Posts Tagged ‘writing’

New Home – The Sunshine State

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

I’m trying to adjust to a slower speed. This is challenging for a NY girl.

I’ve moved from my long-time home in New York’s Hudson Valley to the coast of Florida.  My driver’s license makes it official.  In the heat of July, I am enjoying writing indoors and find myself developing new routines.

You can't beat the sunsets here.

You can’t beat the sunsets here.

I’ve been swimming first thing in the morning and then getting to my office to write.  In the evenings, I walk the beach.  The Skimmer birds and the Terns are raising their young near the sea grass and I enjoy the raucousness of their parenting.  Those babies are always hungry.

I think the climate agrees with me.  I got my proposal in early for book #3 in the Harlequin Intrigue series APACHE PROTECTORS: TRIBAL THUNDER.  And I’m hoping to have the draft for that story completed this week.

The copy edits for book #2 EAGLE DANCER are done and so are the final edits for book #1 TURQUOISE GUARDIANS.  Those stories arrive in January and February 2017.

I’m turning my attention to my September release, a Western historical, THE WARRIOR’S CAPTIVE BRIDE.  My editor is encouraging me to enter this one in the Rita Awards from Romance Writers of America. That’s good feedback.  I’m looking forward to the September 1 release and hearing from my readers if they agree.



Getting Out on the Water

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
Schooner Argia takes daily cruises

Schooner Argia takes daily cruises

I find the water very calming.  When I need to reduce my stress level, I seek the closest body of water.  One of my nearby aqueous destinations is Mystic Connecticut.  This is a river that leads to the Long Island Sound.  There is so much to do here that this river port makes such a great day trip or weekend getaway.  These are the top attractions:

Underway on the Argia for a sunset cruise.

Underway on the Argia for a sunset cruise.

This time I took a cruise on the sloop Argia which gave me a very different perspective on the town and some interesting history and trivia on the area.  The seaport staff helped me in the past learning about historic equipment used in cartography.

Three masted tall ship rises above Mystic Seaport

Three masted tall ship rises above Mystic Seaport

That information was used in my second Historical, Turner’s Woman.  Now I can say that I’ve done all of these and also enjoy walking the charming main street.  Watching the drawbridge rise and lower.  It is a bascule bridge, which is basically a huge pendulum with counter weights that are impressive in action.

The historic Whaler's Inn sits right in downtown Mystic, CT

The historic Whaler’s Inn sits right in downtown Mystic, CT

When I posted on Facebook that I’d been to Mystic, some friends asked where I stay.  I like The Whalers Inn because it is central to the town and I can walk to restaurants, around the historic homes that line both sides of the river and all the way to the seaport.

Beluga Whale swims at the Mystic Aquarium

Beluga Whale swims at the Mystic Aquarium

I was there 24 hours and came home ready to get to work, my stress level is way down and I’m smiling as I write this because I’m already planning my next visit.



Walking the Highline, NYC

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Jenna Kernan at the north entrance to the Highline on 34th St. West.

Jenna Kernan at the north entrance to the Highline on 34th St. West.

Death Avenue to Urban Sanctuary 

I have to hand it to NYC Friends of the Highline for seeing possibilities in the rusting elevated, abandoned train track that once ran on above Manhattan’s Lower West Side.

“I am grass.  Let me work.”  Carl Sandburg

I finally made it to the Highline.  This is a walk I have had on my list for years and apparently I am not alone because I was one of nearly six million visitors each year.  This elevated train track, abandoned in the eighties was slowly rusting away, but along the way grass grew up.  Seeds deposited by birds, traveling on the wind found precarious purchase on the abandoned stretch.  Trees began to grow above the street between the trestles’ and along the track.

Redbud blossoms on the L track over 10th Avenue

Redbud blossoms on the L track over 10th Avenue

WEST SIDE COWBOYS

Originally this track delivered food to the city replacing the 10 Avenue train the past the sailors boarding houses stretching along the river and through the meatpacking district of the Lower West Side.

At the entrance on 34th Street, I greeted by a black and white photo of what looked like a cowboy preceding a train.  Having done no research beyond how to reach the park, I did not know that these men were hired by the New York Central Railroad to precede the train waiving a bright red flag to help clear the tracks of crossing pedestrians with mixed results judging by the earned moniker Death Avenue for the number of collision between iron horse and human pedestrians.

Railroad ties make for modern seating on the Highline with Author Jenna Kernan

Railroad ties make for modern seating on the Highline with Author Jenna Kernan

MOLDERING METAL TO URBAN GREEN SPACE

Built in the 1930s and defunct by the 1960s, moldering through the 1980 and scheduled for demolition 2001 but repurposed beginning in 2004 until the lower section of the elevated park opened in 2009.

I first heard of this 1.45 mile walk from my editor.  She warned me to avoid weekends as they are super crowded.  But I went on the weekend and…it was super crowded.  But it was a special opening of the spring season and there was music and dancing and food all along the way.  Not the fastest walk and definitely not a power walker.  But that’s okay because there was so much to see and do.  We strolled this lovely promenade enjoying view of the city, the street and Hudson all along the way and pausing to appreciate the clever landscaping and flowering trees.

Open space for public performance.

Open space for public performance.

WALKING THE HIGHLINE

Being above street level gives an interesting perspective.  I really approve of the conscious plan to mimic the plants, grasses and trees that arrived unassisted to the abandoned stretch of track.

The architecture fits seamlessly into the walk and echoes the tracks.  There are plenty of pull outs and stopping places including some innovative seating.  I admired the seats that looked like stacked rail trestles.

We reached the end of the Highline all too soon but continued our adventure through Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District that is now a very hip neighborhood that buzzes with activity.

The south end of the park has several eateries, a store and live artist performers

The south end of the park has several eateries, a store and live artist performers

WHERE: The High Line is a public park build on elevated rail line from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

More Information:

Highline Website

Highline blog



Apache Reservation Visit

Sunday, April 24th, 2016
Sculpture of an Apache Warrior greets visitors to the San Carlos tribe's casino

Sculpture of an Apache Warrior greets visitors to the San Carlos tribe’s casino called Apache Gold

I drove up from the south with a brief detour through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, but don’t worry, I didn’t lose my shirt at Apache Gold, the tribe’s casino.

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The view from the lower cliff dwellings once home to the Salado Indians around 1300 AD

This photo was taken from the Lower Cliff Ruin in the Tonto National Forest.  Beyond the Saguaro cactus you can see the turquoise water of Roosevelt Lake.  We hiked up to the top and I had an idea that I’ll be using in the second book in my upcoming Apache Protectors: Tribal Thunder series.

Trading post outside on of the reservations

Trading post outside on of the reservation in the city of Globe

In Globe, AZ there is a really terrific trading post & store that features many native art and jewelry and the raw material for making camp dresses and regalia, which can be purchased on time.

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Author Jenna Kernan at the border between the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation and the White Mountain Apache Indian reservation

Just inside the reservation I met two Apache women selling jewelry. I purchased a pair of peridot earrings because I know that San Carlos Reservation as some of the finest peridot in the world.  They asked were we were from and I told them from New York.  As we were leaving I heard one woman say to the other, “Why would anyone come all the way from New York to see this?”  Funny world, isn’t it?

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Inside the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation

Certain parts of the reservation are open to the public.  You can even rent your own lake or hire a guide for some hunting.  We visited the museum, Kinishba ruins and bummed around.  The ruins are spectacular and had me wondering about the people who once lived there.

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Salt River in the White Mountains of Arizona

The drive up to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation was full of hairpin turns and steep grades.  The Salt River gorge is spectacular.

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General George Cook’s Headquarters now a museum and historic site.

General George Cook lead Apache scouts in the Apache Wars in a series of bloody conflicts.  Many recognize Apache Warriors by their iconic red headbands.  Why did they wear them.  Some say they were order to wear them others say they chose to wear them.  Either way they were chosen to distinguish them from unfriendly Native Americans.

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Kinishba Ruins on White Mountain

We parked our car and walked in.  We were the only humans here but we did meet a few free range cows.   Maybe I should call Clay Cosin to come round them up!

The ruins are extensive with many rooms, windows and floor structures still in place.  It was hard to imagine three floors, but that was apparently what was once here.

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Tribal Police Headquarters on White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation

My imagination ran wild at seeing the tribal police SUVs that I had only seen before in photos and YouTube videos.  I kept wanting to go up and ask someone if I could speak to Tribal Police Chief Gabe Cosen.  We only spent a day in San Carlos and White Mountain Indian Reservations.  But the trip really helped me feel and smell and experience a place that until that day, I had only ever imagined.  I’m taking that frybread off on my taxes!

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Pinyon and Ponderosa Pines are everywhere in the White Mountains of Arizona and the snow is still on the mountain in February.



ROAD TRIP: Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Boothill in Tombstone, AZ at sunset.

“The only stone out there you will find is your tombstone.”

That is supposed to be what soldiers told the founder of the town of Tombstone, AZ.  But they were wrong.  Ed Schieffelin found silver.  A lot of silver.  But those soldiers were right about one thing.   Bunches of people did find their tombstone there.  I know because I recently visited Tombstone, AZ cemetery otherwise known as Boot Hill.  Many graveyards are called this because of the number of men who died with their boots on.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop. I wonder if one of the fingers he lacked was his trigger finger.

Tombstone is a misnomer here because, although each grave is piled with stones to keep out critters, the markers are made of wood. Tombwood just sounds wrong, though.  Doesn’t it?

                      1881 – Hanged.

A woman working in the gift shop told me the weather is so rough on the wood they have to remake the markers every seven years.

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        You know the OK Coral?

The most famous residents here are the losers of the shootout at the OK Coral (Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury).  But there is no shortage of interesting ways to die here.

Some markers have the cause of death but no names.

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Here lies an unfortunate teamster killed by Apaches. Cause of death, but no name.

Some have no name or cause of death.

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

Sometime you get the name and the cause of death but no real answers as to why or how this happened.  Here is the grave of George Hand who was, apparently killed by Indians.

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George Hand -Killed by Indians

Some markers are just plain tragic.  This man’s marker reads: Here lies George Johnson Hanged by Mistake 1882 –He was right and we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone.

George bought a stolen horse, rode it into Tombstone where he was arrested and hanged for horse theft.  No one believed his story and the truth arrived too late for Mr. Johnson.

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There is no way to correct some mistakes, like, for instance, hanging an innocent man.

Most of the deaths were violent, but not all.  My brochure, purchased for $2, relates that one cowboy who laid to rest in an unconventional manner.  His friends lassoed his ankles and dragged him into his grave because no one really likes to touch a person who died of smallpox.

There are some markers renowned for their poetry, rather than for containing the famous remains of famous folk.  This one is often quoted.  Perhaps you have heard of it:

HERE LIES

Lester Moore.

FOUR SLUGS FROM A 44

NO LES

NO MORE

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                        Poor Lester

They don’t really know all the stories of all the men and women laid here to rest.  I’m left to wonder about just what happened to some of these folks because their graves give no clue.

I can’t really imagine what Tombstone was like in its heyday, but I do know it was not boring.