Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Queen Isabella of Castile 15th Century Honey Badger

Isabella I didn't have an easy childhood.  At the age of 13, upon the death of her father, John II of Castile, she was left in the care of her older half-brother Henry IV of Castile.  During this time she, her mother, and younger brother were moved to a castle in poor conditions where they also suffered from a shortage of money.  Despite the conditions, Isabella thrived under her mother’s watchful eyes.

Eventually karma worked its magic, and Isabella was made her brothers heir in place of his own daughter, Joanna.  After several attempts to marry Isabella off, for his own political gain, she escaped her brother’s court and married Ferdinand of Aragon, who crossed Castile in secret, disguised as a merchant.  What girl could say no to that kind of dedication?


Upon the death of her older brother, Isabella was made queen, but not without being challenged by supporters of her older brothers daughter, Joanna and her husband/half-uncle Alfonso who was 30 years her senior...ewwww!!!

Okay I know I’m getting off track here, but I just have to tell this little tidbit.  Rumor has it that Joanna’s father, Henry IV was impotent and her mother, Joan was having a relationship with a Castilian noble named Beltran de La Cueva during the time of Joanna’s birth.  From the time she was born, Joana was given the nickname the Beltraneja (a mocking reference to her assumed real father).  Soon her mother was banished to Bishop Fonseca’s castle where she fell in love with Fonseca’s nephew and became pregnant.  Henry divorced her shortly afterwards. Not that I’m a fan of infidelity, but Henry was an ass and the sex wasn’t even good, so I’m defiantly team Joan on this one.

Now back to our story.  After several years, the war between Isabella and Alfonso finally ended in favor of Isabella, which was good because she was a honey badger when it came to reform and negotiations.   During the time of her brother’s reign, he did little to enforce the laws, so murder, rape, and robbery ran ramped, without punishment.  This changed when Isabella formed the crowns first police force.  She also made it a point to restore peace to the areas that had become infested by robbers that oppressed the smaller towns and villages.


(photo removed)

Henry had left Castile in great debt, so Isabella set about restoring the Crown’s finances, by taking over the mint and limiting coinage.  She also reacquired royal estates that had been sold during her brother’s reign well below their value, buying them back for the amount they were sold for.  Those that wished to keep their estates now had to purchase them at a fair price.  Her one stipulation was that there would be no revocation of gifts made to churches, hospitals, or the poor. 

In spite of her talented ability to rule, it is her sponsorship of Christopher Columbus  and her daughter Catharine, first wife to Henry VIII of England, that she is most remembered for.  She was a fierce ruler, but a fair one for the most part...At least until you get to her religiously motivated decisions, such as the Spanish Inquisition.



So, what are your thoughts on Queen Isabella?  Does the Inquisition alone make her a bad ruler?  And why do we celebrate Columbus Day?  I mean there were people here that had already discovered the place about 20,000 years prior and all Columbus brought to the table was European diseases....Not nice, but I guess that is a story for another day.



C.G. Powell

Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zero Gravity Sex – Not Your Mothers Porn

I had to write a guest post for a friend, and she said I could write about anything I want...Wow, that was brave of her, especially since my mind always sits somewhere between NASA’s latest planet discovery and group sex (note:  I didn’t hyperlink group sex...Find your own porn!!).



One of the questions I ask myself frequently is, “How do you have sex in zero gravity?”   Unlike the aliens that visit this planet, we have not become technically savvy enough to figure out how to create artificial gravity.  So, what is the next best option...Velcro, duct tape, spandex suit for two, they are all viable options, I mean at this point just keeping contact with one’s partner is a challenge in itself.   I think they should consider and small closet like room with padded walls and a low ceiling for leverage...I mean really, you only need to have six inches between you to make this work. 

  

What other ways do you think we could use?  Should we just wait for artificial gravity?  And if we were to go to this new planet, which celebrities should we take with us?  For procreation reasons, I’m thinking the Duggars and Octimom....

(photo removed)



C.G. Powell

Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series

Follow me!  Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blood Oath by Belinda Boring

I’m super excited to be featuring Blood Oath, the 3rd book in the Mystic Wolves series by Belinda Boring. 
Blurb

Someone is trying to send a deadly message to Mason, arranging the deaths of those he loves and it puts the entire pack and Alpha on high alert. Plans are made but when the enemy strikes another painful blow by entering into the heart of pack property and kidnapping Darcy, Mason declares war. There’s nothing he won’t do to keep his future mate and pack safe.

Darcy understands the primal instincts driving her beloved Mason’s commands. With the help of those he sets as protectors, she learns about herself and the things she’ll need to help support her Alpha and pack. When events turn dire however, one truth offers her strength – once given, a blood oath is unbreakable … even if it means risking it all.


Book Buying Links





Teasers  

“What is it about you that I can’t resist?” he asked, inching painstakingly lower until he hovered just about my mouth, barely touching. His breath was hot, seductive, and it caused a ripple of excitement to course through me.

“Must be my sparkling personality,” I whispered back, struggling not to close the distance between us. Electricity charged the air, the chemistry of our connection wreaking havoc on my hormones.

He feathered his lips lightly over mine, just the ghost of a touch and I whimpered as he retreated without fully claiming my mouth. “Must be because I can barely remember my name when you look at me like that.” His fingers drew a soft line down the side of my cheek.

“And how is that?” I purred softly, a sultry tone to my voice. My body felt as if it would explode from the way he seemed to drink me in.

“Like the world doesn’t exist, but for the two of us. How did I deserve you?” He kissed me again. This time a little slower, pressing harder, and I followed him involuntarily as he moved back. He was teasing me and driving me crazy with it.

Author bio

A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self-proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoon worthy. When she's not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for books on her blog The Bookish Snob. With all that excitement, it wasn’t long before she began writing, pouring her imagination and creativity into the stories she dreams. Whether urban fantasy, paranormal romance or romance in general, Belinda strives to share great plots with heart and characters that you can’t help but connect with. Of course, she wouldn’t be Belinda without adding heroes she hopes will curl your toes.  Surrounded by a supportive cast of family, friends and the man she gives her heart and soul to, Belinda is living the good life. Happy reading!


EVERY COMMENTER GETS A FREE COPY

Yep, you heard that right.  Just leave me a comment on this post, along with your name and email.  And I will send you a coupon to receive Blood Oath for free via Smashwords.com. This offer is good until January 7, thanks to the courtesy of the fabulous Belinda Boring.  So, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  It will be well appreciated.




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa – The Elf Behind the Suit

     I know I like to base my blog on real historical figures, but it’s that time of the year and we could all use a little magic to start the winter off with a bang.  I had planned to do a post on Elves and Sprites.    No, not this kind Elf.... 



...But the atmospheric kind, like this. 


      I didn’t want to bore everyone with my high tech rants, so Santa will have to do.  It is believed that this jolly man originated from pre-Christian Alpine traditions, which include Krampus, a demonic creature that accompanies St. Nicholas (Odin) during the winter solstice holiday Yule, a sort of Yin to Santa’s Yang.  Krampus act as an anti- Santa, giving warnings and punishments to the bad children.  Which leads me to ask...How did this little tidbit get left out of tradition?  Really, I have seen the way some kids act, and they could use a little visit from a Krampus or two.  Why have we taken the negative consequence out of this little tale?  

      Let me tell you why.  Apparently, like all good fun loving pagan holidays, Christians have adopted and changed the contents to fit their need to assimilate everyone.  But, in the process felt this goat-like creature traditionally celebrated during this time of year had to go....Kind of like the other hundred or so books that didn’t make it into the bible, thanks to Constantine 

     Now back to the guy in the red suit.  A lot of our modern concepts of Santa Clause come from a poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (The night before Christmas) by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston, of which there is controversy over who really wrote the poem, most give credit to Moore.  This one poem has been the foundation for the evolution from St. Nicholas – miracle worker, to Santa – the dude with the flying Reindeer and magical elves. 


     Yeah, this jolly elf, the one that Christians would like to leave out of the holiday, because it’s all about Jesus’ Birthday and not the commercialization of  gift giving in the name of a fat man in a red suit.  Hate to break it to you, but the fat guy was here giving gifts first.  So, Happy Birthday Jesus...Odin would have shared his yule log and left presents in your boots...I mean sandals, had you been born to Otzi (the Iceman) instead of Mary...Location, location, location. 


     What is your favorite holiday / Christmas tradition?  I like all the cookies and gatherings.  Am I over rationalizing things here?  Should we bring back the tradition of Krampus?  I’m in favor of this one.  Why can’t Santa wear blue?  Red is not my favorite color.  And one last thing, I think Santa needs a makeover and should look more like David Gandy this time.  I’m just saying!!



(photo removed)

 C.G. Powell
Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series
Follow me!  Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy my book  Amazon | Barns & Noble | Smashwords


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guest Post - Wenona Hulsey "Burden of Blood"

First of all I want to send a big thank you to my friend C.G. Powell.  The writing community is a very supportive one and C.G. is a great example of that kindness.  From our meager days prior to publishing our first words she has been a shoulder for me to lean on.  Big hugs to you C.G. Powell!

How about I tell you a bit about me first, the person behind the pen? I'm Wenona Hulsey, mother of two and blue collar worker by day.  But at night I turn into Wenona Hulsey, master of words and worlds.  I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I kept journals off and on from the age of nine but I really got into writing about a year ago. I was searching for a creative outlet at a time in my life when I felt like I was living in a rut.  I sing terrible, I dance like I'm have seizures and my art looks like stick figures so I turned to what came easiest to me ---writing.  I started working on my first novel, Burden of Blood, and it moved along remarkably fast.  I guess that could be contributed to my recent binge reading of all books labeled paranormal romances but I had an idea of what I wanted and I put it to paper.

As I was nearing the end of my writing frenzy on Burden of Blood when a fascinating novelette idea popped into my head and Blood Awakening was born.  It works as a back story to two of the main characters in Burden of Blood, giving you more detail and insight into who Nicole Keenan and her best friend Kat were before their world was turned on its head.  I would consider Blood Awakening more of a thriller, suspense with a dash of paranormal and comedy thrown in.  But Burden of Blood is full on Paranormal Romance with hot warriors and gothic fairies in leading roles.

Now that I've sent both Blood Awakening and Burden of Blood out into the world, I'm working on book two in the Nicole Keenan series which is titled Blood of Fire.  I'm hoping have this one published in spring of 2012.



Okay, I'll stop yammering away and give you all the juicy details about my books and a bit on where you can find me if you want to chat.  Thanks so much for letting me join you today C.G! 



Blurb

Nicole, a small town Alabama girl, and her best friend Kat take a weekend trip to Panama City, Florida. Kat looking to have a good time and Nicole hoping to escape the pain of losing her mother for a little while. Little did Nicole know, the escape would awaken a ancient power that is hidden in her blood. A power that evil wants for its own and will do whatever it takes to have it.

This short story is a look into best friends', Nicole and Kat, life before a centuries old grudge and Nicole's emerging powers rips them apart. A power that Nicole wants no part of as it brings her to her knees and forces her to walk away from her small town life and everyone she loves.

Blood Awakening ebook can be found on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords for 99 cents.





Blurb

No one wants to know everyone’s darkest secrets, especially not police officer, Nicole Keenan. All she wants is a blissfully normal life in the small, Alabama town where she was born. But as generations of power running through her veins start to wake up, an ancient grudge is ignited that threatens to push her over the edge. She can hardly believe in what she is, let alone that a dark force will not stop until she's joins them. Or is dead.

Nicole Keenan's life enters into a dangerous dance with warriors and gothic fairies. Southern tradition collides with Irish folklore as she learns about love, heartbreak, and The Burden of Blood.



Burden of Blood (Book 1 of the Nicole Keenan Series) ebook can be found on Amazon and B&N.





Author Wenona Hulsey is a lover of all things written. When she was a child, you could find her reading anything from Edger Allen Poe to the back of cereal boxes. Today you will find her with an ebook reader glued to her hands except for the times when she is writing or spending time with her family. She is also an avid social networker, who loves to meet new people. You can friend her on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/ WenonaHulsey, like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ WenonaHulseyAuthor  or follow along on her Blog http://wenonahulsey.blogspot.com/

First off, thank you Wenona for your guest post.  I have personally read both of these books and loved them.  I’m looking forward to her next installation of the Nicole Keenan Series, that way I can read Burden of Blood over again!!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Henry VIII 16th Century Rock Star

     We all know the story of Henry VIII and his 6 wives, but by 16th century standards, this man was not only a king, but would have been considered a rock star by today’s standards.  It all started at a young age, when upon the death of his older brother Arthur, he became heir to the throne.  This became a major problem during his rebellious teen years (Garage Band Years), when all young Henry wanted to do is Joust (join a band) and his dad would not allow him.  But that all changed when his father died and Henry assumed the throne.  He began jousting and promptly married his high school sweetheart (Catherine of Aragon), against the advice of his council (managers).

     Henry lived larger than life and dressed the part.  He was worshiped like a Rock Star and the saying “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” were his mantra, but only in a different form “Mistresses, Power and Image”.  Just like any other Rock Star, Henry did not like being told “No” and made it a point to bringing his wishes to fruition at any cost, including a change of his country’s religion to facilitate his divorce, which he later found out that it was far easier to trump up treason charges, and behead a wife than it was to divorce one.



     Although Henry was not known for destroying hotel rooms, he did one hell of a job destroying monasteries.  And if not for his head strong, self-centeredness, and ability to push others to bend to his will at the hand of violence, we would be no more interested in him than we are in King Egbert or King William II. 





     So, my question to you is, if Henry and his first wife would have had a couple of strong healthy sons, would he have followed the same path?  Was he a true 16th century Rock Star?  And why is Jonathan Rhys Meyers way hotter than the fat dude in the historical paintings?   Please leave a comment, we would love to hear from you, even if it’s to just say “Hi I was here”.



C.G. Powell

Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series

Follow me!  Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Japan’s Aokigahara (Suicide) Forest

      On the North West base of Mount Fuji in Japan, is the Aokigahara forest.  This forest has become a haven for people wishing to commit suicide and comes in second to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in (number of suicides each year).



     Some say that this phenomenon is linked to the 1960 novel Nami no Tō "Tower of Waves" by Seichō Matsumoto, a story that ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara predates the novel's publication, and the place has long been associated with death.  The forest is also known to be a location that was used in the past for ubasute.  This is the practice of taking an infirmed or elderly relative to a mountain or some other remote place and leaving them there to die, either by exposure, starvation, or dehydration.



      Japanese mythology has historically associated Aokigahara with demons, but with a modern interpretation (Ancient Astronaut Theory) of demons being extraterrestrial beings, is it possible that they may have left something in the forest that could be affecting the minds of those that enter the forest?  Could a device meant to keep humans away, or make them forget, be malfunctioning and causing an amplification of suicidal thoughts?  Especially, if someone enters the forest in a weakened state of mind to begin with.



     So, is it any wonder that this forest is also associated with ghosts?  Even the TV series Destination Truth (Amazon link for the episode on Aokigahara) team had a scary encounter there with the not so friendly spirits that haunt Aokigahara.
 
I know this is a bit of a depressing subject for December, but I always wonder what might really be going on in a place like this.  What is it about this forest that draws people there in their most desperate hours, not to work out their problems, but to end their lives?  

If you would like to read more about Aokigahara, End of the Game has a great post about their personal experience there.