Down the Rabbit Hole part 3 by Paty Jager

An hour after Dela said she knew where to find Tommy Joe, Scott was navigating his county SUV over rough terrain. “You’re sure he lives out here?”

“There it is!” Dela pointed to the right.

 He caught a glimpse of an old army tent before they dipped into another washout.

Scott weaved his vehicle between the chaparral, releasing the earthy musk of the plant and bouncing over rocks.

They rolled over a knoll and there was the camp. He felt as if they’d walked into an old newspaper ad for the gold rush of 1849. Not a single item looked less than a hundred years old.

Dela slipped out of the SUV and walked toward the banked fire ring. “Tommy Joe? Tommy Joe, it’s Dela Alvaro.”

Scott hurried to her side. She was a civilian he shouldn’t have brought along. But after bouncing over all the ground they did, he’d realized he would have never found the place on his own.

He watched the woman bend at her waist and feel the fire. “Cold.”

She straightened and scanned the area. “He was at Grandfather’s this morning. I saw him.” Dela listened. “I don’t hear his old burro either.”

“According to what Chief Dickson learned, Tommy Joe found the body when he was bringing the burro to your grandfather.” Scott grasped a pick and studied the pointed end. “This looks like it’s been used recently. See how shiny the half inch of the tip is?”

“I don’t doubt it’s been used. That’s all Tommy Joe does. He wanders around digging, looking for gold.” Dela walked over to the tent.

Scott hurried in front of her. He grabbed the edge of the flap and flipped it back. Only the stench of unwashed body, bedding, and supplies were inside.

“Maybe he’s out digging.” Scott strode alongside the tent, his gaze on the ground. “This looks like a trail.” He led the way along the path.

They came to a small gulch that had once held a stream. The trail went down into the stream bed.

“Do you think he’s working this dried-up stream bed?” Dela asked.

 “We won’t know until we look.”

Scott started down the five-foot incline. He glanced up at Dela. The July sun was hotter down in the gulley without a wisp of air stirring. He couldn’t read what she was thinking behind the sunglasses she wore. Making her navigate down the slope if she couldn’t, didn’t set right with him, but he was uncomfortable leaving her alone.

“Need a hand?” he offered, holding a hand up to her.

She looked down at him, then raised her head a fraction and pointed. “Down there about thirty feet, I saw something shiny.” Grasping his hand, she kept her gaze on a spot down the gulley. She slid one foot down into the dry stream bed while the other gave her motion.

Scott held onto her hand as they continued down the dried bed.

“There.” She pointed to what looked like a miniature train track disappearing into a tunnel in the side of the gulley.

“I’ll be damned.” Scott pulled out his phone. He took photos of the gulley and the opening before flipping on the flashlight app on the phone. Entering the tunnel, with the woman behind him, he bent over at the waist and walked about twenty feet into the cool, musty earth.

“I wonder how far it goes?” Dela murmured.

“We don’t have the equipment to find out. We need to find Tommy Joe and ask him why he was calling the victim.” Scott motioned to the woman to back out.

Once they were standing out in the sunshine, blinking at the bright light and replacing their sunglasses, Scott nodded up the stream bed. “Let’s go back to the camp and see if we can figure out where to find Tommy Joe.”

“We should have kept going to see if the tunnel went into the development.” Dela leaned on a rock in the side of the embankment.

“How close to the development is this stream bed?” Scott pulled out his phone and tried to get a signal. It was no use.

“I’d say less than fifty yards.”

“Really? That close?” He had an idea this tunnel may have something to do with the murder. Proving it could be a different matter. Maybe he did need to go back in and see how far the tunnel went. Scott studied Dela. Did he dare leave her out here alone? If Tommy Joe returned and he was the murderer, he might want to keep the tunnel a secret.

Instead of reentering the tunnel, he decided to call in backup. That meant going back to his vehicle and using the radio.

“I think it could be even closer,” Dela said, staring at the streambed.

“We’re going back to my vehicle. I’ll call in a couple more deputies.”

This could be what Tommy Joe was calling the investor about. He’d discovered gold on the building site and wanted to…what? Stop the building so no one discovered his mine?

Dela slid off the rock she’d been sitting on and walked over to a spot two feet in front of him. She bent at the waist. “Look!” The woman pointed at a space between two rocks.

Scott knelt and studied the area she’d indicated. Something shiny nestled between the two rocks. He took photos with his phone. Dela handed him a tissue. He picked up the silver piece of men’s jewelry. It was a cufflink monogramed with a F. The victim had been missing both cufflinks.

He shoved the piece of jewelry into a pocket. He hadn’t expected to find evidence. All of his equipment was in his vehicle.

“You need to get that to the Sheriff’s Office,” Dela said, hurrying ahead of him as fast as she could with the one less cooperative leg.

Scott passed her and held out a hand to help her up the five-foot embankment where the trail left the stream bed.

“Thanks.” Her tone sounded as if he’d just insulted her.

“Hey, you’d have helped me if you’d been the first to the top,” Scott said, wondering what branch of the military she’d been in.

“Yeah, sure,” she muttered.

At the vehicle, Scott started the engine to get the air conditioner going.

After bagging and tagging the cufflink, he grabbed the radio and asked for assistance at their location.

“Now what happens?” Dela asked.

“We sit in the cool vehicle and wait for assistance.” Scott shifted sideways. “What branch of the military were you in?”

She gave him a look that might have quelled a weaker man. “Marines.”

Continuing next week…

Down the Rabbit Hole part 2 by Paty Jager

The casino wasn’t large, but it sustained the Miwok tribal members and helped out the community. When Scott first arrived in this county, he’d been surprised at the atmosphere, cleanliness, and how the tribe gave so much to the local organizations.

He garnered a few smiles, and some wary looks, when he entered the casino wearing a green polo shirt with the county emblem and his weapon on his belt.

“Hey, Detective. Dela told me you’d be coming.” A man the age of their suspect walked up to him. “You’re early. Did someone call in a robbery?” The man guffawed at his joke.

“No, no robbery. Do you work the main entrance weekdays?” If the man worked the door, he would see who came and went.

“I’m here from ten in the morning till six at night. I valet park and give directions.” The man smiled, showing two missing teeth on the right side of his mouth.

“When was the last time you saw Mr. Forseth leave the casino?”

The older man scratched his cheek. “Yesterday. He was talking on his phone and walked right out to the parking lot, not even returning my greeting.”

“Did he come back?”

“Not that I know of.” The man studied him.

“Can you remember exactly what time he left?”

“It was about noon. A group of ladies come in from Sacramento talking about getting lunch first.” The man walked toward the casino floor. “Why are you interested in Mr. Forseth? Did something happen to him?”

“Why would you say that?” Scott fell into step beside the valet as they navigated through the slot machines. Only a tenth of the machines were being used at this time of day.

“The last time Elwin was in here, he talked about knowing a way to stop Forseth from desecrating sacred ground.”

Scott stopped the man by grasping his arm. “Dr. Elwin Drake? He threatened Forseth?”

“No, he wouldn’t harm anyone, he’s a healing man.” The valet said with conviction, leading him to a door at the far side of the gaming floor. “Go up them stairs, and you’ll be in the security room.”

“Thanks.”

Scott walked through the door and climbed the stairs. At the top, he spotted the young woman, Dela Alvaro, sitting in front of a monitor. A hallway was on the screen.

“Ms. Alvaro, are you looking at the surveillance tapes without me?” He grabbed the nearest chair and rolled it over beside the woman.

He’d startled her. She spun the chair and came face to face with him.

“Either call me Dela or Alvaro, I’m not used to being called Ms.,” she said, visually pulling herself together. “I thought I’d get everything setup and ready for you.”

He could tell by the blush of her cheeks she’d already been looking through the tapes. “Have you found anything interesting?” Scott pulled out his notepad, slapping it onto the desk in front of him and watching the screen.

 “Not in the hallway. But my boss also said to take a look at this tape when I told him about Forseth and what we were looking for.” She started with a tape timestamped the night before last.

