Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Train to Christmas Town

All of my life I've wanted to take a ride on a train. Not a subway, not a light or monorail, but a real passenger train. I even put it on my bucket list. When my husband, Don, entered a drawing a couple of weeks back for a trip on Alamosa, Colorado's Christmas train, I never dreamed he'd win...but win he did. And yesterday was the big day.

I didn't know what to expect, but as it turns out, the train is an original from way back when the railroads were making their mark in Colorado. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is kind of a big to do and it was our pleasure last night to take a ride on one of their trains.  Our tickets were in the observation car with tables and beautiful windows, that if we had been traveling in the light of day, would have yielded magnificent view of the beautiful Rocky Mountains that surround the San Luis Valley.

As we boarded the train, a light snow began to fall. Everything about this reminded me of a scene from White Christmas. Remember when the group sat up in the car and drank coffee and malteds and sang "Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow", but there was no snow?  It was like that except we had snickerdoodles, the best hot cocoa ever and SNOW!

We sat across the table from a young man and woman, Jeff and Darcey. Darcey lives and works in Alamosa and Jeff is currently living in Leadville. They were delightful and made the trip even more enjoyable with their tales of growing up in Colorado and giving up little tidbits of what their lives look like today. They were the perfect table-mates for us visitors from the other side of the state.

The Train to Christmas Town is a children's book that comes to life aboard the train with elves, woodland creatures and, in our case, an elfin Santa. He was a jolly old soul, slight in height, and perfect for the part. Even though this trip is specially made for children, this old lady and her hubby loved every minute of it.

If you ever get the chance, make the journey yourself. You won't regret it for a minute. It certainly made my holiday season and memorable one.
Meet Jeff and Darcey

Don and I had a blast!

Jeff and Darcey watching as Santa comes into our car!
Don gives Santa his Christmas wish

View of the front of the car from our seat

Don got a rise out of this kitty when he told him we'd just given away two litters!

Hot cocoa, anyone?

This guy's name is Bumblebee

Smile for the camera!

Friday, December 20, 2013

You Gotta See This Place!

On one of our many excursions to Canon City, Colorado, Don and I took a stroll through Historic Downtown. We came upon the Marketplace Shops and fell in love! We've done some shopping there and met a few of the vendors.. The shop is in fact 45 shops (at last count) under the same roof. Arts, crafts, antiques, vintage, cowboy furniture, cookware, books, tea, cookies, holiday items, name it! I LOVE THIS PLACE! Don even entered a drawing for a ride on the Alamosa Christmas Train and won! (And that will be a story we shall share soon as we take the trip tomorrow.)

If you find yourself in Canon City and want a unique shopping experience, or simply have a little time to kill, drop by the Marketplace Shops in beautiful Historic Downtown right on Main Street. (PHOTOS BELOW FROM GOOGLE IMAGES.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Iron Fists In Satin Gloves: Book Two in the Miners' Cut Mystery Series
Authored by H. W. Peterson
List Price: $15.25
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White Bleed on White paper
438 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494722456 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1494722453
BISAC: Fiction / Historical
Book Two in the continuing saga of three fictional families in Victorian age Ouray, Colorado. When local rancher, Simon Archer, fails to return from a business trip, the small community rallies in support of his wife, Susan. Unexpected news surfaces, which moves the search into the Arizona Territory.

Newcomers Washie and Alfred Somers, owners of The Miner's Cove Cafe, become involved as the town seeks understanding when all seems illogical and dangerous.
CreateSpace eStore: 

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long....

First and foremost, please forgive me for not posting in such a long time. It's been quite a ride since October. As most of you know, I had foot surgery the last week in July. Well, just as things were about to be "normal", I broke my foot again when I tripped over the hearth (and yes, it is big...and yes, I saw it....I'm just clumsy!!!). Then I went back in the boot (Yawn!) for a few weeks. I came out of the boot around Thanksgiving. About a week later I was scrounging around in the refrigerator and a pop can fell out and landed on one of my toes on the BAD FOOT (of course, it wouldn't be the other one) and broke it! I MEAN....SERIOUSLY!  Can I get a break/!?!?!?!? Obviously, I can! Over and over again! LOL!

