Selected Works

Historical Fiction
Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end.
Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance's most notorious family, three outsiders must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power.
The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web.
The lives of an ambitious soldier, a patrician heiress and a future emperor fatefully intersect.
The Year of Four Emperors - and four very different women struggling to survive
A brilliant and paranoid Emperor, a wary and passionate slave girl – who will survive?

Ave Historia: An irreverent look at historical fiction today: books trends, historical tidbits, and random tangents

Featured This Month In Milspouse Magazine . . .

August 15, 2012

Tags: milspouse, empress of the seven hills

I wrote my latest book "Empress of the Seven Hills" while my husband was deployed to the Persian Gulf. I ended up writing him into the book, in a way - my hero bears more than a passing resemblance to the man I married, though I didn't realize this until it was pointed out to me. And at first I denied it.

Husband: (raising an eyebrow) “So it’s a complete coincidence that both your husband and your fictional hero are tall, freckled, left-handed, short-tempered, adrenaline-junkie military men who snore like a chain-saw, can't sit still without one foot jittering, and have a habit of pissing off superiors?”


Thank goodness my husband is back home now, as unscathed as my fictional hero - and I wrote about both of them in the last issue of Milspouse Magazine, under the monthly feature "My Military Romance." Pick up an issue on any base, or just click here! And thanks again to Milspouse Magazine, and military husbands and wives everywhere.

2012 Olympics, Ancient Roman Style

August 3, 2012

Tags: Olympics

I don't know why, but watching sports really brings out the historian in me. Maybe it's because I edited all of “Mistress of Rome” with the Tour de France in the background, so the gladiatorial games and the cycling commentary started to mix in the strangest way. I half expected to hear Lance Armstrong roar “We who are about to die salute you!!” as he biked off an Alp.

In any case, here are seven random thoughts after watching way too much Olympic coverage . . .

1. Thank you, NBC, for making me sit through all the rowing before getting to women's gymnastics. Wouldn't this sport be a lot more interesting if we could do it ancient Rome style? Instead of a teeny coxswain calling directions to the rowers, you have a hulking muscleman flogging them with a piece of rope. And none of this keeping-to-your-own-lane stuff; I want to see those rowers yell “RAMMING SPEED!” and go smashing into each other like the war galleys in “Ben Hur.” Last boat afloat wins.

2. Men's volleyball. Bo-oring. For the dull sports we should really do this old school – as in, ancient Greek old school. The original Olympic athletes would all be competing in the nude. I really think this would spike the ratings on men's volleyball.

3. Men's swimming. They're really drumming up the Phelps-Lochte rivalry. Let's kick this up gladiatorial style and toss 'em in a ring to duke it out instead of a pool. Can't you see these two guys in those “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” loincloths, going at each other with nets and tridents? Me too.

4. Equestrian events! Here's one sport I do not want to go all ancient Rome. Sure, the chariot races were thrilling, but a lot of horses died on those hairpin turns in the Circus Maximus. I'd rather watch these gorgeous creatures jump six-foot hedges than crash into a pile of broken chariot wheels and shattered bones.

5. Track and field. Maybe it's all those gladiator fights I've had to write, but I always end up thinking idly, “Release a lion out of a trap door at the fifty-yard mark, and I bet we'd really see some speed records.”

6. Synchronized diving. I like diving, but synchronized diving is a little surreal. The divers are of course paired for similar builds, they walk in unison, they dive in unison, they look like they've been cloned. Put 'em back in ancient Rome and they'd be sold off the auction block for 500 sesterces apiece to serve wine in perfect unison to Emperor Nero.

7. Women's gymnastics at last! All congratulations to Gabby Douglas for her win, but part of me was secretly rooting for the icy little Russian. I like Russian gymnasts – in contrast to most American athletes who have been trained to twinkle for the camera, your average Russian girl approaches the vault or the bars with all the boundless personal charm of Torquemada. Smiles are saved strictly for the medal stand, and rival gymnasts are not to be hugged, they are to be mowed down like barbarian hordes. You get the feeling that Russian gymnasts would win the Hunger Games a lot more handily than our sparkly American girls. Still, Gabby Douglas was a little rock of an athlete, and she deserved both her golds.

Okay, back to work. There's only so much time you can spend dodging your deadline and hoping Ryan Lochte will be stripped of his medals just for being tacky enough to wear an American flag tooth grill.