Monday, April 30, 2018

Women in Science Fiction – Connie Willis

By Ruth de Jauregui

Peering into the past and future, author Connie Willis  ranges from humorous to serious in her tales of humans, aliens, love, technology and the environment.

She has won more major awards than any other writer, with 11 Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards.

Her career as an author began in 1970 with the publication of "The Secret of Santa Titicaca" in the winter issue of Worlds of Fantasy. After at least seven more short stories, she and Cynthia Felice published Water Witch in 1982. She also became a full time writer in that same year.

Her first solo novel was published in 1987, Lincoln's Dreams. It won the John W Campbell Memorial Award. While Lincoln's Dreams and her time travel series, which began with Nebula and Hugo award winning "Fire Watch" (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, February 1982), are serious works of science fiction, my favorite is Uncharted Territory (1994).

Set on a distant planet with its own indigenous people (aliens), Uncharted Territory combines elements of the Old West, modern technology, romance, ecology and sociology of both humans and Bult, their alien guide. Satirical and beautifully written, the story follows Findriddy "Fin" and Carson on their survey of the planet while Bult fines them for every conceivable transgression and shops online for more umbrellas and shower curtains. Joining them in their survey is a visiting socioexozoologist that specializes in mating rituals of Earth and alien species. At only 162 pages, the novella is a quick read, yet Willis takes you on a journey that twists your assumptions and dumps them upside down by the end of the book.

Willis continues to publish. Her latest books are Crosstalk (2016), A Lot Like Christmas (2017), a short story collection, and I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land (April 30, 2018).



Amazon Author Page: Connie Willis

#ConnieWillis
#OurAuthorGang
#RuthDJ

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Our Guest Today is Author CJ Baty #ourauthorgang

Welcome, CJ! We're so glad you could join us today!



CJ Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire someday. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school, but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to Fan Fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from  life and she is often heard to say is, "You are never too old to follow your dream!"

You can reach CJ at:

Due to the subject matter, CJ's books are for mature readers 18 yrs. of age and older.


BOOK ONE: THE PINKERTON MAN
    Stiles Langberry leaves England under the dark cloud of blackmail. He resettles in America with a new name, becoming a Pinkerton Agent. His new employer sends him undercover to a brothel that serves homosexual men, where prostitutes are being murdered.
    In the course of his investigation, he becomes involved with Paul, one of the prostitutes. Complicating matters, one of the suspects draws Stiles like no man before him. Stiles knows he must stop the killer before he strikes again.

BOOK TWO: HOME ON THE RANGE
     Pinkerton Agent Stiles Long is sent to the Circle W Ranch to uncover who is killing the ranch's cattle. In order to discover the truth about the goings on at the ranch, Stiles has to prove to the ranchers he's more than a good-looking city slicker.
     Savage Beare, the head ranch foreman, is far from happy that Stiles is there to check things out. He has secrets of his own. Stiles finds Savage incredibly good-looking, but cold and aloof. He's also a suspect. One of many.
     When Stiles' best friend and partner, Lizzie Ferguson, is kidnapped, things begin to shake apart. Stiles doesn't trust anyone and he needs to find Lizzie before it's too late.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Our Guest Today is Donna Mercer

  Hi, Howdy and Hello There!! My name is Donna R. Mercer and I am a writer of Romance. I know many people like to stick writers into nice little safe categories, but I hate to be put in a box.  My current works that are out would fall under the category of Contemporary Romances or Romantic Suspense, but I am not just limited to that one thing. I am currently working on a Paranormal Romance Novel for a collection that is going to debut in October for Romance Collection. I am also working on Sci-fi Romance Series that will debut next year.
I live in Colorado with my slew of family and animals. I do have a website at DonnaRMercer.com where you can surf around and find out about me, but if you want to interact with me the best place to do so would be in my Facebook Group Risque Raiders. I am online all the time. But if Facebook is not your thang you can also hit me up on Twitter@MissSassy714 or InstaGram@wyldeivory.

My Current Books that are out include:



Jericho: A Club Envy BWWM Romance Novel
"How could I resist her. She was everything a guy like me wanted in a woman like her. Beauty, Sexy, Intelligence and a mean right hook. She was definitely a MILF!"

I don't know what overcame me? One look from his sexy eyes and my body was on fire. I couldn't resist his desire to extinguish it. I couldn't even do like Jamie suggest and blame it on the alcohol.  All I could do was scream Jericho.


Sebastian: A Club Envy BWWM Romance Novel 
Dr. Sebastian Croft is used to playing by the rules. His rules. So, what does he do when his rules say to leave the hot new doctor alone? He breaks them! After all they don't call him Dr. McHottie for no reason.

