Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mr. Chuckles runs into Bodicia, a top notch and prolific reviewer, while stirring the Wizard's Cauldron

The Wizard Speaks:

Bodicia runs the extremely popular A Woman's Wisdom website, where, like your second favourite Wizard, she interviews authors and people connected with Independent Publishing.

Bodicia is a top notch and prolific reviewer. Don't take my word for it - have a look at her fast developing website.

One thing is for sure - she's funny, witty, surreal and a pleasure to get to know. Full of integrity too - I asked for my book Carla to appear on her legendary Indie Hall Of Fame, as loads of my mates are on there, and she said she would only put it on if she liked the book. Surreptitious offers of blocks and blocks of her beloved choc choc wouldn't change her mind. I love integrity like that! I caught up with Bodicia on the Wizphone as she studied in her sanctum scriptorum somewhere nameless in freezing November UK. 
Here's what she had to say.

Follow on Bloglovin

History Trivia - Cnut, king of Denmark, claims the throne of all England

November 30,

1016 Cnut, king of Denmark, claimed the throne of all England after Edmund 'Ironside', king of England, died.

1406 Gregory XII became Pope. Gregory was the last of the Roman line of popes during the Western Schism.

 1630 16,000 inhabitants of Venice died this month of plague.

1700 at the Battle of Narva, a Swedish army of 8,500 men under Charles XII defeated a much larger Russian army.

1718 Swedish king Charles XII died during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pearl Harbor Day 73rd Anniversary To Be Broadcast Live Via Webcast, December 7, 2014 - online registration required


On Sunday, December 7, 2014 the National Park Service and the U.S. Navy will host a joint memorial ceremony commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ceremony will take place on the main lawn of the Pearl Harbor Visitor ...
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, Nov. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy will host a joint memorial ceremony commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 2014 on the main lawn of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, looking directly out to the USS Arizona Memorial, at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
The ceremony will be attended by more than 2,500 guests, including Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII veterans, and will be broadcast live via webcast so that those who cannot travel to Hawaii can still participate and honor the sacrifices made by the "Greatest Generation." The webcast will include a special behind the scenes look at the ceremony and will feature live interviews with Pearl Harbor Survivors.
Online registration to view the event is required. All those interested in watching are encouraged to visit the following link to sign-up:
This year's Dec. 7 ceremony will be co-hosted by Paul DePrey, Superintendent, National Park Service, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Rear Admiral Richard Williams, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. The keynote speaker will be Gen. Lori J. Robinson, Commander, Pacific Air Forces.
Highlights of the ceremony will include music by the Navy's U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, morning colors, a Hawaiian blessing, a cannon salute by members of the U.S. Army, wreath presentations, echo taps, and recognition of the men and women who survived the attack and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country on December 7, 1941. A moment of silence will be observed at 7:55 a.m., the exact moment the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began. A U.S. Navy ship will render honors to the USS Arizona, and a flyover will be conducted above Pearl Harbor.
To read more about the USS Arizona Memorial and the 73rd anniversary commemorative ceremony, visit the Pacific Historic Parks website at

SOURCE National Park Service

PR News Wire

Follow on Bloglovin

History Trivia - Edmund crowned king of England

November 29

 526 - Antioch in modern day Syria was struck by an Earthquake, about 250,000 died.

799 Pope Leo III, aided by Charles the Great, returned to Rome.

939 Edmund was crowned as king of England after the death of his half-brother Aethelstan.

1268 Clement IV died. Upon the death of Clement, no new pope was elected for almost three years. Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, November 28, 2014

Researchers unearth new clues about ancient ‘computer’

Researchers have unearthed new clues to an ancient Greek astronomical puzzle that has fascinated archaeologists for over a century.
The Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient machine dubbed “the world’s first computer,” was recovered from a treasure-laden shipwreck off the coast of Greece in 1901. However, the latest research by James Evans, professor of physics at the University of Puget Sound, and Christián Carman, history of science professor at the University of Quilmes, Argentina, sheds new light on the clocklike astronomical mechanism.
According a statement released by the University of Puget Sound, the research “fills a gap in ancient scientific history by indicating that the Greeks were able to predict eclipses and engineer a highly complex machine” much earlier than was previously thought.
Evans and Carman’s work also supports the idea that the eclipse prediction scheme was not based on Greek trigonometry (which was nonexistent in 205 B.C.) but on Babylonian arithmetical methods, the University said.
The researchers arrived at the 205 B.C. date via a method of elimination they devised. Evans and Carman examined the hundreds of ways that the device’s eclipse patterns could match Babylonian records reconstructed by John Steele, professor of Egyptology and Assyriology at Brown University.
“The calculations take into account lunar and solar anomalies (which result in faster or slower velocity), missing solar eclipses, lunar and solar eclipse­s cycles, and other astronomical phenomena,” explained the University of Puget Sound, in its statement. “The work was particularly difficult because only about a third of the Antikythera’s eclipse predictor is preserved.”
The latest research may also place the Antikythera Mechanism close to the lifetime of Archimedes, who died in 212 B.C., although experts have questioned possible links to the celebrated mathematician.
The Mechanism’s heavily encrusted fragments are kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Fox News

