Rise of a Queen
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Golden Isis Publishing
Date of Publication: November 22, 2015
Number of pages: 287
Word Count: 61,610
A dead husband. An unconsummated marriage. She needs an heir. Any man will do.
1061 AD. A sprawling empire rich in gold, resources, and military might dominates West Africa. It’s The Kingdom of Ghana, and it’s at the height of its power.
Twenty-year old Nabeela is grappling with her own power struggle. In order to save her younger sister from their step-brother’s clutches, Nabeela agrees to marry a repulsive African prince and bear him an heir. However, her plans are waylaid when tragedy strikes on her wedding night—her new husband dies—without consummating their marriage.
She must find a replacement to impregnate her immediately. Any man will do—including a drunken soldier her servants find naked taking a bath in a neighboring village. Nabeela holds him captive and coerces him into having sex with her—stealing the one thing he can never get back—his seed.
What she doesn’t know is the soldier is Rafan, Commander of a warring tribe’s royal army, and one of her family’s arch enemies. Eager for revenge, Rafan tracks her down once he’s released. But when these two reunite, they realize their lust for each other is far greater than their disdain.
Enamored by Nabeela’s beauty and bravery, Rafan makes her an offer of marriage, and the promise to help her become queen. He convinces her that they are stronger allies than enemies. Even though they share a commitment to unite, there are others who are determined to destroy them and their plans, including the one person Nabeela would have never suspected. In the end, she’s is forced to choose between her passion and her ambition.
I’m Just a Geek of Nature
Warning! This article is filled with an explosion of Nerdgastic information and may cause an unexpected nerdgasm.
Okay, let’s get one thing straight. I don’t collect toys. I acquire collectible action figures and comic books. By day, I’m a wife, romance author, and instructional designer. By night—well, I’m not sure what I’m doing because I’m asleep—but I’m pretty sure my alter ego is some kind of badass superhero.
My obsession with comic books began when I was ten years old, living on a military base in Heidelberg, Germany. I do believe I had the biggest collection of Richie Rich and Archie comics in the Eastern hemisphere. But I’ll never know. And it’s all my mother’s fault. When I turned twelve and my father retired, we moved back to the States. Mama decided we didn’t have room for all those ‘silly picture books’ so she threw my beloved collection out. I know she’s tired of hearing this story, but in the words of Marlon Brando, “I coulda been a contender!” Seriously, who knows how much of a fortune I’d amassed in comics?
I guess that’s why I’m such an avid collector today. Maybe I’m trying to reclaim those happy days of my youth. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for the imaginative artwork. Or maybe I’m a champion for the underdog, who plays a huge role in comics.
For me, collecting is almost as satisfying as sex. Almost. I could totally identify with Steve Carell in The 40-year Old Virgin. I saw nothing wrong with his tiny apartment crammed with crates of action figures. In fact, I was a little turned on by all the stuff he had.
My husband, who I suspect must either love me dearly or be slightly crazy, actually encouraged me to create my own comic book room where I display my prized comics and Walking Dead action figures. Many of my comics are graded by the CGC, a professional grading association endorsed by Stan Lee. When people come over and see the room, I get one of two reactions: Some look at me like I have a third eye (which wouldn’t be so bad if it were in the back of my head). Others are closet freaks like me who can barely contain their unbridled excitement.
I have so many boxes of comics…wait. Can you guess how many comic books I have? The person who comes closest to the exact number will win a digital copy of The Walking Dead #1 comic. For those of you who have been sucked into the zombie vortex like me, you will love it! You must have a cell phone, Kindle, or Nook to download it. If you don’t have one of those, you have no business being on this blog, and you should be ashamed of yourself for not being in touch with reality technology.
In the meantime, let me give you some more background on me.
What I collect
I collect all kinds of comics, but my tastes lean toward zombies, anything apocalyptic, and mythology / fantasy elements. Specifically I collect the following:
- The Walking Dead – (Referred to as TWD). I have almost every issue. My fascination with zombies began when my husband took me to see Dawn of the Dead in 2004. When the opening credits appeared on the screen, the audience burst into spontaneous applause. I was hooked from that day forward.
