Tainted MountainHi. I’m Nora Abbott. Yes, the Nora Abbott you might have heard about if you follow US District Court proceedings concerning environmental issues. And why would you unless you’re some kind of fringe lunatic or angry rich person without a real job and too much time on your hands and you think slashing tires and throwing rocks and protesting outside courthouse doors is the best way to save Mother Earth.

Sorry about that. I might have over-reacted, which happens from time to time.

Dru asked me to stop by and tell you a little bit about myself, which I wouldn’t normally do but how can I say no to someone as kind and funny and well-read as Dru? I’ve been in the limelight enough lately with the court battle over making man-made snow at my ski area just outside of Flagstaff, AZ. I’ve been accused of being a greedy business mogul (as if I had more than $20 in the bank) and having no regard for the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I grew up in Boulder, CO, for heaven’s sake. (grr, I hate it when I use one of my mother’s favorite phrases) Environmentalism wafts through the air on the pine pollen there. I believe business and protection of the landscapes isn’t mutually exclusive and bringing water to the mountain I love would be a good thing. It will also help my business, which could save my marriage. You know how money worries can strain a relationship.

But the court battles are over, finally. I won and can start piping water from the aquifer to the mountain. We’ll have snow by Christmas, whether Mother Nature feels up to it or not.

Except there’s this really annoying Al Sharpton of Native Americans who has it out for me. He’s rallying the local tribes to continue to fight snowmaking and I’m afraid they aren’t going to wait on an appeal to the Supreme Court to stop me. He doesn’t care about the mountain or the tribes’ religious freedom, he just wants to make a name for himself.

I might get some help from energy tycoon, Barrett McCreary. For years he was my role model because he spent millions cleaning up abandon uranium mines after the industry went bust in the 70’s. For some reason he’s taken me on as a project. He says he admires my business acumen and ambition but there’s something creepy about him. He’s under siege from the enviros, too, because he’s resurrecting uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.

On the personal side, my family is small. My mother spends most of her time and a great deal of money inherited from dead husbands, traveling on cruises or planning fund-raisers. We have a strained relationship and don’t spend much time together. Where she’s a Birkin Bag sort of woman, I’m a worn backpack held together with duct tape kind of girl.

My husband, well, that’s not an easy relationship, either. I try to forget but the truth is, he had an affair a couple of years ago. We’ve been trying to put the relationship back together but lately, I feel like all the try is on my side. Maybe if I can get Kachina Ski running in the black we can spend more time together and our marriage will improve.

It’s not all bleak, though. I live on a gorgeous mountain and it’s summer time. The smell of pines, the blooming penstemon and Indian paintbrush and even some columbine dancing on the breeze make me happy. And there’s my old golden retriever, Abbey (named after Edward Abbey, of course) and my aging hippie/environmental/alcohol-infused neighbor to keep me company.

It would be great if you would come visit me, too. Hang out with me while I battle rabid enviros, save myself from an unexpected visit from my mother, try to survive a business take-over, find out who wants my husband dead, and struggle to make peace with the Hopi spirits of the mountain.

Shannon is giving away one (1) copy of TAINTED MOUNTAIN. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends June 19 and US entries only.

A young ski area owner is determined to use man made snow, an energy tycoon has his own reasons for promoting it, enviros and tribes may use any means to stop it. But the spirits of the mountain just might have the last say.

Meet the author
Shannon Baker, author of the Nora Abbott Mystery series involving murder, environment and Hopi Indians, can often be found backpacking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, or just playing lizard in the desert. From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. Tainted Mountain, the first in her Nora Abbott Mystery Series, is set in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived for several years and worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder. She lived twenty years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. Shannon now makes her home in Boulder, CO. Surprisingly, Nora followed her and the next book in the series is set in this beautiful location. Visit her at shannonbaker.wordpress.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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