Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last two years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my Mother-in-law and now I'm taking care of my mom. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and have made a few hard decisions.

I pulled my books from Mundania and have decided to to try to sell them through other publishers. I'm happy to say the 1st three books I sold to HSWF (now owned by Mundania) have been picked up by Melange Books and will be released through their Satin Books imprint. The rest I'm still working on.

I'll probably still be sporadic. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Latest Guest Marilyn Meredith!

I want to welcome Marilyn Meredith. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Seldom Traveled is the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Back from her vacation, Tempe is immediately confronted with the murder of a vacationing woman with tangled ties to Bear Creek, a fugitive on the run, and a monstrous forest fire.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite author? Do you feel you write like them?

I have many favorites with William Kent Krueger probably heading the pack. And no, I don’t write like him, but I do try to do as well as he does with setting. There are so many others, the old-favorites and lots of the new authors, male and female, though I must confess, I read far more women authors than men.

2.) What was your favorite book growing up?

The only title I remember right off is The Angry Planet and I must confess I don’t remember much about it except I loved the characters. Of course I read Nancy Drew and the Little House on the Prairie series. I always checked out 10 books at the time from the library and I read all my mother’s Book of the Month Club selections—including Gone with the Wind many times.

3.) Are you a plotter or a pantser and why did you choose that method?

I’m a bit of both—probably leaning more town pantser, though I always start with a premise and the names and description of the new characters like the victim and the suspects, and the murder method.

4.) Do you consider writing a career or a hobby? Why?

A career—though if you have to make a lot of money to call it a career, then maybe not. However, if it’s based more on time spent writing and promoting, then it’s definitely a career.

5.) What are you working on now?

Because I write two books a year, while I’m promoting the latest book in one series, I’m writing the next in the other series. So at the moment, I’m working on the as yet untitled next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

6.) What one piece of advice would you like to pass on to an up and coming author?

Read the kind of books you want to write—and write, write, write.

7.) If you had the ability to time travel and your first visit was to see a younger version of yourself what would you say to that younger self?

Learn more about the craft of writing sooner.

8.) You just got a million dollars, whether it’s from an inheritance, the lottery, or a sweet book deal doesn’t matter. What would be the first thing you would buy for yourself?

A different car with lots of room to haul books and equipment to go to book fairs and other book related events.

9.) If you could un-invent one thing in the world what would it be?

Hatred. This would be a different world if people if people didn’t have the ability to hate. Loving one another is so much easier. We don’t have to agree with each other, just respect the fact that we are all different and be kind to one another.

10.) What is your favorite movie/TV Show? Why?

I like any movie or TV series that is well-written and acted. However, I am partial to mysteries in TV series and I have many favorites including many British series.


Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty books in several genres, but mainly mystery. She embraced electronic publishing before anyone knew much about it. She taught writing for Writer's Digest School for ten years and served as an instructor at the Maui Writers Retreat, has been a judge for several writing contest, was a founding member of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, serves on the board of directors of the Public Safety Writers Association, is also a member of EPIC and Mystery Writers of America.

Marilyn lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra in California in a place much like Bear Creek where her heroine Tempe Crabtree serves as a resident deputy. She is married to the "cute sailor" she met on a blind date many years ago and is grateful for all the support he gives her and her writing career every day. She is proud of the fact that she and her husband raised five children and now are grandparents to eighteen and great-grands to thirteen.

"What happens in my books is the only place in my life where I have any control," Marilyn says, smiling.

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.


The dispatcher reported an escaped fugitive had been spotted headed for the small mountain community of Bear Creek. Deputy Tempe Crabtree was ordered to cooperate with the federal and county authorities. It was her first day back from a vacation which had included her son’s wedding. She’d also received a report of a missing woman.

Welcome home.

It was late October and nearly dark. Tempe knew she wouldn’t be spending time with her husband during the next few hours.

The fugitive, Morris Delano, escaped from deputies while being transferred from the county jail to another county for trial. Delano had originally been captured after a long and successful bank robbing spree that covered several Southern California counties. Local deputies boasted about their ability to catch the suspect while he attempted to rob a local bank in Tulare County after he’d eluded capture by much larger cities’ law enforcement. Their boasts didn’t amount to much now that they’d lost him.

Deputy Marshals had been called in to organize the search.

Besides his booking photo, what the authorities thought they knew was the man made his getaway in a stolen white, late model Chevy truck and headed up the highway toward the mountains of the Southern Sierra and the small community of Bear Creek.

