Day 6 of our virtual U.S. Road Trip and it has been so much fun so far. Yesterday we where in California with blogger Stacee at Adventures of a Book Junkie which you can check out here
Today we are in Colorado with author Devin O’Branagan. Colorado is a state I have wanted to visit so this see what awaits us in Colorado. Over to Devin.
The beauty of Colorado is truly beyond description. It is a state of extremes, notable for its diverse geography: alpine mountains, arid plains, deserts with huge sand dunes, deep canyons, sandstone and granite rock formations, rivers, lakes, and lush forests. The elevation ranges from 3,317 feet at the lowest point to a height of 14,440 feet. Weather is wild, with temperature shifts of 80 degrees common in a single day. It is magnificent.
Colorado is famous for its popular ski resorts and gold-mining towns with their historic ambiance restored, now mining wealth via their gambling casinos. Culture abounds in film festivals, theatrical performances, art galleries, fabulous symphonies, and a myriad of talented authors. (I think the Muses have blessed the water here.)
The world’s only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect, outdoor amphitheater is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a rock structure ten miles west of Denver. The venue seats 9,450 people and is located in Red Rocks Park, part of the Denver MountainParks system. There is no better place to hear a rock concert, and many famous bands have recorded albums there.
Every year Denver hosts the world’s largest rodeo, the Western Stock Show and Rodeo. Established over a hundred years ago, it is an annual event now attended by over 600,000 people.
At the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is the small town of Crestone. It’s called “the Shambala of the Rockies” and is considered by many to be one of the most spiritual places on the planet. Once sacred to Native Americans, the area now hosts a variety of spiritual centers: Tibetan Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Native American . A high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist lama recently said that the area is one of two or three places on Planet Earth best suited for retreat practice. Even the mountains have a sacred name— Sangre de Cristo, the Blood of Christ.
Did I mention that Colorado is a place of extremes Coloradoans are a quirky lot, evidenced by the following examples:
- Rocky Mountain Oysters are a popular food. They are fried bull testicles.
- Coloradoans have always enjoyed getting high. (I blame it on the altitude.) Colorado repealed alcohol prohibition in 1932, a year before the federal government did. In 2012 Colorado was one of the first two states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Colorado wines, made from superior Vitis vinifera grapes grown in the highest elevation vineyards in the United States— as well as cherries, peaches, plums and honey— have won top national and international awards for their quality. Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state. However, I’m not implying we’re all lushes and stoners. Actually, according to the Gallup Poll, Colorado consistently ranks in the top ten healthy states. In 2012, Colorado received the number one spot. Our population is simply free-spirited.
- Frozen Dead Guy Days is an annual festival held in the town of Nederland to celebrate the 1994 discovery of a cryogenically frozen man’s body in a Tuff Shed. Events include coffin races, frozen tee-shirt contests, Frozen Dead Guy lookalike contests, and the Parade of Hearses. There are tours of the infamous Tuff Shed where the body still remains, frozen in dry ice; a polar plunge for those brave enough to go swimming in early March (which generally requires breaking through the ice); and a dance called “Grandpa’s Blue Ball.” Glacier Ice Cream, headquartered in the nearby city of Boulder, makes a flavor specifically for the festival (named, appropriately enough, Frozen Dead Guy). It consists of fruit-flavored blue ice cream mixed with crushed Oreo cookies and sour gummy worms. As bizarre as this all sounds, thousands of people attend every year. In a 2015 poll conducted by USA Today asking readers to name the top ten cultural events in the world, Frozen Dead Guy Days ranked #5. Frozen Dead Guy Days won the Governor’s Award for “Best Promotional Event in Colorado,” and Reader’s Digest named it one of the “Top Five Winter Festivals in the Country.” Seriously.
Books set in Colorado:
- Most notably, several of Stephen King’s books are set in Colorado because he lived in Boulder for a time. Portions of The Stand take place in Boulder. And the hotel in The Shining, The Overlook, was actually based on The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. King was inspired to write the novel after he and his wife spent a night there in 1974. According to the staff, the Kings arrived a day before the hotel was set to close for winter, and that night they were its only guests. King wandered the maze-like hallways, drank at the bar, and stayed in room 217. Paranormal investigators consider The Stanley Hotel to be one of the world’s most haunted places.
- Almost all of my novels feature Colorado in one form or another. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about a thriving metropolis, a farm on the high plains, a college town in the foothills, a ranching community in the low mountains, or a village in the high mountains that’s considered to be one of the most spiritual places on Earth. This state has it all.
*** Bestselling author Devin O’Branagan weaves tales of uncommon heroes while drinking the magical, Muse-infused water from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Devin’s genres include paranormal thrillers, young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and romantic comedy. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books, German publisher Heyne Verlag, Turkish publisher Dogan Egmont, and indie publisher Cornucopia Creations. They are available in print, eBook, and audio formats. Devin’s Legend of Glory trilogy is currently under contract with a prominent Hollywood producer.