Creating Book Covers by Paty Jager

Jet boating the Snake River

If all goes well, I should have a book out this month and one next month. I’m behind in getting my latest books written and out. I’ve been doing too much playing this year, but I think it makes me a better writer to experience things before I write a story.

The first book to be released is Freedom, book 3 in the Silver Dollar Saloon series. The background for the cover was easy. We use the same background on all the books. We just add the character the book is titled after. In this case, Freedom, a young black woman.

I spent hours going through photo galleries online where you can purchase photos to use on covers. I wanted a fresh face, not one with makeup, and she needed to have her hair a certain way. When I’d found four possibilities, I started looking for a body with a dress from the 1800s. I found the perfect one on Pinterest. It was from an auction house. I contacted them, they responded if I could tell them the numbers on the photo (auction date) they could send me a good photo. After I sent the date to them, I never heard from them again.

Which sent me looking elsewhere,and I finally found a dress online and purchased it. Then I sent the women I’d found to my cover designer and she began playing with putting the heads on the dress. After several tries we were both finally happy with the way it looked.

I now have to find a photo for Toxic Trigger-point a murder that takes place on a massage bed in a spa. I’m trying to decide if I want a body on a massage bed or a spa as the cover image. What do you think would make the better, more eye-catching cover?

$0.99 Birthday Special!

From now until July 1st you can purchase the Letters of Fate Trilogy as an ebook box set for only $0.99!

It’s my birthday month and I like to give. So for this limited time you can get Davis, Brody, and Issac for a steal of a price. The normal price for these this box set is $9.99.

These are my “mail-order grooms” books. Only instead of the hero getting a letter from the heroine, he receives a letter that changes the course of his life and puts in the way of his future bride.

Three historical western novels filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Davis: Davis Weston receives a letter from his sister asking him to marry a friend. Widowed with two small children and a ranch to run, Mariella Swanson knows she needs help, but isn’t sure her heart, or neighbors, will accept her marrying a stranger. Can the two compromise or will fate once again leave them alone?

Brody: After receiving a letter, Brody Yates finds himself escorted across the country to work on a ranch rather than entering prison. However, a revenge driven criminal, the Oregon high desert, and his grandfather’s beautiful ward may prove more dangerous than anything he’d faced on the New York docks.

Isaac: The last thing Isaac Corum needs or wants is a snooty woman. Dang it all, the woman doesn’t do a single blasted thing she’s told, and Isaac can’t just sit back and let her go traipsing off into the mountains alone…

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/47zp6R

Life Cycles by Paty Jager

As with all things in life there needs to be change. And when change is a positive thing, then all is good.

I feel the change I am making in my writing life is going to make a happier me. We all know that being happy is the center of everything in a person’s life.

For those who haven’t followed my writing story, the first 2 novels I wrote were mysteries. I had been an avid reader of mystery novels and a passive reader of romance. But when I couldn’t find help perfecting the craft of writing mysteries, I turned to Romance Writers of America to learn writing craft and the business side of writing. I published 15 romance novels before I ventured into writing what I call Action Adventure or Romantic Suspense. I had such a fun time writing the three Isabella Mumphrey books that I had a hard time going back to writing westerns.

Then a mystery idea struck. Shandra Higheagle kept knocking on my brain and asking when I’d write her mystery series. 2014 I wrote the first three books in that series and published them in 2015. They were so well received that I kept right on writing them- I’m now at book #13 and I’ve started a second mystery series, the Gabriel Hawke Novels. These have been getting wonderful reviews and selling like I’ve never sold books before!

Because of the wonderful sales of the mystery series and the fact they have from the beginning been my favorite to read and write, I am going to only write the mystery books until, I either no longer want to write mystery or the sale of this genre takes a dive. At which time, I will pick back up writing the two western romance series I started- Silver Dollar Saloon and Tumbling Creek Ranch.

If you are one of my western romance readers, you might try my Shandra Higheagle mystery series. These are like a contemporary western romance only the romance is the second or third plot in the story. The main plot is the mystery.

Having told several friends of this and now you, my readers, I feel a huge boulder has been lifted from my shoulders and I am ready to take on these two mystery series with all my imagination and writing prowess.

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All Emotions are Universal by Paty Jager

As I am flowing to the end of the next Gabriel Hawke book, my mind has already started “stewing and brewing” the next book on my list. It will be another book where I write about an ethnicity not my own. It will require some reading and research. But as was said at the Diversity Conference I attended last year.

All emotions are universal. As long as I portray the correct emotions and bring the character to life as a human being, I will have done my job.