The BOOK IS FINISHED...and will be out this week on I apologize for the lateness of it. I just haven't been able to get moving (LOL) (Another foot reference.) The book is entitled "Iron Fists in Satin Gloves" and is the continuing saga of "whatever happened to Simon Archer". You will meet some new characters, renew relationships with old ones and grow to love Reginald O'Keefe even more than you did in the first offering.

 I also have a short story that will be published as well.  It is entitled "The Christmas Chair of Remembrance" and is an offering to our Cherokee lineage, while maintaining the Wright family of the Miners' Cut Mystery series.

Thanks for your patience with me as I try to keep from breaking any more bones. getting old is a PAIN!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sneak Peek from "Iron Fists in Satin Gloves"

Just as a I promised a while ago, here is a sneak peek from the 2nd installation of Miners' Cut Mysteries, Iron Fists in Satin Gloves". This is the prologue. Hope you enjoy.....


The sun began its slow descent from the Colorado sky. The day seemed to go on forever. John sat atop his palomino, Taffy, and took it all in: land spreading out far and wide in all directions, surrounded by the crags and peaks of the San Juan Mountains.

Sixteen-year-old John Archer was the man of the least for now. He hated watching his mother these days. She was so sad. So pale and thin. Though she tried to pretend life was good, he knew differently.

This big old ranch had never been his father's first choice of a place to be. He favored the open sea with its salty air, waves crashing on the sides of his clipper ship, The Colorado Maiden. The duties of the ranch were always passed to the family members left behind while he roamed to the far ends of the earth searching for some bauble or trinket his import and export business couldn't live without.

John assumed the title “Man of the House” at an early age. Sure, in the beginning it was his mother's endearing way of building his confidence during his father's long absences. But now, he feared the title would stick. He carried a big weight on his young shoulders.

He harbored the resentment he'd carried since childhood that began as a small seed planted whenever his father left, and morphed into a bitterness he seemed helpless to overcome. Try as he may, he carried more angst than worry over the disappearance of his dad. It'd be just like him to turn and hightail it in the other direction. He'd rather be anywhere than here. Shame on me for falling for his words. I can't believe I was so stupid!

And so it began. A transformation. Although a part of him ached for the love of his father, the part that harbored ill will was greater, more powerful. He was determined to keep this ranch afloat come hell or high water.
The palomino on which he sat was his father's favorite. Over the last several months he'd taken to riding her daily. Especially in the late afternoon, like today. He rode her to this place and allowed her to drink her fill from the cold mountain stream that passed through their property. She was a beautiful creature..majestic in a way only palominos can be, yet friendly and gentle. The bond between them was unmistakable; no one dared interfere with their time together.

Because of the dilemma the Archers found themselves in, John was forced to assume duties typically believed to be the responsibility of a seasoned ranch manager. Soon the choice would be made whether or not he'd continue in school or stay home and work the ranch. His little brother, Timmy, was beginning to do some chores, but to John's way of thinking, he was just a little kid and needed to be a kid for as long as he could. His own childhood was stolen long ago by all the responsibility handed him at the ripe old age of nine.

He climbed down from the horse and held her reins as she drank from the stream. John watched the rushing flume as it cascaded over rocks and white-capped, splashing on larger boulders closer to the bank. Today had been a hot one in the valley. He looked around to see if he was alone. Of course no one's here. Who would be here? Chuckling to himself, he sat down on a boulder and removed his boots and socks. He stuck his feet in the chilly water.

Cold! That water's so cold!” He forced himself to leave his feet immersed in the crystal clear stream. Before long he grew used to it, knowing full well his feet were just numb. He closed his eyes. He was so torn. He'd anguished the past three months over Simon. Where was he? Why didn't he come home? Was he hurt? He didn't know whether to hang onto the anger that fueled his adrenaline or let it go and see how that worked for him. His mother kept saying “God will show us the way!” She even said God knew where Simon was so he wasn't lost at all. Thinking of it now, he just wagged his head, wondering at her profound childlike faith.


