Archive for July, 2011

MARILYN MEREDITH

July 25, 2011

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Who are you and what do you write?

 It all depends—sometimes I’m F. M. Meredith, the author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and I’m alsoMarilyn Meredithwho writes the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Obviously I’m writing mysteries right now, but in the past I’ve written historical family sagas, romance with a touch of the supernatural, psychological horror and Christian horror. ( I can see your eyes popping—those are really scary books with a Christian element.)

 

On the personal side I’ve been married forever to the cute sailor I met on a blind date. We raised five kids who now have kids and some with grandkids.

 

Where do you live? And what does your workspace look like?

 

We have lived all over the place, now we’re in the foothills of the Southern Sierra with beautiful views of theTuleRiverand the mountains surrounding us. Prior to that we lived inOxnardabout a mile from the beach. I use both places in my mystery series.

 

I’m fortunate to have an office with lots of storage space. Unfortunately, when I’m writing it tends to get messy—or at least that’s my excuse.

 

When do you generally write?

 

Morning are best for me creatively. I may do editing later on in the day. I do try to write every day except Sunday. While I’m promoting a book, though, I find more and more time taken away from my work-in-progress, but promotion is a big part of the writing life. After dinner, I’m not much good for anything except reading and watching TV—movies on DVD preferred.

 

How long have you written professionally?

 

Since doing anything professionally means getting paid for you work, I could say ever since I was a kid. I put out my own magazine and charged a nickel for it eons ago when I was in junior high. I did manage to sell a few articles to real magazines when I was raising my family. However, it was 1982 before I sold my first book to a publishing house—and this was after nearly 30 rejections. Since then, I’ve had about 30 books published—and many rejections for a lot of them in-between.

 

Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any warnings?

 

Things are changing so fast in the publishing world. Not too long ago, I would have suggested not going the self-publishing route as it was too hard to get the word out about your book. This really isn’t true anymore with Amazon doing a publishing program as well as others.

Back when I began, I wish someone had given me a few warnings. I was published by two different presses that had great reviews—and then the owners turned out to be crooks. One took all the money that should have been paid to the writers as royalties and gambled it away inLas Vegas. Yes, he got arrested. The other one fled the country.

 

I did self-publish one books with an outfit that also had good marks—got my first set of books fine, never could get anymore, and of course, nary a royalty came my way.

 

Same thing happened with an e-publisher who also published great-looking trade paperbacks. Never saw a single royalty until I threw a fit and pulled my books.

 

Two of my publishers died—as a writing friends likes to say—Marilyn just steps over the bodies and finds someone new.

 

Right now I working with two small presses I really like, Mundania and Oak Tree.

 

Any cool stories about meeting other writers who have influenced or helped you?

 

I learned more from the writers in my critique group than I have from any writer’s conference or books, in particular Willma Gore who primarily wrote non-fiction for any number of magazines when she was active in our group.

 

Mary Higgins Clark I met twice, once at a small mystery writers conference, and many years later at an event during Edgars week inNew York. She is a lovely and most gracious lady. Jan Burke is another mystery writer who is always friendly. Spent a delightful couple of hours waiting in an airport with her and her husband once. William Kent Krueger is another one who is always easy to talk with. Dennis Lehane, who besides being a brilliant writer has a wry sense of humor which my husband and I were treated to while eating dinner in the only bar in the hotel.

 

I could go on and on because I’ve attended many mystery cons and when you go to a lot, even the famous writers begin to recognize you and act like you are one of their best buds.

 

What might be more fun is talking about the writers who are snobs. (Oh, no, I really won’t do that there.)

 

What is your latest book?

 

I have two because I write two books a year. The latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Angel Lost, came out earlier this year.

 

Blurb: As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?

 

Invisible Path, Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, came out last fall.

 

Blurb: The murder of a popular Indian on the reservation, a suspect with the unlikely name of Jesus Running Bear, four friends of the victim who are out to avenge the death, a militia group with a secret agenda, lead Deputy Tempe Crabtree in a race to find the true killer before someone else dies.

 

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

 

My website is http://fictionforyou.com and my blog is http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

 

 

 

JEAN HENRY MEAD

July 19, 2011

Who are you?

