May is Coming!!

And you might ask why am I excited about May. Well… Let me tell you!

  1. it is the anniversary month for my marriage to my always entertaining husband and of my first published book.
  2. This May marks the 15th year I’ve been published and my 50th published book!

That’s right, I have 50 published novel length books. If you added up the novellas and short stories I’ve published it’s more. I’m just talking about 50-90k word books- novel length. To celebrate this achievement, I’m hosting a month-long Facebook event.

You can join the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/events/887343232080078 You can hop over there now and see some of the prizes and click you are “going” to be sure to see all of my posts. At the event we’ll talk about books, my life, and anything writing related you want to know. Everyone who comments will have a chance at the prizes I’m giving away.

Also in May, I’ll be back at the Sumpter Flea Market in beautiful quaint Sumpter, Oregon. I’ll get to hang out with my author friend Mary Vine and sell books.

May will also be the release of my 7th Gabriel Hawke Novel, Stolen Butterfly. The book deals with missing and murdered Indigenous women and proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the cause.

Stolen Butterfly

Gabriel Hawke Novel #7

When the local authorities tell State Trooper Gabriel Hawke’s mother to wait 72 hours before reporting a missing Umatilla woman, she calls her son and rallies members of the community to search.

Hawke arrives at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and learns the single mother of a boy his mom watches would never leave her son. Angered over how the local officials respond to his investigating, Hawke teams up with a security guard at the Indian casino and an FBI agent. Following the leads, they discover the woman was targeted by a human trafficking ring at the Spotted Pony Casino.

Hawke, Dela Alvaro, and FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce join forces to bring the woman home and close down the trafficking operation before someone else goes missing.

I will be engaging in many book related activities in May. What will you be up to?

My Body, My Temple

I believe I am an open-minded person. I’ve never disliked anyone for their beliefs, race, politics, religion, or way of life. I try to give everyone the chance to show me their kindness, openness, and how they feel.

If the people I am around are bettering the world, kind to those around them, and they have a different view on things than I do, I don’t say anything unless we can have an informative sharing conversation. But I’ve learned the hard way there are some people who only believe in what they believe in and can’t or won’t ever see my perspective. Because I don’t like confrontation, I always bow out of the conversation. That doesn’t mean I then go somewhere else and bad-mouth them. I don’t. My husband and I or my children and I might have a discussion about the other person’s beliefs and try to see things from their side. And sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. But that’s as far as it goes.

If you have received or plan to receive the Covid vaccination, I hope you have an open mind to those of us who have weighed all the information and have chosen not to get the vaccine. We are not ignorant, we are informed. If you do not have a closed mind continue reading, BUT don’t leave mean comments. 

My husband, and both my daughters and their families have talked about the Covid vaccination. We have all done research and talked to people in the medical field and have talked to people who have had the virus and people who have family members who died of car accidents, suicides, or natural causes who are fighting to get the “covid” cause of death off their loved one’s death certificates.    

People say, how could you not vaccinate for Covid. It’s like saying you wouldn’t vaccinate for Polio, Small Pox, TB or other deadly diseases.

This is my reasoning. 

Covid is a VIRUS. It mutates and changes. If you want to keep from getting covid and all it’s mutations, you need to get vaccinated every time the virus changes. Every 6 months to a year. That would be putting a vaccine that was formulated in a few months into your body without knowing if it will or will not protect you. Or what the side or long-term effects will be on your body and mind.

 Polio, Small Pox, TB are DISEASES. Scientists and doctors spent decades to refine the vaccines that work so well against these, that there are few cases of these diseases in the world. Because—they are diseases that stay the same and don’t mutate and don’t need the vaccines to be constantly updated.

This virus hit the U.S. heavy one year ago. Scientists and governments waited 6 months before they started working on a cure. What took decades for doctors and scientists to research for other vaccines, they came up with in 4 months. And began giving it to the oldest members of our society and the immune impaired members. A vaccine that we have heard and read many reports on that is not safe. The scientific world doesn’t even know what the effects of this vaccine will do to the population. We have been told by a person who knows a researcher that when the vaccine was given to 100 rats, 90 of them died. There is a report here about 100 people who were vaccinated in Washington state testing positive for Covid.

