Category Archives: New Mexico

Excerpt of Forthcoming Book

Rachel Blackstone’s Greatest Challenge Yet

Anasazi Medium: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery  is due out in January 2020.

(Copyright 2019 by G G Collins)

They ate in silence for a few minutes. It tasted like the best meal Rachel had ever eaten. Everything always tasted better, the sun looked brighter and the birds sang sweeter after a close call. She could feel the adrenaline losing its punch as she came down and began to feel tired.

“Where did the yellow water come from?” Chloe asked.

“No clue, but I’m going to find out. I got a sample on the way home.”

“Rachel, that’s great. What made you think of that?”

“Something’s very wrong,” Rachel said. “First the bird kills, the otherworldly appearance in my backyard, his prediction, the deaths of the university officials, and now being in the right place at the right time to rescue Anna. And there is the ever growing Dog Star.

“My understanding is the yellow water and fish kill is another sign of the impending end of the fourth world.”

They were thoughtful for a few minutes.

“Rachel, I wonder,” Chloe said. “Should we visit the Valles Caldera? Is there anything we could learn there?”

“I think there might be,” Rachel said thoughtfully. “The last time I was there I did an interview for the Longmire TV series coverage, back when they were filming the series in New Mexico. We ran several stories on that production. The Valles Caldera was used as Sheriff Longmire’s ranch location.”

“Quite a drive from the Las Vegas where they filmed the downtown and sheriff’s office scenes,” Chloe said.

“Yes, I know. I drove to both sets for the interviews and again to Madrid and the Mine Shaft Tavern that was used as the Red Pony bar.”

“I hated when that series ended,” Chloe said.

“Yup, me too. Seems like the good shows always end too soon.”

“And Supernatural is ending,” Chloe added. “Don’t know what we’ll do without Sam and Dean to guide us on these, uh, mystical excursions.”

“At least they got 15 years,” Rachel said. “Longmire only got six.”

Rachel changed the subject.

“You know, I’ve had those herb plants sitting on my back porch all summer. I think after what happened today, I’d like to do a little gardening.”

“You want help?” Chloe asked.

Rachel raised an eyebrow in question. She’d never seen Chloe plant any of her gardens.

“Well, I could ask my gardener if he would have time to plant it for you.”

Rachel grinned.

“No, but thank you for the offer. I think I need to do something physical.”

“Okay,” Chloe said. “I’m going to check in at the office, see if anything critical is a foot and then go home to a hot bath and a glass of wine.”

“Do you think they will still grow?” Rachel asked.

“What?”

“The herbs.”

“Sure, everything but the parsley will likely come back in the spring. Sometimes my parsley even overwinters,” Chloe said. “Of course, as you so generously pointed out I don’t cultivate my own so my gardener may have secrets to plant longevity that I don’t know.”

“I just can’t see anything else dead for awhile,” Rachel choked.

“I know,” Chloe said and hugged her friend. “Seeing those dead men will haunt us both for a long time. Go get your hands dirty and forget about today.

“I’ll let myself out.” Chloe was gone in a whirl of her long dark hair.

Chile Pod had finished her dinner and was glazing out the kitchen window at a bird picking at the remnants left on the ground from the feeder.

“You stay there. You can watch me plant the herb bed.” Rachel grabbed a jacket off the hook near the door and went into the evening air.

She’d bought the herb plants in spring and somehow she never got around to planting them, but somehow remembered to douse them with water several times a week. There just never seemed to be a good time. Now the leggy plants were root bound. Rachel hoped she could save them.

During the spring she had bricks delivered. In a fit of energy, she had turned the soil, laid the bricks in a 6-foot square and mulched it. In the meantime, deadlines came and went. Time passed without planting the herbs.

Because she had mulched the garden all she had to do was push the organic matter away, dig a hole and add the plants. First, Rachel took a knife and cut the roots back as she remembered her father doing when she was a kid. It would help the roots grow in a more normal way. She planted lavender and then added rosemary, thyme, oregano and fennel.

With that done, Rachel picked up the bucket against her house and brought it to the garden. Inside were an assortment of stones and crystals she had collected for the past several years. She placed each among the herbs; a river stone here, a quartz there and a lovely piece of petrified wood.

When it was all watered in, Rachel went inside the house and came back with several gazing balls in purple, blue and red crackled colors. In the center of the herb bed she placed a stand and added the larger purple gazing ball. She positioned the smaller ones on the ground and stood back to survey her handiwork.

Satisfied and feeling better, she headed back inside. Before she reached the safety of the backdoor, a wolf howled. Rachel was now recognizing the various warnings that Kiyiya made to alert her. This howl was an announcement, not an urgent warning.

Rachel stopped immediately, her pulse quickened and her breath turned to fog as the temperature dropped. Once again, the rattling sound commenced, the vapors seemingly came from nowhere and formed into a column. She had no idea who or what to expect. Would it be the Native American she met most recently or someone or something altogether different?

Within a couple of minutes, it was the Native who stepped from the fog. Rachel braced herself and waited.

Again, he spoke in a language she didn’t understand, but the words appeared in her mind in English.

“The blue star grows in the sky,” he pointed.

“I know,” Rachel replied. “What I don’t know is who or what is causing it?”

“The evil men.”

“Who are the evil men? What are they doing to cause the star to grow?” Rachel asked.

“I do not know them,” he said. “They are of this time. Not of mine.”

“Do you know what they are doing that is wrong?”

“Taking from our land.”

This wasn’t going well. There was a lot of time and space between them. Rachel didn’t know if she could span the centuries. She tried to keep her words simple to enhance his comprehension.

“I’ve been looking for these men, but haven’t found them. I’ve looked to see where…where work is being done. I’ve checked for mining and drilling permits.”

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“I’m sorry. It’s when men remove earth by digging into the ground.” He nodded with some understanding.

“I’ve been trying to uncover what these men are doing along with two friends who are helping me. And I think that two men were killed who may have known what I need to know.”

The man was silent for several minutes. Rachel thought he was about to disappear leaving her in more confusion.

“Do your powers take you to the Land of the Dead?” he asked.

That took her off guard.

“I…I” she stammered. “I don’t know.”

“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.”

“How can I do that? I don’t know how.” Rachel asked.

“You have friends in spirit?” he said as though having inside knowledge.

“Uh, yes.” As far as Rachel knew that would be one spirit. The Hopi shaman, Joseph, who had helped her before.

“You should talk with spirit,” the Native said. “Time grows…” He searched for the word. “Short.  Everyone will die.”

“I understand, but I don’t know what to do,” Rachel felt panic seeping into her soul.

“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.” He faded from her view in a whiff of smoke.

Read the entire series: Click on the book.

    

Cozy Mystery “Dead Editor File” in Paperback

Book Publishing is Murder!

Click on the book to buy.

 

 

Taylor Browning is the mystery editor at Endicott Publishing when the CEO is found dead in his locked office. Everyone is under suspicion, secrets are revealed and Taylor does a little snooping. Things go from bad to worse. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on at a publishing house, this is the inside scoop. One thing is certain; Taylor can’t edit her way out of real murder.

UK Amazon CountdownDeal Cozy Mystery

Book Publishing is Murder!

Meet Taylor Browning, Mystery Editor at a Santa Fe, New Mexico book publisher.

8 AM GMT Friday to 8 AM GMT Monday. $.99 Cents for 72 hours. UK only.

Available at AmazonUK. Click on the book.

If only Taylor would stay in her office and edit manuscripts, but no, she can’t resist snooping. Amateur sleuthing, as she knows from reading mysteries, can be dangerous. But that doesn’t stop her.

In Dead Editor File, the first in this new cozy series, the CEO of the book publisher is found dead in his locked office. The staff, while shocked doesn’t seem to be grieving. His ex-wife is positively beaming. Their blockbuster writer wants business as usual. Taylor is new to the book publisher and doesn’t know how to feel.

Soon the police determine it was murder and everyone is suspect, including Taylor. Only her Abyssinian cat, Oscar, is above suspicion. But he has issues at home, especially when a meal isn’t served on time.

Discover why book publishing is murder!

 

 

4.8 Overall Rating on Amazon

4.59 Overall Rating on Goodreads

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075MQVY1H

or Click on the book cover. Thank you for reading.

 

 

Ghost Stories in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ghosts Haunting Santa Fe

Ghost at La Residencia

La Residencia, located at Palace Avenue and Paseo de Peralta, has been a convent, hospital and nursing home. It was the location of the first St. Vincent’s Hospital prior to the “new” hospital being built south of downtown during the late 1970s. Now the Drury Plaza Hotel.

During its life as a hospital, a boy and his father were brought in for emergency treatment after a car accident. Sadly, both died. It is said the child died from his injuries in room 311. Reported phenomena include the sound of a crying child in this room. It was heard so often the hospital tried not to use the room.

When museum exhibits were stored in the building’s basement, unexplained sounds occurred there. Nurses described a strange phenomenon, which appeared to be blood oozing from a basement wall.

But it is the cries of a frightened young boy who haunt his third-floor room we find most disturbing.

Answer at end.

Ghost of Julia at La Posada

La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa has probably the most famous of the Santa Fe ghost stories. Julia Staab who

La Posada de Santa Fe
Wikimedia Commons

died in her prime at 52 reportedly haunts the hotel. It has been the subject of television shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and Celebrity Ghost Storiesand in print at The Dallas Morning News.

Abraham Staab had the three-story Staab House built in French-inspired styling which included a mansard roof and a ballroom on the top floor. It would become the hub of society in 19-century Santa Fe. But it would not last. The couple’s eighth child was ill and finally succumbed. Julia was never the same and took to her room, which became room 256 when the house was converted to a hotel.

During a construction project, a befuddled crew came to work one morning and found their building materials in disarray. An enlightened worker began leaving roses for Julia. The mischief ceased.

Other encounters have been more personal including sightings of a transparent woman in a long dress and hood. One man reported a woman’s image in the mirror of the men’s room. And in the basement, which retains its earthen floor and stone walls, an employee of the hotel has noticed a fragrance cloud of orange and rose blossoms.

Visitors to the six-acre resort still ask for room 256, but there was the case of one man who checked in, and returned to the front desk in minutes demanding another room.

Answer at end.
 

Ghost Story at New Mexico State Penitentiary

Santa Fe Abandoned Pententiary
Wikimedia Commons

Many people don’t realize the New Mexico State Penitentiary is near Santa Fe. It’s usually the last thing on anyone’s mind as they drive into Santa Fe enjoying the clear skies, high desert air and anticipating a few days of nonstop green chile and margaritas. But in February 1980 one of the worst prison riots in the US happened here. At least 33 people killed, but the total couldn’t be certain. Two hundred treated for their injuries. The convicts in Cell Block 4 were targeted because that was where the snitches were isolated from the general population.

Eighteen years later, former Gov. Johnson closed the prison due to “uncontrollable disturbances.” The inmates moved into new facilities. After that, the old prison became a filming location for movies as well as a training center for police. One movie extra decided to explore, walked into a cell, the door closed behind him. Once a guard let him out, he left the set and did not return. Other reports of cell doors opening or closing, apparently on their own, lights coming on or going off without reason, unexplained sounds and even shadowy figures that suddenly disappear. Most disturbing are the burn marks on the floors where inmates died that cannot be cleaned or painted away. The marks always return.

Other deserted prisons are considered haunted. Maybe life sentences extend into the afterlife.

Answer at end.

Ghost Story at 122 Grant Avenue

This week we have another Santa Fe ghost story.  In 1898 a rancher built a house at what is now 122 Grant Avenue, a few blocks from the Plaza. Seven years later a young family moved in. Their son was sickly and required a wheelchair to move about. Unhappy, he was known to beat the walls of his upstairs bedroom to get his mother’s attention. Despite her constant ministrations, the lad died and his parents moved on. When the house was vacant, the neighbors reported seeing lights in the boy’s former bedroom.

In l981 the property was bought and renovated. It became the Grant Corner Inn, a bed and breakfast which hosted such notables as Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan (in better days), and illustrator Garth Williams. It had a knockout breakfast which was open to the public. But the problems did not abate. In Antonio Garcez’s book Adobe Angels: Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos,he related the experiences of the former caretaker. He told of hearing loud noises, sudden dips in the air temperature that could kill indoor plants and the stench of rancid meat.

Several years ago, the Andrew Smith Gallery bought the property and moved into the house. No further reports of disturbances have been disclosed. Perhaps the boy is now at peace.

Answer at end.

 

Ghost Story of the Weeping Woman

There are many ghost stories in Santa Fe. A few blocks from the St. Francis Cathedral, along the Santa Fe River, is a story that endures. I’m told there are more than 40 variations on this ghastly tale and it is a favorite throughout the southwest.

Many years ago, the poor would park their wagons along the Santa Fe River (more of a trickle most of the time). According to the story, a woman from one of those wagons met and fell in love with a Conquistador. After having two children with him, she found he had been unfaithful (isn’t that just always the way?). In her sorrow, she took her children, and drowned them in the river. There are two versions of the ending: either she rejoiced that they were gone, then fell and suffered a fatal injury, or she hung herself in regret.

There are reports from people walking in the river park that they heard a woman calling for her babies, but saw no one. She has been seen at the nearby PERA Building. Workers have reported she is a dark shape and messes with the lights in the building. This ghost is known as the Weeping Woman.

Answer at end.

 

Ghost Story of La Fonda

While La Fonda has stood the test of time, it has also racked up a good number of ghosts. There are so many that we’ll cover just a few this time.

During the 1800s a gambling hall was part of the hotel. As we all know, for every person who wins, there are many more who do not. In one particular incident, a man was hung in the courtyard (sometimes referred to as the backyard). Maybe it he was cheating, but whatever the reason, he was lynched. It has been reported that some guests to La Plazuela have seen the shadow of a man hanging.

The Hon. John P. Slough, who was a chief justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, was shot in the lobby and later died of his wounds. He insulted Capt. Rynerson, also with Territorial government, calling him dishonest. Rynerson took offense and shot the judge. Guests say they’ve seen a man walking the hotel dressed in a long black coat (robes perhaps?).

And yet another man lost his life in what is now the restaurant (La Plazuela). Originally it

La Fonda Courtyard with Well, Public Domain

was the courtyard and in the center was a well. Apparently a businessman lost his company’s money in a round of cards. He was so distressed, he jumped into the well to his demise. Although the well was filled in long ago, you can still see where it was. Look at the fountain in the center of the restaurant. It even closely resembles the look of the well in the postcard shown. Hotel staff and guests have seen a ghostly figure cross the room to the site of the old well and watched as he disappeared into the floor.

The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association conducted an investigation into La Fonda in 1998 and found the strongest suggestion of paranormal activity in the parking garage. During its construction, human remains were found there. This happens from time to time in Santa Fe and environs. All work ceases until the remains can be recovered.

 

Answers to Questions:

A. What was stored in La Residencia’s basement that resulted in the bizarre noises? Indian Artifacts.

B. The man who demanded another room stayed in Julia Staab’s room 256 for how many minutes? 7 minutes. He was referred to as the “7-minute man.”

C. What movie was filmed at the abandoned state pen? The Longest Yard.

D. What kind of tree was cut down in front of the house at 122 Grant Avenue? Weeping Willow.

E. The name of the Weeping Woman was? La Llorona,

F. La Fonda has had several names over the years. Which of the following was one of them? The Exchange Hotel.

 

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico Famous Plaza

Summer is Almost Here

Santa Fe’s Plaza. Meet people. Watch people. Soak up the high dry mountain air and sunshine.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum Hill Photography

A Lovely Autumn Day in Santa Fe

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

The Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer

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.

Copyscape Do Not Copy

 

 

 

Christmas in Santa Fe

Happy Holidays From Santa Fe!

And the Reluctant Medium

Santa Fe Christmas Door

Santa Fe Christmas Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyscape Do Not Copy

Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road in Santa Fe

Christmas Eve in Santa Fe

By G G Collins (Copyright 2013)

Farolitos Line the Roof of La Fonda copyright G G Collins

Farolitos Line the
Roof of La Fonda
copyright G G Collins

It’s Christmas Eve and you’re in Santa Fe. Sunset is fast approaching and the air is frosty. There’s only one thing to do: wrap up warmly and go to the Canyon Road Christmas Eve Farolito Walk.

Forget trying to park. Stay at a nearby hotel or B & B. Otherwise prepare for frustration trying to park. There will be street closures and partial street closures. Last year Santa Fe Trails offered shuttles from the South Capitol Station for $2 round-trip. Check with them for service this year.

Notice the farolitos (brown paper bags with sand and a votive candle) lining the street and sidewalks. Now, in Santa Fe these are called farolitos, but much of New Mexico refers to them as luminarias. To further confuse the issue, in Santa Fe we call bonfires luminarias. Okay, don’t sweat the details; just enjoy.

This can be a shoulder-to-shoulder event with up to 30,000 people—and their dogs—descending on Canyon Road. Santa Fe’s art centre lives right here and many of the galleries will be open late; doorways of yellow light inviting you in. I absolutely love this yearly procession. You never know what surprise waits to delight you. Most of these are provided by the parade you are a part of; people and dogs draped in Christmas lights. Canine friends may be outfitted with antlers in addition to the brightly colored lights. They don’t seem to mind. There’s always a new take on costuming for the Farolito Walk.

Farolito Walk in Santa Fe

Farolito Walk in Santa Fe (Photo credit: feverblue) Creative Commons

Impromptu carolers burst into Christmas songs and spirituals. Music erupts as drummers pound their instruments marching the length of Canyon Road. Notes float across the cold air from a harp or flute gently reminding you of the season. The galleries, shops and restaurants along the narrow thread are decked out with festive lights and bright red bows. It’s a sensory experience of light, sound and delicious scents.

But don’t leave out taste. To warm up, stop and get a coffee, hot chocolate or cider. Usually one can find cookies for munching—you’ll need energy to walk uphill. Take a few moments and warm your hands at a nearby bonfire, and keep going.

When the lights fade and the music stops, just turn around and do it all over. And when you reach the end of Canyon Road, savor the experience, because it will be another whole year before it happens again. This is Christmas Eve in Santa Fe.

— G G CollinsCopyscape Do Not Copy

Links to YouTube videos of the Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdVRZ2MGjlM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEJLNPDBRkc

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be happy and peaceful.

ClipArt

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