John M. Wills

Books and blog


Marilyn Meredith

New Release From Successful Author

What’s it Like Having Two Different Publishers? That’s the question I posed to talented author, Marilyn Meredith. She honored me by being the first to host her on a brand new blog tour. Enjoy her comments below.

Marilyn at CRSA ConfereinceOver the years I’ve had many different publishers for all sorts of reasons. For my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the first publisher was a pioneer in e-publishing. The problem was no one had a clue what e-publishing meant. Because there were no e-readers at the time, the book had to be read on the computer and didn’t catch on. From there I went to another novice e-publisher, though by that time, print on demand had come along. I switched publishers and had two more books in the series published, but the publisher decided to move on to other pursuits. Of course I found another publisher.

My Deputy Tempe Crabtree series had a bit of a different history. The first publisher had four books in the series printed as mass-market paperback. Sadly, she passed away unexpectedly. The next publisher knew all about e-publishing and print-on-demand. Life became a problem, and she gave up her business. It was purchased by Mundania Press who has continued to publish the series.

Both my present publishers are savvy about the publishing business, but tackle things in totally different ways. Because I am friends with the publisher of the RBPD series, we discuss both publishing and other topics on a regular basis and even have lunch together now and then. I hire an editor to go over my manuscript before I send it on to the publisher, because she doesn’t have a big staff.

I’ve met the former and present owner of Mundania at different conferences. I’m Facebook friends with both. Mundania has a huge stable of authors and professional editors and cover artists on staff. I’m very fond of covers of my books done by one of their artists.

My feeling is the biggest difference between the two publishers is the size of the operations. I’m happy with both.

The latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series is Seldom Traveled.Seldom Traveled Front Cover

The tranquility of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Who is Marilyn Meredith?

Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.

New Contest: Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Tomorrow’s stop is here:




Marilyn Meredith On Tour

Please welcome my friend and fellow author, Marilyn Meredith. It’s my pleasure to introduce her new book, A Crushing Death, as well as a contest readers may enter.

The Basics of a Blog Tour

Fool that I am, I decided to embark on yet another blog tour. I put it that way because it’s a lot of work. So why do it? Because it’s fun and does introduce new readers to my books.

For someone who’s never done this on their own, here are the basics of planning one.

Don’t begin until you have a firm date for the publishing of the book you’re promoting. Then, set the beginning of the blog tour at least three weeks later, just in case things don’t go as plan.

Marilyn at CRSA ConfereinceFor each blog post you’ll need a recent bio—not too long, a short book blurb ( I say short because you’ll probably work things in about the book in some of your posts), a recent photo of yourself (I think it’s fun to use different photos for each post), links to your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc., and of course a links to buy the book, and a .jpeg of the book cover. If you are having a contest of any kind, include the rules on each post. At the bottom of the post put a line to the next day’s post.

Once you know the dates of the tour, start rounding up blog hosts. Where do you find hosts? Check your favorite blogs and email the hosts. Ask on your favorite listserves. How many? As many as you think you can write unique posts for. When asking each person, ask if they have anything in particular they’d like to write. Some hosts will send you questions or interview topics. Others have specific ways they want you to send everything in, follow their directions.

Most blog hosts would like you to put all the printed material on one page and send it and all photos as attachments.

One the tour begins you need to advertise everyplace you can think of—Facebook, Facebook groups and all the listserves you are on. This means posting every day to these places. Yes, it is labor intensive, but you want lots of visitors to each site.

All through the day, check the comments as you’ll want to reply to each comment and keep track of who is visiting. You’ll also want to keep track of which blogs had the most visitors for future reference.

One last tip. If you run a contest, don’t have the prize be the book you’re promoting—the idea is to intrigue the visitors enough to buy the book you’re promoting. You could offer an earlier book in the series, or a prize that has some relationship to the book, or maybe an Amazon gift card.

Scroll down and you’ll see what I’m offering for a prize.

F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith

A Crushing Death

A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for attacking women, and Officer Milligan’s teenage daughter is has a big problem.A Crushing Death Right

F. M. Meredith:  also known as Marilyn Meredith is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother , grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty-years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she is counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.



Facebook: Marilyn Meredith

Twitter: MarilynMeredith

Contest: Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour, can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. Tomorrow you can find me here:


Thank you, Marilyn, it’s always a pleasure to host one of your tours! FYI, to purchase copies of  A Crushing Death, here’s the link:  or click on the title throughout this post.


Another Exciting Mystery From Marilyn Meredith

Welcome, Marilyn. Your new novel is called, Not as it Seems. Tell us a bit about where the story takes place.

NotAsItSeems-lgIn this new mystery, Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for their son’s wedding. Morro Bay is one of my favorite places to visit and since Blair lives in Morro Bay it seemed a logical and fun place to set a mystery. Besides the monolith of Morro Rock, there are many places of interest in the area to incorporate into the story, such as the great hiking areas of Morro Bay State Park and Montana de Oro.

The mission in San Luis Obispo also seemed like a perfect place to incorporate into the plot. During Tempe’s investigation into the maid-of-honor’s disappearance, she and her husband travel to Los Osos, Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, and Pismo, places I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’ve included some real restaurants and a couple of made up ones, a motel we stayed at once but gave it a new name, many interesting places to visit, and other places real and imagined. We recently made a trip to the area so I hope I got most things right. I also sent lots of email messages to my friends who are fortunate enough to live there. They shared some details that I incorporated into the book.

For those of you who have never visited, Morro Bay is on the Central Coast of California, though one of many beach towns, it has the quality of a quaint seaside village, unlike the hustle and bustle of the more southern beaches. If you have the opportunity to read Not as it Seems you’ll get a taste of an ideal vacation spot.Morro Bay and Rock

You’ve whet our appetitie. Give us a short blurb about Not as It Seems.

Sure. Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.

I’ve heard you have an interesting twist to your books called The Character Naming Contest. Tell us about it.

It’s simply this, I’ll name a character after the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs I’m visiting.

Tomorrow I’ll be stopping  by Amy Bennett’s and explaining why I’ve included some interesting tidbits about Ethiopia in Not as it Seems.

About Marilyn Meredith:

Nipomo Book FairMarilyn Meredith now lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, about 1000 feet lower than Tempe’s Bear Creek, but much resembles the fictional town and surroundings. She has nearly 40 books published, mostly mysteries. Besides writing, she loves to give presentations to writers’ groups. She’s on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and three chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter.

Thanks, Marilyn. It’s always my pleasure to host one of the most prolific and successful novelists around.

New and exciting novel: River Spirits, available now!



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.


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 and her blog at

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.


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:





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




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