A New Year, A New Excitement! by Paty Jager

Funny kidsI feel like the little kid who has a secret and can barely keep from blurting it out. And I don’t really have a secret, but I do have three new Shandra Higheagle books that have me bouncing in my desk chair as I think about all the possibilities in the stories. And I will start writing the new mystery series this year. By mid-year I’ll start revealing bits and pieces about Gabriel Hawke, my new sleuth.

While I started out 2018 with a head cold given to me by my adorable grandchildren, I am beginning to pick up steam and getting more and more things accomplished in a day. That is what makes me happy and excited. The more I can accomplish, the more I can show my readers what I’ve been working on.

I know readers get excited about the next book in a series that they love, but writers, do you also get excited about revealing a new book to readers?  I’m giddy thinking about the book I’m working on, Artful Murder, and the other Shandra books that will come out this year, and I’m giddy knowing I get to start a journey with a new character.

Starting a new series and getting to know the main character(s) is like dating or getting to know someone who will ultimately become your friend.  First you see their physical qualities. Do they have flaws? Does that make you nervous or curious? Then you get to learn their personality. Is it flat, humorous, dark? Are they someone you think you could get along with? Do you want to spend time with them or do you want to learn more about them but keep them at a distance? How do they treat others? Animals? Do you like their voice or does it grate on you? What do they think of the subjects you are concerned about?

These are all the questions I’ll be asking my new character as I slowly build him in my mind and get ready to start his first book. But the fun part will be introducing him in book twelve of the Shandra Higheagle Mysteries. It will be interesting to see what Shandra thinks of Hawk and how they work together to solve the death of a hiker.

An FYI, you can now purchase Murderous Secrets, book 4 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series in audio book at these audiobook outlets.

AudibleAmazonAppleNook

And these:

audio book vendors

If you listen to audio books and put up reviews, leave your email in the comments section, and I’ll send you a code to download Murderous Secrets from Audible US or UK.

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photo source: Deposit Photos

Every Event is a Learning Experience by Paty Jager

20171203_125615December 3rd I had the privilege of attending a 75 author signing event that had been held for 50 years at the Oregon Historical Society building in downtown Portland, Oregon.

I was hesitant to send in an application when I learned of the event but the application said they were looking for Oregon authors who had a book published in 2017 regardless of genre.  I entered books 8 and 9 in my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series and the first book of an older historical Native American romance trilogy. They said you could have up to three books and as long as one was set in 2017they were good with that.

When the  email came stating I had been accepted, I immediately ordered books and began to get excited for the event. It was different than most I’ve attended and was at ta place I’ve been wanting to visit for years, given the other genre I write is historical western romance. By being a signing author we received one year free use of the facility for research. That was an added bonus to me.

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They had us set out three to an 8ft table, so we were elbow to elbow and you had to be friendly with your neighbors. Almost the whole long side of one set of tables were mystery, thriller, suspense authors. One writer, say, “Welcome to Murderer’s Row,” as people walked by.  The readers for this type of book were drawn in while other people made a wide circle from our tables.

I learned that attending an event such as this, you don’t take books 8 & 9 of a series. The authors whose 2017 release was the second, third, or fourth book in the series, sold the most books as readers would purchase all the books in their series.  I will probably go back next year with my new historical western series and then in 2019, I can go with the first books of my new mystery series.

As a mystery reader, do you prefer starting at the beginning of a series, even if the stories can be read as a standalone?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Holiday Reads or Not? by Paty Jager

paty shadow (1)I’m not one of those people who has to buy every romance or mystery book that deals with a holiday. In fact, over the 50+ years that I’ve been a reader,  I’ve had one Nora Roberts set of romance books that were Christmas books that I read every year in December, but I didn’t read any other Christmas books. Then a friend wrote a Thanksgiving novella. I pull that out and read it in November. But that’s about it for reading holiday themed books.

And yet, I seem to write a lot of holiday themed books. In my romance books I’ve written three Christmas Stories, a 4th of July, New Year’s, Halloween, and Valentine story.

In my mysteries, I’ve now written a Christmas and a Halloween story. Last November I put out Yuletide Slaying with Sheba the pony-sized mutt as the character who discovered the dead body.

And this month, going with the theme of an animal finding the body in the holiday stories, Lewis, Crazy Lil’s orange cat, finds the body in Haunting Corpse, book 9 of my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series.

I found while planning this book, I didn’t really think about the holiday. My mind was focused on the murder and who could have done it. The Halloween party was merely used as a means to gather information for Shandra and Ryan and the reader. But I had fun writing the party, the costumes, and the conversations.

Do you find as a reader that you like to read between the lines of the conversation and character’s actions, to try and discover the murderer? Or do you just let yourself go with the flow of the story and be surprised at the end?  Writer’s do you try to make your characters’ conversations relevant to giving clues or do you just write what comes to mind and drop a hint here or there?

Here is the blurb and cover of my newest Shandra Higheagle Mystery.

Haunting Corpse 5x8Desertion…Wrath…Murder

A runaway bride, murder, and arson has Shandra Higheagle sleuthing again. Sorting through the debris of her best friend’s childhood, Shandra believes she must solve the murder before her friend becomes the next victim.

Stumbling upon a dead body, Detective Ryan Greer is determined to bring the killer to justice before Shandra becomes too entangled in her friend’s dysfunctional past. He hopes he’s not too late. Her deceased grandmother has already visited her dreams, putting Shandra in the middle of his investigation and danger.

Universal Link – https://www.books2read.com/u/3J0ZWX

 

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Modus Operandi by Paty Jager

canstock keyhole knife graphicModus Operandi: Noun – is someone’s habits of working, particularly in the context of business or criminal investigations, but also more generally. It is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as method or mode of operation.

This is where I’m at in the stage of writing my next Shandra Higheagle mystery. I have the victim, but I’m figuring out why and who would want the victim dead.  And so I turned to one of the books that helps me with my mysteries. Modus Operandi: a writers guide to how criminals work by Mauro V. Corvasce and Joseph R. Paglino.

Here is what I’m looking at: The chapter on homicide and the reasons a person might kill.

Passion Killing – This takes place usually without much forethought or planning. it could be an argument gets out of control and one of the two people concerned gets caught up in rage and uses whatever weapon is close at hand.  These are usually domestic assault, homicide-suicide, or a disgruntled employee.

Premeditated Domestic Killing  – This could be one spouse killing another for insurance money or other financial gain.  It is also known as profit murder.  Or because of threats of divorce or personal disclosures. They usually act like the grieving spouse  even though they have the murder planned out and prearranged scenarios to cover up their involvement.

The cover-up murder – In the perpetrator’s mind, they may feel justified in killing people to cover up other acts of crime and violence.

Sex Offenders – Some sex offenders will kill at the conclusion of the sexual assault or even to obtain their sexual gratification.

There are also serial killers, contract killing, and ritualistic cults. These last three reasons won’t work for the story I’m building.  The sex offender won’t work either.

In my mind the murder has to be one of passion. Because the murder is happening at a small event- a bridal shower. The victim is a friend of the bride-to-be. Someone she grew up with. So the scenario for when and where the murder happens is at a remote place with all women. Which would lead one to believe that the killer should be one of the women… but I want to put a twist on the story.  It will be a crime of passion, but maybe, just maybe, there is someone lurking in the woods….

This is the best part of writing a blog post. It lets me air out my thoughts and have the real story flood in!

Thanks for helping me!

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Killing Off a Series by Paty Jager

book hangingI’ve been contemplating when to end my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series.

Book eight, Fatal Fall, released recently. Book nine is in the planning stages, and I feel I could get another five or six books out before the story/characters go stale.

However, I’ve already had people asking me when am I ending the series.  My comeback, “Why, are you tired of the characters?”  I’m not tired of writing about Shandra, Sheba, Ryan, Lil, and the cast of characters who live in Huckleberry and Weippe County. I do worry about the people who complain, you can’t kill anymore people off in that small area.

But really, this is fiction. Is it that hard for a reader to suspend belief that so many murders could happen in an area and with the same amateur sleuth being involved?

I have taken Shandra to the reservation a time or two and plan to have another story or two set there. She and Ryan are going to a police conference and an art show in two different books. Kind of like Jessica Fletcher moving to New York or going to book related events out of Cabot Cove. 😉

The other reason I am contemplating the demise of the series, is because I want to introduce the amateur sleuth for the next series in one of the Shandra books before the Higheagle series ends. But I want to wait until the last or next to last book.

And yes, it will be another Native American character. I am still working out the details of him, where he lives, what he does for a living, and how I can connect it to multiple murders without getting into the “too many deaths” in one small area.

How do you gauge when a series has run it’s course?  Have you read a series or two that went on too long? Do you think there is a magic number of when a series should end or is it best to leave it up to the story and characters?

I would love to hear readers and writers thoughts on these questions.

Books 1,2, & 3, Double Duplicity, Tarnished Remains, and Deadly Aim are out in audio book.

