing service and the manager of a sporting goods department but her passion has always been writing fiction. Ms. Gligor writes the Malone Mystery series. The first three books, Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business, and Desperate Deeds take place in Cincinnati but in Mistaken Identity, the fourth book, her characters are vacationing on Fripp Island in South Carolina.

Her books are available at:

Visit her website at:

~Submitted by Jean Henry Mead

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Going Under for the Third Time

by Janis Patterson

Well, I’m not really drowning, but it sort of feels like it, and I don’t think I’m the only one – all of us are feeling overwhelmed these days.

Personally, I’m trying to get out the news about my newly released Janis Susan May traditional Gothic romance CURSE OF THE EXILE, get the final tweaks and polish done on my new website, get over a cold… it goes on and on. And like a shadow over my life there’s always the Convert the Garage project, which has been dragging on for three (three? Good grief…) years.

Not that most of it isn’t good – but like chocolate, you can have too much good – but some of it isn’t. At my age and after the life I’ve led, there are very few times I can say I’ve done something I’ve never done before, but this is one. A week or so ago The Husband surprised (shocked?) me by taking me to the Rolling Stones concert – second row stadium (not floor) seats, directly in front of the stage.

What can I say? It was very interesting. And very loud. There was a huge crowd, probably roughly the same as the population of a European duchy, but aside from the problems inherent in having so many people in a confined space however huge it might be (Dallas AT&T stadium, where the Cowboys play), there were no problems. I didn’t see any fights or arguments or any kind of ugly behavior. Ugly clothes, definitely, but no ugly behavior. Still, I came home feeling almost bruised just from the volume of the music. It took several days for my hearing to return to normal. We got two t-shirts apiece (and what fun I have wearing them around on my definitely grandmotherly self!) but I also brought home a less likeable souvenir – a raging cold. I’m still sniffling and hawking and coughing, though I’m feeling almost well.

What is worse is that just about the time I decided I might live, The Husband started to feel bad and this dratted germ has morphed into that horrid, dreaded thing, the ManCold. I think I’d rather be sick again myself than be a nurse.

And all this happens when I am busier than I have ever been. There’s the release of CURSE OF THE EXILE, of course, and in the last five weeks I have had more blogs – both guest and regular – than I ever have in my life, all of them of course set up months before. Have made them all, I’m proud to say, and after this one is posted I’m free for two weeks.

Free? What am I saying? One of the neatest things of my life is happening. This year the Historical Novel Society is having its annual convention in the US, in Denver specifically, and I have been invited to present a paper on my late friend and her work entitled Egyptology and Elizabeth Peters. This is one of the greatest honors of my life, and I am working very hard to make the presentation worthy of her. It’s wonderful, but it is eating time.

As for writing, what’s that? I’ve had to put back the release of my Janis Patterson mystery MURDER AND MISS WRIGHT which had been scheduled for 1 July. I’ve even had to put my wonderful new half-done Janis Patterson mystery, A KILLING AT EL KAB, the one I went to Egypt to research in March, aside for the moment, and it’s killing me! My characters are banging on the inside of my skull shrieking to be let out, and I just can’t at the moment. I do hope they won’t rebel and go truculently silent when I can get back to writing.

So, forgive me for ending this rather abruptly, but I have to get back to work. I’ll tell you all about the HNS conference next time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How I Do It--Writing and Promoting

No, I'm not going to bore you with all the details, but just an outline of what goes on in my writing life.

Because I wrtie two series, I always have one book I'm writing and the other promoting. Gets pretty hectic at times.

I always begin with the new characters--what poor soul is going to get bumped off and by whom, and who else would have wanted this person dead and why.

What events and crises will happen in the lives of my ongoing characters? This is something I always have to consider. However, this is something that helps flesh out a book and sometimes becomes a major part of the plot.

While I'm doing all this, I'm making sure I have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, keep all the blogs I'm on updated, and I'm either in the process of whatever promotion I'm doing or planning.

