Okay, to start off this post. Let’s celebrate! I have a new book up for preorder. RENO’S JOURNEY. It’s second in the WILD WEST SERIES behind KING’S FANCY – a mail-order bride story. The cover, link, and blurb of both books are below.
Anyway – RENO’S JOURNEY is a new type of story for me. It’s both historical and contemporary – a time-travel story. I wanted to write a book that showed love breaking the barriers of, not only distance, but time. How one soul can call to another and be answered. After all, beyond the earthly bonds of gravity and the flesh – time doesn’t exist. So, why can’t we move between the years and the lifetimes? It’s an intriguing thought.
I’m often asked what inspires my stories – and it’s so many things, sometimes more than one. For example, FORGET ME NEVER was partially inspired by a photo I saw on Facebook of a wife sleeping on a mattress in front of her Marine husband’s coffin. KING’S FANCY was inspired by the emotions I felt from watching ANNE WITH AN E, Netflix’s version of the iconic ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. So, RENO’S JOURNEY is somewhat inspired by the book and television series OUTLANDER and Claire traveling through the stones of Craigh Na Dun, but also by the legends of my local Enchanted Rock, and by a mysterious phenomenon that is occurring even as we speak. Mysterious Vanishings.
Even as I’m typing this, I’m trembling a little. Things like this just intrigue and excite me. Bear with me as I bend your ear and tell you some neat tidbits of information.
Where I live in the Hill Country of Texas, I am surrounded by limestone and granite. Beautiful scenery. Let me show you a couple of photos.
This is The Slab – featured in several of my books. That’s pink granite rocks that the Llano River is flowing over.
Here’s where some falling rocks near my home fell and crushed a “Beware of Falling Rocks” sign – ha!
This is a view of Enchanted Rock – a batholith of pink granite.
There is much discussion in the esoteric world that certain types of rocks fuel paranormal events. Limestone. Granite. Quartz. After studying thousands of reported hauntings – everywhere from castles, homes or towns built over limestone cave systems – proximity to mountains, etc – there is a belief that the stones can serve as a type of recorder of events and sounds. This is known as the ‘stone tape theory’ and is tied into our current quantum physics theories of entanglement and parallel universes.
Intriguing enough, but there is also the theorem that stones such as quartz can absorb and amplify energy – such as a piezoelectric circuit – I know, sounds like gibberish but I’ve read and read and it sure does spark my imagination. There is much more to stones than just a hard, impenetrable surface. I have been mystified lately to learn how quartz crystals are used in industry, even in watches to ensure they keep perfect time, or radio stations to quantify that their frequencies stay on target. It’s truly mind-boggling. Tesla, not the car company owned by Elon, but the man it was named after Nikla Tesla – the inventor of so many of our modern wonders – once said that we might not fully understand it for decades, but that crystals were alive. Now – that got my attention, for sure.
Enchanted Rock has long been considered to be magical.
Look at these huge granite boulders there.
The Native Americans who lived in the region considered it to be a place of great power. They treated it as a sacred place and wondered at the mysterious sounds they could hear emanating from it and the strange way the giant rock would glow at night.
From a distance – and even up close – gauging the size of Enchanted Rock can be misleading. It just doesn’t look that big. It rises 1826 feet and covers 640 acres – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Actually, the granite batholith extends outward and downward for miles beneath the earth’s surface. Riddled with caves, there is so much in the bowels of the great rock that remain undiscovered.
To me, one of the more fascination stories is one about a Spanish conquistador who reported that he was swallowed by the rock and, for a time, wandered with the spirits who enchanted the place.
Swallowed by the rock – he didn’t just say he got lost in a cave, he was ‘swallowed by the rock’.
Now, let me tell you why this intrigues me so.
Within the last ten years, information has arisen – thanks to several men, an ex-policeman and a few members of the Forest Service – that there are a large number of people going missing in rural areas and national parks. You might say – well, that’s to be expected – but wait a moment. The cases that were studied met some very specific criteria. They could not be attributed to the following: animal predation (when this occurs, there is evidence – ground is disturbed, blood, torn clothing, etc), mental health issues and suicidal intent, the person deliberately wanting to walk away from their life and not be found, a crime, or a drowning. No, these folks just vanished. As normal, there is a search, sometimes with hundreds of volunteers and experienced rescue personnel. Plus, dogs are frequently used. Using all available resources to search for weeks, no evidence of the person is found – including the dogs cannot follow a scent. This one thing is the most puzzling. Those trained dogs are highly effective and in these particular cases the animals walk in a circle and just sit down at the point the person was last known to be – for there is no scent to follow. Now, this fact discounts the work of serial killers – there would be scent. Or animals – there would also be scent.
