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Saturday, August 12, 2017

DON'T read my files or history! by Paty Jager

As I get older and help my family members and friends go through the effects of someone who has deceased, I am struck with the knowledge one day this could be me.

And boy will my family find some interesting things! Especially in regards to my writing. I write historical western romance and murder mystery.

The murder mystery makes sense. I have books on poisons, how to strangle someone, and different calibre of guns and the size holes they would make. I have files on my computer where I copy and paste information that comes across a crimescene loop I'm on. Like what kind of bleeding could one expect from a stabbing, how heavy of an object will crush a skull. You get the drift. It's not your average grandma's files or books.  The history and bookmarks on my computer look like fodder for a nonfiction book on how to kill your neighbor. 

And while my family may cringe, then grin, knowing it was information that helped me write books that made me happy, they might be a bit embarrassed by other elements I've "ahem" researched.

ghost tour building
Did you know that some of the first condoms were made from intestines? And that lemon halves were inserted into a woman/prostitute to prevent her from getting pregnant? If the "covering" didn't stop the sperm the acid of the fruit would kill it. I tend to look up information of a personal nature that I want or need to know for a book. I was ecstatic, when this summer while on a ghost tour of a brothel during the Wild Deadwood Reads, we were handed a pamphlet with prices and services  in the Capacious Capsulation Parlor of the early 1900's.  When I arrived home, I handed it to my husband all excited to have come across prices. He glanced at it and shook his head, muttering, "I hope the grandkids don't see this."

I'd give you a sample, but I believe this blog is PG or  nothing more than R rated. All the wording for the "services" wouldn't be appropriate here.  But the service prices range from $0.49 to $30.

This little flyer is in my files along with a few other items that may or may not turn my children's faces red. LOL 

As I've said many times since I started writing, the part I love the most about writing a book is the research. It is a never ending learning experience even if the information I learn will only ever be used in one book, one scene, one paragraph, one sentence. It was the hunt and the thrill of the find that makes me dig and question when I write a scene and wonder "what if".

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32+ novels, novellas, and anthologies of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

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photos: Canstock and Paty Jager


  1. What a fun post. Have had some of those same thoughts myself!

    1. Gini, What things we writers need to look up can be scary! My husband reads some of the titles on books I'm reading and just shakes his head. LOL Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Paty, I'd love to have a copy of that flyer from the brothel. As you mentioned, sometimes we do a lot of research to insure one line in our book is correct. We never know when we'll come across some gem that will fit in another story, do we? Great post!

    1. Caroline, I'll try scanning and email it to you. I hope you don't blush easily! Thanks!

  3. Love this post. Lisa Gardner, thriller and suspense author who writes about really horrible murders, once said she has to lock the room where she writes lest her kids get a hold of some of her research material. I have a few of those files of my own. I, too, would like a copy of that flyer for the brothel.

    1. Thanks for stopping in Anna! I'll send you a copy if I have your email.


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