Waiting for Winter & a Horse

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our hill 

We had about 6 inches of snow in December that stayed around until a week before Christmas. Leaving us with a brown holiday. No sledding, no building snowmen. It has been brown ever since.

 

Hubby was getting excited when we had several weather reports for snow. However, they didn’t happen. He is now skeptical about any talk of snow in the forecast.

We need the snow. Or warm up and rain like the dickens. In SE Oregon we are very dry.  It will be a hot, fire wary summer if we don’t get more moisture soon.

My Christmas gift from hubby is a horse. The only problem is I am having trouble finding one. I need a horse that is around 15 years old or a bit older, 14-15 hands, been ridden so much that no matter if I ride once a week, once a month or every day, it will behave. I also need one that will be able to go on an all day trail ride.

The daughter who moved down the road this past summer plans to take me on trail rides once a week or at least twice a month. I love trail riding. So the horse has to be able to physically go up and down hills and spend the day walking with me on its back.

appaloosa stallion
Appaloosa

I would like a gelding. I’ve had too many issues with mares. But I’m willing to look at a mare if it has a mellow attitude. I’ve been combing the sale ads. I found a great mare, but the people never responded when I contacted them to look at her. I wish people would take down ads if the horse has sold or at least text you back with sold.  Common courtesy is so hard to find these days.

Horse
Paint

My ideal horse would be Appaloosa, paint, or dun/buckskin. I like horses that have interesting color. But if it’s the right size, attitude, and health, oh, and also price, I won’t worry about the color.

Buckskin horse
Buckskin

Growing up I had a sorrel buckskin mare that I loved! She never had an attitude, went wherever I wanted to go, and came when I called her. She was a good 15-16 hands and beautiful.  I rode her a lot bareback and I was barefoot. LOL We’d cross the Lostine River and head up on the side of the mountain. I’d lay on her back looking up at the sun shining through the cottonwood and aspen trees as she walked along.  I’d spend hours out riding her in the summer.  Sometimes my younger brother rode with me and we’d go all over the hills and mountain side.

I’ve never been one to like riding around in arenas. I only ran my horse when we would race in the lane. A trot was to catch up if I’d been gawking and fell behind.

If you have a horse, what color and breed is it? If you don’t what color or breed do you think is pretty?

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Homicide Hideaway Release Day!

Today is the release of book 13 in the Shandra Higheagle mystery series, Homicide Hideaway. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve written 13 books in this series and the readers keep asking for more. I’ve loved writing Shandra and Ryan’s journey from him thinking she might have killed a gallery owner to in this book they are on their honeymoon. And oops! They come across a body.

While this book not only solves a murder mystery, it also introduces my readers to a new character who will have his own series debut on the 20th of this month.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke, known as Hawke to everyone, is a Nez Perce/ Cayuse American Indian. As you can see, I am staying with my Native American theme with this series as well. There are so few main characters in books, movies, and TV shows that are American Indian that it feeds my inner need for justice to have such a character.

In Homicide Hideaway, Shandra discovers yet another distant relative and bonds quickly. Perhaps too quickly, since her cousin has a good motive for killing the person.

Love… Marriage… Murder

Less than twelve hours after arriving at a remote hunting lodge for their honeymoon, Shandra Higheagle and Detective Ryan Greer find a body. Shandra’s cousin had quarreled with the man earlier, and the clues point to her as being the murderer.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke, arrives and immediately takes a dislike to Shandra’s cousin. But he is willing to work with Shandra and Ryan to discover the truth.

For a remote hunting lodge, the place becomes overrun with suspicious guests. Shandra’s dreams and Hawke’s tracking skills soon discover the cause of the drunk’s death.

Universal Buy Link : https://www.books2read.com/u/3nYweo

I’m celebrating this release at Karen’s Killer Fixin’s with a recipe. You can go here and check it out.
 https://wp.me/p4pimt-5gj

And you can now get Book 8, Fatal Fall in audio at most audio book vendors.

Book eight of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
Avarice…Family…Murder

When the doctor is a no-show for her appointment, Shandra Higheagle becomes wrapped up in another murder. The death of the doctor’s elderly aunt has everyone questioning what happened and who’s to blame. Shandra’s dreams soon tell her she’s on the right path, but also suggests her best friend could be in grave danger.

Detective Ryan Greer knows not even an illness will keep Shandra from sneaking around, and he appreciates that. Her insight is invaluable. When she becomes embroiled deeper in the investigation, he stakes out the crime scene and waits for the murder to make a tell-all mistake. 

But will he be able to act fast enough to keep Shandra or her friend from being the next victim?

