Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Mystery Author Marilyn Meredith

Under the name of F.M. Meredith, Marilyn Meredith writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. The latest is No Sanctuary from Oak Tree Press. She is also the author of award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series as well as over twenty published novels. The latest is, Kindred Spirits, from Mundania Press.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. Visit her at

Blog Address:

First on the scene of a traffic accident that turns out to be murder, Officer Stacey Wilbur calls Detective Doug Milligan. Despite her former vow to never date anyone on the Rocky Bluff P.D., she and Milligan are romantically involved. Finding time to be alone together isn’t easy.

The murder victim is the wife of a popular Rocky Bluff minister, and several suspects immediately come to the forefront, the minister himself, his nosy secretary, the choir director, and a nerdy stalker. Stacey helps Doug with the murder investigation, but the Chief asks her to go undercover as a prostitute to expose a pedophile which leads to a surprising job offer.

Stacey must make two major decisions that will change her life forever, and a third that nearly causes her to lose her life.

Here's What Marilyn has to say today:

Probably everyone who reads this will know the difference, but just in case, here’s my explanation. Conferences are more of the “how to” variety, how to write a mystery, how to create convincing characters, how to make sure you get your forensics right, how to kill someone off in a new and innovative manner, and so on. A mystery convention is geared to fans, those wonderful readers who love to read (and buy) mysteries and actually enjoy listening to authors talk about how they came to write their mystery, or how they did the research for it, or how they created their characters, and so on.

Most mystery writers attend both. At a mystery conference they may be one of the presenters telling how they do all of the above mentioned how-tos and of course, they will figure out how to talk about their own book in a subtle manner so those listening will be curious and want to buy their books.

At the convention, the mystery writer hopes to sparkle and entertain in the hopes that those listening will be eager to buy his or her book.

I’ve gone to lots of both types of mystery confabs. The biggest of course is Bouchercon. This one is held all over the country and has the biggest attendance of both fans and mystery writers. This is the place to see some of the biggest and most popular mystery writers in the business. It can be pretty overwhelming at times too, you might make a new friend and never be able to find them again among the throngs of people.

Left Coast Crime is the second largest mystery con and always held on the left coast (though once that left coast was in Britain and another time in El Paso TX—this year it’s being held as left coast as possible—in Hawaii. It’s a bit smaller than Bouchercon, though many big name authors are always in attendance and lots of wonderful fans.

Then there are other smaller cons and conferences like Love is Murder which is always in Chicago. Some big names attend this one too—just not quite as many because there just aren’t as many people who go. It is also a writers conference as there are lots of opportunities to learn about writing mysteries and there are usually a few publishers and agents in attendance.

Mayhem in the Midlands is one of my favorites—this one is a mystery con put on by librarians, and it’s always in Omaha. This is not a how-to—but a how it was done convention, with a few big name authors and more not as well-known and lots of wonderful fans. What I love about this con is how friendly the fans are. At all the cons I’ve made a lot of author friends, but at this con I’ve made many life-long reader fans. Fans who I look forward to seeing every year.

A new writing conference that is rather unique is the Public Safety Writers Association. The organization was started by a law enforcement officer for law enforcement officers who write or want to write. Over the years it has embraced other public safety fields and people who write fiction and non-fiction about any of the public safety fields and have included mystery writers.

This is the smallest of all the cons that I’ve mentioned, but it has top-notch experts in forensics and all aspects of law enforcement as well as publishers and editors on hand. Because it’s small, there is ample opportunity to network. Anyone who wants to be on a panel is welcomed. To learn more about the PSWA conference go to:

My advice to anyone wanting to go to any convention or conference, if you’re a writer register early. Plan to get to the conference a day ahead of time if possible, so you don’t miss anything. While at the conference, be friendly, talk to everyone. This is the best way to meet people. If you don’t have anyone to go to dinner with, ask someone to go with you. If they already have plans, ask the next person. Hand out your business card to everyone. If you’re fortunate enough to be on a panel, smile a lot, be funny, tell about your book but don’t go on and on about it, and don’t hog the panel.

