Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Once Again, my Birthday has Rolled Around, Marilyn Meredith

I am at an age that birthdays aren't all that important--except for the fact that I am still here, in good health, and enjoying many, many blessings. God has been good to me. I have a huge, supportive family--and so many little ones to love.

Here I am at one of my many birthdays--believe this one was the last biggie! I know the setting is my youngest daughter's home.

Some interesting facts about my birthday:

I share it with a good friend, Lorna Collins, who has so many personality quirks like mine that it's rather amazing.

I don't really like surprises--and have disappointed those who have tried to give me surprise birthday parties. Not because I figure it out, but because I always have things planned out and I think whatever is going on is going to mess up my plans. (Terrible, I know.)

As far as birthday presents go, there is nothing that I need or want--except maybe for more people to try my books. (Hint, hint.)

You can find Seldom Traveled , the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery at Amazon, but in all different formats at the publisher: 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Deadly Jewels by Jeannette de Beauvoir

This was an amazing read.

The tale begins with the heroine, Martine LeDuc, taking a Grayline tour of her Montreal, to remind herself why she loves her city.

Intertwined throughout the story is the tale of a German spy, during World War II--and important part of the whole story about the crown jewels of England being hidden away in Montreal for safety during the war years.

Being from the US and never having visited Canada, I was fascinated with what I learned about Montreal--making me want to visit while being drawn into this fascinating mystery.

The history of a part of the Holocaust, Nazis during World War II, and a touch of magic add to the complexities of this mystery.

There are many twists and turns and plenty of surprises, including the reveal at the end, which was totally unexpected.

I highly recommend Deadly Jewels.

I was given this book in exchange for an unbiased review--and I am so glad I had the chance to read it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Going on Towards Seldom Traveled

you'll see Seldom Traveled is already offered for sale on the Amazon site. The official release date isn't until August 19 when I should be able to order my author copies.

This is the official blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

With all the fires raging in California, this is a most timely mystery. However, my tale is fiction, what is happening to people all around the state is far too real. Families have lost their homes, some their pets, and many have been terrorized by the flames advancing as they are fleeing.

This book was written long before our latest rash of fires--so though it's not on the dedication page--I dedicate this book to all those who have been threatened by these fires.


Monday, August 15, 2016


Thanks Marilyn for inviting me to your blog and to write about my new release American Nights on August 17.

American Nights is the 6th in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake mystery/thriller series. Dru is a former policewoman turned child-finder (Child Trace, Inc.) and Lake is an Atlanta homicide lieutenant. Another major cast member is Portia Devon, a juvenile judge and Dru’s best friend since kindergarten at Christ the King Catholic school in Atlanta. Dennis Caldwell (Webdog) is Dru’s IT guru. She believes she’d never solve a case were it not for his computer wizardry. Pearly Sue Ellis is a newly-minted, gun-toting Child Trace investigator straight from South Georgia, eager to get her first field trial. She does. She succeeds, Pearly Sue style. Commander Haskell is head of the Atlanta Police Department’s Major Case Squad, Lake’s boss, and a friend to Dru. When with the APD, he had mentored her as a fast tracker.

In this book, a Saudi Arabian prince had gone to college with Portia Devon. Prince Husam asks Portia to convince Dru to find his wife, Reeve, and daughter, Shahrazad (Shara) on the quiet. Dru will not consider such an assignment without sharing the case with Lake. They are lovers and partners. He helps her in her cases; she helps him. That’s just the way it is, she tells Portia. After a take-it-or-leave it message, the prince gives in.

Portia tells Dru that the prince is a great storyteller and is partial to reciting tales from Thousand and One Nights, aka, Arabian Nights. One of his favorites, she told Dru, was Ali with the Large Member. Despite being a devout Sunni, he had no problem telling this risqué tale to crowds of men and women.

At a dinner to introduce himself and his story to Dru and Lake, he strikes Dru as charming but unbelievable. The meal is typical Saudi fare, but Hasam has added alcohol because, “When in America, you do what the American do.” To Lt. Lake, Hasam is too elusive in explaining his reason for finding his missing family. Besides he’s incredibly good looking and hit the Top 10 of the world’s most handsome men.

Prince Hasam tells of falling in love with Reeve Cresley, of turning his back on his possible ascendancy to the power structure of the Saudi kingdom for the woman he loves, their marriage and fathering a four-year-old daughter. He talks of his king’s disapproval of him marrying and siring an infidel. But then he says some cousins in the royal family are pressuring him to return to his homeland, renounce his American family, marry his betrothed, Saudi Princess Aya, and become an heir to kingship. Dru thinks she’s fallen into a fairy tale.

Dru talks to Reeve’s parents, Lowell and Donna Cresley, who do not seem disturbed that Reeve is missing with their granddaughter, Shara. They hate the prince and are generally disagreeable themselves. Dru senses Lowell is an unfaithful husband and an alcoholic. He is a prominent heart surgeon. Donna is a medical charity maven. Webdog, in researching the couple, finds Lowell’s made medical mistakes, and Donna sponsored a child that her husband unsuccessfully operated on.

The Cresley’s are murdered and Husam is suspect number one, although as the story progresses, other viable suspects emerge. After the murders, Dru and Lake discover where Reeve and Shara had been hiding—in a house in the Cresley’s ritzy gated community. The Cresley’s were taking care of the home while the residents were abroad. After the murder of her parents, and fearing Husam will find her and Shara, Reeve takes Shara to Boulder where she meets up with Thomas Page, a colleague and lover.

As U. S. visa resident, Prince Husam is a partner in a New York law firm. Reeve is a scientist who works for NASA in the planetary division in Boulder. The couple spend little time living together. Husam goes off to Paris to see his Saudi princess, Aya, and Reeve is in an affair with Thomas Page. As Dru remarks, nobody in this tale is faithful.

Through Web’s internet digging and his connection to Interpol, Dru learns that a French biographer is writing a book on the royal family. A revelation will change Husam’s life.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you. Other than there are several Arabian Nights tales in the book told by Hasam. He is quite a charmer and the tales are as bawdy as modern stories.

That is how, my dear friends, American Nights got its title.

--Gerrie Ferris Finger

Bio and links Gerrie Ferris Finger:

Retireed journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution,Gerrie Ferris Finger won the 2009 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel for The End Game. The Last Temptation is the second in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series. She lives on the coast of Georgia with her husband and standard poodle, Bogey.

Buy link for Running with Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger:
Buy link for American Nights:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Coming Soon, But When? by Marilyn Meredith

Seldom Traveled, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series,is due out this month. The question is, when? I've heard nothing so I'm getting a bit nervous.

My blog tour is scheduled to begin on September 3rd and I do hope books will be obtainable by then.

I'm holding off on setting up a book launch because I want to make sure I have books to show and sell. Once the book is ready, I have to purchase my copies. 

Is this not knowing unusual? Not at all when you're published by a small press--but that doesn't make it any easier.

I have plenty to keep me busy until that time, but then the rush will be on to get the word out.

I'm proud of this book, it truly fits in with what is happening all around the state of California right now--forest fires and wild fires.

Here is the official blurb:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Hopefully, I'll have some news soon!

Right after I wrote this I learned the target date is August 19, and that I should be able to have print books before September 3. Woo hoo!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

An Open Letter to Police Families by Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D.

 Living Through Troubled Times: An Open Letter To Police Families by Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D. adapted from the forthcoming second edition of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know (anticipated date of publication 2018). Feel free to download and share this excerpt, but please provide the appropriate credit.

These are troubled times for police officers and their families. There's an almost endless stream of bad press about law enforcement along with the unthinkable assassinations of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, numerous anti-police protests, lethal mass shootings, and the increased threat of terrorism. Dash cams, body cameras and cell phone cameras have charged the atmosphere and changed the way officers work. In light of all that is happening, the job looks more dangerous and appears more brutal than ever.

I've been counseling police officers and their families for thirty years, through good times and bad. This letter and the ideas offered is my way to say thank you to police families everywhere.

