The worlds of Jag Peters and Rena Jett collide when he nearly crashes into her motorcycle in Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes. When Jag tracks down Rena’s candy apple red Harley at a corner pub so he can apologize to her, he is instantly attracted to the spitfire, dark-hair beauty. They are nothing alike. A computer programmer, Jag avoids risks while Rena is a brash waitress who appears fearless. Nonetheless, it is as though “the Universe had strange ways of bringing two souls together.” After meeting Rena, Jag strangely glimpses a ghostly figure in camouflage military attire at various times. As his relationship develops with Rena, he discovers that beneath her hard facade is a lonely girl with a troubled past and that her brother, Sam, had recently died in combat in Afghanistan. Jag wonders if the ghost is Rena’s brother who has stayed to protect and to assure her happiness. Her brother’s last gift to Rena is a magical rune, symbolizing “happily ever after,” that helps tie their past and present together in a climactic ending.
Author Jan Sikes has written a romance with paranormal elements that will resonate with readers. For romance readers, there are some steamy scenes that will make your heart pound harder. Yet, there are more layers to the story, which on the surface seems a straight-forward romance. The following quote from the book resonated with me as I read the book: Live for the today. Leave tomorrow alone. As for yesterday let it go. Rena needs to let go of the emotional scars she endured in abusive foster homes so that she can accept Jag’s love and a family lost to her. Jag must recognize that he has found something that he never knew he lost.
The secondary characters are memorable and their backstories help drive the story. I particularly like Jag’s mother, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her son so he could be raised in a stable family. We also learn about Sam whose soul can’t leave his little sister until he knows that she is safe and that she can embrace happiness. Other secondary characters from Jag’s and Rena’s past also help them learn how to live for the moment and to find their true passions. The themes of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love are enhanced with the multi-layered backstories of the secondary characters. Lyrics from songs and the symbology of the rune add to the rich tapestry of the love story.
The universal themes in Ghostly Interference will resonate with readers on several levels after they finish the book. It is a memorable, multi-layer love story between two completely different people who help each other find his/her true identity and passion. Highly recommended.
The following is a reblog from UNDER THE INFLUENCE! that was posted by ZTEVETEVANS on APRIL 7, 2021. The article entitled, “Five Trees Featured in Celtic Lore” is based on the Celtic belief that all objects have consciousness of some kind, which included trees. Each species of tree had different properties which might be medicinal, spiritual, or symbolic. Wood from trees could be used for everyday needs such as firewood for heating and cooking, and lumber to make shelters, spears, arrows, staffs and many other items. Trees supplied nuts and fruit for people and animals to eat. Five species of trees playing an important role in Celtic myths, legends, and folklore are discussed in this article.
This article was first published on 21st January 2021 on #FolkloreThursday.com under the title Top 5 Trees in Celtic Mythology, Legend and Folklore by zteve t evans.
It is believed that the ancient Celtic people were animists who considered all objects to have consciousness of some kind. This included trees, and each species of tree had different properties which might be medicinal, spiritual or symbolic. Of course, wood was also used for everyday needs such as fire wood and making shelters, spears, arrows, staffs and many other items. Trees also supplied nuts and berries for themselves and their animals as food. Some species of tree featured in stories from their myths, legends and folklore and presented here are five trees that played an important role in these tales and lore.
The oak was the king of the forest having many associations throughout…
The follow is a reblog of The Adar Rhiannon – The Singing Birds of Rhiannon by zteve t evans – 18 January 2021
The Birds of Rhiannon
Welsh mythology and folklore is crammed with fantastical people and creatures and the Adar Rhiannon, or the Birds of Rhiannon, are a trio of magical birds mentioned in early Welsh literature and myth. They were associated with Rhiannon who many scholars see as goddess from the Welsh Celtic Otherworld. She was a significant figure in the First and Third Branches of the Mabinogi and her birds were mentioned in the Second Branch. Presented here is a short discussion involving some of what is known about the Adar Rhiannon looking briefly at the Mabinogi and the adventure story, Culhwch and Olwen. This will be followed by a look at the mysterious Rhiannon and the properties of the magical birds in these stories and conclude by referring back to The Second Branch of the Mabinogi.
Welsh mythology and folklore is crammed with fantastical people and creatures and the Adar Rhiannon, or the Birds of Rhiannon, are a trio of magical birds mentioned in early Welsh literature and myth. They were associated with Rhiannon who many scholars see as goddess from the Welsh Celtic Otherworld. She was a significant figure in the First and Third Branches of the Mabinogi and her birds were mentioned in the Second Branch. Presented here is a short discussion involving some of what is known about the Adar Rhiannon looking briefly at the Mabinogi and the adventure story, Culhwch and Olwen. This will be followed by a look at the mysterious Rhiannon and the properties of the magical birds in these stories and conclude by referring back to The…
It is my pleasure to introduce Brook Allen, blogger and author of the Antoniusseries. The historical fiction series captures the life and essence of Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony). After reading Antonius: Soldier of Fate (Book 3), I was fascinated with the lesser-known historical figure, Octavia. She was the fourth wife of Marcus Antonius and sister of his political rival, Octavian, in the Second Triumvirate. Their marriage forged a political alliance between the two powerful leaders during the time when Cleopatra became Antonius’s lover and ally.
Below is a guest post by Brook Allen of how Cleopatra and Octavia influenced Marcus Antonius in their love triangle. Also provided are her biography contact information, and book links.
Antonius’s Critical Decision: Octavia or Cleopatra?
Now that my final book in the Antonius Trilogy has launched, I look back as an author and feel as though I understand my “friend” Marcus Antonius a lot better.
I remember taking a tour with an archaeologist in Rome some years ago. She was a brilliant woman, eager to share her love of the city and experiences, as someone who had made a unique discovery there and had the opportunity to excavate it. However, as we were still introducing ourselves, and I mentioned I was writing on Marcus Antonius, a wall went up! The rest of the day, I felt as though she was on auto-pilot showing me around and staying distant. After talking with her more, her impassioned feelings poured forth: she HATED Antonius. She didn’t like talking about him because of what he did to Octavia.
Wow. It was the first concrete evidence I had found of what a polarizing figure in history Marcus Antonius still is to this day. People who study the Roman world are still divided on their opinions of him. This incident really caused me to spend a lot of time researching WHY Antonius deserted his Roman wife. And I decided that I would make Octavia a pivotal figure in my story and attempt to explain his choice.
So let’s look at this “love triangle”, shall we?
Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony) had his life story told by his enemies or by men who lived roughly a century or more after him. Artwork depicting his likeness, inscriptions bearing his name, and any evidence of whatever plans he and Cleopatra had made together were all destroyed following his death. What we do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was that he was like many Roman men in his day—a ravenous wolf when it came to women. He loved whoring, having a mistress, he craved and enjoyed sex, and he was proud of his expertise in bed and his masculine ability to have sons. Wine was his drug of choice, and he probably wasn’t above trying aphrodisiacs and varying positions during sexual encounters. Sexuality in the ancient world wasn’t for the modest.
But Antonius was also a figure of power—a great deal of power, especially following the assassination of Julius Caesar. To survive politically, he required enormous amounts of gold to pay his legions, was expected to govern well, add to Rome’s growing empire, and show the usual aloof and characteristic dignitas in dealing with provincial natives.
Antonius’s marriage to Octavia occurred right after his first liaison with Cleopatra. That makes me skeptical about it being a pleasing event for him. First, his previous wife had just died—literally only months or less prior to his betrothal to Octavia. Second—well, it was Octavian’s idea, NOT Antonius’s!
And what about Octavia? How did she feel about all of this? She had been married around the age of fifteen to a much older man—Gaius Marcellus—who opposed Julius Caesar. Though it’s unclear exactly what happened, Caesar wanted the couple to divorce at one point so that Octavia could marry the recently widowed Pompeius Magnus. This arrangement fell through. Nobody knows why, but I rather doubt that Marcellus wanted to divorce his wife just because his political opponent demanded it!
Octavia was a true example of the loyal, nurturing Roman matron all of her life, in both her marriage to Marcellus and then to Antonius. She spun her own wool, was described as being quite beautiful, and once married to Antonius, supported him as much as her brother until their divorce.
How did SHE feel about marrying her brother’s rival? Frankly, I doubt she was very happy about it, either. At the time, Octavia was in a late-term pregnancy by Marcellus, who had died before their baby was born. Octavian forced her betrothal to Antonius while she was heavy with child. What woman could be pleased with that? The poor thing was still in mourning, as was Antonius for his own wife who had just died.
Behold the marriage that was depicted in Roman propaganda as the salvation of the Republic, preventing more civil war. Silver cups with mythological analogies of Octavian’s and Antonius’s peace at Brundisium were crafted, coins with both Antonius’s and Octavia’s profiles, side by side were minted. Even Virgil, in some cryptic passages of poetry, proclaimed this marriage to herald a golden age.
Never had a marriage been so lauded. And never had a marriage been so doomed.
In the winter preceding his return to Italy and betrothal to Octavia in late 41 BC, Antonius tasted Cleopatra’s charms for the first time. Nobody really knows whether real love existed between them. But their meeting and physical attraction became legendary in their own time.
Plutarch wrote a splendid description of the Queen (though he lived a century after her!) Still, he must have had some superb primary sources in comparison to what we have today:
“For her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contact of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice, with which, like an instrument of many strings, she could pass from one language to another…”
I’m not suggesting that Octavia was UN-educated, but she probably wasn’t fluent in seven languages like Cleopatra. Egypt’s Queen had the world’s foremost library at her fingertips, along with the university at Alexandria, and the draw of countless men of science and literature. She had also proven herself capable of ruling well. She was managing increasing revenue, led Egypt through several years of drought, and had built a strong relationship with the native Egyptians in Upper Egypt—something none of her Ptolemaic forbears had achieved. In short, she was a brilliant woman and though certain examples of her coinage looks a little witch-like, her busts look attractive, if not rather pretty.
As the final decade in his life continued, Antonius’s relations with Octavian had broken down. Twice, Octavian set up meetings in Italy to which Antonius arrived promptly, only to find his brother in law not just absent, but having failed to allow Antonius entry into his own country. Then there was the question of troops with which Antonius had provided Octavian, only to receive nothing in return. Really, there was very little keeping this alliance alive.
Still planning to take up Julius Caesar’s banner against the Parthian Empire, Antonius needed coin. He wasn’t getting much from his brother in law. His mother and brothers had all died, and he had already propagated a solid alliance with Egypt—the world’s breadbasket—for support in this endeavor. When he finally headed East again, he did so alone. To succeed, he’d need to renew the alliance with Egypt.
He made his choice for good or ill. He chose Cleopatra—her wealth and the side benefits of their physical relationship must have meant something to him, for many scholars agree that they married by Egyptian law prior to his Parthian adventure. He needed secure allies at his back and gold to pay his army, which was one-hundred THOUSAND strong! Yes, he made concessions to the Queen, too—ones that he may have lived to regret later. But the appearance of this “love triangle” was one of practicality, regardless of any emotion involved. Did Antonius and Cleopatra love one another? This author is convinced that they did, but hey—I’ll save that for another blog!
And what of poor Octavia?
Though it’s recorded that she spoke up on her husband’s behalf and even served as a mediator between Antonius and Octavian, she had proven that she was best at the art of domesticity and mothering. She proved it again by taking in Antonius’s children by Cleopatra after their parents’ deaths. After all she did for her brother, he allowed her a place in his households, along with all of the kids, but never “forced” her to marry again. He also built her a large entryway near the Theater of Marcellus—smaller theater that was started by Caesar and completed by her son, Marcellus. She must not have thought the porticus built in her honor was enough, for after her son Marcellus died, she gifted Rome with a library near the “Porticus Octavia”.
Did Octavia love Antonius? Was she jealous once he left her for Cleopatra? Or did she possibly encourage him to go? We’ll never know, but people intrigued with Antonius and Cleopatra’s romance should be mindful that before Antonius was ever fully committed to Cleo, there was this unusual and unwanted love triangle adding a lot of angst to the whole story.
Biography Brook Allen
Author Brook Allen has a passion for ancient history—especially 1st century BC Rome. Her Antonius Trilogy is a detailed account of the life of Marcus Antonius—Marc Antony, which she has worked on for the past fifteen years. The first installment, Antonius: Son of Rome was published in March 2019. It follows Antony as a young man, from the age of eleven, when his father died in disgrace, until he’s twenty-seven and meets Cleopatra for the first time. Brook’s second book is Antonius: Second in Command, dealing with Antony’s tumultuous rise to power at Caesar’s side and culminating with the civil war against Brutus and Cassius. Antonius: Soldier of Fate is the last book in the trilogy, spotlighting the romance between Antonius and Cleopatra and the historic war with Octavian Caesar.
In researching the Antonius Trilogy, Brook’s travels have led her to Italy, Egypt, Greece, and even Turkey to explore places where Antony once lived, fought, and eventually died. While researching abroad, she consulted with scholars and archaeologists well-versed in Hellenistic and Roman history, specifically pinpointing the late Republican Period in Rome. Brook belongs to the Historical Novel Society and attends conferences as often as possible to study craft and meet fellow authors. In 2019, Son of Rome won the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award. In 2020, it was honored with a silver medal in the international Reader’s Favorite Book Reviewers Book Awards.
Though she graduated from Asbury University with a B.A. in Music Education, Brook has always loved writing. She completed a Masters program at Hollins University with an emphasis in Ancient Roman studies, which helped prepare her for authoring her present works. Brook teaches full-time as a Music Educator and works in a rural public-school district near Roanoke, Virginia. Her personal interests include travel, cycling, hiking in the woods, reading, and spending downtime with her husband and two amazing Labrador Retrievers. She lives in the heart of southwest Virginia in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
We’ll be waiting is based on a true ghost story which claims that the spirit of Katharine de Montacute haunts the ruins of Bungay Priory in Suffolk, England. Katharine was forced to enter the priory by her grandfather and is believed to have escaped and run away with her lover. It is believed that she was caught and taken to Coldingham Abbey where she was immured.
Katharine is one of the main characters in my forthcoming book, Through the Nethergate and this is her story.
One, two, three, four, five, fix, seven, turn. Katharine paced her small cell, the bottom of her habit, made from undyed wool, whispering softly on the cold, stone floor.
What will he think of me when he sees me? she thought. I have…
For those who love to read science fiction and fantasy, check out the SFF Bonanza 99c Promo this week (21-27 September) in which you have close to 30 books to select from. As part of this promotion, Apollo’s Raven (Book 1 Curse of Clansmen and Kings) has been reduced to 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, AppleBooks, Google Play. Click on the image to check out the wide assortment of books offered at 99 cents for a limited time.
I am pleased to announce that Apollo’s Raven has won the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Bronze Medal Fiction-Magic/Wizardry. For further information about the award and full review, click on the book cover below:
“Overall, Apollo’s Raven is an un-put-down-able fantasy adventure from start to finish.”—K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
Thank you for your continued support. Stay safe in these tumultuous times.
Linnea at Colchester Museum Inspecting a Celtic Chariot
Beneath the Lake by Casi Mclean is a paranormal/timeslip romance with elements of suspense in which lovers weave their destinies across three time periods to be together. The story begins in suspense as a mysterious man slips forward in time and is resolved to reinvent himself and to target Lacy. A year later in 2012, we are introduced to Lacy, a lawyer, attending a party where she finds her longtime boyfriend cheating on her. Enraged, she leaves the party in the midst of a raging storm and her car crashes near a cursed lake where there was once a town and people vanish without a trace. Tracy falls into the lake and time slips back to 1949 when Bobby finds her injured near the lake. As their relationship evolves into something deeper, Lacy faces the risk of losing him if she unexpectedly travels forward in 2012. All of the narratives in the various time periods tie together for a riveting climax with unexpected twists.
Author Casi McLean masterfully weaves the narratives of a mysterious man targeting Lacy at the beginning of the story and Lacy finding herself in the past. It is an inspirational story in which Lacy not only finds true love, but she also finds her purpose by helping residents in the small town negotiate prices for their properties before these are covered by the lake for flood control. The author nimbly juggles the narratives and time periods, keeping the reader in suspense. What I like most about the novel is the fast-paced beginning that hooks you and the compelling ending that ties everything together. For romance readers, the development of the relationship between Lacy and Bobby, an alluring blue-eyed hero, is the centerpiece of the story.
I highly recommend Beneath the Lake for readers who enjoy reading paranormal romance with elements of suspense.
Break of Darkness by Ryanne Glenn is the final, most compelling book in the Descent of Shadows epic fantasy series that has followed the journey of Anna, a young general battling shadowy creatures known as wraiths. In the third book, survivors from the sanctuary city that King Ramiere destroyed are in the depths of despair. Disheartened by the devastation, Anna escapes to a foreign land, hoping to erase her memories of the ravages of relentless war with the wraiths. Her regiment is in disarray and struggling to survive the continuing wraith onslaught. Anna seeks insight from her ancestral past to help her overcome the dark magic of King Ramiere. However, the light Anna finds also has shades of darkness that she must embrace to defeat him before he destroys the human race. Not only is the tale about battles between sworn enemies, but it is also about Anna’s inner struggle to accept herself and to unify her troops to do the impossible—overcome King Ramiere.
The final book has a heart-wrenching but satisfying ending to the series. Author Ryanne Glenn has masterfully written an epic journey of a young woman struggling to find herself and to regain loyalty from her soldiers who believe she had abandoned them. It is a multi-layered tale that explores human frailties and friendships which can forge during times of despair. The three-dimensional characters are engaging, particularly the eighteen-year-old heroine, Anna, who must come to terms with her darker side. King Ramiere is a complex villain with a diabolical plan to destroy humans so he can save his wraiths from the destructive forces of light. The book is rich in detail, setting the mood, and has a heart-throbbing climax that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I highly recommend the series to both teens and adults. Break of Darkness realistically depicts the consequences of war on the souls of individuals, but it is also a morality tale of how friendship is the ultimate victor in times of despair.
About Ryanne Glenn
Ryanne Glenn is a member of the Northern Colorado Writers in Fort Collins, CO, where she attends Colorado State University. She is pursuing a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. She loves to golf, though after playing for twelve years, her handicap should be much lower than it is. Between writing and classes, she often visits her hometown of Fruita, Colorado, to spend time with her family and two dogs, Coco and Pebbles.
Ryanne started writing short stories when she was ten and was first published in Fruita’s local newspaper. She took her first creative writing class in high school and was inspired to expand her writing into poetry and longer stories. After struggling with depression in her first year at college, she turned back to writing as a healthy outlet for her emotions. She wants to write strong female role models and is excited to share her stories with the world.
You can purchase Break of Darkness by clicking on the following:
The following is a reblog of a post entitled, “Influential Women: Enheduanna – High-Priestess, Astronomer, First Known Author” that was published by JULY 29, 2020 BY ZTEVETEVANS. It is fascinating to learn about the ancient influential woman who lived almost 4300 years ago in 2300 BC.
The world’s first known author is widely attributed to have been the daughter of Sargon (1) of Akkad in the 23rd century BC. We know her today as Enheduanna, which may have been a title of office, in which case her real name is unknown. She was the High Priestess of Nanna-Suen, a moon deity of Mesopotamia presiding over his temple complex in the city of Ur. The “En” part of her name signifies “leadership” and “ heduanna,” means “Ornament of Heaven” reflecting the divinity she served.
Clearly, she was of very high status in the society of her time and her writing was greatly influential then and in later times. Considerable parts of her work still exist in her original poetic form which has been influential in various religious systems throughout history.
Enter the AuthorsXP Fantasy Books Giveaway for a chance to win free fantasy paperbacks and e-books. I am a participating author in this event and will be giving away books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series: Book 1: APOLLO’S RAVEN, Book 2:DAGGER’S DESTINY, and Book 3:AMULET’S RAPTURE.