Tag Archives: Rita Bay’s Blog

Welcome to Americana Month

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Welcome to Americana month at Rita Bay’s Blog. November is for Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo. Everyone knows about Thanksgiving but NaNoWriMo is the month that authors and would-be authors across the world commit to writing 50,000 words in thirty days. This will be my 5th year, but I’ve only met the goal once. Not sad, though. I’ve finished a novel each November, then cleaned it up in December.

That kind of writing is really intense, so a lot of things get done early or fall by the wayside. House will be cleaned, food will be cooked, and Rita Bay’s Blog for November will be written and scheduled in October. Americana looks at Thanksgiving through the writings of famous Americans in history and vintage postcards. There’ll also be some recipes from American history and my family’s personal papers. Finally, I’ll be sharing pics of my packrat family’s stuff from the last century or two, especially tools specific for men and women’s work. One tool I’m not really sure what it is or how it was used. So join me throughout this month’s journey through the past. Enjoy!

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A Ghost Story & My Carved Pumpkin

PumpkinPostJClick the icon above to visit Long and Short Reviews where my ghost story is featured. Check out my Screamin’ Demon pumpkin that is the centerpiece of my Halloween decorations that will greet trick-or-treaters Thursday. Four little neighbors ages five and under ably assisted Sunday in preparing and carving the pumpkin. We scraped out and cooked the guts of the pumpkin. The seeds were boiled and baked into tasty treats that were definitely not a hit with the little ones. We cooked the pumpkin pulp and mashed it into a puree that was baked into loaves of pumpkin bread that went home with the seeds to share with the parents. The two sets of siblings (Diane & William and Tamika & Alisha) were hilariously precious mixing their own batters using non-breakable tools. A half-dozen dish towels and a roll of paper towels bit the dust in the process.

I took the easy way out with our caramel apples and used prepared caramel sheets that can be wrapped around the apples and baked for a few minutes until melted. Worked well but imagine the mess a couple of two-year-olds can make consuming caramel apples. All-in-all it was loads of fun. I had the camera ready, but – to be honest – didn’t have time to capture memories to share. The parents will have to make do with delicious pumpkin bread (see the recipe below), not-so-great seeds, and the remains of caramel apples.

Pumpkin Bread

3     C sugar
1     C vegetable oil
4     eggs, beaten
2     C cooked pumpkin pulp, mashed
3 ½ C flour
1     C chopped pecans (on other nuts)
2     tsp salt
2     tsp soda
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½    tsp ground cloves
2/3    C water

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter & flour 2 9”x 5” loaf pans. Beat together sugar, oil, and beaten eggs. Add pumpkin and stir. Combine dry ingredients and mix into sugar/oil/egg mixture a little bit at a time.  Add water. Pour into pans. Bake at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes until cake tester comes out dry. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans. Enjoy!!

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Welcome Champagne Author Alan Keen

Meet the Author

In 2012 Alan Keen released The Tales of Averon Trilogy, a series of books that had previously been self-published before placing with a New Generation Publishing. The first was originally a children’s book, but the content and theme became popular with adults and took a mature direction by the time the trilogy was released. The book won The New Generation Publishing Prize for that year and gained him international recognition. Towards the middle of the year he then co-won the international competition to finish the science fiction sequel to Earth 2 by David Diprose. His forthcoming release, Haunted, is due to be released in December this year.

Visit Alan’s WEBPAGE

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Haunted

hauntedMysteria is a small fishing island located close to the west coast of Oregon. Covered with dense forests and with a community of less than forty, its isolation and tranquility is exactly what award-winning author Cameron Drake is looking for. After a swift divorce he decides to move from his home in England to the small island to help find inspiration and reignite his successful career. With his friend and agent living in the mainland harbor connecting routes to the island, it felt like exactly the right thing to do. At least, it was until he set his first footsteps on the island…

A strange encounter on a lonely road en-route to his new home leads to a series of bizarre and terrifying hauntings that force Cameron to question his sanity, and also bring to light the strange occurrences that have given the island is name. As members of the small community slowly begin to vanish, Cameron believes that not everything in his new paradise is exactly what it seems.

Aided by a handful of friends and his loyal pet Akando, a huge Alaskan malamute, Cameron descends unwillingly in to the strange world of the paranormal. Slowly he begins to believe that a spirit haunting him is attempting to make contact psychically, and believes she may be warning of a terrible fate that will befall the rest of the island’s population unless he can find a way to reach out and understand why the community is vanishing.

The fate of the survivors rest in Cameron’s hands as he begins a quest that involves witchcraft, Ouija boards and psychic contact with a being from the spirit world, but as he investigates deeper in to the paranormal, the island’s secret and his own role to the spirit world become terrifyingly clear…

Check out the fantastic YouTube Video for HAUNTED.

Tomorrow, Author Celia Breslin shares a tale.

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Author Allison Knight Shares a Ghostly Tale

Allison Knight is an award-winning author of historical, medieval, contemporary, and gothic romance. She is published with Champagne Book Group, Wings e-Press, and Red Rose Publishing. Her ghost story teases the imagination and makes the reader wonder if the paranormal guests live with us.

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When we decide to retire away from the snowy north and move to the warm south, we found a beautiful home, acreage, a kitchen to die for, the perfect house. The neighbors came to introduce themselves even before we moved in. However, in our discussion with them we learned the original builder, (not the people we bought the house from,) built the home for his wife. We were told she planned the entire house, down to every detail. She even selected the property, because she and our new neighbors were not only friends but could ride their horses together on the acreage.

It was only later when we found out that just before the house was completed, she was out riding one day. Her horse must have stepped in a hole, because he fell on her. She was alive. They rushed her to the local hospital, but the damage was bad. She was going to be in wheel chair for the rest of her life. Because her house wasn’t quite finished they made some changes, widening doorways, etc., but her husband discovered he couldn’t care for her in the house. He sold the place and moved to Florida, where, I understood from the neighbors, she passed away a short time later.

After we got settled, we installed a security system. We were out in the country and the neighbors weren’t that close. Two of our children had moved south and were about forty five minutes away from us, so we thought it was a perfect arrangement. They were close enough to handle any problems if there were any problems with the house.

We retired planning to travel, made our plans, and took off. After all, there were places to go and things to see.

We had been away for about three days when our son called to tell us the police called him. Our security system had gone off. The neighbors hadn’t seen anything and when our son got to the house, everything was fine. A fluke everyone decided. We came home and it was as our son said. Nothing was disturbed.

On our next trip we were gone two days, but the same thing happened. We called the security people. They checked the system. Everything was okay. We took off again, but once more, two days out, our son called again. It is happened again the police said they would have to charge for unnecessary trips. Obviously something weird was going on.

I had always wanted to see Alaska and we already had our reservations. But how could we leave? Because of the problems with the security system, my daughter, her husband, and two children volunteered to come to the house and stay.  They arrived and we left.

When we came home, we discovered the alarm had not gone off once, however, while the kids were in the house, kitchen cabinet doors opened, while the four of them were at the table eating supper the doors to the rooms slammed shut although there were no windows open. On the third night, my daughter and her husband were awakened in the middle of the night when someone jumped on the bed in which they slept. However, both of their daughters were asleep in the guest room.

The next morning they turned off the alarm and went to their own home. They had been in our house for four days and we weren’t coming home for another six. Afraid to ruin our trip, they didn’t call us.

However when we got home, my husband and I wondered if they were exaggerating, but two adults and two children? After we talked to our neighbors, the only explanation that made sense was the woman who designed the house, I’ll call her Nellie, never got to enjoy the place so she wasn’t about to leave. She obviously knew I loved the house but she didn’t appreciate our kids. Or maybe it was because we were gone again.

We had no more trips planned for a time, yet one day we were both in our office working when the smoke detector in the entrance hall went off. Neither of us smoke, I had nothing on the stove, and after my husband checked all the wiring and found nothing wrong, we decided Nellie wanted company.

We had the security system disconnected and planned to live with a ghost. Shortly after that, our daughter and her family moved further south to the Gulf area. We visited, fell in love with the area, put the house up for sale and moved once more. And no, we didn’t tell the new buyers about Nellie. I can’t help but wonder if Nellie liked them, but I’m not going to ask.