Of course I have plenty more to do. Recently I've been a judge for two writing contests. Yes, it does take time away from my own projects, but it's one way I can support other writers. I've also been reviewing new books--I try not to take on too many of them, because there are other books I want to read.

Yes, and of course I have a regular life that consists of grocery shopping, cooking, taking care of our family finances, and so on. I'm sure no more than all the rest of you have in your lives. (You noticed, cleaning wasn't on that list--I pay a family member to help me out in that area.)

As I've aged, I really don't do nearly as much as I used to. My goal, though, is to do the things I really want to do, and minimize the rest.


P.S. I sent off my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Good Time Was Had by All!

I’ve done signings where I’ve sold more books, but none have been quite as special as this one. There are several reasons.

First, I have a three book contract for the Fat Cat mysteries, writing as Janet Cantrell. The first book came out last September, 2014. We had moved from Texas, where I had lots of writing contacts, and I didn’t do a signing for it. It sold well anyway (national bestseller on two lists, Barnes & Noble and Bookscan), but I missed doing a signing. So this was my first signing as Janet Cantrell, for the second in the series, FAT CAT SPREADS OUT.

Second, this was a new first for me. I was asked to do this signing by the store! I went in to sign the stock of FAT CAT AT LARGE, the first book, last fall. As I was signing the books at the information desk, I was asked if I’d like to do a signing when the second one came out. I didn’t fall over, but felt like it. The Barnes & Noble here is not open for a signing at all, so I assumed maybe no one did local author signings in this town. However, Books A Million not only offered this signing, but wants me to come back when the third book comes out.

Third, the people who showed up were special. Neyland’s grandparents were there from Nashville. They used to own Mysteries and more until December, I believe. Neyland is one of my biggest fans, according to his mommy, Mary Ann Fisher. She sent me a picture of him reading my first book and promised to send one of him reading the book Greg and Mary Bruss bought last Saturday.

Another person I was glad to see was Dawn Frazier, who has been an online fan of the books and lives near.

Then there was the staff. I couldn’t have asked for nicer people! Rachel and Will each bought a book and looked after me and my husband while we were there.

I’m so glad I’ll be going back in March!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Recycling Books

When a book goes out of print, a publisher closes its doors, or a writer is dissatisfied with how the book is being handled, there are a number of publishing alternatives.

My first mystery novel was originally titled Shirl Lock and Holmes, named for my two senior women amateur sleuths, Shirley Lock and Dora Holmes. It was first published in 1999, but when my publisher and I parted company the following year I resold the book as A Village Shattered, renamed my characters Sarah Cafferty and Dana Logan, and agreed to feature them in a series. So the Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense series was born. After the third novel was published, I formed my own publishing company and produced the rest of the series as well as the work of other writers.

Similarly, my first and bestselling novel to date was originally published as Escape on the Wind, the story of a 17 year-old girl kidnapped by members of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. My second publisher insisted on a new title so the book became Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel. When the publisher went out of business, I indie published the novel in 2011, retaining its last title.

I then decided to write a juvenile series, The Hamilton Kids' Mysteries, based on my childhood in the Hollywood Hills. My first publisher and I could not agree on a cover or title (along with a number of other problems), so I decided to indie publish Mystery of Spider Mountain along with its sequel, Ghost of Crimson Dawn, both now available in audio editions as well as print and ebooks.

I began my writing career as a news reporter and my first five books were nonfiction: history, interviews with Wyoming’s famous people as well as writer interviews. My first writer interview book was Maverick Writers (famous writers of the West including Louis L’Amour), which was accepted for publication by a Chicago firm, who, midway through the production process decided that I should rewrite the book to attack academia. I refused and resold the book to a well-known publisher in Caldwell, Idaho, which released the book without changing a word.

My first book, Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, was published in 1982, a coffee table book with 202 historic and contemporary photos, by a regional publisher in Colorado. It required two years of sitting behind a microfilm machine reading 97-years’ worth of old newspapers as well as other research. When the book went out of print, I decided to indie publish it again and it was picked up by the local community college as a textbook.

My point is that books can be endlessly recycled, covers and titles changed, characters renamed and new editions published. If a book has been previously published, it’s probably worthy of a second, third or even fourth life; much better than sending it to the publishing graveyard.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What happens after the book's written?

Writing a book is hard work. Lots of time alone in front  of a computer, crafting out characters, making sure your plot holds together. And when you're done, the editing process starts.

Many authors use beta readers to check out the story. Or they have critique partners who will tell them that it's great, but the first three chapters have to be re-written. If you're self publishing, you might hire a developmental editor at this point to flush out the flaws.

Traditionally published authors call these developmental edits and my editor does a great job of letting me know what worked, and what she felt could need some polish.

Your time's free so you start writing another book.

Then the first book comes home and you spend another block of time revising and editing what didn't work. You put book #2 aside and dive back into book #1.

You send book #1 off again, this time for copy edits, and you return to writing book #2, where you just get into the story, when book #1 comes back for page proofs.

Sighing this time, you set book #2 regretfully aside, as you're really loving the story and are connected to your characters, and read through the pages trying to catch every typo, formating issue, or just plain misused word.

After obsessing for a large block of time, you send the page proofs back. And try to get back into book #2 which you left off in the sagging middle, so your momentum is shot.

But you find the spark again, and you're just getting into the swing, when your publicist sends you a list of original blog posts she needs to promote book #1 which releases next month.


It's a wonder any book ever gets written.

But the good news, it does. And it gets releases. And after all that work, you get reader email saying how they read the book in a weekend, loved it, and when's the next one coming out?

For fans of the Tourist Trap mysteries, the answer is this month. June 23rd is release day for Dressed to Kill.

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late.

Monday, June 8, 2015

I Will Follow You

Lately, my work in progress gets sidetracked by the pressures of social media. It can be a blessing or a curse.

The latest case was, after a long stretch, I vowed to bite the bullet and get caught up on all the Pinterest members who followed me, whom I hadn't followed back. I'd put them into one of my e-mail folders to get to when I had time.

Yesterday, I decided to make the time and tackle the Pinterest folder. Turned out there were over 150 members tucked inside. What was especially daunting was I couldn't seem to figure out any other way to follow them without clicking on the link to the Profile, clicking the Follow button, then clicking the IE button to close the tab, then go back and delete the actual Yahoo message. It took quite some time, but I was determined, and got through the entire bunch!

I don't know if it's because I followed so many yesterday, but today, I already found 7 more followers greeting me. I decided to follow them right away, instead of putting them in a folder, which would only grow. I sincerely hope I don't get that many each day!

It's hard to keep up, but I know Pinterest is a great promotional tool for getting the word out on blogs, book covers, book releases, or for just getting a brand known. Because of its great potential, I'm determined to keep my presence there.

Still, it's not easy. Anyone else have a hard time keeping up?

For those who wish to visit my Pinterest page, Here's the link:

If you feel the urge to follow me there, or at any of my other sites, don't be surprised if I follow you back!

Find all of Morgan Mandel's mysteries & romances
at her Amazon Author Page:



Twitter: @MorganMandel

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nancy Drew - Memories, Fantasies and Libraries

by Janis Patterson
I’ll admit it – I loved Nancy Drew. Didn’t like Trixie Belden, couldn’t stand the other one whose name I can’t remember right now, was never allowed to read Cherry Ames (she was a nurse, and my mother hated that) but I simply loved Nancy Drew. Our own Kathleen Kaska recently blogged on Nancy Drew, which brought up a plethora of memories I thought amusing enough to share with you.

