travel

I’ll Be High for Christmas; Adventures in Globe, Arizona

Recently, I went home for Christmas, as I do almost every year. It’s where I met my husband and best friend, and where I graduated from high school. AZMap-doton-GlobeLike most young people, I fled immediately after graduation because there just isn’t much to the town. Globe, Arizona is a small copper and silver mining town in Eastern Arizona. Founded as a mining camp in 1875, the population is around 7,500. Nearby town Miami and unincorporated areas known as Claypool and Central Heights are so close that the area is often known as Globe-Miami. It sports a combined population of around 15,000.Glbaz

Globe is not a particularly beautiful place – it’s rocky and hilly, filled with scrub brush and the occasional mesquite tree, just about all that will naturally grow in the blasting summer sun, save for the poplars clustered around Shit Creek, which meanders around the arroyos north of town. I never did learn the proper name of the creek, which smelled like … you guessed it: shit.

A group of Italian stonemasons hired to build the nearby Roosevelt Dam constructed a number of the town’s biggest buildings, their signature appearance a result of their expertise. Overall, though, the downtown area is largely empty these days.

Globe, AZ Broad St S of Yuma StThe copper mines are traditionally the largest employer in the area, but the price of copper goes up and down, and at times the mines have been shut down completely, putting lots of people out of work and further depressing an already poor area. The city has tried to become a haven for antiques lovers – helped along by the conversion of many a crumbling Victorian era house into antique shops – and it also benefits (at least by the building of fast food restaurants) by lying at the convergence of a couple of state highways that lead to lakes, forests, and other recreational areas. But it’s kind of a crappy place, to be honest: run down and rather stark, sleepy and generally quiet. The giant mounds of slag are pretty ugly, and the downtown is limping along with the aid of some bars and a recently built 4-screen movie theater.

Hot slag runs from the Inspiration Copper Mine in Globe, AZ. Source: US National Archives and Records Administration

The main claim to fame of Globe in my eyes is absolutely delicious Mexican food – the best I’ve had, hands down. Globe is a haven for Sonoran-style Mexican food in general, with strong contenders being El Rey Cafe, Irene’s Restaurant, and La Casita, but one place I never miss visiting is Chalo’s Casa Reynoso.  Fresh, delicious, and dirt cheap, you can’t beat it. The service is pretty good and the ambience is typical down home Mexican – stuffed bear with a sombrero, black velvet pictures of matadors, and so on.

Globe is sort of unremarkable except for the rate of substance abuse and meth addiction, a scourge in many small towns.

And then there’s the pot.

I was amused to discover – from my devout, law-abiding, former city council member mother-in-law, that Arizona’s recently passed medical marijuana bill has transformed Globe into a mecca for weed.

“The law says if there isn’t a marijuana source within 25 miles then regular citizens can grow their own,” she said. “The city council didn’t want regular Joes growing their own. So they set up an official pot collective.”

Say whuh?

Cannabis leaf 2The Globe Farmacy,  located smack in the middle of downtown Globe, boasts that its tasty pot cakes and candies will “have you coming back for more.” It is, apparently, the first officially sanctioned medical marijuana collective in the state. You will be happy to know that they dutifully joined the Chamber of Commerce as well.

I, of course, had to ask my mother what she thought of this.

“I can’t believe they did that!” my mother exclaimed, scandalized by the thought of the City of Globe’s new economic endeavor. “What kind of place is this?”

We didn’t discuss the moral implications of marijuana legalization, or the considerable palliative effect of marijuana upon certain diseases (heck, probably all diseases), but her outraged response brought to mind my brother’s high school rebelliousness, when he attempted to grow his own pot. It didn’t work out too well, especially since my mother discovered the straggly, drooping little plant hiding out in the attic and quickly disposed of it, chiding my brother all the while.

Lucky for my brother, though, that he can now trot down to the “Farmacy” and claim one of the rather loosely defined medical conditions and get his own stash of ganja. After all, the pain of living in a small town is chronic.

And who knows? Maybe the City of Globe has found an economic bonanza by embracing this newly legal pharmaceutical.

writing

Fantasy Adventure NECROPOLIS on Sale for One More Day …

Cover art for Necropolis by Xina Marie Uhl
eBook cover

Since 12/24 my fantasy novel Necropolis has been on a Kindle Countdown Deal, first at $.99 and now at $1.99 through midnight tomorrow night. So here’s your chance to snatch it up on Amazon USA and Amazon UK. I’m afraid I’ve been rather lax with promotion this time, what with the Christmas holiday and being out of town. On the plus side, though, I did get some ideas for blog posts while I was out of town, so that’s good, provided I find the time to actually construct said posts. Anyhow, just in case you’ve never heard of Necropolis, here’s the description:

When prison guard Conyr rescues a young priest from execution, he sets off a dangerous adventure that brings allies in a scheming politician, a mischievous urchin, and a beautiful tavern server. Together, the group must navigate a maze of power-hungry rivals, skilled assassins, and deadly sorcery.  For the young priest’s lost memory holds the key to more than his past, but the fate of two cities.

