Smart Girls Read Romance





Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.






Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Trends by Suzanne Rossi

Hi, everyone.

Ever notice how we seem to be governed by trends? We read where such-and-such is hot right now, and then jump on the bandwagon so we can appear to be "with it." To a certain extent, we're all guilty of this.

Let's begin with fashion. Who remembers bell-bottoms? Yep, had to have every pair of slacks or jeans with a flare on the bottom of the leg to be in style. And how about platform shoes? Come on, raise your hand if you ever fell off them and either sprained or broke your ankle. (Hand raised here. I sprained my ankle twice--first one, then the other. I'm a slow learner.) Oh, don't forget mini-skirts and hot pants. I wore both even though my body shape simply wasn't designed for them. Those two articles of clothing and thunder thighs just don't go together. Stirrup pants? I actually liked them. I could wear my boots and not worry about the slacks bagging around my knees. I could go on and on--padded shoulders, chunky-heeled and exaggerated pointy-toes shoes, elastic waistbands on everything--but then this posting would be longer than forever. However, have no fear. Fashion trends ebb, flow, and inevitably return.

Home decorating is another area of trends--only this one can be expensive to keep up with in the long run. The use of bright colors in various rooms of the house comes to mind. My current master bath is lime green. Since the entire bathroom needs to be reconfigured, I won't bother to paint. Instead, I just close my eyes. Then some designer got the idea that a bright color would look great on just one wall of a room. Eventually, neutral colors replaced the garish encouraging us to paint our bedrooms boring beige. Wallpaper was a must have in the 70s and 80s. And kitchens didn't escape. We've gone from white cabinetry to dark to white again. Granite has replaced formica, and quartz (which is really a man-made substance) is replacing granite. Brass was all the rage for a while, then polished nickel took over. Brass and gold are now making a comeback.

And let's not forget food trends. I think this is the one that irritates me the most. One day, somebody decided we all need to go fat-free. Red meat became our enemy. Lowering our fat intake is a good idea, but fat is also what makes our food taste good. So, food companies used a substitute--sugar. And since sugar was expensive, they switched to high-fructose corn syrup. We were fat-free, but gaining weight at an alarming rate. Then a few years ago, quinoa hit the store shelves along with the healthy hype that went with it. I tried it once. Once was enough. Worst stuff I've ever put in my mouth. After quinoa, kale invaded our palates. I can eat kale if it's cooked and mixed with other ingredients, but raw or just sauteed alone--no thanks. Now the big thing is cauliflower. You can't find a recipe magazine without a dozen different ways to cook the stuff. I like cauliflower--raw and cooked. Many people are using it as a substitute for rice. Okay, that's healthy, but frankly, would rather eat the rice. Still others are ricing the veggie and making it into pizza crust. Hold on! Sorry, but when I eat pizza, I want real crust.

Even our own profession has trends. Fifty years ago, point of view wasn't nearly as important as it is today. Same with backstory. In 2019 even Agatha Christie, Leon Uris, and James Michener would find it hard to get published. Whatever happened to Steampunk? Or Urban Fantasy? Or New Adult? Haven't heard much about those sub-genres lately. The problem with writing trends is that by the time an author gets the story written, edited, and published, another trend has taken its place.

So what will be the next trend? Will hats reappear? Hope so. I look good in hats. Will concrete furniture be the latest rage? I've actually seen photos of this in some overly-designed houses. Maybe we'll all be enticed to eat something we'd never consider eating. And will romance novels ever lose their popularity and go out of style? Lord, I hope not or else we're all out of jobs.

Do you remember a trend you'd like to see return? Or one you hope never darkens the horizon again? Let's hear about it.

Have a good February and I'll be back in March. See you then.

Suzanne

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Priceless Gift--the Love of Reading



I am a writer because of my parents. A love of reading and the written word ranks high among my earliest memories. Dad told wonderful stories and recited from his favorite authors. I clambored for the Jaberwocky, and relished the sound of those words. My long-suffering mother, also a story teller, read to us. She took me and my younger brothers (our baby sister missed these excursions) on weekly trips to the library. I emerged loaded with books, the rule being that I could check out as many as I could carry. The top of the stack hitched under my arched chin and my skinny arms stretched to my knees as I staggered to the car. At home, I climbed into bed with my treasures, like a ship in a sea of stories, and sailed away. I never discarded any, but read them all. Even the biography of Lottie Crabtree.


My sharp-witted father, a college English professor, shared his passion for literature and overflowing book shelves with me. I raided his trove in my teens and grew up on the classics. His loved authors and poets were familiar friends. Mark Twain, Charles Dickens. Emily Bronte, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson--the reclusive poet to whom he compared me, as I’d hole up in my room reading and writing for hours--and countless other greats filled his shelves. I didn't find any of these authors too wordy, but devoured their offerings, though I did struggle a bit with the Russian authors. Dostoevsky comes to mind.

Both Mom and Dad encouraged my writing from the start, which for years was solely non-fiction. Mom sent a country vignette I'd penned (literally) about ducklings to Southern Living Magazine that won me a phone call from the editor of their freelance column and much encouragement. My dear mother typed up all my hand written pages, entrusted to her in manila envelopes labeled 'Guard With Life', until I finally acquired a computer and learned myself. She even typed my early novels when I embarked on my journey into historical/paranormal romance -- one reason I refer to her as long-suffering. She still proof reads for me. Mom and Dad have cheered me on, assisted in research, and celebrated each milestone along the way. They heralded every new book. That winding journey now encompasses twenty plus years and titles. Dad gave me high praise when he compared me to Daphne Du Maurier after reading my haunting mystery romance, Somewhere My Love

(Dad and me in our shirts. He didn't 'silently' correct grammar :)

My new release, Civil War time travel romance, Secret Lady, came out from The Wild Rose Press on January 9th, only a handful of days after my dearly loved father died. Of course, he knew of this undertaking from the copious research I did and the sharing we had together about the Civil War. Our ancestors were heavily involved in that enormous upheaval, and some were lost. My dad’s great-grandfather was in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Amazingly, Grandpa Finley survived or none of us would be here. Dad helped with some of the backstory for Secret Lady. My beloved brother, Chad, died suddenly in the middle of my writing the story, which made finishing it a challenge. Secret Lady is dedicated to Chad, and I'm saddened not to share this latest release with Dad. He would be so proud. Even though he has gone where I cannot yet follow, I sense his loving presence. He knows.


Secret Lady Blurb:
At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house "warbles" between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she'd paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan's Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

"Beth Trissel is a master storyteller. If you love romance, history, and the right amount of paranormal suspense and magic, this is the series for you!" ~Colleen M. Cheesbro
"I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read Secret Lady. Ms. Trissel never disappoints! I highly recommend Secret Lady to anyone looking for a sweet historical romance" ~Long and Short Reviews
***Secret Lady is available in print and kindle at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z/
In eBook from all major online booksellers.

For more on me follow my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Yikes! I'm Late! by Vonnie Davis

I'm sorry to be late posting this month. I'd planned on writing it yesterday so it would be up early this morning. But … life happened. I found out on Facebook yesterday morning  that Random House is closing all its eBook only lines, which includes LoveSwept Romances, one of the lines I write for.

I was surprised.

Gobsmacked!

Why hadn't we been told by the company? Or by our editors?

I emailed Sue, telling her what I read on Facebook and was any of it true. She replied that it was and she was job hunting as we spoke. Did I know of any editor openings anywhere since I write for other publishers in addition to them?

Now this is where my … a-hem … bitchy side wanted to say, "Yes, but you edit too old and probably wouldn't edit to market." Which is what she often told me when I submitted. That I wrote too old and needed to learn to write to market, which is for the Millenials who don't understand difficult words or can't keep track of a large cast of characters.

But I didn't. My nicer side "shooed" the bitchy side away.

She told me my six books with them would be "safe" until my sales dropped below 300 for two  6 month pay periods. They would cease doing any promo for those books. But safe to her was not safe to me. I can't get my rights back until a book sells less than 600 books per year. I dug out my contract and sure enough, there was the clause she spoke of. At the time of signing, I'd read it and thought, "Yeah, but this is Penquin Random House. They won't shut down this line."

I felt like I'd gone to work, finding the gates chained shut and a sign hung up saying, "Closed. Moved to China."

