Vacations Turn into Books

 In January my husband and I took a trip to Reno, Nevada. I had the highest bid for a two-night stay at the Peppermill in a silent auction the year before.

I set it up, knowing we also had an amount we could spend at the spa. All the way there I all I could think of was a nice body massage and one for hubby. We went into the spa and discovered we didn’t have enough to cover two massages. I said we could still get two but frugal hubby said, no. I signed up for a massage and my husband had a gentlemen’s pedicure.

This was a fancy spa. I entered an area just for women to change and then I could join my husband in a co-ed area with a hot tub, sauna, and a quiet lounge where we waited for our treatments. I had expected my husband to join me in the lounge, but he didn’t arrive before they called me back to the room for my massage. It turned out he’d been taking a tour of the three floors that made up the spa.

I was taken to a room and asked to slip under the sheet on the massage table. I did as I was asked. As I laid there face down, staring at the floor waiting for the masseuse to come back, my mind wandered in the direction it seems to go more and more these days. I thought, “I could be a dead body and no one would notice.” That, of course had my mind flying to all sorts of scenarios. The masseuse came in and started my massage. The whole time I was still figuring out how I could have a murder in a spa like the one I was at, and how to involved Shandra Higheagle the main character in my mystery series.

By the time my massage was over, I had the story starting in my head. After dressing, I went out and started asking the people at the sign-in desk a bunch of questions about how a spa that size was run, while I waited for my husband to come out of the men’s side.

Back home, I started coming up with a method of murder that would be plausible and started the book Toxic Trigger-point. The book opens with Shandra opening a door to a massage room and seeing someone face down on the table. She thinks she’s got the wrong room and waits in the hall. She and the masseuse discover the woman on the table is dead.

I love when I can work something I’ve experienced into a book. I’ll be taking a jet boat ride in a couple of weeks to learn more about the Hells Canyon area to set a Gabriel Hawke book there. My need to know the settings for my books will also take me to Iceland this month. My goal is to have Hawke go there to teach or learn more about tracking on cold conditions. (watch for blogs and photos about both trips)

Another great thing about traveling, our 40th anniversary trip will be to Hawaii, where I hope to send Shandra for book #14.

Seeing the places I use as settings in books helps me to experience it not only through me but through my characters.

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Memorial Weekend Fun

My side of the tent at the Flea Market

I made my yearly trek to Sumpter, Oregon for their Memorial Day Flea Market. For the last four years I’ve rented a space with another writer friend during this weekend and Labor Day weekend.

Playing cards in the cabin

This year was more fun because I took my eleven-year-old granddaughter. I usually stay in a cabin 6 miles from Sumpter in the small community of Bourne.   The cabin doesn’t have any plumbing or electricity, but it’s surrounded by tall pine and lodge pole and has Cracker Creek running right behind it.

My granddaughter made the comment that she liked the cabin, but would prefer it had plumbing.  We had a good time playing cards until dark, giggling and eating popcorn.

Usually, I stay at the cabin by myself or take my small dog Tink, but I will have to say this weekend has been my favorite even though the rainy weather kept the usual number of people away.

I enjoyed talking with readers who come back each weekend we are here to purchase our newest books. And we talked to a couple of people who are writing books. I also met a Nez Perce woman who gave me her phone number and her father’s number to contact them with questions, since my fictional characters are from that tribe.

This yearly pilgrimage for me has become one of the weekends I look forward to, just to visit with my author friend, Mary Vine, and enjoy the tranquility of the cabin. I usually write when I’m at the cabin but because my granddaughter was so much fun to entertain, I ignored the computer I’d brought with me.

We had some great talks about her four brothers, which was one of the reasons she was happy to come with me. She said she needed a break from them. LOL She also has dreams of being a writer and having published books. She told me a couple of her ideas she’s been thinking about for books, and we did some brainstorming. It’s fun to have someone in the family who understands about stories and characters in my head.

We’re already discussing her coming with me in September for the Labor Day Flea Market.

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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Imagination by Paty Jager

Photo taken in the evening

Everyone has an imagination, whether it’s wondering what an interesting person does for a living or how they live or looking at a cloud and seeing a dog, or face.

Imagination is a powerful thing. It can make a stormy night feel as if the roof will collapse or a dark, silent night think something is sneaking up on you. Or it can imagine you having a happy life with a person your are attracted to.

Some might say that the later is more like dreaming, but it is still imagination. Imagination can take you far if you allow it to grow from imagination into goals and goals into putting forth the effort to make it come true.

I have always had a vivid imagination. Until I started writing, I could envision horrible things happening to my husband when he was gone for days trucking or if someone coming to visit us was late, my mind would start conjuring up all kinds of catastrophes.

Once I let my imagination run rampant in a book, those “daydreams” of horror left me. I rarely think something bad has happened to any of my family because I put all that angst and worry into the characters in the books I write. 😉 I always new writing was therapy!

Right now my imagination is having a wonderful time plotting out several more Shandra Higheagle and Gabriel Hawke mysteries. I really believe mystery is my niche and I am enjoying the heck out of writing these books and having readers ask for more.

And now my imagination is placing my Gabriel Hawke books in a top list of police procedural books. We’ll see if I can make this imagination into a goal and a reality. If you’re read the books, please leave a review. The more reviews a book has the more visibility it gets when someone googles police procedural.

Murder of Ravens

Mouse Trail Ends

Rattlesnake Brother

The Hawke Soars Again by Paty Jager

Book 3 in the Gabriel Hawke Series is now available. Rattlesnake Brother was as hard to write as it was fun to write. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I’ve always loved reading and researching and this book gave me lots to research.

I had to learn more about hunting laws and regulations- specifically what happens when people don’t follow the laws. Then my niece who works in the realm of the law helped me with laws and lawyers and district attorney information.

I’m excited to have three more ideas for more Hawke books and the anticipation of writing them is what is driving me to get other books finished so I can write the next one.

Here is the information about Rattlesnake Brother:

Corrupt officials.

Illegal hunters.

Death to those who dare complain.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke encounters a hunter with an illegal tag. The name on the tag belongs to the Wallowa County District Attorney and the man holding the tag isn’t the public defender. 

As Hawke digs to find out if the DA is corrupt, the hunter’s body is found. Zeroing in on the DA, Hawke finds he has more suspects than the DA and more deaths than the hunter.

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/3JyooJ

Evening of Inspiration by Paty Jager

Rogue Valley Chorale

Last Sunday, my friend and I attended an event at the Burns Paiute Gathering Center. It was a chorale concert and pow wow dances.

The Rogue Valley Chorale traveled to Burns to perform a piece composed by Joseph Julian Gonzalez. The composer had studied Aztec storytelling after having a rhythm and chant come to him out of the blue. While diving into centuries old transcriptions by clergymen, he discovered one story that he couldn’t get out of his mind.

Butterfly Dancers

This was the story of a woman searching for flowers. The birds and butterflies directed her to a beautiful place with radiant sunshine and the most beautiful flowers the woman had ever seen. they told her to gather them into her robe and take them back to her people. But she thought about this and left the flowers to grow as they were.

Gonzalez talk of all the different symbolism the scholars and elders came up with for the flowers and the maiden not returning to her world with them. And this story is what sparked the composer song- Origin of the Songs. Which is what the stories that were found from centuries ago were called. The reason he wished the song to be premiered in Burns with the Paiutes stems from the fact they are one of the few North American tribes that speak the language of the Aztecs.

Fancy Dancer

While I enjoyed the pre-concert talk by Gonzalez on how he came to write the piece and the powwow dancers in the middle of the program, it was the final song, the Origin of the Songs that I had waited for all night and found to be the most enchanting. Along with the Rogue Valley Chorale, there was mezzo accompanist, Shelly Cox Thornhill, who sang the part of the woman finding the flowers.

I came away from the evening with some great photos and feeling more connected to the Crow character I am writing in my current work in progress.

So Much Going On! by Paty Jager

I found buttercup!

The winter seemed to lag and while I was busy writing and doing some kid sitting and book signings, it is now spring and I’m looking forward to late spring and early summer. I have some great opportunities for me as a write, you as a reader,and you as a writer. (I know I have people who are one or two or all three of these following my blog. 😉 )

First! Book 3 of the Gabriel Hawke series is releasing this week. I’ll put up the info here when it is live. This book while fun to write took a lot of brain power to keep in tradition with my twists in a mystery and to make it work with the title I’d already given the book. I usually wait until I have written part of a book before I title it but for some reason, with the Hawke books, I feel compelled to have the title and then make the book conform to the title. Weird- but it’s working. LOL

I’m excited to be a guest at a book club the end of April. It’s two hours from where I live. They picked Spirit of the Mountain as the book they are reading. There will be so many things I can talk about when I’m there not only about the book but other books they might like if they liked Wren and Himiin’s story.

May has two in-person events, I’m doing. On is May 17th in Asotin, WA. For part of a Cowboy Poetry and Country Music event. Four authors who write about the west, (me along with Kathy Moss, Lauralee Northcott, and Carmen Peone will be at the Asotin County Library from 10am – noon with a program tentatively called, Women Writing the West. I’ll have 15 minutes to talk, so I have to come up with something good and brief. 😉

Our usual booth at Sumpter

Later in the month- Memorial weekend to be exact, I’ll be set up at the Sumpter, OR Flea Market with Mary Vine for our usual book selling event. We have a new tent this year to help keep the wind and rain out, should the weather not be hospitable.

June is another busy month! I”ll be giving a workshop and signing books at The Frontier Writers Rendezvous a 2 day event June 7th & 8th in Canyon City, Oregon. There will be writing workshops, readings, and books. You can go to this link: https://oregonguidespublishing.com/fwc/ to see the great workshops and the times and authors who will be reading from their works. The workshops are $20 and the readings are free. I’ll be giving a workshop on Characterization- Making Your Characters Come to Life.

The other thing I am most excited about in June…. I’m going to Iceland!! The Authors Guild I belong to has a 6 day excursion to Iceland. It was a decent price and I could see Hawke going there for an international law enforcement conference and teaching a class on tracking. Not only will I be able to go to all the fabulous places the trip has included, I’ll be scoping out places to have Hawke venture to while ??? That’s what I’ll have to figure out while I’m there. Who dies and how he can use his tracking skills to help.

That’s what I have coming up in the next three months. What are your plans?