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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Author, Meg Mims

Welcome, author Meg Mims of the Double Series to my blog today.

Meg, why did you write this series?

I was influenced by Charles Portis' True Grit, plus the 1969 movie version with John Wayne. The idea of a young girl whose father is murdered is the basis for Double Crossing, except my heroine is older than Mattie -- 19, almost 20 -- and quite sheltered and wealthy. Naive, I might add, which means Lily Granville's determination to track her father's killer brings plenty of unexpected education in life. It's a twist of True Grit and Murder on the Orient Express, as one reviewer said -- and won the 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel!  had fun rolling LaBoef and Rooster Cogburn into my hero, Ace Diamond. And when I started writing the sequel, Double or Nothing, I decided to use dynamite like in the (non-Charles Portis) follow-up film with the Duke, Rooster Cogburn, with a different twist -- so check out the website www.megmims.com/double-series.


Double Crossing ... A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

Hardcover Large Print Edition: Click here for buy links - Amazon or B&N
Audiobook edition: Audible.com or Amazon

Excerpt:
     I burst into the house. Keeping the flimsy telegram envelope, I dumped half a dozen packages into the maid’s waiting arms. “Where’s Father? I need to speak to him.”
     “He’s in the library, Miss Lily. With Mr. Todaro.”
     Oh, bother. I didn’t have time to deal with Emil Todaro, my father’s lawyer. He was the last person I wanted to see—but that couldn’t be helped. Thanking Etta, I raced down the hall. Father turned from his roll-top desk, spectacles perched on his thin nose and hands full of rustling papers. Todaro rose from an armchair with a courteous bow. His silver waistcoat buttons strained over his belly and his balding head shone in the sunlight. I forced myself to nod in his direction and then planted a quick kiss on Father’s leathery cheek. The familiar scents of pipe tobacco and bay rum soothed my nervous energy.
     “I didn’t expect you back so early, Lily. What is it?”
     With an uneasy glance at Todaro, I slipped him the envelope. “The telegraph messenger boy caught me on my way home.” My voice dropped. “It’s from Uncle Harrison.”
     Father poked up his wire rims while he pored over the brief message. His shoulders slumped. “I’ll speak plainly, Lily, because Mr. Todaro and I were discussing this earlier. My brother sent word that George Hearst intends to claim the Early Bird mine in a Sacramento court. Harrison believes his business partner never filed the deed. He needs to prove our ownership.”
     “Hearst holds an interest in the Comstock Lode, Colonel.” Todaro had perked up, his long knobby fingers forming a steeple. The lawyer resembled an amphibian, along with his deep croak of a voice. “His lawyers are just as ambitious and ruthless in court.”
     Father peered over his spectacles. “Yes, but I have the original deed. I didn’t plan to visit California until next month, so we’ll have to move up our trip.”
     “Oh!” I clasped my hands, a thrill racing through me. “I’m dying to visit all the shops out there, especially in San Francisco. When do we leave?”
     “We? I meant myself and Mr. Todaro.”
     I stared at the lawyer, who didn’t conceal a sly smirk. “You cannot leave me behind, Father. I promised to visit Uncle Harrison, and what if I decide to go to China?”
     “Lily, I refuse to discuss the matter. This trip is anything but a lark.”
      “It’s a grueling two thousand miles on the railroad, Miss Granville. Conditions out west are far too dangerous for a young lady,” Todaro said. “Even with an escort.”
     “The new transcontinental line has been operating all summer. Plenty of women have traveled to California. I’ve read the newspaper reports.”
      “I’m afraid the Union and Central Pacific cars are not as luxurious as the reports say. You have no idea. The way stations are abominable, for one thing.”
     I flashed a smile at him. “I’m ready for adventure. That’s why I’ve considered joining the missionary team with Mr. Mason.”
     Father scowled. “You are not leaving Evanston until I give my approval.”
     “You mean until you dissuade me from ‘such a ridiculous notion.’”
     “Need I remind you of the fourth commandment, Lily?”
     “No, Father. We’ll discuss this later.”
     My face flushed hot. Annoyed by being reprimanded in front of Todaro, I ignored the rest of the conversation. I’d always wanted to see the open prairie and perhaps a buffalo herd chased by Indians, the majestic Rocky Mountains and California. California, with its mining camps, lush green meadows and warm sunshine, the cities of Sacramento and San Francisco that had to be as exhilarating as downtown Chicago. I’d pored over the grainy pen-and-ink drawings in the Chicago Times. Uncle Harrison, who’d gone west several years ago to make a fortune and succeeded, for the most part, would welcome me with open arms. I plopped down on an armchair and fingered the ridges of the brass floor lamp beside me. Somehow I needed to persuade Father to allow me to tag along on this trip.


Double or Nothing ... A mysterious explosion. A man framed for murder. A strong woman determined to prove his innocence.

October, 1869: Lily Granville, heiress to a considerable fortune, rebels against her uncle’s strict rules.
Ace Diamond, determined to win Lily, invests in a dynamite factory but his success fails to impress her guardian. An explosion in San Francisco, mere hours before Lily elopes with Ace to avoid a forced marriage, sets off a chain of consequences. When Ace is framed for murder before their wedding night, Lily must find proof to save him from a hangman’s noose. Will she become a widow before a true wife?

Amazon for Kindle and print, B&N for Nook, Smashwords


Excerpt
     I jumped at a screeching whistle. Men swarmed over the distant slope like bees over a wax honeycomb in a mad scramble. “Good heavens. What is that about?”
     Uncle Harrison pulled me out of harm’s way. “They’re almost ready to begin the process of hydraulic mining,” he said and pulled his hat down to avoid the hot sun. “You’ll see. This is far better than panning for gold in a creek bed.”
     “I can already see how destructive it is, given the run-off,” I said, eyeing the rivulets of dried mud that marked each treeless incline. “I’ve read about how the farmers can’t irrigate their fields and orchards due to the gravel and silt filling the rivers—”
     Water suddenly gushed from two hydraulic nozzles in a wide, powerful stream. The men’s bulging arm muscles strained their shirts, their faces purple with the effort to control the water. I turned my gaze to the ravaged earth. Mud washed down into the wooden sluices, where other men worked at various points to spray quicksilver along the wide stretch. Others worked at a frantic pace to keep the earthy silt moving.
     An older man with a grizzled goatee and worn overalls held out a canteen. “Have a sip while you’re waiting, miss,” he said. “A body gets mighty thirsty out here.”
     “Thank you.”
     I sipped the cold, refreshing ginger-flavored liquid that eased my parched throat. Dirt from the canteen streaked my gloves. Not that it mattered. At least the spatters of fresh mud wouldn’t show on my black mourning costume and riding boots. Two days of rain earlier in the week had not helped.
     The kind man offered the canteen to Uncle Harrison, who brushed it aside with a curt shake of his head. Steaming, I bit back an apology. The man had already headed back to his position near the sluices.
     Bored of watching the ongoing work, I wandered over to several horses that stood patient in the sun and patted their noses. A tooled leather saddle sat atop one gelding’s glossy brown hide, and the silver-studded bridle looked as rich. The horse gave a low whicker in greeting. If only I’d pocketed a few carrots or sugar lumps from breakfast.
    “You’re a beauty. I wish I could ride you for a bit.”
     The gelding’s ears dipped forward. One of the men left the knot of others in a huff. His dusty open coat swung around him as he stalked, spurs jingling, and closed the distance. He passed by me with a mere tip of his wide-brimmed hat and untied the reins. The horse pawed the ground, jittery, as if sensing the man’s foul mood while he mounted…
      I trudged toward the shack. The foreman held a large piece of blueprint paper between his hands while my uncle pointed at various sections. Two other men argued with them, their heated words carrying over the whooshing of hoses and creaks and jolts of skeleton wagons over the rutted ground. Most of their argument was peppered with technical jargon that didn’t make any sense. Even Chinese sounded more familiar.
     “We haven’t made enough headway,” said a man in a tailored suit, whose gold watch chain glinted in the sun. “I say we dig out the ridge all the way.”
     “You take that ridge down any more than we have and we’ll never get equipment to the furthest point of the claim, over here,” my uncle said and prodded the map. “That was Alvarez’s advice. He knows this land better than you, Williamson.”
     “I agree, it’s too dangerous,” the foreman said.
     “I’m the engineer! Are you implying I don’t know my business?”
     “I’m saying it’s stupid to undermine that ridge. You’re being a stubborn coot.”
     “You’re a fine one to call me stubborn—”
     Good heavens. I reversed direction and headed back toward the sluice. They were sure to argue for another few hours. I wanted to ride that horse, even if it meant hiking my skirts to my knees and baring my ankles. The poor animal looked like it a good run, or at least a trot over the rough ground. I had to do something productive or I’d go mad. Steering around the same boggy patch of mud, I cut close to the sluice. A blood-curdling yell halted everyone. I whirled to see the entire bank of earth, a huge avalanche of mud, rocks and two large trees root-first, rushing straight for me.

