Where is Summer Going?

Thinking about how much I still need to get done and this is the last month of summer, I’m glad Covid cancelled my conferences! I know, I shouldn’t say things like that, but I figured my year, after conference cancellations would be filled with more down time. Instead, I feel like I am just as far behind as I would have been had I gone to conferences and judged at county fairs, like I normally do in the summer.

George saying “Hi”

Between animals, family, and writing, I have been so busy, I can’t believe we just entered the 8th month of the year.

August. For us, usually, the last summer month. Come September we have one week of hot weather then it starts tapering off in heat and light to where we are ready for the cool weather, long nights, and less work. 😉

This summer, I’ve written a book and a novella and if all goes well another book will have been written by the end of August. We’ll see. I will be busy the end of this week and most of next week with little writing getting done.

My 15th book in the Shandra Higheagle Mysteries released., Capricious Demise has a unique murder method and a surprise ending. So far the reviewers are liking it. Here is the info and cover:

Capricious Demise

Book 15

Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series

Vengeance…Envy…Murder

Shandra Higheagle’s deceased Grandmother enters Shandra’s dream, showing her two lost children. Her grandmother never comes to her dreams unless there is a murder to solve. But whose? The children? Or someone related to them?

Ryan is called out to a suicide, that isn’t. While contacting next of kin, he finds the victim’s husband also murdered and their two children missing.

Using her dreams, Shandra helps locate the missing twins whom they take into their home as foster children. The hunt for the reason the parents were murdered becomes urgent when the children reveal they may have seen the killer.

Universal buy link: https://books2read.com/u/b6ZJOA

I should have another release to tell you about when I blog again. Yes, it has been a busy summer!

Never a Dull Moment

All my life, I’ve lived rural. The one thing about living rural, you have animals and chores to deal with every day. Those are never boring. This morning as I maneuvered the wheelbarrow into the corral with the calves hay, one tried to push it with his head, another was trying to eat the hay, one was licking my arm with his scratchy tongue and the fourth one ran circles around us, bucking and kicking.

A couple of calves and George

Then the horses needed fed. That required two wheelbarrow loads of grass hay in the run where they stay during the day and a forkful for George in the corner so the horses didn’t bother him.

Water troughs were filled and I wandered to the shop to check to make sure the cats had water and food.

Momma kitty and her 2 sons- Cautious and Curious

Once the animals were taken care of, there were flowers in pots to be watered and my raised vegetable beds to check.

We have started building a small pasture for the calves. Once it’s done, I’ll no longer have to take them hay but they will still get grain twice a day.

After the chores are finished, I come in the house, do household chores, and then sit down at my computer and write until noon.

I fix lunch for hubby, give myself a break until one, then get back on the computer unless hubby needs my help with something.

Then there is dinner and the evening chores. And in between I like to ride my horse, walk the hills and take pictures, and sew.

Jan and Patty

I don’t know how anyone can be bored, ever!

Welcome to the Lillian’s Legacy Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today, I’m sharing my blog with a friend and author, Carmen Peone.

Lillian’s Legacy is the final book in the Gardner Sibling Trilogy.

Lillian Gardner, a healer in the making using natural medicines, is certain she is the black sheep of the family. In an attempt to prove she is of value, she sets off into the wilds of Eastern Washington and Indian Territory with Doctor Mali Maddox, an elderly Welsh female physician whose husband has recently passed away. She hopes to marry her knowledge of herbal remedies learned from her mother and an Indian healer with new ways of western medicine. Will Lillian discover her true calling? Will she be respected as a female physician in training?

Book Launch Fun Facts:

Doctor Maddox introduces Lillian to an unusual medical instrument.

Have you ever listened to your heartbeat through a stethoscope? When I began researching Lillian’s Legacy, I knew the female Welsh medical doctor would not be using a binaural stethoscope in 1875. But I wasn’t sure what she would be using, so I did some research and came across… Read More Here

Carmen picked Maddox, or Madog, from her Welsh heritage for the female physician’s surname. The healer mentors Lillian as she finds her way around the medical field. Learn More Here

Learn more about the trilogy…

Hannah’s Journey

Delbert’s Weir

What are readers saying about Lillian’s Legacy?

