I went to college for one year. It was my father's choice of my career not mine. But I wanted out of the county. I felt it would help me find me and find acceptance. The college I went to was mostly male. I ended up hanging around with guys in the diesel program more than with any girls. I made one close female relationship, but that wasn't until halfway through the year. But the last trimester when I was only taking classes I wanted to take, I had a creative writing class. I loved that class but felt picked upon. When the papers were handed back out mine always had more red marks all over it. I finally got up the courage to ask the instructor why. Was I that bad at writing? He told me "No, the opposite. He saw potential in me and therefore took more time in correcting my work. That made my little heart pittypat. And I worked harder at getting less red marks.
Time passed. I married, had three kids and they were soon to all be in school full time. I told my hubby I wanted to take some college writing classes and an art class. He loves me and indulges my creative side. :) I took the classes, loved them, and started writing children's stories. My daughter's kindergarten teacher loved my short stories I wrote about trips the kindergartners made(this was before kindergarten was put into public schools in Oregon) I also wrote and illustrated a story about Zero the Hero. That inspired me to attend a Children's Writing conference by Highlights for Children in New York. I saved up the money, my mom took the kids, and I flew to New York. Only to be told by Dayton O. Hyde and several other instructors that I wrote too adult.
But I was wise enough to know I didn't know enough about mystery writing to do it justice. Unfortunately, at that time, none of the mystery groups allowed anyone in who wasn't already published. How was I to find help? There wasn't as much online presence as there is these days. I gave up on mystery writing and turned to writing historical western romance. I'd read LaVyrle Spenceer and loved her stories. They felt like something I could write. Then I was introduced to Romance Writers of America and I had my place to learn craft and hone my skills.
I attended the RITA awards during their 25th anniversary. This is like the Oscars for romance writers. That year they gave everyone a chocolate RITA that was wrapped in silver paper. I kept that for years, wanting to be a finalist or recipient of that award. It hasn't happened.
However, this year I was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier award. This one is given out by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA and is one of the top 3 mystery awards. While my dream hasn't come true, I came pretty darn close this year. I'm hoping to eventually win one of the top mystery awards and maybe, just maybe a RITA.
Paty Jager is the award-winning author of the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. 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. This is what Mysteries Etc has to say about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”blog / website / Facebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / PinterestBookbub
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