Thursday, February 1, 2018
3:11 pm pst
Book Signing Update
Book Signing Display at Northtown B&N
New The Broken Lance Reader Heather at B&N
It's the beginning of a new year, and I have already conducted signings @ Yoke's Fresh
Market, Liberty Lake, Washington (Jan. 19th), and Barnes & Noble, North Town Mall, Spokane, Washington (Jan. 27th). See
the book signing page for a list of future dates. I have made event arrangements through June, but more to fill in during
April and May. So far B&N Spokane, WA, North Town Mall; B&N, Spokane Valley, WA, B&N, Columbia Center, Kennewick,
WA and B&N, Blossom Hill, San Jose, CA, are on board. More B&N stores have shown an interest (Montana and Washington)
but won't start working on their event calendars until February.
January and February are usually the slowest
months for signings, people are taking a "deep breath" after heavy spending during the Christmas/New Year holidays.
That was reflected in my first two signings. The numbers were low, but Yoke's store manager, Dan Dicicco, and B&N store
manager, Hilde, both want me to return for additional signings (see book signing page).
Book Sales Update
Milford House Publishing: The Broken Lance and
The Sign of the Eagle
Once again sales
for the The Broken Lance and The Sign
of the Eagle were very good for the month of December. They were number three and number seven respectively
in sales for Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) Milford House Imprint.
The Peace Keeper Update
The Peace Keeper Roman Soldier Painting
I completed the first edit and rewrite sent to me by my editor from Sunbury Press.
The only thing major was adding an extra scene describing the status of one of the characters in the story. The rest of the
changes were very minor. Now, I am waiting for her to complete another review and send it back to me again. This may take
a while as she is bogged down with several other projects. I told her to take her time as I prefer to still promote The Broken Lance.
Return to Britannia
Roman London Street Scene
Work is progressing at a slow rate. I have made additional
changes. There two parallel stories in this novel. Number one is the triple homicide being investigate by Macha's husband,
Titus. I have decided each victim was killed by different means rather than all by poison. One is murdered by poison, but
one is killed by stabbing and other by strangulation. The story deals with Macha's kidnapping by Celtic rebels who want to
make her queen of the tribe that use to be ruled by her father, Caratacus. They want her as the symbolic head of their revolt
against the Romans, but she wants no part of this. They don't give her any choice. I have to do more development of characters
and events before I can move forward.
A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure
Ever Found in Britain
Today, archaeologists are still debating just how old the hoard is—and what
it tells us about the end of the Roman Empire in Britain
When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk
on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt. The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was
meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland. But the detector picked up a strong signal in the earth, leading Lawes to start
digging, and it quickly became apparent that he had indeed found treasure.
After bringing up only a few shovel-fulls
of silverspoons and gold coins, Lawes quickly retreated and called the police and the local archaeological society. The very
next day, as covertly as possible, the archaeologists excavated a chunk of earth with the treasure still contained within.
This way, they could remove the objects under laboratory conditions, which would help determine the age and storage method
of the cache. By the time everything had been removed from the dirt, the archaeologists had nearly 60 pounds of gold and silver
objects, including 15,234 Roman coins, dozens of silver spoons and 200 gold objects.
Read more on the Smithsonian
Magazine:Lost Hammer Finds Large Roman Cache
On a Personal Note
Rescue Horse Ziggy filling out
Our rescue horse, Ziggy, is really coming along. He has filled out in his haunches and neck. Not
the bony horse that he was back in December when got him. He has settled in and is a healthy, happy horse.
That's all for now. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Book Signing and Book Status
2:02 pm pst
New Readers: Dawn
Diana & Danielle B&N Blossom Hill, San Jose,
Troy B&N Spokane, WA
Book Signing Notes
Between November 10th and December 16th, I signed copies of my books at Barnes
& Noble Bookseller stores at the Northtown Mall, Spokane; Eastside store, Spokane Valley; and the Blossom Hill store,
San Jose, California. Other stores where I signed included: Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington; Liberty Lake Chevron,
Liberty Lake, WA and EntertainMART, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. As always, the Barnes & Noble signings were very successful.