Here is the info on Fatal Fall:

Fatal Fall 5x8Book eight of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
Avarice…Family…Murder

When the doctor is a no-show for her appointment, Shandra Higheagle becomes wrapped up in another murder. The death of the doctor’s elderly aunt has everyone questioning what happened and who’s to blame. Shandra’s dreams soon tell her she’s on the right path, but also suggests her best friend could be in grave danger.

Detective Ryan Greer knows not even an illness will keep Shandra from sneaking around, and he appreciates that. Her insight is invaluable. When she becomes embroiled deeper in the investigation, he stakes out the crime scene and waits for the murder to make a tell-all mistake.

But will he be able to act fast enough to keep Shandra or her friend from being the next victim?

Universal Link – https://www.books2read.com/u/bQZ5d7

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Shiny new release! by Paty Jager

paty shadow (1)This is late! I wrote it and thought I’d scheduled the post to go live yesterday, but no, it was still in my folder. So, after a day delay, here is my post!

The 8th book of my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series is now available in ebook and print. This time around Shandra is not only trying to discover who killed the doctor’s elderly aunt, but she’s also trying to protect her friend who could be engaged to a killer.

This book was fun to write, in that, I had my usual list of suspects charted out and was leaning toward one person, then about a third of the way, I started leaning another way, and at the end, I typed a scene that came out of nowhere and “Bam!” who dunnit popped into my mind so clear, it made me wonder if I was grasping at straws. So, I private messaged my niece on Facebook. She is making a series bible for me and knows the secondary characters pretty well in my series. We discussed my pros and cons for the revealing of the killer. After I finished talking to her, it was clear I had the right person.

The fun part; after my niece read the book, she commented, “Even though I knew who you’d picked as the killer, I was having my doubts throughout the book thinking you changed your mind.”

That means I did my job, throwing in enough subtle clues and red herrings that even someone who knew the truth was wondering.

That my friend’s is why I write mysteries, I love the dance of putting out a story that keeps the reader entertained and guessing!

Fatal Fall 5x8Book eight of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
Avarice…Family…Murder

When the doctor is a no-show for her appointment, Shandra Higheagle becomes wrapped up in another murder. The death of the doctor’s elderly aunt has everyone questioning what happened and who’s to blame. Shandra’s dreams soon tell her she’s on the right path, but also suggests her best friend could be in grave danger.

Detective Ryan Greer knows not even an illness will keep Shandra from sneaking around, and he appreciates that. Her insight is invaluable. When she becomes embroiled deeper in the investigation, he stakes out the crime scene and waits for the murder to make a tell-all mistake.

But will he be able to act fast enough to keep Shandra or her friend from being the next victim?

Amazon / Nook / Apple / Kobo / Print

 

Here are the places you can connect with me:

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty’s Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest

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Fingerprinting by Paty Jager

canstockphoto17652788My current work in progress has been interesting and fun. I’ve had numerous conversations with forensic and law enforcement employees about fingerprints.

While the fingerprints on an object doesn’t help find the killer in my book, the illusion they are important draws the reader into a speculation of what-if and hopefully lets an important piece of the puzzle become a throw-away thought.

What I discovered while asking questions about how fingerprints are stored and who might have access to the fingerprints came from a variety of people and, not surprisingly, they all had a bit different take on it all.  Which led me to believe, I could do what I wanted in discovering who had their hands on the weapon. 😉

When I looked up fingerprinting, I discovered there are many jobs where fingerprints are required.  Medical, educational, and of course law enforcement. But also, companies that contract government work.

What I wanted to know dealt with my medical examiner, a local doctor given the honorary title and honor of pronouncing people dead, and a person who came from another country but had gained U.S. citizenship thirty years ago. Would they have fingerprints in “the system”? The answers were varied on the M.E.. Yes, most would have had their prints taken, but they wouldn’t be held in a local police database or AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). They also said my new citizen would not have had fingerprints taken unless arrested or had a job that required it, and they would only be in the system if arrested.

So millions of people have their prints taken for jobs. What happens to those prints?

According to the law enforcement people I contacted, the employees either send the prints to a local print collection business or they are sent to AFIS. If the prints come up clean, the ten-print cards are then either put in the employees file or trashed. They don’t go into a national system.

So, if you haven’t done a crime and you are fingerprinted, you have nothing to worry about. And your prints shouldn’t wind up in any databases. But what if you had a crooked person running one of the databases, and they did keep your prints to use when committing crimes????

That just may be another book!

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photo source: © Can Stock Photo / peshkova