Dr. Olivia Winter always plays by the rules. Their rules. So what does she do when all the rules point to Sebastian being a thief? She breaks them! After all they don't call her Dr. Ice for no reason.


Studdin’ Axxel: Inappropriate Date Agency is my first novel released in Kindle Unlimited. Check it out!!
Are your parents bugging you about getting married?

Do you have a family event coming up and don't want to her the constant nagging from your friends and relatives about the joys of wedded bliss?

Need to get people off of your back about dating. Then let the Inappropriate Date Agency help you.

We will match you with the perfect candidate to make your family leave you alone.

Our "dates" all come with a prison record of some sort and are guaranteed to make your mother cry and your father curse. They will not pass a standard background check. Our dates can act as a friend you just meet in your local bar to pretending to be your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend.

They can hit on relatives of the opposite sex while you pretend not to see anything (for a small additional fee they can hit on relatives of the same sex).

Our dates can instigate an argument in religion or politics as your needs required. Contact us at 1-800-BAD-DATE and let us help you torment your family for the holidays.

Look for future releases in both the Club Envy Series and the Inappropriate Date Agency Series. For up-to-date information follow me on Facebook or join my newsletter.
Thanks for having me and hope to hear from you soon!!

Friday, April 27, 2018

How the Elves Turned Evil

Rich Feitelberg


So as you may recall from my previous blog posts about my fantasy setting, Thalacia, King Argol fought many demons that roamed the landed. In the final battle, the last demon was defeated by Argol was lost and the magic crown he wore was destroyed. The gems in the crown, the Aglaril, were not harmed, just scattered and lost. 

The Aglaril Cycle, my fantasy series, is all about how the gems are found once more.

Meanwhile, the elves were not happy when news of Argol’s death became known. But it wasn’t until another group of humans was encountered that internal differences among the elves began to surface. 

The humans they encountered were clearly not related to the humans who had accidentally summoned the demons in the first place. But that didn’t matter to some of the elves. And it was Argol’s wife, Queen Emeriel who insisted all humans be killed to avenge Argol.

But other calmer voices called for peace and a resumption of relations with the humans.

In the end the elves split into two groups and those led by Emeriel left the elven forest and began to plot the destruction of all humans in the world.

Over the centuries that followed they were quite successful harassing and contributing to the fall of human civilizations. But when the kingdom of Thalacia was formed, things began to chance.

More about that in my next post.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Of Dragons and Horses



Of Dragons and Horses

Christina Weigand

Would you believe that with all my talks of dragons that I did not come to my acquaintance with them until adulthood.  I knew of dragons of course. I remember listening to the song; Puff the Magic Dragon on my little record player hundreds of times. One thing that did attract my attention was horses (it seems that a good many people shared this fascination with me). I was all about horses. I loved horse books and my favorite author was Marguerite Henry and her tales of the Chincoteague ponies, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, and of course Black Gold. I would read these books over and over again.





I begged my father to get us a pony until he finally relented and got us one. It was then that I realized I was fascinated with the idea of owning a horse but not so much with actually owning a horse. Bobby, the pony was a lot of work that I didn’t so much enjoy.

So after several years of not taking care of the pony my dad finally gave him away. I can only hope it was to a child who would love and care for him more than I did.

So another one of my passions was writing. Even as a young child I remember sitting at the dining room table and pretending I owned a greeting card company where I would come up with little sayings to put inside the cards. Around Middle school time I began to write more. I took a creative writing class and even thought about being a journalist only after I was disabused of the desire to be a nurse.



Ah yes, I had many dreams as a child, not many of them came to fruition as I learned the facts about each of my dreams, like nursing involved blood and icky stuff that I didn’t think I could handle. I saw the movie Jaws when it was released and had nightmares as well as fearing going to sleep. It was then that I decided that nursing was not something I wanted to pursue, even though it had been a dream of mine for several years. Once again I think it was the pamphlets about nursing schools and the cute little white caps that nurses got to wear that was the appeal instead of the actual nursing.



Of course when I met my husband while still in high school and fell in love most of my dreams were put aside for the thought of being married to him and raising a family. It wasn’t until we were many years into our marriage that I took up my writing again and that even came after another of what I thought had been a childhood dream was quashed. Still no dragons entered my life.

It wasn’t until about sixteen years ago that the first of my dragons came on the scene. The first one Tatsu has turned out to be not such a nice dragon, but not long after Myrria came along and my fascination with dragons blossomed.



When I think about the sense of wonder and the attitude that comes with it, I think with my dragons and my writing I have been able to resurrect some of those feelings. My books are a testament to that wonder. I am ecstatic that I have been able to return to those childhood dreams and make them a part of my adulthood.

And I still love horses and like to ride, but having one to own is not a desire. Someone else can do the owning. Nursing is definitely no longer a dream, but I have spent thirty nine years nursing and nurturing my children and my grandchildren. So even though I don’t have the cute cap (which I don’t think many nurses wear nowadays) nursing is another dream that came true, just not in the way I first thought it would.

In my humble opinion those childhood dreams that we all have are the fuel that warms our adult lives and even though they may not appear to come true, in some form or another they do come to fruition.

So don’t ignore those horses and dragons, those greeting card games or even the nursing dreams. Instead encourage them, feed them, let them grow, because you never know what they will blossom into.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Mordred Pendragon: Noble Knight or Evil Villan? #Arthurian #Legends #OurAuthorGang

Mordred Pendragon:
Noble Knight or Evil Villan?
By Mary Anne Yarde




Jesus wasn't betrayed by an enemy. He was betrayed by a friend. As was King Arthur. That is how the story goes anyway.

Mordred, the noblest of knights, betrayed his King and in doing so, he brought down a kingdom. But that is not all. Mordred was not just a Knight of Camelot. He was of royal blood.

Mordred was the son of Morgause - Arthur's sister -  but there is debate as to who his father was. Some say his father was Morgauses' husband, King Lot of Orkney, which would make Gawain his brother. While others say he was Arthur's illegitimate son, begot with his sister. Either way, he had royal blood running in his veins. So how did Arthur and Mordred find themselves leading opposing armies on that fateful day in Camlann?

The earliest known reference to the Battle of Camlann can be found in the Annales Cambriae. The Annales of Cambriae is a chronicle that dates back to the 10th Century. It was compelled sometime between 960 - 970AD in Dyfed, Wales. The Annales Cambriae dates the Battle of Camlann in the year 537 AD. And this is what it says...


"The strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell."

Although they cannot be counted as a primary source, they do however draw on older stories - probably verbal - of the telling of this great battle. If you have not already noticed, the quote above says nothing about Arthur fighting Mordred at Camlann. It states that both men fell (died) at Camlann. Mordred was one of Arthur's most loyal knights, therefore it would make sense that they died together because they fought together. Which begs the question, how did Mordred become the villain of the tale?


Sir Mordred by H. J. Ford (1902)

In 1136, Geoffrey of Monmouth penned The History of the Kings of Britain. It is Monmouth who suggests that it was Mordred, who was left in charge of Camelot while Arthur crossed the channel to rage war on Emperor Lucius of Rome. It is Monmouth who states that Mordred saw this as an opportunity to take Arthur's throne. It is Monmouth who states that Mordred not only took the kingdom but also forced Guinevere to marry him. It is Monmouth who states that Mordred and Arthur met at Camlann.

And we believed him.

The ancient Welsh texts were the first to associate Mordred with Camlann.  But Monmouth's casting of Mordred as the villain was soon accepted as the truth and others expanded upon this story making Mordred something of an Anti-Christ - or an Anti-Arthur.


Time passes, and the story changes. Lancelot enters the tale, and some of Mordred's villainous activities are passed on to Lancelot - such as the affair with Guinevere.

Thomas Malory who penned Le Morte d'Arthur sticks with tradition and casts Mordred as the villain but this time there is a slight twist to the tale. In Malory's version, Mordred believes that Arthur is dead, slain by Lancelot. Mordred, with parliaments consent, is crowned King and when he hears that Arthur is alive he does take his army to meet him. But this begs the question, why would the Knights follow Mordred instead of Arthur. Malory gives us a clue..

"...with Arthur was none other life but war and strife, and with Sir Mordred was great joy and bliss."



An interesting idea indeed. 

In the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, Mordred is succeeded by his sons. The sons, like their father, had treachery running through their veins. In the older text, it is Constantine who tracks the brothers down and kills them. In later versions, it is Lancelot and Bors.

But the extent of Mordred's treachery does not end there.



"...him who, at one blow, had chest and shadow / shattered by Arthur's hand..."
                                 (Canto XXXII)
This quote is from Dante's Inferno. If you seek Mordred you will find him in the lowest circle of Hell - a place set aside for traitors.


