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

FREE Sci-fi Books

It’s the final week of our campaign. This is your last opportunity to get FREE ebooks in addition to your pledge. Support us at any pledge level before the campaign ends, and you’ll receive these books along with all the goodies in your pledge level. Everyone who has already backed the project will get these ebooks added to their rewards at no additional cost.

So, head on over to out Kickstarter campaign and select any pledge level before 9 p.m., Thursday, May 26 to get these books: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Week 2 Perks

Cold Between Stars (The Echo 1) by Belinda Crawford

In the dark, empty space between solar systems, something lies in wait.

It’s pretty easy being a ship kid; clean out the cyclers, avoid your sister, don’t get sucked into space. The hardest bit about it is spending a couple of decades in stasis/sleep while your ship travels to the next solar system. Then rinse and repeat all the way back to a home you’ve never seen.

Except I just got kicked out of stasis early, like years early. And I’m alone.

All. Alone.

Except for the fug.

The Echo trilogy is an epic sci-fi series. With aliens, spaceships, big arse mechs and an LGBTQI+ hero having a REALLY bad day, it’s perfect for fans of The Expanse, Murderbot and Alien.

www.belindacrawford.com

Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western by Jonathan Fesmire

Murdered by a wanted outlaw and resurrected by a secret inventor in the basement of a brothel, U.S. Marshal James “Bodacious” Creed must find the killer to protect a city and those he loves.

Lucky Logan by J. R. Frontera

Before he was a rancher and a family man, Logan Delano was a 15-year-old orphan, running in an outlaw gang led by the ruthless Paul Johnson. In the wilds of the Independent Americas, under the merciless eye of Kill ‘Em All Paul, having any kind of conscience just might land you dead.

Unfortunately for Logan, it seems he’s still got part of his…

LUCKY LOGAN is a prequel novella to the gritty, gun-slingin’, gadget-laden 6-book steampunk western series The Legacy of Lucky Logan! If you love the quippy dialogue, stare-downs and shoot-outs of The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly and the action, adventure and artifacts of Indiana Jones, you’re gonna love this series!

“…such cruel, manipulative characters in an unforgiving world beautifully juxtaposed with kindness and generosity. I love it.” — Roger Clark, Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption II

(Look for the audiobooks of the main series, narrated by Roger Clark, available wherever audiobooks are sold!)

PLEASE NOTE: This series contains adult themes, situations, and language. Additionally, the steampunk elements are a semi-slow build, appearing in a “lost civilization is rediscovered” kind of way.

www.jrfrontera.com

Samodivi – Witches of Darkness or Thracian Goddesses?

We’ve mentioned Samodivi throughout the campaign. They are mentioned only in passing in the herbs book, but we thought you’d like to know a little more about them.

Who are the Samodivi? Where did they come from?

Let’s start with their name. Samo (alone) and diva (wild), so “Wild alone” or “Wildalone.” What exactly does that imply? First off, although diva describes them as wild creatures, the word also comes from divine. In fact, it has been said the Samodivi were daughters of the Thracian goddess Bendis. What samo signifies is they shun interaction with people. When humans come across a Samodiva, the nymph may harm them or befriend them, depending on her mood.

Being the daughters of Bendis (often associated with Artemis, the Greek goddess who was a protectress of nature), Samodivi have a special connection with nature and have the power to heal using herbs, and so their role is to protect the forests and its inhabitants. They are a symbol of the coming spring, the awakening of nature. Each year on Blagovets, March 25, they return from their secret winter village in Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) to the human world and go back to their own world in late fall.

These nymphs are renowned for their beauty, power, and magical seductive voices. Described as blonde women with long, curly hair, they are enchanting mythological creatures who have been portrayed for centuries in Bulgarian folklore — in fairy tales, poems, and legends passed from one generation to another. Numerous legends about them are still alive, and people in Bulgaria claim to still see them in forests and near water bodies.

Most often their eyes are bright and light blue (although sometimes green). People with blue eyes have long been attributed with being able to connect to the spiritual world and cast the “evil eye” to harm others. Samodivi wear white robes made out of moon beams along with a green, golden, or rainbow-colored belt. A wreath of wild flowers adorns their heads and it, along with their clothing, is a source of healing and magical power. The Samodivi carefully guard their clothing so men cannot steal them. Sometimes they are careless when they bathe, and a man captures her source of power, forcing the Samodiva to live with the man and have his children, until she finds the stolen garment and escapes.