Yule Log/ New Year Treat/ Birthday Roll by Paty Jager

For Christmas for my family, I made a Yule Log we had after Christmas Eve dinner. Th first version didn’t turn out very pleasant to look at but it tasted okay. I wasn’t happy and made a second one, tweaking the original recipe. This ended up being made from three different recipes combined to make my newest creation and one my granddaughter asked me to make for her birthday in July.

Cake:

¾ cup cake flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

5 eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 375° F. Grease 15 ½ X 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan; line with waxed or parchment paper.  Grease the paper, set pan aside. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl; stir to combine. Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar in separate small bowl with electric mixer at high speed about 5 minutes or until think and lemon colored, scraping down side of bowl once. Beat in vanilla; set aside.

Beat egg whites at high speed in clean large bowl using clean beaters, until foamy. Gradually beat in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Fold flour mixture into egg yolk mixture. Fold flour/egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture until evenly incorporated. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Meanwhile, lightly sift powered sugar over clean dish towel.

Loosen warm cake from edges of pan with spatula; invert onto prepared towel. Remove pan; peel off the paper. Gently roll up cake in towel from short end, jelly-roll style. Let tolled cake cool completely on wire rack.

cake rolled in towel

Filling:

Makes 2 cups

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup milk

1 egg yolk beaten with ¼ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Blend cornstarch, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until mixture boils and is thick; boil and stir ½ minute longer. Off heat, beat a little hot mixture into egg yolk, return all to pan gradually, beating constantly. Mix in vanilla and cool to room temperature, beating now and then.

cooking filling

After filling has cooled; whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the filling. Unroll the cooled cake, spread the whipped filling across the cake and roll up without the towel. Place on plate or platter.  Cut one inch off one end and place against the side of the longer piece. (This will resemble stump or a branch).

I made my “stump” branch a little longer to make the cake fit the platter.

Frosting:

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2-3 tablespoons milk

Stir together sugar and cocoa. Beat butter until fluffy. Alternately add sugar mixture and milk, beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.  Frost the entire cake. Swirl ends of log and flat side of stump to resemble cut section of log. Run tines of fork along the length of the log or spread frosting to resemble bark.

Can be sprinkled with nuts or other adornment. I fashioned white poinsettias from mints I made earlier.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

Christmas Cheer by Paty Jager

The stockings were hung…

I love Christmas. If I didn’t have so much fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations I would decorate in November for Christmas so I could have the fun lights and decorations up longer. 

Are you an all-out Christmas decorator or do you just put up enough that you know it’s Christmas and no one can accuse you of being a Grinch?

Here are a few scenes of what I have going on.

MY mom crocheted this scene years ago.

I like to put lights in every room. Bathrooms, bedrooms, the office. There is nothing cheerier than twinkling lights. But then I love glitter!😉

We have a (it looks like a moose but I think it’s supposed to be a reindeer) sitting in a rocking chair and it plays the song, “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer”. Our four-year-old grandson and the 2 year-old play that over and over again and dance to the song. It gets annoying when you are trying to have a conversation and then the reindeer goes away. LOL

The tree is up. I decorate it in stages until it is as I wanted it. I still have to make the gingerbread people that depict each family member and hang those from the tree, but the rest is done.

The presents are all bought and wrapped and under the tree.The ones that had to be shipped are off. The Christmas cards are all in the mail.

I do have cookies and candy to make for the neighbors, but I do that in the evenings while watching TV.

Now I can sit back and wait for company to arrive the weekend before Christmas.

Let the writing commence!

Taking Time and Exploring by Paty Jager

This past weekend hubby and I took a quick trip to Reno, Nevada. I’d won a two-night stay at the Peppermill Casino last March at the Left Coast Crime conference. We needed to get the certificate used and realized once our daughter and her family left to join her husband in Maine for the winter, we’d be stuck home feeding her cattle. So we made reservations and took off.

The casino had changed a lot from the last time- 20 ahem-years ago that we were there. It is as sprawling and opulent as a casino in Las Vegas.  We had a beautiful room with a jacuzzi tub! I was so excited I couldn’t wait to use the tub. That was one of the “oops” in our new house. We forgot we had a beautiful old clawfoot tub we could have put in for a bath tub and instead asked a plumber friend to get us a soaker tub. Well, if you are a four-year-old, the depth of the water is just fine, but for an adult there is no soaking. There is getting your bottom and legs wet. So I was excited to have a nice long hot soak.

We also received spa credit in the package I’d won. I had a massage and hubby had a gentleman’s pedicure. I will go back there again for the beautiful room and the spa facilities. They were amazing! I’ll know what it is all about the next time we go. Yes, we will return sooner than 20 years the next time.

Looking from the upper part of Virginia City down the hill.

On Saturday, we drove out of the fog in the Reno valley and up to Virginia City, which was above the fog. It was like flying over the clouds, looking down at the fluffy whiteness between the peaks of the mountains.

At Virginia City we walked the main street browsing the stores. Then we walked the streets uphill from main street looking at all the old houses with beautiful detailed wood working. We noted there were half-a-dozen Bed and Breakfast places. Ideas of yet another get-away.

One of the old houses on the upper side of Virginia City.

We stopped at a nice quiet coffee place for a light lunch and then as we drove around the lower streets, I noticed a sign saying open. It was for tours of the MacKay Mansion. I am always a sucker for seeing inside old homes.  There were some amazing pieces of furniture. Many that the owner, John Mackay made and carved himself. Even though he was a billionaire, he enjoyed wood carving. It was an occupation he’d learned and used on his way to making money.

Mrs. Mackay’s bedroom

The history in the family was interesting. So much so, I’ll be purchasing a couple of books about them that I hope to later use the info to add a character in my historical western series.

These chairs were made and carved by John Mackay. His wife Marie sewed these cushions when ex-president Ulysses Grant came to visit.  

The tour guide talked about the place being haunted and how she’s had experiences and some ghost hunter show filmed an episode there. She showed us a 3 second clip of the show that aired that showed a dark shadow walking across the room. I believe in ghosts but tend to be skeptical when it is used as a means to make money.

Child’s bedroom. Marie lost a daughter to disease and another fell down stairs becoming a cripple. But after marrying John, he took the child to the best specialists in Europe and she could walk again. They had three sons and one died while racing a horse. 

After Virginia City, we returned to the Peppermill, where I lost money and hubby made money. We came home with the same amount we left with and had purchased meals and some gifts. So not a bad trip and it was definitely relaxing!

On the 6 hour drive there and back, I wrote blog posts for the places I’ll be guesting on my blog tour next month and this post. Back to getting the second Hawke book written this week.

I hope you had a great weekend and take time out this time of year for yourself.

Christmas Tree Hunting by Paty Jager

20181202_200946No guns were used during our Christmas tree hunt. 😉 And despite the need to get a book finished, I spent all day Sunday dashing through the snow looking for a tree with one set of grandchildren. After we found the perfect tree, we brought it home, had dinner, and then decorated it.

I have a few more touches to do to it to make me happy, but it is up and mostly decorated. The grandkids had fun in the snow since this is their first winter not in Alaska, where they are used to snow for many more months than we have it in Oregon.  They were rolling around in it and acting as if they had never seen the white stuff before. LOL

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Grandson shaking snow off the tree so I could get a better look at it.

This morning I sent out my friends and family Christmas cards and special cards and gifts to select readers from the Pioneer Hearts Facebook group I belong to. If you aren’t a Pioneer Hearts member and you are on Facebook, you can join the group and find out about wonderful historical western romance books and visit with the authors of the books.

Santa Claus hands holding digital tablet with Christmas ornament

Right now Windtree Press, the author co-operative I’m a member of, is having a Holiday Book promotion.  https://windtreepress.com/holiday-books/

All I have left to do for Christmas is bake cookies and make candy to share with neighbors. Then host family starting the Saturday before Christmas. Until then, I’ll be polishing Homicide Hideaway, book 12 in the Shandra Higheagle series and finishing, Mouse Trail Ends, book 2 in the new Gabriel Hawke series.

Are you done with your Christmas shopping and decorating?  If not, what do you still have to do? Are you feeling good about where you’re at or stressing? If you’re stressing, make a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie you enjoy. Life is too short to stress!

We have snow!

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Welcome to my new blog site. I’ve had this domain name and called my Blogger site Writing Into The Sunset, but wanted to get moved here to kind of start fresh with a new vigor for blogging.

As you can see by the photo, our first snow of the season is falling. It’s beautiful! Big fat fluffy flakes! We could have used a bit more rain before the snow began as we are terribly dry this year, but we’ll take whatever precipitation we can get.

As I stated above, I hope to start blogging more regularly. I kind of fell off the two posts a week on Blogger when we moved and built this house, and I’ve been having difficulties getting back in the routine. I also started putting out more books a year than I was before.  so it comes down to, do you want more posts here or more books? 😉 Yeah, I thought that would be your answer.

I’m excited to be starting 2019 with the revealing of my new series and getting another Tumbling Creek Ranch book out.

This weekend I’m going Christmas tree hunting with 5 of my grandchildren. I love the hunt for the perfect tree! How about you? Do you like going out into the woods to get a tree, or maybe to a tree lot? I don’t know if I’d ever be able to do a fake tree. There’s no adventure in pulling it out of a box and setting it up, but there are many who love the less mess, less allergy problems by using a fake tree.

I hope you are having a great week! Talk to you soon!

Paty