Author Archives: marilynm

About marilynm

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five books, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. She is also the author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Her two latest books are Seldom Traveled and Unresolved. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Epic, Public Safety Writers Association.


If you’re a writer and want to be published, you need to be able to accept rejection–it’s part of the process.

Recently I spoke to a short-story writer who once visited a critique group I belong to and I asked him what he was doing with his writing. He said he no longer sent it out because he didn’t like being rejected–so he only shares his stories with friends. This man is an excellent writer–though his stories had some flaws. As I look back, I remember that he didn’t like having his work critiqued either and that’s why he didn’t continue on with our group. I think what he’s decided is sad, because eventually he’d probably have found a market for his work and more than just his friends could’ve enjoyed it.

I knew another excellent writer who sent her manuscript to about three publishers or agents, was rejected and that was the end of her sending out her work. Oh, she still writes–but she doesn’t ever submit her work. She is able to take criticism in a writer’s group and make suggested changes or rewrites.

When I taught a weekly writing group, at times I’d get a new student who would read their few pages and be horrified when I pointed out problems. Made me wonder why they bothered to come. Believe me, when I’m critiquing anyone’s work I always talk about what is good first before giving any suggestions.

Frankly, I don’t understand the mind-set that can’t take criticism or rejection. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was accepted by a publisher. Each time it was rejected, I worked on it some more. At the time I didn’t know nearly as much about editing and rewriting as I do now.

Even though I now have over twenty published books, I still attend a weekly critique group. I would be disappointed if they didn’t find something to help make the book better. I use my fellow authors as a first editor.

Rejection is part of getting published. Never take it personally. It can mean many things, the publisher or agent was having a bad day, they are interested in a similar book already, it isn’t the kind of book that they like. Always pay attention to what is in the rejection letter, especially if it’s handwritten and has some actual comments about your writing. No matter what happens, work to fix that book or move onto another. Never, ever give up.


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Writing Workshops and a Great Review

As usual, as it becomes time to write my blog, I wonder what I’ll write about.

Today, I’ll be talking about something only vaguely related to writing.

Recently, I presented two workshops with a writing partner at a writers conference. Both presentations were exactly what was advertised. In the morning we gave a talk on marketing, what that meant and ways of doing it, and the fact that most publishers today want a marketing plan submitted along with a query. Our afternoon workshop was about alternate means of getting published–and that’s exactly what we presented.

A fellow presenter who is also a friend was promoted as writing a book based on a screen play. And yes, he did speak about that, but then he gave an impassioned plea about being against the death penalty and coming up with some way to rehabilitate young people who have committed crimes. His theme was that anyone can be rehabilitated–something I don’t feel is true–but no one was given the opportunity to rebut.

I certainly agree we should have a better plan for rehabilitating any one who crimes and I don’t like the death penalty–but I don’t think that was the forum for that particular presentation. That topic certainly wasn’t presented on the writing workshop schedule. I know the author is passionate about this cause–but not only did he make many uncomfortable, but he also made a few in the audience angry.

When he began going over time, I finally spoke up and told him he needed to return to his topic and tie things up as he was infringing on the next speakers’ time. (Granted, the one in charge should have done this, but she was rather overwhelmed by him.) No, I don’t like stepping in like this, but I’m old and seem to be able to get away with being bossy.

My point, I suppose is, if you are asked to give a workshop or a speech on a certain topic, stick to that topic–whatever it was you were supposed to do.

If you have a particular movement or political passion, find the proper venue to present it. Don’t embarrass yourself or the group that invited you to talk about one thing and then go on and on about something completely different.

Once again, I’ll step off my soap box–at least until my next turn on this blog.

Oh, and by the way, I got a wonderful review for my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Kindred Spirits, on Reviewing the Evidence. Here’s the last paragraph:
“This is the seventh title in Meredith‛s well-received Tempe Crabtree series. As in all of her books, Meredith explores Native American culture, in this case, the history of the Tolowa tribe. She addresses the difficulty Tempe faces while trying to be true to both her Native American side and her white heritage. As the wife of a Christian minister, Tempe must also deal with her husband‛s own views on Indian culture and spirituality. Hutch and Tempe don‛t always agree on these matters. But in this novel, Hutch becomes more supportive of Tempe‛s work while shedding some of his opposition to Tempe‛s views on life. The two make an unusual couple, but their very uniqueness lends reality to the mystery. As people, they can‛t be pigeonholed into one group or another and thus bring a feeling of freshness to the protagonist‛ s role. Any story featuring these two is a welcome addition to the mystery fan‛ s library.”
Reviewed by Mary V. Welk, November 2008

Marilyn Meredith

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Climbing on My Soap Box

I’m back on my soap box once again. On DorothyL, the premiere list for mystery fans and authors, they’ve been discussing the fact that Bouchercon has voted against discriminating against small press as far as allowing their authors to serve on panels. (They won’t let self-pubbed or those who paid to be published unless they’ve won a prestigious prize.)

