Saturday, September 29, 2012


All smiles after a presentation in Fresno, Calif. are mystery writers (from left) Marilyn Meredith, who writes the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series; Victoria Heckman, whose series features Honolulu PD officer Katrina Ogden; JoAnne Lucas, co-author of VALLEY FEVER, a collection of short stories set in the Fresno area; Lorie Ham, author of the series featuring gospel singer Alexandra Walters and editor/publisher of the e-zine Kings River Life; Pat Browning, author of ABSINTHE OF MALICE, first in a series. 

It’s a pleasure to introduce Marilyn Meredith, a longtime friend from California. We both belonged to San Joaquin Sisters in Crime, headquartered in Fresno. We did book programs together. We showed up at some of the same conventions.

Marilyn is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She’s a member of EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection), three chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She is also on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America.

Marilyn Meredith Series Books:
Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series:
Raging Water 
Invisible Path
Dispel the Mist
Deadly Trail
Deadly Omen
Unequally Yoked
Calling the Dead
Judgment Fire
Kindred Spirits

Rocky Bluff P.D. Crime series
An Axe to Grind
Final Respects
(Not currently available)
Bad Tidings
Fringe Benefits
Smell of Death
(At this time the trade paperbacks are only available from the author from this website.)
No Sanctuary
(Available for this website, and from Kindle)

Marilyn says: I know there are some people who like to read a series in order, but let me reassure you that every book is complete. Though the characters grow through each book, the crime is always solved. Here is the order of the books for anyone who wants to know: Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us, Raging Water.

Marilyn is a tried-and-true veteran of electronic publishing. While her first e-book could be called accidental, she liked the format so much that she stayed with it. Her e-book KACHINA SPIRIT was a finalist for an Eppie Award, given for the first time in the year 2000 by Electronically Published Internet Connection, or EPIC.

Since that time, other books have been a finalist for the Eppie award, including JUDGMENT FIRE in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series and both NO SANCTUARY and AN AXE TO GRIND in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series which she writes under the name F. M. Meredith.

Writing as F. M. Meredith, she has been compared to Joseph Wambaugh. The cops of her fictional Rocky Bluff PD have lives that extend beyond the chase and the crime scene. They struggle to raise their children, deal with leaky faucets, and pay their mortgages. They have hopes, loves, fears, and nightmares. They come across like real people, with real lives.

HAP AND MARILYN MEREDITH -- A “TEAM” FOR 61 YEARS AND GOING STRONG. Here they are at EPICon 2004, the electronic publishing convention which took place at the Westin Hotel in Bricktown, Oklahoma City.

Marilyn and her husband Arnold--known as Hap to their friends--met on a blind date 60 years ago. "He was a cute sailor from the Port Hueneme Seabee base and I was a high school senior in Eagle Rock," she recalls. "Three of my friends met me with their dates, also servicemen, and we all took the streetcar to Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles, where we ate, danced and got acquainted.

"We took a taxi back to one girl's home, where someone was to come and drive me home--about three miles away. When it got late, we decided to walk. It never occurred to me to call my folks. We got home about three A.M. My parents were wild. I asked if Hap could spend the night, since he had no transportation. They let him stay on the couch in the den."

A few months later, Marilyn and Hap were married. Now retired, they live on the Tule River in Central California's Sierra foothills. Marilyn makes good use of California locations in her books. The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a fictional beach community located between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The Deputy Tempe Crabtree series has a striking resemblance to the foothill community where Marilyn lives now and includes the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation.

Marilyn says her first dealing with an e-publisher happened by accident. “I submitted a book to a publisher, and I didn't know he was an e-publisher until he sent me a contract. I thought, ‘Why not?’ He was a bit before his time, and before hand-held readers. He eventually went out of business.

“My second e-publisher also bit the dust. But then others came into the field with a little more knowledge about formatting the books for the new e-readers, and how to publicize them. And now, of course, nearly everyone is savvy about e-pubs and e-readers.”

Her view of the writing life:
“I have a home office, and I do some form of writing every day. If I wrote for the money, I'd have quit long ago. I write because I have to. The story pops into my head and I have to put it down on paper. There are many perks to writing besides money--the people you meet, both readers and other writers.”

Anything additional you want to share with your readers?

Yes, I'm running a contest. The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book—the winner can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.
Thank you, Marilyn, for stopping by, and best of luck with your next book -- I know you're working on something, right?

The view of the Sierra foothills from Marilyn's bedroom balcony!


Marilyn Meredith, author of the Tempe Crabtree series.

Mundania Press 2012
Trade Paperback and E-book

A rash of third-rate burglaries in a rundown neighborhood and the murder of two elderly residents shock the mountain community of Bear Creek. Add a fast-moving thunderstorm that brings torrential rains and Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy sheriff, can forget about her days off.

Who would murder two harmless old ladies? Did a drug addict simply want their medications or did they share a secret someone was willing to kill for? One of the victims hinted at a long ago affair with an important man but the locals toss it off as a romantic fantasy. Could a couple among the community's movers and shakers really pass off a love child as their own?

When a massive mud slide blocks the road into town, it cuts the community in half. In town, a temporary shelter is set up in the church, with meals served at the Bear Creek Inn. Tempe’s husband, Pastor Hutch, is in charge. On the other side of the slide, residents who live high above the river open their homes to friends and neighbors. Tensions rise and tempers flare.