Follow on Bloglovin

Black Friday Special - Everville: The Rise of Mallory FREE Kindle Edition

Black Friday Special - Everville: The Rise of Mallory FREE Kindle Edition - 5 days only

As the epic journey continues, a victorious Owen Sage stands undefeated against his enemies. His last battle in Everville gave rise to a new insidious evil, Mallory; whose determination to defeat him opens an unexplored Pandora’s box. Owen's search for truth will unveil the mystery and surprising insights surrounding himself and his friends at Easton Falls University. New creatures will be uncovered and the true value of friendship will be tested, as Owen embarks on yet another battle in Everville.
Amazon Review

5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise of Mallory     
This review is from: Everville: The Rise of Mallory (Kindle Edition)
This is certainly the best book in the series so far. It is action-packed, we get to know a little more about the other realms and new race, the Alarians, which I really enjoyed, they are very unique. The final battle was very thrilling!
The character development in this book is also nicely done, Owen Sage and his friends feel like real persons with their own personalities and problems.
Once again the ending came too soon, so I can't wait to find out what's next for Owen, Zee, Anika and others!
Follow on Bloglovin

Diane Turner - London Rocks 28-11-2014

Follow on Bloglovin

History Trivia - Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land

November 28

1095 On the last day of the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land.

1291 Edward I's wife, Eleanor of Castile, died.

1503 Julius II was officially crowned pope. Born Giuliano Della Rovere, Julius was the nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, who built the Sistine Chapel. Although his relationship to Sixtus helped his early career, he was forced to flee Italy to avoid assassination attempts ordered by Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI), and stayed in exile for ten years before Borgia's death made it possible for him to return.
Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. 
I am grateful for your support and interest in my work. 
God bless.
Mary Ann Bernal  

Follow on Bloglovin

History Trivia - Commodus becomes Supreme Commander of the Roman legions

November 27

176 Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted his son Commodus the rank of Imperator and made him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions. 

511 Clovis, King of the Franks (Merovingian Dynasty) died.

1095 Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade to reclaim sacred Christian sites from Islamic hands at the Council of Clermont. 

1295 the first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend what later became known as "The Model Parliament".

1582 William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway.

1703 The first Eddystone Lighthouse (south west of Rame Head, UK) was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703.
Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Buried Polish 'Vampires' Likely Had Cholera

A 30-39 year old "vampire" female, buried with a sickle placed across the neck.

by Rossella Lorenzi
News Discovery

“Vampires” buried in northwestern Poland with large stones wedged into their mouths or sickles over their necks were local people probably affected by cholera, says the first biogeochemical study of human skeletal remains from deviant burials.

The study investigated 285 human skeletons which were excavated between 2008-2012 from a post medieval cemetery in Drawsko, a rural settlement site in northwestern Poland. Dating to the 17th and 18th centuries, the remains represented individuals of all ages and both sexes.     
Among the interments, six were identified as so-called vampire burials. They included an adult male, a late adolescent female, three adult females, and a younger person of unknown sex.

“Of these six individuals, five were interred with a sickle placed across the throat or abdomen, intended to remove the head or open the gut should they attempt to rise from the grave,” Lesley Gregoricka from University of South Alabama and colleagues, wrote in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

The remaining two people were found with large stones positioned beneath their chins -- evidence, the researchers say, that it was feared the individuals would rise from their graves to bite others.
Gregoricka and colleagues first hypothesized the people buried as vampires were targeted because of their outsider status as immigrants.

Indeed, abundant written evidence for the post-medieval period describes many waves of immigrants entering into Poland during that time.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers tested permanent molars from 60 individuals, including the six "vampires,” using radiogenic strontium isotope ratios from archaeological dental enamel. Local animals, including hare, mice and fox, were also sampled.

“While historic records describe the many potential reasons why some people were considered at increased risk of becoming a vampire, no previous study had attempted to examine the identity of these individuals using chemical analyses of the human skeleton,” Gregoricka told Discovery News.

Strontium isotopes incorporated into teeth during growth and development can tell about the place someone grew up, whether the individual moved later and whether the person was buried somewhere different from where they spent their childhood.

"Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that all of the vampires were local," Gregoricka said.
"We actually found others in the cemetery that were non-local to the region, but were not buried as vampires," she added.

According to the researchers, there should be another reason for the deviant burials, since the targeted individuals were not suspected of becoming vampires due to their identity as non-locals.
Gregoricka and colleagues propose cholera epidemics as an alternative explanation.

Multiple waves of cholera epidemics struck Europe during the post-medieval period, but people were unaware that cholera was a bacteria spread through contaminated drinking water.

“There was no scientific understanding of how infectious disease was spread. Instead, because they couldn’t explain it, they attributed cholera to the supernatural -- specifically, to vampires,” Gregoricka said.

In this view, the first person to die in an epidemic was thought to seek revenge on the living by returning from the grave to inflict the illness upon others, causing the disease to spread.
“As such, if these six individuals were the first to die in a series of cholera outbreaks that affected Drawsko during the post-medieval period, they may have been buried in this way as a means of preventing them from returning as vampires and attacking the living,” Gregoricka said.

“Disease is often discussed as a possible cause for deviant burials in Europe," said biological anthropologist Kristina Killgrove. "In the case of these post-medieval Polish burials, cholera certainly could be an explanation."

“Unfortunately, cholera leaves no marks on bone, so it's not possible to tell by looking at the skeletons whether or not they suffered from the disease,” she added.

Follow on Bloglovin

History Trivia - Danish Vikings attack Paris

November 26

579 Pelagius II became Pope.  When assistance from Emperor Tiberius II of Byzantium was not forthcoming, Pelagius convinced the Christian Franks to defend Rome from encroaching Lombards. He attempted to end a schism in the Church over the Three Chapters Controversy and began a controversy of his own when St. John IV the Faster, Bishop of Constantinople, assumed the title of "ecumenical patriarch" (a position that made him the equal of Pelagius, if not his superior). Pelagius was also responsible for building projects in Rome and turned his home into a hospital that was of great assistance when the city was struck by a disastrous flood. He himself died of the plague. 7

885 Danish Vikings attacked Paris and were paid by the Frankish emperor Charles the Fat not to destroy the city as they had in 845 and 856.

1703 Hurricane-force winds killed as many as 8,000 people as the Great Storm swept southern England. Bristol incurred heavy damage and the Royal Navy lost 15 warships.

Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mysterious Roman God Baffles Experts

by Tia Ghose
Live Science

unknown god
An unknown Roman god was recently unearthed at a sanctuary in southeast Turkey. The god, who is emerging from a plant, is depicted with both Near Eastern and Roman elements, and may have been a baal, or subdeity, of the temple's major god, Jupiter Dolichenus
Credit: Peter Jülich
A sculpture of a mysterious, never-before-seen Roman deity has been unearthed in an ancient temple in Turkey.
The 1st century B.C. relief, of an enigmatic bearded god rising up out of a flower or plant, was discovered at the site of a Roman temple near the Syrian border. The ancient relief was discovered in a supporting wall of a medieval Christian monastery.
"It's clearly a god, but at the moment it's difficult to say who exactly it is," said Michael Blömer, an archaeologist at the University of Muenster in Germany, who is excavating the site. "There are some elements reminiscent of ancient Near Eastern gods, as well, so it might be some very old god from before the Romans." [See Images of the Mysterious Roman God]
The ancient Roman god is a complete mystery; more than a dozen experts contacted by Live Science had no idea who the deity was.
Cultural crossroads
The temple sits on a mountaintop near the modern town of Gaziantep, above the ancient city of Doliche, or Dülük. The area is one of the oldest continuously settled regions on Earth, and for millennia, it was at the crossroads of several different cultures, from the Persians to the Hittites to the Arameans. During the Bronze Age, the city was on the road between Mesopotamia and the ancient Mediterranean.
In 2001, when Blömer's team first began excavating at the site, almost nothing was visible from the surface. Through years of painstaking excavation, the team eventually discovered the ruins of an ancient Bronze Age structure as well as a Roman Era temple dedicated to Jupiter Dolichenus, a Romanized version of the ancient Aramean sky or storm god, who headed the Near Eastern pantheon, Blömer said.
During the second and third centuries A.D., the cult of Jupiter Dolichenus became a global religion likely because many Roman soldiers were recruited from the area where he was worshipped, and those soldiers took their god with them, said Gregory Woolf, a classicist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, who was not involved in the excavation.
After the temple was destroyed, medieval Christians built the Mar Solomon monastery on the foundation of the site, and after the Crusades, the site became the burial place of a famous Islamic saint.
Blömer's team was excavating one of the old buttress walls of the Mar Solomon monastery when they discovered the relief, which had been plastered over.
The relief depicted a bearded man rising up out of a palm-type plant while holding the stalk of another. The bottom of the relief contains images of a crescent, a rosette and a star. The top of the relief was broken off but when it was complete it would have stood about the size of a human being.
"It was quite a big surprise when we saw the relief coming out of in this area of the site," Blömer told Live Science.
Unknown deity
The mysterious deity may have been a Roman spin on a local Near Eastern god, and the agricultural elements suggest a connection to fertility. But beyond that, the deity's identity has stumped experts.
The relief shows some elements associated with Mesopotamia. For instance, the rosette at the bottom may be associated with Ishtar, while the crescent moon at the base is a symbol of the moon god Sîn, Nicole Brisch, a Near Eastern studies expert at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, wrote in an email. (Brisch was not involved in the current excavation.)
"The bottom bits are from the Near East and the top bits are classical," Woolf told Live Science. "He looks to me like he was somebody from a native, very local pantheon." [Images: Ancient Carving of Roman God]
The fact that he is rising out of a plant is reminiscent of the birth myths of some gods, such as the mystery cult god Mithras, who was born from a rock, or the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who was born out of sea foam, Woolf speculated.
Mashup god
Though the gods' identity is a mystery, the hybridization of gods isn't unusual for the time, Woolf said.
"When the dominant style in the area is Greek and Roman, they give their gods a face-lift," Woolf told Live Science.
For instance, the ancient Egyptian gods end up wearing the clothes of Roman legionaries, and ancient Mesopotamian gods, which were typically depicted as "betels" — stones or meteorites — get human faces, Woolf said.
The best chances of identifying this enigmatic deity is to find a similar representation somewhere with an inscription describing who he was, Woolf said. But getting the word out could also help. Sometimes findings get widely disseminated and "someone turns up a little object that they've had in their private collection and say, 'Do you know, I think this is the same person,'" Woolf said.
Follow on Bloglovin

Stone Age Axe Found Deliberately Stuck Into Earth

by Rossella Lorenzi

Discovery News

Archaeologists in southern Denmark have unearthed a 5,500-year-old axe with the handle still attached. The axe was deliberately jammed into what used to be the seabed during the Stone Age.
The finding was made during an archaeological survey for the construction of the Femern Belt link, an immersed tunnel that will connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland. Earlier this month, the same dig yielded 5,000-year-old footprints.
5,000-Year-Old Footprints Found in Denmark
“Axes are among the typical finds from the Stone Age, but in hafted form (attached to a handle), they are extremely rare,” Anne-Lotte Sjørup Mathiesen of the Museum Lolland-Falster, said in a statement.
The axe was found stuck 12 inches down into the seabed, along with other artifacts which include a paddle, two bows and some 14 axe shafts.
As a result of the particular conditions of the silted seabed, all items were extremely well preserved.
World’s Oldest Ax Discovered
Intriguingly, the artifacts were purposely placed standing up vertically into the earth, suggesting they were part of a ritual deposit.
“The items clearly show that the population used the coast as an offering area,” Sjørup Mathiesen said.
Excavation at the site is ongoing. Archaeologists from Museum Lolland-Falster expect to find more artifacts and new clues about what kinds of Stone Age rituals took place in the area.
Image: The shafted axe was found standing up vertically into the earth. Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster.

Follow on Bloglovin

Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles by Brenda Perlin: Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories Book Review.

Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles by Brenda Perlin: Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories (Vo...: Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories   (Volume Two) by Mary Ann Bernal 

Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories (Volume Two) by Mary Ann Bernal is available on

Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories (Volume Two) by Mary Ann Bernal 

Scribbler Tales is a unique mix of genres in one anthology rich with tension, humanity and genuine emotion. Unconventional settings and unexpected twists are bound to leave you pondering long after you close this book.” 

 Madeline’s personal feelings clouds her judgment in Broken Promises where she must choose between love and obeying the law. When the guilty walk, a vigilante executes the criminals in Deception. Endgame finds a government researcher running for her life after discovering a horrific CIA secret in the isolated facility. A modern day Don Juan’s life is turned upside down in Malice when he is falsely accused of rape. In The Portrait, Holliday is obsessed with a formidable ancestor whose spirit wishes to possess her soul. 