Tempe received a call from a resident who’d noticed an abandoned Chevy truck a couple of miles above town on one of the bridges that crossed Bear Creek, the river the town was named after. Wearing her tan deputy uniform, she shrugged into her official jacket. As usual, she wore her long black hair in a single braid.

She called in the information and proceeded to the scene in her own white truck with the official Tulare County Sheriff’s logo on the sides.

Because the deputies and the marshals weren’t far behind, they arrived before she’d had much time to examine the abandoned vehicle. The driver’s door stood open and she’d only had time to glance inside.

Uniformed men poured out of official cars and trucks they parked on the main highway.

One of the marshals, wearing a bulletproof vest over a gray shirt, a fully-equipped belt, and black pants, stepped up to her. The man towered over her. Unusual.

“Deputy Crabtree, I’m Marshal Gallegos. Did you spot the driver of this vehicle?”

“No, sir. I arrived only a few minutes ago. The key is still in the ignition. It appears he ran out of gas.”

“Do you have any idea where he might have gone?” Gallegos asked.

“Not really. The highway heads east toward isolated private residences, campgrounds, Tapper Lodge and eventually dead ends in the forest. There are many side streets and lanes, but none of them go anywhere. There’s only one other rough road that heads back toward town, eventually going through the Indian reservation. Only a few cabins and no year-round residents are there.”

“And back the other way?”

“The town you just came through with homes on both sides of the river all the way back to Dennison.”

“We’ve got our work cut out for us, then. If you get any reports of a stranger trying to break in anywhere, let us know.”

She waited for him to give her other instructions, but he ignored her. Since she was an Indian she was surprised he didn’t want her to help track the suspect. She guessed he didn’t want her on the search, perhaps because of her ethnic background, or maybe he didn’t like women in law enforcement. It certainly wasn’t the first time she’d run into such prejudices. “Anything else you’d like me to do?”

“We have it covered.” He didn’t bother looking at her.

A deputy with a dog arrived.

“Might be a good idea if you searched along the river,” Tempe said. “The water is low right now. Your suspect could have easily crossed over in several places.”

“We’ll handle it.” Marshal Gallegos sounded annoyed.

Tempe shrugged.

Marshal Gallegos barked orders to the men gathered. He sent the deputy with the dog down the side of the river bank. The other men fanned out in both directions.

Since she wasn’t needed, Tempe decided to check on the whereabouts of the missing woman. She’d been given an address of a large vacation home farther up in the mountains. It belonged to the wealthy Konstanzer family. During the thirties, they’d bought many acres in the mountains, with the idea of building a ski resort. When the plan hadn’t been received with enthusiasm by the county planning commission, they found another area for their resort. They kept their vacation home, though as far as Tempe knew, their descendants didn’t use it more than one or two times a year.

According to the report she’d received, it was the granddaughter, Mariah Konstanzer, who was missing.

Tempe knew little about Mariah except that at times her photo turned up in magazines like “People” on the arm of a movie star or famous businessman. The only time Tempe had seen Mariah in person was when Tempe had investigated a burglary at the vacation house. Mariah arrived to spend a few days and found the front door unlocked, the back door lock broken, and several items missing. She didn’t seem upset, and stated what was taken could easily be replaced.

Tempe remembered her as a willowy type, with long dark hair. Her rather plain looks were enhanced by makeup.

It was impossible to know when the burglary happened, and no fingerprints could be identified. Burglaries in remote areas without nearby neighbors often went unsolved.

Tempe vaguely remembered Mariah Konstanzer saying she’d tell her parents to hire someone willing to serve as a caretaker. Tempe didn’t know whether or not that had happened. After letting the dispatcher know she was no longer needed on the search for the fugitive and planned to check the house of the missing woman, she called her husband, Hutch. “I’m going to be late.” She explained what was going on.

“Don’t they have a backup deputy to take your place?”

“Doubt there’s anyone left. Everyone’s looking for the bank robber. Be sure to keep our house locked up. No telling where that guy is by now, but I have a feeling he’s following the river. If he’s smart, he’ll head back to town. Anyplace higher is rugged with no place to escape.”

“I’ll put your dinner in the refrigerator.”

“I’ll come home as soon as I can. Love you.”

“Love you too, be careful.”



  1. Thank you for hosting me today, Barbara, you asked some great questions!

  2. Marilyn is an inspiration to the writers who know her, and her advice is always worth heeding.

  3. Interesting info about you Marilyn! Nancy Drew I knew but not Angry Planet.