Sue said Random House is going to focus on their big sellers, you know, those $25. hardbacks. Those will continue to have eBook versions for $12 or 14.99 but no more lines exclusive to eBooks only.

I'm still waiting for an email notification from the publisher, but none as yet. That disappoints me.

Last night, I began to calm down. For me, it wasn't the end of the world. I can still write and I'll find other publishers or publish more books myself. But those thousands and thousands of people affected by the government's shut down … NOW, they really have problems. My thoughts should focus on their plight.

So, yes, readers of romance, we authors can be cast to the wayside, too. Adrift. Wondering what do we do now?


One of my self-published titles. https://www.amazon.com/Beary-Sassy-Black-Hearts-Desired-ebook/dp/B07KGJQLJK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1548523815&sr=8-7&keywords=vonnie+davis+kindle+books
https://www.amazon.com/Beary-Sassy-Black-Hearts-Desired-ebook/dp/B07KGJQLJK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1548523815&sr=8-7&keywords=vonnie+davis+kindle+books
www.vonniedavis.com


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Panning for Gold in Alaska - by Judy Ann Davis


On one of our many trips to Alaska to visit family, my husband and I had the opportunity to take the train to Fairbanks, learn about the Klondike Gold Rush, and try our hand at panning for gold.

Gold flakes left from panning
The Klondike Gold Rush was a migration of an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in northwestern Canada between 1896 and 1899. Gold was discovered on August 16, 1896. When the news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors.

In order to prevent starvation, Canadian authorities required each prospector to have a year’s supply of food along with their panning equipment before they started through the ports of Dyea and Skagway in Southeast Alaska. They could then follow either the Chilkoot or White Pass Trails to the Yukon River and sail down to the Klondike. Since all their equipment weighted close to a ton, it had to be carried in stages. Often, because of the mountainous terrain and cold climate, those who persisted didn’t arrive until summer 1898.

Gold panning is supposedly a simple process. Once a suitable placer deposit is located, alluvial deposits are scooped into a flat pan, where they are then gently agitated forcing the gold flakes to sink to the bottom of the pan. The gold pan is now most commonly used to locate a richer paying area by sampling, so that larger production equipment can be brought into the locations to work the ground to recover the gold. Almost all gold mining today is performed with modern heavy equipment.

However, panning is not as simple as you might think. Once you have the silty material in your pan with the water included, you must get the heavy gold particles to settle to the bottom of the pan by vigorously shaking the sediment-water mixture, then reducing the residue in the pan by gently washing off the top layers of material.

Heading up the Chilkoot Pass
Paige, my daughter-in-law, and I found that there is much more to this process than meets the eye. The process of settling the gold to the bottom, holding the pan at the correct angle, and washing away the sedimentary top materials is not as easy as it looks. Luckily for me, a young man who was a tour guide at the dig, showed us how to do it. Actually, he took the pan from my inept hands and helped me get to the gold.

Collectively, my husband, my son, Paige and I panned about $35.00, but decided to put all the flakes into a pendant which we gave to Paige. Yes, we had to buy the pendant. See how easily tourists are easily hoodwinked into parting with their hard-earned cash?

Now, every time I read a novel about early settlers panning for gold, I think to myself—good luck with that!
                                             ~~ * ~~            ~~ * ~~
For a chance to #WIN an #ECHODOT or #KINDLE Fire, please check out the tasks on the Rafflecopter Link below. Mine is the fifth task down. "Follow Judy Ann Davis on Bookbub."
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a31/? - GOOD LUCK! Ending February 4th.



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Are you up for fun new challenges in 2019?


Now that it’s 2019, do you have any lifestyle changes you’d like to make? If so, New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to begin these changes. 



Besides eating healthier and exercising more, here are several ideas I’m planning to implement:

Meet new people.
Meeting new people is said to be important for your well-being and state of mind. Besides acquiring knowledge, meeting people can be interesting and fun.

Watch less TV. 
My husband and I are not big TV watchers, and I’d much prefer to read a good book. Research shows that the average person watches a lot of TV. That time can be used to develop and learn new skills. And reading is an excellent exercise for your brain. J

Learn a new language.
Since writing A Portuguese Christmas, I’ve wanted to learn Portuguese. I’m hoping to begin learning the language in my spare time.

What are you goals for 2019? Please leave your comments below.


Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable shih tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovations. 
 
Follow Josie on Bookbub and “like” her Author Facebook page.
 
 

If you enjoy reading, and love free books and ARC’s, join my VIP Facebook group today!

 Looking for a great January read? A Portuguese Christmas is available here.

FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


Sunday, January 20, 2019

TELL ME, OLD HOUSE, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?

Musings by Laurean Brooks

Do empty houses get lonely? Do they retain memories of the families who lived in them? Have you noticed how quickly a house deteriorates after the last family moves out? Below is my one-sided conversation with the house I grew up in. One-sided because the old house was unable to speak.

Old house, what do you hold dear from bygone days? Do you long for the laughter of children, and garbled conversations as our family gathered around your table? Do you miss the sounds of Daddy's Gibson guitar as he strummed and crooned songs like Detroit City and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry? Or Mama bustling about the kitchen, banging pots and pans, whistling as she prepared our meals?



Do you miss the aroma of bacon and eggs frying in the iron skillet, or the smell of coffee brewing? Do you recall the vanilla scent of a yellow cake baking in the oven? Do you miss the family hovering over the Warm Morning stove to warm our hands on cold days? Or the smell of wood smoke from logs inside the stove?




Did you hear our grumblings when we were handed hoes and straw hats and told to chop grass in the garden? Do you remember our subdued whining on chilly Saturdays when Daddy laid the crosscut saw in the two-wheel trailer hitched to the old Farm-All tractor? He would yell, “Hop on, kids. Let's go cut firewood!”




Do you remember how the old Bantam rooster crowed each morning at the crack of dawn? Or the sound of mother hens clucking to her yellow chicks? Did you hear the hens cackling after they laid eggs?




Do you miss the chirping of katydids and the croaking of frogs outside your windows on summer nights? Or the twinkling stars and the flickering lightning bugs? Do you remember the time Ralph climbed high up in the majestic oak to tie a rope for our Tarzan-type swing? Oh, the hours of sheer delight that rope swing provided as we perfected the art of soaring through the air and arcing around that giant tree!

Did you rejoice with us at birthdays and Christmas? We didn't have much, but we had each other, and we made special memories. Do you recall when Daddy fixed up a second-hand bicycle and painted it blue, for my twelfth birthday? Mama decided I was old enough to bake my own birthday cake. She helped me. When I asked for pink icing, she dropped in red food coloring. Later, we cut a watermelon that Daddy and I had pulled from the vine just after dawn. He put it in the freezer to cool.

Did you weep when brothers Johnny and Ralph left on buses to join the military, then across the ocean to the Vietnam conflict? Do you remember when the letters from Johnny stopped coming and our family knew something was wrong? Do you recall how the months passed as we prayed, holding onto hope that he was still alive, but at the same time refused to vocalize our fears?

Did you shed tears of rejoicing with us when the letter came announcing Johnny was being treated in an overseas hospital for battle injuries, and he would soon be coming home?

Did you cry when each child left—first Johnny, then Ralph, Jewell, me, followed by Paul, and finally Ruthie and Stanley--to make our way in the world? Did you grieve when Daddy died within your walls? Decades later, on that hot, humid day when Mama was moved to an assisted living home, did you know when she would never return? Did you realize you would never again hear the echo of voices?

I sniff back tears as I notice the cobwebs in the corners of your window panes and the zig-zagging cracks in your floor. Musty air invades my lungs. But the stale air does not suffocate me as badly as the hollow sounds of silence within your walls. Walls that once rang with laughter and tears.

As my eyes mist over, I spy a droplet of water trickling down your cracked window pane. Do abandoned houses weep for what once was, but is now lost? 

Old House, you cannot speak for yourself. But, if I may speak for you, my answer is, "Yes, they do." 

                           ***************************

My book for this month is: TO TRUST HER HEART, an inspiring romance about a young widow who endures scandal and carries guilt over her philandering husband's death. 

As Greg marched toward the door, Amanda yelled, "Get out! And don't come back!"

Two hours later Greg's body was found in his mangled Porche along with that of his young secretary. 

Can Amanda forgive herself and Trust Her Heart to love again?

https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Her-Heart-Laurean-Brooks-ebook/dp/B07BFH9LFJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1547995748&sr=1-1&keywords=To+Trust+Her+Heart



Friday, January 18, 2019

CHARACTER NAMES

By Caroline Clemmons

Carra Copelin is under the weather so I’m filling in for her.

When you read a book, do the characters’ names even matter to you? Do you ever wonder why the author chose a particular name? Naming our characters is more complicated than you might think. 

As an author, I assure you we don’t want to duplicate names we’ve used in another book. After writing numerous books, that’s a challenge. Confession: I slipped up and reused a few. Picture me blushing.

Blushing

At a Romance Writers of America conference several years ago, I attended a seminar on naming characters. Who knew it could take so much thought? I learned several things that have stayed with me on my writing journey.

For a hero, choose a strong name. Duh, should be obvious, right? According to the person giving the seminar, hard consonants are stronger than weak ones. That surprised me. I suppose that’s one reason Kincaid is a strong name several authors, including me, have used. Another way to choose a strong name is by the image the name evokes. Steele, Hunter, and Woolf are examples of strong hero names.  I've used each of those in my books. The Kincaids remains one of my most popular series. I used Steele in Death in the Garden, Hunter in Out of the Blue, and Woolf in A Family for Merry, which is included in Under a Mulberry Moon .

Keep the name consistent with the time period. Buffy wouldn’t work in an Old West romance. For historical romances, I use family names.  Since I also like genealogy, this is easy. We have some odd names in our ancestry, especially for women. 

For villains, I use the name of someone who committed a wrong against my family. My secret little way of getting revenge that hurts no one and makes me feel better. In GARNET, my latest release, I used Frank Lawson as the name of the villain. That's a combination of first names of two people who murdered my grandmother's brother. 

Available at
http://getbook.at/GarnetWOWR

Whatever the time period, I choose names that were actually popular in the era. Thank goodness for Google! Wouldn’t everyone be lost without that site?

How about you—are characters’ names important to you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Let's Get Real: New Year Advice by @JoanReeves

Everyone seems to usher in the New Year with good intentions.

They write lofty resolutions and tell how they're going to exercise everyday, give up sugar, carbs, and fats and generally become this perfect human specimen.

Heard it. Done it. Got the tee shirt. Want my tee shirt?

I'm going to do things a little different by giving you some advice that's actually helpful. No, I didn't write what follows. It arrived in my Inbox a few years ago, and is by the late, great George Carlin who was as wise as he was funny.

5 Tips from George Carlin

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer.

4. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

5. Always remember, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments
that take our breath away.

If you don't send this to at least 8 people—who cares?

That's it. Short and sweet advice, which I think is the best kind.

Something else that is short and sweet—and also very sexy—is my New Year's romance short story, Last Chance New Year.

A Moment in Time is all that's needed for Love to be Revealed in this highly sensual romance short story.

Cheyenne Smith, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity.

She plans to  throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope he catches her. Will Luke be her safety net?

Last Chance New Year is only 99 cents at Amazon Kindle. Short, romantic and sexy. Perfect for an evening's read.

My New Year Advice

Of course, I have to give a bit of New Year advice too. Mine is what Thoreau said: "The world is too much with us. Simplify."

Monday, January 14, 2019

NO RESOLUTIONS -- INSTEAD, GOALS!


By Bea Tifton


This time of year, so many blogs are about resolutions. We don’t need no stinkin’ resolutions. I mean, how many of those do you really keep? It’s mid-January, and I would be willing to bet some of them have fallen by the wayside. No, I didn’t make resolutions. I made, dramatic pause, Goals.

”That’s merely semantics!” I hear you cry. Or is that one of the voices in my head? Hmmm. Never mind. But no, they’re different. Resolutions are vague, wispy things. Goals are noble, strong, and achievable. Trust me, I’m a Librarian. I know stuff.

First, to welcome in the New Year, I scrubbed my house clean. Not only putting up clutter, but polishing and straightening. I vacuumed up enough pet hair from my couch to assemble another small pet. I used Windex, People! It sparkles.

