adobeDreams

Welcome to the adobeDreams blog of author Robert Burke.

"adobeDreams" is a fictitious bed & breakfast hotel located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as featured in the novels, "adobeDreams: A Novel of Santa Fe," and "adobeDreams II: The End of Karma."

Parental advisory: The "adobeDreams" series contains mature themes and is intended for adult audiences. DISCLAIMER: The characters and events in "adobeDreams" are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

adobeDreams: A Novel of Santa Fe

A young travel journalist searches Santa Fe, New Mexico, for adobeDreams, a bed and breakfast that doesn't appear on any map. Each step leads her deeper into a world of angels, demons, and an attraction she did not expect.

Paperback version available here: www.amazon.com

Amazon Kindle® e-book format: www.amazon.com

Also available in other ebook formats.

adobeDreams II: The End of Karma

The adventures of heroine Abigail Regan continue as her transformational abilities are coveted by a centuries-old succubus in Paris. Rayna, the master warrior, returns with her own deadly agenda, and Abigail is forced to choose sides in a battle that may impact the fate of mankind. Danger and betrayal block the way home to adobeDreams as Abigail must confront her past and master the bestial rage that threatens to destroy everyone around her.

Paperback version available here: www.amazon.com

Amazon Kindle® e-book format: www.amazon.com

Also available in other ebook formats.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Locales That Inspired Prose

The open gates of Santuario de Chimayo (established 1816) welcome visitors along the High Road to Taos. Photo by Robert Burke.

This is a list of Santa Fe and Taos locations that inspired various scenes in "adobeDreams," in more-or-less chronological order as they appear in the novel. All excerpts are Copyright 2010 Robert Burke.

Cafe Pasqual's
Author's comment: A breakfast favorite, but get there early.
121 Don Gaspar Street at the intersection of Don Gaspar and Water Street
1.800.722.7672
www.pasquals.com
From the "Burro Alley" chapter:
"Abigail Regan stood on a street corner in Santa Fe, New Mexico, waiting for a man. She turned from the light and caught her reflection in the window of a small café facing Water Street."
Also, from the "Indian Market" chapter:
“...we had breakfast first.”
“The corner café on Don Gaspar at Water Street?”
“That’s the one. Their huevos rancheros are the best!”
“I guess he likes the place, because that’s where we met. On the corner.”

Canyon Road Art Galleries, "The Art and Soul of Santa Fe."
Author's comment: Always an enjoyable walk. I like the sculptures the best, but there's much, much more to see.
www.canyonroadarts.com
From the "Burro Alley" chapter:
"He looked at her bag and vest. 'You are a photographer? Have you visited the galleries along Canyon Road?'"

Burro Alley
Author's comment: Referenced multiple times in the novel.
Santa Fe visitor information may be found here: www.santafe.org
From the "Burro Alley" chapter:
"A statue of a burro with a load of firewood stood at the entrance, and Abigail allowed her fingers to float across its rear flank."

Arroyo Seco
www.visitseco.com
The small town of Arroyo Seco is located north of Taos on the way to the Taos Mountain ski area. From Taos, take Highway 64 north and then turn right (north) at NM-150.
From the "All Goodness and Light" chapter:
"Abigail’s earthenware mug had bands of brown, blue, yellow, and orange that flowed like mountains and clouds across its surface. A thumb groove dimpled one side and allowed for a better grip. She turned the mug in her hand and it was like watching a sunset. Caroline’s mug was similar, yet different.
“'These are handmade, aren’t they?' Abigail asked.
“'Raphael bought them from a craftsman in Arroyo Seco, just below Taos Mountain.'
"Abigail laughed. 'I can’t imagine Raphael shopping for stoneware!'
“'He likes them because there are no two alike. He says they are just like people that way.'”

Indian Market
Find information about the Santa Fe Indian Market here: www.swaia.org
From the "Indian Market" chapter:
"Abigail grasped Caroline’s hand and they walked to the Santa Fe Plaza and entered the Indian Market. Abigail couldn’t believe that she had forgotten all about attending the fair, one of the main objectives of her Santa Fe visit. That seemed like two lifetimes ago, and the woman who’d made those plans? She was now only a distant memory."

LaFonda Hotel
Author's comment: For dinner visit the lovely La Plazuela Restaurant inside the hotel. For rooftop margaritas visit the Bell Tower Bar.
www.lafondasantafe.com
From the "Indian Market" chapter:
"They...watched the sunset while sipping margaritas at a rooftop bar on top of a local hotel. The last rays of twilight cast a pink glow on clouds as they stood at the edge of the roof."

