My #2 Happy Place

While I am a HUGE homebody and love being at home more than anything else, I love going to the Oregon Coast. In fact, I try to go a couple times a year for week long writing retreats.

This week I am at Rockaway Beach trying to get at least half of the next Shandra Higheagle book written. I’m getting close!

The week started out with wicked waves and wind. The trees were practically leaning sideways and the old log home that I stay in creaked, moaned, and screeched as tree limbs scraped across the windows.

The waves were not only the largest I’ve ever seen here, they were rolling north rather than straight at the shore. The water level, even at low tide was washing clear up to the edge of the embankment. I didn’t feel safe to walk the beach on those days.

water lapping at the steps to walk onto the beach

Then the wind calmed and the water went back to normal and I was able to take a couple of walks each day. The walks are my reward for getting so many words written in a session.

This photo shows the end of rainbow out in the distance after a night of pouring rain, thunder, and lightning.

This next photo looked like a petrified seagull digging its way out of the sand. What do you think?

The other photos were a bit of color and I always see beached jellyfish. I can see a story in just about anything I look at. I haven’t decided if it’s a blessing or a curse. LOL

I don’t know where the colorful leaf came from but I like the colors. The Jellyfish seemed to me to be looking for a hiding place in the kelp.

Down the road in one of my mystery books, a story that came to me while I was walking on the beach another trip, will be used as the premise/plot in a mystery book.

I need to get back to my writing. I have 8,000 more words to write today so I can go home tomorrow with the number of words I wanted to get done on this trip.

Here is a parting photo:

Fall Trip to the Steens Mountains

Our granddaughter had this past Thursday off from school for the end of the 9 week period. I told her we were going to the Steens to take photos of the trees changing.

We were about a month too late from the looks of the naked trees. The good thing is Aspen trees are pretty even when they don’t have any leaves.

Aspen trees at Fish Lake

Our first stop was the Peter French Round Barn near Diamond, Oregon. It was built in the late 1880’s by Peter French a cattle baron of the time and area. They used it to continue to train horses to ride and drive wagons during the winter months. Because I had been there several times before the only thing I took photos of were the pair of barn owls roosting on the main center pole of the building.

From there we continued to the mountain.

At Fish Lake, we stopped an took photos of the water, the trees, and the ambiance. It was a peaceful and a beautiful day.

Fish Lake

The canyon where we usually stop to take photos of the golds, yellows, and reds on the aspen trees was a barren sight. The trees had already lost their leaves.

Alas, we were too late. This canyon is usually filled with color.

Traveling on, we stopped and took photos at Kiger Canyon. It’s named for the wild Kiger mustangs that were found in the area in the early 1900s.

Kiger Canyon

Then on up to the top. Here we looked over the edge at the Alvord desert below, some irrigated fields, and the road on the SE side of the mountains. Here while our granddaughter tried capturing photos of a small bird, I found a rock with half a dozen ladybugs wandering around on it.

View from the top.
Lady bugs on the rock

Moseying on, and heading down the south entrance road, we stopped at one of my favorite spots about halfway down a canyon. There is a small trail and some interesting rocks and vegetation.

I liked this dead looking tree.

And to cap off our day of traveling the loop on the Steens, we must have seen nearly a hundred wild horses. It is the most I’ve ever seen on a trip up to the mountain. They were scattered all along the ridges and gathered near watering holes.

Wil horses on one of the hills.
Granddaughter taking a photo

I need to get our granddaughter’s photos put on the computer so I can see what kind of photos she took. She tends to like to take photos from ground level or of interesting things, I wouldn’t think to photograph.

She would squat down and get certain plants in the photos or rocks. She would also hold the camera near the ground. She has made some awesome photos on other occasions.

It was a fun day. I hope you enjoyed my little photo collection of a Fall trip on the Steens Mountain Loop.

It’s November!

My! Where has the time gone? I saw my last post was about October… I’m slacking! In defense, I’ve been trying to get several large projects finished.

One is the latest Gabriel Hawke book which is with a critique partner and a beta reader. Waiting for it to come back, I’ve been updating the Isabella Mumphrey books to make the insides as shining and spectacular as the new covers!

I’m having a “Where in the world is Isabella Mumphrey?” Facebook party on November 14th. Come on over to the party and join in the fun. I’ll be giving clues to find my character Isabella Mumphrey, famed anthropologist and Indiana Jones fan who uses a survival tin like MacGyver.

At the party I’ll be revealing new covers, picking winners for prizes throughout the two hours, answering your questions and will give out to larger prizes to two people who discover where Isabella is. To join the party just go here and say you’re going to attend! https://www.facebook.com/events/471554667120961

I’ve also been busy working out the kinks in my new mystery series that will be coming in 2021, while also starting the next Shandra book and gathering information for the next Hawke book. Yes, I have been occupied!

Took this photo while scouting the area where the latest Gabriel Hawke murder happens.

And I’ve been working on the binding on one quilt and piecing together another one and coming up with handmade gifts for the grandkids for Christmas. Life is never boring for me!

This is the quilt I’m putting the binding on.

Come hang out at my party on the 14th! I’d love to visit with you!

https://www.facebook.com/events/471554667120961

It’s October!

I don’t know why but I’ve always loved the month of October. I think it’s the cooler weather, pretty leaves on the trees and bushes, and gearing up for the end of the year holidays.

I have my house decorated inside and out with fake Fall leaves, pumpkins (scary and plain), and lights and candles. I’m not a huge fan of it getting dark earlier. That means the feeding has to be done earlier and that cuts into the afternoon writing and sewing time.

Yes, you saw sewing. This time of year and through the winter, I tend to sew in the later afternoon and evening. It just feels like I need to stay busy but my brain is fried from writing during the day and sewing is kind of a no-brain work thing. Especially when I’m sewing or cutting pieces for quilt tops.

This is what I’m working on now.

I picked up the “fat quarters” while I was in Hawaii last year. I have always like batik fabric and wanted to make a quilt out of it to represent our 40th Anniversary trip.

We have four cats who stay in my hubby’s shop. I check on them and feed them every morning and evening. Cautious- seen below, is so named because he usually is cautious about people. Lately he’s been coming down off his high perch and greeting me when I feed.

Our daughter raises IPP pigs (Idaho Pasture Pigs). She has a litter that were born not too long ago. This is a photo of one that I thought was cute.

On the writing front- I finished Turkey’s Fiery Roost, book 6 in the Gabriel Hawke series. It is off to critique partners and a beta reader.

Now I’m formatting Collateral Love, novella 4 in the Tumbling Creek Ranch series. That will be publishing for a low price next week, so stay tuned or get on my western romance newsletter list- https://bit.ly/2JVGe4j

And I’m getting excited about my cover reveal party for the new covers of my Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series. That party will be happening in November. Stay tuned to learn more about that.

This month, October 24th, the Cowboy Kisses Authors will be having a Facebook Party on our Facebook Page. I’m scheduled for noon Mountain Time. We’ll be giving away books, prizes, and having fun. Drop by if you have a chance: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CowboyKisses

Looking forward to the rest of this month. I’ll keep you posted of all the fun going on.

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!

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.

Travel turns into a book

Photo from the top of the Hallfrimskirkja

As you all saw here last July- I spent a week in June in Iceland. That trip has now come full circle. The book I thought about while being a tourist will release on June 1st.

I had an awesome time in Iceland. Unfortunately for my character, Hawke, he is drawn into a murder investigation while he is there for a SAR (Search and Rescue) conference.

While I enjoyed Krýsuvík mud pools for their colors, steam, and uniqueness, though I could have used a clothes pin for my nose due to the sulfuric steam, poor Hawke finds a body in a mud pool.

Krýsuvík

Harpa, the beautiful concert hall/ conference center across from my hotel (and the one where I had my character stay), is the center of the SAR conference Hawke attends. I was elated when, after arriving back home from Iceland, I discovered that Rykjavik holds a worldwide SAR conference every other year. It worked perfectly for my book. And this here (if covid doesn’t cancel the conference) it will be held at Harpa.

Harpa

I was able to bring in bits and pieces of what I saw and learned while in Reykjavik into the book and what I didn’t know or didn’t’ remember, I was lucky enough to have made friends with our guide while we were there and he has emailed back and forth with me. His help has made this book ring true to his country.

There are other people I have to thank for this book. Because this book is set at a worldwide conference, I had characters from…around the world. Thankfully, I have author friends and readers from around the world. My main concern was dialog. I wanted the characters to “sound” like they were their nationality. Mainly Britain, Australia. But I also have characters from Kenya and Japan. As well as, of course, Iceland.

An author helped me with my British characters, a reader with my Australian, and the guide in Iceland helped me with those characters. My Kenyan, I watched a few Youtube news reels to see how they spoke English. A bit broken. I watched Last Man Standing, the tv show to see how the Japanese exchange student on that show spoke English and I watched Youtube videos on that as well. I hope I didn’t mess up the last two.

If you would like to read Fox Goes Hunting book 5 in the Gabriel Hawke Novels, you can pre-order now and it will release on June 1st.

While teaching a tracking class at a Search and Rescue conference in Iceland, Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke discovers a body in a boiling mud pool. The body is the young man Hawke’s class is tracking.

Unable to walk away from the gruesome death without helping to find the killer, Hawke follows the clues and discovers the victim had few enemies, and all of them have alibis. The killer is cunning like the fox, but Hawke is determined to solve the homicide before the conference attendees head home in five days. 

Universal pre-order link https://books2read.com/u/3yEjKv

Sunday Drives

Since moving to SE Oregon, hubby and I tend to do more Sunday drives than before. Usually our Sunday drives are because it’s a holiday and we want to get away.

Mother’s Day happened to fall two days before our anniversary this year. Hubby asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary. I said I wanted to travel a road I hadn’t been on before.

So Mother’s Day on Sunday, we packed up a picnic lunch, water for the dogs, loaded the dogs in the pickup and headed south.

Looking back the way we’d come.

Hubby had discovered a road that runs through BLM (Bureau of Land Management) which is public land from the end of the road that passes our property all the way through some hills and tail end of Steens Mountain to the road to Fields, Oregon.

We traveled that 25 miles in three and a half hours. The road was rough in places, but dry. Except where a creek crossed the road in one spot.

The first stop was to check out a canyon and bushes that were growing along it. There were cattle and Mikey decided to roll in a cow pie. We had to use up some of the wipes we had with us to clean him up in order to stand him being in the pickup.

The road continued up at a gradual climb. The juniper trees became thicker and thicker and a small creek ran alongside the road. We stopped at two springs just feet from the road to look. Hubby is fascinated by springs and wants to try and get one started on our hill where there seems to be more moisture in the ground.

Winding through the thick trees I noticed many of the trees, bigger junipers than I’ve seen before, were growing right out of what appeared to be solid rock. The hills on both sides of the road were solid rock and rock slides. Any vegetation had to find water in the cracks and crevices to survive.

One side of the rocky peaks we drove between.

Emerging from the trees there was a fair-sized meadow which we skirted and found green grass and a creek. Backtracking we went the other direction and came out along what had once been a huge lake. It was now dry with patches of grass and weeds growing in it. You could see that when the snow melted around the rim the water settled in the basin. The dirt was cracked. I couldn’t believe how large it was and that it was so high in elevation. Was it a volcanic crater at one time? How did it become a lake here, at the top of the hills?

the big dried up lake in front of us.

From the lake we headed to the top of a road that traveled down, down, down. Before heading down, we stopped and had our picnic lunch. The sun was warm, the bees were enjoying the lupines, and the dogs lay in shade of the pickup.

Harlie and Mikey .

Starting down, the sides of the road and up and down the hill were covered in wildflowers. Various yellows and first white, then yellow, and finally purple lupine. Hubby said he could smell them. I think my nose was stuffed up from the junipers…

Lupines

At the bottom we came out on the Fields road and headed to Hwy 78 and home.

Hubby laughed at me because several times as we drove toward home I said, “Best day ever!” Which it was a great day. But I remember saying the same thing when he took me up on the Steens Mountain to see the wildflowers one spring and then I believe I said it when we traveled up on the Steens for the fall colors, and when we saw some wild horses on one of our drives.

Yes, I have Best Day Ever, quite often! Do you like Sunday drives?

Double Anniversary Month!

Happy May everyone! This month has been very good to me in the past. I married my hubby and I published my first book in May. Both have been the best blessings in my life!

My hubby has always been good about not knocking me following my dream of being a writer. He encouraged me to take writing classes when the kids started school and later to pursue writing for the local papers. He paid for a lot of my paper, ink, and postage when I started out writing novels and submitting to publishers and agents. Knowing he wanted me to fulfill my dream has helped me to push harder to prove to him, he wasn’t wrong in giving the time, money, and space to write.

The other reason May is an anniversary month, I published my first book with Wild Rose Press in May of 2006. It was Marshal in Petticoats, a historical western romance. I went on to publish 9 more books with them before I took the Indie Author plunge and started publishing my books myself. I’m glad I did.

Because I went Indie, I can put any of my books on sale whenever I want. And to celebrate my anniversary month, I have 3 steamy contemporary western romance novellas in a ebook boxset for $0.99 all month long!

Love at Tumbling Creek Ranch

Three steamy contemporary western novellas set on a Dude Ranch in Montana following members of the Wallis family as they find love.

8 Seconds to Love

The bull rider brought into Jared McIntyre’s ER is the girl he couldn’t get out of his head the last fifteen years. During his tour in Iraq, he lost another thrill-seeking woman, and he isn’t about to let this one destroy her life.

Love Me Anyway

Melanie Trask ran away from an abusive husband and found a job at a dude ranch with a wonderful caring cowboy, Brett Wallis. When they can no longer deny their feelings, Brett offers to help her divorce her husband. But she has one more secret she hasn’t revealed…

The Wrong Cowboy to Love

Ruby Cutter allows her cousin, the bride, to give her a makeover for the upcoming wedding because she wants to catch the attention of her high school crush. But while she’s infatuated with one man, she may be falling for another… 

https://books2read.com/u/mv5w8X