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New and exciting novel: River Spirits, available now!

A VISIT WITH AUTHOR, MARILYN MEREDITH

 

Avoiding the Jessica Fletcher Syndrome

In both my series, murder does happen in small towns. And yes, I’ve thought about the Jessica Fletcher syndrome.

In the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the small town is near larger towns and the murders that happen seem possible —plus it’s a Southern California beach town.Me at SJ Sisters in Crime (1)

Bear Creek, the small town in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, is more of a village than a town. However, the area Tempe patrols is large, taking in the mountains, campgrounds, and she’s often called to the nearby Bear Creek Indian Reservation.

In an earlier book, Calling the Dead, Tempe traveled to other towns in California to learn more about a suspect. In Kindred Spirits, she visited Crescent City to learn more about a victim, and Santa Barbara to find out about a suspect.

Because Tempe is a Tulare County deputy, once she was asked to help out with a murder that happened in a nearby city because the victim had ties to the reservation.

To be perfectly honest, Bear Creek is based on the area where I live, and the entire time I’ve lived here there have only been two murders. The nearby Indian reservation has had a few more.

In the latest, River Spirits, outsiders cause all the problems.

I have no idea what will happen in the next book, but it’s possible she may go elsewhere and help with a crime. It will depend upon what ideas pop into my head.

Since Jessica Fletcher was a writer who solved crimes and my heroine is in law enforcement, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about anyone thinking they may be in jeopardy if they know Tempe.

Marilyn

About the new novel, River Spirits:

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a the Hairy Man finds a missing woman, an actor is murdered, and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

River Spirits (1)

About Marilyn:

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour.

He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

I’m heading over to P. J. Nunn’s to talk about promotion.

http://bookbrowsing.wordpress.com/

 

Meet Author Kurt Kamm

Today I’m hosting author Kurt Kamm.

First responders and the hazards they face and deter are at the heart of the fact-based mystery novels of Malibu, California author, Kurt Kamm. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt had a successful career as a financial executive and CEO before immersing himself in the world of the first responders who feature so prominently in his books.  After attending the El Camino Fire Academy and training in wildland firefighting, arson investigation, and hazardous materials response, Kurt also became a graduate of the ATF Citizen’s Academy and has ridden along with the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s famed Urban Search & Rescue Task Force.  Along with this, Kurt has has used his 2 kurt kamm headshotcontacts with CalFire, Los Angeles and Ventura County Fire Departments, and the ATF to enhance the research which vests his novels with a realism that puts his readers on the ground with his characters.

Kurt, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer, and when did you actually begin to write?

I have always enjoyed writing and won a short story prize in high school. When I was at Brown, I took a career guidance test and was advised to become a writer. Even in those young, naive days, I knew I couldn’t earn enough money as a writer and decided to go to law school and on to Wall Street. I look at writing as a final reward for working hard at other things for most of my life

What in your background prepared you to be a writer?

Every lawyer has to learn how to write, if not in the most interesting way. Right brain-left brain. I was never very good at math, but I was a terrific reader and had a good imagination. My business partner couldn’t write two sentences but was brilliant at numbers. We made a great pair.

It is said the key to becoming a writer is to sit in a chair and write. What made you finally sit down and write?

I retired, was recently divorced, and moved out to Malibu. One day I woke up and had NOTHING to do. A friend from the LA Times convinced me to start writing classes. We were encouraged to keep a journal, and write something, anything, every day. That’s how I got started. I really enjoyed it and thought, this is something I can do.

You write faction – fiction based on fact. How much research goes into your novels?

A lot of research. I just read about an author who wrote an entire series of novels about India without ever having even been there. That’s inconceivable to me. I have to be out in the field, smelling, touching, checking out the colors and textures and, most important, listening to the people around me. I have spent hundreds of hours with the men from LA County Fire Department in training situations and at actual incidents. I’ve never had so much fun in my life and have opened a window into a part of life that was unknown to me when I worked in the financial world. I use those experiences as the backgrounds for my novels. I could never dream that stuff up.

Do you do your research yourself, or do you have an assistant do it?

I do all the research myself. I’m not sharing the fun with anyone!

With the attention you give to detail, you know a tremendous amount about your topics. Why faction? Why not non-fiction?

