Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cowboys in My Family

My grandfather was a cowboy. His grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1853 from Denmark to help settle the Utah Territory with the Mormons. The family arrived in New Orleans by ship and made the arduous journey over the plains. (Their trip was documented, and I received a copy of this hand-written account from my aunt several years ago.)

They settled in Spring City, south of Salt Lake. We visited the town in 2012 on a long road trip. After miles of barren desert, I was amazed to see trees and lots of green as we neared the area.

My great-grandfather, Marinus Lund, settled a farm and raised cattle. He even had his own brand.

It had been pressed into fresh concrete, and years later, one of my great uncles (by marriage) made a rubbing of it. I’d love to know where the original brand is, if it still exists.

My grandfather was one of twenty-three children. His mother died when he was seven, after giving birth to thirteen children. His father married a woman who already had six children, and they had four more together. Only two of the twenty-three died in infancy. The rest went on to live full lives—with many marriages. However, they were not polygamous.

Marinus’s family lived in a cabin on the farm. One of my second cousins made a sketch of it.
I can’t imagine raising twenty-three children in such a small place. We tried to find it when we visited, but apparently, it no longer exists. The town historian found the lot number from old tax records after we left. Maybe we’ll go back sometime and see if we can locate it.

My grandfather was a blacksmith and built a forge in his back yard in California. He used it well into his eighties.

Shortly after his marriage, he moved to Nevada, where my father was born. Two years later, they moved to Alberta, Canada to join his brother, Mariuns DeLoss Lund (known as DeLoss).

During their time in Canada, my aunts were born. For some reason, they decided to move to California.

Because my father died when I was very young, and he and his sisters were raised by other relatives, I never knew the reasons for either move.

DeLoss’s son, Clark Lund, became a professional cowboy, and competed in the Calgary Stampede. He won the All-Around in Calgary in 1939. In 1990, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Clark’s son, DC Lund (Darwin Clark), a veterinarian, also became a professional cowboy. He was named 1965 Southern Alberta Steer Wrestling Champion and was named All-around Champion in 1974. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

His wife, Patty Ivins (Lund), is a Calgary Stampede pioneer. She was one of the first barrel racing champions in 1959 and 1960.

Their son, Corb (Corby) Lund, competed as a child. However, his interest turned to music. He is famous in Canada as a country-western artist. You can find videos of him on YouTube.

When she was little, our daughter, Kim, was obsessed with all things cowboy. For her second birthday, her godfather gave her a cowgirl outfit. She wanted to wear it every day. She mounted her Wonder Horse and rode for hours.


Now she lives in Texas and wears her boots most of the time. She says she always felt at home there. Maybe she comes by her cowboy roots naturally.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why Travel?

This blog should come with a disclaimer: Travel is addictive.

We began making trips early in our marriage, first to places in the US and later farther afield.

Our first major trip, in 1979, was a three-week vacation to Hawaii. I worked for a year to pay for it. We planned with a travel agent and created our own itinerary. Five islands, eight flights, thirteen hotels later, we still hadn’t seen everything. It’s why we keep going back.


We have returned to Hawaii often, several times with good friends. Our last trip was in March of this year for a writing conference.

In 1980, we took a Caribbean cruise at the recommendation of friends. This was not our favorite vacation. I spent the whole week feeling queasy. However, we were one of the last cruise ships to dock in Haiti. This was the most severe poverty I had ever observed. One of the benefits of visiting foreign lands is the reminder of just how blessed we are.

In December of 1984, we had the joy of accompanying Kimberly’s high school choir when they sang in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Afterward, we toured Israel for a week with the group. I recently posted the link to the short video we made of the trip. It is fuzzy, and the sound isn’t perfect, but it still brings back special memories:

In 1993, our friend, Bob Schwenck, did a pulpit exchange in Scotland. Larry was reluctant to take time off work for a trip to visit there, but I finally negotiated for ten days. We visited with the Schwencks for a couple of days, and then split the remainder with my family and traveling a bit. As we boarded the plane for the return flight, Larry said, “We should have stayed longer.” Can you say annoyed?

