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  • Elizabeth Reign

Updated: Feb 24

I am hard at work writing and editing Warriors of Apasas. I’m getting excited as I get to the halfway point and how events are playing out for Myrine and Kynna. Apasas has changed so much in three years and the turmoil is thick as a dark brew. I have ventured more into the fantasy part of the Historical Fantasy genre by bringing in the mythical lore of these ancient times; and as the story moves on ritual magic and goddesses will intrigue and interfere with the lives of the people of Apasas. I would love to say this book will be out in December as planned but it would take a small miracle to have that happen. Goddess knows I want to but it looks like it won’t be published until next year. I am also working on the third book, “Queens of Azar Kali” and hope to publish that at the same time next year. So, the long wait will produce two books instead of one and publishing date will be in May 2022.


A question I’ve been pondering lately is why did I ever want to write about these women? What has been my fascination with warrior women and especially the Amazons. When I first met my character Myrine I asked her, “Why did women have to pick up weapons and start defending themselves?” I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I write and its leading in places I would have never gone with these characters. They pretty much take the lead. I have an outline but the direction the writing goes is surprising as I am sure it is with a lot of writers when they are deep in their story. A lot of the stories told about warrior women were conjured hundreds of years later and told by men with no ounce of feminine energy or sympathy about who they were. I feel there’s so much more to tell, stories that only women can tell of the lives of women who may have had to make choices like Myrine and Kynna.


Another reason I’m writing this series is because I devoured all the other books written with Amazon main characters and watched the Xena, Warrior Princess series way too many times. I wanted more about the Amazons and where they might have originated. So, my love for these women is really at the crux of this book series.


Below is a short excerpt from Warriors of Apasas. It’s actually the Prologue and after another revision will open book 2.


Enjoy,

Elizabeth




Warriors of Apasas - Prologue


Apasas


“Shhh, someone will hear us Emani,” Lykke scolded. She held Emani’s hand, almost dragging her down the path between the dunes. The moon hung in a sliver sliver over the water, their whispers were lost in the hiss of the surf.

“Come here, I want to show you something.” Lykke leaned in to speak in her ear.

“What is it? Oh my! Look at the stars, Lykke. They are so bright…it’s,,,it's gorgeous,” Emani’s words trailed off as Lykke urged her through the dry grass into the forest.

“We’re almost there, come on.”

The young girls were no more than eight summers when they decided to explore the beach at night. Lykke dared Emani to come. Emani was always afraid to go on one of Lykke’s adventures but when she held her hand, she felt safe.

“Almost there Emani, I found a place where you can see the stars through the trees and when the moon is full, it feels like you can almost walk on it.”

“Lykke, you are always dreaming. If you keep it up, you will be too starry eyed to be a warrior. General Ikippe demands attention and concentration. Myrine tells me this all the time.”

“I know but we have another year before we train. We can dream until then.”

Lykke pulled on Emani’s hand then stopped and braced her arm, elbow bent to cushion her against the abrupt stop. Their eyes met.

Lykke pointed to the sky. “Look.”

Emani moved her eyes to Lykke’s finger and followed it upwards to the tops of the pines. Wide eyed, lips parted, she gasped at the view. The stars seemed to touch the branches lighting little fires at the tips. The moon was so close it lit a path on the ground below.

They tilted back, pointing at the twinkling pulses between the limbs and the midnight sky, the weight of light drawing them to one another.

Lykke turned to watch Emani marvel at the stars. Her brown eyes reflected specks of gold. She tried not to stare but, Lykke’s beauty captivated her each time she saw her. She rolled out the blanket she carried over her shoulder and tugged on Emani’s arm, urging her to sit beneath one of the tall pines.

“Let’s watch for a while. You can tell me your dreams. I won’t tell them to anyone.”

Emani relaxed beside Lykke spreading her hands over the blanket. It was rough and smelled of pine and hay.

“You washed your horse blanket.”

“Yes, so you and I can sit and smell sage and the fresh night air instead of horse dung.’

They laughed and breathed in the salty breeze then sat silent watching the glow of the shrinking moon through the trees. Lykke’s mind was full of words, words he struggled to put together. Words he willed himself to find courage to say.

Emani, I have to tell you something and I hope you don’t think I am silly.”

“Tell me, I don’t think anything you say is silly.”

Her courage waning, Lykke looked to Emani’s raven hair, the night breeze lifting it gently from her shoulders. Her eyes pulsed like the stars, her lips opened slightly, waiting. Lykke’s courage shifted from spoken to unspoken words and needs. She leaned in and whispered.

“Emani, I think…”

Emani moved in and kissed Lykke softly on her lips. Her eyes fluttered then closed. Lykke closed her eyes and drifted into her until their small kiss suspended the motion of the earth around them.

But a cold chill drew them back to her blanket. Lykke felt Emani pull away abruptly. She opened her eyes to see Emani scrambling backwards away from her, her eyes wide with fear.

Lykke watched her lips move, mouthing her name but all was silent and then dark.

Her head jerked back and a thick cloth was tied around her head tearing away strands of her hair. Huge arms pulled her up from the ground. She kicked and catapulted her legs, trying to break free of the grip around her. Emani’s screams echoed from somewhere behind her. She struggled harder against the huge arms until a greasy fat hand covered her mouth. Emani’s screams stopped and something slammed against the ground.

Lykke heard a deep gruff voice behind her.

“Easy,” he said. “We must get a good price for these two. We don’t need them bruised up and bleeding.”

“Amazzi meat is spoiled anyway,” another male voice groaned.

“Get that one to quit her kicking and let’s go. Tomorrow the ships leave for Limnos and this Amazzi trash will be on them.”

Ropes twisted and chewed into Lykke’s ankles and wrists. She bit at the fat hand that covered her mouth but was smacked in the face by another massive fist. Lykke saw the stars twinkle and then fall from the black sky.

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  • Elizabeth Reign

It’s been almost three weeks since my first book went live. Actually, I’m still getting used to calling myself an indie author. If you have purchased my book or reading it through Kindle Unlimited, please let me know what you think. I love talking about the Bronze age, particularly the period I write about in the 1600s BC. I am researching for the next book titled, “Warriors of Apasas” that will be out December 21st. It will be available for preorder late September. Watch for blog posts with excerpts from it.


Have you noticed I am choosing the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice as release dates? That is intentional. My connection with the earth and moon is very much a part of my everyday life. In honor of the Goddess, I decided to choose these times of the year. Its just one of the many quirks about me that I am finally comfortable with.


In “The Women of Apasas” there are so many scenes that I loved writing and some I wept as I wrote them. I won’t give anything away but one of my favorite scenes is when Myrine finds Kynna and Anais. Kynna is at the point of collapse from her injuries and not sure about this woman or what she might do. With an arrow pointed at her she finds a deep strength within her and decides she still wants to live. She doesn’t know how she is going to do it but it stirs her will to keep surviving.


Myrine sees something in Kynna she has never seen in anyone she’s known before. She has so many questions for them but must find the patience to wait for the answers. When she lifts Kynna up on Kadir, Kynna keeps slipping off. This was an interesting add into the scene. Kynna knows how to ride, but she’s exhausted and as much as she doesn’t want to trust Myrine, she has no choice. When Myrine encircles Kynna in her arms to keep her from slipping off is the moment Myrine’s world changes. Even though she has no idea it does.


That kind of love is what I enjoy writing about. Women believe we must surrender to another person. Preconditioned to be subservient. In no way do my characters do that. Even Kynna’s time under Marjan’s captivity drew a determination in her to serve no man again. In book 2 this will become clear as Kynna must be reminded of her choices and Myrine must face her own.


I have always loved hero stories, but not those who have an obvious hero. I searched for stories of women trying to find happiness in a difficult life. Women who must rise above all their doubts and fears to fulfill their purpose. Women who ask themselves, “Who am I?” Kynna and Myrine are characters I came to know in my search for what life was really like for them. After reading all the books I could find with this theme, I decided to write my own and give them a voice. Although they aren’t historically documented, they are real women living a real life in ancient times.


Myrine was the first character that introduced herself to me out of my love for all things Amazon. I have always admired warrior women and their ability to push their bodies to the height of excellence. The argument that women are just as strong as men is still under debate, some say they aren’t capable physically, but there are always exceptions and Myrine is an exception. More importantly. I questioned why the Greeks made these women into demeaning myths. I believe they feared these women and turned them into savages just as early settlers in America did to the Native People.


As I researched all things Amazon, I found some great resources. Among many was Adrienne Mayer’s book titled “The Amazons” which is full of answers to questions like, “Did the Amazons cut off one breast to shoot better? Or “Did Amazons kill or maim their male infants? I never believed any of it. The more I studied Patriarchy, the more it appeared to be part of the intended destruction of matriarchy and the matrilineal line. All designed to rule over the lands and wealth the Aegean had to offer. {An interesting book on patriarchy is Merlin Stone’s “When God was a Woman”. It changed my life.)


Mayer’s book also contains stories of these women and their influence on major historical characters like Alexander the Great, Theseus and Hittite Kings. Evidence shows that these women warriors were influential for almost a thousand years in the Greek world until they were forced east and integrated with Scythians and Mongolian tribes.


Another book written by the German archeologist Gerhard Polauer titled “The Lost Cities of the Amazons” was also a spark that lit my imagination for this series. He writes an account of his journey through Turkey exploring ancient sites believed to be inhabited by Amazons. Their connection with these sites pictured in his book cannot be ignored. He also documented sites on Lemnos Island which were believed to be ruled by Amazons from 3,000 BC. Waterways were jammed with traders until earthquakes and volcanoes caused them to abandon the island for the coast of Asia Minor and establish cities like Ephesus (Apasas). Although it’s been pushed aside in lots of historical accounts there is no denial of how influential these women were in the ancient pre-Christian world. Goddess worship was predominant long before Patriarchy.


Again, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’m a total geek when it comes to women warriors. I loved to give them badass fight scenes, but I also love the relationships they form and the choices they must make in their world and in their heart. You can comment or email me here as well as on my Facebook page. Links below.


Elizabeth

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  • Elizabeth Reign

Apasas 1675 BC


Myrine


I dug deep into the sandy gravel heaped over the remains of my father’s body, the song of mourning still damp on my lips. I clawed into the earth until a shallow indent formed just over the place where Father’s heart would be. A space sizable enough to place his gold arm piece, a spiral-shaped snake with ruby eyes. He always wore it coiled around his bicep in honor of Rhea. And for Lyra, my mother, the only woman he’d ever loved.

I rubbed the jeweled eyes and smooth, gold circles that once wrapped around his arm, longing for his warmth. Now it was cold and empty, like my heart. I let it fall into the dusty hole in the earth. Its ruby eyes dulled to black.

Weary from grieving, I drew my dagger from my belt and gripped its handle in my fist. Holding the bronze blade to my left forearm, I pressed the tip into my flesh until blood appeared and sliced a thin line across my arm, deep enough to draw pain, but not death.

I switched the blade to my right arm and let it bite into my brown flesh again. Blood trickled into the pockets of my elbows, down my arms, and into the dirt impression. My liquid heart pulsed, dripping over the gold, jewels, and dirt.

I sniffed back tears, hung my head, and whispered, “Father, I miss you. I don’t know what I’ll do without you . . . but I will honor you. I will protect Amma, our family, and our people, as you protected us. And I will avenge your death. I promise, Father. I will remember all you’ve taught me of the warrior’s way until I see you and Mother again.”

I pressed my hands on each cut and stared into the cleft of dirt, watching the last drops mix into the earth. Heavy tears turned to deep sobs. I bent over and wailed into the quiet earth, calling into the darkness for answers.

“Why, Rhea, Goddess of Earth and Sky? Why? I want my father back.”

Grief tore at me, then lifted me into a turbulent gust of pain and rage, raising me to my feet. My fists beat at the air. My voice screamed in the wind until heavy sorrow released and collapsed me to my knees again.

