Jan 31, 2016

Bon Iver - Flume


Aegis Incursion (The Aegis League #2) by S.S. Segran


It has been nearly a year since five friends - Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari - mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found in good health but with no recollection of what happened to them after the crash.

Description:

On a bright July morning in 1948, a B-29 Superfortress flying a top-secret research mission over Nevada crashes into the calm waters of Lake Mead and sinks, remaining lost for half a century.

It has been nearly a year since five friends - Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari - mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found in good health but with no recollection of what happened to them after the crash.

A baffling contagion is spreading across the bread-basket of North America destroying vital crops. As this dark shadow marches across the globe, widespread famine and riots bring desperate nations to the brink of war.

These seemingly unrelated events set the stage for a battle between the forces of darkness and those destined to become the 'bearers of light'. From ravaged fields in the Great Plains to clandestine installations around the world, the Aegis League must race against time to save humanity.

EXCERPT

“Marshall!” Tegan shouted. She opened her hand and the dragonfly winged away. “It’s done! The place is rigged, but Aari’s hurt!”
The Sentry turned around and located the source of the voice. He started to respond when he froze, eyes wide. “Move!” he barked. “It’s coming for you!”
The teens, bewildered, turned to see what Marshall was yelling about. A scream tore from Tegan’s throat. Another Marauder was bolting toward them, closing the gap by ten feet with each stride. By the time the message to flee reached their minds, it was too late—the Marauder made a last bound at them.
Marshall somersaulted over the friends’ heads and landed in front of them. Striking out with his foot, he caught the Marauder squarely in the muzzle. He pushed Aari and Tegan out of the way and made to kick the beast again but missed. Turning, he ran toward the submersion test pool that lay to the left. The Marauder, enraged, careened after Marshall. The Sentry dove into the pool, disturbing the stillness of the surface. The Marauder splashed in right after him and both man and beast disappeared underwater.
Aari and Tegan ran over and dropped to their knees by the pool, screaming out to the Sentry. “Marshall!”
Their cries were met with dead silence.


About the author:

An avid reader since early childhood, S.S.Segran had written many short stories before embarking on 'AEGIS RISING', the first book in the Aegis League Series. In crafting the premise for the novel she drew from the captivating imagery of the Pacific Northwest, the intriguing wonders of nature and the amazing potential of the human mind. She enjoys drawing and horseback riding. S.S.Segran is a proud member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in British Columbia. She is an ardent fan of parkour and freerunning.

S.S.Segran is also the founder of Aegis League, a non-profit organization whose goal is to support youths living in places and conditions that deny them opportunities to grow. The mission of the organization is to provide resources that help these youths explore their potential. This includes life-skills training and micro-loan funding to help them launch small businesses in the communities where they reside. For more information please visit her:
Author's Giveaway 

The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood by Stephanie Greenhalgh


"[I] really enjoyed this book and I'm thinking it has opened my eyes to the possibilities that a ya paranormal book has to offer…I can't wait to see what happens next…assuming there is a next! Oh gosh! I hope there's a next!" - Goodreads, June Pace

Description:

In the small town of Woodsville, self-assured Ruby Hood becomes tangled in more than traditional teenage angst. 

With the Homecoming Dance looming, everything at Woodsville High appears normal, but things are not as they seem. Ruby meets a cute boy with a lopsided grin, Dylan Hunter. She flirts shamelessly with the football star, Kent Wolf, and finds herself in a barrage of harsh verbal altercations with his stunning yet wicked sister, Kayla Wolf. Thankfully, she finds solace in her friend, Lilly Fair. Through a series of odd and painful events, Ruby discovers her true calling and the responsibilities that come with her new power and position. 

Despite her heartache and sorrow, will Ruby find the inner strength not only to protect herself, but also to keep the Wood safe at all cost?

EXCERPT
Ruby and Kent

“Ruby,” she heard a whispered voice just as she touched the door handle. Startled, she jumped back. 

“Who’s there?” she asked defensively, glancing around for something to grab to defend herself. 

“Ruby, it’s me,” said Kent as he stepped out of the shadows. 

“For crying out loud, Kent! What were you thinking, hiding in the dark like that? You scared the bejeezes out of me. Sheesh!” 

She sat down on the white wooden porch swing, then patted the seat next to her, inviting Kent to sit with her. “What’s up? What brings you over here tonight?” she asked cautiously. He was visibly upset about something. She hadn’t been that close with Kent this year, but they’d developed a pretty good rapport when she tutored him the year before for his American Lit class. 

