We spent a week in Alaska this month to attend a grandson’s graduation and wedding. We left on Sunday and returned the following Sunday. We put a lot of miles on the rental car and saw a number of places we had talked about seeing.
The first day we tried to sleep in but daylight comes earlier in Wasilla than it does in SE Oregon. And the sunlight remains high until 11 pm. We were driving around and didn’t realize how late it was getting until someone looked at a clock on the dash. Day one in Alaska we drove around acquainting ourselves with the venues for the events we were attending. On that drive we spotted a moose, but it flashed into the trees before we could get our phones ready to take a photo.
Day 2 we woke bright and early to drive to Fairbanks, a city my hubby has wanted to see for some time. On the way, I took some pretty photos.
We ate lunch in Fairbanks, checked out the town, purchased chocolates at a fun sweet shop and headed to North Pole, Alaska. Not far off the highway there is a huge building called Santa Land. You can see reindeer and walk through a large building filled with Christmas ornaments and decorations while Christmas music plays. And yes, we purchased some souvenirs. 😉
From there we drove toward Glenallen where they had water flooding the highway. Luckily we had a small SUV to be high enough to get through the water.
We arrived back in Wasilla at 10 pm. It was a long day! But a fun one counting all the moose we saw and getting some good photos.
Day 3 we drove out to see the farmland around Wasilla and visited with family.
Day 4 was graduation day. We caught up to other family that had arrived for the graduation and attended the event.
Day 5 we drove to Whittier. We had attempted this trip years ago but there had been so many cars lined up to go through the one lane tunnel that we left. This time of the year there was little traffic. We were only four cars back from the lead car. The man-made tunnel to get to Whittier is 2 1/2 miles long, with a train track running down the middle. The entrance to the town is shared by cars and trains. There is a stop light on both sides of the tunnel that lets traffic go through every half hour. Here are some tunnel photos.
In the other side is a picturesque harbor town. Lots of fishing boats, a few restaurants and souvenir stores. A large apartment complex for the people who work at the businesses to live. And a beautiful old lodge that was being renovated. We had really good meal at the Swiftwater Seafood cafe.
On the way out as we waited for the light to change, I took a photo of a glacier. I didn’t catch the name of it.
Day 6 we hung out with family until the wedding. It took place outside at Tailrace park. The setting was picturesque. The highlight for some of us was a kayaker paddling behind the officiate during the ceremony. I grabbed a photo of that.
Well, the book tour was fun and I enjoyed sharing my Gabriel Hawke books and my writing process with more readers. I also had a good time sharing that information through a “conversation” Dwight Holing and I did at each store. My friend who attended most of the events with me said we did a good job of playing off each other’s comments and carrying the information along further.
The first stop was Ashland. Bloomsbury Books was a charming independent bookstore with two floors. We were set up in the upper area to give our presentation. We had ten people sit through our presentation and talk with us. One of those people was a writer who had been a guest on my Ladies of Mystery blog but I had never met. I was pleased to meet her and put a face to the name.
The next day on my way to Central Oregon for our two stops there I drove through a snowstorm. I crept along happy I didn’t have to be anywhere at any specified time. It was the one day we didn’t’ have an event. As I drove, I listened to Dwight’s audio version of The Demon Skin. It’s his latest in the Nick Drake series.
I arrived in Bend and did a little shopping before continuing on to my friend’s house. The next day we had an event at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters, OR. Beth, the event coordinator, was easy to work with and had us set up in a newer part of the store. We had 8 people attending. Four of which were my family and friends. It was good to see our oldest daughter and granddaughter.
The next day I had a niggling feeling I needed to get to Barnes and Noble in Bend early. While I had talked to the manager when he’d set up the event, I’d never heard back from any emails I sent. Sure enough., I arrived and no one had clue we were to be there. The manager had been called away on an emergency and forgot to tell anyone. They found the posters I’d sent to advertise the event and someone quickly set up a table. That night we had 6 people, 5 of them were my friends. We did our presentation and talked with the other writers and answered questions.