At her best in this novel, Tempe Crabtree is one of my favorite protagonists, a sturdy little soul with one foot in the reality of her peacekeeper’s role and the other foot in the mysticism of her Indian heritage. Along with recurring characters Tempe, Hutch, Nick Two John and his partner Claudia, the author brings in some colorful additions to the story.

Miqui Sherwood, retired, is a former partner in a medical insurance group. Her house is situated to give her a sweeping view of the entire town. She's awakened by a creaking floorboard and realizes someone is in the house. Her “girls” – a terrier and a Doxie mix named Cleopatra and Blondie, respectively -- chase the intruder away. Miqui immediately decides to help Tempe solve the murders.

Then there’s Sunny, a woman who sometimes communicates with the dead before their journey to the next world. She’s visiting a friend, who invites Tempe to a sage smudging ceremony. Sunny sonjures fleeting images of the two murder victims and warms Tempe of impending danger. The danger is unspecified, however, and Tempe’s dreams are filled with disturbing visions.

Tempe survives two attempts on her life before coming face to face with an unrepentant murderer and a vicious burglar, both of whom share a scandalous secret. This latest entry in Marilyn Meredith’s long-running Tempe Crabtree series kept me glued to my chair and turning pages right up to the end.

I don’t have the foggiest idea what this is all about, but I keep seeing it on other blogs, so here it is.

FTC Disclosure Notice
FTC has a new regulation which went into effect in December, 2009 which says, basically, "Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined." Here's my required FTC Disclosure Notice regarding review copies of books obtained for this blog. No other compensation is accepted beyond review copies of books. When I do write a review, or opinion, the source of the book cited will be disclosed in the post in which the review/opinion appears. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elvis -- or his ghost -- rocks the joint!

E-book 2011

This book gave me an evening of pure entertainment. It's full of formatting glitches, a typo or two and some grammar miscues, but most of time I was so busy laughing I breezed right on by. Elvis isn't really dead; he's in a witness protection program. When he bounds onstage to perform at an Elvis Impersonators show my computer rocks.

Funny though it is, SUSPICIOUS MINDS is a crime novel and Paul Bishop has the bona fides for it. He spent 35 years with the Los Angeles PD, twice winning Detective of the Year awards. Currently he is a Detective III. A prolific writer, he’s the author of three crime fiction series, plus stand-alones. His blog features a collection of vintage Crime Detective book covers.

SUSPICIOUS MINDS was a “trunk book,” a good book that publishers don't want to take a chance on, so the author puts the manuscript in a trunk for another day. In his Forward, Bishop wrote:

“Some books are just plain fun to write, and so it was with Suspicious Minds -- a crazy Elvis conspiracy novel with a character -- Cole Ramsey -- who stepped onto the page fully formed. … Sometimes, parts of a trunk novel are cannibalized by the writer and dropped into other novels. In a different form, the finale of Suspicious Minds morphed into the finale (without the Elvises) of my novel Chalk Whispers. With the advent of e-books and e-publishing, I wanted to bring Suspicious Minds out of the trunk and into the light of day.”

SUSPICIOUS MINDS, the story --

March 1977, New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 2: Gordy Fontaine and Lew Sutton, DEA partners, show up for the burial of drug dealer Zachary Arceneaux. Trouble is, there's someone else in the coffin, while Arceneaux, guarded by two FBI agents, sits in a limousine watching his own funeral.

As the coffin is lowered, Gordy jumps on top of it and unscrews the lid, revealing the wrong corpse. The traditional jazz band strikes up like all heck breaking loose and in the melee an FBI agent is shot in the leg. It's a wild shot from the limo but Gordy gets the blame and goes on the lam.

June 1977, an arena in Indianapolis: Gordy buys a ticket to an Elvis concert. They've been friends ever since Elvis showed up at a DEA office wanting to help in the war on drugs. Gordy meets Elvis in his limo after the concert. The wheels begin to turn.

August 1977, Graceland, Memphis: Outside the Graceland gates, a man runs through a crowd of weeping mourners yelling that Elvis is not dead; it's a hoax. Nobody pays him any attention. Of course Elvis is dead. It was on radio and TV.

April 1996, West Hollywood, California: Cole Ramsey, a popular Elvis impersonator, gets a call from his sister, Joella, a deputy at West Hollywood Station. She wants him to find a safe place for a straggler who claims to be Elvis Presley. He looks like death warmed over and is asking for a DEA detective named Gordon Fontaine. He has no ID and there's no DEA agent named Gordon Fontaine, but there is something about the straggler ... if Cole would just check him out ...

Cole is a talented and affable young man with many friends. He calls in some favors that lead him to a sanitarium. So far, so good, but it's a set-up, and the chase is on. Gordy Fontaine has that evil old thug Zachary Arceneaux in his sights. And Elvis ... well, that would be telling. The ending is a pip.

This is one of the funniest books I ever read. I know … I know… I’m easily entertained, but I can’t help laughing when I read lines like this:
**"Cole didn't just march to a different drummer he boogied with a whole different orchestra."
**"It was a good scam, but it was being wasted on a guy who if you blew in his ear would thank you for the refill."

The story’s the thing in this book. It grabbed me from the beginning and never let go.