Voice as Unique as a Fingerprint

My mind spins so many different directions when I’m “stewing and brewing” the next book or chapter. The other day, as browsed the email of free photos from Depositphotos a vector caught my attention. It is in this post. I thought could I use that for anything, and poof! the idea for this post came to mind.

Everyone has a unique to them fingerprint. It is theirs and theirs alone.

The same can be said for a writer’s voice. Not their speaking voice, their style of writing. Some writers use long, elaborate words or sentences. They spin their tales with sinewy prose, weaving the tale in between the actual words on the page. Then there are others who use precise words, short sentences, and graphic descriptions.

No matter what the writer writes there is a telltale “fingerprint” to their writing. Think about some of your favorite authors. Why do you read each one of their books? Is it how the story is worded? The characters? The plotting?

Characters? Plotting? How can that be voice? Again, think about your favorite authors. Do the characters seem similar even if they have different names, backgrounds, and ethnicity? Every author puts a little of themselves into their main and sometimes secondary characters. They can’t help it. Otherwise, how would they be able to describe feelings, emotions, and even the setting around them, if they didn’t allow a bit of themselves to slip into the characters.

And Plotting- You can give five authors the same basic theme for a book and each one would put their own spin on how that theme or plot played out. Again, they would each put their knowledge, feelings, and imagination into that story, making it their own with their unique voice.

I’ve always thought of my writing as simple and engaging- not really having a memorable voice. However, many readers tell me they enjoy the simplicity of my writing. They can see the story as it unfolds and not have to guess what words mean. I take that as a compliment to my style. Especially, when I’ve had several people also say that my books brought them back to reading.

My true voice, I think, is that all my stories are about justice. Not just the bad guy getting what he deserves but also showing the injustices that are in the world. I will throw in a cause here and there in my books to bring it to the attention of my readers. And thankfully, they understand that is what I’m doing. I don’t preach. I reveal the injustice and leave it up to the reader to do more digging if it intrigues them. That is my voice. As unique to me as my fingerprints.

Coming at the end of this month, book 10 in my Gabriel Hawke series, Bear Stalker.

Greed, misdirection, and murder has Hawke rushing to track his sister in the Montana wilderness before she becomes the next victim.

Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke’s sister, Marion, is on a corporate retreat in Montana when she is suspected of murder. Running for her life from the real killer, she contacts Hawke for help. 

Hawke heads to Montana to find his sister and prove she isn’t a murderer. He hasn’t seen Marion in over twenty years but he knows she wouldn’t kill the man she was about to marry.

As they dig into possible embezzlement, two more murders, and find themselves trying to outsmart a wilderness-wise kidnapper, Hawke realizes his sister needs to return home and immerse herself in their heritage. Grief is a journey that must be traveled and knowing her fiancé had wanted Marion to dance again, Hawke believes their culture would help her heal.

You can pre-order it here:

https://books2read.com/u/mdjNzW

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone who reads this blog, writes for this blog, and guests on this blog has had a wonderful year reading all the unique and interesting posts. I know I enjoy each post for different reasons. Some are about how to write a mystery, some are about marketing, and some are about how the writer came up with the story, premise, characters. Some are vignettes about a writer’s life. There is always something interesting to learn from a post at Ladies of Mystery.

Today, as I write this post, I am starting a read through and edit pass before book 10 in the Gabriel Hawke series heads out to my critique partners. By the time you read this, the manuscript will be in the hands of my CPs and I will be fleshing out the next Spotted Pony Casino book.

Even with the holidays, I still have books in my head that want to get out. I have slowed down the last few months which has driven my on time, schedule-to-keep-self crazy! This book that is just now being read by critique partners was (on my white board) to be published by now. Life got in the way and while my disciplined self is kicking my backside for not getting it done on time, my family self is saying, it’s okay. Things happen and you begin to see that hanging out with friends and family are more important than getting that next book out on time.

And that is why, I backed off on my goals for 2023. Next year I have two wonderful trips planned. One with family and one with friends. They will take away a month and a half of writing time. And I plan to do more in-person events, which when you live as far away from where most in-person events happen, I have to add 2 extra days for travel.

I’m taking a marketing class while getting ready for company for Christmas and helping my daughter with a wedding 2 days after Christmas. Yes, life is always interesting!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Healthy Happy New Year! See you in 2023!

A Holiday Mystery Anthology

Last January, my author co-op, Windtree Press, had a quarterly meeting and it was decided we’d put out a mystery anthology, since we had 8 authors in the group who wrote mystery/suspense/thriller books. We chose to make it have a holiday theme and every story had to have or mention a dead body. That and the length were the guidelines.

We set dates by when the short stories had to be sent to the person editing (me) and when I had to have all the stories ready for the person formatting, and when they had to have it ready to publish. It was fun reading each authors stories and helping them where they needed to beef up the mystery or flesh out a character. Once the author and I were happy with the story, I then sent it on to another author in the group to proofread.

In the end we have 10 completely different, yet entertaining mystery stories.

CRIME NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY

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

https://books2read.com/u/b6zYgp

A Body on the 13th Floor by Paty Jager

Dela Alvaro, head of security for the Spotted Pony Casino, has a dead body in an elevator on New Year’s Eve. The unfortunate soul was stuck between the 12th and 14th floors when he met his demise.

This short story pulls together a good number of the cast from my Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries series. I had a fun time coming up with the plot and making it as interesting as I could in a short amount of time. I think all writers should not only write novel length stories but also write short stories to help hone their skills and learn to tell a story in few words but ones that can make an impact.

If you grab a copy, I hope you enjoy the mysteries!

What To Write

While I always have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, when I finished the latest Spotted Pony Casino book, I wasn’t sure which idea I should write next.

Should I just pick one of the titles? I have a list of gambling terms that I use for the titles in the Spotted Pony Casino series. Or should I use one of my ideas and figure out which term/title would work for it? I pondered this as I began the next Hawke book. I like to be thinking about several books ahead while I write the current one. It’s how I can finish up one and dive right into the next one, because I’ve been thinking about it in the back of my mind.

I had a little help from my subconcious.

One night as I was taking a shower a scene popped into my head and I knew which idea I’d be using. I got out of the shower and wrote the scene down. Now that I know the direction the next story is heading, I can pick one of the ten titles I have to go with it, and I can begin plotting the suspects and motives.

When I finish writing the current Hawke book, Bear Stalker.

Because I write two series, hopping from one to the next I have also been wondering which of my Hawke ideas would be the next book. There are times I can have two to three books in a series lined out in my head and on paper, but I’m working on book 10 in the Gabriel Hawke series and while I have three more ideas written down, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go.

The other night, just as I was about to drift off the opening scene for the next Hawke book trickled through my mind. I immediately grabbed the notebook by the bed, went into the bathroom and closed the door to not wake hubby and the puppy, and started writing it down.

As I wrote the opening scene, I realized the story would play out differently than I had originally planned for this scenario. I love when my brain figures out a better story line than what I’d first thought.

This new idea should make the readers who like when Hawke tracks in the mountains happy and will keep them wondering how many bodies Hawke will come across. 😉

When ideas come to me like this- out of the blue when I’m not trying to figure something out-I call them gifts. Because they are always better than what I had come up with while forcing myself to figure out a story line.

The mind is a wonderful thing. I hope we don’t lose our originality and creativity to machines.

Words are Power by Paty Jager

When I looked up the word “limbo” to make sure I was using it correctly, I found more than one meaning! That is what I love about words and using them to make stories. If you use a word one way it means one thing and the same word can mean something else when used in a different sentence.

The mystery of words has always fascinated me. When my, by one year, older than me brother started reading, I peered over his shoulder, capturing the words and discovering the sounds letters made if they were placed with this letter or a different letter.

Who came up with that? I mean over the centuries the various cultures and people came up with their own set of marks that made sense to them. But how did they distinguish the sounds each mark or letter made? How did they decide which letters together made which sounds?

For my Spotted Pony Casino mystery books, I’ve been incorporating Umatilla language words into the story. It helps to show the culture and bring a little more Indigenous feel to my characters who are Umatilla. I’ve listened to Youtube videos where they speak the language. It sounds so different from the words that are spelled out with unique characters.

The Indigenous languages were spoken long before the Anglo people arrived with their alphabet. How did they, the Indigenous people decide which of the Anglo alphabet worked for their words? I’ll have to ask a Umatilla linguist I know and see if he can help me with this, one of many question that stir around in my head at 2 AM the nights my brain won’t shut down.

Words are so useful and yet can also destroy a relationship, a person, even a country. Knowing the right words to string together is powerful. Or it can be destructive. Words are power!

Book three in the Spotted Pony Casino mysteries will be released in ebook and the following week in print.

Double Down

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 life but she’ll never be able to solve the secret of her father.  

Universal Buy Link:

https://books2read.com/u/4D6Wa7