Friday, we were at Grass Roots Books in Corvallis, OR. The owners, Jack and Sandy, were very nice, had us set up in the middle of the store and worked hard at bringing in more people. We had the largest crowd that night and they asked the best questions. It was an enjoyable night. My friend and I capped off the night eating marionberry pie with a friend who lives in Corvallis that I hadn’t seen in a while.
Saturday, other than walking through the Beaverton Saturday market it was a bust. The store put us outside on the sidewalk and only a few people even stopped to talk with us. I sold one book.
Dwight and I determined that book tours at bookstores are no longer a thing readers tend to do. He is going to work on doing Zoom with book clubs and invite me to join him when he gets it perfected. Me, I’ll stick to doing the Sumpter Flea Market, bazaars, and the few bookstores that ask me to come back. I enjoy meeting readers but not when it is exhausting and expensive as this last one for so minimal a chance to connect with readers.
I’m late! I was hacked on Facebook last month and I have felt behind since because I am constantly trying to find a new way to connect with readers. Because of the hack, I lost my personal account which was connected to my author account and I can’t get into the author account anymore. Which leaves me without all of my contacts. The only reason I started up a new personal account is to see posts from family members. But if you wish to friend me (I’m not allowed to friend people on the new account) it is Paty Jager.
I have a weeklong book tour the first week of May with author Dwight Holing and I’m limited in my ways to tell my readers, due to the lack of my author page on Facebook. So you are getting the skinny on my tour here. 😉
I’ll have Bear Stalker, Stolen Butterfly, and Murder of Ravens with me for the events. I ordered enough that I shouldn’t run out. If you are in the area of one of these events, I’d love to meet you in person. I always carry lots of goodies with me. This trip I have my Gabriel Hawke keychain flashlights and pens. And lots of bookmarks.
At every stop except Jan’s in Beaverton Dwight and I will be talking about how we came to write our series and what challenges we’ve faced in writing books with Native American characters. We’ll answer questions and sign books.
I purchased a new way to get my books, swag, and everything else to a signing. My author friend Carmen Peone was using this system when we had an event together at the first of the month. I loved the idea and headed to Home Depot to get my set.
I separated the pieces and took photos of each one. And as I did that, I realized I probably won’t be able to lift the bottom one full of books into and out of my car…
In the next week before I leave, I will most likely pack, unpack, and repack these several times before I am happy with how I plan to use them. But I do love the fact they stack and lock, making it easier to handle them. I don’t know how many times I nearly lost or did lose totes off a pile on a dolly I bought. Even when I had bungee cords on them. These all lock together on the sides.
Hopefully, the next post on here will be about an awesome Book Tour. And then I’ll have a post on the transformation hubby and I made of a wooden box trailer into my new book mobile. Stay tuned for that!
Don’t forget you can purchase my print books from my website. Just go to https://www.patyjager.net and click on the “Shop” tab and select the series you are interested in. The books are marked down and there is no shipping cost.
This past weekend, I traveled to Wallowa County, the area where my character Gabriel Hawke lives and works. It is also where I grew up. I spent Friday night with my brother and sister-in-law. We caught up on things, watched two of their grandchildren while their son played with his band at an open mic night at Terminal Gravity brewery.
My SIL and I woke up Saturday morning and headed toward Clarkston, WA, where the book signing was to take place. The north highway, which is mentioned a lot in Hawke’s books because he uses it a lot to get to places to check on hunters, was not as much fun to drive. We were barely out of Enterprise, and it started snowing and blowing. We crept along at 35 MPH. A couple times it was a whiteout. I couldn’t see the sides of the road, but thankfully there was little traffic. (I think we were the only crazy people out driving.) I drove in the middle of the unplowed road.
We had left early and made it to the bookstore in Clarkston with about twenty minutes to spare. Carmen Peone, the other author at the event showed up just after we did. After setting up and putting out our goodies- I brought cookies and Carmen brought veggies and fruit- we started catching up.
Readers came and went during our time at the store. We enjoyed visiting with each of them and giving advice to an aspiring writer. Carmen had a family member show up and a friend. I had a reader the bookstore owner had turned onto my books. She was fun to talk to at the age of 90. She was full of life and had interesting stories.