Liberty Lake Chevron and Yoke's were so-so (nevertheless, both stores want me to return).
EntertainMART gave me another big surprise. Besides selling many books, they had paid me for in advance at the last signing,
(They paid me for twenty-one on October 7th), they paid me for an additional ten (The Broken Lance and The Wolf of Britannia,
Part I) when I conducted another signing at their store, Nov. 18th. Book manager, Marie, said, "We know you will return
at future dates until you've sold them all." Needless to say, I will return for another signing, Saturday, February 3rd,
2018. I will also be returning to the other B&N stores as well for encore signings. Management in each store was
pleased with my efforts and numbers sold.
During 2017 I conducted more than forty book signing events (several were not listed because I added them at the last minute). By far the
most successful signings were at a select number of Barnes & Noble Bookseller stores. Management at those particular locations
have very supportive allowing me to return just about as often as I want. EntertainMART has shown similar support. Although
I have not sold as many books at Yoke's Fresh Market and Liberty Lake Chevron, management in those places have been just as
supportive wanting me to return as well. This will carry over into 2018 as I am in the process of lining up more events. It
will be even better when my next historical novel, The Peacekeeper, is released sometime this Spring.
The Peacekeeper Status
Once again I will be working with Sunbury Press Editor, Janice Rayhem, who will be editing my forthcoming
historical novel, The Peacekeeper. This is the second half of the duo-logy featuring The Broken Lance. She
edited three of my other novels: The Wolf of Britannia, Part I & II, and The Broken Lance. She will begin
work on it in January. At this point I don't know how long the process will take as it usually means at least two-three reviews
before the manuscript is finalized for publication. So, it will probably be ready sometime early Spring. You will notice that
above is a picture of a Roman soldier kneeling. This is the photo that will used for a painting of the same one. This
in turn will be the book cover.
Return to Britannia (Working Title) Notes
Overview Roman London
Work continues at a slow pace as I fill out
my first three chapters and work on chapters four and five. The main character, Macha (The Sign of the Eagle) is attacked
by a lone assassin in chapter 3, but she escapes unscathed. She has accompanied her husband, Titus, to Britannia, who is investigating
a triple homicide. It turns out there are other people out there who want Macha dead for reasons unrelated to her husband's
investigation. As the story proceeds, all hell will break loose. It will take approximately two years to complete this next
New underwater discoveries in Greece reveal ancient Roman engineering
Roman underwater Corinth, Greece
New archaeological excavations at the ancient port of Corinth have uncovered evidence of large-scale
Roman engineering. Named Lechaion, the port was one of a pair that connected the city of ancient Corinth to Mediterranean
trade networks. Lechaion is located on the Gulf of Corinth, while Kenchreai is positioned across the narrow Isthmus of Corinth
on the Aegean Sea. These two strategic harbours made Corinth a classical period power, but the Romans destroyed the city in
146 BC when conquering Greece. Julius Caesar rebuilt the city and its harbours in 44 BC, ushering in several centuries of
prosperity. Recent excavations by the Lechaion Harbour Project have revealed the impressive engineering of
the Roman Empire.
For further information see link: Discovered Underwater Ancient Roman Engineering
Roman Holiday - Saturnalia
is a repeat from last year, but it is worth re-running again.
- The "Saturnalia"
This day is for special religious observance, being the first day of the Saturnalia, the Roman festival that
honors Saturn (Cronus), and which is one of the most festive and uninhibited that the ancient Romans celebrated.
The holiday began celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman
Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned
Roman social norms: The poet Catullus called it "the best of days." For further reading go to the Ancient World
Notes page for the complete article.
Personal Notes - Two
Thoughts on Being a Writer
Below is an article I originally posted on Face Book about being an author. I have revised it a
little but the main essence is still present.
Many of you know me as a writer of historical novels. You may
also know I am one who likes model railroading, Roman history, horses, weight lifting, etc.
For many years my first
passion has been writing. I realize a lot of you have no interest in that or any other literary activities. I respect that,
we all have different interests. But at age seventy-five, like my other activities, it gives me reason to live and keep going
on, I'm not one to sit around doing nothing.