My next book is Freedom– Book 3 in the Silver Dollar Saloon series. Freedom is an African American woman who was born after the Civil War but still suffered at the hands of man who whipped his workers and withheld food if he thought they weren’t giving their all to their work.

She’d been caught visiting with her employer’s son when she was supposed to be doing the laundry. The man whipped her, leaving scars across her back, and put her on a train to North Dakota with only a few dollars. He didn’t want his son to be friendly with girl like her.

When she’d run out of money and couldn’t find anyone who would hire her, Beau Gentry came along. He told her he owned the Silver Dollar Saloon in Shady Gulch, ND and she could work for him. Unsure if she could trust another rich White man, she declined his offer.

Within an hour of declining his offer, a man of color walked up to where she stood on the street, asking the women who passed by if they needed help. He told her he was partners with Beau Gentry and if she came along with them, she wouldn’t have to beg or ward off advances from men.

And that is how she ended up working at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Her book will be about how she finds love and the life she’d been hoping for that matched the name her parents gave her- Freedom.

The research I’ll be working on is how African Americans were treated in the late 1880s and how to use a scenario I started with her in the other two books to work in her book. She is the best Shoo-fly pie maker in North Dakota which caught the eye of a trapper, but do I want him to be the man who sweeps her off her feet, or, do I want more conflict and her discovering he is a lot like the man who put her on the train?

If you have suggestion for books that would help me learn more about the life of African Americans settling the West, I’d appreciate it.

Taking Time and Exploring by Paty Jager

This past weekend hubby and I took a quick trip to Reno, Nevada. I’d won a two-night stay at the Peppermill Casino last March at the Left Coast Crime conference. We needed to get the certificate used and realized once our daughter and her family left to join her husband in Maine for the winter, we’d be stuck home feeding her cattle. So we made reservations and took off.

The casino had changed a lot from the last time- 20 ahem-years ago that we were there. It is as sprawling and opulent as a casino in Las Vegas.  We had a beautiful room with a jacuzzi tub! I was so excited I couldn’t wait to use the tub. That was one of the “oops” in our new house. We forgot we had a beautiful old clawfoot tub we could have put in for a bath tub and instead asked a plumber friend to get us a soaker tub. Well, if you are a four-year-old, the depth of the water is just fine, but for an adult there is no soaking. There is getting your bottom and legs wet. So I was excited to have a nice long hot soak.

We also received spa credit in the package I’d won. I had a massage and hubby had a gentleman’s pedicure. I will go back there again for the beautiful room and the spa facilities. They were amazing! I’ll know what it is all about the next time we go. Yes, we will return sooner than 20 years the next time.

Looking from the upper part of Virginia City down the hill.

On Saturday, we drove out of the fog in the Reno valley and up to Virginia City, which was above the fog. It was like flying over the clouds, looking down at the fluffy whiteness between the peaks of the mountains.

At Virginia City we walked the main street browsing the stores. Then we walked the streets uphill from main street looking at all the old houses with beautiful detailed wood working. We noted there were half-a-dozen Bed and Breakfast places. Ideas of yet another get-away.

One of the old houses on the upper side of Virginia City.

We stopped at a nice quiet coffee place for a light lunch and then as we drove around the lower streets, I noticed a sign saying open. It was for tours of the MacKay Mansion. I am always a sucker for seeing inside old homes.  There were some amazing pieces of furniture. Many that the owner, John Mackay made and carved himself. Even though he was a billionaire, he enjoyed wood carving. It was an occupation he’d learned and used on his way to making money.

Mrs. Mackay’s bedroom

The history in the family was interesting. So much so, I’ll be purchasing a couple of books about them that I hope to later use the info to add a character in my historical western series.

These chairs were made and carved by John Mackay. His wife Marie sewed these cushions when ex-president Ulysses Grant came to visit.  

The tour guide talked about the place being haunted and how she’s had experiences and some ghost hunter show filmed an episode there. She showed us a 3 second clip of the show that aired that showed a dark shadow walking across the room. I believe in ghosts but tend to be skeptical when it is used as a means to make money.

Child’s bedroom. Marie lost a daughter to disease and another fell down stairs becoming a cripple. But after marrying John, he took the child to the best specialists in Europe and she could walk again. They had three sons and one died while racing a horse. 

After Virginia City, we returned to the Peppermill, where I lost money and hubby made money. We came home with the same amount we left with and had purchased meals and some gifts. So not a bad trip and it was definitely relaxing!

On the 6 hour drive there and back, I wrote blog posts for the places I’ll be guesting on my blog tour next month and this post. Back to getting the second Hawke book written this week.

I hope you had a great weekend and take time out this time of year for yourself.