Left Coast Crime on the other hand will not allow any author published by a non-MWA approved publisher be on a panel. (To add to the insult, they talk about real writers as opposed to the other kind. Real writers meaning those published by New York publishers.)

To be an MWA approved publisher, the publisher must print at least 500 books at once (something most small presses who use print on demand technology don’t do) and give an advance, two things my publishers don’t do though they meet all the other criteria.

Though going to mystery cons is an enjoyable experience, they are very expensive. If you can’t be on a panel, your books will not be in the book room. If you’re not on a panel of course no one will be able to purchase your book. For an author, part of the reason to go to a con is to let people know about your book.

I’ve decided to only attend mystery cons and writers conferences where I can be on a panel or be a speaker, for several reasons. I want the most for my promotion dollar. I also want to be able to take the trip off my income tax. And most of all, I’m really tired of this discrimination against authors who aren’t published by MWA approved publishers.

Another big decision I’ve made is not to pay my next year’s dues to MWA even though I’m a full member–something I’ll never be again once I quit paying my dues. I’ve been a member for years–but they haven’t really done anything for me except to discriminate against me. I get far more out of other organization I belong to such as Epic and the Public Safety Writers Association, and the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters and Crime as well as the Internet chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Now I’ll climb off my soap box.


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Virtual Book Tour

I’m on a virtual book tour for Kindred Spirits all month, and these are the places I’ll be until I post on this blog again:

Oct 15
Oct 16
Oct 17
Oct 20
Oct 21 and
Oct 22
Oct 23
Oct 24
Oct 27
Oct 28

If you visit any of these blogs, please leave a comment.

I also have a book video here:

This has been a hectic time beginning with the first of September. I’ve done more promotion for this book than any of my others.

It began with a preview when I spoke to the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, The following week I had the official book launch in Crescent City CA where much of the story takes place. We flew to Illinois where I spoke to the Prose in the Park Writing Conference–and also signed a contract with my new publisher for the next in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

I attended the Wizards of Words conference in Scottsdale AZ where I gave two presentations.

The coming weekend is the Apple Festival in Springville (where I live) CA and I’ll have a booth on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend after that, on October 25th at 2 p.m., I’ll be in Henderson NV (next to Las Vegas) at Cheescake and Crime, a wonderful bookstore giving a talk about what kind of research I do for the Native American information in my mysteries.

Whew! And it’s not over yet! I’m already filling my calendar with events for next year too.
And sometime, I need to find time to write two more books–yes, that’s what I said, two more books.



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Finally, I’m Back Again!

I have had a terrible time trying to get into this blog. I must be challenged in some way–no matter what I tried, no matter how many new passwords I tried, it just wouldn’t work. Finally, someone must have sprinkled magic dust over my keyboard, because it finally worked.

Do I have that much interesting to say? I think so. I have a new book

The latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

The latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

It is now available from the publisher at and from any online bookstore or can be ordered from your neighborhood bookseller. It is also available as an ebook. However, since there are other books with the same title, be sure and ask for it as Kindred Spirits by Marilyn Meredith.

Tempe and Hutch’s relationship is not going well. A body is discovered after a forest fire and when the detectives learn the woman is a Tolowa with ties to Crescent City, Tempe is sent there to find out what she can about the victim. Another trip to Santa Barbara to seek the murderer puts Tempe in harm’s way.

I’m also on a blog tour starting on :Oct 3
Oct 6
Oct 7

Oct 9
Oct 10
Oct 13
Oct 14
Oct 15

There are some of the stops–if you visit, be sure and leave a comment.


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Trying to Blog

This is the most difficult blog for me to keep up with. The reasons are I have to keep changing my password because I can’t remember the one WordPress has given me–it’s way too complicated and haven’t been able to find the place to change it to something I can remember.

Then I always have a difficult time actually finding the Book’s Den site. (I know, it’s easy for everyone else.) And I’m supposed to post on a particular day, but I never know what that day is. I probably ought to just give up.

I don’t because I said I’d do this post–and I hate to give up on anything.

