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Monday, April 2, 2018

What Makes Me Smile by Paty Jager


Buttercups make me smile. They are the first wildflower to pop their heads up on the hills around us in the spring. When their shiny yellow petals dot the hillside it means Spring is around the corner.
Me glazing bowls I made for Empty Bowls program
Making things with my hands brings a smile to my face. I like to sew, made things with wood, and lately I've tried my hand at pottery to better understand my amateur sleuth and potter, in my Shandra Higheagle mysteries.

A youth horned owl hiding under our porch from ravens
Most days I take a walk on our 280 acres in SE Oregon. On these walks I follow animal paw prints, watch eagles, ravens, hawks, and smaller birds soar in the sky. Hear the calls and chirps of birds in the rock cliffs and under the sagebrush. Chase covey's of quail, play hide-n-seek with a cottontail, and watch the coyote in the field to make sure the dogs don't go near him. The wildlife I encounter every day puts a grin on my face. I love sitting in the nook and watching the deer slowly move out into the alfalfa fields to feed, play, and chase. The creatures of the animal kingdom are always entertaining.

Rockaway Beach, Oregon
As much as I love the high desert where I live, my soul needs replenished with the power of the surging ocean, the smooth palate of sand, the pounding of the waves. A trip to the ocean renews my spirit and can put a smile on my face even if it's pouring rain and sand is being pelted at me by the wind.

Weneha Canyon

Research. There are days I think I write just so I can research. ;) I love researching new things. As a student I brought my books home from school every night. Not because I had homework but because I wanted to read more, learn more. History and other cultures have always intrigued me. When I'm researching I'm happy. The new knowledge restores my  need to know more. Two weeks ago, I spent 8 hours on a ride-along with an Oregon Fish and Wildlife state trooper to learn all I could about being a game warden.  The main character in my next mystery series will be a game warden. The whole day I was smiling as I took notes and asked questions. And to top it off we saw elk and mountain sheep. So I was double smiling that day. LOL  There isn't a book or YouTube video that can give you the answers that actually seeing or participating in something can give you. In person research is the best!

Tink hiking
What also makes me smile are my dogs. Tink a min-pin chihuahua is our old lady. She's 13 and still acts like a youngster when we go on hikes. She loves getting out and sniffing the brush. Mikey, my husband's dog and our newest member, my dad's dog, Harlie are a comical duo. They play, body slam each other, and race through the house if we don't get them outside enough. Once outside they go different directions. Harlie, straight up the hill and Mikey after a ball for someone to throw. The rowdy dogs are hours of entertainment.


The last thing that makes me smile is when someone tells me they loved one of my books. I try to put out the best story I can and love to hear when someone else enjoys what I had fun writing.

What makes you smile?


Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 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. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

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8 comments:

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Lovely post, Paty. I was smiling as I read it! :-)

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm glad so many things make you smile, Paty. I'm one of those people who love your books!

Babies always make me smile. They remind me how life itself is a miracle and a gift.

Hope I made you smile!

Diana McCollum said...

I smiled while reading your post, Paty! Being in the outdoors, hiking or fishing and feeling the sun on my face makes me smile. Seeing the birds and deer in our yard makes me happy. Great post.

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

I smile at the critters who come into our yard. The squirrels and birds and the deer who aren't afraid of us. You have so many more critters out where you live.

Books make me smile. Good novels, entertaining craft books, and how tos. Most anything. I'm a normally happy person. I smile at the moon when I get to see it.

I really smile when I get to the coast to walk on the beach. My favorite place for R&R.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Lynn, Thank you! Life is too short to not smile and enjoy it.

Thank you, Sarah. I hope while reading my books there are places that make you smile. Babies are a gift.

Hi Diana, the outdoors has so many amazing and wonderful things to make a person smile. Thanks for stopping in and sharing.

Hi Barbara! I can relate to books making you smile. The ones that do that for me the most are books I find or order for research. When one arrives I'm practically giddy.

Judith Ashley said...

Buttercups a sign of spring? Who knew. Where I live it is violets first followed shortly by daffodils and Daphne. However, I would certainly smile when I saw whatever was the first or early sign of spring.

Are you ending the Shandra Higheagle mysteries and starting a new one with the Game Warden or adding a new series?

Maggie Lynch said...

Whenever I see your pictures and read about your country life it makes me smile. I know you work hard, but it seems so pure. The vistas, plant life and animals you experience in the high desert always amaze me.

I am envious of your crafting ability already, but now pottery. I took a potting class once about 25 years ago. I learned two things about myself. First I can't throw a pot and keep it centered on a wheel to save my life. All my beautiful bowls and vases ended up as plates or ashtrays when the sides crumbled. Second, I'm slow and think next time I try working with clay I'll try sculpture instead--molding, scraping, rounding edges--slow and steady.

Thanks for always sharing your life and your writing with the world.

Paty Jager said...

Judith, No, I am not ending the Shandra Higheagle series. As long as readers keep asking for more, I will write those. I'm adding the Gabriel Hawk series next year.

Maggie, thanks for stopping by. I have to schedule my trip to use a pottery wheel. The bowls I made first were from a slab and coil method. Ilove my country life and while I could survive in a town/city, I wouldn't like it as well.