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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration XIII

Did anyone else doubt I could come up with enough pretty pictures to celebrate Arizona all month? This picture makes it easy to show the amazing history and harsh beauty of the place.

Tumacácori Mission, near Tubac, AZ

Happy 100 years, Arizona. I've now lived here longer than I lived in Pennsylvania, and even longer than I lived in England. A Tucsonan colleague of mine says "This place is a black hole. It's easy to get in, but you can't get out." Only time will tell where my husband and I will end up.

Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration XII

This slightly strange picture of a common sight along Speedway Boulevard is meant to celebrate all the great Mexican food available here. The toreador statue is outside a family-owned establishment that has brought excellent sopapillas to customers for two generations.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SSS: Smoldering Coals

Take the ribbon out of the picture and wipe the smiles off their faces for a better idea of what's going on in this snippet. 

Thanks for all the compliments over the past couple of weeks. I'm so happy to be able to share these sentences with you! These take place just after last week's six from The Seven Noble Knights of Lara.

* * *

Young Gonzalo surged forward from the crowd of brothers and knelt before Lambra. “I’m especially sorry. Can you ever forgive me?” He took her hand and kissed it deferentially.
           Doña Lambra pulled away: the touch burned her like smoldering coals. She had not chosen him to be her nephew any more than she had wanted to marry. 

* * *

It was really hard to keep this to just six sentences. Lambra's head is an interesting place to be for me, and I hope for you, too. Check out all the sentences at

Friday, February 24, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration XI

Lovers of history will also find much to appreciate in Arizona. Long before it was a State, it was part of Mexico and the Spanish established presidios and missions. The picture is of some reenactors in front of walls and ceilings made of ocotillo at Tubac Presidio.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration X

I imagine anyone who reads my blog loves books. Arizona has one of the most exciting events in the country each March: The Tucson Festival of Books. It's enormous, with hundreds of exhibitors and authors, food, theatre, music, and acrobatics, and about 100,000 visitors. I'll be participating this March even more intensely than last year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration IX

The most exciting museum in the world is located near Phoenix, Arizona: The Musical Instrument Museum. As you browse the different halls, you hear recordings of the instruments you're looking at, and they include instruments from all over the world, leaving no rebec unturned. They also have a hands-on hall where you can try your hand at a variety of instruments. For anyone who likes music, it's hard to imagine a more fun museum.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SSS: Concern for Lambra's Wellbeing

Thanks for the enthusiasm last week! This is the part in The Seven Noble Knights of Lara after the inciting incident that could be pretty dull if not written properly. I'm hugely thankful for your feedback and comments! This segment follows on directly after last week's.

* * * 

Doña Lambra’s muscles tensed when doña Sancha and her sons appeared with their tutor Muño Salido, approaching in a procession that recalled the funeral of the day before. Lambra focused her energy on wiping away new tears and twisting her braid in her hand as she waited for them to arrive. Doña Sancha stayed several paces away and the men all stayed behind her. Lambra set her jaw, thinking that any normal person would have come up and clasped her hands in concern for her wellbeing.
“We’re here to express our condolences once again,” Sancha said across the space between them.
The young knights and their tutor made sweeping bows. 

* * *

Hmm... is all forgiven, or not? Check out the other great sentences at Six Sentence Sunday. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration VIII

An unexpected delight takes place in Arizona each Christmas season: Winterhaven, a neighborhood of Tucson, becomes a lighting wonderland. The best display ever was a whole zoo of animals celebrating the holidays! Of course I loved the rhino most of all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration VII

I had no idea this amazing monument existed before we passed it on the highway. Casa Grande (looking less than grand in the pic because of a roof meant to halt deterioration of the adobe) was constructed by the Hohokam people. They are believed to be the ancestors of Arizona's native tribes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration VI

More natural wonder: as well as valleys, Arizona has mountains. When you go up Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, you can pass though four or five climates/ecosystems in the space of an hour.
Yes, these two pictures are from the same mountain! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

SSS: The Party's Over

The bank of the Arlanzón River in 2005, more than 1000 years after the events in this novel.
Thanks so much for the comments and visits last week! I enjoyed your snippets, too!

Although the wedding celebrations were expected to continue for several more weeks, the tragic events in Chapter 5 of The Seven Noble Knights of Lara have called everything to a halt. This segment comes a few sentences after last week's.

* * *

When doña Lambra was ready, they left the tent. Justa went to fetch the other maidens and her lady looked down the riverbank. For five weeks it had been festooned with tents and banners and people in all manner of occupations. Now, the multitudes that had arrived in Burgos with such pomp for the wedding festivities had quietly dispersed over the last three days, returning to their own lands. Each morning a few more of the man-made features had disappeared, until finally the entire bank was plucked bald. All that remained as evidence of the merriment was a lamentable groove in the dust where men and horses had proven their worth against a wooden castle. 

* * *

Don't forget to check out all the other wonderful sentences at Six Sentence Sunday. Thanks so much for stopping by and helping inspire me as I try to finish this novel.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration V

The most famous thing about Arizona is cactus. One of the most wonderful things about it is that these scrappy plants, built to survive under the harshest heat conditions, defending themselves with painful swords all along their skins, also blossom at least once a year into a thing of ineffable beauty.

Prickly pear (nopal) with red bloom.
See this and many other wonders in the original post.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration IV

A spectacular Arizona resident: Harris's hawk. These pictures were taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration III

Another wonderful, underappreciated thing about Arizona: the javelina. Javelinas are sensible creatures who know the value of a nap in the shade. There are at least three in this pile -- try to sort them out.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SSS: Eternity without Teeth

Doña Lambra is having trouble relating to her new husband and has sent him after her maid and close ally, Justa. This segment follows right after last week's:

* * *

She licked her chapped lips and coughed, wondering if she could ever bring balance to her bodily humors after such a day. She had wailed and beat her chest for hours after they laid Álvar Sánchez’s body into the ground wrapped in linen, so close to other knights who had died defending Castile. With Justa’s help, she had collected all of Álvar’s teeth in a leather pouch and drawn the string tightly closed. After the blessings, she had set the pouch on his chest, so that it almost looked like he was holding them in his folded hands through the cloth.
“It isn’t right that someone so handsome should have to meet eternity without his teeth,” Lambra whispered aloud. 
           “We did our best for him, my lady.” 

* * *
Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments so much! I'm glad to see many of you remember the story, too! I'll definitely be by to visit your blogs!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration II

Another great thing about Arizona: fossils! At various times in the past, the Sonoran Desert was a grassland and a sea, creating exciting layers of fossil-laden geology.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Arizona Centennial Celebration

This February marks 100 years since Arizona became a state. Since I've come to appreciate the natural beauty of this place where I've so serendipitously found a home, I'll post pictures I've taken in the year I've been here to celebrate not only its 100 years of statehood but also millions of years of existence.

You almost* can't beat an Arizona sunset, so it's a great place to start.

"Red sky at night -- sailor's delight." It's nearly always smooth sailing here in the desert.

* I can beat it with a Spanish sunrise most days -- but I digress.