The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Better late, than never, please welcome Lorrie Unites-Struiff!!!

First of all, thank you for your patience with me this morning, Lorrie! I am usually so organized with my blogging, so I spiralled into a complete panic when I couldn't open your blog that you so kindly sent me WEEKS ago!!! Anyway, welcome, over to you...

Hello Rachel,
Thank you so much for having me as a guest today.
Hello readers.

About Gypsies

When I think of gypsies, I think of a nomadic people. I imagine colorful caravans, mystical fortune tellers and beautiful violin music. All romantic, don’t you think?
Researching for my modern Roma family depicted in my novella “Gypsy Crystal,” I found some interesting material.
For instance, there is a school of thought that gypsies originated from Egypt, and were called, among other things, Egyptians, or ‘Gyptians, which is how the word “Gypsy” originated.
Today, there are over twelve million Roma living across the world. Many of them are living in the United States and Canada.

Many myths are told about their beginnings. I particularly like the one that tells of, one day while celebrating a holiday around a campfire, a stranger wandered into their camp, and as the usual way of a generous and happy people, they invited him to stay. Oooh! What a mistake.
This was the start of a curse, for this man was a necromancer and insisted the people serve him. The people refused, they loved life and refused to cheat death and serve chaos.

The necromancer raged and cursed them, saying they would forever wander the earth, never to settle and forever be outcasts. He disappeared into the night. The next night the land and their homes were stormed and destroyed by an army of the undead. Many died—or worse.

The survivors fled, regrouped, drew a circle in the dirt, drew their knives and shed drops of their blood into the earth. They vowed to serve balance and protect the land. When the last droplet fell, a strange feeling overcame them, like the land had embraced them. They heard a voice telling them they were to forever wander the land to preserve life at all cost and they now had the ability to curse their sworn enemies. And their greatest enemy of all was-- the undead.

A chilling folktale, no doubt, and had shivers sneaking up my spine.

The Roma people like many others hold certain beliefs and superstitions. You may recognize some of them. I’ll only mention a few.
Good luck charms, amulets, and talismans are common among the Roma. They are carried to prevent misfortune or heal sickness.
How about that rabbit’s foot you carry in your pocket or the horseshoe nailed above your barn?
Knock on wood? Throw salt over your shoulder?

Ceremonial events such as christenings, marriages, and religious festivals are occasions for community activity and sharing. Enormous quantities of food and drink are consumed during these celebrations, and the preparation is long and enthusiastic.
Ahem. I think most of us still go along with this one.

According to traditional Gypsy beliefs, life for the dead continues on another level.
Sound familiar?

Coins are put into the deceased’s coffin to help with their journey into the afterlife.
Another familiar belief many share.
There are many more, but let’s save them for another day.

I remain the romantic. I still imagine the colorful caravans, the mystical fortune tellers and the sweet violin music under a moonlit sky. How about you?
* * *
Everyone has secrets.
Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that shows her the last image a victim had seen before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped.
FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep dark secret about the killer.
When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.
Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?


Before Rita had time to get her fingers on the gun, the man had shot out of the door, yanked her forward, and somehow shoved her headfirst onto the front seat. She skidded over the vinyl bench seat, her nose and cheek hitting hard, blocking her breath for a moment. Rita yelled; the door slammed shut. She scrambled to sit upright, gagging when she inhaled the dank, moldy scent of the interior. A metal object, hanging from the roof above the mirror, clunked heavy against her head. She swallowed the acrid taste in her throat.
The driver’s door opened and the man slipped inside. One corner of her mind wondered how he could have possibly run around the front of the van so fast.
Rita rubbed her bruised temple and twisted the door handle. It was stuck. She rammed her shoulder into the door. It didn’t budge. The window was up. Her purse with the gun lay on the sidewalk. She worked the lock button and slammed into the door again. The impact sent shock waves down her arm to her fingertips. Shit. The van was rigged. Rita looked at the serial killer, her heart banging against her ribs, her breathing short and shallow. Tapping the mic with frantic fingers, all she could do was pray.
The man grinned.
* * *
Visit my website for more info. and to read the great reviews.
Gypsy Crystal is now available in print and Multi-Format e-book at Amazon
Lorrie Unites-Struiff lives in West Mifflin, twenty minutes by parkway to downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has two grown daughters who have left the nest but not her heart.
Lorrie is the founder of the Waterfront Writer’s Workshop in her area, and after seven years has passed the baton to allow her more time for writing. She has many short stories published and is now working on her next novella.

