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Introducing... MATKA DANU MIKLAGARTH

My novel is in the hands of beta readers. A couple of them have already given me some feedback, which I am gathering up like flowers into a bouquet--Thank you, thank you, readers, for your sharp eyes, honest opinions, and valued suggestions! I am already thinking about how to make some changes as I wait for a few more trusted perspectives.

Meanwhile, I am swallowing all of my awkward feelings at approaching strangers to ask for free expert advice, and I am seeking historians to check my work for historical authenticity and accuracy. I've sought information in maybe hundreds of sources including websites (some poorly translated into English), library books, documentary films, and even a couple of textbooks I purchased. I've tried to double- or triple-check facts across primary sources. I've drawn a little upon my classical studies and travels in the Mediterranean. But I still dread that I've gotten some things (what things, I don't even know) horribly wrong, and that it will take an expert to see what I can't see and tell me what needs to be repaired--or where I've missed opportunities to show my characters and settings in a richer, truer light.

Below is a summary of my novel. If you happen to have expertise on the regions between the Black Forest and the Black Sea in the 11th century and would like to have a "free ebook" in exchange for your advice on the manuscript, please leave a comment here or contact me on social media.

Matka Danu Miklagarth

Foundling Leirah shares a dream with her brother Aven: to steal a Viking longship and sail to the Black Sea, attacking slavers and freeing stolen children. But when the dragon boat of their dreams miraculously appears on the river in front of their Bohemian mud hut, the Viking who disembarks claims to seek justice by hunting down a band of dangerous criminals. Leirah accidentally convinces him that she is a shaman, and he leaves the family with a hoard of treasure in exchange for Leirah's betrothal to his son, the last prince of the Crimean Goths.

After the Viking continues his search, the hunted criminals emerge from the forest and steal Aven away. They offer to take Leirah too and help fulfill the dream of stealing ships and battling pirates. But if Leirah throws in her lot with Aven and the strange outlaws who want him, what will the Viking do to their family when he discovers that Leirah has gone? Leirah's choice begins an epic journey of love, horror, grief, violence, betrayal, and a search for identity and purpose that follows her desperate flight for survival down the length of the Danube River, into glittering Constantinople, and across the Black Sea.

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