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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From William Wallace, May San Joaquin SinC Speaker

I am up for talking about most anything related to crime. As an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle for 26 years, I wrote extensively about organized crime, white collar crime and crime trends. I have also written extensively about police corruption, use of force and police brutality.

Though I do not focus on serial and spree killers, I have written about both. I did some work on the Zodiac killer when I first was hired by the Chronicle, covered the trial of Charles Ng and did reporting on the Trailside Killer, Richard Ramirez and a variety of other homicide repeaters. I have done TV interviews on the Trailside case and on the Chinese triad group headed by Raymond ("Shrimp Boy") Chow and Peter Chong.

As a fiction writer I have written one private detective novel focused on an outlaw biker gang, drugs and automatic weapons and another set immediately after World War Two that deals with the Japanese internment program. A third novel is set during the California gold rush and involves a plot to grab control over the territory on the eve of its first constitutional convention.

Possible "craft oriented" subjects for discussion during your meeting include: (1) how did you get started writing about crime, (2) do you plot your stories in detail or work "by the seat of your pants" and let the story develop itself as you write, (3) how do you do research on the factual material in your books, (4) how did you break into crime fiction as a writer nobody had ever heard of before?

Other topics that may be worth pursuing include finding sources of inspiration for stories, what is attractive about a particular subgenre, and what do you think about mashups such as mixes of fantasy and crime, detective stories set in the old west, noir horror stories, science fiction mysteries, etc

Editors Note: You'll have to come to the meeting to see what Wallace ends up talking about. From the aboves, it's bound to be interesting.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Life of Crime: Writing Truth and Fiction


Andrew MacRae has two novels published by Mainly Murder Press, Murder Misdirectd and its sequel, Murder Miscalculated.

He has a  collection of short stories out through Untreed Reads titles, The Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories. 

He is also the editor and publisher of  The Anthology of  Cozy-Noire and And All our Yesterdays, a collection of historical crime and mystery fiction.

Up in Kings River Life this week a fun mystery short story by Andrew MacRae​ who will be speaking at our May meeting


William E. Wallace has been a private eye, house painter, cook, dishwasher, newspaper and magazine writer, journalism professor and award-winning investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wallace has written three novels and a novella. His short stories have been published in All Due Respect (which nominated The Bust-Out, for a 2014 Pushcart Prize), Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, Crime Factory and Dark Corners Pulp. He also has short fiction awaiting publication in Spinetingler, Over my Dead Body and Plan B .

A Dead Heat with the Reaper, a book of his noir novellas, is scheduled for release by All Due Respect books in August. He is currently working on Bottom Street, a novel.


Yosemite Falls Restaurant On Ashlan, West side of 99 EARLY START at 10:00 am

May 2, 2015. – Please come early by 9:45 am so we can start on time.

Members $15 Visitors $20

**NOTE: We will be served a choice of Turkey Burger, French Dip Sandwich or Cashew Chicken Caesar Salad


RSVP by Wednesday before the meeting
If you can, we highly encourage you email your reservation instead of phoning it in, Thanks.

NOTE: please put your lunch choice on subject line

Do not log on to the website, simply send email to the above address.

IF YOU CAN NOT EMAIL Please call 559-431-0360
AND LEAVE VOICEMAIL with your name & choice of lunch.
Dial carefully, there is no greeting announcing SJ SinC.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith announces a Freebie Starting May 1

Final Respects is the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series. This is where it all began. I can assure you when I was writing it, I  had no idea that it would become a series. After I wrote The End, I couldn't help wondering what happened to these police officers and their families that I'd invested so much time with. And so I wrote #2.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, it's set in a small fictional coastal town between Santa Barbara and Ventura. The police department is small and underpaid.   My intention has always been to show how what happens on the job influences the family and what happens in the family influnces the job.

The official blurb for Final Respects:

Mortician Stuart Honich dreams about sinking his teeth into the flesh of his tormentors--his boss's daughters.

