#TuesdayRunes – Tiwaz

Photo by Jan Sikes

It’s time to continue our journey through the runes! The next segment of the Elder Futhark runes is Tyr’s Aett. These runes speak to the aspects of the dance between the visible and invisible realms, with runes directly connected to the ancient deities, natural forces, and humanity itself. The first rune in this segment is Tiwaz (tee-wahz).

Photo by Jan Sikes

As the first rune in Tyr’s Aett, Tiwaz represents the qualities of the god Tyr. It is associated with courage, strength, and the forward-moving nature of masculine energy.

Tiwaz speaks of the need to put our causes above personal desires if the greater good requires it. If you are facing a decision that involves potential discomfort in order to achieve a positive outcome, Tiwaz is signaling that you possess the courage and ability to withstand the sacrifice and emerge victorious. You are ready for the challenge, provided you act with integrity and remain true to your inner knowledge.

Victory is another primary interpretation of Tiwaz, particularly when it comes to competitions of all kinds. Harness the enthusiastic energy and motivation to achieve your goals and you will succeed. This rune is also a positive sign for success in legal matters, providing that you are being honest and just in your actions.

The shape of Tiwaz resembles a spear and the upward pointing arrow symbolizes the force of masculine energy. Action is indicated. However, you are cautioned not to act impulsively.

Another aspect of the masculine energy of Tiwaz is passion and sexual energy, so romance is indicated by this rune, depending on the context of a reading. It could refer to a new romance or a reinvigoration of an existing relationship.

If Tiwaz is reversed in a reading (downward pointing arrow), it signifies a lack of courage or motivation when it comes to achieving your goals.

The birthdate associated with this rune is February 27 to March 14.

Thanks for coming along on this journey and I hope you enjoyed learning about this rune!

I am at @StoryEmpire today! What are your thoughts about Writing Organizations?

Please join me over at Story Empire today where I am weighing the pros and cons of belonging to writing organizations or groups.

Writing Organizations – The Good -The Bad – The Ugly

Monday #Motivation #Meditation #TarotReading

Happy Monday! Welcome to another opportunity to pause and reset your intentions for a new week!

Created in Canva by Jan Sikes

We continue with our efforts to open and balance the chakras. This week, we are focusing on the fifth major chakra. The Throat Chakra is located in the center of the throat and back of the neck. It controls our flow of communication, self-expression, and listening. When there is an imbalance, you may find that you have a harder time speaking your truth or getting your message across to another. This also affects our creativity in writing. Our job as writers is to get the thoughts and images from our heads and hearts into words that convey them accurately and effectively. Some ways you may be able to tell if this chakra is blocked would be, hesitation to speak your truth, having your throat close up or constrict when you are trying to talk, a sore throat, a raspy voice, or if you feel anxious about a conversation. You can enhance this chakra by wearing the color blue, especially in jewelry around your neck. Gemstones that are great for the throat chakra are Turquoise, Kyanite, Aquamarine, or Lapis Lazuli. You can also help activate this chakra by doing neck stretches and repeating affirmations.

Here’s a short meditation to help balance the Throat Chakra.

Now for our Tarot Reading for the upcoming week.

Photo by Jan Sikes

The King of Swords is a symbol of intellectual power and authority. It indicates that you have a clarity of mind and can perceive the truth, so it is up to you to take the lead with providing an objective point of view and making decisions based on impartial judgement. The King of Swords encourages you to use your logic and intellect to navigate the path ahead. The Three of Pentacles is all about teamwork, collaboration, learning and implementation. It can represent the value of different ideas and levels of experience in collaboration. Each person has an important role to play, and when they come together as a team, they can create something much more significant than if they were to undertake the project on their own. So, when the Three of Pentacles turns up in a Tarot reading, take it as a sign to collaborate with others, creating synergies to achieve big results. The Eight of Pentacles is a card of apprenticeship and mastery. When this card appears in a Tarot reading, you are working hard to improve your skills and become a master at what you do. It may indicate further education or study in order to hone your skills. More broadly, the Eight of Pentacles suggests you are working away at the finer details of the various aspects of your life, in an effort to continuously improve your situation. The Eight of Pentacles encourages you to keep doing what you are doing as it will eventually lead to success. 

