Archive for September, 2012

TEMPE TELL-ALL. MARILYN REVEALS THE UNKNOWN.

September 27, 2012

New facts revealed about Tempe Crabtree!

1. Tempe was born in the small mountain community of Bear Creek. Her grandmother, a full-blooded Yanduchi Indian, helped raise Tempe while her mother and father worked. Her grandmother entertained her with stories from when she lived on the reservation, and with the many legends she had heard there.

2. Grammar school for Tempe was uneventful. Being part Indian made no difference to the kids she grew up with, but things changed when she started high school. Shunned and mistreated like the Indian kids bussed in from the Bear Creek Indian reservation, Tempe became ashamed of her heritage.

3. While Tempe was away at college, her mother was killed in a crosswalk in the nearby town of Dennison by a drunk driver. Her father died soon after. Tempe met and married Milt Kinkaid, a highway patrolman. They had a son, Blair. When Blair was only two, Milt was killed while chasing a suspect, and Tempe started using her maiden name again.

4. Tempe and her son moved in with an aunt in Bear Creek. When Blair started school, Tempe attended the police academy in Visalia, graduating with top honors, then applied for and was accepted in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.

5. She served in several areas in Tulare County and then was assigned as resident deputy of the Bear Creek area.  Though the area is large, covering the entire Western mountainside, the population is sparse, and at first she spent most of her time arresting drunk drivers, handing out speeding tickets, stopping fights, and taking burglary reports.

6. Being female and Indian, Tempe has to contend with prejudice from her peers and the civilian population she deals with.

7. Tempe’s aunt died and left her small cottage to Tempe. She didn’t expect to marry again until she met Hutch Hutchinson, pastor of the Bear Creek Community Church. At first, Blair wasn’t happy with the idea of someone romancing his mother.

8. She became friends with Nick Two John, also Yanduchi, and he started educating her about her Native American heritage.

9. Hutch has had problems at times with some of the Indian rituals Tempe has used to help her find out about a death. However, he overcame his jealousy of Nick Two John, and the two men are now friends.

10. Because of her experiences calling back the dead, Tempe now has unexpected visits from spirits.

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Raging Water,  the latest novel in Marilyn Meredith’s Tempe Crabtree series, finds Deputy Crabtree investigating the murder of two close friends. Her investigation 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.

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Note from the author:  I know there are some people who like to read a series in order, but let me assure you that every book in this series 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.

And, another contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book, and can choose if they want to be part of a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

Bio of the author:  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 is No Bells, the fourth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three Sisters in Crime chapters, Mystery Writers of America, and is on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and follow her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Marilyn borrows a lot from here she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area.

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THINGS THAT PUZZLE ME –INCLUDING A FEW THOUGHTS ON AGE

September 21, 2012

A number of years ago I told my niece’s husband not to worry that he (a young dad with a toddler son and new baby daughter) no longer had time to write.  “You can write at any age,” I remember saying, giving several examples, including that of his aunt-in-law, who’s first published writing appeared when she was fifty.

Not long after that I read the term “Silver Scribbler” in an article by Marjorie Kehe published in The Christian Science Monitor of February 8, 2010.  Kehe gave examples of many VERY mature successful authors, including Millard Kaufman. Kaufman was 86 when he began his first novel, A Bowl of Cherries, and 90 when it was published “to enthusiastic reviews,” Kehe says.

I know one of my favorite cozy mystery novels, The Maine Mulch Murders, was written by a woman in her late 80’s–I wish I could recall her name now.

It seems Nephew James has a long time to work on his writing career.

I know, only partly because I am a participant in two Facebook groups dedicated to senior writers (or as someone put it, “Prime Time Authors”),  that most, if not all, reading this blog are what might be called Silver Scribblers, and that’s assuming we are allowed the title even if we color our hair.   Yes, a writing career can take off after Social Security or some pension affords a cushion that allows us to spend time writing, and choosing our publishing pathways,  until our writing begins to sell.  We’ll probably never be rich, but we will be self-employed business owners, and that title is blessed by IRS standards!

