Tag Archives: Powerful Women in History

SWHM Guest: Beverly Jenkins on Apache Warrior and Prophet Lozen

Hi friends! I’m beyond excited to welcome super star author Beverly Jenkins to ALBTALBS with a guest post for Smithsonian Women’s History Month (SWHM).

Lozen is my right hand … strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.”

This quote, attributed to the great Apache War Leader Vicotorio describes his sister, Lozen, remembered by the Apache as a kick ass warrior and one of the most powerful medicine people in tribal history. She was born in the late 1840s into the Warm Springs band of the Chiricahua Apache who made their home in the mountains of what is now New Mexico. Some historians believe Lozen means, “Little Sister”, while others say Lozen is a war title given to a person who steals horses during a raid. Regardless of what her name means she is a legend. At a young age, she eschewed the traditional female lessons of basket making and child care to ride horses and learn to fight. She also vowed never to marry. As she grew older, she was as good with a knife as she was with a rifle. She was also a formidable horsewoman. During her coming of age spirit quest, Useen, the Apache Creator God gifted her with not only the power to heal wounds, but the ability to sense the enemy; a sixth sense that would prove invaluable in the Apache fight to remain a free people.

In 1861, Victorio led his people away from the San Carlos reservation and its horrible living and the Apache Wars began. The Chiricahua were among the last Native Americans to take up arms against the US government, and Victorio, with his sister Lozen at his side, eluded capture for years. At one point, the band reached the Rio Grande but the horses refused to enter the fast-moving waters. so Lozen plunged her horse in first, forced it to swim and the other mounts followed. She stole horses from the camps of Mexican soldiers, single-handedly led a group of women and children across the desert, and during the wars her abilities as both healer and shaman were called upon constantly.

During the summer of 1880, their band was fleeing an ambush by the US Army when a Mescalero woman went into labor. Lozen stayed behind to help with the birth while her brother and the others rode on. Vicotorio and seventy- eight braves were eventually captured and killed. The Apache believe had Lozen been with him to do her ritual sensing of the whereabouts of the soldiers he would have gone undetected. In the ritual, she would face the sky, raise her arms above her head, cup her hands and pray. She’d then move in a circle until she felt tingling in her hands and her palms turned purple. The strength of the tingling indicated both the direction and distance of the enemy. Many are convinced that had it not been for her successful predictions the US Army would have conquered the Apache years earlier.

After her brother’s death, Lozen rode with her uncle, the 90 – year old Chief Nana, and eventually the formidable and ghost like Geronimo. While with Geronimo, she added messenger and negotiator to her duties, and was often sent to broker peace and to barter for supplies with army representatives. When Geronimo finally surrendered on September 4, 1886, his band had been reduced to fifteen men, fourteen women, and six children – one of the women was Lozen. She and the others were shipped in cattle cars to Florida where they joined previously captured and removed Chiricahua, but conditions were so terrible and the public so outraged by them, the Apache were moved to Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama. This warrior woman, who’d fearlessly spent her life fighting to preserve her people’s freedom died there of pneumonia, and was buried in an unmarked grave.

History may have forgotten Lozen, but the Apache, especially its women, have not.

Lozen is referenced in Ms. Jenkins’ novel Breathless. (Sorry, I couldn’t find an image of her that’s in the public domain.) 

BreathlessA strong-willed beauty finds herself in the arms of the handsome drifter from her past, in this second book in the sizzling series set in the Old West, from USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…

Have you read Breathless? Did you know about Lozen? Do you have a favorite female historical figure? We’d love to hear your thoughts! <3 [And remember to say “hi” to Beverly Jenkins!!! Eeee!!!] 

SWHM Guest: Megan Reel

ST. PATRICK’S DAAAAAYYYY!!! Hi everyone! I feel like I should be turning everything green. But … you know. I didn’t, so I guess “me speaking” being green will have to suffice today. 

There. :D Good enough right? So it’s definitely still Women’s History Month. The Mary of the Gael aka St. Brigid of Ireland aka Saint Brigit of Kildare is also one of the patron saints of Ireland. Did you guys know that? We’re not talking about that though – because I’m handing it over to Megan Reel now!

Hi [Everyone],

Thanks for inviting me to the blog. It’s exciting to begin a new branch to my professional writing career as an independent author, and writing erotica is a lot of fun. I love world building. I had always wanted to try my hand at a novel that has more of a fantasy feel because fantasy gives me the tools to explore social constructs without the constraints of real history or culture. I can shape the history and culture to explore themes that I find interesting. I also have the leeway to create a culture that is steeped in sex, which is too entertaining for me as a writer.

As I created Alendra, my young queen coming of age in a very matriarchal and sex-positive culture, I couldn’t help thinking about how women’s power and sexuality have always intersected through history. Thinking back on three of the most powerful, and most ambitious female rulers of olden times, I find it both fascinating and disturbing that their sexuality is intrinsically linked with their mythos.

Elizabeth I reigned over England during a golden age of art and exploration. She chose to position herself as “The Virgin Queen,” and refused to marry, knowing that any political union she chose would result in a loss of her personal power. Instead she used her image to consolidate her power both with the political powers of the time and also with the church. Yet, in spite of her carefully crafted image, popular culture hardly ever portrays Elizabeth without also referring to the lovers rumored to have graced her bed.

Cleopatra was a master of political manipulation. She knew very well her position as pharaoh was threatened by the powers of Rome. While her brother is hardly ever mentioned, Cleopatra has inspired great art and drama, but always in her role as the Egyptian seductress. She was the one who rolled herself up in a carpet to seduce Julius Caesar, and she was the one who became Marc Antony’s lover in his bid to throw Octavian from power. I’m not sure it is fair to reduce her political savvy in such turbulent times. She played a delicate hand in a dangerous game of cards and she used everything in her arsenal at the time. It seems reductive to think of her power as coming solely from her love affairs.

Finally there’s Catherine the Great. Married to a man she could not stand, who seemed to wish to defect to Germany instead of actually ruling Russia, she took command of an empire. Now what is she remembered for? Horses. In her case, her ambition to rise to power, and her affection for much younger men, was seen as so unnatural, her name can’t be separated from rumors of bestiality.

I’m glad I can use fantasy to give Alendra more freedom to grow into her power as queen of her people, and use her growing sexuality as a symbol for her blossoming strength as a leader of her people. Sexuality should be seen as our strength, not a weapon to be used against us. Fantasy lets us do just that.

I hope you enjoy Alendra and her six champions. They each have something to teach her both about her sexuality, and about her power as queen. She has a lot to learn, and I’m very glad, because things get rather hot when she does.

Happy reading everyone,

Megan Reel

Bio: Megan Reel loves to spend her time outdoors. When she is not working in her garden or taking care of her horse, she’s exploring the gorgeous and sensual worlds she creates through her writing. Currently she lives on the east coast and enjoys watching the fireflies at night from her deck while drinking a glass of wine. Follow her on Twitter @meganreel. Website, Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Nook.

The QueenSix lovers. Six ways to seduction. Which one will she choose?

The feast of Rahnis means blazing fires. Sweat-slicked skin. Throbbing drumbeats that drive erotic dances and incite orgasmic pleasure. As the ruler of a country driven by sexual ritual and elaborate ceremonial orgies, young Queen Alendra has presided over countless rites but remains untouched…until now.

Alendra can’t control the intoxicating siren song of her body discovering physical pleasure, but for as much as she wishes to feed her sensuality, she fears losing control and facing the unknown. To make matters worse, the one man she would trust with her awakening is someone she can never have, and now ritual has forced her hand.

It is time for the virgin queen, a deity in human form, to conceive an heir.

Six champions have been chosen. Perfection in male form, they have sworn to satisfy her every desire. Alendra must never know their true identities. Instead she knows them only by the mask they wear, Stag, Bull, Hawk, Serpent, Leopard, and Fox.

The feast is about to begin…

Really interesting subject, and famous figures, yes? Do you have someone who comes to mind that fits the “mold” that Megan mentioned?”