Inner beauty - Women's misfortunes in the Ancient world. On revising that published novel and to
NATIONAL INNER BEAUTY DAY
National Inner Beauty Day on October 7th focuses on raising awareness and supporting victims of human trafficking.
Everyone has a story, a passion that expresses who we are as individuals. Our strength lies in embracing that story without filtering it through someone else’s definition of beauty.
When our core values reflect on the outside, we have given the world the gift we were born to give.
National Inner Beauty Day and the launching of its 2017-2018
#InnerBeauty Challenge coincided with the opening weekend of the movie, Trafficked. The Inner Beauty Day team attended the movie’s Los Angeles premiere.
HOW TO OBSERVE #InnerBeautyDay
Donate to Saving Innocence to help continue their work with victims of human trafficking. Take the Inner Beauty Challenge.
Each person taking up the challenge along with their friends, family, or anyone else they know is encouraged to give to a charitable anti-human trafficking organization of their choice.
The National Human Trafficking Referral Directory of the Polaris Project is a good resource for connecting people to service providers helping victims and survivors. Polaris is a leading nonprofit, nongovernmental organization in this global fight and operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).
Saving Innocence, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization well known for its work in helping victims of trafficking, has been a supporter of the #InnerBeauty Challenge from its inception. Donations can be made directly to Saving Innocence.”
NATIONAL INNER BEAUTY DAY HISTORY
Roma Newton, owner of 6 Degrees Management, in partnership with National Day Calendar® created National Inner Beauty Day. Her goal is to celebrate the exceptional core qualities of the human spirit that we often overlook – inner beauty.
In partnership with Saving Innocence, an organization that helps victims of human trafficking, we aspire to bring beauty and wholeness to a world that may not yet understand its own self-worth. We challenge you to join this cause and add your voice by expressing your #InnerBeauty.
10 Signs of Inner Beauty to Uplift Your Day
The Tempations taught us that "Beauty is Only Skin Deep," and it looks like these words still remain true with quite a few of us.
A study found asked 1,600 Generation X women – those aged 39 to 53 – asked what inner beauty is. According to the results, here are the top ten signs you're beautiful on the inside:
1. You're kind and treat people well.
2. You're honest.
3. People feel comfortable around you.
4. You're happy in general.
5. You can laugh at yourself.
6. You're happy being yourself around other people.
7. You stand up for other people.
8. You don't judge people just because they're different.
9. You know when someone needs a shoulder to cry on.
10. You can admit when you're wrong, or made a mistake. Wise words and aspirations.
Women in the ancient world - The women of Children of Stone. In the series Children of Stone, I focus on the character and rights or lack thereof of women in the ancient world. In most ways, women of the ancient world enjoyed less freedom than women do today whether trapped by wealth or circumstance. I don't gloss over the way they were treated or focus on the standout warrior girl of many fantasy novels. I try to focus on individual strengths or weaknesses of each character. Unlike today in the United States, women, in many cases, were trafficked to the point where it didn't truly shock others. It was what happened to women who weren't protected by some family system or who had fallen on hard times. It wasn't a crime that lurked in the shadows as it is today. Ilara and Houra The first character is already dead when the series begins. Ilara, Marai's first wife, is already dead in childbirth. This was the sad fate of many women until recent years. My own great-great grandmother was lost that way even though her child lived. An aunt nearly died of "childbed fever" or complications after childbirth. Women were also what we would call "children" when they began married life and had their first child. That was usually around the time of their first menstrual period. A man was also what we would consider a child. Normal age to take a wife was fifteen years. Because mortality of women and children was so high, and war was always over the next hill in the form of brigands and slave traders a man was obliged to marry more than one woman if he could afford it and that woman was obliged to bear sons who could defend and daughters who could, in time, bear more protectors.