•Distinguish between what you can control and what you can't.
My colleagues at the First Responders' Support Network (FRSN.ORG) use a donut to model the distinction between what you can and can't control. In the donut hole are the things you control; your beliefs, your actions, your thoughts, your ethics and your professionalism. This is not as easy as it may sound. We humans have difficulty changing behaviors, breaking bad habits, and quieting the almost constant chatter in our heads that tells us things should be different from how they are and we should be different from how we are.
            The donut itself represents our sphere of influence.  Influence is different from control. Our ability to influence others depends on how well we communicate and how skillfully we can negotiate relationships.
            Outside the donut is the great wide world of things and people that affect us deeply but over which, no matter how much we wish it was otherwise, we have little or no control.  This is a tough one for cops to understand. Policing is all about control, control of people, situations and emotions. Cops have to believe that they can establish control or they couldn't do the job society asks them to do. It's a necessary belief, but sadly it's not always realistic. Cops don't control their chiefs, their politicians, the media or public opinion. They can influence, but not control.

• Respond, don't react.
Our reactions tend to be emotional, immediate, intense and often fueled by fear or anger (anger being a secondary emotion. If you dig around in your anger you'll likely find fear or hurt.) Reactions create trouble for ourselves and the people around us because they are reflexive rather than well thought out. After the tragic murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, families and officers universally reacted with increased fears about safety. These fears are normal. It's important to talk about them, discuss your concerns with each other, your children and other LEO spouses. Be vigilant, but not hyper-vigilant.  Be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Listen, rather than react. Home is the one place no one should have to put on a brave face. Do not make any decisions out of fear. Do what you can to support each other even when you see things differently. Determine what each of you need at this time and how best to provide it. If there was ever a time to put family first, this is it.

•Take the long view: We have been through periods of unrest and hostility towards law enforcement before. Right now, it feels like the bad times will never end, but they have and they will again. While it may be cold comfort, the reality is that despite the recent police tragedies, policing is safer than ever with fewer law enforcement homicides.
            Change takes time, sometimes generations. And it happens on many fronts. Short of a cataclysmic event there is rarely any single person, institution, or action that can generate big societal changes. Uniform services, in general, are bound by tradition and often resistant to change. There are many changes taking place in these tumultuous times and more to come in the future. Whether it's something new or something disturbing, ask yourself, will this matter in five hours, five days, five years? If so how and over what part of the change do you have control? Then go look at a donut.

•Take the big view: Police routinely underestimate the support and respect they have in their communities. On the other hand, communities could do a much better job of showing their support. Once-a-year award banquets given by civic organizations are nice, but cops need community support on a daily basis. There is evidence that this is happening all over the country. Spontaneous memorials, post-it notes left on patrol cars, food, flowers, letters, free hugs and donations of money are in the news.  Along with all the bad news, there are countless examples of how communities are stepping up. Look for these examples, share them with your kids, post them on Pinterest or FB. Start something yourself. The point is to stay positive and realistic. Avoid the doomsayers and fear mongers.

•Use caution with social media and blogs
Fanning the flames of despair is the never ending noise of social media demanding to know are you with us or against us, as if there is no middle way and a person can belong only in one camp. Anecdotes, personal opinions, politics and an array of competing, sometimes biased, sets of statistics get presented as objective facts.  If you just can't stay away (I know it's hard), limit the amount of time you and your children spend on-line. Monitor what your children do on the Internet and help them think critically about what they read. Set strict privacy settings on all your accounts.

•Pay attention to your body
If you feel yourself tensing up or notice that you are breathing more rapidly and less deeply, put down the newspaper, turn off the TV, unplug from your computer, end the conversation. When there is time to think, which is most of the time, bear in mind that it is hard think clearly or make wise, wholesome decisions for yourself or your family, when you are in a state of tension. Take a breath. Take several. Go for a walk. Call a trusted friend.

•Stay connected and be prepared
Retired LEO and FRSN peer support coordinator, Nick Turkovich, warns against isolating. Talk to your families and friends about how this seemingly unending stream of bad news makes you feel. But remember, people who are intimately involved in law enforcement see things differently from the general public. Some of your friends and family might not understand about deadly force or other police procedures. Be prepared for ignorant questions and try not to over react when they come. Be patient. Expect people to ask dumb questions. Most do so because they are uninformed, not  malicious.  On the other hand, it's perfectly okay to end a conversation you don't want to have. The trick is to do it without starting a fight. If you are normally not assertive, learn some techniques of assertion.
            Some cops do bad things. They represent a tiny fraction of the nearly 900,000 American law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, they cast shame over the whole profession, making every officer's job harder. While people will and do jump to conclusions before the facts are in, it's not your responsibility to defend, explain, or apologize for anyone's behavior just because he or she is a cop. Do not let anyone assume that as a law enforcement family you don't understand the broader issues that trouble our country or that you have written anyone off.
            Seek out other law enforcement families for support but try to put a cap on the shop talk that inevitably comes up. Don't neglect hobbies. Do something different, learn something new. Be realistic, but stay positive. In troubled times, this is your biggest challenge.
• Take a break. Hold things lightly.
Police spouse Gina Bamberger offers this advice: "In the wake of the sadness and heartache of these last few weeks, I want to remind my pals to look to the simple things in life to find peace. Watching a toddler wobble around like a drunken sailor, making eye contact and sharing a smile with someone, enjoying that breeze that caresses the back of your neck just when you need a little relief from the heat. Hugging a friend who loves you for exactly who you are, and watching a garden grow!"
            I'd add that exercise is the best medicine. Go to the gym, take a walk, or get out in nature. Try to have fun. It is not disloyal. If you need professional help, find a culturally competent therapist or chaplain who knows what cops do and why.

Police psychologists Dr. Katherine McMann and Dr. Sara Garrido suggest helping children distinguish between possibility and probability. It's possible that Mom or Dad could get hurt on the job, but not probable. Remind them that almost a million cops go to work and come home safely every day. Show them your protective gear and tell them about the training you go through. If you haven't already done so, take them to the police station, let them sit in a patrol car, introduce them to the 911 dispatchers who are your lifelines.          
            Young children are most concerned with issues of separation and safety. Older kids, especially adolescents are sensitive to being in the spotlight. Help them know what to say in response to taunts they might get at school. Identify adults they can turn at school or when you're not around.
            Keep to a normal routine. Encourage talking (or writing or drawing) about their fears and problem solve as a family. Make sure your children's understanding of events is accurate. Be honest and give them only as much age-appropriate information as they can tolerate without become frightened. Listen carefully. Don't try to address your child's concerns before you understand them. Accept that you won't have all the answers. It is often enough to offer reassurance that, under the circumstances, their feelings of anger, sadness, and fear are normal.
            Dr. Marla Friedman, police psychologist, recommends increasing family time and one-on-one time with the law enforcement parent. She advocates using technology like Face time or Skype during your work shift to reassure your children that you are safe.
            Finally, try to stay on an even keel. Your children are likely to imitate the way you are coping and will react more to your emotional state than to whatever's happening in the world around them.

Thanks to my colleagues at the First Responder's Support Network, to Dr Katherine McMann and Dr. Sara Garrido of Nicoletti-Flater Associates and to Dr. Marla Friedman for their ideas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Great Tips on Dialogue from the PSWA Conference

Mysti Berry provided those of us who attended the PSWA conference some great tips about writing effective dialogue--here are a few:

You can make dialogue stronger.

Dialogue should move the story forward, reveal character and underscore the theme.

People don't necessarily say what they mean.

Dialogue isn't 100% the same as human speech.

Find the core of the conflict.

Differences in the perception of power.

More power says less--who has the power in the conversation?

Play with power in the dialogue.

Everyone lies.

When two people are speaking, there should be a back-and-forth rhythm. 

Characters shouldn't address one another by name. 

And I'll add something about dialogue tags: Though said and asked are better than any fancy attributes--better still have the character do something,make an action the dialogue tags. No one sits perfectly still while talking.

During a conversation, people seldom give a long speech--if they try the other person will interrupt them.

Don't have one character tell another what that person already knows. 


Coming soon: