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

Collaborative Writing: An Irreverent Look Behind The Curtain

November 23, 2015

Tags: a year of ravens, boudica, eliza knight, stephanie dray, ruth downie, vicky alvear shecter, sja turney, russell whitfield, ben kane

As I wrote A YEAR OF RAVENS with my six co-authors Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Eliza Knight, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Simon Turney, and Russell Whitfield, we were often asked about the collaborative process. How exactly does one go about writing a book-in-seven-parts? Well, it involves a lot of emails, a lot of Skype sessions, a lot of back-and-forth Facebook chats--and we undertake it with a great deal of seriousness, as you see from this collection of direct quotes as we moved through the stages of collaboration this year.

As We Outline Our Stories

Simon: “I have an eight-page outline, anyone want to have a look?”
Kate: “My entire outline is eleven words.”
Stephanie: “I want to talk over-arching themes. What are we trying to say with this book? What’s our overall message?”
Vicky: “Why are we talking overarching themes before we even know what happens?!”
Ruth: “My heroine’s name--Ria or Narina? Oh well, I’ll decide by the time I’m done.”
Eliza: “Really?! I can’t move forward at all until my heroine has a name.”
Russell: “Hey guys, my story’s already finished!”
All of us: (outwardly) “Wow, you’re so motivated!” (Inwardly) “Bastard.”

As We Research

Ruth: “This poem I’m reading on Celtic wooing practices, `The Wooing of Etain . . .’ Not a lot of wooing in it. Sparky bunch.”
Stephanie: “Russ, you walked Hadrian’s Wall in full Roman armor--does chain-mail really go thunk-scratch as you walk?”
Russell: “It’s actually more wunk-thunk-kitch, wunk-thunk-kitch.”

As We Research Some More

Stephanie: “My Roman procurator's villa is in Narbo. But I might need to change the color of the grapes in his vineyard. Maybe we can't be sure of the climate in that specific place for whatever variety of grape existed before modern variations 2000 years ago.”
Kate: “Don't mention the color of the grapes. Just say they're ripe. Nobody cares what color the grapes are.”
Stephanie: “I'm putting in the color of the grapes! You can't stop me. I've gone rogue.”
Kate: “Is that the mulish streak of an author thinking "I looked it up. I researched it. It's going in the book or time is wasted?"
Stephanie: “Absolutely! I don't even drink wine. I don't know the difference between a Syrah and a Chardonnay. You think I researched grape regions in France for my health? No, Madam. I did not.”

As We Write

Stephanie: “The f*cking king still isn’t burned.”
Ruth: “So many Iron Age names are completely unusable. Corotica, Auumpus, Aessicunia . . .”
Russell: “My hero can’t keep his willy in his subligares.”
Vicky: “All right, break for lunch, then back to the slaughter.”
Eliza: “My muse today is a bitchy bitch who bitches.”
Simon: “I've managed to put two tines of a fork into my hand.”
Kate: “I love you guys.”

As We Procrastinate

Kate: “Hey, look at this! `Buzzfeed quiz to find your Celtic name!’ I got `Floraidh, the Gentle Petal.’ Jesus. What are you guys getting?”
Simon: “`Muireann, born of the sea.’ For a man who has to travel 50 miles to the ocean, I find that amusing.”
Russell: “`Aidan the Fiery Rider. The ancient Celts would have seen you as the bringer of light.’ And I’m a complete slacker . . .”
Vicky: “I got Muireann too. And I live 250 miles from a beach.”

As We Finish Our Rough Drafts

Stephanie: Slept for ten hours straight after writing 22,000 words in 4 days.
Eliza: Pulled four all-nighters and is now drinking wine straight from a jar.
Vicky: Cross-eyed from maneuvering her mind around the mental contortions needed to plausibly excuse a massacre.
Ruth: “Mightily glad I finished my story when I did, because seconds later a huge spider ran across the desk. I'll be decamping to the kitchen until it's died of old age. Or possibly until I have.”
Simon: MIA. Apparently fled all the way to Wales to get away from the non-stop barrage of Boudica emails.
Kate: Killed approximately 80,000 fictional Celts and has used every synonym in the book for "slaughter."
Russell: Smiling like a cat in the cream because he finished his story first and didn't skate across the deadline over-caffeinated, under-slept, and hooked up via IV to the nearest alcoholic beverage like his co-authors.

As We Edit Each Other

Stephanie: “Kate, don't have your hero kick the severed head. Soooo disrespectful.”
Eliza: “Two stories to edit AND another book out this week . . .”
Vicky: “Wait, you guys feel sorry for my story's homicidal maniac?”
Simon: “______ ______ _____!” (Editing while on holiday, bumping down a Welsh country road in the passenger seat of a Vauxhall Zafira, going 25 mph behind a horse caravan).
Ruth: “Well, my heroine's unconscious through all of THAT story, so that saves me writing her any dialogue . . .”
Kate: “Russ, editing your foul-mouthed optio is having a deleterious effect on my vocabulary. I just told my cranky old plug-in coffeemaker to `Hurry up, you dozy f***ing cow.’”
Russell: “You're welcome, luv.”

As We Fact Check

Stephanie: “Eliza, stop looking up etymological roots! You can’t FIND a word that’s old enough! That’s the beauty of writing in the ancient world; you don’t have to do this!”
Eliza: “I. Can’t. Stop.”
Ruth: “I’ve spent the day only leaving the computer to hunt out books I haven’t used in years. I must go remind Husband that I’m still alive.”
Kate: “Russ, you say Gaulish, but should we go with Gallic?”
Russ: “Gaulish. Gallic brings to mind berets, stripy shirts, Gauloise cigs and accordion music.”

As We Fact Check Some More

Kate: “So, state funeral in the morning and then the pillaging starts . . . you think it could be done by 3pm or so?”
Ruth: “You know, I’m not sure how long pillaging takes. It’s not something I’ve ever given a great deal of thought to.”
Kate: “If the funeral is done by morning we have just enough time to kick off the pillaging. If that’s done by mid-afternoon, we can schedule the flogging . . . I sound like a demented event planner trying to rent a hall.”

As We Make Continuity Changes

Kate: “The blond slave girl mentioned in Story #3 cannot suddenly become a brunette in Story #5; the queen in Story #1 cannot possibly make it all the way north by Story #2 unless we involve a TARDIS; and that Druid cannot die in Story #4 by drowning AND in Story #7 by evisceration.”
Stephanie: “We need to decide on `Mona’ or `Ynys Mon,’ or the history police will crucify us.”
Ruth: “Crikey, don’t the history police have anything better to do?”
Several voices in unison: “No.”

As We Work On Promo

Vicky: “Ok, everyone pitch in on this Q&A.”
Stephanie: Talks overarching theme.
Ruth: Talks archaeological evidence.
Simon: Talks character development.
Russ: Makes hilarious rude jokes.

As We Celebrate Book’s Launch

Ruth: “Really, this was wonderful. It’s been like a crash course in writing combined with group therapy, only funnier.”
The rest of us in unison: “AWWW . . .”

(Then the Yanks wonder: “Do the Brits hug?”)
(As the Brits wonder: “Five hour time difference . . . too early for the Yanks to pour celebratory drinks?”)


November 17, 2015

Tags: a year of ravens, boudica, eliza knight, stephanie dray, ruth downie, vicky alvear shecter, sja turney, russell whitfield, ben kane

Today marks the release of the second collaborative novel I have ever had the pleasure of taking part in! Last year, five other authors and I collaborated to write a novel-in-six-parts about the fall of Pompeii; it was titled "A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii". This time around my co-authors and I (most of the same bunch, plus some delightful new faces) tackled the Boudica rebellion against Rome. The result? "A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica."

Our sophomore collaborative proved to be a bigger, darker, far more complex book than "A Day of Fire." What can I say, we wanted to up our game! And in the process, we had about as much fun as is legally possible to have while still calling it work. Approximately three million emails passed between the seven of us as we wrote, mostly hilarious - I adore every one of my co-authors and would work with them again in a heartbeat. We're all very proud of "A Year of Ravens," and we hope you enjoy it too!

Buy your copy here!

Amazon US (print and Kindle) | Amazon UK (print and Kindle) | Apple | Nook | Kobo

This Weekend's Reading: Nova Roma Box Set!

November 13, 2015

Tags: alison morton, roma nova, a year of ravens

Just a few short days till A YEAR OF RAVENS comes out. I'm always on tenterhooks before a release, and in dire need of distraction. Thank the gods Alison Morton's box set of her terrific Nova Roma trilogy has been released! I know what I'm reading this weekend while I chew my nails off waiting for my own release . . .


Suppose a part of Ancient Rome survived?

In Alison Morton's alternate thriller world, her 21st century Praetorian heroines survive kidnapping, betrayal and a vicious nemesis while using their Roman toughness and determination to save their beloved country. Unfortunately, their love lives don’t run so smoothly...

Alison has written four thrillers against this background - INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA. She’s working on the fifth, INSURRECTIO, out in spring 2016.

But this month, the Roma Nova box set is out and contains the first three books – nearly a 1,000 pages of action adventure and alternative historical thrills in three books which have 140 five star reviews on Amazon between them.

Amazon (worldwide)




INCEPTIO – the beginning: New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her…

“Breathtaking action, suspense, political intrigue” – Russell Whitfield

“Grips like a vice. Excellent pace, great dialogue and concept.” – Adrian Magson

PERFIDITAS - betrayal: Six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.

“Sassy, intriguing, page-turning … Roma Nova is a fascinating, exotic world” – Simon Scarrow

SUCCESSIO - the next generation: A mistake from the past threatens to destroy Roma Nova’s next generation.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this classy thriller, the third in Morton’s epic series set in Roma Nova.”
– Caroline Sanderson in The Bookseller

Historical Novel Society indie Editor’s Choice Autumn 2014

The box set is released on November 10 at a special price of $5.99 on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and B&N Nook


About Alison

Even before she pulled on her first set of fatigues, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. Brought up by a feminist mother and an ex-military father, it never occurred to her that women couldn’t serve their country in the armed forces. Everybody in her family had done time in uniform and in theatre – regular and reserve – all over the globe. She even wrote her history masters’ dissertation on women military!

Alison joined a special communications regiment and left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things no civilian would ever know or see. Or that she can talk about, even now…

But something else fuels her writing… Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilization, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. Now, she lives in France with her husband and writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines.

Connect with Alison:

Nova Roma blog

Facebook Author Page