A Sneak Peek at Rewards

Time has flown while we’ve been busy putting the final touches on our campaign. It’s down to a a few days before we launch our Seababies Adventures campaign on Tuesday, September 6, around 9 a.m. Eastern Time. If you want to grab one of the dedication tiers, you’ll want to be ready to do so quickly, or you may miss your opportunity. Only one is available for each book. Dedicate it to your little mermaid, hermit crab, or jellyfish!

Make sure you follow our campaign, so you’ll be notified the moment it goes live. Simply go to our page and select the “Notify me on launch” button and create a Kickstarter account if you haven’t already done so: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures.

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You also won’t want to miss out on other perks we’re offering throughout the campaign.

Everyone who backs the project within the FIRST WEEK will get the early-bird perk listed at the end of this post. If you support our project AT ANY PLEDGE LEVEL, we’ll add this FREE children’s picture book (digital format) to your pledge. You’ll receive it, along with your other rewards after the campaign ends if we meet our funding goal.

We’ll also be offering other free children’s picture books throughout the campaign, one per week. If you back within the first week, you’ll get them ALL. Nothing more you’ll have to do. Just sit back and wait for your rewards.

In order to get these ebooks, though, you MUST back our project by the end of the day Saturday, September 10, Eastern time. Then, when the campaign ends successfully, these will be yours!

As the campaign progresses, we’ll offer more exciting surprises as well, so be sure to read our daily updates.

Thank you for your support.

FREE CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK (digital) for backing early

Here’s a look at the early-bird perk we’re offering.

BIRD & WORM Final Cover

The Little Bird and the Little Worm

By Russell Nohelty, Illustrator: Orlando Baez

A little bird wakes up to find a little hole in her perfect little nest. She sets out to find the perfect little twig, and ends up finding a little worm which shows her the true meaning of friendship.

https://linktr.ee/russellnohelty.

Can You Help Us?

It’s down to a little more than a week before we launch our Seababies Adventures campaign. Now’s your chance to get a peek at what we’re offering.

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If you are new to our site, we’re launching this book through a Kickstarter campaign. You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter. It’s a crowdfunding platform. But, unlike many others out there, Kickstarter is a platform where people promote CREATIVE PROJECTS to potential backers. It’s a way to test the market to see if the product is something that consumers desire. It’s not a platform where people are seeking personal funding. No charities or general fund raisers. All backers are helping support a PROJECT with an outcome—whether it’s a book, a game, a movie, or some other creative endeavor. And you get all kinds of cool perks along the way if you back the project to help us achieve our goal of producing this children’s book series.

Here’s where we need your help.

We’d love it if you could look over the preview of our campaign that we plan to launch September 6 and provide us with feedback. Look over the content. Does it make sense to you? Is there anything confusing? Is there something else you’d like to see included? All comments and suggestions are welcome. We want this to be something you are excited about as we are.

Here’s the preview link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures?ref=2czqkh&token=133502a3.

And don’t forget to click on the “Notify me on launch” button at the top. The moment the campaign goes live, you’ll receive an email from Kickstarter. You don’t want to miss this because we’ll be offering perks along the way. The earlier you back the project, the more perks you’ll receive.

If you’ve never used Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. Once you click on the “Notify me on launch” button, the site will ask you to log in. Scroll down to where it says: “New to Kickstarter? Sign up.” And follow the instructions from there.

Thank you for your support. As the Kickstarter guru who has taught us about this platform says, “We hope to see you behind the backer wall.”

And we’re also gearing up for another campaign in October for Kickstarter’s Witchstater promotion. For that one, we’ll be continuing our Spirits & Creatrues series with a book about Baba Yaga. You can follow that campaign here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga

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Mysterious Rusalki

In Whimsea Wishes Upon a Star, the little mermaid learns that she is a Rusalka, commonly known as a Slavic mermaid. In 2020, we were asked if we would discuss Rusalki, as this Slavic water spirit was going to be a contestant on the Blurry Photos Annual Miss Cryptid Contest. The following is a shortened version of the transcript for that discussion. You can listen to the full podcast here: http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020-week-3/. The part about Rusalki starts around minute 27.

