Saturday, December 24, 2011


To all my wonderful friends who blog, who follow this blog, or who love to read, just a reminder that in order to be a STAR, we indeed must remember to follow the STAR.

No, I don't mean someone who lives the glitz and glam of a racy Hollywood lifestyle.

The gift of a STAR was the original GPS device that guided the wisemen to a lowly manger where our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, lay. Can you imagine the surprise of the new parents, Mary and Joseph, when such royal guests appeared? There were no engraved birth announcements or previous invitations to register for a baby shower at Macy's, Target, Dillards, or Babys R Us. Likewise, no newspaper articles were printed and definitely no Internet networking media blurb to proclaim the birth of the King....our Messiah's grand debut.

As we settle in to celebrate the original STAR's birthday, why not take a few moments to count your blessings. Whether you are a published author, aspiring author, a voracious reader, or just a web surfer...remember, you will always be a STAR in Christ's eyes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The Pen Temptress: THE STORY OF THE CANDY CANE: Ah, the smell of peppermint...always fresh, tasty, and brings to mind Christmas. The endearing sticks of candy may look very simple, but sug...


Ah, the smell of peppermint...always fresh, tasty, and brings to mind Christmas. The endearing sticks of candy may look very simple, but suggest an awesome symbolic birth.

I'd like to share it with you as my Christmas gift in words. Perhaps some of you already know the legend of the candy cane. If not, sit back and enjoy my sweet treat for everyone.

     There once was a candy maker who wanted to make a candy that would be very special for Christmas. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy to symbolize that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary who was pure and holy. He made it hard and crunchy to show the solid rock on which the church is founded. The top is bent over like a shepherd’s staff because Jesus called himself “The Good Shepherd”. The candy maker also remembered the first people who came to worship Jesus at the manger were shepherds.  He looked at the plain white design and decided to add red because Jesus went through terrible torture before he died and was whipped across his back. The candy maker hoped the red stripes would remind everybody Jesus shed His blood for us when He died on the cross on Good Friday.
      Even though he was proud of his accomplishment, he wasn’t actually satisfied.  So, the man prayed, “Dear Jesus, help me make my candy cane show the true meaning of Christmas.” 
      Suddenly, the piece of candy slipped from his hand and fell upside down on the floor. At that moment, he saw it no longer as a piece of hardened sugar, but the letter “J”.  "Jesus! Jesus is really what Christmas is all about!"


Sunday, October 9, 2011


Everyone, let me introduce my friend and author, Smoky Zeidel. Thank you for your time because I know you are such a busy lady. Your portfolio covers a kaleidoscope of talents from writing fiction, non-fiction, to poetry, prose, and photography. Would you please elaborate for my readers?

The answer is simple: words are my life. I can't imagine doing anything that doesn't encompass writing. I express myself better through the written word than through oral communication. However, I do quite a bit of that, too, as a writing instructor and frequent guest speaker at book fairs and writing conferences. When I experience something, I want to write it down and share it with whoever will read it. That's why I do my Observations of an Earth Mage blog, and why I wrote the book of the same title. When I am out in nature, I experience such an array of emotions when I see a mountain, a tide pool, a bear, a rattlesnake, an exquisite flower. It doesn't matter how grand or how small, natures touches me, and I want to share that with people who perhaps have never had such an experience. The same goes for my imagination: I dream up wild story ideas from things I experience, and then I can't wait to turn those ideas into stories. My latest book, my Short Story Collection, Volume I, has five of these wild ideas turned into stories; it also contains an autobiographical story about my being struck by lightning twenty-two years ago. I wrote that one because people always are asking me about it.

Goodness Smoky, you are even more multi-faceted than I knew. Can you tell us about your background? When did these things become dear to you?

When I was a child, my father took us on grand adventures all across the country. We didn't have much money, but we always spent weeks and weeks traveling from National Park to National Park and to visit my relatives on the East Coast. From Dad, I learned my deep appreciation of nature. On the Choptank Shores, my latest novel (formerly release as Redeeming Grace), is set at my aunt and uncle's peach orchard on the eastern shore of Maryland. The Cabin, my most popular book, is set in the mountains of Virginia where my father grew up. These trips were precious to me. I remember as a tiny child, I'd pack my suitcase weeks and weeks before we'd leave on our trips.Of course, it would get unpacked as the days went by, and I had to pull out clothes to wear. But after laundry day, it would be packed and ready to go again.

Do you feel your background helped with your career?

Absolutely. As I said, the setting for most of my books came from my travels. The same for my short stories. Leap, which is the short story collection (and for which I received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2003), is set in my favorite eastern national park: Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wow...a big congrats on such an awesome nomination, Smoky.

But it goes further than that. It took me seventeen years, yeah...seventeen to get my bachelor's degree because I kept switching my major. Everything was so interesting to me. I joke around that I majored in everything but physics, and that's probably not far from the truth. My curiosity is what made me a sought-after feature writer for newspaper and magazine. It also is what makes my fiction good: curiosity makes writers tick. I have something I call wonderlust. I define wonderlust as a feeling that makes you say, "I wonder what's over there? I wonder what would happen if?" A writer without wonderlust won't last long in this profession.

I understand you do reviews for newspapers and magazines, as well as books. How did you get started on this interesting path?

Just to clarify, I don't do these any longer. The only book reviews I do now are for my Smoky Talks Books, one of four blogs I write. But yes, I used to write book reviews for Sage Woman and Pan Gaia magazines. Then, I became the book reviewer for the Champaign, Illinois newspaper, the News-Gazette. I quit doing the magazines when Pan Gaia ceased publication, and Sage Woman when the magazine changed its focus and I no longer wanted to be associated with it. I'm quite happy now simply reviewing for my blog.

And I was so honored to be featured on your Smoky Talks Books. Tell us which is easier or more enjoyable to review?

I prefer to review good fiction with strong characters and an interesting plot. But to be clear, this is also now the only fiction I review. I quit reviewing books I did not like on my blog when one author got very snippy with me because she didn't care for the review. My opinion is, if you don't want my opinion, don't ask me to review your book. Now, I simply tell authors that if they don't see their book reviewed, it means that I could not write a glowing review about it, and therefore chose not to write about it. There are too many great books out there for me to waste my time on bad ones. I've loved every book I've reviewed that was published by Fisher King Press, for example.

It is true, if you want to be in this business, you have to have 'tough skin' sometimes. Hopefully, each person will turn it into a positive opportunity to grow and become better at the skill. Now tell our readers about your newest projects.

I'm very busy right now. I'm more than halfway through my third novel, The Storyteller's Bracelet.

Gosh, that sounds intriguing already.

I also have a fourth novel, The Madam of Bodie, in the works.

Another great title, Smoky.

I'm also working on some new short stories. Some story ideas I have just aren't suitable for novels; they are complete in far fewer words. That's why I like writing short stories-you write until you are done, and then you stop. No word counts to worry about.

Can you explain the type of research you did?

For On the Choptank Shores, most of my research involved going through my old photo albums, looking at pictures of my aunt and uncle's orchard, to remind myself of the setting description. I did have to do one bit of research at the library that was fun to figure out what type undergarments a woman wore in the 1920's. There were no bras; they wore bust confiners!

For The Cabin, I had to do considerably more. It is partially set during the Civil War era. The cabin in the title is a stop on the Underground Railroad. I had to do a lot of research about it to make the novel believable. It's fun when you learn something new while writing your books.

I've had to do a lot of research for The Storyteller's Bracelet,as the tale largely takes place at one of the Indian schools our federal government forced Native Americans to attend in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Some were decent places, but some were terrible. The one in my story falls into the latter category.

Many authors say they have a niche or setting to stir those creative juices. Do you, and if so, would you please give us a peek inside?

If you're talking about where I do my writing, yes, I have a wonderful niche-and that's a perfect word for it. My husband and I live in a rare patch of green in Southern California, just outside Los Angeles. We live in the hills on the southern side of the San Gabriel Valley in a forest of scrub oak, California buckeye, and avocado trees. Our cottage is tiny-only 800 square feet, plus a ramshackle porch that is tacked onto the back. It is there I do my writing. I have it decorated with artwork by fiends, Mexican bark paintings, and tiny treasures I collect. My windows look out over the valley and to the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains beyond. It is a place of rare and exquisite beauty. Mule deer, ground squirrels, and coyotes frequently trot through our back yard. Recently, a large male bob cat has been hanging out, chatting with my little Siamese cat, Po. I can't tell if the bobcats looks at Po as a potential mate or a potential meal. Either way, my cats are always kept indoors.

I'm not a bit surprised to hear your 'niche' is decorated by nature; it fits you. On another subject, what was the craziest thing you've ever done when it came to a storyline?

Don't know that I have a crazy storyline, but when I was writing my short story, Good-Bye, Emily Dickinson, which is included in the short story collection, I considered having the main character, who is a mentally ill, homeless woman, carry around a doll. So, I bought a Big Lots version of a Cabbage Patch doll and toted her around to gauge people's reactions to an adult woman holding and talking to a doll. You know what was crazy? Not my carrying the doll...the fact, no one noticed! In these days of Blue Tooth and hands-free cell phones, it's nothing to see people 'talking to themselves'. You can't tell the normal ones from the crazies.

How funny-but I love your idea to get 'into character', after all, it is the characters that make us love the books. What are a few of your favorite books?

Wow, I read so favorite book of all time is Death With Interruptions, by the Portuguese Nobel Prize winning author, Jose Saramago. He's very tough to read, because he never uses quotation marks and very rarely uses commas, but he is brilliant. Death With Interruptions is, in my opinion, his finest book. I loved Susan Vreeland's The Forest Lover, a fictionalized account of the life of Emily Carr, a Canadian artist whose favorite subject matter was the totem poles of the British Colombian native people. I loved Margaret George's Helen of Troy. Most recently, Malcolm R. Campbell's Sarabande had an incredible effect on me. Full disclosure: Sarabande was published by my own publisher, Vanilla Heart, but it would have touched me anyway.

As I mentioned earlier, you interviewed me recently on your blog. May I ask how your method of choice?

Often times, I interview authors whose books I reviewed, like Patricia Damery and Elizabeth Clark-Stern. Some authors I've found and friended on Facebook or Twitter, like you, Jeannie. Some contact me directly.

As an author and reviewer, what advice would you give others aspiring to follow in your footsteps?

I have three standard things I tell aspiring writers. First, study your craft. People tend to think they can just decide to write a book and sit down to write one. But writing a book is an art, just like playing the piano and painting a masterpiece are art forms. Second, get your book professionally edited. I've seen so many books full of errors because writers had their Aunt Frieda or their next-door neighbor do it. Editors know what a good manuscript looks like. They can find mistakes you probably didn't even know were mistakes. Don't skimp on this step. Third, don't give up just because your book isn't accepted at first. Publishing a book is like running into a wall at full speed. When you hit that wall, you knock yourself out and bloody your nose in the process. If you pick yourself up, wipe off the blood, and say, "Gee, that felt good. I think I'll do it again", you'll eventually knock the wall down. The same goes for getting your book published.

I love your visual, and we both know it isn't an overnight process.

Please tell us, what do you do in your 'spare' time?

My husband and I are nature lovers-we grew up in the 1960's-1970's and are still hippies at heart. This is a time when living where we live is such a blessing. We can wake up in the morning and ask each other, "Where do you want to go today-the ocean, the desert, or the mountains?" We hike, we picnic, we sit by a mountain stream or lake and write poetry, or draw, or read. We also both mediate, so we do that at home and when we are in a place of exquisite natural beauty. We adore camping and are packing to go to the Sierras for a few days as I write your interview.

We are also animal lovers and our dog and three cats keep us occupied. We have four kids between us; Scott has two, and I have two. My son Steve lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife Lindsay, but the other three are here in Southern California. My daughter Robin is a talented actress, model, and college student. His daughter, Janie is a jazz vocalist with a voice that starts at the bottom of her toes and will shiver and shake you like no one else. How such a big voice comes out of that tiny body is beyond me. Finally, Scott's son, Christopher, is a grad student working on his second master's degree. We have smart, talented, creative kids.

Sounds like to me, your children followed directly in their parent's footsteps.

Please tell our audience where they can find your work or books.

I will list the links to all my pages. Through these links, you can friend me on Facebook and Twitter (and please do!), read my blogs on my Wordpress page, find me on Goodreads, and purchase my books in print or eBook versions on Amazon, Smashwords, and All Romance.

Here is a collage of Smoky Zeidel's books and links. You're missing out if you don't check her out!
Website and Blog:

Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Smashwords Author Page:

All Romance Author Page:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome Fellow Readers, Authors and Friends!