Carmen also told me about a Choctaw woman, Sarah Sawyer, who writes books and teaches writers, like me who is non-native, how to write respectfully. I started listening to her modules on the subject and am feeling much better about my books and how I convey my characters. I have more to listen to and will be following her blog and books. I also ordered one of her books.
On the drive home it was uneventful other than seeing a herd of elk on the side of the canyon going south on Rattlesnake Grade out of Washington.
Back at my brother’s we settled in to a quite night of wine and conversation. Sunday I headed home. And just before Wallowa there was another herd of elk in a field alongside the highway. It was my trip for seeing elk. I wonder if that was a sign to have the work elk in my next Hawke book??
Speaking of books, today is the release of The Squeeze, book 4 in my Spotted Pony Casino mystery series.
Lies, deceit, blackmail.
Murder ends it all.
Or does it?
When an employee at the Spotted Pony Casino is caught leaving early, Dela Alvaro, head of security confronts the woman. The lies the woman tells only piques Dela’s curiosity. After witnessing the employee threatening a man, she is found murdered in her car parked in the driveway of her home.
Upon learning the woman used her job at the casino to blackmail men, Dela feels compelled to solve the woman’s murder and teams up with Tribal Officer Heath Seaver. Not only does the duo have a death to solve, but there is also a mystery behind Dela’s dead father. Not to mention, her mom just announced she’s marrying a man Dela has never met.
Last week I did a research trip to Pendleton, OR and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. While it meant my needing to do some rewrites on the current work in progress (WIP) it also means it will be a strong story. That’s what I wanted.
While in Pendleton, I did reconnaissance of the Hamley store, restaurant and saloon. I have my characters gong there and wanted to make sure I described it correctly. I’m glad I did. The photos on the website didn’t give me the information I needed. But being there, I came up with a new scenario for my character finding a photo that will ring truer than the one I’d used originally. It also gave me more of a feel for the town as I drove to the library to look at old newspapers on microfiche. And I discovered the river walkway. Which sparked an idea for the next book in my Spotted Pony Casino mystery series.
The next day I went to the reservation to get a better feel for that. I drove roads I’d not been on before and took in the ambiance. After that I went to the Tmastslikt Cultural Institute. It is a museum about the tribes who make up the Umatilla. The Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla. Every time I go to the reservation I go to the museum. They have revolving exhibits that are always new and interesting. And I enjoy their gift shop. I always walk out with a book or two. This time I had two books, a pair of earrings, barrettes, note cards, and a new mousepad. I found too many things I liked!
But it was the exhibit they had going now through March 18th that I spent the most time looking at. It is the 2023 ArtWORKZ Junior Art Show & Competition. There were paintings, drawings, pottery, beading, metal work, and other mediums of art. I took photos of the pieces that made me feel something.
The artists who wrote explanations, such as this last one, I think nailed what they were trying to show. I was impressed with the work I saw. there were 150 exhibits.
And I liked this signage by in the museum:
The best part about research is always the new things I see and experience.
I don’t like to look back. I’m a look forward type of person. But when I come to the end of a year and find myself a book and a half behind schedule, I feel the need to see why.
I started January 2022 with high hopes. I’d purchased a new, larger planner to help me keep things straight for writing, marketing, and promoting. HaHa. That lasted one and a half months. I found it too time consuming to try and write down what I would do each day to keep things up to date and moving along. I do like the larger squares to write what I’m did or am going to do each day on the month calendar but the daily pages, that I had hoped would keep me on track, I gave them up. So I spent a lot of money and only used a quarter of the large planner. Story of my life… This month the author co-op I belong to decided to do an anthology of mystery stories. I volunteered to head it up and edit. So I began working on a short story for that project.
A cornucopia of ten cozy mystery stories that are perpetrated during holidays from New Years to Christmas. This collection explores unexplained disturbances, college pranks gone wrong, and almost always one or more murders around a holiday. Solve these spooky crimes that lurk beneath celebratory parties and help search for the murderers. Kick off your shoes, grab a warm drink and snuggle into a blanket before you get lured onto the sparkling snow for the next crime spree.