Being a cop was something Doug Milligan wanted since childhood, but his wife hates his professions and Doug will soon have to make a difficult choice. 

Publicity hound, Rick Strickland, will do anything to further his career--but his secret affair with Liz Phelan, a divorcee with a drinking problem, could shatter his ambitions.

The murder of the Milligans' babysitter begins a series of events that could lead to the destruction of the Rocky Bluff P.D.

Beginning May 1- 5, Final Respects by F. M. Meredith will be free on Kindle.

The link is:

I'm just finishing a blog tour for #11 in the series called Violent Departures, available in trade paper and on Kindle.

Bio for Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith:

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Violent Departures, from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of two chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and 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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Where Writing What You Know Has Taken Me by Lorie Lewis Ham

Where Writing What You Know Has Taken Me
By Lorie Lewis Ham

There’s an old saying that a writer should write what they know. True it’s good to grow and expand beyond that, and it’s not something that’s set in stone, and it’s not even something that works for everyone-but it can at the very least be a great place to start. And of course, like any other writing “rule,” you have to take from it what works for you. It’s the finished product that matters more than how you get there.

That being said-writing what you know has unintentionally been my path to writing success. I’d like to share where that path has taken me and how I got there.

  1. I started writing about my stuffed animals at the age of seven.
  2. My first publication was at 13 when I wrote a poem about my prayer that was published in a teen magazine.
  3. I then set out on a path to write a novel, publishing several mystery short stories and articles along the way here and there. I tried writing a lot of different types of novels without success, but when I was in my early twenties, I started writing a mystery featuring a gospel singer and everything clicked! (I have been singing gospel music since the age of five) I published four books in that series, with "The Final Note," being the most recent and final one. It is currently available on Amazon.  
  4. In my early 20’s I also saw an ad in the local newspaper looking for a stringer. I figured hey I’ve published some articles here and there why not give it a try. They assigned me to the church page and I wrote for them for eight years-again writing what I know.
  5. Again, at the age of 42, I found myself not only writing for that paper, but several others that same company owned. By this time “what I knew” had expanded and I found myself writing all sorts of things about the cities I had lived in and around for years, and especially about the police department-which after writing five mystery novels I knew a lot about. This ended after two years due to some creative differences with the editor.
  6. After 40 some odd years of life, “what I knew” had expanded and grown A LOT. After two months without a job, the idea hit me that I could start my own online magazine and call it Kings River Life. The plan then was to write the articles my editor at the paper wouldn’t let me write, and to focus entirely on the communities surrounding the Kings River in California-hence the name. We went online because the cost was minimal—I have to admit I had no idea though how much work it would be!

KRL definitely started with writing what I knew. I was a member of the historical society so I knew local history, I volunteered with local theatre because of my daughter so I knew theatre, I obviously knew music, I knew ministry, I knew the mystery writing business, I had run a small animal rescue for five years so I knew animals and rescues, I knew books, I knew writing, etc, etc. As to our first writers—I also started with people I knew who wrote about what they knew.

As the magazine grew, I realized what I knew gave me a sound foundation for so much more-for stories that spread beyond just our little area. With my mystery writing connections our mystery section boomed and has now become a weekly part of the magazine, expanding our readership all over the world. I’m a movie buff so we added Monday Night movie reviews-with a great perk of free movies! I’d grown to know theatre even more, so we added theatre reviews on Wednesday nights, not just articles. My husband knows sports so we took advantage of that to cover local sports. My animal rescue work connected me to a whole new market as well--animal rescue stories. We now regularly have articles and stories about rescued animals, and therapy ones, that has continued to expand our readership beyond the US.

I’ve been able to take things in my life I know and expand our readership beyond anything I ever imagined and offer things that are also unique-filling a gap. Not only has our readership spread, so has where our writers come from. We have writers in St. Louis, New York, Australia, Scotland, Santa Cruz, and more. I’m excited to see where this takes us in the future.

