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...
Thank you so much for having me as a guest today.
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.
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. http://struiff.wordpress.com/ 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...