A Body on the 13th Floor by Paty Jager Dead Ladies Don’t Dance by Robin Weaver Took Nothing Left Nothing by Pamela Cowan Busted for Bones by Dari LaRoche Yuletide Firebug by Kathy Coatney Starry Night Murder by Mary Vine The Twelfth Night Murder by Ann Chaney Blue Christmas by Melissa Yi Two Turtle Doves by Maggie Lynch Five Golden Rings by Kimila Kay
I took an Amazon Ads class in January to help me better understand how to promote my books there. It worked for a while. ( I am currently taking another class because some things changed since last January) I highly promoted my book that released in February, House Edge, book two in the Spotted Pony Casino Mystery series.
At the start of February, I worked with a person from Facebook ads trying to get a handle on those. I found that harder to do. I had to be at a computer and on my phone. I have limited cell phone service in places in my house. At least in February with my old phone I did. It was a frustrating call. This month was mostly about starting the next book and getting House Edge published.
March I sat in on a couple of webinars about project management and marketing and worked at writing the next book. I also took two granddaughters and a couple friends with me to Rockaway Beach. We had a fun time! Then I had to book signings. One in Enterprise, OR and one in Clarkston, WA.
April I started attending our oldest granddaughter’s track meets and going to Senior meetings since she was living with us and graduating in May. I also had been traveling the 5 hours one way once a month to see my dad in his senior living facility. So between track meets and that, April had me on the road a lot. This month, I traded my Subaru in for a Jeep Cherokee. I saw it when we were driving by a car dealership. It is Spitfire Orange and I loved the way the color made me happy! We had been talking about getting a vehicle that sat higher off the ground that the Subaru for a while.
May started out with the hope of spring and warmer weather. It continued to be cold. My dad turned 90 on May 16th, he fell on the 19th and passed within days. He’d been saying he didn’t understand why he was still here when he couldn’t do anything., His arthritis had gotten so bad he just sat in a chair most of the day. He is missed but in a better place. After that was our granddaughter’s graduation and I was off to Sumpter, OR with author Mary Vine for our annual selling of books at the Sumpter Flea Market Memorial weekend. We had an excellent number of sales.
My favorite month was June! Another granddaughter graduated from high school. Then my sister-in-law and I went on a research trip to Montana. You saw posts on this blog about what we saw and did while on our trip. We had a fun time checking out antique malls and thrift stores along the way.
The following month I attended the Wildhorse Casino Powwow at the Umatilla Reservation. It was for research and because I enjoy attending these events. Then I spent several days with my two besties. We talked, drank wine, and shopped thrift stores. Do you see a pattern here? I like to go to thrift stores to pick up red dresses for cheap. Then I send them to a woman who uses them for an outdoor living art project that depicts the MMIW struggle to be a force in finding missing and murdered Indigenous women, children and men from all across this continent. Because it is a cause that I believe in, I send her red dresses and I give proceeds from my book Stolen Butterfly to the movement. I also attended a one-day event to sell my books in Homedale, ID. To end the month, I attended my hubby’s 45th high school reunion. Teh end of this month, I also brought home my new dog, a chiweenie I named Nia. Earlier in the year while I was on a trip, hubby had to have our elderly chihuahua/miniature pinscher put to sleep. She’d had a bad seizure or heart attack. The vet didn’t know which. She’d given us a wonderful 16 years. I hadn’t planned to get another little dog until we no longer had my dad’s large boxer/border cross. But I saw Nia and fell in love!
August continued to bring us lot of dry hot days and nights. The crops had finally taken off, but the cold weather earlier in the year and made for almost half the usual tonnage of hay. Then we had a family reunion at Wallowa Lake and my dad’s military graveside service in Enterprise followed by a barbecue at the lake. I spent most of August writing and editing. The short stories for the anthology were due to me to edit, though several had already been sent to me and edited.
The month of September started with Mary and I setting up our booth at the Labor Day Sumpter Flea Market. We had another good turnout of people buying our books. Mid-month, I attended my first NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association) book selling event. It was at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. We were asked to wear Bavarian looking clothing. I purchased a women’s Bavarian dress. It was fun to dress up and hang out with authors from the group and my friend Kimila Kay. From there I went to the coast to vacation with my younger brother, his wife, and their two kids’ families. It was a fun time! Poor hubby was holding down the farm while I was away playing. He’s a good man!
