Monday, May 14, 2018

Chaco Canyon and The Turquoise Legacy

It’s fascinating for those of us who write flying by the seat of our pants when ideas and settings fall into our laps. I’d written My Heart Will Find Yours, a time travel romance that involves an antique turquoise locket. The stone has magical powers and transports Texanna Keith back to 1876 Waco, Texas.
I wanted to write a sequel and knew the story would be set in the present, would include time travel, and revolve around an ancestor of Texanna's. Her great-granddaughter, Madison, travels back to 1000 A.D. My research began with turquoise in the Southwest and boy-o-boy, I hit a goldmine—Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The sequel is Flames on the Sky.
Chaco Canyon from above.
Interestingly enough, my husband and I had visited Santa Fe and Madrid, New Mexico and been on part of the Turquoise Trail, though unfortunately we did not visit the Carrillo Mines where the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon obtained most of their turquoise back around 1000 AD. Chaco Canyon was a center of trade and prosperous during their time trading turquoise for items not available to them in the canyon. Remains of parrots and macaws, seashells and other artifacts indicate traders came from far distances to barter with the Anasazi.
The Anasazi occupied Chaco Canyon between 850 AD and 1100 AD. No one knows exactly where they went or what happened to them. There are several theories surrounding the mystery. The one I prefer to believe is they migrated to live with other Pueblo tribes. 
Fajada Butte
Chaco Canyon is a mysterious place and covers a vast amount of space. Pueblo Bonito also the center of an elaborate solar calendar:  all of the buildings are either part of the solar calendar that traces the 18.5-year lunar cycle.” It includes ten buildings, some of which are believed to have been five stories high. “
A large rock structure, Fajada Butte, is seen as you enter the canyon. “Concentric circles carved in the rock, with slabs of rock placed in just such a way that would make the light passing through turn into a dagger which, when it hit the circles would reveal the solstices and equinoxes.”
There archaeologist discovered a sun calendar that has been named “The Anasazi Dagger.”
Cliff Drawings
Calendar—Una Vida
It is now believed that the entire Chaco Canyon, the way that its buildings were placed, the directions of the roads, etc. indicate they were aligned so as to line up with the arch of the sun and moon on important dates of the year.
Though Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonita
Una Vida from the trail
is the most impressive structure, my story revolves around Una Vida as it is nearer the visitor’s center and the setting was perfect for the scenes I created back in 1000 AD.
If you’ve not visited Chaco Canyon, you should stop by if you’re ever in the neighborhood. 

References: photo of Fajada Butte and photo 2 of sundagger.

Links of interest: this site has interactive videos showing solstice patterns and lighting changes in the canyon.

“Marshal, you gotta come quick.”
            Royce quickened his step and wondered what now?
            A large crowd gathered in front of Hans’ Saloon.       “Shoot her in the foot.” He recognized the baritone immediately. It was Hans. “If you don’t, she’s going to hurt someone else. I think she’s already broke Jason’s arm.”
            She?Royce broke into a run. What the hell was going on? They’d never had a woman cause trouble before.
            A female resounded, “Don’t come any closer, leave me alone.” She attempted to sound controlled, but her voice became shriller with each word. But still not at all like what he’d expect of a woman gone wild.
            Jason’s voice, filled with pain, broke through the mumbling of the crowd. “Stop...stay back...she’s scared. Royce a minute.” Jason’s statement ended with a groan.
            “Yeah, well I’m not going to let the Missus’ hurt anyone else,” said Hans.
            Royce shoved his way through the crowd. He glanced quickly at Jason to see if he was breathing, then turned to the woman the crowd had backed up against the boardwalk in front of the saloon. Hans eased behind her and quickly caught her under the arms and locked his hands behind her head. Head pushed forward, the woman fought to break Hans’ hold. She kicked backwards but Hans lifted her off the ground and swung her from side to side so her feet couldn’t make contact. 
“Hurry up, Marshal, get some cuffs on her. How else you gonna get her home?” 
A quick scan of the woman indicated she didn’t have a weapon strapped to her side or in her hands. His gaze moved from the unusual shoes she wore, up indecently clad legs encased in denim pants. How else could he describe it? When his eyes reached her torso, his body jerked in response. Beautiful breasts were fully outlined by a skintight blouse. Her pebbled nipples showed through the thin, pink fabric. His face burned with anger. It was down right scandalous. No decent woman would dress so provocatively. Then he noticed the flame-colored curls. Hans eased his hold, and her head jerked up. His eyes met hers, and his heart stopped. God, she’s beautiful. He looked at her face again and thought he’d faint from sheer joy. His bliss quickly turned to rage.
With a growl, he bit out, “Get your hands off my wife.” At least, he thought it was his wife. The hair was the same, but her eyes were bluer, her nose thinner, and damned if she didn’t have kohl on her eyebrows and lashes.

