Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trail to Glory - The Real Story

When I started trying to locate all of Marilyn Meredith’s books, I discovered several I didn’t know about. One was Trail to Glory: One Family’s Journey West. This historical novel is based on the journey of her maternal ancestors. Some of the incidents in the book are based on family legends. After reading this exciting book, I wanted to know what was true and what was fiction. Marilyn agreed to answer my questions. Next week, she’ll do the same for Two Ways West, the story of her paternal family’s journey.

Thanks for giving me (and my readers) the “inside scoop” on this book.

I have to ask about Half-face. He was one of the most memorable characters in the book. I so want to think he is based on someone the family actually knew. Was he?
Sorry, no. Made him up. Needed an exciting scene and he filled it and then went on to be even more important a bit later.

Was William actually killed as depicted in the book (no spoilers)? This is one of the most haunting scenes.
I have no idea. Much of the early part of this “fictional” historical saga was based on things I learned about when I researched what was going on during that particular time in that place. Some family members thought it happened.

Although the book says the older girls were given to a neighbor to raise, you told me they were adopted by three other families. Did they stay in touch with the rest of the family? Did they live nearby? (BTW, I have instances of this same thing in my own family. When my great-grandmother died, some of her children were raised by relatives, and one of the older children raised the younger ones. When my grandmother died, this same sister took her three children.)
In the beginning the neighbor took the girls, and she was the one who changed their names. Again, I wrote this book so long ago I don’t really remember all the details.

Did Ethel actually suffer injury during her birth? Did she really endure such tragic losses? Did she really raise her sister’s child?
No Ethel didn’t suffer the injury—I borrowed it from what happened to one of my cousins. And yes, she did suffer the tragic losses in the story. She did raise her sister’s child, but I made up some of the details surrounding what happened. It seemed like it could have been what transpired.

You wrote a beautiful—and fanciful—account of what might have happened to Wilhelmina. You said the family had other theories. What were they?
My mother always said Wilhelmina was stolen by gypsies. I couldn’t find any history of gypsies in the area during the time period.

Did Will actually stay in touch with the family when he disappeared, or did he just vanish? Did you write his story to have some closure?
Will did keep in touch with the family, but the story about him I made up. No one could remember much about him.

I know you were descended from Desdemona (Minnie). Did she really hate her nickname so much? (My own grandmother’s birth name was Mary Ann, but she was always called “Minnie.” This is the name on her headstone.)
Desdemona (Minnie), my great-grandmother, did not like her name. I got to meet my great-grandmother when she came to my fifth birthday party (I have a photo of her there), and we spent a Christmas in her home. I don’t remember much about either occasion.

I know losing children during childbirth and shortly afterward, as well as from illness and accidents was quite common. Did your family really suffer all these losses?
Yes, because that was the information I got from the genealogy and what my mother and aunt remembered from family stories.

Congratulations to your sister for all her hard work in tracking down the multitude of family members! I do a lot of genealogy as well. Before Ancestry.com it was a labor intensive pursuit. I’m grateful for the pooled information now available online.
She did it back in the days of using the census, birth, marriage, and death certificates. I wonder if she did it again using Ancestry.com if she’d find out more information.
For the other book, I looked up a character when you didn’t have the name of his wife—and I found her! So, I suspect even more information is now available.

Next week, we’ll look at the truth of Two Ways West.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Republishing - Part IV

When I started trying to locate all of Marilyn Meredith’s books, I discovered several I didn’t know about. The first was a cookbook. It had been published in 2000 and was long out-of-print. When I asked Marilyn about it, she said she only had one printed copy, and it wasn’t the published version.

She sent me two separate 8-1/2” x 11” paper copies. They were typed on a typewriter, and were three-hole punched. Apparently, the book had started life as two books. I scanned them and ran the OCR (Optical Character Reader) to extract the individual characters. Unfortunately, the characters on the typewritten pages didn’t always read correctly, and the resultant pages had no formatting. Fortunately, I had the originals, so I could compare each character to make sure it was correct.

Since I had two files, when they were both converted to one Word document, I re-indexed the recipes so the order made sense. Then I sent the document to Marilyn, She knew them well and made a few additional corrections.

The covers on the originals I was given had simple sketches, but we wanted the new one to have a professional-looking cover. So, I set my large oak table with blue placemats, white plates, and flatware. Larry took a couple of photos.