“I’m sorry to intrude, Ruby. I wanted to check on you and make sure that you were okay after your tussle with Kayla. Then, I saw you and the new guy coming. You guys seemed kind of … uh … intimate and I didn’t want to intrude, so I stayed in the shadows,” he said, fiddling with the chain on the armrest of the swing. He was no longer wearing the tux jacket and vest. His shirt was still tucked in, but the top two buttons were undone. His normally perfect hair was mussed and he had dirt on his shirt. 

They sat quietly, neither saying a word, until Kent placed his head on her shoulder. “I just don’t know what’s gotten into Kayla lately. I mean, she seems particularly angry with you, but she’s short and testy with everyone … even me.” 

“Awww, Kent. You and your family must be going through a rough time. I saw the family uh … thing … at the dance tonight.” Kent jolted upright. His face contorted into visible anger as his steel blue eyes flared, and for a fleeting moment, Ruby felt afraid. Kent saw her fear and his anger faded into embarrassment. 

“I’m sorry you had to witness that, Ruby. I don’t know what to do,” he said, his eyes finding hers.

About the author:
A born and raised Midwestern girl, Stephanie Greenhalgh currently resides in Las Vegas. As an avid reader and writer, literature and learning have always been more of a passion than a hobby. This two time UNLV graduate spends her days teaching elementary school and her weekends and summers writing stories.

The first book in her Ruby Hood series debuted in 2013, and the sequel,The Twistedly True Guardian Tale, will release in summer 2015.
Stephanie also has four published short stories and a self published novella, If the Silver Slippers Fit. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and lovable Labrador retrievers.

The Glass Ceiling by Julie LaVoie




Pickaxes, grime, and watery oatmeal are all sixteen-year-old Heart has ever known. Growing up in the tunnels, the only breaks in her muscle-aching monotony are the numerous nights spent cramped in a metal box. Stupid runaway mouth. But when strange visions and a hidden map hint there’s more to life than she’s been led to believe — boys being one of them — only one thing weighs on her mind. Escape.

Description:

Published: December 11th, 2015

Pickaxes, grime, and watery oatmeal are all sixteen-year-old Heart has ever known. Growing up in the tunnels, the only breaks in her muscle-aching monotony are the numerous nights spent cramped in a metal box. Stupid runaway mouth. But when strange visions and a hidden map hint there’s more to life than she’s been led to believe — boys being one of them — only one thing weighs on her mind. Escape.

Yet freedom is a tease. Heart merely trades her small prison for a larger one — a transparent dome controlled by the Guardian, an aging leader bent on creating a genetically perfect race. Heart's birthmark on her shoulder? An abomination that carries a lifetime sentence of slavery for females.

Refusing to let a glass ceiling deter her, Heart searches for a way out of the dome. But unraveling the Guardian's secrets is a risky endeavor. Human skulls atop crude sticks serve as a warning: treason is punishable by death. When her new friends are captured, and escape is just an arm’s reach away, Heart must decide. Take the freedom she so desperately wants or save her friends’ lives?

EXCERPT





Just as Heart touched the doorknob, muffled voices sounded from the other side. Crap. She looked around her. The closest object was a trash can. She lowered herself behind it, wrinkling her nose at the putrid smell of dirty diapers. The door swung open and the Matriarch stepped out. A messy braid laid over one shoulder.
“We need to locate her. Check the bathroom. Check the tunnels. She couldn’t have gotten far.”

The woman stomped past the trash can without noticing Heart. In one bright flash, all the fluorescents came on. Chills spread through Heart like black oil. They were going to find her.

The dorm mother put one of the older girls in charge and rushed toward the east tunnels. Heart stayed in her kneeling position, frozen to her spot. Think, Heart, think. Going inside her dorm was out of the question. Her only choice was to go west. Her heart sank. The west tunnels were in the opposite direction of the Box. She couldn’t leave 176 behind.

Before she could change her mind, she abandoned her hiding spot and sprinted toward the common area. Luckily, everyone was already in the tunnels and she made it through without being detected.

She neared the Box and moaned. She’d forgotten about the padlock. How was she going to get 176 out? She banged her fist against the thick metal. “176, you in there?”

There was no response. Of course, 176 couldn’t talk. She placed her ear against the door, listening for movement. Three thumps came from within.

