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Meet the Great and Honorable Zendala and White Storks of Mercy: Reunion by Joni Anderson van Berkel #characterinterview #epicfantasy #timetravel #magicalrealism #giveaway

I am the Great and Honorable Zendala, formerly known as Tara. My parents are Re, the ancient Egyptian god of the sun; and Ba, a Sacred Stork of the Bach from the mystical Isle of Souls. I have existed as a divine white stork since 100 b.c. The Mother of All Buddhas manifested my elderly human form in 1429 a.d. I am the creator and leader of the White Storks of Mercy. I possess the gift of foresight, which can also be a burden. The knowledge of humanity’s future weighs heavily upon my shoulders. 


What do you consider your greatest achievement?


I have fulfilled my destiny by creating the White Storks of Mercy, who transform into human females known as Merciful Ones. Our mission is to inspire people from diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions to live together in harmony with nature.


What is your most treasured possession?


I treasure above all my magical amulets, which include a gold cartouche that gives my coterie the ability to travel through time; a ring of eternity that enables rejuvenation at the onset of each century; and a spotted jasper stone that empowers our transformation from white storks into human females.


What is your greatest extravagance?


It is a luxury to spend time alone in contemplation and meditation without the demands of my coterie and the problems of humankind.


What is your current state of mind?


I am disappointed beyond belief with the behavior of some of my Merciful Ones. How we can inspire change in the world if they cannot even manage to get along?


What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


I am the most miserable when humans discriminate against and harm one another based on their cultural, ethnic, and religious differences.


Thank you for the insightful interview. Readers, scroll down to read all about this incredible story and the characters in it. There’s also a giveaway where you can win a print copy of this book.


Title: White Storks of Mercy Trilogy: Book Two – Reunion 


Author: Joni Anderson van Berkel  


Genre: Epic Fantasy, Time Travel, Magical Realism, Mythology


Publisher: jponipress 


Book Blurb:


The epic journey that commenced in White Storks of Mercy—Formation continues in a world where reality and fantasy coexist. The Great and Honorable Zendala, formerly known as Tara, leads the legendary coterie through time searching for her last two recruits.


These graceful birds are vested with eternal life and the power to transform into women. As humans, they are called the Merciful Ones. The mystical creatures find that it is not easy to be peacemakers from the past striving to save the world for the future.


Follow them as they rescue a Celtic Druidess with fiery red hair and encounter a young Portuguese woman with sky-blue eyes and diamond shaped pupils. Is she connected to Zendala’s sister, Reba, the ancient Egyptian Siamese cat?


White Storks of Mercy—Reunion is the second book in the trilogy by Joni Anderson van Berkel. Expect more magic, mystery, mythology, and mayhem. Once again, this novel promises to enchant its readers.


Watch the book trailer:




At the Iron Age Settlement, Goddess Bastet and the pharaoh kept silent as they observed the Merciful Ones standing in front of the sacred oak tree. The Druidess raised her arms and declared, “We thank you for protecting the ancient body that reposes within this vessel. The Great and Honorable Zendala is here to take her sister home to Estela Islet. Reba will rest in peace next to Joan of Arc.”


The oak’s scarred trunk split into two vertical halves, allowing adequate space for Orchid to remove the blackened urn. The Celtic iron pig lay on its lid. “There you are!” She pocketed her icon and handed the vessel to Zendala. The almighty oak tree closed its crevice and repaired all of the damage done to its trunk. 


The elder’s knees weakened as she held the vessel. Orchid steadied her and helped her to the ground. The blackened urn rested on Zendala’s lap like a furtive raven in a nest of white cotton. She stroked it with affection. “Father said that you always loved me.”


Bastet narrowed her lime-green cat eyes. He was lying.


Zendala wiggled the wide lid placed over the neck of the urn. “What shall we find inside?”


              Orchid responded, “I trust that the tree faeries preserved her.”


              Zendala inhaled a deep breath and opened the top. She stared down into the vessel. Moist air in its purest form wafted from the urn. They examined Reba’s unspoiled body. The Siamese cat lay contorted in the cramped space. She was folded in half at the middle and her brown tail swirled around her neck like a fashion accessory. Zendala closed the urn and reached for Orchid’s hand. “Thank you, Druidess.


