Friday, October 18, 2019

A Book for Halloween

My guest is  Marilyn Meredith, a well-known blogger and author of more than forty mystery/crime novels. Her newest book Bones in the Attic is the fifteenth book in her Rocky Bluff Police Department series. I asked her to write about innovative ways to market books. 

Here’s Marilyn:

Bones in the Attic centers around a skeleton, I think I’m going to buy a plastic skeleton to take along with me whenever I give a presentation or do a signing. That certainly fits the bill for innovative, right?

Probably the most exciting book signing I ever had took place in a new Bed and Breakfast. So many people signed up to come, to accommodate everyone, they served two lunches on the same day at different times. The book was Kindred Spirits in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and the Tolowa (Indian tribe in northern California) woman who inspired two of the characters in the book and gave me so much information about the Tolowa people and Big Foot, signed the book along with me and gave a little talk at each of the lunches. 

We don’t have any bookstores near where I live, so I always have to find other types of places to hold my book launches, so far I’ve had them in our local inn, a coffee shop, a second hand store, and in a store in the next town that sells hand-made chocolates. That’s a fun place to have a signing. My books are also for sale in a local thrift shop.

Of course I do all the usual things like the blog tour I’m on now, go to book and craft fairs, speak at and serve on panels at writers conferences, give talks for writers groups and libraries.

I’ve given away books for a short period through Amazon, which does help sales for other books in the series. I’ve also done 99 cent sales which works much the same. Of course this also takes a lot of promoting on Facebook and Twitter, plus using several of the services that charge to promote the freebies and sales. Now it’s your turn to make comments.

Blurb for Bones in the Attic: The discovery of a skeleton, a welfare check on a senior citizen, and a wildfire challenge the Rocky Bluff Police Department.
Buy link:

Bio: Marilyn Meredith, who writes the RBPD mystery series as F.M. Meredith, is the author of over 40 published books. She once lived in a small beach town much like Rocky Bluff and has many relatives and friends in law enforcement. 
And she’s a regular on these blogs:
4thMonday of the month:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Should you get a flu vaccination?

Should you get a flu #vaccination? Yes, but remember #flu vaccines aren’t perfect. 

·     The overall estimated effectiveness of 2018-19 seasonal influenza #vaccine was 47%. This estimate was based on data from more than three thousand children and adults with acute respiratory illness during November 23, 2018–February 2, 2019, [Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report/ February 15, 2019 / 68(6);135–139]. 

·      Flu vaccines for 2019-20 have been updated to better match flu virus expected to be circulating in the U.S.  

·      The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends “high dose” shots for those older than sixty-five. A large clinical trial indicated that a “high-dose “vaccine was 24.2% more effective in preventing flu in adults 65 years of age than a standard-dose vaccine (New England Journal of Medicine 2014; 371:635-645). Other trials show the “high dose” vaccine reduced hospitalizations form flu among those older than sixty-five.

Do flu vaccine recommendations sound like mumbo-jumbo to you? They sounded even more confusing to the residents of a small community in The Flu Is Coming. In this #thriller, a new type of flu kills nearly half of the residents in an upscale, gated community in less than a week. A quarantine makes those who survive virtual prisoners in their homes. The Centers for Disease Control (#CDC) recruits epidemiologist Sara Almquist to find ways to limit the spread of the epidemic. As she pries into the residents’ lives, she finds promising scientific clues but unfortunately learns too much about several of them and violence ensues.

This novel is an exciting read. The Flu Is Comingfinalist for a New Mexico/Arizona Book Award. Reading this novel is also a way to learn a bit about the development of flu vaccines. Then you’ll understand better the importance and limitations of vaccines. You could say this novel is a medical mystery within a thriller.

Book and Kindle at:

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Book signing are about the readers. Author are successful at book signings if: they excite readers about their book and they make readers think they purchased something important (interesting or exciting).

Think about these ideas:
·     Don’t wait for people come to you. Greet people near the door and ask “what they like to read.”  
·     Keep your spiel short. The classic 1 or 2 sentence “elevator” talk is good. Try to encourage questions.
·     Study the customers in the store. If possible, visit the store prior to the book signing and analyze the crowd. Develop one-sentence spiels to fit different types. For example, if everyone entering the bookstore is over fifty and you write children’s books, perhaps you should focus on how books make great gifts for grandchildren. 
·     Be enthusiastic. Don’t read or do other activities as you wait for customers.
·     Don’t panic or get angry if the crowd is sparse or if a customer insults your book. Forget your ego and try to SELL BOOKS.
·     Advertise your signing. Any means is fair gamenewspapers, posters, newsletters, word-of-mouth. Work with the bookstore owner for best results.
·     Give customers something extraa talk or reading at a specified time, bookmarks, cookies, gift wrapping, or a discount. 

You’re probably wondering if my book signing are big successes? No, but they’re more successful when I follow this advice, than when I don’t. 

Now what are your suggestions for book signings?

BIO: J.L. Greger is the author of seven mystery/thrillers. In her latest, I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT, Sara Almquist is in a lackluster love affair. Then an agent who has been undercover for thirty years in Iran sends an email: "Help. Contact Almquist." As Sara is drawn into the plan to identify and rescue the agent, known only as F, she is forced to re-evaluate characters from her career as a globe-trotting scientist and rethink what matters in romance and her life in general.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


Do you like silver jewelry? Have you ever thought about the cost of silver #mining – in terms of environmental #pollution and the health of miners? 

How about visiting Cerro Rico, once the richest #silver mine in the world, with Sara Almquist in the #thriller IGNORE THE PAIN? #Cerro Rico is  in the Andes Mountain range in South America — near Potosí. 

In this thriller, Sara is a #scientist consulting for United States Agency for International Development (USAID). During her work in #Bolivia, she learns too much about the coca trade and inhumane mining practices. She’s rescued by Xave Sack, a mysterious and sexy man from the U.S. embassy in Bolivia.

Besides enjoying suspense and romance as you read this novel, you’ll learn a bit. Did you know miners at Cerro Rico chew #coca (raw ingredient for cocaine) to help them ignore pain, thirst, and hunger while working in the mines? Did you know mercury, used to smelt silver, contaminates the area around the mines?

So, read IGNORE THE PAIN and see parts of South America missed by most tourists. You may not get a great tan but you'll have more adventure.

P.S. I have visited Bolivia and worked as a consultant for USAID. I also did a lot of research for this book.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Travel to modern Cuba with the thriller, MALIGNANCY

When you think of #Cuba, do you think of vintage cars, cigars, beaches, the rich blending of Spanish and West African traditions in Cuban music, Castro, and the U.S. embargo of Cuba? That what I thought before I visited Cuba. 

During a visit to Cuba, I quickly became tired of reverential references to Che Guevara, didn’t think much of La Floridita (the bar made famous by Hemingway), and found their vintage cars amusing at best. However, I was impressed by the innovative nature of the Cuban people as they skirted the U. S. embargo of Cuba and Cuban laws. For example, did you know Cuban government patented one of the first cancer immunotherapy drugs (Racotumomab)? Granted the Cuban researchers spent much of their time at Harvard and the patent was filed with scientists in Argentina, but that’s another story.

I tried to present readers with an honest view of modern Cuba in the fast paced #thriller, MalignancyThe story begins in New Mexico. Men disguised as police officers shoot at Sara Almquist twice in one day. The Albuquerque Police suspect a drug czar with a vendetta against Sara. Thus, when colleagues in the State Department invite Sara, an experienced scientist, to arrange scientific exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, she jumps at the chance to escape. Both fortunately and unfortunately, Sara learns more about scientists in Cuba and her so-called American colleagues than she expected. 

Available at:

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Harassment occurs in the work environment. However, it’s often hard to define. 
In the psychological #thriller SHE DIDN”T KNOW HER PLACE, Dana Richardson can’t figure out why her new bosses and colleagues at a state #university are so hostile towards her. All the threats are much more than bad management techniques.

Soon, she suspects staff in the university’s #environmental test #lab are falsifying data to help industrial #polluters meet federal and state standards. Her predecessor died in a freak accident after she began to investigate several labs in the university for embezzlement of funds. 

Finally, Dana realizes she must defy the president of the university and risk being fired or face eventually criminal charges for covering for scientific misconduct and fraud in the in the university.

Despite all the #harassment, Dana does get support and maybe romance from an unlikely source. 

Anyone who has been harassed at work will have empathy for Dana; anyone who has not will learn what it feels like to be unsure of the facts. This novel will also give readers an ideas of dilemmas faced by #scientists.

HURRY & BUY: #SALE Kindle marked down form $3.99 to $0.99 until May 25 at:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Does the book title resonates with readers?

#Book titles are important sales tools. Most editors agree on the following statements. 1) #Titles should give a hint about the protagonist, the setting, the theme or the plot of the book. 2) Short titles are best. 3) Titles should catch the reader’s attention. 4) These rules are meant to be broken.

The net result is most writers spend hour ruminating over the title of their next novel. I’m no different. I always name a novel when I start working on a project. Then I rename it at least twice as I write and edit the novel. How about you? Maybe you’ll find my process of titling my adventure novel IGNORE THE PAIN useful or amusing.

I started out with the title Why Does It Hurt So Much? because I wanted the novel to address how individuals differ in their responses to physical and emotional pain. But that title was too long. I’d learned from my experience publicizing another novel Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight that long titles even if they’re funny are hard to fit the title on the spine of the book or in twitters. 

That title also gave no hint to the inner strength of my heroine — Sara Almquist, an epidemiologist and world traveler. Sara is a tough cookie. She knows being a public health consultant in Bolivia, where over 6% of the children before five years of age, won’t be a picnic when she accepts the assignment. The title also didn’t fit a suspense story with lots of action. Sara is chased through the Witches’ Market of La Paz and fights to avoid a trap in the silver mines of Potosí as she helps to capture the drug czar Mazzone, who used to be her neighbor in New Mexico. 

