Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

Archive for October, 2013


I just figured out that between now and the end of the calendar year, I have “just” one more conference (Crime Bake in 2 weeks); 1 “away” appearance (Temple Ahavat Torah in Stoughton MA on Nov. 10, right after Crime Bake), 2 local events (panels on aspects of writing & publishing at the Cinnaminson Library on Nov. 14 & 21); & 1 bookstore signing (Dec. 12 at A Novel Idea in Vineland). Then maybe I can get back to work on YOM KILLER!


I am pleased to welcome back author Marilyn Meredith, who wrote on this site last March about publishing under a pseudonym (in her case, as F.M. Meredith).

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at

In her latest book, the 10h in the series, Spirit Shapes, ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war. You can buy the book directly from Amazon or from the publisher in all formats:

Keep reading to find out Marilyn’s inspirations for Bear Creek. Spirit Shapes Cover


Bear Creek is where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives and works. It’s located in Central California in the Southern Sierra. (Sierra means mountains and this refers to the southern end of the mountain range.)

Though Bear Creek is a fictional place it is very similar in many ways to Springville where I live. One big difference is I moved Bear Creek up in the mountains 1,000 feet. Why? I wanted better trees and more change in the seasons. I use weather a lot in my Tempe mysteries and I wanted more variety.

Another similarity to my town is that it runs alongside a river and there’s only one main street that runs through it. Though some businesses are similar, they have different names because with the exception of a couple, businesses don’t seem to last long in Springville.

Most people have never heard of Springville or Porterville, the closest city, that is changing now that the local Indian reservation now has a casino. Yes, the casino is in some of my mysteries, it’s called the Bear Creek Indian casino, though it doesn’t make an appearance in the latest, Spirit Shapes.

Tempe is the resident deputy of Bear Creek which covers much more territory than just the town. In Spirit Shapes most of the action is in and around a haunted house. She does visit the campground at the lake and her investigation takes her to one of the high schools.

Though Bear Creek is based on a real place, I have moved some things around a bit, though people who live in Springville don’t seem to have a problem with it—and do tell me that they recognized this or that.

It will be fun to see if any of them think they know where the haunted house is since I completely made it and its location up.


The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. You can continue to follow Marilyn at her next stop,


I will be on the following panel at Magna cum Murder in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 27, 10:30-11:25am: Working on Your First Novel. Looking forward to it!


I forgot I’ll be on panels at the Cinnaminson Library, 1619 Riverton Rd., Cinnaminson, NJ, on two consecutive Thursdays, 6:00 PM-8:30 PM: Nov. 14 (“What It Takes to Break into Publishing”) and Nov. 21 (“Two Fiction Genres: Cozy Mysteries & Inspirational Women’s Fiction: Essential Elements of Each”).


It looks as though, without really planning it as such, I’ve been on a book tour this year. Here are my appearances (so far) until the end of 2013:

Thursday, October 10, 6:30 PM: Sisterhood, Ohav Shalom, 944 Second St. Pike, Richboro, NJ

Thursday, October 24-Monday, October 28: Magna cum Murder (Friday-Sunday), Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN

Wednesday, November 6-Monday, November 11: New England Crime Bake (Friday-Sunday), Hilton, 25 Allied Drive, Dedham, MA

Sunday, November 10, 2:30 PM: Ahavat Torah, 1179 Central Street, Stoughton, MA

Thursday, December 12, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM: A Novel Idea, Chapter Two, Landis Marketplace, 631 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, NJ

More coming for 2014!


The wait is over! You can now find out the meaning of the opening line of my short story MIAMI SNOW: “The morning after I arrived in Miami, I opened the window shades in my bedroom and saw eight inches of snow.”

The answer is in the 2nd line. And I promise it has nothing to do with cocaine.

The story is in the Fall 2013 issue of Mysterical-E Magazine:
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What I find amazing is the creative process: I woke up one morning with the first line in my head. I have no idea where it came from, but I knew I had to write a story around it.

Writing it made me appreciate just how much effort short story writers have to put into crafting their stories. It was a good discipline for someone like me who’s a pantser, not a plotter, and tends to digress from the main plot.