Go to the panels that interest you the most. Hang out in the bar in the evenings—you don’t have to drink—just get acquainted with folks. And again, talk to people. Find out why they’re at the con—are they a writer, find out what they write, are they a reader? Tell them about your book.

Because I have a new book out, No Sanctuary, I’m heading out to several cons this year: Epicon, which is for electronically published authors—all my books are e-books as well as trade paperback; Mayhem in the Midlands, California Crime Writers (brand new writers’ con), and of course, PSWA. Hope to see some of you at one or more of these conferences. Be sure to say “hello.”

F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith
No Sanctuary is number 5 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series
To learn more about the series visit

No Sanctuary by F.M. Meredith is available at, Amazon, or an autographed copy from the author’s website:
Please welcome Marilyn by leaving a comment below.


Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Marilyn,
Welcome to Acme Authors Link.
Have a great time.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all this information about the conventions from your wealth of experience, Marilyn.

Tracee said...

What an interesting post - wish I could visit one of the conventions and get to meet you!

Earl Staggs said...

Hi, Marilyn. Like you, I love attending cons and the best part is making new friends, be they writers, readers, or bartenders. I hope our paths cross at one someday soon.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Marilyn, Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today. Conferences and conventions can be a great experience for writers and fans alike.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Some really great advice in this post. Thanks.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Jean Henry Mead said...

Good information, Marilyn. Conventions are wonderful places to network and meet agents and publishers, especially novice writers.

Anonymous said...

Sound and solid advice, Marilyn, and great to see you on ACME -- and if memory serves, not the first time! Great to have you back.


The Stiletto Gang said...

Hi Marilyn,

I'm not going to be able to attend Mayhem in the Midlands this year. Will miss seeing you. The first time I met you was in Omaha. You gave me some great advice as I was preparing for my first panel ever. You told me to relax, have fun, and just talk to the audience. I remember that whenever I have to speak in front of a group.

aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

April said...

Great post! This sounds like such a great book and Marilyn is just everywhere in the blogosphere! That is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Good advice. I've been to Love Is Murder/Dark & Stormy a few times, and now that I have a book coming in late summer, I'll be going to Bouchercon and maybe another. I don't know how many of these I can afford to attend in one year.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm sorry to be so late to the party, but I had two procedures done at the hospital this a.m. Had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to be there by 6.

Despite the stuff they give you to relax you and put you out during the procedures, that never works on me until much, much later.

So, I got to feel everything (ouch) and watch what was being done on TV. When I got home, I crashed--that's when the anesthetic finally kicked in.

But now I'm here. And please, if you are ever at a con of any kind and see a friendly grandma-type with dyed red-hair, please introduce yourself to me.

Rob, I met you at Love is Murder when we were on a panel together about horror. You impressed me enough to go out and buy three of your books. And yes, I've visited here before.

Thanks all of you at Acme Authors for hosting me once again.

a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

thewriterslife said...

Thanks for sharing, Marilyn!

Jessica Nelson said...

Cool info to know about the difference between conventions and conferences. I learned something new.
Have fun!

Cheryl said...

Great post as always Marilyn. Sorry to hear you've been a bit under the weather.

For anyone who hasn't read this book, I reviewed it at my blog, The Book Connection. You'll find the review at

Excellent book as always!

Thanks for hosting Marilyn today.


Cheryl said...

Oh, BTW, Marilyn is running a contest over at her Rocky Bluff P.D. blog that you might want to check out. You can find it at


Deb Larson said...

Thanks for visiting at Acme and for sharing with us your expertise.
Come back soon!
DL Larson

Margot Justes said...

I agree with you about the conferences-great way to meet fantastic, eager readers and to network as well.
Margot Justes

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Again, thanks for hosting me, folks. I love the ambience here. Don't mind the spelling, that's as close as I can get without spellchecker. Grin

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Margot Justes said...

I just noticed I misspelled you name-so sorry-I knew it was Marilyn. I was too quick...
Margot Justes

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