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The Page 69 Test

It’s the Page 69 Test today: namely, what would any reader think if they opened your book to page 69?

Anybody who did that that for “The Lion and the Rose” would walk into the crossfires of a lethal female cat-fight. When a powerful man’s current girlfriend locks horns with his ex-girlfriend, sparks quite often fly . . . but what if the man in the middle is His Holiness the Pope?

(Though not this Pope!)

To read more, click here!

10 Tips For Living With A Writer

I really cackled when I wrote this guest post for Writerspace. I am sad to say that every single one of these examples is drawn from life, either mine or one of my writer pals’. Including Tip #1:

“Do not get freaked by your spouse’s Google search history when it pops up things like “testicle amputation techniques” or “how to kill a child and get away with it.” It’s all just research.”

To read the rest, click here!

Guest Blog: Borgia Madness

More guest blogging today, over on The Reading Frenzy! Topic? Why I write about the Borgias, which Borgia I’d most like to meet, and all the crazy things that make them tick:

“I couldn’t suppress a giggle when I wrote Giulia tearing her beautiful hair in frustration at yet another papal family crisis and crying out, `Maybe there’s a REASON Popes aren’t supposed to have families!’ She’s got a point there–Pope Francis today has quite enough to do without having to manage four children and a girlfriend!”

Though wouldn’t it be interesting if he did?

For more, click here!


Guest Blogger: A Writer Spouse Responds . . .

Friends and family will often get more worked up over a bad review than an author will. My husband is STILL fuming about my first one-star Amazon review, and it was more than three years ago. He knows better than to start flame wars on the internet defending the honor of my books, but it can be tough sometimes for a writer spouse to take the high road.

A while back, I posted my annual “I Hated Your Book” blog post – my top-ten list of the bad, the ugly, and the just plain weird reviews I received in 2012. I rephrase everything for anonymity, and I have fun posting the replies I wish I could shoot back in person. And today, since it’s all in anonymous fun anyway, I’ve given my husband permission to make his own responses. Just this once . . .

1.  Cringeworthy bodiceripping lovestory.

Please locate said bodices for me. As Kate’s husband and critique partner, I have seen every iteration of these books from their raw ideas to their finished forms, and I simply cannot live with myself if I, as the first and initial editor, missed a SINGLE BODICE. Help me, O Un-hyphenated Reader….you’re my only hope.

2.  I bought your book at the same time as Stephanie Dray’s Song of the Nile. Hers is slightly less boring than yours. 

Yeah, so Stephanie’s a good friend to my wife and me, and normally I’d back her up to the hilt. But when it comes to my wife being compared to other women, Kate is always the most talented, most beautiful, classiest, *every awesome thing ever*. Sorry to ditch you on this one, Stephanie.

3.  I hated the way all the women in this book were accused of being sluts whenever they stepped outside the rules. I mean, I guess it was historically accurate, but it bothered me way too much to finish the book.

So let me get this straight……’re irritated by historical accuracy in a historical novel that you very probably located in the “Historical Fiction” section of your bookstore or library? Hold on, I think I can help……….one sec……..looking around………..OK! Here we go! THIS should be more your speed for right now.

4.  I heart the hero Vix! He’s just so badass the way he stopped at nothing to get what he wanted. I didn’t like the heroine at all, though; she was so self-centered the way she plowed through life just trying to get her own way.

Um…..thanks? Kate based the hero on me, so I guess you tangentially complimented me there. On the other hand, your comment just convinced me that you’re schizophrenic, so I’m not really sure how to take it. *slowly puts hands in the air and backs away very carefully*

5.  There was such foul language in this book, I just couldn’t stand it.

Yeah, because the hero of this book is a soldier–and as a military man myself, let me ______ reassure you that ________ military men do NOT _______ swear. Not in ____ ancient Rome, not ____ now, not in any ____ era. We ________ speak __________ forcefully and loudly, _____ yeah, but we do NOT use _______ language. Never ____ ever.

6.  Your Rome is like three blocks wide from the way all the central characters keep bumping into each other!

Huh. Actually, that’s pretty legit.

7.   This book is an insult to my Jewish heritage. So anti-Semitic; any Jew would be offended!

What book did you read? My wife’s works and Mein Kampf look NOTHING alike.

8.  Wasn’t interested enough to finish the book. Four stars out of five!

I just saw the opening credits for “The Hobbit!” Wonderful movie!

9.  I didn’t like this book as much as her other book Empress of the Daughter’s Mistress.

Personally, my favorite part of the book was when Vix, Hermione, and The Doctor went back in time to reboot the universe, but King Arthur was confused by all the new people, so he called up George III on his communicator, who sent Aragon to take on The Borg with his lightsaber.

10.  This trash is an insult to intellectuals everywhere. I’m trying to decide whether to toss this book in the library’s 2 cent bin, or burn it.

Ok, funny hat off here….. I was preparing a scathing response about the idea of an intellectual wanting to burn books, complete with a staggering comparison to Nazi Germany. But then it occurred to me…….

You’re an idiot, and here’s why:

a) Kate’s books aren’t intellectual works. Granted, they’re very well done, but they aren’t designed to promote a philosophy or explain post-modern surrealism, or anything of the sort. They’re great stories that are expertly told, not intellectual treatises. What you’re doing is looking at a very fast car that’s a lot of fun to drive, and bitching that it’s not a nuclear submarine.

b) By definition, anyone who would consider burning a book is not an intellectual. Intellectuals recognize the value and worth in every work, regardless of personal taste, even if the only lesson learned is what not to do. The fact that you would even consider burning something out of spite, and try to remove that knowledge and information from the world, tells me that you’re nothing but a small and petty mind.

And for the bonus crazy email my wife received in 2012 . . .

11.  Hi Kate, I saw your picture on the book jacket, and I like girls like you! You know, pretty, blond, puffy cheeks, loves history. We should talk!

I have a broadsword.

Guest Blog: Historical Women Have Hobbies, Too

Guest blogging at one of my favorite book blogs today: Enchanted By Josephine! Today’s topic?

“I’m a firm believer that no woman should be all about her love life. Women in the real world who think and talk about nothing but who they’re dating are crashing bores–and so are the women in novels who have not a thought in their fictional heads but who they are to marry. But it can be a dilemma in historical fiction: if you are writing about historical women, usually well-born or moneyed ones, then quite often their only job in life really was to get married.”

Come on, ladies, just because you live in an era when getting married is your job doesn’t mean you can’t have other interests! And if you’re in one of my books, rest assured I will give you other interests.

To read the rest of the post (and enter the giveaway for a free copy of Empress of the Seven Hills), click here! And thanks again to Lucy for having me on Enchanted By Josephine!

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far

I’m guest blogging over at The Writer’s Digest today, adding my two (or seven) cents to the running feature “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far.” Here’s number 6:

“6. Grow a thick skin. Those negative reviews will come, and they will hurt. And thanks to the internet and that online presence you’ve worked so hard to create for yourself, it’s tempting to put a snarky comment up on that blogger review, pointing out the blogger’s complete lack of literary discernment and utter misuse of the subjunctive. Resist the impulse, because nothing will trash your reputation faster than public whining about your bad reviews. It’s always better to take the high road and let the bad reviews sink unnoticed, rather than get into an online spat that goes viral. For an example of what NOT to do, just google `Jacqueline Howett The Greek Seaman.'”

Head over to The Writer’s Digest to read the rest, and sign up for a free giveaway copy of Empress of the Seven Hills! And a big thank-you to Chuck for having me on The Writer’s Digest.