Monday, September 19, 2016

My dear friend and one of my favorite authors, Marilyn Meredith, is launching the next book in her Detective Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Seldom Traveled. Detective Crabtree is one of my favorite characters, and I love this series. Tempe is a Native American. This is one of the reasons I’m fascinated by her. For this post, I asked Marilyn to tell us a bit about the real reservation and the Tule River Indians who live near her. Marilyn and I met at a conference ten years ago and have remained friends since then.
What Eagle Mountain Casino has done for the Tule River Indians

Lorna asked me to write about how the casino on the reservation has changed the lives of the Indians who live there. For those of you who might not know, the Yokut Indians and others who live on the reservation have been the models for the Indians in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree books.

The reservation was established in 1873 and covers 85 square miles of rugged foothill and mountains of the Sierra. Where the residents live, work and play is in a narrow valley. Though picturesque, for many years, life was hard. There was no electricity until the 1960s, and no jobs. The only employment available was in nearby Porterville which had to be accessed by a vehicle—and not many jobs were available to Indians.

In 1996, Eagle Mountain Casino was established. Along with the casino came many jobs, not only for Indians but also for people from the nearby area. Revenue from the casino made it possible for many new developments like a Health Center, Child Care Center, Education Department, a new Fire and Police Department, and more.

Eagle Feather, a gas station and large convenience store was built on Highway 190, along with a large automotive shop to maintain the casino buses. Eagle Feather 2 is located halfway between Porterville and the Pacific Coast.

The Tule River Aero Industries is located at the Porterville Airport and does major engine and airframe repair and has a sales department. The tribe also has a print shop, and owns and operates the Oak Pit Steakhouse in Porterville.

The tribe generously contributes to many different local charities and youth groups.

Though life may still not be perfect on the reservation, the casino has definitely made major improvements not only for the Indians but also for all of us who live nearby.

Marilyn
Seldom Traveled
The tranquility of the mountain community 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.


Buy directly from the publisher in all different formats:


Marilyn Meredith 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 of 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.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Indelible Memories

Some events burned themselves indelibly in my memory. The day my father died when I was seven. The day President John F. Kennedy died. And 9-11-2001.

I remember every minute, how I felt, what I said and did. Mostly I remember how helpless and confused I felt. The reality was simply too overwhelming to comprehend.

February 16, 1954
I got off the school bus and saw cars parked in our driveway and in front of the house. I recognized some, but others were strange. I walked inside, the rooms were filled, and the blinds were drawn. This had never happened before. The greatest surprise was seeing my paternal grandfather with his arm around my mother. As a rule, they avoided each other.

Mom said my dad was dead. I couldn’t grasp what it meant, and part of me didn’t believe it. Except Mom was crying. My aunts were crying. Heck, even Grandpa was crying. I decided I should cry, too, so I did. It took a long time to accept the reality of his loss.

November 22, 1963
The PA system crackled at lunchtime one day during my senior year of high school. This never happened. Gilbert Strother, our principal, announced the president had been shot in Dallas. I don’t remember what else he said, but we simply couldn’t believe the news.

JFK was “our” president. Even though he was the same age as my mother, he represented youth and change.

We had just returned to class when the PA came on again. Mr. Strother’s voice broke as he announced the death of our president. Nearly everyone began to sob. I think a couple of girls screamed. Classes were shortened for the day.

When I returned home, Larry was there already. He had heard in class at Cal Poly Pomona, where he was a student. They had cancelled classes. We turned on the TV and began the marathon coverage of the funeral and burial. Grief engulfed the nation.

September 11, 2001
We woke early as usual since we both kept early hours. We turned on the TV to get the weather and traffic report. I had taken the day off because we were expecting the contractor to do repairs following an earlier water leak.

Just as the TV came on, the scene switched from the local feed to the New York coverage with the announcement of a plane crashing into a World Trade Center tower. Smoke billowed from the building, shown behind the network anchors. As we—and they—watched, a second plane hit the other tower.

I immediately turned to Larry. “We’re at war.”

At the time, no one knew exactly who was responsible or why. Larry left for work and I continued to watch the live coverage. I saw the emergency responders arrive, and experienced sheer horror as the towers collapsed. Iconic clips played and replayed throughout the day. Added to the footage from Manhattan, the feeds from the Pentagon were added, including a live audio report from inside the building as the plane hit. More and more reports came in, some accurate, and some speculative.

Unreality overwhelmed the country. During the next few days, just like in the days following JFK’s assassination, the news coverage was unrelenting. And our country stood together.

Like all our neighbors and most of our friends, we flew our flag for days, beginning on September 11. Our old flag finally shredded, and we bought a new one.


The flag flies again today as it did fifteen years ago. These memories do not diminish over time. They are still too raw and too real. What do you remember this viscerally?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Small Blessings

This morning I have been thinking about small blessings. These are the ones I receive every day and often don’t notice.

I woke up this morning. In itself, this is a blessing. I get another day. Another day with Larry. Another day to live in this glorious place. More of my friends are taken as time goes on, but I am still here. So what if I have a cough? So what if I don’t feel 100%? I’m awake and alive.

I rolled out of bed and stood up. What a gift. I often think about my friend Renee. She is paralyzed and can’t turn herself over without help. She needs assistance to sit up, move, dress, do her morning routine, and everything else in her life. She is not my only friend with physical disabilities. I’m grateful to be able to stand and brush my teeth and shower and dress by myself.

I took a hot shower. I have been grateful for hot running water for many years. I relish standing beneath the stream as I wake up and begin my day. When I think about it, a hot shower truly is a miracle.

I live in a place where many people pay a great deal to visit. We get to be here every day. The weather is close to perfect, and we truly enjoy it. Whenever we are at the marina, we remind ourselves of the gift of living in this special place.

We own a terrific house, one we never in our wildest dreams imagined we’d ever live in, much less own. It is big enough to share with others. Our daughter and my mother have both lived here. We have hosted several foreign students, and have housed various others over the years. We still love hosting company.

We are retired and, unlike so many of our friends, can afford to live in the same manner as we did when we were working at our careers. We have a second career as authors, and other people seem to enjoy our books. I have a third career as an editor. I’m busier than I would really like to be at this time in my life, but I’m grateful for a functioning brain and the ability to contribute to others.
The greatest blessing in my life is Larry. We dated for the first time when I was fourteen. I was crazy about him, and a few years later, he decided we should be together. We just celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. We still have fun together, and he still makes me laugh.

The secondary blessing is our daughter, Kimberly. She brings us such joy, and we are proud of the adult she has become.


Sometimes I forget how truly blessed I am. Then I look around and realize all the wonderful things in my life. How could I not feel blessed?