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.

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So Much Going On! by Paty Jager

I found buttercup!

The winter seemed to lag and while I was busy writing and doing some kid sitting and book signings, it is now spring and I’m looking forward to late spring and early summer. I have some great opportunities for me as a write, you as a reader,and you as a writer. (I know I have people who are one or two or all three of these following my blog. 😉 )

First! Book 3 of the Gabriel Hawke series is releasing this week. I’ll put up the info here when it is live. This book while fun to write took a lot of brain power to keep in tradition with my twists in a mystery and to make it work with the title I’d already given the book. I usually wait until I have written part of a book before I title it but for some reason, with the Hawke books, I feel compelled to have the title and then make the book conform to the title. Weird- but it’s working. LOL

I’m excited to be a guest at a book club the end of April. It’s two hours from where I live. They picked Spirit of the Mountain as the book they are reading. There will be so many things I can talk about when I’m there not only about the book but other books they might like if they liked Wren and Himiin’s story.

May has two in-person events, I’m doing. On is May 17th in Asotin, WA. For part of a Cowboy Poetry and Country Music event. Four authors who write about the west, (me along with Kathy Moss, Lauralee Northcott, and Carmen Peone will be at the Asotin County Library from 10am – noon with a program tentatively called, Women Writing the West. I’ll have 15 minutes to talk, so I have to come up with something good and brief. 😉

Our usual booth at Sumpter

Later in the month- Memorial weekend to be exact, I’ll be set up at the Sumpter, OR Flea Market with Mary Vine for our usual book selling event. We have a new tent this year to help keep the wind and rain out, should the weather not be hospitable.

June is another busy month! I”ll be giving a workshop and signing books at The Frontier Writers Rendezvous a 2 day event June 7th & 8th in Canyon City, Oregon. There will be writing workshops, readings, and books. You can go to this link: https://oregonguidespublishing.com/fwc/ to see the great workshops and the times and authors who will be reading from their works. The workshops are $20 and the readings are free. I’ll be giving a workshop on Characterization- Making Your Characters Come to Life.

The other thing I am most excited about in June…. I’m going to Iceland!! The Authors Guild I belong to has a 6 day excursion to Iceland. It was a decent price and I could see Hawke going there for an international law enforcement conference and teaching a class on tracking. Not only will I be able to go to all the fabulous places the trip has included, I’ll be scoping out places to have Hawke venture to while ??? That’s what I’ll have to figure out while I’m there. Who dies and how he can use his tracking skills to help.

That’s what I have coming up in the next three months. What are your plans?