 “… intelligently written, exciting to read, and memory-haunting fantasy…” — Crescent Blues

 

writing

The Author is Omnipresent…

An excellent look at point of view. I’ll be sure to reference it myself!

Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Omnipresent -definition: present everywhere at the same time

Flow Chart

When we create a narrative, our first priority is to decide on which point of view we want to use, the narrative perspective or mode. First person, second or third. Each has it’s own guidelines and enables us to manipulate the reader into the mindset of the character or characters  we wish them to sympathize with. As the author we are the omnipresent voice, the one who directs the action and reveals the plot.

Nathan Bransford wrote about the comparison between the third person omniscient versus third person limited here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2012/11/third-person-omniscient-vs-third-person.html

Another good link, which assists with choosing your narrative style is here: http://www.thewriteturn.com/whats-your-point-of-view-how-to-choose-the-right-narrative-perspective-for-your-fiction/

No matter which mode you use, you decide on the direction of the tale and what to reveal and what to hide throughout the story.

Which mode do you use?

Have you tried all narrative modes?

I had…

View original post 17 more words

history, writing

Breaching the Shores of an Unfamiliar Sea

WIPpet Wednesday BannerOnce again it’s Wednesday, which means I am providing you with a snippet of my work in progress (thus, WIPpet), a challenge hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Basically, you post a snippet of your current project which in some way relates to the date. Speaking of …

Today in history – December 18, 1620, to be exact, a rickety British tub by the name of the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. There, they signed the famous Mayflower Compact, an agreement by which all would consent for the good of the party. Thanks to a friendly Native American by the name of Squanto, the beleaguered Pilgrims learned to plant crops and thus created the first successful settlement on the East Coast of the United States. Hurrah!

The snippet I chose from my WIP, Dark Ages trilogy (Book 1) in which reluctant knight Justus must redeem a thief (Tristan) and guide a barren woman (Richende) on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, involves docking somewhere unfamiliar. Although, alas, it does not turn out to be as momentous as the Mayflower landing. Here they land at Jaffa, the closest port city to Jerusalem:

The port of Jaffa was ancient and filled with well-worn, limp-sailed boats of all shapes and sizes. Most of the buildings facing the sea were in need of white washing, made dirty and dingy by the wind and weather, and broken down by the weight of years. The small stone church that faced the water, however, still looked tidy, a lush and flowering jasmine plant snaking up the front of the building by the door, perfuming the air with its tender scent. People dressed in flowing white or light-colored robes with accompanying turbans passed by or worked industriously in the glare of the noon sun. Richende stood on the worn granite stones of the portside, shading her eyes and taking in the languid harbor, the unfamiliar squat building styles, the guttural, distinct cadence of the language, and the stark rocky landscape rising up behind the town. Even the warm desert breeze, heavy with moisture and the buzzing of sand flies, seemed so unfamiliar and exotic and welcome that Richende could scarcely halt the tears prickling the corners of her eyes.

                From here, Jerusalem lay inland fifty or so miles through hostile territory. But what was a mere fifty miles after coming so far? They were close now, so close!

Comments, reactions, impressions, constructive criticisms – all are treasured, should you choose to provide them. Visit my fellow WIPpet participants here, or join the fun yourself:

photography, travel

Life in the Hot Coals and the Sky on Fire

Today was a tough day. The Christmas holiday is almost upon us and I’ve been struggling with missing people who have passed on and trying to deal with the sometimes difficult people who are here today. The most difficult of all people seems to me – more specifically, my ever-churning mind … worries and fears and unexplained sadnesses. Maybe that’s why I love travel so, because it consumes my thoughts and attention and distracts me from the really tough part of life, the soul-shredding sameness of normalcy.

This was my view for a few moments at sunset. It’s not expertly photographed, but it did remind me of the beauty that occurs around us even in the middle of difficult times.

Sunset through the trees.

history, writing

The Night Sky Sings of Cheesy 80s Pop Stars

Once again it is Wednesday, and once again I have neglected to post much to my blog save for a reblog of pretty pictures. Ah, well. I’m busy promoting books about cats and surfing Reddit and agonizing over what to write on my work in progress. Which brings me to …

Devo 2008.05.31 005

Devo? I’m showing my age here, but I remember when Devo’s Whip It was on the air. And every time I hear the name of the writing Work in Progress challenge I’ve become a part of – WIPpet – I think of Devo’s song. Ah, how my friends and I danced to it. Back when the band didn’t look quite as old as the guy in this picture!

Anyhoo. The WIPpet challenge is hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Basically, you post a snippet of your current project which in some way relates to the date.

As such … HistoryOrb.com tells us that on December 11, 1719 the first recorded display of Aurora Borealis occurred in the New England colonies of North America.

Now don’t go getting all excited. My current WIP takes place in and around the Mediterranean in the early 700s AD. I doubt you could see such sights there. However, you can look up into the sky, which is what knight errant Justus and troubled street urchin are doing in this snippet. It takes place aboard a ship, as they journey to the Holy Land …

The Aurora Borealis over Norway.
The Aurora Borealis over Norway. Source: http://earthporn.reddlr.com/

One clear night, after an entire day spent becalmed, he stayed up on deck and taught Tristan the constellations as he had learned them from childhood: the three kings, the princess and water bearer, the charioteer, the big and little dogs, the raven and cup and the cross. Tristan laughed at the story of the dogs, who nipped and chased one another all up and down the heavens, pulling the princess’s veil off and tipping the water bearer’s vessels in their play.

“My youngest brother always liked that one the best,” Justus admitted on a sudden melancholy note. “He would beg Father to tell it again and again. He never seemed to tire of it, though Father told it the same every time.”

They fell silent, both of them watching the path of a meteor that flared before blinking out of existence. Tristan lay on his back next to Justus, the lean gangling length of him still and relaxed, save for his restless fingers, which fiddled with the end of a rope hanging off the mast.

“Your father sounds like a patient man,” Tristan mused.

Justus’s voice was a low and quiet noise against the background murmurs of the sailors on watch. “He was known for his patience, and his good judgment. When the peasants had a dispute they always accepted his rulings without argument.”

Justus conjured his father’s well-loved face in his mind – the graying hair and lines around his eyes, his stooped posture and long stride. The aching well of grief within him opened, a void that churned and rolled. He turned from it.

“And your father?” Justus inquired, when it seemed that his voice had steadied. “What was he like?”

Tristan looked at him for a long moment, but Justus could not perceive his expression in the darkness. When he spoke his voice was quiet, and tinged with wistfulness and pain. “He was a large bear of a man with a deep growling voice and huge hands and a frizzy black beard. He talked loudly and drank with gusto and he left my mother alone for months at a time. She would cry, sometimes, from loneliness. But when he was home it wasn’t all that much better. The two of them would often scream at one another and throw things. I was too slow ducking more than once. The neighbors were always complaining about the noise.” He gave a rueful little snort. “My father was rough in speech and manners and, truth be told, he didn’t like me much. He beat me more than I deserved. When he died, it was a relief in some ways.”

Tristan’s stark description of the man shocked Justus. He wanted to say he was sorry, that no father should heap violence upon his son, that he was justified in his relief at the man’s passing. He knew better than to say these things, though. Tristan was like the dog who challenged the pack leader, attuned to weakness of any kind, reacting with swift anger and violence when he found it. Justus knew his type well – had seen such men before and knew how to deal with them. So he kept the words of comfort in his throat, though he felt them struggling there for a long time.

Comments, reactions, impressions, constructive criticisms – all are treasured, should you choose to provide them. Visit my fellow WIPpet participants here:


history, Uncategorized, writing

Shipwreck … and WIPpet Wednesday

I must confess, I’ve done very little writing this past week, what with Thanksgiving and a visit from my daughter, her kids, and my mother-in-law. And then there’s the agonizing pain in my back from all the work I did at Thanksgiving. Also, I will get back to posting travel things soon … ish. I promise!

So, once again it’s Wednesday, which means I am providing you with a snippet of my work in progress (thus, WIPpet), a challenge hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Basically, you post a snippet of your current project which in some way relates to the date. Here’s what happened on this day in 1872.

Having left New York on Nov. 5, the brigantine Mary Celeste was found adrift off Portugal with everyone aboard mysteriously missing.

Read more: This Day in History: December 5 | Infoplease.com

The subject of this snippet is shipwreck. Once again, it is from my Dark Ages adventure:

The storm came on quickly. In the morning, the sun shone brightly from between scattered clouds. By noon thick dark clouds clotted the sky and wind buffeted the sails and waves with equal fretfulness. When a hard, cold rain began to fall, the captain sent the passengers below deck, his normally wide, easy expression grim and tight.
Justus stayed above deck, soaked by freezing rain and increasingly nauseous from the plunge and dip of the tiny craft amidst the roiling insanity of water everywhere. When a particularly fearsome wave nearly rolled the ship over, he heard terrified cries rising from the hold. As soon as the ship righted itself enough for him to walk instead of crawl, he rushed below to check on the welfare of the others.
A fetid blast of warm air, foul with the stench of vomit, met him when he opened the door and descended the ladder. Everyone was crowded to one side, as were the tumble of their sleeping mats and food baskets and miscellaneous belongings, driven there by the rolling of the ship. Many of the passengers wept and prayed aloud, including both of Richende’s maids and several of Justus’s hardened soldiers. At another time, in a safe place, he might have teased his men for their fearfulness. But here, now, he understood it far too well.

Comments, reactions, impressions, constructive criticisms – all are treasured, should you choose to provide them. Visit my fellow WIPpet participants here: