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my books, new authors, tips from the latest chapter in my life, people, places, and fun tidbits.
Tune in for
Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday, Trippin' Thursdays,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

TRIPPIN' TOWARD THE ROCKIES

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
In everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...in our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
 
Papa and Sadi in town by stream
My latest release is a romantic suspense set in a small town in Austria at the base of the Alps. I've been to the Alps and they are awesome, but I happen to think our Rockies are just as fabulous. This week we've been in a small town that although is a little farther than the base of the Rockies, is close enough that you can see them.

It's not the prettiest time of year for Trinidad. It's that pause between
Entering Trinidad
winter and spring when the leaves aren't back on the trees, and the snow has melted to expose the colorless sleeping foliage. This little town had declined over the last few decades, but is now on an upward turn. It's an old city and picturesque. We've spent the week in a house that was built in 1896. Back then, there were no kitchen or bathrooms. The cook had to go outside to make meals. The house is now an upstairs apartment and a
Main street ahead
two-story house with a basement. There are three bathrooms in the main house and a kitchen to love. The wood floor, built-ins, and woodwork is beautiful. Some of the windows have original stained glass.

We're happy to have family living here now. This week has been about
Typical neighborhood street
helping with the moving and unpacking. Future trips will be about exploring the area and getting deeper into those breathtaking Rockies.

Glimpse of the Rockies
My pictures aren't too astounding. I snapped a few but we didn't do any real sightseeing this week. 

I'm thinking I might just have to write a series set in the Rockies...bound to be a healthy dose of suspense and romance in such a breathtaking area.





Monday, April 25, 2016

#2016MysteryCon

Only about six weeks until Arizona's first ever Mystery Con. This is the premier event for fans of Contemporary, Historical, and Paranormal Crime fiction, Thrillers and Suspense, Mysteries, Military Crime, and Romantic Suspense. This is your chance to meet authors in an informal and casual atmosphere as well as purchase signed copies of their novels. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Many of the authors are giving away prizes, offering some fun events, and discounts.

In the coming weeks, I'll announce my own discounts, coupons, or giveaways. Here's the link to register:
http://www.azmysterycon.com/

Friday, April 22, 2016

WYOMING ADVENTURES by Kim McMahill



FEARLESS FRIDAY
Please welcome my guest for Fearless Friday and Discover Yourself. Kim is a true western gal!
Growing up in rural Wyoming, I’ve done some pretty crazy things. I’ve been on family pack trips in grizzly country, driven over unplowed mountain roads in a blizzard at 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning to join family at our cabin for the holidays, ridden motorbikes all over the hills behind our house with my older sister, and spent most of my youth proving to my dad that I was a cowgirl he could be proud of.
Despite being a tomboy, more comfortable with a skill saw than an eyelash curler, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was always fearless. Occasionally, some of my exploits were down right terrifying.
One of my most frightening adventures occurred on a cattle drive I was on as a teenager with my dad. We were helping friends move their cows to a high grazing lease for the summer. By the time we reached the steepest, last big push, the cows were getting tired and a few decided it would be easier to slide back down the mountain than to keep climbing. My dad was on a green-broke colt which wasn’t as surefooted as my palomino gelding, and getting a little tired herself with her heavier load. To make a long story short, my dad told me to go after the errant stock. I looked at him like he was mad, but nudged my horse, assuming he wouldn’t go if he thought it was too steep. He was a good cow horse, so he didn’t hesitate to plunge over the edge after the cattle. The slope was too steep and the dirt too loose to stop and I ended up beating the cows to the bottom. As calmly as possible with one’s life flashing before her eyes, I gathered the cattle up and herded them back to the dirt road where my dad was waiting to help me guide the cows up the hill to the rest of the herd. I still occasionally have those, “Man From Snowy River,” flashbacks, but the experience did help me write a couple adrenaline-induced scenes in Big Horn Storm.
My Wyoming adventures have slipped into more than one of my novels. In the first book in my Risky Research Series, A Dose of Danger, you can experience a little more of how it felt that snowy Christmas morning. The second novel in the series, A Taste of Tragedy, was just released, and it takes the reader on a much warmer adventure, but hopefully one just as exciting.

Blurb:
Morgan Hunter sacrificed everything for her career. She had yet to encounter anything she wasn’t willing to do to succeed...until now. When she uncovers evidence that the healthy foods she’s been hired to promote may be dangerous, she must reevaluate her priorities. As questions mount and the body count rises, she finds herself caught in the crosshairs of an organization that will stop at nothing to hide its secrets and protect its profits. With no one else to trust, Morgan is forced to seek help from the man she drove away, but whom she never stopped loving.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

ONE LAST TRACTOR RIDE

 TRIPPIN' THURSDAY


In everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...in our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
They'll miss the old tractor

Today the U-haul will be loaded. The car will be packed with boxes, dogs, and granddaughter. The caravan will head to Colorado on a two day journey.

This last week has been a hard-worked week of packing, cleaning out, and working on the land to prepare for the move and putting Tortuga
The garden zone is turned
Flats up for sale. Frank and I will head out a day later and drive straight through. We'll help get them unloaded and unpacked. Once back, we'll continue getting the property ready for sale, hopefully by the first week of May.

A year late and thriving with the weeds
We decided to not rip the garlic field...not until we can harvest the garlic that came up from last year!

The grass is green again
I'll not do a recap or sendoff until the property is in the hands of the next owners. Whoever they are, I hope they make use of the fertile ground we leave
Apple trees are blooming
behind.







The greenhouse needs love
Side note: The greenhouse was closed up and neglected this past year. When we opened the door we found a couple of herbs, kale, and chard still living!

Monday, April 18, 2016

From Simple Paraprofessional to Paranormal Romance Writer by Tamela Miles



Please welcome new and promising author Tamela Miles to Muse Monday!

I always imagined a perfect life for myself in 2011– working as a school paraprofessional classroom aide as I worked hard to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development at the cozy Cal State University campus in my little haven of South Bay, CA.  I had it perfectly planned, with structured time for work, classes, and my writing.

My first trip into paranormal romance writing began many years before, in the late 90s in my beloved hometown Altadena, with a dreary little piece entitled “The Mirror”. The 90s were largely about Generation X angst (just give almost any 90s song a good listen!)  and I was angsty enough to craft this short story that was a downer from beginning to end. My friends loved it and I cherished those worn printed pages of my story in a binder. Life happened, as it eventually does to all of us, and I set aside writing for awhile.

Fast forward back to 2011. When I wasn’t busy, I was voraciously reading paranormal romance stories and asking myself, “Why aren’t you sharing all these great ideas you have?” Inspiration struck to try the self-published route and I got busy very quickly, crafting my own stories. I decided that “The Mirror” needed me to breathe new life into it and I overhauled it. It became “Thea’s Mirror”, which I included in my horror/paranormal romance compilation, “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, which was published in 2015 by Broken Publications. Readers tell me all the time how much they love that little gem from my past and it makes me emotional every time. I realized that I had so many more stories to tell, so I got to work over the summer of 2015 and crafted a short series, entitled the Hell On Heels series. The first story is “Heart of a Hunter”, which I submitted to The Wild Rose Press. I was a ball of nerves during the time between submission and acceptance by TWRP. My hands were shaking when I got the news. “Heart of a Hunter” was just released in early April 2016 and the positive feedback I’ve been receiving from readers is glowing! I’m working with my editor at TWRP on #2 in the series, entitled “Dark Deliverance”, which continues Elle’s story.

“Heart of a Hunter” shares the story of a teen, Elle Connor, who’s more paranormal than normal. She discovers that the war between guardian angels and demons is real and is herself called to follow in a long line of demon hunters. She must make difficult life choices about love and friendship. Ultimately, it’s a lonely road for her. She does, however, know how to hunt in style – black stiletto boots and all.

So, now I have my (kind of!) perfect life. I’m currently an Ed.S Masters Degree student, studying School Psychology at another Cal State University campus in the Inland Empire, CA. My writing is definitely not in the backseat of my life anymore – it’s front and center. Writing, for me, is like taking a deep breath and jumping into another world of endless possibilities – very much the air that I breathe. 

   
Author Bio:
Tamela Miles is a California State University San Bernardino graduate student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a former flight attendant. She grew up in Altadena, California in that tumultuous time known as the 1980s. She now resides with her family in the Inland Empire, CA. She's a horror/paranormal romance writer mainly because it feels so good having her characters do bad things and, later, pondering what makes them so bad and why they can never seem to change their wicked ways. 

She enjoy emails from people who like her work. In fact, she loves emails. She can be contacted at tamelamiles@yahoo.com or her Facebook page, Tamela Miles Books. She also welcomes reader reviews and enjoys the feedback from people who love to read as much as she does. 

Ms. Miles has a current short novella 3 story series on her writing plate with The Wild Rose Press, entitled the Hell On Heels Series. #1 of the series, entitled "Heart of a Hunter", is now available. #2 of the series, "Dark Deliverance" is coming late 2016. For those who are excited about it (yippee!), please feel free to check out the author's soundtrack playlist for Hell On Heels on YouTube.com, listed as Hell On Heels: Songs from the Edge by Tamela Miles. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The AZ They Didn't Expect

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

In everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...in our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.


And what a trip it's been these last two weeks.
Indian ruins ahead, Roosevelt in the background
The first week we entertained and were entertained with out of town company. Our friends arrived from Minnesota expecting warm Arizona weather. We accommodated them the first two days. After that, it was warmer in Minneapolis than in Northern Arizona. No matter. We couldn't have had a better time.

There is something sweet and sad about physically connecting with old friends. We hadn't visited with them in over three years. We played cards like the old days, only
Overlook at Roosevelt Lake
learned new games. We ate pistachios while we played only we tried a new flavor. The warmth that radiates, the joy experienced from hours spent with friends of many years is so sweet. The parting is sad. And I think I realize just how special sharing friendship is the older I get.
Jerome Ghost Town on the side of the mt.
So...money saving tip for this week is spend some time with friends you love. You don't have to do anything except enjoy the company.

Although we did quite a bit more. They hadn't been to Arizona before. It was difficult to pick what to show them and we put 1400
Elk along the way
miles on the rental car, but they learned Arizona was not what they expected. We showed them Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt Dam, Salt River, Prescott, Williams, Mogollon Rim, Jerome, and the Grand Canyon.

Me with mine on the top of the rim
After they left, we headed to the farm to begin preparing it to sell. Yep, Tortuga Flats Farm will be on the market by the end of the month (we hope). The farmer and his family have moved to Colorado to start a new adventure. I'll be sure to update the progress on the sell. This could mean another adventure, just trippin', for us, too!
At the Grand Canyon

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

#MysteryCon2016 SUPER FOR READERS

WICKED WEDNESDAY
There is going to be a wicked good conference in Arizona for readers of mystery, suspense, and thrillers. It is Arizona's first Mystery Con and it's called Death and Deception in the Desert. Love that name.

This will be great fun for readers. Friday night is a meet and greet with nineteen authors who will gladly sign their books. This is a chance for readers to meet their favorite authors and to meet some new award winning writers. Saturday there will be six sessions presented by the authors. You'll be able to choose what sessions you'd like to attend. The subject matter is varied and exciting. Lunch will also be served. How can you beat that? All for $39. Fantastic.

And yes, I'll be there. I'm excited to meet some new writers, but in particular to meet readers. My session will be "Love and Murder, You Can't Have One Without the Other." Right?

Here's a little extra something from me. The first four readers that register via PayPal and write MY name in the "message to seller" box, I'll have a gift of a lovely glass pendant to give you at lunch. And I'll save you a spot at my table.

It's going to be a fun event, and I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 1, 2016

LEGACY AND HORSES by Janie Franz



FEARLESS FRIDAY
A big welcome to my guest, Janie Franz.
When I first started doing research for my latest novel, Legacy (Book three of the Ruins series), I never thought I’d have to face a real fear. This book is the story of Megan Forest, an anthropology professor who is married to a man with a dual heritage (Spanish and native from a maverick tribe in Arizona). He also is the spiritual leader of his people. He is taking their son, now ten, to endure not only a vision quest, which is a common manhood ritual, but other trials to determine his calling as the next shaman---and he’s in competition with his cousin, whose mother is quite ruthless. However, the main action of this story takes place around Megan, who has been forbidden to participate directly in these rites because she’s a woman. She has been relegated with three other women on a horse ranch. Her interactions with what is going on with her son will be through her unpredictable psychic abilities.
I believe in writing from experience if it’s at all possible. I have a degree in anthropology so my experiences in that field, I think, add authenticity to the work. However, I knew absolutely zilch about horses. Ask me about dogs or cats or even chickens and I can write something that sounds true and real. But what about horses? Nada.
Sure like most people I did a trail ride or two. That was when my children were young and we got some very gentle mares for them. They were so experienced they went down these foot-wide canyon trails in the badlands of North Dakota more surefooted than I’d be walking them.  All I remembered from those two rides were the fact that the horses were big and I needed a box in order to get up into the saddle.
That was twenty years ago. Back then, those horses were transportation and nothing more. I really needed to get into the heart and spirit of working horses and what it meant to be around them every day. I also now lived in New Mexico and thought I’d get a better sense of horsewomen, who are featured prominently in the book, here than any other place, except maybe Texas.
That’s when I started my research. First, I called a couple of people who had mentioned they knew people who owned horses. That led to other people who did reike on horses, others who used horses in therapy, and still others who did various forms of horse training and gentling, including women who’d gentled wild mustangs. I talked to horse owners, ranch hands, and even rodeo riders.  I spoke with people in California, Texas, Arizona, and, yes, here in New Mexico.  I observed how women sat a horse. I observed how people put on saddles and tack. I observed fast rodeo riding and roping.
This was what we called secondary source material in anthropological research. Yes, these people worked directly with horses and could be called primary sources. But I had no first-hand experience with horse. That’s when I came face to face with a fear I didn’t know I had.
I’d just started doing a bit of pet sitting here when a friend desperately asked me to care for her horse while she made an emergency trip to Colorado. Her horse. A big Great Dane I could care for, but a horse?
A few days before she left, she invited me up to show me how to fill the water trough and where the hay was and how to prepare the mash (yes, horses have a wet food component like dogs and pigs). She also showed me how to take the fly mask off the horse’s eyes and put on her bridle. That was just fine---outside of the corral.
The first day when I was left alone with the horse, I had to get into the corral with her in order to distribute the hay in three places around the paddock. The horse seemed HUGE. I had never bonded with this animal. I had no idea how to even let a horse get to know me like you would a big dog (extend the back of your hand to a dog and speak softly). I was so afraid of getting kicked or stepped on or having the horse go off feed because I made her nervous.
That first day I made sure to enter the corral from the gate that was farthest away from the horse. I dropped the hay in the far end of the paddock. When the horse came toward me, I skittered away and put the hay in the other two places and got out as quickly as I could.  Whew! I’d survived. But I had to feed the horse four more times that day.
By the last feeding of the day, I came in the gate with a load of hay under my arm as I fiddled with the latch on the gate. The horse came up to me and snatched a bit of hay from behind me. I nearly jumped a foot. I scurried down to the next place to drop hay and the horse came trotting after me, snatching a bit more hay. That’s when I realized that the horse was playing. I never knew horses played like dogs did. When I dropped the bundle of hay, I reached up and patted the horse’s shoulder. She swung her head against me as if to give me a hug. It was a precious moment.
Since then, I’ve been around a lot more horses. I’ve looked them in the eye and petting their noses. I’ve even been in a paddock of a half dozen of them and wasn’t a bit afraid when they all came to check me out. I learned that the horse handshake was the same as a dog’s (offering the back of the hand). I also learned about how to approach horses in a non-threatening manner, as if all my 5’1” height could be a threat.
Now as I dive deep into the writing of Legacy, I can write with heart and spirit---without fear.
Author Bio
Janie Franz comes from a long line of Southern liars and storytellers. She told  other people’s stories as a freelance journalist for many years. With Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox, she co-wrote The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book, and then self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!  She also published an online music publication, was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.
Currently, she is writing her twelfth novel and a self-help book, Starting Over: Becoming a Woman of Power.
Discovery (book 1 in the Ruins Trilogy)
By Janie Franz 
Anthropologist Kate Ferguson stumbles upon desert ruins, ancient rituals, and psychic gifts, awakening a love that could prove deadly.
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Ruins Arifacts
By Janie Franz 
Blurb
Dark secrets and murder, danger and temptation conspire to prevent Kate and Paul from unraveling another ancient mystery. 
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