“This is too plain. It doesn’t look as though it’s actually set for a meal.” He went downstairs and soon returned with new photos of the table. He’d added my big, white soup tureen, a basket with a napkin in it, stuffed with paper to resemble bread, white cups, a sugar bowl and creamer. We both liked the look, and he still had room for the title, Cooking for a Big Family and Large Groups.

We both liked it—and so did Marilyn.

The other books I discovered were horror titles. These had only been published as ebooks. Marilyn requested—and received—her rights back for these. We began with Cup of Demons. (The title comes from a Bible verse.)

This appeared to be an MS Word file, but I suspect it might have been a WordPerfect file converted to Word since it seemed to have some hidden formatting. It didn’t cooperate well, and I had to upload it several times to get it to look right.

Since Marilyn didn’t have the rights to the original cover, and she said she’d never liked it, I had an idea for an image. I located free photos of old, faded and stained wallpaper, an ornate mirror, and a woman who fit the description of the ghost in the story.

Larry created one of my favorite covers. It conveys a sense of the story, and it is beautiful at the same time.

So, two more of her books are now available again. We still have a couple more of the horror titles to complete, and all of her books (except her Rocky Bluff P.D. ones, which another publisher is re-publishing) will be available.

Next week and the week after, I will interview Marilyn about her two historical novels, based on her real family members. I adored these books, and I think you will, too.

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing forty. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for ten years. She served as an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences.
Blog: http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Republishing - Part III

In addition to republishing my own book, Ghost Writer, and Bob Schwenck’s book, Digging Deep, I took on an even larger task. Okay, I volunteered for this one.

My dear friend, favorite author, and one of my favorite people, Marilyn Meredith, had several books with the same publisher who first published Ghost Writer. Since she depends on her royalties for income, the lack of payments for nearly two years affected her much more than it did me.

After I republished Ghost Writer, she decided to take back the rights to all of her books, too. A mutual friend said he’d republish her Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series (written as F. M. Meredith). He owns his own publishing company, so he could take on the twelve books in the series. He published her most recent one, so it made sense to have all of them all with the same publisher.

However, she had several others, so Larry and I said we’d republish those and help her to self-publish them. This way, she will always have complete control over them.

We started with the first mystery she wrote, The Astral Gift.

She had the rights to the cover art because the original publisher, who created this image specifically for this book, died. All Marilyn had for this one was a text file (like on Notepad). All the words were there, but they were a mess. In addition, she wrote the original in 1998. Many of the references just didn’t work for a contemporary book. We decided to identify the time frame as earlier, and the book worked again.

We liked the result so well, we took on another special book.

Lingering Spirit won the 2012 EPIC eBook Award.

This book is also special to Marilyn because it is based on a family event—the loss of her son-in-law. (This one makes me cry. I adore it!)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t use the original cover art. So, I hunted for an image to invoke the same emotions as the original. Fortunately, this one was perfect—and the price was reasonable. (Some images can cost hundreds of dollars.) Marilyn liked it, too, so she bought it.

Larry took it to a whole other level. (He’s getting to be a terrific cover designer!)

Marilyn only had rough Word document for this one. (The other choice was a PDF of the galley, and it seemed harder to work with.)

Each of these books required a re-edit as well as formatting, but we’re very proud of the final results.

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing forty. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for ten years. She served as an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences.
Blog: http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Meet Pauline Baird Jones

Let me introduce my friend and fellow author Pauline Baird Jones. She is one of Larry's favorites. (He especially enjoys her steampunk and sci-fi books.)

When my son was receiving chemotherapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma, our cat, Felix, became very protective of him—and was very comforting to my son as he dealt with all the side effects. Felix would curl up next to him, sometimes on his chest, and purr and just be there. He also licked away my tears.

Pets provide unconditional, uncomplicated love and comfort in ways hard to define with words. They need us, but I think we need them more. So, when Veronica and I conceived the idea of Pets in Space, we agreed that we wanted it to feature:
1.       Pets who are an important part of the story
2.       Stories about heroes and heroines in space
3.       Most of all, we wanted to donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity that served both veterans AND pets in some way.

When Google delivered Hero Dogs, we were beyond thrilled. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

They work to help real life heroes recover from the wounds of war.

The next question was: would Hero Dogs be willing to work with an anthology called Pets in Space, one written by science fiction romance authors? To our delight and gratitude, they were enthusiastic about working with us, not once, but twice.

So once again, Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 is working to raise money for Hero Dogs. All authors involved are donating 10% of all preorders and the first month’s sales (to Nov. 11, 2017) before expenses to Hero Dogs.

As Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 gets ready to release twelve stories with new pets, new adventures, and new romances—ALL of them happening in outer space or on alien planets—we are also grateful to everyone for helping us to spread the word about our awesome charity. And of course, we applaud our readers who are supporting Hero Dogs and the anthology at its full price of $3.99.

If you love pets and love our veterans, but you’ve never tried science fiction romance stories, here is your chance to take a fictional journey to some strange new worlds with characters who love pets, too, AND help a hero struggling to come all the way home.

Embrace the Romance:  Pets in Space 2 Anthology
Release Date: October 10, 2017
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, features twelve of today’s leading science fiction romance authors. They bring you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King. These stories will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help www.Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of all preorders and the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Time Trap
A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series
By Pauline Baird Jones

Hiding in time is not as easy as you’d think…

Madison lives by the rules of a time travel rebel–never tell anyone your real name, not if you want to remain alive. On the track of a traitor, Madison and her parrot partner, Sir Rupert, time travel into a trap. Their only way out sends them back in time and into the arms of a man who ignites a fire inside her.

USAF Master Sergeant Briggs is in trouble–not the kind he’d like, but still in trouble. He is bored out of his mind. Ordered to recuperate on a quiet bay away from the Garradian outpost, he’s ready to mutiny and go back to his beloved engines. When his friends send him a gift from Area 51, he figures it will relieve his boredom for an hour or so–until he turns it on and he gets his second present of the day.

Madison would love to get to know Briggs better, but it is just too dangerous. Unfortunately, she might not have much choice. With a Time Service Interdiction Force on their heels, can the three craft a plan that will save a base full of geniuses and technology and discover a happy-ever-after forged through time?

About Pauline
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books here:
Website:                              http://paulinebjones.com
Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaulineBairdJones/
FB Handle:                         @AuthorPaulineBairdJones
Twitter:                                https://twitter.com/PaulineBJones
Twitter Handle:                  @PaulineBJones
Instagram:                          @paulinebjones

Where to buy Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

Buy Links: (available for preorder in digital and print)
Universal Link for All Stores: books2read.com/u/3L9aYM
Pet Illustrations: Nyssa Juneau

Embrace the Romance Coloring Book: Pets in Space 2 Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Romance-Coloring-Book-Space/dp/1548854247/
Embrace the Romance Coloring Book: Pets in Space 2 PDF: (FREE) http://bit.ly/EmbraceTheRomanceColoringBook

Website Anthology Page:  http://bit.ly/PetsInSpace2
Pets in Space Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetsInSpace/

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Today my dear friend and one of my favorite authors, Marilyn Meredith is my guest. If you ever wanted to write a book, she offers some great advice. Lorna

Some things people have said to me over the years:

“When I get time, I’m going to write a book.”

“I’ve started a book but can’t seem to finish it.”

And there’s the person who attempts to tell me the whole plot of a book he or she plans to write one day.

Number one, if you really want to write a book you’ll make time and write it. Maybe you’ll have to get up a couple of hours earlier or stay up later. Perhaps you’ll have to give up some TV time, or whatever it is you do that’s really a waste of time. Do whatever it takes.

Number two, when writing a book write the whole thing first, then rewrite it. The first book you write probably won’t be all that good anyway. I wrote several that were never published.

Never tell the whole plot of a story you plan to write to anyone—sit down and write it. It doesn’t matter how, just do it.

And my biggest piece of advice, don’t let anything discourage you. You probably will get rejected—so what, do some more editing if necessary, and send it out again. If you’re going to self-publish, if you want sales, get a professional to edit it for you.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, I’ve had all sorts of discouraging things happen to me besides plenty of rejections, but I never let anything stop me.

If you are a writer, you will write.

Marilyn Meredith

A Cold Death:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband answer the call for help with unruly guests visiting a closed summer camp during a huge snow storm and are trapped there along with the others. One is a murderer—and a ghost.

Anyone who orders any of my books from the publisher’s website: http://mundania.com
can get 10% off by entering MP20 coupon code in the shopping cart. This is good all the time for all my books, ebooks and print books.

You can also find it on Amazon.

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing 40. She is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. 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, a place with many similarities to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area.

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com Blog: http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Contest: Once again I’m going to use the name of the person who comments on the most blogs on my tour for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery—which may be the last in the series.

Tomorrow I’ll be answering Jackie’s Questions here: