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Friday The 13th and The Knights Templar

Today is Friday the 13th. Not only that it’s also 2013. Numerologists everywhere are passing out from the tension. Many people of the superstitious sort consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky. There are people who wear good luck charms all day and some who go so far as to refuse to leave home, lest something unlucky happen to them.

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But many don’t know that one legend of the origin of Friday the 13th as unlucky comes from the persecution of the Knights   Templar in the 14th Century. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France, in league with Pope Clement V ordered  all Templars to be rounded up and thrown in prison. The Knights were accused of numerous crimes including heresy and treason. For two hundred years the Knights Templar had been the most dominant force in Christendom, but after their defeat at the Siege of Acre and the loss of the Holy Land, their influence began to wane.

Yet they still held enormous power and great amounts of wealth. Pope Clement sought to merge the Knights Templar with the Knights Hospitaller another powerful order at the time. Neither group found such a merger ideal. And despite the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars were still a part of of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Their houses, churches and farms dotted the countryside throughout Europe. It provided employment for thousands of people. They started an international banking system that allowed nobles to deposit funds and valuables for safekeeping. And in what ultimately led to their downfall, they occasionally helped finance wars.

Philip IV borrowed enormous sums of money to finance a war with England. A poor king and an even worse military commander, Philip was easily defeated. He saw a way of both currying favor with the Pope and eliminating his huge debt. On that fateful day of Friday, October 13, 1307 he ordered all Templars arrested and their property seized. The Grandmaster of the order, Jacques DeMolay was thrown in prison along with several other high-ranking members of the order.

Their ‘trial’ was a farce. The Templars were charged with heresy, worshiping false idols and other crimes against the church. Many of them were tortured until they ‘confessed’ to their crimes. Refusing to capitulate, Jacques DeMolay would not confess and Philip ordered him burned at the stake. In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring the Templars innocent of their alleged crimes.

The Knights Templar, which had dominated medieval life for two centuries, was no more. Unfortunately for Philip, the Templars had learned of his planned treachery before hand. Many of them escaped and their vast stores of treasure were hidden from the King’s soldiers.51prCMicvML

Another legend that has also persisted is that Jacques DeMolay, the last Grandmaster of the Order, cursed both Philip IV and Pope Clement V, as he died. Whether or not you believe in curses, both Philip and Clement died within months of DeMolay’s death.

My Youngest Templar trilogy, Keeper of the GrailTrail of Fate and Orphan of Destiny is set in the world of the Knights Templar. With legends and myths surrounding both their origin and their demise, they make irresistible fodder for a novelist. The Youngest Templar trilogy follows the story of Tristan, an orphan who becomes the squire to Sir Thomas Leux a Templar Knight, as he travels from England to the Holy Land and must undertake a secret and deadly mission.

Friday the 13th. Sounds like a good day to start reading!

 

 

 

Your authorness,
Michael P. Spradlin

Be sure to like my The Youngest Templar page on Facebook

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Follow me on twitter @MSpradlinAuthor

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Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters and Killer Species Free Book Giveaway!

Dear Readers,

Big news for Killer Species: Menace From The Deep!

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Are you heading out see Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters at the movie theater this weekend? If you are planning to see it at Showcase Cinemas and you’re a member of the Showcase Cinema Popcorn Club, then you could win a free copy of Killer Species: Menace From the Deep!  Showcase Cinemas will be giving away books at all of their locations while supplies last. Quantities may vary at each location but 2500 copies total will be given away this weekend! Don’t miss out!

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Visit the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Website!225px-PercySeamonsters

Like Killer Species on Facebook!

Follow me on twitter!

Like my author page on Facebook!

Follow me on Google+

And don’t forget to reserve your copy of Book 2 in the KILLER SPECIES series KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy!

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We’ll see you at the movies!

 

Your authorness!

 

 

 

KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy…It’s swimming your way soon!

Dear Reader peeps,

It’s hard to believe it’s already August. I mean I know it happens every year. An August. But still. How did that happen?

It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you’ll soon be going back to school. And at school you’ll soon be having your Scholastic Book Fair. And at your Scholastic Book Fair you’ll find the next book in the Killer Species series, KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy will be featured at your school’s fair. And it will be available in bookst9780545506731_p0_v1_s260x420ores everywhere October 29!

In KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy time has passed since anyone’s heard from Dr. Catalyst. Emmet and Calvin have even begun to think that the crazed scientist might be gone for good. But then, on a snorkeling trip off the Florida coast, one of their friends is nearly drowned by an underwater monster with endless rows of razor-sharp teeth. No one is quite sure what they saw. Was it a moray eel? A giant barracuda? There’s only one thing Emmet knows for certain. Dr. Catalyst is back. And this time, he’s out for revenge.

If you missed KILLER SPECIES: Menace From The Deep you can pick up a copy at any bookstore. So be sure to keep watch for KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy. 

Also, speaking of scary critters, another great book at your Scholastic Book Fair this fall is CHUPACABRA by New York Times Bestselling Author Roland Smith. It is the next installment in his Cryptid Hunters series. A mysterious creature, a missing girl, and danger at every turn . . .

CHUPACABRA, the riveting sequel to TENTACLES and CRYPTID HUNTERS, reunites Marty and his unusual uncle, cryptozoologist Travis Wolfe, as they search the world for Wolfe’s daughter, Grace. Grace has been 17381994kidnapped by her grandfather, the ruthless and dangerous Noah Blackwood, who has also stolen the two dinosaur hatchlings Wolfe was raising in secrecy. Now, with word that the mysterious creature known as Chupacabra has been sighted again, Wolfe is torn between his obsession with finding cryptids and his desperate need to rescue his daughter. With trouble at every turn and a dangerous journey ahead, will Marty and Wolfe come face-to-face with the mythic monster? Even more frightening, will they reach Grace before it’s too late?

Don’t forget that Roland Smith and I are teaming up to co-write the next adventure in his thrilling I,Q Series. Our first collaboration I,Q: The Alamo is m_9781585368228shipping to bookstores now. So make sure you pre-order a copy from your favorite bookstore!

 

There you go! A whole year’s worth of exciting new book news! Read on!

Your authorness,

Michael P. Spradlin

Back To School Shopping…Help Me, Help You!

Those of you who have read my books, my blog, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, have probably come to the realization that I have a pretty wacky sense of humor. It’s true. I believe that unless you have a serious medical issue, happiness is a choice. I choose to look at life through a lens of the absurd. I choose humor as my coping mechanism. That’s how I roll. And let’s face. Life is funny.

And as I age and my children have grown into young adults I find myself very nostalgic for, what for me, was a very special time of year. I’m not talking about the holidays or birthdays, which are no doubt important and enjoyable. I’m talking about shopping for Back To School supplies. Or as the very funny Staples commercial from a few years ago called it: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

You see, I love a good office supply. A tape dispenser. The smell of new notebooks full of college ruled lined paper. And my never ending quest for the perfect pen. I loved taking my kids shopping for school supplies. I miss it. So much that my now college age daughter allows me to visit the campus bookstore with her when we drop her off for the fall semester. She shares my office supply love.

So I thought in my never ending quest to provide you with services beyond just reading what I hope are enjoyable books, I would provide you with my picks for ten great Back To School supplies you can pick up for your little, medium or young adult sized students. And don’t bother to thank me. It’s my pleasure. (Plus you’ll find that some of them fit in with the themes of some of my books. This was not intentional).

1. Zombie Pencil Case

Everybody needs a pencil case. Where else will you keep your pencils? Think outside the pencil case this year and go with the zombie theme. You won’t be sorry. You can buy it here.

 

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2. Zombie Gel Pens. Yep. You heard me. Zombie Gel pens. They can be purchased here.

 

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3. Remember that you need to have a raincoat. You can’t go to school if it’s raining without a raincoat. So it might as well be a really cool pirate raincoat. Which you can buy here.

 

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4. Your student will need notebooks. Avengers notebooks will remind them to take notes and do their homework. Nuff said. Set of two can be bought here.

 

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5. Once school starts there will be sleep overs. So you’ll need a Batman sleeping bag. Batman will keep the messing around at sleepovers to a minimum.

 

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6. Your K-2 students will be working on learning the alphabet. The Monster Alphabet will teach your children well. It’s my list. I get to put my books on it if I want.

 

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7. Your student will probably have to do a book report. KILLER SPECIES: Menace From The Deep is perfect for a book report. It has issues like the environment, invasive species, and big scary critters. Like I said. Perfect.

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8. Your student will also need pencils. Nothing beats the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil. Many other pencils have tried and failed. It is the Ferrari of pencils.

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9. The lunch box. Or as they are called now lunch tote. Very important. So many choices. I think you’re going to want the Iron Man Lunch Tote. It’s just a guess.

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10. The backpack. Also important. Think outside the backpack. Go with the Zombie Silhouette Backpack. It’s cool. No one else will have one. And it matches your pencil case.

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Remember. Back To School school supply shopping is fun. And now I have made it easy. Enjoy!

Your authorness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Lone Ranger…Manual T. Gonzaullus

Capt.-M.T.-GonzaullasToday the newest incarnation of one of the most enduring figures in American popular culture gallops into theaters as Disney’s The Lone Ranger hits the big screen. What began as a popular radio drama on a Detroit radio station in 1933 will get a new big budget introduction to millions of new fans. And The Lone Ranger endures. Hi-Yo Silver!

But in the 1920s and 1930s the Texas Rangers had their own ‘Lone Ranger’ who prowled the Texas-Mexico border and the mean streets and back alleys of the Texas oil boomtowns. His name was Manual T. Gonzaullus. The Texas criminal element of that era gave him the nickname ‘El Lobo Solo’ the lone wolf. He became one of the Texas Rangers’ most legendary lawmen.

Gonzaullus was born in Cadiz, Spain. At age 20, he became a Major in the Mexican Army. He immigrated to the United States and joined the Texas Rangers in 1920. It didn’t take long for Gonzaullus to establish his reputation as El Lobo Solo. Texas was in the midst of an oil boom. Towns were literally springing up overnight all over the state wherever oil was discovered. With the money flowing as fast as the oil along came thieves, smugglers, gamblers and drug runners.

If ever there were a ranger to typify the unofficial Texas Rangers motto of ‘One riot, One Ranger,’ it was Gonzaullus. He preferred working cases in these border and oil boomtowns alone. Fearless and relentless, the Lone Wolf rode into town. Only his fiery steed was an automobile and not a white horse. As soon as he arrived somewhere, Gonzaullus started filling up the local jail. He often made so many arrests, he overwhelmed the local court system. When prisoners could no longer be packed into the jail he would secure a length of chain to the flagpole in front of the courthouse. Each new prisoner was handcuffed to the chain until a judge could arraign him. Gonzaullus called the chain his ‘trot line’ (a fishing term) and it worked not only to secure prisoners but as a deterrent. When bad men saw the chain in front of the courthouse, with dozens of men hooked to it, many of them chose to flee. His reputation as a legendary lawmen was well known. It was easier to get out of town.

In the 1933 Gonzaullus was fired from his post by the corrupt Governor Ma Ferguson administration. In 1935 the Texas Legislature created an independent 97_127_1Detail1Department of Public Safety and made the Rangers part of it. Gonzaullus was appointed Superintendent of the DPS Intelligence Bureau and created a crime lab that became second only to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Virginia. He insisted the department begin using modern crime solving techniques like ballistics and finger printing.

But sitting at a desk made El Lobo Solo antsy and he soon as to return to the field. He was appointed Captain of Company B of the Texas Rangers where he served until he retired in 1951. Gonzaullus was one of the founders of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum. He died in Dallas in 1977 at the age of 85.

 

Read more about the real Texas Rangers in my book The Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen. Illustrated by Roxie Munro

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