I have found the whole thing mesmerizing – and inspiring. Two thousand plus missing – no clues, no resolution. The people who go missing are strangely enough, mostly of Germanic descent. Some are extremely experienced. And one went missing in a box canyon – with literally nowhere to go. (I’m borrowing that scenario for Reno.) Another creepy thing is that there is usually a threatening weather event which inhibits the search. Yes, some of them are found later but they are always found in a place that has been extensively searched before – as if they are returned to be reclaimed. Woooo…
Here is one of the links if you want to research the phenomenon.
And if you’d rather listen on youtube – this is the guy’s main link – although there are plenty other interviews about the happenings out there.
The researchers do not try to say what is really going on. Of course, there are all kinds of wild theories from aliens to bigfoot – as always. But one strange explanation strikes a chord within me (if for no other reason than book plotting fodder – ha!) It seems that many many of these disappearances happen in boulder fields or places covered in granite. Did they go through the stones? Were they swallowed by the rocks? Did they go through a portal in the boulder field? Were they taken by…the fae? Heck if I know. We may never know anything other than many people go missing with no explanation and there’s really no one of authority questioning why.
REGARDLESS – this mystery resonates with me and was one of the things that brought Reno’s Journey to life. When you read it, you’ll recognize some of the information that you’ve read here. Hopefully, I’ve woven it together into a story that will capture your interest and touch your heart.
King’s Fancy Link: https://amzn.to/3ci2Ieq
King’s Fancy Blurb:
Kingston Ramsay needs a good woman, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
Building a life in the wild west can get mighty lonely for a man who has vowed to never fall in love again.
Lonely days. Lonely nights. Lonely bed.
Lucky for him, he has friends who are determined to help him out. While King agrees to hire a housekeeper, his compadres decide he deserves more – a beautiful wife, ready and able to fill those lonely hours with all the excitement he can handle.
Not telling King about his surprise…might have been a mistake, for when Fancy arrives, she isn’t exactly what they bargained for when they arranged for a mail-order bride for their friend.
Half-starved and homeless, Fancy Grace is ecstatic for a chance at a family of her own. In her estimation, Kingston Ramsay, the man who has chosen her, is the epitome of perfection. She can’t believe her good fortune and is determined to make him the happiest of men…until she learns the truth.
Kingston didn’t choose her, he thinks she is there to make his bed, not warm it.
Determined to make the best of her bad situation, Fancy sets out to prove she can be exactly what King needs. She might not be a beauty, but she has plenty to offer the right man. Sparks fly in this battle of the sexes when these two strong-willed individuals clash. King is forced to reevaluate his definition of perfect when he learns a valuable truth – sometimes true beauty can only be discerned when looking through the eyes of love.
Reno’s Journey Link: https://amzn.to/2T6vNSQ
Reno’s Journey Blurb:
Love is timeless. Love knows no boundaries. Love is eternal.
In the present…Journey Stanton measures every man she meets against her ideal. And they all come up short.
“They just don’t make men like Reno Black anymore.”
Yes, Journey is hopelessly in love. For her, those words are literally true – this love is hopeless – for the man she’s given her heart to lived over a century before. Her family and friends worry because she prefers to live in a dream world of the past rather than the present. Even though all she has of Reno is an old tintype photo and an ancestor’s journal, Journey has memorized every word about the hero who sacrificed his life to save their family.
If she had her way – – she’d give everything she owned to spend just one day with him.
In the past…
Reno Black seems to have everything a man could want. He’d survived a hellish war and emerged with a band of brothers whose bonds were forged on the field of battle. Together, they’d traveled to the wild west and carved a home out of the wilderness of Texas. Soon, God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’d be reunited with his long-lost brother. Hell, he even had a family of sorts – the Stanton kids. They weren’t blood kin, but he loved them just the same. All of these things gave Reno’s life meaning.
Still, something was missing. He needed more. Hell, he wanted what his Captain had found with Fancy. He wanted someone to hold on cold nights. Someone to share his life. Someone soft and sweet in his bed. Reno longed to find the wife his mother foretold for him. The woman who waited at the end of the rainbow. Sometimes…if he closed his eyes, he could almost see her face. So far, she’d eluded him – but he wouldn’t give up.
No matter how far he had to travel.
Reno’s Journey to love will be one you never forget.