Friday, June 29, 2012

Sixty Seconds of Happiness

I saw this quote today and decided to take it to heart since every moment of  happiness is too precious to squander. 

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Natural Disasters

As the Southeast begins cleaning up from the torrential rains and destructive winds brought by Tropical Storm Debby, Colorado and other western states continue to battle wildfires.  My thoughts go out to all those affected by these natural disasters. Hopefully Mother Nature will soon cooperate and help ease the suffering of so many.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Deadly Ruins First Chapter


CHAPTER ONE 


            When Dr. Santiago Ramirez heard the twig snap, his hammer froze in mid-swing. As the thud created from the metal head hitting the iron stake stopped, so did the rustling in the jungle. He strained his eyes and ears, trying to pick up some sound or sight that would identify the source of the noise. He prayed it was just an animal, but whenever he began a project of this magnitude, he became extra alert to the possible dangers that lurked behind every tree, especially when he was responsible for the safety of others.
            Santiago glanced at his watch and realized he had to leave soon if he hoped to make it to the airport in time to greet the first student arriving in Mexico. He was always anxious to meet his interns each summer. Some were disappointments--too young, immature, social, or soft to live the life of a field archeologist. But, most of the students renewed his faith in the future. Most were bright, hard working, energetic, and eager. The young people always brought him out of his winter doldrums and made his loneliness disappear, at least for a few months. He knew classroom time was important, but what he really loved was getting dirty, breaking a sweat, and sharing his passion with others.
            The jungle remained silent.  Santiago debated on whether or not to get his machete and investigate. He wanted to be sure nothing sinister lurked in the shadows, but time was not on his side. He had to finish setting up the tents, drive into Cancún, buy more supplies, pick up his intern at the airport, and make it back to camp before dark. It would be tight, but if he left within the next hour, he was pretty sure that he could make it as long as the bustling tourist traffic didn’t clog the inadequate roadways out of the city.
            Santiago grabbed his hammer and resumed pounding the tent stakes into the soft forest litter. The clang of metal on metal resonated through the trees, drowning out the hum of unseen insects. With the tents secured, he finished unloading his Volkswagen to make room for additional supplies and the intern’s luggage. Surveying the area, he decided the camp would have to suffice since his time was running short.
            Inside the tent that would serve as their headquarters, Santiago looked in the mirror hanging from the center tent pole. He hadn’t realized that it was so hot or that he had been working so hard, but the reflection didn’t lie. His thick black hair stuck to the sides of his cheeks and dark rings of sweat formed ovals from his armpits to his belt. He bent his head down and took a whiff of himself and recoiled.
            He looked at his watch again and saw that he was running out of time, but felt he had to make himself a little more presentable. He had met the young woman that he was picking up at the airport when he spoke at her university. It was a brief encounter and he wondered if she would even remember the introduction, but he couldn’t forget her. Her hand was warm and soft and her dark blue eyes sparkled with excitement when she spoke to him.
            When he received her application he was stunned to see that she was just as intelligent and qualified as she was lovely. He took teaching seriously and prided himself on being objective, so he had his colleague reevaluate the applications just to make sure that his judgment hadn’t been clouded by her pretty youthful face.
            As Santiago finished his bucket bath and changed into fresh clothes, he felt a little silly. The woman was at least fifteen years his junior, and he knew he would keep any relationship that might develop strictly professional as always, but he couldn’t help wanting to look his best when he met her at the airport.
            Santiago dashed out to his car. He paused before getting in, looking in the direction in which he had heard noises earlier. Everything was calm and quiet--too quiet. The jungle was always full of natural noises, so when a hush fell over the trees it always gave him a nervous sensation deep in his gut and he became extra cautious. His instincts told him something wasn’t quite right, but his head reminded him that he was running late and that he might be in the midst of a mid-life crisis, which had to be under control before he reached the airport.
            He got into the car and slowly turned it around. As he drove away his eyes kept darting to the review mirror, searching for something to ease his mind, until the tents disappeared from view, swallowed up by the trees and choking vines encroaching on the camp.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Deadly Ruins