“The door is locked and I can’t open it.” Heart banged once more. “I have to go, but I’ll come back for you, okay?” She hesitated. Promises alone wouldn’t help 176 survive the Box. “Just concentrate on the sliver of light. Pretend it’s an angel, wrapping you with her wings. Protecting you. That’s what I do.”

A ball formed in Heart’s throat. “Stay strong. I know you can do it.”

A thump sounded. Heart sniffled and wiped at her nose. There was nothing more she could say.

With a final glance over her shoulder, she rushed toward the west tunnels, staying close to the walls. She made a note of the small alcoves she passed. If needed, she could easily squeeze into one.

Every couple of minutes, she stopped and listened for voices. Yells and the beating of feet into dirt bounced off the cavern walls. She couldn’t tell if they were ten feet away or a hundred. Adrenaline forced Heart forward and she quickened her pace. If the Matriarch caught her, losing her tongue would be the best scenario she could hope for.

The walls grew narrower and the path more treacherous. She’d never been this far into the tunnels. Looming rock formations snagged at her hair. What if she’d picked the wrong turn? What if it was a dead end?

She turned a corner and her stomach flipped. A wrought iron gate marked the exit, a six inch thick steel bar holding it in place. Beyond the gate, a pinkish purple glow filled the tunnel. Freedom? Heart grasped the cold metal bar. C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!She tugged until her veins threatened to pop out of her forehead.

It didn’t budge. She whipped her head back and forth, searching for something hard. She grabbed a rock and slammed it into the bar. A pinging sound echoed off the walls. She didn’t care that the commotion would attract attention. There was no other escape. No bright arrows pointing the way. Nothing left to do but hit that bar with every bit of strength she could muster.

The footfalls came quicker now. A whistle blew. Heart hit the bar faster. Harder. The sounds were closing in. Every hair on her head could sense her pursuers. And yet she continued. Bang. Bang. Bang.

The bar moved slightly and tears of hope stung her eyes. Please!

Her body jolted as someone grasped her arm. The rock, and her only chance of escape, slipped from her fingertips.



About the author:
Julie lives in historic Saratoga Springs, NY with the man of her dreams and their boys. Being surrounded by males, she overcompensates by owning everything pink. From her clothing, to purses, to even her pots and pans. She just can’t get enough pink. 

She enjoys taking long road trips with her family to the beach and to amusement parks. She has one cat that she showers with kissy-baby talk, but who only returns a non-amused glance every once in a while. It’s her third cat to act this way, so she’s wondering if perhaps she should get a dog next time.

From a young age, Julie’s vivid imagination constantly invented story lines. But it wasn’t until she began working in a career that required zero creativity, that her need to write poured out like a dam bursting. And she’s been writing ever since.

Author's Giveaway

Dark Money (Jack Bryant #2) by Larry D. Thompson


"I could not put this book down! "Dark Money" had me enthralled from start to finish. This is NOT one of those books that you get half-way through and it ends up collecting dust on your nightstand, you will find yourself dying to know what will happen next!!!" - Goodreads, Tara

Description:

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation's richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.

Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fundraiser dressed as a cat burglar--wounds the governor and murders the host's brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.

Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack The Alamo Defenders' compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt's father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case-but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fundraiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

Dark Money is a thriller, a mystery and an expose of the corruption of money in politics caused by the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. 

About the author:

Larry D. Thompson is a veteran trial lawyer and has drawn on decades of experience in the courtroom to produce riveting legal thrillers. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Thompson founded the Houston trial firm where he still serves as managing partner. The proud father of three grown children, he lives and works in Texas but spends his summers in Colorado, where he crafts his novels and hikes the mountains surrounding Vail. His greatest inspiration came from Thomas Thompson, his brother, who wrote many best-selling true-crime books and novels.

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Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson – Blast & Tour

Not Always Happenstance

Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment.

But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar.

As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her.

***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

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RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.Website

Not Always (1)
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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Falcon Song by Kristin Cross $100 Book Blast

Falcon Song

Falcon Song by Kristin Cross

Kate can handle that Jason Falcon is gorgeous.

And she can handle that he is fantastically talented, and competent, and funny, and sweet, and . . . . well, all of the things he is.

What she isn’t sure she can handle is that he and his country band have suddenly become wildly famous.

Even though she has always known that he near worships her, with millions of girls now throwing themselves at him, Kate is afraid that Jason will find he no longer loves Kate best. Then, when she discovers something completely earth shattering, it only makes her more unsure.

