by jphilo | Jan 12, 2023 | See Jane Dig!
Researching dinosaur digs for See Jane Dig!, Book 4 in the West River Mystery Series, is occupying the time I usually devote to writing. The picture shows the sources I’m digging into:
- Newspaper clippings from Nation’s Center News. The weekly paper has been covering news in Harding County, South Dakota for decades, and I’ve been a subscriber for many of them. Once I read an issue cover to cover, I clip out any articles that could inspire a story line or are related to an idea already in the works. Like the dinosaur clippings pictured here. They are amazing!
- Digging Dinosaurs by John R. Horner. This book was published in 1988 and has been out of print for years. Thankfully, I found a copy on Amazon and snapped it up. That turned out to be a wise choice. The events it covers span 1978-1985, the same years we lived in Harding County, and the same time period as the West River Mysteries. Horner recounts his work at the famous duckbill dinosaur dig in central Montana, which included nests full of the remains of juvenile duckbill dinosaurs and intact, fossilized duckbill eggs. Those dinosaur fossils are different from those found in northwestern South Dakota, but the tools and processes used are the same. It’s hard to beat a primary source document from the right time period.
When finish these sources and add them to what Hiram and I learned on last summer’s paleo tour, at the end of last summer, it’ll be time to plan out the story––plot points, new character sketches, and such. At least I hope that’s what happens because the only ideas I have now are as follows:
- The action happens in the spring.
- There is a field trip to a dinosaur dig.
- Something bad happens.
- Someone dies.
- Jane and the sheriff solve the mystery.
It doesn’t sound like much now, but trust me. if Book #4 is half as interesting as researching dinosaur digs for See Jane Dig!, you’re gonna love what Jane gets up to next!
by jphilo | Dec 31, 2022 | Mystery Update, See Jane Dance!, See Jane Dig!, See Jane Run!, See Jane Sing!
Introducing the See Jane Run Advisory Board gives me great pleasure. The board’s formation came about when the 7 and 4-year-old grandchildren were back seat passengers in our car a few days after Christmas, 2022. Hiram was driving so I directed all my attention to the following conversation. It began when the 7-year-old became curious about the box on the seat between him and his sister. It contained copies of See Jane Run! and See Jane Sing!. The 7-year-old opened the box and used his burgeoning reading skills to read the titles, emphasis on burgeoning as you’ll see below.
“Is Seejane the girl on the front of these books?” he asked.
“Yes, but since there’s a space between ‘See’ and ‘Jane’ it’s pronounced ‘See Jane.'” I explained.
“Oh, I see. Jane is the girl. Why are there different covers?”
“Because they’re two different stories. The first is See Jane Run! and the second is See Jane Sing!”
“What kind of books are they?”
“They’re mysteries. Jane catches bad guys.” I added a bunch more, but all of you have heard the spiel, so there’s no need to subject you to it again.
The 4-year-old piped up. “Are you going to write more of these books?”
I told them about the upcoming titles, See Jane Dance! and See Jane Dig! With that the floodgates of their imaginations burst wide open.
“Grammy, you should write See Jane Christmas!” said the 7-year-old.
“That’s a great idea, and there’s actually a Christmas program in See Jane Sing!”
Back to the 4-year-old. “How about See Jane Halloween! instead?”
“I have a better idea,” said the 7-year-old. “See Jane Underground! where they go to London and catch bad guys in the underground subway.”
“Or See Jane Invisible Hole! where they dig a hole and it’s invisible and Jane jumps in and the bad guys don’t see it and they fall in…”
The 4-year-old went on and on, but I missed the gist of her plot line because my mind was on how anyone would see Jane do anything in an invisible hole.
“Grammy,” interrupted the 7-year-old. “You could make Jane statues to sell. And tee-shirts.”
“And earrings,” added the 4-year-old. “And you could give Jane a sword and a shield and a gun to shoot bad guys,”
“Jane doesn’t like guns. She doesn’t own one.”
The 4-year-old gasped and after a dramatic pause proclaimed. “You could write See Jane Freeze! and Elsa from Frozen could freeze the bad guys.”
“How would you two like to be members of the See Jane Advisory Board? I’ll serve treats at meetings.”
“Yes,” they shouted as my husband pulled into the garage.
That, dear reader, is the humble beginning of the See Jane Advisory Board. Leave a comment if you’d like to join the team. I’m not sure how much we’ll get done at our meetings. However, I can assure you that our gatherings will be entertaining and there will be treats!
by jphilo | Dec 8, 2022 | See Jane Dance!
What’s happening with See Jane Dance?
Many of you began asking about Book 3 in the West River Mystery Series the minute you finished See Jane Sing!, which is the best news an author can hear. With the hubbub of that release date and month behind me, there’s finally time to shed some light on what’s happening at See Jane HQ.
First off, revisions to the first draft of Book See Jane Dance! are underway. To begin I printed out the first draft, and with my favorite mechanical pencil in hand, read through the entire manuscript. Not in one sitting, but over the course of a week. The read through resulted in many margin notes about:
- Plot and time discrepancies and inconsistencies
- Lack of clarity in the writing
- Where to add red herrings and more interactions with children
- A big oops about where road graders/snow plows should be parked
While the read through resulted in many ways to improve the first draft, I was pleased with the story. For the most part it hangs together. It made me laugh and eager to fix what needs fixing.
Fixing what needs fixing in See Jane Dance! is what I’m doing now.
It’s what I’ve been doing for about two weeks now, and it’s what I’ll be doing as soon as I publish this blog post. My daily goal is to revise one or two chapters a day. Today I’ll finish revising chapter 15 and hopefully finish chapter 16, too. The book has 50 chapters, and the editor’s deadline for turning in the revised manuscript is the end of December. Obviously, the pace of revisions needs to pick up.
Which means I’ll be dancing with Jane more than blogging about what’s happening with See Jane Dance! for awhile.
Which means Jane and I are wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year before the holidays dance right past us!
by jphilo | Oct 26, 2022 | See Jane Sing!
The See Jane Sing! virtual launch party is a go. The fun kicks off at 1:00 PM (CST) on Saturday, November 19 on Zoom. Everyone who attends will be automatically entered into a drawing for the following prizes:
- Two people will win a batch of the featured See Jane Sing! recipe, baked and hand-delivered (or mailed) by yours truly. The picture at the top of the page is your hint as to the nature of the recipe.
- Two people will win signed sets of the first two books in the West River Mystery series, See Jane Run! and See Jane Sing!
Winners will be announced at intervals throughout the party.
Many of the scenes in See Jane Sing! revolve around the school Christmas program, so the virtual party is doing the same. There’s going to be Christmas program show and tell:
- I’ll share photos, memories, and the Mr. and Mrs. Santa costumes I made for Christmas programs during my country school teaching days.
- Former students (and their parents) who attend the party can share memories and pictures, too.
- Anyone who attends is invited to participate in Christmas program show and tell, also.
Before the party ends, I’ll do a reading from See Jane Sing! and answer your questions.
You must register ahead of time to attend the Zoom party. Click here to register.
You will be asked to provide your name and email. That information will only be used to email you the link to the party. I promise not to pass along or sell your information to anyone. You, however, are more than welcome to share the Zoom registration link to others who might like to attend the See Jane Sing! virtual Book Launch Party. The more the merrier, right?
If you have any questions, leave a comment below or use the “Contact” link at the top of the page, and I’ll get back to you.
by jphilo | Oct 21, 2022 | See Jane Sing!
The See Jane Sing! preorder bonus is now available! It is a scrapbook of pictures and reminiscences about the small town and remote South Dakota county that are the models for the fictional community of Little Missouri described in the West River Mysteries. The scrapbook is packed with old photos taken during the 7 years when my husband Hiram and I (and later our son) lived there, as well as more recent pictures taken during our many visits there. The photo on the scrapbook cover, pictured above, was taken during this summer’s visit when Hiram and I hiked to the Little Missouri River.
Here’s the deal on how to get your hands on the West River Mystery Series Scrapbook for FREE:
- Preorder See Jane Sing! on Amazon before November 1, 2022.
- After placing your order, click on the “Returns & Orders” button in the top right corner of the Amazon web page.
- Download an electronic copy of the invoice/receipt for your order or take a screen shot of it.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type “See Jane Sing Bonus” in the subject line. Attach the electronic invoice/receipt in the body of the email.
- Your PDF copy of the scrapbook should arrive shortly. If it doesn’t, send me an email via the contact button at the top of this page.
Also, my apologies to those who have tried to contact me using that button before now. I recently discovered that it didn’t work. My virtual assistant got right on it, fixed the issues, and sent a barrage of test emails from various devices to make sure it is working properly. All the tests were successful, so it seems to be fixed. If, however, you send an email using the contact form and don’t hear from me within a week, please leave a comment below. Thanks for helping to monitor the situation. I hope you enjoy the See Jane Sing! preorder bonus!