So, an overall take on this reading would be to implement teamwork and collaboration, work hard to improve your skills and all with clarity of mind and an objective point of view.

Sounds good to me. Make it a great week!

#NewRelease – Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Suspense #Mystery

I am super excited about the new release from my fellow Story Empire writer, Joan Hall! I can’t wait to read this one as I loved the prequel! But I’ll let Joan tell you about it.

Thank you, Jan. I’m excited to be here to talk about my newest release. Cold Dark Night is the first novel of my Legends of Madeira series. Each book begins with a historical event that ties to modern-day. Today I’m going to talk about the musical inspiration behind the book.

I like silence when I’m writing, but music often inspires me to write. Cold Dark Night was partially inspired by a song. Growing up in a music-loving family with a brother twelve years my senior made me appreciate the song of the sixties as much as (maybe more) than those of “my time,” the 1970s.

One of the albums my brother often listened to was The Band’s first solo album, Music From Big Pink. Among the songs that stood out for me was “Long Black Veil.” The idea of someone singing from the grave about his own death intrigued me. First recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell, several artists have recorded the song, but The Band’s version has always been my favorite.

“Long Black Veil” inspired the opening chapters of Cold Dark Night. The circumstances between my character Adam McLaury and the person in the song differ somewhat, but those familiar with the words will recognize some similarities.

In the following passage, Lillian McLaury visits her husband in jail. He’s awaiting execution for murdering a man on the streets of Madeira.

Excerpt:

“I’m not sure I even want to live if you’re gone.” Lillian hung her head.

“Don’t talk like that. Isaac needs you. So does our unborn baby. You’re still young. Much too young to pine away. Someday you might meet someone else. If you do, it’s okay. And one day, in another life, we’ll be together again.”

She straightened, then wiped the tears from her eyes. “You believe that?”

“Of course, I do. I’m prepared to die. I can go to my grave with a clear conscience, knowing I’ve done nothing wrong. There’s one other thing I ask of you.”

“What is it?”

“Find the person responsible. See to it justice is served.”

“I promise to do everything I can.”

“That’s all I ask. And don’t give up. I’m still holding out for a miracle.”

But three days later, Sheriff Bass walked Adam to the gallows to die for the murder of William Skinner.

At the bottom of the steps, Ethan stopped. Scrubbed a hand over his face. “I’m sorry, Adam. I truly hoped someone would come forth with evidence implicating the real killer. I know you’re innocent. Don’t need proof, but—”

“You were doing your job. I understand.”

The hangman stood at the top of the gallows. His no-nonsense demeanor had been the subject of several conversations among Madeira’s residents. Many of them thought him to be unfriendly. He motioned toward the crowd. “Come along, Sheriff. Can’t keep these good folks waiting. It’s time to get this over with.”

“Then, you do it. I did my job bringing him here. I’ll have no further part in it. I believe this man is innocent, and I’m washing my hands of his blood.”

And Pontius Pilate said similar words when he handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Adam nodded to his executioner as he ascended the steps on his own. Divine intervention hadn’t come. His knees buckled as he looked at the rope that would soon be placed around his neck.

Reverend Potts, the local minister, rushed to his side to steady him. Compassion shown in the older man’s eyes.

The hangman showed no sympathy. He took Adam by the arm, led him behind the noose, then placed it loosely around his neck.

Adam scanned the crowd. Entire families had turned out for the event. Some sat together in buggies, while others stood on the courthouse lawn. Children laughed and played, as if blissfully aware of what was about to happen. One small girl peered around her mother’s skirts, her eyes wide. A teenage boy peddled refreshments.

Why would anyone allow a small child to see something like this? There had been hangings in Madeira before, none of which he’d cared to attend. He wouldn’t bring his wife, much less his son. But many people acted as if hangings were a source of entertainment.

At last, he saw Lillian. She stood near the back, ramrod straight, not shedding any tears. Maybe she’d cried all she could cry. Perhaps she’d taken his advice to be strong.

The crowd began to sing “Amazing Grace.” When the song ended, Reverend Potts asked, “Do you have any last requests?”

“Look after Lillian, will you?”

The older man nodded. “Of course, my son.”

Adam met Lillian’s eyes again as she mouthed the words, “I love you.”