Realizing that she can never settle for less than absolute devotion, as she is struggling to find what her place will be in Jason’s new top of the charts world, Kate wonders how you can ever truly know that things will work out.

Does True Love Always Lead To Happily Ever After?

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Praise for Falcon Song

“So much emotion came through the words of this story. I felt it all—regret, forgiveness, redemption, and a powerful love that wrapped it all together. I had a hard time putting it down. This story really touched me!” DL

“I loved this story! Jason is one of my favorite heroes ever. I felt like I was right there with them through it all.” JM

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Excerpt

Kate found Jason asleep on the porch swing again. Her drive had left her drained, without answers and somewhat resigned. As she looked down at him sleeping, still, the only thing she really knew was that she loved him. Loved him dearly. In spite of everything.

When it came right down to it, that was what made her happy. She wished there was a way to separate this crushing heartache from the sweet peace she felt when she was with him. Who knows, maybe she could get really good at ignoring the parts of his life she didn’t understand. She sat down on the edge of the swing and touched his beautiful hair.

His eyes opened slowly and this time there wasn’t a smile, but there was a sweet, sincere tenderness as he quietly watched her for a few seconds. She stroked his cheek and then ran a finger over his sensuous bottom lip. Even if he wasn’t perfectly trustworthy, he was definitely beautiful. She kissed the tip of her finger and put it back there on his lip and said softly, “Wake up, sleepy head. You’re gonna get a million ‘squito bites out here.”

He sat up and reached out to touch her cheek. “I’ll live. How was Texas?”

She sat down beside him. “Still big.”

He smiled sadly, “I told Cody you’d driven to Texas to talk to God. He said he didn’t even realize God lived there. He’s decided that’s why Texans are egotistical.”

She laughed. “That’s exactly what I needed just now. Laughing feels good. I thought I didn’t get to see you until tomorrow? What brings you tonight?”

He groaned and made a sound of disgust. “Ah, I Googled myself. It was awful.”

She pushed the porch swing with her foot. “I know.”

“I’m not really as bad as it looks. I swear.”

“I know.”

Author Kristin Cross


Kristin CrossKristin Cross was a mostly obedient child—unless her mom wanted her to put her book down.
She grew up in the Rockies and traveled with her family enough to want to travel more and have adventures in all those exotic looking places on the map that she hasn’t been to—yet. Now, as an adult, she also loves relaxing at home in the mountains and coming up with stories about those places.
Motherhood has been her best time yet, and she wishes she’d had more than just four marvelous children. She loves a good storm, a beautiful sunset, the wind in her face, puppies, and fresh mangos with her shrimp.
And her husband, DJ. She truly adores DJ.


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Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 in Paypal Cash

Ends 2/12/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Tattooed Scythian Warriors, Descendants of the Amazons?



Herodotus describes the Scythians living in the area north of the Black Sea about three thousand years ago. 
According to him they traced their ancestry directly from Zeus and the river nymph Borysthenis, daughter of the river god Borysthenes, the union of which produced a son named Tagitaos and he in turn had three sons with a human woman, demigods, who were the progenitors of the three Scythian tribes. It is said that in the time of the sons of Tagitaos there came down from heaven four items made of gold. These items were a plow, a yoke, a cup and a battle axe. Each brother attempted to use the items but they were met with a blazing fire or great heat but when the youngest approached the items the fire was gone and they worked only for him and from him the tribe of the Royal Scythians was formed. If one looks at such a tale with modern eyes we could imagine that the items were technology coded to only function for one individual and possibly dangerous as it was also said that anyone who slept while guarding these items in the open would die within a year

Now while Herodotus, the historian and teller of this tale doubted that the Scythians were indeed the descendants of Zeus, he nonetheless recorded their accounts. He also tells a different account where they are the descendants of another of Zeus’ sons, Heracles and the half serpent half goddess Echidna, but that story seems like a more fanciful telling of the first story and involves many of the same events. He goes on to say that he favours a third version of their origin which tells of wandering Asiatic tribes that migrated into the lands of the Cimmerians.

