Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Research That Leads Only To Questions

Stick with me to get your name in a drawing for the first ever in the known universe give away of Deep Trouble. (How sad that I suspect I need to bribe you to read this thing!!!!!)

I thought I’d talk a little about research today. My main reason for doing this is because the research I found while writing my May release Deep Trouble was both fascinating and annoying.

Deep Trouble takes place mainly in the Grand Canyon. My heroine is searching for a city of gold, the lost city of Quivera. My hero is trying to keep her alive until she comes to her senses. The only way he can figure to prove to her there’s no city of gold in the Grand Canyon is to take her there and keep her alive until she admits she’s a lunatic. At which point she’ll come to her senses (he hopes) and then he plans on marrying her. This is a plan that has Gabe a little nervous, what with him planning to marry a crazy woman, but there aren’t that many women around and he’s lonely.

When I’m researching things I find myself often becoming inexplicably sarcastic. I have a problem when historical events are looked at through the prism of modern sensibilities.

So, I found these rock paintings and/or petroglyphs. And that annoyance kicked in pretty hard. At first you see them and read about them and there’s reverence. They are very ancient. These are messages passed down in stone from a people who didn't write words, but could still tell their stories.

Others looking at the petroglyphs lower their voices, speak in hushed, respectful tones.

Me? Queen of Sarcasm? Nah!

I think, "Wow, graffiti is nuthin' new. You darned kids, get offa my lawn. Put down that can of spray paint! I'm calling your mother!"

What do you suppose prompted ancient people to carve in stone seemingly useless things? I mean if you're going to the trouble of getting your chisel out, you'd think you'd use your time wisely. (Aside: Did ancient people have chisels?) Of course that one ... thing ... (left) looks kind of like a man with horns and a tail. Okay I can only think of one guy like that and it is a very...shall we say...fire and brimstone connection.

So yeah, if they see him, sure I get that they might need a painting. But why carve a herd of goats? Surely a herd runs by the cave entrance every fifteen minutes. It'll take hours to finish the carving. Just wait at the door and point.

Did they worship the goat? Could the goat defeat He-Who-Has-Horns-And-A-Tail in a battle? Were they marking the cave as their territory during a war? Was it a symbol of relationship? "Marry me darling and as God as my witness, you'll never be hungry again. I could go shoot a goat to prove it but let me carve one in stone instead."

These are all questions asked by scientists, better known as He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Spare-Time. They spend decades trying to decipher the painting of the goat.

This one on the right is found in the Grand Canyon. And since my heroine is trying to convince the hero that there is a city down there, proof of human life definitely strengthens her hand.

The most confusing part of this picture is...that looks a lot like an alligator to me. An alligator and...carrots?? Carrots? Okay, sure they could've had carrots. But alligators in the Grand Canyon? Hello? It’s a desert. No swamp to be found anywhere. Or no, wait, not an alligator. A man. A man with a tail, look at the bottom left 'man', dancing. Doing the Hokey Pokey, I'd say. Put your tail in, put your tail out, put your tail in and shake it all about. I don’t know about the rest of the country but I’m from the Midwest. Suddenly this is a drawing of a wedding dance...and they're serving....carrot cake?

Except hold on, that’s not a alligator/dancing long-tailed groom, that’s a swastikas.

Uhoh, those crazy cave men!

I've always heard that the swastika is a really ancient symbol that was perverted by the Nazis (they did one heck of a good job with that, didn't they?) What else is interesting is how much the Not-swastika looks like the alligator man. Really look at it a while. It's not really a swastika, it's a double swastika. Two arms, two legs, even a head. I find that fascinating. One arm up, one leg kicking. It's not a man an alligator or a swastika, it's a cheerleader. This is right before the big game and someone's written the Paleozoic version of Go Team Go on the wall. (Go Gators Go?) So maybe Swastika's aren't even anything important, just team spirit captured for a lifetime.

(seriously people you ought to see what I can do with a Rorschach Inkblog Test, it's not pretty)

Which leads me to this one. All I see when I look at this are fingerprints on my wall. I've got this image of an ancient mother, chasing after her forty kids with a bottle of pre-historic windex and a sponge.

That's right, it's not meaningful and important. It's just a MESS. What we now research and revere was probably gossiped about back then.

Over the stone picket fence, two old crones whispering, "Did you SEE Ork's walls? She's a terrible housekeeper. If she can't keep things neat they shouldn't have had so many children. Why just the other day, her son knocked over my favorite swastika with his tail."

Here are some quotes I found about petroglyphs and pictographs:

Scientists can tell how old the pictographs are, but not the petroglyphs. (Mary: Why don't they admit they are just guessing???)

Native Americans used rock painting as a way to record their beliefs and observations of the world. (Mary: Translation...meaningful, reverent, important...no mention of graffiti)

Rock art sites inspire visitors to wonder about the people who made the images and the messages they may have been trying to communicate. (Mary: Or get the windex, whatever)

Painting and Petroglyphs in the Grand Canyon. Seemingly random doodles (Mary: STOP! NO! Resist the urge to further analyze. You've got it right!)

These glyphs have played a prominent role in attempts to understand forager religious iconography. (Mary: But no, of course they couldn't resist)

They were possibly intended to supernaturally increase success in the hunt. The mountain goats drawings bolstered the “hunting magic” hypothesis. (no one's talking about the horned dude. Nooooooooo it's alllllllll about the goats.)