 
You can find Meg here:  


Amazon Author page    Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest          





Monday, 22 April 2013

Sunshine Award!

The Sunshine Award is a lovely sunny flower that bloggers give to other “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.

 
 
 
I was awarded the Sunshine Award by western romance author, Peggy L Henderson.

Here are the fun questions I was asked to answer:

Favorite Color: Khaki Green
 
Favorite Animal: Dog
 
Favorite Number: 5. It is the number my three son's try to get in sports, and it is the number of people in my family. 
 
Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink: Coffee. Especially in the morning, and evening. I love it.  
 
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.
 
Your Passion: Writing.
 
Giving or getting presents: Would rather give. Peggy said it best, I'm uncomfortable receiving.
 
Favorite Day: Depends what I have planned for the week. It is never Monday's though.
 
Favorite Flowers: Stargazer.
 
I am passing on the Sunshine Award to the following deserving bloggers:
 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Erika Knudsen Paranormal author of Monarchy of Blood.


Please welcome to my blog Erika Knudsen, Paranormal author of Monarchy of Blood.

Hi Erika, why did you write Monarchy of Blood the third instalment to your vampire series?


I wrote Monarchy of Blood because I wasn't finished telling the tale of my vampires. I have many stories that my vampires still have to tell, but for now, with Monarchy Of Blood just released, I'll probably head back to the stories at the Azamaté. (Awakened)

                                                                                                      

Excerpt:

 ... leaving me in the alley to die. That was when she had come to me. Her green eyes were fierce and her skin like porcelain.  She picked me up and wrapped me in her arms. Leaning in to kiss my forehead, her wavy red hair cascaded around me. Breathing in deeply, the mixed scent of flowers and vanilla calmed and aroused me. Her whole being exuded a calmness that washed over me. When her eyes locked with mine, I felt at peace. Closing my eyes, I absorbed the love I felt from her with my whole being.

It wasn’t until pain encircled my neck, like a barbed collar, that I woke from my daze. At first I was confused, not understanding the pain. I then realized that she had bitten my neck. Panicking, I pushed against this immovable living statue, but most of my protest I yelled within my head: I don’t want to die.  I felt my life fading away as I became weaker and weaker. That night she meant to end my suffering, but my silent fight for survival altered my fate.

 

About Erika:

Nineteen years ago, Erika Knudsen dared to walk in the shadows and never came back. At an early
age, she was intrigued and mesmerized by suspense, horror, and drama. The idea of “creatures” coming to life at night was a scary and thrilling idea. After years of being a fan of horror and the supernatural, she took her fandom of the genre to the next level. Vampires being her number one obsession, she began writing Beyond The Threshold Of Death. It blossomed into something Erika could have never have dreamed of. Monarchy Of Blood is the third book in her vampire saga which will be released March 2013. Erika Knudsen resides in a quaint hamlet northwest of Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and dog where the dark country nights add to her nightmarish and twisting plots.

~Dare to walk in the shadows~ www.erispublishing.com/blog





 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Author, Peggy L Henderson of The Yellowstone Romance Series

Please welcome to my blog, Peggy L Henderson author of The Yellowstone Romance Series. 
 
Thank you, Kat, for inviting me to your blog. 
 
Peggy, please tell us what inspired you to write book one,Yellowstone Heart Song of the series?
 
Well, here’s the story….

Yellowstone Heart Song was born on a lone stretch of Interstate 5, heading home from a
trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2009. I had asked my very good friend to take a week-long camping trip with me since my husband was committed that summer to lead a boy scout troop on a backpacking trip into the High Sierras. My husband didn’t take me very seriously at first when I told him of my plans to go to Yellowstone on my own; just me and another woman who had very minimal experience in camping.  That made me even more determined to prove him wrong, and off we went. It was a great trip for Diana and me, I proved that I was capable of pitching a tent and starting a campfire and even cooking a meal over it, and that two women could go hiking without getting lost or eaten by bears.

Driving through the Utah desert on a thousand mile road trip, the mind has a lot of time to wander. Although the published story has some changes in it, the original concept remains the same from when it first took shape in my mind. I’ve never thought about writing a book of any sort, but I had been reading romance, especially western and early American historical, for many years. When this story popped into my head, it came as a complete surprise to me. I didn’t think much of it over the next months, but the idea always stuck with me in the back of my mind. I kept searching for books, hoping to find something that had been published that was similar to what I had in my head, so I could read it. No luck.

The following year, on another trip to Wonderland (with husband and children along this time), I took greater notice of all the places in the park that were part of that story in my head. The day after we got home, I sat down to write. It just wouldn’t let me go. I told no one what I was doing. The thought of letting anyone else see what I wrote was laughable.

A year later, I had a finished story. Well, a story anyways. Now what? I checked around the internet and found a critique partner. I struck gold when Carol Spradling answered my query. She tore through my manuscript with a loaded red pen and fine tooth comb. Months later, she asked me when I would pursue publishing. What?!?! I basically ignored her. She wanted to know what I would write next. Huh??? Okay, I thought. I love Yellowstone, I can’t think of anything else to write, and I loved the interaction with Carol, so why not write a sequel? That’s how Yellowstone Redemption came to be. Carol hated my new hero as much as she loved Daniel in the first book. I told her to trust me, and that he would end up just fine.
 
After leading her on a merry guessing game through the chapters of that book, I completely surprised her with the ending, and was gung ho to write another. I knew right away I could never duplicate a story like the one in Book 2, and decided to write a hero who was just a nice guy, trying to solve an impossible problem for his leading lady. By now, it became obvious that this was turning into a series, and I wrote a couple of characters into Yellowstone Awakening, who would be my main characters for the fourth book, Yellowstone Dawn. The series has evolved from one stand alone book, to me taking factual events from Yellowstone’s history, and weaving them into my stories. Yellowstone Redemption contains a scene that was inspired by John Colter’s legendary escape from the Blackfoot Indians. Yellowstone Awakening is a fictional account (with true facts sprinkled in) of the creation of the nation’s first national park, and Yellowstone Dawn deals with some of the problems the park encountered in its infancy. The final book in the series, Yellowstone Deception, deals with a more current issue the park has faced.

Here’s the blurb for Yellowstone Heart Song:

Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she’s from the future.

How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne’s first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy.

 Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she’s never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him, and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.

 Excerpt:

    Aimee stirred and slowly opened her eyes. One of her rescuers sat a short distance away, staring at her intently. She pulled herself to a sitting position, wincing at the throbbing pain in her ankle.

