Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Why Write About a Female Law Enforcement Officer?


What the reader wanted to know was why I chose to write about a female law enforcement officer when those in my family are all male.

When I was growing up, my uncle was a Los Angeles police officer--motorcycle cop, and later a detective. My son-in-law was both a police officer and a sheriff's deputy. Right now, my grandson is a police officer and my grandson-in- law is a deputy.

To be fair, my son-in-law, who was killed in the line of duty, was the one who started me writing about men in law enforcement and their families. He contributed a lot to my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series, especially the first one: Final Respects.  At the time we lived in a beach community with some similarities to the fictional Rocky Bluff. In  the books that follow, female officers appear. 

I didn't start writing about my DeputyTempe Crabtree series until after I moved to Springville and went on a ride-along with a female cop, met a female deputy sheriff, and an Indian woman who grew up on the nearby reservation. The three of these great gals combined became my Tempe.

Though the majority of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree books are in the mountain setting of Bear Creek (much is borrowed from the area where I'm living now) in several Tempe goes other places to solve crimes. The latest in the series, The Trash Harem, is set in the city of Temecula.

The fact that when I began writing about males in law enforcement, I heard a lot of interesting tales from my son-in-law. When we first moved into our neighborhood in the beach community, we had several police officers as neighbors. I became friends with them and their wives--and I heard  a lot from them too. 

Frankly, I didn't think much about writing from the point-of-view of male characters. Whoever is the best one to tell the story is the one I write about.

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Danger of Shiny

by Janis Patterson

Let’s be honest - there’s no such thing as a life without distraction. However you do things, however you plan for a good long stretch of uninterrupted time to write, something happens.

You go on a quiet vacation to a remote spot where you think it will be free from distractions and interruptions. Maybe it is, but suddenly your own mind becomes the interruption, putting something new and enticingly shiny in front of you such as plotting another book, sending you down the rabbit hole of intense research, or just daydreaming and de-pressurizing from your everyday life.

If you still have to work at a regular job, it gets harder. Even during your theoretical down time, there are still chores to do, family to be with, and you can bet your employer will call with an emergency just about the time you sit down in front of your computer.

We’ve just gotta face the fact that life gets in the way, sometimes deliberately and gleefully.

My life used to be simple - get up in the morning, feed the dog, make The Husband’s lunch and - once he was on his way - get to work. I could mix household chores in between my writing spurts and since we are supposed to get up and move around every so often during the day, that was perfect.

Then The Husband retired. I do love him and in many ways it’s great having him home all the time. Other ways... as the old joke goes, I married him for better or for worse, but not for lunch!

He is learning to be respectful of my working time; he has even fixed a couple of lunches for us and, after seeing how hard I work at my writing (it is a full-time job, after all!) he takes me out to eat more often. He has even started learning how to do my advertising.

If that were the only distraction! No, there’s always something... The laundry. The dinner. The dishes. Vacuuming. Something breaks and the repairman must be summoned and dealt with. Shopping. Cooking. A million little things. The Husband will learn to deal with such, but not totally and not right now. I’ve had decades to learn the various protocols and minutiae of running our home efficiently; it will take him a while to get into the swing of it.

There are other distractions, too. The siren lure of a new story whispering in your ear while you’re struggling with the uncooperative middle of the one that has to be finished now. The ever-enticing rabbit hole of research; you start up by searching for a relatively mundane fact, such as does a Glock 9mm have a manual safety or not, and two hours later you’re happily submerged in the history of smelting. Or the invention of buttercream icing. Or why calico was so named. Research is a labyrinthine seduction where you never know where you’ll end up. 

So is there an answer? I hope there isn’t. All writing and no play (or life) makes Jane not only a dull writer but a dull (and tired!) person. Perhaps the best answer is both balance and discipline - the balance of life and work, and the discipline to know how much and how far to indulge both in writing and in non-writing. It doesn’t sound easy, because it isn’t. But it has to be done. It really has to be done. I hope someday I master it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

#19 in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series


When I wrote the last book in the series, End of the Trail, I, along with many of my readers, thought it was the last one. The title was certainly perfect for the end of the long series.

But, guess what, ideas started popping into my head after I made a trip to visit my daughter and her husband. It was a great trip, and I went to see family--besides my daughter and son-in-law, two married grands and their families.

It was extra special because one of my great-grands was home from college to recover from bronchitis, and another grand who moved to Pittsburgh and started her own business was there with her new husband. 

As the days evolved, and I watched how my daughter and her husband enjoyed living in a 55-and- older gated community and how their days transpired, the ideas began flowing. 

This is a short tale, but I think a fun one. I know I had a great time writing it.

It's available from Amazon on Kindle or in paperback.


To purchase: