© Ted Clifton 2015
FACTS IN FICTION Not everything in my books is fiction.  Living many years in New Mexico and the Southwest have given me a lot of real places to use as part of the fictional books I write.  Sky High Stakes mostly takes place in Ruidoso, New Mexico, obviously a real place—which I have visited many times; and I can attest to the fact that as far as I know none of the criminal mayhem described in the story has ever occurred in this lovely artistic community.  Although the Billy the Kid part is true—but that was a long time ago. The village always had the reputation of being home to many hippies who mostly enjoyed smoking pot.  But also there was and is an active art community with many galleries.  As I mentioned in my books the high altitude seems to enhance appetites—and there are many wonderful restaurants in Ruidoso.  Some owned by now aging hippies, just like in the Sky High Stakes –Bud’s Breakfast. www.ruidoso.net There really is an Inn of the Mountain Gods and it is a world class resort.  Today it features casino gambling and is even grander than during the time I described.  My first knowledge of this resort was while I was still living in Oklahoma in the 1960s.  I had read an article about The Inn of the Mountain Gods, it sounded so exotic and mysterious.  Tucked away in the New Mexico Mountains, it seemed both distant and close.  My wife and I were young and just recently married and had no money, actually we had less than no money—going to the Inn of the Mountain Gods was as farfetched as visiting Paris or the moon.  But for some reason it held a special place in my fantasy locations to see.  A remote luxury resort located next to a 12,000 ft. mountain named Sierra Blanca; owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe—you cannot get much more exotic to a young man in Oklahoma than that. Many, many years later through a strange twist in my employment situation we ended up in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Only a couple of hours away from Ruidoso.  But as time and memory grow long and short I had forgotten about the Inn of the Mountain Gods.  Within my first months working in Cruces there was a business conference and it was at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.  I hated the business conference, something to do with extractive resources tax strategies (Ugh)—but loved the Inn.  After that my wife and I visited several times.  I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in New Mexico. www.innofthemountaingods.com Another feature in Sky High Stakes is the Ruidoso Downs Race Track.  This, of course, does exist.  Horse racing and gambling have gone up and down in popularity in Ruidoso.  Competition from other gambling options have caused some issues at various times but horse racing and Ruidoso are linked over many years of history.  Today the race track has added slot machine gambling in the Billy the Kid Casino. My job and business interests often took me to Ruidoso and on many of these trips I was accompanied by a business associate who owned horses and raced them at Ruidoso Downs and also in El Paso, Texas.  He was a larger than life type guy who always enjoyed horse racing and betting for the adrenaline rush and also greatly enjoyed consuming beer, large quantities of beer.  He would have been best friends with Big Jack.  He and I spent many an enjoyable (or maybe wasted) afternoon at the race track during the season.  On at least one occasion we were asked to leave as my friend was expressing his displeasure regarding the race results in less than appropriate language.  His bombastic manner help develop the Big Jack character and contributed to the flamboyant Governor character. The racing season is from May to the first part of September.  This is a glorious time to be in the mountains.  During the summer months you can climb from White Sands with a temperature approaching the 100s to a cool afternoon in the high 60s low 70s all within 45 minutes or so.  From hot to comfortable with just a short drive up the mountain. www.raceruidoso.com Another close by attraction was part of Dog Gone Lies book—The Lodge at Cloudcroft.  Cloudcroft is also in the same mountains as Ruidoso.  The path to get to Ruidoso from Cloudcroft is not an easy trek; with the most logical approach going back to Alamogordo and then to Ruidoso.  The Lodge has been in existence for over a hundred years.  The accommodations are outstanding with an upscale lodge type building housing the rooms.  Features include outbuildings for special occasions accommodating large groups and unique room settings including antique furniture. While we were living in Las Cruces my daughter married and she had her wedding at The Lodge.  It was a wonderful, beautiful wedding enhanced by the stunning scenery and background provided by the location.  This is an off the beaten path sort of place that can be the highlight of any trip. www.thelodgeresort.com White Sands National Monument really exists (why would I make that up?) and only impacts this story in that Ray and Tyee have to go out of their way each time they drive to Ruidoso from T or C.  This travel goes across the area of the national monument but also White Sands Missile Range—which restricts access to much of the surrounding land.  The military takes this very seriously. The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4,235 feet (1,291 m). The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 275 square miles (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_National_Monument Writing a fiction book gives an author great latitude in creating characters, locations and events.  But the stories seem more real to me if they take place in a location that I know.  Placing fictional characters in real locations with all of the textures that exist in those places just makes the characters more real and alive.  Plus it often brings back good memories.
Facts In Fiction first appeared in Sky High Stakes as a back-of- the-book feature.
Contact: ask@tedclifton.com
Santa Fe, New Mexico --Travel Guide For many years Marilyn (my wife) and I would visit Santa Fe on a regular basis.  During most of that time we lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Cruces is about four hours south of Santa Fe.  The drive is long and mostly boring, especially after you've made it several times.  It is that familiarity with Santa Fe that hopefully comes through in Santa Fe Mojo.  Vincent is not a tourist type so he did not do any of those things-- but we have, so I thought you might be interested in our experiences. We always enjoyed our stays in Santa Fe.  There is something about Santa Fe that seems to make you smile.  The atmosphere is upbeat and many layered.  Over the years we developed some favorites places and things to do, although just being in this dynamic town sitting on the second story balcony of the Thunderbird Bar & Grill overlooking the famous Plaza, doing nothing but people watching was a comfortable way to enjoy a Santa Fe afternoon. Our favorite hotel is the Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe.  Great place to stay just off of the Plaza and reasonably priced.  Check out the web site and look for deals--they often have some real bargains.  The rooms are authentic Santa Fe style with most having fireplaces. Santa Fe is Food.  From tacos to 5-star restaurants (I can't believe it costs that much!?).  Almost anything you're looking for is available; my preference leans towards Mexican food, and reasonably priced (okay I'm a little on the cheap side).  Here are just a few to check out--there are tons of restaurants in Santa Fe with new ones added all of the time. The Shed.  Close to the Hotel Chimayo this restaurant has been in business at this location since 1953.  It is located inside a hacienda built in 1692 (we're talking old). La Plazuela at La Fonda on the Plaza.  The La Fonda is another great place to stay, located right on the Plaza.  Little bit more money.  This restaurant is worth visiting just for the amazing colorful atmosphere; both visual and the sounds.  And the huge margaritas are not bad either. Coyote Cafe.  Just a bit too upscale for me (yes I mean too expensive-- but not by much).  Could be worth visiting but make sure you look at the menu first.  A better option is the Coyote Cantina which is on the rooftop.  Great food and drinks and wonderful views (yep it's cheaper).   Cafe Pasquel's is the go to place for breakfast.  Be prepared to wait but it is worth it--the smells alone are worth the price of admission. The Pantry Restaurant.  Located on Cerillos Road away from the the high-dollar food area of downtown Santa Fe this restaurant has been in business since 1948.  A very popular breakfast place with lots of green chili.  This will not be confused with a gourmet restaurant but I wanted to add it here because they have great food and this is where Vincent stopped for breakfast and saw the ad that led him to the Blue Door Inn and his new life in Santa Fe.  Also I love their food and their prices. One last recommendation.  If you can, sign up for classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.  There are all sorts of classes available mostly dealing with southwest cooking.  It is fun, delicious and a great way to meet some local residents and fellow Santa Fe visitors.  Highly recommended.
© Ted Clifton 2015
Many of my stories take place in New Mexico, where I lived and painted for many years. 