On occasion, Samodivi choose to associate with humans. They befriend women who have been kind to them and teach these women how to use nature to heal. A Samodiva may also willingly marry a man and have his children. Those offspring become legendary heroes.

Then why are people afraid of Samodivi?

One reason is because Samodivi love to perform the horo circle dance under the moon in forest glades. Better yet they prefer it if the dancing is accompanied by the music of the kaval, or shepherd’s pipe. In many tales, they seduce and kidnap a shepherd to play for them.

Samodivi entice people who disturb their dance to join in with them until dawn breaks. Humans are unable to keep up with the wild, fast pace of the Samodivi, and die from exhaustion. Or according to some tales, the Samodivi take the fallen person’s eyes and heart. People in remote villages still believe that trespassing on a Samodiva’s special places will cause them harm, even blindness.

Samodivi cause havoc in other ways as well. In remote villages, people pay respect to them and are afraid of these creatures who can seduce men with their beautiful songs. In Bulgaria, small villages have been deserted, locals afraid of the powers of the nymphs. Stories circulate about a man who was found dead in the woods, murdered and left naked. The common belief is that this was done by Samodivi. People see flashes of white among the trees and claim they are the Samodivi.

In another story, the mysterious disappearance of men has often been attributed to them being captured by Samodivi. A story tells of a village where five men disappeared. Two were eventually found, but they had no recollection of what happened.

The existence of Samodivi has not been proven and may never be. Sightings of them may simply represent fear and respect of the unknown and of nature. When we don’t understand something, we call it magic, witchcraft, or evil, but in reality, it’s an issue we don’t want to face.

Don’t Miss Out on these FREE Ebooks

The week 2 perks are coming to an end tonight at midnight, Eastern time. And they won’t be offered again. Get them now while you have a chance. Simply pledge at any level and they’ll be yours after the campaign ends successfully.

Head on over to our campaign if you haven’t done so already: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Kickstarter Challenge Results

And… the results are in. Thank you to everyone who participated. I hope you had as much fun as we did during this event.

CHALLENGE WINNERS

For those who missed it, the official winners of the challenges are below.

Kickstarter Challenge 1: Lesly

Kickstarter Challenge 2: Jane

Kickstarter Challenge 3: Lesly (for both parts)

But everyone who participate is a winner! Thank you so much for taking the time to submit your responses and learning more about herbs in the process. It was fun, and I had a blast doing this with all of you. I hope you enjoy your prizes.

CHALLENGE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Challange1

Kickstarter Challenge 1 Answer: Elderflower (Sambucus nigra), Marigold (Calendula officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula vera)

Samodivi Apothecary Cream

500 g of organic olive oil
1 handful of marigold petals, elderflower, and died lavender

Warm up the olive oil in a clean pan over low heat. Add the marigold petals. Leave it on the stove for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for 24 hours. Reheat two more times and then strain out the flowers. When it’s cool, store the ointment in a jar in a dark cool place.

If you don’t like olive oil, substitute coconut oil or shea butter. You can also add beeswax to the recipe, but Diva’s recommendation is to keep it easy and simple.

Challange2

Kickstarter Challenge 2 Answer: Yellow bedstraw or Lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum)

Challange3

Kickstarter Challenge 3 Answer: This was a trick question, because the answer is ALL of the herbs listed can be found in a Znahar’s garden. Each herb from the magical Eniovden wreath is used for medicinal or magical uses throughout the year.

For the second part of the challenge, the five herbs in particular we were thinking of are Fennel (Foenicilum officinale), Thyme (Thymus serpyllum), Nettle (Urtica dioica), Summer savory (Satureja hortensis), and Water clover / Raskovnik (Marsilea quadrifolia).

Our Campaign Is Ending Soon

Our campaign is ending on Thursday, May 26, at 9 p.m. Eastern time. If you’d like to learn more about the herbs in this book, head on over there and pledge at the level of your choice: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Kickstarter Challenge #3 – Magical Herbal Garden

And here’s our final challenge.