I have a confession to make. I am not a natural-born writer.
Every page I write is a struggle of creation. Every page means re-writing and more re-writing. And I am not the most eloquent
writer. I am slow; a plodder. It takes me a long time to produce a compelling (I hope), readable work. It is why I continue
to attend the writers support group, Red Ink Fictioneers, for so many years. This group of established authors keeps me honest;
learning about writing fiction.
Over the years I have observed many perspective writers who were endowed with
far greater talent than mine, who gave up before completing what would have been great books. Why? Because they were quitters,
they lacked self-discipline and persistence.
In the meantime, I kept plugging away, continuing to learn
from my mistakes, despite one set-back and rejection after another.
I am grateful to have found a publisher, Sunbury Press, a traditional small press, who believed in me, and gave me a chance to succeed. Even then, the editors assigned to my novels,
made sure to get the best out of me. In each one of my four published novels, I did major rewrites of chapters, added new
chapters and changed endings. The goal was not a good novel but a great novel.
Whether or not I have succeeded,
I am not sure. However, I will continue to promote my novels (some of you FB friends find it boring) and will to continue
to write. This is my passion, and this with the support of my wife, Liz, an my other interests keeps an old guy like me going.
I know the writers out there will understand, if no one else does.
Number Two - A New Horse in the Family (Rescue Horse)
Liz and Steve with Rescue Horse Ziggy
On December 13th, Liz received her new rescue horse, Ziggy
This horse was scheduled for a slaughter house down in Mexico when Liz learned about her from a friend who did the actual
rescue. Liz visited the horse and immediately purchased for a very minimal price. He is underweight and needs more work done
on his hooves (our farrier already did a lot, but more will be done), but otherwise he is in good shape. He is twenty years
old. He has found a good home with us. We now have three horses. The other two are Annie, a registered Dun paint mare and
Darby a bay registered Quarter horse. Ziggy will fit right in be spoiled rotten like the other two, the way we like it.
That's it for now. I want to wish you all the Happiest of Holidays and very prosperous New Year! Until next time, Salve
Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!
Thursday, November 2, 2017
2:45 pm pdt
Book Signing Update
Abel, B&N Blossom
Hill, San Jose,CA Michelle, B&N Woodinville,WA
Tom, B&N Spokane Valley
Between September 23rd and October 28th, I signed copies of my books at Barnes
& Noble Bookseller stores at the Northtown Mall, Spokane; Eastside store, Spokane Valley; Woodinville, Washington and
the Blossom Hill store, San Jose, California. Other stores where I signed included: Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington;
Liberty Lake Chevron, Liberty Lake, WA and EntertainMART, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Barnes & Noble signings were very
successful. Liberty Lake Chevron and Yoke's were so-so (nevertheless, both stores want me to return).
However, EntertainMART gave me the biggest surprise. I had brought in books for the signing on consignment; they would
pay me for books that I signed and sold. However, management decided to buy all the books I had on hand outright. They purchased
a total of twenty-one copies combined of my four novels. This caught me by total surprise. Book manager, Marie, said, "We
know what you don't sell today, you will return at future dates until they are all sold." Needless to say, I will return
for another signing, Saturday, November 18th. I will also be returning to the other B&N stores as well for encore signings.
Management in each store was pleased with my efforts and numbers sold.
Already in their first month as imprints, The Broken Lance and The Sign of the Eagle
were number four and five respectively in sales, for the month of September, for Sunbury Press' (www.sunburypress.com) for Milford House
For those of you who might be interested, my short story, A Body in the River, has
been published by the literary publication, Conceit Magazine, September issue, Volume 11, Number 126. Cost $4.50 per magazine.
Make checks payable to: Perry Terrell – Editor, Conceit Magazine, P. O. Box 884223, San Francisco,
This story will probably be the basis for the first chapter of the novel I am currently writing,
Return to Britannia (working title). As in The Sign
of the Eagle, the main character is Macha, daughter of Caratacus. Link: Conceit Magazine
Via Egnatia – The ancient Roman road that connected Rome with Constantinople
"All roads lead to Rome", "one of the reasons why the Roman Empire became as powerful as it did was because
of their ingenious and long-lasting roads. The Romans were famous road builders. Their vast road network laid the foundations
for modern day highways across Europe, with many of them being built directly over the ancient ones or running parallel to
them. At the peak of the Roman Empire, the total distance that the roads covered was around 250,000 miles."
the help of this network, the Romans were able to transport reinforcements, supplies, and trade goods to even the most distant
and secluded parts of their empire. The roads were also crucial for the foundation and development of many cities. People
often picked roadside locations for their settlements, and some of those settlements became major cities." For additional
information see the enclosed link: The Vintage News
Emperor Caligula's Mosaic
A four-foot square piece of mosaic thought to have come from ceremonial ship belonging to Emperor
Caligula has been repatriated to Italy.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK—According to a report in NBC
News, a four-foot square piece of mosaic thought to have graced a ceremonial ship belonging to Emperor Caligula has been repatriated
to Italy. The ships sailed Lake Nemi, which is located about 20 miles south of Rome, and served as a retreat for the emperor
during his reign from A.D. 37 to 41. The “floating palaces” were sunk after he was assassinated. In the 1930s,
Mussolini drained the lake, and many of the artifacts, including the marble flooring from the ships, were moved to a museum,
which was damaged during World War II. Italian authorities believe the flooring was looted from the museum after the war.
The mosaic had been held in private hands in New York for the more than 45 years. For more, go to “Rome's Imperial Port.”
Read more about Emperor Caligula's Mosaic
On a Personal Note
Steve's Workout at Liberty Lake Athletic
As some of you know, after a hiatus I returned to working out at the Liberty Lake Athletic Club, Liberty Lake, Washington,
last May.I work out twice a week with a personal trainer and once a week on my own. One of my goals was to lose weight, from
200 down to 180 pounds. I have finally reached that objective. My final goal is to reach 175 pounds. That will take longer.
As I am losing weight, I am also increasing muscle mass, therefore, a combination of dieting (which I have been doing all
along) and exercise will eventually get me there. Even when I do reach that goal, I will keep working out. My trainer, Lisa,
keeps me very honest, plus it is so routine now, I can't see why I should stop. I keep plugging away. Not bad for being 75
now, that's all. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!
Friday, September 22, 2017
Autumn is Here! Update
2:22 pm pdt
It has been two months since my last update, and I apologize for being tardy--many
things going on in my life.
The Broken Lance - Update
Since the release of my latest historical novel, The Broken Lance, sales are moving along nicely,
especially, the book signings I have conducted at Barnes & Noble. However, you wouldn't know it by looking at sales statistics
on Amazon's website. They are very misleading. However, I am pleased to announce that The Broken Lance, along with
my first historical, The Sign of the Eagle, were in Sunbury Press's (www.sunburypress.com) top twenty-five category for sales during the month of August.
New Reader Matt at The Northtown Mall
Between August 5th and September 16th, I conducted seven book signings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
and Yoke's Fresh Market stores. The Woodinville B&N, August 5th, was the launching date for The Broken Lance, and
did very well. Besides selling The Broken Lance, I sold copies of my other three novels as well. Sales were better than
expected. The Barnes and Noble events in general were very successful, whereas, Yoke's was so-so. Being that Yoke's is
a grocery store chain, located in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, I expected that. However, it gave me an outlet that
replaced the defunct Hastings stores. Since they are in the area where I live, people like the fact that I am a local author,
some are practically neighbors. I will be returning those stores again in the future. Check the book signing segment of my
website for details along with future events at Barnes & Noble.
at Sunbury Press
In the future Sunbury Press will be launching a new line of five imprints. My novels will eventually placed
under imprint, Milford House, which will be used for most fiction genres. They will still be published by Sunbury Press. More
details in the future. Sunbury Press was invited to join a new site geared towards movie and television opportunities. The
site will allow the publisher to promote their book titles to Hollywood and other entertainment industry producers and directors.
