Sunday, September 27, 2015

SUMMER SIZZLE—a conversation with Blake and Vicki

How does that old adage go? Opposites attract? I don't think that's ever been more true than when Blake Callahan and Vicki Templeton first encountered each other at the beach house—a house each claimed as their own.

That definitely sounds like an awkward situation and who better to explain it to us than the two people involved.

My guests today are Blake Callahan and Vicki Templeton from SUMMER SIZZLE, an erotic romance novel by Samantha Gentry, released on Friday, September 25, 2015, in both ebook and print from The Wilder Roses (the Scarlet Rose line of erotic romance at The Wild Rose Press). Also available from other online vendors.

Thank you, Blake and Vicki, for being with us today.

Vicki:  Thank you for inviting us.

Blake:  It's our pleasure. You said you'd like to ask us about how we met and the difficulties we had in developing a relationship?

Vicki:  Difficulties? (spontaneous laugh) That's definitely an understatement.

Blake:  (shoots her a teasing grin) Well, it wouldn't have been so difficult if it weren't for Vicki's near obsessive need to plan for the future without giving any consideration to taking a little time to smell the roses along the way. Every moment of her day planned out in advance—

Vicki:  (returns his grin) And you…carrying on as if tomorrow didn't exist.

I understand this all started with the mix-up about which of you had the legal right to be living in the beach house.

Vicki:  Late Friday afternoon, I had all my belongings in boxes ready to move into the fully furnished beach house I had rented for the summer. I had sold all my furniture and even my car to secure the necessary funds to return to the university and get my master's degree without needing to work while attending classes. That would allow me to take a heavier schedule and finish sooner. I had lined up several of the summer seasonal businesses at the beach as clients, quit my job, and paid five months rent for what I thought was the perfect location. A fully furnished beach house within easy walking distance of all my clients.

That sounds like a very ambitious plan.

Vicki:  I had carefully worked out everything and this was the most economically feasible plan for the future.

So what went wrong?

Blake:  There was this one little thing that her carefully worked out plan for the future hadn't taken into consideration. The rental agent was a crook. He took her cashier's check to the bank within an hour of the time she gave it to him and disappeared, leaving her to twist in the wind.

Vicki:  I unlocked the front door and found this man inside my house. We…uh…exchanged a few confrontational words.

Blake:  We exchanged lots of confrontational words. And not just words…her Siamese cat attacked me, dug its claws into my ankle then my arm and drew blood.

Vicki:  I did feel bad about that—guilty and embarrassed. I immediately put her back into her carrier and told her she could not go around attacking him.

Blake:  It must have worked. The furry little beast basically behaved herself after that. My wounds healed and the cat and I did become friends.

Vicki:  It quickly became obvious to me that he was nothing more than an unemployed kite flying beach bum who had somehow managed to gain access to my house. Then he tells me he has a signed one year lease. I suddenly felt at a total loss about what to do. I could see all my plans for the summer and returning to the university in the fall for my master's degree moving out of my grasp…out of my control.

Blake:  When I realized what a tough spot she was in, I offered what I thought was a more than fair temporary compromise to get her through the weekend until the owner of the house would be back in town.

Vicki:  His idea of a compromise was suggesting I stay there for the weekend, for me to share the house with this total stranger. I definitely found his offer very troubling.

Blake:  (laughs) She told me she knew karate and had a gun. Friday evening progressed cautiously. But by the time Sunday arrived (reaches over and gives her hand an affectionate squeeze while trying to hide a sexy grin), we had discovered one area of total compatibility.

Vicki:  During the ensuing week he did his best to turn my carefully planned life—

Blake:  She means tightly regimented life with absolutely no room for simple things like enjoying a beautiful sunset—

Vicki:  Let's just say we had vastly differing lifestyles. (furrows forehead in a moment of thought) But underneath that carefree live-for-today outward manner of his, I sensed a level of intense emotional pain that he carried with him. Something he obviously didn't want to acknowledge and certainly didn't want to share. He became more and more of an enigma with each passing day. He seemed to be so busy trying to change my lifestyle while keeping his own inner turmoil hidden away.

Blake:  I have to plead guilty to that. For two years I had been living only for today. Living…actually I was only existing. But my attempts to loosen up her regimented today doesn't matter, only tomorrow counts way of looking at things gradually began to backfire on me. I found myself starting to think about what tomorrow held, what the future could be.

Ah…the art of compromise?

Blake:  Not really compromise. Something more akin to acknowledging that the greatest tragedy of my life had imprisoned my outlook for the future.