Norma Morgan boutique
Author's comment: I am unable to find a current link for the Norma Morgan boutique in Santa Fe so I can only assume that it changed names or is out of business. Nevertheless, this is the boutique I had in mind when I wrote the following line from the "Shadows" chapter:
"They stopped to admire a hand-painted silk ruana in the display of a small boutique on Water Street, and talked about returning another day."

The High Road to Taos
Author's comments: The high road to Taos is a must-do when visiting the Santa Fe region. A leisurely pace is recommended to allow stops at the Santuario de Chimayo and other attractions along the way.
Wikipedia article: wikipedia.org
From the "Taos" chapter:
"Sam drove the high road to Taos, up highway 503, then north on highway 520 through Chimayo, and on to highway 76 through Truchas and Las Trampas."

Rio Grande Gorge
Probably the best view of the Rio Grande Gorge is from the Rio Grande Gorge bridge located 10 miles northwest of Taos. It is the fifth highest bridge in the United States and makes a nice stop when you are in the Taos area. See: www.taosvacationguide.com
From the "Rio Grande Gorge" chapter:
"A few minutes before sunrise they broke out of the fog onto a rocky escarpment. The wide gash of a deep canyon cut through the desert running north. With the sun behind them, red alpenglow illuminated the opposite wall of the canyon and the desert in the distance.
“'Wow,' Abigail said. 'Tell me we didn’t run all the way to the Grand Canyon! We’re not in Arizona are we?'”

Coyote Cafe Cantina
www.coyotecafe.com
From the "Rogue" chapter:
"She found herself at a restaurant with a rooftop cantina, a few blocks off Sandoval."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

15 Questions for author Robert Burke

The image that inspired the chapter of the same name in "adobeDreams."

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS.

1. What inspired you to write “adobeDreams?”

The genesis of "adobeDreams" was a paper I wrote for a developmental psychology class in 2003. The paper was fairly awful, but the metaphysical basis of the novel was there. I thought about it over the years but never had any clear ideas for moving forward. Then I decided to take a fiction writing class at a local community college. I looked forward to the class all summer and attended the first session with a friend. Neither of us thought much of the puerile environment and we dropped it immediately.

It was the best thing that could have happened, because it pissed me off enough to start writing.

I also have to credit the television series "24." My wife and I became late fans of the show and bought previous seasons on DVD. We watched over a hundred hours of "24" in a fairly short amount of time. That really primed the pump. As you read "adobeDreams," you'll see that it's more like the first season of a television series than a feature-length film. That's the "24" influence (thank you, Jack Bauer). That's not how you're supposed to write a novel, but that's how it came out.

Lastly, there are certain images I've created over the years that inspired scenes in the story. For example, the description of the dome in the Grotto of Hearts chapter is straight from a photomanipulation I created years ago.

2. How long did it take you to write “adobeDreams?”

I wrote the first 200-page draft in little more than a month. I’d dream about a scene or an exchange of dialog, and then write it. The story took shape, but mostly in non-sequential order. I then had to go back and connect the pieces.

Along about the fourth draft I took a screenwriting class. Although "adobeDreams" is written nothing like a screenplay, the class made all the "how to" books I'd been reading make more sense. After the 8th draft I employed a professional editor to review the book and make suggestions. That was extraordinarily helpful in putting together a more polished product.

Even so, I didn’t feel the book was done until after the 17th rewrite. Overall, it took about a year to finish.

3. What made you decide to use a female protagonist?

As a kid my favorite movies starred male protagonists. I loved movies like “Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn, “Ivanhoe” with Robert Taylor, “The Flame and the Arrow” with Burt Lancaster, “The Vikings” with Kirk Douglas, and “Prince Valiant” with Robert Wagner and James Mason.

There’s a scene in “Robin Hood” where Errol strides into the castle and throws a poached deer right into the face of the villain. Then he sits down, and as the guards approach to attack, tips the chair over backwards and rolls out to engage them in swordplay. I played that whole scene out when I was five or six years old on our front lawn. I think I used a pillow for the deer carcass, then sat down in a little chair and tumped it over backwards before rolling out to fight my imaginary adversaries with a stick. That was some cool stuff.

So in a way I’ve had a lifetime supply of male protagonists. Then came Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in “Alien.” Wow! At that time (1979) who would have imagined a heroine in a role like that? Every since then it's been interesting to see a female character in a role that traditionally would have gone to a male protagonist. Kate Beckinsale, for example, was stunning as Selene in the "Underworld" movies. More recently, Angelina Jolie gave a fabulous performance in "Salt," portraying a character that was written for a male character in the original screenplay.