A once in a lifetime treasure hunt is a dream come true for archeology intern, Kay Gerard. On the fringes of the ancient Mayan city of Cobá, Kay and her mentor begin excavating two remote temples. The treks into the site reveal the local population’s curious ties to the ruins and Kay’s interactions with the people they encounter, especially the children, are unnerving, yet she ignores the ominous feelings due to the excitement of the dig. As they get close to entering one of the temples they collide with dangerous looters, forcing Kay to flee into the jungle. The more desperate her situation becomes, the more determined she is to survive and soon finds herself in a situation with no other option except to fight for her life in the Deadly Ruins of Mexico’s unforgiving jungle.


PROLOGUE 
            As the sun set the evening transformation began at its usual pace.  The jaguar god allowed itself one last glimpse before descending into the mouth of the cave and entering Xibalba, the place of fright.  He sensed that the conscious world was out of balance and its dwellers would soon be joining his flight through the nine-tiered underworld, their souls desperate to escape.
He had made this trek many times and was confident that he would be reborn at dawn.  The lost souls would not be so lucky.  They would dwell in this place wrought with danger and peril until they were able to traverse the nine levels.  If they failed to elude the evils of Xibalba, they would be forced to spend eternity trapped in the Mayan underworld.
The jaguar god watched the earthly struggle for survival play out between unlikely foes.  He felt no emotion, and even if he did, he would be unable to alter the outcome.  Once the threads had begun to unravel, no being, mortal or otherwise, would be able to challenge destiny and only the chosen ones would emerge from the haunted galleries of the Mayan jungle.

Tune in tomorrow for the first chapter of Deadly Ruins.


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Lodge Excerpt


The clock showed 8:20 and Roland still hadn't shown up. Edward continued to pace, the employees fidgeted and the guests began to get restless.  Kay’s stomach growled in protest as her mind sent it messages about the pending crab.  She kept thinking about all that good food getting cold and silently cursed Roland for being so inconsiderate.  She had practically starved herself all day in anticipation of the party.  Despite Rob being so near, all she could think about was food.
Roland was never late on a movie night.  Edward could take it no longer and asked if someone would go see what was keeping him. Tony volunteered, uncharacteristically, to go to the old man’s cabin.  Tony had been gone for what felt like an eternity.  As the minutes ticked by Edward became convinced that something was wrong.
Just as he started for the door to check it out for himself, Tony ran back into the room out of breath, ghostly pale, and mumbling frantic indecipherable words. Edward tried to calm him down enough to understand what he was trying to say.  Tony gasped for breath.  He looked frightened and the trembling knees supporting the massive man looked dangerously close to collapse.  Edward pulled up a chair and helped Tony ease into it.  Edward motioned for everyone to step back and be quiet.  He talked to Tony in calm simple sentences.  After gentle coaxing, the words, he's dead, fell like a brick on the silent group of people staring intently at the terrified giant in front of them.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Novel

After the last post, I thought it might not hurt to provide a little information on a couple of my earlier books since I’ve been pretty obsessed this past year with my two latest releases. The Lodge, the first novel I ever wrote, is the first in a two-book series with Deadly Ruins being the second.  Below is the back cover blurb and over the next couple days I’ll post an excerpt or two and then move on to Deadly Ruins. The Lodge is only available through Amazon.com.


The lodge is everything Kay Gerard has dreamed of and more.  But as the tranquil beauty of the remote setting begins to work its magic on her tortured soul, a guest is brutally murdered.  Isolation and lack of law enforcement on the island heighten the fear and distrust felt by employees and guests.  Existence at the lodge takes a sinister turn as everyone tries to cope with the knowledge that a murderer must live among them. While doing her job and trying to support her uncle, Kay discovers a damaging piece of evidence and is drawn into a deadly quest for answers.  Despite efforts to distance herself from the case, she is thrust into a dangerous situation that pushes her to her limits.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Latest on book availability

Marked in Mexico, Desperate Dreams and Deadly Ruins are available in trade paperback and ebook formats through Amazon.com and other on-line retailers. 