“Good morning.” She yawned, and rubbed her fingers against the temples of her pounding head. She glanced up as he walked toward her. Aimee drew in a sharp breath. With her first clear look at his face, it became obvious that this man was not an Indian.  It was easy to make that mistake in the dark of night.  Although white, he could almost pass for an Indian.

Her eyes poured over his clothing and appearance. He wore a dark-colored breechcloth and leather leggings with fringes on the sides.  His faded red flannel shirt had been poorly patched in a few places. Several leather pouches were draped around his neck, and over one broad shoulder dangled a powder horn made from the horn of a mountain sheep.  A tomahawk and large hunting knife hung from the wide leather belt around his waist. He wore un-decorated leather moccasins. His raven black hair fell to his shoulders, with some unruly strands tumbling over his forehead. Aimee’s eyes moved to his deeply tanned face, his square jaw line shadowed by a day’s growth of stubble, and dark brown eyes that betrayed none of his thoughts as he moved ever closer.

Her pulse quickened as she met and held his hard gaze. She couldn’t help but stare. Those penetrating dark eyes drew her in. She blinked, but couldn’t look away. Dear God, she couldn’t recall ever seeing a painting or drawing of a mountain man that looked like this guy. Images of rough looking, bearded wild men came to mind. The man in front of her was quite simply . . . stunning. The feral, masculine virility he projected took her breath away, leaving her head spinning dizzily, and not from dehydration this time.

 


My blog: http://peggylhenderson.blogspot.com/

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo

 


 

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Guest author, Icysnow Blackstone


Welcome to my blog, Icysnow Blackstone, author of the THREE MOON STATION set to be released June 2013.

When Kat asked me, “Why did you write this novel?” I had an answer all ready for her, I wrote it because of a movie.

A Movie…The Moon…A Murder…and My Novel…

Murder on the Moon (also known as Murder by Moonlight) was a made-for-TV movie telecast in 1989. It stared Brigitte Nielsen, Julian Sands, and Gerald McRaney, and was the tale of Soviet/US astronauts on the moon trying to solve a murder happening in their midst.  One thing striking me during the story was that back on Earth, a scientist is missing and one of the investigators says, “Why on Earth couldn’t we find him?  Because he isn’t on Earth.”  Or words to that effect.

That got me to thinking…if you were a witness to a crime and no place on Earth was safe for you, what could you do?  If you lived in a time of space travel, the answer’s  simple…just hop a ship to another world.

In my novel Three Moon Station, that’s exactly what Kathryn Rawls does.  Working late, she witnesses her boss being gunned down by two men who promptly chase her through the streets at gunpoint. Only when Katy gets on a subway thinking it heads to the local police precinct does she elude them.  Unfortunately, the tram’s heading in the opposite direction to the shuttle station, in fact, where it’s taking all the passengers to a primitive planet called Tritomis-2. Katy reasons that may be the safest place for her until she can find a way to get the evidence she has to the authorities, so she goes along…

…and that’s when things get complicated, because all the passengers are women…women prisoners…offered pardon if they’ll marry the womenless men on the pioneer planet Tritomis-2, a place much like the Old West, where men ride horses and use wagons for transportation while spaceships streak across the sky.  On Tritomis-2, a man’s word is his bond, gunfights are common, and justice is sometimes meted out immediately without calling in the Federation marshal.

Katy’s unaware of all this. She thinks the women are going to be employed by the men with whom they leave the shuttleport. When Sar Trant, owner of Three Moon Station comes along, she agrees to go with him, not realizing the document she signs is a marriage license. Misunderstandings follow, but after Sar learns why Katy really came to Tritomis, he agrees to help her hide out until the year in the marriage contract is up.  The only trouble is…he’s fallen in love with his bought bride and he intends to woo her and win her and make her want to stay with him.

A good many readers have fallen in love with Sar and Katy and at their encouragement, what was intended as only one novel has now grown to three in the series…Three Moon Station, In This Kingdom by the Sea, and The Finer Gentleman, all to be released by Class Act Books. Three Moon Station is scheduled for release in June and In This Kingdom in the Sea, in July, 2013.