I learned to read early – around three, we think, but no one knows for sure – and by five was gleefully working my way through my parents’ library before they really knew what I was reading, not that in those antique days there was anything ‘risque’ in there. I had gotten about half-way through their small collection of Ellery Queens, which I pretty much understood, and some history books which I pretty much didn’t. I remember especially remember Boswell’s London Journal, mainly for how much it horrified my parents to find me reading it.

Anyway, in their search to find more age-appropriate reading matter for me, Mother took me to the local library where a kindly librarian took us to the children’s department. I was allowed to pick out six books, and I remember being very distressed at how thin they were. Mother was very distressed that I had them all read before we could drive home. After several equally unproductive visits, we went over to the grown-up section (‘adult’ has such an unfortunate connotation these days) and I found several books I would like to read. The kindly librarian suddenly turned into a martinet; children, she said in pointy tones, could not check out books from the adult section because they would only tear them up and they couldn’t really read them anyway. When I realized I was being insulted I reacted with a spirited rebuttal, which resulted in the librarian regarding me much as she would a talking dog or other freak of nature. I was summarily ejected from the library and banished for a week. Although I now do speaking engagements at libraries I have looked at them askance ever since.

Then salvation came in the unlikely form of Sears and Roebuck. In my youth that was our main shopping outlet. On Thursday nights, when they stayed open until the dizzying hour of 9 pm, we would go after supper just for the fun of riding the new escalators. Those were indeed simpler times. Anyway, one night we walked past a sale display of Nancy Drew books. They looked fascinating and while Mother’s and Daddy's attention was occupied elsewhere, I inspected them and lost my heart. At 99 cents each they were still a fair amount, for our family at least, but the memory of my humiliation in the library was still fresh, so somehow my parents scraped up the required amount and I was the proud possessor of my first Nancy Drew. I don’t remember which one it was, but I do know I still own it – I still have every one I ever owned. Whichever one it was, I must have read it fifteen or twenty times in the next week. After that, even though we were very far from well-to-do, once a month I got a new Nancy Drew, even after the price went back to the regular $1.99 – a goodly sum in those days.

I would have gone back to the library and even apologized to the librarian for being so abnormal as to be able to read adult books if I could have checked out Nancy Drews. Unfortunately in those days libraries did not find Nancy and her friends ‘worthwhile’ reading and refused to stock them. More fool them.

Anyway, I was ecstatically happy no matter where the books came from. A mystery I could actually understand! A girl sleuth I could identify with! Of course, to my young mind there was no difference between a fictional, perfect teenager and my own much younger and rather lumpy self, but that made no difference. When I was reading, I was Nancy. Nancy drove a car (though I had to look up what a roadster was), she had seemingly unlimited funds, she was allowed to go where and when she wanted, all the while delicious mysteries seemed to leap into her path.

Now from the vantage point of my unfortunately advanced years, I realize no one could possibly be as perfect in mind, body, family, and life in general as Nancy Drew. Also that Carson Drew was the most lax of parents, perhaps even to the criminal point, but to my young self, as the product of two ridiculously overprotective parents, that was a situation to be envied.

As I grew a little older (though still in lower elementary school) I entered a very analytical phase and decided that just with a little application I could be just the same as Nancy. Of course, I had no money, no car, and two very hover-prone parents, but if I could just find a mystery to solve I was certain I could overcome those hurdles. I thought if I re-read every Nancy Drew I had and made a chart of how she got involved with each mystery, I could do the same thing and have a mystery of my own – only thing was, I found the mysteries all seemed to come to Nancy with no effort on her part. Drat!

The years have passed and my tastes have (hopefully!) become much more sophisticated. It’s been a couple of decades since I read a Nancy Drew, and perhaps that’s good. The province of our memory is often kinder than present perception, and I treasure my memories of Nancy Drew too much to put them at risk.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Guess What? I'm on Vacation!

When this appears I'll be in Murrieta CA visiting my eldest daughter and son-in-law with the added treat of spending time with two of my grandchildren, their spouses and five great grandchildren. Nothing better!

