Nancy Vaughn’s Reviews > The Mint Julep Murders
Tomorrow my very first ebook entitled Blame It On Whiskey will be discounted for seven days! Everyone come meet these two interesting people and read their story.
The tale is set in the late 1800’s, and begins with a twist.
There is lots of history, a fair dose of romance, plenty of action, and you might learn a bit of Spanish in the process of reading this story. So a question…what would you do if you came face to face with a band of Apache warriors who have escaped from captivity?
It is June 1886.
A handsome, rugged man and a beautiful, self-assured woman try to resist the temptation of vague and erotic memories from a night of whiskey fueled passion, while they deal with beginning a life with a complete stranger.
These two proud, confident individuals are thrust into a set of bizarre circumstances including a face-saving wedding farce, a kidnapping, epic storms and Apaches.
For a short time only at $ 0.99 on Amazon. Click the link below.
Several months ago, after my annual eye exam, I was told by my optometrist he was referring me to a glaucoma specialist!! 😨
I have never had any indication of an issue, no high pressures or eye pain, so I was confused. I didn’t quite understand the issue, but accepted his recommendation.
I put it off for several months because of the distractions of life, and finally saw the doctor Tuesday. According to Dr. Kay I am at risk of an acute glaucoma attack. 😱I have what is called narrow angles in my eyes which can occlude the drainage of fluid and this would raise my pressures to a point of sudden loss of sight.
I was horrified and distressed.
With writing, blogging, quilting/sewing, and reading – losing any of my vision would devastate me. After watching a video explaining my condition and the treatment suggested I was a bit easier. It still scares, the idea of a laser making a tiny opening in my iris to drain excess fluid.
So, next week this will happen. One eye will be done on Thursday, the other on Friday. I pray for no issues, and will share the update you beautiful followers.
Catalina is a rural village, just north of Tucson on Hwy 79. We have a beautiful view of the Santa Catalina mountains and are far enough from Tucson that the only signs are the bedroom community aspects of traffic and new construction. As is usual in communities like ours we don’t have all the dining options a metropolitan area would have.
We do have a little gem called It’s Greek to Me. It is the best. The food is fresh, and prepared with love. The atmosphere is like sitting in the dining room of a Greek family home, with wonderful smells, laughter, children’s voices, and people enjoying the music. It is a place where you can sit at your table for however long you want, no rushing your meal. The wait staff, which can include the couple who own it, are super friendly and accommodating.
Hubby and I we there last Friday for a late lunch. It is like visiting with friends. The owners David and Kaitlyn are hands on, cooking, serving, and going out of their way to make the best dining experience possible. Their toddler son, was asleep in his playpen while his pregnant mom cooked – this is the way it goes in this family oriented place. She is due in June.
Kaitlyn had told me, whenever I came in, to ask if they had mussels, which I did. I was thrilled to hear an affirmative response! Yep, I ordered them in red sauce, along with a glass of a dry Greek (Skouras Saint George) red wine. Perfect!!
The lovely Rebecca was an attentive and friendly server. She enjoyed how much we loved our food, which feels wonderful to a customer.
Hubby had the Gyro Platter, always a favorite, for his meal. We started off with the hummus (so good) and warm pita bread, cheese and olives. They don’t scrimp on the portions so I had to go easy to make room for my mussels.
We dug in and had a wonderful and extremely filling meal. I highly recommend the honey yogurt cake😋. It was my mother’s favorite. A side note, they have very fresh and wonderful vegan/vegetarian options as well.
This place is worth making a special stop in Catalina. Check out their website to see a menu, and don’t blame me if you get hungry. https://itsgreektomecatalina.com/
(no compensation was received for post)
I love historical research. I love history – that’s probably why I enjoy writing historical fiction. This past weekend hubby and I spent two days scouring the southern Chiricahua mountains for the site of a firefight between the US Army and Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches in 1869.
My fictional Army officer will be engaged in this event. I had questions about the location, and after searching through books and historical papers I managed to pinpoint the place I needed to see. To put myself in my character’s mind, explore his emotions, and find out who he would be after this was over, seeing the location was important for the story.
Rucker Canyon was where we were heading. It runs between the Chiricahua Mountains to the north and the Pedregosa Mountains to the south west. The creeks were running thanks to snow melt, and the dirt roads were well maintained, with a few places I wouldn’t want to drive on if they were wet.
My driver did a good job getting me where I wanted to go, and he loved exploring those crude trails disguised as roads. I’m not so fond of the bouncing around on these, but he was having a great time.
Using our topo map and the references, we were able to pin point the bluff where the Apache warriors held off the US Army. This series of fights lasted for a month beginning in October, and resulted in both sides suffering injuries and loss of life. It also prompted Cochise to examine the cost to his people of the continued fight against the whites. He was dead five years later.
Walking the area where these two groups struggled to control the land was profound for me. The area is a pristine, rugged, and beautiful wilderness area of oaks and junipers. The bluff was found by us, and we spent time examining it and imagining the humans surrounding it, climbing, it, hiding behind its peaks, and moving in a strategic dance of combat. I was thrilled.
Left – from the south, right – from the north.
The Army circled around to the north side which was a gentler slope, but still unapproachable. It was this activity that leads to my character’s encounter with a warrior and a crisis moment for him and his life going forward. After a bit more driving and a bit of hiking hubby suddenly stopped and said, “Here, it happens here.” He found a perfect place for the confrontation. In this area there were signs of human presence at least 100 years old. Nancy was in her happy place!!
Boy did Millie like this place. She could wander and discover, glancing back at us to make sure we were near.
It was getting late, so we headed out for Douglas, Arizona and to the ranch home of old family friends of hubby. When I say old friends, I’m talking before marriages and kids, my father-in-law and Mr. Christiansen were BFF’s.
This ranch house was built in early 1960, and is one of the most comfortable, and welcoming homes I’ve visited. We chatted, laughed, looked at books and photos, walked around the land, and hubby’s memories were tickled. Millie loved this as well. She had plenty of room to run, sniff, and do her business. Our beautiful hostess, Mrs. Ursula Christiansen, made us comfy, fed us, and loved Millie. Ursula, born in Germany, married an American military man, and moved to this country. I asked her what she thought of southern Arizona when she arrived and she said she wanted to see Indians, she didn’t realize they were on reservations.
The two German girls got on pretty well. They’d had German Shepherds on the ranch, and she missed them. I think Millie sensed that. After a good nights sleep, Ursula wanted to take us to her favorite Mexican restaurant – El Pato (The Duck.) Chuck and I loved it, fresh and delicious Sonoran food.
My mind was racing with ideas, scenes, and plots. I can give the writing an authentic feel, and take the reader into the action with authority.
The best part was the chance to be there, on the spot, in the location, walking the same paths, seeing the same landscape, being in history, and becoming my character.
One thing my hubby and I are proud of is we raised two kids who grew into successful, responsible adults.
They have jobs, they pay their bills, they do life and take care of business. This is our crowning achievement in parenting. They moved out and made a life for themselves. I’ve looked back at my life and found there are some benchmarks we all must meet which indicate we are making progress toward adulthood. See if you agree.🤷♀️
Blowing your nose, going to the bathroom by yourself, whistling and snapping your fingers, figuring out colors- letters-numbers-shapes, blowing out birthday candles, starting school. Those are the biggies for our wee ones that show their brains are growing along with their bodies.
Then there is tweens and teens 😕. Angst and hormones, tears and sulking. Yes the good old days when hubby and I had to keep reminding ourselves that their problems are just as important to them as writing a check for groceries you hope won’t clear until payday Friday was to us. Yet somewhere along the way you manage to get a drivers license, for girls a period, for boys wet dreams. You start dreaming of becoming a. . . well don’t know yet , you run out of gas, get a flat tire, get a kiss, go on a date, have a crush, figure out what classes you need to graduate, think about the future again, successfully take a road trip, graduate and either get a job or go to college. 🎓
Looking back I wish I had been more tenacious about school and less worried about having a boyfriend. I wish I had read more books, learned another language and to play piano so I could accompany myself singing.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda – my daughter and her friends played it as a drinking game. But it is reality. 🍸
Then the big things start to come at you. A career? A marriage? A child? Buy a house? Move away? Figuring out friends are family too and the connections you want to make become clearer. Now you realize you have too much debt, need to go on a diet, how much do you spend on TV/Internet/Cell phone, getting insurance-all kinds, watch your kids start blowing their noses.
So we laugh, find the reality and put on our big girl/boy pants and make life happen.
We have lived in Catalina, Arizona since January 1991. We have seen this rural area slowly become developed as a bedroom community for Tucson, spreading north into Pinal county, and south toward Oro Valley on the north end of the Tucson city limits.
We moved out here to get our kids away from the growing gang threat and gun violence in the southern part of Tucson where we lived. We would be in bed, listening to gun shots, and the constant police helicopter and vehicle presence in our neighborhood.
My young son was harassed, bullied, beat up, and was being forced to adapt in the 2nd grade. These little gangsters were targeting boys like my son, a mellow, kindhearted fella and he was changing, withdrawing, and was happy only when he was at home with family. I was frightened for him.