Marai's tribe is dying out at the beginning of Voices in Crystal. Marai himself is considered mad because he has not remarried any woman coming (i.e. trafficked) through the way station where he lives. His half-sister Houra has become barren after the birth of only two sons and no daughters. The dead girl Ilara, because she was a foreigner brought in by a traveler, is blamed for a curse on the tribe and for Marai's lack of interest in taking a second wife. In the revised edition of Voices in Crystal I've left the door open for speculation that Ilara was trafficked goods herself, dumped by a man "not her father" when it appeared she was cursed. Houra's life begins as a normal tribal woman's life in the wilderness. It goes through twists and turns as she and her family face brigands and slavers. I can't really say what happens to her, because it would be a tremendous spoiler, but much of Marai's later motive is about a self-assigned quest to find her and what became of her.
Ariennu, Naibe, Deka My original plan for the three heroines Ariennu, Naibe, and Deka was to build them along the lines of the triple goddess: Maid, Mother, and Widow. I quickly learned as I worked on the characters that there was too much crossover between the archetypes. What they have in common is that they are all victims of rough trade and have dealt with such a horrible life in different ways. Naibe is the "maid". In many ways she is seen as weak and helpless in the novels - A character who "lacks agency". That lack works to her advantage and the reader eventually realizes she is and never was weak. She's actually a powerful empath with little filter. She just loves, gives, and heals. Ariennu is the "mother". She's the eldest and the one they call MaMa but her hard exterior and adventurous ways are a cover for her own mistreatment. Many readers like her because of her unbeatable bad girl habits and seeming inability to let the worst of situations get under her skin. Deka is the "widow", an abandoned former goddess who was so traumatized she has lost both voice and memory. When she recovers them... well that's part of the story. Another side note. The world's oldest profession really wasn't even considered in the third millenium BC. If a woman or a stray youth was outside the confines of a family or tribe, sex was just what happened until the Pre-Greek era when the "fallen" or "lawless" or "diseased" were confined to certain districts on the edge of a city.
Until now I've mentioned female characters who are poor or members of the wilderness culture. Khentie is a princess in ancient Egypt and later she's the equivalent of a queen. There isn't a word for "queen" or even "princess" in ancient Egypt (at least in the Old Kingdom) These titles were assigned by the British archaeologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are titles such as God's Wife or Daughter of the God or even Bodily daughter of the God or Adorer of God's Hand. My character Khentie is loosely based on Khentkaus I, wife of Shepseskaf then of Userkaf, mother of Neferirkare Kakai and Sahure. Khentie is her nickname. She is Prince Shepseskaf's half-sister, Neither Shepseskaf or Khentie expected to ascend to the throne and have other spouses when the lot falls to them. In my story, Khentie is happily married to Prince Wserkaf (based on Userkaf) and has raise her two sons Kakai and Sahure. Shepseskaf is married to Bunefer a priestess. The speculation: Herodotus writing 2000 years after the fact and having cobbled together random legends states that King Menkaure had only one daughter who allegedly killed herself after he, her father, raped her. It was shocking and scandalous reading of his era. The problem is that the only daughter known to Menkaure was Khentie who never killed herself and was alive and well long after Menkaure and even Shepseskaf died. I solved the problem by inventing a daughter Mereyt who was either a suicide or murder victim depending on whose story you believe. I also describe her relationship with her father as close (and possibly icky) but unproven. The only other child accredited to Menkaure was Kuenre (Mereyt's husband) who also died before ascending the throne. This thrust Shepseskaf and Khentie into the tough spot of ruling Egypt when they had made so many other life plans. "Duty to the god" called. About Royal Incest: It happened, but was more complicated than the icky obvious.
Royalty believed themselves gods or at least descended from gods. The incest was an attempt to keep the bloodline pure. The complication is that "brother" or "sister" didn't necessarily mean same father and mother for each. Brother or sister also meant "true love" or "twin flame" or "soul mate". It also might mean half-brother or half-sister. It could mean a king's adopted child.
A "wife" meant any female under the protection of a royal house. So a King could take as wife his mother, his daughter, his maiden aunt, his sister and any number of women royal or otherwise. Wife simply meant "in the house of..." Kings had harems. Rameses had 100 "wives". According to that standard Menkaure was practically a bachelor with only three. It's an alternate explanation by some scholars who stated Khentie was Menkaure's daughter and wife, given to his son and her brother Shepseskaf and later inherited by Userkaf as a way to legalize a rule with dubious bloodlines.
