empress of the seven hills

Blog Tour Week 4: Writers Read (no, seriously, they do)

What do writers read? That’s Marshal’s question over on “Writers Read,” and it’s a good ‘un. As a historical fiction writer, it’s probably no surprise that I read a lot of HF. But I try to dip into other genres too, in the spirit of expanding my horizons, and that’s why my current reading list doesn’t just have HF on it, but classics, thrillers, and YA dystopias . . .

Click here to find out!

Blog Tour Week 4: Q&A

I met Heather Web at last year’s Historical Novel Society Conference – she was such a delightful dinner companion that I couldn’t resist her invitation for a Q&A on her blog! And she’s got interesting questions too – forget “Where do you get your ideas?” Heather asked me what my favorite vices are that get me through the bad times. My answer?

Click here to find out!

Sex, Lies, and History: A Literary Threesome

Coming this Saturday: panel discussion and book signing for three historical fiction authors: Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, and myself. God knows what we’ll end up talking about, but the three of us know how to have fun. Stop by to get a book signed, ask a question, or just say hi. I promise you it will be a great time!

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, April 21st
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Location: Barnes & Noble, Spectrum Center, 1851 Fountain Drive, Reston, VA 20190

Hope I see you there!

Blog Tour Week 3: A Chat with C.W. Gortner

I’m over at C.W. Gortner’s blog “Historical Boys” today for another Q&A – only by now, I’m a bit tired of talking about myself! Christopher is a friend of mine, and rather than do the standard interview, he and I ended up in a conversation about everything under the sun: our respective books (his “Queen’s Vow” about Isabella of Castile comes out in June), our dream casting if HBO ever offers either of us a mini-series, and what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s controversial about writing historical fiction.

Click here to read our convo!

Blog Tour Week 3: Across the Pond

I’m hopping over the water today for my first UK-based blog – a Q&A with Calum at “The Secret Writer.” Calum had some great questions, like asking what made me decide to write historical fiction in the first place – but I can’t promise my answers are always serious.

“Female characters in historical books get to wear much better clothes than modern heroines. I’d much rather be describing a silk stola or a Renaissance kirtle than some appalling tunic-and-jeggings combination.”

Come on over to England to read the rest! And Calum, thanks again for having me.

Tag! You’re It!

I’ve been tagged by my friend and fellow author Sophie Perinot (“The Sister Queens”) for something she calls Author Tag. I’m always keen for weekend fun, so let’s see if I can figure this out:

1. Go to the 77th page of my latest book.

2. Count down 7 lines.

3. Copy the 7 sentences that follow, and post them as a teaser.

4. Tag 7 other authors.

Okay, page 77 of “Empress of the Seven Hills” . . . counting down . . . aha. A scene where a Roman senator and his wife (some of you who read “Mistress of Rome” might remember Marcus and Calpurnia!) are preparing to have Emperor Trajan to the house for dinner, and are watched with considerable amusement by bodyguard Vix:

***

“I don’t see what all this fuss is,” Senator Norbanus said mildly, looking up from his scrolls at his madly rushing wife. “Emperor Trajan is a soldier; he’s easy to entertain – put a slab of meat on his plate and enough beer in his mug, and he’s happy.”

“But Empress Plotina notices everything,” Lady Calpurnia groaned, “and I won’t have her wrinkling her long nose at my housekeeping.” Very heavy under her swollen belly now, Calpurnia went lumbering about the house trailing lists and menus and worried slaves – even the daughter of the house was pressed into service, and I saw Sabina down in the kitchens with her hair tied up in a rag and a smudge of flour on her chin, wrestling gamely with a lump of bread dough. “Show me,” she said, watching the cook’s expert hands pummeling and punching. “How interesting.”

I hid a grin because she’d said the same thing to me last week, in exactly the same tone of voice, when I showed her something under the blankets (never mind what).

***

Now, let’s see who else I can tag on Facebook . . . Happy Friday 13th; you’re it!

Blog Tour Week 2: My First Interview! Want to find out what my next book is about?

Judith Starkston wrote my first and fabulous blogger review for “Empress of the Seven Hills,” and I was delighted when she also invited me over to her blog for a Q&A! She has some great questions, like whether it was harder to find lasting romance in ancient Rome than in the modern day. Plus, there’s a sneak preview on what I’m writing about in my next book!

Hint: not ancient Rome.

To find out, click on over to Judith’s blog! Judith, thanks so much for having me.

Blog Tour Week 2: Roman Architecture, or “A Big Marble Excuse Note To Take Over Your Country”

Svea is hosting me over at Muse in the Fog today as her guest blogger – thanks, Svea! Topic of the day is Roman architecture and its political uses:

“Politicians sometimes curried votes by paying a bathhouse’s entrance fees for a day: “Come get a free massage and beauty treatment at the Baths of Trajan, and don’t forget to vote for Mitt Romney!” Frankly I think this is an idea that needs to be revived; I have no intention of voting for Mitt Romney, but I’d be happy to let him pay for my pedicures.”

Plunge into The Fog to read the rest and enter the giveaway for a free copy of “Empress of the Seven Hills!”

Blog Tour Week 2: Maybe I Should Just Give Up And Write YA

I’m guest blogging at the Historical Fiction Connection today, and my topic is the eternal dilemma all HF authors face, the one that occasionally has me pondering a career switch to YA dystopia where I wouldn’t have to face the following problems:

1.How to make my character likeable even when they have some historically-accurate-but-distasteful opinions from their time period such as “Hey, I think slavery’s just fine, want to go out and shop for a masseuse?”

2.How to ramp up the story’s suspense for a historical figure when the reader already knows, thanks to Wikipedia, the history books, or the latest Showtime TV sensation (like “The Tudors”), exactly what happened to them (chopping block).

Head over to the Historical Fiction Connection to read the rest and enter the giveaway.

Blog Tour Week 2: Women In Ancient Rome Had It Better Than You Think

Happy Easter everybody! Grab a chocolate bunny and come to court with me – that’s not traffic court, but The Maiden’s Court, another of my favorite book blogs, run by the delightful Heather who I was lucky enough to meet at last year’s Historical Novel Society Conference. I’m Heather’s guest blogger today – the topic? Perception vs. Reality about what it meant to be a woman in ancient Rome:

“A Roman woman’s marriage vows gave her considerable flexibility. If a 19th century woman wanted to escape a bad marriage to a cheating husband, she was out of luck unless she could prove her husband had not only cheated on her but compounded his offense by beating her, abandoning her, or going insane. All a 1st century Roman wife had to do to get rid of the jerk she married was move out of his house.”

Come on over to the Maiden’s Court to read the rest and enter the giveaway. And thanks for having me to court, Heather!

Trailer for THE ALICE NETWORK!