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Monday, 28 June 2010

Gypsy Crystal by Lorrie Struiff

Gypsy Crystal
by Lorrie Struiff

Did you know, there are over one million Gypsies in the U.S today? Does that surprise you? And actually to be called a gypsy is a slur and many take offense. They are Roma.

The Roma in the United States have been called the "hidden Americans" because they remain by choice largely invisible. There are two reasons for this: first, the United States is made up of minority groups of all complexions, and so it is easy for Roma to present themselves as American Indians, Hispanics, or southern Europeans, and they usually do this rather than identify themselves as Gypsies. Second, most Americans know very little about the actual Roma but a great deal about the Hollywood "gypsy" (with a small "g".) Since people fitting the romantic gypsy image are not actually encountered in real life, the real population goes unnoticed.

The Romani ethnicity is often used for characters in contemporary fantasy literature. In such literature, the Roma are often portrayed as possessing archaic occult knowledge passed down through the ages. This frequent use of the ethnicity has given rise to Gypsy stereotypes in popular contemporary literature. It is difficult to think of a Gypsy and not see the image of a crystal ball or tarot cards.

Gypsies, or Roma, are portrayed with remarkable psychic abilities and the gift to attract good fortune or destroy a life with a curse. All are said to be born with such gifts, and what makes their powers so innate is their relationship with nature. Their bond with the spirits of the outdoors allows their gifts to evolve naturally.

Many myths have been passed down from their origins. Myths that have chillingly included creatures such as werewolves, vampires, and even shapeshifters.

I particularly like the one that tells of, one day while celebrating a holiday around a campfire, a stranger wandered into their camp, and as the usual way of a generous and happy people, they invited him to stay. This was the start of a curse, for this man was a necromancer and insisted the people serve him. The people refused, they loved life and refused to cheat death and serve chaos.

The necromancer raged and cursed them, saying they would forever wander the earth, never to settle and forever be outcasts. He disappeared into the night. The next night the land and their homes were stormed and destroyed by an army of the undead. Many died—or worse.

The survivors fled, regrouped, drew a circle in the dirt, drew their knives and shed drops of their blood into the earth. They vowed to serve balance and protect the land. When the last droplet fell, a strange feeling overcame them, like the land had embraced them. They heard a voice telling them they were to forever wander the land to preserve life at all cost and they now had the ability to curse their sworn enemies. And their greatest enemy of all was-- the undead.

In my Gypsy Crystal novella, I freely use the mysticism, the myths and gifts surrounding their culture. And despite the Gypsy in my title, the characters are referred to as Roma.

Gypsy Crystal

Rita Muldova is a homicide detective. She wears a secret mystical crystal amulet handed down through her maternal Roma bloodline that gives her the power to see in a dead person’s eyes, the last image they had seen before being murdered. Now, a serial killer tagged “The Ripper” is terrorizing her town and the crystal stopped working. Her mother, the great seer Anna, and her Uncle Dragus can’t explain the reason for the crystal’s sudden loss of power. But Anna holds a secret she doesn’t share with Rita until she has no choice.

FBI Agent Matt Boulet leads the taskforce and gives the crew strange orders that come from the top brass. He is keeping a secret, too, and feels a strong connection to Rita, in more ways than one.

When all the secrets are revealed, Rita finds herself and her family in far more danger than she ever realized possible. Who is this killer?

Short Extract from Gypsy Crystal:
Chief Lipinski set a blue marker on the desk and shuffled papers. “Okay, listen up. Meet Agent Matt Boulet, FBI, PCU or Priority Crimes Unit. He’ll be heading our task force. Our perp is not new at this, but I’ll let Agent Boulet explain.”



Hank mumbled under his breath and tossed a sharp glance at Boulet. Chairs squeaked as the group shifted in their seats. Sully let out a long-suffering sigh.



Boulet nodded and, with an easy gait, walked to the front, then hooked his thumbs in his jeans pockets. “Thank y’all for having me. I’ve been sent here ‘cause we’re familiar with this man. Six murders, same M.O., in New Orleans. Then, we followed the trail of his kills north. Almost bagged him in Charlottesville.” He cleared his throat. “Embarrassed to say, he got away.



“The powers that be out of your Pittsburgh FBI office asked me to work in tandem with this city’s force. If y’all are wondering why we don’t have a whole team combing your turf, it’s because we’re a little overwhelmed with Homeland Security now. Plus, we’re not really after the credit on this one, folks. No toe-stepping. I need your help.”



Hank leaned forward and propped his elbows on the table, showing off his gym-hardened muscles. “PCU? Never heard of ’em.”



“Not many have. We’re a special unit formed in the last few years and headquartered in the mid-states.” Boulet smiled. “They sometimes call us the Peculiar Unit, or worse, Pukes.”



“Name must be a good fit,” Hank piped up. The others snickered.



“You’ve been on this actor’s ass so you know more than we do. Ritualistic?” Sully asked.

If you enjoyed that more can be found from Lorrie Struiff's website


Will gypsy lore and mysticism help Rita catch the serial killer terrorizing her town?

Gypsy Crystal available on Eternal Press, Amazon UK and Fictionwise. To buy from Amazon.com click on the book cover above.
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