So, Lawrence Knorr, owner and publisher of Sunbury Press will be promoting a select numbers of books, I hope he will include
mine. We will see what the future brings.
Return to Britannia - The Work
Roman London Overview
work on Return to Britannia (working title) continues very slowly. I am still look for the right direction in which to take
this story. Right now, I have two parallel plots: Solving the murders of three bureaucrats and Macha being kidnapped by British
rebels. I have begun chapter three and written three scenes, including one in which Macha is attacked by a lone assassin.
Fortunately, she kills him. I am also developing the major characters of this story, too. This is taking much longer than
I had planned. Part of the problem is I am spending a lot of time promoting my current novels. If I don't promote my books,
no one else will do it for me. The publisher does not have the budget for major promotions (although he is trying his best).
60 ancient shipwrecks found by climate scientists at bottom of Black Sea
Dozens of perfectly preserved ancient shipwrecks have
been found at the bottom of the Black Sea. This image shows a 3D
model of a Roman ship lying in over 2000m (650 ft) of water. Its mast still stands, both quarter rudders with their
are still attached. Rope is still draped over the
frames due to the preservation of materials in the Black Sea’s anoxic conditions.
stumbled upon the graveyard while using underwater robots to survey the effects of climate change along the Bulgarian coast.
Because the Black Sea contains almost no light or oxygen, little life can survive, meaning the wrecks are in excellent condition.
Researchers say their discovery is 'truly unrivaled'. Many of the ships have features that are only known from drawings
or written description but never seen until now. Carvings in the wood of some ships have remained intact for centuries, while
well-preserved rope was found aboard one 2,000-year-old Roman vessel.
Read more at Shipwreck!
Couple of Personal notes.
Steve with trainer
The Palamino "Kit"
I have been working out at the Liberty Lake Athletic Club (Liberty
Lake, Washington) with a personal trainer (two days a week plus weight-lifting one day on my own) since last May. In that
time I have lost nearly 19 pounds (from 200 to 181, my goal is 180) and am still slowly going down. Since it took a long time
to put on the weight, it will take a long time to get it off, but it is happening. My final goal is 175 pounds. Still got
to rid of this gut. I keep plugging away. Once I do reach my final goal, I will continue to maintain the weight and keep working
with my trainer. As you grow older, it is important to stay in good physical condition. Although I'm 75, I'm not ready for
the rest home anytime soon.
I am sad to report that we had to have our beloved palomino, Kit, put down (Monday,
September 18th). She was 27 years old. Recently, she had suffered from several medical issues. Sunday night (Sept. 17th),
she was taken to an equine hospital here in Spokane Valley, Washington, for testing and observation. Because of her age and
many other factors, Liz made the tough decision to have her put to sleep. This is the second horse we have lost in less than
one year. We still have two younger horses, Annie and Darby who are in excellent health. Like our other pets, horses are part
of the family. There loss is hard on us. Rest in peace, dear Kit.
That is all for now. Until
next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!
Jess Steven Hughes
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
2:08 pm pdt
The Broken Lance is now Available
At long last The
Broken Lance was released July 14th. It is available from Sunbury Press The Broken Lance at Sunbury Press, Amazon USA, UK, Australia and Canada, and Barnes & Noble online.
The Broken Lance
is also available on Kindle and can also be ordered at your local brick and mortar store.
of The Broken Lance: Check the home page and book review page for a summary of the story and
book review by author Janet Morris.
Although The Broken Lance was only available for pre-order
in June, the novel was number eight in sales for Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) for the month. Not a bad start.
Wonderful news! I received word that my short story, A Body in the River, will be published in the September
issue of Conceit Magazine , a literary publication. The story is set in Roman Britain, 71 A.D. It may eventually part of a historical novel I am writing,
Return to Britannia (working title). The main character for both stories is Macha,
daughter of the British king, Caratacus. She was the main protagonist in my first historical, The Sign of the Eagle. In
the short story, see spots a body floating down the Thames River.
