Tag: alchemy

Revisiting #PNR Bleeding Heart

bleeding heart 600So, as promised, Monday posts in February are devoted to my romance work. Today, I’d like to take another look at Bleeding Heart, Book 1 of the Medici Protectorate series.

The idea for the series came to me from my beloved grandfather, John Naccarato. The 30th anniversary of his passing was yesterday, February 7, so I think remembering him and his legacy is a fitting thing to do right now.

When I was young, I used to sit on my grandfather’s lap and ask him to tell me stories. One that really stuck with me was of his father’s birth. My great-grandfather never met his dad. He was the illegitimate son of Italian nobility. I used to dream that someone from that family would come and take us to Italy, would recognize my family as one of their own and welcome us into their country and their lives.

I guess it was my own version of the Princess Diaries. Only my version was steeped in reality but never came to fruition.

Italian Americans

My Great-Grandmother, My Grandfather, and His Siblings

Several years later, that story of my grandfather’s heritage still lingered on my mind. I was considering different story ideas, and my kids—who I’d told the story to—told me I should I begin with that premise. It sounded like a great idea. And because my kids suggested it, I wanted them to be part of the process. They both hold black belts in TaeKwonDo, and at the time were training heavily with weapons. So the concept of unbreakable daggers was born. And because my kids loved fantasy, a magical element was thrown in.

I’m currently writing the third installment of the Medici Protectorate series. The storyworld and plots have been developed for years. (Book 2, Mind Control, is complete and with the publisher. Expected release date is May 20, 2016.) And to me, even though it’s no longer my grandfather’s heritage story, I find it to be the perfect blend between my ancestors and my children. I think my grandfather—and hopefully his father—would love it.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

It was supposed to be a soft kiss, barely a tender caress. Just enough to whet his appetite and tease hers. But when his mouth met hers, a dark desire awakened in him. He fisted his hand in her hair and pulled her to him, claiming her with a deep, passionate kiss.

So, there you have it. A never before released excerpt from Bleeding Heart. If you’d like more information, you can find it on the Bleeding Heart page. If you want to read the first chapter (plus a little more), it is available for free in the sidebar. And if you’d like to read the whole novel, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Oh, and a reminder. Type and Cross and Bleeding Heart are currently on sale, but the price will be going up after February 19. If you want them but haven’t purchased them yet, now’s your chance to get them for under a dollar a piece.

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think about Bleeding Heart, the premise, or about alchemy and powers. Let’s talk about it.

Alchemy, the Forbidden Magic of the Renaissance

alchemyWe are a society of science and technology. It’s been centuries since we’ve believed in magic and mysticism. At least, that’s the trend. Some people believe to this day.

What if they’re correct?

That’s one of the theories posited in my latest release, paranormal romance Bleeding Heart, Book One of the Medici Protectorate Series.

If you read paranormal fiction, you go into it knowing societal norms will be challenged. There may be ghosts, witches, werebeasts, the undead… any manner of supernatural aspects. In my novel, a main character uses alchemy to imbue handcrafted marble daggers with magical powers—powers which affect the warriors who use them in fascinating ways.

alchemy symbolsAs early as the 1300s and well into the Renaissance, alchemy was forbidden by the Church for several reasons. The uneducated considered it an occult practice, which was a danger to organized religion. The devout felt alchemists dabbled in God’s realm, which was sacrilegious. Also, many alchemists were scam artists who used deception to “prove” their abilities. By 1404 in England, those who worked in alchemy could be punished by death. Due to these facts, many alchemists hid their interest in the pursuit.

That didn’t stop people from practicing alchemy, though.

Famous practitioners include Roger Bacon, Nicholas Flamel, John Dee, Isaac Newton, Paracelsus, and even Pope John XXII.

In my novel, I’ve taken liberties with history and made Michelangelo an alchemist. He uses his skills to help the Medici secure their destinies… and in the process, he sets in motion a series of events in modern day Pennsylvania which places one Italian-American family in mortal danger.

In Bleeding Heart, the dagger wielded by the warrior is crafted from red marble. The properties of red stones strengthen the body, add vitality to life, and represents passion and lust. This warrior contends with the positive and negative aspects of these traits, and his primary element is fire.

If you like romances and love the potential alchemy brings to a story, I think you’ll enjoy Bleeding Heart, available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.

Amazing When Sweaty Teaser  Bleeding Heart Front Cover 300  Targets Teaser 2

Catherine Medici and the Occult Mirror

divination mirror

Thanks to my sister, Michele, for sending me a photo of a family heirloom… not quite as old as the Medici mirror, though.

In the time of the Renaissance, the discipline known as alchemy saw its practitioners combine philosophy, science, occultism, and theology in their pursuits to understand and improve the world[1]. Many of these men were themselves in the religious life, where others hid their studies and experiments in fear of retribution from the church.

Whether hiding or practicing in plain sight, one thing remains clear: alchemy was the stepping stone to sciences we know today.

So why did the mystical element come into play? Alchemists were searching not only to make sense of our universe, but to extend life (in some cases indefinitely) and create wealth[2]. More than science and prayer would be needed to achieve these goals, and magicians, whether well-regarded or in disfavor, had been around for centuries. Many experiments were conducted combining “magical” properties and scientific ones.

Mirrors held a special place in the worlds of occult and alchemy, because they were used for catoptromancy[3] (the use of reflective surfaces to see past, present, or future events). Some say they were first used by the witches of Thessaly, who wrote their visions on them in human blood. Others believe the Persians, specifically the Magi, first used them for divination[4].

These “mirrors” could really be any reflective surface: a bottle of water, a pool, a slab of obsidian, or an actual looking glass. Mirrors with flowers on them (or even the word “flower”) were thought to be satanic tools, as St. Cyprian said the devil sometimes appeared in the shape of a flower[5].

Medici

Catherine de Medici—By Piero d’Houin dit Inocybe [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Catherine de Medici was said to have one of these magic mirrors, and she supposedly used it extensively to help her predict her future, and the future of France itself[6].

And this is where my story comes into play.

Lagan Press will be releasing the first of my Medici Protectorate Series in May. Bleeding Heart follows Francesca (Franki) and her sisters as they learn they are actually the only living descendants of the Medici family. Warriors from the Medici Protectorate are assigned to keep them safe. Franki has inherited a mirror—likely Catherine de Medici’s mirror—and she has a vision depicting a dangerous situation. Her personal guardian, Gianni, was there. But was he there to save her, or was he the cause of the danger? (You can read more about Bleeding Heart here and about the Medici Protectorate Series here.)

I hope you’re enjoying these snippets of research I used as I wrote my novel. I found so much of this history fascinating, and there is way too much to include in the story, so I’m sharing some of it here with you.

Do you have an interest in the history of alchemy? Do you know anything about it? Do you believe people can see things when they meditate? I’d love to discuss this. Leave a comment below.


[1] https://explorable.com/renaissance-alchemy
[2] https://explorable.com/renaissance-alchemy
[3] http://www.psychic-revelation.com/reference/a_d/catoptromancy/
[4] http://www.djmcadam.com/mirrors.htm
[5] http://www.djmcadam.com/mirrors.htm
[6] http://www.occultopedia.com/m/mirror.htm

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