Where to you get your ideas…a fable

It’s a recurring question I get, Where do you get your ideas.

For a long time I just thought it was one of those impossible to answer questions.

Then I decided I’d better figure it out and I came up with a nice little explanation for where I got my ideas.

Where do you get your ideas????????????????

Now, lately I’ve decided I’m misunderstanding the question. People don’t really mean ‘where do you get your ideas.’ Instead I think they mean ‘how do you get it all together.’ Not how do you get the idea for the book, but how do you get all the details figured out, put in order, set up so the story whizzes along. Now THAT is a mysterious question. My mom says it this way, “I don’t know how you do it.”

And it is a little strange not just that ideas come to life in my head, or I read something and it sparks an idea for a whole book, that happens a lot. But all the pieces, all the DETAILS, that’s what I think people are really asking when they say, “Where do you get your ideas.”

Anyway, while I pondered this I got to thinking about all the strange elements that need to come together to create a full length book, with characters who are three dimensional and true to themselves,

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who learn and grow. Characters who have trouble in their past that cause struggles and fears in their present. And I was thinking about the DETAILS of that and how the Cimarron Legacy series came to life and I remembered some of what sparked the idea for the book.

And this fable I read popped into my head. This fable is my own slightly fictionalized version of a TRUE fable I read. About a real mesa that had sheer sides and no trail to the top…with a city on top of it.

And the fable of how that city got up there and where the people went who build those buildings on a mesa with no way up.

So I am sharing today, a legend that was in NO WAY UP and included it in this post to give you an idea of one of the many, many steps I took to create a four book series.

Then once the mesa was explained, we had the adult and very TOUGH children of a rancher. This second generation is fighting to save the ranch while the father is healing and a LONG TIME GONE.

And included in my research of these New Mexico mesas, I found; Spanish Land Grants. a war that changed the borders of two nations, the Philmont Scout Ranch…and I found GOLD. Yes, I have a gold mine, an old one, dug deep, in fact some might say they dug TOO FAR DOWN!!!

All these elements wouldn’t even FIT in one book. So I’m glad I had four. Don’t forget the free novella prequel, which is coming out in print next year if you don’t read ebooks, but it’ll cost money then! 🙂

The Boden Birthright The story that began it all. Free in all ebook formats.

Too Far Down, book four of this series released this month. To celebrate I’m pondering the whole series and I remembered one of the original elements and this old fable, twisted by me, to make it fit my story.

The Myth of el Caletra Meseta

“It’s a very ancient legend, handed down by the old ones who lived atop that mesa and they had a hidden way into the heart of the mountain.”

“The men were hunters and the women tilled the soil. They would come down from on top of their impregnable fortress every day, do their work, then return to el Caletra Meseta to sleep. A single man, standing guard, could fight off an army. Our home here at Meseta Blanco is the same.”

“And then one day the Evil Below the Earth shook the world until it split apart. The hand of the Evil One reached up and dragged the stairs into the belly of the earth as if they’d never been. It came during the day so many were off the mesa top, but the villagers who were trapped on high faced death as their food and water dwindled. They called out to the Creator of All Things.

“Their cries were answer. The Creator came as a great wind, swept them up and carried them in cradling arms to safety. Though they had carved the stairs and could carve more, they believed the stairs collapsing was a warning and they feared He would not send the wind the next time, and they would be stranded forever. They found other homes and many of their stories vanished along with them. But this one remains.”

The story of el Caletra…a myth grounded in truth.

All civilizations have myths. Tell me one you know to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Too Far Down.

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

29 thoughts on “Where to you get your ideas…a fable”

  1. What a great post, Mary. I think you nailed it when you wrote about the magnitude of getting all the details together. I think serious readers too need to be highly alert to the details (in the order and how the author presents them) in order to fully understand what the author’s telling us in their work.

    The origin myth I’m very aware of is the Oglala Lakota’s of coming from out of the earth–and from a very particular place (hole) in the Hills–which is also very tied to their belief system regarding Mother Earth (and Father Sky). They come from Mother Earth and then go back to her, but also get directions during life from Father Sky. I was very very lucky to be able to work with them for a number of years and to hear their beliefs firsthand. A lifetime experience i truly value.

  2. Love your myth story. Fascinating. The only one I know, and it may not be considered a myth, is the missing Roanoke Colony. I always mean to find out more about what happened, but then I don’t. Enjoyed reading how this series developed!

    • Sally, I love that story.
      Something no one talks about much, (a Louis L’Amour book called “To the Far Blue Mountains” kind of does) is how many European people were in America but alone. Just one man, only a few thousand of them, but they just lived her. No towns. If they had a family it was their only connection.
      Those people from Roanoke all seem to have vanished, but I wonder how many of them were just gone from that place but living inland somewhere.

  3. What a great post and I always wonder where your ideas come from so I really enjoyed the post. I don’t know a lot of myths and there is only one that comes to mind right now and it was about a small tunnel the went through this rock and I was told as a kid someone hung his self in that tunnel.

  4. Loved the story. It always fascinates me reading about myths. There are so many it’s hard to know what is real or not.

  5. Everyone (around here, anyway) knows how Minnesota got so many lakes: Paul Bunyan needed to go out cutting wood (being the world’s most famous lumberjack and all), but his giant blue ox Babe was being ornery, so he tied him up instead of taking him along. Before too long, Babe broke loose from his chains and Paul Bunyan had to chase him up and down the state, leaving their footprints all over. Then it began raining and the footprints filled in with water, and Minnesota acquired its 10,000+ lakes.