John opened his eyes. He wasn't sure how long he'd been lying in the grass with his feet in the water. He must have fallen asleep. The horse was no longer drinking. In fact, she was staring down at him, patiently waiting.

How long have I been out, girl?”

She whinnied as if in delight, giving him the gumption to get up off the ground and get moving. It was growing darker by the minute and he must hurry home. Just then he heard a crackling sound to his left. “Who's there?” No answer. He craned his neck. “I say, who's there?” He slowly inched his socks and boots back on before mounting his ride. From a higher vantage point he continued to search for the origin of the sound. Finally deciding to move on, he reined the horse toward home just as the sun hid behind the mountains to the west of him.


In a cluster of aspens he stood. He watched as the boy mounted the horse and galloped away. That must be Archer's boy, he thought. He chuckled menacingly. He still had a job to do...and he wouldn't rest until it was done.

Iron Fists in Satin Sheets is scheduled for November distribution through and will be available in book and Kindle formats.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ouray, Prescott and Jerome Then and Now

Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona
   Jerome from atop Cleopatra Hill
With the release of the sequel to "The Disappearance of Simon Archer" coming soon, I thought a little trip through the photo albums of Ouray,Colorado as well as  Prescott and Jerome Arizona might be in order. These are photos I found online through Google search and are representative of the era of the book as well as present day.

Early Jerome
United Verde Copper Mine, Jerome, AZ
Jerome, AZ in another era

Present day Jerome
Aspens ablaze, present day Ouray, Colorado

View of San Juans from just outside Ridgway

Winter in Ouray

Historic Ouray

1880s Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, CO 1904
Courthouse, Prescott, AZ
Prescott of long ago

Cortez Street, 1880s Prescott, AZ
Look for the release on of "Iron Fists in Satin Gloves" early November.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's All in the Name

When I was a young teen, I met a young woman who was a nurse with  the Department of Health and, to me, she was the most interesting person I ever met (at least up to that moment). She planted the seed of nursing in my heart and mind that I carried until my retirement in 2008.

Working for the Dept of Health, she had some stories to tell! One hot summer day, she and I shared lunch and she told me a story I found hysterically funny, but at the same time bizarre and worrisome.

It seems there was a woman who frequented the nurse's office because of issues of, shall we say, an intimate nature. This particular time, she came in because she was expecting and couldn't quite figure out how that happened. The nurse said she stared at her from across the desk thinking perhaps her client was just pulling her leg. When her client didn't say "gotcha" or "I'm just kidding" she explained to her how these things happened and. as a final thought, handed the young woman a pamphlet and instructed her to take it home and read it carefully.

"All right, Miss Nurse," the woman replied. The meeting was over; the client went home.

Several months passed and the nurse found herself wondering what happened to the young expectant mother. A week or so later, as things happen,  the young woman wandered into the health department with two babies in tow.

The nurse greeted her, congratulating her over the birth of her twins, oohing and ah-ing over how cute they were. The woman beamed. Then she said, "I read that paper (pamphlet) you gived me and I liked it so much I named my babies after it."

The nurse was confused. "You did? How so?"

"I really liked the names in it?"

"Names?" she asked, still not connecting the dots.

The nurse said a look of exasperation passed over the woman's face as she took a deep breath. "Sue Phyllis and Gonorrah." ( She actually spelled the names Syphllis and Gonorrhea on the birth certificates but pronounced them as I spelled them.)

The nurse felt a little blank and then the light went on over her head. "I see. Are you sure about that? I mean you really want to do that?" My friend said her voice reached new heights in the soprano range as she questioned her.

"Sure, I do. Why wouldn't I?"

I asked the nurse if she explained to the woman that she'd just named her baby after raging STDs. She admitted she tried, but the woman was insistent. "So," she said, shrugging her shoulders at the lunch table, "what're you gonna do? A birth certificate's a birth certificate." CAN YOU IMAGINE!?!?!?!?!

 So....if in all your worldly travels you run into someone named Sue Phyllis or Gonorrah, please try to hold it together as you tell them you heard the story of how their loving mother chose their names.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Much Ado About Nuttin', Honey

I've been sitting on a couch with my foot elevated since July 29. Here's how it's pretty much gone on an average day.

I can't rest in our enormous aspen bed because I am unable to climb the bed steps. That being the case, I've planted myself on the sofa for now.. It's placed against the picture window, so at least I have nice scenery. The sun comes up EARLY and that means so do the kittens. Until just a few days ago we still had three of them, now only two, who love to run, leap, wrestle and usually land on my head.. My kittens are my alarm clock: a pouncing of sorts onto my head by enormous Maine Coon feet....with claws.

I love, love, love Dr. I get my Dr. Phil fix early in the day on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). These are reruns from early on in his network career and I've learned lots and lots about everything from nosy mothers-in-law to creepy next door neighbors, child actors gone bad,  to how to mooch off your parents in three easy lessons. Then there's the siblings who hate each other so much that someone needs to take their texting thumbs away from them so they can no longer communicate. (That's right...they never speak...only email and text.)  Next, I pull out the computer and write (I am determined to finish my sequel...and get busy on the Christmas novella I promised myself and my husband I'd work on). I doodle around on the laptop until about one and then it's time for PBJ or pimento cheese or Fake BLT.

By this time, both adult cats are outside and on the prowl, one or both of them periodically showing up with some catch they cannot wait to share with me and the kittens. (Note: kittens think it's the cat's meow while I am totally grossed out!) On any given day, the catch of the day can be anything from a field mouse too dumb to stay away from the cats to a shrew or mama chipmunk. On one particularly eventful day the mommy cat, Jill, brought, a rat, a baby squirrel, a chipmunk, a baby rabbit and later that evening....the mommy rabbit. Jack, her brother, brought a rabbit yesterday and wanted to bring it in the house and Don wouldn't let him. So Jack dropped on the porch and it went running (Yes, it was still alive and kicking) and the cats chased it all over. All that is left of it now is, yes, you guessed it, the rabbit's "unlucky" foot. Don found it in the front yard earlier today and asked me if I'd like to have it. (YUCK!)

Don has had to do his regular job, clean, cook, take care of me, feed the cats, water the garden, run the errands and put up with my incessant whining about my foot pain, and when will it be time for another pain pill. He's a saint, really. He's toted me around the house because I can't put any weight on my foot.  He's washed my hair, helped me into the shower, tucked me in, made me cinnamon toast and answered every call I've made, whether on the phone or hollering through the house.

Like I said, this blog entry is about nothing at all. But really, it's about everything. It's about the little things that make life special. Kittens and watching them experience all the things in life that are new and fresh. Hummingbirds outside the front window drinking from the feeder and watching Jack chatter and fidget trying to figure out how to catch one. (Watch out, Jack. They'll poke your eye out!) Experiencing mom secrets with a mommy cat who trusts me enough to sit next to me while she feeds her babies. Having a husband who loves me and cares about me and shows me in ways no one else ever has.

I hope you never have to be down from an injury that never heals to learn such simple lessons. But if this is what it take for me....bring it on!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Knee Walker

A few days ago, when my better half returned from a long day of calling clients, he did so with much exuberance and excitement. "To what do I owe your elation?" I asked. "Funny you should ask," he responded, all grins and giggles. He went back out to the car and returned, smiling like a Cheshire cat, with a contraption that obviously this old gal was too out of touch with to know what it was.

I stared at it for a minute and said, "All right. So what is it?"  The smile never left his face. This find was a treasure and he didn't mind in the least filling me in on the function of this odd-looking board on wheels with banana bike handles (remember those? and I had one, did you?)  "It's a knee walker."