I am extremely busy at the moment preparing for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery book launch. I’m excited about this one, because there’s a lot about the Tolowa people in it, an Indian tribe that no many know about. Of course it’s a regular murder mystery, but Tempe goes to Crescent City CA as part of an investigation and while there meets some Tolowa women. Kindred Spirits is coming from Mundania Press in September.

I will be traveling to Crescent City for the book launch.


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PSWA’s 2009 Writing Conference

PSWA’s (Public Safety Writers Association) annual conference is being held in Las Vegas, June 18-21, 2009 at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino. The conference is open to anyone writing crime and mystery fiction or non-fiction, technical writing for public safety magazines in print or online, or anyone interested in writing. Registered attendees may offer a suggestion for a presentation or panel. There is no-restriction as to who can serve on a panel.

Steve Scarborough, a Forensic Scientist with over 30 years experience in Law Enforcement with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the accomplished technical writer and the author of several books, will give a presentation on “Writing Forensics Right.”

Tim Dees, Editor-in-Chief of, after serving in law enforcement, he was the first editor-in-chief at before joining Elsevier Public Safety and in January 2008. His work has been published in nearly every major law enforcement magazine. His topic for the conference will be: Writing for the New Media.

Fire Fighting and Arson, Presenter: Dave Doust

We’re delighted to announce the addition of Betty Webb as our keynote speaker at Saturday’s lunch. Betty is the author of the prize winning and much acclaimed, hard-boiled Lena Jones books, which are based on stories she covered as a reporter, include Desert Noir, Desert Wives, Desert Shadows, Desert Run and Desert Cut. Her much softer Gunn Zoo series will debut in December with The Anteater of Death. Currently a creative writing teacher at Phoenix College, Betty is a member of National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Southwest Authors. Her topic is: “From Hard-boiled to Darn Near Cozy, and Why I Dunnit.”


Victoria Heckman, Friday’s Keynote luncheon speaker will talk about “The Journey Is Everything” or “Where The Hell’s The AAA When You Need It?” about the journey to becoming a writer and how it parallels our own life journeys.

Victoria Heckman is the author of the K.O.’d in Hawaii mystery series trom Pemberley Press
& Writer’s Exchange. Kapu, A Coconut Man Mystery of Ancient Hawai’i, 2008 from Seven Sisters Publishing

Logistics of Writing: How to gear up and rev up you writing productivity. A system to layer on top of your present way of writing. A practical series of step that will show you how to switch into a proactive approach of generating work.

Presenter: Sarah Cortez

Authors may bring their books for sale. PSWA will keep 10% to help defray the cost of the conference and for the scholarship fund.

Some surprises are being planned, so keep watching the PSWA website:

There is a price break for members and for non-members registering before September 30th.
Membership is open to anyone in any of the public safety fields or writing or interested in writing for or about them.

I go to many writing and mystery conferences and confentions, this is my very favorite because of its friendliness and networking possibilities.


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Plans Often Don’t Work Out/Or How we Spent Father’s Day Weekend

My plan for the weekend was to leave early Friday morning with hubby and all the paraphenalia to have a booth at a Flea Market in Temecula CA–about a 4 plus hour drive from our home. We were to meet at our eldest daughter at our granddaughter’s home for lunch. We left in plenty of time, just a bit after 6 a.m.

When we drew close to the bottom of the road over the mountains (I-5, the main connections from the San Joaquin Valley to Southern CA) all the cars slowed to a stop. Accident, we thought. We expected to eventually be guided around it. Instead we were deteoured off the highway, around a big loop and back to the main highway going back the way we came. Like sheep, we followed all the trucks and cars figuring they, like us, needed to find an alternate route.

We had a pretty good idea of where we needed to go, up to Tehacapi and down to Mojave, and then we hoped our Magellan would guide us the best way to get to Temecula. By this time we learned via the radio that the problem was a hazardous waste spill on I-5 and no one was going through for a long, long while. Our Magellan wanted to take us back to I-5 through Palmdale but since we had no idea where the spill was we didn’t want to take a chance.

Finally, the mysterious voice on the GPS led us to San Bernardino and on to Genie’s. Of course daughter had already left for home as they had other plans. Genie and Mark are always gracious overnight hosts and we had a great time visiting them and their two little kids.

Before our hosts were awake the next morning, hubby and I headed off for the Flea Market. We thought we left plenty early, but the park where it was being held was already packed. We found a place to leave the car and began hauling the Easy-Up tent, tables, chairs and the pull-alongs with all my books.

