Category Archives: Arts
A Lovely Autumn Day in Santa Fe
Find the Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer in Milner Plaza at Museum Hill in Santa Fe. The big bronze is by Craig Dan Goseyun. The fringe seems to shimmy as the light changes.
Located at 710-708 Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail; across from Santa Fe Botanical Garden.
Builder of Worlds
By G G Collins (Copyright 2016)
I never expected to be a builder of worlds and yet I’ve written two books where I needed to do just that.
Time travel is always tricky, but it’s also fun. In “Lemurian Medium” I sent protagonist Rachel Blackstone back in time via astral travel to the mythical (?) continent of Lemuria. I began reading about the continent that reportedly sunk into the ocean when a cataclysmic series of earthquakes and volcanoes broke up the island country and the sea claimed it.
When you ask people to buy into a paranormal or fantasy storyline, it’s important to include as much fact as possible, to lend integrity to the story. I began reading the works of Colonel James Churchward, who called Lemuria by another name; Mu. He studied monastery sources in India while serving in the British army.
After getting a basic idea of Churchward’s theories I read Frank Joseph’s book “The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Culture.” There are many creation stories and Lemuria is one for that part of the world. There is a museum in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan called the Mu Museum and is a tribute to the Motherland. In the Hawaiian Ethnic Art Museum in Oahu, there are carvings that seem to verify the existence of a golden race who survived the onrush of the sea.
To make the city realistic I researched the Romans from their garments to their communal toilets. In addition I read Shirley MacLaine’s dreams of Lemuria as she related them in her excellent book “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit.” Her description of the Lemurians—some golden, some violet, and hermaphroditic—let imagination fill in the blanks. For homes I went with crystal construction with private areas being opaque. Rachel was surprised to learn she could communicate either from her mind or with the use of Lemurian seed crystals and crystal balls.
I needed a villain in spirit and chose Quetzalcoatl, a Mayan god who liked to dine on humans. It is thought that Lemurians who survived the end of their homeland took to the vast water and made their way to what is known today as Central America and to the southwestern part of the US.
When my research was complete I was no longer certain that Lemuria was a myth. I hope readers of the book can entertain that possibility as well.
Next Post: We’ll take a look at “Atomic Medium,” worldbuilding in a much closer era.
Not What We’ve Come to Expect
By G G Collins (Copyright 2016)
If you’re expecting a real spiritual journey like MacLaine’s exceptional books Out on a Limb or The Camino; Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure will be a disappointment. But if you’re interested in the behind the scenes on a film set, it might be appealing. Sadly, the back-biting, broken promises and how special actors are wasn’t what I was interested in.
I bought it with the promise of insight into Atlantis and an exploration of the Canary Islands. Neither really happened. In fairness, MacLaine is in her 80s and probably isn’t the fearless explorer she once was. No shame in that. We’re all lucky if we make it to the Third Age. Had this book been represented honestly by the publisher as a memoir from a movie set—I would have passed.
What I really wanted was more connection to Atlantis on the Canary Islands. Some believe that Atlantis existed where the Greek island of Santorini is now, so perhaps it was just the wrong location for the wisdom I was looking for.
If only the last portion about her injury and subsequent treatment had been left out: Thud! What did it have to do with the movie shoot? It’s a whole other story. And memories of life on Atlantis are suddenly pouring forth? I would have enjoyed reading these intermixed with revelations on the Canary Islands.
MacLaine has a lot to offer and I hope her next book is more astute and less aggrandizing.
Atria Books, 2016
A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation
Reported by G G Collins
Welcome to a country of mystery, mayhem and murder. Thirty-one mystery writers from all over the US joined forces to wreak havoc. It’s a virtual mystery candy store with everything from Cozy to Procedural to Paranormal. North, south, east or west; we’ve got you covered. No region was spared from the grip of terror.
And the really big news? It will be FREE! Free to try new, known and emerging authors. Edited by Kristen Elise, PhD.
More clues are forthcoming.
From Murder Lab: http://www.murderlab.com/
It Ain’t the Heat, it’s the Humidity
Reviewed by G G Collins (Copyright 2015)
***** Stuart Woods, bestselling author of Santa Fe Rules and Foreign Affairs, proves once again he’s a great storyteller in Heat. Definitely a one-sitting read.
Jesse Warden is a convicted criminal biding his days in solitary confinement in the Atlanta Federal Prison. He is recruited by his former employer (DEA) to ferret out information in a small Idaho town. Two agents have already been killed in an attempt to infiltrate a dangerous cult called Aryan Universe. In exchange for this good deed—if he lives through it—he will receive a presidential pardon for a crime he didn’t commit.
With a new identity, Jesse drives to Idaho in a pickup truck equipped with hidden cellular phone and some hard cash. St. Clair, appears to be the perfect Disneyesque idea of small-town America. Every house is new paint clean with meticulous lawns and flower beds permanently held in a much earlier era. All is not right in this flawless community. Mysterious disappearances have occurred, but crime is rare due to swift and deadly punishment. The local police station is a high-tech marvel with all the bells and whistles money can buy.
The community’s children are taught at the First Church School where they are indoctrinated to hate people of other ethic groups. There are no excuses for absences and children are encouraged to tell on their parents if they speak against the teachings of the First Church.
Jesse is sent to the widow Jenny Weatherby who rents out one of her bedrooms. Jenny is far from the elderly widow-woman Jesse expected. He falls for her fast.
Another referral results in Jesse’s employment at Wood Products—the only business in town not owned by the cult. His ascent is swift at the plant and soon the sect invites him into their midst persuading him to give them financial information about the business so they can take control.
As Jesse passes one test after another he makes his way into the hierarchy of the treacherous Aryan Universe. On once such occasion he is brought into a vast underground armament. The bunker is extensive and fully stocked with food and water, huge amounts of ammunition and explosives, infirmaries and the latest equipment.
Jack Gene Coldwater, the Aryan Universe cult leader, fought until he ran out of wars and then proceeded to stockpile arms at a staggering rate preparing for his own hostilities which he teaches is inevitable. He dispenses death to his followers without blinking, tightening the ever shorter rope on those who remain.
Jesse doesn’t trust the DEA—a fellow agent set him up resulting in his incarceration. He fears for Jenny, her daughter, and his own daughter who was adopted after his conviction. In an interesting subplot Jesse obtains fraudulent passports as plan B, but the First Church foils his attempt at flight.
The climatic scene has all the explosive features of an action movie providing for a fun read. Woods reaches out and grabs one by the throat hauling the reader into a riveting adventure with an all too familiar and frightening theme.
Santa Fe in Only One Day
by G G Collins (Copyright 2015)
THE SHED: Eat at The Shed! It’s on Palace Avenue a couple of blocks from the Plaza.The Shed is known for their New Mexican cuisine: such as Carne Adovado. Inside or out, it’s colorful and fun. The chocolate fudge sundae for dessert goes beyond decadent. For more on the restaurant’s history and how it came to be called The Shed:
SHOPPING: If you enjoy shopping until you drop, you can do that in Santa Fe. A good place to start is Rainbow Man. It’s on Palace too. Be sure to look for The Manhattan Project plaque dedication. It’s at the back of the courtyard under the portal (porch in Spanish). Despite being a historical site, there is no sign to indicate that. If you can’t find the plaque, ask someone at the store. They’re happy to point it out.
For more on The Manhattan Project:
At Wind River, you can enter on Palace, walk through the store (this may take a while with all the jewelry, Native American art and chickens, yes, chickens), and exit on San Francisco across from La Fonda. From top-of-the-line clothing to kitchen items to kitsch, it’s all on the Plaza. The Marcy Card Shop on Marcy Street (a couple of blocks from the Plaza and close to the convention center) has a lot more than cards!
LA FONDA: Now, cross the street and walk through the lobby of La Fonda. This hotel has a loooong history in Santa Fe. Both the famous and the infamous have walked these Saltillo tiles. Look in the restaurant. See the fountain in the center? That used to be a well in an outdoor courtyard. A business man down on his luck threw himself in it and was killed. His ghost is said to still walk the halls. Oppenheimer and fellow scientists relaxed in the bar–under the close watch of federal agents. There is also a rooftop deck and bar for watching sunsets. Here’s more on La Fonda:
ST. FRANCIS CATHEDRAL: The St. Francis Cathedral is worth a look. It’s beautiful inside and out. There are usually members there to answer questions and give tours. And if you are a candle lighter, there are candle alcoves just inside the entry. A labyrinth is in front of the church for contemplation. More on the cathedral:
THE PLAZA: And don’t just walk through the Plaza. Take a few minutes and soak up the sun, be dazzled by the azure skies. The light, and the vibe, is the reason writers and artists have flocked to The City Different for years.
If you have time and are museum people, the Palace of the Governors is fascinating. There are holes in the floor and no one knows why (carefully covered in thick clear glass for a look-see). Wallace finished “Ben-Hur” at the Palace while governor. The Palace was on high alert and he covered his lamp to conceal the light as attack was imminent.
All of this is within a few blocks.
IF YOU HAVE A SECOND DAY:
JACKALOPE: Jackalope on Cerrillos Road is shopping, animals, oh heck, it’s a party. The owner’s story is a fascinating journey. The prairie dogs are a favorite with kids and adults alike. Check out Jackalope at:
MUSEUM HILL: Is so worth a good look. If you’re not up to the museum crawl, just go out and look at the outdoor art, eat at the restaurant and listen to the music drift on a breeze.The new Santa Fe Botanical Garden is just across the street. Great views of the Sangre de Cristos. Here’s more on both attractions:
TENT ROCKS: If you’d like a far-out hiking experience, go to Tent Rocks. Made of ash from a long ago volcano, the tent-shaped rocks are eerie and magical. It’s south of Santa Fe near the Cochiti Dam. You drive right by the dam and it’s a bit scary thinking about all that water behind the dam; so don’t. The car you’re in feels very small and insignificant. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
NEED DOWN TIME: If you can’t take anymore and need to relax, it’s 10,000 Waves time. Massage, hot tubs, facials and a gorgeous Japanese style mountain retreat. It’s on the way up to the Ski Basin, only a few miles. It’s heavenly.
Whatever you do in Santa Fe, remember, it’s mañana time.
The Building That Changed the World
By G G Collins Copyright 2015
On Palace Avenue just steps from the famous Santa Fe Plaza is a small building that changed the world. It was the headquarters for The Manhattan Project, the top secret mission to build the first atomic bomb and end WWII. Everyone, scientist and secretary alike, passed through this building. They came in the front door and left by the back door where they were secreted off to the Atomic City. No one left by the back door unless Dorothy McKibbin gave them a pass to “The Hill.”
McKibbin was looking for a job in March of 1943. She was offered employment at the First National Bank for $120 per month. Working at a bank wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but income was income. Then she met Joe Stevenson in an awkward conversation in the middle of the Plaza. He told her there was a secretarial position open that would pay $150 per month. But Stevenson was mysterious about what the job would entail.
She did accept the job and became the gatekeeper to one of the biggest discoveries of the last century. McKibbin kept that job until 1963 when she retired. She would remain a loyal friend to Robert Oppenheimer until his death in 1967.
The historic site, originally constructed in the 1600s as a Spanish hacienda, is now home to Rainbow Man. The shop is filled with Native American hand-made items, blankets, photos and folk art in vivid colors. The courtyard is beautiful rain or shine. Flowers brighten the entrance in vibrant hues. The old wagon only becomes more silvered with each passing year.
At the back of the courtyard, under the portal and behind the chile ristras is a plaque dedicated to those who split the first atom. Shoppers visit the store to take home a little bit of Santa Fe. Historians stop by for the history and wonder what it must have been like in the 1940s when The Manhattan Project was in full swing.
July 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test at White Sands, New Mexico.
New book, Atomic Medium, takes place in Santa Fe during 2015 and 1945. It is the third installment in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. Get it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SWkjde
For more information, try these books:109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.