Thursday, December 26, 2013

Proud Auntie Gini

Mary and Jayme,
my niece and her husband in Alaska.
So proud of both of you.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another contract with THE WILD ROSE PRESS

   I’m thrilled to announce I just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for book #6. It's a western novella called......


                                  The setting is 1880, Colorado.

                            "She believes in the Tarrot cards."

  "Four-of -a-kind is more his style."

"Either way, the cards never lie."

    Watch for "Fate of a Cowboy" coming in 2014...Follow the adventures of an English woman, Britania Rule, as she travels the Colorado backcountry with drifter/gambler Cody James.

More to come....regarding cover art and release date.
visit me on facebook

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Thank you, Darlene @ Still Moments Magazine for the 4.5 star review.
Darlene writes: A beautifully written story with an exquisite detailed setting for each scene and the enchanting landscape. The unexpected suspense with its twists and turns will keep your attention to the very end. This charming and emotion packed story is a must read.
Available now at Amazon, click link below

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sisters, shopping, and sweet treats

    My sister's birthday and mine are only 1 week apart. Our little joke is to take each other to lunch, which basically is just payin' your own way. We look forward to this every year, and try to find a new place to experience, and of course it must feature great deserts.

   This year we went to Bistrot des Artistes. A french cafe that had a terrific menu and dreamy deserts.

    The outside was adorable, it was too cool to eat alfresco, but we made a pack to come back during a warmer month so we could wear long dresses and big hats and pretend we were on the Champs Elysées, or the Left Bank, or someplace French.  

The inside was delightful as well, with old world charm and whimsy.The menu included pumpkin soup, French onion soup, salads, and of course quiches, as well as various sandwiches, and panini.   

    Then there were the deserts, a sweet lovers dream. Chocolate Oblivion Cake, Carmel Oblivion Cake, Chocolate mousse, raspberry tarts, lemon meringue tarts, tiramisu, eclairs, and pies, cakes and cookies. We have to go back soon! 
     Finished feasting, there is a shop to browse filled with jams, homemade bread, cookbooks, crepe pans, linens, spices, ceramics, and other chachkies you can't live without.

    And if that isn't enough, there is an annex, kept at a very cold temperature, filled with imported cheeses and lots of samples for tasting.

   This year's location could be the all time favorite. And now I need some chocolate.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


   Thank you Jessi, and all the wonderful people at Farr Library in Greeley who made ReadCon 2013 possible. What a great experience.

 And thanks to my sister for fearlessly driving us to parts unknown (we only go a little bit lost!), and for manning the camera, and sharing the adventure.

  It was fun to meet other authors and readers, getting to know what genre they preferred, if they leaned toward E-books or paperbacks, etc.


  We  met several celebrities there. They were really good about us Paparazzi-ing them. 

 "Hi Edgar, my name is Virginia, just like your wife."
"Ooooh, Fabio, my hero."
                "Forget Scarlett, stay with me Rhett."

All in all a spectacular time......and I didn't even try the brew! Heard it was very good with lots of interesting "flavors".


Monday, October 28, 2013

Blessed Samhain and Happy Celtic New Year

Samhain, my favorite night of the year.

    Welcome to my circle.
Let all who stand within it be here of their own free will,
and accord in peace and love.

       Samhain, pronounced Sah-ween, Sow-win, or Sow-wan (your choice, there aren’t a lot of Ancient Celts around to ask!) had its beginnings as pre-Christian festival of the dead. It was also the beginning of the New Year, and so the wheel turns.

   Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. Pope Gregory the 1st, suggested rather than wiping out Pagan holidays, they be converted to Christian Holy days. It didn’t work too well for Samhain.

  November 1st was soon called All Saints Day, and in the 9th century, the church tried again to supplant Samhain with a Christian feast on November 2nd called All Souls Day. But nothing stopped the traditional beliefs, and customs lived on in new guises.


  All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed meaning sanctified or holy), gave rise to the night before being called All Hallows Eve, which became Hallow Evening, which became Halloween. And so Samhain was transformed into Halloween.

     The modern day customs we carelessly practice are not modern at all. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and about, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like the very creatures they feared, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice called mumming, is now called trick-or-treating.      
   But although we only play at wanting to see monster on Halloween, it is best to remember that on this night, the veil between the worlds is thin, and spirits are roaming in earnest. The gates between the worlds are open wide. And while we seek the Ancient Ones, with open hearts and open hands to honor our beloved dead and to receive the blessing of the universe, there are malevolent spirits abroad as well. You stand at the doorway of the New Year in a place that is not a place and a time that is not in time. 

     In this doorway we are neither in the past or the future, nor are we in our accustomed world, but are in the eternal present in the Summer Lands, lands of the Dead, the Realm of Ancestors, the Island of Avalon.

     So, as you go innocently about on Halloween, best keep watch over your shoulder, and don’t be stingy with your gifts to the gods!
Happy Samhain. Happy New Year.
Facebook Gini Rifkin/author




Monday, October 21, 2013

VICTORIAN DREAM earns 4.5 star review

Oh Happy Day:
Murder, Mayhem, and a Marriage of Convenience...

Victorian Dream, my March release from The Wild Rose Press, got a 4.5 star review from Still Moments Magazine. Full review will be featured in...Between the their December publication.

visit for excerpt.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


    Enter and win books, gift baskets, gift cards and more.......Contest runs Sept. 15th--Oct. 31st.


 Visit my website
    for contest clues, or go to
          Night OWL REVIEW

 Wishing you good luck,
and a spooky good time.

Gini Rifkin

Thursday, September 26, 2013


    Oh happy day, the land-line is working again.....  

     What would Mr. Bell think of today's technology?

      Bet he would love it, and be first in line for the newest model.

                         Alexander Graham Bell,
           inventor of the telephone, March 10, 1876.

  First phone conversation, to his assistant, Thomas Watson: "Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you."

    Please don't text and drive, nothing is more important than arriving alive.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Colorado flood / Above water but no phone yet

There is a difference between a flood
and a flash flood.
 A flash flood does not rise slowly or go gently into the night. It crashes and churns and destroys everything in its path. I was fortunate to only have my phone cut off and the main roads to town washed away. May not have service until October.

Here is the place where my friends kept their two beautiful paint horses. They got them out in the  nick of time. The big watering trough is now down the road miles away, the shelter was smashed the iron fence ripped out along with several large trees, and the flat bed trailer has yet to be found. 
Please take a moment to send good thoughts for strength to endure, to those who might have lost family  members, or animals, or there entire homes in this disaster.   
  It is a reality check on what is important, and lets you know who you friends really are. My thanks to them and to my sister Kathy and my brother-in-law Steve.
face book Gini Rifkin/author 


Monday, September 16, 2013


    Enter and win books, gift baskets, gift cards and more.......Contest runs Sept. 15th--Oct. 31st.


 Visit my website
    for contest clues, or go to
          Night OWL REVIEW

 Wishing you good luck,
and a spooky good time.

Gini Rifkin

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The English? Longbow

   A few weeks ago, a wonderful longtime friend, Ken Wee, dropped by. 

   Maker of bows, arrows, and atlatls, he brought along an authentic English longbow. What a thrill to see and hold the medieval weapon. It was beautiful, taller than me,
fashioned with mother-of-peal inlaid where the arrow would rest and gold leaf on the leather grip. 
   Made by Rawnsley, bow-maker to the Queen!
Thoughts of longbows inspire visions of Robin Hood.

but it was a much earlier weapon, and not invented by the English. Although it is commonly referred to as the English Longbow, it was the achievement of the Celts in Wales around 1180 C.E., and not used routinely by the English military until years later.

  The bows were often made-to-order, therefore the length of the weapon could vary considerably, ranging up to even 7 feet. They were incredibly strong, made from center and sap wood, the width being around 5/8 inch wide and in the shape of a D. The preferred wood to use was yew, which was hardened and cured for 4 years for best results, but ash, hazel and elm were also employed.

   The bow had up to a 200 lb. pull, thus requiring tremendous strength and a life-long practice and training.  Supposedly, one study showed the skeletons of archers actually had bone spurs caused by their overdeveloped musculature. 

      The bow could shoot over 1/2 mile with enough force to knock a knight off his horse. The  arrows shot commonly from the longbow were called bodkin arrows of varying length depending on purpose, designed for breaking through chain mail. With the force of the longbow behind it, it was capable of penetrating plate mail of all but the best quality. Here is an interesting website where actual testing of this theory was made  One story states that an arrow shot from a longbow pierced an oak door 4 inches thick.

    The English Archery Law of the 13th century ensured that English men would become experts with the bow and arrow. In 1252 the 'Assize of Arms' ordered by law that all Englishmen between the ages of 15 to 60 should equip themselves with a bow and arrows. (One wonders if these were longbows because as stated, practical use of them required such strength and practice.) 



   The Plantagenet King Edward III took this further and decreed the Archery Law in 1363 which commanded the obligatory practice of archery on Sundays and holidays! The Archery Law "forbade, on pain of death, all sport that took up time better spent on war training, especially archery practice".  King Henry I later proclaimed that an archer would be absolved of murder, if he killed a man during archery practice. Now there is a great plot point for a medieval mystery.

    The Hundred Years War was where the longbow really showed its strength. Some say that in the war’s most decisive battles, the longbow was the weapon that turned the tides.

    The battle of Crecy was one of the largest battles of the Hundred Years War. With 35000-40000 French against 12000 English, the English obviously being hopelessly outnumbered. But the English had one trick up their sleeves, 6000 longbow men. The French, laughed as the English, charged, but not for long.

      As the French charged, the English unleashed volley after volley of arrows, that’s 15 or so a minute or one every 4 seconds. The rain of arrows cut through the crossbowmen killing over 12000 of them. The arrows also killed ranks of infantry that would have completely destroyed the English’s 6000 infantry but whose chain mail did nothing against the 200 pound force behind the arrows.


    The only thing the English had to worry about was the knight, the tanks of the Middle Ages, but with repeated effort, the arrows cut them down as well. The English prevailed, only suffering the loss of 1000 men while the French suffered 30,000 killed and wounded. Eleven princes of royal blood were also killed, much to the dismay of the English king who would have liked to have held them for ransom.

    In Agincourt another battle was won against impossible odds, and the social structure of the middle ages was changed forever. A peasant armed with a longbow was able to kill a knight wearing full plate armor. One arrow shot by a peasant could kill the most powerful knight on the battle field.

     Refuting the myth of the longbow being an uber weapon during these battles, is this very engaging website  The debate goes on, but the myth lives on as well.

     Around this same time, guns and cannons were being invented, yet the longbow was still the leading weapon on the battlefield. Guns, with an even slower rate of fire and a tendency to explode on the user, allowed the longbow to continue its reign of dominance as the number 1 weapon. Cannons were also slower to reload, at best only being fired 2 or 3 times in one battle. And while the cannon certainly left a bigger hole in whomever it hit, the longbow could kill many more French.


   The longbow contributed to the way our world works today. War being one of the greatest mothers of invention, both the English and the French rushed to discover new technologies, pulling Europe out of the Middle Ages. And peasants were able to assert their power against the noble knights. This is why the English longbow is often considered the most important English military invention of the 1300s. It changed the political face of Europe forever.

Kudos and thanks to these two websites for information used in this blog post.   

Please check out my website and give me a like on Facebook Gini Rifkin/author.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lammas and the mysterious death of William II


      Being neither Solstice nor Equinox, Lughnassad, is a cross quarter day, and therefore a reverse barometer as far as the weather is concerned.

    Known by the Christianized name of Lammas, it is typically celebrated on August 1st, although some traditions adhere to a date closer to the actual cross quarter date which is usually around August 6th.  

    Lammas is the first harvest of the year. It is the time when the grain is ripening. Just take a gander at those golden fields of wheat. However, in modern times other fruits and vegetables are ripening too, no doubt right in your own backyard garden. Peaches, pears, tomatoes, summer squash, lettuce, as well as many other long awaited treats. It is a time when we rejoice in the plenty now available to us before the second and third harvests begin in earnest.

   In Celtic culture, particularly in Ireland, it was the time of year that marriages were arranged. Young people without partners attended gatherings to seek betrothals. These betrothals were for a year and a day, giving the young couples time to determine if this marriage would bring forth offspring and if they were compatible. These handfastings were reported as late as the 15th century.

    In other cultures the first harvest is associated with Goddesses such as Demeter, Ceres, Corn mother and various other agricultural Goddesses such as Baba Yaga. The male counterpart, manifests as Lugh, John Barleycorn, and a variety of other vegetation Gods.

     As we reap the bounty of the Mother Earth we can draw good fortune to ourselves by creating a corn dolly from the first grain to honor the Great Mother. Or, one can bake a cake of the first grains and give a portion of it back to the Earth with thanks for her bounty.

     The day lends itself to agricultural festivals including corn and apple festivals. Additionally, this was historically the time of craft fairs with gaily-decorated booths dotting the ancient agricultural festival sites. Are you going to Scarborough fair? As with all pagan holidays these were days of joy and a rare day off from the daily toil our ancestors faced. Plays were held, dances brought villagers together, with reveling commencing at sunset and continued through the night.

    Impossible for the Christian religion to stamp out the old ways, Lughnassad, was Christianized and converted to Lammas. Lammas means "Loaf Mass" for it was the day the first loaves from the first harvest were laid on the altar as offerings to the Christian god.

   All well and good, but what does this have to do with William II, son of William the Conqueror? I beg your indulgence, we’re getting there.

  Prior to conquering England, William I was known as William the Bastard.  He came from Normandy, was the decedent of Vikings, and he spoke French. He changed the fate of England in one battle. Married to Matilda, credited with inspiring the creation of the amazing Bayeux tapestry, he had upwards of ten children (poor Matilda, it’s a wonder she had time for needlework).
 Many of the children were girls, lost to sexist obscurity. Of the four sons, three lived to manhood, (Richard died young in a hunting accident).

     Robert Curthose, which translates to “short stockings”, so called because of his small stature, was William’s eldest and was given the rule of Normandy. Robert was a problem child, and unhappy with not being in line for the thrown of England, he rebelled against his father and brothers, causing general mayhem on both sides of the channel. Though not for want of trying, he never became king.

   Henry Beauclerc, so called because of his scholarly nature, was the youngest of the three, he received no land but rather monetary compensation.

   Yes, yes, you say, but again what the heck does this have to do with Lammas and William II, known as William Rufus due to his ruddy complexion.

  William I decreed the New Forest belonged only to him. All peasants and commoners were barred access for hunting, foraging, or grazing their stock. This caused great resentment in the Saxon people. As King, William II carried on the tradition, offering bounties on wolf hides so game would be plentiful. Extremely fond of the hunt, he went out to do so late on the eve of Lammas. Was a secret pagan society at work that night, were the peasants rebelling and using the earlier death of his brother as their inspiration, or was it simply fate?

     As dusk fell in the primeval forest, an arrow struck William II in the heart, killing him instantly. Horrified, his “loyal companions” abandoned him as they fled to secure their private holdings. Such a sudden change in kingship would no doubt cause turmoil. His body lay where it fell, unattended all night, picked up the next morning by a charcoal burner named Purkiss.

  Fingers were pointed at Sir Walter Tyrell, but he absconded to France. When William II died, brother Robert was afar, just returning from the 1st crusade, so brother Henry seized the golden opportunity to take the throne of England. Henry never pursued the theory that Tyrell was guilty, nor was anyone ever accused or condemned as the William II’s assassin. Henry’s lack of search for the truth has led to conjecture as to his being complicit in the “accident”.   

   So there you have it. The mystery of William II and Lammas. Perhaps there was a comet seen shortly before that haunting Lammas night. After all, one heralded the fall of King Harold Godwinson those may years before in 1066 when William the Conqueror set all this in motion.  

     William II, and his rather treacherous Holy henchman, Ranulf Flambard, are seconday characters in my Medieval romance, The Dragon and The Rose.