The next title I chose was Dull the Pain. It was short, established pain as recurring theme in the novel, and hinted the heroine was tough. Amazon listed no other book with that title. 

I include tidbits of science in all of my novels and really strive to get the facts correct. Thus, I had Sara learn that laborers in the silver mines of Potosí carry little food or water into the mines. In order to endure the pain caused by thirst, hunger, and heavy exertion at a high altitude (13,000 feet), they chew coca leaves. The active ingredients in coca leaves and its derivative cocaine are not analgesics; they do not dull pain. They are stimulants and help users ignore pain. 

I changed the title from Dull the Pain to IGNORE THE PAIN. 

Now after all my explanations on the title, do you want to read IGNORE THE PAIN? Or would you give it another name?

Why don’t you enter the ebook #GIVEAWAY for a chance win IGNORE THE PAIN at:

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Tired of winter? Is it time to plan a vacation? Bolivia is fascinating #travel destination with a vibrant #indigenous culture and a turbulent past. Its presidential palace is called the “burned palace” for reason. 

I loved visiting the #Witches’ Market and climbing to the roof of Iglesia de San Franciso in #La Paz (the capital) but the city’s altitude is almost 12,000 feet. I also found it interesting that bags for #coca tea were on the tables of many restaurants along with bags of black and green tea. 

Thus, many Americans may decide an actual trip to Bolivia is too strenuous and dangerous. They may decide they’d rather visit Bolivia with no risks by reading IGNORE THE PAIN.  

In this thriller, a woman scientist couldn't say no when invited to join a public health mission to assess children's health in #Bolivia. Soon someone from her past is chasing her through the Witches' Market of La Paz and on to the silver mines of Potosí. Worst still, she fears her new colleagues, especially the sexy one, are controlled by the coca industry of Bolivia.

Why don’t you visit Bolivia with my woman scientist? You’ll see great sites and learn about the indigenous culture in a way that most casual tourists miss. New #book at:

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Vaccinations are controversial. However, there is no debate scientifically that #vaccines have saved millions of lives.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that routine childhood immunizations averted 732,000 premature deaths from vaccine-preventable illnesses among children born in the U.S. during 1994–2013. (Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report [April 25, 2014] Vol 63, No. 16)
This estimate doesn’t consider the lives saved by #vaccinations for flu, hepatitis, etc. in adults or the effect of vaccinations internationally.

There are four main reasons that vaccinations are controversial. One is their development is a complex, expensive process taking sometimes ten to fifteen years. Two, viruses are constantly mutating (changing)and hence causing the need for new or altered viruses. Three, any vaccine can cause side effects. Most are minor (a sore arm, headache, a low-grade fever) and go away in a few day. Serious side effects (a severe allergic reaction) are rare (probably less than 1 in a million) but clinic staff are trained to deal with them. Four, many do not like the way scientists and medical personnel couch their answers with so many “ifs” and “buts.”

Thus, The Flu Is Coming is not only a thriller but also an example of the how a flu vaccine could be developed. It's really two mysteries combined. Will a woman epidemiologist be able to find clues that will help stop the spread of a new, deadly flu virus? And will police be able to maintain of a quarantine of a community exposed to this flu virus after the epidemiologist learns too many secrets about the criminal activities of several residents in the community?

Prescription. Learn more about vaccines and their development. If you don’t like dry, technical jargon, read The Flu Is Coming. You’ll learn a bit and get to enjoy an action-packed thriller. Paper back & Kindle versions at:

Blurb: In The Flu Is Coming, a new type of flu — the Philippine flu — kills nearly half of the residents in an upscale, gated community in less than a week. A quarantine makes those who survive virtual prisoners in their homes.The Centers for Disease Control recruit Sara Almquist, a resident of the community, to apply her skills as an epidemiologist to find ways to limit the spread of the epidemic. As she pries into her neighbors’ lives, she finds promising scientific clues but unfortunately learns too much about several of them.

Friday, February 8, 2019


The Kindle version of RIDDLED WITH CLUES is on sale for $0.99 from February 13 to February 20. Here's more about this mystery/thriller set in Albuquerque.

February is the month with Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. A time to remember American history, even the wars and conflicts.

Do you have friends or relatives who served in Vietnam? Maybe you served. Generally, I find many veterans are reticent to talk about their experiences. Thus, I was surprised and pleased when one friend after reading one of my novel asked if I’d like to see his notes from being a medic in the secret war in Laos in the 1960s. 

The notes were fascinating but I write modern thrillers. I turned his notes into clues for a mystery/thriller, RIDDLED WITH CLUES, set at the VA Center in Albuquerque. My friend liked the results. Other veterans said I reflected their impressions of the Vietnam War. Maybe you will too. 

For those too young to remember that conflict, maybe you’ll learn a bit of history. In any case, I think you’ll find the clues are a good way to open a fast-moving modrn thriller.

Here’s a short blurb: A woman is attacked repeatedly after she listens to the strange tale of an undercover drug agent and gets puzzling riddled clues from a homeless veteran in Albuquerque. 
Learn more about the book at: