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
Saturday morning, we planned to drive up to the end of the road past Hanalei and walk the hiking trail to a water fall. We discovered you had to have a parking permit, which were already spoken for three weeks out or take a bus.
We went to Hanalei and had a snack and coffee and tea again in the Wake Up Cafe. We asked the waitress/owner about the parking permits and discovered if you didn’t have one, there was no way to park. So we looked up the shuttle and discovered that we couldn’t get it just a couple blocks from where we were staying but we could get on it at Waipa just a short distance out of Hanalei. We booked it for the next day.
After that we took in a Saturday market, checked out the shops in Hanalei and went back to our condo and hung out waiting for the next day.
Sunday, we rose early, packed drinks, lunch, towels in the backpack and headed to Hanalei for breakfast at the Wake Up cafe. I had the Over The Falls French toast without the coconut and whipped cream. It was very good and kept me full for the hike.
We drove to the shuttle stop an hour early but were lucky they let us on then. The ride in the shuttle to the end of the road, was nice. Hawaiian music was playing and the large windows made it easy to see everything outside.
At the park, we were told the last bus left at 5 pm, to be sure and be back before that time. We walked through the park and found the trailhead. It said 2 miles to the beach and 4 miles to the falls.
We started out planning to go to the falls. Weeellll, let me tell you. The first half mile was all up hill on an uneven rocky path, then we went down and had switch backs were some of the steps were almost too tall for me to pull my heavy bottom up.
But the views! This was the Hawaii I had dreamed of seeing! Bright green plants, beautiful blue ocean, colorful flowers! It was gorgeous everywhere I looked. And I stopped often to look and snap a photo!
We crossed several places were water was running down a small ravine. They were like mini waterfalls. I used one to wash the sand off my feet on the way back.
At the bottom near the beach and before the trail went up to the waterfalls or down to the beach, we crossed a river. It was just the right temperature to cool us down after our two mile trek. We kept our shoes on to cross. The water at the deepest was up to my knees. After staring at the sign for the falls and seeing the trail went up and up, we decided that 2 miles in and back out was all we could handle.
We went to the beach and enjoyed seeing fish in the fresh water coming from the river, a small cave, which I sat in for a photo, then the crashing of the waves and watching sail boats go by. We hung out on the beach for a couple of hours taking photos, enjoying the view, and picnicking.
The hike back was harder as there was more downhill than uphill. The views were stunning and I stopped a lot to take them in and remember this was my paradise!
I had two reasons I wanted to go to Hawaii- I had always wanted to see a tropical island and I wanted to set a book there. After working on my husband for 40 years, he finally gave in. Our daughters who had visited several of the Hawaiian islands suggested they thought their dad would like Kauai the best. When he said yes to going, I quickly booked a place to stay and got plane tickets before he changed his mind!
Last week I showed you the first couple of days in Kauai. This week I have photos from the next two days.
On Thursday we drove the Waimea Canyon Road. The canyon was pretty. It was deep, had lots of deep gorges and narrow peaks. The colors ranged from orange and pinks in the soil and rocks to the vivid greens we’re expecting to see in the foliage.
From the Canyon Viewpoint we continued north and stopped at all the viewpoints along the way. One had a trail to the top of the waterfall we’d viewed at the Canyon viewpoint. Hubby and I started out on the trail, thinking we’d see more than the trees, brush, and vines as we slipped and slid down the muddy trail. After about a mile, we turned around and went back. It was hot, humid, no air in among the vegetation, and we couldn’t see anything.
Back at the car, we continued up the Koke’e Road to the next lookout. The Kalalau lookout overlooked the Kalalau valley and the ocean. It was really pretty.
A short distance from there was another lookout, the Pi’u o Kila. From here we took the Pihea Trail and walked a good mile and a half up it and stopped to have a picnic lunch. This trail had a rocky down hill climb to start, then it even out along the rim of the canyon but was a bit on the slippery side, but not near as bad as the trail that we’d hiked earlier in the day. There were wonderful views of the Kalalau Valley and the Waimea Canyon on the other side.
At the car we headed back the way we’d driven that morning because we had come to the end of the road. We had dinner as a small restaurant and went back to out place to soak in the hot tub and visit with some of the other vacationers at our condo.
Friday I was excited to attend a luau that night. To make sure we weren’t late for the luau we only had plans for me to check out an art show happening in Lihue.
The morning started out with us walking around the area where we were staying. I took photos of the flowers and the Mindanao Gum tree which has gorgeous colored striped bark. The art show didn’t open until noon which gave us time to slowly make our way to Lihue, have lunch at the mall where the show was being held.