Copyright © 2013 by Allison Knight. Used with permission.

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Betrayed Bride is a Contemporary Romance from Champagne Books. According to the author, “This is what happens when an author gets stuck in the hospital for a time.  I tried to use my impressions and figure out a story to go with them.”

BetrayedBride-ebookBLURB: In the hospital they keep calling her Sam and telling her she’s married to Alex Porter but she doesn’t know this Alex. Then she discovers she’s lost more than a year of her life and Alex can’t, or won’t, tell her what happened. He refuses to let her see or talk to her father and there is also something very important about Samantha, she can’t remember.

Alex Porter can’t explain how Sam was either pushed or jumped from a moving car traveling away from him, or why Sam’s memory disappeared but he’s sure her father played a role. All he can do is offer support as she recovers and wait for her to come to him as she had before the accident, hoping against hope, Sam’s father has not ruined his marriage and driven away the woman he is starting to love.

Buy Links for Betrayed Bride: CHAMPAGNE  /  AMAZON

Visit Allison at her WEBPAGE or follow her on TWITTER

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Another Vintage Halloween Postcard

Halloween King

Tomorrow, Author Diana Green at An Author’s Desk

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Author Giselle Renarde’s Paranormal Tale

giselle renarde avatarToday’s Goosebumps guest author is Giselle Renarde with a tale that will give you shivers. Giselle is a queer Canadian, avid volunteer, contributor to more than 100 short story anthologies, and award-winning author of books like Anonymous, The Red Satin Collection, and Nanny State. She lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head. Giselle writes Erotica and  LGBT Fiction. She is published by eXcessica, Xcite Books, Evernight Publishing, Torquere Press, Amber Quill Press, Secret Cravings, Untreed Reads, and more.

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I’m Giselle Renarde, and the ghost story you’re about to read is true.

I was housesitting for a friend who lives here in Toronto, in one of the city’s lovely historic homes. It’s been beautifully renovated.  There’s absolutely nothing scary about it, and it’s hardly what you’d call a haunted house. Maybe it’s not haunted… but I still can’t explain what happened to me that night.

It was late when I went to bed–nearly 3 in the morning. I got under the covers of my double bed in the guest room and turned off the light. I fell asleep right away, and I recall dreaming. Maybe it was all a dream. That’s what I keep telling myself, explaining it away.

I awoke with a start when I felt a familiar sensation: one of my cats jumping up on the bed.  Then my brain kicked into gear and I realized… I wasn’t in my bed. My cats were back at my apartment. I was housesitting, and there were no cats in this house.

The sensation beside me changed, all at once, from the dainty dance of cat paws to the heavy thud of a human body. I felt the mattress sink at my side. The bedsprings squealed, as though they were under sudden pressure. I just kept telling myself I was dreaming, I was dreaming, I had to be dreaming because this couldn’t possibly be real.

My body froze. I’d been sleeping on my side, and I was facing the edge of the mattress, away from the ghostly sensation. I tried to pry my eyelids open, but I couldn’t do it. I tried to roll over, speak, do anything, but my body locked.

I kept telling myself it was sleep paralysis, a natural phenomenon, an indicator that I’d awoken too quickly and my brain wasn’t ready for my body to take action yet. I kept telling myself it was just a dream, but I could feel that shape beside me. I could feel it sinking into the mattress, right there, behind my back. It was there. And I couldn’t move.

Struggling against sleep, against my own locked body, I was finally able to ask, “C’est qui ça? Qu’est-ce qui arrive?” Who’s there? What’s happening? My brain hadn’t woken up enough to speak English.

No answer. Nothing but that feeling of sleeping next to another person, sensing their weight in the bed.

Finally, finally, I drew my eyes open. I was afraid, yes, but I was even more afraid of doing nothing. I rolled in the bed, flopped really, barely able to move, still mired in sleep, and… nothing.

Nothing there, nothing beside me. The white linens glowed blue in the moonlight. No indentations. My ears buzzed and my heart pounded–a visceral response to intense fear. I hadn’t realized, when I was struggling to open my eyes, how incredibly frightened I was. Now it wouldn’t go away.

I flicked on the light and repeated everything I’d already told myself: it was just a dream, all in my mind, sleep paralysis… but my heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I picked up my phone and called my girlfriend, who managed to talk me down. I couldn’t seem to convey how afraid I’d been that something, an unknown something, had been in bed with me.  I’d felt it lying there at my side. I think she could hear the panic in my voice, because she didn’t tease me or chastise me for waking her up at 4 in the morning.

When my heart calmed down a bit, I sank my head down on my pillow and closed my eyes, hoping sleep would take me fast and I wouldn’t be awoken by any more strange sensations. And sleep did come, and I was only awoken by sunlight streaming through the window.

But, I tell you, the entire week I spent alone in my friend’s old Toronto home, I slept with the lights on.

Copyright © 2013 Giselle Renarde  Used with permission.

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girlsgonecarnalsmGirls Gone Carnal: Lesbian Vamps, Witches and Weres  is a collection of lesbian paranormal erotic stories  published by eXcessica. Buy Girls Gone Carnal HERE or click the cover.

Furry.  Vicious.  Wicked. Lesbian shifters, vampires, and witches come in all shapes and sizes.  From the humblest mouse to the most ferocious cougar, from maids and their mistresses to urban vamps and the women they lick, these stories are sure to inspire chills, thrills, and delicious shivers:

Milady’s Bath ~a Gothic tale from a Lady’s maid at midnight

Mrs. Fox and the Cat of Nine Tails~a fairy tale cat seduces her mistress

Sneak~a mouse shifter saves the day in a backwoods bordello

Sparrow Takes Flight~a wind witch leaves as often as she comes

Blood Lust~this vamp plays with knives

Wild Things~a deaf witch meets her match in the rainforest

Taken from Behind~cougar shifters must be extra careful

Blood Whore~urban fantasy from a student just vamping for the cash

WARNINGS: This title contains blood, fur, and explicit lesbian sex.

Visit or follow Giselle Renarde      WEBPAGE / TWITTER

Friday, A Salute to the Goddess Pomona & A Recipe for Her Lamb’s Wool

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“SHADOWS” by Graeme Brown

Graeme Brown is a Champagne Book Group author and editor who contributed a story that I made the mistake of reading for the first time at night. Worse yet, my Ouija board is stored in the basement.

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“Never use a Ouija Board alone.” That’s what the student who used to babysit us said. “Put it away in the box, until the next time you come over.”

She was a university student, and thought it was a hoot when my friend and I would use the Ouija Board together and it would spell bizarre things we didn’t even understand. There was a guy who jumped off the cliff and kept spelling lewd words we sort of understood, but she understood better. He was a lot of fun, and kept us entertained for the night. It was my first time using such a thing, and the Ouija Board was mine.

We used it every time I’d come over and Gail was babysitting us. It was a secret. Except she didn’t know that I actually was using the board alone. After school, I’d take it out and wait until the glider started moving. I made a friend who called himself Marko. He spelled mostly swears, and it seemed a lot on nonsense.

“Are there any other spirits in the room?” That’s what I asked one night with my friend and Gail, after our suicide victim entertained us a bit.

The glider moved to the word “yes”.

“Who are you?”

The letters followed, spelling out “devil.”

“Okay, this is freaking me out now,” the babysitter said. The glider moved faster, forming threats. I started to get frightened.

I-M W-A-I-T-I-N-G A-T T-H-E D-O-O-R

“Stop. That’s enough for tonight.”

We did as she told us and put the Ouija Board away, but I remember when I left the next morning, looking at the shadows under the porch, feeling like something was there.

Over the next week I felt like I was being watched. The shadows under the trees seemed darker, and at night I’d stare at the hall through my open door, swearing I could hear a whisper. It got worse every night, even though I stopped using the Ouija Board alone.

Then one night I actually heard shuffling, or so I thought. The stairwell at the end of the hall looked like it was moving, and even though I was twelve I couldn’t convince myself it was just my imagination. Something was waiting there.

I rushed to my door and shut it, but even with that done I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified. I pulled the blanket up over my head and shook. Spirits can move through doors.

Somehow I did fall asleep. The next day after school I took my Ouija Board and burned the paper off it on the stove. My mom asked why I’d done it and I told her my story. Her eyes went wide with disbelief.

“Oh my God…” She clutched her chest. “I’ve been waking up over the last several weeks at night, feeling someone breathing down my neck.”

Just when I thought it was my imagination she had to say that.

 I should have destroyed the Ouija Board right then and there, but unfortunately I put it in the shed. Ten years later it wreaked havoc in my life, enough for me to finally realize it belonged in a bonfire. Only when I watched it burn did I finally feel that presence leave.

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 THE PACT SYNOPSIS:

the pact ecoverEnter the world of Will Lesterall, a boy who’s grown up in the safety of his father’s castle.

Tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat, yet on the night celebrating the two hundredth year of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, a secret intrigue ripens, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.

Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel. As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor.

Whether he lives or dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.

THE PACT EXCERPT:

Will hurried across the dark stones. The soft tap of his shoes against the cobbles echoed in the empty Square. In the middle, where the ground sloped down toward the sewer drains, the statue of Amarr the Barbarian cast a long shadow. Will passed into it and stopped. He heard voices.

Two men spoke in hushed tones, but their words carried when the wind wasn’t gusting.

“It’s that hag, I tell ya,” came one voice. “She’s roundin’ them up, preparing one of her big spells, she is. I heards there’s a sacrifice comin’, and she means to raise the dead.”

“Don’t be stupid, Roth.” Will recognized the raspy tone at once. It belonged to Mern, the whitesmith, whose half-slashed throat had never fully healed. Will squinted, but couldn’t see where the voices came from, other than realizing they drifted over from the dark, walled yard outside Hellistead’s Tavern.

“I’ll not have ya callin’ me stupid. Oh no. I know what this is about an’hoo. You’re just afraids, justs protectin’ yurself. Ya know whatcha got in it, ands I don’t blame you for bitin’ your tongue.”

“Quiet, you hay-brained crofter,” Mern spat. “Tonight’s not a night to whisper about such treacheries. The Lord Ham will cut your tongue out, and the world’ll be a better place for it if he does.”

“Old Cren will put it back, if he do, but I says he’d best act quick, or he’ll be lacking for the parts as fits him proper. The night’s black, Mern, and it’s gettin’ blacker yet.”

There was a hollow clatter, then sharp hisses. The man who spoke improperly cursed in words that would have made Grandma Mae gasp then Will heard quick footsteps and a series of clunks. He looked back to the castle, to where father gathered his fighters, then the other way, to the Stablehouse. If father’s in trouble, I have to warn him. Will knew his words wouldn’t be taken seriously, though.

He began to run across the stone expanse. Fort Lesterall won’t fall. Mern’s a wicked man, and whoever that other one is, he’s got no wits. Cren’s just an old woman who lives in the woods. She probably doesn’t even exist.

The side door to the Stablehouse opened as Will arrived, revealing a long labyrinth of stalls lit by rows of hanging lanterns. Jak peeked from behind the door, and Will slipped inside. When the older boy closed it, the dangerous night seemed far away. They were alone, Jak peering at Will, a curry comb still clasped in his hand. He was broad-limbed and of average height, with tousled hair the color of wet earth and eyes like onyx. As usual, he smelled of straw and horse manure, but that only made him all the more inviting.

Jak grinned. “I thought you’d hurry over after the feast proper. Too many clouds tonight, though. I’m afraid we won’t be spying Hell’s Cap, but I’ve another surprise for you. Found it myself, last night.”

“We won’t be going to the groves, Jak.” Will lowered his voice. “The Unborns are going to attack. Alter Dun showed the Red Token. That means the Unborns have challenged us. The Pact is broken. Even as we speak, my father’s gathering an army.”

“Of course he is.” Will turned toward the metal spiral stair. Barrik, a wiry man with salt-and-pepper hair and a bushy moustache, bent his impressive height as he descended from the second floor serving quarters. “I’ve a hundred retainers to see to and that’s lots of horseshit, my little prince. A good thing they’ve taken to the barracks. I’m full, and there’s a thousand more coming, twenty companies marching under you uncle’s banner knight, Telliken. If we hold the night, then there will be others, and we’ll feed the Unborns hell like they haven’t seen in centuries. But if what I’ve heard’s true, then they have hell to feed us first, before we can draw breath.”

Will gaped at the Master of Stables then shook his head fiercely. “Fort Lesterall cannot fall.”

Barrik grunted, though it sounded like a laugh. He picked up a pail and carried it to a nearby stall. “I wish I believed that, lad, but this world’s not run on luck, I’m afraid. A man forges his own blade then learns to use it, or he gets cut by everyone around him. This world’s a fierce battlefield, a bitch with a thousand teeth.”

“We can fight with them,” Jak insisted. “I’ve practiced with the sword you gave me lots of times in the groves. I’m not bad.”

“You would be with armor on.” Barrik came out of the stall with a pail full of black dung. He looked at Will, at Jak, his expression grave. “No, you boys have another errand…

THE PACT BUY LINKS:  Kobo / Kindle / Other formats

AUTHOR LINKS:   Website / Twitter / Blog

AUTHOR BIO

Graeme Brown is has been enchanted by the epic fantasy genre since he was a child, and consequently he started creating his own world with its stories at the age of thirteen. Influenced by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin, he has finally brought the first of those stories to life with his debut title, a short story called The Pact—48 pages that will whisk you away to a dark, medieval fantasy world with gritty realism. When he’s not writing, he can be found exploring number theory problems or writing computer programs, training for a marathon, or unwinding in a yoga hot room. He has also explored other facets of art, both as a hobby and a profession, including vector graphics, pen and ink, classical piano, and web design. Despite being a full time student and a junior editor for Champagne Books, he makes sure to do a little writing every day.

For more about Graeme, visit his WEBSITE

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Rita Bay’s Caliente Blog Hop Winners

Caliente Blog Hop 180Congratulations to the Caliente Blog Hop winners of my e-books at Rita Bay’s Blog:

bn100candg – Her Teddy Bare

shodowsluv2read – The Aegis

Susan Platt – Into the Lyons’ Den

Thank you to The Four Seduced Muses for hosting the Caliente Blog Hop. Winners will receive PDFs of their e-books this morning. Please contact me at https://ritabay.com/contact-rita/ , if you don’t.
 

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Welcome to the December Holiday Celebration & a Vintage Card

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Happy Holidays to you and your family. Welcome to my Holiday Celebration. This month Rita Bay’s Blog will feature some outstanding authors who will share a Christmas story or a recipe and their latest book, some of my favorite vintage Christmas cards, and a selection of high-end gifts from around the world. Hope you’ll visit every day to see what’s up.   Tomorrow, our first author Allison Knight shares a story.  Rita Bay

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The History of Slavery

     Put aside everything you thought you knew about the history of slavery. This month we will investigate the many faces of slavery throughout history. Why? Because slavery in America was a short chapter, maybe even a scene, in a history that spans thousands of years. The library was no help to my research. There were 22 books on slavery. All of them were about slavery in America, so I bought my own books, tracked down some  primary sources and searched the internet. This month, I plan to share some of what I’ve learned about the history of slavery. (See pic of my favorite book)

     Slavery was an economic institution of civilization. Hunter-gatherers and primitive farmers who lived at a subsistence level had no use for slaves. A slave would have been another mouth to feed. That changed, however, where towns and cities evolved. Tradesmen and craftsmen within the cities needed to work at their business or craft to maximize their profit. They generally bought their food from farmers who produced food beyond what was necessary for their own needs. The more they produced, the greater their profit. The ruling classes as they evolved needed servants and indicators of their status.

     These developments created an economic advantage for cheap labor. Whether working in shops doing less-skilled work or laboring on a farm, slavery became economically beneficial in all of the ancient civilizations. And slaves were easily acquired. War was common in the early civilizations. The fate of the losers was either death or slavery. Pirates sold their captives from raids as slaves. Convicted criminals or debtors unable to pay their debts could be sentenced to slavery. The poor sold their children or themselves into slavery to survive. With time, the slave population replenished itself.  In general, the children of female slaves were born slaves. Tomorrow, we’ll check out the most ancient laws that governed slaves and slavery. RitaBay

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