Welsh Mythology: Pwyll’s Sojourn in Annwfn

This is a reblog of a post entitled, Welsh Mythology: Pwyll’s Sojourn in Annwfn,” that was published on JUNE 24, 2020 by ZTEVETEVANS. It is an amazing tale of friendship and the honor that kings showed each other when they exchanged bodies and returned to each other’s homelands.

Under the influence!

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Presented here is a retelling of the story of the time Pwyll of Dyfed spent in Annwfn in the body of Arawn. It is the first part of the story of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed or Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed, which is the First Branch of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi. It tells how he and Arawn became friends and of his sojourn in Annwfn.

Pwyll of Dyfed

One day as Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed was out hunting in the region of Glyn Cuch his hounds raised a stag. The stag took off at great speed with the hounds hard on its trail and Pwyll spurred his horse forward in pursuit sounding his hunting horn. The stag was moving fast but the hounds were keeping up and he was keeping up with the hounds. In the speed and excitement of the chase…

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Amulet’s Rapture

It is my pleasure to reblog the 5-star review by Literary Titan of the audiobook of Amulet’s Rapture narrated by Kristen James. An excerpt from the review is as follows: “The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable.” when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.

LITERARY TITAN

Amulet's Rapture: Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 3

Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?

Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is…

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Book Review Owen by Tony Riches

Owen (Tudor Trilogy, #1)Owen by Tony Riches
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The legacy of King Henry VIII has always fascinated me, but I knew very little about the earlier accounts of the Tudor dynasty. Thus, I selected Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches to learn more about how the Tudor Dynasty was established. The story of Owen, the great-grandfather of Henry VIII, is as fascinating as the tales about the legendary king. Told in the first-person perspective of Owen, the story begins in 1422 when he first meets his new mistress, Queen Catherine of Valois, the young widow of King Henry V. The queen’s young son, Harry (Henry VI), is crowned King of England and France. Nobles responsible for the young king’s upbringing tightly control the queen’s life and her influence on her son. Owen, serving as the Keeper of the Wardrobe, loyally serves and befriends Queen Catherine and gains her trust. Rumors of Catherine’s affair with the 2nd Duke of Somerset prompts a parliamentary statute that forbids her to remarry until her son comes of age. Soon after, Catherine and Owen fall in love and secretly marry in the backdrop of political turmoil that ultimately leads to the War of Roses.

Author Tony Riches has masterfully written a poignant love story narrated by Owen in the present tense. The moment-by-moment narrative helps the reader more actively engage with Owen’s life journey. The story is rich with vivid descriptions and natural dialogue that highlights Owen’s wit and cleverness. Although his childhood has been shattered by the loss of his Welsh noble parents and heritage, Owen becomes the unlikely second husband to Queen Catherine and the father of her children. Their secret love and marriage have tragic consequences in the backdrop of the War of Roses. Yet Owen’s firstborn son, Edmund, ultimately becomes the father of King Henry VII, the first monarch in the Tudor Dynasty.

Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy is one of the best historical fiction novels I’ve read this year. I highly recommend this book to historical fiction readers, particularly those interested in the Tudor Dynasty.

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Review The Insurmountable Edge by Thomas Goodfellow

The Insurmountable Edge: Book OneThe Insurmountable Edge: Book One by Thomas Goodfellow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The U.S. is on the brink of a deadly war with China in the debut international thriller, “Insurmountable Edge: Book One” by Thomas H. Goodfellow. The only person who can counter the threat is the steel-edged General Jack Wilder. His execution of some of the deadliest missions on behalf of the US in the elite special forces has forged him into a deadly weapon which enemies will have to reckon with. Jack Wilder is similar to Jack Reacher created by Lee Child, but he has his own unique foibles.

The story starts out in a horrific scene where two children are forced to dig their own graves before they are stoned to death. General Jack Wilder then takes over as the narrator. Retired and living at his plush Californian ranch, he cares for his hellbent seventeen-year-old ward, Adelaide, and his army buddy, Jeff, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). Ironically, Wilder’s unresolved issues with PSTD makes him prone to hallucinations.

A striking physician, Kate, seeks Wilder’s help in solving a series of murders with international security implications at a company she oversees. Meanwhile, war is ready to break out in the Middle East with China that will have an “insurmountable edge“ in the conflict. Tasked with investigating the insurmountable edge, Jack Wilder’s mission twists with unexpected turns as murders pile up and he is sometimes off edge talking with imaginary people and animals—possibly clues to political machinations behind the scenes. The book does not end with a classical cliffhanger but continues in what will be a three-book series that should connect the murders and international conflict.

Author Goodfellow has written an action-packed thriller filled with unique, memorable characters and vivid descriptions. The interactions between the characters and the smart, crisp dialogue work hand-in-hand with action scenes and unexpected twists to drive the story forward. Even though Wilder struggles with his own internal turmoil, he is an engaging character with a hint of chivalry toward Kate. But make no mistake, he is more than capable of maximum damage against his enemies.

“The Insurmountable Edge,” is an exciting start to a three-book series that spins a complex web of international intrigue and unforeseen enemies that promise to be the ultimate match for Jack Wilder. Highly recommended for fans of complex international thrillers with a hero you can root for.

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Brigit and the Cailleach by Christine Irving

The following is a reblog of a post entitled, “Brigit and the Cailleach by Christine Irving,” which is an old tale from Scotland that explains how winter becomes spring. Cailleach is another name for the Hag – the archetypal Crone. She represents winter. Brigit is the forever Maiden and stands for spring. These myths are handed through generations of countless bards and storytellers which add their own layers to the story. Please enjoy!

Today, I bring you an old old story from Scotland.  It explains how and why winter became spring.   Cailleach is another name for the Hag – the archetypal Crone.  She represents winter. Brigit is the forever Maiden and stands for spring.  There are many ways to spell her name, all of them correct.  Ben Nevis is a mountain in Scotland and the word bairns means “babies”.

It’s always important to remember that myths come to us through retellings by countless bards and storytellers.  They are layered one on top of the other like palimpsests and sometimes appear contradictory.  I think of stories- particularly the ones who have existed for millennia as three-dimensional puzzles to be slowly played with and unlocked in increments.  Furthermore, what we see and hear in a story means different things to us at different times and circumstances.  There is always something new to be gleaned.

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Queen Mebd: Wolf-Queen – Goddess of Sovereignty

The following is a reblog of a post entitled, “Queen Mebd: Wolf-Queen – Goddess of Sovereignty” by by ZTEVETEVANS on June 3, 2020. Queen Mebd is one of my favorite characters in Irish mythology. She is the archetypal ambitious and strong-willed warrior-queen who knew how to get what she wanted. She was described as a lusty fair-haired wolf-queen who was so beautiful men were robbed of two-thirds of their valor on seeing her. What a combination of trains! Please enjoy reading.

Under the influence!

Queen Mebd: Wolf-Queen

In Irish mythology Queen Mebd is a colorful character –  an archetypal warrior-queen – ambitious and strong-willed, who knew her own mind  and how to get what she wanted.  She was described as a lusty fair haired wolf-queen who was so beautiful men were robbed of two thirds of their valor on seeing her (1).  Probably her best known role is the instigator of the Cattle Raid of Cooley or Táin Bó Cúailnge which she undertook with her husband Aillil during a more congenial time in their relationship. Presented here is a brief glimpse of the roles Mebd filled as wife, queen and goddess of sovereignty, looking her most famous exploit, The Cattle Raid of Cooley and finally her death.

Husbands and Marriage

During the Ulster Cycle in Irish mythology she was a…

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Author Interview Tony Riches

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Tony Riches—an author of both best-selling fiction and non-fiction books, a blogger, and a podcaster. He has published several historical fiction books set in the 15th and 16th centuries about one of the most fascinating dynasties in England—the Tudors. I was excited to learn that he lived near the Pembroke Castle which I visited in 2013 and found fascinating.

Below you will find a brief biography, interview, and contact information for Tony Riches.

Author Tony Riches

Biography

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Tudors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

Author Interview Tony Riches

Would you provide an overview of the newest books or series that you have recently released?

My latest book is the conclusion to my Brandon trilogy, Katherine – Tudor Duchess.  This began as a ‘sequel’ to my best-selling Tudor trilogy, with the intriguing story of Henry VIII’s little sister Mary, who briefly became Queen of France. I visited her home at Westhorpe and became fascinated by the adventures her second husband, champion jouster and best friend of the king, Charles Brandon, so decided to tell the story from his point of view. After Mary died, Charles married a fourteen-year-old heiress, Katherine Willoughby, so her story was perfect for the third book of the trilogy. 

 

What inspired you to write historical fiction about the Tudors in the 15th and 16th centuries?

I was born in Pembroke, birthplace of King Henry VII, so have always been interested in finding out more about his story. I realised many visitors to Pembroke Castle had no idea he was born there, so my wife and I helped raise funding for the life-sized statue of Henry, now in front of the castle, so now he will always be remembered.

Statue of Henry Tudor at Pembroke Castle

How much research was involved in writing your books?

I usually spend at least a year visiting the actual locations, uncovering primary sources and planning each of my books. This has taken me to follow Henry and Jasper Tudor in exile to remote Brittany, although many of the locations are closer to home, as I live in Tudor Wales.

Is there any character that is your favorite in any of the books you have written? Explain why.

Owen Tudor, founder of the dynasty has to be my favourite, as although he came from modest beginnings, that didn’t stop him from secretly marrying the Queen of England and changing history. (Owen was also my first book to earn enough royalties to enable me to become a full-time author.)

Owen Book One of the Tudor Trilogy


How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

I like to stick to the historical facts, so they surprise me all the time. For example, Henry VII is thought of by many as ‘miserly’ but the records show he spent a fortune on his clothes and loved to gamble at cards (he often lost!) Mary Tudor didn’t complain when her brother married her off to the much older and sickly King Louis of France, and Katherine Willoughby risked everything for what she believed in.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I like hearing from readers, and one comment that I remember was from a mother in the US who said she’d bought all my books to help her son with his school work! Readers sometimes tell me they are descended from characters in my books, or that they are going to travel half way around the world to see the locations for themselves. 

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I need to learn to read medieval French and Latin, as I often find primary sources where I have to rely on someone else’s interpretation.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I play the tenor sax and met my wife when we played in a group together – it was called ‘Black Knight’ – a clue to my future career?

What makes you laugh?

Tudor TV dramas, such as when they ‘merged’ Henry VIII’s sisters, Mary and Margaret in ‘The White Queen’. I had to stop watching but still wonder why. Did they not find either interesting enough? Could they not afford two actresses? I also cringed when they made Margaret Beaufort into a scheming villain… and I could never believe Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII – although I was happy with Damian Lewis in ‘Wolf Hall’.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Talking to my two-year-old grandson on Facetime, as he takes video calling entirely for granted – but I’m still amazed that such a thing is possible for free.

Tony Riches, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

 

You can contact Tony Riches and learn more about him at:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Website

Writing blog

Twitter

Facebook

Podcasts

Goodreads

Book Review Not a Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter Nine Norstrom

Not a Blueprint, It's the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic RelationshipsNot a Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic Relationships by Nina Norstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not A Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic Relationships, is a memoir of Nina Norstrom. In the author’s note, she broadly defines that a toxic relationship can be with people, alcohol, disease, and our internal emotions to mention a few. The memoir provides an overview of Nina’s life journey, beginning in her childhood growing in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father who abuses her mother. The author’s daughter, China, is born out of wedlock as a result of a liaison with a married man. Although she continues seeking relationships with males so China can have a father figurehead, these relationships don’t work out. The one driving force that motivates the author to overcome obstacles is to provide for her daughter as best she can. The heart of this memoir is Nina’s unconditional love for her daughter who must battle cancer as a young woman.

Author Norstrom tells a heartfelt story with a straight-forward, relatable voice. After each chapter, she provides insight into what lessons she has learned from each experience. Although she doesn’t always make the wisest decisions, her heart is in the right place as she struggles to learn the lessons from her journey through life. A bonus from her memoir is a list of support groups that can help people through times of grief.

I recommend this memoir to readers who are looking for insight on how to overcome toxic relationships by following the footprints of this author as her trial unfolds in this story.

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Boudicca: Great Queen of the Iceni

The following is a reblog of a post entitled, “Boudicca: Great Queen of the Iceni” that was originally published on December 5, 2009. Hope you enjoy reading.

Derilea's Dream: Memoirs of a Pictish Queen

Pictland virtually ignored after Agricolan campaign Why were Roman legions so interested in subduing some tribes and not others? Why build the great edifices of Antonine and Hadrian‘s occupations to shut out the northern territories and patrol the borders with encampments, but essentialaly ignore them, when others, like Queen Boudicca of the Iceni, merited wholesale plunder, murder and annihilation?

It was not merely a matter of geography. The Northern Tribes of the Caledonians, in what eventually became Pictland, were hostile but they were no immediate threat to Rome. They were warlike and they were rich in land, but their territories were only worthy of one campaign: that of Julius Agricola in AD77. During that campaign, while he was Consul of Rome and Governor of Britannia, he conquered much of Wales and northern England and made his historic venture into lowland and eastern Scotland to conclude his enterprise at the legendary battle of Mons Graupius

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