- #1 issues – The first issue of a comic book always introduces the main character and usually supporting characters. It’s usually the most valuable comic of the series. TWD #1 was sold for $2.95 in 2003. Today, a mint copy (CGC graded 9.9 out of a 10) is selling for $16,000. Not a bad investment if you only paid $3 fifteen years ago. The higher the grade, the more expensive. I have TWD #1, but it’s graded a 9.2. I would sell it for no less than $1,500. What makes it so expensive? Only 7,300 copies were printed. Also, the show on AMC that loosely follows the comic book is a cult phenomenon!
- African American characters – Anything with heroes of color catches my eye. Some of my prized comics are Black Panther, Luke Cage, Storm, Falcon, Green Lantern, and Miles Morales. For a list of Marvel’s Top black heroes, click here. If you’re looking for an inexpensive comic to start collecting, I recommend Genius by Afua Richardson or Concrete Park, a multicultural comic. You can find a whole list of black superhero comic book publishers on Wikipedia.
- Strong female heroines – Just like I love writing about Alpha males and females, I equally love reading about them. My collection includes Wonder Woman, Spider Woman (my favorite), Cat Woman, Storm, She Hulk, and Silk. Last year, Marvel changed the sex of Thor to a woman. I bought 3 copies of the first, second and third issues for $3.99 apiece. You never know when they might change it back. Then, it could be worth money! So, pick up a copy if you can. You can still get one on eBay for around $15.
Tips to get your inner geek on
Collect what you like (that way no matter if the comic appreciates in value or not, it doesn’t matter – you still like it).
- Collect what you think may appreciate in value. I know this contradicts #1, but if you think something might make money one day (like God forbid, a Kim Kardashian comic, then collect it, regardless of whether you like her or not. Let’s face it—the chick is a money-making machine).
- Educate yourself on the world of comics and action figures by reading blogs (like this one) and talking to experts and comic book store owners. Google is a great resource too.
- Take care of your comics! I can’t stress this enough. Mine are stored in an upright position, in a cool, dark room, and bagged and boarded with mylar bags. Never store your comics lying flat on their backs or fronts. Remember, your comics are like vampires—they can be destroyed by too much sunlight! For more information on how to preserve your comics, click here. Yes, people it’s that’s serious.
Types of collectors
There are many theories on the types of collectors. Some articles report there may be as many as ten different kinds of comic book collectors. But I think they can all be lumped into 3 groups. I’m a combination of these.
- Story Lovers (for the story line)
- Collect comics as a fun hobby and enjoy reading the story. I have every issue of the CLONE. Unfortunately, it was discontinued. This was disappointing, because it was supposed to be turned into a TV series. But since I really enjoyed reading it, I wasn’t too bummed out. The good thing about new comics is you can collect every issue pretty cheaply. That’s nearly impossible to do with older comics like Superman and Batman.
- Collect certain characters. I collect Luke Cage. In addition to being in his own comic, he’s appeared on Spiderman’s comic. I bought it because I like Luke Cage.
- Collect certain subjects. I like apocalyptic comics. I’ll usually collect first issues of those. You won’t see me collecting first issues of other stuff like My Little Pony or Vampirella because that’s not my preferred genre. My husband collects political comics. He’s got everyone from Barack Obama, John McCain, Sara Palin, and Hillary Clinton.
- Collect specific writers. Each comic book has a writer, an artist, an inker, and a colorist. Anything Robert Kirkman (Creator of TWD comics, touches) turns to gold. Some people collect anything he writes. The first issue of his comic, Outcast sold for $2.99 in 2014. Right now, a mint copy sells for $80 on eBay. It’s also being made into a movie. The comic book is just okay to me, but I figured it might be wildly successful like TWD. So I bought 6 copies back in 2014. One of them has been graded a 9.8. So, hopefully, I can retire off that money. Just kidding. Over 86,000 copies have sold, so the odds of retiring are a long shot.
