Sunday, March 29, 2009

Planning a Conference Program

I'm in charge--again--of planning the Public Safety Writers Conference program.

It's a balancing act because we have both fiction writers and non-fiction writers--some of whom write for, or want to write for, trade magazines in paper and on line.

For the latter, we'll have a panel of people who have been successful at breaking into those markets and Tim Dees, who runs an online daily law enforcement news magazine.

For the fiction writers we'll have plenty on writing, an editor and publisher panel and renowned mystery author Betty Webb will be our keynote speaker, but she's also going to remind us what problems to look for in our own manuscripts.

Sunny Frazier's going to talk about using real-life in our fiction. (If you've never heard Sunny speak before, you're in for a treat.)

For those of us who are writing mysteries, we have two forensic experts: Steve Scarborough who works with the Las Vegas police and the FBI and Sheila Lowe who is an author and a forensic handwriting expert.

Sarah Cortez, award winning poet, police officer, and editor will tell us how to rev up our productivity.

We'll have a panel on promotion, another on setting, and perhaps one on writing more than one series. The panels are still being worked on--and that's where you come in. If you're coming to the conference and want to be on a panel and have expertise in a certain field be sure to let me know.

The last hour on Saturday, you'll have the opportunity to sign up for one-on-ones with any of the experts.

And last but not least, you'll get a chance to schmooze with Billie Johnson, our fearless publisher.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Friday, March 27, 2009

Writing Contests

This is one of my favorite rant topics, but I'll spare you that for now and tell you about how you can win by losing. I've been sending entries to contests sponsored by the Houston Writers Guild (formerly known as the Fort Bend Writers Guild) for about three years. I send them short stories, chapters from novels, screenplays, and scripts. They send me notices that I didn’t win and comment sheets from the judges who obviously don’t know good writing when they see it. I mentioned to the organization’s factotum, Roger Paulding, that my book was published by Oak Tree Press, and the next thing I know there’s a nice write-up about the book in their newsletter complete with a picture of the cover. This is a great boost because I’ll be doing a signing in Houston in June and the Guild’s newsletter, Scribble Pad, has a large circulation, and the Guild has a large an active membership. I recommend their contests. The entry fees are low, the prize money good, and the comment sheets can be helpful.

Mike Orenduff

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hello everyone. I'm one of the newest authors to join the Oak Tree family. I've posted a couple of comments but this is my maiden voyage for a blog post.

My book, Infatuation, is set to come out in June in the Dark Oak Mysteries line, and I am so excited. I will be attending the conference in Vegas in June and can't wait for that and to meet all of you in person. I'm in Michigan and can't wait for some warm weather!

Infatuation is about Mitch Malone, a crime beat reporter in fictional Grand River, who likes his life without complications. A bombshell walks into his newsroom and forever disrupts his well-ordered life and embroils him in a double murder that moves him from a byline on the front page to a major player in solving the crime, if he ever hopes his life to return to normal.

My website just went live last week and can be found at I would be happy to link to any of your sites. Just shoot me an email to and let me know what it is. Feel free to add my site to your site! I would appreciate it.

I have already learned a lot from lurking on the blog and my goal is to write one blog every week. I look forward to a rousing discussion on many topics.

a.k.a. WS Gager
Infatuation coming out in June from Oak Tree Press

See You At the PSWS Conference?

I just signed up for the PSWA's conference in Las Vegas. I've been reading OTP books, only my genre so far - mysteries. When I finish those, I'll start on the others. I'd like to meet those people whose faces are on the books, so sign up by Tuesday and save a few bucks. Las Vegas is always fun, and who knows - you may sell some books. I'm driving out and arranging book signings at towns and cities along the way. I probably won't sell enough books to pay for the trip, but it will help, and any expenses not covered by sales are deductible (I've worked both for the IRS and H&R Block, so I know whereof I speak). I'm also looking in to whether we qualify for Federal bail-out dollars!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogging and Promotion

Every blog needs new posts every day to keep people interested. I don't want to be the one to keep posting here, some of the rest of you need to chime in.

Have you all signed up to twitter and post on Face Book and all the other social networks? You should. Too much work you say? Well, you can also use Ping, and then all you have to do is tell them which social networks you are on, put in your short message, including a URL for someplace you'd like people to visit (and they'll make it shorter) and the message will appear on all your spots without you having to do it.

If you're going to be somewhere be sure and tell everyone. Sunny has planned a Book Fest in Hanford on the 19th of April, I'll be blogging about it, have sent info to our local paper, have written invitation to the friends I have in Hanford ready to mail closer to the date, and I'll be sending out information about it everywhere via the Internet.

Also going to the L.A. Times Book Fest and will be signing books in a couple of places both days--will do the same thing for that, but of course letting my friends in L.A. via email and snail mail. The information is already up on my website.

My webmaven will be revamping my website in the next week or so--thought it needed a face lift--or spring cleaning.

Did you know you can see what your web page or blog ranking is? This page is actually 7 out of 10 which is very good. The page ranking is on the Google task bar. Do you know how to figure out what your Amazon numbers mean?

My dinner is waiting so I'm going to close.

The challenge is there--start blogging here.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Someone surprise me

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

If you are considering attending PSWA's conference in Las Vegas--do not wait too long, March 31 is the last day for the lower cost registrations.

Go to and read all the details.

Since our publisher will be there and several of Oak Tree Press's authors, this will be the prefect time to network in person.

Believe me, the program is going to be terrific--and if you so desire to be on a panel all you have to do is state that on the registration form.

We'd love to see you there.

Marilyn who is exhausted from going here and there promoting and actually have two whole weeks before my next presentation. Going to teach romance writers how to write a mystery. (Just thought I'd show you what my last booth looked like. Hubby is putzing around in the background)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Presenting a Book to Virginia First Lady

Promotion is the key word, and I've been reading Marilyn's advice as well as Sunni's.

Last week was a heavy one for me with promotion a key element. The biggest event came Thursday, March 12, when four members (including me) of the Richmond Branch National League of American Pen Women went to the Library of Virginia for the presentation of a copy of Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln to Virginia First Lady Anne Holton. National president N. Taylor Collins came down from Washington to make a brief talk and present the book. She also presented a copy to Dr. Sandra Gioia Treadway, Librarian of Virginia.

Being in this small group of women gave us a wonderful opportunity to chat informally. Anne Holton is down-to-earth and easy to talk with. Her father was Governor when she was growing up, so this is her second stint in the Virginia Governor's Mansion. Last fall, when she was the speaker for the Virginia Press Women, she told us about how she and her husband, Governor Tim Kaine talked her father, Governor Lynwood Holton, a Republican, into voting for then presidential candidate Barack Obama. They knew Obama from Harvard Law School. Kaine was on the short list for vice president candidates.

Taylor Collins is another down-to-earth lady. The Pen Women got to know her better when we gathered for lunch at the Patrick Henry Inn. We ate in the Pub located across from old St. John's Church where Patrick Henry made his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech.

Although all of our events last week, including those at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen, were to promote the Pen Women collaborative book, Sylvia Wright and I have gotten a lot of press that should give us both better name recognition for our other books. Promotion is key. It's been fun and sometimes tiring, but that's all part of the job! Tomorrow we head back to Richmond for a signing at Book People on Granite Avenue. That, too, centers around Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln.

My contributions to the book include a poem, "Mr. Lincoln, Did You Hear?," an article giving the background of the poem, and three of my paintings. Please check out photos on my Web site,

Mary Montague Sikes, author
Stranger in My Heart, coming soon
Secrets by the Sea
Eagle Rising
Hearts Across Forever

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whassup with the Pot Thief?

Should I be worried about Mike Orenduff? His book is out and he's got stock, but jeez! Haven't heard another word! I hope that BLM man didn't nab Hubie and Mike is now trying to spring him.

Check out The Pot Thief's's a treat!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Person and On-line Promo is about my writing rituals. Fun thing to write about.

I'm also at this site: three days in a row: March 16, 17,18 as well as

This weekend I had a booth at the Celebration of the Whales at Channel Islands Harbor. Among the craft people, artists, and farmers selling their fruit and vegetables, I was the only one with books. I've learned that many people have never met an author in person. I sold a lot of books, handed out my card, and talked to loads of people.