The longer you look, the origin of the Scythians becomes more and more cloudy and some scholars contend that the Scythians referred to by Herodotus are really only the remnants of a much earlier people who were once widespread and very advanced with great cities, ships, farming and herding. If we remember the story of the golden plow, yoke, cup and battle axe we would infer that farming must have been important to the early Scythians if their gods saw fit to gift them with a magical plow and yoke, not a very practical gift for nomadic horsemen. This possibility seems very likely since the Scythians of Herodotus’ time were known to be nomadic and the earlier Scythians are credited with developing the smelting of iron and bronze, the invention of the battle axe (actually credited to the Amazons among the Scythians), the pottery wheel, the bellows, the anchor and the science of horse breeding. One has to wonder why nomads would invent the anchor.

Fred Hamori wrote that Justinius II referred to the Scythians as one of the oldest civilizations in the world; even older than the Egyptians and that they were most likely a northern Mesopotamian culture, not the later immigrant tribes who adapted many of their customs. 
The Scythians described by the Greeks were apparently an amalgamation of many peoples overlaying a very ancient culture that existed in the area around the Black Sea.

Whatever their origins, the Scythians were a remarkable people with a very ancient origin that remains a mystery. 
However, two more tales of the Scythians are even stranger. 
One is the story of the bald people who were once part of the royal Scythians but separated themselves and went to live isolated at the foot of a mountain. Herodotus described them thus; Passing over a great extent of this rough country, you come to a people dwelling at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all- both men and women- bald from their birth, to have flat noses, and very long chins. These people speak a language of their own; the dress which they wear is the same as the Scythian. They live on the fruit of a certain tree, the name of which is Ponticum; in size it is about equal to our fig-tree, and it bears a fruit like a bean, with a stone inside. … No one harms these people, for they are looked upon as sacred- they do not even possess any warlike weapons. When their neighbors fall out, they make up the quarrel; and when one flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt. They are called the Argippaeans .

Now we have a race of people who believe they were descended from the three sons of a god, they are so early that even in the time of Herodotus their origins were ancient history, they believed they had received technology directly from their gods and a small number of them, described as not normal humans lived apart and served as judges and protectors and the strange story gets even stranger…now we bring in the Amazons.

It seems that in all the histories of the Scythians one point is either marginalized or simply mentioned as if it is not important, but I contend that it is of upmost importance if we are to truly understand the psyche of the Scythians, the existence of the Amazons and in fact the history of all humanity.
Battle between the Scythians and the Slavs
The ancient Scythians, the ones who predate the nomads, worshiped as their main deity not a god but a goddess, the half snake half woman deity known as Tabiti, who coincidentally fits the description of Tagitaos’ mother in the Scythian origin story . She was the Earth Goddess who was said to be the witness of all things, often depicted as a woman with child she traveled with a raven and a wolf. 
The Goddess is the most ancient of all deities with depictions dating back over 29000 years BC and her worship held sway until only about four thousand years ago when mankind spiraled into never ending warfare. Her names are almost endless, Anu, Eki, Hathor, Isis, Danu, Cali; the list would go on for pages but they all represented the same thing, the sacred feminine, the great mother.
The fact that matriarchal or egalitarian societies might have existed and in fact may have been the norm prior to the ‘historical’ period is now dismissed by most mainstream historians but I contend that they were the norm and they did not die out suddenly. There was a time of transition during which women and men still existed as equals in society and the Amazons are a compelling example of one of these transitions.
Herodotus, with his usual flare, tells a remarkable story of how the Amazons came to be with the Scythians which makes a great deal more sense when one understands that the nomadic Scythians were later arrivals and the Amazons were part of an earlier civilization still existing to the south of the Black Sea but in constant threat from the Greeks as the accounts of many battles suggest. He recounts that after the Battle of Thermodon, several galleys carrying Amazon prisoners were retaken by the captives and the women came ashore in the land of Scythia on the north shore of the Black Sea They engaged some of the Scythians in combat who upon discovering that the dead were actually women decided not to try to kill the newcomers but woo them instead. They eventually approached them unarmed and the two groups decided to merge but not without negotiations.
The Amazons refused to live as Scythian women, they would not give up their place in society so their new Scythian husbands agreed and asked for their inheritance to be given them and they left for lands to the northeast. This story seems to tell of a merging of the nomadic Scythians with the earlier matriarchal society and their migration away from the patriarchal societies rising to power to the south and eventually the entire world.
Of course most mainstream historians call the Amazons creatures of myth not because there are not ample records of their battles and individuals but for the reason Strabo the Greek historian put it 2000 years ago,
“For who can believe that an army of women, or a city, or a nation, could ever subsist without men? and not only subsist, but make inroads upon the territories of other people, and obtain possession not only of the places near them, and advance as far as the present Ionia, but even dispatch an expedition across the sea to Attica?” 
Who indeed could believe such a thing? Certainly not the men who have written history but now we have their bodies, women buried with the respect once though only reserved for men and these tattooed women warriors are much harder to call a myth.
Scythian Warriors
The origin of the word Amazon may have come from the Iranian language. The work ha-mazan (phonetic pronunciation) meant warrior and the nomadic Scythians that migrated into the eastern European region are believed to have been Indo-Iranian tribes so the etymology of the word seems right. As the Scythian nomads moved across the area, described in Herodotus’ third story of their origin, a stratified society developed in which the farmers and herders (the earlier inhabitants) were lower status and the newer Scythian warrior class became the royal or ruling class.