Romantic, sexy, mystical, what more can be said about Gypsies??? You tell us...


  1. I remain a faithful romantic too lol Love the Gypsy info. I might just squirrel that away for research lol

  2. Wow, Lorrie, that legend sent shivers up my spine as well. Fascinating stuff and a very interesting read. Just like Gypsy Crystal. I think it's the bits and pieces of Roma life interwoven in the plot that makes this romantic thriller so special and Rita such a memorable character.

    On another note, I'd like to compliment Rachel on what to me is one of the most attractive blog sites I've seen in a long, long time. It has a clean, easy-to-read format that is also very artistic. Nice job.

    Saludos to all.
    Maria Altobelli

  3. Wow, thank you so much, Maria! That is such a lovely compliment to receive when I feel as though I walking through this blog thing without a clue what I'm doing, LOL!!

    Glad you're all enjoying Lorrie's post - isn't it great?!


  4. Such a cool post, Lorrie. I love research too. The old stories always seem to spark new ones. Luckily for us they did for you too! Best of luck with Gypsy Crystal.

  5. Hi Lorrie. That was some story. You have a lot of cool info there, and the neat thing is you have it just in case you want to write another story about Gypsies.


  6. I enjoy posts on myths and legends. Heck, I've done a few myself (note to self: write another M&L post).

    I also really like Gypsy Crystal, Lorrie. Again, kudos on your release.

    And better late than never is absolutely true!

  7. Well, aren't you quite the researcher! :)Fascinating information. I loved the folktale.
    I always pictured them in long colorful skirts, bandanas and/or tunics. Great gatherings and dancing around a bonfire. Using tarot cards and crystal balls.
    Palm reading and seeing into the future...It does sound romantic.

    I think that's why my favorite character was Uncle Dragus. Ya!

    Congrats again. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel. Oh, is that aother one of their beliefs/superstitions?

  8. Lorrie is the genuine article and it's evident through her detailed research. What a wonderful way to flesh out a story and still share with readers a story with in a story. I'm not surprised considering I became a fan of Lorrie when I first read her short story "Splat" a supernatural dark comedy. "Gypsy Crystal" is another testament to her great work.

  9. Margaret- yes,tuck this away for future reference. They are a fascinating people.

    Maria-there are a few more that made me shiver I have yet to tell. And Rachel does have a great site. It's an honor to be appearing here.

    Cate-yes research seems to make more stories zoom around in the brain. And I do love research. And like Cathy said, use it for more gypsy stories.

    Marva-I've read your blog. You do some neat articles on myths and characters.

    Darla--Uncle Dragus is my teddybear. I loved him too. So sweet and cuddly.

    Thanks Frances-I think you are going to like my Winnie character too. Another fun person along with Fat Phil in my COD series.

  10. Hi Lorrie
    I am so glad to see a writer who researches. I agree that it is so important. Because of that, I know your book will be very interesting and full of facts that make sense--and that always helps the storyline along.
    I can't wait to read Gypsy. Sounds fabulous. You should consider going on tour and giving advice to writers!

  11. HI LORRIE ,


  12. Hi Loiej, lol, I'm still getting advice from some great critters myself. I have a fantastic group.

    Marge, maybe you'll see Captain Midnight on another post. I bet all will wonder what we are writing about. lol. Thanks for commenting