This part of California is where two of my daughters live so we stayed with each of them and had a great visit while there--and of course the trip is tax-deductible.

Next weekend I head up to Oakhurst in the mountains to speak to a writers group about e-pubbing, the Kindle and of course my latest books. This is only a two hour drive which we can do in one day.

Sunny is back from Hawaii and I'm anxious for her to post about her adventures. I've had a bit of a preview--and she's definitely a master at promotion.

Oh, and do check out the contest on my website:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Books On Kindle

Last night I gave a presentation at the Hanford Branch of the King's County Library. Had a great group, asked lots of questions and bought a few books. The librarian had Kindle 2 and demonstrated it by purchasing my first mystery, The Astral Gift. It appeared on his screen it about 20 seconds.

I'm thrilled Billie has put my old titles on Kindle as well as my new one. I understand, there have been downloads of my supernatural romance, Lingering Spirit, as well.

If you have books that haven't gone anywhere in a while and you have the rights, by all means, take advantage of Billie's offer to put them on Kindle. Of course if you want to do it yourself, go for it. I'm just too busy to try and figure out how to do it.

Now, I have to be a bit more aggressive about letting Kindle owners know about my books on Kindle.

a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OTP Author Reviewed in Chicago Sun Times!

This is a nice pay-off for persistently promoting, taking advantage of all opportunities and maximizing the chances to discuss your book! All publications are looking for content, material. Why not have that column be about your book?

Go here to see the nice review of Marilyn's latest...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Location, Location, Location

Interesting article here from the LA Times (3/5) travel section.

It looks at a handful of cities as locales for various authors and their works.

Boston, where my book "Media Blitz" is set, gets a mention. Also mentioned are Charleston, SC, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and several others.

-- joe nowlan


I have two interviews on this blog yesterday's the first chapter of the book, the second is an interview of the main character, Detective Doug Milligan.

And this is the book trailer:

I'm just home from Epicon, great conference, but I have sooooooo much to do now.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I have also added all of the websites that Billie posted to my website at If your website didn't make Billie's list, or if you have any additional websites of interest you would like me to post, please let me know. I clicked on each one just to verify I added them correctly and am impressed at how great everyone's sites look.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Web sites added

I want to thank Billie for listing OTP author websites. I have added them to my web site under "favorites links." I also invited readers at the mystery site DorothyL, to which I belong, to please visit the OTP web site to check out the books offered. I have done the same at another site to which I belong, a Yahoo group, mikeswritinggroup. Just trying help out a little.

Gus Cileone

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kindle and Bezos on Charlie Rose

"Jeff Bezos for the hour..." was the opening to The Charlie Rose Show the other night, and while I rarely miss his show, I perked up when Charlie added that Bezos would be showing off his newest gizmo, the Kindle 2.

At that very moment, I was putting the finishing touches on the Kindle file of one of Marilyn Meredith's backlist titles, ASTRAL GIFT, bringing OTP's title count to the mid-30s. This is a number I want to increase fast...while the ratio of Kindle books to total Amazon titles is still an advantage. I am opening the door to anyone who has a potential book, previously published or not, to check out OTP's Kindle offer at our company website Click on the big KINDLE in the middle of the page for details.

But back to Bezos and his gizmo...he of course had a unit with him with a striking image of Mona Lisa on the the screen, and being the savvy marketer that he is, he frequently held it up and used it to punctuate his comments to the ever-charming and pithy Charlie Rose. (It is true, I am hopelessly enamored of Charlie...have been for years!) The thing that was most remarkable, though, was that the Kindle 2 is THIN! Turned sideways to the screen, the Kindle seems to be mere line, hardly wider than a pencil! Bezos spent the hour extolling its virtues to Charlie, which seemed like preaching to the choir since Rose had his own Kindle 1 with him and gave a rundown of how being able to access books, magazines and newspapers anytime, anyplace was a boost to his productivity.

At OTP, I've put the Kindle project ahead of all other E-book development because I think this is such an amazing time to get in. The long view for Kindle is amazing, the ease of use, almost instant fulfillment and array of content choices make it a very likely big winner in this next generation of personal devices.

Check it out!