My husband and I are healthy, thank goodness. We both could easily live 40 more years given our family genetics. Hearing about the side effects that could occur from the vaccinations, not just death, which is happening in women, 4:1, over men, but the long-term side effects the makers of the drug believe will happen, we would prefer to continue our good health on our own and not have it accelerated by a drug that isn’t even FDA accredited.

This is a link to world-wide information about the vaccine and its statistics:

https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/can-we-trust-americas-covid-19-vaccine-injury-statistics

It seems to me with so many other things dividing us these days, why do we have to have a new divide: vaccinated vs unvaccinated.  It should be each person’s prerogative of how they wish to take care of their body and how they want to live. Like religion. If you want to be Catholic, Buddist, Baptist, or whatever, I don’t care. And if you want to be vaccinated or not vaccinated, I don’t care. It’s your body and soul you are supporting. But please, don’t treat me differently because I want to be the keeper of my body and not get the vaccine.

If you believe the vaccine is a cure-all for the virus, then coming in contact with someone who is unvaccinated should only affect that person, not you.

As I have said many times, this world is losing its common sense.

Please, no mean comments. This is just me getting something off my chest without having to be confronted by anyone.

Starting a new Writing Project

Beginning to figure out the first book, Poker Face.

Last month was the end of my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. After 16 books in that series, I had come to know the characters well. I’ll miss them, but I’m excited to start the new Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries.

The new mystery series has been on the back of my mind since last spring when I wrote a short story for a contest. The more I became invested in the short story and the character, I knew she would be the main character of the next mystery series I wrote. Over the year, she has popped up in my mind many times as I start to fully realize who she is and what she wants out of life.

Dela Alvaro is a disabled veteran who in the latest Gabriel Hawke book is the head of the night security team for the Spotted Pony Casino and helps Hawke solve the mystery of a missing Umatilla woman.

I also drove through the Umatilla Reservation to set the area and roads in my mind. That way when my character travels about, I can mention a real place or thing.

Old Agency building on the reservation

Starting a new series is more than visualizing a main character. I spent a day just drawing up the blueprint for the casino. It is a make believe casino, but in a spot where there is a real Indian owned casino. I had to go online and learn as much as I could about the casino that exists so I could make sure I put in the amenities that are needed for a casino of its size and the working parts of the casino as well. The staff, laundry maintenance, dealers, cashiers, security, restaurants, the works. How they are owned. How the games work. It has been a learning curve for someone who might frequent a casino once a year and most of those were at casinos in Nevada, not on reservations. There is a different set of rules for Indian casinos. Something else I had to read up on.

After I drew the casino layout, I came up with some of the characters who worked there that my character would be dealing with or have for friends. The statics for the casino I’m miming has 2/3 of the staff being from the reservation. That is good to know for coming up with secondary characters.

Because this casino is on a reservation, which makes if federal jurisdiction after the tribal police, I will also have an FBI agent as a secondary character. Guess what? That means I am also digging into what the FBI deals with on reservations and how the workflow goes, as well as reading up on the whole FBI process. I also gave Dela and FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce a backstory from their time spent in Iraq. And,,, that meant digging up info from military police in Iraq seven years ago.

I do tend to go overboard with my research but I hope it helps to make my make believe characters, believable.

That is what I’m doing in my writing. Waiting for my beta and sensitivity readers to get back to me on my last Hawke book, I wrote, and gearing up to write the first book in the Spotted Pony Casino mysteries. What are you up to this month?

