Ending a Series is Hard by Paty Jager

After waiting years to finally feel as if I were a good enough writer to write the genre I loved, it’s hard to fathom I have the last book of my Shandra Higheagle series releasing this month.

Years ago, we’re talking in the early 90s I wanted to write mystery books. I read them voraciously and after reading the first three in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, I wanted to write a mystery book. I had taken creative writing classes at the local community college and was ready to try my hand at mystery. Especially after someone I thought was a close friend told her husband she was having an affair with my husband to keep her husband from learning who was her real lover.

I knew I could write a really good murder mystery because I was killing that person in my story. I wrote the book. In first person, just like Ms. Grafton did. When I sent it to an agent, the reply was: First person mysteries don’t sell. I read the letter over and over wondering at the comment since I’d read many first person mysteries. While I waited to hear back on the first one, I killed off a replica of the same person in my second book with the same main character.

After receiving the letter from the agent, I transformed my first person account into third person and sent it off. Still a solid rejection. When I tried back then to get into a mystery writers group all of them insisted you had to be already published to become a member. Heart broken and feeling like mystery wasn’t my calling, I joined RWA- Romance Writers of American and put my writing skills into western romance always adding a bit of adventure or mystery into each book and showcasing injustices.

When I picked up the gauntlet to write an Indian Jones type book, I wrote my Isabella Mumphrey Action Adventure series. The success of those books and my brother telling me about a way to hide a murder weapon on a bronze statue started my brain spinning. I came up with an amateur sleuth who was in the art world.

Giving a nod to the fact I like to write Native American characters to help educate readers about their history and circumstances, I came up with Shandra Higheagle a potter. From book one, Double Duplicity, I loved my character and the secondary characters I sprinkled into her life. Through the series the reader learns more about Shandra’s past and sees her build a future with Detective Ryan Greer.

At book six my daughter’s asked when I would end the series. I told them when I was tired of writing them or my readers were tired of reading them. I didn’t want to be an author who had readers saying I should have ended the series three books ago. But as I wrote the previous book, Capricious Demise, and I had Shandra and Ryan adopt twins, I realized to keep readers liking my character, she would have to stop sleuthing and take care of the kids.

And that is how I came up with the last book of the series. Shandra’s grandmother comes to her in a dream showing her, Ryan and the twins at the Colville Powwow. During the course of the book, her grandmother stops coming to her dreams and Shandra realizes she can no longer put her life in danger. The twins lost two parents already. They didn’t need to lose another.

While it is sad to think I won’t be visiting Shandra, Sheba, Ryan, Crazy Lil, Ruthie, Maxwell, Ted, Naomi, Maranda, and Alex, I’m excited to carry on writing Gabriel Hawke novels and my new series Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries.

Vanishing Dream

Book 16 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series

Deception, Gluttony, Murder

Shandra Higheagle Greer’s deceased Nez Perce grandmother appears in her dream, dancing at a powwow. Since Grandmother only appears when there is a murder, Shandra believes, she, Ryan, and the twins should attend the yearly Powwow at the Colville Reservation.

While out for a walk the first night, Shandra sees someone lurking in the dark between the vendor tents. A vendor is discovered the next morning strangled with her own beads. 

When members of Shandra’s family are attacked, she finds it hard to stay out of the investigation. While Ryan is working with the Tribal Police, Shandra follows a suspect and is captured. No one knows her whereabouts. Calling upon her grandmother seems futile. The dreams are vanishing and so could her life.

universal book link to pre-order at most ebook vendors: https://books2read.com/u/4XLkvg

New Year, New Chair by Paty Jager

I’m starting this year with a new desk chair and a new perspective of my writing.

The chair. My old chair would make by backside numb when I sat for any length of time in it. I tried one of those egg crate things and it didn’t seem to help either. Not that I sit for long periods of time. With two dogs who seem to think they need to go in and out of the house every twenty minutes, I get up and down plenty during the day. But by mid-afternoon, I couldn’t concentrate because of pain down there.

My new chair in the corner.

I went to a chain office products store and sat in every chair, no matter what the price. I wanted a chair that would be comfortable and I could sit back and type with out hunching over the keyboard or desk. I found the perfect chair…I thought.

It has thick padding, arm rests that fit me just right, and a little bit of a rocking motion. I like to gently rock. Especially when I’m thinking. 😉 Which I do a lot while writing a book, as we all know.

I brought the chair home and it barely fits in the area behind my desk. That’s my fault. I like to be in the corner and look out the window to the front of the house and the door into the main room of house. Which limits me of space because of 1) my husband’s desk and file cabinet. (He rarely sits at his desk. He just stores things on it…) He packs whatever he’s working out out to the nook table early in the morning and does his paperwork there.

Behind my desk looking out.

But I digressed. I love the spot where my desk sits. It makes squeezingh into the chair interesting, but once I’m there, I can put my feet up on a little stool under the desk, pull the keyboard out or set it on my lap, lean back in the chair, and type to my heart’s content. This is the most comfortable I’ve been typing a book since I started writing!

New perspective on my writing. While I tried to limit my goal on the books I plan to write this year, I also gave myself permission to not meet that goal if life intervenes. In the past if I didn’t get books out regularly, I would beat myself up and make myself miserable, pushing to get more written and put the book out there because the reader wanted it.

Now, I write the books I want to write and I still try to keep a new one in each mystery series coming out every 6 months, but I’m not as driven to make sure every genre I write has a book coming out. That was driving me insane. I’m sticking to the genre that has always called to me- Murder mystery.

I’m super excited about the Gabriel Hawke book I’m writing right now. I finally connected with someone who knows a lot about the topic in the book and feel I have enough information to make this a good solid book to help showcase a cause and epidemic that needs more attention. I’ve never considered myself an activist, but I have always been driven to write books about justice. And everyone deserves that.

Next month learn about my decision to end a series and how I hope I didn’t disappoint readers.

My Favorite Time of the Year by Paty Jager

While this year has been challenging in many ways, I have to say it has been rewarding for me as an author. I may not have been able to attend several conferences I’d hoped to participate in, however, the state of things made it possible for me to reach my word goal for the year, spend more time working on writing and writing related projects, and to see the path I want to take in the coming years.

I wrapped up my first mystery series. That book will publish in 2021. I’m sad to see this character go as Shandra was my mystery breakout series. The excitement over creating another character for a new series outweighs the sadness. 😉

My hero, Gabriel Hawke, will be protecting Wallowa County until he is retirement age or I can’t come up with a good murder for him to solve. 😉

Speaking of Gabriel Hawke. Book 6, Turkey’s Fiery Demise is available in ebook.

Accident or Homicide?

State Trooper Gabriel Hawke is called to a vehicle on fire. When the steam and smoke clears, a charred body is slumped over the steering wheel.

The Muzzleloader Rendezvous has attendees from all over the Pacific Northwest, but it’s the local club that raises Hawke’s suspicions. With the president of the club dead, rumors abound. If the gossip and tracking won’t reveal the truth to who killed the strutting turkey, Hawke’s focus on the truth will.  https://books2read.com/u/38RnOZ

Moving into 2021, I’m filling out character charts for the new character and secondary characters who will be part of her life. I’ll be gathering the information I need for the next Hawke book, set on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, and digging around to come up with a list of murders that I can use for the two series.

I’ll also be throwing several Facebook parties, like my recent “Where in the world is Isabella Mumphrey?” I’ll be having a month-long event in May for my 50th published book. If you’re a reader, you might want to either follow my author page at Facebook, or join my newsletter to get in on all the fun. I’ll be posting here as well.

I love December because it is the last month of the year. It lets me think about what I’ve accomplished this year and look forward to planning for the next.  And that the month ends with two celebrations, Christmas and New Years, makes it the perfect way to end a year and start a new one. I have already written out my goals for 2021, in writing, publishing, and life. Not that the life ones ever completely happen, but I’m a stickler for getting my writing goals accomplished.

 Do you like December? Do you like to look back over the year and see what you’ve accomplished? Do you write out a plan for the coming year?

A Party and New Covers by Paty Jager

I’m excited to reveal the new covers for my Isabella Mumphrey Action Adventure/Romantic Suspense/Thriller trilogy.

However, you won’t see them here. 😉

I’m having a “Where in the world is Isabella Mumphrey?” Facebook party on this coming Saturday, November 14th from 5-7 pm Pacific time. If you go to the page and sign up to join the party, it will tell you what time it will be live in your time zone. Since Oregon had decided to not change time this Fall, yet, I’ve been hearing we are… So hopefully you can catch me during one of the two hours.

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

I’ll be giving away two large prizes and many small prizes during the two hours, besides revealing my covers, giving you clues to the “Where in the world” game, and visiting about how this trilogy came to be and anything else you want to talk about.

Here are the Blurbs for the books. Secrets of a Mayan Moon won the Reader’s Crown in 2013 for Best Romantic Suspense.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon

Book one of the Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series

Move over Indiana Jones and MacGyver- Isabella Mumphrey has arrived!

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job. Unless she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can. She heads to Guatemala at the request of her mentor, but drug trafficking bad guys and artifact thieves wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

Upon seeing Dr. Mumphrey has never been in a jungle or out of the states, undercover DEA agent, Tino Kosta, gets tangled up in helping her discover the truth.

Which could make them casualties of the jungle.

Secrets of an Aztec Temple

Book two of the Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series

Revenge isn’t always sweet… 

Isabella Mumphrey can’t leave a puzzle alone.  Much like Indiana Jones and MacGyver, she has a knack for getting out of sticky situations. This time she attempts to use her anthropology knowledge to uncover who is stealing priceless artifacts from an Aztec Temple in Mexico City.

Tino Konstantine is also in Mexico City. He has infiltrated a drug lord’s organization to find enough evidence to not only prove the man’s illegal activities, but to bring him down for numerous deaths. Namely those of Tino’s family.

But when their operations collide, and Isabella, strolls into the drug lord’s home, Tino is challenged with the choice of saving her or fulfilling his revenge.

Secrets of a Hopi Blue Star

Book three of the Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series

The truth doesn’t always set you free…

Landing in the underground world of human trafficking, anthropologist Isabella Mumphrey, a female Indiana Jones / MacGyver, learns her own past is as sordid as the predicament she’s uncovered.  No one is who she’d believed them to be—not her parents, her cousin, her aunt.

The only constant in her life is her fiancé, Tino Konstantine, and now their enemy is using her knowledge of the Hopi blue star to lure Tino to his death.

If yo can’t wait to see the covers or wish to purchase them, here is the link to their page on my website. https://www.patyjager.net/romantic-suspense/

My post next month should be informing you about my latest release from the Gabriel Hawke series. It was fun to write but a booger to get logistics correct. I had to call in help from my sister-in-law and my younger brother. More on that next month! There you go. I like to keep people in suspense and wondering….

Push the Limits by Paty Jager

I have written two mystery series with Native American characters, while I am not Native American. I’ve read books by Native American authors, have a friend who lives on the Colville Reservation with her Native American husband, and I have lived in an area that has so much Native American history I feel it seeps into you.

But I am facing my biggest challenge as a writer, now, when it is more politically correct to be of the same heritage as the characters you write.

I started slowly, with my heroine, Shandra Higheagle being only half Native American so I could have her raised without that influence and have her discover it as I did writing her story.

Paiute Dancer photo by me

But I felt the area where I grew up, needed more exposure about the people who lived and were stewards of the land before if was favored as lush feed for cattle. And that was how my character, Gabriel Hawke, came to be. He is of Nez Perce and Cayuse heritage. He is working as a State Trooper with the Fish and Wildlife Division in Wallowa County, the land where his ancestors summered and winter. While he hasn’t lived on the reservation since graduating high school, I feel I can pull off his loyalty to his ancestors and still have him respect his culture but not be fully immersed in it.

Now, as I am writing the last Shandra book and moving onto a new character, I have to tame the lump in my gut and start contacting people on the Umatilla Reservation. My next character will be living and working on the reservation. I will need first hand knowledge to make this character ring true and to make her not only show the life of someone trying to end the cycle of prejudice and move on, but also someone who values her people’s culture.

That my writer and reader friends is what I will be trying to achieve the next few months. Connecting with people who are willing to allow me into their world and to show a life that I am not a part of but believe in.

Wish me luck! And let me know if you have anyone on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation who would be willing to help me. I’m sending out feelers this week.