Non-fiction is boring. I want to create factual backgrounds and then insert unique characters: identical twins who are terrorists, albinos obsessed with tattoos and rare blood, and weather broadcasters fixated on fires.

In Tunnel Visions you bring attention to the realities we are facing with water in California? What made this topic of interest to you?1 Tunnel Visions Cover

The idea for Tunnel Visions came from an actual event, a disastrous gas explosion in a water tunnel which killed 17 men. Once I adopted that as the background for the novel, the whole issue of California’s water shortage became part of the story.

Is this reversible? How?

It’s hard to reverse a water shortage unless you are God. Conservation will help. The rain/drought cycles may be decades long. The western United States had a 50 year wet cycle up to end of the 20th Century, so everyone adjusted their expectations and water usage upward. Now we’re in a drought cycle and it’s hard to know how long it will last.

For you, what drives a novel – plot or character?

Character drives the novel.  I love to imagine people who are slightly, or significantly, off center. Isn’t everyone a little weird?  The personality issues create the plot.

You are, shall we say, seasoned. Yet you capture the voice and pathos of a young protagonist easily.  How easy or difficult is this for you?

I refuse to admit my age. Who wants to read something written by an old guy about an old character who’s been there and done that? I like to write about young characters who are intrepid and enthusiastic but don’t have enough life-experience to avoid making mistakes. Actually, it’s easy to create these young characters, and I love ‘em all! Now excuse me, I have to take my mid-morning nap.

Your female character in Tunnel Vision is particularly strong. Did you make her this way on purpose? Did you model her on anyone in particular?

I do know a woman who is a special agent for the ATF, and she gave me some insight into her life in law enforcement. She is attractive, feminine, and tough as nails. I almost fell off my chair when she told me that she worked undercover for two years in an outlaw motorcycle gang in Wichita. (“Winter on a bike sucks.”)  I like including strong female characters – I guess it brings out my feminine side.

What do you hope readers take away from your books?

First, I hope they simply enjoy the experience of reading my novels and find my characters interesting, lovable, or reprehensible. I would also hope they get some insight into the skill and dedication of the first responders who make everyone else’s life safer and easier.

What is the best advice you ever received as a writer?

How about the worst advice? The worst advice was, “Write what you know.” If you do that, you might not ever write anything interesting. Get away from your computer. Get yourself into something you know nothing about, and learn something new. Then go back and write about that.

What is your best advice for aspiring authors?

When I was a master’s bicycle racer, I spent hours, training by myself and trashing my body. Then, on race days, I got up at 4 AM, drove two hours to a 7 AM race start, busted my gut for 2 hours, and sometimes ended up on the podium. And guess what? Almost no one was around and almost no one cared. Sometimes I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” The answer was, because I loved it. The same applies to writing. You may spend hours working hard to create something no one notices or cares about, so you had better enjoy the process, because that may be all the reward you get. There are no guarantees. That said, if you do love what you are doing, don’t ever give up.

Kurt Kamm is an award-winning novelist of fact-based fiction.  His latest thriller, Tunnel Visions, is on shelves now.  You can read more from Kurt on Huffington Post or Facebook.  To read interviews conducted by Kurt with some of your favorite best-selling authors, visit www.KurtKamm.com.

 

 

 

Marilyn Meredith’s New Novel

 

Welcome, Marilyn, you’ve visited with us before. Refresh our memories and tell us a little bit about Marilyn Meredith.

Marilyn with books.I use the name F. M. Meredith for my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.  Besides being a writer, I’m a mom, grandma and great-grandma. I’ve been married over 60 years to the cute sailor I met on a blind date and love him far more now. I have many writing friends and love to attend mystery and writing conferences where I know I’ll run into some of them. No one understands a writer better than another writer.  I write two series and I’ve written in other genres too.  I’ve lost track, but I’ve had more than 35 books published.

You’ve written so many books, tell us about your latest: Murder in the Worst Degree.

Here’s the official blurb:  The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

Referring to your own work, do you have a favorite book or character?

In this series, I’m particularly fond of Officer Gordon Butler. When I first wrote about him, I had no idea that he’d keep reappearing in future books. He’s always been kind of an underdog. Though he tries to always do the right thing, often that turns out to not work out as he’d expected.  And he has troubles with his love life, though things seem to be looking up for him in Murder in the Worst Degree.

