I have to say, the title for my current release, Artful Murder, came before I started writing or had the story completely figured out. The only thing I knew about book 10 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series was where Shandra would be and what she would be doing. 
In the previous book, Haunting Corpse, Shandra had visited Warner High School snooping on a teacher and potential suspect for that book. Her reason for being at the school was to see about volunteering in their art department.  I took that little tidbit that at the time of writing book 9 I didn’t realize would be the catalyst for book 10. However, when I finished and needed a story for book 10, I thought, Shandra needs to go volunteer.
1)It would get her out of Huckleberry where there had been quite a few murders for a small community.
2)It gave me a new pool of characters to focus on.
3)She would be in an environment new to her.
With all of this in mind, I thought someone at the school has to be killed. And to make matters …

St. Patrick's Day and a Wedding!

Something interesting is always going on in our family and today is no exception.

My great-grandson is getting married to his love. He proposed at Christmas, so there's not been a whole lot of planning time. After the wedding, they'll be traveling to Kansas where they plan to live.
Because of the wedding, we'll be seeing lots of relatives. Last night we had dinner and lots of conversation with our eldest daughter and her hubby, and their granddaughter, Emily,  (one of our greats), and our youngest daughter and her hubby. They all live in Southern California.
Great-granddaughter who is a make-up artist and hairdresser is going to be performing her art on the bride. 
While we were visiting, we learned via Facebook, that great-grandson, Ethan, who is only a freshman at his high school, pitched a No-Hit game. He is Emily's brother. We were all excited about that.
I will write more about the wedding once it has happened.
This wedding will mean that all of granddaughter Meli…

One Book Down, On With the Next

Yesterday, I received the edits for my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, went over them, accepted some, made other changes, then sent it off to my new publisher, Aakenbaaken and Kent.

That means, I really have to get busy on the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I'm really behind on having it done. I'm on the third chapter.
No, I don't have an outline, but I do know what direction I'm headed. I have a title and a new setting.
The location of this mystery is Tehachapi. It is a place I'm familiar with, but for some details I need, I'll have to make a road trip and check the town and its environs out again.
For those of you not familiar with Tehachapi it is a mountain community. If you're headed through Bakersfield to Las Vegas, you'll need to drive through Tehachapi. There are two notable features there--the famous Loop, where a long freight train will meet itself coming and going as it takes a circular route around a sizable hill.  You might miss that, …

Writers in Action (A one day conference)

Writers in Action

When...May 19 2018
Where...PG&E Energy Center 
6588 Ontario Rd. San Luis Obispo, CA
Time...9:00-5:00 PM
Fee...$35.00 Members of Sisters In Crime
           $50.00  Non-Members      

   Welcoming...Barbara M. Hodges
    Opening Address...Judy Salamacha


Panel 1. Why Write...why not?
                  Moderator...Victoria Heckman 
                   Lida Sideris
                   R. Lawson Gamble

Panel 2. Making Time to Write
                  Moderator...Sue McGinty
                    Marilyn Meredith
                    Mara Purl

Panel 3. Getting Started
                  Moderator...Diane Broyles
                   Sue McGinty
                   Victoria Heckman

Lunch and Author Book Sales

Panel 4. Editing...Don't submit without it.
                   Moderator...Susan Tuttle
                    Priscilla Gruenewald
                     Judythe Guarnera

Panel 5. Your Road to Publishing
                   Moderator...Barbara M. Hodges
                    Dennis Eamon Youn…


A Little Knowledge Is Poisonous
Featuring  J.L. Greger and Gloria Casale A Little Knowledge Is Poisonous, as the saying goes. University professor and toxicologist, J.L. Greger, and physician and death scene investigator, Gloria Casale, take you beyond “Arsenic and Old Lace” to show you the ins and outs of committing murder. A mystery writer has so many choices when plotting a FICTIONAL murder—an acute or chronic poisoning, the health of the victim, the availability of the poison, and the list goes on, so hear about it from two ladies who literally know how to get away with murder.

Developing Your Character: The 100 things you should know about your character. List of 100 things defining your character that you should know before starting your book.Retired LAPD Detective and mystery writer, Mike Brandt, has known a lot of characters both in real life and fiction. He’ll take you through the A,B, C’s of building realistic characters who will jump off th…

DEADLY FEAST, Once a Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery

Recently, one of my friends called and said she'd just read Deadly Feast. She said it read like a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. She was right. When I wrote it, I intended it to be a Tempe mystery, but when I was finished I realized it didn't quite fit the criteria. There was nothing in it about the heroine being Native American or any references to anything Indian.

So, I changed the names of the two main characters and the town. Of course that meant there was still a lot of resemblance to the all my Tempe Crabtree mysteries.
The story revolves around a huge storm and people being stranded on the wrong side of the river when a bridge goes out. Of course there's a murder, a murder that revolves around food, and the heroine is put into great danger when someone pushes her into the rushing river.
I liked what I'd written and decided with a few changes, the book would still work.
When I first wrote it, I called it Guilt by Association. Under that title it won a best myste…

Meet Author Daniel Stallings

What a surprise--I attended San Joaquin Sisters in Crime's meeting, having no idea who our speaker was going to be. The very young man was introduced, and almost the first words out of his mouth were that when he was 16 he'd attended a writers meeting in Ridgecrest and the speaker was Marilyn Meredith giving a presentation on how to write a mystery. And since he'd been writing since he was a kid, he decided right there that's what he wanted to do.

He loves the books written by the Golden Age mystery writers and has followed in their footsteps. He loves a puzzle with lots of pieces and building a different set of clues. 
He writes about characters he knows about. 
He plans to continue writing about the main character he created, and the plan is that he will change and grow, got to new locations and have new experiences. He plans on writing an open-ended series with definite ends to each one. He wants to write as many books as he can.
Two pieces of advice for any writer…