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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Summer...Gone So Fast!




Blog Update 


It has been three months since I have updated my blog. The last entry was guest blogger and Author, Sharon Marchisello, May 20th. She was one of several wonderful authors who had appeared as guests since September 22, 2018, when Author Gigi Sedimeyer was gracious enough to be interviewed. I will return to that format in the near future.





Personal Issues


I have had an ongoing series of medical issues this winter and spring which had to be addressed. The most serious was having cataract surgery, which was done in January. Fortunately, this was very  successful, involving both eyes. The other issues, which I won't go into detail, have been resolved but delayed my writing. This is what happens when you grow older. I am 77, active, but I must continue to keep on top any medical problems that might arise. At my age, anything can happen.


Adding to the problem was that I lost my younger brother, Dan, in January as well. This was an absolute shock. He was 74 and in great physical shape as a marathon runner. I am still dealing with his loss.




The Emperor's Hand The_Emperors_Hand.jpg



Because of problem's, medical and otherwise, progress on The Emperor's Hand, the sixth historical in the Britannia Romanus series has been painfully slow. I am currently up to chapter twelve. However, I am in the process of re-writing chapters six through twelve (I am in the middle of chapter eight). Authors are always re-writing.


To refresh your memory, and for those who have not read my January 20, 2019 blog, Macha is kidnapped by rebels, who want her to be their next queen, when they overthrow the Romans, because she was the daughter of Caratacus. She is horrified and wants no part of the plan. The Boudiccan revolt, which was put down the Romans, ten years before, is still a vivid memory in the minds of Britons and Romans alike. She knows any new revolt would be crushed immediately and tries to persuade the rebels to give up their disastrous plan.


My goal is to complete the novel by  June, 2020. At that time I will send it to a professional editor, whom I have used for all my novels, for review and another re-write.


Part of the problem stems from extensive research, especially, about the description of Roman Britain in 71 A.D. The other is making sure the story is believable with a logical basis.




Book Signings and Sales New Reader Ricardo at Kennewich B&N New Reader Maddie B&N Spokane Valley, WA

                                                                    Ricardo at Kennewick B&N                           Maddie at Spokane Valley B&N




Through 2019, signings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers continue to be successful. Unfortunately, with the exception of Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington, book signing sales at other stores have been less than satisfying. One store I am dropping from future signings.


For the month of April, all five of my novels were on Sunbury Press' Milford House Imprint top 25 in sales.



Good News. I am now the "resident writer" at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Spokane Valley, Washington, store. There are no perks, just recognition for the many successful book events I have conducted at the store. Store manager, Leslie, said I have carte blanche privileges to sign at the store at anytime I want. I usually write inside their Starbucks store a couple times a week.




Book RecommendationsPatricians and Emperors




Below are two books about the Roman Empire that I highly recommend:





I.  The Roman Emperor Aurelian: Restorer of the World by John F. White, Pen & Sword, publishers



This book deals with the "Crisis of the 3rd Century A.D." The Roman Empire was on the verge of collapse when Emperor Aurelian (270-275 A.D.) came to power. Below is a description found in the book.


"The ancient Sibylline prophecies had foretold that the Roman Empire would last for 1000 years". As the time for the expected dissolution approached in the middle of the third century AD, the empire was lapsing into chaos, with seemingly interminable civil wars over the imperial succession. The western empire had seceded under a rebel emperor and the eastern empire was controlled by another usurper. Barbarians took advantage of the anarchy to kill and plunder all over the provinces. Yet within the space of just five years, the general, later emperor Aurelian had expelled all the barbarians from with the Roman frontiers, reunited the entire empire and inaugurated major reforms of the currency, pagan religion and civil administration. "



His accomplishments have been hailed by classical scholars as those of a ‘superman’, yet Aurelian himself remains little known to a wider audience. His achievements enabled the Roman Empire to survive for another two centuries, ensuring a lasting legacy of Roman civilization for the successor European states. Without Aurelian, the ‘Dark Ages’ would probably have lasted centuries longer. This is a new, revised edition.


Aurelian is one of the unsung heroes of the Roman Empire. I have known about him since I was young U.S. Marine in the 1960's. This is the first decent biography and history written this extraordinary emperor. Highly recommended.




Link: Roman Emperor Aurelian-Restorer




II:  Patricians and Emperors: The Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire by Ian Hughes, Pen & Sword, publishers.


This book is at the other end of the spectrum describing the last days of the Western Empire. With possibly the exception of Emperor Majorian (457-461 A.D.), you'll find no heroes like Aurelian in this group of weak, self-serving aristocrats. This is a worthy read which I also recommend.



The following summary is enclosed in the book.



"Patricians and Emperors offers concise comparative biographies of the individuals who wielded power in the final decades of the Western Roman Empire, from the assassination of Aetius in 454 to the death of Julius Nepos in 480."



The book is divided into four parts. The first sets the background to the period, including brief histories of Stilicho (395-408) and Aetius (425-454), explaining the nature of the empire and the reasons for its decline. The second details the lives of Ricimer (455-472) and his great rival Marcellinus (455-468) by focusing on the stories of the numerous emperors that Ricimer raised and deposed. The third deals with the Patricians Gundobad (472-3) and Orestes (475-6), as well as explaining how the barbarian general Odoacer came to power in 476. The final part outlines and analyses the Fall of the West and the rise of barbarian kingdoms in France, Spain and Italy.


This is a very welcome book to anyone seeking to make sense of this chaotic, but crucial period.



Link:  Patricians Emperors Rulers Western Empire




Female Gladiators in Ancient RomeFemail Gladiators




According to the below article, women did fight in the arena as gladiators, even as late as the 3rd Century A.D. It wasn't just for low-born women or slaves, either.



An article by Joshua J. Mark


"Female gladiators in ancient Rome – referred to by modern-day scholars as gladiatrix – may have been uncommon but they did exist. Evidence suggests that a number of women participated in the public games of Rome even though this practice was often criticized by Roman writers and attempts were made to regulate it through legislation.


Female gladiators are often referred to in ancient texts as ludia (female performers in a ludi, a festival or entertainment) or as mulieres (women) but not often as feminae (ladies) suggesting to some scholars that only lower-class women were drawn to the arena. There is a significant amount of evidence, however, that high-born women were as well. The term gladiatrix was never used in ancient times; it is a modern word first applied to female gladiators in the 1800’s CE.


Women who chose a life in the arena – and it does seem this was a choice – may have been motivated by a desire for independence, a chance at fame, and financial rewards including remission of debt. Although it seems a woman gave up any claim to respectability as soon as she entered the arena, there is some evidence to suggest that female gladiators were honored as highly as their male counterparts."


For more, go to the below link.


Link: Female Gladiators in Ancient Rome



For now, that is all. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!





Jess Steven Hughes




4:17 pm pdt          Comments

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