Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Prophetic Mayan Queen by Leonide Martin



She was born to serve the Goddess Ix Chel. But K'inuuw Mat is destined to continue the Palenque (Lakam Ha) dynasty by marriage to Tiwol, fourth son of famous ruler Pakal. Trained in prophetic arts, she uses scrying to foresee the face of the man with whom she will bear the dynastic heir—but it is not her husband's image. She is shocked upon arriving at Palenque to recognize that face as her husband's older brother, Kan Bahlam. They are immediately attracted, sharing deep interest in astronomy. Though she resists, the magnetic force of their attraction propels them into forbidden embraces, until Kan Bahlam designs a bold plan that would solve his inability to produce a son—if he can gain his brother's cooperation. 

Set in the splendor of Lakam Ha's artistic and scientific zenith, royal family conflicts and ambitions play out in a tapestry of brilliant Mayan accomplishments in calendars, astronomy, architecture, arts, and secret language codes that will astound people centuries later. As K'inuuw Mat contends with explosive emotions, she must answer the Goddess' mandate to preserve Mayan culture for future generations. Her passion with Kan Bahlam leads to a pale daughter and bold son who carry this out as their civilization begins the decline and eventual collapse her prophetic vision foresees. 

One great cycle rolls into the next . . .

Contemporary Mexican archeologist Francesca and her partner Charlie, a British linguist, venture into Chiapas jungles to a remote Maya village, seeking to unravel her grandmother's secrets. The hostile village shaman holds the key, but refuses to share with outsiders the scandal that leads to foreign blood and ancient Palenque lineages. Only by re-claiming her own shamanic heritage can Francesca learn the truth of who she is, and bring her dynasty into the present.  



Excerpt

After several rounds of dancing, Tiwol took K'inuuw Mat's hand and they returned to their mat. Her fingers entwined with his; she liked the warmth of his grasp. She felt happy and content, thinking that the Goddess' intentions were surely coming to pass. Tiwol turned to talk with two young men who stood by the mat. Still standing, K'inuuw Mat looked across the patio to watch the more vigorous dancing that had started. She patted one foot in rhythm to the music, until suddenly she caught view of the man who had just entered from the far veranda. 

Her heart did a flip-flop and began pounding, while her stomach clenched into a tight knot. Eyes wide in disbelief, she stared at the tall man slowly weaving his way between dancers. Torchlight caught his face and brought his features into sharp focus—the face she had seen in her scrying bowl.

No-nooo!  Her mind screamed silently. This could not be happening. The exact face, every feature she had so carefully memorized, of the man who would be her husband. Just when she accepted that her scrying was inaccurate, he appeared precisely as she had been shown. A wave of nausea swept over her and she clutched her stomach, dropping her gaze and collapsing onto the mat.

Interview

What should readers expect when they pick up your book?

Readers should expect to be transported back 1300 years to the lush jungles of southern Mexico and Guatemala where the ancient Mayan culture thrived. Surrounded by birdcalls and monkey chatter, moisture dripping from the dense canopy, earthy humus and tropical flower scents, they will gaze awestruck at towering pyramids and wide plazas gleaming white in the hot sun. The masters of this intense world soon appear, to astonish readers with their exotic costumes, high court protocol, advanced arts and sciences, and surprisingly familiar society. Human desires, ambitions, and foibles remain much the same, no matter the outer differences in their cities and environments. 

As readers delve into the book, they will discover fascinating characters and a compelling story. Although their names may seem odd, using the rhythm of Mayan names helps readers feel a unique vibrational quality. (A pronunciation guide is given in the end material). The main female character, K'inuuw Mat, wants to become a priestess but her destiny is to marry into the region's ruling family at Palenque and produce the dynastic heir. Her course in life seems set until she encounters a forbidden love, and realizes the duty to preserve Mayan culture for future generations rests on her shoulders. The story is full of palace intrigue, hostilities between cities, pageantry and rituals, and the tangle of relationships in the royal family. Kan Bahlam, the ruler's oldest son and K'inuuw Mat's brother-in-law, has driving ambition to rule and intense attraction to her which play out in unexpected ways. 
     
Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.

I love this cover—it creates a magical and soaring tone that fits perfectly with K'inuuw Mat's prophetic abilities and mandate to save Mayan culture. She is pictured on the cover, standing on a pyramid with rays of the setting summer solstice sun highlighting her face. Her hands are making a Mayan hand sign that signifies "breaking through" or transformation. The Mayas had a complex language written with hieroglyphs, augmented by hand signs. 