October means the slowing down of farming as the weather cools and we hope for rain and moisture. I stayed home the first part of the month clacking the keyboard trying to catch up on my writing. Then Hubby and I spent a weekend in Virginia City and Lake Tahoe with his sister and her husband and friends. You can also read about that fun on this blog. 😉 Later in the month I had a book signing in Clarkston, WA.
Ahh…November. I had a one-day Facebook party to show off my new covers for the Halsey Brother series. I talked with readers and gave away prizes. It was a lot of fun. Then I wrote. I wanted to have the next Gabriel Hawke book finished before I left for another NIWA event, this time in Portland. I didn’t make that deadline. I attended three days of the Portland Holiday Market event, hanging out with Kimila some more and when I wasn’t at the market, I was writing on my book. I wanted it finished by December so I could concentrate on the holidays and our granddaughter’s wedding coming up on Dec. 27th.
Four days into December, I sent the book off to my critique partner and beta readers. Whew! Now I could concentrate on decorating, getting a Christmas Tree, and setting up my books at the local Christmas Jamboree. I sold more books there than I had thought I would. So it was a great day. And my daughter had a table beside me selling fudge she’d made and boxes of her organic Rural Roots pork.
While this is posting the day after the wedding, I wrote this post earlier. So I’ll have to give you an update on the wedding in my next post.
That is a roundup of my year. It had fun times, some unhappy times, and lots of family time. I hope to continue having more family time in the coming year. But to also keep putting out book. I hope whatever holiday you celebrate that it was wonderful, filled with family and friends and that you have a awesome 2023. See you next year!
Hubby and I spent a day in Virginia City, Nevada last month. We had been there a couple of times before but we’d never dallied about the old west town before.
We started the day with a ride on the steam locomotive that goes from Virginia City to Gold Hill and back. The conductor on the trip was well versed int he history and had some great jokes and one-liners. He was very entertaining. The most interesting part of the train trip in my estimation was the fact that leaving Virginia City the train ran backward to Gold Hill. My husband and I rode in the outside car. Meaning we didn’t have a roof. On the way to Gold Hill there were interesting sites and the conductor told us history and how the railway came to be. The air was crisp and only a faint hint of coal being burnt in the steam engine. On the way back they drove forward. The first burst of the engine to get up the short hill out of Gold Hill and the people riding in the open car were brushing soot from their clothes, arms and hair while breathing in the black sooty smoke from the engine. It was realistic of the travel back in the 1800s. Here are some of the photos:
After walking down to the depot and riding on the train, we walked back up to the main street. If you haven’t been to Virginia City it is on the side of a hill. Everywhere you walk besides Main Street is either up or down. Many of the buildings in town are old. The sidewalks in some parts of the street are still boards. They are uneven and you have to pay attention when you walk for fear of stubbing a toe or stepping lower than you had anticipated. But the old town feel is captivating.
On a trip before I strolled through the MacKay Mansion Museum. It was fun to listen to the person telling of the history of the house and the history of the town.
While I strolled through the stores, hubby would sit on the benches on the sidewalk and visit with people. As we sat drinking tea on the outside deck of a coffee shop, we decided we were going to come back and stay in Virginia City for a few days within the next year. We didn’t make it to the cemetery and there is a gold mine tourists can go down into. Not to mention several other museums in the town and we didn’t watch the sideshow. I plan to see them all when we return to Virginia City for an extended stay.
Where has this year gone! Next month I’ll have a rundown of all the things I did over the year and that will most certainly show me where the year went!
And I’ll keep my thankful post for later in the month. 😉
The fall season is one of my favorites. During the hot summer days and nights, I long of the cooling breeze of fall and the hint of moisture in the air. And as the spring green grasses turn brown and tan and the wildflowers and other plants disappear and die, I can’t wait for the colors of fall. The orange, red, yellow, peach, and even some green on the leaves.
Recently hubby and I took his mom and a cousin up on the Steens Mountain. We always make the journey up there in the fall and spring. Fall to see the leaves changing on the quaking aspens and spring to see the wildflowers in bloom.
This year is the first trip where the timing was perfect. there have been visits when the leaves have already fallen or mostly fallen or only a few have turned color. But this year…we hit it at the best time. The following are a few of the photos from that trip.