I was the only author–something I’ve found to be a good thing–and began attracting attention from the other vendors. Though I didn’t sell a ton of books–I made my fee for the spot back, plus quite a bit more. I also handed out lots of cards and bookmarks and talked to lots of people. By three o’clock the wind came up and vendors began packing up–so we did too.

We programmed in grandson Patrick’s address and followed the voice to his house. There we visited with his wife and three kids. We took them out to dinner, then Patrick, hubby and grandson all went to the motorcycle races. I stayed home with the girls and we watched a chick flick and did a lot of talking.

Once again we left before our hosts were up and about. Left a thank you note and headed for home. Told the mysterious Magellan “best use of freeways” and ended up driving through downtown LA. Not too bad since it was Sunday–however next time I’ll put in “shortest distance” which would have taken us a better way. This time, the drive was uneventful and we arrived home just in time for a barbecue cooked my our son for Father’s Day.


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Being a Conference and Convention Junkie

Yes, I must confess, I seem to be turning into a conference junkie. Since September I’ve been to Bouchercon in Alaska, Love is Murder in Chicago, Epicon in Portland OR, Public Safety Writers Association in Vegas, and Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha.

And yes, I have a couple more in the fall.

The main reason for attending all these is promotion for my books. No, you don’t really sell a whole lot of books at a conference or convention, but the idea is to meet people who hopefully will become interested in your books and eventually become a fan.

When I go to a strictly writers confered where I’m giving a presentation, of course I’ll be meeting people and talking about my books, but I’ll also be nurturing writers. Throughout my writing career, I’ve been nurtured by many writers and of course I want to share what I’ve learned with others.

I’ve been planning my promotion for the next book in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Kindred Spirits. It’s supposed to arrive around the end of August. The book launch is planned for the Sisters in Crime meeting in Fresno the first Saturday in September. Then I’m heading up to Crescent City where the first half of the book is set. Hopefully, I’ll hit a bookstore and a library or two. One place I’ll definitely be going is to a coffee house run by a Tolowa woman named Junie. She inspired two of the characters in the book and gave me lots of information about the Tolowa people.

Of course before that book comes out I still have events to promote Judgment Fire and Smell of Death. On June 14th I’ll be at a Flea Market in Temecula CA, July 12 at the West Coast Authors Premiere in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura.

One of the fun things we’ll be doing in Ventura is staying in a haunted room at a bed and breakfast. More about that later. We’ll also be visiting our youngest daughter and her family, and we’re looking forward to seeing her latest new home.

On June 19th, I’m heading up to Oakview and the Willow Bridge Bookstore to talk to a writing group about self-editing. In August, so far the only thing I have planned is having a table with my books at an Arts Festival in Elk Grove.

Hopefully, I can get my next Tempe book completed this summer.

With the price of gas, I may have to curtail my promotions to events close to home. My days as a con junkie may be coming to a close.


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On Judging Short Story Contests

Over the past few years, I’ve judged many writing contests–some large with thousands of entries and smaller ones, with less entries. I’ve judged short stories and novels–published and unpublished.

Recently, I finished judging a short story contest. It’s always easy to pick out the best entries. These were the ones with the most catchy or intriguing first lines, great character development, dialogue that was realistic, moved the plot along, and different sounding from each character, a background setting or settings where the story played out, an unusual plot with a satisfying or surprising ending, and of course, no grammar or spelling errors.

Unfortunately, there were those entries where the characters had names, but nothing else; making them talking heads; stilted and meaningless dialogue; no clue as to where the story takes place; strange punctuation especially with the use of dashes; pronoun usage where there’s no clue to whom the pronoun refers to; telling instead of letting the reader see what is happening. Several I read could be developed into a novel. The ingredients were there, though it would take more research and a lot of work.

One entry was a well-written, humorous essay–but this was a short-story contest, so it didn’t belong.

Anyone entering a writing contest should really pay attention to the rules. Not following the rules can cause a good story to be rejected from the contest. The same goes when submitting a manuscript to an editor or publisher–always makes sure you follow their guidelines.

I’ll probably keep on judging writing contests because I think it’s a way to help other writers. Over the years, I’ve had several accomplished authors who helped me along the way. Frankly, I’m not much of a short story writer myself. I have written a few which have been published in anthologies, but I much prefer writing novels.

Short stories are hard because every word should be meaningful. The dialogue has to move the plot along and reveal character. The characters must be described quickly and in such a way the reader can immediately picture them. The plot can’t be too complicated, but it must have a purpose. The ending must wrap the story up in a satisfying manner–or with a surprise.


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