Catching my Breath

I’ve been so busy running around the state judging at county fairs, I forgot to update my own blog.

At one fair I judge open class eggs

The county fairs I judged at were a lot of fun. Some I watched 4-H members knit, crochet and sew, others I judged their foods, clothing, knitting, photography, educational displays, and presentations. And there were were a couple where I judged the open class foods and clothing.

I have to say while judging open class is easier because I don’t have to interview or write down what is good and what needs work on an item, I do enjoy the interview process with the 4-H members the most. I love their enthusiasm about the item they made or baked. If the recipe or pattern came from a family member. What I found most about the clothing and knitting projects the patterns for many were found on Pinterest. How times change!

I’m looking forward to this coming weekend. Labor Day, not for the camping and family time but because it is my annual pilgrmage to Sumpter, Oregon to set up a booth with another author at the Flea Market. It has become one of the events during the year I look forward to.

This year we have a nice tent we’ll set up.

It’s fun talking with Mary Vine, the other author, and watching all the people who wander among the booths. The best part, is when someone hurries over and say, “I was hoping you were going to be here, I need the next book in your series.” That’s why we go back every year. To provide winter reading for the people in NE Oregon. LOL

I’m way behind in my writing, but I do have a new release, the last western romance I’ll write for a while. Freedom: Silver Dollar Saloon.

Their dreams brought them together. But will violence tear them apart?

Freedom longs to be out of the Silver Dollar Saloon, with a family of her own. When a white man promises marriage and children, she takes the biggest risk of her life, and follows him to the wilds of Montana Territory. Where he shows his true nature.

Water Runs Fast, a Crow off the reservation, comes upon a white man whipping a brown-skinned woman. After stabbing the white man and riding off with the woman, he realizes she is the woman from his visions. The one who pledged to help him and his people survive in the white man’s world.

On the run from the tragedy, the two grow close. Together, they begin a life as husband and wife. But will they have their chance at a life together, or will they hang for murder?

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/mlawnB

And I should have the next Shandra book, Toxic Trigger-point coming out in September. We’re still working on the cover design. It’s being tricky and the book is going through the editing phase.

What did you do this summer? Was it fun? Are you looking forward to fall coming?

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?

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.

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.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty’s Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest   / Bookbub

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