Neespaugot by John Mugglebee

 

Excerpt from Neespaugot by John Mugglebee

Della gave the two boys another looking-over. One broad and muscular, the other short and wiry. One Slavic, the other Mediterranean. Brothers. Interesting.

“All right, you two. You’ve come here to know something, so here’s my deal. I’ll answer your questions if you promise to leave me in peace for good. Do you agree?”

“Yeah, sure, whatevah,” said Ezra.

“Good. Now, you, the little guy, you go first.”

Zeke nodded. “How old are you, ma’am?”

“Seventy-four. How about you?”

“Eleven.”

“Anything else?”

“How come people say you’re a commie?”

“Because labels are simpler than the truth, young man. I was a newspaper editorialist for many years, defending those without a voice against those with more than their fair share. In particular, I wrote against federal anti-immigration laws aimed at Southern and Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, East Asians and Asia Indians. In short, anybody who wasn’t a WASP. My enemies labeled me an agitator, a Bolshevik—that’s a communist with an attitude. None of it was true, but that’s the thing about smear tactics. In this country, when it comes to race, religion, gender and politics, the label always sticks. I hope you’ll never have to learn that hard lesson, Zeke. Now, I’ll give you one more question, and then we’ll let Mr. M.I.T. have a go.”

The boy vacillated. His brother started to speak for him, but Della tapped her cane on the floor to silence him. After turning it over in his mind, the smaller boy blurted proudly, “Do you know our ma?”

“You idiot,” said Ezra, groaning.

“Hush, you. No, Zeke, I don’t know your mother, not really. She was born at the end of the First World War, by which time I was no longer having anything to do with your grandmother. I moved to France shortly thereafter. Okay, Zeke, normally it’s your brother’s turn, but due to his rudeness, you can have another.”

“No way!” said Ezra.

“Says the boy who broke into my house. Proceed, Zeke.”

Zeke looked to Ezra for a clue but got shut out, so he was on his own to come up with a question.

“Oh, yeah. Are you a lesbian?”

“Do you even know what a lesbian is, Zeke?”

“Women kissing each other?”

“It’s an orientation, child, a sexual orientation. A woman feels a pull towards other women. But I have never felt a pull towards other women—or men, for that matter. The fact is that I have only ever known one passion for another human being in my entire life, and she happened to be a woman. Before meeting her, I had no interest in a relationship of any kind. Since her death twelve years ago, I have lived comfortably and gratefully alone. So, my answer to your question is no, I’m not a lesbian. I’m not a label of any sort. I’m, well, nothing at all.”

“How did your friend die?”

“Sorry, Zeke. You’re moving off the subject. Your turn, M.I.T.,” she said, turning a critical eye on Ezra.

“Well, I don’t give a rat’s ass about ya dead girlfriend, that’s fah sure. My Ma’s a big fat liar, so I need you to put somethin’ straight for me. You got the Indian’s coin?”

The question, totally unexpected, hit Della sideways. “Who put you up to this?”

 

 

OF LOVE & LORE

By John Mugglebee

 

My novel Neespaugot tracks a colonial coin across the historical landscape of New England in order to trace an ancestral line of ethnically and racially diverse characters. One of the more frequent questions I’m asked is if my characters are based on real people. The simple answer is “yes, no and maybe.”

Countries, communities and families bond over lore, and my family was no different. I grew up hearing tales woven from our ancestry, colorful in a literal sense, stitched from Native American, African American, Scots-Irish, Chinese and Russian Jewish cloth. Very little of it was verifiable, but that meant nothing to a young boy in search of an identity. Mythology is not a statement of facts but a quest for hidden truths. The storytellers’ words were good enough for me, and all the storytellers were women. The men juggled two, sometimes three jobs at once and had little to say about anything, so it was up to the women in my family to dole out love and lore. It seemed only natural that those who carried life into the world should dispense its lessons.

My mom would have answered “yes” to the question of whether or not my characters are based on real people, and she would have backed it up with a small tintype portrait of a young Ching Archung standing on the Salem pier circa 1867, and by a picture of Bridget Griffin, Ching’s Irish wife. Mom left the tall tales of Native tribes and implausible births to Great-aunt Alice and Aunt Helen.

Aunt Helen, my mom’s older sister, lived four miles north of Boston, in Everett, a working class city of 40,000 predominantly African-American, Hispanic and Asian residents. Aunt Helen and my mom looked nothing alike. Mom was dark-skinned and sloe-eyed; Aunt Helen passed for white (their two brothers looked Chinese). The two sisters married outside their supposed racial demographic, Mom settling down in all-white Beverly, Massachusetts, with a second generation Russian Jew, and Aunt Helen wedding a black sheriff from Everett. Aunt Helen was a kind woman subject to bouts of hysteria. Once, I heard her screaming at a house plant. On another occasion, she assaulted a living room wall with a broom handle. But of the hundreds of boyhood visits I made to Everett, that was the extent of my first-hand experience with my aunt’s psychological withering. Aunt Helen told me the story of Lydia Freeman, an African-Native American woman who would form the basis for the eponymous character in Neespaugot. According to Aunt Helen, a middle-aged Black-Indian spinster went to work in the mid-1800s for a bachelor doctor of Scottish descent, either as his maid, gardener or midwife – Aunt Helen couldn’t make up her mind which one. Miss Freeman soon became pregnant in her 50s, and she and the doctor were married a decade before the Civil War.