Excerpt:  Flames on the Sky

Madison felt as if she’d traveled to the Twilight Zone. Lilly’s claims were preposterous, but, she couldn’t deny what she’d seen on the cliff face or the dreams.
           “Yes, you need to tell me about the dreams. They started at the time you received the necklace, right?”
          Madison nodded. “How did you know?”
           “I assumed the ancient Elders would haunt you, but when Lonan called yesterday, I knew so for a fact.” Her smile was sympathetic. “Tell me about them.”
          Lilly’s eyes lit with excitement as Madison talked. When she finished, the older woman leaned back and closed her eyes.
          Lonan’s brow was furrowed, his mouth pinched. “What did you mean when you said, ‘You are the one.’?”
           She pierced him with an intent look. “Did not Madison say you were the very image of the warrior in her dream? The prophecy requires that someone from the past, which is you, son, be chosen to be Madison’s protector.” Lilly turned to Madison. 
           Oh, no. I don’t think I want to hear this. She held up her hands and shook her head. “No—”
           “Yes, Madison, with hair of fire, whether you like it or not, the Gods chose you, someone from the future, to find the third stone and reunite the twins with the mother stone. Together, you two will find a way to consign the evil one to the pit below mother earth where he belongs.”       Flames on The Sky

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading and Writing!

Linda LaRoque


  1. Hi Linda, Loved the excerpts from your books. I camped with my husband, sleeping-bags-on-the-ground, in magical Chaco Canyon. Awakening at dawn, I truly felt the presence of the Ancient Ones. Thanks for this return trip! Arletta

    1. Hi Arletta. I can imagine how moving it was to wakeup at dawn in Chaco Canyon. It is a magical place. I hope you will read Flames on the Sky as I think you can relate to the happenings there. I'd be happy to send you a copy, your choice of format, for an honest review. Let me know.

    2. Linda, What a gift that would be and I'd be happy to write a review. I just ordered "My Heart Will Find Yours" on Kindle. With vision problems just now, Kindle works best for me. Thank You, Arletta

    3. Wonderful, Arletta. I hope you enjoy Texanna's story. Email me at with your email address and I'll send you a Kindle copy of Flames on the Sky. I'm thrilled you're reading them both.

  2. Linda,

    I'm familiar with Chaco Canyon, but I've never been there. What a fascinating place. Your pictures are wonderful.

    1. Hi Kaye, I hope if you're ever in the neighborhood you will visit. It really inspired me and enhanced my imagination.

  3. We've been to Chaco Canyon several times--every time wondering if the bad road would take out the bottom of our car. ☺ We bought the video of the Sun Dagger and have enjoyed it several times. It's probably on YouTube by now. Chaco Canyon is one of those national treasures everyone should see at least once.

    1. I agree, especially if a person is interested in history. Yeah, that road is terrible. Maybe one day they'll pave it. I think the video is is now on one of the websites I listed, but not sure.

  4. This is such fascinating research for places to relate to your stories. I love time travel stories. They aren't easy to write.
    I wish you great success with My Heart Will Find Yours and Flames in the Sky.

    1. I do love research, Sarah, especially when I can travel to a place and see things for myself. Thank you for your well-wishes.


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