Her face was the last thing he saw before the hangman pulled the hood over his face. He would go to eternity confident in Lillian’s unwavering love for him.

><><><>< 

Thanks again for hosting me, Jan. Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon. It’s on sale for .99 through June 15. After that, the price goes to $3.99, so this is a good time for readers to grab a copy.

Blurb:

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Dark-Night-Legends-Madeira-ebook/dp/B0968CXZQ9

Connect with Joan:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Bookbub  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

#TuesdayRunes – Sowilo

Welcome back for another look at the mystical and magical runes from the Elder Futhark Script.

Photo by Jan Sikes

Today’s Rune is Sowilo (so-we-lah).

The keywords associated with this rune are: light, energy, good health and success. What a great rune to get in any reading at any time!

Sowilo is the rune of the Sun and the life-sustaining light it provides. It represents the light of day where all is illuminated and there is no darkness to obscure our vision. It is the rune of the light’s victory over the dark and can bring much needed clarity and healing to a situation.

Sowilo’s verse in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem describes the sun as “a joy in the hopes of seafarers,” keeping the sailors’ spirits up as they move across the water toward a safe landing. This rune is telling you that you are surrounded by warmth and light. Success, good health and joy are yours if you allow yourself to have them, as are good luck and prosperity.

Depending on your situation, you may need to open yourself up more and clear out your own inner shadows to let more light into your experience.

While the sun is crucial to life on Earth, its power can also be harmful if its intensity is not balanced with other forms of energy. You may be asked to look at how you are directing your vitality. Are you scattered over too many activities and commitments? (I think we can all probably answer ‘yes’ to that question!) Do you find that you are neglecting your health or at risk of burning out? If so, it’s time to ground yourself and possibly re-prioritize.

Use the Sun’s power to illuminate the issue with rational clarity rather than through the lens of emotions. Be honest with yourself and with others, as deceit keeps everyone in the shadows.

The birthdates associated with Sowilo are February 13-27.

Thank you for stopping by and continuing this journey with me!

Monday #Motivation #Meditation #TarotReading

Created in Canva by Jan Sikes

The Heart Chakra resides in the middle of the chest and vibrates to the colors green and pink. Affirmations are a great way to help heal and balance the heart chakra, as well as working with stones such as rose quartz, emerald, malachite and jade. You can wear the color green to help raise the heart chakra vibration. Here is a brief meditation that I found to be very effective. I hope you will too.

And now for the Tarot Reading for the upcoming week!

Photo taken by Jan Sikes

The Suit of Cups Tarot cards deal with the emotional level of consciousness and are associated with love, feelings, relationships and connections. Which leads right back to the heart chakra. I swear to you, it is not possible to make this stuff up. These are the cards I was given.

The King of Cups is emotionally balanced, compassionate, and diplomatic. Something for us all to strive for. It indicates control over feelings and an acceptance of them without allowing them to get the better of you. The King also indicates the ability to manage a situation logically, while drawing upon your intuition and understanding of human interactions. The Judgement card is calling you to rise up and embrace a higher level of consciousness for the service of your Highest Good. You may be at a crossroads, aware that any choice you make will bring a significant change with long-lasting effects. The Judgement card suggests that you may find comfort in sharing your struggles with others within a group environment. There will be others who have experienced something similar and who can show you the way to freedom from your troubles. Let them guide you and help you – rise together. The Queen of Cups is, as you might imagine, nurturing, caring, compassionate and sensitive. When you see her in a Tarot reading, you are embodying her ‘nurturing mother’ energy. You support others by listening with your heart, being compassionate, and caring for them deeply. In your creative projects and endeavors, you ‘feel’ your way into them, trusting your heart and your inner guidance to lead you in the right direction. You know when something is ‘off’, and you pay attention to this, even if it doesn’t make rational sense. You may be in tune with the cycles of the moon and nature, using these cycles to manifest your goals and live your dreams. Lead with your heart, not your head.

So, to wrap it up, this reading is telling us to stay emotionally balanced while making big life choices that require us to do so with compassion and leading from the heart center.

Have a great week!

May #BookReviews Part 2 – @stacitroilo @m_morganauthor @ErskineCaldwell

This is Part 2 of my May Book Reviews and I am thrilled to share my thoughts on these three books with you!

Life in the Colorado mountains isn’t easy for immigrants Anita and Ottavio Notaro, particularly when they’re isolated on a hillside and barely speak the language. Anita is carrying their first child, and Tav works many long, hard hours away from home. This isn’t the American dream they were promised; this is a brutal life on the frontier. Tav has been saving money to make their lives easier, and he stumbles on a windfall. The only problem is, he isn’t the only one who knows about it. Trouble befalls these two humble Italians, threatening their livelihoods—and their lives.

A strange posse made up of fellow countrymen ride to their rescue. But will they get there in time?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This short story sets the stage to begin the Medici Protectorate Series and after reading this introduction, I will be reading the rest of this series. The story gripped me from the first word on the first page to the last. A young Italian couple living on the rugged frontier in the Colorado mountains is struggling to survive. Ottavio and Anita Notaro have one dream and that is to return to their beloved homeland. Anita is heavy with their first child. Ottavio works hard and when he finds a treasure that will pay for their trip back home, he is overjoyed. But he isn’t the only one who knows about the treasure. The tragedy that befalls Anita and Tav is heartbreaking. This story is written in rich narrative, heavily descriptive, and filled with emotion that drips off the pages. It includes folklore, history, and even a touch of mysticism. I am anxious to dive into book one of the Medici Protectorate Series to see what happens next!

Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.

After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.

In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This is the first book in the Wolves of the Clan Sutherland series. Set in Scotland in 1206, this story combines history, magic, folklore, and myth with reality. Magnar is the powerful and undisputed leader of the Sutherland Wolf Clan. All members of the clan are part man, part wolf but their power is in controlling the beast that resides within. They are fierce warriors and loyal to King William of Scotland. It would take a special kind of woman to win Magnar’s heart, to love both him and the wolf, and that woman is Elspeth. When her brother, Chieftan of Steinn castle, is murdered by heathen Northmen, she escapes taking her small nephew with her. Little Erik is now Chieftan by default, at the age of 7. Starving, she steals bags from two horses, never suspecting she has stolen from the king. When she and the young chieftain are brought before King William, he offers shelter and protection. He then commissions Magnar and his clan to go and rid the castle of the marauders. But to bring peace to the clans, the King orders Magnar to marry Elspeth. What starts out as a cautious and untrusting marriage soon turns steamy. This is a fantastic story with layers of side plots, including a twin brother unknown to Magnar. The two are destined to clash. This author did a fantastic job of weaving all of the layers together seamlessly and depicting the time period perfectly. I devoured the book and am now anxious for book 2, Rorik. If you love a steamy romance from that time period in the setting of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, this book is for you! If I could give it more than five stars, I would!

Single father and poor Southern farmer Ty Ty Walden has a plan to save his farm and his family: He will tear his fields apart until he finds gold. While Ty Ty obsesses over his fool’s quest, his sons and daughters search in vain for their own dreams of instant happiness—whether from money, violence, or sex. God’s Little Acre is a classic dark comedy, a satire that lampoons a broken South while holding a light to the toll that poverty takes on the hopes and dreams of the poor themselves. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erskine Caldwell including rare photos and never-before-seen documents courtesy of the Dartmouth College Library.