You may be surprised to find out I'm NOT invited to be a visiting lecturer at a university near me to talk about my petroglyph research. But I'm sure they've just lost my phone number. If I had it to do over again, I'd've carved it on their wall.

The end.

So has anyone ever seen petroglyphs? There's a much-written-upon stony wall in a bluff near our home. Most of it is just kids carving their initials. But the rumor is that Louis and Clark wrote on that wall, marking their trail.

Graffiti, for a good cause.
Leave a comment about research
to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of
I haven't gotten my author's copies yet,
but when I get them today's winner will be FIRST!
A little bit about Deep Trouble
Gabe Lasley has left his ranch in Wyoming because of his strong feelings for a married woman. He finds Shannon Dysart stranded in a mountaintop cave and saves her. She is on a quest to prove her father’s research isn’t the work of a madman, that he really did find a treasure in the wild west.

With trouble on their back trail from the villains who still want Shannon’s map, the dream of gold coloring every decision Shannon makes, and Gabe’s surprising need to protect her, they sets out to find

a city of gold. Along the way they find that true treasure is rooted in love. And that was within their reach all along.


  1. Wait a doggone minute!!!!

    I thought today's giveaway was a COW!!!!


    I thought that your next release was in August.

    Ah well. I'll take a Mary book in May too...

    Research. Today... Tonight actually.

    The distance from Phoenix to Omaha.

    If you go through Vegas [so not on the way but there's a quickie wedding in the offing]

    If you go through Vegas, get married then spend the night in Grand Junction. Or assorted towns in Utah.

    Or if you don't go through Vegas because you got the quickie wedding the weekend before. But then which route to Omaha? Through Denver? Or Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas? If you stop to stay with friends in Amarillo?

    And I researched a bunch of listings in Omaha to see what kind of house they're going to have.

    I once spent HOURS looking at the different planes that fly from NYC to London to see which one the H/H would be flying on so they could have a particular kind of seating arrangement.

    My BFF has promised to go to Kansas with me and drive through a particular area. Sadly, the bbq competition they've had there the last several years is off this year :(.

    I went to my weight loss Bible study group tonight. So breakfast is a Daniel Fast friendly oatmeal bake thingie that everyone there loves. Cuz the former leader of the group wrote the Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast which is selling fabulously well and being translated into Spanish.



    How about bacon to go with it ;)? Cuz that's not Daniel Fast friendly. But it is yummy.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  2. Did you say, "But the rumor is that Louis and Clark wrote on that wall, marking their trail." - phew - for a minute I thought you said Lois and Clark - all we're doing is painting our walls not writing on them. :)

  3. I like Lois and Clark!! Good one.


    Cow, Deep Trouble. All the same.

  4. I read Lois and Clark the first time too... Didn't know Superman did graffiti...

    Wish the 3yo would go to bed as my eyes won't stay open much longer...

  5. I have also discovered, through research, in the last few minutes, that Mary has both a May and an August release.

    Both have been pre-purchased via Amazon... =D

  6. My research tells me that writers who get very little sleep get past the creative stage and go straight into dilerium...I can hear it now, uncontrollable giggling for no reason, babbling about imaginary friends and their antics, and hallucinations! Yep, those are my kind of girls! What no cow???I thought we were working on that little white face calf! I guess it wouldn't fit in one of those little boxes from the post office where you pay one price for whatever you can fit into it...the tail kept falling out. Darn, and I was already picking out names!

  7. I think I need to learn to drink coffee so I can have an extra cup and go back and read this again. Couldn't quite absorb all that mighty wisdom in one time through.

    I actually enjoy research, but I don't do the ancient time period stuff. I learn some interesting bonus facts when I start reading up on most any subject.

    Coffee pot's ready for those who wish to partake.


  8. I'm embarrassed. I thought it was Lois and Clark (Superman) too until I read the post above. Just think... the power of the single letter my brain ignored... made all the difference between a blue and red spandex wearing caped crusader and leather breeches and coon skin cap wearing explorer of the West. So funny.

    Regarding research... I have discovered that you have to sample many sources, as many different ones as possible to neutralize the editorializing effect of those who write, record and produce (distill) the end product you are seeing.

    This became critical in my research of first century ancient Rome. I would have had a very distorted view had I not purposefully expanded my net of material. For example, that period is strongly slanted by Christians as a martyr-fest in a door to door Gestapo style hunt of believers with every lion in Rome getting fat on Christians. Then the other side of the aureus (gold coin of the period, I couldn't resist) is scholars and writers touting how the subvert-ant man known as Jesus Christ, an executed criminal of the state managed to found spawn a cult known as Christianity that still endures today.

    Just be aware that even when offensive (I wanted to repeatedly punch the TV screen of the scholar being interviewed who kept calling Jesus Christ "a rightly executed criminal")the information can still have merit. And I would never want to discount the persecution endured by the believers of that time. Quite the opposite. But I do want to write true to the time and place, and it meant looking at every available source of information, now matter how unpalatable.

    And more basic, a good tool to help narrow down the ocean of web hits and maximize your time, look at the references cited in your research books you find most helpful. After a while, I noticed a few titles were in all of them, so I dug into those and it was very helpful.

