One book leads to another...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wily Games of Winter

In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold. ~Ben Aaronovitch, ~Broken Homes

He warned us with a boyish grin, inclement weather loomed. But basking as were, under cloudless skies and eighty degree warmth we remained unconcerned until dawn revealed the mountains; concealed by a blanket of darkness that poured into the valley like leftover gravy, and we froze.

It’s a safe bet that there were as many jackets as there were toys and games purchased that first frigid day – ha! And speaking of games, there’s one in particular on my mind today.

Requiring considerable concentration and a bounty of luck; Jenga® is a game that even cats are good at (according to the internet), and perfectly describes the structure of my work-a-day world.  All it takes is one integral piece—let alone two or three—to bring down the house, so to speak.  Although an unexpected collapse isn’t the end of the world, it can certainly be demanding; as evidenced by my abrupt disappearance.  Sorry about that, folks.

Besides, it’s Christmas!

So as I set my game back up and drag out all those merry memories from every Christmases past, of cookie smiles and Santa hats; gifts that can’t be wrapped, I’ll be thinking of all of my cyber friends too, as I take a holiday hiatus and send off sixty Christmas cards.  Does anyone still do that?

In the meantime I left a short Christmas story at Canyon Whispers and I’ll pop in on your posts whenever possible.  Until again, be warm, be well and above all be happy!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Has It Been That Long?

“We have not the time to take our time” ~ Eugene Ionesco
 Uncounted are the seconds as we savor summer nights when the crackle of a campfire doesn’t quite call to mind the comfort of a fireplace in frigid winters past though the trickle of a thinning stream heralds change and falling leaves; concealing unobserved, our footprints, left in haste.

Unexpected is the dreary dawn when confident collars upend against the bracing wind of subtle change, and the roar of silence reigns with the sting of frostbite as we fear our tomorrows have  all run out and seek with fevered urgency the enchantment that once was. Has it been that long? In disbelief, we wonder.

Could this explain our actions when, with careful cause or reckless abandon, we sometimes rush headlong into, say, publication?  Been there. Done that.  And in a world that seems more impressed by quantity than quality, is it worth the obligatory ulcer? While some days are diamonds, some aren’t even gold-plated, so what keeps you going? What keeps that next sentence coming, that next paragraph flowing on a butter-side down day?

For me, a long walk, being in nature has the reassuring, as well as rejuvenating, effect of renewed purpose; as in everyone and everything.  I suddenly forget who I was mad at, why I ever thought for one second of abandoning the lively characters protesting in my head and that for just a moment, I almost lost hope.  But the value of having like-minded folks such as the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (where I’ve just imparted another rendition of my insecurities) around to share the adventure has proven immeasurable too.  I recommend it to everybody! Besides, much as I love them; I can’t talk to trees all day – ha!

Have you ever felt that time is running out?  What dissuades despair for you? 

Wednesday word(s):  Go Long!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Highly Spirited Heartland

As a misty orange daybreak gives way to stunning blue; haphazardly sprinkled tufts of white linen float lazily above the Verde Canyon Railroad, where the hauntingly winsome whistle bewails the waning darkness, when spirited entities engage in cosmic pillow fights above the valley plains.

Arizona’s heartland lies above the arid desert and below the high ponderosa country where a vast array of discoveries awaits the adventurous in too many forms to mention in one blog—or see in a single day, so we’ll just meander as if on a long weekend drive from Jerome.

In Clarkdale, it is believed the spirit of Sheriff Jim Roberts continues foot- patrol on the now mostly deserted Main Street; where in the summer of 1928, he foiled the greatest bank robbery attempt in Arizona history.  The ClarkdaleHistorical Museum offers as much education as it does experience, with frequent reports of hijinks and apparitions in the building which was once a clinic for ailing smelter workers before it was a police station with a jail cell, built in the basement; where many shadowy figures are seen.

A short walk down the quiet street takes you past a small park; where a lone gazebo emits enough energy to suggest it being perhaps a portal, and to the Pool Hall where balls are reported to knock around by themselves at night.

Is it ever too late in the day for fresh baked goods? The Orion Bread Company, down the road in Cottonwood,  is highly acclaimed and doesn’t seem quite old enough to already have its own ghost in the form a young child who reportedly wanders the store; gazing longingly at all the fresh goods.

The Cottonwood Jail was temporary home to several high-profile (for the era) individuals; including an influential bootlegger named Joe Hall, who was visited by the infamous Al Capone (who carved his name above the cell door during the lengthy visit), in an effort to recruit ‘runners’ between the US and Mexico. Another notorious criminal was found detained in the Jail, thanks to Sheriff Buck Snoody (America’s Most Wanted), was extradited from the Cottonwood Jail and led unhappily back to L.A. where he was sentenced to Death (As depicted in the 1967 Dragnet series ‘The Hammer’). And even celebrities such as Burt Lancaster spent a little time there; though he was filming the 1946 movie ‘Desert Fury’, as did Elvis Presley; during the filming of ‘Stay Away Joe’. 

While the mountains are but glowing embers of the swiftly passing day, I’m struck by how very much I value the simplest freedoms; to explore and learn, to have and share, and to celebrate with friends and family, any holiday I please!  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! 

Would you enjoy Arizona’s heartland?  For many years, we always listened to “Alice’s Restaurant” on Thanksgiving day, do you have any special traditions regarding the holiday?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Another Dimension on a Wayward Wind

In the whimsical spin of the stop sign and softly rustling leaves, the wayward winds of fall do tease at the crossroads.  And you might just head south, instead.  For even in the twilight sky, diamond stars will shimmer and knowingly wink at the adventurous few, travelling southward.

After a satisfying weekend of ghost sightings in Bisbee (you don’t have to hunt for them there), it would seem only fitting to visit the eternal resting site intended for the not-so-departed. That would be the cemetery; just outside of town.

Not surprisingly, the cemetery is a rather quiet place, though it is near capacity for gravesites. You won’t be able to see the bats against the black velvet sky, unless by moonlight; which seldom seems to shine. 

Then, just when it seems prudent to turn back, you see a vintage airstream, gleaming in the starlight. Curiosity deepens as another airstream comes into view, and another. By the time you realize it is an entire campground full of campers from yesteryear, you’ll be transported to another dimension; where everything is as it was, though perhaps not as it seems. 

This camp; consisting of ten units, each with its own theme and a percolator, are available for rent by the week or weekend, with a down home Diner on site, and everything presented in a strictly fifties atmosphere, where the likes of Gogi Grant and Jody Reynolds croon through ancient metal speaker boxes about Endless Sleep and the Wayward Wind.

Two units of note are the 1947 Polynesian style Tiki Bus, where unsuspecting sleepers are treated to the peculiar sensation of someone sprinkling sand on their faces—all night, and the 1951 Royal Mansion where midnight snacks are regularly sought in the fridge by someone other than the resting renters!

Nevertheless, according to reviews on TripAdvisor, this place is on a lot of bucket lists and a highly recommended destination.  I’ve saved the name for last and in a second you’ll know why.
It’s called The Shady Dell! Though not to be confused with my dear friend at Shady Dell Music & Memories, I thought this might be of interest :-)

Gratitude: Sopping socks or not, I’m grateful for unexpected rain that makes me appreciate sunshine all the more, friendships that strengthen with time, and a dog who brings me the slippers I yearned for the whole time I stood in the rain at the races!

Wednesday Word(s): Uprisings related to Global Warming.

Have you been to either of the Shady Dells? (Highly recommended;-)) Any gratitude thoughts for today? Could Global Warming possibly be related to riots and beheadings?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

30 Second Promo and Soldout Grandstands!

99 CENT SALE on 30 SECONDS by Chrys Fey!!! Sale ends Nov. 20th so take advantage now!

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?


She had no time to react when a strong force bowled her through the doorway of her apartment, and a large hand plastered over her mouth. The man she had bumped into on the stairs had a firm grip on her as he kicked the door closed behind them. She struggled to get free, but his hold kept her back pressed against his chest.
“It’s okay. I’m a cop. My name is Blake Herro.” He hauled her into the living room. “There are six armed men coming up the stairs. We need to hide. Where can we hide?”
Her mind went blank, she even forgot about the ice cream.
“Where?” he demanded with a quick shake.
She pointed to the six-foot long, three-foot high handcrafted cedar chest she used for a coffee table. Officer Herro pulled her to it and flung open the lid.
“Get in,” he ordered.


Many thanks to Chrys Fey for allowing me to share her 30 Second Sale with you! I hope you’ll take advantage of her sale and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book!  In the meantime, Chrys will be minding the Pensive Pens Post, so let her know what you think. How about that cover? Don’t you just have to know what happens?

Any NASCAR fans out there? Twice a year, Arizona is treated to the sonorous roar of forty or so beefed-up stock cars rocketing around a one mile oval 500 times, in competition for a checkered flag win, while drivers maintain a heart rate equal to that of marathon runner!  
And it’s about that thrilling to watch! If you happen to see the sold-out grandstands in a camera-span, I’ll be the one waving – to you!

Today I’m grateful for the opportunity to give Chrys a hand with her 30 Seconds promo sale, the freedom to do so and each and every Veteran (and currently serving) of the United States Armed Forces who made (and make) these things possible. 

Seems like every week, an evocative phrase or word is blasted or whispered in the media that sparks much deliberation, or at the very least, reflection. Whether you raise an eyebrow, shake your head, nod in agreement or laugh out loud I’d love to hear; because you know it got a rise out of me :-)
Wednesday Word(s):  Rampant Income

Have you ordered your copy of 30 Seconds? Are you a fan of NASCAR? Any thoughts on the Wednesday Word(s)?

I’ll be back, soon as the crowd thins out!

Comments or questions for Chrys? Ask away!