Now, for my goals.

Writing
(I use a computer)
Goal number one: Write!  I want to stop talking so much about writing and write more. I plan to have my book ready by the end of February. We’ll see.  But no more procrastination, watching old mystery shows and calling it research. Well, except for “Murder, She Wrote”. I mean, really.

Goal Number two: Exercise!  I’m going to go to my exercise classes five times a week. I take yoga and Tai Chi. That makes me sound very together and artsy, doesn’t it. Well, you haven’t seen me there.  Still, as I stretch and contort my body into downward dog and go through mystical Asian movements each week, who knows what amazing thoughts will spring into my head?

Tai Chi

Goal Number Three: Eat healthy food. While I was cleaning out, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on good, healthy food. In a fit of optimistic exuberance, I bought zucchini. But no kale! I mean, I haven’t gone mad.

Goal Number Four: Don’t Overcommit. I’m going to learn to say negative to all the zillions of requests to steal my time. Even some of the more noble ones. It’s hard. I still want to change the world. And, like me, most of my friends do, too, so they ask for my help. But I can’t do it all. So I’m practicing. Enunciating. Checking facial expression for sincere, but firm regret. “Nooooooooo. No! No?” Okay, I’ll keep working on it.

So, this morning, I was so excited about my new life that I was fairly bouncing on my toes. I got in my cute little car, Sunny (what do you mean you don’t have a name for your car. What on earth do you say when you talk to him?), and tootled to the pet food store. I was going to get so much done today! I had lists. I had resolve. I had…GOALS.  So, I bounded out of Sunny, full of great intentions. And was pulled abruptly back into my car.

Goal number 52: Unfasten seatbelt before attempting to exit vehicle.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Honeymoon and murder by Paty Jager


Had I known all those years ago when my brother offered my help as a prep cook at a remote horse ranch that it would spark a book over forty years later, I would have paid more attention.

My latest Shandra Higheagle release came to me when I’d decided to write another series using the area where I grew up. I wanted to introduce the new character in a Shandra book. But how did I get Ryan and Shandra to his neck of the woods?

A honeymoon! At a remote hunting lodge in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The only way to the lodge is hiking, horse back riding, or flying.  And that is the way it was and still is for the horse ranch I worked at one weekend.

I had spent a year at college and was home working nights at the hospital as a nurse’s aide. My brother was a wrangler at the horse ranch and told the cook there that his sister would help out one weekend when her help couldn’t be there.  I thought it might be fun. However, for the flight in with the cook and supplies, I was stuck in the back with the supplies of a two-seater prop plane.  The fuel fumes and the bouncing was making me sick to my stomach. Then they said, look we’re landing…I raised up to see the side of the mountain, with a deep canyon below and trees coming at us. There was a small strip of grass or a meadow that the plane landed on.
I kneaded bread on an old wooden table like this.
Once there I discovered I was the person who was up first and went to bed last. I had to get things ready for the cook in the morning and clean up everything in the evening. The down time I had during the day, I napped when I would have rather gone on hikes. There was an outhouse and water that trickled out of a pipe that came from a stream of melted snow.

This experience has been embellished and I’ve added a few more amenities and better buildings to Charlie’s Hunting Lodge in my book, Homicide Hideaway, book 12 of the Shandra Higheagle series.

If there was ever a time to test Ryan and Shandra’s new marriage it is their time spent at the lodge.

Have you ever stayed at a remote lodge or place? Did you like it?

Homicide Hideaway

Book 12 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series

Love… Marriage… Murder

Less than twelve hours after arriving at a remote hunting lodge for their honeymoon, Shandra Higheagle and Detective Ryan Greer find a body. Shandra’s cousin had quarreled with the man earlier, and the clues point to her as being the murderer.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke, arrives and immediately takes a dislike to Shandra’s cousin. But he is willing to work with Shandra and Ryan to discover the truth.


Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 34 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier. This is what a reviewer had to say about Homicide Hideaway: “The plot of this story really had me thinking in circles…At times the suspense had me completely on the edge and had me setting down my Kindle so I could relax but then picking it up almost immediately to find out what happens.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest   / Bookbub

Photo source: DepositPhoto.