Even to a kid, the yarn sounded hokey. I was prepared to accept some embellishments if they coated kernels of self-worth, but Aunt Helen’s claim was really out there. So, I took the matter to the two other dispensers of family lore, my mom and the family doyenne, Great-aunt Alice, whom we all lovingly called Aunty. Mom refused to demean her kooky sister in the eyes of a seven-year-old, instead choosing prevarication, neither confirming nor denying any aspect of the tale. “Ask your Aunty the next time you see her.”

Great-aunt Alice, an elderly woman of bark-brown skin and golden generosity, lived alone in Salem, in a small one-bedroom walkup near Salem Willows Park, a seaside grassland where the amusement rides were. We kids would fight over who got to sleep over at Aunty’s and get spoiled rotten the next day at the park. Aunty would walk us down Essex Street to the Common, passing by the witch houses and the House of Seven Gables and gazing across the bay to Marblehead where the woebegone Naumkeag tribe lived until small pox wiped them out in 1617. On one such walk, I asked Aunty what she thought of Aunt Helen’s tale of the doctor and midwife. She said she didn’t know how plausible the doctor bit was. “On the other hand,” she said, “my grandmother most definitely did conceive my father when she was 50.”

Years later, between the passing of my three storytellers and the writing of Neespaugot, I got ahold of a copy of our family’s genealogical tree. It dated back to 1794, beginning with Freeman, Lydia, who was married to George Sylvester Osborne with whom she had one child in 1846. The record validated Aunty and Aunt Helen’s assertion that Lydia Freeman gave birth to her one and only child at age 50, at a time when child mortality ran at 50%. As for the rest, the record remained mum. Was Osborne a doctor? Was Lydia Freeman an African-Native-American? Freeman sounded suspiciously like free man, a common and administratively lazy last name given to ex slaves, but it’s all conjecture.

As I perused the pre-20th-century fruit of my tree, I realized that most of the names were completely foreign to me. I had the impression that I was walking through a cemetery, staring at tombstones chiseled with appellations that used to apply to somebody who breathed and expired and sank into oblivion. I refused to accept that. Sometimes, it’s all you have to go on, a name, and it’s up to a storyteller to make something of nothing. Love and lore demand it.

Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian's Coin

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0974260797
  • Publisher: Brandt Street Press (May 20, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 20, 2017

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My review: 

Reading an epic family storyline like Neespaugot brings so many emotions into play.  I loved so many of the family members. I loved Lydia and her Scottish Husband. I loved at least one person from each generation, many times more.  I cried for the pain inflicted on innocent people and I laughed just as often.

Powerful and fascinating men and women that carry out the vision of their ancestors are only the beginning.

Families with their strengths and weaknesses displayed actually allow for more intense feelings. Not everyone is all good or all bad and this book teaches that point through the relating of brother against brothers and sister against sister.

There are petty grievances and insurmountable odds in these families and it paints the history of the country and the world in the telling of the family dynamics.

Part history and part mystery there is something so compelling about these generations of people that kept me utterly entranced.

Without a doubt, this book is a testament to strong family histories, the good, bad, and the ugly.

You can find a copy here. It is certainly a great read. Amazon

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Heart of a Lion by Stephen Zimmer: Book review and Blog Tour

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Recently we met Stephen and shared his views on his heroine Rayden Valkyrie. This girl has a huge reputation as a warrior with the heart of a lion and the moral compass that keeps her busy getting rid of the wicked and corrupt. Let’s learn more about her and I will share my thoughts on the book Heart of a Lion.

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  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Seventh Star Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2015)
  • Publication Date: February 2, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00T44R6LE

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My Review:

Heart of a Lion is a powerful fantasy story that has a lot of heart of its own. The characters are really well written with strength and courage that is totally befitting the name.  Rayden Valkyrie is such a lovely and intelligent woman with a code of honor. She is led to a life of wiping out corruption and she does a great job with her calling.

I found the story to be really well told. The characters are bursting with life.  You see her from an Avengers point of view and it is powerful to read.  The way that Stephen brings her to life, is a beautiful process.  I can see why this is being turned into a tv series.

The book follows Rayden as she sets out to take care of the wrongs in her land. Thoughtfully written and Stephen makes you fall in love with her sense of right and her character. She has strength but she is not one of those mindless hulks that are all brawn and no spirit. She is a very well rounded heroine.

You will enjoy this book if you like to find the heart of the character as well as the action and adventure in a well-crafted land.

Where to find Heart of a Lion: This Fantasy and adventure novel is available at Amazon.