    I was looking forward to the drawing for the cow, but would love to be considered for the book too! I'll try to be sure I don't read incorrectly like I did in the Mary's informative and funny post!

    ntrouble101 at hotmail dot com

  9. Mary this post was hilarious! Captain Caffeine had to come into my office to find out what was so funny. :)


  10. Hahaha, fun post, Mary! ;)

    I absolutely loved doing research for my first manuscript. I ended up killing two birds with one stone, so to speak (or maybe two alligators with one bottle of Windex???), and chose my high school IB Extended Essay paper topic on the same place as the main setting for my novel. :)

    Sooooo...while I went on vacation in Nevada, I got to do research for a paper and a novel. Woot! And my family and I loved the place so much that we went back there the past two years and will probably go back this summer. Lots of research opportunities...

    ...including riding a stagecoach (bumpy but oh so fun!), staying at a ranch, riding the train, visiting museums, etc. I've fallen in love with the town, and now I sincerely hope that if it's God's will I can get my story published and share my love with all ya'll. ;)

    Mary, I would absolutely LOVE to win your new book!!! I'll even write a review...not that I'm trying to bribe ya or nothin', cause that wouldn't be proper blog-reader behavior... ;)



  11. I love surfing around the internet, searching for information about any given topic. When I get sidetracked into reading about all the latest book releases or what's happening on Dancing With the Stars, etc., I say I wasted time. When I actually find helpful stuff for school, Bible study, or writing, I call it research. I guess I would call traveling to the Grand Canyon to study ancient markings in caves . . . vacation? reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  12. I do a lot of my research on the internet or I read books. But I'd rather travel and see the area I'm writing about or visit a museum. Unfortunately with the high price of gas, I'm probably stuck right where I am.

  13. Great post, Mary! Loved it! Glad I was alone in the office though, so I could laugh out loud without the strange looks. (I get enough of those as it is) :o )

    I love research! I better. I’m a historian. It’s how I make a living. But I’ve always loved digging into the past and people’s lives (this is because I’m also extremely nosy). The greatest thing is stumbling across an old diary or stack of letters. Wonderful!

    But petroglyphs? Interesting, but not all their hyped up to be. On family trips we’d stop at cave and cliff dwellings and stand in front of the petroglyphs until we’d start making up our own, and often very irreverent stories. The Arnold view on prehistoric life (Kind of like the Flinstones, but without the fancy foot driven cars)

    Another place I didn’t quite inspire the reverence it was supposed to was Pompey’s Pillar. Living in Billings, MT, it was expected to make a pilgrimage to this icon of the Lewis and Clark expedition. So, two friends and I loaded up a picnic and headed out. Then we hauled our cookies up the pillar and low and behold there was William Clark’s name carved in stone. Interesting, but we could only gawk for a couple minutes before we asked each other if it was okay to leave now. On the way down, we questioned why Clark would name this rock formation after Little Pomp, but then scrawl his own name across it like he was John Hancock signing the Declaration of Independence.

    But seriously, as we ate our picnic by the river we questioned how amazing it must have been for those men to come across that land and see all those amazing sites we take for granted.


  14. No I've never seen petroglyphs. Those pictures are funny to try to figure out. Mary, I know your book will be great. Looking forward to reading it.


  15. I'm writing a book (actually co-authoring it) wherein the main character is a foster kid. So, naturally, the research I need to do is on the laws in each of the fifty states! No, I'll narrow it down a little, because I envision the setting as being in a Mid-Western state, where there are simultaneously big cities (more than one, at least!) and wide open land. So I have to choose the perfect location, too! Oy. (And now I'm wondering why I volunteered for this part!)

    Your book sounds awesome! (I'd love to win it. ;P)

  16. Mary, you've touched upon one of my pet peeves: revisionist history. That's all I'm going to say about that one.

    But I love history, love research, and without too much trouble I can get bogged down following rabbit trails and never find my way out. But to avoid the revisionist history, I try to use sources from the time period as much as possible.

    I was researching organized crime in Chicago in the 1930's recently and watched two movies - Public Enemy with James Cagney (1933) and Public Enemies with Johnny Depp (2009). The difference in the atmosphere between the two movies was amazing. The 1933 movie gave me exactly what I needed for my research!

    I'd love to win your book, Mary - put me in for the drawing (I'd rather have the cow, but can't keep it in the city).


  17. Another Mary book could be a take on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" or something. You really are a hoot.

    I'm researching all sorts of angles and ideas yet for May the K9 spy's sequel. Haven't decided on one yet. So still in research phase. Therefore just about anywhere my imagination takes me qualifies. :)

    I'm a history major too! I love thinking about how people conclude what they do.

    Have enjoyed reading this today and the comments thus far. It means we survived the storms. Yay!

    Oh! We do have room for a wee calf if she'll fit in the mail. Otherwise, perhaps the book. Either way would be fun!

    May at maythek9spy dot com

  18. Jan,

    Woman after my own heart. The difference between the Titanic movies is stark.

  19. Now, I saw LEWIS and Clark right from the start and my heart skipped a beat. I'd love to follow their trail someday (in an air-conditioned car of course).

    Thanks for a quick trip to AZ. What with it still being winter here in NY, I could use some warm breezes, golden sun and endless sky. And I know what you mean about research multiplying on itself.

    I think one of those petroglyphs was a werewolf.

  20. Oh Mary Connealy, your mind is a spooky place to visit! Personally I'd LOVE to hear your Rorschach inkblot results. LOL!

    And really, there is nothing cuter in this universe than a baby goat. The cavemen were obsessed with them. That's what they did all day. They watched the herd of human kids playing with the herd of goat kids while Mama Grunk raced after them all with a sponge and Windex.

    Oh. My. Word.

    I can't wait to read Deep Trouble!

  21. LOL Yeah, we have the Jefferson Petroglyphs, and it does look like pre-historic juvenile delinquents at work!

    Love it...can't wait to read Deep Trouble!

  22. I grew up in central Maine, which was home to many tribes of Native Americans many moons ago. There are large boulders with maps and other "carvings" these people made. It is very interesting. I think they just used what they had - you couldn't run over to Michael's and get a sketch pad. And perhaps the boulder was in a place where lots of people could refer to it - like a posted map. Anyway...I'd love that free book, because I love your stories!

  23. I love your posts, Mary. They always make me laugh, which is a good thing.

    I've never found pictographs especially interesting myself...this from someone who's taught World History for 5 years. I loved your interpretations, and you're right about not knowing what the pictures mean. Without a key like Rosetta Stone, there is no way for modern man to be certain what each picture means.

    When the first Spanish explorers came into that region, they destroyed lots of Native American scrolls and writings in an attempt to force the native people to accept Spanish rule. That makes me sad because so much history was lost. There could have been a key to deciphering those drawings!

    Oh, well, we'll never know and there's nothing we can do about it now. Keep on researching, and ignore those of us who avoid it.

  24. LOL, Mary! I don't know that I've ever thought of it as graffiti. :D But, you make a good point.

    For my research, (CarolM can attest to this) I found that not all police work and court procedures are as dramatic as we see on tv and read in books. So much so that (even though my police chief said I nailed it in my manuscript) I might have to play it up a little more than I did in order to make it seem real to the average reader.

    I'd love to be added to the drawing...



  25. Oops, Lewis and Clark.

    I knew that.

    I guess I'll leave it so these many, many, many comments make sense.

  26. Loisclarkanna is my sister.
    Her name is Lois, her husband's name is Clark.

    Which is such Superman-ish fun.

  27. HEY! ANONYMOUS????

    I guess I can just, should your name come up, say The Winner is Anyonymous. But it'll be all up to you to read the weekend edition, identify your anonymous self and claim the prize. And email or name would help.

  28. I believe RUTHY started that calf rumor. She doens't have a calf but you can get a PUPPY from her.

    Ruthy? Have you considered giving away puppies at Seekerville? Just if you have spares?

  29. Mary,

    Your family must roll around in laughter all day long. You are so funny.

    I can just picture Mary on a donkey going down the Grand Canyon, giving the guide a whole lot of grief!

    Your new book sounds great. Love to win it!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  30. Dropping in long enough to chuckle.
    Thanks, Mary.

    When I went to the 'recreation' of the Titanic last summer, I realized that the movie had the grand staircase width all wrong. Two people could barely make it up that staircase side by side. It was pretty narrow.
    But narrow
    They created the Grand Staircase to scale using the blueprints from the Titanic - and the expensive flooring of the time (I mean, state of the art flooring) was linoleum. LOL.

    It was incredibly powerful too. You entered a room that was a replication of the ship's deck and stuck your hand in water that was the temperature of those who fell into it from the Titanic.
    Seering pain shot up my arm within 5 seconds. It went almost numb within 20 seconds.
    I can't even imagine.

    On a MUCH lighter note - my trip to Haddon Hall in Derbyshire Englad was my FAVORITE research point. Stone castle. Narrow passageways. immaculate garden.
    Used as Thornfield Hall on the two most recent Jane Eyre films (2009 &2011) Also used as the castle in the Princess Bride movie.
    It is the manor I use in my contemp romance because it was built in the 1200s.

    There's a 'secret' underground passageway in the B & B we stayed in while in England. It was the catalyst for my first suspense. But I can't write it yet, or Mary will kill me.
    I must finish what I've started.
    I must finish what I've started.


  31. Oh, and I'd love to be in the drawing (though you know I'll buy the book anyway, Mary.)


  32. Let me add here that Deep Trouble is a sequel to Cowboy Christmas.

    If any of you read it and remember it, Gabe Lasley was an important secondary character in Cowboy Christmas. He was hunting Annette with a grudge then, he came around and was ready to fight Walker for her hand in marriage.

    Gabe lost and now he's lonely.

  33. Shocking, I'm sure, but I believe my family gets a little tired of my WIT!!!!

    I keep telling them how lucky they are, but to no avail.

  34. And yes, thank you, Pepper for restating my policy of KILLING authors who dont' finish their books.

    It's been a surprisingly effective motivational technique....and of course any who don't obey me....aren't around to complain.


  35. Pepper,

    Is that pic of you? So pretty!


  36. Oh boy, Mary.
    I really liked Gabe. So glad we get to find out what happens to him !!!

    Plus -
    I laugh at what I say.
    That means it's funny.
    Whether my kids laugh at it or not. They're kids, after all ;-)

    Oh, btw, anyone else have a Mad Hatter hat? I bought one yesterday and it gives me 'visual' permission to think outside the box. Love it! A nearly perfect replication of the one worn by Johnny Depp - so OF COURSE it was a good choice.

  37. Thanks, Linette.
    It's going to be my eternal picture, I think. :-)
    Unless I get a really good one with my Mad Hatter hat :-)

  38. I have some wonderful comments about the research I do (and there was a great discussion recently on the ACFW Historical loop). However, as my research pretty much identifies my writing and Genesis judging is still going on, can I talk about it? (I've kept my mouth shut on the ACFW discussion loop for the same reason.)

    Would love to add to Mary book collection.

