Thursday, January 10, 2019

Leonide Martin's The Prophetic Mayan Queen Blog Tour with a Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

 


I am so excited to have Leonide Martin here at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway.

Thanks Leonide and Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me to join The Prophetic Mayan Queen Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Leonide!

Guest Blot Post: An Introduction to Mayan Culture

On a steamy morning in the Chiapas jungles, I climbed a short stairway and ducked under the palm-frond canopy to enter Pyramid XIII. A narrow corridor led to vaults in an interior chamber, damp and musty, eerily lit by bare overhead bulbs. The sarcophagus inside the middle chamber was my goal, along with minor hordes of tourists. When my turn came, I stood on tiptoes seeking a good look inside. The huge stone sarcophagus, carved from a single limestone block, filled the tiny corbelled-arch crypt. It was starkly empty. The inner walls were painted bright red, which I knew was cinnabar, a form of mercuric oxide the Mayas used for embalming. The woman's skeleton that once lay inside the sarcophagus was also permeated with cinnabar, giving it the nickname "The Red Queen."

During this time I was living in Merida, capitol of Mexico's Yucatan state. Pursuing my fascination with the ancient Mayas, I visited many ruins and libraries where I learned about The Red Queen. Though I knew her bones had been removed to the anthropology museum in Mexico City years ago, I was making a pilgrimage to visit her burial pyramid. Those moments inside her crypt were filled with mystery: who was she, what was her life like, what part did she play in the long history of her famous city, now called Palenque.

I wasn't trained in archeology, but always loved stories and movies about exploration and digs. From Indiana Jones to the Egyptian adventures of Amelia Peabody, I'm drawn to the quest to know and experience the lives of ancient peoples. I read lots of historical fiction, and my non-fiction archeology-anthropology library is vast. All of these came together for me to write about the ancient Mayan culture.

The Mayas had the most advanced civilization in the Americas. They built large cities in the inhospitable tropical jungles of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. Long, straight, raised roadways covered with white plaster made networks for travel between their cities. Their pyramids soared above forest canopies, rivaling those of Egypt in size and number. As scientists learned to understand Mayan calendars, read complex hieroglyphs, and appreciate marvels of architecture including aqueducts and suspension bridges, they were astonished at the Maya's knowledge. The Mayas were leading astronomers of their time, had the most accurate solar calendar, knew the planets and constellations, and predicted eclipses of sun and moon. They wrote in beautifully illustrated books called codices, detailing lunar cycles and stellar movements. Most of these have been lost or destroyed by early Spaniards who considered them the work of the devil.

Their society was stratified and complex, with ruling families that followed primarily patrilineal descent. Theirs was a sophisticated high court culture with opulent clothing and heavy jewelry. Ceremonies were extensive with much feasting. Life expectancy for the elites was very good; a number of rulers lived into their eighties. Classes in society included priests, warriors, courtiers, artisans, musicians and dancers, healers, servants, farmers, mine and construction workers, and a few slaves. Trade among cities was extensive and goods traveled from as far as the Pueblo cultures of the southwest to the mineral-rich mountains of Central America. There was inter-city conflict over resources, and rulers sought captives to augment their status.

Although the climate posed challenges, the Mayas excelled at water management using raised beds, channels, and terraces on mountainsides. Their foods included numerous tropical fruits and nuts, animals such as deer, turkeys, and tapir (wild pig), and vegetables including corn, beans, squash, chile peppers, and many spices. Those living by coasts had rich sources for fish and shellfish, along with all-important salt, which they traded with inland cities.

A few interesting tidbits: The Mayas had no large animals and relied on human porters, who used a tumpline across the forehead to carry heavy bundles. They did not use wheeled carts, although they built toys with wheels. Their regions had few metals, so their tools were obsidian and chert. They obtained some copper, gold, and silver by trading. Jade was their most precious stone for jewelry, and they valued obsidian, pearls, and sea shells. Their tall headdresses were adorned with vibrantly colored feathers, especially the scarlet and blue macaws and the iridescent long-tailed quetzals.

Everyone asks about human sacrifice among the Mayas. They did perform it on occasion, mostly for important calendar rituals or accession rites of rulers. They preferred captured warriors, elites, or rulers as offerings to the Gods. Their preferred method was decapitation with an axe. When a particularly renowned ruler died, his burial included grave sacrifices, usually servants to accompany him in the afterlife. Forget about sacrificing virgins and throwing them into sink holes or volcanoes. When you think of frequent human sacrifice with hearts cut out and bodies thrown down pyramid steps, it's the Aztecs you have in mind.

To the Mayas, spirituality merged with everyday life. Theirs was a multi-dimensional universe with star ancestors, sky Gods, Underworld demons, shamans, tricksters, and deities having influences on every aspect of living. Rulers and priests were trained as shamans, did vision quests, and used hallucinogens to alter consciousness. They could interact with deities and cast spells; many had visionary powers. Rulers were expected to perform self-bloodletting while in trances, since blood was the most precious substance to the Gods. Drops of blood (from genitals, earlobes, or tongue) were burned with incense to invoke the Vision Serpent. As smoke rose from the censer, it curled into a serpent that opened huge jaws and an ancestor or God's head emerged, giving predictions or answering questions.

In my books about the Mayas, I give this exotic culture expression through stories about actual historic people and fictional characters. The "Mists of Palenque" series is about four women, all Mayan queens, who lived in Palenque between 550-722 CE. They are all real people, whose names and images are carved on panels at Palenque. The Red Queen is in the third book, though my encounters with her are what started me writing the series.

The newest book, fourth and final in the series, is about K'inuuw Mat. She is gifted with skills in scrying and prophecy, aspiring to devote her life as a priestess of Goddess Ix Chel. Destiny takes her elsewhere, to marry the fourth son of The Red Queen, provide the heir for the dynasty, and save Mayan culture for future generations. Each book in the series stands alone and tells the story of one Mayan queen.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief introduction to Mayan culture. There is so much more I'd love to share with you! Other details of their culture are described in my blog posts, so please visit and sign up! Thank you for being a visitor to my blog tour, and much appreciation to the Canadian Blogger for hosting me.





The Prophetic Mayan Queen
by Leonide Martin
GENRE: Historical Fiction

BLURB


She was born to serve the Goddess Ix Chel. But K'inuuw Mat is destined to continue the Palenque (Lakam Ha) dynasty by marriage to Tiwol, fourth son of famous ruler Pakal. Trained in prophetic arts, she uses scrying to foresee the face of the man with whom she will bear the dynastic heir — but it is not her husband's image. She is shocked upon arriving at Palenque to recognize that face as her husband's older brother, Kan Bahlam. They are immediately attracted, sharing deep interest in astronomy. Though she resists, the magnetic force of their attraction propels them into forbidden embraces, until Kan Bahlam designs a bold plan that would solve his inability to produce a son — if he can gain his brother's cooperation.

Set in the splendor of Lakam Ha's artistic and scientific zenith, royal family conflicts and ambitions play out in a tapestry of brilliant Mayan accomplishments in calendars, astronomy, architecture, arts, and secret language codes that will astound people centuries later. As K'inuuw Mat contends with explosive emotions, she must answer the Goddess' mandate to preserve Mayan culture for future generations. Her passion with Kan Bahlam leads to a pale daughter and bold son who carry this out as their civilization begins the decline and eventual collapse her prophetic vision foresees.

One great cycle rolls into the next

Contemporary Mexican archeologist Francesca and her partner Charlie, a British linguist, venture into Chiapas jungles to a remote Maya village, seeking to unravel her grandmother's secrets. The hostile village shaman holds the key, but refuses to share with outsiders the scandal that leads to foreign blood and ancient Palenque lineages. Only by re-claiming her own shamanic heritage can Francesca learn the truth of who she is, and bring her dynasty into the present.

EXCERPT

After several rounds of dancing, Tiwol took K'inuuw Mat's hand and they returned to their mat. Her fingers entwined with his; she liked the warmth of his grasp. She felt happy and content, thinking that the Goddess' intentions were surely coming to pass. Tiwol turned to talk with two young men who stood by the mat. Still standing, K'inuuw Mat looked across the patio to watch the more vigorous dancing that had started. She patted one foot in rhythm to the music, until suddenly she caught view of the man who had just entered from the far veranda.

Her heart did a flip-flop and began pounding, while her stomach clenched into a tight knot. Eyes wide in disbelief, she stared at the tall man slowly weaving his way between dancers. Torchlight caught his face and brought his features into sharp focus — the face she had seen in her scrying bowl.

No-nooo! Her mind screamed silently. This could not be happening. The exact face, every feature she had so carefully memorized, of the man who would be her husband. Just when she accepted that her scrying was inaccurate, he appeared precisely as she had been shown. A wave of nausea swept over her and she clutched her stomach, dropping her gaze and collapsing onto the mat.






AUTHOR Bio and Links

Leonide (Lennie) Martin: Retired California State University professor, former Family Nurse Practitioner, Author and Maya researcher, Research Member Maya Exploration Center.

My books bring ancient Maya culture and civilization to life in stories about both actual historical Mayans and fictional characters. I've studied Maya archeology, anthropology, and history from the scientific and indigenous viewpoints. While living for five years in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, I apprenticed with Maya Elder Hunbatz Men, becoming a Solar Initiate and Maya Fire Women in the Itzá Maya tradition. I've studied with other indigenous teachers in Guatemala, including Maya Priestess-Daykeeper Aum Rak Sapper and Maya elder Tata Pedro. The ancient Mayas created the most highly advanced civilization in the Western hemisphere, and my work is dedicated to their wisdom, spirituality, scientific, and cultural accomplishments through compelling historical novels.

My interest in ancient Mayan women led to writing the Mayan Queens' series called Mists of Palenque. This 4-book series tells the stories of powerful women who shaped the destinies of their people as rulers themselves, or wives of rulers. These remarkable Mayan women are unknown to most people. Using extensive research and field study, I aspire to depict ancient Palenque authentically and make these amazing Mayan Queens accessible to a wide readership.

My writing has won awards from Writer's Digest for short fiction, and The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik'nal of Palenque (Mists of Palenque Series Book 1) received the Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Self-Published eBook award in 2015. The Controversial Mayan Queen: Sak K'uk of Palenque (Book 2) published in 2015. The Mayan Red Queen: Tz'aakb'u Ahau of Palenque (Book 3) received a Silver Medal in Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards for 2016. The Prophetic Mayan Queen: K'inuuw Mat of Palenque (Book 4) is the final in the series, published in November 2018.

I live with my husband David Gortner and two white cats in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country, where I enjoy gardening, hiking, and wine tasting.

For more information about my writing and the Mayas, visit:

Website: http://www.mistsofpalenque.com

Blog: http://leonidemartinblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leonide.martin

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lenniem07

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Leonide-Martin/e/B001HCZ1UY/

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Prophetic-Mayan-Queen-Kinuuw-Palenque/dp/1641463651

GIVEAWAY

Leonide Martin will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2877

9 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

Joseph Wallace said...

How many hours a day do you spend writing? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Lennie Martin said...

Thank you all for your comments and I would like to thank Paranormal and Romantic Suspense reviews for giving me this opportunity to share with you all.

Lennie Martin said...

Appreciate the great job you're doing with my VBT!

Lennie Martin said...

You are most welcome! I really an thrilled to get such kind words from readers.

Lennie Martin said...

That varies a lot. When I'm actively writing a book could be 5-6 hours. In between books I can go weeks or months. But in truth I write daily, emails, blogs, social media.

Lennie Martin said...

I appreciate your taking time to read my post. Hope you'll also read my book and enjoy it.

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