The inspiration for the cover is part of Palenque's history. When Kan Bahlam became ruler, he designed a complex of three pyramids called The Cross Group. Each pyramid had deep symbolism reflecting Maya cosmology, their creation myth, and his accomplishments as an incarnation of the Gods. On the largest of the three, The Temple of the Cross (Sun God's Temple), there was a stela—standing stone monument—carved with Kan Bahlam's full figure and many hieroglyphs. It was set on the upper stairs of the pyramid, where once each year the setting sun illuminated it. In my story, K'inuuw Mat acts as his muse in creating this complex. Theirs was a deep and highly creative relationship. When thinking of a cover, I envisioned her standing in the place where the stela once stood to honor him. After his death, the stela was destroyed in an enemy attack. It is the only stela ever erected at Palenque, though most other Maya cities had many. 

What have been your most effective ways to connect with readers?

I connect mostly with readers through social media. Initially my books were ebooks and using the internet was essential. Now they are also in print. I have a website devoted to my writing, and a blog where I focus on Mayan culture. My Author Facebook page features Mayan culture and my books; I also have a personal Facebook page. As a member of Goodreads, BookBub, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I find these all serve connecting with readers. You can see my author profile on Amazon, Authors DB, and other online sites. 

What kind of books did you like to read growing up?

Historical fiction was always my favorite to read while growing up. My grandfather sent me many novels over the years, made easier for a youngster through Readers Digest Condensed Books. I continue reading this genre, now in full novel form. I also like reading mysteries, especially in archeological settings. As a teen I read lots of Western and space adventures. 

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My greatest ambition was to complete this four-book series about Mayan Queens. I started writing about ancient Mayas over 15 years ago, and had to do lots of research. This involved numerous trips to Maya ruins, and living in Yucatan, Mexico, for 5 years where I studied and apprenticed with Mayan elders. I conceived the series while living there, and started writing the first book in 2007. Now that the final book is published, I'm focusing on the book launch and marketing. After that, I've got some projects on the horizon branching in new directions. 

Do you listen to music when you're writing?

Actually, there is music playing as I write this interview! But, it's not music that I've deliberately put on—it's a classical symphony that my husband is watching through music streaming on his computer next to mine. If he isn't around, I don't put on music myself. Not that I prefer writing in silence, but that my concentration is so intense that I tune out the surrounding world.  Music, as everything else, would be lost on me when I'm writing.   

Any last words?   

Each book in the Mayan Queens (Mists of Palenque) series stands alone. You can read in any order, each is a complete story about one queen's life and world. All four of these powerful women were real historical figures in the dynasty of Palenque. In telling their stories, I've made efforts to remain true to what we know about them from the archeological record. There is a surprising amount of information about the Mayas, from over 100 years of exploration and excavation. Not much is known, however, about their personal lives, feelings, hopes, fears, and loves. This is where an author's story-telling imagination comes into play, and I've used a great deal of it. 

Thanks for visiting Edgar's Books and my blog tour. I really appreciate your taking time to read these thoughts. I hope you will read the story of K'inuuw Mat. If I'm successful in getting your interest, I'd love for you to read the entire series.

Thanks...


About the Author

Leonide (Lennie) Martin: Retired California State University professor, former Family Nurse Practitioner, Author and Maya researcher, Research Member Maya Exploration Center.

My books bring ancient Maya culture and civilization to life in stories about both actual historical Mayans and fictional characters. I've studied Maya archeology, anthropology, and history from the scientific and indigenous viewpoints. While living for five years in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, I apprenticed with Maya Elder Hunbatz Men, becoming a Solar Initiate and Maya Fire Women in the Itzá Maya tradition. I've studied with other indigenous teachers in Guatemala, including Maya Priestess-Daykeeper Aum Rak Sapper and Maya elder Tata Pedro. The ancient Mayas created the most highly advanced civilization in the Western hemisphere, and my work is dedicated to their wisdom, spirituality, scientific, and cultural accomplishments through compelling historical novels.

My interest in ancient Mayan women led to writing the Mayan Queens' series called Mists of Palenque. This 4-book series tells the stories of powerful women who shaped the destinies of their people as rulers themselves, or wives of rulers. These remarkable Mayan women are unknown to most people. Using extensive research and field study, I aspire to depict ancient Palenque authentically and make these amazing Mayan Queens accessible to a wide readership.

My writing has won awards from Writer's Digest for short fiction, and The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik'nal of Palenque (Mists of Palenque Series Book 1) received the Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Self-Published eBook award in 2015. The Controversial Mayan Queen: Sak K'uk of Palenque (Book 2) published in 2015. The Mayan Red Queen: Tz'aakb'u Ahau of Palenque (Book 3) received a Silver Medal in Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards for 2016. The Prophetic Mayan Queen: K'inuuw Mat of Palenque (Book 4) is the final in the series, published in November 2018.

I live with my husband David Gortner and two white cats in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country, where I enjoy gardening, hiking, and wine tasting.

For more information about my writing and the Mayas, visit:


Giveaway
Leonide Martin will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway