Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Day in The Life by Paty Jager

Last Saturday was an outdoor day. I woke and hubby informed me the aspen tree that was coming back the third time after something ate it down, even after we'd surrounded it with pallets had been eaten down again.

cage around tree
The first order of business was to put the chicken wire, he'd bought the week before, around the tree so hopefully, whatever was eating it was larger than the holes in the chicken wire. He hauled the metal fence posts to where the trees are planted and I fed the horses. Then we commenced making cages for the two spots we had planted trees given to us from a friend. Hubby said if this doesn't work, we're going to have to purchase larger trees.

The other item we had talked about was moving the three big horses back to the hill. I won't have time to ride the next few weeks because fair season is going and I will be traveling and we will start on the second cutting of alfalfa.

Before we could move the horses we had to check the back fence and make sure the gate between us and the neighbor was closed. He had his cows on the hill for a while this spring.

loaded up in Sami
up the steep part
I had suggested we ride horses to check the fence, but hubby isn't a cowboy. He only tolerates the horses because I like them. We hopped in Sami: hubby, Mikey, Tink, and I. The first part of the trek is up the hill. The snow this winter and rain this spring had made ruts in the road and rolled rocks, making it a bumpy, jarring ride. Tink was wishing she had stayed home. ;) At the halfway point we noted the rock jack at the corner of the property was leaning. We'll have to go back another time and fix that but it isn't so bad the horses will get out.

We wove our way up to the top, a huge jack rabbit burst out from under a bush and Mikey was ready to give chase.

view halfway up looking back the way we came
We bounced, climbed, slid, and finally made it down the other side, to check the fence line and the gate. All was well down there. Then it was another weaving, sage crushing, rock climbing trip to get back up to the area by the rock jack to make our descent back down to the corral and barn area.

view from the backside of the hill - Steens in the distance
The water for the tank was started and we grabbed halters and lead ropes. Bud and Jammer were the first to get caught and enjoyed the wide open spaces. Lily took some persuading to be caught and then practically ran to the hill.

I opened the panels that had kept Apollo separated from the big horses. He went around the corral, found a good dusty spot, rolled and then jumped and frolicked for a bit.  George was unhappy he was left behind in the corral to keep Apollo company. But the two of them need to be on a limited diet.
George and Apollo
We had brought home some glass items the day before. I washed those up and put them away in my curio cabinet. Then I worked on writing projects, getting the next mystery ready for the narrator and some business stuff.

And that was my Saturday. I should have an interesting day or two next week as we will be cutting the alfalfa hay.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Road to Audio Books

Do you like to listen to audio books?  Back when I went to an RWA meeting every month that was 2 1/2 hours from where I lived I would listen to audio books on my drive. My husband doesn't like noise in a vehicle so he can hear the motor and tires and no if something is going wrong. That's what all those years as a truck driver did to him. ;)  I have listened to audio books when I walk, but I haven't downloaded an app to listen to books from my phone. I may one of these days so I don't have to use an MP3 player and carry my phone.

My road to getting my books made into audio has been slow.  Several years ago many authors I visite with at conferences said, audio books are the new thing. I had Marshal in Petticoats, my first historical western romance made into an audio book but the sales were so poor I didn't have the funds to do any more in that series.

Now my mystery books are selling well and a lot of the people who write romantic suspense and mystery said, get your books in audio. And I attended a workshop by narrator Ann M. Richardson and learned the ins and outs of getting a good narrator, what to pay, and how to help them along the way with narrating your book.

 I came home from that workshop ready to start putting out Shandra Higheagle Mystery books. I offered the 50/50 royalty split plus a per finished hour price to get a decent narrator. And I did! Ann Thompson a Cincinnati radio news reporter auditioned and her voice was perfect for Shandra and the other characters. She is a dream to work with, asking how to make this character stand out and taking my corrections well.

We now have three of the books available, Double Duplicity, Tarnished Remains, and Deadly Aim. I'm getting the next book, Murderous Secrets, ready. Because this book is set partially on the Colville Indian Reservation I have a more extensive list of pronunciations to get ready for Ann.

But along comes Draft to Digital one of the venues I use to sell my books and they have come up with a better for the author audio book program. We get more royalty than at Audible and a larger distribution. I'm now weighing the pros and cons of going with them for the next book and discussing it with my narrator.

Did you know that your first book from Audible is free?  If you haven't bought a book from them before you can get any of my mysteries for free as an audio book. Also, through Amazon, you can purchase the book and get a reduced price for the audio book. There are lots of easy ways to get quality audio books. 

Book three of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series now available in Audio!

Passion… Secrets… Murder...
The dead body of an illicit neighbor and an old necklace sends potter Shandra Higheagle on a chase to find a murderer. Visions from her dead grandmother reveal Shandra is on the right path, but the woods are full of obstacles—deadly ones.

Detective Ryan Greer believes Shandra’s dreams will help solve the mystery, but he also knows the curious potter could get herself killed. He’s determined that won’t happen.

Until he’s blind-sided. Are Shandra’s powers strong enough to save them both, or will the murderer strike again?

Audible / Amazon /  iTunes(hasn't shown up yet)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Day in My Life by Paty Jager

Last Friday was an interesting day. It started the night before when hubby went to check on the irrigation pivots before dark and him returning after I'd texted him to see if he was okay. It turned out one of the pivots had stopped and when he drove the pickup out to shine lights to see if it was stuck, the pickup became stuck. His words to me before he showered and went to bed were, "I'll need your help in the morning."

Friday morning I crawled out of bed when he woke, asking if he needed me now. He replied, not yet. I slid back into bed for another hour of sleep. ;)

After breakfast we doctored Apollo the pony and we all, Tink, Mikey, hubby and I, climbed into the backhoe, which hubby had loaded with small rocks while I was sleeping, added a pivot drive box, and headed to the alfalfa field.
Mikey and Tink in the backhoe
Twisted drive line
At the pickup, sunk up to it's back axles in a deep pivot track, I jumped in the pickup and hubby pushed with the backhoe bucket against the tailgate of the pickup and that vehicle was out of the track. We dumped and tossed the rocks into the pivot track to not have a repeat vehicle sinking since that was the route used quit often to un-stick the pivot. (forgot to take a photo of the stuck truck)

What he'd thought was a worn out drive box on the fourth tower from the end turned out to be a twisted and snapped drive line. A bolt had worked loose from one end, making the drive line bind up and eventually twist apart. We took off the broken drive line and headed back to the shop for a new drive line. Back at the field we installed the new drive line. While out there the farrier, the vet had called expressing that our pony needed his feet tended immediately, called. He wanted to know if we'd be home around noon. I said, yes.

new drive line installed
With the pivot back moving we returned the backhoe to the shop and brought the dogs and pickup to the house for an iced tea break. Did I mention it was hovering around 90 degrees at 9am on Friday?  During our tea break as we sat on the porch facing the alfalfa fields, two covey of quails came up over the slope and crossed the other end of the porch.

While waiting for the farrier to arrive, I cleaned the inside of the Dodge one ton. We were using it the next day to haul hay to Central Oregon and bring fertilizer and bluegrass straw back.

Noon rolled around and we were still waiting for the farrier. We had lunch and hubby hooked up the Dodge to the flatbed trailer.

The farrier arrived. He was new to us and we had several conversations while he worked on Apollo's hard as rock hooves. He suggested we water down Apollo's pen a couple days before he comes back so that his hooves will be softer. George also had his hooves trimmed and he was one happy burro! The farrier was also please with how polite George was and easy to trim.

The farrier was talking construction with hubby, who, invited him up to see the house. Finally by three, I had alone time but I was hot and not in the mood to write so I worked on the business side of things, with promotion and updating things. I forgot hubby had told me to come pick him up at the shop in 30 minutes. An hour later, he text asking if I remembered to pick him up. oops! I jumped in Sami and rattled down to the shop. Then we went out to the North pivot's control box and he sped up the pivot so it would get by the area in the field it tends to get stuck over night and he wouldn't' have to worry about that while we were in Central Oregon on Saturday.

I cooked all of dinner outside on the barbecue to keep the house cool. It was sirloin steak, roasted potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. Turned out pretty darn good!

After dinner I packed the clothes we'd need for one night and the reunion dinner and went to bed early. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Covering a Romance Book

I would have to say I spend a quarter of my online time looking at covers on books of the same genre I write and looking for photos that I think will work on my book covers.

Over the years, I've heard many authors with big publishers say, I gave them the descriptions of my hero and heroine and my blonde heroine has black hair and my cowboy has on sneakers.

It is hard to find the photos that depict a story or the characters to put on a cover. Especially romance books. You want people who look like the characters, but you don't want to make them so distinguishable that the reader is thrown off by something you describe in the book that doesn't match the people. I've heard many readers say they like to visualize the characters in their mind and sometimes their depiction isn't anywhere close to the models on the cover. I like to use the pose that to me shows the character(s), then make sure they have period or vocation clothing and the same color hair as my hero or heroine. Their features don't have to be distinctive because those small things are what the reader adds to their perception of the couple.  Am I right readers?

Lately, for the romance covers, as soon as I get an idea of the hero and heroine, I start scouring the stock photo sites, looking for the perfect hero, heroine or couple in a poise that shows the heat of the story.

I was happy with the couple for Catch the Rain which you can find in the Cowboy Six Pack box set:

Running from her past, Kitty Baxter catches a glimpse of her future—if she’s brave enough to believe in herself and the kind-hearted stranger who claims she deserves love. 
Focused on setting up his new veterinarian practice, Zach MacDonald becomes sidetracked by a karaoke singing beauty with a secret. He sees what others don’t, and becomes determined to make Kitty see that anyone can learn to catch the rain.

Period Images sent out an email saying they had some new Victorian images and I found the heroine for Savannah the first Silver Dollar Saloon book.

Savannah Gentry has lost everything due to her mother’s greediness. Her father is dead, their mansion and everything in it is now owned by a banker twice her age who wants her for his wife. Knowing her only chance is to find the half-brother she only learned about at her father’s death, she sets out for Shady Gulch, Dakota Territory.

After hiding in an outhouse to keep from being killed by his own gang and the law, Topeka Kid died and Larkin Webster was reborn.  When Savannah Gentry, sister to the owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon, stumbles off the train and into his arms, he chases the excitement he once knew as an outlaw. This time, his heart won’t listen to his head.  Loving this woman may end his career as a preacher, but it will make his life a challenge until the day he is put in the ground.

I'll also have another contemporary western novella, Eight Seconds to Love, coming out in September. I found the perfect couple and pose for this book also at Period Images.

Jared McIntyre can’t believe his eyes. The bull rider brought into his ER is none other than his best friend’s tomboy cousin, Lacey Wallis. The girl he couldn’t get out of his head the last fifteen years. During his tour in Iraq he lost another thrill-seeking woman and he isn’t about to let this one destroy her life. 

Lacey Wallis is injured during the bull ride that moves her up in the rankings to go to National Finals Rodeo.  Her dream. But the guy she had a crush on when she was thirteen is back in her life, and trying his darnedest to make her give up on the bulls and get her adrenaline rush from him.