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!

Photos to Covers

I find the best feature on my cell phone is the camera. I usually have the phone with me every time I step outside or go on trips.

That means I always have a camera. I enjoy taking photographs of nature. A billowy cloud can have so many colors and textures in it that I want a photo. The blue of the sky can capture my attention. The way the grass is leaning in the wind. Dust swirling or hiding the hill across the valley. A lizard, snake, horse, cat, bird.

Taken at the Oregon Coast

I can find many things to photograph. Buildings, rocks, hills, fence posts. If I see something unique, I want to capture it.

When I go places to research settings for my books, I take a ton of pictures hoping one will work for a cover of the book. When I am researching, I also take along the camera featured at the beginning of the post. Using the photo I pick, my cover designer then places the added elements the story needs.

Waterfall in Maui

I used a photo I took while in Kauai, Hawaii for the cover of Abstract Casualty. We, my cover designer and I, are currently working on the cover for Capricious Demise. I’ve scanned through all my photos and have found a couple that might work and have given her some ideas of some that can be purchased.

My photo with bird added

On the Gabriel Hawke novel covers, we add the animal that is in the title of the book. And maybe take liberty of adding a trail sign that wasn’t in the photo but adds to the “story” the cover tells. This was Murder of Ravens. The cover for Mouse Trail Ends the cover designer took a photo of mouse prints in the dirt and added a backpack and mouse. Rattlesnake Brother is produced from two photos I purchased. The steps of a courthouse and a rattlesnake. My jet boat trip on the Snake River doing research for Chattering Blue Jay gave me many photos to choose from. Once I decided which one, my cover designer add a blue jay to the photo in a realistic way. And Fox Goes Hunting, the cover photo is a photo I took while in Iceland. It is of the Krysuvik boiling pools. I purchased a photo of an Arctic Fox that my cover designer inserted in the photo.

Sometimes finding the right cover art can be as much work as writing the book. Don’t be me started on coming up with a good title!

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.

Aloha! Abstract Casualty is Available!

Book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series is now available. This book is set in Kaua’i Hawaii. I wrote it after my trip to the island last October.

I had a lot of fun when I was at Kaua’i looking for a way to set a book on the island. After I discovered an art show in Lihue that was known for bringing jurors from off the islands, I knew how to get my character to the island.

Then it was lots of what if’s and how about this? And I came up with a story idea.

I’m excited to say that one of my reviewers said this, “…a tricky intricate plot.” That one comment made me happy dance. That is what I try with all of my mystery books. To make the story complex, yet make sense. I want to the reader to be as clueless to the end as my character.

Here is the blurb, cover, and buy link that will take you to the ebook vendor of your choice.

Abstract Casualty

Book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series

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

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

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!

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

Book 13 is Available!

I’m happy to say that book 13, Toxic Trigger-point, in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series is now available in ebook at all ebook vendors. It should be available in print in about a week. Print takes longer to be available.

This story came about after a massage, or I should say while lying on the table waiting for my massage. The thought in my head was, “What if I were dead, face down on this table and the person giving the massage came in and found me this way?” Then I started thinking, “what if, someone looked in the door, saw the room was occupied, and left, leaving the person, if they were dying, without any help?” And so goes the mind of a writer!

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.

Universal buy link to most ebook vendors: https://books2read.com/u/4Ex9De