“…an out of this world must read…so well written that it’s a bestseller contender, one that I would proudly display in my personal library.”—Long and Short Reviews

 “If you like epic style romance that leaves you with warm fuzzies and a desire to revisit the characters, and who doesn’t, you’ll love 3 Moon Station.”--WRDR Review

EXCERPT:
     “Mr. Trant. I guess we’d better have that talk now,” she began and he nodded soberly. She walked a little closer, looking up into those bright eyes. Careful, Katy! Don’t get too close. You might fall into that blueness and drown.
     “There’s so much we need to discuss. W-we haven’t even talked about how much I’ll be paid.”
     “Paid? You expect to be paid for—”
     “Of course,” she interrupted. “I believe it’s customary.”
     He thought about that a moment. “Guess that tells me something about you I hadna wish to know, Sunshine.”
     “After all,” she reminded him. “I do have my own welfare to think about.”
     “What would you consider fair payment, Katy?” He asked it very softly, his expression serious.
     “I guess that’s up to you. What do you think my services are worth?”
     “Truthfully? I doubt I have that much money.” He looked a little flustered. “The women in town…at Larkin’s…ge’ ten Federals per toss, so…”
     “I’m sorry,” Katy interrupted. “What’s a toss?”
     “Maybe they call it something else on Terra.” He startled her by seizing her shoulders, saying with an earnestness that made her frown, “Katy, I want you to know I’ll ne’er hold your old life against you.”
     She smiled at this statement of reverse snobbery. Since she had no intention of ever letting him know that her uncle was one of the richest, and also one of the most criminally unscrupulous, men on Terra’s Northern Hemisphere, she didn’t answer.
     Trant went on, “Though if you’re a virgin, I dinna understand how—”
     “I am.” Katy flushed. “And I’d appreciate it if you’d quite harping on that fact. It’s not going to affect what I do for you. I swear.”
     “But how? I mean…” Trant shook his head, murmuring, “We’re too isolated from Big Planet life here.”
     Since she didn’t understand what he was muttering about, Katy decided to name her own salary. “How about you pay me five hundred credits a month? For services rendered?”
     “What kind of services?” he asked, suspiciously.
     “The usual kind.” She shrugged, wondering why he looked even more confused. “But I think we should get one thing straight. I’m grateful for your saving me from Alwin Marsten, and I fully intend to uphold my end of the Agreement and work hard for you b-but…” Taking a deep breath, she pulled herself free of his grasp. “I won’t sleep with you.”
     “Na right now, you mean.” He didn’t look too upset.
     “No. Not ever.” She shook her head, adding, “I’m sorry.”
     “’Tis I who’s sorry, Sunshine, most definitely. But I do na understand. If you intend to adhere to that contract, how can you refuse to—”
     “I’m certain the Federation didn’t send me here to satisfy the lust of some sex-starved colonist, Mr. Trant.”
     “Is that what you think I am? A sex-starved colonist?” He didn’t looked insulted, as she’d expected, just a little more bewildered.
     “Of course not,” she denied, meaning, didn’t you act like one last night? “Not really.” She took a deep breath. He’d obviously expected it to be so easy. “I’ll be a good housekeeper, Mr. Trant but I just won’t sleep with my employer. I can’t.”
     “Employer?” he repeated. His face underwent a startling change, disbelief, amusement, relief, she wasn’t certain which. “That’s what you think I am? Your employer?”
     “Of course,” she nodded. “You hired me to be your housekeeper—”
     He stopped whatever else she was going to say, by laughing out loud.
     “What’s so funny?”
     A hand went to her shoulder. “Sunshine, I’m na your employer. I’m your husband.”

 



Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific
Coast and now
she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances often set in the South under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.   In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) and also Double Dragon Publishing (Canada). She reviews books novels scheduled for release in 2013.


