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Thursday, February 2, 2012


Today we welcome back mystery author Marilyn Meredith who has published over thirty novels, including the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Bears With Us from Mundania Press. To learn more about Marilyn, visit her at her website and her blog.

Marilyn will be giving away one copy of
Bears With Us to one of our readers who posts a comment to the blog this week.
-- AP

What would you do if you found a bear in your kitchen?

In my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Bears With Us, bears turn up everywhere in and around Bear Creek where Tempe is the resident deputy, including someone’s kitchen.

A family enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner not too far from where I live in the Southern Sierra spotted a huge brown bear lolling on a branch of an old oak tree a few feet beyond the back porch. Of course the children were delighted, the grownups not so much, as they all watched him through a picture window. That episode started me thinking about bears and how much fun it would be to included them one of Tempe Crabtree’s adventures.

When my grandson, a police officer in another mountain community, wrote to me about chasing bears out of people’s houses that same fall, that cinched it. I emailed him with a long list of questions. What did the bears look like? What did they eat when they invaded someone’s kitchen? The answer was ice cream and Rocky Road was their preference. Of course I asked other questions like how did you chase them out? What did they smell like?

I did more research on California black bears which can be black, many shades of brown including a light cinnamon shade. And yes, they do roam the California mountains and foothills and sometimes make appearances in strange places like people’s swimming pools and hot tubs.

From there a plot began to form that included other facets besides bears such as a woman suffering an unusual form of dementia, a secret from the past, the suicide of a teen with odd acting parents, and a mother who didn’t like her daughter’s choice of boyfriend mainly because of his race.

Readers often ask authors where their ideas come from and that will give you a taste of what happened with me when it was time for me to come up with another dilemma to complicate the life of my Native American heroine, Tempe, one that might happen in a mountain community, like Bear Creek.

Here are some snippets of a few of Bears With Us reviews:

“…For those readers who may not live in bear-y areas, it accurately depicts what life with those creatures can be like.  (Just check out some of our National Park's pages like Yellowstone and Yosemite and see the real damage bears can do!)  Far from the cuddle teddy bear image we've grown accustomed to, we are treated not only to a well-crafted tale, but also it's topped off with the unpredictability of 'nature.'  And isn't that what really happens in our lives?  Unpredictability.”

Victoria Heckman, author of Hawaii Mysteries and "Burn Out." Sisters in Crime-Central Coast Chapter President

“…Bears With Us didn't disappoint. Marilyn's writing is as usual, crisp and sharp--and her story interesting, touching timely issues in a lot of folks lives, and connected to Native American traditions…” M.M. Gornell

…A strong female lead, Native American mysticism, and well-drawn characters fill Bears With Us. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel, but I suggest you read all the Deputy Tempe Crabtree novels. They're a bit like Lay’s® potato chips, "you can't have just one." –Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

“…There are bits of Native American customs, tips for protecting against bears, and issues families dealing with dementia face sprinkled throughout the story. In addition, there are moments of humor that will have you smiling…” Patricia Reed on GoodReads

Bears With Us is the 11th installment in the Tempe Crabtree Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. This is an intriguing tale of murder, mystery and mayhem you shouldn’t miss. –Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress

Blurb: Deputy Tempe Crabtree has her hands full when bears turn up in and around Bear Creek, a young teen commits suicide and his parents’ actions are suspicious, a prominent woman files a complaint against Tempe and her preacher husband Hutch, a love affair from long ago comes to light, and a woman suffering from dementia disappears.

Bears With Us
is available in paper and all the electronic formats direction from the Mundania Press and from all the usual places.

Thanks you for joining us today, Marilyn. Readers, what would you do if you discovered a bear in your kitchen? I certainly know what I’d do! Post a comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Bears With Us. -- AP


Jane R said...

No bears where I live. Just armadillos and road runners. A bear in the kitchen would certainly make for an interesting day! How have I missed this series? It sounds great and it looks like have some catching up to do! Thanks for the post.

Morgan Mandel said...

I think bears are cute, but not when there anywhere nearby! Wonderful premise for a book.

Morgan Mandel

Patti Brooks said...

This thread immediately brought me back to age 13. We lived deep in the Adirondacks and I was being left alone in the house for the very first time. It was just getting dark, and I began to wonder about Black Bears that heavily populate the mts. I knew they frequently broke into empty camps in the woods and pictured them breaking thru a window for some of the wonderful things my Mom had been cooking all day. So, I had a plan. If I heard any noise I would hide in my upstairs bedroom closet. ... And... that's where my mom found me when she returned.

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

Jane R, I do hope that you will try my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I had a great time writing this latest one and I hope people will enjoy reading ti.

Hi, Morgan, though we do live in bear country, I've only seen one off on the hillside behind our house. Years ago in Yosemite, they used to beg food from people--something that's no longer allowed, for good reason.