“Ms Peone’s development of diverse and captivating characters adds depth to her writing and grabs the reader’s imagination in compelling and riveting ways.”

“I absolutely love the historical bits of the story because you are given a sense of what life was truly like back in those times.”

“I love this story. I would follow Lillian anywhere, into her next book if there is one. She is a sweet, brave, good-hearted, well-developed character. The writing is lively and detailed. I could see, hear, smell, and feel the land.”

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Lillian’s Legacy.

The winner will be draw on July 20th and can choose between a Kindle eBook or signed softcover copy.

Award-winning author Carmen Peone lives with her tribal husband, Joe, on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation in Northeast Washington. She gathered cultural knowledge from family and elders and studied the language and various cultural traditions and legends under the late Marguerite Ensminger. She is a horse and photography enthusiast. With a degree in abnormal psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and desires to create a legacy for her family.

Lillian’s Legacy and the Gardner Siblings include a Literary Guide.

This is great for summer fun, homeschool learning,and historical knowledge in the classroom.

Find Out More Here

Purchase Lillian’s Legacy today on

Amazon

Add to Goodreads

Carmen loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

Website and Blog | Facebook | TwitterInstagram | Pinterest

Photos to Covers

I find the best feature on my cell phone is the camera. I usually have the phone with me every time I step outside or go on trips.

That means I always have a camera. I enjoy taking photographs of nature. A billowy cloud can have so many colors and textures in it that I want a photo. The blue of the sky can capture my attention. The way the grass is leaning in the wind. Dust swirling or hiding the hill across the valley. A lizard, snake, horse, cat, bird.

Taken at the Oregon Coast

I can find many things to photograph. Buildings, rocks, hills, fence posts. If I see something unique, I want to capture it.

When I go places to research settings for my books, I take a ton of pictures hoping one will work for a cover of the book. When I am researching, I also take along the camera featured at the beginning of the post. Using the photo I pick, my cover designer then places the added elements the story needs.

Waterfall in Maui

I used a photo I took while in Kauai, Hawaii for the cover of Abstract Casualty. We, my cover designer and I, are currently working on the cover for Capricious Demise. I’ve scanned through all my photos and have found a couple that might work and have given her some ideas of some that can be purchased.

My photo with bird added

On the Gabriel Hawke novel covers, we add the animal that is in the title of the book. And maybe take liberty of adding a trail sign that wasn’t in the photo but adds to the “story” the cover tells. This was Murder of Ravens. The cover for Mouse Trail Ends the cover designer took a photo of mouse prints in the dirt and added a backpack and mouse. Rattlesnake Brother is produced from two photos I purchased. The steps of a courthouse and a rattlesnake. My jet boat trip on the Snake River doing research for Chattering Blue Jay gave me many photos to choose from. Once I decided which one, my cover designer add a blue jay to the photo in a realistic way. And Fox Goes Hunting, the cover photo is a photo I took while in Iceland. It is of the Krysuvik boiling pools. I purchased a photo of an Arctic Fox that my cover designer inserted in the photo.

Sometimes finding the right cover art can be as much work as writing the book. Don’t be me started on coming up with a good title!

June Adventure

After visiting my dad on Father’s Day at the Senior Living Center in Wallowa County, (where my Gabriel Hawke Novels are set) I headed to the setting of the next Hawke book.

While riding with a State Police Trooper also working Fish and Wildlife when I had the Hawke novels in their conceptual stage, the trooper pointed out a site that had been deemed an accidental death, but he thought otherwise. After he explained the whole thing to me and I saw the spot, I agreed with him.

Griz Flat Camp area

Ever since that ride-along, I’ve known that would be the scene of one of the murders that Hawke would help solve.

So, on the sunny June Sunday, I made a 93 mile loop to get photos of the area and acquaint myself with the roads and area.

The drive from Enterprise, Oregon in the NE corner of the state is pretty just about any time of year, but this time of year… the greens, the wildflowers, the fields, it is a visual delight!

Flora, Oregon

From Enterprise, I went north and turned west onto the Flora Highway. Flora is a small community that was a town at one time. The remnants of businesses, the school, and houses can be seen among the buildings still in use.

