Indiana Jones in Petra

I visited Petra almost ten years ago as part of a cruise that took us from Italy all the way to Singapore, sailing the Mediterranean, crossing the Suez Canal, and continuing through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The blockbuster film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade was partly filmed in the ancient city of Petra, a place unknown to much of the world before 1989. Indiana Jones was reviewed as “One of the best action-adventure films of all time,” and “One of the all-time greats. Harrison Ford is perfection-plus as Indiana Jones, so iconic a character that the AFI cited him as the second greatest movie hero of all time.”

“Archeology has never been so cool.”

Located between rugged desert canyons and mountains– in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan– Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106. The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. In the early 1800s, a European traveler disguised himself in Bedouin costume and infiltrated the mysterious site. In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Bab Al Siq’ is Arabic for gateway to the ‘siq’. Here we discovered squared monuments, the massive Djinn blocks, and the Obelisk Tomb, carved in the 1st century AD. Above the tomb are four pyramids as well as a niche with a statue in bas-relief that is a symbolic representation of the five people buried there. An inscription indicated that the tomb was used for Abdomanchos and his family, probably in 40- 70 AD.

The Siq, the main road that leads to the city, is a rock canal that measures 3 to 12 meters in width and reaches up to 80 meters in height. The main part of the Siq is created by natural rock formation and the rest was carved by the Nabataeans.

The siq opens up onto Petra’s most magnificent façade; the Treasury, or Al Khazna (in Arabic). It is almost 40 meters high and intricately decorated with Corinthian capitals, friezes, figures and more. The Treasury consists of two floors with a width of 25.30 meters and a height of 39.1 meters, and comprises three chambers. The most recent excavation has unearthed a graveyard beneath the Treasury. 

Almost three decades ago, George Lucas decided to use the monumental Treasury, the centerpiece of Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, as the exterior of The Temple of the Sun in his movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Cast and crew had to travel all the way to Jordan for just one day of shooting, because that’s all it took to make those scenes work.

The Treasury is crowned by a funerary urn, which according to local legend conceals a pharaoh’s treasure. Although the original function is still a mystery, The Treasury was probably constructed in the 1st century BC. However, in reality the urn represented a memorial for royalty.

While the filmmakers were allowed to have free access to the main entrance chamber, access is prohibited to most mortal visitors. The good news is that the most spectacular part of the location is its exterior – as well as the path you need to take to get there in the first place.

The 1.2 kilometer-long walk through a cleft called The Siq is the only way to access the Treasury and come back to the entrance.

Carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately with the pandemic going on for almost two years, I have stopped traveling. Instead I write non-stop and have finished writing a series of eight romance novels, LOVE PLANS. The five first books are on pre-order, and SAILING AWAY PLANS will be released tomorrow.

Love Plans Series:

Sailing Away Plans: The successful surgeon quits work to start a new life in the Caribbean, on his new boat and in a new clinic, but love strikes at the wrong time. [RELEASE DAY 9/2]

Dating Plans: Attraction sizzles between a divorced surgeon and a psychologist with a challenging daughter. Things get more difficult when the teenager’s father returns.

Rescue Plans: Arianna fought hard to escape the slums and become a flight nurse. Captain Lopez taught her to conquer fear. Can he help her forget the scum from the past and win her trust?

Wedding Plans: Will the doctor make the right decision between an angry fiancée and a medical emergency?

Baby Plans: They meet at the artificial insemination clinic. Zach is doing research for an article. Audrey is secretly getting a baby. But artificial insemination works in many ways…

Florida: More Than a Beach by @PatriceWilton

When you think of Florida, you envision the beach: cerulean blue skies, sparkling turquoise water, the sight and sound of waves splashing on the sandy shore. There are so many things to do on Florida beaches. Enjoy the sunshine with a good book. Surfing. Dolphin watching. Shell collecting, kayaking, building sandcastles, laughter, and fun. Let’s not forget swimming! Sunny Florida delivers the very best in outdoor living.

Florida is more than a beach

Yes, there are a multitude of things to do on the beach. But Florida has a great many other activities and sights to offer. Like scary alligators at Everglades National Park. Did you know that America’s Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States? And then we have Disney World and Universal Studios. We have the Kennedy Space Center. Then there’s Daytona Speedway, and Busch Gardens. There are museums, art galleries, and wonderful restaurants.

Sunshine 7 days a week?

I have to admit that it’s not all sunshine and roses. We do have downpours like nobody’s business. Did I forget heat? Oh, yea—we have that. And humidity. And hurricanes that hit us every year.

But… do I love living in the Sunshine State? You betcha!

Florida Beaches Horseback Riding

Yesterday I took my granddaughter horseback riding on the beach. We had so much fun, and both of us will do it again. There were two people in charge of us, one went in front the other took the rear. A group of five riders at a time. We walked through a trail first that led us to the beach, and then we were on the white sand feeling the sea breeze in our face, enjoying the sway and feel of this magnificent animal under you. It was a real thrill and adventure for the both of us.

Horseback Riding on the beach

Come on down to Florida and enjoy the beauty of nature and everything else my wonderful state has to offer you.

Learn more about me and my books on my Amazon Author Page.

The importance of a Mental Break for me

Like many of you, I normally took a yearly vacation with my family, and of course, the events of last year kept me locked up in my own house. It’s hard to take a much-needed mental break when you are walking the same halls and sitting in the same chairs that you always sit in while working.

If you don’t know me well, you probably aren’t aware that I live and breathe my characters. They are with me all day, all night, no matter what I am doing. I talk through scenes while I’m cleaning, dressing, or cooking. I contemplate plot twists while I drive, and stare at nothing, or while I eat. My mind is usually going a hundred miles an hour, all the time.

In order to shut my mind off and let it relax, I need to put my entire body in another place. At home, I can attempt to stop working, but I’m always just a few steps away from my computer, and the emails, and marketing, and manuscripts that constantly need my attention.

I am so thankful that we were able to get away this year for a much-needed break. Not just for me, but for my husband who works so hard, and my daughter who is off to college very soon. Plus, this year we took our almost five-year-old grandson with us for the first time to Disney. It’s our family’s magic place.

My family in front of the Millenium Falcon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This year for the first time since I started writing, I put my computer away for almost the entire trip, and I focused on myself and my family. I was rather proud of myself. It was only toward the end of the vacation that I got on the computer for a little while in the afternoon, but that was generally when my grandson was resting and we were relaxing at the resort during the rain.

Now after almost two weeks away from the computer, the emails, the marketing, and my sometimes relentless characters, I am ready to come back and jump back in. In fact, on the ride home, I went through 200 pages to edit, and today I will jump back in to get at least another 100 done so I can get this book off to my editor and start writing the last three books required for this year.

After almost two years without a break, I finally feel like I can breathe without all the weight on my shoulders. Now, once I get my daughter off to college, I’ll have a nice quiet house and I can really start blasting out the words!

My Trip to Santa Fe by @AngelaStevens13 #Travel

My Trip To Santa Fe

I just got back from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s the first trip we have taken in two years because of… well, you know. When they opened up travel again, both me and hubby had had our Covid vaccines, so we took the chance and flew. I must admit, I hadn’t really thought about visiting Santa Fe as it wasn’t a place I knew much about, but as it worked out we did want to visit NM.

Sante Fe DragonVisiting all the states is on our Bucket list

You see, me and my other half have been working on collecting states since we came to live in America. Before July, I was down to my last five: New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Three years have passed since we last added to our total, so when we decided to actually try for a vacation, I immediately got to planning to tick off more states on our bucket list. I am a great planner, but also a last minute one. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the year to be last minute, and my first choice for a trip to visit Portland and Oregon-with a trip around Olympic park-also appeared to be the whole of Americas first choice, too. Of course, I was planning our trip two weeks before we wanted to fly, and the rest of America had reserved their spots before me, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that there was literally nowhere to stay.

So, in the end, I was left scrambling. We had one week and it was carved in stone, as it was the same week my daughter and her family were heading off to the beach. So it was the only week I had no babysitting obligations. I really wanted to hit one of my missing states and with Oregon and Washington out of the running, I only had 3 left to choose. Hawaii was not even in the running–too far, too little time available. Alaska was also not a winner, as I have heard the best way to do that is a cruise and the last thing I wanted was to be on a cruise with Covid still lurking. So, New Mexico it was, and well, Santa Fe was the only place I had heard of that I could pronounce.

Santa Fe, A jewel in America’s crown

Canyon Rd Sante Fe

 

Well, I have to say, if you want to take a trip anywhere in North America, you should definitely consider Santa Fe. IT IS AN AMAZING PLACE! I did worry it would be ridiculously hot in July, but it was much nicer weather there than here in North Carolina. It was 85 degrees dropping to 55 at night. And the air was so fresh (no humidity!) and clean. I also worried that the scenery would be a bit bland. I knew it was a desert, so I was kind of thinking sand and maybe a cactus, but it was far from it. This is because Santa Fe is a high desert, surrounded by mountains. The area has a never-ending, inky black sky with a gazillion stars.

Santa Fe Plaza

The town center is so picturesque, and full of flowers that reminded me of England; Snapdragons, hollyhocks, lavender, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, lupins, and petunias everywhere. The buildings are all adobe, their walls a soothing terracotta and their paintwork a beautiful faded turquoise blue and they make you feel like you are in another world.

The city is a wonderful mix of Indigenous people, Mexicans, Spanish, and Americans and they seem to have a achieved a harmony that most of America is far from reaching.  As such, the place is friendly, rich in culture and a haven for artists. The eclectic mix of art, food, and culture join forces to make Santa Fe vibrant and so interesting.

Do yourself a favor, book a food tour

Burrito Sante Fe

One of our favorite things about traveling is the food we get to try. Santa Fe does not disappoint. I can honestly say we have had some of the best food I have ever tasted, there–and I have travelled all over the world, and have been lucky enough to eat in some amazing places. So, of course, we were excited when we found they offered guided food tours. It was so much fun. We ate a course in 3 different restaurants while being given a history lesson, and meeting some fantastic people to share it with. I would highly recommend doing one of these in any city you visit. It is always one of the first things on our list when exploring new places.

Santa Fe had only just opened up a few days before we travelled. I feel so happy that we were able to see it at a time when everyone was emerging from the Covid crisis. People were so excited to be open again, and the Santa Fe locals welcomed everyone with such joy and enthusiasm.

I’ll be back!

Maybe it was because I was well and truly ready for a break. But I found our 5 days in Santa Fe was one of the best we have made in America. I loved it so much that I will definitely be back. Perhaps to experience their winter season as they apparently have fantastic skiing there. So, if you are thinking of taking a trip, grab some sunscreen and head to Santa Fe. If you’re a foodie, history buff, love experiencing cultural diversity, or are into art, Santa Fe has everything you could need. And you will be welcomed by some of the friendliest and nicest people in America.

If you are planning a trip anytime soon, you will probably be needing some book recommendations, too. You can’t go wrong by paying a visit to our specials page. Our talented authors have some special offers, or take a look at our boxed sets. You cannot get more bang for your buck than that! Authors Billboard have a huge selection from sweet, to funny, to suspenseful romances.

Angela Stevens also has a great selection of contemporary sport romances, romantic suspense novel. Click here to learn more. She also writes fantasy books under her pen name of Sadie Collins.