Breast Cancer Survivors and my Novels
The two following messages which I received moved me deeply. If my novels helped these fine ladies in there
recovery from such a devastating disease, then all my writing struggles have been worth it. I can identify with them and their
loved ones as my wife, Liz, is a fourteen year breast cancer survivor.
My wife was voracious reader (and we have
the multiple book cases filled to overflowing to prove it) of all genres, both fiction and non (she has a screenplay about
Captain Cook she is shopping for which she did extensive research) however..
This all came to an end
when she was hit by breast cancer. The cancer was bad enough but the treatment, as you may know, is very much a race to see
who dies first - the cancer or the patient. So it was that on all the medications she lost her ability to concentrate and
reading was no longer the joy it once was.
And then she saw your post about The
Broken Lance and the critic's reaction to the language. "I've got to read that book' was her reaction. Of course,
it was not yet available so we picked up a copy of The Wolf Of Britannia. She read
it cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely.
Your book helped her breakthrough the logjam of medication
and rediscover the joy of reading that she once knew so well.
Just wanted you to know that your book was
a hit, and I expect more of your volumes to find a home on our bookshelves in short order.
thought you would like to know. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, going through surgery, chemo, radiation, and post
chemo meds, my senses deteriorated almost completely. Before the diagnosis, I was a voracious reader; finishing a book in
a few days. After the treatments, my concentration was nearly zero; couldn't remember what I had read from page to page.
Still on meds, but when heard about your book, I asked my husband to get it for me. For the first time, I was able to
keep my attention on the book for more than a few minutes. Read a chapter every night, then progressed to two, then three
chapters, and finally, finished the last five chapters in one night. Thank you for your book that got me back into one of
my great loves. Just bought the next book.
Cache of New Roman Letters
Discovered at Hadrian's Wall
A cache of 25 Roman letters has been found at Vindolanda, the fort below Hadrian’s Wall
where the most famous documents from the Roman world were discovered in 1992, first-person accounts of cold
feet, beer running short, and jolly birthday parties at the northernmost edge of the empire.
The tablets are still
being conserved, before being scanned with infrared light which should make the faint marks in black ink legible, but the
cursive script is invariably a cryptic crossword puzzle that will take experts many months to solve.
the archaeologists have already spotted that one of the tablets may refer to a character already well known from the original
find: Masclus was then writing to his commanding officer asking for more beer supplies to be sent to his outpost on the wall.
In the newly discovered letter, Masclus is requesting leave – possibly with a painful hangover.
of the new letters are written like the original find on thin slivers of birch, but there is particular excitement about one
double-leaved oak tablet, as the two pieces of timber folded together usually give particularly good preservation of ink and
the wood was used for more important correspondence than the more plentiful birch.
For more details see the
following link: New Cache of Roman Letters Discovered at Hadrians Wall
Return to Britannia - Work in Progress
Steve Penning Sixth Novel
Because I have been busy working around our home (we have four
acres) and promoting my latest novel, I have not had the time that I needed to work on my six novel (the fifth, The Peacekeeper, will
be released November/December). I have only completed two chapters. I read chapter two to my support group, The Red Ink
The members were very helpful making several constructive suggestions. Now, I can proceed with
chapter three. The story takes place in Roman Britain, 71 A.D. Macha, the protagonist of my first novel, The Sign of
the Eagle, returns to Britannia with husband Titus, who is a tribune in the Praetorian Guard. He has been dispatched
by the Emperor, Vespasian, to investigate the murder of three bureaucrats.
Things are not necessarily what they
may seem. As an aside, Macha wants to learn more about the fate of her father, Caratacus, who use to rule several tribes in
Britannia, before the Romans invaded in 43 A.D. He escaped from Italy during the rebellion by Boudicca in Britain, 60 A.D.
She had not heard a word about him since that time.
On a Personal Note
Congratulations, Steve & Liz
On July 11th, Liz and
I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary. Can't believe the time has flown by that fast. Even though we
have had our share of ups and downs, the marriage has remained solid. This was Liz's first marriage and my second. This one
will go the distance. Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife, I love you!
That's about all for now. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!
Jess Steven Hughes