Patti, I think as a kid I would have done exactly what you did. Active imaginations do make you do crazy things.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, no bears where I live as well. But I do remember seeing one in the wild. It was just a shadow crossing the road, 100 ft or more from the car while driving. That was enough for me. Sound like a great story.

Shirley E. Watson said...

There is supposed to be a black bear living in the vicinity but I haven't seen him/her, thankfully. If one managed to get into my kitchen, I think I would exit by the nearest bedroom window.

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

Hi, Mary and Shirley, I wouldn't be thrilled by a bear in my kitchen either. Thanks for stopping by.

Mayra Calvani said...

Meredith, you're so prolific! How do you do it?

Best of luck with the book. I remember reviewing one of your Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries a couple of years ago. It was a great story!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Fun post and like the bears!
Now that I live in GA, there are supposed to be black bears living in the mountains but haven't seen any (had a coyote in my yard once tho). As a kid in the midwest, closest I got was a hog in our apple orchard. As a big as a bear and through the early morning fog, looked like a bear. Needless to say, we stayed inside and called the farmer to pick up his pig. :-)

traveler said...

Since we live in the foothills bears have been seen wandering towards this area when the season has been dry and warm. SO far no sightings here. I would scoot really quickly.

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

Mayra, I love writing so I guess that's why I'm prolific.

Larissa, what a lovely name.

Traveler, I think we all enjoy bears--but from far, far away.

Cheryl said...

Thankfully there aren't bears around here. I'm not sure I could be as calm as Tempe in getting rid of them.

Keep up the great work, Marilyn. I loved this book.

E.P. Lair said...

A bear came into my yard when I lived in the Mountains east of Albuquerque. It was winter and all the doors and windows were shut. I guess my doberman smelled it or heard it, because he went beserk. It didn't do much in our yard but went to a neighboring farm and turned over big creosote poles like they were matchsticks.

Jill Archer said...

Fun post. Does it count if YOU are the bear in your kitchen every morning (pre-coffee)? :-) My only brush with a bear was hiking last summer in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was neat but nerve-racking since I had my kids with me. Others who live in more "beary" areas may be used to them, but not us! Good luck with the book!

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

Hi Esther thanks for visiting and telling about your bear encounter.

I would not like to have kids along on a bear encounter, Jill.

And Cheryl, thanks for your kind words.

Maureen Hayes said...

As cute as bears look, I wouldn't stay around to check things out if I found a bear in my kitchen. I would get out and call for help! Now if it were a Vermont Teddy Bear, that might be another story. . .

Thanks for allowing us a chance to in a copy of your book, it sounds fascinating!

Kathy said...

Bears With Us is the 11th book? Now I have to go get the first ten before I can read it. I like to start a series from the beginning.

Liz said...

Rocky Road? Can bears be diabetic?

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

Thank you everyone for commenting. Though this is the latest in the series, I write each one as a stand-alone, so you really can read Bears With Us without reading the earlier ones, but Kathy, I'd love for you to read them all.

Maureen, I'm with you. I don't want a bear in my kitchen either--though sometimes it looks like one might have been there.

H'mmm, Liz, diabetic bears?

Paula said...

Sounds like a very good book. No encounters with bears in real life but I do follow the research bears famous for birthing cubs on the internet. Jewel of the Northwoods. Would be fun to win a free book.

Dorothy Thompson said...

This reminded me of a funny story. I remember seeing the Smoky Mountains for the first time. Of course we had to check out the visitor center just as soon as you enter the park, right? And of course I had to ask the guy behind the desk, which trail do we get on to see bears? Looking back, that was so foolish because for one I know he must have been asked that same question a million times and I was so labeled a visitor but two, what was I thinking? Bears???

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

Hi, Paula, thanks for stopping by.

Dorothy, I think we all have that strange fascination--we'd like to see a bear, just not too close.

Marja said...

Including bears in the story added another dimension. Good job, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I appreciated the characters' reactions to the bears, too.

Radine Trees Nehring said...

We have bears in Arkansas and, looking out into the "hollow" and on down into the valley in winter, I have often wished I'd see one. But maybe not so much after reading BEARS WITH US. Still--all we have in the 'frig is vanilla. We'd probably be safe. In any case I loved this book and learning more about bears!

Anonymous said...

Our family holds a big reunion at Black Moshanon Park in PA, renting cabins for the weekend. The trash barrels are sometimes visited by bears and skunks so we tend to be cautious when outdoors in the evening.

boots9k at wowway dot com

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

Thanks for visiting, Marja.

Oh, Radine, I'm always so glad to hear from you.

And Anonymous, we used to attend a church camp where once a bear came into the old lodge where we'd left our treats and he ate everything but the red licorice. My mom thought he was a big dog.

Anonymous said...

My family camped a lot, as a kid, and we ran into MANY bear up in Northern Michigan and out in Yosemite National Park ---- including in our Station Wagon and huffing and puffing all around the tent at night! (We just hushed and stayed quiest and as we had no food in the tent the bear went away.)