Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Phoenix Tragedy Mirrors A Case of Accidental Intersection

If my book wasn't already out, I would swear I ripped the idea from headlines about a tragic accident in Phoenix. A Case of Accidental Intersection is similar to the two women who were misidentified. One died and one is in critical condition at the hospital.

My heart goes out to the Abby Guerra and Marlena Cantu families and the difficult time they are having.

In A Case of Accidental Intersection, the book opens with a traffic crash with two college girls. I give away a tad bit of the plot talking about the mix up. In my book there is a scene in the hospital that shows how the snafu could have happened. I blogged about it today at www.wsgager.blogspot.com.

I've been trying to come up with some unique publicity ideas for the book and now I have one ripped from the headlines. Any ideas how to get the word out?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Sometimes in the mornings, on those rare days when commitments aren't calling, I love to lie in bed for a long time after I wake up. I'm talking up to an hour. I know - who can justify that? But my body feels so warm with the covers bunched around me. I just soak in the experience. My thoughts can float around, without having to fit into time frames or bank balances.
I have always called this special morning retreat of mine "mulching". And I suppose in gardening terms, it very much mimics mulch, a protective cover placed over the soil. Mulch retains moisture, reduces erosion, suppresses weed growth and seed germination, and provides nutrients as it decays.
My writing life can go into a mulching stage. Right now, I am working two jobs to make ends meet. My husband's real estate career has kept him scrambling,with very little payout for tremendous effort. I am raising my own wondrous nine year old girl, but this summer I have taken in my husband's granddaughter, who got in a little trouble with the law. My mother's husband died, and she lives in an assisted living facility in town - with a case a dementia. Guess who is her lifeline? I also am a caretaker for my brother, who is in the late stages of muscular dystrophy.
So, I am not writing much these days. But I know I am soaking up experience, which is going into my soil. I am retaining fertile day to day memories, which are giving me rich nutrients as they unfold and break down. Who knows if the bills will be paid this month, if my granddaughter can stay out of jail, when my mother won't remember me any more, and my brother's body fails?
In the meantime, I'm luxuriating in the morning whenever I get a chance. These experiences need time to soak into my consciousness before they are called upon to produce. There's plenty of mulch in my life. It's all under the covers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

website revived

My webgal, jroseallister.com, has given my site an update coinciding with the ten years that my Margot and Max mystery series has been out. (Good heavens where does the time go??!) The site has some new features, including something called "Under the Covers," where I talk about why each book cover was done for that particular story. It was fun to write and took me back a few years, too, as I re-acquainted myself with my early stories.

I hope you'll check it out and tell me what you think. The new format doesn't load as swiftly as I'd like, but she's working on that.



Monday, July 19, 2010

Report on Book Launch for Lingering Spirit

Nothing came out in the newspaper about the signing on Saturday until Friday. I was beginning to panic since I'd sent announcements to the editor of the paper a couple of times and I gave her a book. She is a friend, so I certainly expected at least a mention. And as an aside, I received an email from her Sunday morning and she'd read the book and loved it.

We arrived at the bookstore a half hour early, something I always do. The bookstore owners had cookies and cold drinks waiting for us. At one, beginning time, no one came. Then at 1:15, still no one. I entertained myself by watching pigeons flying in and out of a hole in a screen of a second story abandoned restaurant right across the street.

Then the door opened and in came a mom and daughter from church. Not long after another woman from church who I'm also on Facebook with. A whole family I'm on Facebook with arrived. Not long after, one of my friends who I sent an invitation too--she never reads her email--and she brought two friends. A good friend who doesn't have a computer who I also sent an invitation came to see me and buy a book.
Last but not least, my deceased son's widow arrived and she'd seen the notice in the paper. I was thrilled to see her, it had been far too long.

Everyone bought books, some two. So it was a good day, and better than I expected since it was about 103 outside.

Next week I'm headed up in the mountains above Fresno to a little bookstore called Willow Bridge Books in Oakhurst. I've emailed the people I know who live in the general area and I'll be putting more about it on Facebook. I'll let you know how that one turns out.

