Hitting the Road to Write a Book

I’m heading on a road trip Wednesday to check out some locations I’ve written into the 4th book, The Squeeze, in the Spotted Pony Casino Mystery series. While I grew up close to the area and had quite a few trips to there, it has changed since I was a teenager.

I’m also going to the library in Pendleton to use their archives of the local paper to go through the motions my character will be doing in my book. And I need to see a restaurant and store that I use in the book. Then I’ll be headed to the Umatilla Reservation to drink in more of the atmosphere there. I plan to sit for an hour or more in the small store with a sandwich shop to watch interactions and if I’m lucky I’ll find someone to talk to about living there. After that, I’ll go to the museum and check out the books at the store in the museum to see if there are any books that I can use to learn more. And finally, I’ll sit in the casino an hour or two to soak up that atmosphere and add it to my story. I may even venture out to where I have my character’s house just to get view of it in a different season.

I’d hoped to visit with a tribal member that has been helping me with the culture of the reservation. He can’t get away to talk to me the days I could get to the Reservation.

It will be a five-hour drive from where I live to Pendleton. I’ll either spend the night at the casino if I don’t have enough time to do all I want, or if I do get my research finished and don’t have to go back, I’ll spend the night at my oldest daughter’s an hour from Pendleton and head home on Thursday.

This isn’t the first nor the last time I’ll be taking research trips for books. The 5th book in the series is set at an Indian casino on the Oregon Coast. I’m headed there in March with a friend to do research for that book.

And over the summer I took a trip with my sister-in-law for book 10 in my Gabriel Hawke series. Bear Stalker is now available in ebook and print and we are working on the audiobook.

Here is the blurb, cover, and buy link:

Book 10 in the Gabriel Hawke Series

Greed, Misdirection, and Murder

Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke’s sister, Marion, is on a corporate retreat in Montana when she becomes a murder suspect. 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.

https://books2read.com/u/mdjNzW

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