We learned our lesson. We now take whatever time is required.

Between 1998 and 2001, we lived in Japan and received an in-depth education in the Japanese people and the country. While we were there, we tried to visit a different location each weekend. One of my Japanese coworkers said she thought we’d seen more of the country than she had.

During one holiday weekend in 2001, we had decided to travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. My friend contacted travel agencies and made inquiries. Even though we would only be gone three days, the cost was outrageous. (Earlier, we had made a trip to Okinawa to visit a friend, and it was also expensive.)

As we were investigating the options, the head of HR asked if we would like to take a trip to Beijing. It would be for a week, and it cost less than the trip we had been considering. Of course, we decided to go.

In 2003, right after I learned I was losing my job, an opportunity for a trip to Italy came to us. Rather than my normal caution, this time I decided we were going, no matter what. This country had been on my bucket list for many years. So, we went, and I never regretted a minute!

The following year, we went to Ireland with the same group. What a terrific experience. The highlight was a visit with my mother’s distant cousin, Jean, who invited the entire group to her home for tea.

We have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and many other places, with several more on the bucket list. In 2014, I checked off another when we traveled to France. The country was everything I had imagined and so much more!

When we retired in 2011, we went to San Mateo to visit my aunt and uncle. When we told them we were retiring, each of them said the same thing: “Travel.”


Where have you visited? What was your favorite place?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Descansos

Descanso (plural descansos)
A memorial placed at the site of a violent, unexpected death, in memoriam. (From the Spanish)

While traveling to and from Prescott, AZ last weekend, we saw many descansos along the road. Today, we spotted another in Dana Point Harbor.

They reminded me of a women’s retreat my friend, Gail Warner, led many years ago.

She described how they are created to memorialize a life lost near where the shrine was erected. They often consist of a cross, flowers, candles, personal items of the person or family members. Sometimes families maintain these for years in memory of their loved ones.

She asked us to write down our own descansos—those incidents, people, or events which represented turning points in our lives. Our results were a revelation.

The first one I recalled was the death of my maternal grandfather. I was only twenty-six months old, yet I have vivid memories of that day: a sea of legs filling my grandmother’s living room, everyone crying and distracted. No one told me what was happening. (They thought I was too little.)
Finally, a neighbor took me to her house and rocked me until I fell asleep. It is the first time I ever recall having been rocked. Ever since, I have related the rocking motion to peace and safety. I’ve always had at least one rocking chair in my home.

My grandfather was the most important person in my life. He read to me every day before bedtime. I always clamored for “just one more,” and he often obliged.

I had a fifty-two word vocabulary at one year old, mostly because of him. He took me around the house and pointed out different objects: picture, radio, table, etc. We always finished in my grandparents’ room where he removed the cover form my grandmother’s powder box. “The Desert Song” played until he replaced the cover. Then he removed it again and handed it to me, but when I put it back, the music went on. He finally showed me the little wire. I became adept at placing the lid so the wire engaged and stopped the music.

Since my grandmother always kept her Coty face powder in the box, the memory of this experience is forever accompanied by its scent.

Several years ago, I gave the powder box to my cousin’s daughter to be passed on to her daughters along with the story of this memory.

The next major descanso in my life occurred five years later with the death of my father.

I went to school in the morning and returned to find lots of cars parked near my house and in the driveway. Again, I can easily recall every minute of the day: my aunts and neighbors packed into the living room, my paternal grandfather with his arm around my mother, who was crying. This seemed strange because they hated each other. (In fact, after Dad’s death, my grandfather all but disappeared from our lives.)

I learned several important life lessons from this one:

1.   Life is short and can end without warning.
2.    Often tell the ones you love that you love them because you may not get another chance.
3.    Life may become difficult, but you can survive.
4.    Losing a parent leaves a large hole in your life. No one else can ever fill it.