So I encourage you to think about what you know in your life and see where it takes you. Whether you take pieces of something you know and put that in fiction, or write non-fiction articles about things you know-try it and see what happens. Even if you write sci-fi or fantasy, you can still use pieces of things you know to create your world and your characters. This is especially a great jumping off point for new writers, or those struggling with what to write, but can be great for any writer. And as always remember, with everything you hear about writing, figure out what works for you.

KRL is open to submissions--especially for mystery short stories. Check us out and see if there’s something you’d like to try and contribute, even if it’s something we’ve never done before, we are always growing and expanding and open to new ideas! And please, as a reader check us out too! We have a lot to offer, especially for the mystery reader! A new issue goes up every Saturday morning: and we currently have a short story contest going on:

As a side note, I'm now writing a mystery featuring an entertainment and pet blogger!

Check out my guest post at Buried Under Books about people telling you what you can't write about

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Knight, Templars and the Grail Myth

The next meeting of the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime will be on Saaturday, April 11 at 10 a.m.

The chapter meeting talk is "Knights, Templars and the Grail Myth." Jeri Westerson is our speaker.

Much more than a history lesson, Jeri always comes prepared with her weapons ("You never know when you might need to smite an enemy.").  Bring your questions about historical research and 
. writing about a character who lives (and speaks) from a previous era.  
Jeri Westerson's Bio:
Los Angeles native and award-winning author Jeri Westerson writes the critically acclaimed Crispin Guest Medieval Noir mysteries, historical novels, and, writing as Haley Walsh, writes the Skyler Foxe Mysteries, with gay amateur sleuth, Skyler Foxe. 

Her medieval mysteries have garnered nominations From the Agatha to the Shamus, and one was named one of the Best Mysteries of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. Her latest, CUP OF BLOOD, and her latest LGBT mystery, DESERT FOXE, were both released to critical acclaim. 

Her agent is shopping her new urban fantasy series and she is currently penning a steampunk paranormal series. Jeri is former president of the southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, former president of SinC Orange County, and former VP of SinC Los Angeles. When not writing, Jeri dabbles in beekeeping, gourmet cooking, drinks fine wines, eats cheap chocolate, and swoons over anything British. 

Friday, April 3, 2015



Judges include mystery authors Sunny Frazier, Penny Warner & Cindy Sample!

Contest deadline: 

June 1, 2015

Contest details: 

We are having a Father's Day short story contest. Submit an original, never before published, mystery short story with some sort of tie in to fathers or Father's Day. Please keep stories to a PG 13 or lower level as to language and sexual content.

Length: 1000 to 3000 words

Entry fee: $10 per entry-please make checks out to: 

Kings River Life

First Prize: $65 Amazon gift card, plus guaranteed featured publication (top of the home page) in our Father's Day issue.

Up to 5 more will have the opportunity to be published the week before Father's day, or week of, in KRL (no cash prize for these winners).

Others may be considered for future publication.

Submissions need to be emailed to: as a Word attachment and the subject line: contest. 

It must be typed with only one space after each sentence. 

Be sure to include name, and date of check mailed. Please mail checks to:

Kings River Life, PO Box 1355, Reedley, CA 93654.

If you cannot pay by check please use the above email to ask about other options.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Once Again I'm Off on a Blog Tour by Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

#11 in the Rocky Bluff P. D. mystery series

Blurb for Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

What’s Happening with Gordon Butler?

            Introduction to the Rocky Bluff P.D. Mystery Series

            My Writing Process


 What’s Up Next?

The Importance of Place

            Coming Up With New Ideas for an Ongoing Series

Where Do My Characters Come From?

            What About the Dialogue?


            How I Keep Up With my Characters and What’s Happened

            After So Many Books, How Do You Get Fresh Ideas?

            When to Think About Promotion

The Good and Bad of Writing a Series

            Ghosts and Why I Write About Them

            Reading Reviews of my Books

            Stacey Milligan’s Dilemma

            The Inspiration for Violent Departures

            Who Do I Write For?

            What Makes the Rocky Bluff Mystery Series Unique?

Final Interview

Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.


Buy Link: