Thursday, March 31, 2011

Write on Follow Friday!

Welcome to the Writer’s Follow Friday Blog Hop!

Here's this week's Hop question:

Some people like to do it in the office. Others prefer it in bed. Some people like it on the dining room table. Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm asking where you like to write!

We like to write in different places. Virginia is limited to writing at her drafty, uncomfortable desk at home, or in her work cubicle where she dodges stares from co-workers. She hopes to get a laptop soon to make it more comfortable and portable. Kristina however, has a laptop, so she likes to write anywhere; the bed, outside, in the kitchen, or wherever her little ones happen to be causing problems while she's distracted, trying to finish up a scene. 

Want to join the fun? See below for details.

The rules
1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3) Follow the featured author of the week.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Not sure if you qualify? If you have a blog to add, guess what, you’re a writer! So check out the rules, grab the link and join the hop! We’re small for now, but we hope to continue to grow.

Please click the quill logo above to join the Hop and view the spotlight writer, Liz Schulte from Bat Country, and her answer to this week's featured question.

Arizona Travel Journal - Part Two

Tuesday, Oct. 12th – We woke up around 7am excited to start the day. The morning was off to a great start, as we sat down to feast on another Super 8 Super Start breakfast. Afterwards, we began our journey towards the Hopi reservation. The beginning of our 2-hour drive gave us an incredible view of the backside of the SF peaks. We finally discovered where all the aspen trees were hiding!! Yay!! The whole mountainside was painted a vibrant yellow and orange. This was a photo opportunity, so we pulled over to the side of the road to take pictures. Twenty pictures later, we headed back out on the open road. The drive continued through green pastures, but gradually the landscape dried out as it transitioning into sculptural red rocks and mesas.

SF Peaks with Aspens in brilliant yellow!
We continued to drive for quite awhile, our legs getting restless, when we spotted the historic Cameron Trading post. Eager for a break, we took the exit for some stretching, potty, and shopping! The view from the trading post was incredible so we took more pictures before heading inside to choose our souvenirs.

Historic Cameron Trading Post, est. 1914

More of the Trading post.

Canyon wash near the Trading Post

After our detour, we climbed back in the car and continued on our way towards the town of Hotevilla on the Hopi reservation. We were making great time and starting to get a little hungry when we were stopped by HWY patrol! There was an oversized monstrosity causing a road closure at the bottom of the hill that we were waiting to go down.

We pulled out some left over chips and some bottles of water from the back, and took some more pictures of the scenery around us. What the heck, we were tourists and didn’t blend in with the natives anyways, so why pretend? During our hour long “break” we watched many cars go around the traffic line and through the road block. They were chewed out by the friendly Arizona HWY patrol who made them turn back to wait at the end of the line. It was our entertainment after we had talked to native residents, and took pictures of everything we saw. Finally, after forever, we spotted the awesome oversize load that was holding us up (see pictures).

Arizona Hwy. Patrol road block

We were really bored.

This thing was huge, it had 2 semi trucks pulling it, and one pushing from behind.

Back on our way, we continued on to our final destination, the Hopi Cultural Center. Our first priority was to find a place to sit down for lunch and some water; it was hot out! We were seated at a table and given gigantic glasses of water; we’re talking biggie gulp size glasses, then we ordered traditional Hopi food from the menu. After stuffing our faces, we moved on to the museum in the cultural center where we learned a lot about the culture, and purchased Hopi jewelry, two matching bear paw necklaces (Bear Clan Power!)

Back in our car, we headed onward to First Mesa. We were excited to finally see up close and personal, the historic Walpi ruins, which are still in use today! We paid for our tours and walked around the ruins talking to our Hopi tour guide. She gave us some interesting information about the Hopi culture, as well as some insight into where our characters, Chevy and Max, come from. On a side note, there are a lot of dogs in the village that apparently belong to no one. As we walked around the village we were encouraged to speak to the many local artists that were selling their wares. We were educated about the Kachina dolls, their history, and the meaning behind them. While on tour we learned there was a wedding ceremony happening so we enquired about the customs, which led on to more information about their baby naming customs, artistic styles, food, and other ceremonies and rituals. The Hopi are very religious, family oriented people, who love and respect the earth.

2:30-ish: Exhausted, we start the drive back to Flagstaff. For a change of scenery, we took a different road back and were rewarded with views of big of open spaces and a loooong drive. There was nothing to see but grass, dirt and an occasional passing car.

4:30-ish: After our long drive, we made it back to our super hotel where we cleaned up and relaxed. That day was really tiring for all the activity, information, and sun exposure. So when it came time to pick our dining option, we headed across the parking lot to the adjacent building where the Cracker Barrel resided. Ah, ye ole Cracker Barrel, how have us Californian’s lived without knowing of thy existence? After the surprise of walking into a gift shop the size of Oklahoma before being seated, dinner was as expected.

Wednesday, Oct 13th: We woke up 7am again and ate. This was the day of our Vortex energy Yoga tour in Sedona!! Grabbed some Super Start weak coffee from the hotel and hit the trail. Not far down the highway the scenery began to change. It had been very pine tree-ey as we got out of the city and down into a canyon. The ravine reminded us of the Feather River canyon back in California, but with slightly different foliage… and cacti.

Creek in the canyon on the way to Sedona.

Driving out of the gorge into the beautiful rock sculptures.

Things began to get greener and greener, as we drove through the gorge. We even spotted a river flowing at the bottom along side the road. Just as we were getting used to the lush looking scenery, we rounded a corner and saw towering red pillars of stone peeking through the bright green trees. The stark contrast was amazing. Virginia snapped pictures like a maniac as Kristina drove, ooh-ing and awe-ing. Lots of car pictures were taken on that stretch.

Slide Rock State Park
As we entered Sedona, the red rock towers were everywhere surrounding the little town nestled at the base. We were surprised at how clean and new looking the town was. We continued down the road to the spot where we were meeting our tour guide, Nathan (pronounced: Naw-thin). We parked, and waited, then decided we were in the wrong lot and moved further down the street to the helio-pad. At 9am promptly, we received a call from Nathan asking where we were or if we had any problems finding the meeting spot. Apparently the first lot was the correct place, so we had to drive back where we had just come from. We made introductions, then climbed in his 4-runner and headed off to the trailhead. As he drove through town, he taught us a bit of history before turning down Schnebly Rd. He told us the road was named after a man named Schnebly, who was married to a woman named Sedona. Originally, he wanted to name the town Schnebly Station, but the name had too many letters and would have been too expensive to sign, and thus he named it after his wife, Sedona. Thank goodness.

Kristina posing before our hike.
After a very bumpy ride, Nathan parked along the dirt road. The trail we headed down was named Cow Pie Trail, where we saw no cow pies. We took in all the beautiful red rock monolithic sculptures, and felt tingles from looking at all the beauty that surrounded us. As is our habit, we took lots of picture as we hiked while Nathan talked about the geology, and plants unique to the area. Kristina and he bonded over talk of their kids, and Apple computer products. We learned that Nathan was working on developing his music career (check him out at:, and we told him about how we had come to Arizona conduct research for our book. He was a really a great, easy-going kind of guy. We found out we were hiking through scorpion country, as we passed lots of cacti, agave plants, and even junipers. We thought about sticking around and making some cocktails from the agave, but we had yoga that needed to be done.

Virginia and Nathan hiking on Cow Pie Trail.
We arrived on top of a monolith about midway up the valley with the red rocks high around us. The view was extraordinary; pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. Nathan and Virginia took potty breaks, but Virginia didn’t encounter a bear like our character, Kate (teaser scene coming soon). After the basics were taken care of, we got down to Yoga business. There was energy and vortex’s to be experienced. The weather was perfect, just warm enough with the sun heating our skin, but a nice cool breeze on the air to keep us refreshed. Nathan explained how we should focus our beings while we meditated. It might seem a little silly, but sitting up there on that mesa, there was something to the “being one with the earth” concept we understood. The natural forces around us relieved stress and helped us to focus on more tangible things rather that the trials of everyday. Yoga was especially nice while we overlooked red bluffs of towering awe-inspiring rock, highly recommended. Sitting there tranquil on the rocks, warm in the sunshine, it was a great feeling. Nathan was helpful in aiding us on proper breathing. Kristina felt her body relax and tap into the energy of the world, there is something to be said about sitting at one with nature, and feeling connected to it all in some unexplainable way. We both felt extremely tranquil, and recovered.

The view, enough said.

The magic of Sedona was becoming clearer to us with every breath. At one point you could feel the energy pulsing between our hands as we held them apart but not touching, as if they were magnets, attracting and repelling at the same time. Not sure if it was the vortex energy, or just being in tune to what our bodies were humming but it was a good feeling, very ‘Kachina-like’. We thought of our characters, and how they must feel the power even more intense, since they’re naturally more in tune to the energy of the universe.

After our tranquil yoga morning we hiked back, and jumped back in Nathan’s car to head back to our own vehicle. We said our good byes to Nathan and ended the outing with a hug and a lunch recommendation.

Nathan was an awesome guide!
We tried our best to remember his directions as we headed back down into town. With much acclaim, Nathan suggested we visit a place called Ken’s Creek side, a nice little bistro-type restaurant. We found the restaurant without too much drama and were seated outside on the patio overlooking a (probably dried up; we couldn’t actually see it) creek. We both ordered iced teas and sipped in bliss as we listened to the cicadas in the trees. We had no idea what the noise was but thought it was neat, finally we asked our waitress what the noise was. As California girls, we had no clue that it was cicadas making the unusual sound. When it came time to order, Kristina ordered the bacon cheese burger with fries and Virginia got the veggie wrap with arugula salad and cup of tomato soup, she gets crabby with out her vegetables! We sat back and enjoyed the mating call of the cicadas; the sound was growing on us while we waited for lunch to arrive. When the order arrived, Kristina’s burger and fried looked mouthwatering. Virginia’s veggie wrap looked delicious to her, and was everything she could have wanted. On her soup, however, was little round white things, mozzarella? Nope, they put marshmallows on the tomato soup!!!
After lunch, we left the restaurant and headed to a bead and artifacts shop next door. We explored a bit before taking off to check out the rest of town. Kristina needed a Starbucks afternoon pick me up, and then we headed back on the road to Flagstaff. We didn’t get far before getting stuck behind a stupid, slow tour bus moving only 10mph around the corners, all that relaxing yoga went out the window…well not quite, but it was close.

Elden Pueblo Ruins, working archeological site.
When we finally reached Flagstaff, we headed to the hotel to take little Kiko out for some sun. We all piled back in the car, and headed to the Elden pueblo ruins, a working archeological site. We walked around and got a close up look at the site. We were on the self-guided tour, so with cameras in one hand and brochure in the other, we explored, learned, and took pictures. Its hard work being on vacation, and we had burned lots of calories doing healthy yoga activities, so we decided that we had to go back to Salsa Brava. We shared another delicious chicken sopapilla plate. It was just too good to resist!!

