Blog Archives

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.

 

 

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Re-Covered: Atomic Medium

Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Get New Look!

How can an old man in a wheelchair be so frightening? But Rachel is even more terrified by what his assistant does inside the building that once housed the Manhattan Project, the secret government project to build the first atomic bomb. What he does makes the old man young again and may change history forever.

 

 

 

To get your copy, just click on the cover above.

Cover design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design. Check out all her designs at https://www.viladesign.net

 

 

Christmas in Santa Fe

Happy Holidays From Santa Fe!

And the Reluctant Medium

Santa Fe Christmas Door

Santa Fe Christmas Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Humor in the Bathroom: Good, Clean Fun!

Excerpt: Atomic Medium

Or, Rachel Takes a Shower

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Chapter 11

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

After a short drive to Chloe’s much more upscale neighborhood, Rachel parked in front of the garage and walked to the back door. At first she knocked tentatively, but panic flooded her body and she began pounding.

“Chloe! Chloe, are you home?”

“Is that you Rachel?” Chloe asked from inside.

“Of course it’s me. Who else would be screaming out here holding a cat?”

“Come in.” Chloe opened the door. “I’d ask if you are alright, but I can see you’re half-crazed. Sit down, let the pretty girl out and I’ll get her some food and water.” Chloe opened the fridge, took out a new bottle of Evian and poured it into Chile Pod’s bowl—which she had bought just for her—followed by some expensive gourmet cat food.

“I told you not to give her that,” Rachel protested knowing it was futile. “I can’t afford to feed it to her regularly.”

“That’s okay,” Chloe said petting Chile’s head as she lapped up the pricey treat. “She deserves to be spoiled when she visits Auntie Chloe.

“Now, the baby is taken care of, what happened to you?”

Rachel related the incident she experienced minutes ago. From Chile’s first alarm, to Kiyiya’s warning howl, to the frightening man who appeared and threatened her; it all spilled it out.

Chloe was thoughtful for a moment.

“Rachel, there’s one thing I didn’t understand. What was on the pin or cuff link he was wearing? You said it reminded you of something. What was it?”

She went back to the confrontation and searched her mind for what she wanted. When she found it, she wanted to forget it.Manhattan Proj Nazi Swastika

“Chloe, it was a swastika!”

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Wait a minute. Remember you said when the two men went through the fluid curtain the room looked older; the big black phone, the vintage clothing?”

“Yes, but what are you getting at?”

“Don’t you see Rachel, it sounds like you’re saying he’s from that era you saw through the stargate.”

“I didn’t say that at all.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s exactly what you are saying. If this man belongs in the 1940s, then that room must belong there too.”

“But that could make him a, uh, Nazi?” Rachel didn’t want to deal with that. It was too grim to even consider. She ran her hands through her brown hair pushing the natural waves out of her face.

“It would make him a Nazi,” Chloe echoed. “I’m going to make us hot toddies.”

“I don’t think that will solve anything,” Rachel said hoping she could put off accepting this hypothesis.

“No, it won’t, but maybe it will be less frightening through a nice fuzzy haze.”

“But why would a Nazi from the 1940s materialize here and now?”

“That’s what we need to figure out.” Chloe warmed some water, this time a bottled water called Saint-Géron which her parents shipped her from Paris. They told her the mineral mix was better for women. Rachel didn’t know about that, but it was about $35 a bottle. When hot, she poured it into mugs, added some A. H. Hirsch and squeezed in some fresh lemon juice. Rachel blanched. The amount she paid for the bourbon would make a down payment on the new garage.

“Here you go, get comfy and let’s see what we know.” Chloe set a cup in front of Rachel.

Rachel pushed back into the banco that made a “U” around the kitchen table. The structure was stucco with the traditional rounded walls and a high back. Chloe had added long plush flame-stitched cushions in southwest colors on the seat and back. It was comfy and felt tucked away. A flat screen hung overhead and beautiful native pottery added a decorative, earthy touch to the shelves on the wall.

The friends sipped in companionable silence for a few minutes.

“He told you to stay out of their way,” Chloe said thoughtfully. “Who do you suppose they are and how could you possibly get in their way? In the way of what?”

“I don’t know. I’m writing a story on The Manhattan Project, but that’s as close as I get to WWII and Nazis,” Rachel said. “That was 70 years ago for god’s sake. I’ve no idea if that’s the connection or if there is a connection.

“There is something else,” Rachel said. “It could be significant.”

“And that is?”

Rainbow Man, Former Location of the Manhattan Project Office

Rainbow Man, Former Location of the Manhattan Project Office

“The Manhattan Project Santa Fe office was located in that building now occupied by Rainbow Man.”

“Oh my god,” Chloe sputtered. “How could I have forgotten that!”

“As soon as the word Nazi came up I remembered,” Rachel said. “I’ve been trying to consider other possibilities, but not coming up with any.”

“That’s because there aren’t any,” Chloe said definitively.

“But I still don’t know what it means. Okay, let’s say the big, scary guy is a Nazi and he kind of disappeared inside Rainbow Man, the former Manhattan Project office. So what? What does it have to do with the time of day or the price of gasoline?”

“And why is he threatening you and defacing your office?”

“We don’t know with certainty who graffitied the office. So we really don’t have anything?” Rachel said.

“Oh, we have something, we just don’t know what,” Chloe said stifling a yawn.

“Yeah, time for bed,” Rachel caught the yawn. She finished her toddy and rinsed out the cup.

“Night,” Chloe said. “And don’t worry; the alarm is set, the doors are locked.”

Rachel walked down the hall to the guest bedrooms. She and Chile Pod had a dedicated room of their own. When she entered, there was Chile curled up and fast asleep encircled by pillows. She knew there would be more Evian and luxury cat food in the bathroom, along with an automated litter box. There were toys scattered about and she could see that Chile had already picked out a soft, leopard print ball of fabric. It was lying on the bed next to her. Rachel sighed. Auntie Chloe could make almost any bad day better.

On the bedside table Rachel found her favorite chocolate in a Nambe silver dish. There was a small fridge in the dressing room which she knew would hold bottled water, juices, fruit and power bars. Chloe did her best to keep her healthy despite Rachel’s penchant for green chile cheese burritos. And there was a variety of teas on the counter next to the microwave and a small table cupboard that held cups, glasses, plates, napkins and some stevia. Chloe was trying to get her off sugar too. Even she had to admit that staying with Auntie Chloe was like living on Easy Street.

Chloe had thought of everything. There was a computer and printer/copier/fax on the desk should Rachel need them. A TV and stereo in the sitting area completed the suite’s accessories.

The only thing that bothered her was where in the hell to put all those pillows! Rachel took the larger ones and filled the two chairs, and then arranged the medium-sized ones on the desk until the top was covered. She left a couple of small ones around Chile, as if she could fall off, and began flipping the smallest ones across the room. This activity shortly lost its amusement factor.

She trudged into the bathroom where she came face to face with a new shower. Rachel stopped in her tracks, and evaluated the addition.

It had been installed since her last stay over. She had to admit it was beautiful; glass with wood panels covering the floor. Rachel stripped, placed a cushy bath mat on the floor and stepped inside the enclosure. After failing to find the usual knobs and levers that one used to perform a rather simple task like a shower, she saw there was a control panel.

“Oh no,” she grumbled. “I see Chloe is competing with NASA again.”

Staring at the array of options, she could see tiny pictures. Apparently one had to punch one to get water flowing. However there were also 20 of them—she counted—jets in the front and back of the stall. To further confuse the issue, there was a handheld shower head. She thought this to be the most straightforward way to get clean.

The panel also touted a radio, steam, aromatherapy and something called chromatherapy lighting. “Geez,” Rachel looked at the waterless shower head in her hand. “I just want some fucking water to come out of this thing.” She shook the nozzle. Nothing. She was getting cold.

Consulting the controls again she saw an image that might be water spraying and pushed it. Nothing at first. After a few seconds, steam began filling the stall.

“No, no, no!” She touched it again and tried another. Instantly, she was engulfed in loud music. Electric guitars screeched; drums pounded so hard she could feel the shock waves against her chest. She turned it off. “Dammit! The guy who installed this must have been a sadist!

“Something must turn on the water.” She puzzled over the panel again and chose another icon. Nothing happened. She sniffed. Fragrance was being released from some secret source. She took another whiff. Yes, that was definitely sandalwood. “Ugh, that’s the most suffocating odor.”

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“One more time for the team.” She poked another symbol. Suddenly she was deluged with water from overhead. “Oh crap, I didn’t want to get my hair wet,” she moaned. Too late to worry about that now. The tropical rain feature was a real drencher.

Now that she had water it was time to soap up. Luckily, she found a low-tech bar of soap on the built-in shelf. Once the paper covering was off she noticed the strobing effect. Somewhere lights were flashing. All she needed to make this experience complete was disco music.

Rachel looked up and saw the water falling from above was constantly changing color. “Well how do I stop that?”

Please select a color. She was prompted by a voice coming from the entrails of the control panel. Her fingers pressed more buttons. The jets came on full force hitting her body front and back.

Please select a color.

“Holy shit, I don’t want any color.”

Rachel began banging on the panel. If it had been a person, they would have called 9-1-1 to press charges.

Please select a color.

By now, she had soaped most of her body if you didn’t include her back or feet, but if you counted the pulverizing her back had taken, it had probably blasted off even the smallest microorganisms. In her frustration, she had managed to bash her elbows while thrashing around. There would be bruises.

Please select a color.

Was there no “Off” button? Apparently not.

Rachel tried to ignore the infuriating voice and rinsed off. Certainly she had enough water gushing at her from all directions to accomplish that.

Please select a color.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” She finally found the right button to turn off the water and the annoying voice stopped. Oddly, no water had ever come from the shower head she originally wanted to use, the one lying on the floor where she dropped it in frustration.

“Well, that was relaxing.” She opened the door and there sat Chile Pod, eyes big as saucers, ears cocked forward looking at Rachel as though she had completely lost her mind. Could a cat look flabbergasted? Yes, this one definitely did.

“Okay, so I didn’t do such a hot job of working the damn thing. So what? I’m mostly clean.” Chile Pod decided her person must be okay and headed back to her warm spot on the bed.

Rachel pulled a towel off the warmer and dried with Egyptian cotton so thick the water beads didn’t penetrate to the other side.

With the stink of sandalwood following her into the dressing room, she thought a tea, having finished her evening ablutions, would be just the thing to relax her. Once ensconced cross-legged on the bed, she opened her notebook with Emma Perkins’ interview. The envelope with the photos fell onto the bedding. She picked them up and absently thumbed through them. And then her heart nearly lodged in her throat.

There was the man; Mister Tall, Blonde and Scary!

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Author Patrick Parker Talks Suspense Thrillers

Welcome Author Patrick Parker

From GG: There’s no one better to tell a story than someone who has lived much of it. Patrick Parker’s military career took him to Southeast Asia, Europe and Panama. He drew from his defense experience and the many locales where he was stationed and fashioned them into fast-paced thrillers. His wife challenged him to write the his first book, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, and he was hooked. In his second novel, War Merchant, Parker wrote about a woman assassin and weapons broker. Let’s see what else he has to say.

You have written two suspense thrillers, Treasures of the Fourth Reich and your latest, War Merchant. What is your background and how did you come up with these two exciting books?

Author Patrick Parker

Author Patrick Parker

During my army career my family and I lived in Italy for five years and traveled extensively during my off duty time. We spent many hours visiting museums, castles, cathedrals, churches and historical sites in Europe. I was fascinated with the history. The Nazi lootings of treasures became the catalyst for Treasures of the Fourth Reich. I was sent to Panama before the invasion and, while there, I met a fascinating art dealer. She formed the basis for my character Maria in that story.

After retiring from the Army, I worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. I continued to pursue my writing and developed the concept of War Merchant. This story is taken from my corporate experience and coupled with my military background. After retiring a second time, War Merchant came to life.

Neither story is about war but about espionage, deception, betrayal, terrorism, and murder.  All the elements to make a good story coupled with a real world environment.

As a man, what were the greatest challenges in writing your female lead character in War Merchant and why did you choose a female protagonist?

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Dydre Rowyn, my female protagonist, is a combination of several women I knew from my corporate career.  She was definitely a challenge as I wanted her to be smart, cunning, very attractive, and deadly.  She also had to have a mother’s instinct.  A woman can be more dangerous than a man which I knew.  But it was her feelings, emotions, and knowing just how far a woman would really go to get her son back and protect him.  That was the challenge.

I received counsel from several mothers and from my wife.  I did drive my wife crazy trying to get it right.

In a story like War Merchant, people would typically expect this to be a male protagonist.  I thought it would be a lot more fun and exciting to have a female protagonist.

You used several locales for War Merchant. These included Africa, Europe, Central America and the States. How do the varying countries contribute to the story? You live in the US, but have you traveled abroad?

In the real world of government contractors and arms brokers, it’s a world-wide business. Every country has a military of some type. Countries hire government contractors (mercenaries, trainers or contractors, they are all basically the same) when they don’t have an army large enough to fight the conflict; a government cannot garner the political nerve to answer the call; or simply don’t want to get their hands dirty.

Dydre works for a black arms dealer in Germany.  Clay Zsigmond. Zsigmond, who became corrupted by money and power, is a consultant, supplier of arms, trainers, and services to the countries around the world. He brought a young defenseless and naïve Dydre into his business to do his dirty work. When she finally realized it, she was in so deep she became vulnerable if things went wrong or she crossed him.

I have traveled extensively internationally and believe it adds to the realism to incorporate international locations into the story as that is real world.

How has your military background helped you in your storytelling? Does it add depth to your story through shared experiences with your characters?

Yes, it gives it depth and adds realism. My characters and their environments are based on real places, people and events.  Even my FBI agent is based on real female FBI agents—tough as woodpecker lips.

My military background and defense industry experience has given me insight as to how things really work. I want my stories to be plausible and based on real events.

What do you see as the essential elements of a good suspense thriller?

First of all it should be believable. The details make a difference and must be right.  The protagonist should be faced with some sort of disaster or death and insurmountable odds.  Just as in our real world, all choices have consequences based on current circumstances.  The wrong decision can be disastrous.

I believe pacing is very important, use lots of action verbs and keep the story moving.

I like to use real events in the story.  For example in War Merchant, the assassination of the President of Rwanda which sparked the Tutsi and Hutu war, was a real event.  No one knows who was responsible for downing of his plane. This provides a glimpse of what Dydre does and what she is capable of doing. The action starts immediately.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Amazon. Click on the cover.

In Treasures of the Fourth Reich I used the real events of Nazi looting as the basis for that story. We are still seeing today real stories related to the looting as I have shown in my blog (http://bit.ly/1tTUjjv).

My next book is based on current events, ISIL, terrorists, and a real man-packed nuclear bomb.

Real life can be stranger, more complicated and more amazing than fiction.  This all makes for good story telling.

Why did you publish an e-book first instead of paper? What do you enjoy about self-publishing?

Once I received my manuscript back from the editor and finalized, it was very easy to publish as an e-book. The paperback edition required a little more work getting it into the format and the back cover completed.

Treasures of the Fourth Reich was first published by a royalty paying publisher. I didn’t have control and things I was promised never materialized. The publisher talked a big story and delivered a small package. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to do things that need to be done to market my books. If something isn’t done it is my fault and I have fewer frustrations.  Although I am a lot busier, I am a lot happier. I am getting more done and making better progress now as a self-published author. My royalties are much higher as well.

For more information and updates, please see:

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1izsnBH

Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM

Twitter https://twitter.com/pparkerntx

Google + http://bit.ly/1xQof6e

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1pnLth0

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Quirky Santa Fe

Keep Santa Fe Weird

by G G Collins     (Copyright 2014)

Every city has its quirks. These are some of my favorites in Santa Fe.

Every Year We Burn Zozobra Copyright G G Collins

Every Year We Burn Zozobra
Copyright G G Collins

This strange looking guy wearing the dress is Zozobra. This petite version can be found at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy Street. Every autumn Santa Feans burn him–along with their worries. The next year, he is constructed and once again set on fire to screams of “Burn him, burn him!” For more on Zozobra see https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Zozobra here on Reluctant Medium at Large in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Current by Colette Hosmer Copyright G G Collins

Santa Fe Current by Colette Hosmer
Copyright G G Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish might be the last thing you’d expect to see in downtown Santa Fe and yet, here they are. The monumental sculpture is “Santa Fe Current” by artist Colette Hosmer. It features Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. Each granite fish is 2′ x 3 1/2′ in size. Right outside the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ojo Optique Sign

Ojo Optique Sign

You might find a sign in New Orleans that includes a skull, but this one uses the Spanish word “ojo” which means “eye.” But “optique” is French, meaning vision, so go figure. Find it near the Plaza on Lincoln Ave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the Crows Eat Chiles!  Copyright G G Collins

Even the Crows Eat Chiles!
Copyright G G Collins

 

In Santa Fe even the crows eat chiles. This guy, who lives in a sculpture garden along Canyon Road, appears to have a notoriously hot chile called a scotch bonnet (100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Units). Turn onto Canyon Road and make a quick left. There is parking, shops and art everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie Dog Enclosure at Jackalope Copyright G G Collins

Prairie Dog Enclosure at Jackalope
Copyright G G Collins

In a region where prairie dogs are sometimes cursed, this lucky family of the little “dogs” lives at Jackalope. Find it at 2820 Cerrillos Rd. Pottery, rugs and furniture doesn’t begin to describe everything that you’ll find here.

To learn about the history of Jackalope, click https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-tour-july-8-2012/

The Shed Restaurant Copyright G G Collins

The Shed Restaurant
Copyright G G Collins

The Shed restaurant is famous for its excellent New Mexican cuisine. But did you know that The Shed serves French bread with every meal? It also offers a decadent Italian dessert called a zabaglione, a rich custard made with Cointreau and white port. Find the shed on East Palace just steps from the Plaza.

My characters Rachel Blackstone and Chloe Valdez meet at The Shed often to solve paranormal mysteries.

Learn about the humble beginnings of The Shed at https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/on-location-with-the-reluctant-medium-week-two/

Santa Fe is one of those places with lots nooks and crannies. Don’t be afraid to explore. You’ll miss the most beautiful places and its quirky surprises.

How is your city “weird?”

 

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Are You A Bohemian?

Bohemian, X Person, Cultural Creative, Creative Class?

By G G Collins (Copyright 2014)

Bohemian Beatnik Girl Wikemedia Commons

Bohemian Beatnik Girl Wikemedia Commons

Test Yourself: Are you fond of the color black and wear it often? Do you cut your hair with full bangs? Do you share your life with a cat, ferret or duck? Has the dust on your furniture achieved new heights? Is noon an early call for you? Have you written across lines, rather than between them? Can you find lavender oil on your shelves? Do you pursue creative work?

If you answered affirmatively to several of these questions, you are quite possibly a Bohemian.

Bohemian Manifesto by Laren Stover

Bohemian Manifesto
by Laren Stover

In Laren Stover’s Bohemian Manifesto: A field Guide to Living on the Edge, she suggests that there are five distinct Bohemians: Nouveau (they are the only Bohemians with money), Gypsy, Beat, Zen and the Dandy. This is a fun book to read even if you’re not the slightest bit “X.” If you recognize yourself, you can’t wait to turn the page. The illustrations by IZAK are a delight.

An archetypal book on the American class system is Paul Fussell’s Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Go straight to Chapter IX, “The X Way Out,” and then read the rest. Fussell pokes fun at everyone and you can’t help but enjoy it—although the occasional stab can hurt a little. Learn how to tell what class a person is by how he pronounces words, what she drinks or wears, even the knickknacks found in their house (never home). Although a little dated, this book is a hoot!

Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class, is a thought-provoking read about the revolution in the workplace and the importance of place (first, second & third). Often considered a business book, it nevertheless belongs on the shelf. For a more collegiate read try The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D. It defines the cultural creative and takes an in-depth look at the serious side of this renaissance, from ecology to corporate greed. See if you agree with them from the luxury of hindsight.

Bohemian VW Wikimedia Commons

Bohemian VW Wikimedia Commons

Throughout contemporary history there have been people who challenge the norm: the Impressionist artists, the Flappers, Beatniks, Hippies. Today’s young adults are invigorating downtowns in cities left empty by the White Flight of the 1960s. Once again our American downtowns are becoming vibrant and yes, creative.

Going against the tide takes courage. Stover had this to say: “Bohemians have the courage to reject mainstream society; to follow an ideal and forsake praise and security; to alienate family; to be, as Jack Kerouac put it, ‘yourself at whatever cost.’” Does that describe you? If so, you just might be a Bohemian.

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Bibliography: 

The Cultural Creatives by Ray and Anderson

The Cultural Creatives by Ray and Anderson

Class by Paul Fussell

Class by Paul Fussell

Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge by Laren Stover, Bulfinch Press, 2004.

Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell, A Touchstone Book by Simon & Schuster, 1983.

The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2002.

The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., Harmony Books,  2000.

The Art of the Book Review

Both Reviewers & Authors Can Benefit from Thoughtful, Kind Reviews

by G G Collins     (Copyright 2014)

There is a discussion on the Shelfari forums about the book review rating system and the best way to review a book. If you want to read or take part:

http://www.shelfari.com/groups/101046/discussions/486865/5-star-rating-system

Here are my thoughts on the art of book reviewing.

I’ve been on both sides of publishing; working at a book publisher and as a writer. I began writing jacket and PR copy, then book reviews, moved on to reporting and now I write books too.

Mystery Scene Ed Gorman BookNo one ever sits down to write a bad book. Ed Gorman who is an award-winning author and former editor-in-chief of “Mystery Scene Magazine” once said: “You have to give the writer something.” Not just because that author may someday become famous, or that word will get around about your reviews and publishers will avoid you, but because it is the kind thing to do.

Book reviews should never be emotional in an angry or punitive way. Think how that author looks forward to seeing those reviews–with great anticipation! Having someone enjoy your book is better than money. It validates your hard work–and writing a book can take months, even years. Even fiction involves research.Book AP Stylebook

That said, you should be kindly honest. If the punctuation is poor (and make sure you’ve checked the “Chicago Manual of Style” or the “The Associated Press Stylebook” or some other good reference), then say something. Keep in mind not every book is meant to be “literary,” but it also shouldn’t be illiterate. Some books are written to be fun or adventurous or even fluff. That’s okay. If it’s not your thing it’s alright to state that, but don’t down grade for that reason alone.

I’ve never given a book less than 2 stars (or chiles or martini glasses). If a book is very poorly written, I don’t review it. And even if I do (rarely) give only 2 stars I always find something good to say about it too. So here’s how I assign stars:

1 star   –  I never give them. When I’m asked why by the publisher or author, I explain kindly–but not publicly.
2 stars – I explain what needs work and find something wonderful to say too
3 stars – Enjoyable and why, criticism might be a lack of research
4 stars – Good with a small criticism, maybe a chapter or plot element lost its way
5 stars – Excellent and why, what was that extra something that made it 5 stars?

Authors need to know what they are doing right as well as areas for improvement. If an author knows that readers really like their characters, that’s helpful. She/he will know that’s a strength and flesh them out all the more. If readers comment on the location, great, the author will dig out more local color. Maybe the climatic scenes are especially compelling. Terrific, add more suspense.

Book Tombstone CourageAnd if you’re a reviewer here’s a tip for getting “blurbed” on jacket copy and promotional materials: Always write a short catchy line that encapsulates the story. This is one of mine and it was blurbed over and over: “Every woman in America is obviously not a sheriff, but Joanna Brady is every woman.” (From J A Jance’s Joanna Brady mystery series.)

Reviewers and authors need not be an adversarial relationship, but a nurturing and helpful one that both can enjoy and learn from.

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Lemurian Medium Released

Rachel Blackstone’s Second Adventure Begins in “Lemurian Medium”

Lemurian Medium Copyright G G Collins

Lemurian Medium
Copyright G G Collins

When a friend vanishes into a painting at a posh Santa Fe gallery, reporter Rachel Blackstone travels the astral plane in search of her. But first she must meet her most frightening nemesis and defend herself on the Terror of the Threshold. Will it be the Mesoamerican deity who enjoys human snacks or the evil spirit she crossed paths with before? What she doesn’t expect is to land in an ancient civilization intent on keeping her—and her unproven powers. Part of this territory is inhabited by gentle people, flora and fauna that communicate telepathically. But the other residents are decidedly ruthless.

Legend says the lost continent of Lemuria sank eons ago. Rachel’s visit must be brief or she could be caught up in the cataclysm. She employs crystal power to help her communicate with friend Chloe back home in New Mexico and to defend herself from cosmological attacks.

In Santa Fe, Chloe and soul navigator F Dominic Magellan search frantically for the body of their friend in its altered state. They must return it to the art gallery so she can reclaim it. That proves difficult when they run across someone, or something, who will do anything to stop them.

Meanwhile back on the astral plane, Rachel is dodging Dracs and learning to ride a dragon by the seat of her pants. She has to multitask, coping with earthquakes and volcanoes as the end of the long-lost culture is set in motion, all while staging the rescue of her friend. Catching the red-eye home to the 21st century could prove difficult as she desperately looks for a way to escape a violent reptilian society. They must find and reattach Rachel’s silver cord or they cannot return.

Can Rachel become a successful astral-naut? Or will she be forever lost in the cosmos?

Extras: Christmas Eve Canyon Road Farolito Walk, a ghost hunting assignment.

Contains: mild horror effects, profanity, humor.

For more information:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HE18XES

Link to Meet the Characters Blogfest

Meet Rachel Blackstone, the “Reluctant Medium.”

http://delshereegladden.blogspot.com/2013/10/character-interview-rachel-blackstone.html

This link becomes active at 10:00 a.m. October 23, 2013.

Until then, you can check out all the books and authors at:

http://delshereegladden.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your interest.

— G G Collins

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