  39. HEY! Walt's got a new picture, too.
    We are getting so FANCY here on Seekerville.

    Uh....I think maybe you shouldn't tell us, Walt. What I know of your writing is very distinctive, unless it's a book I haven't seen.

    Still, I'm dying of curiousity. When is that contest over????

  40. I have no mad hatter hat, Pepper!!!

    It never occurred to me that I needed one and now here I am, underdressed as always.

  41. Don't worry, Mary.
    I'll try to pick you one up for ACFW.
    You can wear it to the Banquet.

  42. That was just too funny! I can just picture that ancient mother chasing her 40 kids:) Thanks for the laughs and I understand what you mean by research often leading to more questions:(

    You pinpointed my problem in my research right now. I'm researching early 1900's Russia and on some things like food and housing..there seem to be too many different opinions:( Which of course leads to more questions! So I'll keep looking and hopefully find some research that coincides!

    I love your books Mary:) Daring, fun and romantic. Please enter my name for a chance to win your new book "Deep Trouble!"

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  43. Semis are announced on Friday, Mary.

    My stomach isn't clenched in knots.


    That's not me.

    My now almost-6yo went to the post office on a field trip with her preschool once. They were talking about things you could mail. She wanted to know if you could mail a horse.

    Apparently, the answer was 'yes' as long as the horse is under 70lbs.

    So she wants someone to mail her a baby horse.

    Mom? Not so much...

    I'm sure she'd take a cow instead.

    And Audra - they've had some baby goats at DH's work. They've had them wandering the halls and bottle feeding them etc. He's a therapist at a working ranch that's a residential facility for boys in state custody. One of his coworkers raises goats. Not sure why she brought the babies in but my BFF who works there too was quite excited =D.

  44. Mary, I could shift books to something no one here has seen. However the setting is still distinctive.

    I believe first round announcements occur on Friday. I'm hoping and praying for good news.

  45. Was the book blurb at the end of the post the official one? Cuz I liked the one at the beginning better, too funny.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

  46. Hi Mary:

    Think ‘deep POV’:

    What would it be like to have never seen a picture of anything?

    Why would you think that something drawn in the sand or scratched on a rock would represent anything in the world? Why couldn’t they be just marks meaning nothing?

    Why do you think this -> arrow points right? Why do you think it is an arrow? Why do you think it points at all? It could be a mouth spitting out a pea to indicate the opposite direction.

    What could you have seen in nature that also represents something else in the world? Where would you get the idea that something can represent something else? And if you had such an idea how would anyone else share your vision?

    My view is that these people drew what they ‘saw’ in their dreams. Dreams would be the only natural things they would encounter that represented things in the outside world.

    If it were graffiti, I think there would be much more of it.

    We must ask:

    Why is there so little of it?

    Why was it placed in so few places?

    Deep POV – listen to the silence.

    Often what is not said tells us more than what is said.


    I'd like a chance to win the cow. Would it be that black cow with the white face that looks just like its mother? So cute!

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

    P.S. I just had an idea: how about having your heroine meeting a Spanish Conquistador in the Grand Canyon. She says, “Have you seen Quivera”? He says, “No ma’am, I haven’t. Have you seen Eldorado?” (Both are in deep trouble.)

    P.P.S. Correction: Only one of them is actually in “Deep Trouble”.

  47. I love all the fun comments! : ) I haven't written much (well, for pleasure, anyway), but I've always enjoyed learning/researching anything that involves people, where they lived, geography--basically social studies. I like gathering info. through the internet, but I also love going places--historical homes, old battle sites, museums, etc. I used to be a tour guide at a historical home and I met all sorts of neat people there...and heard lots of interesting stories! There are so many historical sites you can go to for free. So, before I sound like a total nerd, I would LOVE to have a copy of your book! : ) Thanks!
    travelingstacey at bellsouth dot net


    Forget it. Assume you'll lose. Praise the Lord that you've acquired another layer of thickness on your rhino hide.

    You entered for the critique. I swear this is a far healthier attitude for a writer.

    Write your book.

  49. MJ, I just added that blurb about an hour ago. Both are of the same book. Maybe I'll adopt the first version if that sounded better to you.

    I'm always trying to learn.

  50. Vince, first of all, the book comes out in three weeks. It's really late in the game to make changes.

    Next, I so agree with you, to the extent I understand what you're saying (never a safe assumption). All the conclusions drawn are just whacky I think. Scientists are just GUESSING.

    Sometimes I think even dinosaur bones...were there REALLY dinosaurs or did some underworked scientist stumble into a herd of long dead cattle and just assemble it badly.

    I read so much about fossils for the book releasing in AUGUST, Out of Control. I'll write more about that later, but one story that I found so funny was, one of the premiere paleontologists of the time (I'm not sure that was a word back then) found a dinosaur and he stuck the skull on the TAIL instead of on the neck and declared it a new species. He wasn't lying, he was just WRONG.
    It took YEARS for them to figure it out.

  51. Oh goodness me I love research after all I do have a degree in history LOL! My favorite projects to research were my senior projects in high school and college. I'm a bit of a muscle car fanatic so I did both of my papers on how cars shaped the youth culture and how youth shaped the car culture in the 60s and 70s. My (cough cough) research involved going to as many cars shows as possible, talking to people, and doing Internet searches for car pics. Yeah it was fun getting to share my first love (cars) with my professor and the other students in the class. I think I shocked them all LOL!

    I've never seen any hieroglyphs or cave drawings in real life but those are some interesting interpretations Mary. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  52. I have a degree in history/education. I hate researching and have No. Desire. Ever. to write historical.


    Researching for present day stuff is hard enough without trying to figure out when the word paleontologist started being used... :p

  53. OH, THANK GOD!!! Somebody who takes historical research about as seriously as I do ... only WAY funnier!!

    Mare, when I hear writers talking about all the research they did, I always feel a little intimidated because the extent of my research usually comes from the Web. It's nice to know your research is as off-the-wall funny (no pun intended) as your books, sweetie.


  54. Carol, my daughter brought home a baby goat to bottle feed years ago. The little guys was cute as could be. We had to put him in a dog carrier and haul him up to Montana when we went on vacation about a week later. You can just imagine the looks we got at rest areas when everyone was walking their dogs and we walked our goat, LOL!

  55. I'm crankin' busy here, but had to get over here and read this because now my 4 year old wall artists look positively brilliant.

    Which doesn't mean they didn't get a time-out AND a scrubbie, but it's good to know they're talented and not brain dead.

    The end.

  56. Mary,
    I don't plan on hearing ANY news on Friday - unless its disappointing.
    (Is that better? ;-)


    Next week on Get Lost in a Story blogspot I'm giving away either a puppy or a book or two.

    Haven't decided yet.

    And here, too. Of course it might be a puppy facsimile....

    Two dimemsional photo-style, but hey, a puppy's a puppy, right?


    I love puppies. In summer.

  58. You guys know that even if a contest is 'confidential', a lot of the judges will recognize your work from other contests, right?

    Especially if you've entered a few. Contests grab judges from all over and Genesis isn't over until September. My humble opinion is that you shouldn't have to keep the lid on your work (a good judge doesn't care who you are, or seek to feather your nest, and a bad judge... Oops. Poor you.)

    So talking here shouldn't have an effect on a good judge.

    Over the years I've judged (and no doubt been judged) by lots of people who knew the author. No biggie. At least not to me. A discerning judge won't take into consideration that you have a big mouth and a bigger ego (Sigh...) they'll judge on the basis of writing.

    Let me just say I've thanked God for those judges MANY TIMES!!!

  59. Love the historical graffiti!

  60. Mary! What a cool-sounding book!!

    As an accidental Art History major, I may be able to shed some light on some of your pictographs. What you are taking for carrots look clearly like rabbit tracks to me, making the two critters to the right rabbits, one standing (or roadkill? he looks kinda flat!) and one running. SO this is probably a sign saying "This is a good place to catch rabbits for supper." Your horned dude may be a Kachina, the inner spirit of the goat taking on human form, sort of a goat-god but not quite. However, as an interesting side-note, goats are often associated with evil and with Satan (who is frequently depicted as having a goat's head in Medieval art also) so that may be a good place to stay away from...

    Currently researching my hero & heroine's backstories to flesh them out and putting together a timeline for events in their lives; this is in the mid-19th century so it's been very interesting. Did you know that of the 10 oldest women's seminaries/colleges, 7 of them were in the South? I found that surprising.

  61. Hi Mary,

    I love the research end of writing historical fiction. I love the information I accumulate. Had a wonderful time in November, actually seeing the place I wrote about in my novel. Nothing like first hand experience.

    Jodie Wolfe

  62. PEPPER, your Mad Hatter hat? Now that I've got to see! But keep this one, definitely! :D

    CARA LYNN, where are you? I just finished Love on Assignment. Oh. My. Goodness. You're getting FIVE stars from me, girlie! Congrats on a job well done!!!

    RUTHIE, I JUST picked up your first Allegany men book yesterday and it's next in my tbr pile. Sshh...there were...a few...dozen books ahead of it, but...well...they'll just have to wait. ;-)


  63. Genesis? Finalists? Date? What on earth are you all talking about?

    Hmm...seems I vaguely remember something about a contest...Was it January that I sent that off?

    Oh, well, if I did send it of and if I do end up being a finalist I'll be doing the Snoopy dance. If not, it's conveniently removed from my memory banks. At least that's what I like to tell myself. :D

  64. And for you internet researchers? I'm with you all the way!!!

  65. SteelerGirl, the part of your comment that has me a little stunned, and mildly depressed, is the part where .... there was internet while you were in highschool.


    I think I may be a fossil myself.

  66. I actually prefer my puppies to be two dimentional. Far less need to clean out a litter box.

  67. I'll take a Mary book any day!!! Love the post and comments today!!

  68. EC, I can't tell if you are mocking me or if you're serious.

    I may need some kind of medication to clear it all up.

    So the horned dude is a goat in human form, symbolic perhaps of Satan and it all boils down to a caveman putting up a sign that probably means something like....Keep Off the Grass.

    did I miss anything there? And those might NOT be rabbit tracks or carrots. but if they are, it could be an old bugs bunny cartoon before the guy got a gig at Warner Brothers.

    But it also looked a little like baby footprints, so it might be an ancient birth certificate. Which, just imagine how hard it would be to take that in to get your driver's license!!!!!!

    And also, there are a few faint weird marks that almost like like tennis shoes, the kind that had waffle stomper treads? Anyone remember those?

    So maybe this isn't quite so old after all.

  69. When I was a kid this grandpa-type at church offered to give me and my sister dogs. Mom said YES! We were STOKED!!!! I couldn't have been more than about 8. Tops.

    So we get to church the night he was supposed to bring them. And he did.

    And they were made out of CARPET!

    They were made from carpet scrap cut outs with... something as a dog design on them. I forget what he used. Ribbon or something.

