To Emilia:  I will be in Tucson for the Book Fair, signing on March 15 and being on two panels March 16.  I don’t have any plans to go to Phoenix.  These days I tend to hide out in Portal (also known as the Bubble by residents) where it’s still 1951.  To Maddie:  Thank you for responding to my note on the dire situation in Mexico.  There are many charities out there, but I don’t know them well enough to recommend one.  What the Mexicans need is a stable government that protects its own citizens and only they can achieve it.  There was a big shoot-out in Agua Prieta a few days ago.  That is on the Arizona/Mexico border just south of Douglas, and about sixty miles south of us.  We think it was a battle for control of the plaza between the Sinaloa and possibly the Zeta cartels.  This is bad news because our part of the border was quiet so long as the Sinaloas ran the show.  “Control of a plaza” means control of a town.  If the residents resist the cartels have been known to literally destroy a town to put fear into everyone else.

On to my main topic, GRAVEYARD.  I am writing a new book for ages 9 to 12+ called Fifteen Miles to Snockum Town.  The title is based on a game my brother used to play when we were young and stuck on a long car trip.  All cars then were black and had no air conditioning.  In the Arizona sun they heated up like ovens.  Our car had a top speed of 50 mph, but usually went 30.  The water in the radiator used to boil every few miles, slowing us down even further.

We kids would go nuts after the first few hours.  My brother and sister were a lot older than I was, so the game involved them.  Lee invented a place called Snockum Town.  It had ice cream and cold drinks.  It had a swimming pool with a waterfall you could sit under, and so forth.  He built up this place until my sister was almost rabid with the desire to get there, but unfortunately Snockum Town was always fifteen miles away.  No matter how fast you travelled, you never got there.

My book is placed in a valley between the Peloncillo and Chiricahua Mountains.  Harold and I went out to explore the Peloncillos to describe them, but unfortunately there are almost no roads there.  The roads that do exist are somewhat dangerous.  We went through a small cemetery to get close and were stopped cold by a grave site.  It was for a baby girl called Angelica Gomez who only lived for eleven days seventeen years ago.  Most parents grieve for a while when this happens and go on with life, but not these parents.  The grave had a stone angel, flowers, a bookcase full of toys, a tricycle, a wheelbarrow and a wagon for the child to play with.  There was a tiny Christmas tree and a cell phone to call home because this angel is now seventeen years old and would want a cell phone.  The photos were taken last year by a friend of mine, Alice Newton.  This year statues of three children reading a book have been added to provide, I would guess, playmates.  Someone visits this grave regularly.

When we saw it, all thoughts of exploring the Peloncillos went out of our heads.  The grave is now included in the new book.

1/24/2014 04:27:46 am

Access into the Peloncillo mountains is generally by foot from the west side and there are other routes besides the cemetery. Is this the grave you encountered on your way into the Pelocillo's?

1/24/2014 06:04:47 am

Yes, this is the grave we saw. If you look down farther on my website you'll see Alice's photos. We do know some ways into the Peloncillos by car, but the roads are bad and some are blocked off (such as the Skeleton Canyon road). Do you know anything about the parents of Angelica?

1/25/2014 11:03:48 pm

No, I do not. But the name Gomez suggests Junior Gomez in Rodeo may know and I would suggest he might be a good lead for more information.

1/29/2014 03:08:32 am

I'll make SURE I make it out there!!! :) Thanks for the info!

2/6/2014 06:08:55 am

I had no other way to contact you and I just HAD to because I literally just finished "The Lord of Opium" (about 5 minutes ago).
My reading teacher had us read "The House of the Scorpion when I was in eighth grade and I'm now a freshman in college. It's been my favorite book since then. You should be proud because I am a reading junkie and I've read A LOT between then and now. Haha.
But as soon as my library got this book on the shelves I went and got it, yesterday. I've had a lot of time on my hands with classes being cancelled.
The book was fantastic and I've idolized your writing since I was 13, I'd give almost anything to have a writing talent!
If the library has any more of your books, I might look into them but I don't think anything can trump "House of the Scorpion" in my eyes.
Come up with a new story soon please! I loved it so much because I'm not into love stories in the slightest and even though Matt and María were in love, it wasn't too gushy. I'm sorry I just keep talking, this is like talking to a celebrity for me!
Oh and p.s., the day "House of the Scorpion" gets made into a movie, I'll more than happily play an eejit!

2/6/2014 03:24:43 pm

I'd be too twitchy to play an eejit! I can't wait for the movie XD That comment made me happy, I'm a huge fan too. House of the Scorpion has always been the best thing ever for me. It's so hard for anything to compare.

2/7/2014 04:02:43 am

Lol, I'd be an awesome eejit! My friends and I, since we all read it in school, use call each other eejits in place of idiot all the time! It's funny to think about how long we've been doing that! It's been about 6 years!

2/10/2014 04:28:23 am

Aw! I'm so jealous, none of my friends will read the book, I keep trying to get them to. The one time I got the chance, We made all kinds of really really ridiculous lord of Opium jokes! I'm 23 and I used to work in an office, so at one point i was hiding in my cubicle telling my friend I'd put him into my freezer ( I was being Listen) and he made this deep gravely 'Glass Eye' voice and said "Mmm leftovers" XD

10/28/2014 10:36:50 am

Have you put anymore thought into creating a sequel or a new series about the characters in the Trolls Trilogy?


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