The numbing silence of death parted, the noise of neighing horses filling my ears in its place. I brushed away my tears and dipped my fingers in the wet earth, then smeared a spiral, beginning on my left cheek, over the bridge of my nose to my right cheek, and continuing down to my chin and up again, ending at my right ear. The Amazzi mark of life. I traced another straight line from my forehead to my chin—the Amazzi mark of mourning.

My stained fingers reached to brush the snake’s ruby eyes once more, and then I pushed dirt back into the hole. Lifting my weary body to stand, I whispered a blessing across the grave pits, echoing against the stone slabs.

“May the White Mare of Peace carry you to our mothers and grandmothers, Father. I will see you there soon.”


1672 BC Three years later . . .


From the rooftop of my home, I watched morning blush pink and orange over the city of Apasas. The Aegean Sea rolled in waves of blue and green against the canvas of sand. Another late summer sun crawled over the rocky cliffs and crept through the streets, waking those who still slumbered. I climbed down the ladder and paced the hall, passing the door of my room, until I reached the center of the house, the hearth room. Fingers of sunlight scratched the stone-edged window and sparked the cold, dark hearth of our Amazzi home.

“Good morning, Amma,” I called through the hall. I joined my grandmother, Malika, by the cook fire and leaned down to give her a smile and a kiss on the cheek. Amma is our word for Grandmother and Mother, an honorable name for a woman to be called as soon as she bears a child.

Amma combed her fingers through her gray-capped brown hair with her left hand and stirred a cold green soup of herbs and mare’s milk in a large clay pot with her right. She dripped honey over the surface, swirled the golden liquid in loops, then dropped the honeycomb back in its bowl.

I grabbed a cup of water sweetened with lemon and dodged my cousins, who were racing for their portion of the morning meal.

“Good morning, Myrine. Are you taller today than yesterday?” Amma asked.

“Must have happened overnight.” I shrugged my shoulders and tore off a piece of dark bread from a fresh-baked loaf.

“You remind me of your mother—tall, and so funny.” Amma gave me a smile and rolled her eyes while she spooned soup into wooden bowls. “I made your favorite this morning. I thought it might help keep you cool today.”

Amma handed me a bowl of the green, frothy liquid. I kissed her cheek again and took a seat at the wooden table in our eating room. I slid the oak bench back with my foot, enough to angle my legs underneath and settle my bottom on the seat beside my two cousins. Maybe Amma was right; I was getting taller. I thought I was the tallest Amazzi warrior in Apasas. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be, but height had its advantages. I brushed aside the dark brown braids that fell from the crown of my head and slurped the soup loud enough to get the children to giggle.

“Will you make it to the harbor this morning? I have more vases and pots finished,” Amma asked, interrupting our laughter.

“I will for a short time, but General Ikippe is calling an early training, so I must be at the fields,” I answered.

“Yes, the earlier, the better. I’ve forgotten how smothering leather vests can be. Those shields are heavy enough after a long practice in this heat. Make sure you eat and drink well. The sun will drop you to your knees if you don’t.”

“I will.” I tipped the bowl to my mouth and swallowed the last drips of the cool soup.

Amma sat down beside the children. She glanced at Zoe, her niece’s youngest daughter, while pulling bits of straw and grass from the hair of Leon, Zoe’s brother.

“Zoe, when you’re finished, take Leon to his father so he can practice riding before it gets too hot for the horses. Then you may work on your bow with your mother.”

She brushed the dust from Leon’s brown face and covered his head with a leather helmet. “Hurry, now.”

Both children grabbed a piece of bread and dashed through the portico, scattering a flock of rock doves from the walkway.

“Here, you’ll need this.” Amma handed me a linen pouch stuffed with smoked fish and fig cakes.

“I’ll be home after morning practice.”

“I’ll be at the temple today, there is a stomach sickness in the air.”

“Keep it there, please. I don’t have time to get sick right now.”

“It’s one family. I think they drank bad wine. Nothing to worry about.”

I gathered my horn bow and quiver, leather greaves, and vest, and slung my water and food pouches over my shoulder. The glare of the summer heat beating on the sandstone paved street greeted me as I cleared the doorway. Across the walkway, a black stallion snorted a greeting and nodded his head.

“Come on, Kadir. Time to train.”

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