Vicki:  Then that day of reckoning, the day I discovered who he had been before he decided to hide behind the façade of a kite flying beach bum and how it nearly destroyed the relationship building between us.

That's quite a statement. What does it mean?

Blake:  (laughs) It means you'll need to read the book.

Vicki:  I second that!

Thank you, Blake and Vicki, for being with us today and sharing a little bit of your story.

SUMMER SIZZLE by Samantha Gentry is available in ebook and print from The Wilder Roses, the Scarlet Rose line of erotic romance at The Wild Rose Press.
And other online vendors

He lives only for today…she has eyes on tomorrow.

Growing up, Victoria Templeton watched her mother scrape for every penny and vowed that would never be her. She's become a woman so busy worrying about tomorrow, she doesn't allow time for today. And she has plans for the summer that don't include sharing a house with a carefree beach bum with no ambition, even one with a signed lease and a smokin' hot bronzed body.

The tragic loss of his six year old son caused Blake Callahan to learn the hard way no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. He now lives only for today—wine, women, and flying kites on the beach. Until an uptight female with soulful eyes and mouth-watering curves invades his beach house, claiming it's hers for the summer.

Forced to share the place until the mix-up is straightened out, Blake and Vicki find they have nothing in common…except a sizzling heat that has nothing to do with summer.

PG-EXCERPT #1 (first kiss—publisher's excerpt)
"You know what I think, Victoria Templeton?" His soft voice sounded so very sexy as he moved to stand directly behind her, his nearness sending waves of heated desire coursing through her veins. "I think you've never done a spontaneous thing in your life."

"How dare you make such an assumption!" She whirled around to face him and found herself looking up into his mesmerizing blue eyes. She tried to force a confident tone into her voice, something she definitely didn't feel. "You don't know a thing about me or my situation."

"I'll even go so far as to guess that you don't know how to be spontaneous." He stared at her as if trying to reach inside her head and drag out her thoughts. "You're so busy worrying about tomorrow that you won't allow yourself any time for today."

"You think I don't know how to be spontaneous?" Her words were spoken half in anger and half in disbelief. He had challenged her, something she couldn't allow to go unanswered. She stepped close to him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and plastered her mouth against his.

Additional excerpts from SUMMER SIZZLE and information available on my website

Sunday, September 20, 2015

World's Best Festivals For October 2015

Alba, Italy—starting October 11, 2015
Alba is nestled in Northern Italy in the Piedmont region where the harvest period of the white truffle is early October to mid-November. Each year it hosts the Alba International White Truffle Fair, which welcomes international chefs, gastronomy buffs, oenophiles and travelers to taste the decadent, aromatic and wildly exclusive white truffle. At the entrance to the fair, visitors are handed a glass—wine plays a large role in the enjoyment of this festival and of the food itself.

filling a balloon for the hot air balloon festival 
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA—starting October 3, 2015
This is the world's largest hot air balloon festival. For the nine days of this October festival, the Albuquerque skies are filled with more than 500 colorful balloons. Be part of an amazing hot air balloon experience as you walk among the balloons as they lift through the crisp, fall air. I've never attended the Albuquerque festival, but I have attended the very large one in Reno, Nevada—a fun and interesting time. I was surprised at being able to actually walk among the balloons, watch them being filled and readied for launch.

Amsterdam, Netherlands—starting October 14, 2015
Every year the Amsterdam Dance Event Festival attracts 350,000 world wide visitors. This is the biggest international club festival and covers the entire spectrum of electronic sub-genres. It features 300 events and 2,000 DJ's over five days in 80 clubs and venues. The program features the biggest artists on the planet along with fresh, upcoming talent and everything in between.

Key West, Florida, USA—starting October 23, 2015
Fantasy Fest is an annual 10-day party in paradise for grown-ups, started in 1979. Each year a new theme is chosen to help inspire out of this world costumes and bone-chilling parade floats. This year's theme is All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show. You can explore the traditional Halloween route of goblins and ghouls, let your freak flag fly as the bearded lady or the infamous lizard boy, or hop aboard a UFO with your Martian friends. This October, Key West will play host to thousands of haunted, interstellar freaks!

San Francisco, California, USA—starting October 2, 2015
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is an annual free and non-commercial music festival held the first weekend of October in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The festival features over 100 musical artists on 7 stages.