Hope you enjoyed Part Two!
Best Regards,
VK Tremain

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cowboy Story

You’ve been waiting all day, here’s some light reading to get you ready for bed:
Out of the glaring light of day, we walked into the dark, cabin-like atmosphere of the historic Museum Club off Route 66. The old wooden floorboards creaked and moaned beneath our weight as we crossed to the bar on our right. Opposite where we stood in the room sat lonely pool tables begging to be played. It was only around 7pm on a Thursday night. It was before the big rush.
            Our first focus was getting our hands on some cold, tasty beer. Animal heads stared down at us from their homes, mounted high on the old style wooden beams along the ceiling. Beers in hand, we headed to one of the small, unoccupied wooden booths along the wall. We sat, sipped our beers, and chatted as we waited for the dance lessons to begin. One quarter of a beer later, music began to play, and we headed out to join the other dancers on the floor. Line dancing lessons were starting, but we here for the country swing, which would start later. While in college, we had taken a ballroom dance class together for fun. We just wanted to dance no matter what style.
             The lessons were interesting, fun, and something different for us. We had worked up a sweat and a thirst so after the class, we went back to our booth to finish the rest of our beers. Much to our surprise, after a short break, everyone started to go back out to the dance floor where Karaoke began to pump from the speakers. We had so many offers to dance that we were struggling to keep up with them all. We definitely weren't in California anymore.
After much dancing, an annoying drunk guy in a green shirt (we dubbed him the "drunk, green shirt guy") approached us and wouldn’t go away. Both of us danced a few dances with him, but quickly tired of being abused, squeezed roughly, tossed into other couples on the floor, and spun nonstop till our beer threatened to make a reappearance. We declined the next few dances with him but he continued to keep walking back and forth in front of us, occasionally rubbing Virginia's foot that was hanging outside the booth crossed over her other knee. Each time he passed, he made flirtatious comments. Like so many other drunken guys, he couldn’t take a hint. Frankly, we were a little creeped out, and didn’t want to dance for fear that he would come by and snag one of us again. We even talked about leaving the club to get away as a last resort. Was this the end of our super fun girl’s night out? All hope was lost, almost... then, enter our cowboys.
            Just as we had given up hope and were wishing that some dashing gentlemen would come up and save us damsels in distress, two loud-mouthed, fun-loving cowboys from our lesson made their way to our booth and asked to sit down. The first was tall and had shoulder length blonde hair, he wore tight wrangler jeans, cowboy boots and hat. The second of the pair was dressed similar to his friend, but had cropped brown hair that curled slightly around his ears. We recognized them easily as regulars. They seemed to know everyone in the bar, and were so confident in their environment they could have owned the place. We gestured and they sat down, one on each side of us.
             “So, where are you ladies from?” The blonde asked.
            He had known we weren’t regulars as he had danced with Virginia earlier in the night. She had been so caught up in the fun new dance she just learned, laughing and thrilled to be spun around the floor. She had gasped out between breaths and giggles, "What dance is this?" To which he looked at her oddly and replied, "The two-step." She had blown our cover; he knew we weren’t locals after that question.
             His question to us then didn’t lead with the most original pick up line, but the men were fun and charming and seemed very respectful. We told them that we were from California and had road-tripped to Flagstaff to research a story we were writing. They were very interested, and they even suggested some great tips and places to visit while we were in town. We had a great time just sitting and talking with them. 'Green shirt guy' was still pacing and looking over at us from the back corner of the club, but we were no longer so creeped out. He was at least leaving us alone and we had better company with the cowboys.
            All four of us then went out to the dance floor; our cowboys actually knew how to dance, really, really well. They taught us the country two-step and other dances. They were complete gentlemen. It felt great to be able dance without getting groped or felt up. After much dancing we finally sat back down at our booth, and chatted and drank some more. These guys seemed to have the ‘tag team’ thing down.
             We continued to listen to the music while we sipped our refreshments and made conversation. The blonde, recommended a winery he liked in a shopping plaza called Tlaquepaque in Sedona. He suggested that being Californians we’d love the wine there. The men offered to buy us a beer, but we declined. We had a long night, and one of us still had to drive back to the hotel. They insisted, and eventually we came to a compromise, we would share a beer. While they left to go get our drink, we tried to figure out if the men were into ladies or each other. After all, they had been very respectful, and had not made a move on either of us like we were used to. Also, they danced so well, and were pretty tight with one another. We had to ask ourselves if this was some sort of broke back mountain thing. Finally, we decided they must be gay, which was great, because Kristina is married and Virginia is in a relationship. We didn’t mind one bit, we love the gays!
             When they returned with our beer we asked them what they did for a living, were they really cowboys or just pretend? We chatted a bit sharing fun facts about each other for awhile, and then the conversation somehow shifted to the topic of metro-sexuality. They claimed they were, but looking at their tough guy dress we had our doubts. They swore up and down that they were indeed cowboys with a ‘softer side’, but we were doubtful until finally the blonde convinced us.
 “We got pedicures today.”
We looked at each other, baffled. “Yea right.” Then we laughed, he almost had us.
 “We really did!” He demanded. “A friend of ours is going through cosmetology school, and she gave them to us.” He gestured to his friend, “Take off your boot and show them.”
“No. You do it.”
Okay, so they might have helped out a friend and let her do their toes, clean up their feet, and all the rest of the pedicure stuff, but that didn’t make them that metro.
             “Fine.” So the blonde rips his boot off to show his white athletic sock underneath and removes that too with a quick tug. Bare foot exposed he stuck his leg in the air and wiggled gold glittered, sparkling toes.
“We thought you were joking. You actually got pedicures!” We laughed hysterically.
“Told ya!” He looked so proud we had to laugh again. He looked over at his friend who was studying his beer intently. “Your turn. Come on, show ‘em.”
             “Hell no!”
Our new friend was persistent. “Oh, just do it.” We could see though, there was not a chance that his friend was going to convince him to do it. We tried to find out if the brunette’s toes were gold, silver, rainbow… still though, he wouldn’t tell.
Finally, tired of the back and forth between the men, and eager to see the mysterious pedicure paint job, Virginia turned her attention to the brunette at her side. If her ‘gay-dar’ was wrong, and he was interested in her as she had originally thought, only she could get that boot off! She summoned all of her female superpowers, pursed her lips into a slight pout, and widened her eyes a little bigger. With a sultry wiggle in her seat next to him she leaned over and asked.
“Can’t we just have a little peek?” She moved in closer. “I’d really, really like to see.” Then she looked up into his eyes and smiled coyly.
Without thought, the brunette reached down and ripped his boot and sock off. Virginia looked across the table at Kristina, asking in that wordless way that only females can communicate. That really worked? Now, there was no doubt, the men must be straight.
The brunette, lifted his foot in much the same way the blonde had earlier and with a wiggle of his toes exclaimed, “Mine are zebra stripped.”
Sure enough right in front of our eyes were manly, hairy toes that were painted with perfect black and white zebra striping! We gasped for breath between laughing, then applauded the brunette for his manliness and bravery for showing his toes.
The End.

Follow Friday Fun

1) (Required) You must follow my blog and Some Sharp Words

2) (Required) You must follow the guest poster featured in the blog hop post.

3) You must add you name to the link bar.

4) You must copy these rules, the hop link and the featured question with your answer on your own blog. This blog serves as a place for new followers to say hi.

5) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!

6) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.

7) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

As this is the first week of Sharp's new Follow Friday, I am supposed to answer the question below and next week it will be someone else.

This week's question is: What inspired you to start writing?

As you all know, we are a writing team of sisters. So for us this question may be best asked, what inspired us to start writing together? Well, we have always loved reading and writing. Creativity is a part of who we are as individuals, as best friends and now sisters, we wanted to write something together. Two heads seemed better than one. As we started working on our plot idea, it became richer and more complex as we questioned and pushed one another to look deeper into our ideas. You can learn more on our Journey of a Dream post. In short, that is how VK Tremain was born.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Truths and Lies

I’ve been writing like crazy trying to tie up the ending to Gift of Blood, but in the mean time I received this great award, and couldn’t ignore it. I humbly received The Memetastic Award from, Elizabeth Sharp over at Sharp Words. She’s one of the fabulous writers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know at the HP Writer’s Club. What is the Memetastic Award you might ask? Well, drum roll please….basically, it’s a really lame logo that I get to post up on my blog, while I get the chance to play this great game with all of you. 

Here are the rules of this amazing award (pictured below):

1.  I must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic in a post (as done so above).
2.  I must list 5 things about myself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. My readers are to guess which one is the truth by posting a comment on my blog.
3.  I must pass this awesomely, prestigious award on to 5 deserving bloggers.

With our further ado, the five lucky contestants I now give this magnificent award to are:

Last but not least, can YOU guess which one of the facts below is true?

1. I convinced two rough and tough cowboys to take off their shoes in a bar and show me their sparkly gold pedicures.
2. While driving to visit the Hopi Reservation, I got lost and ended up one state over.
3.  I camped out at the site of an ancient ruin to gain the experience for my story.
4.  The Hopi people invited me to participate in one of their sacred rituals.
5.  I crashed an anthropology class I saw in session while scoping out the college, to get a better feel for one of my characters, the steamy Professor Hart.

So which one of the facts above do you think is true? I WILL answer when someone gets it right.

Best Regards,
VK Tremain

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gift of Blood, Arizona research trip- travel journal series: Part 1

I took this trip because I wanted to see what my characters experienced, and get to know them on a deeper, more personal level. What I learned really took my breath away. I was captivated by the natural beauty of the land around me, the ancient ruins, and the Hopi reservation. It was then that I finally understood Kate and Trevor’s passion for their work, as well as the mystical properties in Chevy and Max’s homeland.
I hope you enjoy coming along with me on my travels back last fall when I explored the setting Gift of Blood. Keep following, this is just the beginning of my journey…

Best Regards,
VK Tremain.

The beginning of the trip, Part 1:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5:15am Take off.
Left the house, it was dark. We hit the road anxious for our first hit of Starbucks. After fueling up the car with gas we found ourselves looking through the glass door of a locked up Starbucks a little irritated by our lack of caffeine. No coffee for us. So, un-caffeinated we started our journey, again.

6:00am approximately - Found a McDonalds off the 5 and took the exit ramp. Got some mochas and two sausage sandwiches, then pooed Kiko, the dog, and hit the road again.

6am-12pm - Continued down the road.
Stopped for gas in Bakersfield where we saw big plastic cow and a Starbucks.
Breaked for lunch in Barstow at Chipolte.

Drove through the Mojave. The desert is beautiful, but I couldn’t look at it everyday. We didn’t see many cacti but saw lots of brush and Joshua trees. There were plenty of black rocks after Barstow, and some coral cactus in one area. Then the scenery changed to an incredible mesa looking rock sculpture garden. Red towers and flat tops. Really inspiring.

Driving through the desert still...
Black rocks

… still in the car
Trying to figure out what state we were in. Not in Nevada. We figured out we were still in California when we stopped in the city of Needles for gas. Then without crossing though Nevada we arrived in Arizona!!! 200 miles left to go, but we were happy.

… Driving, and driving, still…scenery is still beautiful, however, had enough with the rocks and sparse trees. 

… Suddenly pine trees start showing their faces, and we realize that we are starting to climb up, and up, and up. Virginia gets really dizzy, Kristina can hardly see while driving, her eyes are watering, sinus pressure + altitude = bad!! Knots in our shoulders are getting really bad!!

4:45pm-ish - We see a white snow capped mountain in the distance. Must be the Kachina wilderness area! The San Francisco white-capped peaks are calling our name, only about 40 more miles to go!!!

5:30pm - Finally arrive at the Super 8 off Lucky Lane, not so lucky.  Our room smelled like pet urine!  Tried to alleviate the smell by covering the damp spots with every towel in the room. Then, we sprayed the towels with hairspray and lotion in an attempt to make it smell better. We were too tired to deal with switching rooms that night.

6:30pm-ish – Got freshened up and went out headed to Salsa Brava off historic route 66 for their famous chicken sopapilla (pronounced like ‘Sooookie’ in Bill’s whispery voice), and a margarita!! OMG it was soooo good!! Chicken was smoked and very tender, melt in your mouth good. Everything was fresh and homemade. It was an awesome experience. Highly recommend it!

Salsa Brava's, chicken sopapilla!!
Monday, October 11, 2010

7am – Ate a delicious Super Start Breakfast waffles, and then talked to front desk about our pet urine room. We got another room that didn’t smell like pee, yay!! Our new room, #119, had a mountain view. Victory was ours!

9am – Searched for Deer trail in the Kachina wilderness, only to discover that it was burned up to cinders in a previous fire. This resulted in the closure of many trails, including the Deer Trail, which supposedly used to have aspen trees.  Now there were only charred aspen trees and ponderosa pines.

9:45am-ish – Spying the bright golden aspen trees from the highway, we turned down a residential road until we reached a dead end that had a trailhead. We never reached the aspens because we were forced to hike in a circle around trails that were closed due to the fire, flash flooding and tornadoes from the previous week.

10:30am-ish - Got back in car and headed towards ranger station to find out where the damn open trails were with aspen trees. Then we spotted a trailhead on the road, Little Elden Loop trail.  We could still see the aspens on the side of the mountain, and decided to try it out. Got loaded up for the hike and headed off.  We had just taken pictures of the far away mountainside sprinkled with aspens and pines when disaster struck. On the hike, we noticed a fire ant hill, and avoided it. However, Kiko suddenly started limping and spazing.  He got all jittery, so we looked at the paw he was favoring and noticed that it was swollen pink. We decided he must have gotten bit by one of the nasty fire ants. Kiko continued to spaz out, rubbing all over Kristina’s leg, trying to roll on the ground, and wanting to be carried.  Virginia ended up carrying the dog. 

There's some Aspen's waaaay over there!

Kristina taking pictures on the hike.
Poor Kiko :(
11:30am-ish - We decided to turn around because the dog was not doing well and he was waaaay too heavy.

12:15pm-ish – Back in car, we headed to the hotel. Kiko seemed to be doing better, but he was tired.  It’s a hard life to have to be carried while hiking.

12:36pm – At the hotel, we changed then headed to down town to grab some lunch.  We decided to eat at Charly’s pub. Kristina had a Flagstaff Dip, aka a French Dip, and Virginia got a mini Navajo Taco (that barely fit on the plate).  Both were very good!

Part of downtown Flagstaff, Charly's Pub
Flagstaff Dip and Navajo Taco, yum!
1:30ish headed out to walk to NAU to scope it out. Virginia bitched the whole time about her heavy purse and wished that we had driven to campus.  Kristina told her to suck it up J.  Kristina’s back of knees were aching, but tried not to think about it too much. Virginia complained about her cubicle job, and how she needed to walk more. Finally made it to the campus and tried to track down the Anthropology building on our own that we needed to research for one of our scenes. Stopped a student to find the lab, they didn’t have a clue. So, we gave up our search, went to admissions, and got a map. The lab was as far away as possible. It was the teeny, tinyest building, behind the dorms. It was small, but it’s not the size that matters, it’s how it’s used. We had to case the joint, we peered into windows and took pictures, as we formulated a plan.

Trying to find the Anthropology Department...
Finally found the Lab!

3pm-ish – We happened to find yet another Starbucks, so we stopped for an afternoon pick me up. Then on our way back to the hotel we saw a sign for The Wildflower Bakery and pulled over to investigate.  It was an awesome bakery, Kristina got 2 slices of cake, one carrot and one old-fashioned toffee tart, which were super yummy.  But, she saved most of it for later. Virginia got an orange and blackberry lemonade, which was superb.

630pm-ish – Tired, we walked across the street and went to the Outback for dinner and beer. Night, night time. PJ’s and HBO were in order for the rest of the evening. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Blurb.

As anyone who writes knows, it's much easier to write a 5,000 word description about your book than a 200 word teaser. So, when we writers are inevitably faced with writing the dreaded blurb or query, it's a task we sometimes dread!

Without further ado, here is a little sneak peak of what might be on the back cover of my book, Gift of Blood:

Native American artifacts specialist, Kate Doyle, craves an escape from her mundane life. The answer to her prayers comes all too soon when the charismatic Prof. Trevor Hart requests her expertise at a remote archeological dig site deep in the mountains of Arizona. Kate gets more than she hoped for, when she unearths a powerful ancient Hopi tablet that thrusts both she and Trevor into a deadly battle.

Upon her arrival in Arizona, Kate meets up with her mysterious trail guide, Chevy. What has happened in Chevy’s past to make him react so volatile around her, and why does he seem to be following her? Chevy raises questions that propel Kate to find out exactly who and what she is. As Kate fights to find the answers to these questions, secrets about herself begin surface. Through her journey, Kate discovers the nightmares she’s had all her life are pushing her towards a destiny that has been kept hidden from her.

Kate's life begins to spiral out of control as she learns secrets about herself that change everything she thought she knew about the world around her. To make things worse, someone Kate thought she could trust, is secretly part of a malicious organization set on using the powers of the tablet for destruction. They have been watching and waiting for her to discover her abilities in order to coerce her into unlocking the tablet’s power.

In the end, Kate is faced with the decision of destroying the world as she knows it, or loosing the ones she loves…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Journey of a Dream

Many things start out as dreams. Some grow into fruitation, while other’s fizzle away never to see the light of day.
For years we’ve swapped books, recommended authors to each other, and passed the paperbacks back and forth. After dreaming and talking about writing for years, one day we decided, "we can do that". It seemed so simple to just join forces, since we loved the same books, and pretty much thought in similar paths each adding a unique twist of their own.
The first step was deciding which direction we wanted to embark on. We loved the idea of a 'special' object to center the story around. We tossed ideas back and forth, emailing probably 100 or more emails a day, before finally deciding on a genre. The next step was character development. We needed awesome, fearless, and strong yet relatable characters to support our story. Taking the plunge we found our main character, Kate. 
As our other characters developed, the plot took form, and vice versa. Pretty soon our story was taking life, begging for us to write it. We knew we wanted Kate to work in the arts somehow, as we both originally met in an art history class. We felt that this added a little bit of 'us' to the package. Kate ended up being a Native American artifacts specialist, working in an auction house in San Francisco. She told us her story, and as we researched artifacts, the plot continued to evolve. Kate met her male counterpart, the rugged and sexy Professor Trevor Hart, on an archeological dig site. A trust builds quickly between the two when they realize how much they have in common and the passions that they share. Of course there’re a few other characters in the mix, the abrasive trail guide, Chevy and his brother Max, among others that we’ll talk more about later.
Inspiration for the story came in the form of Native American legends, the History Channel, music, and our eccentric imaginations filled in the gaps to take it a step further into the paranormal.
As our story evolved, we couldn’t believe how everything was fitting together. We’d think of a plot line, and always find research to support what we thought we dreamed up in our imaginations. It began to get really freaky how many times we would think we were creating something new, and we’d end up finding a myth or fact sheet with almost a word for word validation of our thoughts. It was almost like we were meant to write this story. 
About midpoint through draft one we decided to take a research road trip from the California Bay Area to the site where part of our story takes place in Arizona. We knew we had to visit the reservation we were writing about.
We shared many ‘Sedona moments’, as some Sedonian’s called them, while on our trip. Sedona moments are coincidences that bring people, or events, together as if by magic or energy. Sedona is a very powerful place that thrives of the energy of the land. These moments only solidified our story and encouraged us to fall deeper into Kate's world. With a company called, Sedona Private Guides, we learned about the Vortex energy in Sedona, which was a truly remarkable experience. We walked in Kate and Chevy’s shoes on the trails of the Kachina Wilderness, stalked the campus at NAU casing the Archeology Lab for one particular scene of ours, saw where our characters lived, and visited the incredible Hopi Reservation.
Common and reoccurring themes in our story are energy, dreams, spirits, and balance or equilibrium.  Many kinds of energy affect the nature of our world. Energy from people’s thoughts, emotions, intentions, dreams, down to the energy around us that connects people to the earth. Both good and bad energy, ying and yang, are required to create a happy balance, an equilibrium that holds all life forces in perfect harmony. Many of these themes are prevalent in the Hopi culture, and while we have done our best to stay true to what we have learned of the Hopi, there is always a little creative license as we translated these ideas to support our ‘fictional’ story.
Join us as we create Gift of Blood, our first paranormal romance novel. This is our dream, welcome to our journey.