By the way, speaking of the IRS–one of the mystery fan lists I participate in has recently had a discussion about whether or not a writer who hasn’t been paid for published work is truly an author.  It began when someone’s nephew (I think it was a nephew) said she wasn’t really an author until she got money for her writing.  Harumph.  Fortunately, no one that I know of on that list supported the young man’s opinion.  In fact, seems to me his statement is kinda like saying a waddling woman with a bulging belly and no “other” children can’t be called a mom.  Say what?

Moving to yet a third topic, this one about the age of readers, not writers.  I have just read a post on the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Facebook group that quotes Bowker as saying 55% of  works that publishers designate for kids 12 to 17 are sold to and read by adults over 18–the majority of those aged 30 to 44.  Now, that sure gives one something to think about.  “Why?” being the opening question.

Is it because the words in young adult stories are simpler — easier to grasp, and fewer adults are accomplished readers these days?

Is it because plots are also simpler, maybe less violent, less inclined to include stomach-turning details?

No, that really can’t be.  Think of Harry Potter.  Or are Harry, and books in a similar vein, the exception?

I’m puzzled.   What do you think?

http://www.RadinesBooks.com

 

IMMUNE TO ADVERTISING?

September 14, 2012

Recently I saw on Facebook that I had “Liked” something I had no connection with.  None whatsoever.  Now, whether or not the product or person is something I would “Like,” if asked,  really isn’t the point here.  The point is — I had never  seen the ad I would have had to see in order to make the choice attributed to me, and the only way I could correct the rogue “Like” was to post a disclaimer as a follow up.

Amazingly, others then responded that they, too, had been victims of the broadcasting of “Likes” when no such click had happened.  Hmmm.  Were all of us either unwary or unaware “clickers” in the wrong place?  Hardly seems credible.

I know, I know, the Internet does peculiar things, OR we (me) inadvertently cause it to do peculiar things.  But my illegitimately posted  “Like” of the subject of a paid ad caused me to begin thinking about things only partly related to Internet aberations.

What about ads in general?  I’d guess I’m different than most because I rarely pay any attention to them in any print medium.  Broadcast media?  Nope. We listen only to public radio, watch only public TV.  Not that we are against commercial channels or (some of) their content.  Our television reception here in the Ozarks forest only brings in Arkansas Public Television, and we are very happy with their programming. We have never been tempted to go to satellite, partly because there is no way to justify such an expense when we’d rarely use it, and also because satellite dishes are notably unreliable in a heavily forested area.  (We’ve learned this from neighbors who invested in them.)

Therefore — unlike most Americans and others around the world — Radine is rarely influenced by advertising.  I am the bane of the huge advertising/lobbying-for-products industry.  I am outside their circle of influence.  And, influence it is. Recently a very intelligent woman admitted that she is subject to strong influence whenever she sees a Febreeze ad. Every time a new flavor is advertised, she buys  it, and she already has a cabinet full of Febreeze.  (I don’t know if I am spelling that product name correctly.)  I didn’t know what Febreeze was, but checked in the grocery and, as I am sure everyone except my husband and I  knew,  it’s a type of room freshener.  Oh dear, I am hopelessly “out of it.”  Do I care?  In this instance, no.)

I admit I am not immune to some types of advertising.  As most readers of this blog probably know, I am a full-time writer and have been for a number of years. Eight published books, numerous published feature articles, essays, and short stories prove my bonafides and some degree of success in this profession. And–these days–in order to succeed, we writers are told over and over that we must promote.  In fact, that means WE MUST ADVERTISE OURSELVES AND OUR WRITING.  A major way to do this is on the Internet.

So, on the Internet, we make friends, learn about their work on lists, blogs, and otherwise, and share our own professional news in the same way.  In other words, we advertise.  So here I am, advertising (??) via a blog.  I prefer to think of it as writing an opinion essay to share with unseen friends.  And, normally, Internet “ads” by authors are much less offensive than shouting ads for products on television, and they are much more interesting to me.  Many of them are informative and useful.  Ah well, when it comes to ads, it seems I, too, pay attention to some of them.

