MY MOVE TO SMALLER DIGS
As I write this in my longtime home in New York State, I realize that when it posts I will have already moved to my new home in Florida. I’m making some big changes, including leaving my day job to pursue writing full-time. Other changes include downsizing my lifestyle. This reduces the financial burden and will give me more freedom. But the process!!
The last year has included yard sales, trips to donate household goods to my local charities, donations to my church rummage sale, Craigslist posts and giving away possessions to family members.
ALL THAT REMAINS
As I divest myself of possessions, I find, instead of regret or sorrow, an unexpected feeling of joy and freedom that comes from not having so many things to look after, dust, wash and store. My husband and I shredded paper for one solid week. I still cannot believe how much paper I had in closets, cupboards, filing cabinets and my desk.
During the entire process, I have been writing. First in my office. Then in my stripped down office, then in my staged for sale office, then in my empty office, and then on my desk in the dining room after the sale when this surface doubled as our dining room table and finally at my breakfast counter when my desk was disassembled for transport.
So bon voyage to me and mine. I’m beginning again in a new place… but one thing that will not changed is my love for telling stories and finding a time and place to write.
This post first appeared in June on the Pink Heart Society Blog
My September release: The Warrior’s Captive Bride from Harlequin Historicals opens with a warrior convinced he is cursed. But how do you know for sure? Well, it’s difficult, but here is a cheat sheet to help you decide.
WITCHES: These are living beings with the power to curse humans. They are vengeful and make you sick but they are mortal and vulnerable. The best way to stop a witches’ curse is to assuage them. Failing that, a more permanent solution is to kill the witch.
GHOSTS: These are departed, restless earthbound spirits. Particularly dangerous are the fallen ghosts of your enemies, but loved ones can also cause suffering and illness to the living. This is one of the reasons that it is impolite or outright dangerous to speak the name of a person who has died. Owls or owl dreams can summon ghosts and foretell of death. Ghost Sickness is dangerous and the only cure is to stop the ghost from haunting you. The symptoms of ghost symptoms include: nausea, fever, fatigue, suffocating sensation and hallucinations. Breaking a taboo can draw trouble in the form of ghosts. Relief will require a shaman of considerable skill.
SPIRITS & SUPERNATURALS: Supernatural spirits are immortal. They are very powerful and have the ability to influence nature. These beings are most powerful. They are not earthbound and are to be respected and feared. They can and do attack the living but are generally above such things. Appeasing a petulant supernatural or superior spirit will require the help of a powerful, spiritual leader of great skill.
“…everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission…”
~Mourning Dove, Salish, 1888-1936~
All people throughout history have struggled to understand the root cause of disease. Attributions included angering the gods or falling foul of evil magic. Bad spirits could bring illness or death. Native American tribes are not alone in once holding such beliefs. Ancient Egyptians wore charms to ward off evil magic. Ancient Greeks made offerings to their gods at temples erected for that purpose. In the Middle Ages physicians were less important that holy relics in healing the afflicted by prayer and pilgrimage.
Native Americans relied on prayer and spiritual leaders to heal. But they also had a vast knowledge of medicinal herbs and roots. Some medicinal plants were traded over long distances. Many native peoples believed that spirits, ghosts and witches could cause illness. I spent time researching how a Native Americans of this period would determine if an illness was caused by ghosts, spirits or a witch. I admit I borrowed from some of the southwestern tribes as I stitched together my world. The term ‘Moth Madness’ was Navajo, for example because I could find nothing on epilepsy in historic record or reference from my research of the Plains Indians.
I sympathized with my hero and heroines struggle to understand what was causing Night Storm’s falling episodes. I had decided that his illness would be a form of ongoing seizures, similar to epilepsy, based on the head injury he suffered in battle. As the injury heals, his symptoms abate. But I just could not resist adding a slight supernatural element in the form of his visions. I feared that my editor would request that I removed this part and I almost did not write it, but I try not to edit myself until after I have heard the input of my editor. If I had, then Night Storm would never have had his prophetic dreams.
FOR MORE Story Behind the Story, visit my books page – www.jennakernan.com
THE WARRIOR’S CAPTIVE BRIDE
What a joy to create two sequential stories that include Native American heroes and heroes from the Sioux and Crow people. Thank you to all who reviewed by last story, RUNNING WOLF, and who wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed hearing the story of my warrior woman.
This tale is of a woman who wants to be a great healer like her grandmother and a man who wants only to regain what he has lost, his ability to fight for his people. For anyone as anyone who has ever suffered a life altering injury or accident knows, it is sometimes impossible to return to the life one lead. This is the story of a warriors struggle to become what he once was and the healer who believes he can be so much more. As you already suspected, the ride will be rough, the stakes high and the outcome uncertain.
In this story, I have blended real medical issues with the mysticism of the Plains Indian tribes in the 1800s. I hope readers will indulge my blending of science and mysticism and enjoy the adventure of Night Storm and Skylark.
To help you keep time with the Crow people, I added a moon calendar in the back of this story. Each tribe called the moons by different names so this is my interpretation of appropriate names the moons in each season.
I hope you’ll let me know how you like this new release.