The Watch, The Lodge and On the Brink of Paradise (non-fiction) are available in trade paperback through all the usual on-line retailers and some or all of my paperbacks are available at the following bookstores and gift shops. 

Bookstore, 109 N. Bent Street, Powell, Wyoming
The Bookworm at 8702 Pacific Street, Omaha, Nebraska
Hotel Terra, Teton Village, Wyoming
Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, Teton Village, Wyoming
The Wild Burro Bookstore, Hot Springs, South Dakota
Probst Western Store, Greybull, Wyoming
Cooke City Store, Cooke City, Montana

Thanks to all those who have followed along on my adventures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Great Blog and Writing Resource

I've used http://QueryTracker.net for years to research and view statistics on agents and publishers, but hadn't visited their blog until I saw a note from a fellow writer mentioning an especially good post. So, I thought I'd pass on the links to this great site and its associated blog, http://querytracker.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paradise or Prison

Has America become the safe, predictable utopia claimed by the authorities or a prison? With a ruling authority too powerful to challenge, only the most courageous will dare to defy the new order and embrace forbidden love. Join Nyla and Ethan while they struggle to understand their deepening feelings for each other as they embark on a deadly quest for freedom through the inhospitable Big Bend region of Texas in Desperate Dreams.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Brulé


There are few things I enjoy more than the opportunity to listen to great music at non-arena venues such as county fairs, festivals, small music halls, etc. Though I’ve heard them live many times I was thrilled to experience the music of Brulé, a Contemporary Native American group, again today at an outdoor arts festival.  Their unique sound is always soothing, incredibly beautiful and inspirational, not to mention wonderfully entertaining.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Romantic Adventure Reads


Whether a daring run for the border through inhospitable desert terrain in order to escape a totalitarian government and save those you love or escaping into the jungle and fleeing for your life, Desperate Dreams and Marked in Mexico will keep your pulse racing and the pages turning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weekly Excerpt for Desperate Dreams


As Nyla watched Ethan snuff out the candle and flick on his flashlight a wave of panic hit her, making her feel nauseous. If they made a mistake they might not just be captured, they could be killed. In fact, there was very little doubt in her mind that Ethan and Jared would be executed if caught. The authorities had zero tolerance for males who broke the law.
Claire snatched the flashlight out of Ethan’s hand and started toward the cave’s mouth. Nyla knew her friend was anxious to leave since Claire had always been a bit claustrophobic and no huge fan of the dark. Like Claire, Nyla wanted to get out of the cave and start putting the past behind them, but doubts plagued her. She grabbed Ethan and Jared by the arm. Both stopped and turned to look at her.
“If we get caught, Claire and I will be sent to the Facility, but you two probably won’t fare so well,” Nyla whispered.
“We know. They won’t be bringing us back here alive,” Ethan stated as Jared nodded in agreement.
Nyla fought the urge to vomit. The realization of just how much was at stake hit her like a sucker punch to the gut. She was unable to move and had to fight to breathe. She could feel darkness closing in around her. Just as Nyla felt her knees give way, Ethan’s arm slid around her waist, bracing her up. In the growing darkness, she couldn’t imagine how he knew she was about to collapse, but somehow he did.

To view The Romance Chick's Tuesday Teaser go to http://nancysbrandt.com

Friday, June 1, 2012

Alaskan Splendor


Dawes Glacier
Alaska in May was a bit wet and chilly, but on the up side,  the wildlife was abundant, the views stunning and the number of visitors in the coastal areas were few, intensifying the remote feeling of being in towns accessible only by boat or air. Almost everything we saw and did made me feel small, but in a good way. The vastness of the landscape is incomprehensible, the size of the glaciers inspiring even though evidence of their retreat is etched on the terrain and seeing whales nearly the length of one’s boat can be intimidating. I could go on for pages with hundreds of adjectives and still not do justice to this amazing wilderness state. Alaska is clearly one of those places you must see to believe.