Make sure you follow our campaign, so you’ll be notified the moment it goes live. Simply go to our page and select the “Notify me on launch” button and create a Kickstarter account if you haven’t already done so: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures

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Mankind’s fascination with the sea has sparked imagination since the first person beheld its mighty waters. Curiosity led people to invent the means to travel across the great oceans and eventually explore beneath them, trying to discover their secrets. Throughout the centuries, millennia in fact, people have created myths and legends about creatures living within the sea’s depths. One of the most alluring and formidable beings to inspire writers, artists, children, and adults is the mermaid, who has been forever immortalized in stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. But there’s more to this sea maiden than that story tells. In Slavic folklore, she’s called a Rusalka and lives mostly in fresh-water bodies or swamps, rather than the sea.

In case you’ve never heard of a Rusalka, she’s a Slavic mermaid. The plural of the word is Rusalki. She is most popular in eastern and southern Europe: Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, in particular.

She’s not your “Ariel” type of mermaid, because she has no tail. In fact, she was once a living, breathing human girl, but she died before she married—often the cause of her death was drowning. I know this sounds odd in today’s world, but the people who believed in them lived in a rural, farming society. Fertility of both the land and people was critical to them for survival. They believed if girls died before they married and had children, then that fertility was lost, and the girls became part of the “unclean dead,” that is, they were cursed. People did have many rituals, though, to entice the Rusalki to return that fertility to them.

Mermaid and Hag with copyright

Not everyone can see Rusalki, but those who can will tell you they look like normal girls, except they are extremely pale, and they have long, green hair. They can also shape-shift into geese, swans, snakes, silver fish, or frogs. Or they can appear as birds, like the Sirens, and entice men with their songs.

They don’t really eat anything, because they are … well, dead, or undead, after all. But some stories said they like wheat bread with salt, cheese, butter, and eggs. What they are more interested in is getting clothes. They were buried in wedding garments, even though they never married. That’s all part of the whole fertility mindset. So, eventually, those clothes wear out and the Rusalki are left wearing rags, or nothing at all. They beg girls to leave them even a small rag to cover themselves with. Rather sad to think about, really.

Rusalki weren’t always thought of as dead girls, though. They were once considered goddesses or nature spirits. Talk about your kick-ass heroines; they weren’t wimpy, sidekick-to-men-only goddesses, but powerful ones, who ruled the land. But then, the Orthodox Church intervened. They didn’t totally wipe the Rusalki out, but the Church authority repressed the role of these goddesses as much as it repressed the role women played in society. And Rusalki lost their goddess status. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Rusalka Cover

You can understand they probably didn’t care to much about this demotion. From goddesses to dead girls, and unclean, cursed dead girls at that. All because some supposedly holy men thought they weren’t worthy of the goddess status. So, they revolted and started their campaign of torturing men… especially any man who jilted them when they were alive, because it was men who decided Rusalki weren’t worthy of exalted status.

Being dead really wasn’t so bad. If they had lived and married, the girls would have lost what the Russians called their “volia,” their freedom. As Rusalki, they could be wild and FREE of male dominance.

They usually didn’t bother women or girls, unless they were jealous of their happy life. And they left children alone, unless they had an overwhelming desire to nurture a child, since they couldn’t have one of their own… they were DEAD after all, but still retained the feelings of the average rural girl. So men were their main targets.

They would either drown them (typical mermaid fashion) or tickle them to death with their breasts… which, I forgot to mention earlier, were huge, even if they had been small during their lifetime. This was just another sign of their unused fertility.

All right, stop laughing. Have you ever been tickled? If so, you know it can be quite painful, especially if prolonged. And a Rusalka most often was accompanied by other Rusalki, so you’re talking about several of these mermaids tickling you…

When you consider that some stories say the Rusalki had iron-tipped breasts, well, just ouch. You wouldn’t want someone to tickle you that way. Okay, laugh if you want to, but I’m glad I’m not male, so I wouldn’t have to endure that torture.