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About the author:  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Author Links:

Twitter:  @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

Giving Your Character to the World Guest Post by Stephen Zimmer for the Rayden Valkyrie blog Tour

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Rayden Valkyrie, as a character, rose up during a time of trial in my own life. She served as an inspiration to me, even as her story and the world around her began to take form in my mind. I have mentioned many times how I would love to see her become a source of inspiration and encouragement for others going through hard challenges.

A sense of honor, self-empowerment, self-determination, and confronting the evils in the world without having that darkness consume your own heart in the process are just some of the characteristics intrinsic to Rayden. She is a very positive figure of strength on all levels; in mind, body, and spirit.

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Bringing her into the world, through the stories on page and on screen is a wonderful process, but it is a process that sets her free to the audience. The manifestations resulting from that process are very individual in nature.

I have been very honored to receive a number of messages from readers who have also found a very special connection to Rayden. They have shared their own stories of trial and how Rayden resonated with them. These are the kinds of messages I find most rewarding of all, in terms of hearing the positive influence and impact Rayden has had in their lives. Rayden has become something special to each of them, in an individual way.

Rayden’s first fan art has begun to show up in public, created by some extremely talented individuals. It is really exciting to see the visual interpretations of Rayden by these artists. They have their own take on Rayden, and their view of her might have some noticeable differences from the Rayden that I have in my mind and heart.

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Then, there is the TV Pilot that is now in post-production, starring Brock O’Hurn and Sol Geirsdottir. Sol portrays Rayden for the first time on screen. For a great many, the TV Pilot will be their first encounter with the Rayden Valkyrie character. The TV show will shape their perception of the character and what Rayden is about. The collaborative process of visual storytelling in movies and TV shows also introduces some elements that have some differences with the way that I see Rayden. From books, to art, to the TV Pilot, Rayden is going from books, to art, to the TV Pilot, Rayden is going farther into our world.

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Readers, artists, and TV audiences alike are going to have their own view of Rayden and what she represents. The character, in a way of describing it, has been given to the world, and Rayden will be walking on her own in hearts and minds everywhere.

I have lots of Rayden Valkyrie stories that I would like to tell in the future. I want to tell them on the page, on screen, and even in other mediums such as gaming. Yet at the same time, I see that she is taking on a life of her own and being adopted by audiences of all kinds, and those individuals will have their own bond with Rayden in a manner that is unique to each of them.

That is a sobering thought, as it brings in all manner of expectations and hopes from the audience out there while I engage in revealing more and more of Rayden’s story over time. Will Rayden’s full story meet all those expectations and hopes? For some, yes, and for others no, as those expectations and hopes will be anything but uniform in nature. Everyone is different. But overall, it is my hope that no matter what audiences might expect in the future, they will always see that Rayden is true to herself and ultimately lives up to the principles that guide her.

Giving your favorite character to the world is not as easy as it seems on the surface, but it is the only path to take. A character is meant for an audience, and they must be set free through the creative arts to grow and thrive in the hearts and minds of individuals everywhere.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Teaser Trailer Link for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot:

About the author:  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

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Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Author Links:

Twitter:  @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

Blog Tour for Sunset Rivalry by Shannyn Leah

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Title: Sunset Rivalry
Author: Shannyn Leah
Series: By The Lake – The Caliendo Resort Book #2
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance

Release Date: April 19th, 2016

Sunset Rivalry
Synopsis

Anya Caliendo left her family and their resort two years ago. She was ashamed and afraid that her family would blame her for some of their father’s ruthless dealings. Now she returns to the resort in secret to find files to clear her name, but she doesn’t plan on running into her one-time lover, Quinn.

Quinn used to work for Anya’s father too and he’s out to do the same as Anya – clear his name. When he runs into Anya, they strike a deal to help one another. Quinn wonders how he can trust a Caliendo to keep her word. Will she turn out to be just like her father?

Amid the secret meetings and late-night file searches, Anya and Quinn also fight a connection that seems to draw them closer and closer. Will they be able to clear their names and rekindle a romance or will their past destroy the future they so desperately seek?

“…just when you think you have figured it all out, there’s another surprise thrown in. I was left guessing until the very end, which contained a twist I never saw coming.” ~ Rochelle’s Reviews

Buy Now:

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AuthorBio
Shannyn Leah

Shannyn Leah lives in London Ontario, Canada. She comes from an entrepreneurial family, who all have a passion for developing new and exciting business ideas. When she’s not writing contemporary romance books, into the early hours of the morning, she’s antiquing with her two favorite people, her momma and her sister.

Shannyn has published five books in her series, By the Lake, including, Lakeshore Secrets, Lakeshore Legend, Lakeshore Love, Lakeshore Candy, and Lakeshore Lyrics. She is excited to be currently working on the Caliendo Resort, a new series for 2015/2016.

Join her mailing list to be notified when new books are released, exclusive excerpts and prizes: http://www.shannynleah.com/contact.php

Visit her webpage for extras: www.shannynleah.com

Please join Shannyn Leah on her facebook page if you enjoy her books here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannyn-Leah/418700801622719

If you wish to get in contact with her, please email her at Shannynleah@gmail.com

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