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.

Merry Christmas!

I can’t believe December is half way over and I hadn’t blogged here since November!

Life has been kicking my bootie! I put a lot of miles on my car the last month. Visits to my dad, book signings, and dentist trips. If you are an ice chewer or love hard crunchy foods, stop now before your teeth start falling apart!

With all the traveling and preparing for Christmas, my writing has been on the back burner. This week, I’d planned to get back in book 14 of the Shandra Higheagle series, but I find my narrator for book 2 in the Gabriel Hawke series has finished the reading, and I need to listen to those. So I may not get to Shandra and Ryan’s trip to Hawaii until next week, or even January.

Beach in Hawaii that may end up in a book…

It’s going to take a lot of discipline when I get back to writing. After seeing how hard it was to manage the goals I’d set for this year, I’ve backed off a bit, and have down to write two Gabriel Hawke books and 3 Shandra books this coming year. So 5 books total. I had tired for 7 this year and didn’t make it. Too many things came up and 2 trips of a lifetime.

The good thing is those trips are going to go into books. Which will help me remember the fun I had.

Gingerbread cookies! Yum!

I have been baking for friends an neighbors. That is one of my favorite things about this time of year. Sharing something I’m fairly good at. But I’ll have to say… watching the Cookie and Gingerbread challenges on TV has taught me a few things I didn’t know and I’ve been incorporating into my baking this year. We’ll see if the people who receive my goodies enjoy the changes. 😉

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas filled with family and friends and you are healthy and prosperous in the new year, 2020!

Hawke is Tracking Again!

Book 4 in the Gabriel Hawke series is now available! I had a wonderful trip jet boating the Snake River to prepare to write this book.

Hawke is tracking an escaped prisoner in Hells Canyon Recreational Area in Idaho. While tracking the fugitive, the whole thing becomes more complicated with the prisoner is killed.

I don’t want to give anymore away, but the story took Hawke through Hells Canyon, the Seven Devils, back to Wallowa County and then to Boise, where he worked with Idaho officials to finally figure out the reason for the breakout and the killings.

As always, this book is available in ebook and print.

Chattering Blue Jay

Book 4 in the Gabriel Hawke Series

Killer on the loose.

Tracking Rivalry.

Revenge could get them killed.

Fish and Wildlife Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke is set to teach a class at a Search and Rescue conference in Idaho when a dangerous inmate breaks out of prison. It is believed the man is headed to Hells Canyon.

Hawke is enlisted to find the escapee. He’s paired with a boastful tracker who doesn’t follow directions, making them both targets.

Before the dust settles, the other tracker is dead and Hawke is twisting in the wind for letting the possible killer get away.

https://books2read.com/u/4NQJ2o

Photo from the Jet boat trip

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

Hunkering Down to Write

I am slowly creeping back up to speed on the writing after the busy summer. I have the items gathered around me that I need to maneuver Hawke around the Hells Canyon area in Idaho. And as this story is progressing, the person(s) he’s following may just cross the river into Oregon.

The idea to have the murderer slip across the river and into the area where the woman Hawke is soft on, keeps knocking at my brain. I’m not ready to have him make any drastic changes in his lifestyle and I like keeping the readers guessing about the outcome of Hawke and Dani, but putting her in danger ups the need for Hawke to stop the person he’s tracking.

If you really want to know what goes on inside my head as I’m “stewing and brewing” a new project, leave a comment below saying you would like to know, and I’ll put some of my wandering thoughts up here on the next Shandra book as I start stewing and brewing it.

Right now I’m all in on Chattering Blue Jay the next Hawke book. I’m trying to find photos I took while jet boating the Snake to use for the cover. It has to be one that we can put a Blue Jay on and make it look natural. That could be a feat I hope my cover designer can tackle.

Up above I have a photo of some of the items I’m using to “map” out this book and Hawke’s trek through the Hells Canyon. I would be lost without good resources to “see” where my character is going and discovering obstacles in their way.

Snake River

I love Google Earth for seeing areas up close. It helps a lot to decide which direction the characters are going to head and what they will encounter. I brought a lodge that is along the river into one scene. I didn’t know it was there until I used Google Earth and spotted it. Then I looked up and they had a website. This provided me with photos to see the area better and decide how to proceed with this discovery.

That’s the best part about writing. Not always having a blueprint and going with the things I come up against and figuring out how they can be used in the story and how the characters will react to them.

Stereo Types and the American Indian by Paty Jager

On my quest to learn all I can to portray my American Indian characters as real and correct as I can, I attend any event that will help my learning.

This past week I attended “Savages/Chiefs/Warriors: the Language of Stereotypes” at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton, Oregon.  The speakers were Dr. Phillip Cash Cash and Charles F. Sams III.

Dr. Cash Cash started the talk with a PowerPoint presentation that had a photo the Declaration of Independence and the words, “the merciless Indian Savages” circled in that very first American document. From the beginning, when all the American Indian wanted to do was protect their way of life, they were called names by those who didn’t understand them.

Included in the PowerPoint were photos of old westerns with most of the Indian parts being played by White actors. Then a slide with brand names that use or used unflattering Indian words or photos of Indian men in war bonnets, or an Indian maiden. He showed how the derogatory words had been used over the years without thinking about how it demoralized the First Nations People.

Another slide had four romance book covers with Savage in the book titles and a male Indian embracing a White woman.  Dr. Cash Cash said that not only was there stereotyping but a trope being used as well. Tropes were another way the American Indian has been “put down” over the years. Portrayals of drunken Indians, calling them Nomads when they are hunter gatherers and travel with the seasons.

His portion of the talk dealt mainly with how long stereotyping has been going on and how in the 70s & 80s when there was more of an awareness of treating everyone equal that the derisive words and advertising started to change.

Charles Sams III talk the second half of the program. He started off telling us how the Umatilla bands, specifically Cayuse came to this earth and how from the story, which he couldn’t tell in full story mode because stories can only be told in the winter, when there is snow on the mountain. But he told of the coming of the People. And how they came from the earth and how archeologists have discovered how long ago people lived on the earth by middens, the dumps or refuse that humans leave behind. He said he doesn’t believe that American Indians came from Asia. There has been no middens found along the path they have been presumed to have taken. As an Indian, he believes the stories of coming from the earth. As an educated person with a science background he knows there has to be an explanation. 😉

He said the biggest influence in getting the American Indian more respect was Richard Nixon pushing through The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. It gave the tribes a chance to better their lives and the generations to come.  The American Indian believes they are a steward of the land. They don’t want to own land, but will to make sure that the animals and land flourish.

The believe in the constitution because it is under the constitution that all treaties were drawn up and signed. If the constitution goes away, they could lose the lands that were given them by the United States government. It is this reason that Charles grandmother made her seven boys join the military during World War II. They didn’t understand why their mother would send them all off to fight for a country that didn’t give them the same rights as others. She told them because if the U.S. lost, they would lose their treaties and the land the land they had now. He said all seven came home from the war and went on to fight for the rights of the American Indian.

During the discussion at the end it was said, that Indians laugh at themselves to cope with the frustration they feel every day.

Here is a list of stereotypes or wrong assumptions that were listed:

And here is the Youtube video that was shown at the end of the event:

I’ll have another post on what was said about hunting and gathering.