A Little Bit of Heaven on an Autumn Day
By G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
As I walked up the steps to the huge courtyard at Museum Hill, southwestern music floated across the breeze to greet me. I could almost pluck the notes from thin air. Although the open space is large between the museums, the courtyard feels intimate with beautiful desert landscaping, en plein air sculpture garden and dedicated spaces. With the Sangre de Cristos as backdrop and storm clouds adding drama but no rain, it was a perfect Santa Fe fall day.
On this excursion I wasn’t covering the museums, but please don’t let that stop you. The “Hill” is composed of the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Wheelright Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Laboratory of Anthropology. You can stay the entire day and see them all. For a time-out, the Museum Hill Cafe provides food, drink, music and a place to rest tired feet.
Two things dominate the courtyard (also known as Milner Plaza), the Mountain Spirit Dancer by Craig Dan Goseyun. The massive bronze sculpture appears to be moving. Look at the fringe on his costume, the feathers caught up in his movement, the lightness of his feet. Throughout the courtyard the art runs from howling coyotes to mother and child. There is a performance circle included here for a cozy outdoor experience with the arts. But at the other end of the court is a labyrinth. Santa Fe is known for its many public labyrinths. This one is contemporary in style and is constructed using stones in the southwest colors of turquoise and coral. Set aside a few minutes and take a contemplative walk. Who knows what you’ll discover about yourself. There is another blog post about labyrinths at http://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=walking+meditation
I crossed the parking lot to the new-ish Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Phase 1, the Orchard Gardens opened in July 2013. Phase 2, Ojos Y Manos: Eyes and Hands, is scheduled to debut in 2015. While wandering the grounds, notice the red bridge. Phase 2 will be beyond Kearny’s Gap Bridge.
While there, I enjoyed “Origami in the Garden” a series of metal fashioned through lost wax casting and fabrication techniques, by artist Kevin Box. Both whimsy and beauty are found in his work. From the his Rock, Paper, Scissors to Painted Ponies, they are all inspired creations with their origins in a sheet of blank paper. For more about his work: http://www.langorigami.com/art/gallery/gallery.php?tag=kevin-box
Coming up next is the GLOW, the winter lights event. It opens December 4, 2014 and runs through January 3, 2015. Along with the beautiful lights will be Santa Claus, music and hot toddies every Saturday evening. Tickets are $7 to $8 (non-members) with children 12 and under, free. To buy tickets: http://www.santafebotanicalgarden.org/events/glow/
There are many opportunities for education and community service. For more information: http://www.santafebotanicalgarden.org/about/
To reach Museum Hill and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, take Old Santa Fe Trail southeast from the Plaza to Camino Lejo (there are Museum Hill signs along the way). Public transit is available. Please see for directions: http://indianartsandculture.org/directions
Whatever the season, Santa Fe’s Museum Hill and Botanical Garden is a little bit of desert paradise for all the senses.
Chris the Story Reading Ape Blog Features Rachel Blackstone
You can find the story here:
Maybe Rachel will finally clue us in as to why she wears shoes she can run in. Did she really fly on a dragon?And what’s this about her being a medium?
Oh well, just see what she has to say.
Zozobra Burning Wipes the Slate Clean
by G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
Ever wanted to just start all over? You can! Attend the Burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe August 29th. Every year Santa Feans are cleansed of their gloom by burning the world’s largest marionette. It draws 50,000 people or more so be sure you’ve got those hotel reservations confirmed.
A “gloom box” is located near the stage. Write down your troubles and drop them in the box (there are also “gloom” cans in shops around the city). The contents of the “gloom box” are set at the feet of Old Man Gloom to be burned with fireworks.
When Zozobra begins to moan and groan, he can be heard throughout the city. Take a look at a video by Luke Fitch of the burning. He filmed it with a DJI Phantom quadcopter. This is an amazing clip and Fitch’s other videos are worth a look too.
The 50-foot (15.21 m) clown/monster made the Guinness World Records in 2007, but he’s been the big guy in Santa Fe since 1924. Gloomy folks begin to arrive around noon although the burning doesn’t start until dusk. The show goes on even if it rains, but with 300+ days of sunshine in Santa Fe, that almost never happens. No dogs or lawn chairs allowed so bring a blanket and take a picnic.
The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe produces the fundraiser which requires 3500 volunteer hours to pull off. It uses the proceeds for scholarships, youth projects and camp fees for physically challenged children. Your $10 goes to provide good things. Tickets are available right up until burn time.
If you can’t make it and still want to burn your troubles, go to:
Roll down the page until you see the black box with Zozobra in it. Type in your worries and burn, burn, burn!
Reblogged to reluctantmediumatlarge.WordPress.com with my thanks. GG Collins
Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:
What does a fact-based reporter do for fun? Write paranormal fiction of course.
I couldn’t help it. Once I discovered the Hopi ceremony to return the dead, the story almost wrote itself. Keeping in mind that questions are the basic tools of journalists, I just had to ask, “What would happen if the wrong spirit returned?”
Well, a lot can happen, most of it bad. The spirit Rachel Blackstone wanted to see was her father, who had died mysteriously. But she inadvertently calls back one who is not so nice—and it has a score to settle. Further, she’s suddenly endowed with talents she didn’t possess before and doesn’t want. Rachel is befriended by a Hopi shaman who guides her on the perilous quest to send the ghost packing.
Reluctant Medium was to be a stand-alone book, but writing it was so much fun I decided to make it a series…
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“Reluctant Medium” Now Found on Two Top 100 Lists
Mystery>Supernatural>Werewolves & Shifters
Caution for Cozy Readers: “Reluctant Medium” does contain profanity and some mild horror, so if you’re a cozy purest, it may not be for you. But it also contains humor, adventure and of course, all sorts of paranormal story lines.
In the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series, Rachel meets with a different challenge in each book. In “Reluctant Medium” it’s an shape-shifting evil spirit. The second installment, “Lemurian Medium,” is an encounter with a Mesoamerican man-eating deity. In upcoming “Atomic Medium,” it is alien beings. Set during current day and The Manhattan Project during the 1940s, the tentative pub date is December 2014. The fourth will be “Anasazi Medium” where Rachel stumbles onto spirits while camping out with friend Chloe–if you can imagine Chloe camping out? She’s sure to have it catered.
At the heart of each book is the friendship between Rachel and Chloe as they work together to solve each supernatural mystery. Their assortment of “experts” continues to grow as they’ve expanded into crystals, astral and time travel. And Rachel will continue to have those strange experiences in bathrooms during the present and past.
Her cat Chile Pod and spirit animal Kiyiya try to watch out for Rachel, who remains reluctant.
Again, a big “thank you” to all readers who have taken the time to read the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries. And an extra thanks to all who made the time to write reviews. I appreciate it beyond words.
— G G Collins
“Reluctant Medium” Enters 4th Week on Amazon Top 100 List
“Reluctant Medium” can be found on Amazon’s Mystery Category Top 100 List: Mystery/Supernatural/Werewolves & Shifters.
Although there are no werewolves in “Reluctant Medium” there is a shape-shifting evil spirit. The debut novel in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series had a very successful promotional weekend. It has also found its way to the Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/Paranormal & Urban Top 100 list from time to time.
Thanks to all my readers who have made it possible. Wow!
Journalist Character Makes Headlines
By G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
Many characters solve mysteries, but reporter protagonists can make their own headlines. One I’ve come across lately is Swedish writer Liza Marklund who created Annika Bengtzon. Bengtzon works for the Stockholm publication Kvällspressen where she covers the crime beat.
Bengtzon, who is haunted by her past, is only comfortable as she unremittingly pursues her assignments, often risking her own life to get the story. At home where she is the mother of two young children and the wife of an impatient husband, she is much less confident. It is this juxtaposition that makes this series so interesting. She obviously loves her children, but doesn’t seem quite sure how to fulfill two full-time jobs; that of parent and reporter. Annika can’t seem to please her husband regardless. Her job is just too consuming for him.
At work, although the editor in chief Anders Schyman can be gruff, Annika is in her element. The work, however grim, nourishes her fragile ego. The reasons for this unfold as the series continues. But her pursuit of a story is engrossing. There is another question around every bend in the plot and questions are the best tool of a reporter. Unfortunately, sometimes the answers are dangerous, even deadly.
Liza Marklund is a journalist turned author and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Her books have been translated into some 30 languages. It is reported that ABC-TV in the States will debut a series based on her novels starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead of A Good Day to Die Hard . But until then check out the excellent movies starring Malin Crépin as Annika. They are available at Amazon, in Swedish with English subtitles.
Marklund is a deft writer who tells a taut entertaining story with believable characters. She divides her time between Stockholm and Marbella, Spain. The first book in the series is Studio 69 (Studio Sex in the US).
Praise for Reluctant Medium
Thank you Amazon readers:
I look forward to the next adventure and you should give this first paranormal mystery with reporter Rachel Blackstone a try. You won’t be disappointed. — Cheryl
Very funny, very good characters, very much a good mystery. It all adds up to an entertaining read for a wide range of tastes. I am hoping the next one is as eclectic. Enjoy this great read. – jbshorses
I really enjoyed this book! This book kept me up way too late. I can’t wait for the next one! — Angela Causey
Reluctant Medium has attained 21 reviews and has an overall rating of 4.4. Thanks to all of you who read and took the extra time to write a review. I appreciate it very much.
If you haven’t read Reluctant Medium, you can try it today free. Just click on the book cover.
The second in the series, Lemurian Medium, is available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HE18XES