Jean Henry Mead

What do you write?

Mystery/suspense and historical novels as well as children’s mysteries and nonfiction articles and books.

Where do you live, and what does your work space look like?

I live on a mountaintop ranch in the beautiful northwest.

How do you write? Do you outline? Or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you like silence or rock out to a certain soundtrack?

I write everyday and because I share a home office with my husband, its rarely quiet, but I began my writing career in a noisy news room so I could probably write in a traffic jam. I outline my nonfiction books but do not outline my novels. That stifles my creativity.

Got anything to brag about? (Awards? Upcoming releases?)

I’m an award-winning photojournalist with state, regional and nonfiction national awards.

My first children’s book, Mystery of Spider Mountain, was just released from Solstice Publishing and the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, Murder on the Interstate, was released in April from Oak Tree Press.

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us what it is and why you think it’s gonna be a “gotta have” k?

I’m currently working on my second children’s book, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, and an historical western novel, No Escape: The Sweetwater Tragedy, which is the true story of Ellen Watson-Averell, who was hanged by greedy cattlemen in 1889, with her husband because cattemen wanted their homestead land to graze cattle. When I read about the murders while researching another book, I was angry and decided to write about it because they told lies about her and ruined her reputation after her death.

Tell us how to find you and your stuff. (All your website and blog links)

My webpage is www.jeanhenrymead.com and I blog at four sites (two of them my own).

Mysterious Writers: http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/
Writers of the West: http://writersofthewest.blogspot.com/
Murderous Musings: http://murderousmusings.blogspot.com/
Make Mine Mystery: http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/

Four Facebook pages and Twitter.

**

First, give us the basics. Who are you, personally? Got a family? Any deep dark secrets you’d like to share? Wanna tell us where you hang your hat or pantyhose or something?

I’m a gun toting Westerner born in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. I moved to the Rocky Mountains when I married my husband. I had five children but lost one daughter to cancer nearly three years ago. She was the only one of my children who had inherited my writing ability, which was passed on to me by my dad.

Second, what do you write? And how do you do it? Spill it all. Are you a shower poet? Pet your cat while you type one handed? Get the name of your next character by what appears in your Alphabet soup or cereal?

I hate to quote a cliché, but I write because it’s in me to write. I’m not happy when I’m not writing. And like so many other writers have said, “It’s like breathing. It’s something you have to do.”

I’m a dog person and have no cats, but I do pet my dog when she sticks her head under my elbow when I’m typing and the words on the screen are suddenly in some alien language. I have a beautiful Australian Shepherd who resembles a wolf. We had to buy a her a thick orange collar when the state legislature passed a bill allowing hunters to shoot wolves on sight. Neighboring ranchers wouldn’t hesitate to shoot if my dog happened to get loose and chase their cattle or sheep.

Third, how long have you been writing professionally? Any cool stories about how you got started? Or mistakes you’ve made. Feel free to elaborate. Just paragraph in between, but, by all means, ENTERTAIN US.

My first writing job came about when I was editor-in-chief of my college newspaper. I was a divorced mother of four young daughters who went back to school at age 27, and worked for the local newspaper as a cub reporter while attending college. I sometimes had to take my youngest daughter to classes with me and it must have influenced her because she grew up to be a school teacher. My daughters and I did our homework together and all managed to stay on our respective honor and president’s rolls.

Fourth, any cool stories about meeting other writers or industry professionals that have influenced or helped you? We like to hear the silly stuff. Ever stutter at an agent? (I have.) Ever sidestep an editor? Or have a margarita downing contest with one? (Pleading the fifth on that, myself.)

No margarita downing contest but when I worked for a newspaper in San Diego, a group of reporters went to lunch at a local cantina and had a couple of margaritas with our meals. When I got back to the office, my fingers kept getting stuck between my typewriter keys. That was the 1970s.C. (before computers)

I was fortunate that two award-winning western novelists, Fred Grove and Richard S. Wheeler, took me under their professional wings when I was attempting to write my first novel, Escape on the Wind, an historical western. I’ll be forever grateful to them. The novel has been published by three different publishers over the years, most recently as Escape, A Wyoming Historical Novel, and remains my best selling book to this day.

Fifth, tell us about your first published work. What was it? When did it come out?

I drove around Wyoming interviewing politicians such as Dick Cheney, Governor Herschler, our U.S. senators as well as sportscaster Curt Gowdy, Gerry Spence, country singer Chris LeDoux, and everyone who was “somebody” in the state. The book was titled Wyoming in Profile and published by Pruett of Boulder, Colorado in 1982. I’ve since published three other books of interviews, including my blog interviews from Mysterious Writers by Poisoned Pen Press. I’ve published 14 books to date, both fiction and nonfiction.

Got any awards to brag about?

Quite a few nonfiction awards: state, regional and national from Press Women and a couple of fiction awards from Wyoming Writers.
 
Do you have any dreams as a writer? Go ahead, give us your best fantasy.

I think every writer would like to have at least one bestseller. And I’d love to have a couple of audio books and a TV series based on my mystery novels. 

Do you have any tidbits of help for other writers that you’d like to pass along? Please, by all means, inspire us. Point us in the “write” direction.

Read everything you can, regardless of genre and study the styles of other writers, for good and bad writing. Then, when you think your manuscript is the best you can write, put it away for a month before you look at it again. When you do, read it as though someone else had written it. Polish and edit it again before you send it out to agents or editors. The biggest mistake fledgling writers make is to send their work out too soon. If you can afford a professional editor, by all means hire one.
 
Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any mistakes you made that you could give us fair warning on?

Inexperienced writers should take the advice of those who have been in the business for a while. I’ve seen too many scribblers who think their masterpieces can’t be improved, or are written in stone. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, as most writers have, but we learn from those mistakes and try again. I could paper an outhouse with all the rejections I’ve received for short stories I’ve written. I finally decided that I was best at writing long fiction, or novels.

Thanks for giving us your fifty cent interview. Come back and see what other authors and readers have to say. Send your friends this way, too. K?

Thank you for featuring me on your site.
 

 THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW, JEAN. IT’S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU ON MY BLOG.

~Jennifer

MARJA MCGRAW

July 14, 2011

First, give us the basics. Who are you, personally? Got a family? Any deep dark secrets you’d like to share? Wanna tell us where you hang your hat or pantyhose or something?

Hmm. I’m not twenty-five anymore, but I sometimes feel like I am. Never let yourself grow old mentally. After being divorced for thirty years, I finally remarried. I have two daughters, two grandsons, one great-grandson (I married young) and two yellow Labrador retrievers, if you include both my husband’s family and my own. I hang everything in Northern Arizona, where you find out what heat really is. The only deep dark secret I have will remain a secret, but that’s what keeps life interesting.

Second, what do you write? And how do you do it? Spill it all. Are you a shower poet? Pet your cat while you type one handed? Get the name of your next character by what appears in your Alphabet soup or cereal?

I write two mystery series that are lighter with a little humor. The Sandi Webster mysteries are about a young female P.I. who’s slightly naïve and sighs a lot. As I answer these questions, she’s stuck in a ghost town with her partner. I think my work in progress is going to be a lot of fun.

The other series, the Bogey Man Mysteries, is about a Humphrey Bogart look-alike who, along with his wife, young son and two dogs, becomes involved in mysteries. I see a pattern forming here. Most of my comments seem to involve two of something. Interesting.  Anyway, Chris Cross occasionally walks the walk and talks the talk, coming across like Bogey in the old P.I. movies. He’s a good character to work with, and I think he’ll be around for a while.

Third, how long have you been writing professionally? Any cool stories about how you got started? Or mistakes you’ve made. Feel free to elaborate. Just paragraph in between, but, by all means, ENTERTAIN US.

I started writing in the 1980s, and haven’t stopped yet. I’ve gone from self-publishing to epublishing to a traditional publisher. It’s been a real education.

I had a friend who’d moved to Nevada, and I wrote her letters about what was going on in my life, which at the time was anything but boring. Eventually I moved to Nevada, and of course, the letters stopped. My friend said she really missed my stories and she encouraged me to write. She said those letters made her laugh, cry, sigh, and feel everything in between. She said she actually used to watch for the mailman in hopes there’d be a letter. She had no idea what she was starting when she said, “Why don’t you write a book?”

Mistakes? I’ve made plenty, and I’ve learned from every one of them. In this business, if you’re not constantly learning something new, then you’re probably doing something wrong.

Fourth, any cool stories about meeting other writers or industry professionals that have influenced or helped you? We like to hear the silly stuff. Ever stutter at an agent? (I have.) Ever sidestep an editor? Or have a margarita downing contest with one? (Pleading the fifth on that, myself.)

I met two authors, H. Susan Shaw (aspiring) and Dorothy Bodoin, through the Internet Chapter of Sisters in Crime. We began corresponding and formed friendships, and now we critique each other’s work, along with maintaining friendships. They’ve been invaluable both as friends and critiquers. I value their friendships very much.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet several authors whom I admire. Among them are Rhys Bowen and Elizabeth Peters. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to sit down and chat with either of them, they were delightful women.

I’d love to tell you a silly story, but if I did that it would have to be about something other than writing – like what a klutz I am, or how I amuse others when I speak without thinking first.

Fifth, tell us about your first published work. What was it? When did it come out?

My first two books were self-published, so how about if I start with my third book? (Trust me on this one – you don’t want to know about the first one in particular.)  The third one was titled A Well-Kept Family Secret – A Sandi Webster Mystery, and it came out in 2008 from Wing ePress, Inc. It was about a hundred-year-old murder that Sandi’s menopausal mother wanted her to solve. Lots of humor and grinding of teeth. Next came Bubba’s Ghost, then Prudy’s Back! and The Bogey Man. Most recently Bogey Nights – A Bogey Man Mystery was released by Oak Tree Press. Lots of fun and they’ll keep the reader guessing to the very end.

Got any awards to brag about?

Not yet, but I’m working on it. Bogey Nights was a contender for the Lovey Award at the Love is Murder Conference in 2011.
 
Do you have any dreams as a writer? Go ahead, give us your best fantasy.

My best fantasy is to have readers read one of my books and say, “Oh, now that was good. I want to read more of the McGraw books.” My second fantasy is to have a big name writer read one of the books and say the same thing.
 
What are you up to now, writing wise? Got any projects in the works? Please tell us it’s amazing and give us a short excerpt or something to make us HAVE to go and buy it. What makes it so great?

Right now I’m working on another Sandi Webster mystery. It’s about Sandi and her partner being stranded in an old ghost town, complete with an old murder to solve and a mysterious cowboy roaming the streets. I think it’s a terrific book because it combines adventure, mystery and humor, all in one sitting. I’d give you an excerpt, but it is a work in progress. I’m sure I’ll make many changes before it’s ready to submit to the publisher.

In the meantime, Oak Tree Press is looking at a book titled, Bogey’s Ace in the Hole, another Bogey Man mystery. I hope it will be out within the next year. Think Snoop Sisters, then change them to The Church Ladies. They create some unique challenges for Chris Cross aka the Bogey Man.
 
Do you have any tidbits of help for other writers that you’d like to pass along? Please, by all means, inspire us. Point us in the write direction.

 

The first piece of advice I give to all aspiring writers it to grow a thick skin. No matter how good your writing is, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. Concentrate on the readers who do. Be willing to take advice while you work on your book. Keep an open mind. And prepare yourself to do a lot of marketing and promotion when the book comes out. Actually, begin before the book comes out. Market yourself.
Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any mistakes you made that you could give us fair warning on?

This is just my opinion, but if a publisher wants an exclusive look at your work, think it over very carefully. I had someone tie up one of my books for a year and a half. As far as mistakes, if something doesn’t feel right, give it a slow count before moving forward.

Give us links to your websites, blogs, etc.?

Website: http://www.marjamcgraw.com/

 Blog:       http://blog.marjamcgraw.com/

Thanks for giving us your fifty cent interview. Come back and see what other authors and readers have to say. Send your friends this way, too. K?

I will, and thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me. It’s been fun!

Thanks, Marja. It’s been a delight to interview you.

MARY MARTINEZ

July 5, 2011

 

Jennifer: Welcome, Mary. Let’s begin by you telling us a bit about your background, where you grew up, where you live, etc.

Mary: Thanks for having me Jennifer. I live in Utah, not far from Salt Lake City. I have been here my entire life. I have 6 children, basically the Brady Bunch. When I married my husband he had three and so did I. We now have 7 grandchildren. And the best part is they live within a couple of miles. Every week we have Papa and Nana night. It’s usually chaos at our house. Big bowl of spaghetti is usually dinner.

I grew up on a large farm, so I’m used to chaos. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember.  My favorite childhood books were Boxcar Children and Harriet the Spy. I’m sure most of you do not remember those.

Jennifer: How do you write? Do you outline? Or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you like silence or rock out to a certain soundtrack?

Mary: I do not do an outline or plot. I tried plotting an entire story. It still isn’t written. It took all the fun out of the writing.

I write by the seat of my pants. I find out what the characters do as I write. I write to my tunes. The louder the better, unfortunately, usually someone is home so I have to tone it down. I do have to have music though, or my muse is gone.

Jennifer: Got anything to brag about? Upcoming releases? Please tell us it’s amazing and give us a short excerpt or something to make us HAVE to go and buy it. What makes it so great?

Mary: I’m not sure it’s great enough to brag about, but I have a new mystery release. Classic Murder: Mr. Romance And it has very good reviews. You can read some here: http://www.marymartinez.com/mrromance.html#reviews

Blurb:

Adam enjoys a lifestyle most men only dream of. Then one day he wakes up to find the morning headlines blaring, “Another victim falls prey to Mr. Romance. Who is next?” He suddenly realizes his way of life is not only frivolous, but deadly.

Dubbed Mr. Romance by New York society for his romantic adventures, Adam Fernando Russo loves women. But lately he realizes how lonely it is coming home to an empty house. Can he settle for only one woman? After he makes a list of qualities worthy enough to merit giving up his desirable existence, suddenly recipients of his coveted attention mysteriously fall prey to a murderer. The murders seem unrelated with one exception–all the victims have recently returned from a fabulous weekend rendezvous with Mr. Romance.

Adam’s assistant, Katie Sinclair, knows Adam is innocent with airtight alibis. The police are at a loss so Adam and Katie work together to discover the link between the murders. As luck would have it, their plan to prove the murderer is copying classic Cary Grant movies goes astray just as Adam realizes his perfect woman has been by his side all along.

I don’t know if this makes it great, but the best thing about this book was the research and how much fun I had writing it.

You can buy the ebook at my publisher: http://www.bookstrand.com/classic-murder-mr-romance

You can buy the ebook and print book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1610343352/bookstrand-20

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Classic-Murder/Mary-Martinez/e/9781610343350

Jennifer: What are you working on at the moment? Tell us what it is and why you think it’s gonna be a “gotta have” k?

Mary: I finished a contemporary women’s fiction, that’s light and very fun. I’m in the process of adapting it to a screen play. It’s a cross between Bride Wars and 27 Dresses. I’m having a blast with it.

Jennifer: Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any mistakes you made that you could give us fair warning on?

Mary: I tell anyone who will listen. RESEARCH. I’m not talking information for your book. I’m talking the industry, the organizations you can join, the agents and edits. Find out everything about your genre, which agents represent your genre. And most importantly check out the agent/editors on Predators and Editors http://pred-ed.com/

Jennifer: How do you get the name of your next character by what appears in your Alphabet soup or cereal?

Mary: Neither. Once in a great while, the characters and their ideas come in a package deal. That’s how Katie and Adam were with Classic Murder: Mr. Romance. But other times I have to find a name that matches my character and their personality. Then I have The Greatest Baby Name Book Ever which has over 20K names. It helps. When I wrote my first manuscript I swear almost every name started with a ‘J’. Talk about confusing.

Jennifer: Thank you for visiting today, before you go, please let us know where people can find you.

Mary: Thank you for hosting me today. I’ve had a great time. Here are a few places you can find me.

Email mary@marymartinez.com

Web site http://www.marymartinez.com

Blog: http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlmartinez33

Twitter: http://twitter.com/marylmartinez