February 7, 2016

Dori McCraw Writing as Angela Raines Brings Colorado Home

Sometimes a place gets into your blood, and no matter how much you may try to deny it, you are in love. My adopted state of Colorado is just such a place. Having vacationed here in1975, I returned with friends from college in 1976. I will confess, I wanted to head to Boston, I loved its history, but they insisted. Funny thing, they all left and I'm still here. This, my adopted state, is my inspiration for my photography, haiku and historical western romance in addition to my research and writings in the non fiction field also. The below is just a brief overview of what grabbed and has kept me here.

In elevation, Colorado is the highest state in the nation. There are over fifty mountain peaks over 14,000 feet. Where I live, it's around 6,000 feet. For years, those same high mountain peaks were seen as an impassable wall. As people headed to California or Washington/Oregon, they went around those high peaks. Lest you think they weren't traversed, the Ute tribes were mountain dwelling people. General Juan Bautista de Anza, of New Mexico, came over Ute pass in the late 1779 and of course there were fur trappers and traders. There was a line of trader/business forts all along the front range of Colorado, beginning with Bent's Fort, through Fort Pueblo up to Fort Vasquez and Fort St. Vrain, through the early 1800's.

Colorado also has the Great Sand Dunes, the Eastern Plains, Dinosaur Monument, and the Comanche Grasslands. The variety of scenery was enough to bring Hollywood here to film, for Colorado was sure to have the equivalent of any country in the world. Some of the early films, 1900-1920's were shot in Colorado and from 1972-1992 there was a burst of on location filming. And yes, “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp, was filmed in part in Colorado.

Colorado was one of the early states to give women the right to vote in 1893. Women were licensed as doctors from 1881 when the state started to license all physicians. They were part of the medical society. Although late to be settled, due in part to the concept of the impassable mountains, Colorado welcomed and brought women doctors to the state.

Of course there is the gold and silver that created millionaires and scandals. Colorado still has one of the highest producing gold mines. Towns with the names of Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Trinidad, Gunnison and Cripple Creek were magnets for the likes of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Mary Helen Barker Bates, Susan 'Doc Susie' Anderson, 'Baby Doe' Tabor. Margaret 'Molly' Brown and many other names that have made the pages of history.

The below link to an older line-up of the Flying W Wranglers with a song, Colorado Sky. Such is the inspiration Colorado has on a person. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-jlTOKDlAE

Doris offers a terrific prize to one lucky person who comments:  A choice of one of her EBooks and one of her handmade scarves.  Good luck!


Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. In addition to Historical Romance, Doris also writes haiku, posted five days a week at: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.comShe has posted over one thousand haiku."One Christmas Knight" Medieval Anthology

"Angel of Salvation Valley"  http://amzn.to/1P4JVV8

"A COWBOY CELEBRATION"  http://amzn.to/1GzwJhw

HOME FOR HIS HEART  http://amzn.to/1GJhpSu

Author Page:http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL

January 31, 2016

Sunny Frazier Is Smack Dab In The Middle Of California

Growing up, I always had a hard time answering the question “Where are you from?” When you are part of a military family, everywhere is home and nowhere is home. Do you count the place where you were born or where your dad is currently stationed? I felt like a nomad, constantly taking down the tent and moving on.

When the Navy saw fit to send us to Lemoore, California, it was a shock. There was no ocean anywhere nearby, no ships to sail. There was nothing but farmland and small towns plus a naval air base where jet pilots trained.

I was not a small town girl. I joined the Navy after high school and had my own adventures. But, after four years and having seen a good part of the world, I came home. I yearned to be back in the Central Valley.

Also known as the San Joaquin Valley, I'm in the huge space on the map of California that stretches from Stockton to Bakersfield. We are surrounded by mountains, equal distance from San Francisco and Los
Angeles, the Sierra Nevadas and the Pacific Ocean. It's the area you bypass to get to other places in the state.

In my books, I call the landscape “cranky.” It is not typically beautiful, mostly industrial farms, miles of crops. We feed the nation. Water is scarce and critical.

There is a diversity of cultures here. Each small town was founded by different nationalities: my town is Portuguese, Fresno has Armenians, Reedley is German, Kingsburg is Swedish. Fresno also has one of the largest Hmong populations in the nation. This is where the Dust Bowl people came, as chronicled in Grapes of Wrath. We are often compared to the Midwest in our values.

I worked on a local newspaper before joining the sheriff's department and working with an undercover narcotics team. We have lots of crime and drugs in this area. At one time we were the meth capitol of the world and vied with Detroit for murders. We also grow more raisins than anywhere else.

I'm not making much of a case for my love of this area, right? But, if you're a mystery writer, all of this is fodder for stories. I write about the scorching heat of summer, the lethal fog of winter, the change of seasons captured by the growth, death and resurrection of the vineyards. 

My novels and short stories are all set in this area. Many of them come straight from cases I worked in law enforcement. In the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, FOOLS RUSH IN is based on the first meth case I worked; WHERE ANGELS FEAR is about a sex club the deputies thought was a fruit and vegetable stand. A SNITCH IN TIME is set in a foothill community. Humor is a major element of my mysteries.

I'm one of a handful of mystery authors in this region and the locals are very supportive of hometown talent. After being the butt of too many jokes, Valley people love reading something positive about themselves and their struggles. It's time the rest of the nation got to know us better. And hey—we've got Yosemite!

Sunny Frazier trained as a journalist and wrote for a city newspaper, military and law enforcement publications. After working 17 years with the Fresno Sheriff's Department, 11 spent as a confidential secretary with an undercover narcotics team, it dawned on her that mystery writing was her real calling. Both “Fools Rush In” and “Where Angels Fear” are based on real cases as well as astrology, a habit Frazier has developed over the past 42 years. To learn more, go to http://www.sunnyfrazier.com 

"A Snitch In Time." is up for grabs.  Enter by commenting for a chance to win. leave your contact info.
Sheriff's department office assistant Christy Bristol is visiting her friend Lennie in the Sierra Nevada foothills when a murder is committed. Christy is conscripted by the homicide team to handle the reports and the detectives put her up in a vacant forest ranger's cabin. As the body count grows it becomes apparent the killer is targeting undesirables in the town of Burlap. A phone call from a snitch accusing a deputy of the murders put Christy in a quandary. Could a killer be hiding behind his badge? Christy decides to solve the case with her knowledge of astrology to profile the killer, putting her own future at risk.
And time is running out.

 Books are available on Amazon, B&N and Black Opal Books.   
(Info provided by author with permissions)

January 24, 2016

Arkansas, the Natural State and Home of Lynda Kaye Frazier

I am originally from Pennsylvania and have a love for the outdoors. That is one of the reasons why I chose to live in this amazing state. The other is the fact that their winters are a lot shorter then PA.
One of the things this state has, that my family loves, are all the caves. We love to explore and what better way is to go underground and view nature in its rarest form.
So if you love to wander into cool, dark, damp areas underground, then come to Arkansas and enjoy these amazing caves.  You will not be disappointed.

Onyx Cave is a small cave located about six miles east of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It has been a tourist attraction since 1893, making it the oldest show cave in Arkansas. 
The cave stays at an average temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
In 1969, some scenes from the B-Movie 'It's Alive' were filmed at Onyx Cave.

Cosmic Cavern is a limestone cave located in north Arkansas, near the town of Berryville, Arkansas. It was discovered in 1845 by a prospector named John Moore, who was searching for lead. It is the "warmest" cave in the Ozarks, having a high humidity holding at a constant 62 degrees year-round.
Cosmic Cavern has two cave lakes reported to be bottomless, since cave divers have never found the bottoms. They are among the largest underground lakes in the Ozarks. The south lake was artificially stocked with trout in the 1920s, and many of the remaining trout have become blind and have lost their pigmentation; however, there are openings to external water bodies, as trout from the cave are occasionally found in nearby surface bodies of water.

 Mystic Caverns and Crystal Dome are caves located between the cities of Jasper and Harrison, Arkansas. Sometimes called "the twin caves" because they are within 400 feet (120 m) of each other, the two caves maintain a year-round temperature of 58 °F, contain more formations per foot than any other caves in Arkansas,[1] and are open for public tours year-round except during the January flooding season.
 Mystic Caverns, which has operated commercially since the late 1920s, is older than any other commercially operated cave in Arkansas, with the exception of Onyx Cave in Eureka Springs, and perhaps nearby Diamond Cave in Jasper, which has been toured since 1925.

Blanchard Springs Caverns is a cave system located in the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest in Stone County in northern Arkansas, 2 miles off Highway 14 a short distance north of Mountain View. The temperature is a constant, year-round 58°F.
 Blanchard Springs Caverns is a three-level cave system, two of which are open for guided tours. The Dripstone Trail runs through the upper level of the caverns and opened in 1973.] The Discovery Trail on the second level opened in 1977 and runs through the middle of the cavern. Also offered is a "Wild Cave" tour which allows access to undeveloped parts of the cave to more adventurous visitors.

I hope you enjoyed some of my favorite parts of this amazing state. Stop by next time and see one of these wonderful caves for yourself.

I am an avid reader of romantic suspense and started her writing career a few years ago.  I work full time at a Cardiology clinic, while writing at night. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but now live in Arkansas where I enjoy the four seasons without a long, cold winter. Other than spending time with my family, my favorite things to do are writing, reading and listening to music, but most favorite is going to the beach. Surf, sand and a good book, my stress relief.

If I knew then

Angel dreamed of a life of freedom. One filled with love that didn’t come with a price.  She hid the pain until Jax entered her life. Can he give her what she needs to let go of the past or will he leave her with a bigger challenge that will change her future?

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who comments!

More on Lynda Kaye Frazier here:
(All Info Provided by Author)