They also loved to dance, and would flatter … or force … a shepherd to play his kaval, a flutelike instrument, for them all night long. He was fortunate if he survived and only had holes in his shoes and blisters on his fingers.

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Geeze, you might ask, is there any hope to escape their attention? How could men protect themselves from these assaults? Well, the Russians would tell you to wear your baptismal cross, especially if you go into the forest or near water. You could also wear ferns in your hair when you go swimming; this prevents them from pulling you under. Magical chants are also useful to keep them away from you. Other methods are to prick the Rusalki with a pin or throw wormwood in their eyes. Be sure you DON’T carry anything that ATTRACTS Rusalki, like parsley, roses, birch, and especially not their favorite plant rosen (which is burning bush). You’re just asking for trouble if you do. They’ll think you WANT to be tickled.

Rusalki also love telling riddles. If you have the correct answer, they’ll leave you alone. But if you get it wrong… well, be prepared to be tickled to death.

As to whether or not they do any of this torture maliciously is up for debate. Some people say they are bent on destroying men. Other people claim they’re innocent maidens who are only trying to find the love they never had while alive…

Are they good? Or are they bad? I guess you’ll only ever truly know when you meet one for yourself.

Don’t Touch That Jellyfish

The summer days are getting shorter, and the greens are turning pale and yellow, the pallet of fall coming to life. But August is one of my favorite months to go to the beach. The water is warm, and the sun is not brutally hot. This is also a prime season for one sea creature that loves warm water, the jellyfish.

Since we started the Seababies series, we’ve learned interesting facts about each creature featured in the series. In one of the books, Cupcake is a cute jellyfish. Someone asked me what type of jellyfish. I couldn’t address this question, so I did a little more research. I learned that jellyfish are found worldwide, and swim close to the surface as well as deep in the sea. They come in various shapes and colors. Large, colorful ones abound along coastlines.

These prehistoric creatures lack organs vital to humans: a heart, lung, and brain. They absorb oxygen through their thin skin, and since they don’t have blood, they don’ need a heart to pump it. Nerves below the outer layer of their skin are sensitive to touch and let them be aware of changes in their environment, so they don’t need a brain to do this.

The teeth a beroid comb jelly uses to devour its prey are made up of tiny hairs that pull the food into the jellyfish’s stomach.

A jellyfish’s stinging cells hurt, and thousands of swimmers are injured by them yearly, so you need to be careful when in the water. There are some species whose poison can cause serious harm or even death.  Don’t dive or put your face into the water if you notice them. Unfortunately, many times you can’t see them, because they may be indistinguishable from the color of the water.

If you do ever get stung by one, stay calm and get out of the water slowly. The movement of the salt water around you helps to remove the tentacles and without them releasing more toxins. Rinse the affected area with sea water if any parts of the tentacle remain when you get back on land. Avoid using fresh water, and don’t rub the area. An old home remedy is to rinse the area with vinegar or baking soda for around 30 seconds. But this is not medical advice. Always check with a medical professional. If you get stung near your eyes or have an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.

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Photo by Aurelien Gauchard licensed CC BY-SA2.0

Interesting Tidbits about Jellyfish

  • The medusa stage of a jellyfish is when it is sexually active. They are fast-growing at this point, but die soon after breeding. With their bell and tentacles hanging off them, jellyfish get the name of “medusa” after the Greek Gorgon, who had writhing snakes for her hair. The goddess Athena cursed Medusa into this form. One look at Medusa and a person turned to stone, even after her head had been cut off.

Medusa

Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • When I’m busy, I wish I could create a second version of myself. A cool thing about jellyfish is that they can do that. If you cut one in half, the pieces will become two new jellies.

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Photo by Aurelien Gauchard licensed CC BY-SA2.0

  • Have you ever dreamed of visiting the moon? A moonfish jellyfish beat you to it, as one was aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1991. It was an experiment to see how microgravity affected the creature. While it was cruising around outer space, the jellyfish multiplied. Upon returning to Earth, the new jellyfish were unable to deal with gravity.
  • Every morning I have to spend an hour dealing with my tangled curls. I wonder if I can discover the jellyfish’s secret. Even though some have long tentacles, they never get tangled up or sting them. That’s because the tentacles are slippery and only sting other creatures and other species of jellyfish.
  • The lion’s mane jellyfish has tentacles that are more than 27 meters long (88 feet). That’s longer than a blue whale! It sounds like a Rupentzel of the sea. If the Seababies home in MerrowLand has a tower, our jellyfish Cupcake could lower her tentacles down the side and reach the ground.
  • Noun collectives are fun to discover. Interesting ones are a gaggle of geese, a murder of crows or a cloud of cats. But groups of jellyfish have even better names: a bloom, a swarm, or a smack. They can congregate in numbers of to 300,000. I especially like the name bloom. It’s hard to imagine a bloom of this many colorful jellyfish moving in the water.
  • Jellyfish are made up of around 85 to 98 percent water. I’ve seen them magically disappear on the sand in hours. Not that they are teleporting to another world, but they disappear as their water evaporates.

As you can see, our Cupcake is a member of a complex family. In our story Cupcake’s Heroic Day, she’s a brave master baker, who will take you and your kids into a magical adventure.

The Seababies Adventures was inspired by childhood challenges. Each story brings awareness to a problem holding the character back. The tales teach children to value friendships and teamwork and that it is okay to be unique. The power to change and succeed lies in their own hands.

We’d love for you to follow our campaign that will be launching in a little over three weeks. Click on the “Notify me on launch” button to get an email from Kickstarter as soon as the project goes live. If you don’t have a Kickstarter account, you’ll have to create one first. Here’s the link to our campaign:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures.

Hermit Crabs: Pets or Not?

What child hasn’t wanted a pet? But taking care of them is a serious matter, and even adults find they can’t always fully commit to the care of, say, a cat or dog. Rebecca and I both had cats and dogs growing up. I also had parrots and guinea pigs, and Rebecca’s family had chickens, turtles, birds, and a white rat. But there were always cats. In Rebecca’s case, lots and lots of cats all at one time.

When I stared the Seababies Adventure series, I researched the sea creatures that would appear in the books. I wanted to share knowledge about them with our young readers. One of the books is about Seamore, a funky little hermit crab. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the ocean or in the stores at the boardwalk gift shop. Tiny little things with painted shells.

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Many people buy them, but when they return home from vacation. They’re unsure how to care for them. I wanted to get a hermit crab a few times. I was going to name him Seamore, after the character in our book. However, after learning facts about the crabs, I changed my mind for good.

On the beach in their natural habitat, they’re happy, splashing like Seamore and playing with other crabs. But when they’re taken from their wild environment, their story becomes sad. Not only does it hurt the environment to take them away, it hurts the creatures themselves.

Even though their name has “hermit” in it, the crabs are quite sociable and live in communities. I read somewhere that they are called hermits because they carry their home with them. This is often a shell another creature has outgrown. Hermit crabs, too, change their home as they grow.

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When taken into captivity, some of them die from loneliness. Also, unlike cats or dogs, hermit crabs are stressed the more you touch them. They’re not pettable pets.

You also have to make sure their environment is suitable for them. They need a special diet and don’t like to be bathed as a lot of people think. Calcium in the sand could kill them.

Maybe you’ve decided you want to buy the crabs so you can release them back into the ocean. Although altruistic, it’s not a good idea to return crabs to the wild. One of the reasons is that the ones you buy in stores may carry bacteria or contagious viruses that would infect crab colonies.

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That’s not to say, the situation can’t work. There’s a happy story about a hermit crab and his owner. They have been best friends for more than 40 years, and now they both live in a retirement home together. You can watch this video about them: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2jPGbZRGKpo.

While I was doing my crabby research, I found an organization that provides information on how to care for crabs. You can adopt one or become a foster parent them if you’re interested. Their link is here: https://lhcos.org/our-history/.

They are a registered non profit. CrabStreetJournal.org is where they share all of their care guides. Crabcon.org is the page for their annual convention.

Here’s another great video about crab facts that can help you to make the right decision: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kvfToWMiyTw.

I hope our book Seamore Sees More brings awareness about this topic. The next time you see this cute little creature with painted shell in a gift shop, it’s best not to buy it. Perhaps this will discourage the trend of crabs being taken from their homes for pets. Or, if you do get one, first educate yourself on how to care for the creature. Reach out to these organizations to help you make a decision or learn how to care for a crab as a pet.

Please follow our Kickstarter campaign to know immediately when it launches.

You’ll learn more about crabs and other sea creatures and get some great books and merchandise to go along with them: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures.

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The Power of Friendship

Overcoming difficulties and differences with the power of friendship

July has been an exciting month.

First, I’ve been accepted as a lifetime member of the Virginia Writers Club. I’m flattered and honored to have received this recognition, and I’d like to say thank you to my friend Rebecca, who is the other half of Ronesa.

The club was founded in 1918, as they say, “to make Richmond an influence in the world of letters and to line it up with other literary centers of the country.” From their website, the club’s mission is “to support and stimulate the art, craft, and business of writing, as well as advocate the literary arts in the broader Virginia community.”

Second, Rebecca and I are continuing our writing journey with our latest book series, Seababies Adventures, which is inspired by the ocean and the power of friendship.

Seababies

The books bring awareness to challenges common during childhood. Everyone has a story about one or more difficulties they’ve overcome as a child. They may not seem overwhelming to us now, but as a child, they may have been traumatic and caused fear of being ridiculed by other children.

Losing your front teeth and not being able to pronounce some words correctly. Having to wear glasses or braces. Moving to a new state (or country) and being “different” from the rest of the kids in your class. If you were lucky, you found friends who supported and encouraged you.

The Seababies Adventures was inspired by these challenges. Each story brings awareness to a childhood problem. The tales teach children to value friendships and teamwork and that it is okay to be unique. I use sea creatures to tell these stories, not only because of my love of the ocean, but also as a way to introduce young readers to ocean life.

In the first book, you’ll meet Whimsea, a charming little mermaid full of energy and love. She comes from a different place, which makes it difficult for her to achieve what comes easily to others. She learns that different can be cool and something she can be proud of. Book two is about Seamore, a little crab with googly eyes, and book three features Cupcake, a jellyfish. Both overcome problems and fears and help support their friends in the process.

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Seamore

To go along with the books, I have created clay figurines and a board game. They will take your children on a magical learning journey.

In our books, we strive to promote diversity and cultural awareness. In the Seababies Adventures, you’ll also learn fun facts about the creatures and their lives in the magical kingdom of MerrowLand.

We’ll be launching this project on Kickstarter. To get notified when we go live and be among the first to get cool perks, follow our Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1290677991. If you want to be kept aware of updates, sign up for our newsletter.

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“Golden Egg” Protection

I would like to share a magical practice called “golden egg.” In Bulgarian folklore and popular belief still today, people protected themselves by using their thoughts to build a wall against evil around themselves and their home. Everyone can do this by putting themselves into an imaginary egg and becoming untouchable. This practice protects against bad forces, energy deprivation, and sometimes weak spells.

How can you accomplish this?

Calm your mind and imagine yourself and your home and family inside a big golden egg with mirrored walls. If you have trouble imagining the egg, say the following:

“I am in an egg. My home is a huge egg. (Name of person you want to protect) is in an egg.”

Repeat the words until you feel the golden, mirror-shelled egg forming around you, until it becomes real. Try this and see if it will help you the next time you fear a bad spirit or evil forces.

This magical practice is useful if you are about to meet with negative people or be immersed in a crowd. It helps if you need to do public speaking. The more creative your imagination, the easier it becomes to build this egg or shell around you.

