Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shandra Higheagle Beginnings by Paty Jager

While the first two novels I wrote decades ago were mysteries, I had so much trouble finding writers in the mystery genre willing to help me hone my craft that I jumped ship when the Romance Writers of America embraced me. Their meetings, workshops and conferences were filled with helpful people who taught classes on point of view, character arcs, plotting, and all the skills I needed to make a publishable book. They also taught me the business side of writing.

And that’s how my career as a western romance author began. My tag line is: “Tales of intrigue and romance starring cowboys and Indians” Not only do I write historical and contemporary western romance, I also have a historical romance trilogy set among the Nez Perce Indians that deals with Native American spirits. A few years back I started an Action Adventure series with a female Indiana Jones/MacGyver character who is an anthropologist who specializes in Native American cultures.

This fun jaunt into something other than westerns made me long to write a mystery again.

The yearning wouldn’t die and even though I’d already written in more genres than one author should, I couldn’t let the idea of writing mystery go. Many writing friends said it wasn’t a good idea to add one more genre, I’d lose readers. But my heart, from the first novel I wrote all those years ago, was in mystery. 

To stay true to my “branding” the female amateur sleuth in Double Duplicity the first Shandra Higheagle Mystery is half Nez Perce. After years of her mother and stepfather having her hide her Native American side, she is finally starting to seek her roots only to have the one person who can guide her the most pass away. Her grandmother, whom she’d only visited once as a teenager, had a special request. That Shandra attend her Seven Drum Ceremony after the funeral. Shandra does and when she’s caught up in murder, her grandmother comes to her in dreams showing her clues to the murders.

I’ve had a wonderful time bringing my fictional ski resort town of Huckleberry, Idaho to life. Adding three-dimensional secondary characters with a few quirks to keep this an entertaining cozy read has been the most fun. In each book I’ve add a new full-timer and enjoy the way they interact with the rest of the populace. My two favorite secondary characters are Sheba, a dog as big as a bear but a bit like the Cowardly Lion, who is Shandra’s companion, and Lewis, the orange cat that is usually draped around Crazy Lil’s shoulders. Lil is Shandra’s Jill-of-all-trades who, like the stray cat, came with the property Shandra purchased on Huckleberry Mountain. She bought the land because of its good clay pockets. Shandra is a potter who sells her vases as art. 

My brother has worked in the art world since getting out of school. He sculpts, pours, welds, and patinas bronze art work. A story he told me about a particular statue he was putting a patina on for another artist stuck in my mind, and I knew one day I’d use it in a story. That information my brother told me was the premise that started Double Duplicity.

Double Duplicity Blurb:

On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she’d witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever, but just as determined to discover the truth.

Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her. Together they discover the gallery owner wasn’t the respectable woman she’d portrayed. Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?



Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story. She recently returned to the genre of her heart- Mystery.

You can learn more about Paty at

Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle: http://eepurl.com/1CFgX

twitter  @patyjag. 

(And I loved her book, you can read my review on Amazon.com  After all, she has a Native American heroine and the book is set in a wonderful location. Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Calling the Dead by Marilyn Meredtih

Anyone who has read many of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series knows that Tempe is often visited by spirits. This began when she called back the dead to find out the truth about a murder and suicide in Calling the Dead. 

From that time on, Tempe has had regular visits from the dead or other spirits in nearly every book

In Spirit Shapes, it's not only ghosts but also evil spirits who confront Tempe in a very haunted house.

A different kind of spirits greet Tempe in this story about a movie being made on the Bear Creek Indian reservation.

In the latest, Not as it Seems, ghostly visitations abound when Tempe visits Morro Bay and becomes involved in a murder investigation.

All the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, are avaiable in various formats direction from the online bookstores, by ordering through a physical book store, or visiting the publisher: http://mundania.com

Marilyn Meredith

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Last Two Free Days for No Bells

When I was planning No Bells I went to my police buddies and asked for a funny vice crime.

And boy, did I get one. When you read NO BELLS you can't miss it--and it was perfect for this book. 

As usual, Officer Gordon Butler is sent to tackle the strangest crimes. Besides the one I mentioned above, he also has to tackle a trespassing seagull.

