Thursday, January 29, 2015

Four Directions; Much of the Same

 Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

No real edition of Tortuga Thursday today. Our week since last Thursday was filled with much of the same as the week before.

Today we're each going our different directions. Lance is getting in his last days of bow hunting. Christie is minding the farm and Sadi. Frank is headed to the lake. He'll man the Prescott Farmers' Market solo on Saturday. I am out the door to Phoenix for the Chocolate Affaire which is actually in Glendale. One of my author groups will have a booth, and we'll be signing books.

The Chocolate Affaire is normally an event close to Valentine's Day for all things chocolate and romantic. With the Super Bowl in Glendale this year, the city moved the event to the two days before the Super Bowl game. I think they're trying to capitalize on the expected crowds in the city. Rain is forecast for both days. Hmmm...hope the out-of-towners are not as skittish about rain as Phoenicians. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Please welcome Mary Gillgannon to Muse Monday. Read on!

Years ago, a romance editor told me what she looked for in a synopsis:  “Tell me what she wants, what he wants, and why they can’t get it.”
I was trying to figure out how to condense my ten-page synopsis down to the two pages she’d requested, and at first her advice puzzled me. What about the development of the romance? What about character growth? I eventually came to realize that what she was talking about was conflict. Because something is keeping the characters from getting what they want, there is conflict. And conflict is the engine that drives the story. It is what builds suspense. If the characters get everything they want, the reader isn’t going to care about them, or keep reading to find out what happens. Without conflict, you don’t have a strong plot. 
In a romance, the conflict often starts between the hero and heroine. Sometimes it’s overt and they are actual enemies. In one of my books, she’s a Saxon and he’s the Norman knight who takes control of her home. Their first response upon meeting is wariness on his part, and outright hatred on hers. There is a big conflict between them and it takes a long time to work out.
In a contemporary romance conflict may be more subtle. They may be on opposite sides of a political issue or work for competing businesses. Or they may just rub each other the wrong way. She’s a free spirit and he likes things by-the-book. She may be fiercely independent and he’s a take-charge kind of guy. Whatever it is, they clash from the beginning. Sometimes in big ways. Sometimes in little ones. The tension of their conflict is part of what draws them together. It makes them think and behave in different ways. By its very nature it changes them. And the reader follows along, wanting to see what happens.
Then there is the conflict that takes place inside them. They may be very clear in their goals at the beginning of the book, but by the end, they have often completely changed direction. What they think they want turns out to be unimportant, and something they didn’t think they cared about turns out to be crucial to their happiness. We enjoy this process of the characters growing and changing as they work out the conflicts happening inside them.
Very often the conflict that drives the story changes over the course of the book. The internal conflicts at the beginning are resolved as the hero and heroine fall in love. Meanwhile, outside forces threaten to destroy everything. The villain who has been lurking in the background takes center stage. But the hero and heroine, who have learned to trust each other and work together, now take on the threat together. The conflict has shifted from the dynamic between them to something outside them. Depending on the story, the threat may be psychological or very real. But either way, the struggle with this opposing force will take them to nearly the end of the book.
As they—together—triumph over the obstacle to their happiness, the reader experiences the satisfaction of their success and a sense that all is right with the world. The happily-ever-after is the payoff. But it would not be nearly so sweet without the conflict that made the story come to life.

Tell us a little about your latest book, Mary, and something about you...

In the ninth-century, Irish warrior Connar fell hopelessly in love with Aisling, one of the Nine Sisters, a group of priestesses skilled in healing. When Aisling came to a tragic end, he used magic to travel to the future to reunite with her. But someone has followed Connar from the past, and they are determined to keep Allison and Connar apart. As Allison struggles with terrifying visions, she must learn to trust in a love that transcends even death.

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Mary Gillgannon writes historical romance and fantasy, often with Celtic influences. She’s married and has two grown children. She now indulges her nurturing tendencies on four very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. When not working or writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling and reading, of course!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mountains, Lakes, and Misleading Road Signs

 Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Mazatlan Mountains to our west in Tonto Basin
Every winter seems to be colder than the last. I looked through the archives and read my blogs from last January to confirm that. Nope. I complained of the freeze killing greenhouse plants last year, too. I guess time does dim some memories.

As the winter farmers’ market vendors, well, mostly Frank, we’ve
Sierra Ancha & Tonto Creek to the east
decided to do them every other week only. Since we’re staying in Tonto Basin for most of the winter season, it’s too long a trek to make every week. We have to stay two nights at least. Even if we didn’t do the farmers’ market we’d have to go for a stay every couple of weeks – I miss the fam, you know.

I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the Tonto Basin area. There is a rich Indian history here that I’ve yet to delve into but want to as soon as I get caught up with the two books I’m writing. Both the Hohokom and the Apache inhabited this area.
Roosevelt Lake
We headed up the mountain to Payson yesterday then back down into the basin and beyond to Roosevelt Lake.

Payson isn’t the little cowboy town I remember from the early 80’s. Too bad. It's still small, but the cowboy bars are mostly gone replaced by chain restaurants and Walmart. It’s still a gorgeous area but the highway across the rim bypasses some of my memories.

I’m awed by the dam and Roosevelt Lake. It’s unbelievably low and a
The highway to the lake from our park
testament to Arizona’s water problems. I got a big laugh out of a road sign. The Apache Trail is a road (using the term loosely) that connects the dam area to Apache Junction (outskirts of Mesa which is on the way to Phoenix). It’s the only way to get to Apache Lake. If an unsuspecting tourist saw this sign and thought “wow, a short cut to the valley” …boy would they be
The dam from the Roosevelt side
in for a shock. It quickly turns into a dirt road that is not much more than a car wide and a sheer drop off to death. In fact, you can spot vehicles that met that fate along the way. Boaters must really want to go to Apache Lake to brave the road. The road is aptly named a
The damn from the Apache side

The day was beautiful and a mixed weather event. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Don't follow that Apache Jct arrow!

Around the corner the pavement ends and it hugs the cliff
As you enter the Apache Trail

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stormee Waters by Lynda Coker

Please welcome Lynda Coker to a special edition of Discover Yourself. Lynda is launching her newest book Stormee Waters. She also has a special giveaway going on here: Click Here for Details

Before we learn more about Stormee Waters, let's find out a little about Lynda.

  • What does your writing space look like?
I have one room in the house that doubles as a writing and art studio. My author area occupies one side and my artsy stuff occupies the other. They don't seem to mind sharing the same space.
  • What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love fabric and I enjoy designing original art pieces for my home.           
  • What books might we find on your bedside table?
At the moment, you'd find 18 books of varied genres and lengths. Since I enjoy doing book reviews for my blog, I read a diverse range of stories, including nonfiction. 

Stormee Waters released on January 14th.

Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble...
Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He's adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he's just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?
Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?

She came back to reality and placed the box on the foyer table, picked up her purse, and stepped through the door. The evening light cast a deep shadow across the man at her side, giving the illusion that he became one with the darkness, and something more she couldn’t define. When he escorted her to a sleek, black sports car of indefinable origin, something more took on solid proportions in her imagination. Every tingling cell in her body warned her against the power of his striking personality. That feeling barely registered before another followed. Dirk Savage didn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own. She nibbled her lower lip and stole a glance at him as he helped her to fasten the seat belt.
“Don’t look so dismayed. I’m not going to ravish you, at least, not before we’ve had our dinner.”
Still leaning over her, with nothing but a thought between their lips, his low chuckle reached to the very bottom of her toes. Embarrassed by his scrutiny, she turned her head...

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Lynda is an author of contemporary romance that lingers in a reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she enjoys creating fabric art.  She offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.