Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Visit From a Good friend and a Good Writer

I'm delighted to ave Marilyn Meredith stop by as part of her blog tour for Raging Waters, the latest in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, a book that is getting a lot f favorable publicity.  Marilyn and I have both been finalists for EPIC Awards, and she won one last year. We were both finalists when I won the year the conference was in New Orleans, and she tried to wrest the award away from me - see photographic evidence below.

What Being a Writer Has Done for Me

First, I better tell you what it hasn’t done for me. I am not rich or famous. However, I think some of pluses are worth far more than either of those.
Because of being a writer I’ve made many friends I would never have had the opportunity to meet any other way. Some of these friends are other writers, of course. I’ve met them at writing conferences and mystery conventions. Mike Orenduff is one. Because he and his wife live on the other side of the country, without attending writing conferences my chances of meeting them both were pretty slim. I might not have read his Pot Thief books if it hadn’t been for the conferences. I’ve also met some of my other favorite writers this way too and often this was my introduction to their books.
I’ve also made friends with readers, some of whom have become fans, and many I met at the various mystery cons I’ve attended. Of course I have some fans I’ve never met except via email or on Facebook, but it sure is nice when you can sit down and have a conversation with someone who loves your books and wants to know what’s going to happen to the characters next. Or even what happened with probably the biggest fan of my Tempe Crabtree mystery series, she asked to be a character in my next book. Raging Water is the one she’s in. I didn’t use her name, just her house, though I moved it to a new location, her two dogs and I did use their names, and a lot of her personality.
I’ve been all sorts of places I would never have gone if it weren’t for the fact that a conference or convention was being held there. Places like New Orleans, Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin, Chicago in the middle of a huge snowstorm, El Paso, San Antonio, Plano and Austin Texas, Reno, Virginia Beach and Arlington VA, Oklahoma City, OK, Orlando and Tampa FL, Maui, Hawaii, Anchorage, Kwithlik, Bethel, and Wasilla, Alaska, and many beach, desert and mountain and big cities in California,
My trips to Alaska included adventures I’d not expected. In order to get to a school to speak to students in the village of Kwithlik, I was driven in a big Suburban several miles on a frozen river—and back again, of course.  While in Anchorage the first time I made friends with two Native sisters and the second time I went I stayed with one in Wasilla and had a great time with her and her family. I spent the day in a middle talking to lots and lots of kids about writing mysteries.
Best of all, I’m doing what I’ve always loved, writing and talking about books.
Marilyn Meredith
Raging Water Blurb: Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation of the murder of two close friends is complicated when relentless rain turns Bear Creek into a raging river. Homes are inundated and a mud slide blocks the only road out of Bear Creek stranding many—including the murderer.
Contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.
Bio: Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Raging Water from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel us No Bells, the forth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at
Marilyn borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hillerman Writers Conference

Join me at the Hillerman Writers Conference on Friday, November 9, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for "Now That’s Funny: Writing with Humor." I'll be presenting with Richard Peck and Steve Brewer. The conference includes an all-day workshop for authors on pacing their work, a day on the craft of writing, and a day on the business of writing. For a discount, register before September 22 to take advantage of early-bird pricing. Visit for more schedule details and to register. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


I’ve become a writing hermit. My publisher and writer friends urge me to join twitter. I don’t because I don’t want to devote time to tweeting when I could be writing. I don’t keep up with my FaceBook page, and my blog has about four posts a year. I’ve virtually stopped reading non-fiction. I have a life outside of writing. My wife and I travel, cook, go to plays and museums, etc. But in my professional life, I just write.

So when Tim Hallinan invited me to be a contributor for a collection he was putting together on how to plot a book, I thought to myself, if I I don’t read non-fiction because I don’t want to lose another chunk of time, why would I lose an even bigger chunk writing it? But it’s Tim Hallinan, one of my favorite authors, and he did all the work. All I had to do was write a small piece about my plotting (or lack thereof).

It turned out to be surprisingly refreshing task. But what was more surprising was I enjoyed reading the contributions of the other twenty writers. That’s when I realized I had become a hermit. So now the book is out, and I hope some writers will be helped by it and that it sells enough copies for Tim to recoup the time and money he put into the project. And I’m glad I did it because I learned a lot from the other contributors and enjoyed both the reading and the writing. Will I start doing daily blogs? Probably not, but I’ll try to get out of the cave more often.

Here’s a description of the book by Tim Hallinan:

A bunch of fine crime writers who, among them, have written more than 100 novels, talk about their plotting process.  Following each essay there's a brief excerpt from a book by that writer and, at the end, a round table discussion about basic issues/challenges.  The writers are Brett Battles, Cara Black, Lisa
Brackmann, Rachel Brady, Rebecca Cantrell, Jeffrey Cohen, Meredith Cole, Bill Crider, Jeremy Duns, Leighton Gage, Gar Anthony Haywood, Wendy Hornsby, Debbi Mack, Mike Orenduff, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Zoe Sharp,Jeffrey Siger, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Kelli Stanley, Michael Stanley, and I.
I really think it's a good resource, even if I did edit it, and it's cheap, too.  It's at