“I can't ignore what I saw. Gaius, Mordred is destined to play a part in Arthur's death.”
BBC adaptation of Merlin  2008 - 2012




Mordred is cast as a magically Druid boy in the BBC show Merlin (2008 - 2012). He becomes a Knight of Camelot and has no notion of treachery until his beloved is sentenced to death. Ironically, if Merlin had accepted Mordred as a source of good, then Arthur would never have died - but hey, what kind of story would that have made?

Mordred became the villain, but maybe he was not so evil as we have been led to believe.

First Published on Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots (10th November 2015)


War is coming…

Read the series for FREE on
 Kindle Unlimited




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mythology and Folklore: Part One By Erika M Szabo

The Turul Bird

by Erika M Szabo
The great mythical Turul bird of prey is one of the most important symbols of the Hungarians. The origins of the Turul legendry go way back to prehistoric Hungarian past. It is the relic of the ancient Hungarian faith, the embodier of the powers above and the monarchic sovereignty, the national symbol of the providence and guidelines. It is the ancient symbol of national identity.

It represents God's power and will. The Turul was seen as the ancestor of Atilla, and it was also the symbol of the Huns. The Hungarian Turul is often represented carrying the flaming Sword of God.
The legend of Emese
A Hungarian legend tells the story of Emese, wife of Ügyek the descendant of Atilla, who once had a dream in which a Turul appeared to her. In this dream, a crystal-clear stream started to flow from her, and as it moved Westward, it grew into a mighty river. This dream represented her symbolic impregnation by the Turul, and meant that she would give birth to a line of great rulers. Emese later gave birth to Álmos, who was the father of Árpád, the great leader of the Magyars and founder of Hungary. This story reaffirms the Hun-Magyar kinship, and the knowledge that the Magyars reconquered Hungary as their rightful inheritance from Atilla's great Hun Empire.
Turul eagle near Buda Royal Palace entrance gate in Budapest, Hungary — Photo by panama7
There were 3 large Turul statues, each with a wingspan of 15 meters, in Greater Hungary (before the country had its borders reconfigured by the Treaty of Trianon). The last of the three stands on a mountain near Tatabánya, Hungary, but the other two were destroyed. It is the largest bird statue in Europe and the largest bronze statue in Central Europe. There remain at least 195 Turul statues in Hungary, as well as 48 in Romania (32 in Transylvania and 16 in Partium), 8 in Slovakia, 7 in Serbia, 5 in Ukraine, 1 in Austria. One of the most recently erected, as of 29 September 2012, on St. Michael the Archangel's Day, is in Hungary's Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park.
Some of the Kingdom of Hungary postage stamps issued after 1900 feature the Turul.

The Turul in my stories

Award Winner epic fantasy series
I lit the sacred candles infused with herbs and then placed them in a silver candle holder on a small round table. The ancient wooden male and female figurines holding hands stood between the candles, with our delicately carved Turul bird with a crown on its head and a sword in its talons. The Falcon held widely stretched wings over the figurines as if protecting them.
The statues had been in my family for centuries, they were small, and had a deep, warm brown color. The rich, shiny brown hue came from the hot herbal tea Elza poured over the statues every morning, as my ancestors had done for generations. Beside the statues was an ancient, dark leather-bound book. Its permanent place was on the Prayer table, and every Hun family had one. I had leafed through our book many times. The first few pages remained empty to me, but the rest of the book contained my ancestor’s names and achievements, written in ancient handwriting. Mom had said when I asked her about the empty pages, “The Book will reveal all its secrets to you, but only when you when you reach the age of maturity.” I wondered if I were ready; I was entering into Hun adulthood after all, so I made a mental note to check the book the next day, after prayer time.
Elza wrapped the ceremonial shawl over my shoulders as I took a deep breath and held my hands above the table. I began the prayer by reading the Hun writing, carved into the leather cover of the book of my ancestors. Following the ancient traditions, we prayed as a family in the morning to the First Mother and Father, and we prayed to the Creator at night, in solitude.
Mother and Father leading in unity,
Protected by the Turul for eternity,
Guide my soul and keep my body healthy.
Test my courage and try my patience,
Let me prove I have endurance.
Let compassion always guide me,
Make me wise to help the needy.
Challenge me on my daily journey,
And give me the strength to prove I’m worthy.
Closing my eyes, I held my hands in silence over the table for a minute and embraced the serene feeling I always had while saying the prayer. Warm energy flooded my insides, and I experienced a deep connection to something powerful, majestic and welcoming.


