Lizard Wall

Pearce, ArizonaCan you see the lizard on the wall? Do you think this lizard knew how to color itself to blend in? I’m not sure what type of lizard this is. There are many different lizards in Arizona. This picture was taken at the ruin of an early ranch house near Pearce, Arizona. The location in Cochise County is very near the setting of the ranch in my latest novel APACHE PORTAL. The story takes place in 1880 during the last days of the free Apache. In it a rancher’s son falls in love with an Apache girl amid the dangers of the opening frontier. I visited this ruin several times during the writing of the book. Most of the house is red adobe. The mortared stone section was likely added later. Click on the picture above to enlarge, to see the lizard more clearly.

Pearce, Arizona 2

Greetings From the Mountains

Dragoon MountainsI took the beautiful photo above in the Dragoon Mountains, during one of my research trips to Cochise County before writing APACHE PORTAL. This is where the famous chief of the Chiricahua Apaches lived and was buried by his people. The historical fantasy novel APACHE PORTAL takes place here in the last days of the free Apache and during the frontier’s early ranching period in 1880.

It pleases me that APACHE PORTAL is now available at Singing Wind Bookshop in Benson, Arizona, just north of the Dragoons. The renowned store, established on a working ranch in the early 1970s by Winifred Bundy, continues to offer a stellar selection of Southwest (and other) materials as well as embody the true flavor of the region. Singing Wind is featured in the Acknowledgments of APACHE PORTAL. It is truly worth a visit, or a call to order the book (520) 586-2425.

This is also to announce that I plan to launch a series of articles in 2014 as World of Apache Portal, exploring the times and people depicted in the book as well as how the story came to be written. It will be similar to the popular World of Barbara Reilly series, found in the Articles section of this website, which delves into the details of that book.

Meanwhile I’ve been hard at work on my next historical fantasy novel, scheduled for publication Fall 2014. More info on that forthcoming!

Final Barbara Article


“The Artifacts of Barbara Reilly” is up in the Articles section, under the title Iroquois Artifacts. It is the sixth and final in-depth look at the background and making of my historical fantasy novel, BARBARA REILLY, a heartwarming story of a farm girl in 1948 who connects with the long ago past of the Iroquois in upstate New York. The article features drawings from my sketchbook, made while researching the book, along with quotes and notes about the wonderful handcrafted objects from another era, found in the story.

Apache Portal

Apache Portal medium

News Release:

APACHE PORTAL, the exciting new novel by historical fantasy author Carl Grimsman, was published in ebook format on October 18, 2013. It is available here, at

“In 1880 Arizona, during the last days of the free Apache, sixteen-year-old Caleb Harned stumbles upon a lost and injured Indian girl. Determined to help, he hides her at his family’s ranch.

But hostile forces gather—cavalry chasing renegade Indians, bounty hunters, and townsfolk who threaten the couple’s budding love. Then the young woman vanishes, and Caleb is heartbroken.

His search for her leads him to the Dragoon Mountains, where the Apaches are converging, and then into danger as he fights to steal her back. But will her people open the way for him—the son of a white man—and share their deepest secret?

He only has until the moon is full, or he’ll lose her forever.

APACHE PORTAL is a historical fantasy brimming with Western adventure, romance, and mystery.”

The softcover print edition of APACHE PORTAL will be available mid-November.

November 18, 2013 Update: APACHE PORTAL is now available in paperback. It’s a beautiful edition (ISBN 978-1493605453), sure to become a treasured classic on bookshelves everywhere. Order today through your local bookstore or online from

Racing the Moon

Warrior Moon

Barbara’s artifacts article will have to wait. I’m racing the moon!

The new book is in the editing room. And like the main character of the new book — who is not the fine warrior depicted above, I’m racing the moon — to publish.

The full moon is October 18. The ebook will be out by then, with the paperback to follow. Why is the full moon so important? It’s a secret, same as the name of the book itself.

So many secrets, so little time. Keep your Kindle charged!

August Update

Iroquois ArtifactsI’m working on the final article for the World of Barbara Reilly, a series delving into the background and details behind the book. BARBARA REILLY is a heartwarming historical fantasy novel taking place in the 1940s and the 1770s in area of New York once inhabited by the Iroquois. The article will explore my research into the artifacts featured prominently throughout the story. The Iroquois were superb artisans. Their ceremonial items as well as everyday objects were beautiful and practical to use. You may thirst for simpler times reading BARBARA REILLY, and enjoying the picture essay, “Iroquois Artifacts,” to be posted in September

The article has been delayed while I focus on the editing of the next book. If you read my preceding post on this homepage ( you’ll know I’ll be taking readers on a journey into the American West, where a rancher’s son falls in love with an Apache girl, in 1880 Arizona Territory. I’m still on track to release the ebook on Tuesday October 15. The paperback will follow soon after. It’s an exciting project and I’m sure readers will be pleased with the romantic adventure historical fantasy. I can’t tell you the title yet, it’s a surprise. The wait will be worth it, though. Trust me!

Meanwhile check out the World of Barbara Reilly Series in the Articles section of this website. Learn more about the book and its plucky heroine, Barbara Reilly!

New Book Coming

Rancher's SonBARBARA REILLY is going to have a brother!

No, Barbara is not. She already has a pesky older brother — namely John!

Confused? It’s simple: the BOOK is going to have a brother.

No, it’s not a sequel to BARBARA REILLY. But it’s exciting nonetheless.

The NEW book is about a rancher’s son in 1880 Arizona who falls in love with an Apache girl. It’s an adventure story. It’s a romance. It’s a rip-roaring tale of the old west with an element of fantasy.

BARBARA REILLY is going to have a brother.

He’s due October 15. I can’t tell you his name. It’s a secret till then.


Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

New article up today, “Taughannock Falls: A Photo Essay,” fifth in the growing World of Barbara Reilly series, the section of this website exploring the background of the historical fantasy novel BARBARA REILLY.

Walk with Barbara and her classmates from the shore of beautiful Cayuga Lake  to the majestic “Great Falls in the Woods,” as they do in the opening chapter of the book. Its in the heart of New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes.

Enjoy the sun and cool waters of Taughannock Gorge like the Indians who once lived here, who also inhabit the pages of this historical adventure set in the 1940s — and the 1770s, when the Iroquois roamed the forests and shores.

Taughannock Lower Falls

Those Vintage Charms of Yesteryear

vintage 1940s charms My latest article, Barbara’s Charm Bracelet is up now in the Articles section of this website. It is the fourth in my continuing series exploring The World of Barbara Reilly. In it I show in detail the charms I drew for the bracelet I imagine Barbara wore during the events in the book BARBARA REILLY. I scoured the Internet for vintage charms to include, to depict the actual charms she would have had and cherished in 1948, her favorites as mentioned in the book.

During my research and drawing these figurines, my appreciation grew for the arts of yesteryear. I hope you enjoy them, and read the article, too. And enjoy the charms on this page as well, which I drew for the project, but which weren’t among the dozen I selected for the bracelet. Maybe they were extras Barbara had in her nightstand drawer, since they all show things from the story!vintage 1940s charms 1

Barbara's Charm BraceletThis artwork will be part of an in depth article forthcoming on this website about Barbara’s charm bracelet and the vintage charms of yesteryear, as part of the World of Barbara series adding depth and background to my book BARBARA REILLY.

World of Barbara, Article #3: Iroquois False Faces

This time I tackle the subject of “Iroquois False Face Masks.” These figure prominently into BARBARA REILLY, a historical fantasy in which a farm girl in 1948 discovers something truly magical relating to the Iroquois of the deeper past.

The masks of the Iroquois False Face Society and Corn Husk Society are a touchy subject for the Iroquois, and for me as well. Technically speaking, the Iroquois prefer that we do not even talk about them, let alone depict them in drawings or photographs, and unless connected to the societies, not make, possess, or sell them. This is understandable, since the masks are considered living beings and the attached rituals are part of a living process within Iroquois culture.

However, the BARBARA REILLY story – complete with masks — presented itself to me and bade me tell it. That makes me involved. In this new article I say something about them, after struggling with what that something should be.

I can say this has been an exciting process of my own, bringing this story to light, in its entirety – in a responsible manner – one respectful of the peoples it tells of – American Indians and others. All peoples and all histories deserve to be treated with respect by any writer of historical fiction or historical fantasy. By anybody, for that matter, writer or not.

Check out the article here.

New Article: The Story

In “The Story Behind the Story” I share how BARBARA REILLY came to life. Find out why it took twenty-three years!

“I started writing that same day, building the Iroquois side of the story from the dream, and Barbara’s from the pioneer spirit given on the dinner visit. At the time, I was living just outside Trumansburg, New York in an old farmhouse …”

It’s the second in a series of articles exploring the World of Barbara Reilly.

Winter Solstice

Celebrate the Dark of the Year

With wood on the fire and candles glowing by the window, greetings from the forest at this wondrous Winter Solstice time of the year. Let this be a time of relaxation from the labors of summer, a time of re-creation and hibernation, when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the nights grow long and cold. It is a time to reflect on the seasons of activity gone by, and look within at who we are, and to gaze ahead and consider what we might wish for in the new year.

Blessing upon you and yours at the Dark of the Year. May its holiday season bring you joy and fulfillment, whether you spend it alone or with family and friends. Enjoy the fruits of the season, however you may celebrate them. In our family, which is of German extraction, we’ve always been partial to treats such as stollen, marzipan, and gingerbread. Others may revel in egg nog and figgy pudding, or mulled cider, fruitcake, and chocolate. It is only right to partake in these, letting them trigger fond memories and continue fine traditions into the future.

I can imagine Barbara and her brother riding out on the tractor with Grampa, to the hill behind the Pines Field on their farm to cut a Christmas tree. I can see them driving back through the snow to unload it from the wagon, at the house. They will spend a happy evening decorating the tree with popcorn strings and ornaments, Dad perhaps lifting Barbara to place the star on top. I can hear the family through time, all the way back to 1948, singing carols together afterwards and sharing whatever treats they liked, before setting out their stockings and going upstairs to bed.

The Dark of the Year is a special time indeed, for so many reasons. It is an ancient season of joy, irrespective of religion or faith, when the sun reached its nadir before beginning the renewal and ascent that would reach its zenith in its opposite time of year, the Summer Solstice, when the work of farming and gathering also reached a fevered pitch. I am not so sure we modern people who have left the land to live in the city do not also feel this, deep in our bones. I believe we all do still feel it on some level.