Magical World Dream Builder – Alexander Petkov

Years ago, when we started writing about Bulgarian and Slavic traditions and folklore, Nelly created all of the illustrations, but we wanted to do more to promote these traditions from Eastern Europe. We found a way by commissioning rising stars and well-known artists and illustrators for our books. 

We are excited to share that we have a new star working on the illustrations for our next book in the Spirits & Creatures series: “Baba Yaga.”

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Alexander Petkov’s work is inspiring and unique. We first saw examples of his talent through illustrations and a cover he’d created for another Bulgarian author: Silviya Rankova, who writes children’s stories.

Fay The Maple Fairy and The Tree Doctor by Silviya Rankova

The Very Stubborn Camel by Silviya Rankova

Not only are these covers exemplary because of their fascination use of shadows and light, but the characters are fabulously expressive.

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From Fay the Maple Fairy by Silviya Rankova

From The Very Stubborn Camel by Silviya Rankova

We wanted to write a review about his inspiring style, but we’ll let this talented artist with Bulgarian roots speak for himself, and let his illustrations take you on a magical journey.

Alexander PetkovAlexander Petkov

I call my work as an artist “the once upon a time syndrome.” It is influenced by the richly told and illustrated tales in books I read as a child and the stories my grandparents shared with me. It is soaked with the visuals of my childhood experiences – the magic of sunlight  bursting through the cool, mysterious shadows of the woods, the never ending up-and-down intriguing line of a mountain silhouette over the horizon… About a 1000 years later, all those experiences still play with my imagination, giving me the joy to find a wink and a giggle even in the darkest grays.

I am a freelance artist-illustrator based in the Chicago, IL area. For the last several years creating mostly digitally. I’ve worked on numerous illustration projects directly with individual writers, Parnas Press, Fantasy Flight Games.

You can see most of my recent works and join me on my visual adventures at:

https://society6.com/alexpart

https://www.artstation.com/alexpart

https://www.instagram.com/alexpdreams/

https://www.facebook.com/alexander.petkov1

Contact: alexpartcomm@gmail.com

All Images are copyright by Alex Petkov.

 

More Kickstarter FUN

Our Kickstarter campaign will be ending at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, May 26. This will be your final opportunity to snag a copy of the deluxe print copy. It won’t be made available in retail stores until late November. And, if you want a digital copy, now’s your chance. We won’t be offering it through any retailer.

Visit our Kickstarter page now so you don’t miss out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=4clmvo

While you’re there, check out these awesome ongoing campaigns. You won’t regret it.

Nohlty - Godsverse

Godsverse Chronicles: The complete portal fantasy series Kickstarter campaign

Are you obsessed with mythology?

Are you gaga for monsters?

Do you love exploring new fictional worlds?

Then you’ll love my twelve book portal fantasy series, The Godsverse Chronicles (covers and reading order listed in the image above).

Portal fantasy is my absolutely FAVORITE genre of fiction, whether it’s The Wizard of Oz, Alice In Wonderland, The Magicians, His Dark Materials, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe The Hazel Wood, Caraval, Ten Thousand Doors of January, Peter Pan, Coraline, or literally any other book about characters traveling to different places, worlds, realities, they are my jam.

If it has portals, then I’m there, and the Godsverse Chronicles has just about every portal story you can imagine.

Across the twelve books of the series, the main characters of the Godsverse travel to Heaven, Hell, Mount Olympus, Valhalla, other dimensions, different planets, time, space, and reality on their adventures across Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, and Judeo-Christian mythology.

Before this campaign, there were seven novels and three graphic novels in The Godsverse Chronicles.

Now we’re BACK on Kickstarter to complete the series with four more books with Kickstarter exclusive covers that will never be printed again!

In total, there are now 11 novels and 1 novella in this series. The entire series in reading order is listed above, and is discussed below.

This campaign features FOUR new portal fantasy novels, including And Magic Followed Behind Her, And Evil Followed Behind Her, And Time Followed Behind Her, and And Heaven Followed Behind Them, and a prequel novella which comes included in every pledge.

Dark Side of New Orleans

This one was so cool that I backed it right away. So much spooky fun!

Eerie Ghosts and Vampires of the New Orleans French Quarter

An exclusive pair of spooky, self-guided tours created by two Big Easy storytellers. In ebook, print, and audio. Enjoyable anywhere!

Do you love ghost stories?

Do vampires intrigue you?

Are you curious about New Orleans and her haunted past?

If so, then our project – The Dark Side of New Orleans – is right up your alley!

One Halloween, my husband, Dan, and I decided to join a nighttime ghost tour through the legendary New Orleans French Quarter. Although we appreciated the theatrical enthusiasm of our tour guide and relished strolling through the historic streets of our neighborhood, listening to assorted tales of tragic hauntings, the experience ultimately let us down.

The unwieldy size of our group made it tough for us to hear the guide and, worse, kept us from immersing ourselves in the haunting ambience of the city’s oldest district.

In search of a more riveting, less restrictive experience, we decided to create an affordable, self-guided excursion of our own, one that would blend our love of scary stories and our fervor for New Orleans with our desire for autonomy.

Eventually, we produced two self-guided audio tours of the French Quarter – In the Footsteps of Ghosts (featuring 15 spooky locales) and Strolling Among Vampires (one nocturnal bloodsucker’s first-person account of 11 riveting sites). Together, they present classic stories as well as never-before-heard tales, with just enough immersive sound effects to enhance the creepy vibe. Our initial listeners loved them, relishing the stories as well as the flexibility of our tours – particularly the fact that they could take them at any time of day, at their convenience, and even pause the tours between meals and other diversions.

We’d created these excursions out of a mutual passion for history, storytelling, the Big Easy, and all the things that bump and bite in the night, but eventually, we realized that we were limiting ourselves – and our tours. We longed to spread the love, so to speak – and send our creations beyond the confines of the French Quarter.

So, that brings me to this Kickstarter campaign – our very first ever.

What’s Special About This Book?

If this is news to you, our campaign is about the book people have been asking for. It provides lots of fascinating information about the herbs that make up a Bulgarian Eniovden (Midsummer’s) wreath.

I, too, was curious what herbs made up the 77½ in the wreath, so I researched old Bulgarian books and articles and finally discovered a list. That is how the idea of “77½ Magical Healing Herbs” was born.

In this unique book, you’ll also learn about well-known healers from Bulgarian history. Baba Vanga is one whom many people these days have heard about. She’s a clairvoyant who’s been called the Nostradamus of Balkans and has predicted many events that have happened in our lifetimes. But she was also an herbal healer. All the healers from the past were not treated kindly or with respect, however. In the tenth century, the Bogomils were burned like the Salem witches. These are only two of the healers mentioned in the book.

I have been blessed to know talented Bulgarian painter Keazim Issinov. With his permission, we have included in the book five of his one-of-a-kind paintings of Bulgarian healers.

Boyan-Maga-marked

The bulk of the book focuses on the Midsummer’s Day herbs—all 77 (and a half) of them. It’s an ultimate guide to tap into knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation.

More than 200 eye-catching images illustrate the book, including a full-page botanical image, to help you recognize the herbs, along with the descriptions. But the book contains much more information.

Water Clover for KS

Water Clover PDF2 with border for KS

Historical facts and traditions will take you back to school days, while medical, culinary, and magical uses will have you heading to the kitchen or garden store. Fun facts, legends, and recipes fill the pages. Or perhaps you’ll just want to forget about everything that’s going on in the world and bury yourself in the book.

The book is for anyone who wants to widen their knowledge about herbs and also learn about Slavic traditions and beliefs. It will satisfy your curiosity and widen the horizons of your mind. It’s the perfect gift that will make a beautiful coffee-table book.

Here’s your chance to learn how to make basic recipes and discover fun facts, lore, and magical beliefs.

But you can only do it if you back this campaign through Kickstarter. The print version won’t be available on any retailer until the end of the year. Backers get advance copies. Head on over to Kickstarter now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

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