    I tried really really hard to be thankful.

    Then I went to the bathroom and cried.

    I think my dad thought it would be funny. I can't imagine my mom thinking that. But she's long gone and I doubt Dad remembers it...

    Ruthy promised she wasn't cruel, but bringing back memories like that?!


  70. All the talk of graffiti makes me think of the undersides of the bridges and the bridge supports at the lake where my husband fishes.

    Names and dates spray painted hundreds of feet up indicating how high the lake flooded at those times. That's about all the graffiti I see in my sheltered Southern Missouri small-town world. I'm sure there's more around, even in my little town, but I don't see much of it.

    A thought: The guy with the herd of goats could have just been updating his Facebook status to show that he got a new job :)

    I'd love to win Deep Trouble.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  71. Vince said:

    If it were graffiti, I think there would be much more of it.

    I think Rustoleum was harder to come by in those days than it is now. ;) (sorry, I couldn't resist).

    Audra said:

    And really, there is nothing cuter in this universe than a baby goat.

    Audra, dear, you are a much nicer mom than me to allow your child to bring home a baby goat. I abhor goats. I was four and butted in the stomach by a...baby goat. Not newborn, it was just getting little button horns on top. When I was 8 and decided to give goats another chance in the petting zoo at the county fair. One tried to eat my shirt.

    I don't like goats.

    Mary, I saw the waffle stomper treads and was disappointed you didn't mention them before. So glad I wasn't the only one.

  72. Andrea, take comfort in the knowledge that everyone has a goat story.


    What this proves is that if you've ever had dealings with a goat, you've got a story. They're just that weird.

  73. So CarolM, honey, this reminds me of a story my mil likes to tell about a family vacation she took....with her husband and a big chunk of her seven sons. I don't think they were all there.

    They drove through Cedar Rapids, Iowa and my fil said, "We just went past Cedar Rapids.

    And every kid in the car started yelling adn crying because they didn't get to 'see the rabbits'

    My mil tells this in a very TIRED voice.

  74. This sounds like the comments my sisters and I would make. Once we get started, we can zing them out for hours. We're a bit too much fun at a museum so we try not to go together. Too funny!

    For my mystery, I researched how to make cocaine and meth. Not really what I want in my browser history! I also researched handguns, how to check for criminal records, tractor trailer cabs, and pictures of small towns. My problem is that too often I get engrossed in the research or - worse yet - it gives me another story idea that has nothing to do with what I'm writing.

    Thanks for the fun post. I can't wait to read your book! Please enter me!

  75. Mary!

    I love this stuff! I grew up in the southwest and wanted to be an archaeologist before I remembered I can't stand the bugs and snakes that go with all the digging.

    I agree with Julie--thank goodness for someone who takes historical research so seriously. But only you could turn the mystery of petrographs into humor for a Las Vegas club act!

    What a fun post!

  76. Doing research now on the town of Wickenburg, AZ. I have a story set in Wickenburg, but in doing the research, I've discovered so many other interesting events surrounding the town, that I could write several books based there.

    Do I smell a series coming on? Ah, better get the first book written before I worry about a series.

    Great post, Mary - laughed all the way through!

  77. Research can be a dangerous thing, spawning many new ideas, distracting even. But, how much fun! It's one of my favorite pastimes. Those petroglyphs are something. Makes me curious. Like you said we do have to be careful about viewing things from our modern perspective. I'm thinking that man with horns was just making his mark in case anyone questioned him on his property, or leaving his legacy. "See I'm king shepherd here. I have a huge flock of goats. And this land belongs to me!" Either that or the horned man is really the front view of a bull. Maybe someone was just counting their herd.

    I can easily get distracted from my plot and want to put in all these cool historical details I come across to "enrich" the story. Learning my lesson on that.

    Your new book sounds great!! I love an adventure. Looks better than that paranormal book you wrote anyhow!

  78. YAY MOM! I am so excited for your Wickenberg series!

    Mary - in honor of today's elections...

    A couple years ago, DH took my oldest [then about 5?] to vote with him and she got to see fire trucks and stuff. I took my younger two [3 and 18mos or so] to vote with me at a different time.

    My 3yo cried and cried and cried.

    She thought she was gonna get to see a boat. :( It was very sad...

  79. Mary, My second son was CHASED by a goat at a kid's petting zoo when he was about 4 or 5 years old. He literally ran for the fence and climbed over it just in time to get away while his older brother was yelling, trying to distract the goat. :D

  80. I'm just home from work and I


    I can't stand it, I'm so thrilled!!!!!

  81. I didn't even know there was a Rita pin.

  82. Mary, you so totally crack me up! Thank you. I know I've said this over and over, but I know I'm going to owe you for the extra years of life you're giving me by making me laugh. :)

    I don't get to research fun things like alligator men. I usually on research careers and architecture. :)

  83. I love the look of this book too (hey I love all Mary's books) The only research I do is for assignments and it can be so frustrating. One of the subjects gives links to help only its an american site and last accessed in 2003 and nothing to do with the subject. So I understand frustrations of trying to find the right information
    (speaking of which must do the final assignment for this subject today)
    Please enter me
    ausjenny at gmail dot com.
    (am wondering will I ever get use to the clocks changing back! I am more tired this week than I was last week)

  84. Oh, Mary, you always make me laugh out loud! That is one reason I enjoy your books so much. I enjoyed Gabe's character in "Cowboy Christmas" and would like to read more about him in "Deep Trouble." Thank you for doing the research about your locations so that we feel like we are actually in Texas, Montana, or wherever, when we read your books.