Magical realism, alternate history, epic fantasy trilogy

 
When a young doctor, Ilona, starts to develop unusual powers, her life and her beliefs change. Thrown into a world of clan mysteries, traditions and secrets, she begins remembering her mother’s instructions concealed as rhymes.
Punished by the ancestors long ago, Mora has waited centuries for the chance to reunite with her beloved Joland. Now, she seeks to gain the power to rule the ancient clan with a strict hierarchy and deadly laws that still exist hidden among us.
Ilona has been chosen by the ancestors to stop Mora and save the future of the clan.
Her birthright as a Healer runs alongside her desires as a woman. She has been in love with her best friend but is also drawn to the stranger who appears in her peculiar dream.
Ilona must save herself and her family from Mora’s evil plans, uncover ancient tribal secrets, and find her Destiny Box… the box that contains the message of the Ancestors.
Does she have the strength to fight evil?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D6WZ73C

After her twenty-ninth birthday, Ilona’s life was turned upside down. She learned more about her ancestry and herself in three days than in her entire life.
Mora sends a man to destroy Ilona. His hateful, cold stare sends icy chills down the spines of all who see him. Ilona is no different. She feels a foreboding of evil and senses a dark force commanding him to destroy her.
Ilona loves both her best friend and the stranger in her dreams, but which one is her true love?
In her quest to protect her family and the future of the clan, Ilona must activate her Chameleon side to obtain unimaginable powers. She can use her powers for absolute good or absolute evil; the choice is up to her.
Does she have the strength to fight evil?

Can she keep her sanity when discovering her magical abilities?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D6Y5J3Z

Ilona is a doctor and heals people, but the healing powers she inherited and the magical abilities she obtains are exciting as well as frightening.
Mora desperately fights to stop Ilona from fulfilling her destiny and saving the clan’s future. But the evil Mora won’t give up her plan of changing the future and to gain power.
In the final book of The Ancestors’ Secrets Trilogy, Ilona travels through time from the early years when her people were nomads, to the castles of the 14th century, to present day as she struggles to overcome the obstacles placed in her path. She finds the Destiny Box that contains the messages of the ancestors.
Will Ilona accept her destiny?
Can she find true love?

Will she use her unimaginable powers for good or evil?
.
“This is so different from the usual fare churned out by ordinary writers.” -Valerie Byron
“The characters felt real, and the secrets are alluring. You will get hooked in right away.” -Brenda Barry
“Szabo introduces readers to a fascinating world of ancient rights conducted by a secret order.” -J.E. Rogers

COMMENTS

Erika M Szabo shared this via Google+

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Erika M Szabo via Google+

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Erika M Szabo via Google+

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Mythology and Folklore: Part One By Erika M Szabo
The Turul Bird by Erika M Szabo Picture credit: https://www.deviantart.com/tag/turul The great mythical Turul bird of prey is one of the most important symbols of the Hungarians. The origins of the Turul legendry go way back to prehistoric Hungarian past. I...
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Rebecca Tran

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Wow Erika so cool to see where the symbolism in your book came from. I always wondered why you chose a falcon.
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Although the series is not a history book, I used bits of historical facts in the story, and the Turul bird and the Sacred Sword are important part of Hun mythology.

Mary Anne Yarde

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Such an interesting post, Erica. You know how much I love legends!!!
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I know :) You share your legends about Arthur and Merlin and I share bits about my ancestry. We always learn something new from each other

Grace Au

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Brilliant post, Erika! I loved learning about the Turul Bird! Your heritage is a rich one, that is for sure. Thank you for sharing traditions and beliefs with us.
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Thank you Grace!

P. J. Mann shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing :)

Bonita Gutierrez shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing :)

Eva Pasco shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing :)

Joanne Van Leerdam Author & Poet shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing :)

Nikki McDonagh shared this via Google+

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Nikki McDonagh

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What an interesting post!
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Rebecca Tran

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Join Erika Szabo as she begins her series on Hungarian myths and legends on Our Author Gang.
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Joe Bonadonna via Google+

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Today on A Small Gang of Authors, Erika M. Szabo​ talks about Hungarian mythology and folklore.
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Joe Bonadonna

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Great post, Erika! Mythology and folklore rock -- and are great for creative inspiration.
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Rich Feitelberg

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Good stuff; local legends and myths are always great to learn about.
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Rich Feitelberg shared this via Google+

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Ruth de Jauregui via Google+

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Erika M. Szabo​ shares the story of the Turul bird and a snippet from her epic fantasy today. Stop by and check out her post.
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Ruth de Jauregui

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I'm fascinated by the rich legacy of legendary creatures and peoples of the world. Thank you for sharing the Turul bird and a snippet of your epic fantasy!
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Chris Weigand

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Thanks for sharing. It was fascinating.
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