I know you’ve been with several publishers. Can you tell us about your current publisher, Oak Tree Press?

I met Billie Johnson, the publisher of Oak Tree Press at a PSWA conference many years ago.  I’ve had two other publishers for the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and when the second one decided to close shop, I asked Billie if she’d be interested in picking it up. She not only has published the new books, she republished the rest of the series.

One question that I frequently get asked is, “Do you prefer printed books or those in an e-format?” What is your preference?

I like both. I usually have two print books I’m reading, and a bunch on my iPad. I usually read the e-books wMurder in the Worst Degreehen I’m on a trip. Reading a really long book (think Stephen King) is much better as an e-book because then my wrists don’t get tired holding the book.

After so many books and so many years of writing, what inspires you?

This may sound strange, but I love the people who live in Rocky Bluff—especially the law enforcement officers and their families. The only way to know what is happening with them is to write the next book.

Who are your favorite authors, and do you have a favorite book(s)?

I have many favorite authors and many are my friends, like you, John. Through the years, I’ve read so many books and my love of reading has not dimmed.

Murder in the Worst Degree, buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Worst-Degree-Rocky-Bluff/dp/1610091450/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395675241&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+in+the+worst+degree+by+f.+m.+meredith/

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith/

Contest:

Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you comment on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.

Tomorrow I’m visiting Patricia Gligor at http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

Chris Swinney Rereleases Gray Ghost

 

Life is full of ups and downs. Early on in my career in law enforcement I’d say I was a glass half empty kind of guy. However,CLSwinneyProfile (2) working the streets and becoming a homicide and narcotics detective made me appreciate just how fortunate I am. Eventually, I’d become a glass half full kind of guy. This move helped me at work, with friends, and made my family life even more enjoyable. I was on a high. I’d taken a plunge into the writing world with this new-found enthusiasm and made a decent splash. My first novel, Gray Ghost, ended up on the Amazon best sellers list for crime fiction and mystery in Kindle and paperback. It wasn’t until I woke up one day to see my book was no longer available on Amazon that I almost slipped into the glass half empty routine.

Friends, family, fans, and determination helped me find another contract for my novel. Sure I was bummed about what had happened, but there was some work left to be done with the novel and moving along from the previous publisher turned out to be a blessing.

I’d gathered 59 reviews on Amazon for my book, 49 of which are five-star reviews. However, critics still noted editing errors and pointed them out (thank you!). In addition, readers had questions about some of the characters and I listened. So, with a new look on things, I re-tooled Gray Ghost, adding nearly 6000 words. The minor edits were taken addressed too. I’m proud of the first release, and even more excited for the second release.

Fans and readers will quickly notice the cover is vastly different from the original. Without going into too many details, I’ll just say it needed to be done. I asked my artistic friend Keith Westra (Natureboydesigns.com), if he’d take a crack at the cover. What he came up with is fantastic. Keith’s already been commissioned to do the cover for the second book in the Bill Dix series, Collectors. Readers can expect Collectors out sometime mid-2014. New for this release will also be an Audio edition and a Hardcover edition! I’m super excited about this, as I see audio being “the next big thing” in the writing world. Weird huh, “audio” taking over “writing.”

Gray Ghost copy (1)My approach to writing is making fiction as real as it possibly can be. If I don’t know about something, I research it, interview people who would know about it, and carefully write it into my novels. The majority of what I write about are things I’ve actually lived through. It’s experiences public would never know about or get the chance to learn without reading my novels. I’ve always been a natural storyteller and this ability comes through in my work. I hope some of you will take the opportunity to read my work and provide me further feedback so I can improve. If you’ve already read Gray Ghost, the additional 6000 words will certainly shock you!

Gray Ghost audio book: http://www.amazon.com/Gray-Ghost/dp/B00ISCWC94/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1395920748&sr=1-1

Blog: http://www.clswinney.wordpress.com

Twitter: @clswinney

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

 

Author Interview with J. Allen Hill

Please introduce yourself, and tell us about your background.

