Category Archives: suspense


Today I am proud to have Marilyn Meredith as a guest on the VISITING AUTHOR / ARTIST section of PUSHINGTIME.COM.



Mary Higgins Clark

Early on, I attended a mystery conference in a camp-like setting and was thrilled to meet Mary Higgins Clark. She is the epitome of a classy woman. I met her again another time at an Edgar week event, and the dear soul greeted me with enthusiasm as though she remembered our first meeting many years before.

Me and Lee ChildI served on a panel once with Lee Child of Reacher fame, also a friendly guy despite his fame, and we had a great visit in the elevator. We’d had a panel moderator who asked questions with such convoluted sentences and words I didn’t know that I had no idea what he meant. To answer him, I just said whatever came to mind. Most of the other panelists asked him to restate his questions and it was obvious they didn’t understand him either.

Mr. Child asked me how I figured out what he was asking when no one else did. I confessed what I’d done. He laughed and congratulated me on quick thinking.

Me and Craig JohnsonAnother celebrity author I served on a panel with and is truly as nice as can be is Craig Johnson who writes the popular Longmire series. The room was packed, at the time not everyone knew he was and the other panelists were thrilled so many people had come to hear us. I knew exactly who drew the crowd.

Me and Wm. Kent KruegerOne of my favorite authors, a man who has won many awards, is also a friend, William Kent Krueger. Hubby and I had the honor to meet him at the Mayhem in the Midlands conference (Alas, no longer around.) He and hubby vied several times to be the best actor at the mystery dinner. It really was a test as to who was the biggest ham. Both won at different times. I ran into Kent this past year at the Manteca Book Festival.

There are many other writers of note I’ve spent some time with like being invited to sit at a Bouchercon luncheon table with Ian Rankin and his publisher and agents.

Though I’ve only mentioned authors who’ve gained a great deal of fame, I have many friends who write wonderful mysteries, so many I don’t have room to name them here.

Though I don’t have the fame or the name recognition of the above named authors, I have a new book out in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series—and it’s #13.

UnresolvedBlurb for Unresolved:

Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second 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 with a 10% discount and free shipping

Bio: 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 and her blog at

Tomorrow, April 29 I will write about the Authors Who Have Influenced me at:


Marilyn Meredith now lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, about 1000 feet lower than Tempe’s Bear Creek, but much resembles the fictional town and surroundings. She has nearly 40 books published, mostly mysteries. Besides writing, she loves to give presentations to writers’ groups. She’s on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and three chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter.

marilyn #3

Taking What the Publishing Industry Throws at You

This is the last topic for my blog tour for Not as it Seems, and a fitting subject to end with.

When I first dipped my toes in the publishing pool, it was a much different business than it is now. This was back in the days of typewriters and carbon paper. There were only a few major publishers to go to, and every submission had to be sent in a self-addressed box with return postage inside of a larger box. A self-addressed envelope would be included too in the hope that instead of the return of the manuscript, an acceptance letter would come instead.

Small publishers began to pop up and could be found in the big Writers Digest book of agents and publishers.

As time went on, big conglomerates bought the larger publishers bringing them down to even fewer places to submit.

The Internet came along and e-publishing was born and along with it publishing on demand. What a change that made. Small publishers could compete with the bigger ones.

The birth of Amazon brought about the biggest changes of all. Some good and some not.

Many authors have become self-published mainly so they don’t have to split their income with anyone but Amazon or Barnes and Noble or one of the other online bookstores.

To bring this down to my own personal journey, my first book was accepted by a New York publisher. 2nd one turned down by that house, and I found a small press. I had several agents over the years, but none ever found a publisher for whatever they were representing. I found several small publishers on line, a couple turned out to be crooks, three died, three quit the business, I met publishers at conferences who gave me contracts. I’m with two of those now and content.

Mundania Press publishes my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and I met the publisher at a conference. When the former publisher decided she no longer wanted to be in the publishing business, Mundania signed me on. Needless to say, I’m happy with them.

As for the self-publishing, I’ve tried it and it’s not for me.

Writing and promoting take up enough of my time, I’m happy to leave the final editing, formatting of the book, and doing the cover to the publisher. As for the promoting, no matter who you are published by, the major part of the promotion is up to the author.

This is how I’ve handled what the publishing industry as thrown at me, and I suppose it all comes down to accepting what I’ve had to and making the best out of the rest.

I’d love to hear other’s opinions about this subject.

–Marilyn Meredith




  Not as It Seems Blurb:

Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.

Character Naming Contest:

Once again, I’ll name a character after the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs.