Me and daughter Dana on vacation another time.
Coming along with me will be my hubby and middle daughter who is kind enough to do the driving chores. (To get to where we're going we have to travel through too much Southern California traffic, something neither hubby nor I are willing to do any more.)

When ever we go there, daughter plans our days--and I know we'll be visiting interesting places, perhaps Old Town Temecula, going to a couple of movies, eating out, swimming, and best of all, lots of family time.

To tie this into mystery, for those of you who don't know, Temecula is where Erle Stanley Gardner had a ranch and wrote many books--usually four at a time. He had four secretaries he dictated them too--one he was romantically involved with. I read a lot of his mysteries, especially those with Perry Mason and Della Street. (Also loved the TV series.)

Will I be doing any work? A little probably. I always check email wherever I am and will respond to what is needed. I'll promote this blog and another I'm on. Because I'm just beginning a new Rocky Bluff P.D., I'll probably talk to Dana and her daughter Genie (who are both fans of the series), about what they might like see happen to the characters this time around. And since I'm making up a religious sect, I'll get some ideas for that from them.

And for any culprits who might read this--even though we're goine, my son and his wife aren't, and they live on our property.  Anyone who has seen my son and his dogs won't foolishly come around for any of the wrong reasons.

Son Matthew, his dog redwood, and some friends.
When I get back, I'll let you know how much fun I had. We don't go on many vacations--mostly when we leave it's to go to some book event.

Summer is coming, time to plan on reading some of the great mysteries that the authors on this blog have written.

You might want to try the latest in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Violent Departures--available on Amazon.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Morning on Radio

I knew I was going to get lost as soon as I heard the directions to the Stony Brook University Radio Station. I’d been to the Stony Brook campus many times to attend concerts and films, but this was behind the Staller Center. And indeed, it took me third turns around the road circling the university before I stopped a helpful person who directed me to the parking lot I was supposed to enter.

Getting to the right parking lot required another series of turns, but I mastered those easily. The program I was participating in is called The Writers’ Corner. Bruce, also known as BAM, is its moderator.  I was sharing the spotlight with two other writers—Sue Habanero and Don Allen--both of whom had appeared previously on The Writers’ Corner and had even acted as moderators in the past. The studio's small and the equipment very basic. My mic didn’t have a permanent stand. Our readings and discussions would start after ten and possibly go until one o’clock. Free and loose, but fine with me.

Habanero, as Sue likes to be called, was the first to read from the book she and her husband had written called Two Sailboats, One Moon, Journals From a Year Spent Oceans Apart. Bob had gone on a year-long sailing trip in the southern ocean. Except for three visits to see him, she stayed home on LI. Habanero and Bobanero, as he likes to be called, self-published their book and sell it at various     meetings and locales where people involved with sailing convene. Both Don and I were shocked to learn their book wasn’t on Amazon. But Hananero, the apt project manager that she is, quickly remedied that situation and thanked me via email for urging her to do so.

I was up next. I read from Murder a la Christie, which I explained is the first mystery in my Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and happens to be free on Amazon today and tomorrow. Bruce, Habanero and Don praised my writing style. They liked how I seamlessly moved the story along while giving vital bits of information, which pleased me no end. As we approached noon, Bruce announced that we didn’t have until one o’clock as we’d thought, so I never got to read excerpts from my two Young Adult novels that will be coming out in a few months. And Don only had a few minutes to read two of his historical poems, both of which I liked very much.

Bruce asked us to return as guests on the next session of the Writers’ Corner the last Friday morning in June, and I said I’d be there. He talked about the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime, which I’d co-founded, and mentioned that our meeting was the following afternoon at the Emma Clark Library. I was pleasantly surprised when a listener, her sister, and her mother attended our meeting on Saturday. Somehow I feared my boyfriend David was the only person who had listened to the program. As both David and Habanero pointed out to me, next time I have to speak directly into the mic so listeners can hear me clearly. And I will. I will!