Saturday, October 27, 2018

Marilyn Meredith - Tangled Webs

Today I host my good friend, Marilyn Meredith. She writes two different mystery series. Today, she will tell you about her long publishing journey with her Rocky Bluff PD series. Welcome back, Marilyn.

A Sane Person Would Have Given Up

Yes, I’ve had that thought many times as I’ve lost one small publisher after another, but I’m one of those “never-give up” people.

I’m going to tell you about my publishers for the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. It all began when a few people were talking about electronic publishing. I’d written Final Respects and was trying to find a publisher for it. During that time period, authors perused the large book of publishers put out by Writers Digest. It’s where I found a publisher looking for police procedurals, and my mystery was accepted. But—this publisher was only going to publish it in electronic form. I accepted the contract. The book looked great, but it had to be read on a computer, and the process to buy a copy was difficult. The publisher failed.

Time passed, and the Rocket eBook reader came on the scene. The next publisher I approached with the book did paper and ebooks. He published Final Respects and Bad Tidings, and though I knew books were sold, no royalties came my way until I complained. We parted company.

A publisher recommended by a friend accepted the next two books in the series, Fringe Benefits and Smell of Death, and did a bang-up job producing paper and ebooks but decided publishing was not what she wanted to do.

I met Billie Johnson, the publisher for Oak Tree Press. We became good friends, and she took on the next books in the series. The books looked great, I received royalties, and we were both happy for a long time. Then something unexpected and terribly sad happened: the publisher had a stroke, and the company could no longer continue.

What now? Mike Orenduff of Aakenbaaken and Kent is in the process of republishing all the books in the series. The latest is Tangled Webs. I am delighted to be with this new company.
As an aside, some of my stand-alone books were also published by Oak Tree Press. My host for today, Lorna Collins, who is also a dear friend, volunteered to edit and publish them on Amazon for me. I’m so grateful to her for doing such a huge job for me.

Am I bit crazy for not giving up? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

You can purchase Tangled Webs here:

Too many people are telling lies: The husband of the murder victim and his secretary, the victim’s boss and co-workers in the day care center, her stalker, and Detective Milligan’s daughter.
Marilyn Meredith writes the RBPD series as F. M. Meredith. She once lived in a beach town much like Rocky Bluff and has many friends and relatives in law enforcement. She’s a member of MWA, 3 chapters of Sisters in Crime, and serves on the PSWA Board.

Facebook: Marilyn Meredith
Twitter: @marilynmeredith

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about speaking engagements:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Favorite Photo

This is now officially my favorite photo. My high school friend and her husband visited with us a few weeks ago. One item on their agenda was a visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Both had gone there as children, but they hadn’t seen it lately.
 We had a wonderful day using both the audio tour from the mission and Larry’s comments about how specific places related to the story we told in our book, The Memory Keeper.
We arrived shortly after the mission opened, in time to see the Mission Garden Angels working on the grounds. This army of volunteers trims, plants, weeds, and generally takes care of all the flora in the mission every Wednesday morning. They maintain the water lilies in the fountains and keep the whole place looking its best. While there, we ran into several friends, including docents, the executive director, and the buyer for the mission store. We told them Lola, The Parrot Who Saved the Mission was published, and we expected our first copies at any time. Most of them remembered her name from a presentation we did for the docents a couple of years ago.
When we returned home, the package with our copies had arrived. We were able to send one home with our friends for their grandson, Taylor. Yesterday, she posted this photo to my Facebook profile. I am delighted. The look on Taylor’s face is exactly the reaction I’d hoped for when I first started this project. As of this week, both the store at Mission San Jun Capistrano and the Cottage Gallery on Los Rios carry the book. We hope all children who now visit the mission will know the name Lola and her story. Do you have your copy yet? It’s available on Amazon in print or ebook. It’s also available through our website. But if you are visiting San Juan Capistrano, why not pick up your copy at the mission store? We donate a portion of the sale of each book to the mission to help preserve this jewel.

Friday, October 12, 2018

How We Met Lola

Over a year ago, while researching the sequel to The Memory Keeper, Becoming the Jewel, Larry discovered a newspaper clipping about Lola, Father O’Sullivan’s parrot.
This was a new story to us. Further research led us to other information about the parrot. In the book Capistrano Nights by Charles Francis Saunders and Father St. John O’Sullivan, we found a reference to her. And we discovered that the copy of a Charles Percy Austin painting in the mission actually contained the bird. (We had seen this picture many times and had never noticed the parrot.)
Further research revealed yet another image of the bird, Joseph Kleitsh’s Sunday Morning.
A while ago, we were asked to do a presentation for the mission docents about the history of San Juan Capistrano in the 1800s. At the end, we asked who knew about the parrot. Only one person raised a hand. We asked if anyone knew the bird’s name. No one did.

We later found additional articles about Lola. Her death was reported in newspapers across the country. She died just a few months before Father O’Sullivan himself, and he buried her in the old cemetery behind the chapel. Father O’Sullivan was first buried in a cemetery in Lake Forest, but he was later moved to the old mission cemetery. He and Lola ended up in the same place, just where they both would have wanted to be.

We felt it was time for Lola’s story to be told. We decided to tell it from her point of view for children. I wrote the text, and Larry did the illustrations.

This story felt like a gift and also a responsibility. The information came to us as unbidden. The only question we had was: who was the young man pictured in the clipping? We knew it wasn’t Father O’Sullivan. By this time, he was too old.

A few months ago the Blas Aguilar adobe in San Juan was restored and reopened to the public. We attended the celebration the day the museum was reopened. I walked into the bedroom and looked around. Suddenly, I saw a photo with the same young man in it. His name is Juan Jesus Aguilar. We finally had all the pieces.

The book is now published and is sold at The Cottage Gallery on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano. It will soon be available at the mission store.
Have you read it yet? Did you enjoy it? Even those who have written several books on the history of the town had never heard the story. But now everyone knows about Lola and how she saved the mission.