Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Story of a Magazine, or You Can’t Write That

I have been writing most of my life. My first poem was first published at the age of 13. Through the years, I’ve had magazine articles, poems, short stories, and novels published, and written off and on for local newspapers and magazines.

However, you may ask how did you end up deciding to start a magazine? Well I’ve noticed that things seldom happen “as planned” in life—changes hit you out of the blue all the time. One such change happened to me in December of 2009 when without warning I was laid off from my current job. I found myself going okay now what? And then it hit me! While working in the newspaper world I’d had many ideas of what I felt would be interesting stories that I believed people would enjoy, and been constantly told no we don’t do stories like that, or no we don’t have room, or even no I don’t think people around here would find that interesting. In other words, you can’t write about that. My favorite though was—you go too in depth with your stories.

I decided why not start an online magazine where I’m in control of what goes in it. At first glance it may seem a little self indulgent, but don’t we all have times when we wish we could do what we feel is right? When you reach a point where you’re tired of people telling you that you can’t do what you really want to do and feel in your gut is the right thing to do. So now I’m finally able to do those stories I never got the chance to do, and follow those ideas. I now can write that!

After the idea, came months trying to figure out exactly what would be the focus, what would be a good name, where to find other writers since I had no intention of filling up an entire magazine with only my writing lol, and so on. So I got together with some creative friends and started brainstorming on a name—which seemed to be the place to start. We came up with Kings River Life Magazine. The Kings River runs through my town of Reedley, California and through many other towns in the San Joaquin Valley. The desire was to not be limited to just one community, but be open to writing stories from all the surrounding cities as time went along, so this seemed to be a name that left us open to cover all life on the Kings River.

Next, we needed a logo, a photo that was all ours, so the process was started to make that happen and I’m very pleased with what we came up with.

So now what exactly would be our focus? Why not start with areas I know and that I have connections in. One good thing about living in an area your whole life, and working with various local newspapers and magazines, was that you made connections. I’ve gone to church and sung in churches my whole life so let’s cover local ministries—with a special focus on what people are doing to help those in their community. I’m a member of the local Historical Society board so why not local history. My daughter is involved in local theatre and it never gets the coverage it deserves so why not theatre. Music—well I’m a singer so that’s a given. I’ve had a heart and connection with local teens since working with them at the library—so why not a section just for them. Better yet, why not let them write it? I firmly believe in going green—so let’s include that. And reviews of books, music, TV, movies, etc. Yes that sounds good—oh and animals, I love animals and was involved in animal rescue for several years. So that seemed like a good mix—a good place to start. Oh and wait—I write fiction set in the Valley, why not include some of that too. And my husband is involved in sports, and I know a lot of people in the City and Education…

The beauty of it being online and with such an all-encompassing name like Kings River Life, is we aren’t hemmed in to anything. As time goes along, we can expand not only to other communities but to covering whatever we find people want to read.

As to writers—it’s amazing once you start talking about what you’re doing how many people say hey I’d like to write something. Yeah not everyone who wants to write can write, but we’ve lucked out and ended up with a great group gathered from all different walks of life and all different ages from 15 to senior citizens. I also talked to some English classes at the local high school and found some writers there, along with teens I already knew.

We went live on May 29 after a LOT of work! And have been going strong with a new issue up every Saturday morning at 10 every week since. We’re still growing and deciding what works and what doesn’t, what people like and what they don’t, but it’s going great and we can’t wait to see what the future holds! (FYI none of this would ever have happened without the awesome talents of our webmaster/editor Dorian Rhodes who works crazy hard.)

Honestly, the best things about it so far is the great team that’s come together to make Kings River Life happen each week and having people send us emails saying hey I loved that story or thanks for letting people know about us, and no longer having someone say “sorry but you can’t write that” lol.

So check us out at Follow us on twitter @kingsriverlife and find us on Facebook and MySpace. Watch us grow and evolve and if you have an idea of something you would like to see in an issue, or maybe you even would like to try your hand at writing something—let us know And you may notice when you check us out we really aren’t limited to just the area of the San Joaquin Valley of California along the Kings River—we have reviews, author interviews, articles and fiction that can appeal to people where ever you live! So check us out.

And that’s just another thing in my closet.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Review of Dispel the Mist by Marilyn Meredith

It's been awhile since I've had time to review a book myself, but I always make the time to review Marilyn Meredith's books as I know I'm going to love them and this one is no exception.
Hope you enjoy the review, and hope you get yourself a copy of the book.
Happy Reading & Good Coffee,

Dispel the Mist, A Tempe Crabtree Mystery
By Marilyn Meredith
Mundania Press, 2009
ISBN 978-1-59426-402-3

Dispel the Mist is the latest book in Marilyn Meredith’s Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, set in the mountains above the San Joaquin Valley. In this book Tulare County supervisor Lilia Quintera dies under suspicious circumstances soon after the announcement of a planned project for a new hotel and golf course on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation—a project that quickly causes a heated debate. Her mixed Mexican and Native American heritage played a significant role in Lilia’s election and many on the Reservation expect her to support the new project. Lilia recently helped bring a casino to the Reservation to allow for more jobs and a better life for those living there.

Before her death, Lilia also became involved in another controversial project—the opening of a home for women with disabilities in the new gated community of Shadow Hills. This project has a personal side for her in that her niece would be residing in that home. Some of the Shadow Hills residents think the home will bring down property values.

Tempe is put on special assignment to investigate this murder due to her ties to the community and the Reservation. She quickly finds the suspect list growing to include those that were against the proposed projects, Lilia’s much younger husband, and even her own sister.

Not only is this an excellent mystery, but Marilyn weaves into the story the Native American elements that make it unique—including the lore of the Hairy Man. Could it be more than just a myth? The relationship between Tempe and her preacher husband Hutch is also a joy to watch unfold as they work to find a balance between their busy lives and differing beliefs.

I highly recommend Dispel the Mist. For more info on Marilyn’s other books check out her website at