Unfortunately, there are a few authors who post and post and post their “ads” (news of this or that to do with their latest publication) so frequently that they become only noise.  I am currently getting posts from one author seven or more times a day.   I now delete all of them, unopened.   Wish I had the courage to tell her I used to read her posts.  When the number expanded to what I considered an annoying level, she lost me.

But then, you know how I feel about advertising . . . .

http://www.RadinesBooks.com

“Kool-Aid” Books. Is that a new genre?

September 6, 2012

No, not books about a popular children’s drink.  Here’s the story:

I was in a store, standing at my table full of books and greeting passers-by, handing them book post cards if they were interested, and often asking “Do you enjoy reading mystery stories?” or some version of that.

A white-haired woman stopped.  She was formally dressed for the hot day, and stood ram-rod straight.  She looked briefly at the books, actually sniffed (people really do that!),  and said, “I never read Kool-Aid books.”

My instant reaction was, not anger, but amusement.  I suppressed the giggles and looked interested–or I think I did, at least. I asked, “What do you enjoy reading?”

“The great southern writers.”  She named a few.

“Eudora Welty?”

She hesitated, then nodded.

How about British writers?  Dorothy L. Sayers?”

She said nothing.

“Mmm.  But, like me, you enjoy reading.”

“Of course. I’m a retired English Lit. Professor.”

She moved on.

When I told a few others about this conversation they reacted negatively to her comment.  I can’t really tell you why I didn’t.  As I said above, her comment only amused me, and I supposed she meant she didn’t read books “without substance”– substance being like real fruit juice in relation to Kool-Aid?  The fact she judged my books as having no substance when she’d never read any of them was her problem, not mine.  I had no time to explain the human struggles, the victories over evil, the depth of personality development, and the ultimate triumph of justice  that I believe I include in my writing.

But her comment got me thinking.  What, really, does she see as a “Kool-Aid” book?  If I don’t write them, who does–if anyone? What about a few books that offer “only” pleasure,  no . . .  meat, nothing of “substance?”  And, truth be told, what is wrong about reading for enjoyment and relaxation only?

How would this woman judge the Confession magazines?  You can certainly guess the answer to that.  And yet, those magazines’ publishers and their writers see their work as providing insight, ideas for problem-solving, and the comfort of shared experience to the women who eagerly read them.  Definitely not Kool-Aid.

Going over a list of books I have enjoyed, I spent some time mentally surveying their plots and characters.  At the very least, I remembered learning more about something–history, a job, a part of the country, even just the human condition and how to cope–that was of value.  True, a couple of true “chick-lit” books, of the very few I have read, are maybe mostly fluff, but in the main, every book I recalled  (or have on my stuffed bookshelves) offers thought-springboards of value.

One example of value offered is seen in reading and writing about strong women, partly impelled by Sylvia Dickey Smith’s writing, and her excellent blog, “Writing Strong Women.”  We certainly do find meat there, and her book A WAR OF HER OWN is one of my all-time favorites.  I wonder what my English Lit Prof would think of that one, could I persuade her to open it?  And what about Carrie’s triumph (using prayer and feminine skills for problem-solving) over danger and death in A FAIR TO DIE FOR? Her example provided inspiration for me.  What about others?

To read more sharing of ideas about female strength, see Sylvia’s blog,  http://writing strong women.com

Then share your thoughts with us — do you read or write Kool-Aid books?   And, exactly what defines this new genre identified as “Kool-Aid?”

(Worthy of note:  I read, while looking up Kool-Aid on the Internet, that Lemonaide Kool-Aid is recommended (on Huff Post)  for cleaning dishwashers. ( It must be the lemonaide flavor.)  You pour one packet in the soap dispenser and then run on any cycle.  The publicity says t his cleans stains and anything else negative in your dishwasher.)

Radine at http://www.RadinesBooks.com