    I’m pretty Paul and Babe are responsible for half the geography in this country.

  6. What a great post, Mary. I loved learning about your thought process — and I love how a story comes altogether, also. : )

  7. This is more of a personal “story “instead of a myth. When I was a kid we had a play area in our trees and one of the trees I really thought three bears lived in the tree and I had a button on the tree I would push and the Bears would come down to play with me

  8. I am originally from the Adirondack Region of Northern New York State. Whiteface Mountain is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Park and the site of winter Olympic training and competition. There are several legends about how it got its name and this is one I found easier to copy from the Whiteface website than to phrase myself. Like so many Indian legends it involves a young couple in live.

    Those of us who love the Adirondacks in northern New York often gaze at the lofty White Face Mountain near Lake Placid with admiration. To the people of the Iroquois Indians of centuries ago, the Adirondack region was the land of legends and myths—the land of romance. The mountains, they believed, were home to many great gods, and it was here that the mysterious Great Bear roamed, regarding which many an adventurous tale was told. The mountain lakes, they said, were the tears of the gods and the Great White Stag was seen in the gray mists that hung about the head of White Face Mountain. It is told that a certain young brave was much in love with a beautiful Indian maiden and did much to please her but she was not contented as she wanted the skin of the White Stag to make a ceremonial dress. So the young brave spent many an hour trying to kill the noble animal but without success. Finally, one night the mists about the mountain lifted and there, standing on a rocky ledge, bathed in the light of the Sister of the Sun, stood the Great White Stag. Now it seems that the young warrior had been given two magic arrows by an old Indian whom he had fed and befriended. Quickly he fitted both arrows to his bow and just as they sang through the air the White Stag leaped straight up the barren, rocky face of the mountain. So powerful was the magic of the two arrows that they pierced the neck and the haunch of the stag and pinned his body against the precipice and there it hung, but try as he would the warrior could not scale the steep crest of the mountain to claim his quarry. The next day the body of the stag had disappeared but the space where it had hung had turned from a stone gray and black to white, and from then on the mountain has been known to us as White Face. Even now it is said that those who see with the eyes of romance can distinguish in the mountain mists the form of the White Stag standing alert on a rocky ledge just below the white face of the mountain.

  9. We lived on Guam in the early 70’s . There was a myth going around that the island( 10 miles by 20 miles roughly) was on large pillars and that you could go underneath the island in a submarine! A true story was that the last surviving Japanese Soldier was discovered while we were there. Our Sunday school young marrieds class took a tour to see where he lived in the boonies! But I didn’t go because I would have had to hike and I was very pregnant at the time. Really fun post!

  10. There’s a state park near me called Rocks, named for the “rock seats” named the King and Queen seat formations on a rock outcrop. According to legend, this was the ceremonial gathering place for the Susquehannock Indians. There’s no evidence to support this, but the legend attracted trainloads of tourists in the 1800s. There’s not much left of the railway except for the trails and the skeletons of the bridge supports. Many people do rock climbing on the face of the mostly verticle outcrop, but it’s dangerous and many have been injured or worse from falls.

  11. Hi Mary. Very interesting story. When my mother was a young wife and pregnant, there was a myth that if you saw something awful like when she helped one of my dad’s grandad who’s face was bad with cancer that had his nose eaten up and other parts of his face, people said if you are around bad things when you were pregnant your baby would not be normal. But, her baby w as born just normal. And the Indians believed they would die if they went into their burial grounds. Would love to be for winner. Thanks for a chance.

  12. I don’t really know a myth. I do know an old wives’ tale that my own mama told me when I was pregnant. I was hanging clothes on the line and she told me not to lift my hands above my head for if I did, the cord would be wrapped around my baby’s neck.
    Another one is this: an older lady at church told me not to trim my baby’s fingernails with a clipper until she was a year old. If you did, they baby would turn into a thief. You had to bite them.
    Another one: if you let a baby look in a mirror before they turned one year old, they’d die young.
    Another one: Dont’ let them be weaned until they cut all their teeth! Goodness, they didn’t finish getting teeth till they were two!

  13. Hi Mary, I wasn’t able to check P&P yesterday but I’m so glad I did this morning because I enjoyed reading your posts and the comments. I was born in a hospital about 20 miles from my parent’s home and it served a large area for many years. Funding for a new hospital was received when this hospital was deemed outdated. There were plans to convert the closed hospital into housing but many reports over the years have told of voices being heard, the sound of babies crying and even the clang of hospital carts going down the halls. You guessed it…no housing there! I know this sounds more like a ghost story than myth!!

  14. I LOVE your books. I’ve re-read all of them many times over. I’m re-reading Sophie’s Daughters right now. This might be the 6th time I’ve read this series. I love how your characters in previous books show up in another series down the road.

    Being a Wyoming native, I have to share the myth of Devil’s Tower.
    According to the Native American folklore, a group of girls went out to play. They were spotted by several giant bears. The bears began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb.

    I love that story and believe it’s true even though I know it’s a myth.

  15. Loved your post, Mary. I don’t believe I know of any myths right off hand, but I do enjoy reading about them.

    Cindy W.

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