Tuesday, November 24, 2015

FOREVER The Constantines' Secret


FOREVER The Constantines' Secret

The Honeymoon is Bloody Over 

Beth White gave her heart to immortal Kahtar Constantine and joined his clan. She discovers happily ever after is a myth even in the charming village of Willowyth. 

Cultuelle Khristos accepted Beth into the clan before discovering she had seeker blood. They can't see past it. Beth can't see past the truth, but no one wants to hear it--and Kahtar is caught in the middle. 

When the clan's Warriors of ilu vote to shun Beth, Kahtar must choose between centuries of unyielding duty and his heart. 

He chooses wrong. 

In FOREVER The Constantines' Secret Kahtar comes full circle as the truth and his past unexpectedly catch up with him, and forever change his future.

Writing this book was one long labor and delivery process. It felt like FOREVER. That's because when it comes to novel writing I can be a bit of a perfectionist (and so can my editor). It was a BLAST to hang out with Kahtar and Beth again. I love their relationship. Kahtar, ancient immortal warrior with plenty of secrets and Beth, painfully-honest business woman--it's a volatile mix. 

If you've read other Covenant Keeper Novels, you'll know right off that the woman on that cover isn't Beth. So, who is it? Well, you'll have to read the book to get the answer to that question.

It's been an exciting week with FOREVER making its appearance and KAHTAR Warrior of the Ages getting some recognition. KAHTAR is a finalist in the USA Book News 2015 USA Best Book Awards in the Fiction Cross-Genre category. You can check that out here and here! (Scroll down until you recognize Kahtar)! 

Since writing is one of my favorite things to do on earth, my next book is already nearing completion. Actually the next two books are. In the meantime enjoy FOREVER The Constantines' Secret

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Flavia Amphitheater--The Roman Colosseum and My Dangerous Obsession with Archaeology

Traveling to Rome, Ancient Rome, Gladiator, Karfelt, Kahtar
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

In fifth grade someone gave me a large book about archaeological sites.

Thus began my lifelong obsession with archaeology. It was what I was going to do, I decided. This was years before Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The ancient ruins called to me and I imagined myself digging in the dirt in Egypt, Rome, or shivers-of-delight Pompeii. It took me awhile to understand what lay at the root of the attraction. Story.

Not once was I drawn to dinosaur bones. My insatiable curiosity was for the stories attached to these sites and artifacts.

Growing up largely in a small mid-western town I found ways to satiate the need. In the woods behind my house there was the old foundation from a small log cabin, and a well, AND an old wagon wheel.

Farther up the river, where I doubt I was allowed to go, beneath layers of dirt and ash I discovered the remains of a building destroyed in a fire. Not far beneath the surface were pieces of dishes, pottery, metal containers of powdery toothpaste with the label still attached, tiny cobalt and emerald perfume bottles, and the piece de resistance--a china doll head. I still have that head.

Often I've said that the only thing I collect are stories. But bits and pieces I've dug up are among my favorite things. Even as an adult I've continued exploring what lies beneath. Occasionally the results aren't the stories I was hoping for. A creepy little hut deep in the woods filled with hundreds of tiny glass bottles inspired me to keep right on walking. And once I unearthed an assortment of random pharmaceutical bottles, and showed them to a chemist who cautioned me about the dangers of nineteenth century poisons with a long shelf life.

The poison bottles took the wind out of the sails of my amateur digging, and writing stories for publication took my time. But when Dear Hubby said, "Happy Anniversary, would you like to go to Rome?" I spent weeks barely able to sleep from excitement. FINALLY. Just FINALLY I was going to see Ancient Rome.

As fate and non-stop research and reading would have it, my little hotel was located within walking distance of the Colosseum. My first photos were shot out the taxi window. My driver gave his time to give a tour of Rome and point out the major attractions. At one point he even stopped the vehicle so I could take a peek through the Knights of Malta peephole, telling me, "No pictures. Take this one in your heart and keep it there." 

Rome, Travel, Sights, Knights of Malta Peephole
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

The Knights of Malta are the last Knights from the Crusades, and people stand in a long line in a less traveled part of Rome, just to peek through that tiny hole. What I saw in there actually did stay burned into my mind, and I will tell you that it's a breathtaking view of Rome framed by an arbor of grapes. Buildings in Rome aren't allowed to be taller than the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica. It gives the city its unique and unforgettable skyline.

The Colosseum, like so many historical sites, is surrounded by busy streets and pizza shops. Locals dressed in sometimes shabby, sometimes impressive Gladiator or Caesar costumes will pose for pictures with you for a fee. Pickpockets are everywhere. Crowds of people congregate, and figuring out what line to stand in, or how to purchase tickets is confusing. It helped that I did my research ahead of time, and bought my tickets online.

From the outside, the Colosseum is covered in scaffolding and fencing. Weeds and construction supplies surround it. It takes concerted effort to get a picturesque photograph of it from the outside. On the inside is where the Flavia Amphitheater will knock your socks off. What have we built in the 20th or 21st Century that will still be standing in two thousand years? My engineer Dear Hubby says nothing. Steel rusts. The costs of building something out of stone and concrete, using so much manpower, would be out of any budget in this day and age. 

Panoramic View of the Roman Colosseum, Inside the Colosseum
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

The fact that the Colosseum not only still stands, but stands to support the thousands of daily visitors climbing over it, is a feat of engineering that stuns many of the builders, architects, and engineers in the crowd. Dear Hubby, who isn't wild about Ancient History, old stories, or artifacts, had his socks knocked off by the sheer enormity and skill of the structure.

Kahtar, Karfelt, Rome, Colosseum
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

This story-hunter, Archaeologist-wanna-be, enjoyed one of the most exciting days of her life. Although I bought my tickets ahead of time I couldn't score a ticket to explore the deeper recesses or the higher ones. At the time of this writing, I'd say you probably need to book guided tours that go to those places about six weeks ahead. However, I was already at maximum thrill level and wasn't disappointed. The inside of the Colosseum is spectacular in scope and historical value.

There is a cross inside the structure, and another on the outside. From my reading it seems that scholars now say that Christians weren't fed to the lions at this site. The consensus seems to be that most of the horrible treatment of Christians happened in the Circus Maximus at nearby Palatine Hill. Something I hadn't realized before my trip to Rome was that there were many amphitheaters. Gladiators and chariot racing were the entertainment of the time. It's interesting when you look outside these sites to discover the gymnasiums and training grounds of the gladiators nearby. 

Kahtar, Fiction, Warrior of the Ages, Longinus
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

If you visit, I'd recommend bringing a bottle of water, wearing comfortable shoes, being on the defense against pickpockets, and be aware there is little shade. Pack your patience, travel is uncomfortable and wonderful. Every inch of this site interested me, and I pushed Dear Hubby's patience to the limits, like when he drags me to a big fishing show to investigate the newest lures. After an entire day combing the details, he decided I'd taken enough pictures when I started to really get into the old graffiti.

The Roman Colosseum, Ancient Walls, Kahtar
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

But come on, this is where the stories are, inside the walls. From the ancient engineers and the builders to the people who've visited this site over the past two thousand years, many carved their names into the bricks. The people who were there are what caught my imagination. There were gladiators, who trained to fight, many were simply men captured in battle. There's a place where the Vestal Virgins sat. Some of the seats had canvas covering at the time, to provide much needed shade. The cheap seats were at the top, like they are now in our arenas. The politicians surely had the best seats, although speculation says they had no shade.

Karfelt, Author, Kahtar, Gladiator,
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

If walls could talk, right? Sometimes I think they do. You just have to listen. The stories I write are fiction, but it is interesting how much truth you can find in fiction, and how much research goes into making it as realistic as possible. The ancient immortal warrior, Kahtar, that I write about surely battled here. I can feel it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

My Immortal Hero--In Rome with Kahtar

S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

People crowd Saint Peter's Basilica in tour groups and bus loads, some reverent, and some frantic. A sea of humanity moves through the grounds of the Vatican daily. The line to security is deeper than any airport line I've ever stood in. I had a mental list of what I wanted to see. After a couple weeks of travel I'd made it a short list. Three things really.

The Sistine Chapel 
Because I'm a huge fan of Michelangelo. 
It was number three on my list.

The view from the very top of Saint Peter's Basilica
Not from the inside, I mean up top. 
It came in at number two.

I told Dear Hubby I wanted to see the statue of Kahtar.
It was first on my list.

Kahtar is a character who stormed into my head many years ago, demanding painstaking devotion to unearth his story. My immortal hero has walked the earth so long he doesn't even remember where he began, or why he can't end. Apparently memory is finite, he says, I don't know where I came from. Kahtar does remember when he was once called Longinus, and walked the earth as a Roman Centurion. It is a memory he longs to forget.

Longinus, Kahtar, Immortal, Immortality, S.R. Karfelt,
Available for Order 11/10/2015

Kahtar finds out why he's immortal in the next book, the one coming out this month, but I digress. From the time I first put Kahtar's story on the page, I wanted to see the statue of Longinus at Saint Peter's. In my mind's eye they were one and the same, my fictional character, and this ancient warrior. Now Bernini never carved a statue of my immortal hero. He carved a Saint for the Catholic church. Yet somehow it inspired me through years of writing, and hundreds of thousands of words, even though I'd never even seen it.

Rome is an amazing city. It overwhelms you with the history of the ancient world. There is story attached to everything you see. You want to know it and preserve it in pictures. It would surely take a lifetime to begin to scratch the surface of it all. A couple weeks into the trip and Dear Hubby and I were both beginning to suffer from what I call Ancient History Overload, and while I devoured sites exclaiming, "Isn't it beautiful!" He began to respond with, "It's OLD, but interesting."

Inside Saint Peter's Basilica

Standing in the middle of the basilica with his mad scientist eyes glazed over from Ancient History Overload, Dear Hubby said, "Now what do you want to see in here?" That's what it had come down to at that point. He needed to hunt, conquer, and leave. The man was enduring. I understand enduring, that's how I do his fishing trips. I sympathized though, he'd been a trooper for two weeks, even when I spent hours taking pictures of ancient graffiti scrawled into the walls of the Colosseum. 

"I want to see Bernini's statue of Longinus," I said, looking around. There are statues of 140 saints inside Saint Peter's. The church is massive. "He'll have a spear," I added, hoping that would narrow it down, certain this was going to take awhile and wondering if I could find a statue map online really quick. 

"Kahtar's right there." Dear Hubby pointed. "I saw him as soon as we walked in." I fell in love with my husband all over again at that moment. The statue is gorgeous, larger than life like Kahtar himself. Somehow it looked exactly like I knew it would, perhaps bigger, like most everything at the Vatican.

Bernini's Statue of Longinus/My visual of Kahtar

Later we climbed the 448 feet to the top of the dome of the basilica. The first part of the climb takes place inside the dome where a catwalk allows you to gaze down into the church below. I could see Bernini's Longinus from there, my Kahtar. It's a strange thing, inspiration. It comes from where it comes. Fiction too is odd. You make something from nothing until it feels real. I couldn't help but wonder when Bernini carved that statue sixteen hundred years after Longinus lived, if he'd felt the same way.

Rome from the top of Saint Peter's Basilica

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Today I Shall Wear My Magical Alonissos Flip-Flops

S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

Today I shall wear
My magical Alonissos flip-flops

The ones that trod the ancient alleys
And gathered dust along old by-ways,
They've touched the floor of musty taxis
Along twisty-turning highways

Trodden cobble
Slid on marble
Tackled the stony beach hobble

They crossed the deck at sunset
Caressed the dock by moonlight
And danced among drunk seals
To skim the crystal water, more perfectly than heels

Soon enough the world will ice
And take this all from me,
But today I'll wear my flip-flops
That licked the salty sea