KINDLE PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been a huge fan of Erskine Caldwell’s writing and lucked out recently in finding several of his books in a half-price book store in Dallas. I bought all of them and am now rereading them. I started with “God’s Little Acre.” This book was first published in 1933 and there is no way on earth this book would be published in today’s social climate. Erskine depicts poverty, attitudes, and social separations perfectly in this story. It opens with Ty Ty Walden digging deep holes all over his small Georgia farm. He is convinced there is gold under the ground. Two of his sons help him daily with the digging while sharecroppers make a half-hearted attempt to farm the land that isn’t riddled with holes. Because Ty Ty is a god-fearing man, he has designated one acre of his farm as God’s little acre with all profits realized from that acre to be donated to the church. However, when he thinks he is close to finding gold on that acre, he moves it. 🙂 Caldwell had such a distinct style of writing. The dialogue is original and true to the times and demographics of the story. Phrases such as “and that’s a fact,” follow many conversations. The loose morals of the women in this story are depicted in such a way that is believable but not offensive (at least to me.) As the story unfolds, there are two major plots. The first being gold fever and the second being a different life that depends on the cotton gin running to survive. When the big wigs shut down the gin to starve out the workers, Ty Ty’s son-in-law takes the matter into his hands, determined to push past the guards, turn the power back on and return his people to work. It doesn’t end well for him. This book could possibly be classified as a tragedy, or perhaps as a high-drama, but at best it is the work of an author who dared to blur the lines and be boldly “real.” Caldwell’s greatest strength is in portraying three-dimensional characters and what motivates each. He writes from multiple points of view (a no-no in today’s literary world.) It is a classic no-holds-barred novel. If you have a weak stomach or strong social morals, this book is not going to be for you. But if you want to explore the writing genius of Erskine Caldwell, it’s a great place to start. Interestingly enough, the story is classified on Amazon as dark humor, classic humor, and literary satire. In my opinion, none of that fits. I will be making my way through the collection that I purchased. On a final note, Caldwell died in 1987. Thank goodness the publishing houses didn’t decide to keep publishing new work using a ghostwriter after his death.

#NewRelease – The Betrayers – Parris Afton Bonds The Texican Series #historicalromance

Love and hate combine to endanger the Paladíns and all they hold dear.

Designed by Motina Books

Parris Afton Bonds is my friend, but first and foremost, she is a storyteller. She is the author of nearly fifty novels and has been in the business of creating compelling and entertaining stories for over four decades.

Parris Afton Bonds

 She is co-founder and first vice president of Romance Writers of America, as well as, cofounder of Southwest Writers Workshop.

Declared by ABC’s NIGHTLINE as one of three best-selling authors of romantic fiction, the New York Times best seller Parris Afton Bonds has been featured in major newspapers and magazines, as well as, published in more than a dozen languages.

The Parris Award was established in her name by the Southwest Writers Workshop to honor a published writer who has given outstandingly of time and talent to other writers.  Prestigious recipients of the Parris Award include Tony Hillerman and the Pulitzer nominee Norman Zollinger.

And the latest series, The Texican Series, is a perfect example of her writing prowess. Before there was New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, or Utah, there was Texas. Molded by Old Mexico and a new rough and ready breed of hearty settlers from around the world, The Lone Star Republic was the thing of dreams—land, riches, liberty, home. And that is where this series begins with “The Brigands.”

And now Parris has released Book #4 in this series!

Designed by Motina Books

BLURB:

WHEN A LONGTIME family friend is wrongly accused of involvement in a Houston riot and mutiny, Drake Paladín vows to get the best attorney money can buy. That lawyer is none other than Roger Clarendon, known not only for his legal prowess but his insufferable arrogance as well. When the drunken attorney makes an aggressive pass at Drake’s wife, Angel, Drake breaks Roger open like a shotgun. The violent scuffle results in Roger’s father—the Honorable Brighton Clarendon, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court—delivering a none-to-subtle message to the Paladíns: politics is dirty business.

From hereon, the Paladíns are under the gun, suffering failures and even outright sabotage across their many business ventures. Eventually, even The Barony itself, the sprawling South Texas ranch the family fought and won the right to at the Battle of San Jacinto, is put in peril. Rallying together to save their ancestral home, the Paladíns finally put niceties and tolerance behind them. This is war.

But this battle to exterminate the Clarendons takes Preston Paladín all the way to the bowels of pre-war Nazi Germany—and the disarming charms of the beautiful Fabienne Allaman. But on whose side is she really? And dare he risk The Barony and the fate of his entire family for the love of a resistance fighter with nothing to lose?

In the penultimate volume of her riveting Texicans saga, New York Times bestselling author Parris Afton Bonds weaves the threads of loyalty, class, power, and politics into a single captivating tale of one family’s struggle to survive the fires of war and The Great Depression. Written with the authenticity of a historian, the color of a painter, and the grace of a choreographer, The Betrayers is Bonds at her finest.

Created by Motina Books

PURCHASE LINK – THE BETRAYERS

PURCHASE LINK – THE BARONS

PURCHASE LINK – THE BRAVADOS

PURCHASE LINK – THE BRIGANDS

Follow Parris:

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