- Some collectors treat them like a work of art and display them. Okay, I’m guilty! The cover art can be so captivating sometimes, I’ll buy regardless of the story.
- Some collectors might even like a particular artist. I like Afua Richardson and Jose Ryp. Jose is the reason I started collecting CLONE. Plus, the story was awesome. A man wakes up to find his clone at the front door trying to kill him. To make matters worse, there are hundreds of the clones, created in an experiment gone wrong. Take a look at some of the covers here. The detail is amazing! I love Jose’s artwork. Now, I try to collect anything he draws. My husband is a fan of J Scott Campbell. He collects his work and he looks for him at all the Comic Cons we go to. Probably my all-time favorite illustrator was Boris Vallejo. He was the master.
- Some collect purely for the big payday (they’re looking to get rich)
- Some collect for the smaller pay day. They look at it as a long-term investment. They may not even read the comics. The same holds true for collectibles, which fetch a better price when they have the original package. I have only removed 3 of my TWD collectibles from their boxes—and that was only to get the celebrities to sign them.
- Some collectors have their comics graded by the CGC. It’s free to become a member, but it costs anywhere from $18-$35 to get a comic graded. Pretty cheap to me. You just need to make sure you have a high grade comic. I never get a modern comic that could be less than a 9.2 graded. For older comics, it depends. I bought the first appearance of Spider Woman (a 1978 comic). When I sent it to CGC, it came back as an 8.0. Not too bad for something published when I was only 8 years old!
Some investors collect only first issues, or what I call #1’s. Like I said, you never know when they’ll skyrocket in value.
Shows to watch
- Pawn Stars
- American Pickers
- Antiques Road Show.
My favorite sites to buy from (besides my local comic book shop)
Celebrities who like comics
- Nicholas Cage (actually changed his last name from Coppola to Cage, based on the Marvel comic book character, Luke Cage). In 2002 he sold his massive comic book collection for $1.68 million dollars.
- Ben Affleck collected Daredevil as a child. He starred as the title character for that series and he’s also been cast as the new Batman.
- Samuel L. Jackson, an avid reader and collector gave Marvel permission to use his likeness as Nick Fury and played Fury in several movies.
Conventions I attend
- WalkerStalker (Walking Dead and zombie convention), usually held in up to 6 cities a year. Your best chance for seeing Rick or Michonne is in Atlanta or Dallas.
- ComicCon – I attend the one in Dallas, but these are all over the world. The one in San Diego is the best—and very expensive. Bring your credit card and your patience. Be prepared to stand in long lines and pay hundreds of dollars. Autographs for comic book stars can range from $40-$100 each. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) charges $80 per autograph (I know, he’s trippin’!). Stan Lee charges $90.VIP packages can soar upwards of $400!
- Wizard World (smaller scale but just as good. You may have a better opportunity to meet your favorite stars).
- Don’t forget to dress up. That’s half the fun!
Some of the Facebook pages I follow
Twitter Accounts I follow
One last thing. Every May (usually the first Saturday in May) is Free Comic Book Day across the U.S. Each person can get up to 5 comic books free. Hold up! Don’t have a nerdgasm. You can’t get any comic you want—you have to choose from the ones being offered. Here’s a link for you to put in your zip code that shows which comic book shops participate.
Whew! I think that’s enough for one day. Until we meet again, may the force by with you! Giveaway:
Chanta Jefferson Rand is an Emma Award winning Debut Author of the Year, a multi-published, best-selling author of sizzling-hot romance, and the former host of The Chanta Rand Show. An avid reader of all genres, she stepped onto the scene in 2010 with her first published historical romance, Pharaoh's Desire.
Chanta is a history junkie, a Walking Dead fan, and a recovering shoe addict. She never met a stiletto she didn't like! If you still want more, check her out at www.ChantaRand.com or email her at Chanta@chantarand.com.
Remember: You can't expect any sizzle...if you don't turn up the heat!
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