Marrying Larry was the next descanso, and this was a wonderful one. In addition to joining my life to the one I loved, I gained an amazing family. His parents embraced me as their own. My mother worked, and after Dad died, she withdrew emotionally. Larry’s mother became the person I could talk to and share my deepest thoughts and concerns with.


She and his dad modeled the kind of relationship I wanted in my marriage—and did so for sixty-seven years. I never doubted they loved each other deeply. Did they disagree? Sure. But we never saw their devotion to one another flag or waiver.

They modeled selfless caring for family and each other until they were separated by death. These are lessons I learned and practice to this day.

Likewise, the day our daughter, Kimberly, was born once again changed my life. I expected a passive baby who slept and cooed. Instead, Kim stayed awake nearly every hour of the day. I required sleep. She did not. (She still doesn’t.) I expected a placid child like her father and me. Nope. She was active and demanding. She wanted her own way and fought for it. Part of me admired this quality, but the mother part found it frustrating. (She got her stubbornness from my mother. At least, that’s my story.)

Somehow, we survived her growing-up years to become good friends. Today I love spending time with her. We laugh together and love to play. I truly miss her company since she moved to Texas, but I also look forward to visiting her or having her come home. She has enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined. We watched her sing with her high school choir in Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1984. And last February, we watched her church choir accompany Michael W. Smith in Carnegie Hall. Peak life moments, and I thank her for providing them.

I could mention other decansos, but perhaps the most significant in recent years was the thirty-one months we lived in Osaka, building the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

We had lived in other states, but this was our first experience living outside the U.S. We were also among the oldest to relocate, and we were the first. The challenges of living in a culture so different from our own, where we knew few people and didn’t understand or speak the language, felt overwhelming.

In order to deal with the frustration, I began sending short essays back to our friends in California. By the end of our stay, my mailing list grew to about 150 people, and some of them forwarded the articles to others.

When we returned, friends urged us to put the experience into a book. After three years, and several complete rewrites, our first book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was born. It began a whole new career for both of us.

What had begun as a frustrating and often difficult time, became the genesis of much of the joy we now experience.

So what are the major lessons these descansos have taught me?
1.     Life is full of surprises. Embrace them.
2.    The worst times of life can led to the best.
3.    People are most important in our lives.
4.    Things are just things.
5.    Everything can change in an instant.
6.    Life is short. Live every day fully.
7.    Trust that God has a plan and that everything will ultimately work out for the best—even though no sign of resolution may be apparent.
8.    Enjoy each and every day as if it might be your last, because it might be.
9.    Never fail to say, “I love you.”
10. Hug those you love often.


What are your descansos? What have you learned from them?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Conferences?

We just returned from a weekend at the California Crime Writers Conference. As always, we had a great time, saw old friends, made new ones, and learned a great deal.

Why do we attend conferences?
Shortly after our first book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was published, I suggested we attend the Maui Writers’ Conference (now defunct). We had already planned a trip to Hawaii for the same time, and one of my favorite authors, Gail Tsukiyama, was a presenter. Larry said he’d rather surf. That is, until he found out one of his favorites, Terry Brooks, was a speaker. Plus, he realized the cost of the conference was tax-deductible.

He finally agreed to go, but said he’d drop me off in the morning, go surfing, and pick me up in the afternoon, except for the time Terry was scheduled. I agreed.
Once we arrived and he saw all the topics available, he decided maybe he’d go to one or two sessions. Fortunately, we had several more days in Hawaii following the conference, because he never went surfing.
We heard some terrific speakers, learned a great deal, which we still use, met wonderful folks, with whom we’re still in touch, and had a blast.
One person we met became the inspiration for our protagonist, Agapè Jones, in our cozy mysteries, Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise.
We enjoyed spending time with others who understood when we complained, “My characters won’t leave me alone.” They nodded sagely. They related in a way non-writers never could.
Our first book was a finalist for the EPPIE award, so we decided to attend the EPIC conference (EPICon) the following year.

This conference was smaller than Maui, but enjoyable, and some of the attendees have become dear friends. We attended this one for many years.
I met one of my writing partners at the first EPICon. Together with three other friends, we wrote the six Aspen Grove sweet romance anthologies: Snowflake Secrets, Seasons of Love, An Aspen Grove Christmas, The Art of Love, Directions of Love, which won the EPIC eBook Award, and our latest, …And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe. This partner also introduced us to her publisher, with whom we had a long and valued relationship. This company published the romances as well as our mysteries.
We also met the publishers for whom I have edited and formatted as well as several of my freelance editing clients.
For quite a few years, we presented classes and workshops at EPICon. Those became the foundation for speaking engagements. We now speak for many groups and organizations.
Through a friend we met at EPICon, we learned about the Public Safety Writers Association.


We have attended their conference, too. This one is for first-responders and those who write about them. We have gained a great deal of technical information at this conference, and again, met some fabulous people.
In 2014, we attended the Left Coast Crime Conference in Monterey, CA, where we saw the publisher of Ghost Writer, and met and renewed friendships with several authors. We also visited a friend in the area since we were already there.

In March of this year, we attended Left Coast Crime again, this time in Honolulu. We felt as though we had come full circle. Our first conference was in Hawaii, and we had returned.

So, why do we attend conferences?

  • ·         We have opportunities to network with other writers and industry professionals. We only see some of these folks in person at conferences, and it’s nice to reconnect with old friends.
  • ·         We meet new people who will most likely become friends. We have much to share.
  • ·         We may find new opportunities, like the person who invited us to be her guest on her podcast.
  • ·      We learn the latest information on the publishing industry. Today it changes almost daily, and it’s important to stay current.
  • ·         We attend workshops and panel discussions where we learn a great deal. This year, Hallie Ephron gave a dynamite class on how to evaluate the relationships between characters. I know I will use it from now on. Larry attended a terrific session on processing a crime scene. The information will certainly make its way into our books.
  • ·         Larry won one of the drawings. Heck, this is another bonus.
  • ·         We return home inspired and ready to get back to writing again.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Why I Observe Memorial Day

This weekend, we will observe Memorial Day. The holiday began three years after the Civil War in 1868 as Decoration Day, a time set aside to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The date of May 30 probably was selected because flowers would be in bloom across the country in the late spring.

The first large observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremonies began on the veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, attended. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic strewed flowers on both Union and Confederate graves as they recited prayers and sang hymns.

By the turn of the twentieth century, ceremonies were held on May 30 throughout the country. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday. The date was also changed to the last Monday in May.

So, what does this mean for us?

Some communities hold parades. Local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts place flags on the graves of veterans in cemeteries. Many cities and communities sponsor concerts and fireworks displays. And some families visit the graves of their relatives and friends.

For me, personally, this is a time to remember our fathers, both of whom served in WWII. Fortunately, neither of them was killed, but they gave years of their lives to the service of their country.

One family member, my grandfather’s older brother, Charles Methven, died on October 20, 1917 in Ieper, Belgium during WWI. The family then lived in Canada, and Charles served for Great Britain. He was buried in West Flanders, Belgium near where he fell. He was twenty-three years old.
When I hear Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem and see the poppies on Memorial Day, I think of Uncle Charles. The poem was written in the same place where Charles died.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This year, I will once again remember those, including Charles, who went to war when their country called and who never came home.

This holiday will continue to focus our attention on those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. They deserve our eternal gratitude and respect.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thoughts of a First-Time Author

Today my guest is my friend, author Wayne A. Burt. I asked him how it felt to have his first novel published. This first-time author is ecstatic. Find out why.

To say I’m over the moon about getting my first book published would not be accurate. I'm over the galaxy would be more like it. I’ve been writing stories for thirteen years. I’ve always known it could happen, I even believed it probably would someday, but when it actually did, the wonderful feeling was unbelievable. Until you try, you have no idea how remote the chances are to get picked up by a publisher. Just to find one who accepts submissions is a challenge. Then to be selected over the hundreds of submissions they receive is a miracle. If I hadn’t sought out and met Larry and Lorna Collins, and joined Lagunita Writers Group, Catching a Wave to Sycar might never have come to pass. Lorna edits for Desert Breeze Publishing, so she made a recommendation on my behalf.

I received a gift of great joy. I feel complete. I created a happy allegory about God’s love for his children and his creation, and now it will be available for a long time. The granddaughter who inspired it has read it five times. Parents can share it with their children. Children will imagine what it would be like to fly like a bird or swim with a dolphin, and I hope they will understand what it’s like to be loved by their heavenly father.

Don’t ask me how I came up with the idea for this book. It just happened. I had read that stories with a magical element sell well. So, I waited for an idea. One day, this one popped into my head, and away I went. I believe in revelation. I’m my creative father’s son, made in his image.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received a gift of this nature. I’ve written Christmas carols I feel the same way about. All of us are blessings to those around us. This book is mine. And now it’s ours. Isn’t it fun?

Someone should write a book about how many different ways Wayne Burt can work the fact that he’s been published into a conversation. Perhaps, it’s shameful, but I think there’s no point in writing a book if people don’t read it. Right? It’s the salesman in me.

The marketing part of the journey is fun, too. Little girls are excited when I sign the book for them and write their names in the front. People want to buy it and support me as an author. I recently had a release party at my home, and my friends and family were all there to support me. It’s a kick being the center of attention.

I listen to a lot of audio books as I drive all around each day doing my sales job. Sometimes, at the end of the book, someone interviews the author. It’s silly, but I’ve always wanted to do it. I don’t know exactly why, but I love talking about writing. The process is fascinating to me. An idea for a story comes into your head, characters are created, and it’s like they come alive and become real, and their stories are revealed. Amazing. You can find this interview on my website http://www.wayneaburtauthor.com/writing-well.html.

The last thing I want to say is this book was a team effort, making the joy of this milestone in my life all the sweeter. When I started, I didn’t know how to use a computer. My first two novels were written by hand. I was encouraged to write by my sister-in-law Janet Powell, and was taught how to write by her daughter, Colleen. My grandchildren and their prodigious imaginations were a great source of inspiration. And the editing skills of Lorna Collins and the team of writers who belong to Lagunita Writers helped me polish the work for publication. Thanks to you all.

Visit me on my website: http://www.wayneaburtauthor.com/
You can also find me on Facebook:


The moment teenager, Sophia Anderson, paddles into the huge wave, she knows something weird happened. She just doesn’t know how weird. When the wave transports her to an island paradise in another world, she thinks she must be dreaming, but when she encounters a talking butterfly, and an amphibious girl from another planet, she’s convinced she's never been more awake in her life.

The butterfly is Truson, the lord of all worlds. The girl is Norie, an amphibious girl from the dying planet, Sycar. Truson calls them on an adventure, thrilling, dangerous, and as much fun as it is frightening. Can they rescue Sycar's people in time?

The book is available through Amazon and from the publisher: http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/catching-a-wave-to-scar-epub/



Wayne A. Burt is a California native who married his high school sweetheart and raised their three children on the warm beaches of the OC. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary and worked with youth professionally and non-professionally for much of his life. He didn't begin writing for children until his own had grown up and moved out. His first published work, Catching a Wave to Scar, was written for his oldest granddaughter. His grandchildren's amazing imaginations sparked the ideas for the story.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From Reality to Realistic Fiction


Interesting characters need realistic “warts.” Sometimes the best way to develop a character is to look at a real person. Let me explain how I developed (hopefully) one of the multidimensional people in my new thriller, Riddled with Clues.
My dog, Bug, a Japanese Chin, and I have done pet therapy at the local VA Center for years. This particular VA Center has a number of rehab programs besides a major hospital. It also offers multiple programs to aid homeless veterans in New Mexico.

On one visit to the VA, a ragged veteran sat and stroked Bug for several minutes without speaking. Then he looked at me and said, “What does this dog call you?”

I recognized this was a serious question and deserved a thoughtful answer. I didn’t smirk or giggle. “I think he calls me Mom.”

The veteran lowered his head close to examine the dog’s face and then resumed stroking him. After a minute, he nodded. “I think that’s right.”

Several months later, a neatly dressed man on the VA campus approached Bug and me. “Hello Bug and Bug’s Mom.” As he talked to me for several minutes, I realized this was the same veteran. He was well-educated but had experienced hard times not only in Vietnam but also in his personal life. He wasn’t pathetic; he had dignity.

His words replayed in my mind over the last five or six years. When I set this thriller, Riddled with Clues, at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, I knew I would include this man as a major character.

Please note: HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) doesn’t allow health care workers or volunteers to identify patients. However, I don’t know the name of this man and I didn’t describe him in the novel as he looked. Everything about the character in my novel is fictitious, except for the description of these two brief incidents. I think these two incidents showed the mental state and personality of a veteran in rehab better than long descriptions. I hope you agree.
Now aren’t you curious to find out how this character fits into the plot? Note: I didn’t give you the character’s name. Here’s the blurb for Riddled with Clues:
A hospitalized friend gives a puzzling note to Sara Almquist. He received the note signed “Red from Udon Thani” while investigating the movement of drugs from Cuba into the U.S. However, he doesn’t know anyone called Red, and the last time he was in Udon Thani was during the Vietnam War. After Sara listens to his rambling tales of all the possibilities, both are attacked. He is left comatose. As she struggles to survive, she questions who to trust: the local cops, her absent best friend, the FBI, or a homeless veteran, who leaves puzzling riddles as clues.
The other character based on a real individual in this novel is Bug. Isn’t he a handsome devil?

I hope my story will give you ideas for developing realistic final characters.

Riddled with Clues is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1938436237 

J. L. Greger likes to include tidbits of science and exotic locations in her Science Traveler Thriller/Mystery series, which includes: Riddled with Clues, Murder…A Way to Lose Weight (winner of 2016 Public Safety Writers [PSWA] annual contest and finalist for New Mexico–Arizona book award), I Saw You in Beirut, and Malignancy (winner of 2015 PSWA annual contest). To learn more, visit her website: http://www.jlgreger.com or her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008IFZSC4

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Keeping Characters Interesting

Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) has another new Rocky Bluff mystery! This is number thirteen in this series. She also writes a second series with many books. I asked her how she keeps her characters interesting in such a long series.


Since the Rocky Bluff P.D. series has reached #13, making sure the characters continue to be interesting is a challenge.

One way, of course, is to see their growth. Though all have grown and changed through the years, two characters have changed the most.

The first is Ryan Strickland. In the beginning, he was not a nice guy. He also was a big publicity hound, to the point of keeping a scrapbook of every time his name appeared in the paper. I can’t say too much more without spoiling it for someone who wants to start at the beginning of the series, but he has grown and become a much more likeable character.

Gordon Butler is the other character who has changed a lot. He has had some major challenges in various books, some to do with his love life, and others with bad luck. He became sort of a comic relief and garnered many fans because of it. I’ve probably had the most fun writing about Gordon Butler and his mishaps, but as he’s matured, circumstances have improved for him.

The Rocky Bluff P.D. has changed, too. Some people have left, including the police chief. A new chief has taken over and has been smart not to make many changes, though the department is still understaffed and underfunded.

I hope people will continue to read this series and enjoy learning about the characters and what is happening to them on the job and with their families.

F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith


Unresolved, #13 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series:

Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The body of the mayor is the first discovered. The second is an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Copies may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing bookandtablevaldosta@gmail.com with a 10% discount and free shipping as well as all the usual places, including Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/mdqfq27.
  
F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beach community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/


Up next, on May 7 I answered the question, Besides Blog Tours, What Else?