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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Sales Update



Book Signing Update New Reader Amy at YokesNew Reader Brandon at Spokane Valley B&NNew Reader Kyrin Broken LanceNew Reader Stephie at B&N

                                                       New Readers for The Broken Lance:   Yokes-Amy  and Barnes and Noble-Brandon, Kyria and Stephanie in Spokane Valley                                                                                   


After my book signings in January/February, got off to a slow start, sales for the first four book signings (Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington, March 2nd; and Barnes & Noble, Spokane Valley, WA, March 3rd/4th and Kennewick, WA, March 10th) in March picked up significantly, far exceeding my expectations. To say the least, management was very pleased. E.g. Kennewick B&N manager, Rob, who is new to the store manager, had this to say, "I heard you were a "real go getter. Now, that I have seen you in action, I believe it! Most authors just sit at the table looking at their cell phones or the desk, never speaking to anyone." In addition to signings at these stores, I will also be conducting signings @ B&N stores in San Jose (Blossom Hill), California; Bozeman, Montana,; Silverdale, WA, and returning for encores @ the previous store which I have already signed this year. Check the book signing page for dates and times.




Book Sales Update The Sign of the Eagle Book Cover


The Sign of the Eagle was number three in sales for fiction for the Milford House imprint for the month of January, 2018. The Broken Lance dropped off the top 15 chart, but should return by March. I sold a lot of copies during the first book signings for the month. More should follow.




The Peace Keeper Update The Peacekeeper


The second edit of the novel is well underway by my editor at Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com). I also submitted a description of the book for the back cover. The editor said it was too long, and she will she will shorten it. I told her to make whatever changes she deemed necessary. I have worked with her on three previous novels, and I trust her judgement. 




Return to Britannia Update and Name Change  Roman London street scene

                                                                                                        Roman London Street Scene


I have changed the name of my current work in progress from, Return to Britannia (this was a working title only) to The Emperor's Hand. I may change it again, but for now, this will do. It is much closer to what I want in way of a title because in the story, Macha's husband, Titus, represents Emperor Vespasian in Britannia.


The writing continues at a slow pace, a lot of research left to do. I emailed a letter to Lawrence Knorr, publisher of Sunbury Press, informing him that I should complete the novel in approximately two years. He has added me to the list of books in progress by his stable of authors.


In the meantime,  I have submitted chapter three to a literary publication,  Conceit Magazine, as a short story, titled, Roman London is a Dangerous Place. It will be published in the June, 2018 issue.




Rare Roman Gloves Found at Hadrian's Wall Rare Roman Gloves


"They are among the latest discoveries at a pre-Hadrianic Roman cavalry barrack, which was found last year beneath the fourth-century stone fort of Vindolanda, south of Hadrian’s Wall near Hexham, Northumberland."--The Guardian


Unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall: lost secrets of first Roman soldiers to fight the barbarians

Read more: Rare Roman Boxing Gloves Found at Hadrians Wall 




On a Personal Note Slim Princess Garden RailwayArticle

                                    Slim Princess Sourthern Pacific Narrow-Gauge Line


As some of you know besides writing historical novels, my other passion is running outdoor model trains. A few months ago, Garden Railways Magazine accepted for publication a picture of one of my model trains. This is a replica of real train known as the "Slim Princess," that ran on the Southern Pacific's narrow-gauge line, in Northern California, from 1911 to 1960. It is now on permanent display, at the Law Railroad Museum, outside of the town of Bishop, California. The picture was published in the April, 2018 issue. The publication retains all rights to this picture. Do not reproduce or transfer with the Garden Railways permission.




That is all for now. I wish you all best. Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!





Jess Steven Hughes







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Thursday, February 1, 2018


Book Signing Update B&N Book Signing Display The Broken Lance Reader Heather at B&N

                               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 The Broken Lance Final Book Cover SOEMilfordHouse.jpg

                                            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 Peacekeeper Roman Soldier Painting Final Draft

                                   The Peace Keeper Roman Soldier Painting Final Draft


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 Update Roman London Street Scene

                                              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.



Article: 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 Ziggyfillingout.jpg

                                       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 and Farewell!





3:11 pm pst          Comments

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Signing and Book Status



new reader DawnNew Reader Diana Blossom HillDanielle Blossom HillNew reader Troy BN Spokane

New Readers:   Dawn B&N Northtown                                                  Diana & Danielle B&N Blossom Hill, San Jose, CA                                             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). 


Once again, 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  Roman Soldier with Sword Shield


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

                                                                   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 book.


New underwater discoveries in Greece reveal ancient Roman engineering Underwater Corinth Greece

                                                                                                              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 


This is a repeat from last year, but it is worth re-running again. 


December 17th - The "Saturnalia" Roman Holiday 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 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.


Note Number Two - A New Horse in the Family (Rescue Horse) LizandZiggy.jpgSteve with new horse Ziggy

                                                                                                                  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!


--Jess Hughes







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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Book Update


Book Signing Update  Blossom Hill San Jose CA Reader Tom Woodinville, WA Reader Michelle B&N The Broken Lance Reader Tom

                                    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.




Book Sales Milford House Logo


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 





Short Story Macha


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, CA 94188-4223.


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 




Roman Roads ViaEgnatia.jpg

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."


"With 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 Emperor Caligula's Mosaic.jpg


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 workout Liberty Lake AC

                                         Steve's Workout at Liberty Lake Athletic Club




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 years old.





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




2:45 pm pdt          Comments

Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn is Here! Update





Blog update


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 Broken Lance


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.


Book Signings  The Broken Lance  MattNorthtownMall.jpg

                                                                     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.


Developments at Sunbury Press  Milford House 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 Continues  RomanLondonoverview.jpg

                                                                    Roman London Overview


The 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  Black Sea sunken Romanship

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 tillers

are still attached. Rope is still draped over the frames due to the preservation of materials in the Black Sea’s anoxic conditions. 


Scientists 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!



A Couple of Personal notes. Steve working with trainer  Palamino Kit

                                           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




2:22 pm pdt          Comments

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