Challange3

There are multiple herbs that qualify. The first person to guess 5 of these herbs that might grow in this garden will receive a digital copy of our children’s book about a Znahar, Born From the Ashes.

If you also guess the 5 herbs  we’ve selected for this garden, you’ll also get a digital copy of Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey, our fantasy romance in which a Znahar is one of minor the characters.

To participate, head on over to our Kickstarter campaign and check out the full instructions in the UPDATES section: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

If you want to qualify for the prize, you MUST submit your answer on Kickstarter in the COMMENTS section. Include “KS Challenge 3” in your response.

Kickstarter Challenge #2 – Queen of the Herbs

Do you think you know herbs? Today and tomorrow, we will be holding a challenge to test your knowledge with information from our book. (We apologize for not posting the first challenge. There was a mixup in the posting time.) Prizes are available for the winners and will be announced on Friday, May 20.

Challange2

The first person to name the right plant will receive a digital copy of our book of dragon fairy tales, Dragons Tales of Eastern Europe.

The contest ends at 9 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow (Thursday, May 19) or when we get a correct answer.

The final contest will be posted on Thursday.

To participate, head on over to our Kickstarter campaign and check out the full instructions in the UPDATES section: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

If you want to qualify for the prize, you MUST submit your answer on Kickstarter in the COMMENTS section. Include “KS Challenge 2” in your response. Responses left on our website are invalid.

Why You Should Back on Kickstarter

You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter. So, before we tell you the benefits of backing on Kickstarter rather than buying through a retailer, we’ll tell you what this platform is.

It’s a crowdfunding platform. But, unlike many others out there, Kickstarter is a place 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.

What it’s NOT: It’s not a platform for people looking for money for personal goals. You won’t find charities or general fund raisers on Kickstarter. You won’t be donating to a cause.

Instead, on Kickstarter, backers are helping creators support a PROJECT with an outcome—whether it’s a book, a game, a movie, or some other creative endeavor.

The same as a retailer, right?

No. That’s where the similarities end.

On Kickstarter, you can receive more than a book. Creators BUNDLE rewards. These can be digital or physical, or even services like consulting or training. As you help the creator reach his funding goal, he’ll return the favor and offer you incentives and perks as a thank you.

Even more than that, backing on Kickstarter lets you get to know more about the product than a simple description on a retailer can provide you. The “Story” section digs deeper into what’s on offer. You’ll find samples and behind-the-scenes details. Kickstarter allows creators to share why they are producing this product and what is unique about it.

Kickstarter also lets you get to know the creator better, and he or she gets to know and interact with fans. That’s impossible to do on a retailer.

We hope you’ll join us on this venture. You’ll get all kinds of cool perks if you back the project to help us achieve our goal of producing this informative book.

You can find the on-going campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Herbs Cover Image with Project we Love

Nostradamus of the Balkans

In our book, we talk about various healers throughout Bulgarian history. Who are these healers, and how did they obtain this power?

Both men and women can be healers, although most often the role falls to an elderly woman called a znahar. But, please, don’t call her a witch. To this nation of people who believe in a single, omnipotent God as much as they do in beautiful, enchanting Samodivi, a “witch” is a veshtitsa, a spiteful person who practices the dark arts and wishes to cause death, sickness, discord, and the theft of fertility from the land, rather than healing and well-being. A community fears a veshtitsa, while they respect a znahar.

In rare instances, the znahar receives her healing arts by a supernatural means—from a saint, angel, or Samodiva through a dream, or even in a near-death situation, when the boundaries between this life and the next merge. The znahar in this case not only becomes a healer, but also a clairvoyant. The most famous was Baba Vanga (1911 – 1996). As a child she was reportedly caught up in a tornado and dumped into a field. From that point on, her eyesight failed, but her psychic and herbal healing abilities developed, which she claimed came from invisible creatures.

Baba Vanga2

Samodivi are said to be daughters of the Great Goddess Bendis, and are therefore protectors of nature. In this capacity, they have the power to heal creatures and the land itself. Bulgarians believe the nymphs initiate chosen women into the sisterhood, and pass on to them the secrets of healing with herbs. The ceremony takes place in the woods right before sunrise on a Sunday on a night when the moon is full.