              Their serene moment was interrupted by the sound of jingling bangles and the percussive clanking of a sistrum. Bastet strolled with a confident sway toward them. Orchid jumped to her feet. “How did you find us?”


              Bastet grinned and exposed her sharp teeth. “A plump little pharaoh told me.”


              Zendala’s extreme disappointment was evident. “I am not surprised.” Orchid helped her stand. The elder hollered, “Maatkare, make yourself present!” The pharaoh stepped out from behind the tree and plodded after Bastet like a servant.


              Bastet looked down on the two Merciful Ones. She thrust her metal sistrum at Zendala and bent over to swipe at the urn with her free hand. Zendala wrapped her arms around the vessel and hugged it to her chest. Bastet lifted her off the ground and heaved her backward. She let go of the urn. The cat goddess took charge of Reba’s remains. In spite of her devotion to peace and harmony, Zendala abandoned her self-control. She lunged at Bastet, who tried to get away. The cat goddess tripped over a root protruding from the ground. She regained her balance at the same moment Zendala grabbed for the urn. Bastet swiped at her half-sister’s face. Blood oozed down her wrinkled cheek.


              The violent action infuriated Orchid. She charged at Bastet and tackled her. The cat goddess threw the urn to Maatkare, who held it up with both hands like a trophy. Bastet flipped Orchid over and pinned her to the ground. A bloodcurdling roar rang through the grove. Sekhmet appeared and summoned Re for help. The sun god materialized and pulled Bastet off the Druidess.


              He thundered, “How dare you fight over the custody of Reba’s urn!”


              Bastet sizzled with hatred. She snatched the vessel from Maatkare. “Reba belongs to me!” The cat goddess disappeared.


              Sekhmet examined the scratches on Zendala’s face. “Let me tend to your wounds.” She opened her bag to locate some salve and realized that one of her glass vials was missing. “My willow bark crystals are gone!”


              Re assisted Orchid to her feet. “Are you injured?” She assured him that she was not hurt.


              Zendala lifted her empty arms to the heavens. Tears filled her golden eyes. She cried, “Once again, I am robbed of the chance to say a proper goodbye.”


              Re comforted his daughter. I shall ask Heka if reincarnating Reba is possible. Otherwise, Zendala will never find resolution with her sister.


              Sekhmet thanked Re for stopping the fight. The sun god vanished.


              Orchid confronted Maatkare. “What are Bastet’s plans for Reba’s remains?”


              “I know nothing!”


              Orchid scolded the deceitful pharaoh for sabotaging Zendala’s claim to Reba’s urn. Maatkare snubbed her. Sekhmet continued to apply salve to the wounds on the elder’s cheek. Zendala winced and glanced down at her wrist. The skin beneath Iona’s silver charm bracelet was puffy and hot. Something is wrong with Iona! 


              The seer covered the bracelet with her other hand and closed her golden eyes. “My chosen one is laying in a dark and damp place. Blandina, Mary, and Rebecca surround her but they are helpless.” Zendala visualized a snapshot of the mossy boulder. “Iona is not wearing her talisman!”


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Giveaway –

Enter to win one of twelve print copies of White Storks of Mercy: Reunion (book two):

US residents only

Runs February 21 – March 28, 2024.

Winner will be drawn on March 29, 2024.


Author Biography:


JONI ANDERSON VAN BERKEL is a Colorado-born writer and artist who lives in Zurich, Switzerland. She is happily married to her Dutchman from Amsterdam.


She was educated at the University of Colorado and holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees.


Joni studied script writing in Europe and wrote her first screenplay, Bad Julia, with the late David Sherwin. She is currently working on the script, White Storks of Mercy Trilogy – Formation.


She has spent more than ten years writing her trilogy, White Storks of Mercy. The first two books, Formation and Reunion are available on Amazon. The third book of her trilogy, Reconciliation, is coming soon.


Social Media Links:


Instagram @whitestorksofmercy

1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Mar 06

Thank you for the insightful interview. I really enjoyed meeting you! Readers, check out this book. It's magnificent.

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