In case you didn't know, Rocky Bluff, the setting of these mysteries is a small beach town between Santa Barbara and Ventura. It is also a fictional town with a fictional police department. You won't find either one if you travel down 101. 

However, it has some resemblances to other small beach towns in the nearby areas. Though because it's between two big tourist attractions, it doesn't  receive much attention or tourist dollars. 

I hope you'll try NO BELLS--free on Kindle only today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One of my Favorite Characters--The Hairy Man

The Hairy Man, similar to Big Foot, is legendary on the Tule River Indian Reservation. Many sightings have been documented. In a rock cave on the reservation there's a pictograph of the Hairy Man, his wife and child.

The Hairy Man makes his first appearance in Dispel the Mist. On the cover is a depiction much like it looks on the rock wall--except there he's 8 foot tall!


and of course on Amazon.

He also is mentioned in Invisible Path.

River Spirits is he latest book where the Hairy Man shows up.

Because the Hairy Man is such an important part of the Tule River Indian Reservation, of course he needs to be an important part of the Bear Creek Indian Reservation too.

If you haven't already, you might enjoy reading about this mythical (or not) legend.

Marilyn Meredith

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Gift to You on My Birthday

Yes, that's right, from today, August 24 through August 28th, NO BELLS will be free on Kindle!

Officer Gordon Butler is a hard-luck guy. Things just never go right for him, but he's won the heart of many of my readers.

In NO BELLS Gordon meets the woman of his dreams but she's a murder suspect.

If you haven't met Officer Butler yet, this is a good way to get acquainted.

And if you've never read a Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, you might start here.

F.M. aka Marilyn Meredith

This is a great way to wish me a Happy Birthday!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Another of my Favorites: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits is high on my list of favorites in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.

Not only are there many kindred spirits in the book, I met a kindred spirit who was the inspiration for this book. Junie Mattice, a Tolowa Indian, who hosted a book signing for me, told me all about the history of the Tolowa people, and became an instant friend. She has such a strong personality, I created two characters based on her in the Crescent City part of the book.

Junie is no longer with us, but her spirit certainly lingers on. 

Besides the history of the Tolowa, some of which is included in Kindred Spirits, she also told me about her knowledge and experiences with Big Foot. (This led me to learning more about the Big Foot legend and a similar character who lives on the Tule River Reservation, the Hairy Man. I'll write about him in the next blog post.)

When the book came out, I had a wonderful book launch at a bed and breakfast in Crescent City. Junie and I both spoke at the event, and we signed books side by side. We also did an event together at the Crescent City Library.

My life was enriched by this wonderful woman and I can truly callher a kindred spirit.

This is one of the books where Tempe travels to real places in order to solve a mystery: Crescent City CA and Santa Barbara, CA.

Kindred Spirits is available in all the usual places as well as from the publisher in many formats.

Marilyn Meredith

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which Book is Your Favorite? by Marilyn Meredith

When I have my book on display, readers often ask me this question as a way to decide which of my books they should purchase.

That question is much like asking a mother which of her children is her favorte.

Frankly, I don't have a favorite. For the next few days I'll write about some of the books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and what I like about each one.

Today, I'll write about Bears With Us.

First, I really love this cover!

Right now, we're in the middle of a drought here in the foothills of the Sierra, which means we've had several fires around us--and the wildlife has come down to find water and food. And among this wildlife, of course are bears.

Neighbors have reported bear scat on their patios. One scared woman posted that she had a mama bear and two cubs roaming around her house and was afraid to come out. Trash cans have been overturned. Yes, the bears are with us again.

Some of that was going on while I was writing Bears With Us, but the real impetus came from my grandson who at the time was an Aspen CO policeman and spent a great deal of time chasing bears out of people's homes.

I also had just learned about an interesting form of Alzheimer's, Lewy Body Dementia.

I managed to come up with a plot using both topics--and had a lot of fun doing it.

So, if you haven't read, Bears With Us yet, hop on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to get a copy--available in print or as an e-book.

And for all the different formats, head on over to the publisher's site: 

--Marilyn Meredith