This is the last place on my blog tour. I’ll be figuring out who won the contest and naming them on my own blog in the next few days. Keep an eye on


Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. Matthew is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual-diagnosed.

*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency (e.g., alcohol-use disorder).




by Matthew Peters

I have a confession to make.

I can’t write a novel.

It’s true, I really can’t.

The fact that I’ve had two novels published and am working on a third does not make my confession false.

But what’s going on here?

Either I’m mad or I’m lying.

The fact of the matter is that writing a novel is a maddening prospect.

As George Orwell said, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

typewriter 2

The thing is, I doubt Orwell could write a novel. Or Dostoevsky. Or Tolstoy, for that matter.


But these are some of the greatest novelists the world has ever known!

Now, you say, that Matthew Peters has certainly gone off the deep end.

What I mean is that writing a novel is too difficult to consider as a whole. There are simply too many things to keep track of, including word choice, pacing, characterization, character arcs, plot, subplots, theme, imagery, when to reveal what, how to build to a climax, how to provide resolution, etc., etc., etc.

What we writers are capable of doing is writing a single chapter or, as I like to think of it, a single scene.

And, that to me, is one of the most important things I’ve learned about writing: you just do it one scene at a time.

To do otherwise is too daunting a prospect.

Breaking things down to their component parts helps me a great deal.

Anne Lamott, in her incomparable book, Bird by Bird, admits that writing can be a daunting endeavor. She talks about how she keeps a one-inch picture frame on her desk.

Lamott says of the one–inch picture frame: “It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being.”

She also recalls E. L. Doctorow’s sage advice that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Lamott adds, “You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

When all else fails when it comes to writing, I break it down to its most essential and smallest component: the word. One word. I use a trick I call the one word challenge. It works like this:

Open up your WIP (yes, I know, this is often the most difficult part, but trust me on this one).

Read the last sentence you wrote (not more than this, because then you’ll want to start editing and editing can be a form of procrastination if you haven’t finished a complete draft of what you’re working on).

Now, write one word you feel could come next.

Force yourself to stop with that one word.

Here’s the thing: I’ll bet you can’t stop at just one word. Just like potato chips it’s hard to stop at one.

Try this next time you’re stuck, and please let me know how it works out for you.

All the best and keep writing,



Book Cover

Blurb about the book:

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?

Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.

It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.

Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe-inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.



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Dr. Jeri Fink was born and raised in the Big Apple, where she started writing at the tender age of eight. Her first characters were the people she saw on buses and subways. After winning her first art contest, Dr. Fink discovered photography. She learned that a photo combined with fiction was the perfect way to fuse designs of both mind and eye.

Dr. Fink has written 25 books, hundreds of articles, ran a family therapy practice, and studied the psychopathic spectrum. The Broken Books is her first thriller series merging photo insights and fiction.




                                       By Dr. Jeri Fink

 There’s no one on Death Row who you would like to meet in a dark alley.

They’re serial killers, murderers, rapists, and perpetrators of the most heinous crimes known to human kind. Yet many of them had a bizarre sense of humor as they faced their executions. These words were collected from various reliable sources, like the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, that keep some very strange records.

 Thomas J. Grasso – executed by lethal injection, March 20, 1995, Oklahoma. Grasso was convicted of two murders. He strangled an 87-year old woman with her own Christmas tree lights in Oklahoma and then fled to Staten Island, New York. A few weeks later, Grasso killed an 81-year old man from the rooming house where they both lived. Grasso’s last words were delivered with a smile:    I did not get my SpaghettiOs, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this . . .

 George Appel – executed in the electric chair, 1928, New York. Appel was sentenced to death for the murder of a New York City Police Officer. He took it very lightly. His last words have become legendary to people who follow those things:   Well gentlemen, you’re about to see a baked Appel.

 Johnny Garrett – executed by lethal injection, February 11, 1992, Texas. Garrett was 17 years old when he raped, stabbed, and strangled to death a 76-year old Roman Catholic Nun. Garrett claimed he was innocent to the end, defying the world:  I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me . . . and the rest of the world can kiss my ass.

 George Harris – executed by lethal injection, September 13, 2000, Missouri.  Harris killed Stanley “Hank” Willoughby with a .41 caliber Blackhawk magnum revolver. Willoughby was shot in the face and neck. The motivation? Willoughby refused to return Harris’ stash of guns. Harris’ last words said it all:     Somebody needs to kill my trial attorney.