  85. Sandra LeeSmith, our very own Seeker Sister has been to the Grand Canyon many times. She lives here there and has been wise enough to go see it.

    She gave me so many little, personal tidbits that helped me visualize things better. I dedicated the book to her.

  86. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraApril 5, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Loved your blog! I have never seen any cave draws but it would be interesting.

  87. Research today is done so much different than years ago.

    ABreading4fu [at] gmail [dot] com

  88. Loved your research, I was laughing at your so true comments. It does look like...
    Well, I'm sure whoever did all that carving on the walls of caves had a good reasom=n to put all that time anf effort into it.

    And did you say Wyoming?
    sign me for that drawing!


  89. We have pictographs on a few cliffs in our neighborhood and I do agree it takes a good imagination to decipher them. It is possible (though I hate to admit it) that your imagination is better than mine.

    I'd love to read a new Mary book!

  90. Hi Laura. I found some really wild stuff in my research, there's the cave in France where the pictographs of petroglyphs or whatever were deep deep deep in a cave and they just are in awe that someone was down so deep adn then drew pictures. Or did the cave sink somehow? Even scientists have a lot of questions about that one.

  91. And that guy with the horns and tail? Maybe it's not horns, maybe it's a hat with horns. Like....Vikings came to the Grand Canyon???????????


    Or maybe it's not a man at all. Maybe it's a woman. Maybe it's the original Fat lady Sings....you know, it ain't over til the fat lady sings?

  92. Mary, I really liked the first home-grown blurb, too. Or maybe unofficial sounds better. :)

  93. I am anxiously awaiting your May release, Mary. I so enjoyed your post. I truly can't imagine your family getting sick of your wit! You can guess the most research I do is shopping on the line but I do research disabilities my students have and interventions that will help them overcome or deal with them. I would love to enter this drawing, although, I will buy the book anyway. I loved Christmas Cowboy and look forward to this next book.

  94. I might just adopt that first blurb at least part of the time, then.

  95. Hi, Denise! Thanks for stopping in.
    I need to just get in my car and come over and HAND YOU A BOOK!!!!!!!

  96. Faye, I don't think its probably good of me to get so sarcastic. I just can't seem to STOP!!!!!!

  97. It's to the point now that no matter what I see, I'm always thinking, what snarky thing could I say about that for my blog.

    Now I ask you, is that any way to live your life?????

  98. Apple Blossom you are soooooo right. I do so much of mine online.
    I can't quite figure out how I'd do it otherwise.

    Probably John Wayne Movies and Louis L'Amour.

  99. But what about other eras? Eras that don't have their own movies and books to refer to. I suppose you'd just have to make it up!!!!!!!!

  100. Hilarious post, Mary! Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh. I look forward to reading, Deep Trouble.

  101. Now that I have crawled back into my chair (laughed so hard the wheels rolled out from under me)I have to say I loved your post today Mary. I can't say that I have ever seen any petroglyphs but I have seen my share and then some of graffiti. :)

    I am just a begginner in the world of research but I am finding I can get lost for hours doing the deed. Case in point. I visited a Civil War museum in Kennesaw, GA. A small museum (you can get through the whole museum in less then an hour). I stood at one wall for two hours looking at uniforms and a doctor's kit. I think I assisted in a few Civil War surgeries in that time (after all I am a trained surgical tech). My imagination ran away with me. Anyway, my family had to come in and drag me out. Was I surprised to see the sun was setting as I emerged from the museum. I must be more disciplined with my time. I must. I must.

    Would love to have my name tossed into the hat for your new book Mary. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  102. Mary, if belly laughs are good for you, I have a month's supply from reading your post. You sounded soooo much like Mary Maxwell on this one. One of her quotes: "If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane."

    I neeeeeed your book! I'd looooove your book! I'll reeeeeed your book in one sitting! I'll talk it around, I'll bring chocolate chip cookes, I'll..... You get the picture? I have more if you need it.

  103. This blog was cool in many respects (a. I love research; b. I love reading books about areas I'm familiar with; and c. I've visited several petroglyphs, mostly close to Page, AZ).
    Sooo--enter me in the drawing and count me as a petroglyph fan (and I think the one is not an alligator but a lizard, which are prolific in that area). (Such an unromantic spoilsport)

  104. I ALSO thought I could win a cow!! SOOOO bummed.

    Oh well. SUCH a fun post. Please enter me for the book

  105. Hey Mary,
    Love your books cannot wait to read this one!!!
    bluejay at hwyman dot com

  106. Lucky you! You've actually been to some of the locations I've only had the pleasure to visit online.

    I read somewhere, a million sites of ago, that Lewis and Clark met giants.

    Maybe they met the horned guy too. Most likely that information is locked away with the true, full account of their journey. LOL

    I was researching for my WIP. It's a historical adventure.

    But seriously, I need to take control of my research. I tend to follow the first juicy tangent I run into and end up eons away from what I was researching.

    Your book sounds like my cup of tea. I can't wait to read it

  107. I'm no author but I love to read your books. Since finding Seekerville, I'm learning a lot about the authors I knew already and also finding a lot of new authors...and tons of new books. Thank you all so much!

  108. I'm no author but I love to read your books. Since finding Seekerville, I'm learning a lot about the authors I knew already and also finding a lot of new authors...and tons of new books. Thank you all so much!