And of course all week I'll still be on by blog tour.


Friday, July 16, 2010

A Reminder About Guesting on a Blog

I've been having guests on my blog for the last year. And I'm always surprised when the guest doesn't make a comment. Being a guest on a blog is free publicity.

When the day the blog appears, the guest should be promoting it all over the place--to his email friends, relatives, on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, anyplace where he or she social networks.

Not only should the guest make a comment on the blog too, but he or she should keep going back over the day to see if anyone else has commented and thank them for visiting the blog. This is really important.

At the moment, I'm on a blog tour and I'll be using the name of the person who comments on the most blogs in my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel--not the next one to come out, but the one I'm working on now which should appear in 2012.

Of course I have to keep track of those commenting so I go back over them all. But the latest blog is the one that I check on several times a day. I make a comment to each person who comments on the blog.

No, there's no place to go for blog etiquette and what I've learned has come from following other people's blogs.

I hope this is helpful to any of you who are guesting on other people's blogs.

Marilyn, who is in the middle of an intensive promotion campaign for Lingering Spirit.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Titles ~ New Covers

Here's some of what has kept me busy the past week or two...

THE LAST OF THE RAILROAD POLICE is Carl Moen's memoir of his days working security in the train yards around Chicago...this one won our Cop Tales contest last year.

NO EVIDENCE OF A CRIME (see author post below) gets way into forensic police work...set in Washington DC where the good guys are almost as scary as the bad guys!

Once again, I am stunned with what a great job our cover designer does!


Billie Johnson
Publisher (happy publisher!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The things I have learned....

I am a new author with Oak Tree Press. Starting this process of publishing a book has opened up so many firsts for me; my first book (No Evidence of a Crime), my first publisher (OTP), my first time working at something other than as a forensic scientist. There are so many new things I have learned.

I have learned that most people are fascinated with forensics but some of the details aren’t that interesting. Blood changes color when someone dies from carbon monoxide poisoning; a good mystery stops there. A forensic scientist might add: The color change is due to the shift in absorbance from 555 nanometers to 535 nanometers in the visible light spectrum (not so fascinating in a mystery). Hopefully, I have stayed to the side of a good mystery.

I have learned authors have expansive, colorful vocabularies which they use in more than their books; words like Dipsy Doodle. It is fun to say and when you call someone a Dipsy Doodle (I have used it a number of times, now) there is always a hesitation as if to say “I am pretty certain I have been insulted but that may have been the name of the drink we had in the Bahamas.” Doodle. I picture it as a word Queen Elizabeth uses a lot. I bet she works with a lot of Doodles and the only thing worse than English Doodles are Yankee Doodles.

I have learned that the term unpublished authors describes people whose desire to write is as compelling and consuming as the desire to breathe (and, there are a lot of us out there); people not knowing if anyone else will ever read their work. The term pre-published author is someone who, in a sea of unpublished authors, was noticed. And, even though there are about 275,232 new books published each year. This year there will be one more, mine, and I can say I am an author, without a prefix or a suffix or a qualifier and to me, that is extraordinary.

S. Connell Vondrak

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't Forget About my Contest

It's not too late to enter my contest to have a character named after you in my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel. You can still hit the three blogs at
and leave a comment and go to and scroll down a bit to find the interview of the main character in Lingering Spirit--and leave a comment there.

The idea is the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs will win. In any case, I'd love to have you read the different interviews and essays.

If you want to keep up with the blogs, I have the who list on my own blog at and don't forget my offer to interview any Oak Tree Press author for my blog.

I've had quite a few take me up on it and they'll be appearing in the next few days and months.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

See my Banner? And my Contest

I spent Fourth of July at a celebration at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard CA--with my tent and my books. This is the first time I've been able to use the banner Billie sent to me. Doesn't it look terrific?

This month is my blog tour and I'm having a contest to go along with it see below:

July 6 and 7 http://www.inkyblots.com
are the first two stops on my blog tour for Lingering Spirit--and for the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs, you'll get to be a character in my next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel out in 2012. (I'm writing it now.) For the full tour schedule, visit http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com