A more common initiation, however, is one passed down from one generation to the next, or from grandmother to granddaughter. The females involved are expected to be “ritually pure,” that is pre-menstrual or post-menopausal. These points in a female’s life bring them closest to the states of birth and death, respectively, allowing them to transition between the earthly and otherworldly realms so they can communicate with spirits.

The initiation can take place in various sacred places—by a river (symbolic of birth) or next to a hearth (representing the home or temple of the gods). In the first, the initiate climbs a willow tree by the river. With its branches in the air, and its roots in the earth, getting nourishment from the water, the tree unifies all three elements. The initiate recites the words to the sacred ritual three times, then moves to another branch and repeats the words three more times. Once more, the initiate moves and repeats the words three more times, ensuring the power will “take root” in the individual.

When performed at the hearth, the elder woman places bread in a covered clay dish called a podnitza and sticks it into the fire. Using iron tools, which have purifying power to chase away evil, she buries the dish with ashes, then places the tools on both sides of the hearth. Facing the fire, the initiate kneels on a broom, which symbolizes purification, the sweeping away of all unclean things.

The elder woman places three grains of wheat on the initiate’s right knee and three on the left, then tosses three grains into the fire. In ancient rituals, wheat consecrated the sacrifice offered to the gods. Placing it on the initiate, therefore, purifies her so she can become a vessel divine power can flow through.

Next, the elderly woman stands behind the initiate and recites the incantation, which the initiate repeats. They repeat the words three times. The elderly woman removes a metal or clay ceremonial object from a wicker basket placed to the right of the initiate. The initiate makes the sign of the cross three times, then touches the object to her forehead, then to her heart, and finally to her knees. She makes the sign of the cross again, and places the sacred object on her left side.

The elderly woman stirs a bunch of basil in a bowl of water and recites a blessing. After the blessing, the elderly woman sprinkles the initiate with the water using the basil to endow her with divine power. The initiate drinks the water from three places. This provides her with guidance for her mouth, hands, and heart: to speak, do, and feel those things that bring health and life to others.

A mediator is needed to transfer the healing power to the initiate. This is done with the bread, called dobra dusha, kind soul. The elderly woman breaks three pieces from it. She eats one, the initiate another, and the third the elderly woman places on the inside of the chimney. The two women now share the power. The initiate will gain her full power only after her mentor dies.

In the final rite of the ceremony, the elderly woman ties a red thread to the initiate’s right hand and pins a geranium onto her clothing. These both are symbolic of protection.

If you’d like to learn more about these healers, you can get a copy of our book through our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Don’t Miss Out on FREE Ebooks

The week 1 perks are coming to an end tonight (Saturday, May 14) at midnight, Eastern time. And they won’t be offered again. Get them now while you have a chance. Simply pledge at any level and they’ll be yours after the campaign ends successfully.

Week 1 Perks

The Midsummer’s Day Wreath

Earlier this week, we talked a little about the herbs. Today, we’ll tell you another special use of these magical herbs.

“Is this a portal to another world? Is this a circle to protect against black magic and evil spirits?”

These were questions in my mind when I looked at the colorful floral wreath on Midsummer’s Day many years ago. It was giant. I mean really giant… Woman, maidens, and girls were passing through the wreath. It felt like they are going to a different dimension.

It was magical experience, one which I always wanted to learn more about.

The wreath is made every year on Midsummer’s Day. It’s considered sacred and is woven from 77½ herbs. Not any herbs, but ones that are magical and healing. According to folk belief, the herbs in the wreath can cure illnesses, break spells, and drive away dragons (zmeys) and other malicious entities.

It’s well-known in Slavic folklore that dragons love to capture girls for brides, so the unmarried females need this extra protection as they approach adulthood.

Besides walking through the giant wreath, girls also crown their heads with a wreath made from herbs that repel zmeys and keep the beasts from loving the girls.

Sounds scary, right? Who wants to be abducted by a dragon and taken to a dark cave?

Don’t forget to follow our campaign on Kickstarter if you haven’t already done so: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

And here’s another ritual where herbs are prominent.

Rain

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