Shepseskaf was not accepted by his priests as a legitimate heir. He was a concubine's son. In that time, many concubines had husbands when they were taken and might have been in early stages of pregnancy. Equal to the modern day "gold-digger" the woman might pass that child off as sired by the king and enjoy riches (funneled off to her actual family for their silence on the matter) til the day she died. The harem or "women's quarters" was hardly a place where women rested, applied makeup, danced and waited to be summoned by the king. It was a place of intrigue, double-dealing, gossip and often murder.
Plural marriage: Kings and wealthy men could have more than one wife or "wife". Royal women in Egypt enjoyed equal status. They could have more than one husband as well as a "reverse harem" of beautiful men. There was simply not the same moral compass as we have even today. If a person could afford it and no one was complaining, there was no harm. Thus on Menkaure's death Shepseskaf activates the contract he and Khentie signed as children and they enter the royal house as husband and wife while still remaining married to their former spouses. I depict their relationship as very close, but not sexual as there is no record of Shepseskaf siring a child on Khentie. Both he and she did children by their other spouses. As Wserkaf explains to Marai at one point: "It's how we do things - the way of the gods - I wouldn't expect you, a sojourner, to even begin to understand this."
So, in summary, poor women had almost no rights or protection outside family. Human trafficking always loomed as a possibility for either gender. How one adapted to the situation is story fuel enough. Wealthy women, although viewed as equally powerful socially and politically to men followed rigorous guidelines set forth in antiquity by the gods to assure the race of gods continued. Trafficking as we think of it today was only a possibility for them if one's kingdom collapsed as a result of war. A much greater and equally unpleasant possibility was that of being paired with someone despised in an arranged marriage for purpose of a treaty. (If she suffers or dies, we go to war) Thousands of tales and histories come from those sorts of deals.
Western culture, for the most part, allows women freedom and protection from these trapped lives in our modern times, but there are always stories.
A whole new book - almost.
Six years ago in 2013 I published my first novel - first anything really - The following year I republished the print book (very slightly revised) along with the e-book. After that I published three more books and am hard at work writing the conclusion to the series Children of Stone. I joined a Writer's group by 2014 and take part in several online marketing and commiserating sites.
Slowly, through these associations, I became a much better writer (about midway through Book 2). It was time for a re-do of Voices in Crystal
The new book is edited, has maps and a glossary, moves at a much faster-pace and is hopefully easier to read. It's still the same story of a shepherd who encounters beings from another realm and finds himself thrust into an archetypal mystery almost older than time. He's still expected (with help and without asking too many questions) to solve the problem in ways the visitors believe are only possible by humans.
It's still a story of love and adventure - of tragedy and betrayal, as well as turnabouts in fortune.
WARNING It is not a standalone novel and has one HELL of a cliffhanger ending. This time Book 2 Going Forth By Day instantly takes away the waiting and wondering.
One of the complaints I received was that nothing on the first cover designed by Createspace telegraphed the genre or what the story was about. Though beautiful, it wasn't attracting an audience.
One thing that WAS liked was the subtlety. It wasn't your typical Fantasy cover with a castle, warrior or dragon. It wasn't SciFi because there was no heavier than space complex metal craft orbiting a world or battling other crafts. It wasn't romance or shifter as there was no animal clue in the corner or a hunky bare chest on the cover.
Children of Stone has elements of Fantasy, SciFi, paranormal and romance all rolled into one sweet package. The only way I felt it was possible to reflect that was to have a cover that depicted an early scene in the book. I chose the part when Marai follows the group of shiny little orbs to a rise in the hills where a "star" has fallen. He finds a craft that's not a metal warship but something definitely not of Earth. As the blurb says "What he finds inside changes him forever." Enjoy the New Voices in Crystal - Coming October 31 or thereabouts (depending on Amazon wonkiness)
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A Sorcery of Shadows: The Westwood Witches 2 Kindle Edition by Sarah Northwood 10/1/19
Almost Everything (Rock & Roll Forever Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Theme then will be National Reptile Day – October 21, 2019
Reviews and previews Fall and winter shows (Shop for the Holidays) New books!