Ibiza, Spain – starting September 16, 2015
At this time of year, the end of the summer tourist season, the island of Ibiza still has fabulous weather but with a more laid back atmosphere than earlier on in the season. That is, until the night time takes over. Base camp is set up at Ibiza Rocks Hotel, considered party central which means you are never more than five minutes away from your next event.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico—starting October 31, 2015
La Calaca Festival is a free and interactive event established in 2012 to celebrate Día de Muertos, the Day Of The Dead. The event features art exhibitions, live music, parades and workshops, all of which are interactive. The event is located in San Miguel de Allende, which is consistently regarded as one of the world’s top travel destinations.

Vadodara, India—starting October 13, 2015
Navratri, literally interpreted as 9 nights, is the most celebrated Hindu festival devoted to Goddess Durga symbolizing purity and power or shakti. Navratri festival combines ritualistic puja and fasting and is accompanied by dazzling celebrations for 9 consecutive days and nights. Navratri in India follows the lunar calendar and is celebrated in March/April as Chaitra Navratri and in September/October as Sharad Navratri.

Independence, Kansas, USA—starting October 23, 2015
The Neewollah celebration (Halloween spelled backwards) began in 1919 as a venue to provide positive activities for kids to replace the typical Halloween pranks that occurred in the community of Independence, Kansas. In the beginning the events centered on parades, morning, afternoon, and night on October 31. The parades consisted mainly of decorated cars and carriages. Queens and princesses from area festivals rode in the parades, along with our own Queen Neelah who was selected based on votes bought at a penny each. The Great Depression and World War II interrupted the Neewollah celebration but in 1958 four businessmen revived and elaborated on the Neewollah theme bringing it back as a 3-day celebration.

Today Neewollah is the largest annual celebration in Kansas. The city of Independence will grow from a town of just under 10,000 inhabitants to 75,000 in the final days of the now 10-day celebration. The 1955 movie, Picnic, starring William Holden, Kim Novak, Rosalind Russell, and Arthur O'Connell, was adapted from William Inge's Pulitzer Prize winning play. It was set at the Neewollah festival in the 1920s.

New York City, New York, USA—starting October 15, 2015
To date, the New York City Wine and Food Festival has raised $8.5 million over its 7 successful years to help fight hunger. It is the only Festival in New York to bring together both legendary culinary icons from around the globe and America’s most beloved television chefs. The festival began as a one-night event in the fall of 2007. In 2008, it was launched as the festival it is today.

Munich, Germany—starting September 19, 2015
There are many Oktoberfest celebrations held world wide, but this is the original. At precisely 12 noon on Saturday, September 19th, Munich’s mayor taps the first barrel to declare the Wiesn—as the Munich people call it—officially open. The festivities continue until Sunday, October 4th, 2015. It all started with a horse race on August 17, 1810, staged by the national guard for the people to mark the wedding of the Ludwig Crown Prince of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The race was such a success that it was staged again the following year. From 1870 onwards the event grew larger and in 1896 the very first beer tents were erected. They sold only beer brewed in Munich, a tradition which has remained to the present day. Due to lack of space the horse races which started it all were held for the last time in 1936.

New York City, New York, USA—starting October 31, 2015
This year marks the 42nd annual Parade. In 1974, the parade was started by Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee as a walk from house to house in his neighborhood for his children and their friends. After the second year of this local promenade, Theater for the New City stepped in and produced the event on a larger scale as part of their City in the Streets program. After the third year, the Parade formed itself into a non-profit organization and produced the Parade on its own. Today the Parade is the largest celebration of its kind in the world and has been picked by Festivals International as The Best Event in the World for October 31. Now, 40 years later, the Parade draws more than 60,000 costumed participants and spectators estimated at 2 million.

San Francisco, California, USA—starting October 17, 2015
Treasure Island Music Festival is an annual two day music festival that takes place on Treasure Island, located in San Francisco Bay. The first day of the festival consists of electronica and hip hop/rap influenced performers and the second day consists of rock and indie rock influenced performers. Parking on the island is limited so a shuttle service is provided from AT&T Park to the island. The organizers also claim this reduces traffic congestion on the island. The Treasure Island Music Festival has also been noted for its emphasis on reducing carbon emissions. Organizers provide zero emission bus services to the island from the city of San Francisco and emphasize the use of composting.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA—starting October 30, 2015
Voodoo is a musical gumbo stirring together music, art, community, cuisine, and everything else under the sun (and above the Louisiana swamps). The Experience attracts the mystics, madmen, femme fatales, gods, goddess, and music lovers of all kinds under one concept known as The Ritual.