However, unlike most societies that are absorbed by a warrior based culture, this one did not immediately or exclusively denigrate women to the lowest status. It seems that in their world there was a place for the warrior woman, a practice perhaps influenced by their female deities. Herodotus believed that the Samatians were the result of the merging of the Scythian and Amazon cultures. Whether this acceptance came from the merging of a society, such as the Amazonians that already had such practices, or it was inherent in the customs of the early nomads is not clear, but archaeological evidence shows that women both as warriors and as high status individuals existed in the Scythian society and similar cultures in the region of Pazyryk.

The Scythians buried their high status dead in mounds called kurgans or tumuli. The dead were laid out often as if asleep in a hollowed out log, facing the east. Grave goods included fine clothes, jewellery, food, cannabis, hand mirrors (also carried by the followers of Hathor), horse tack, bows, swords, shields, entire chariots and often other humans and horses. The horses were sacrificed by axe blow and then buried with the deceased. A later excavation, such as the one of the Pazyryk mummy known as the Ice Maiden excavated by Natalia Polosmak, has shown that at least in this instance the horses were older rather than younger stock suggesting a hint of practicality when killing the livestock. The bodies were mummified in a complex process involving the removal of internal organs, packing the body cavity with aromatic herbs and spices and then embalming the flesh with oils and resin. Some of the kurgans also filled with ground water and subsequently sealed the mummies in ice which further preserved all of the burial goods. The craftsmanship of the gold work, textiles, leather items and wood carving is exceptional and equally so for both male and female burials.

Royal Scythians were also tattooed and apparently those tattoos attested to their elite status. Their tattoos are almost modern in appearance and were created not by the most common ancient method of sewing dye soaked thread under the skin but instead by the puncture method. This technique allowed the artists to create stylized designs in the shapes of goats, horses, deer and leopards. A tattoo stencil (pattern used for creating the design) was actually found in one of the burials. The males and females wore the same designs and there is also evidence of more medicinal tattoos that as usual were only lines. Among the Scythians it is relatively easy to separate the therapeutic tattoos from the decorative because they had such advanced tattooing skills.

There are many very interesting Scythians and Pazyryk burials and it would take a book to describe them all, but some contained women, or men and women together, who were buried as warriors with bows, shields and swords as well as their horses. It is apparent that this society accepted the participation of women in warfare and allowed them the honors afforded to such a status and perhaps it is this very custom that earned these people the title of barbarian because the cultures that surrounded them found the very thought of women in such roles as unthinkable, even mythical. It has long been an accepted practice in anthropology to draw inferences about people and gender role within a society based on the way they are treated in death and there must have been some degree of equality within this society.  
Scythian Warriors
Just as the Pazyryk culture greatly resembled the Scythian culture to their west, I think we can also see cultural similarities in the Norse and Celtic peoples to the east of Scythia who, whether from intermingling in trade or migration, exhibited the same treatment of women until the spread of Rome and Christianity across Europe destroyed the native culture and purposefully erased any pagan history especially Goddess worship. I will also go as far to say that Rome and the church at the time began the systematic persecution of women taking away any power they had in society including, medicine, religion, brewing and warfare.

The Sarmatians, the people Herodotus believed were the mix of Amazons and Scythians, are known to have invaded Gaul and pushed out the Picts and there are many Roman accounts of the women warriors among the Gauls. The Norse shield maidens are not myth and accounts of their participation in known battles is generally not disputed unlike those of the Amazons. Queen Boudicca, trained as a warrior when she was a child went on to led an army of over 10,0000 many of them women against the Romans in Briton. Of course the Romans described her as a woman who was smarter than most of her gender which explained her successes but they still considered her a person not to be dealt with lightly.

