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Archives | Sylvia McNicoll

Arizona Libraries


Not sure if you can enjoy the great panorama of White Tank Branch Library.

You can play spot the Sylvia in the photo. Outside there’s a park full of my favourite cacti, the Saguaro.
I also visited Tombstone Public Library as it was right next door to the Wild West show and we had 15 minutes to spare.
I find librarians the best source for local tourist hotspots, they can tell the truth about restaurants etc, where as government tourist people have to remain unbiased. They know the history of towns better and plus they like books and are often thrilled to meet a writer.
The librarian at Tombstone was exceptionally friendly and asked for a business card, promising to buy my book as well as my traveling buddy Gisella Sherman’s.
I also visited Phoenix Pubic Library to thank the “Ask the Librarian” for all their previous e-suggestions on what books are set in Arizona. When you respond to same, there’s no inbox to accept your thanks. That librarian wanted to know if I was hoping to “break into the U.S”.
“No,” I answered. “I’ve written for 25 years and lots of my books are in the U.S. Just not in this library.” She took my bookmark to order Last Chance for Paris but I’m sure, as an urban librarian, she was a bit jaded, perhaps even besieged by budding (or ageing)writers.
But the library was gorgeous with a pond in the middle and wide open spaces throughout.
All three libraries were worth the mini detours.

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Bringing Up Piggy

While I’m known for writing about Beauty the dog, in Arizona we went horseback riding ’cause I love horses. Mac, my steed, apparently has been on TV as bounty hunter Dog’s ride.

Well, Mac, I’m a bit of a celebrity myself as I’ve been on Sonja Dunn’s television show reading from Bringing Up Beauty.
For the trail ride I brought my shockproof, waterproof, dustproof camera (love it!) but sadly it is not idiot proof. I left the camera on after downloading so there was no battery left and hence no riding shots of me and my fellow cowboys.
My husband only took photos with his high-potential-for disaster camera before the ride when all the farmyard animals befriended me. As I was patting an Australian shepherd puppy, this pig came up and nuzzled me for attention. I felt like a barnyard Cinderella when the chicken came up from behind to check me out.

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Animals of Arizona (the ones I’ve spotted anyway)






Trying to blog while on hotel internet is always a bit of a challenge. I’m trying to upload photos of the animals I’ve spotted on holiday so far. First was the famed javelina, which seems a lot like a wild boar only smaller. We saw a mom and her baby cross the street a car ahead of me. In an effort to alert my friend Gisela and her hubbie, driving in back of us, I honked and made Mommy Javelina rush into the bushes. No real photo only this lovely statue in tribute to her. They’re usually grey coloured not pink.

At every rest stop in Arizona there’s a sign warning of dangerous snakes and poisonous scorpions. I keep my eyes peeled but never spotted anything but this lovely lizard. Let’s hope my photos land close to my description. No such luck. This must be what publishing children’s novels was like in the early 20th century.
At the Arizona Desert Museum, we saw mountain lions, rattlers, bears and racoons. In the Grand Canyon Park, we saw these mules. You can ride these guys down Angel Trail to the bottom of the canyon if you book a couple years in advance and pay a few hundred dollars.
Then I saw this black Lab at the canyon. He was very friendly, wagging hopefully anytime anyone came within patting range. His owner told me his name was Kay-oh-
tay. “Oh, he doesn’t look like a coyote,” I said. “No,” he explained, “Kayohtay means wolf in First Nations.” Yeah, well he doesn’t look like a wolf either.
Why I took his photo was Kayohtay was desperately trying to join his owner on this stone fence. Where is this fence? Overlooking the Grand Canyon. “Noooooo! Don’t stand there!” I wanted to shout. “I wrote about this once and it doesn’t end well, trust me.”
Finally, I spotted this brave squirrel who posed for me in an effort to extract treats from me.
“No feeding the wild life!” I told him as I snapped away. His good natured scurrying about against the vastness of rocky beauty behind him still makes me smile. We should never be daunted.

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Standing at the edge of my life




Here I am standing at the edge of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon.

The wind blows strong here and it’s jaw droppingly beautiful. Everyone waits, camera poised, for the sunset. Then the whole sky glows and the clouds become eerie wisps but the canyon turns too dark.
You have to keep the moment perfectly in your heart instead of on your camera.

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