FACTS IN FICTION Not everything in my books is fiction.  Living many years in New Mexico and the Southwest have given me a lot of real places to use as part of the fictional books I write.  Sky High Stakes mostly takes place in Ruidoso, New Mexico, obviously a real place—which I have visited many times; and I can attest to the fact that as far as I know none of the criminal mayhem described in the story has ever occurred in this lovely artistic community.  Although the Billy the Kid part is true—but that was a long time ago. The village always had the reputation of being home to many hippies who mostly enjoyed smoking pot.  But also there was and is an active art community with many galleries.  As I mentioned in my books the high altitude seems to enhance appetites—and there are many wonderful restaurants in Ruidoso.  Some owned by now aging hippies, just like in the Sky High Stakes –Bud’s Breakfast. www.ruidoso.net There really is an Inn of the Mountain Gods and it is a world class resort.  Today it features casino gambling and is even grander than during the time I described.  My first knowledge of this resort was while I was still living in Oklahoma in the 1960s.  I had read an article about The Inn of the Mountain Gods, it sounded so exotic and mysterious.  Tucked away in the New Mexico Mountains, it seemed both distant and close.  My wife and I were young and just recently married and had no money, actually we had less than no money—going to the Inn of the Mountain Gods was as farfetched as visiting Paris or the moon.  But for some reason it held a special place in my fantasy locations to see.  A remote luxury resort located next to a 12,000 ft. mountain named Sierra Blanca; owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe—you cannot get much more exotic to a young man in Oklahoma than that. Many, many years later through a strange twist in my employment situation we ended up in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Only a couple of hours away from Ruidoso.  But as time and memory grow long and short I had forgotten about the Inn of the Mountain Gods.  Within my first months working in Cruces there was a business conference and it was at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.  I hated the business conference, something to do with extractive resources tax strategies (Ugh)—but loved the Inn.  After that my wife and I visited several times.  I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in New Mexico. www.innofthemountaingods.com Another feature in Sky High Stakes is the Ruidoso Downs Race Track.  This, of course, does exist.  Horse racing and gambling have gone up and down in popularity in Ruidoso.  Competition from other gambling options have caused some issues at various times but horse racing and Ruidoso are linked over many years of history.  Today the race track has added slot machine gambling in the Billy the Kid Casino. My job and business interests often took me to Ruidoso and on many of these trips I was accompanied by a business associate who owned horses and raced them at Ruidoso Downs and also in El Paso, Texas.  He was a larger than life type guy who always enjoyed horse racing and betting for the adrenaline rush and also greatly enjoyed consuming beer, large quantities of beer.  He would have been best friends with Big Jack.  He and I spent many an enjoyable (or maybe wasted) afternoon at the race track during the season.  On at least one occasion we were asked to leave as my friend was expressing his displeasure regarding the race results in less than appropriate language.  His bombastic manner help develop the Big Jack character and contributed to the flamboyant Governor character. The racing season is from May to the first part of September.  This is a glorious time to be in the mountains.  During the summer months you can climb from White Sands with a temperature approaching the 100s to a cool afternoon in the high 60s low 70s all within 45 minutes or so.  From hot to comfortable with just a short drive up the mountain. www.raceruidoso.com Another close by attraction was part of Dog Gone Lies book—The Lodge at Cloudcroft.  Cloudcroft is also in the same mountains as Ruidoso.  The path to get to Ruidoso from Cloudcroft is not an easy trek; with the most logical approach going back to Alamogordo and then to Ruidoso.  The Lodge has been in existence for over a hundred years.  The accommodations are outstanding with an upscale lodge type building housing the rooms.  Features include outbuildings for special occasions accommodating large groups and unique room settings including antique furniture. While we were living in Las Cruces my daughter married and she had her wedding at The Lodge.  It was a wonderful, beautiful wedding enhanced by the stunning scenery and background provided by the location.  This is an off the beaten path sort of place that can be the highlight of any trip. www.thelodgeresort.com White Sands National Monument really exists (why would I make that up?) and only impacts this story in that Ray and Tyee have to go out of their way each time they drive to Ruidoso from T or C.  This travel goes across the area of the national monument but also White Sands Missile Range—which restricts access to much of the surrounding land.  The military takes this very seriously. The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4,235 feet (1,291 m). The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 275 square miles (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_National_Monument Writing a fiction book gives an author great latitude in creating characters, locations and events.  But the stories seem more real to me if they take place in a location that I know.  Placing fictional characters in real locations with all of the textures that exist in those places just makes the characters more real and alive.  Plus it often brings back good memories.
Facts In Fiction first appeared in Sky High Stakes as a back-of- the-book feature.
To be published in November 2017.