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.


On The Road

As you are reading this, I’m off on a research trip for the next Gabriel Hawke novel. This one is set in Montana. I have an place in the middle of the two areas I need to research.

This story started about 5 years ago, before I had even started writing the Gabriel Hawke series. My husband and I were driving from the south to the north of Montana headed to visit my cousin in near Flathead Lake. As we followed this lake, I looked out and spotted a resort on an island in the lake. My first thought was “what a great place to have a writers retreat!”

A photo from when I was in Montana before. This is south of the lake.

That island and building kept coming back to me and when I decided on the premise of book 10 in the series, I knew that resort would be in the story.

I didn’t know the name of it and hubby and I were of a different opinion of which road we’d been on. One of my oldest daughter’s friends lives and works in Helena, MT. I contacted her and asked if she’d seen the place on her weekend drives. She knew the place and sent me a link to their website. I had been right! It was off the road I had said we’d driven up to my cousin, not the road, hubby had thought. Score one for me! That doesn’t happen often when it comes to driving and roads since hubby was a truck driver for 30 years.

With the website I looked up the island and the resort. I had hoped to stay there one night and get a feel for the place. Not at $2000 a night! So then I emailed and asked if I could just come hang out for a couple of hours (you have to get there by boats that are run by the resort). I explained I was a writer and wanted to use the resort for a couple of scenes in my book.

The person who wrote back to me asked if I was the author who had requested the same a while back. I said no. When I told her when I’d be in the area, she said there would be guest at the resort and no one else was allowed. But she would be happy to answer my questions and send me any photos I might need. You can bet after I go scope it out from the side of the lake, I’ll have more questions for her. Luckily it is only being used as the place where Hawke’s sister is attending a corporate retreat and it is more of a starting point for the story than a main setting.

The other place I’ll be visiting is the Flathead Indian Reservation. I’m debating on where the sister will run to, the reservation or the wilderness. That will depend on what I find out on my trip.

Right now, I’m pleased to say that book 9, Owl’s Silent Strike, is now available in ebook and print. My narrator is working on the audiobook.

Unexpected snowstorm…

Unfortunate accident…

And a body…

What started out as a favor and a leisurely trip into the mountains, soon turns State Trooper Gabriel Hawke’s life upside down. The snowstorm they were trying to beat comes early, a horse accident breaks Dani Singer’s leg, and Hawke finds a body in the barn at Charlie’s Lodge.

Hawke sets Dani’s leg, then follows the bloody trail of a suspect trying to flee the snow drifted mountains. Hawke is torn between getting the woman he loves medical care and knowing he can’t leave a possible killer on the mountain.

Before the killer is brought to justice, Dani and Hawke will put their relationship to the test and his job on the line.

universal buy link: https://books2read.com/u/bw19DG