Today, I'm excited to be interviewing Patty Wiseman, a friend and author.

Patty can you give us a little background information before we begin?
First of all Jeannie, thank you for having me. I was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. After high school graduation, I set out for Bartlesville, Oklahoma to attend college. I spent 10 years there before moving to Texas where I have resided for over 30 years now. Between my two grown sons and stepdaughter, I have 15 grandchildren. Eighteen years ago, I married for the second time. My husband, Ron, and I live in the country with our creme lab, Cutter. I've worked for 23 1/2 years as an administrative assistant to a financial advisor. I will be retiring in 2012 and hope to write full time.

Where did the inspiration come for your novel?
This story is very personal and dear to my heart. My father never knew his own father. Daddy was only 10 months old when grandfather was killed in a fire. It had been an arranged marriage, and my grandmother moved far away, remarried, and buried the past. Dad searched during his lifetime to find any information he could about his father. Unfortunately, he died before he could realize that dream. I took up the search and through found my grandfather's grave in Detroit, Michigan. It was a chain reaction after that, and I began to piece together their story. My book is a fictional work based on the information I found. I'm sad my dad didn't get to know these things.

Since this is your debut novel, what advice would you give another aspiring writer? Just do it. Begin...and never give up. Cliche, I know, but if writing is your passion, then hone your craft, keep learning, and reach out to like-minded writers. They are a wonderful group of people. Each effort will find you improving and growing.

What surprised you the most about your own writing? Voice. I always heard that each writer has a voice, and you have to keep writing to find it. As I kept going, learning, and observing, my voice seemed to emerge. I have two distinct voices, I think. I love history and love to write in past eras, but I also love comedy. I have a romantic comedy I hope will be ready after the first of the year. Two distinctly different voices. Don't be afraid to branch out!

How did you complete the research for this book? Like I mentioned before, was a big factor in tracking things down. I also found many writers who live in Michigan who supplied me with great historical facts about life in Detroit in the 1920's. The Internet is a wonderful thing.

Do you have a specific writing style? Writing style to me is the voice. I love old English, and so writing in the past allows me to use that style, but I also write in a contemporary style in my other works, such as comedy and poetry.

What books influenced you the most and which authors? Because I am a history buff, I have to list Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Who doesn't like Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind? On a more contemporary note, I love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series. Among other favorites, David McCullough's John Adams, and Jon Meacham's American Lion. Donald McCaig's Rhett Butler's People is right up there, too. I love reading about ancient Queens, also.

Name one entity, outside of family, that supported this accomplishment the most. One entity? Well, that's hard. I have an amazing critique group, a writing partner, and a writer's association who, not only support me, but teach me as I go.

What is the most challenging thing in writing a book? One of the most challenging is time. Life tempts you away from the discipline of writing. But for me...keeping the time-line straight. I struggled with that at first. My current WIP-I am doing storyboards! It is going much smoother.

Is there any thing specific you would like to say to other writers and readers?Writers, keep writing. We need your stories to feed our voracious appetites to travel in the worlds of your making. I'm always looking for the next great read. Readers, keep reading, and as you cross over to our universe, remember, we are there with you, looking over your shoulder, saying...'See? Did you hear it?' We walk with you into that new world.

Jeannie, thank you for the opportunity to visit with you and your readers. It's been a privilege and an honor!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Can It Be Real?


My co-authored, romantic suspense novel is SO close to being in print. It almost doesn't seem possible. However, I meet with Don A. Martinez, the editor and publisher, tomorrow to finalize the details. Don is the creator of Desert Coyote Productions. I'd love for everyone to check out the website.

Don is an extraordinary intelligent individual with insight and expertise. He is an accomplished writer and author who opened a door for me and my writing partner in several ways. To just say thank you seems almost like an insult, but THANK YOU, DON!

Okay, okay, you want to know the name of the book right? Well, as soon as things are finalized, I definitely will have it posted on this blog.

The Pen Temptress

Wednesday, February 9, 2011




Just so our readers will know, Cheryl Norman and I met through Facebook several years ago. She has been a huge inspiration in my writing career. However, for those of you who don't know her, Cheryl is also a breast cancer SURVIVOR.

In true CHERYL NORMAN form, she turned her writing skills in another direction from Romantic Suspense to Cookbook Author to help others who are walking in her shoes or who have loved ones facing that scary path.

