When I travel, I’m often asked “What’s it like to live in the Ozarks?” Borrowing a Native American phrase I like to say that to live among these hills is to “walk in beauty.” You needn’t take my word for it, though. Here’s a slideshow of photographs taken by Arkansas photographer David Dedman:
These photographs capture the beauty of our region with its clear waters, deep forests, rugged hillsides and deep valleys. This is the landscape of my mystery series. That landscape is at risk inbook #2when land swindlers and greedy developers set their sights on Hogan County. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want–even if that means murder. When you read the book, I hope you’ll think of David’s photographs and understand what the good people of Hogan County are fighting to preserve.
David Dedman Photography is on Facebook. His work is for sale on the Fine Art America website. Click on any photo on that site and a page appears showing you the myriad media available (acrylic, framed print, canvas, etc.) You can enjoy his work on throw pillows, tote bags, greeting cards, and more.
Leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite among these beautiful photographs!
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, every fog in October means a snow in December. The hills and hollers I call home have been cloaked in fog at least five mornings to date, with friends in remote homesteads and farms reporting even more. We’ve been lucky (so far) that the sun breaks through by mid-morning and the days quickly warm, making it perfect for great adventures.
One adventure sure to interest the whole family is the 27th annual Pea Ridge Mule Jump on Saturday, October 10th. From what I’ve learned, mules are not particularly impressed with the idea of jumping, and their handlers have quite a task to get them moving. If you, like me, wonder why anyone would expect a mule to jump at all, here’s one explanation I found in a post authored by Times editor Annette Beard:
“Mule jumping comes from a tradition in coon hunting of having mules jump over fences rather than finding gates. Hunters throw a blanket over the fence so the mule will jump it. Mules can jump flat footed.”
Elkhorn Tavern National Military Park
Pea Ridge, by the way, was home to what’s considered by many to be one of the most pivotal battles in the Civil War. Also known as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Pea Ridge is one of the most intact battlefields in the nation. It’s a National Park site and worth a visit. History buffs might be interested in comparing the Union Army and Confederate Army reports, found here.
River View at Calf Creek
If you miss the mule jump or want to see a different sort of wildlife, head over to the Buffalo River area. A friend who lives out that way reports that visitors are already crowding into Boxley Valley ahead of the fall colors to see the rutting elk. (Rutting season runs mid-September into November.) If you’re planning a trip out that way, you’ll find maps and helpful information at Arkansas.com and the Buffalo River Regional Chamber site. Enjoy the scenic drive while you’re out that way, too. Explore the Buffalo River (the first national river), the Lost Valley State Park and its trails, or just enjoy a leisurely scenic drive through the valley.
And–in keeping with the theme of legends and folklore this month–mark your calendars for Voices from Eureka’s Silent City (a fundraiser for the Eureka Spring Historical Museum):
So…what’s on your schedule this month? Don’t forget: leave a comment on any or all posts this month to be entered in the drawing mentioned here.
There are lots of great authors out there writing in many genres. In today’s publishing world, authors often (usually) have to take the lead in marketing and publicizing their work. And so, in the spirit of collaboration, I’m inviting authors to share a bit of their writing lives here.
Whether these authors are old friends or new to you, I hope you’ll check out their work, click on their links, and share your thoughts about their books. This week, we’ll hear from mystery author Rae Davies. Let’s get to know her!
You’ve written in quite a few genres in your career. Tell us a bit about that experience, and how it shaped your writing today.
Rae Davies, Author with Despereaux and Nigel
I started in mystery and light, as in funny. That book was Loose Screw. While I was still shopping it, I started Love is All Around, my first romantic comedy. I sold that book very quickly which put me on a romance path and took me away from mysteries for quite some time.
Unfortunately, after two books it appeared light wasn’t selling. So I had rethink my career. Returning to mysteries would have required a huge shift—finding a new agent, leaving behind many contacts I’d made in the romance world, etc. So I went in another direction. I tried light paranormal, but that seemed a dead end for me. Then I went dark and sold to Harlequin’s Nocturne line. I wrote a number of books for them. I also wrote two urban fantasy novels which were published by Pocket Books. Those were also dark, but had shades of humor I think.
When authors discovered we could self-publish, do it well, find readers and pay our bills, I was there. I started with a vampire short story, but soon decided to go back to my very first book, Loose Screw and I’m glad I did. Writing the books make me happy and I love knowing the readers who “get” my books are happy too.
You and I share a common writing ground—the Ozarks. Which books use that setting?
I’m from the Ozarks and I am very proud of my heritage. My romantic comedies are set in the Missouri Ozarks. The people in Love is All Around and Love is All You Need are based on people I knew, many of whom I’m related to.
Your Dusty Deals mystery series features an amateur sleuth with a gorgeous Malamute. Tell us about them.
My main character, Lucy, lives in an old Montana mining community/ghost town that only has 20 year-round residents. She lives in an old log house bordered by National Forest with her Alaskan Malamute, Kiska.
I believe characters should love something so intensely they would do anything for that thing, person or place. Kiska is that for Lucy. Lucy’s a bit goofy, dives in to things headfirst, and is a little insecure, especially about her weight. Still, she is a good soul and I enjoy spending time with her and the quirky characters that surround her.
Where can readers find excerpts of your books?
I have an excerpt of my newest book, Let Loose, on my website. And you can download a free sample of my books from any of the ebook retailers.
What’s next in the Dusty Deals series?
I’m working on a novella right now set around Valentine’s Day. I’ve had readers ask for more time with Lucy and her cowboy detective boyfriend. In this novella the two of them, with Kiska, head out for a Valentine’s mystery weekend.
The Books in Bloom Literary Festival is famous for hosting literary stars and emerging authors on the grounds of the Crescent Hotel in historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas in mid-May. This year, I’m honored to be one of those authors!
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Crescent Hotel and many others, plus the dedicated volunteers and staff of the Carroll and Madison [Counties] Library Foundation, this is a FREE event celebrating writers and readers. (There’s even a shuttle service and easy parking!). Visit with authors, listen to them discuss their work, and take home your own signed copies. The 2013 festival included Catherine Coulter, James Grippando, Craig Johnson, and Anna Loan-Wilsey, just to name a few. (You can see all the 2013 authors here.) Coming this year:
2014 Books in Bloom Roster (so far): Elizabeth Berg, Terry Brooks, Mark Christ, Steven Foster, Susan Holmes, John Hornor Jacobs, Anne Ream, Kathy Reichs, Kerry Reichs, Kat Robinson, Lothar Schafer, and Michael Shelden.