Beyond that, I think female characters have the potential to offer more emotional depth of character, and that’s what I wanted for “adobeDreams.”

4. Your character is also a lesbian. How did that come about?

I wanted to get as far away from male stereotypes as I could and it simply seemed right for the character. Even so, the book is not about being gay, it's about the possibilities of human transformation. Sexual orientation, in my view, is no more a "choice" than the color of eyes we're born with.

With all the challenges confronting the human race at this time, the neural wiring of someone's sexual orientation should be the least of our concerns. Otherwise, all I can say is, may all the right people take offense.

5. The novel contains a graphic sex scene between two of the female characters. How does an (ahem) "older" heterosexual male find the inspiration for lesbian erotica?

One of the challenges I set for myself in writing my first novel was to write an effective erotic scene. In particular I wanted to capture the feeling and not the mechanics. Since my protagonist was female and I wanted to get away from male characters, the lesbian scene was a natural.

As far as “inspiration” goes, aren’t lust, passion, and love universal emotions? Beyond that, I researched it with my friends Google and Wikipedia!

6. You deal with a number of family issues in "adobeDreams," including infidelity, parental rejection, substance abuse, and death. Are elements of the book autobiographical?

The characters are composites of many different people I've known. Oddly enough, the strongest autobiographical element in "adobeDreams" is the "dense ball of gravity" that invades a room. When my kids were teens we lived in a house that had a malevolent presence. We all experienced creepy sensations and disturbing dreams in the months we were there.

One night I had a dream that follows the narrative in the novel up through the point where the protagonist throws herself against the wall. Like the character in the novel, in the dream I was suspended against the wall and the entity didn't release me until I chanted "In the Name of the Father..." numerous times. The next morning I was convinced that it actually happened. The only thing that suggested it hadn't is that we'd moved into the house only days before and there were still packing boxes on the floor. In the dream there were no boxes in the way. Otherwise I'd have no doubt in my mind that it was real.

7. Do you have any plans to capture those creepy experiences in a novel?

Yes, at some point I'd like to write an out-right horror story, and no doubt those experiences will play a role.

8. Of all the characters in "adobeDreams," which one are you most alike? Which one do you admire the most?

I'm most alike Raphael, because he obviously thinks a lot about what he sees going on in the world around him. The character I admire the most is Rayna, because her personal boundaries are strong.

9. There is a good deal of male bashing in the book. Where did that come from?

One, I think what I wrote is authentic to the way women feel, or feel at least some of the time. Basically, I channeled the repressed rage of every woman with whom I’ve ever had a significant relationship. I know, because some of that rage was directed at me!

Two, men do rule the Earth, and we apparently are making a catastrophic mess of it, so let the blame fall where it should.

I could say that I hope the male bashing inspires a healthy dialog between the sexes, but I doubt anyone who needs to hear it will actually be listening.

10. Speaking of catastrophes, an environmental disaster plays a role in the novel. Did you write that in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf?

No, I wrote that scene months before the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As a character says in the book, “It is only one of more to come.” As of this writing, Wikipedia lists 19 oil spills over 30 million gallons each.

11. What other challenges did you set for yourself in writing "adobeDreams?"

I sometimes have a horrible potty mouth, and yet I get tired of hearing profanity in the media. For that reason I wanted to write "adobeDreams" without profanity. I do say "pissed off" a few times, but that's it. There are no f-bombs in the book.

12. What do you hope readers will get from "adobeDreams?"

I hope readers find something in "adobeDreams" that inspires them to make healthful changes in their own lives. You never know when one idea can change someone's life for the better.

I also hope readers are entertained and have a plethora of "holy crap" moments. Seriously, if they close the last page and think, "That's the darndest thing I ever read," then I'll be happy.

13. Will there be an "adobeDreams II?"

"adobeDreams II" was well underway when I received the professional editor's input. That feedback spurred a major rewrite of "adobeDreams," including elements that I initially didn't plan to introduce until the second novel. For that reason "II" now needs a significant overhaul and I'm just getting started on the fourth rewrite.

14. What can you tell us about "adobeDreams II?"

"II" picks up the storyline from the end of the first novel. As you might expect, things start going wrong, and Abigail, my protagonist, consistently makes the wrong choices and gets deeper into trouble. But that's why I like her. She screws up and still triumphs.

15. Are you satisfied with "adobeDreams?"

It says what I intended to say to the best of my current ability. I can't ask for more.