For anyone deciding to visit any of these festivals…have a great time!

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Phytoplankton Bloom Off The Coast Of Argentina
Satellites have become integral to our daily lives, such things as telephone, television, internet, weather forecasts, gps tracking just to name a few.  And with the launching of the Hubble telescope we can now see millions of light years into the vastness of space.  And we can't overlook those scientific discoveries including rediscovering things long forgotten and/or overlooked.

Phytoplankton Blooms
It's kind of bizarre to think that some of the smallest living things on Earth can make a display that you can see from space. In August of 2012, NASA's Aqua satellite captured some remarkable images of a massive phytoplankton bloom surrounding Russia's Novaya Zemla island. These particular plankton contain plates of a calcium-containing mineral that give them a bright blue color, and when they gather in massive numbers they make an incredible visual image. Temperature and salinity conditions have to be absolutely right to trigger this phenomenon, so capturing it this clearly is pretty amazing [above image].

Hundreds Of Sunken Ships
Much of the ocean is resistant to satellite photography because we don't have cameras powerful enough to penetrate those depths from space. However, there are still amazing things to be seen in the shallows, such as the ghost fleet of Mallows Bay. At the start of World War I, the United States needed to quickly build transport vessels. In April of 1917, 1000 ships were ordered to be built. By the end of the war, the boats had become obsolete and eventually they were sunk to the bottom of the Potomac River at Mallows Bay. From space, the ship graveyard is a striking and amazing sight.

A Marijuana Farm
If you're doing something illegal, it used to be sufficient to put up a fence and keep prying eyes out. But when the eyes are in the sky, things change. Spotting marijuana growths from small planes has been common practice for quite a while. But the owners of a massive marijuana growing operation in Switzerland found that out the hard way in 2010 when Google Earth satellite images revealed their pot fields. Police in Zurich discovered the two-acre field by chance while looking up the address of area farmers, and quickly moved in for the bust. Sixteen people were arrested and over a ton of marijuana was impounded.

Kazakh Geoglyphs
The people of the ancient world did some things that still confound us today. One of the most perplexing is the practice of creating geoglyphs—massive drawings in the earth that are too large to be comprehended from the ground, but show up clear as day from high above. The Nazca lines of southern Peru are the most famous. In 2014 archaeologists happened across a completely new set of geoglyphs in Kazakhstan. The drawings, which depict a number of different geometric shapes, have yet to be explained.

A Hidden Rain Forest
It's well-known that the truly wild areas of the planet are dying at a rapid rate, but satellite imagery can often reveal hidden oases that mankind hasn't managed to ruin…yet. That happened in 2005, when scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens were going over Google Earth images from Mozambique. At the top of Mount Mabu, isolated by steep slopes, was one of the largest untouched rain forests that scientists had ever seen. Villagers had used the site to hide from the civil war that rocked the nation, but aside from that it was on no map and not recognized by the government. Three years later, an expedition found previously undiscovered plants and animals there.

Lost Egyptian Pyramids
One of the most frustrating parts of the archaeologist's craft is having to guess about ancient civilizations buried beneath the surface. Egypt, with its constantly-shifting sands, is especially tough. Thankfully, satellites equipped with infrared cameras have changed the game completely. In a 2011 survey of the country, heat-sensing photography was used to reveal the shapes of seventeen lost pyramids, as well as thousands of other buildings buried beneath the desert.

A Methane Hot Spot
Satellites don't just take photos of things we can see with the naked eye. Their advanced sensors allow them to record wavelengths we can't perceive. That's how we found an enormous packet of the greenhouse gas methane hovering over the American southwest. The Four Corners area, where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet, is a hotbed of natural gas extraction. Scientists believe that the methane was released as a side effect of that industry, and claim that it's equivalent to the entire greenhouse gas output of Sweden.

A Meteor Crater
One of the coolest things about satellite surveillance is that it allows us to see things that would be virtually invisible from the ground. Case in point: the crater from one of Earth's most recent meteor impacts, a scant 5,000 years ago. Measuring just 150 feet wide, this tiny hole in Egypt was first noticed in 2008. But it wasn't until a team analyzed Google Earth images in 2010 that they realized what makes it unusual. The site is what's known as a "rayed crater," featuring lines of lighter-colored rock emanating from the impact area. These craters are common on the Moon but typically eradicated by erosion on Earth, so it's an advantage to science to find a new one.

A New Species Of Hominid
One of the most fascinating discoveries in the history of paleontology—a completely new hominid species that fills in information about the evolution of Homo sapiens. In 2007, South African professor Lee Berger was using Google Earth to examine caves around the so-called "Cradle of Humanity" area of South Africa when he started to notice a pattern. Following it out, he marked 500 other sites that he thought had the potential to produce fossils. The next year, he started to explore them on foot, and one gave up an incredible find: the first bones of Australopithecus sediba, a species that some believe might be the missing link between man and ape.

A Mars Lander
Let's look away from Earth and cast our attention to our nearest planetary neighbor for a look at a mission gone wrong. In 2003, the European Space Agency launched a mission to Mars that involved landing an unmanned craft called the Beagle 2 to take samples and return data. Unfortunately, after launch the ESA lost contact with the Beagle and it vanished into space. A dozen years later, NASA staff operating the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's cameras spotted an anomaly on the planet's surface. Upon investigation, they realized they had found the long-missing Beagle 2. The craft's solar panels had failed to open, resulting in mission failure, but it's been sitting on Mars this whole time.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

6 Important Lands that Never Existed

Island of Thule
Last week I talked about 5 lost cities, some presumed to be myth rather than real, that had been found.  This week I'm talking about 6 lands famous in legend that really are myth.

Ancient travelers (and by ancient I mean many centuries ago) told stories of mysterious places located in the unexplored reaches of the world—fabled cities, phantom islands and exotic civilizations.  Even though these lands were usually dismissed as myths and legends, a few of them found their way onto world maps and helped inspire some of history’s most important journeys of discovery.  From a fabled Christian empire in Asia to a supposed lost kingdom in Canada, find out more about six of the most influential lands that never were.

1) Thule
A subject of fascination for ancient explorers, romantic poets and Nazi occultists.  Thule was an elusive territory believed to be located in the frozen north Atlantic near Scandinavia. Its legend dates back to the 4th century B.C., when the Greek journeyman Pytheas claimed to have travelled to an icy island beyond Scotland where the sun rarely set and land, sea and air combined into a bewildering, jelly-like mass.

Many of Pytheas’ contemporaries doubted his claims, but that didn't stop distant Thule from lingering in the European imagination.  It eventually became synonymous with the northernmost place in the known world.  Explorers and researchers variously identified it as Norway, Iceland and the Shetland Islands, and it served a recurring theme in poetry and myth.  The island is perhaps most famous for its connection to the Thule Society, a post-World War I occult organization in Germany that considered Thule the ancestral home of the Aryan race. The Munich-based group counted many future Nazis among its members, including Rudolf Hess, who later served as Deputy Führer of Germany under Adolf Hitler.

2) The Kingdom of Prester John
For more than 500 years, Europeans believed a Christian king ruled over a vast empire somewhere in the wilds of either Africa, India or the Far East.  Talk of this mythical land first surfaced in 1165 after the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors received a letter—most likely a European forgery—from a monarch calling himself Prester John.  The mysterious king claimed to serve as supreme ruler of the three Indies and all its 72 kingdoms.  He described his realm as a utopia rich in gold, populated by exotic races of giants and horned men.  Perhaps most important of all, Prester John and his subjects were Christians—even the name Prester meant Priest.

Despite the fact that a Papal mission to find Prester John’s court disappeared without a trace, the myth of his kingdom took hold among Europeans.  Crusading Christians rejoiced in the idea that a devout ruler might come to their aid in the struggle against Islam during the Crusades, and when Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes conquered parts of Persia in the early 1200s, many mistakenly credited Prester John’s forces with the attack.  The kingdom later became a subject of fascination for travelers and explorers.  Marco Polo provided a questionable account of encountering its remnants in Northern China.  Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese mariners searched for it in Africa and India.  While explorers eventually discovered a Christian civilization in Ethiopia, it lacked the grandeur and the gold Europeans had come to associate with Prester John’s realm. By the 17th century, the legend had faded, and the famed empire was dropped from most maps.