         Maurice de Vlaminck (French, 1876-1958)  Portrait of a Woman 1905

My Review
Mary Ann Bernal’s second volume of Scribbler Tales is filled with stories of human nature at its finest and certainly at its worse. These pieces are sure to intrigue and inspire. The writing is flawless and the characters were all unique and yet life-like.  The author has a way with words and setting a scene that makes you feel that you are among the characters. Her stories bring you to another place and are always a good escape into the unknown.
Broken Promises is a story about Madeline who has romantic feelings for her boss Nathan. This is a great story of deceit. The turns had me emotionally involved. I was swept away into the drama.
In Deception what happens when a movie star is murdered will surprise you. Waiting for this killer to make a mistake. It’s just a matter of time. This is a mystery that I was hoping would be solved.

Endgame is a wildly entertaining story where nothing is as it seems. Grabbed my attention and held on until the end. This is a pretty incredible story.

The last story, The Portrait is a powerful read. Evil lurks! What will a woman do to preserve her dynasty? Great fun.
Quote from Endgame ~
In Malice Andrew seems to have a lot to offer. No problem getting the attention from the opposite sex. He loved the chase but grew tired of his conquest. Somehow to his misfortune.

"Sandy was running on pure adrenalin, her breathing was shallow and rapid as she edged closer to the road.  She was almost there, she could see the pavement and lights - car lights.  The car screeched to a halt as Sandy ran into the road, but the driver was not quick enough on the brakes, and she fell unconscious to the ground."
Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories (Volume One)

Scribbler Tales is a unique mix of genres in one anthology rich with tension, humanity and genuine emotion. Unconventional settings and unexpected twists are bound to leave you pondering long after you close this book.” 

In “Desperate Measures,” you will learn of human cloning experiments gone awry. “Forbidden Lore” beckons Arianna and Ethan into a haunted cemetery where you

will discover how they survive the night. Star-crossed lovers who refuse to accept the inevitable rise to a surprise ending in “Forever Lost.” In “The Hourglass,” the weakness of human character is exposed when Flair makes a covenant with the Devil. “Sail with Me” is a slice of life read about the confessions of a military brat who changes his life against all the odds. 

My Review

Scribbler Tales: A Collection of Short Stories by Mary Ann Bernal, all dark, are written in such a way that you have to read more. The author crafts stories that pull her readers in. Wanting more but getting just enough. There is great skill that goes into her stories but she seems to write with ease. The words flow effortlessly. This is a smart collection that kept me guessing. Slices of life that no matter how far fetched feel authentic.

Desperate Measures is sharp. Hauntingly realistic. This is an interesting story about cloning. Quite chilling and entertainingly good.

Forbidden Lore is the story of Ethan and Arianna a married couple who met on 9 11. This is an intriguing story that kept me guessing and glued to the page. Nothing is as it seems and I was brought into the mystery that was Forbidden Lore.

Forever Lost is such a beautifully written, emotional tale that played out like scenes in a movie. There is love and there is deceit. This is a love story.

Sail with Me caught my attention. I love the conversational style of this story. Right in your face. A story of a military brat. This is Aaron’s story. A coming-of-age story of sorts. I was very touched.

In The Hourglass Flair knew her fate. She watched the hourglass knowing Death was at her feet. Flair held the secret from her husband Brice. This is a beautiful creative story that moved me.


“Death’s laughter echoed sinisterly throughout the eerily still cave that rocked beneath the thunderous roar of nature’s wrath as the tempest raged outside.  Flair glared at her nemesis as she removed the dagger on Brice’s belt and flashed it before her amused opponent.”


I fell in love with medieval England after I read Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe. Then came the great Hollywood epics such as Knights of the Round Table, Prince Valiant, The Black Shield of Falworth and The Vikings, to name but a few. Add to the mix Camelot and an incurable romantic Anglophile was born!
The Briton and the Dane novels are set in Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain when the formidable Vikings terrorized the civilized world. The epic adventure runs the gamut of deception, treachery, intrigue, and complicated relationships during a time of war and conquest. Resource material such as book club discussion items, glossary of terms, period maps and character lists are available for download at

To Purchase Mary Ann Bernal's novels, visit her author page at:

  Amazon US
 Amazon UK
 Amazon France
 Amazon Germany
Barnes and Noble


Follow on Bloglovin