After Flora, I traveled through farm land and started down the steep winding Redmond grade to reach the Grande Ronde River. I crossed the river and continued into Troy, OR. The small community has houses, a motel, store and other conveniences for fishermen and rafters. Troy is set at at the crook of the Grande Ronde and Wenaha Rivers.

A photo from Griz Flat road toward Troy.

After taking photos of the campground where the murder will take place, I headed back on another route that followed the Grand Ronde River for several miles. I took a photo of a group rafting. The colorful rafts caught my eye.

Rafts on the Grand Ronde River

Along the way I had to stop and wait for cattle to move off the road. I thought it was a funny coincidence that when I came upon the cattle with white and black faces a song by Sia, the singer who wears a white and black wig, was playing on my radio. That’s why I took the photos of the cattle. LOL

It was a great day. I captured the photos I needed for the book cover and saw what I needed to see to write the book. Now to sit down and make my suspect chart and start pushing around ideas for a title. On the way home I toyed with Fire Ant Bites- but I’m not completely sold on it. I’ll have to play some more with ideas.

The drive was 90% gravel roads, which didn’t matter, I’m used to driving those. I went slow and enjoyed the tall green grass, the wheat and hay fields and even some cattle on the road.

My Birthday Month is Here!

It’s hard to believe that nearly half a year has gone by and most of it has been CRAZY! It’s June and that means it is my birthday month!

I was excited to have book 5 in my Gabriel Hawke Novels, Fox Goes Hunting, the book inspired by my birthday trip last June to Iceland, released this month. It came out on June 1st. Has had some great reviews, ones that made my day when I read them. I also received replies to my newsletter saying how much the readers enjoyed my stories to help them through these difficult times. Those made me choke up!

Then on June 1st I received an email from the Selfie Book Awards- this is a contest for self-published books. Murder of Ravens is in the top 5 finalists for that contest. I’ll find out later in the month who wins. The books were read by librarians and people from the book publishing industry. The reason I placed my book in this contest was the prize- $4000 worth of promotion.

I don’t have anything exciting planned for the rest of the month other than get the next Shandra Higheagle book finished and off to Critique Partners. Then I’m thinking about working on a novella in the Tumbling Creek Ranch series. Just to “clean my writing brain” from one mystery character to the next before I write the next Hawke book. We’ll see. It will depend on if the premise of the next Hawke book starts invading my thoughts more than writing the contemporary western romance.

I’m anxious for the weather to make up its mind if its going to be cold and rainy or hot and melting. LOL

Enjoy the beginning of June. Get out get some sunshine, check out the pretty flowers, and drink in the air. And if you can hike in the woods, go for it.

Travel turns into a book

Photo from the top of the Hallfrimskirkja

As you all saw here last July- I spent a week in June in Iceland. That trip has now come full circle. The book I thought about while being a tourist will release on June 1st.

I had an awesome time in Iceland. Unfortunately for my character, Hawke, he is drawn into a murder investigation while he is there for a SAR (Search and Rescue) conference.

While I enjoyed Krýsuvík mud pools for their colors, steam, and uniqueness, though I could have used a clothes pin for my nose due to the sulfuric steam, poor Hawke finds a body in a mud pool.

Krýsuvík

Harpa, the beautiful concert hall/ conference center across from my hotel (and the one where I had my character stay), is the center of the SAR conference Hawke attends. I was elated when, after arriving back home from Iceland, I discovered that Rykjavik holds a worldwide SAR conference every other year. It worked perfectly for my book. And this here (if covid doesn’t cancel the conference) it will be held at Harpa.

Harpa

I was able to bring in bits and pieces of what I saw and learned while in Reykjavik into the book and what I didn’t know or didn’t’ remember, I was lucky enough to have made friends with our guide while we were there and he has emailed back and forth with me. His help has made this book ring true to his country.

There are other people I have to thank for this book. Because this book is set at a worldwide conference, I had characters from…around the world. Thankfully, I have author friends and readers from around the world. My main concern was dialog. I wanted the characters to “sound” like they were their nationality. Mainly Britain, Australia. But I also have characters from Kenya and Japan. As well as, of course, Iceland.

An author helped me with my British characters, a reader with my Australian, and the guide in Iceland helped me with those characters. My Kenyan, I watched a few Youtube news reels to see how they spoke English. A bit broken. I watched Last Man Standing, the tv show to see how the Japanese exchange student on that show spoke English and I watched Youtube videos on that as well. I hope I didn’t mess up the last two.

If you would like to read Fox Goes Hunting book 5 in the Gabriel Hawke Novels, you can pre-order now and it will release on June 1st.

While teaching a tracking class at a Search and Rescue conference in Iceland, Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke discovers a body in a boiling mud pool. The body is the young man Hawke’s class is tracking.

Unable to walk away from the gruesome death without helping to find the killer, Hawke follows the clues and discovers the victim had few enemies, and all of them have alibis. The killer is cunning like the fox, but Hawke is determined to solve the homicide before the conference attendees head home in five days. 

Universal pre-order link https://books2read.com/u/3yEjKv

Sunday Drives

Since moving to SE Oregon, hubby and I tend to do more Sunday drives than before. Usually our Sunday drives are because it’s a holiday and we want to get away.

Mother’s Day happened to fall two days before our anniversary this year. Hubby asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary. I said I wanted to travel a road I hadn’t been on before.

So Mother’s Day on Sunday, we packed up a picnic lunch, water for the dogs, loaded the dogs in the pickup and headed south.

Looking back the way we’d come.

Hubby had discovered a road that runs through BLM (Bureau of Land Management) which is public land from the end of the road that passes our property all the way through some hills and tail end of Steens Mountain to the road to Fields, Oregon.

We traveled that 25 miles in three and a half hours. The road was rough in places, but dry. Except where a creek crossed the road in one spot.

The first stop was to check out a canyon and bushes that were growing along it. There were cattle and Mikey decided to roll in a cow pie. We had to use up some of the wipes we had with us to clean him up in order to stand him being in the pickup.

The road continued up at a gradual climb. The juniper trees became thicker and thicker and a small creek ran alongside the road. We stopped at two springs just feet from the road to look. Hubby is fascinated by springs and wants to try and get one started on our hill where there seems to be more moisture in the ground.

Winding through the thick trees I noticed many of the trees, bigger junipers than I’ve seen before, were growing right out of what appeared to be solid rock. The hills on both sides of the road were solid rock and rock slides. Any vegetation had to find water in the cracks and crevices to survive.

One side of the rocky peaks we drove between.

Emerging from the trees there was a fair-sized meadow which we skirted and found green grass and a creek. Backtracking we went the other direction and came out along what had once been a huge lake. It was now dry with patches of grass and weeds growing in it. You could see that when the snow melted around the rim the water settled in the basin. The dirt was cracked. I couldn’t believe how large it was and that it was so high in elevation. Was it a volcanic crater at one time? How did it become a lake here, at the top of the hills?

the big dried up lake in front of us.

From the lake we headed to the top of a road that traveled down, down, down. Before heading down, we stopped and had our picnic lunch. The sun was warm, the bees were enjoying the lupines, and the dogs lay in shade of the pickup.

Harlie and Mikey .

Starting down, the sides of the road and up and down the hill were covered in wildflowers. Various yellows and first white, then yellow, and finally purple lupine. Hubby said he could smell them. I think my nose was stuffed up from the junipers…

Lupines

At the bottom we came out on the Fields road and headed to Hwy 78 and home.

Hubby laughed at me because several times as we drove toward home I said, “Best day ever!” Which it was a great day. But I remember saying the same thing when he took me up on the Steens Mountain to see the wildflowers one spring and then I believe I said it when we traveled up on the Steens for the fall colors, and when we saw some wild horses on one of our drives.

Yes, I have Best Day Ever, quite often! Do you like Sunday drives?

Double Anniversary Month!

Happy May everyone! This month has been very good to me in the past. I married my hubby and I published my first book in May. Both have been the best blessings in my life!

My hubby has always been good about not knocking me following my dream of being a writer. He encouraged me to take writing classes when the kids started school and later to pursue writing for the local papers. He paid for a lot of my paper, ink, and postage when I started out writing novels and submitting to publishers and agents. Knowing he wanted me to fulfill my dream has helped me to push harder to prove to him, he wasn’t wrong in giving the time, money, and space to write.