I’m so glad I had discovered the art show! I talked with the young woman manning the show and explained why I was there and discovered that the show is held every year and it’s a juried show with a judge. The judge this year came from California! I discovered that I can have Shandra be the judge for one of their shows, by having her be friends with one of the board members. Spending time looking at the art, I wrote down the names of the artists I admired so I can look them up online and get a feel for the type of artists who enter the show. As I walked around studying the different mediums, ideas slowly swirled in my head. While I’m still uncertain how the character will be killed and why, I know how Shandra will be in Kauai, how she becomes involved in the murder, and where I want the murder to take place.
It had started raining in the afternoon. we were almost and hour early for the luau and the man at the gates suggested we go see a waterfall that was about 15 minutes away. We drove there and sat in the car for fifteen minutes waiting for the rain to let up so we could get out and look at the waterfall without being soaked.
We noticed a man standing inside the open door of the men’s restroom when we drove up to the waterfall lookout. He was weaving a basket with palm leaves. Hubby and I discussed he was probably making the basket to sell. We waited until it looked like he was about finished and Hubby walked over and asked him about the basket. He was making it to sell and was asking $10 for it. I had told Hubby I’d to as high as $20 so we were both excited when he got into the car with my $20 basket.
We went back to the area for the Luau, still raining, and waited with the others at the entrance under a small entry to the gardens. We learned what I had thought would be a more intimate affair and I had made reservations for months ago had 500 people attending! It was a fun night with buffet style serving, dinner entertainment of Hawaiian songs and hula lessons and then a beautiful show afterwards. The show at the end depicted dances from all the cultures who inhabited the islands- Philippines, Tahitian, Japanese, New Zealand, Samoa. While it wasn’t as intimate as I’d thought it would be, it was definitely worth the money.
Next week I’ll tell you about finally finding the paradise I’d been looking for.
After 40 years, I finally talked my hubby into going with me to Hawaii! I will have to say the flight over wore us both out! We left Boise, ID at 3 pm CST and arrived in Kauai at 10 pm then drove another hour to where we are staying. It was only 26 miles but the highest they allow you to drive is 50 mph and most of the time it is 40 and 35. Needless to say it was 2 pm our time.
Day one, even though we had little sleep we woke at our regular time. Because we had come is so late, we didn’t stop at a store for groceries. We set out heading north and eventually found a restaurant open in Hanalei. It was a fun little spot with two women cooking and serving. The guava juice was delicious! And my breakfast quesadilla with white rice was tasty.
We drove on north to Haena Beach that has a cave that looks as if it has either been a lava tube or worn in through time from the ocean. There wasn’t a sign to tell us which. I put my feet in the water and walked a bit on the beach. So far, I’m thinking I like my Oregon beaches better. But you can’t beat the beautiful blue water and sunshine!
On the way back we stopped at a grocery store and stocked up for breakfast and a light dinner the rest of the week. And lots of water and drinks. While it is so moist here you feel sticky all the time, we noticed we aren’t drinking enough.
After putting the groceries away we decided to go check out Kilauea Lighthouse that isn’t far from where we are staying. It was interesting but a bit disappointing that we didn’t get to go in it. It has some great history about saving a ship and helping out during WWI. It is also a bird refuge for the Red-footed Boobie and NeNe and well as other water birds.
We stopped a small little restaurt called The Bistro in Kilauea. It was only serving bar fare until 5:30 but what they had on that menu was fine. I had the best ribs and crunchy, tasty coleslaw I’ve ever had. Hubby had a pulled pork sandwich and said it was delicious. So far the food has not let us down. 😉
After ten hours sleep. Yes! We were asleep early because of the lack of sleep the night before. We roused early again, walked to the cliff edge and watched the sun lighten up our part of the island. After that we ate breakfast and headed out to see Wailua Falls. The twin falls made popular because they were used on the opening of Fantasy Island TV show. I was a bit disappointed as I had read you could walk to the falls. There were signs that said no trespassing, no trail.
After that, I wanted to go to the Kauai Museum. It told the history of the island. I found the information about Bird Catchers interesting. Because red and yellow bird feathers were favored for the royal families clothing men could make good money bringing in the colored feathers.
After the museum, I suggested we go see another Falls that it said we could hike to. We went to the other Falls, saw cars lined up but we couldn’t see the falls or any signs that said there was a trail, only no trespassing signs. So we back tracked and went to the Kona Coffee Plantation. It was fun to see and my husband loved seeing how coffee was grown.
After the plantation we stopped in Koloa and had lunch at an Italian Restaurant. After eating we walked the street and I found an art gallery. I went in and asked the woman working there about ideas I had for a Shandra book and how to connect her to the art world in Kauai. She was helpful and with some more digging on the internet, I should have some good info to get the book figured out. Then we drove to Poipu Beach. There were lots of fancy houses for sale on one street. We wondered about that. Then headed back toward where we are staying.
Tomorrow the plan is to get up early and drive the Wiamea Road. I’ll let you know about that in another post.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
And here is the Youtube video that was shown at the end of
I’ll have another post on what was said about hunting and gathering.