Rock Formations

I love rocks. I love learning how they came to be where they are. “Nick on the Rocks” a five minute snippet that plays on our OPB station between shows is one of my favorite fill-ins. He talks mainly about rock formations in Washington state but how they are formed are actions from all over the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve always had a fascination with rocks. I love the huge black and white with flecks of shiny stuff, granite boulders where I grew up in NE Oregon. I would sit on a big one that was down by the irrigation ditch by our house. There was also a large one in the horse pasture where I would sit and watch my horse or the water running by in the ditch next to it.

While living in Central Oregon, we could see Smith Rocks. A premier sentinel of Rock that rock climbers from around the world come to crawl all over. In the morning when the sun hit them, they appeared green. As the light moved, they took on a pinkish color. They are one of the most stunning rock formations I’ve seen.

Where we live now there are lava tubes and craters ten miles from us. But the rocks that stick out on the ridge of our property are spectacular in my estimation. Different times of day and light, I see something interesting in the rocks every day.

Rock that looks like a head

We have one rock that looks like a head. At a book event in Portland, I noticed a book with a cover depicting a rock like we have on our property. I started up a conversation with Wilson Wewa, a Paiute man, whose story of traveling around with his grandmother and Northern Paiute legends were in the book. The Northern Paiute traveled around the Great Basin, which is part of where I live now. This rocks that look like heads are guarding sacred places.

There is another rock, I call Buddha. I don’t know why, I just do. One of our grandsons says it looks like a rock from Easter Island. It’s like a large head and a hand held out. There is a crack in the cliff next to it that looks as if the rock somehow popped out of there and turned. Just my imagination I’m sure, but that ‘s how I see it.

This is my Buddha rock

There is another grouping of rocks that looks to me like a monkey sitting on an elephant’s head. This could be because I just recently read two books set in India. Though there was no mention of elephants there were monkeys in the story.

And I look out my bedroom window every morning and see what looks like to me a large cat rock. It makes me smile and think that perhaps there is a reason there is such a rock. I have seen bobcat and what I believe to be lynx tracks in the dirt.

Then there is the curved ridge with spiky rock formations that I dubbed “Stegosaurus Hill” when we first looked at the property to buy. Yes, I love our property and the unique things I see in the rocks every day! I couldn’t find a photo of it easily and didn’t feel like stepping outside in the cold to take one. I’ll save that for another day.

Do you find rocks and formations interesting? Do you see the things I see in the photos?

Exploring New Cultures Through Reading

I have always been interested in other countries and cultures. Reading has been the way I learn about them. As a teen I read a lot of what is called Gothic Romance. These were set in England, India, Northern Africa. The places where the English ruled because the books were usually about an English governess. I enjoyed reading about the places and the people.

That could be the reason I write Native American characters and culture into my mystery books. They aren’t another country. They are right here living on the same continent as I am, yet their culture is different and they have been treated poorly. The one thing you will always find my books showcasing is injustice. I have deep need to show injustices.

Diwali or deepavali photo with female hands holding oil lamp during festival of light

Back to exploring new cultures through reading. I have read two books in Sujata Massey’s 1920s Mysteries set in India. I’m learning so much about the different cultures and castes that lived in that country at that time. Earlier in the year, I’d read a self-published book that was set in India. I hadn’t realized how badly some men treat their wives and it is normal. Glad I don’t live in that country. And I feel for the women who are trying to get equality in life, work, policies, and laws.

After those books, I moved on to one that I thought would be interesting and indeed it probably would be but I got tired of all the bantering back and forth between the two main characters and not getting into the meat of the mystery.

Now I’ve started a book set in Hollywood, not another country, but it’s in the view of a black woman who has fallen down the actress list. I’m seeing a different view of things through not only her losing her looks and trying to stay afloat but how she interacts with others.

I’ve also read many books written and about Native Americans to try to help me write my characters who aren’t ensconced in the life every day but I want them to reveal tidbits of that culture to my readers and help them see they are just as human as the rest of us.

Are you reading books about other cultures? Do you enjoy learning new things and understanding people better?

Grateful

Cautious, the shop cat.

Most people talk about what they are grateful or thankful for during the holidays. For me it’s starting a new year. I like to sit back and be thankful or grateful for the people around me. My husband, who is always entertaining and makes me laugh. Our oldest granddaughter who is living with us. While she pretends to be hard and uncaring, she is thoughtful and fun to watch give her grandpa as much harassing as he gives her. ;

I’m also grateful for the daughter who lives down the road and helps me with my technical things and designs my awesome book covers. Her 6 kids are all fun to be around. My oldest daughter who is always willing to give animal medical advice (she trained as a vet tech).

Then there is my HUGE group of writing friends that help me get through the ups and downs of being a self-published author and all the things we need to keep up on in the business. They are my moral support and my guides in this strange world.

The other thing I am the most grateful for is where we live. When my hubby suggested we move way out in the boonies, I was skeptical at first. But I have discovered my inner hermit and I love being here and not going anywhere for weeks at a time. Though I do miss my writing conferences and monthly lunches with writer friends. But that’s about it.

With the Pandemic, we only use our masks when we go to town and if I can keep the grocery list to a minimum, hubby will do the shopping. 🙂

Where we live has fantastic sunrises (I can’t see the sunsets because of our hill). I love my horses, the dogs, the cats and the wildlife that parades around here on a weekly and some instances daily basis. Yes, I am one content woman. 🙂

Jan and Patty

Yes, I am grateful for many, many things. My good health, wonderful family, and awesome friends. What are you most grateful for?

Luck or Fate

I don’t know if it’s luck or fate.

Fate: the principle or determining cause or will by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do: Destiny

Luck: a force that brings good fortune or adversity- the events or circumstance that operate for or against an individual.

Over the weekend I was able to connect with a young woman who is part of the MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) movement. Through a series of emails to first authors I knew in the areas where my next Hawke book will be set, and then people who work in the domestic violence program at the reservation I was able to connect with this woman.

She filled me in on things I didn’t know about the movement. Yes, it is a movement and not an organization.

Movement: a series of organized activities working toward an objective; an organized effort to promote or attain an end.

Organization: an administrative and functional structure

These are family members of missing and murdered Indigenous people across the United States and in Canada. This has become an epidemic.

One of the things I didn’t know was how hard it is for families on Reservations to get law enforcement involved in looking for a missing woman or as they also started to use the acronym MMIP- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person. There are also children and people of the LGBQT communities who disappear or are murdered.

My conversation with her was to help me get started on my next Gabriel Hawke book. In this book he is called to the reservation by his mother to help find the mother of a child she watches. When Hawke’s mother can’t get the tribal law enforcement or the Pendleton City Police to look for the woman, she calls her son who works for the Oregon State Police who has a dogged determination to always solve things that perplex him.

My contact is willing to help me in every way I need. She even has contacts on the tribal police and assured me she is as excited about my writing about this movement and why it’s needed in my book as I was connecting with someone who is so open and willing to help me make my book the best it can be with real facts.

I’m learning so much by writing this book and I hope I open the eyes of my readers while also entertaining them.

2021 is Here!

One of my goals this year is to try and remember to post here more often. I put it down in my date book, but then something else needs my attention and I tend to put this off and deal with everything else. I’m sorry!

With 2021 I am finishing up a murder mystery series. I hope my readers like the way I ease out of the Shandra Higheagle mysteries. I felt like it was time to do a graceful exit with the option to pick it up in the future. 😉

I’m starting a new murder mystery series which is requiring a LOT of research. I want to make sure the setting rings true and the stories are riveting. If you, or someone you know, works for an Indian Gaming Casino, I would love to visit with you. You can email me at patyjag(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hawke is set to get two new books this year. The one I’m starting on next week will also require a lot of research. I’ve been reaching out to people for help. Hopefully, a few will come through.

Right now you can get the first book of my Isabella Mumphrey trilogy, Secrets of a Mayan Moon for $0.99 through a bookfunnel event I’m participating in: Strong Women Leads. https://books.bookfunnel.com/strong_female_lead/rbrgaya5oy

My two horses and George, the donkey, had their hooves trimmed yesterday. George and my mare needed it done. Jan, the gelding, just needed evened out. If the ground wasn’t frozen with some icy spots, I could ride, but at my age, I prefer to ride in adverse conditions. 😉 We have had very little snow so far, but it is only January. There are still two months in which we could get snow. That’s the good and the bad of living in the high dessert. We do get snow, usually in small amounts that melt quickly. Or we get a foot and it stays really cold. And you never know when you’ll have either.

George and the horses

I hope you have a wonderful year and keep coming back here to see what I’m up to. I’m hoping things ease up and I can attend the three conferences that were cancelled last year. We’ll see!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are spending this day, or weekend, with people you care about or how you wish to celebrate or not celebrate this time of year.

We are spending the day with our family who live down the road. We see them all the time, and we live rural. One of the perks of being rural. 😉

As always at the end of the year, I figure out what I’ve accomplished and where I want to go with my writing. I am ending a mystery series. The last book is written and will be published in early 2021. I’m starting a new murder mystery series that I’m nervous and excited about. It’s requiring a lot of research because it is set in a business I know nothing about- Indian run casinos. And the protagonist is female disable veteran. Lots to learn!

I’m excited to write the next Gabriel Hawke book which will deal with Missing and Murdered Indigenous women. I know that sounds bad to say I’m excited about writing it. But what I really mean, is I hope by using this as a premise in my book, I can shed more light on the problem. And 75% of the proceeds from this book will go to the MMIW organization.

If you haven’t had a chance to start the Shandra Higheagle murder mystery series, or have been putting off getting the 7th book in the series, Yuletide Slaying, it is available right now at all ebook venues for $0.99. It was picked by Books2Read for a special Christmas promotion. http://d2d.tips/diehardchristmas 

The best part of Christmas to me is finding the perfect gift for each friend and family member. I love the search, wrapping the gift, and then the look on their faces when they open the gift. That and spending the day together, playing cards, visiting, and enjoying good food.

Wishing you a fabulous Christmas and a New Year that brings you all the joy and love you could ever wish for!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Rest of the Trip

I can’t believe how time got away from me! Here is how the return trip from Wisconsin went. I’ve had the photos downloaded to my computer since I arrived home and have been so busy with Christmas and writing things that I didn’t realize I’d missed writing about it. I really need to put the days I plan to blog here on my phone so it reminds me.

We picked up the 5 piglets. 4 gilts and one little boar. My daughter was excited because they all came from the original lines that started the whole IPP (Idaho Pasture Pig) breed.

On the way back we buzzed through Wisconsin but not before stopping at a small store and purchasing cheese curds. We’d heard so much about Wisconsin cheese we had to see if it stacked up to our beloved Tillmook cheese. While we enjoyed snacking on the cheese curds as we drove, I have to say, it is really hard to beat Tillamook medium cheddar cheese.

When also buzzed back through Minnesota stopping that night in Fargo, N.D. We woke up the following more to frosted inside windows. All the little piggies in the back of the van had made so much moisture that we had to scrape the inside of the windows before we could take off driving.

North Dakota was flat and would have been a blip if we hadn’t spotted Salem Sue. She was a very large cow on a hill outside of New Salem, North Dakota. We took a short break from sitting in the van to check her out.

Traveling through North Dakota we saw this unique and interesting metal sculpture alongside the road.

Pushing that second day, we made it to Butte, Montana. We crossed the Rockies in the dark so we didn’t get to see them very good, but enjoyed the drive through Montana. It has different terrains and vegetation. My daughter and I were both surprised at the size of Butte. I don’t know why I thought it would be smaller. And it sits down in a hole of sorts surrounded by mountains.

The third day we took off out of Butte, crossed Idaho, and returned home in eastern Oregon by 7 pm.

It was a quick trip which helped me check North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin off the list of states I’ve seen.

How about you? How many of the U.S. states have you been to?