Of her own part Boudicca said 
“ We British are used to women commanders in war; I am descended from mighty men! But I am not fighting for my kingdom and my wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary citizen for my lost freedom, my bruised body and my outraged daughters…Consider how many of you are fighting and why! Then you will win this battle or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do, let the men live in slavery if they will. ”(Boudicca according to Tacitus)
In 61 AD Boudicca died when she took her own life instead of being captured and with her died the hope of women all over Europe for social equality in the face of the Roman invasion and the subsequent spread of Christianity. Perhaps Boudicca represents the last great stand of the descendants of the Amazons and the tattooed warriors of the steppes who rode into battle together, man and woman side by side, against the new societies where woman were seen as weak and inferior and their great deeds in history were turned into myths.

References

  • J. A. Salmonson, The Encyclopedia of Amazons (1991), ISBN 0385423667
  • F. G. Bergmann, Les Amazones dans l'histoire et dans la fable (1853)
  • http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Mythology/Amazons.
  • J.Harmatta: "Scythians" in UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity – Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD. Routledge/ UNESCO. 1996.
  • .wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians
  • The Real Scythians of Messopotamia, Fred Hamori, based on a work by Gyula Mszros
  • The History of Herodotus, George Rawlinson, ed. and tr., vol. 3, Book 4, Chapters 2-36, 46-82. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1885]
  • The Real Scythians of Messopotamia, Fred Hamori, based on a work by Gyula M�sz�ros
  • The History of Herodotus, George Rawlinson, ed. and tr., vol. 3, Book 4, Chapters 2-36, 46-82. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1885]
  • Scythians in the Ancient World by Gill, Education About.com Ancient / Classical History Herodotus History Book IV
  • The Real Scythians of Messopotamia, Fred Hamori, based on a work by Gyula Meszaros
  • The History of Herodotus, George Rawlinson, ed. and tr., vol. 3, Book 4, Chapters 2-36, 46-82. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1885]
  • Scythians in the Ancient World by Gill, Education About.com Ancient / Classical History Herodotus History Book IV
  • Scythian tumuli : Bouzek Jan (2/22/2008) "Scythian tumuli", 2008, Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Black Sea
  • Origins of the Picts and Scots, Hal MacGregor, Origins of the Clan Gregor
  • The Boudicca Chapters, Isha Bassi, Heroines of History. Wikispaces

RELEASE BLITZ - River James by MJ Fields




Title: River James

Series: Rockers of Steel #3

Author: MJ Fields

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release

Date: January 31, 2016

Blurb

When he fell in love, he fell hard. When he lost her, he lost his will.

Drugs, sex, and rock and roll—in that order—became his life.

River James, the drummer for Steel Total Destruction, loved the brotherhood he formed with his unlikely best friend and his band mates, and the family he found in his label until one tragic accident takes it all away in the blink of an eye. Twisted metal, shattered bones, crushed dreams, and torn wreckage causes deep, dark secrets to be revealed and he quickly turns to the sure things in life: drugs and women. Will he find himself in the wreckage or will he lose his way in the smoke and debris?

The first person in her family to graduate from high school and college, Keanna Sutton is flying high on her accomplishments. She has the career and man of her dreams…or so she thought. While recovering from a break-up she has a chance run-in with a tall, handsome, silver-tongued drummer who tests her strength and ability to hold her own tongue. She desperately tries to ignore the implausible attraction to River - a man she knows will be no good for her. When she finally throws caution to the wind, she finds herself getting rocked the only way a badass like River can: hard and nasty. Will the hottest night of her life end there? Or will she lose herself in a man whose only promise is that a lady always comes first?



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Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author M.J. Field's love of writing was in full swing by age eight. Together with her cousins, she wrote a newsletter and sold it for ten cents to family members.

She self-published her first New Adult romance in January 2013. Today she has completed six self-published series, The Love Series, The Wrapped Series, The Burning Souls Series, The Men of Steel Series, Ties of Steel Series, and The Norfolk series.

MJ is a hybrid author who publishes an Indie book almost every month, and is signed with a traditional publisher, Loveswept, Penguin Random House, for her co-written series The Caldwell Brothers. Hendrix is available now, Morrison was released on December 22nd, 2015.

There is always something in the works, and she has three, yes, three, new series coming out this summer, and fall.

MJ lives in central New York, surrounded by family and friends. Her house is full of pets, friends, and noise ninety percent of the time, and she would have it no other way.
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