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Historically, it is not common for a slave to become an empowered ruler, much less a female slave. But, that is what happened with Roxelena, who became one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history. What is common is when a person does rise to power in any empire or kingdom, it is often fraught with controversy. This, too, holds true for Roxelena, as she influenced and changed the fate of women of the Ottoman empire’s harems and beyond.

 

In 2009, my father and I took a tour of some of the cities surrounding the Black Sea. In Istanbul, we visited Suleiman’s palace and took a tour of the rooms of his royal harem. It was then I first learned of Roxelena, an unlikely empowered woman—a slave girl–who came to incredible power in a land and at a time where women had no power at all.

 

Roxelena’s birth name is unknown, but some historians claim her birth name to be Aleksandra Lisovska, and she might have been born to an Orthodox priest and his wife, in 1502-1505. Her family lived in the town of Rohatyn, part of the Polish Kingdom, now known as western Ukraine.

 

In the early 1520’s, Crimean Tatars raided young Aleksandra’s town and kidnapped her, as they often did with Christian girls. They took her to Istanbul to sell her into the slave trade. Hasfa Sultan, wife of Salim I, and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, purchased Aleksandra for her son’s growing harem. Aleksandra had to forsake her Christian religion and to convert to Islam. She was educated in the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages, and schooled in the art of lovemaking.

 

Come back tomorrow to hear about Roxelena’s new life in the Harem of Suleiman.

 

In the meantime, have you had a chance to pick up my latest release, Bones of the Redeemed?

New Mexico, 1950. Archaeology grad student Ruby Delgado is plagued by guilt after losing her son. So when her latest excavation drops her down a sinkhole filled with suspiciously mutilated bodies, she’s driven to bring the murderer to justice. But when digging deeper brings her dangerously close to a sinister religious sect, she could be their next sacrifice…

 

Discovering the victims were crucified, Ruby pushes hard to give the evidence to the authorities. But when her trail crosses the path of a beaten man left for dead in the desert, she realizes she may be the only person who can save the community.

 

Can Ruby stop the sacrifices and slay her inner demons, or will hers be the next body laid to rest?

 

You can find Bones of the Redeemed on Amazon.

 

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I hope you enjoyed last month’s episodes on some incredible women in American southwest history. This month, I am venturing into the history of some of the world’s most amazing female rulers, and this week, I’ve been talking about a woman who everyone knows a little bit about from the ancient Egyptian civilization, Cleopatra.

 

After losing the battle with Octavian’s forces at Actium, Cleopatra and Mark Antony fled back to Egypt. But their respite was not to last, and one year later, in 30 B.C.E., Octavian and his fleet invaded.

 

There are several stories surrounding the death of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but the most popular is when Octavian invaded, Mark Antony believed he had captured and killed Cleopatra, so attempted to take his own life by falling on his sword. When his friends learned that Cleopatra was hiding out in her mausoleum, they rushed Antony, still alive, to her where he died in her arms.

 

With Octavian’s rise in Roman power, Cleopatra feared she would meet a public death, much as her sister Arsinoe did, so committed suicide in her mausoleum with two of her women attendants as witnesses. The most recounted story is that she had a venomous snake, the Egyptian asp, smuggled into her sanctuary and enticed it to bite her arm. Other stories claim she used an ointment, or drank wine laced with poison of her own making.

 

Like many of history’s empowered women, Cleopatra lived her life on the edge making bold, sometimes unpopular but always provoking decisions, and taking monumental risks to enforce change. She was a force to be reckoned with. Cleopatra lived her life at top speed. She rarely looked back, and she never settled for defeat.

 

 Do you love a good historical mystery featuring a female amateur sleuth? Then you might enjoy the books in my Annie Oakley Mystery Series. Here’s what Kirkus reviews has to say about the first book in the series, Girl with a Gun.  

 

Bovée’s debut novel brings readers solidly into the heyday of the Wild West shows, providing wonderful details about the elaborate costumes and the characters’ remarkable marksmanship . . . There are enough entertaining elements to keep readers guessing, including romance, rivalries, jealousy, and at least one evil character from Annie’s past. The prose has a charming simplicity, which keeps the attention focused on the action and the well-developed protagonist. A quick, fun read with engaging rodeo scenes.”

 

You can find the books on Amazon.

 

 

133 - Cleopatra4

I hope you enjoyed last month’s episodes on some incredible women in American southwest history. This month, I am venturing into the history of some of the world’s most amazing female rulers, and this week, I am starting with a woman who everyone knows a little bit about from the ancient Egyptian civilization, Cleopatra.

 

Rich, powerful, intelligent, and beautiful, Cleopatra was in her prime when Mark Antony, a triumvir, one of three magistrates who ruled Rome after the death of Caesar, summoned her to Tarsus to incur her support of his planned war against the Parthians. In her typical diva fashion, Cleopatra made an entrance dressed to impress. For the voyage she designed a golden barge adorned with purple sails and silver oars. Dressed as Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, Cleopatra set sail for Tarsus determined to win over the Roman triumvir, who also considered himself the embodiment of a god; the god Dionysus.

 

As she had hoped, Mark Antony fell for her, and Cleopatra had yet another powerful Roman leader hopelessly devoted to her. So devoted that at her urgent suggestion, Mark Antony ordered the execution of Arsinoe, Cleopatra’s younger sister, whom, as she was the last Ptolemy sibling left, Cleopatra feared would attempt to take the throne. The murder took place on the steps of the sacred Temple of Artemis, a scandalous act against the temple sanctuary and thus, the Roman people. Already not in favor with Rome because of her relationship with Julius Caesar, Cleopatra further scandalized the city when she convinced Mark Antony to marry her in an Egyptian ceremony while he was still married to Octavia Minor, sister to his fellow triumvir, Octavian.

 

With the relationship between Octavian and Mark Antony on the brink of disaster even before Cleopatra, tensions continued to rise and in 33 B.C.E. Octavian waged war against Egypt and in doing so, Cleopatra. Two years later, the conflict climaxed with the battle of Actium. Cleopatra led the charge, alongside Antony’s fleet, with dozens of Egyptian warships, but the lovers’ forces were no match to Octavian’s army. Cleopatra and Mark Antony fled back to Egypt.

 

Come back tomorrow to hear about the tragic end of Cleopatra’s reign that will forever be remembered in history.

 

Do you love a good historical mystery featuring a female amateur sleuth? Then you might enjoy the books in my Annie Oakley Mystery Series. Here’s what Kirkus reviews has to say about the first book in the series, Girl with a Gun.  

 

Bovée’s debut novel brings readers solidly into the heyday of the Wild West shows, providing wonderful details about the elaborate costumes and the characters’ remarkable marksmanship . . . There are enough entertaining elements to keep readers guessing, including romance, rivalries, jealousy, and at least one evil character from Annie’s past. The prose has a charming simplicity, which keeps the attention focused on the action and the well-developed protagonist. A quick, fun read with engaging rodeo scenes.”

 

You can find the books on Amazon.

 

132 - Cleopatra3

I hope you enjoyed last month’s episodes on some incredible women in American southwest history. This month, I am venturing into the history of some of the world’s most amazing female rulers, and this week, I am starting with a woman who everyone knows a little bit about from the ancient Egyptian civilization, Cleopatra.

 

Soon after the love affair between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra started, Cleopatra’s brother, Ptolemy XIII, mysteriously drowned in the Nile. Some say he died at Caesar’s hand with the encouragement of his beautiful mistress. Caesar then named Cleopatra’s youngest brother, Ptolemy XIV, Pharaoh of Egypt, and Cleopatra as his co-ruler, and again, the siblings married. Caesar then set sail for Rome.

 

Four years later, Cleopatra took her young son with her to Rome where she and Caesar rekindled their relationship, much to the grievance of the Roman people. Their loyalty lay with Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, and they were outraged at Caesar’s blatant flaunting of his relationship with the Egyptian temptress. He even went so far as to house Cleopatra in one of his country villas just outside of Rome, and also had a golden statue of her, portrayed as Isis, erected in the temple of Venus Genetrix.

 

After the assassination of Caesar in 44 B.C.E., Cleopatra returned to Egypt to claim her title as Pharaoh. After her return, young Ptolemy XIV died, many say poisoned by his older sister. Cleopatra was known to concoct poisons and perfumes as a hobby. After her brother/husband’s funeral, she named her son as co-regent.

 

At the height of her power and beauty, Cleopatra’s popularity with the Egyptians was paramount for several reasons. Like all fashion icons she wore exotic hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing; she was the first of her family to speak her countryman’s language, Egyptian; and she believed herself to be the embodiment of the reincarnated Egyptian goddess, Isis. Because of her engaging personality and style, Egyptian women made themselves up and dressed like her. According to the historian Joann Fletcher, “so many women adopted the ‘Cleopatra look’ that their statuary has often been mistaken for Cleopatra herself.”

 

Come back tomorrow to hear about the next love in Cleopatra’s life, and one of the most famous triumvirs of Rome, Marc Antony.

 

Do you love a good historical mystery featuring a female amateur sleuth? Then you might enjoy the books in my Annie Oakley Mystery Series. Here’s what Kirkus reviews has to say about the first book in the series, Girl with a Gun.  

 

Bovée’s debut novel brings readers solidly into the heyday of the Wild West shows, providing wonderful details about the elaborate costumes and the characters’ remarkable marksmanship . . . There are enough entertaining elements to keep readers guessing, including romance, rivalries, jealousy, and at least one evil character from Annie’s past. The prose has a charming simplicity, which keeps the attention focused on the action and the well-developed protagonist. A quick, fun read with engaging rodeo scenes.”

 

You can find the books on Amazon.

 

131 - Cleopatra2

I hope you enjoyed last month’s episodes on some incredible women in American southwest history. This month, I am venturing into the history of some of the world’s most amazing female rulers, and this week, I am starting with a woman who everyone knows a little bit about from the ancient Egyptian civilization, Cleopatra.

Soon after Cleopatra and her father Ptolemy returned from Rome, her father died and wrote in his will that eighteen-year-old Cleopatra and her 10-year-old brother, Ptolemy XIII, would share the crown. The two married, as was common in Egyptian royal culture, and ruled together. Not wanting to share the regency with a boy 8 years her junior, and desirous of complete control, Cleopatra took the reins. She had the young Ptolemy’s name eradicated from all official documents and had her face alone printed on Egyptian currency.

The Gabiniani, powerful roman troops and named guardians of the young Ptolemy, opposed Cleopatra’s willfulness and lust for power and ran her out of Egypt. She fled to Syria with her only remaining sister, Arsinoe.

While she was in exile, Cleopatra’s young brother, left to his own devices, made his own mistakes. The most grievous by far, was angering the most powerful man in Rome, Julius Caesar, by ordering the execution of Pompey, a military and political leader of the Roman Republic. While Pompey was Caesar’s political enemy, he was also his son-in-law, husband to Caesar’s only legitimate daughter who had died in childbirth. Furious, Caesar seized the Egyptian capital and made himself arbiter between the rival claims of Ptolemy and Cleopatra.

Using Ptolemy’s fatal mistake to her advantage, Cleopatra set out to gain favor with Caesar. She had herself smuggled into Caesar’s palace rolled up in a carpet, dressed in her royal finery. Enchanted with her brashness, beauty, and brains, Caesar fell in love with her that very night. An affair developed, and nine months after that fated meeting, Cleopatra had a son whom she named Caesarion Ptolemy.

Come back tomorrow to learn of the fate of Cleopatra’s younger brother.

Do you love a good historical mystery featuring a female amateur sleuth? Then you might enjoy the books in my Annie Oakley Mystery Series. Here’s what Kirkus reviews has to say about the first book in the series, Girl with a Gun.

Bovée’s debut novel brings readers solidly into the heyday of the Wild West shows, providing wonderful details about the elaborate costumes and the characters’ remarkable marksmanship . . . There are enough entertaining elements to keep readers guessing, including romance, rivalries, jealousy, and at least one evil character from Annie’s past. The prose has a charming simplicity, which keeps the attention focused on the action and the well-developed protagonist. A quick, fun read with engaging rodeo scenes.”

You can find the books on Amazon.