Virtual Tour of Santa Fe: On location in Shaman’s Blues, Part One

 

This week, take a look at some of the art my characters see in the book.

 

  1. Manitou Galleries, works in glass inspired by Native traditional art. First stop on the gallery tour in the book. http://manitougalleries.com/artists/Ed_Archie_Noisecat
  2. Next stop is the Worrell Gallery, which was still the Frank Howell Gallery in the year I set Shaman’s Blues. Bill Worrell’s mystical sculptures, paintings and poetry shared space with Frank Howell’s reverent portraits of Native elders. There had always been a Worrell deer shaman or two outside as well as a few of them inside. They have titles. I call them deer shamans. The scene in Shaman’s Blues where Mae and Jamie start to have a serious discussion of shamanism and a tourist says something funny takes place here. http://worrellgallery.com/
  3. The Howell Gallery has moved to Canyon Road. This link to Howell’s posters shows some of the images I have Mae looking at earlier in that scene. http://frankhowellgallery.com/j25/artists/frank-howell/posters
  4. Blue Rain Gallery, glass, pottery and paintings. The blue glass bird sculpture that provokes a significant revelation is set here.

http://www.blueraingallery.com/artists/nancy_callan

http://www.blueraingallery.com/artists/tammy_garcia

http://www.blueraingallery.com/artists/tony_abeyta

http://www.blueraingallery.com/artists/preston_singletary_and_ross_richmond:_a_collaboration

  1. The whirling sculptures at the Mark White Gallery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QloFhVK9Gb0
  2. This next location is the store where Mae finds the corn mother fetish.

http://www.keshi.com/categories/fetishes

 

Enjoy. Don’t you wish you were there? Next week, more!

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Interview with author Amber Foxx

Saints and Trees

Please welcome guest Amber Foxx to this week’s Saints and Trees. Amber writes the mystery series featuring healer and psychic Mae Martin. Amber’s professional training and academic studies in various fields of complementary and alternative medicine, as well as her personal experience and travels, bring authenticity to her work. She divides her time between the Southeast and the Southwest, but Truth or Consequences, New Mexico is HOME.

No murders, just mysteries. Love is a mystery. Every person is a mystery. Every life hides a secret. The first Mae Martin psychic mystery Published December, 2013 No murders, just mysteries.
Love is a mystery. Every person is a mystery. Every life hides a secret.
The first Mae Martin psychic mystery
Published December, 2013

It is my great pleasure to interview Amber today:

SAT: THE CALLING, the first book in your Mae Martin series, is such an original and fresh story. What sparked the idea for the series? Did it start with the character of Mae or something else?

 AF: The idea started in several different ways. The part of me…

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Shaman’s Blues Released!

                                            Shaman’s Blues

                           The second Mae Martin psychic mystery

Mystery crosses between the worlds and romance gets turned upside down in Santa Fe, the City Different.

Mae Martin gets a double-edged going-away gift from her job as a psychic and
healer: beautiful music by a man who’s gone missing, and a request to find him.

When she arrives in her new home in New Mexico, aiming to start life over as she comes to terms with her second divorce, she faces a new challenge in the use of her gift. Her new neighbors are under the influence of an apparently fake psychic who runs the health food restaurant where they work. When Mae questions the skills of the peculiar restaurateur, the woman disappears—either to Santa Fe, or another dimension. The restaurant’s manager asks Mae to discover which it is.

Finding two missing people proves easier than finding out the truth about either of them, or getting one of them, once found, to go away again.

Seeing a Ghost

Once in a while, writing paranormal mysteries, I need to introduce a character who is no longer alive. In Shaman’s Blues, Mae has no concept of ghosts at first, but Jamie, an anthropologist’s son, assures her that every culture has them.

Ghosts fascinate us, even when we don’t believe in them. People sign up for ghost tours of historic districts, and some choose the option to get the presumably haunted room at a B&B. Part of the attraction in ghost stories is the curious pleasure of safely experienced negative emotions. There is something frightening about an encounter with the dead, and most ghosts are said to have fallen into the place between worlds through tragedy. By seeking out ghosts, we can dip into terror and sadness for a quick swim and come back out, invigorated by the plunge.

It’s different for the ghost. Stuck in the crack between two worlds, attached to earthly life yet incapable of living it, looking, perhaps, for one particular soul, the ghost must be frustrated, bewildered and lonely. No wonder they behave badly sometimes. It can’t be much of an afterlife.

I say that lightly, but at the moment that I met a ghost, I was scared to the bone. It was quite some time ago, but I can still feel her when I think about her.

The cold is what made her frightening.

I was a college student on Christmas break visiting my sister and her husband, and my boyfriend and I stayed in the attic bedroom of their old house. In the dark before dawn the alarm went off, and my boyfriend got up to go to work. We spoke briefly, kissed goodbye, and he left. Wide awake, I stayed in bed under a heap of quilts and blankets, hoping I could go back to sleep. Our shared body heat had made cozy nest of the bed and I didn’t want to get up early on my vacation.

I snuggled the blankets around me, and was suddenly chilled. I wasn’t alone. A woman’s head and shoulders floated on the far side of the room. She stared at me, her face stern and judgmental over a high collared dress, her hair pulled back in a severe tight bun. I was terrified, not by her apparent resentment, but by the deep, unnatural chill. At the same time, I thought her features were like the country comedian Minnie Pearl.  I’ve cited Stephen King’s Danse Macabre in a book review before, and it fits here: comedy and horror go hand in hand. I pulled the blanket over my head until the cold went away.

Prior to that, I didn’t believe in ghosts. I’m not sure I do now, either, but it’s like what anthropologist Michael Harner says about shamans not believing in spirits. They don’t have to. They know.

When I Read Poetry

 

I love reading insightful discussions of the meaning of a poem. Since my favorite bloggers were on a poetry theme this week, I decided to take on the challenge. It was much harder than I imagined.

When I read poetry I am so struck by the power in the words, and the images speak to me so directly that I am stumped when it comes to saying what it means in other words. I can say why the verse speaks to me, but I have to discuss it as a direct experience.

Among the many reasons I never tire of Yeats is the subtlety of the meter and rhyme. The flow is so natural, nothing feels forced to fit. My favorites beg to be said aloud. The rhythm is the feeling as much as the words are.

Yeats’s Crazy Jane poems feature an aged woman who defies convention, argues with the Bishop, and has a deep spiritual life—on her own terms. She had a wild, passionate youth without concern for propriety—many lovers,  only one of whom she loved—and she also loves God. The woman in the cycle A Woman Young and Old is not identified as Crazy Jane, yet I think of her as the voice of those poems. The stories and attitude are the same. Carnal and mystical within one breath.

Sharing  some lines of Crazy Jane, so perfect I need say nothing more.

Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman

 

I know although when looks meet

I tremble to the bone,

The more I leave the door unlatched

The sooner love is gone,

For love is but a skein unwound

Between the dark and dawn.

 

A lonely ghost the ghost is

That to God shall come;

I—love’s skein upon the ground,

My body in the tomb—

Shall leap into the light lost

In my mother’s womb.

 

But were I left to lie alone

In an empty bed,

The skein so bound us ghost to ghost

When he turned his head

Passing on the road that night,

Mine must walk when dead.