My lovely, 8th grade, ginger haired, freckle faced daughter endured teasing, bullying, sexual and racial harassment while trying to enjoy school. She always liked school. It hadn’t been a problem for her prior to entering junior high.
We started looking for property and with the hand of providence my husband found an advertisement for the acre we now own. The acre had two little mesquite trees, was nice and flat, and was very near the Santa Catalina mountains. A perfect spot for us. Melissa had been commuting to a different high school where she had several good friends so she was in her junior year when we moved, Aaron was in 4th grade. We have been here since then watching the area grow up, people moving in, and developers building housing developments. It still has a rural feel to it.
Fast forward to the first of this month. I got a call from my neighbor Sandi asking if my dog Millie was inside and when I confirmed she was, she said to keep her in because there were a pack of pit bulls that had attacked and killed her next door neighbors two alpacas, and she was holding a gun on the pack to stop their attack on her neighbors horse. It was a killing field and my neighbor was heartbroken and furious. She had called 911 twice and was waiting, gun in hand, for the sheriff who took about two hours to arrive.
The people who own the pack exercise no control over these animals. These dogs escape and roam the neighborhood at will, harassing and fighting with animals that are securely and responsibly contained. This behavior has altered some of these otherwise tame animals, provoking aggression in them. When these irresponsible pet owners are called to come get their animals they always have an excuse. They do not get these animals fixed so it is a puppy mill at that place. Just this past Saturday the ringleader, a large white one, was out roaming and fence fighting. At this point there has been nothing done other than the three who carried out the attack were removed, but have since been returned to them. Animal control has yet to interview the alpaca owners, the neighbor who witnessed the attack, or any of us who have witnessed this repeat behavior.
I worry that one day the news people will be out here interviewing us because this pack got out again and attacked a human. We will tell them of the lack of response from the appropriate authorities, and maybe something will be done. Please God, don’t let that happen!
Be a responsible pet parent. Get your animals spayed/neutered, train them, and keep them under control. Everyone will be happy, especially your animal.
It was Helldorado Days in Tombstone which means it’s a TombstoneCon. Everywhere you looked there were people in 1800’s dress. You know what I mean: women in long fancy dresses with bustles, wigs and facinator hats, and black garbed men in western dusters, handlebar mustaches, and lots of guns.
The streets were filled with horse and mule pulled wagons, re-enactors doing gunfights, and cowboy stories played out in the middle of Allen Street. There were even belly dancers (my grandson thought that was hilarious.) They had the town park set up so little buckaroos could get rid of excess energy, and for a price you could watch the cowboys do the Hollywood version of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Two horse drawn wagons and one mule drawn circled the town, with a driver narrated history of Tombstone. The mules were brown, and the horses were a pair of black and a pair of white.
Charlie had fun breaking in his new boots, saying hi to everyone then shooting them with his finger gun, and his most favorite was his ride in the red Conestoga wagon pulled by Clem and Carl. He liked them because they were white horses. The nice fella who set us up with our ride asked Charlie if he wanted to pet the horses. Charlie was nervous since it was his first up close to a horse and they were way bigger than he expected. The guy said to pet Clem cause Carl bites. He hesitated but with his mom’s help he rubbed Clem’s face and then wanted down, it was time to start the ride!
After our ride we went for lunch, and had to wait a few minutes to get in which gave us a chance to watch all the people walking around.
By the time we got back to the car, and passed the border patrol check point Charlie was passed out. About five minutes.
We all had a good time.
My house is slowly losing the strongly imprinted energy of a human who resided there for years.
She and dad moved in with hubby and I in 2000 after dad had a really bad stroke. He passed in 2002, and mom stayed for several years after he died. During part of that time she spent five years in a retirement community before coming back to us – she had physical needs costing a chunk of change each month. She moved back into the room she lived in with dad, and refreshed her energy in that space.
Now she has moved on, her physical body is resting with dad in a shared spot. They are, in our minds, together again. So the energy is fading ever so gradually.
The room, their room, is changing into a guest room with a University of Arizona theme. The walls are being painted cardinal red and navy blue. The furnishings will be different. The bedding and wall hangings conforming to the theme.
Yet…she and my father will still reside in this room that was originally built for them. Dad and mom’s UA sports memorabilia will fill the walls, joining the items we have and the things our daughter, a UA alum, is loaning us. Although the room will look strikingly different from the cozy room she passed away in, she and dad will be back.
Their human energy will fade, but memories will be nurtured for future generations to remember two cool people.
Cheers! and Bear Down,
I am so stoked!
Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.
Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.
At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.
I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.
So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.