My name is J. Allen Hill. I am a first time novelist with a PhD in Living – a little conceit of mine, as much like my secretly adopted mentor, John Steinbeck, I have never completed a degree program. A Midwesterner by birth, an East Coaster by choice, writing has been both a source of income and a lifetime’s pleasure. If experience has anything to do with putting words on paper, I’ve probably done it or taken a class in it: newsletters, white papers, administrative, technical and financial reports, government proposals, user guides and training plans, software test plans, meeting minutes – facts, protocols, standards. My only relief from this routine was working in the theater and trying my hand at drama. These days I can indulge full-time in short stories, poetry, and novels.

When I sit down to write, I draw on my pool of distilled experience: everything from people I have known to places I have been to achievements and DIARY cover jpgfailures, pleasures and pain. The memory bank can be a strange place to visit, but so much of what I dredge up from there often lands on the page – a fit of laughter, a painful affair, the scent of a long desiccated sprig of lavender plucked from a childhood garden, all woven together with fragments of truth and wild sprints of imagination. And that is why I write. It is such an adventure.

When did you begin writing?

Around the age of ten. I wrote a play about a band of gypsies gallivanting around a forest – kind of a cross between Carmen and Robin Hood.

Do you write every day, and are novels the only things you write?

One way or another, I do write every day, much of the initial drafting taking place in my head, getting acquainted with prospective characters and working out plot problems.

I prefer writing novels but am also working (slowly) on a novel constructed of short stories – somewhat in the style of Olive Kittredge. Sadly, I do not put pen to paper every day. It’s a form of writer’s block, I suppose, but I write chronologically, and am completely unable to begin a piece until I have worked out the beginning in my mind. I have, however, usually written the main character’s back stories and know the end of the novel before I begin.

I know you have just released a new novel. Please tell my readers about it, and what your inspiration to write it was.

The Secret Diary of Ewan Macrae was originally inspired by my reading of Born Fighting:

How the Scotch-Irish Shaped America, by Virginia Senator James Webb, as well as my love of the story of the founding of America, and my own trip to Scotland where I unexpectedly discovered that my family name, Allen, has Scottish roots. Wanting to tell the story of an early Scottish immigrant and how he might have influenced future history, I decided to tell two stories of one family spanning two centuries.

The novel, set in 1946, is the story of two very different people. Margaret is an abused small town North Carolina mountain girl. Phil is a Manhattan writer running from the law. Both are launched on journeys of self discovery. Together they search for the answers to a mystery, the solution probably buried in the past. Along the way they uncover a conspiracy, overcome conflict and fall in love. A source of strength and inspiration for them both is the 200-year-old diary written by Margaret’s Scottish ancestor who fled to America in 1746. The accounts, spanning two centuries have amazing parallels.

I chose to construct the novel using these particular dates that I find quite significant in the history of our country: 1946, when the United States, victorious in World War II, is poised to take over the leadership of the world. And 1746, when waves of immigrants were arriving in America just as it is poised to launch the war from which it will emerge as that fledgling power.

What is your most rewarding writing experience?

There are many, but probably the best is the satisfaction in completion of a project lovingly crafted for (in my case) well over 5 years.

Do you belong to any writing groups, or critique groups?

I am a past member of the Playwrights Forum, Washington, DC, a member of the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the Virginia Writers Club and its chapter, Riverside Writers. I also participate in Riverside critique sessions and a local novel-writing group named SCADR.

Are you working on any new project?

Yes. Several years ago I discovered the tomb of an unknown Revolutionary War soldier in a churchyard in historic Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Apparently, he was first discovered buried in an “ammunition box” wearing a “Patriot uniform with Kentucky buttons.” After polling every organization involved in his dis- and re-interment for information as to who he might have been and I found, while there is much speculation, it appears he really is unknown. I decided to write a story of what his life might have been and how in the world he ended up in that box. The Unknown: An American Odyssey is due out in 2014.

Is there anything we have not covered that you would like to share with our readers?

It has been said that writing is a lonely occupation. However, it is also a collaborative life and for that I thank all of my cohorts. So many have given generously of their knowledge, skills, and support to this project – it could not have happened without them.

Please provide the readers with a link to your website, and a link to your book.

As The Secret Diary was released just days ago, my website is in the design stages. The book can be found on Amazon at the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=diary+ewan+macrae

 

 

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