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September 15, 2021

Learn more about The Mackenzie Chronicles setting: a guest post by Brenda Whiteside (@brendawhitesid2)

I met a guy on a trip to San Francisco when I was seventeen. While dancing under psychedelic lights, Jim Morrison cranking out the lyrics to a Doors song, he asked me where I lived. When I told him Arizona, he said, “Do you have grass in Arizona?” And he was referring to the kind we water and mow. Considering I grew up in Phoenix, the question wasn’t too ridiculous and alludes to why I never really liked my hometown.

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Mystery on Spirit Mountain
September 2021; Indie; 979-8458041911
ebook, print (222 pages); romantic suspense

Decades later, having lived in six states and two countries, I am back in Arizona. But now we live in Central Arizona, high desert. Yes, we have some cactus and plenty of rocks, but also wild grasses, numerous trees, and beautiful wildflowers in the spring and early summer. We are thirty minutes away from pine-covered mountains and snow in the winter. 

This is the Arizona that inspires me. And while I write, FDW fishes, and our rescue dog, who came with the name Amigo, snoozes in the sun on the patio.

The mountains of Arizona are as varied as the flora and fauna. By us they are rocky and remote. You need a four-wheeler to go exploring. Take that half-hour drive and enter the cool pines of the Mogollon Rim country, small lakes and streams, and towns where you want to stop and have a bite in the mom-and-pop cafes. Drive another hour and a half—down off the Mogollon Rim, into the Verde Valley, and then back up a mountain road into the Black Hills of Yavapai County—and enter Jerome. Jerome, renamed Joshua, is the inspiration for my latest series, The MacKenzie Chronicles. The series is set in present-day Joshua, Arizona, an 1800s mining town, turned ghost town, turned hippie haven, and now a tourist town, hanging on the side of Spirit Mountain.
My family would take day trips to Jerome, once known as “the wickedest town in the west” and explore the ruins. Those days, we could imagine living in the wild west. A few decades later, when the hippies descended on Jerome, squatting, then buying land and turning it into the artsy capital of Arizona, I loved roaming the streets. Now, there are wine tasting rooms, high-end art, and plenty of events. But the town looks much as it did in the 1920s and 1930s.

I get to Jerome every chance I can. The MacKenzie Chronicles will take you there.

(the ebook is a free read for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

Convinced she was born to be an artist, Brenda never took her love of writing seriously. And then one day, sometime after college, after marrying a man doing a stint in the army, and after the birth of her son, she found more satisfaction filling a blank page with words than an empty canvas with color.

Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the prairie in Northern Arizona and the RV life. At home or in the RV, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing my article and giving your readers a glimpse of Arizona.