Two weekends ago, I attended the Mt. Angel, Oregon Oktoberfest as a member of NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association). We had a booth at the event for four days. I helped sell books for three of those days. We were asked to dress up. I purchased a Bavarian dress online that arrived the day before I was to head to Mt. Angel. Thank goodness it fit!
As you can see by the photo, Nia went along with me. She was a good puppy. She either played with her toys, slept, or peeked out from under the table, luring people in. 😉 It was fun to meet some of the other NIWA members since we are spread out all throughout the Northwest. I have to get busy and read a few more of the authors’ books so I can do a better job of selling them.
From Mt. Angel, Nia and I headed to the Oregon Coast. I had rented a house at Rockaway Beach for the week to write (very little of that was accomplished) and to hang out with my younger brother and his family that were at the beach.
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to see not only the large colorful kites but groups of kite flyers as they showed off their synchronized flying.
Sunday, we went back to Mt. Angel to help with the last shift of the day and take down the booth. I had so much fun at the booth, I’ve signed up to help with the booth at the Portland Holiday Market November 17-20th.
Monday, Nia and I walked the beach with family and then we drove to Tillamook where we perused the shops, and I purchased some fabric at my favorite fabric store to make a Christmas table runner.
During the week, my brother and his wife suggested we try to look in some tide pools they’d heard of. So we drove a little way out of Rockaway and found these interesting rocks, and a few small tide pools. The tide wasn’t out far enough for us to see much sea life.
There were birds perched on the tree and a couple of pelicans landed on the rock/island.
I took several shots of this opening in the rock with different settings, but this was my favorite, though the blue of the rocks in the foreground aren’t as noticeable in this photo.
This was one of the two sea urchins we saw. I liked the color of this one and the surroundings.
And I spotted a unique to me jellyfish swimming in a tide pool.
Our last night at the beach ended with a beautiful sky.
Wow! It is already the middle of September and it feels like I’m still in August!
I had a wonderful time at the Sumpter Flea Market with Mary Vine, a granddaughter and my new dog Nia. We sold books, visited, and had lots of laughs.
I came home and judged two days at the Harney County Fair. The first day was 4-H static exhibits. That means I judge food, art, photography, leathercraft, llama wool, scrapbooking, and educational displays. I was sad there wasn’t any sewing, knitting, or crocheting. And fewer entries than in the past. The following day, I judged open class textiles- so sewing, quilting, knitting, and crochet. The next day I watched a granddaughter show her pig and a grandson (who I watched show is goat the day before) show a guinea pig.
This week I had a critique meeting with local writers and am headed today to Mt. Angel, Oregon where I’ll be manning a booth with other NIWA authors at Oktoberfest. I’ll be at the booth from 4-10 pm on the 15th, from 10 am- 4pm on the 16th, then I hop over to the coast to visit family and come back on Sunday from 2-6 pm to man the booth and help take it down.
After I help take the booth down, I’m back to the coast for a week of writing and hanging out with family.
I need to write, because I am behind schedule with the books I had planned to write this year. I’m going to be one book shy of what I had envisioned having finished by the end of the year.
But the events that have been intruding on my writing time won’t be a part of my life in the coming year so I can concentrate on more time at home and writing 4 books a year. Unless the ideas start to dwindle. So far, they haven’t. I’m still 3 books ahead with ideas for the Gabriel Hawke books and 2 ideas ahead for the Spotted Pony Casino books.
Speaking of the Spotted Pony Casino, book 3, Double Down, is now available in ebook and print.
Spotted Pony Casino, book 3
A donkey, a three-legged dog, and a war-scarred veteran outwit the killer.
Dela Alvaro is the main suspect in the stabbing death of a man she stopped from beating his wife to death. The detective she abhors is ready to toss her in jail and not look for any other suspects. When FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce is called in and Tribal Officer Heath Seaver is forbidden to work the case, Dela decides to find the killer.
Was it the wife, the drug dealer, or the man wanting to take over the victim’s business? Dela and Heath ask questions and work to prove her innocence. If she is found guilty not only will she lose her new life but she’ll never be able to solve the secret of her father.