 
 


Website: http://www.tonivsweeney.com/



Twitter: @tonivsweeney
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard


 

 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Witch-hunts...those who are different pay the price.

In the middle ages midwives, healers, and witches were all very similar. In fact some would say they were the same person. Women were the doctors of that time. Yes, there had been practicing and educated doctors, who were male of course but there were women as well, and these women were mostly peasants. They were unlicensed Doctors of western history. These women learned from hands on experience and the passing down from mothers to daughters. They’d meet with fellow midwives and share strategies, herbal remedies, and other medicines. They were called to aid the rich and poor and even took after sick livestock.

A midwife/healer/witch was often the go-to person for a mother in labour, a broken limb, an amputation, an illness or pandemic, and a counselor. They were educated in the way of nursing through experience and generations of knowledge that was passed down. Their herbal remedies are still used today in modern pharmacology.

Why did they burn at the stake for being a witch if they helped so many?  Most witches were lay healers and therefore professed that some of their other remedies were purely ‘magical’. This in turn lead to their own demise.


In my research it is said that the witch-hunts were conceived from two notions, one being that the new male medical profession, under the protection and patronage of the ruling classes. This new medical profession played a key role in the witch-hunts, and maintaining that they were of medical reasoning.

.... Because the Medieval Church, with the support of kings, princes and secular authorities, controlled medical education and practice, the Inquisition [witch-hunts ] constitutes, among other things, an early instance of the "professional" repudiating the skills and interfering with the rights of the "nonprofessional" to minister to the poor. (Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness)

The second reason was religion. The witches were generally not of faith and practiced based on the knowledge they had acquired over the years as well as trial and error. The Catholics along with the Protestants professed that these women were born of devious nature and sexual conduct. They were spawns of the devil.

Their crimes became a multitude of transgressions from political subversion to blasphemy. A list of the three most prominent crimes mentioned periodically throughout history are:

1. Every sexual crime against men. Infecting them during intercourse, lust in men was blamed upon the women, accused of making men impotent, of giving contraceptives, and performing abortions.
2. being organized.
3. having magical powers affecting health, harming but also of healing.


According to the church all witches powers were derived from their sexuality, which was a sin.

Now there are, as it is said in the Papal Bull, seven methods by which they infect with witchcraft the venereal act and the conception of the womb: First, by inclining the minds of men to inordinate passion; second, by obstructing their generative force; third, by removing the members accommodated to that act; fourth, by changing men into beasts by their magic act; fifth, by destroying the generative force in women; sixth, by procuring abortion; seventh, by offering children to the devils, besides other animals and fruits of the earth with which they work much charm...         (Malleus Maleficarum)

Witch-healers/midwives were the only practitioners available to small villages and towns without medical doctors or hospitals. They were needed to help their fellow villagers placing themselves in harms way.
According to witch-hunters Kramer and Springer, “No one does more harm to the Catholic church than the mid-wife.” So whether you practiced as a witch or midwife you were doomed.


Witch-hunts lasted for hundreds of years being the most prominent during the 14th- 17th centuries.
Witches represented a political, religious, and sexual threat toward the church and
government alike. Thousands and thousands of women were burned at the stake in one account it states that there were two burnings a day for certain German cities. In the Bishopric of Trier, in 1585, two villages were left with only one female inhabitant each. Old women, young women and children were hunted and killed. Anyone harboring a witch or failing to report one faced excommunication and other punishments.



There are many accounts of how these women were crazy, how they were a part of the peasant’s rebellions of that time. But why wouldn’t they be? Their own government and church were prosecuting them. Some may have been crazy, thought to possess magical powers but it didn’t mean they deserved death punishable by horrid torture of imaginable means. They were unjustly hung, burned, and drowned because they were women taking from men a method of survival. They were a threat to society because they were different.  


Cheers,
Kat

References:
Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Deirdre English and Barbara Ehrenreich

The Crucible by Arthur Miller