3) Hy-Brasil
Long before Europeans ever stepped foot in the New World, explorers searched for the island of Hy-Brasil, an ethereal land said to exist off the west coast of Ireland.  The story of Hy-Brasil most likely comes from Celtic legend—its name means Isle of the Blest in Gaelic—but its precise origins are unclear.  Hy-Brasil first appeared on maps in the 14th century, usually in the form of a small, circular island with a narrow strait splitting it in two.  Many mariners accepted it as a real place until as recently as the 1800s, and it became popular as the basis for myths and folktales.  Some legends described the island as a lost paradise.  Others claimed that it was perpetually obscured by a dense curtain of mist and fog, only becoming visible to the naked eye every seven years.  [which sounds as if it might have been the genesis of the Lerner & Lowe musical BRIGADOON about a village in Scotland that appeared out of the mist every one hundred years]

Despite its somewhat whimsical reputation, Hy-Brasil was widely sought after by Britain-based explorers in the 15th century. The navigator John Cabot launched several expeditions in an attempt to find it.  It's suggested that he had hoped to locate it during his famous journey to the coast of Newfoundland in 1497.  Documents from Cabot’s time claim that previous explorers had already reached Hy-Brasil, leading some researchers to argue that these unnamed mariners may have inadvertently traveled all the way to the Americas prior to Christopher Columbus.

4) El Dorado
Beginning in the 16th century, European explorers and conquistadors were intrigued by tales of a mythical city of gold located in the unexplored reaches of South America.  The city had its origin in accounts of El Dorado (The Gilded One), a native king who powdered his body with gold dust and tossed jewels and gold into a sacred lake as part of a coronation rite.  Stories of the gilded king eventually led to rumors of a golden city of untold wealth and splendor.  Adventurers spent many years—and countless lives—in a futile search for its riches.

One of the most famous El Dorado expeditions came in 1617, when the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh traveled up the Orinoco River on a quest to find it in what is now Venezuela.  They didn't find any trace of the gilded city, and King James I later executed Raleigh after he disobeyed an order to avoid fighting with the Spanish.  El Dorado continued to drive exploration and colonial violence until the early 1800s, when scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland branded the city a myth after undertaking a research expedition to Latin America.

El Dorado wasn’t the only gilded city supposedly tucked away in the New World.  European explorers also hunted for the Seven Cities of Cibola, a mythical group of gold-rich settlements said to be located somewhere in what are now Mexico and the American Southwest.  The most famous search for the Seven Cities came in the 16th century, when the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado scoured the Great Plains of the U.S. in search of a city of riches called Quivira.

5) St. Brendan’s Island
St. Brendan’s Island was a mysterious manifestation of Paradise once thought to be hidden somewhere in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  The myth of the phantom island dates back to the Navigatio Brendani, or Voyage of Brendan, a 1,200-year-old Irish legend about the seafaring monk St. Brendan the Navigator.  As the story goes, Brendan led a crew of pious sailors on a 6th century voyage in search of the famed Promised Land of the Saints.  The journey on the open sea describes attacks by fireball-wielding giants and run-ins with talking birds.  According to the tale, Brendan and his men landed on a mist-covered island filled with delicious fruit and sparkling gems. The grateful crew are said to have spent 40 days exploring the island before returning to Ireland.

Although there is no historical proof of St. Brendan’s voyage, the legend became so popular during medieval times that St. Brendan’s Island found its way onto many maps of the Atlantic. Early cartographers placed it near Ireland, but in later years it migrated to the coasts of North Africa, the Canary Islands and finally the Azores. Sailors often claimed to have caught fleeting glimpses of the mystical isle during the Age of Discovery, and it’s likely that even Christopher Columbus believed in its existence.  Its legend eventually faded after multiple search expeditions failed to track it down. By the 18th century, the famed Promised Land of the Saints had been removed from most navigational charts.

6) The Kingdom of Saguenay
The story of the mirage-like Kingdom of Saguenay dates to the 1530s, when French explorer Jacques Cartier made his second journey to Canada in search of gold and a northwest passage to Asia.  While traveling along the St. Lawrence River at what is modern day Quebec, Cartier’s Iroquois guides began to whisper tales of Saguenay, a vast kingdom that lay to the north. According to a chief named Donnacona, the mysterious realm was rich in spices, furs and precious metals and populated by blond, bearded men with pale skin.  The stories eventually transitioned into the realm of the absurd when the natives claimed the region was also home to races of one-legged people and whole tribes possessing no anus.  Cartier became intrigued by the prospect of plundering the riches of Saguenay.  He brought Donnacona back to France, where the Iroquois chief continued to spread tales of a lost kingdom.

Legends about Saguenay haunted French explorers in North America for years, but treasure hunters never found any trace of the mythical land.  Most historians now dismiss it as a myth, but some argue the natives may have been referring to copper deposits in the Canadian northwest.  Others have suggested that the Indian tales could have been inspired by a centuries old Norse outpost left over from Viking voyages to North America.