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Lake House Mystery Blog

Political Correctness and Characters

It is getting harder to be a brave author. In the past, excepting times of war, bravery was almost always expressed as emotional exposure - to allow the characters freedom to behave in ways that are embarrassing but none the less true to the human experience. Who is ghostly watching over the author's shoulder? Invisible censors have always had the power to take away the freedom of characters to behave in truly memorable, if uncomfortable, ways.

Today in America another layer of self censorship has been spread over the field of literature. Political correctness has replaced emotional exposure as the bugaboo of creativity. Layer after layer has been laid down over the years, perhaps decades, and for the most part has gone unchallenged.

The first victims that caught my attention were the jokes, ethnic jokes. I particularly remember when Polish jokes were banished from polite conversation. Not a bad thing, that.

Next on the chopping block was language that described entire classes of individuals, people who were in some manner impaired either physically or mentally. Again, it was a good move.

I don't remember which came next, derogatory ethnic or religious references. A great improvement, actually. It came so fast after that, it seemed as if each month brought a new protected category. What had been common sensibility rapidly became a hammer of conformity. What if some fragment of speech were to slip out of one's mouth in an unguarded moment in a meeting with people who might be offended? What then?

People are losing their jobs and promotions today if they cross the line from allowed speech to that which is forbidden, even if it is in the privacy of their homes.

We daily rub elbows with a range of humanity that was unthinkable a generation ago and change is as necessary as it is inevitable. The problem is literature.

What if a character in a story speaks a forbidden phrase that, at the time of the story setting had not yet been declared insensitive, and offends readers in the present time? What are we writing today that will be viewed as inappropriate tomorrow? Ah. The tangled web we have created.

Characters in stories can be a dirty and diverse lot, un-schooled in today's politically correct speech. They live their lives today and yesterday, and sometimes tomorrow. Who knows what they will say next - often the author doesn't know until they speak. Will they shout the words of the 1930's into the street, or tell jokes from the 50's? Curse in the coarse way of the criminal class during the Great Depression, pepper their words with ethnic colors common before the second World War?

Who will write these stories, who will be brave enough or foolish enough to toss political correctness into the wind and allow the characters to pull the curtain open? Will the authors of tomorrow remember how to do that, and will anyone be allowed to read those stories?

Interview, by Female First

Female First - Exclusive interview with I C Enger today, by Lucy Walton.
In this interview I discuss my latest book, Green ICE, as well as some tidbits about me and my own writing process.  If you have a free moment, take a peek.
the I.C. Enger Lake House Mystery books
Blue ICE
Green ICE

Create Your World

Now and then I write a "guest blog" for another author's site. Here is one I wrote for Cindy Carroll's site on how to escape. ESCAPE from the here and now into the there and when. Hope you enjoy it.
Cindy's latest book, Reflections, is available now -
By Cindy on September 17, 2013
Welcome to my blog! Today I have Marti Colvin talking about creating your own world. Here’s Marti!
News got you down? Kids misbehaving? Gas prices going through the roof? Is dental work in your near future? No problem pal, just ESCAPE. That’s right, why spend every minute of every day dealing with your problems when you can leave and visit a world of your choosing, and watch someone else deal with his or her problems.
If you are a writer, you get to live elsewhere most of the time as you plot and write, dropping back into the world to pay the bills and pick up the kids from school. If you are a reader you can visit your other world(s) as often as you like. In fact, as a reader, you can reside in many different realities. 
I almost always keep two or three partially read books of various genres in strategic rooms throughout the house. Yes, of course, the bathroom is at the top of the list, followed by the bedroom and any table with a lamp near a couch or chair. It only takes a few seconds of reading to re-engage with the story when I sit down, whether it’s a portal type of sci-fi/fantasy book where the character is suddenly thrust into a strange world a la Alice in Wonderland, or the type that begins the story in another place or time from page one. A lot of the books I read are mystery and adventure stories, the same genre in which I prefer to write. 
 What separates a “good read” from a “ho hum” book for me is to what extent the author successfully catapults me out of the here-today and into the elsewhere-other. I have quite enough of my own family multi-generational drama to last, well, a lifetime and I hear plenty of current politics, crime and tragedy from the evening news. This is, after all, where I live. 
What I seek in a book is the opportunity to go, for however brief a time, to somewhere I don’t live, at some time I don’t occupy, and with interesting characters, not necessarily people. Dragons are good. Often the very same angst and pain exists in the book world that is in my everyday world, but because of the setting they are more interesting. Another terrific advantage, at least in a mystery story, is that the crime is always solved and the mysteries neatly resolved by the end of the book, unlike real life.
A good writer can place you completely in the action, action that you might not really want to see in real life, but that is delicious in a book. The house perched beside a remote lake, the ghost in the hallway, the special agent who takes you with him on a mission, the glowing UFO in the sky – wait, is it coming toward you? For a few minutes or a few hours you are right there, with the characters. Most importantly, you are not here. 
A brief foray away from the here and now can refresh your mind and spirit, and perhaps you will see things a little differently when you return. If an author paints a reality that you very much enjoy visiting, you can hope that there is a series of that storyline. If so, you can go for an extended stay with now familiar characters, time and place. Have a good trip!
About Marti: Marti Colvin, writing as I.C. Enger, lives and writes in the Seattle area with her husband Randy and their cat Charles. Her first book, Blue ICE, was published in July 2012. Green ICE  is the second of a series of  Lake House Mysteries that are set along the Washington/Canadian border and involve Homeland Security Special Agent Jack Strickland and out-of-work Seattle city planner Brooke Breckenridge. The third book, Black ICE, will be released in the summer of 2014.  
In Green ICE Brooke, special agent Jack Strickland and a Native American shadow wolf, Ed Red Wind, are plunged into their most complex mystery yet. Brooke is busy working for Makkapitew County in the Planning Division when she learns that development can be deadly.  Marti is a member of Sisters in Crime and Public Safety Writers Association. Please visit her website:   
Cindy here again! Great post, Marti! This makes me want to go read.Until next time…

guest blogger on Dru's Book Musing

Meet Brooke Breckenridge, my unlikely protagonist in the Lake House Mysteries. She talks about her experiences with Homeland Security agents and living in Three Cranes Lake today on  Dru’s Book Musing - “A Day in the Life.”
On The Lake With Brooke Breckenridge by I.C. Enger
Posted on August 20, 2013 
Stop by her site and see what Brooke has to say about her life in the lake house.

What Genre Are You?

What if one day an edict was delivered from Washington that required us to identify ourselves by genre the same way we identify ourselves by a political party or religion. It could happen. Right? Perhaps it would be deemed to be more politically correct than identification by ethnic group.
What genre would you be?
Fiction books are traditionally divided into one major genre or classification, often with shades of another thrown in for flavor. So, which one would be the most characteristic of you? Read the descriptions below, I’m betting that you will see yourself in one or more of them.
  • Do you enter a room with style and flare, every eye turned in your direction? When you speak, is it in exaggeration and hyperbole? You tell it like it is and consequences be damned. Does every innuendo lead to a world war? Gads! Such drama!
Drama- conflicts and emotion of everyday life are expressed through dialogue and action.
  • Fairies live in your garden. If you focus your eyes you can see a person’s aura. Beings from other dimensions flow through the kitchen and up the stairs. It was leprechauns that drank the saucer of milk left out on St. Patrick’s Day last. You operate in the here and now but reside somewhere else, somewhere in fantasy.
Fantasy - strange or magical settings or characters.
  • Are the best, the most interesting and compelling  times gone? You pay a premium price in order to get the history channel on TV and can site many fascinating facts about the first American colonies, World War I and Daniel Boone. The past is as real to you as the present, you live part time in history. 
Historical Fiction – characters, events in a historical setting.
  • Remember when telling ghost stories in the dark at a sleep-over was scary delicious? The thrill of walking down the wooden basement stairs in the dark, after everyone else was asleep, the icy fingers of fear that ran up your spine? You see terror around the corner in everyday life while your friends and family continue in their happy ignorance. They must be made to understand. You never left it, the horror of it all.
Horror– evokes a feeling of dread and fear, sometimes involves monsters.
  • A joke for every occasion, a joke for every person. You’ve got a million of ‘em. An ordinary outing takes on a new life with you in it, everyone is swept along with your vision and has a great time, just not the time they set out to have. You are the life of the office, the spark of sizzle at the party. Keep them laughing, and do you know why clowns cry? Take care that your humor does not have a bite.
Humor – full of fun, fancy, and excitement.
  • Who took the vase? You remember who has recently received fresh flowers. Where are the police cars going, full-on lights and siren? You have a scanner! Why are the curtains Always Closed in the house across the street? You will figure it out. You are a solver of mysteries, a detector of clues. You are mystery.
Mystery or detective –the investigation and solution of a crime, usually a murder.
  • A glance from your liquid eyes sends ripples through the gathering. You extend an arm and with a subtle shrug of your shoulders convey the need for a tall, cool drink. The drink is rushed into your hand by a secret admirer. With a sip and a smile, you turn and disappear into the woods. You are poetry. 
Poetry – verses that rhyme or don’t rhyme and that create an emotional response.
  • Is your telescope your most treasured possession, and do you watch for UFOs departing from the far side of the moon? Do you have a pretty good idea what their base would look like? Do you recognize tribbles as a bonafide life form and is your favorite radio station Coast to Coast? You are at least a Trekkie, and a member of the science fiction genre.
Science fiction -futuristic stories, usually set on other planets.
  • Little League game on Saturday, church on Sunday, Monday morning coffee and then drive to work, in the evening come home to eat and watch a little TV - - - - - times five. Little League on Saturday, church on Sunday, Monday coffee and work. Your life is a short story - snap out of it.
Short story– fiction within a word count so brief that it supports no subplots.
  • So you caught that fish that was t.h.i.s big! You’ve soared over the Rocky Mountains in a hang glider while you were working undercover for the CIA, and you deep-sea dived into the Marianas trench. Riiiight. I know you, you are a tall tale!
Tall tale– heroes who regularly do the impossible with ease.
  • Church isn’t just for Sunday. You live your life safely cradled in the hand of God, and you see the Lord’s grand plan as clearly as the headlines in the evening news. Your week consists of hard work, family, bible studies and outreach to others less fortunate. You are an inspiration.
Inspirational - faith-based themes.
  • Women, do you own a lacy negligee, silk sheets, satin pillows and a Gone With the Wind cookie jar? Men, is your ideal woman wearing a white frilly blouse open at the neck and a long translucent skirt with boots? Do you wait every day for true love to swoop in and sweep you off your feet, and hope for a blissful future with Miss or Mr. absolutely right, with a few rough edges? Not a problem, you will turn those rough edges into buttery-smooth curves. You are romance.
Romance - attraction and love wrapped up in a happy ending.
  • Do you own a horse? As a child did you rope your siblings for practice, and do you still rope things? Do you own a cowboy hat and know what chaps are? Howdy partner, you are a western.
Western- set in the American West at a time when individualistic, heroic cowboys rode the wide plains.
There are more types of genre, many more, depending on who you ask, and subtypes within each. These are some of the main ones - and if you don’t see yourself in one of them you might do a little research and find one that fits. The roll call is coming, stand and identify.

Green ICE cover

Lots happening here in the North Country. I am getting ready for the Police Writer's Conference in Las Vegas later in July and working with my editor to have Green ICE ready for debut at the conference as well as a second printing of Blue ICE.
Many editorial slips and a few passages have been revised, thanks to input from my readers, so a new and improved Blue ICE will be out by July too. It's quite a job to get two books ready to go to print at the same time!
I just received the book cover design for Green ICE - hope you like it.

Social Media, Social Madness - part 2

The story continues - my foray into the brave new world of social media.
 As I reported in a previous blog (Social Media, Social Madness 6/26/2012) I am making a valiant effort to engage in the modern world with aged equipment - no, not me - my communication devices. To reiterate, I have an average laptop computer, a Kindle Fire (old version) I use as a book reader and internet connector, a cell phone from the 1990's that doesn't take pictures and ..... nope, that's it. 
With these weapons I wage the good fight in the communications arena using Facebook - personal and author pages, this website and blog, an Amazon author's page, and ..... NEW! twitter account - @ic_enger, and NEW! LinkedIn account. I have no idea how to use half of these.
I haven't checked my Amazon author's page in too long. I promise I will now that Green ICE is complete and sent to the publisher, and after I get a blog out, which is nothing if not sporadic. As for LinkedIn, I have amassed an impressive number of links, and that's all I've done.
Feeling a bit silly, I sent off a note to my Sisters in Crime network, asking humbly if anyone knew what to do with the LinkedIn account. I've received several replies - all as confused as I am, but willing to dance the media tango. It's a fast dance. One of my Facebook Friends put the same question out on her page, I haven't seen any informative replies to date.
As for Twitter, what is that all about? Facebook isn't enough? E-mail isn't sufficient? Do I lead an interesting enough life to justify all this social connectivity? Maybe I just need to do more exciting and Twitter-worthy activities. Social Media Makes Me Look Boring.
My problem is .... I now have a good idea (or as they say in writing classes, a BIG idea) for the Black ICE book, the next in the series. I'll tackle the social media problem in a little while. First I must capture my BIG idea on paper, then outline the plot, decide on the new and returning characters, etc.
I might add more media to the mix when I get a minute, perhaps I missed the best one. The one that will finally make sense of all the others.

Guest Blogger JL Greger

I have a guest blogger on the site today, J.L.Greger. Janet writes novels that feature real science along with a fast paced mystery story. Her newest book, Murder: a New Way to Lose Weight, is now available on 
Here is a little information about Janet.
“J. L. Greger, an author, biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enjoys putting tidbits of science into her novels. Her first novel Coming Flu is a prequel to Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight and shares many characters.”
And now, here's Janet .....
The Microbes Made Me Eat
Bet you think that I thought up the title to enliven my blog. Wrong. It’s the title Sandoval and Seeley gave their scientific review of research on the relationship of gut bacteria to weight control in Science(Science 328:179-80, 2010). This and similar articles in scientific journals got me thinking. 
Why not feature research on the effect of gut bacteria on weight control in my next mystery/suspense novel? Almost all Americans are interested in easier way to lose weight. Gut bacteria are so gross; they’re interesting in a weird way. Medical schools are great locations for mystery/suspense novels. Lots of professional there know ways to kill someone without using something obvious like a gun or a knife. The result is Oak Tree Press published Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight this week.
I think you’ll learn a bit of science and feel like an “insider” in a medical school when you read Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. Here’s how it starts. 
Linda Almquist, who seldom even smiled, laughed.
Richard Varegos had done it again. He had arranged books and a computer on the front counter of the hospital pavilion for a photo shoot. In the resulting glossy, full-color flyer, he sat with at his make-believe teak desk in his supposedly marble-walled office. She read the flyer’s title: THE DIET DOCTOR HAS ANSWERSFOR YOUR WEIGHT PROBLEMS.
Was there no end to his ego?
Dr. Richard Varegos and his partner Dr. Izzy Roth – the diet doctors - have made a breakthrough. They found when they infused bacteria from the guts of lean rats into the guts of obese rats, the obese rats lost weight. Does that sound strange? Actual researchers have performed parallel experiments in mice and gotten similar results (Science 332:32-33, 2011). 
Now Richard and Izzy are conducting studies with obese humans. They’re trying to change the gut flora in obese subjects to see if they’ll lose weight faster and keep the weight off longer. Again the studies are similar to ones conducted by real scientists (Science 336:1248-50, 2012). 
But complications occur. The protagonist Linda Almquist, as an interim associate dean of the medical school, is forced to investigate allegations that Richard and Izzy are recklessly endangering the health of their obese research subjects. Linda, who just happens to be trying to lose weight herself, finds Izzy dead. She suspects Izzy’s death and the scientific misconduct allegations are intertwined. Rumors swirl about the medical school, the ultimate insiders’ club. Soon Linda fears for her job and the police fear for her life. 
Facts are stranger than fiction
Just in case you’re a skeptic and think this research sounds hokey. Let’s dispel several myths about gut bacteria. 
Myth: Only sick people have many gut bacteria. The gastrointestinal tract of the average adult human contains about 100 trillion microorganisms (mostly bacteria). Probably about ten times the number of cells in your body itself. These bacteria are estimated to include 15,000 to 36,000 different species of bacteria (Science,312:1355-9, 2006). 
Myth: All gut bacteria are bad. Publicity on gut bacteria usually is focused on the bad ones, like Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can make you sick.
But most of the bacteria in your gut are harmless; some are beneficial. Scientists have known for years that bacteria in the gut breakdown dietary toxins, synthesize certain vitamins, and regulate gut development. Recent research suggests gut bacteria can also influence immune function (Science336:1268-73, 2012). 
Myth: You can’t change gut flora. The amounts and types of dietary protein, carbohydrate, and fat all influenced the abundance of various bacteria in the gut (Science333:101-4, 2011).However, usually researchers alter the type and amount of bacteria in the human gut by feeding probiotics (nonpathogenic live bacteria and other microorganisms)and prebiotics (non-digestible substances). The most common sources of probiotics are unpasteurized yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk, which are produced by culturing milk or cream with various strains of Lactobacillus bacteria. The most effective prebiotics are soluble fibers, like those found in oat bran and psyllium husk.  
Myth: Gut flora can’t affect weight control. There is no doubt that the gut flora of obese and normal humans differ. The mystery is: Do the differences in gut microbes contribute to obesity? Or does weight loss trigger changes in the bacteria in the gut? The diet doctors of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight could be onto something important. 
Don’t be a skeptic. See real action and truly devious thought patterns in the twisting plot of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. 
Learn more about JL Greger at her website ( and her blog ( called JL Greger’s Bugs.  
- Available now from Amazon -
Coming Flu
by J.L. Greger
Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight        
by J. L. Greger

Blue ICE and Real Life Mystery

Did Blue ICE get it right?    
Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms
Published: March 28, 2013
A friend sent me the above link to an article that appeared in the New York Times yesterday. The article talks about CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder.
Now, for those of you who have read Blue ICE, we already know the answer to the mystery, don’t we? Sure, it’s fiction. You have to wonder though. Is there a deliberate hand behind the death of so many bees? Bees support our American agriculture dollars, a significant chunk of the economy.
Following are a few excerpts quoted from the Times article. If you don’t already know the answers, Blue ICE will present an interesting read for you.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.”
“A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005.”
“Annual bee losses of 5 percent to 10 percent once were the norm for beekeepers. But after colony collapse disorder surfaced around 2005, the losses approached one-third of all bees, despite beekeepers’ best efforts to ensure their health.”
“Nor is the impact limited to beekeepers. The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.
Almonds are a bellwether. Eighty percent of the nation’s almonds grow here, and 80 percent of those are exported, a multi billion-dollar crop crucial to California agriculture. Pollinating up to 800,000 acres, with at least two hives per acre, takes as many as two-thirds of all commercial hives.”
So there we have it, a real life mystery that is portrayed in a work of fiction, Blue ICE. Whatever the root cause of CCD turns out to be, let’s hope they figure it out before the damage to American honey bees and the crops they support is too great.
It’s a huge deal.
Blue Ice
by I. C. Enger
link to book on Amazon:

My Favorite Books on Writing

OK then. Green ICE is finished and in the capable hands of my editor. Black ICE hasn't got legs yet.
I'm in a happy place and I'm making use of my free time to revisit some of my favorite instructional writing books. I'll list them here for you, if you are interested in getting your hands on a solid text on the craft, or even if you just like to have a well-rounded library.
These are the books I return to again and again, always learning something new, always reminded of something I had learned but put on the back shelf of my mind. By the time Green ICE comes back from the editor with suggestions, I'll be ready to dive into Black ICE. Dive - a hint.
1.     Story by Robert McKee – this is my all time number one go-to story structure and style reference. It is so marked up and tabbed by me that it looks like a May Day pole.
2.     Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden – I was fortunate  to be in a workshop by Chris Roerden, and she is one impressive lady. Many years in the “business” as an acquisitions editor drove her to put this reference into the hands of writers – a wonderful peek behind the curtain of what constitutes excellent writing and what goes into the publisher's waste bin. Add to that solid examples of how to fix the problems and you have gold. Read it if you can.
3.     Stein on Writing by Sol Stein – This easy reading book not only provides solid advice, it also has real examples to illustrate the rules.
4.     Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.– A visually oriented depiction of story and storytelling motifs and models. It presents information in a different way that allows your brain to think outside the box, so to speak.
There you have it. A chocolate bar, an apple, a comfortable chair and time to revisit and mark up my books. This is a good place.

Valentine's Surprise

My Valentine’s Day came a day late, but it was worth the wait. My better half tried to surprise me, but he could not hold such a big secret and spilled it days before. We went on a helicopter tour of Seattle. Wow, what a great experience. It was a rare clear day, blue sky and no wind. From the helicopter, we could see two volcanoes, two mountain ranges, Puget Sound, several lakes, mansions that outshine resorts, flew over the University of Washington campus, buzzed the skyscrapers of two cities and we were eye to eye with the space needle. What a place to live, I’ve never visited anywhere that beats Seattle.
The scenery was terrific, the ride even better. Taking off in a helicopter was a new experience for me. There was no speed ramp-up down the runway until flight was possible, nope, we rose in the air like you rise in an elevator – straight up. Zoom. Just like that, on the ground one second and in the air the next. Whoosh. I love to fly on – well, everything, and now that I’ve been on a helicopter I want to go again. Our next trip will be to a very large waterfall in the Cascade mountains, Snoqualmie Falls. I’m ready.
This ride also accomplished another thing, one more check mark off our bucket list. You know the bucket list? A list of things you really want to do before you shrug off this mortal coil. My husband and I like the same things, so our bucket list contains all of the modes of moving around the planet we could think of. We included submarines, the space shuttle (rats, missed that one), trains, and all types of flying machines. Boats. Horse drawn carriage. UFO. We want to get a ride on them all. Ever hopeful.

ICE Shadow Wolves

For those who have read Blue ICE, and are Ed Red Wind fans, I offer this blog. For future readers of the ICE series of Lake House Mysteries, you are in for a treat. Ed Red Wind is an ICE Shadow Wolf, and quite a character.
You will get to know him through the books, but for today's post I want to shine a spotlight on Shadow Wolves, a little known and much needed part of our national security strategy. They have also been used to train foreign forces overseas in the art of tracking.
The link to the official ICE site is here -
For convenience I'll give you the information in this blog. Enjoy.
June 2007
ICE ShadowWolves
The Shadow Wolves comprise a U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tactical patrol unit based on the Native American Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. Shadow Wolf officers are known for their ability to track alien and drug smugglers as they attempt to smuggle their illegal commodities across the border. The unit boasts an esteemed history of tracking passed down from generation to generation. The name "Shadow Wolves" refers to the way the unit hunts, like a wolf pack. When one wolf finds prey, it calls in the rest of the wolf pack.
Despite possession of high-tech equipment, the unit relies mainly on traditional methods of tracking, primarily a technique called "cutting for sign." "Cutting" is searching for and analyzing "sign," which includes any kind of physical evidence (footprints, tire tracks, thread,clothing, etc). Officers may spend hours or days tracking in the field following a "sign" until arrests and seizures are made, or it has been determined that the contraband has been loaded into a vehicle and transported from the area.
Key Facts
·     The Shadow Wolves methodical approach has enabled them to track and apprehend smugglers in parts of the Southwestern U.S. across arduous desert terrain and rugged mountainous areas where tracks left by smugglers may be no more than an overturned pebble or an almost indistinguishable impression in the sand
·    An experienced Shadow Wolf can spot small items snagged on branches, twigs bent or broken, or even a single fiber of cloth or burlap from a sack or bag that could be filled with drugs. They can read faint footprints in the dust and determine when they were made, where they came from and whether or not traffickers are carrying additional weight such as backpacks filled with drugs.
·   The Shadow Wolves are the Department of Homeland Security’s only Native American tracking unit.
·   The Tohono O’odham Nation, patrolled by the Shadow Wolves, covers 2.8 million acres and is comprised mainly of small, scattered villages.
·  The Shadow Wolves have traveled to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to teach ancient tracking skills to customs officials, border guards, and national police in those countries in order to detect and follow the tracks of people who may be transporting components of weapons of mass destruction.
·  The Shadow Wolves employ traditional tracking skills combined with modern law enforcement technology to enforce immigration and customs laws on the 76-mile stretch of land the Tohono O’odham Nation shares with Mexico.
·  The unit was transferred back to ICE from CBP’s Border Patrol in October 2006 and is being utilized to enhance ICE investigations and operations on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
·   Since transferring back to ICE in October 2006, the 15-member unit is responsible for the seizure of over 31,000 pounds of marijuana, over 43 criminal arrests of smugglers and the seizure of 16 vehicles.
·  Officers estimate in recent years they have seized an average of 60,000 pounds of illegal drugs a year.

Guest Blogging today

Today I'm guest Blogging on Fresh Fiction,
Stop by and let me know what you think. The topic will be no surprise to my readers, Homeland Security.

Oregon coast

Glass Ball
Just returned from three weeks on the Oregon coast where we spend pretty much all of the winter holidays on the calendar. The lake is always interesting and refreshing, but the Pacific Ocean is scary and thrilling. The unbelievable power of the tides and waves is mesmerizing, calling to something in the soul that goes way back, before human memory. We are drawn to it like a magnet, but we also fear it. I'm putting a video on my author Facebook page with the sounds and sights of a slice of coast, and not even in a storm.
While we were there we went out on a 50-foot boat whale watching. I love the motion, just like I love air turbulence. For some it is uncomfortable, but to me it's actually soothing and fun. We were in the middle of a small pod of whales who surfaced and dove back down with a show of tails and a puff of spray. What a trip! Maybe they charge for boat watching tours. The cost is something like five tunas a participant with no guarantee of seeing a boat.
I'm glad to be home, back at the lake writing Green Ice and plunging Brooke and Jack into ever increasing danger. While I was in Oregon two small bookstores agreed to take Blue Ice, both in Lincoln County. If you're out that way, stop into Bob's Beach Books or Allegory Books and Music and see  if you can find it. I also have Blue Ice in the King County Library here in the Seattle area. You can also request the book from your local library and they'll get it in if they don't already carry it. ISBN #978-1-61009-045-2. OK, that's the end of promotion for this Blog.

The 80-20 Rule

I've spent the better part of thisweek wrestling with a troublesome patch in my first draft of Green Ice. I'vegone back and forth with it, rewriting, changing, adding, and sweating. TodayI've come to the realization that I've been guilty of violating one of mycardinal rules, the 80-20 rule.
The 80-20 Rule states that in anygiven enterprise one spends 20% of one's time, energy and resources obtaining80% of the desired results, and 80% of the same energy, time and resourceschasing after the final 20%. This is true in people management as well; in anygiven group of people 80% will require 20% of the manager's time and effortwhile 20% will eat up 80% of the manager's time, energy and resources.
It's a great rule to live by, if youcan. The ability to accept an 80% result will free you up to accomplish more,realize more peace, be happier. Of course, it only works when 100% is notabsolutely required. How many babies is it OK for the nurse to drop? NONE. Youcan see that there are situations where 80% wouldn't be a great metric forwhich to aim.
In my case, however, it has freed me up to get on withthe story, content in the knowledge that I can spend 80% of my time during thesecond or third draft chasing down the last 20% of "perfect." Rightnow, I declare this patch good enough to allow the rest of the story to proceed.Whew. The first draft is on schedule for completion this month, again.

Interview this week

I'm being interviewed this week on Romancing the Heart - please stop by and let me know what you think!
Keeping in mind, of course, that as a fiction writer I lie for a living. Yep.

Back to the new normal

Finally. The Presidential elections are over, the winner has been chosen and the loser sinks back into obscurity. Honestly, can you name the "also-rans" from the last four elections? People in important, highly visible positions still misbehave and get caught. Did they think they would not? Why? The budget wars have resumed in Washington DC, the other Washington. Lights in the sky - must be UFOs - are once again in the news. Doomsday predictions surrounding December 21 and the end of the Mayan calendar are again raised.
In other words, business as usual. The new normal. Different players sometimes, the old guard sometimes, but as they say, the beat goes on. There is a rhythm to all of this, like the rhythm of a symphony or the ebb and flow of the ocean. In a way it's comforting. We will never wake up to a day with no news, no scandal, no drama.
At any rate, I am grateful that the assault of political phone calls, TV ads, street side signs and debates is over. It will all return in four short years, enjoy the interlude. As a writer I create drama, excitement that is always escalating, always more deadly. Art imitating life perhaps.
Do we write and read mysteries and adventure stories because life has the same rhythm? Always the new scandal, the murder, the horror of terrorism, the threat of disaster around the corner. Here's a question for you, are we as a people addicted to the drumbeat of bad news the way some are addicted to cigarettes? How soon would we put down a book where every day was sunny and there were no lurking dangers?
I don't have the answer, I just pose the question. Personally, I like a quick paced book with lots of action and intrigue. Murder even. At least I know that at the end of the book Right will prevail and all of the secrets will be revealed. Life should imitate art.

Typos and commas and spelling, oh my!

Got a great 5-Star review on Amazon today, but in spite of the "great story" description, this reader took exception to errors in the print. It seems that no matter how many times a manuscript it scrubbed, read, re-read and corrected, errors creep through. Maybe they breed at night. It does seem so at times. If there's one thing all authors, editors and publishers want, it's a good tale told without errors. Almost never happens.
That being said, I do want to hear from you if you come across errors in the paper or e-version of Blue Ice. I really try for perfection, that elusive beast. I'll post the errors here that this reader was kind enough to send me, these I know about now. I'm sure there are some she and I have missed. Anyone?
Table of contents - 395 pages, page count is 312.
p 38: "Leave sparring with the Feds to me . . ."
p 81: "They had chips and apples, cookies for dessert . . . "
p 151 last paragraph: " . . . words about sparring . . ."
p 189 Chapter 16 heading should read June 21 not June 12
p 312: ". . . his finger traced a line a lineon her . . ."
There you have it, a preview of sorts. Let's see what else you can find.
You can e-mail me your finds if you like -

IC Enger

We just returned from a short trip to Idaho, it was an interesting drive. Idaho was nice, but it was the drive though Washington that sticks in my mind.
We started out in green, cool Western Washington and drove up and over the beautiful Cascade Mountains. In a very short time we were in another world - Eastern Washington. Dry, dry, dry and brown. The air was filled with so much smoke that we rolled up the windows and put the car on re-circulating air. Even with that, though, the smoke from many forest fires in the region clung to the back of my throat and  stung my nose. How do the people living there stand it? They work in smoke, rest in smoke, eat meals in smoke and at night sleep in smoke. It can't be good.
Through the thick haze we drove past mile after mile of grain fields, either being harvested or just harvested, with bales and rolls of whatever grain it was (hay?) stacked and piled in the fields, under tarps, under shelters built for that purpose, and piled into huge cone-shaped silver structures. MILES.
Then came the animals, lots of animals. Cows, horses, sheep, llamas, more cows, chickens, cows, dairy farms. And the smell? Wow, I wonder if the people living and working the ranches and farms even notice it? Maybe only city dwellers find it difficult to breathe?
After that we drove through orchards of trees as far as we could see with trucks and ladders working on gathering in the fruit. In the smoke. After the trees came fields of onions - we could smell the onions in the air as well as see the huge trucks driving one after the other and piled high with just-harvested onions.
I had a thought while we were driving through all this. Hundreds of people are working very hard, all day and every day, in difficult conditions, so that I can go to the supermarket and buy an apple and a carton of milk. I think everyone would benefit from the experience of actually seeing the work and conditions, and effort, that goes into our food production. I know - I KNEW - that food comes from farms and ranches, I did. As a child I spent a summer on a relatives farm in Iowa, it was fun.  But I didn't really "get it" until I made the trip in the smoke past ruined corn crops that didn't get the water they needed to grow, the onion fields, the apple orchards, the grain harvesting, the cows.
And the workers, working and living in the heat and the smoke of the worst wild fire season I've seen in Washington; smoke that could be seen as it rolled along the ground and wound through the trees, tasted on the back of the tongue, dimming the sun and making the hills disappear, and causing the nose to sting. I'm pretty sure it wasn't fun.

Halloween Alert

Yes, it's only September, and yet I'm thinking forward to Halloween. This used to be my second favorite holiday - a close second to Christmas. I remember .... but before I get to that, let me give a heads-up. Sometime in October I'll put a Halloween flash story on my blog. I wrote it a few years ago and I drag it out this time of year, taking it down after the 31st.
So, I remember my Halloweens. The whole world, which was Denver, got very spooky about that time. The moon was a witch moon, the pale cloud fingers flew across the face of the moon at night - wooooooo. We had cutouts of black cats and witches in the windows at school and the costumes! Mostly our costumes were homemade except for the masks, covering only our eyes, and which had a special Halloween smell I can still conjure up at will.
After dinner we'd get dressed in our costumes with care, then pile heavy coats over them so we wouldn't freeze. Neighbors would invite us into their homes where we would take off our coats and display our wonderful, beautiful, scary costumes. In turn we'd get candy apples, popcorn balls and really great candy. Hoards of kids roamed the spooky streets under the witch moon. It was great. I'm sure there were real ghosts.
More on Halloween then and now in a future blog post. And watch for the story, it's coming!!  woooooooo.

Launching the Book

I'm preparing to launch Blue Ice with a party - maybe even a big party! October 13 at the Garden Club in Bellevue,details are on my Facebook page. So ... while I try diligently to finish the first draft of Green Ice, which is shaping up nicely, I'm also ordering books, t-shirts, book faceplates, bookmarks and anything else I can think of. At The Garden Club they are busy putting up posters, counting chairs and RSVPs, sending invitations and planning snacks to serve. I've launched children with less fuss.
Writing a book is actually a lot like having a child. The breathless anticipation when you realize one is actually on it's way, the out-of-control activity that heralds its arrival, the first tentative steps into the outside world, the people you meet that you never would have met if it weren’t for the little darling, ------
Here's a question - how far does this parallel existence go? Terrible two's? Horrid teen years? Leaving home and setting up a life without you? Will it forget to call?
Meanwhile, I will go back to work on book-child number two and hope for the best.

Summer in Seattle

Finally warm dry days are upon Seattle, just in time for the kids to go back to school. They must feel gypped. The month of June and a good part of July are cool, windy and rainy. Really too cool to jump into the lake for a swim or laze about outside. Here in the Pacific Northwest it seems the summer season goes from mid-July to October, when the clouds roll in once again.
Growing up here produces a hardy bunch who think nothing of playing baseball in the rain or going about their business in the rain without umbrellas. We have a fall festival at the foot of the Space Needle at the beginning of September named "Bumbershoot," another word for umbrella. It marks the end of summer, but it's not really the end, it's more like the middle. Maybe it marks the end of summer vacation for Seattle area school kids.
The ICE series of books take place on the northern edge of Washington, and the weather is a character in the stories. The swing between daylight sun and dark night is so wide up here - long, long days in the summer and very short days in the winter - sometimes it feels like we're in Alaska. Actually, we're not that far away.
So to all the Seattle school kids, I'm sorry. We adults are having a great time in the hot September sun, with empty beaches and parks. It's a perk of growing up around here. You'll get your chance, so ..... study hard. I'm off for a picnic by the lake.

Questions from a book club and my answers

I am scheduled to speak at a book club later in the month, and in preparation for that they have sent a list of questions that would be of interest. These are book readers, but some of them also write stories. When I finished answering the questions I thought perhaps other readers would also be interested. Below are the questions and my replies. Hope it's helpful.
·       How did I get interested in writing?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer of stories. I used to write fairy tales when I was a kid, they never ended well. I’m better and braver when I’m writing.
·       How do I do research?
Google is my friend! I do a lot of on-line research, talk to experts in person or on the phone and visit places I want to describe in the book. Even after the book is started I do mini-research forays each morning as needed for the plot, setting or dialog.
·       How do I keep going?
The story and characters drive me forward. They haunt my sleep and creep into my every day activities demanding to be brought to life.
One valuable thing I have learned from other writers is that there comes a point in the manuscript, for every author, when the whole thing seems like garbage. The characters lack depth, the plot is too thin, the writing is just plain bad and the setting is unrealistic. When you reach that point, and you will, the temptation to toss the whole thing in the trash is strong. If you can push through it and keep writing, you will go through that point, complete your book, and it will seem brilliant to you once again. The trick is to anticipate this point in the writing process and not let it paralyze you. Easier said than done.
·       How do I develop characters?
I imagine them from bits and pieces of people I have known, seen in movies and on television, government figures, etc. I give them a name, describe them, find a picture in a magazine or advertisement that looks like my idea of them, and write a biography of each major character - a short sketch for minor characters. Once the writing starts and the characters begin to speak and interact with each other, a funny thing happens. Somehow they become more than I had imagined them to be. They sort of take on a life and personality of their own, and sometimes I breakout laughing at some of the crazy things they say or do. No, I’m not really crazy. I’m pretty sure.
·       Do I get cooperation from other authors and groups?
No one loves talking about the craft as much as authors, and they love lending a helping hand to up and comers. Writing and critique groups are a great resource, and the writers in the groups give generously of their time and experience. This is in direct contrast to the corporate business world where information is power and to share power is a career killer. Authors love what they do and they want everyone else to love it too, and maybe even give it a try. 
·       Do I research in libraries?
Not even once, but it could happen.
·       What is the flow, organization of a story?
This is what works for me. Dead bodies are, of course, found throughout the story line: 
1.    Introduction of the crime/mystery
a.     Start with a main character doing something interesting  - action
b.     Describe a Major Change and Story Goal
c.      Identify the crime
d.     Establish the Villain and his ShortTerm Quest
e.     Introduce Minor Characters
f.     Insert Clues
2.    Rising Action
a.      New Disaster
b.     Plausible suspects introduced
c.       Mid-Point of book  
          1.     Re-examine evidence
2.     New Action Plan 
d.     Villain gets Upper Hand - disasterfor Main Character
e.     Romantic Lead’s or Best Friend’s back story
f.     Red Herring is cleared
3.     Black Moment
a.      Major Disaster
b.       All is lost
4.     Climax
Major Action Scene, pull out all the stops and leave no doubt that this is the climax. The scene ends well for the main character.
5.     Final Resolution
a.     Tie up loose ends
b.     All questions are answered
c.      Closing scene (frosting on the cake for readers)
·       Some tips I’ve learned along the way
1.     Start with an idea that’s big enough to sustain an entire book
2.     Decide on the major characters early and get to know them well
3.     Research when you are not an expert – ballistics, international law, foreign accents, police procedures, etc.
4.    Write an outline of action scenes –a few words only
5.     Expand these into short paragraphs –no dialogue yet
6.     Begin writing descriptions anddialogue with a pattern of scene – sequel – scene-sequel: scene beingdialogue and/or action; sequel being thoughts and plans of the point of viewcharacter. The sequel ends with a plan for action, which leads into the nextscene.

Autumn musings

Fall is in the air, school buses are making trial runs as the kids are getting new school supplies. The bird songs in the neighborhood have quieted down considerably, possibly they have flown to warmer climes already. The sun is shining, but the slant is different and the evenings cooler. In the northwest, where I live, the shift of daylight from summer to winter is pretty extreme and the days are getting shorter now. All signs point to one thing, summer is over. Autumn musings.
This used to be my dad's favorite season, and this will be the first one he's missed in his 94 years on the planet. I miss dad today, gone these four months now. Mourning comes in fits and starts, not an all-at-once and then done with it manner. I expect there will be many times in the years ahead when a song or a scent will bring him back, and then I'll lose him all over  again.

Available now on Amazon

Blue Ice is now available from Be sure to search for I.C. Enger since there are a few other similar titles out there. I can guarantee you, there are no similar stories!
Homeland Security is more and more in the news, have you noticed? The emphasis is still focused on ERO, Enforcement and Removal Operations. I expect that one of these days HSI, Homeland Security Investigations, will get a share of the spotlight as well. Not that they would welcome it.

New time waster

When I want to kick back on the computer and waste some time, and who hasn't, I tune into my favorite live cam - octocam. This is a live picture from the Hatfield Marine science Center in Oregon featuring several huge star fish, (er, sea stars) and a giant Pacific octopus. Now, you can't always see the octo-celebrity since the camera is in a fixed position, but he/she comes out frequently enough to keep me coming back. It's both relaxing and addictive, great time waster.
Enough of that, back to writing!

Codes, phones and the brave new world

I have discovered how to create and embed QR codes, those strange looking square black and white checkerboard bar codes that direct you to a web site, picture, or Mars. The only problem is my cell phone doesn't have a camera. Shocking, I now know, since several people didn't believe me until I showed it to them. I've had it for years, it works fine, I can talk or text, even play games, and I can't bring myself to discard it. Oh yes, and the fact that the new Internet-capable camera-included phones cost more than my TV set. Practically.
This does present a challenge. I can put codes on every bit of media I use on the computer, print them on business cards and t-shirts and throw them out of airplanes to the populace below. I don't know for sure that they are sending anyone where I hope they are.
Enter my friend Mary. I print out a code, e-mail it or walk it the half mile to her house, she snaps a picture of it on her modern phone and we wait to see what will pop up in the viewer. This process isn't as much fun as it sounds since rework requires that the whole cycle be repeated, and I'm starting to lay out broad hints to my darling Randy that Christmas is coming.

Home again, home

"And the hunter home from the sea". I feel like I've been in some weird kind of space warp, from green cool Washington to the moonscape of boiling Nevada, and finally to the vast empty beaches of south Oregon. Whew. A short drive as the country goes, but the variation in locations is as vast as you can get. I found a treasure in an unlikely place. Randy and I were window shopping in Lincoln City, found a second hand and antique store that looked interesting, and went in for a look-see.
In the back, under a dimly lit case, were a few glass balls. Now, mind you, there were glass balls along the wall in the shop too. Why were these under glass? It turns out they were all previously "found balls" from folks who had chanced upon them in previous years - tucked away in secret places along the Oregon coastline by local glass artists as part of the finders-keepers city sponsored activities. This only happens at a certain time of the year, and the decision to keep it up is, well, up in the air.
I plucked one from under the glass and fell in love with it's soap bubble colors. I guess it's been found ........ again! How many hidden treasures have you found out there in the world?  I bet there are some good stories.
Look for this glass ball to turn up in Black Ice, the third story in the ICE series.

Sunny Nevada

Finished up the Police Writer's conference in Las Vegas, great time! Lots of panels and discussions by the very ex-police and special agents I was hoping to hear from. Blue Ice is officially published, and will be on my doorstep when I return home.

Oh, yes, got married too. Not Elvis, but a very Vegas minister officiated and lots of conference attendees joined us for a wedding. The champagne freely, son Dr Dave and his wife Andrea shared the evening with us and hosted several of us to the private club on top of Mandalay Bay. View to die for.

Now Randy and I are leaving Nevada for the Oregon coast for a week, then back to the Seattle area to set up our home and get back to writing. Quite a month!

Alphabet Soup

 ..... Nine days until the book is introduced at the Police Writer's Conference in Vegas. And counting......
Interesting time here in the good old US. While the government leaders seem ambivalent toward the principal of holding closed our borders on the Southwest and the North, the civilian and militry folks have deployed drones and task forces to do just that. I'm reading the June 2012 issue of Military Officer magazine today. It diagrams the area of responsibility for the combined effort of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).
Here's how NORTHCOM is described; "NORTHCOM's area of responsibility includes the continental U.S., Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and surrounding waters out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It executes its mission of homeland defense and civil support operations with the help of several subordinate commands and through partnerships with the Bahamas, Canada, and Mexico." (p. 53)
More than 60 different federal and non-federal agencies, including Homeland Security, tie in with NORTHCOM to secure our defense, and how does all of this interest me? My books are all about special agents who are defending our borders against anything coming into the country that would harm the U.S.
My hope is that the government would give them a clear mission, allow them to carry out that mission, and that all of the alphabet soup agencies working together actually work smoothly to a common goal.

Life is dangerous

Interesting news bit today - a dad left his toddler in the car and went into work. Forgot the child was there. Luckily, a co-worker noticed the child after two hours in the hot sun and called the police. The child will be OK, and the dad will never make that mistake again. What's my point with all this? Just that when I read about tragedies that happen to children when their parent should have been more aware, attentive or whatever - I can empathize with the parent. This is just in the case of accidents of course; child abuse is a different animal all together.
When I think back on the years I was a single parent, raising two children and holding down a full time job, I just feel lucky that nothing really tragic happened. It could have. Easily. Cell phone in one hand, briefcase at the ready, late to a meeting, crisis in the office. And did I drop the baby off at childcare? Baby sleeping in the back seat, grab the briefcase and rush inside. My nightmare that never happened. Lucky.
For some reason we all made it through OK. I also remember my own childhood. We used to go out in the morning during summer break and stay out until dinnertime. We would ride bikes all over town, hunt for tadpoles, swim in the lake and jump off dangerous heights without much more than a bump and scrape.
So, when a moment of distraction on the part of a parent, or a twist of fate at the swimming hole, or any number of other possibilities that leads to tragica ccidents and headlines happen, I know that there but for the grace of God could have been me. Life is dangerous.
That's why I love mystery books. Controlled danger. Threats that will be revealed in the end. Right will win, evil will pay. Mystery books are so, so much safer than the real thing. 

Social Media, Social Madness

It started innocently enough. A member of my publisher's blog, Oak Tree Press, wrote that if one could accumulate enough "likes" on an author book site such as Amazon, or Facebook, then certain great features would be available. Sounded good, one person said she'd "like" the first one if the originator would "like" hers in turn. Great. Then another joined in, and another, and soon - much like popcorn - the site was inundated with author's requesting "likes" on their sites. From there it spread to a different organization, Sisters in Crime, that had members in both. From this new site I have no doubt it will continue to spread far and wide. It’s fun, anyone can play.
This is how I learned that as an author, my personal Facebook page was not going to work, I needed an "author" page to get "likes.” Half a day later I was the proud owner of an author site on Facebook, Now I could begin to accumulate "likes" of my own, even a month before my book hits the Amazon site. If you can get 30 "likes," you get to choose a simpler URL. I'm thinking about it.
Once I got the Facebook page up and running, I received an invite to join the Crime Fiction section of LinkedIn, another social network site. OK, several hours later, I'm in. Don't know how to use it yet, but I figure I'll learn. How hard can it be? Hmmmm.
A blog, web page, a Facebook page, and a  LinkedIn page later, I'm feeling good. What - no Twitter? Nope, no yet. For that I'd need a better class of cell phone, and mine doesn't even take pictures. How would I Tweet?
After all this activity which took up the better part of two days, I realized that I hadn't worked on the next book, Green Ice, at all. Am I a writer, or am I a social networker? It seems you have to be both these days, something Jane Austen didn't have to deal with. On the other hand, did Jane know how much her books were loved, and by whom?
Pluses and Minuses. I wonder what new way of communicating is out there, in the wings, just waiting to spring on us from cyberspace? Meanwhile, I'm going to get back to Three Cranes Lake and see what mischief I can cook up for Brooke and Jack.

"What, I'm not going?"

I told you in my last entry that Randy and I would be travelling to Las Vegas next month to attend the Police Writers Conference, PSWA, and also to get hitched in a hopefully Elvis wedding chapel. Right. The mega cat is not invited, she will be going to camp instead. I expect a leather key chain or book mark, some kind of camp craft, when we returen.
The problem is, she read the post.
What trip?   
And when I explain that she's going to cat camp instead, I get The Look. If you have a cat, you know The Look.

Big news in Vegas

Right now I'm getting ready to go to Las Vegas in July for the Police Writer's Conference - part of the Public Safety Writers Association. And guess what? My very special Special Agent and I will be married there. So, lot's going on, and not the least of it all is setting up the media so I can keep in touch with you while I'm on the road.
Mega Cat will be going to camp, I haven't told her yet. Using her cat-ESP I expect she suspects.

Facebook problem solved

I think I'm in a good place now with Facebook - try it out and let me know.
Stormy here today, windy and raining. Great North West weather, but a bit of an acquired taste. Love the sun? What sun?
AAAhhhh! Curses! Still not solved. Maybe next week? Facebook tells me, in their comforting way, it's a "known problem, and we're working on it." Yes, I am holding my breath.

Curses Facebook!

How hard can it be? Pretty darn hard. When the cyber imps decide to not cooperate, we humans are easily frustrated. All I want is a nice little Facebook page for the Lake House Mysteries. Nope. So far I have copied approximately 32 messages to post - all the same by the way - and none of them get glued to the site. They are there, then as soon as I go to another page, say photos, they are gone. Curses. More later, now I need a glass of something and the calm lake water lapping at the shore.

Spring forward!

Green ICE, the second book in the Lake House Mystery series, is nearly finished. Tunnels under the border, Ukrainian girls in town, Goldie's wedding plans. Life in the town of Three Cranes is never dull. Although it is Spring here on my lake, it's Fall where Brooke lives. Trick or Treat!

Sunday October 9, 2011

There's been a lot of speculation lately in the news regarding CCD - Colony Collapse Disorder - and it's effect on US crops.  We know the real answer though, don't we. At least everyone will know when Blue Ice is released in July of 2012. The publishing contract is signed and wheels are in motion, so wait for the truth to be revealed.
Meanwhile, I'm hard at work on Green Ice, book 2.  Events are once again taking shape that will involve Homeland Security Investigations and ICE Border Patrol. There is a lot happening at the Canadian border.

Blue ICE - ready for publisher

Sunday September 18, 2010
OK!  Blue ICE is out of editing (thank you Marilyn Olsen). Oak Tree Press has expressed interest in it and paperwork is on the way.  If all works out it should be available by July 2012.
Meanwhile, book 2, Green ICE, is underway. As it takes shape expect to see the same set of folks hard at work keeping the bad guys under control.  Same set of main characters with some new faces added into the mix.  Expect a few twists and dangerous turns along the way.
Outside the sky is overcast and rain is falling. This is perfect writing weather, so it's back to work for me.  Keep your eyes open, they're everywhere!

Back from Las Vegas

July 18, 2011.  I'm back from the PSWA (Public Safety Writers Association) conference in Las Vegas with a renewed appreciation for clouds and water, and with some great memories.  There just isn't any greater trip than flying from the hot, dry desert to damp, cool, green Seattle in the space of a few hours.  A time portal might beat it but otherwise there's no contest.
The PSWA conference ran for three well organized and completely full days. I can now report I've held a human skill in my hands, complete with bullet holes. Learned a lot from the law enforcement officers and fire fighter professionals and hope to incorporate some of it into the next book. Had no idea fire flashbacks could happen so quickly, did have an idea that Cop humor is the best - verified. Met some very talented folks, an inspiration.
Las Vegas was bright, smoky, lively and glittering in contrast to my quiet existence, and the PSWA conference was well worth the trip. Having worked with airline flight crews, corporate computing groups and small business owners I can say that law enforcement officers have the best sense of humor, hands down.
I can no longer say I have never held a human skull in my hands. Learned a lot about crime and mayhem from the professionals and also lots of great info about the writing craft.  Now I can sit back with a G&T, feet up on the deck rail and work on book #2, Green ICE.  Blue ICE is in the capable hands of a great editor - Marilyn Olsen - and I've had a nice little break from routine, now it's back to the keyboard.  Back to Three Cranes Lake with Brooke, Jack and Ed.

Reviews - silly stuff

"Kudos to IC Enger. BLUE ICE is a great start to a promising new series.  Loved the Shadow Wolves, I can't wait to read the next one!"  -  Publisher, Lupine World Magazine
"Tightly plotted, well crafted, a good read!  Highly recommend this book." -  The Makkapitew Daily News
"I loved this book! thanks to IC Enger, tourism in Chogan County is up 500%."  -  Lilly Gold, Mayor - Makkapitew
"Now that I know what to look for, I see Secret Agents in unmarked SUVs everywhere! Wow, like, I never even noticed them before." - Arthur Sudonym 
“Special. Special Agents, why is that so hard? Idiot.  And yes, I’m behind you.” - anonymous 
“Ha! IC Enger made the mayor of Makkapitew a man. Way to go IC, and way more realistic.” - James (Red) Nekkir 
“Look here, Red Nekkir, seems like the budget this year just won’t stretch to cover that shooting range on the edge of town. So sorry.” -   Lilly Gold, Mayor - Makkapitew 
“Face facts Lilly, gals just don’t belong in City Halls.” - James (Red) Nekkir
“Now settle down here folks, let’s show the author some respect. This is a really great book.” – Carla Littlepaw, Sheriff, Chogan County 
“Snicker. The sheriff in the book is a man too, sheriff.” - James (Red) Nekkir 
“What?  Lowell, get me a copy of that ICE book. Now.” – Carla Littlepaw, Sheriff, Chogan County

July 5, 2011

As I write this the fireworks of last night are but a bright memory and the kids of summer are jumping off the floating dock and making splashes in the lake.  Summer is here.
Soon I will climb aboard an airplane to Las Vegas for the 2011 conference of the PSWA, Public Safety Writers Association.  There I will do my best to meet lots of interesting speakers and other writers who work daily to spotlight the good work law enforcement officers are accomplishing on our behalf.  Pictures?  Maybe.
I will go with the happy knowledge that book 1 - Blue Ice - is complete and book 2 - Green Ice - is in the works.  Stay tuned for publish dates.
Trust but verify - Ronald Reagan
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