Enchanted by Vikings #RachelleAyala @Mimisgang1 #mgtab

 

Everywhere I turn there’s a new movie, television series, video game, heavy metal bands, even costume-partygoers celebrating this ancient culture that hailed from the icy regions of Northern Europe.

Why are modern men and women of the twenty-first century so enchanted by Vikings? Perhaps it is a yearning to return to what we believe to be a simpler life, one that was in touch with nature and the elements of raw survival. Or it’s the fascination of muscled and bearded men who were too wild to be tamed. Or the glory of a warlike society, where valor, honor, and bravery were highly regarded. Possibly, it’s their reputation for brutality and slaughter and the fear they engendered on their raids. Although to be fair, the Romans, Assyrians, Mongols, Iroquois, British and all other human groups were no less brutal. Or it could be the love affair we have with their gods and goddesses and the stories they told that have been passed down to us. Their antics, their cavorting, their origin stories, and their views concerning fate and the afterlife and the finality of Ragnarok.

The Norsemen did not call themselves Vikings, and a lot of the stories have become romanticized as time went by. They get made and remade into operas, movies, novels, symphonies, plays, and video games, and the characters are invented and changed. Even a Norseman’s appearance has been creatively embellished. For example, they didn’t wear horned helmets as they were commonly depicted, and we don’t truly know how they wore their hair and beards, or whether they were as heavily tattooed as movies and popular culture now depict them. From Wagner to Marvel, everyone has their own appropriation of Norse culture, mythology, legends, and stories.

For me, I like the Norse mythology–from the world tree to the serpent surrounding the world, and stories of the various gods, goddesses, giants, dwarves, and other creatures in their pantheon. The stories and myths vary with the teller, and indeed the gods take on shapes of birds, totem animals, or even other gods as they scheme and plot for either power or entertainment. The Norse were also fatalistic, believing in norns who have woven the strands of their lives before they were born. The fatalism extended to Ragnarok, the end of the world or at least the end of most of their prominent gods. No one could stop what was foretold. It happened exactly as predicted. It was a horrible ending, and yet, some minor characters survived, but nothing is recorded or survived to our day. What happened after Ragnarok will always remain a mystery or even better, we’re free to invent our own endings or new beginnings.

I did just that with Red Hexed: Ruby where a modern-day woman in San Francisco comes face to face with a Viking in search of a berserker sword. She’s drawn into his quest to stop Ragnarok when he asks her to impersonate Hella, the goddess of death. Along the way, they get tangled up with Odin, Loki, Freya, Hella, and Surt while a shapeshifting horsefly turned cockatoo leads or misleads them while inadvertently playing matchmaker. [Check it out for 99c release week special].

Watching your child become an adult

Like many of you, I marvel at how quickly time passes. It moves every quicker when you watch your child grow. Once sweet innocent babies, they grow into nosy toddlers almost overnight. Then on to being energetic and curious children, before moody adolescents desperately trying to find themselves and become young adults. It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye instead of years.

I have two children, and I had my first one when I was twenty-one. My second came thirteen years later. My oldest, a boy, has two children of his own. I often wonder when he became old enough to have a career, wife, children, and a home? I watch and listen from the sidelines as my son and his family go through stages of life that I can fondly remember doing myself with him.

My daughter just finished her first year of college, and as I listen to her stories, watch her movements, and her reactions, I am reminded that my little girl is no longer a baby, but a beautiful young lady, on the verge of being a full-blown woman. To some, she might already be a woman, but I still see tiny bits and pieces of her innocence of youth. I still hear the curiosity to understand simple things in life that tells me she still has much to learn. Not that we ever stop, but you get what I mean.

We just helped my daughter buy her first car, and to witness her signing the paperwork, was a sight to see. I asked her how she felt afterward, and she said that it made her feel important, and she felt the weight of it as she signed the document and then sat back, going wow, I just did that. Proud but scary at the same time. I can relate. Remember your first car? What about your mortgage? It is scary.

This summer, our family will probably enjoy one of our last family vacations. Now that my daughter is growing up, she has plans for herself. She has people to see and places to be. We are lucky that she still feels we are important enough to spend quality time with us. Or perhaps it’s just the lure of a beach. Either way, I will take it and enjoy every moment I can before she is off living her own life with a career, home, and family.

Then the nest really will be empty, and I’ll sit back and wonder where the time went. Actually, no, I won’t. I’ll be too busy writing happy stories about people growing up, finding love, and starting their lives—just like my children.

Want to read about siblings growing up and finding love? Make sure to check out my Loving a Young Series on Amazon.

Vegetables and Salad Dressing #Recipe by @_NancyRadke

Growing your own vegetables is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding. I wrote before about growing sprouts inside during the winter, to get fresh produce. Mungo bean sprouts make a great addition to omelets, and alfalfa sprouts add vitamins to a salad.

This month I was given a small cold frame along with potting soil. I just planted a tiny patch of onions, lettuce, radishes, and arugula. It’s cold outside, and if it continues to be cool, I should have some radishes to eat in a month. I look forward to the salads I’ll make from these.

Vegetables

A great salad dressing can be made with a few simple ingredients. I use fresh orange juice for this and the lightest olive oil I can find. You can fudge on the kind of mustard. I use raw honey for the health benefits and Bragg’s Vinegar. I feel that a good olive oil is the most important ingredient, as it makes a huge taste difference.

ORANGE SALAD DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt + pepper

Put all in a small bottle, shake well. Use on both fresh fruit or vegetable salads.

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CUTE BUT CRAZY: UNIQUE AND UNPREDICTABLE

Get this awesome bundle for just 99¢ during the Kindle Countdown Deal, May 10-17!

Cute But Crazy U & U

 

Let’s Celebrate Spring by @Donna_Fasano

I have environmental allergies, so when Spring pollen hits, I suffer. However, once the pollen phase of the season is over, I am happy and my spirit sings. So I say let’s celebrate Spring!  Spring means the end of the long, cold, dark winter. It means new beginnings. Spring means sunshine and a warm weather. And flowers and colors and beauty.

Spring

Here are some wonderful, uplifting quotes about Spring:

“Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.” ~Bishop Reginald Heber

“The beautiful spring came, and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” ~Harriet Ann Jacobs

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’.” ~Robin Williams

“Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.” ~Jessica Harrelson

“Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.” ~Anita Krizzan

“It’s Spring Fever. That’s what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ~Mark Twain

“The earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wish you a beautiful spring… (with little-to-no pollen!)

If you’re looking for a light, fun read, I have a few romance novels that are selling for 99¢ each. I also have a cookbook that under a buck! I hope you’ll look for them:

99 cent books

A Beautiful Stranger – Book 1 of A Family Forever Series

An Honorable Man – Book 1 of the Black Bear Brothers Series

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick – Book 1 of The Single Daddy Club Series

Dangerous Memories – Romantic Suspense

Her Fake Romance – Fun, Witty Contemporary Romance

Cooking In All Directions – Some of my favorite recipes

Click here to find my book that made the USA Today Bestsellers List.

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Click here to check out all the Authors’ Billboard Authors.