Cheryl has combined her passion for writing and healthful cooking by publishing two cookbooks (both finalists in the EPPIEs in the self-help category). Currently, she is writing a cookbook for patients with suppressed immune systems, a subject she knows well after recent chemotherapy treatment. She works with other breast cancer survivors to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of the disease. She also helps writers with her Grammar Cop blog, newsletter articles, and workshops.

Cheryl Norman grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where she wrote her first mystery at the age of 13. She earned a BA in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. After a career in the telecommunications industry, she returned to fiction writing and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort.

Her debut with Medallion Press, Restore My Heart, led to a mention in Publisher's Weekly as one of ten new romance authors to watch.

Running Scared, a romantic suspense set in Jacksonville, Florida, and Washington, D.C., received a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today.

Reviewer Harriet Klausner calls her writing "Mindful of Linda Howard..."

Her latest romantic suspense novel for Medallion is Reclaim My Life,
and Cheryl has two novellas in the anthology Romance on Route 66.

Rebuild My World, the sequel to Reclaim My Life, will be published by Turquoise Morning Press.

Cheryl, what was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

To relax and let the characters lead me. This requires a lot of prep work, of course, where I allow myself to get acquainted with my main characters completely. I have pages and pages of "interviews" with them, along with character worksheets and picture boards. It helps me to "see" my characters in my head and let the story scenes move in my mind like a motion picture.

If I try to manipulate the story or push the writing, it shows, and I have to revise. Nobody likes to read contrivances and cliches, and that's what forced writing produces.

How interesting. You truly do your research. What book or project are you currently working on?

RECIPES FOR RECOVERY. After surviving breast cancer and its treatment, I want to help others by passing along cooking tips and recipes I learned while weak from chemotherapy and radiation. These are shortcuts that save effort and time while boosting the patient/cook's nutrition. Anemia, for instance, is a common side effect from treatment. I learned ways to enrich the diet with iron without increasing one's serum cholesterol.

I realize this is a departure from romance writing, but I am a cookbook author, too. I have two cookbooks out now, "CHEF" CHERI'S HASTY TASTY MEALS and HASTY TASTY MEALS IN THE RV. Check out my cooking blog at

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Obviously, you need to write and produce. The more you write, the more you learn. Get feedback (other than your best friend or sister) from another writer or two whose work you respect. It's like learning to play tennis. You'll never improve if you don't play against stronger players. Finally, accept feedback and learn from it. Don't be defensive or sensitive to critiquing. The way to hone your craft is to learn. Using the tennis analogy, you need to practice, challenge yourself, learn, and apply what you learn. Sound easy? Well...

I will admit that a good writer never stops learning and growing. If she does, it will show, and readers will stop buying her books. We all have room for improvement, even those on the NYT Bestseller list.

So practice makes perfect...or at least better, right? What do you think makes a good story?

Character growth. If your protagonist hasn't learned some kind of lesson by the end of the story, it's not a satisfying read. Of course, he/she has to suffer a lot first! *LOL*

I'm such a great fan of yours. Do you hear from your readers much?

I do, and I love the feedback. One reader, who was disabled, wrote to compliment me on the realistic and sensitive way I dealt with my heroine's disability in RESTORE MY HEART. Another, a marathon runner, wrote to say she was re-reading RUNNING SCARED because it inspired her. Those comments remind me why I love writing so much.

I'd like to share with our audience, Cheryl and her husband, and me and my husband, have a deep bond because of our love of cars. RESTORE MY HEART grabbed my attention with just the title. I love all your work, but this one is my favorite. I'm inviting everyone to buy and read it!

Tell us about your newest book. When will we be able to buy it?

REBUILD MY WORLD will be out April 11 from Turquoise Morning Press. It's available in all formats, including print. Although it connects to my previous book (RECLAIM MY LIFE), it stands alone. My heroine is a survivor of a brutal crime that leaves her suffering from agoraphobia. She still feels in danger and is hiding out in the little town of Drake Springs, Florida, where she encounters the chief deputy. Naturally, there's a romance developing between them. Unfortunately, he can't get past his hatred for her family. Even if he learns to forgive, he first has to catch the killer who's after her.

I dedicated REBUILD MY WORLD to the memory of one of my high school classmates who was brutally murdered in 1992. The case is still unsolved.

Thank you so much for this awesome interview, sweet friend!

Visit Cheryl at her website:
and Facebook:

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Marilyn Meredith, mystery novel writer, public speaker, and writing teacher, caught my attention about 4 years ago with her TEMPE CRABTREE MYSTERY SERIES. At that time, our granddaughter, Tempe, was about to celebrate her 1st birthday. When I contacted Ms. Meredith to purchase my first book, I explained my interest to read and collect them for our Tempe. Marilyn graciously autographed it as though Tempe herself had bought it and wished her a Happy Birthday.

The classic question "what inspired you to write" is one of my favorites. To me, everyone has a story, and it's their story to tell.

I started writing way back when I was a kid. I learned to read right away, but my true inspiration was listening to the soap operas on the radio that my mom always had on while she worked. Before I could even write, I was drawing my own picture stories based on one of those soap operas. From then on, I've always been writing something: stories, a magazine for my friends, plays for the neighborhood kids to perform, and as an adult when my kids were young, it was the PTA newsletter and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to be in. I wrote two novels which were rejected, and I threw them away. I started writing again seriously when my youngest child was in grammar school.

Do you have a writing quirk? Time of day, weather, a cozy corner, a full cup of coffee, a favorite t-shirt that starts the creative juices to flow, etc.

Mornings are my best time to write, and I always write in my office though I may take notes or edit in other parts of the house. I begin each day with a cup of Chai Tea Latte.

Chai Tea Latte sounds delicious, Marilyn. Can you tell me what surprised you the most about your own writing?

How the ideas keep flowing. Because I write two series, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries and the Rocky Bluff P.D., I write one and the other. While I'm writing a Tempe book, ideas pop in my head for the bunch who work for the Rocky Bluff P.D.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas and information come from everywhere: newspapers, news on TV, people I meet, speakers at Sisters in Crime meetings, PSWA writing conferences, mystery cons, and of course, the Internet.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love to read and spend time with my family. Hubby and I enjoy going to movies and eating out a couple of times a month. He's great about going along with me to mystery and writing conferences.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in crating your books?

Back when I first started writing, I found out that I didn't know anything about Point of View. Oh, I knew what having a point of view meant, but not about the POV in a story. It means staying inside one character's head during a scene-the person who has the most at stake in the scene. Once the writer can master that, writing is much easier.

I agree. There was a time when I truly struggled with POV in my own writing.
What projects are you currently working on?

I've started a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, as yet unnamed. At the same time, I'm doing first edits on the next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel called No Bells. I've sent the Tempe book off to the publisher that will come out this fall, Bears With Us. While all this is happening, I'm also planning the promotion for Angel Lost, Rocky Bluff P.D. due out in March.

Wow! You really are a busy person, Marilyn. Can I ask if you have any suggestions to help me or others become a better writer?

Read what you love the best. Then write on a regular basis. Writing gets easier and better the more you write. What helped me the most in the beginning, and still does, is my writers critique group.

I am part of a great critique group, too, and it is definitely a big benefit.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read so you know what goes into a book. I've read manuscripts where the writer had no clue about paragraphs or how dialogue should be written. Pay attention to how your favorite authors do things. That doesn't mean for you to copy them, but learn what makes the book enjoyable. Learn the rules before you try to break them.

What do you think makes a good story?

Something that grabs the reader right off and characters the reader can identify with.

Do you hear from your readers much?

I don't hear from readers all that much, but I must say when I heard from you, and what you had to say about my Tempe books , it certainly warmed my heart. I've met some of my fans at book signings, book fairs and mystery conventions. It's always great to know that there are people out there who love my books.

What does your family think of your writing?

Not everyone in my family reads my books-my sister and my eldest daughter are about it. My husband has read some, but he's a slow reader, and I guess I write too fast for him.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I've written nearly 30 books, and my favorite is always the last one I've written.

Tell us about your newest book. When will we be able to buy it?

My latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is Invisible Path. It can be purchased at all the usual places including the publisher's website: The next one coming out in the Rocky Bluff series is Angel Lost and should be available in March from Amazon and can be ordered through other bookstores.

You can read the first chapters of most of my books on my website:

Here are some review snippets from Invisible Path:

Meredith blends police procedural with a traditional mystery that includes subtle examples of prejudice--both against Native Americans and within their own community. Her characters are likeable, and her incorporation of Indian beliefs and superstitions help to immerse the reader in the world of Bear Creek. "Invisible Path" will make a nice holiday gift for any mystery reader. ~~by Jacqueline Vick on A Writers Jumble.

Invisible Path is phenomenal! The series improves as time goes on. The last book, Dispel the Mist, included the Native American legend of the Hairy Man. He also helps to move the plot in this new installment along. This, and Tempe's continued confusing dreams, which Nick Two John (the innkeeper and Tempe's friend) doesn't really help Tempe decipher, give this mystery series a unique element. ~~by Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

Meredith skillfully weaves her knowledge of Indian customs and law enforcement into an intriguing plot as various suspects are investigated, as well as the murder scene. Deputy Crabtree stubbornly follows leads that place her own life, and that of Running Bear, in danger as all the mysterious elements come together in a surprising conclusion. Readers who been following the series are sure to want this book and recommend it to others. I'm certainly looking forward to the next one. ~~by Jean Henry Mead.

And some review snippets for Angel Lost:

In ANGEL LOST, author Marilyn Meredith has created a thrilling adventure that weaves together the lives of several point-of-view police officers, with Officer Stacy Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan, in starring roles. I truly, truly, TRULY loved every minute of this terrific story! So there! Read it yourself and find out why. ~~by Radine Trees Nehring Author of the Carrie McCrite and Henry King "To Die For" mystery series
F.M. Meredith has another hit on her hands with her latest installment of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. A fast-moving mystery full of suspense, well-developed characters, and realistic interpersonal relationships, Angel Lost wants for nothing. Meredith weaves a compelling story that keeps you guessing with a satisfying ending guaranteed to please even the most discerning mystery lover. Impossible to put down, Angel Lost is the first must-read of 2011. ~~ by Holli Castillo Author of Gumbo Justice
Reading a F.M. Meredith Rocky Bluff novel is like having a wonderful family visit -- without having to travel farther than your favorite chair. Once again, Marilyn delivers a story you want to get into, a mystery you want to unravel (several actually), and characters you like and want to root for. In "Angel Lost," F.M.'s Rocky Bluff Police Department "family" must really come together to save one of their own-- with a little help from an angel. A most enjoyable read. Thank you Marilyn! ~~ by Madeline (M.M.) Gornell, the author of "Uncle Si's Secret", "Death of a Perfect Man", and "Reticence of Ravens".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I have several author/friends I only know through the internet. In a recent conversation with one I said..."I'd hate to lose a friend I've never met." That birthed the idea to interview a few of these fascinating people.

Stay tuned as I introduce my first guest author!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here's To My Favorite Author/Friends I've Never Met

This wave of technology whisks us into the life of a person, and sometimes the connection can become as tight as the fibers in an oriental tapestry.

Authors we randomly meet online, have admired from the bookshelf, or know only through the media, can now follow, like, fan, or friend us with a nano click of the mouse. I have several I count as treasured friends.

In the next few days/weeks, I plan to introduce some of them in my blog through a series of interviews. Now these are very busy people, so I'm working on their schedules and am grateful for their time.

Whether you are an established author or novice writer, I believe you'll find this an exciting opportunity to step into their private world of achievements and challenges.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Recently, I had some short stories published. THE CHEER OF AUTUMN was in the 2nd issue of Wired Ruby, an E-Zine. In their current issue you can find my humorous poem, WANNA TAKE A SWIM? Check out Wired Ruby at the link below.

Also, Angie's Diary published my story, A SQUIRRELLY CHRISTMAS! You can peruse this website at

I'd like to welcome you to take the time to read a little of my work. I'd love to hear your comments, too.

Writing & Makeup

Writing is a lot like applying makeup; sometimes less is more and sometimes you can't have enough. Lines, curves, shades, and shadows emerge from the creases and corners to produce a brilliant balance of beauty.

A pallet of color-tinted words can take the writer, or reader, to faraway countries, bustling cities, paradise islands, or to back wood forests where perhaps home-spun history has become legend.

A bristly brush inside the minds of characters who might, or might not be, real could bring a crimson blush or a heart-warming laugh. Brazen red lips, ebony curls, jade green eyes...which do you prefer? Pardon me while I powder my nose.