James French – executed in the electric chair, 1966, Oklahoma. French was in prison for murdering a motorist who picked him up as a friendly hitchhiker. The “story” claims that French was afraid to commit suicide so he found another way to die – he murdered his cellmate. French had five children – Kayla, Taylan, Jayden, Jaycee, and Jaylan. His last words were delivered to the press:     How’s this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? French fries.

 Robert Charles Comer – executed by lethal injection, May 23, 2007, Arizona. Comer and his girlfriend were camping out. Larry Pritchard was in the neighboring campsite. They invited Pritchard to join them for dinner and drinks. Later that night, Comer shot Pritchard, stabbed him in the neck, and hid his body. Comer was a lifetime criminal – with additional convictions in rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault. The press reported that he met his death with a steady gaze and defiant smile, never flinching. His last words:     Go Raiders.

 Jimmy L. Glass – executed in the electric chair, 1987, Louisiana. It was Christmas Eve, 1982, when Jimmy Glass and Jimmy Wingo escaped from prison. While on the run they entered a home in a rural area and shot the Browns – a couple in their early 50s. Jimmy swaggered to his execution, smiled, and made his final statement:     I’d rather be fishing.

 Vincent Gutierrez – executed by lethal injection, March 28, 2007, Texas. Vincent was only 18 years old when he stole a car belonging to a U.S. Air Force Captain, Jose Cobo. Gutierrez kidnapped him, and when Cobo tried to escape, shot and killed him with a handgun. Gutierrez dumped the body on the side of the highway.  His last words were said laughing, with a big smile: My brother, where’s my stunt double when you need one?


1FinalTruthCover # MED.

The Broken Books series re-invents the art of storytelling. Dr. Jeri Fink, along with Donna Paltrowitz, has merged fiction and photography to blend fact, stories, and photo insights into six riveting novels. These one-of-a-kind thrillers, linked through genealogy, explore the world of psychopaths and their prey, trapped together in time and blanketed in fact.

Check out our website to discover the latest research about haunted family trees and psychopaths:

Plunge into Broken, the thriller series that merges fact, fiction, and photo insights, available in three formats.

Purchase the ebook

Purchase the print book

Purchase the Collector’s Color Editon


Though Thelma was born in in Massachusetts, she considers Norfolk, VA., the Outer Banks of NC and the mountains of Sewanee TN, her home training grounds. A member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, she writes novels of espionage, psychopaths and human trafficking. She is a former Executive Management Consultant, poet, dramatist and book reviewer.



Few of us have dry eyes when we gaze on the stunningly beautiful site of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Pacific Arch and the Rainbow Pool, set between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, are breathtaking. . .

This incredibly moving site, a national memorial dedicated to Americans who served in the Armed Forces and labored as civilians during World War II, the 56 pillars and a pair of mall triumphal arches draw our attention and quiet thanks for all who served. . . the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, all fought and died to preserve our lives here now. The names are visible … of the 48 States of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory, the Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealths of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin islands … each a reminder of what might have been lost – had we lost the war. . . . . .

I stand in awe of this hallowed place, not only for what it represents, but for the long, deep personal memories it evokes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Those days and nights of “The War” were filled with sights and sounds that remain as long as life. . .

– The sight of the German prisoners, each no older than we were. . . imprisoned in the rear of Navy trucks on the streets around the Naval Base in Norfolk. Were those KIDS the Hated Nazis????

– Whining sounds of air raid sirens at dusk, when Civil Air Patrols roamed our quiet streets at Willoughby Beach, ordering black out curtains nightly.

– The constant we-are-at-war reminders, indefinable yet unmistakable, bombarding our inmost privacy everywhere.

– Collecting tinfoil, conserving food, keeping supplies in the kitchen closet … in case the Germans invaded. . . yes, the fears were terribly real to us on the beaches…

– Daily finding the stuff from ships and sunken submarines… washed up on our own beach … supplies of Nazi food and weapons, uniform shreds, body parts, garbage from the subs with German language stamps. . . .

– Forced shortages – especially gas for the old car. . .

– Entertaining the foreign boys at the U.S.O. dance hall. . . especially the cute French sailors…

– Everywhere, the smells and sounds of W-A-R… and the worry that an invasion would tear down our homes and lives. . .

This September 2, 2014, very few men and women who fought in World War II were able to be present at this year’s memorial service. . . the few who came could not walk on their own. . .

Our eyes were filled with tears, not of sadness but of gratitude, as we watched the sunlight on this exquisite citadel of memory, in the sacred capital of our beloved country.

God Bless America, Land That I Love. . . . .

Thelma welcomes inquires and comments at and