Friday, June 26, 2009

Billy's Authors

Here, now you can see her and I'm not blocking her face. Got this from the fabulous photographer Sherman Lee's Facebook site.


More Comments About PSWA conference wanted

Billie and many of her authors are in this photo--including me. However, not everyone who came to the conference was still here when this was taken.

We had twice as many attendees as last year, and though I'm the one who planned both programs, this year's far surpassed last. Not because of me, though, because of the wonderful people who gave presentations and served on panels. We all learned a lot. I've been to lots of writing conferences and believe me, I always learn something new.

On my own blog: I've been putting highlights of some of the panels and presentations. Take a peek if you want to know what you missed if you didn't attend.

One of the big pluses to a conference like this is meeting so many new and interesting people.

And, if you haven't figured it out yet, I can't stand it when no one has posted on this site for a few days.

Come one now, it's someone else's turn.

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

Las Vegas PSWA Conference

I'm writing from my casino hotel room at the PSWA writer's conference in Las Vegas and have to say if you can't be here, you're missing a good time. I have picked up some good tips and met some very interesting people (and I mean that in a good way!) and I think everyone is having a blast. The whole thing is not what I was expecting-- it's more fun and the people are pretty laid back and funny (again, in a good way.)

I was ecstatic to get copies of my novel, Gumbo Justice. The entire process was a lot like childbirth, less painful but just as scary. I once had a boss that used to say, "Every monkey thinks its chimp is cute." I must say I fall into that category because I LOVE my book cover. Atmospheric and slightly edgy might be more accurate descriptions, but whatever, I love it.

I finally got to meet Billie in person, as well as some other Oak Tree folks, Sunny Frazier, Marilyn Meredith, Mike Orenduff, and my partner in crime, Wendy Gager, among others.

And you can't beat Las Vegas for a book conference, unless of course you want to start a writer's conference in my home town of New Orleans (there's nothing like a New Orleans snow ball to beat the heat and a po-boy to cure your hunger.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Philadelphia Writers' Conference

As promised, I thought I would say a few words about last week's Philadelphia Writers' Conference. It was the third year in a row I have attended. It's a 3 day affair, with workshops, free materials, and sessions with editors and literary agents. It's great to just talk with other authors and share experiences. The keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet was Sally Friedman, a freelance writer who contributes to major newspapers and the Chicken Soup series of books. She talked about her career and the sad economical state of newspapers. The workshops were very helpful. One writer, Mindy Starns Clark, showed her amazingly efficient system of keeping track of character traits and plot sequences with the use of computer applications. All the writers emphasized the need to write about all sense experiences, not just visual. Also stressed were to avoid too much early exposition, and to "show" and not "tell." The encouraged me to work harder on my writing. Of course, I passed out bookmarks promoting my novel, A Lesson in Murder, and talked up Oak Tree Press!

Gus Cileone

Saturday, June 13, 2009


In a few moments, hubby and I will be heading to Pasadena and the California Crime Writers conference. This is a new conference put on as a joint effort by the Southern California Chapter of MWA and the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Because it is so close in time to the Public Safety Writers Association's conference, we're just going down today and stay overnight because the panel I'm on is 9 a.m. in the morning.

Hopefully, this afternoon and evening I'll run into some authors that I know and will be able to spend some time with them.

I wouldn't even attend this one except I was asked by one of the organizers to be on a panel about e-publishing--and remember, e-publishing includes having a book on Kindle.

Though I was offered attending the conference free tomorrow, we have to turn around and head home as we have an important meeting in the afternoon.

I'm only taking my two latest books to display and lots of cards to hand out.

A whole different story for the Public Safety Writers Association conference which begins on Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas. We'll be leaving Wednesday as my sis lives in Vegas so we'll spend a night with her and then head over to the Suncoast Hotel and Casino. I'm in charge of registration and the program, so I'm bringing name tags, program folders, some handouts for the speakers and of course copies of my latest two books.

Two of the attendees at the first conference will also be at the PSWA con: Sheila Lowe, a forensic handwriting expert who will be sharing her expertise, and Madeline Gager.

Yes, I am truly anticipating the PSWA conference. It's small with only one track so you can't miss meeting everyone who is attending. We have some super people coming, many Oak Tree Press authors and Billie, our publisher, a famous mystery author, Betty Webb, some old friends I haven't seen in awhile, and other good friends, and authors and authors-in-waiting I've never met.

I know this one is going to a fun experience, maybe a little nerve wracking at times, since I'm in charge of the program. Last year we had a speaker get ill and the order of presentations had to be switched around, but it all worked out.

Now, if I can keep from having nightmares about the conference, all will be well.

See some of you in Vegas.

a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Monday, June 8, 2009

Start a Business Now ?

Yes, now is great time to start a new business if you follow a few rules and are committed to being a success. First you must have start-up capital plus a 3 month cushion to pay fixed assets. Next you must have a unique idea that serves a need or want that is being overlooked now. Don't be a copycat be an innovator. That doesn't mean you have to invent a new light bulb, you just have to make it better, last longer or use less energy. Small changes to old ideas can make it big in the market where you may be alone until competitors catch on. But by that time you will lots of loyal and repeat customers. You can find many ways to be different, better or appeal to customer's needs in a new way in the book The Jelly Bean Principle : 105 Ways to Stand Out From Competitors. Just find 5 or more ideas from this book and apply to your new business and watch your company grow. This is the time when customers & clients are looking for new businesses that offer more value for the money they are spending. Be that business and the rewards and continual growth will be yours.

Summer Library Festival Event

I was invited to attend a summer reading festival at a local library on June 4. It was an all day affair, with 20 authors scheduled to give discussions and sign books at scattered intervals. It was an educational experience. I had a great deal of fun talking with experienced mystery writers Robin Hathaway and Elena Santangelo. They asked if I would like to join the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. They assured me I did not have to wear a wig and heels to attend. From what they said, the chapter goes on field trips (they visited a morgue!) and has speakers from the FBI, law enforcement agencies, and private eye firms. So, I think I am going to become an honorary sister. The author who had the longest line for book signings was Newbury Award winner Jerry Spinelli. There was also a great deal of food provided for the authors!

I heard some not-too-positive stories (real, not fiction) from authors who had been published by large publishing houses. Some were dropped by those publishers if they did not quite come up to sales expectations. Others said that bookstores were not able to get copies of books two years after publication. One house would only print hard back copies. So, I guess bigger does not always mean better.

This weekend is the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. I'll report on that after it's over.

Gus Cileone

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anne White to be on Blog Talk Radio

Anne White, whose AN AFFINITY FOR MURDER was our Dark Oak Mystery Contest winner in 2000, will be featured on BlogTalkRadio MurderSheWrites starting Monday at 5 P.M. Texas time. Anne will discuss her books with host Sylvia Dickey Smith. Let's tune in and listen!

Oh, and here is a little OTP trivia...guess whose art is on Affinity's cover? Someone we all know here...initials MMS.

Friday, June 5, 2009

No Sanctuary Trailer in Competition for the New Covey Trailer Awards

One of the things I did to promote No Sanctuary was to have a trailer made for it.

Cheryl Malandrinos who also worked with me on my blog tour, created it and she did a wonderful job.

Now that trailer is running for an award.Please take a look at and vote for my wonderful trailer for No Sanctuary #14 here

I've had other trailers made for my books but this is the first time the trailer conveys so much about the story itself. The characters actually look like I envisioned them.

If you have time, take a look at the trailer and see if you don't agree that Cheryl did a spectacular job.

a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

A Case of Infatuation

Another fabulous cover! And a great story inside, too. That Mitch Malone is quite a guy. Here's the back cover text:

Crime Beat Reporter Mitch Malone’s rules are simple: He never lets the blood and guts he covers bother him. He always works alone. And he hates kids.

Mitch breaks all three rules when he unwittingly agrees to smuggle a potential witness out of a suburban Michigan home while police investigate a mob-style-hit that’s left two dead bodies. Mitch sends his intern (a real hottie, but nonetheless an interloper) to interview neighbors, hoping to throw her off, but when he finds the pint-sized survivor the killer overlooked, he decides she might be helpful.

When the FBI accuses him of the murder, Mitch goes into hiding with the bombshell intern who doesn’t talk and the precocious preschooler. Mitch works his contacts to regain his freedom from his roommates only to find they each hold keys to a bizarre story of disappearances, terrorists and the perfect hamburger recipe.

This is a great get your iced tea and head out to the patio with this Dark Oak Mystery!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Expo articles

Interesting articles here from the LA Times and NY Times, respectively, on the recent Book Expo at NYC's Javits Center.,0,4445090.story

Love to go to one of those sometime....

joe nowlan