The other reason May is an anniversary month, I published my first book with Wild Rose Press in May of 2006. It was Marshal in Petticoats, a historical western romance. I went on to publish 9 more books with them before I took the Indie Author plunge and started publishing my books myself. I’m glad I did.

Because I went Indie, I can put any of my books on sale whenever I want. And to celebrate my anniversary month, I have 3 steamy contemporary western romance novellas in a ebook boxset for $0.99 all month long!

Love at Tumbling Creek Ranch

Three steamy contemporary western novellas set on a Dude Ranch in Montana following members of the Wallis family as they find love.

8 Seconds to Love

The bull rider brought into Jared McIntyre’s ER is the girl he couldn’t get out of his head the last fifteen years. During his tour in Iraq, he lost another thrill-seeking woman, and he isn’t about to let this one destroy her life.

Love Me Anyway

Melanie Trask ran away from an abusive husband and found a job at a dude ranch with a wonderful caring cowboy, Brett Wallis. When they can no longer deny their feelings, Brett offers to help her divorce her husband. But she has one more secret she hasn’t revealed…

The Wrong Cowboy to Love

Ruby Cutter allows her cousin, the bride, to give her a makeover for the upcoming wedding because she wants to catch the attention of her high school crush. But while she’s infatuated with one man, she may be falling for another… 

https://books2read.com/u/mv5w8X

Tink, she’s been a good dog.

Tink’s favorite spot

I’ve been going on walks every day. Sometimes I walk the hills on our property and sometimes I walk around the alfalfa fields. There was a time when I wouldn’t dream of going for a walk or riding my horse without my little shadow, Tink.

Lately, I let her walk with me to feed the horses and then put her back in the house while I tackle the hills or even any easy walk around the fields. At 14 1/2 she’s started to have issues. I feel sorry for her because she wants to go, but like this morning, I gave in when she howled because I put her in the house and was heading out to walk. I was just doing an easy walk so I gave in and let her come. She stopped at the halfway point and waited for me to come back.

Usually, I don’t like leaving her sitting like that. She is only a few bites for a coyote and an eagle could swoop down and pick her up, but hubby was harrowing the field and Harlie our big dog was running all over the place a like a lunatic so I felt nothing would venture down off the hill to get her.

When I came back to her, she started trotting ahead of me. Then she and Harlie became sidetracked by something that smelled good and wandered about four feet into the field. I kept on walking figuring they would both catch up to me. Harlie came running by. I looked back to see if Tink was coming. She sat with her back to me watching for me from the opposite direction. She’d lost track of where I was.

I’ve noticed this about her lately. When she barks to be let in the house, I open the door and she’s staring at the wall or a window, not the door. She has gone deaf and I fear she is now going blind, not to mention losing some of her other faculties.

She has always been an athletic dog. She is half Chihuahua and half Miniature Pinscher. She jumped up on beds, furniture, and just loved jumping up and down beside me when we’d go for walks. She loved climbing the hills, following me when I rode my horse, and chasing after balls.

These days, she acts as if her joints are stiff, if you pick her up just wrong she cries out, and yet, she wants to go on walks, gets excited if I get a horse out, and is the first to get us up in the morning.

We have five dog beds scattered around the house so she can lay in whatever room I’m in. She’s never been a snuggler, but I do miss her laying beside me on the couch or in my chair. She can no longer jump up on the furniture and doesn’t like to be picked up. So we watch her sleeping on a dog bed and remember the good times.

When I received her as a puppy and she fit in my hand, I had hoped she’d be around for at least 20 years. But the last couple of years, as she has gone downhill at avalanche speed, I fear she may not be around that long.

We have two other dogs. One is a mid-sized mutt and the other is a large border collie/boxer cross. Tink is the matriarch of the group. If they are on a bed she wants, she just walks up to the bed and they pop up and move. Both could do her major harm if they wanted to, but instead they let her do what she wants.

This is not only a musing of how my dog has aged, but a comment on how things change and we must adapt and change with them.