"A knee walker," I replied in a flat monotone.

"Yep. The church medical closet lent it to us so you could get up and around. He then proceeded to educate me in the way it functioned, ending with, "but the brakes don't work."


Waving his hands, he said, "Not to worry. You won't be running any races with it."

For those of you who read my blog but haven't a clue what I'm talking about, here's the skinny. I broke my foot last summer. It never healed for some reason. This past Monday I had surgery (ORIF) to insert plates, screws and a calcaneal bone graft from my heel. So now you are up to snuff.

I stared at the "knee walker", obviously enjoying my Percocet too much to grasp the information and said, "What do you call it again?"

"A knee walker," came the reply from my loving husband, who, by the way, has cared for me calmly, quietly, patiently and without any "don't be such a crab"-like comments, or the ever-annoying roll of the eyes.
A knee walker. There are a lot of cool walkers out there.

 Like, for instance, Luke Skywalker. The coolest, walker of them all.

Or how about Spirit walkers? Native medicine men (or women, I suppose), herbalists. Those are relatively high on the cool-o-meter.

But no. I get a knee walker. Serves a vital function, gets me from Point A to Point B and back again, but the brakes don't work so no running starts (as if I can run right now anyway.) The best I can do is hop on my left foot, an accomplishment all on its own.

Oh, well. I'll be thankful for the lend as it gives me a little freedom when Don is out. But I'd rather be Hazel Skywalker. Return of the Colorado Jedi.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We Prayed for Rain

Colorado has been in a state of drought for more than twenty years. We've diligently prayed for rain. And this year we are seeing the fruits of our prayers. Monsoon season is in full swing and I, for one, am thrilled to see all the wildflowers and green "stuff" we haven't really seen in years.

Yesterday, my friend Donna Lawson, who is visiting from Arkansas, and I went out exploring around Fairplay. We were driving down the highway from Fairplay to Breckenridge when we decided to take a sudden turn to the left down a road off the beaten path. We happened upon an old gold mine long ago abandoned and Donna cracked me up by climbing up to the entrance with me on the ground saying don't fall in. Next we made another left hand turn for more off the beaten path adventures. This road was a one laner winding up the side up of a mountain ending up above treeline. "I'm game if you are," was the mantra of the day for us. We are former classmates, proud graduates of the 1975 Fighting Jackrabbits of Lonoke High School in the big, booming metropolis of Lonoke, Arkansas. And any proud Jackrabbit would never settle for mediocrity, so up the mountain we went in her sturdy, steady silver Chevrolet Malibu rental. What we found astounded even me, a tried and true Colorado citizen of 25 years. Columbine, Indian Paintbrush, Trumpet flowers, daisies, Aspen sunflowers, wild camomile, crocus and many more wildflowers filled the landscape like so many watercolors in an art gallery. Although we have had grass and flowers, I can't recall the abundance I'm enjoying this season...the wettest in a VERY long time.

This evening while returning from a dinner party at the home of good friends, we drove straight into the worse thunder/hail/rain/lightning storm I can ever remember in all my years in Colorado. It was dark out. Lightning lit the sky as rain and marble-sized hail pelted everything under the storm's cover. Donna and I were both leaning into the windshield desperately trying to see anything in front of us. I squinted, gripping the armrest, suffering from white knuckle syndrome. This went on for several miles until we finally got some relief. Suddenly another streak of lightning lit up the night and large creatures virtually emerged out of the darkness. "What the...." It was elk. Huge, glorious elk crossing the road, freaking out in the aftermath of the storm. Some ran in front of us. Others scattered in the night, obviously disconcerted and frightened by the severity of the substantial weather we were experiencing.

FREAKY!  That's all I can say. I was nervous. I kept repeating, "This is insane! This is insane!" like a broken record. I'm sure Donna wanted me to knock it off or at least try to stretch my brain's capacity and say something different, like maybe, "Lord, please just get us home!" I halfway expected her to say, "Get a grip!"
But she was very gracious and carried on despite my blithering.

We finally made it home (thank the Lord) and I've never been so grateful to see my porch light as we drove down the long drive.

Yes....we prayed for rain. And God say, "okay. You asked for it. You got it!"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We're Still Standing

Fire. An unfortunate and frightening part of summer in the western mountains of the U.S. Last summer Waldo Canyon shook El Paso and Teller Counties to their very cores. This summer, the Black Forest was devastated and no longer resembles what all of us knew and will forever think of when anyone mentions the forest. The Royal Gorge Park and lands close to Canon City are torched as well. The town of South Fork is fighting now for its very existence against a fire in the San Juan Mountains (home of my mystery novels). The East Peak Fire is out of control close to LaVeta and Walsenburg. Several others burn in Fremont and Jefferson counties.

My husband and I have made two trips into Canon City this week. One strictly on business, the second, for their Whitewater Festival on the Riverwalk.

Yesterday's visit was a blast and I am proud to say the people of Fremont County are ready to buck up, repair and get things back to status quo...or better. Though the temperatures were hot (and I am probably a wimp since my hubby and I live at an elevation of more than 8000 feet above sea level and its always nice here in the summers), I was thrilled to see the townsfolk milling about, rafting on the river, drinking soft drinks, lemonade, beer....anything ice cold, and enjoying a coming together of sorts.

While we were there, the Royal Gorge train pulled out from the station, fully loaded with tourists ready to ride through the gorge, no doubt curious to see what the fire had done, but riding nonetheless. It did my heart good to see the train full and traveling down the tracks that follow the Arkansas River.

Next, we went to the Holy Cross Winery and wandered the grounds for a few minutes. We didn't stay long because there was a huge wedding party there and we didn't want to interfere with their happy day. Seeing the place lively and happy, full of people and the staff eager and willing to assist was heartwarming. To see this community come together was touching in a way I haven't felt in a very long time.

We later went to the Country Kitchen up on Highway 50 at the turn off to the Royal Gorge. The gorge sign say, "Bridge Closed. We will reopen." The restaurant was open, but sadly, we were the only customers. We had veggie burgers and homemade potato chips (AWESOME!) and lively conversation with some of the wait staff. Business in slow in the burn areas. They want you to know they, as well as all the businesses on Hwy. 50 around the gorge, are open and ready to serve. Canon City is open for business.

Colorado Springs is open for business. Colorado is open for business. Despite the fires, there is much to see and do. Visit, hike, swim, fish, raft, boat, visit the casinos of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple it all and then report to all your friends and relatives that Colorado is alive and well, still breathtaking in its beauty.
I have no idea who this is but I pestered him for a picture at Centennial Park. Hot, sweaty but having a great time.

Pond at Centennial Park with lots of kids of boards having a party.

Runners had to go through this mud pit as part of their course.

Barn at Holy Cross Winery, Canon City

The Abbey, Holy Cross

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More Pictures of the Black Forest and Royal Gorge Fires

Thanks to Denver Channel 4 for this photo of Black Forest

The firefights don't matter what!
I apologize for the sporadic look of this page. I wanted to share more of what is going on here. We heard this morning via the media and the sheriff's department in El Paso County that over 360 homes have been destroyed and more than 15000 acres have been burned. The Black Forest fire has now surpassed the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012 in terms of homes lost. Our prayers are with all our friends, their friends and families and the people of Southern Colorado. 
Amazing shot of American flag while house burns

Chinook flies over fire dropping retardant
Night shot of fire Black Forest
House burns in the Black Forest

The morning after...
Retardant being dropped over Black Forest Wednesday
Horses being led to safety

One of the 360 homes lost so far, Black Forest

View of Royal Gorge Fire

animals standing in Arkansas River, Royal Gorge Fire
Royal Gorge Bridge early stages of fire.

C130s over Royal Gorge
Photo first day of Royal Gorge Fire

Very surreal
Sunset at Royal Gorge Fire