“Why did you start here?”

 “Forseth had an argument with Ensley, his builder, in the High Limit Room night before last.” Dela glanced at him. “My boss thought it might be important.”

A punch of a button and the High Limit Room came onto the screen.

They couldn’t hear what was being said, but the body language said it all.

“Wow! Those two both look like they’d like to rip each other’s head off.” Dela said.

Scott continued to watch as Forseth turned to walk away. Ensley grabbed the investor’s arm, spinning him back around. Forseth took a swing at Ensley, landing a solid blow to the builder’s jaw. Hatred flashed in the builder’s eyes before floor security hauled the two men off.

“What happened to them after this?” Scott asked.

“My boss said Forseth went up to his suite and Ensley stormed out of the casino.”

Scott stared at the screen as Dela removed the video they’d just looked at and pushed the surveillance tape of the hallway outside the victim’s room back in. “There was a lot of time between when he left and when he was killed.”

“Do you know what time Forseth died?” Dela asked. “I checked his key card. After Vinnie saw him leave, Forseth didn’t return to his room.”

Scott studied her. Did he give her information? Her grandfather was a suspect, though he was beginning to think the man had been set up. “Eight P.M. give or take an hour either way.”

“Then Grandfather couldn’t have killed him.” Dela turned her gaze on him, triumph sparking in her eyes.

Scott decided to take the bait. “Why not?”

“I was on the phone with my cousin at eight and she said her brother had taken some goodies over to Grandfather.”

“Write down their names and numbers.” Scott slid his notepad over in front of the woman.

She pulled out her cell phone and scrolled through her contacts. When she had the names and numbers written down, she pushed the pad back to him. “You should check on Ensley’s alibi.”

“I will.” Scott studied the woman. She had dark circles under her eyes.

His cell phone buzzed. “Harper.”

“This is Sanchez. I’ve nailed down all the people who called or were called by the victim.”

Scott set his notepad on the desk. “Let me have them.”

“Oliver Ensley, he’s the builder for the victim. A restaurant, The Lone Wolfe, it’s—”

“I know where it’s at. Anyone else?” Scott knew the restaurant was at the casino. He’d go there and see who might have had dinner with the victim.

“No one else. But he received a call on his cell phone from the concierge around five-thirty last night. You would have thought they would have called his room phone.”

“Yes, you would. Thanks.” Scott ended the call and glanced at Dela. “Are you available to help me make inquiries in the casino?” He knew having her along would get him more cooperation from the staff.

“Yes, I’m not even supposed to be here until tonight.” She shut down the computer and stood.

Scott nodded to the door leading to the stairs. When she hesitated, he said, “We can take an elevator.”

The woman glared at him. “I can take the stairs. Who are we talking to?”

“I need to question the concierge and see why the Lone Wolf Restaurant called the victim.”

Dela moved ahead of him out the door, but hung back, waiting for him to take the stairs.

Not wanting to make her nervous or self-conscious, he walked down, ignoring the odd cadence of her steps.

Scott filled Dela in on what information they needed from the concierge.

“Hi Reggie,” she said, walking up to the small desk where a man about her age sat.

“What are you doing here this time of day?” he asked.

“Detective Harper has some questions for you.” She stepped to the side.

Scott opened up his notepad. “Who was working here last night around five-thirty?”

Reggie glanced at Dela who gave him a nod. “It was me. I don’t get off until six. Why?”

“Why did you call Mr. Forseth’s cell phone?” Scott studied the man as he thought back to the evening before.

“I didn’t. I wouldn’t even know his cell phone.” He thought some more and snapped his fingers. “That must be who Tommy Joe called. He came in and asked if he could use the phone.”

“You didn’t ask him who he was calling?” Dela asked, moving toward the man as if to apprehend him.

The man took a step back. “No. It was Tommy Joe. I figured anyone he’d call would be local. He’d said something about his burro not feeling well. I thought maybe he was calling your grandfather.”

“Did he make more than one call?” Scott asked.

Reggie shook his head. “No. Just the one.”

Scott flipped back to the page where his investigation notes started and circled Tommy Joe. “Thank you.” He motioned for Dela to move away from the desk. “Take me to The Lone Wolf Restaurant, please.”

“I saw you write that down in your book. They were probably confirming a reservation.”

“Exactly.” Scott hoped to find out who the reservation was with.

After talking to the manager, they learned the hostess who worked that night and the waitress who waited on the table were off and wouldn’t be back until the next day.

“If you want to know why Tommy Joe called Mr. Forseth, you could go ask him,” Dela said. “But you won’t find him by an address.”

“I suppose you know where he lives?” Scott asked.

“It’s out in the middle of chaparral, rocks, and gold mining country.”

Taking the woman was against protocol, but it would save time having her guide him to the prospector’s residence.

Continuing next week…

photo source: Depositphoto

Down the Rabbit Hole by Paty Jager

This is the beginning of a short story I wrote for a contest.

A cage of rabbits nibbled on grass beside the prone body. Hands and arms reached out in front; toes pointed the opposite direction. The position led Amador County Detective Scott Harper to believe the body had been dragged a distance. How far, he wasn’t sure. But the perimeter of the search was endless on the Rancheria.

“Do you know what those rabbits are? They’re the rare Riparian Brush Rabbits from Caswell Park,” Floyd Dickson, Chief of the Jackson Rancheria Police Department said, pointing at the animals. “Elwin has to be the one responsible for these rabbits showing up at the housing development going in next to the Rancheria. This Forseth found out and came here. And look what happened to him.” The chief stared in the direction his two officers had escorted Elwin Drake.

The man in custody was a retired veterinarian, a Miwok elder, and one of the most vocal protestors on this thousand-acre Indian Reservation.

“Who called the body in?” Scott asked, continuing to process the body and area.

“Elwin called it in after Tommy Joe, an older gentleman who considers himself a prospector, showed up to have his donkey looked at.” The chief cursed.

“You that skeptical of the vet or of this Tommy Joe?” Scott asked, glancing at the chief.

The tribal officer had his gaze set on a woman around the age of thirty who strode their direction. Her gait was uneven, but it was closing the space between them. “Neither.”

“Don’t let anyone other than law enforcement back here,” Scott said and returned to taking photos and collecting evidence.

“That’s Elwin’s granddaughter. She works at the casino.” The chief met the woman about twenty feet from the crime scene.

Scott would have preferred the officer had met her further away, but the woman had been intent on getting close.

 “What are you doing here, Dela? This is a crime scene.” Chief Dickson stopped the woman.

“I came to see if Grandfather had any luck healing a bird I brought him Tuesday.”

Scott caught a glimpse of her peering over the chief’s stout shoulder, trying to see what was going on.

“How could you lead Grandfather out of here in handcuffs? He wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“It doesn’t matter what I think. All that matters, is the fact that your grandfather has vocally protested Forseth’s housing development, and now, the man’s body is found on Elwin’s property next to stolen rare rabbits that have appeared at the building site.”

“You know Grandfather. He is too smart to leave the body here.”

Scott stood and walked over to the conversation. “So, you do believe your grandfather capable of murder?”

The woman turned her steely brown eyes on him. “No! Don’t turn my words around. I’m only pointing out my grandfather isn’t this stupid.” She pointed to the body. “How did he die?”

“I can’t tell you that. This is a crime scene. You need to go on to work.” Scott pivoted and headed back to the body. He didn’t need relatives of the possible murderer hanging around mucking things up.

He’d gone three steps when the woman said, “He was staying at the casino. I can go pull surveillance tapes and find out who came to see him.”

He spun back around. “How can you get surveillance tapes?” From her nice build and face, he presumed would be pretty if the scowl and anger in her eyes were gone, Scott had thought she worked as a waitress.

“I’m second in command for security at the casino.” Her eyes held a challenge.

Did she think he didn’t believe her? “I see.” He studied her. Would she show him all of the tapes even if her grandfather was found visiting the deceased?

“I’m going to be here another two hours.” He glanced at his watch. “I’ll meet you at the casino in three hours—at noon. We’ll have a closer time of death, and you can pull the tapes I ask for.”

The woman nodded. “That will give me time for a cat nap and a shower. Ask Vinnie at the door to call me when you get to the casino.”

The woman smiled at the chief, strode to the back of the house, and disappeared.

“She was in a bombing in Iraq. Lost her left leg,” the chief said. “Damn shame. She would have made an excellent deputy.”

Scott pulled his gaze from the retreating woman. He’d wondered about the awkward stride. Now he understood her pushing back and being adamant about her grandfather’s innocence. She believed in justice.

Continued next week….

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!

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.

Pre-order your piece of Kaua’i

We’re almost out of winter and cold days, but in case you were looking for something to read to warm you up, you could try my book, Abstract Casualty.

This Shandra Higheagle Mystery is set in Kaua’i Hawaii. I tried my best to keep the story flowing and bring a bit of the island to the reader. I’m not sure which is harder–writing a book when you have been to the place or researching to make sure you get the ambiance and atmosphere of a place.

You’re probably shaking your head. It’s a no brainer. If you have been to a place it is easier to write about it. Yes, and no. Because I was there, I found myself trying to add in everything I experienced and remembered about the island. In other words, I was over telling and had stuff that had to be cut to make the story flow at the normal pace.

When I research, I pick and choose the elements of the place that will enhance my story.

But I must say, there is nothing like being able to travel to the real thing. I’m working on the next Gabriel Hawke book set in Iceland. That was a trip that will help enhance the book. But at the moment I’m having to rewrite the first 5000 words because I realized, I have only a short amount of time for the murderer to be discovered and I need to have the victim die during the pre-conference events. So off to rethink and re write the beginning of that book.

Here is the blub and pre-order link to get Abstract Casualty added to your ereader for you to start reading on March 30th.

Hawaiian adventure, Deceit, Murder

Shandra Higheagle is asked to juror an art exhibition on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

After an altercation at the exhibition, the chairwoman of the event, Shandra’s friend, arrives home with torn clothes, scratches, and stating she tried to save an angry artist who fell over a cliff. Shandra and Ryan begin piecing together information to figure out if the friend did try to save the artist or helped him over the edge.

During the investigation, Shandra comes across a person who reminds her of an unhealthy time in her past. Knowing this man and the one from her past, she is determined to find his connection to the dead artist.  When her grandmother doesn’t come to her in dreams, Shandra wonders if her past is blinding her from the truth.

https://books2read.com/u/4XXLke

That Feeling- That one

When I finish a book, I have a lightness for, oh, about an hour. That hour starts when I have finished the draft, gone through it one more time for consistency and tweaking things, and have hit send to my critique partners.

What I do for an hour… I either ride my horse, go for a walk, or watch a show on TV. Sometimes I start baking or sewing. I do anything but think about the next book or marketing or promotion for the book I just finished–for an hour.

Then boom! My head is into the next book. I’m researching, making my character and suspect charts, figuring out who is murdered and why. Trying to make the title and the story have some kind of connection. Thinking about what the cover will look like.

And I’m back in a project just like that with an hour to feel, the awe of completion and satisfaction that I took my characters on another journey of which I enjoyed as much as they did. But now the hard work will start.

Besides writing the next book, I will be working on edits of the one I just finished, formatting it, uploading it to the ebook venues that I use. Then formatting it for print and uploading it to the print vendor I use. When it is available, letting people know via newsletters, social media, and paid advertising.

Yes, that feeling… the one I covet of finishing a book and not thinking about anything else– It lasts an hour and then I’m back on the treadmill of writing, researching, marketing, and promoting. Never a dull moment when you are an Indie author.

The book I just finished: Abstract Casualty, book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle Mysteries. It is set on Kauai, Hawaii. Shandra is invited by a college friend to come juror an art exhibit and ends up proving her friend didn’t kill an uptight painter.

Top photo by: Paty Jager Middle photo: DepositPhotos

Audiobooks are Work

I have 9 audiobooks out in the Shandra Higheagle mystery series. They didn’t seem to take as much time to go through after they were narrated and sent to me. Even though that narrator made a few more mistakes than the one reading my Gabriel Hawke books.

But I also write better now, thinking about how the sentence will sound when it is read, and I have to change things less in stories too.

However, I have trouble listening to the chapters on the audiobook manager’s site and have to download, which is a job. My internet is so iffy, that I have to get up at 5 am and download chapters until they start getting slow, then I stop and get up early another day to download some more.

Then I spend the hours listening to the chapters to make sure the narrator read the book correctly, used the right inflection, and in some instances the correct voice. Because he does try to change up the voices of the various characters. He doesn’t change them up as much as my narrator for the Shandra books, but he does enough you know it is another character talking.

Once I get all the chapters checked off as sounding correct, then the process of it being put together and submitted to all the various places Findaway Voices submits the finished product.

After that, there is a 30 day wait to see where it is available and then I can start promoting the audio book. It’s a whole other process I deal with while trying to write a new book. I would say a serious writer needs to be good a multi-tasking!

Do you like to listen to audio books? I have found I can “read” more if I listen to audio books when I walk.

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Welcome 2020!

Happy New Year 2020. Vector illustration

I’ve written down my writing goals for 2020. Two Hawke books and three Shandra books published. I’ll have some ebook box sets releasing as well. And I’m planning to attend three conferences.

I’m hoping I can pull through with the word count and books, I have set for my goal. Last year I found with my traveling and more family close by, I was a bit distracted. But I am excited about every book I have slated to write.

The conferences I’m attending will be to help me with the business side of writing for two of them. One will be to learn more about the ins and outs of a police work and forensics, and the other will be to connect with readers and other mystery writers.

Right now I’m catching up on the business side of things since I’ve let it slide a couple weeks preparing for Christmas. Now I’ll get my desk, computer, and ads in order and get back into the book I’d started nearly a month and a half ago.

I also have the second Hawke book, Mouse Trail Ends, to review the narration to get that out in audio in February. Always something book related to do!

I had a wonderful Christmas with six of my grandchildren and their parents. I hope you had a wonderful December and ring in the New Year, 2020, with excitement and anticipation of what this new decade will bring.

Falling Behind-Pun Intended

Oregon Coast

With Fall and a frantic schedule, I’ve been neglecting this blog. I had a great trip to Kauai, Hawaii, came home and had several short trips to make. Now I’m at the Oregon Coast at a Writers Retreat with three author friends.

I sent off book 4 in the Gabriel Hawke Novel series, Chattering Blue Jay, to my critique partners. Now I wait for their suggestions and then it’s off to my editor. while I enjoyed writing the book and going back to Hells Canyon and the Snake River in this story, I was ready to finish it so I can start thinking about Hawke’s next adventure. I’m still on the fence over which book in my ideas file it will be.

Toxic Trigger-point book 13 in the Shandra Higheagle mystery series is available. This book uses my experience at a spa and my thought about a murder in such a place as the premise of the story.

Right now, at the coast I am pulling together the next Shandra book, Abstract Casualty, set in Kaua’i, Hawaii. While I was in Kaua’i, I did the leg work to figure out how to realistically get my character to the island. I was happy to learn about the Kaua’i Art Society Annual Juror Art Exhibit.

While figuring out the story, I’ve be reliving my time in Kaua’i.

Kalalau Beach

And here is the information about Toxic Trigger-point:

Adultery… Jealousy… Murder

Shandra Higheagle Greer is minding her own business when she walks into a room for a massage and it is already occupied—by a dead body.

Always the champion for someone she knows, when her favorite masseuse looks like the murderer, Shandra listens to her gut and dreams choreographed by her deceased grandmother.

Detective Ryan Greer can’t believe his wife has walked into another homicide. He’s learned no matter how he tries to keep her out of the investigation he can’t. But this time the consequences could be deadly for Shandra—she heard the murder happen.

https://books2read.com/u/4Ex9De