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Monday, May 20, 2019

Guest Blog: Sharon Marchisello



Guest Author Interview




I am happy to have Sharon Marchisello as my guest today. Thank you, Sharon, for joining me on my website.



Author Sharon Marchisello

            Author Sharon Marchisello




Sharon, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?




I was born in upstate New York, grew up in East Texas, earned a B.A. in French and English from the University of Houston, spent a year studying in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship, and then moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school.


Although I've written fiction all my life, I never managed to get anything published until I was well into adulthood. I was a bit more successful with travel pieces and the occasional nonfiction article. I earned a Master's in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, but apart from having a few screenplays produced for "deferred pay," I didn't make much use of my degree professionally.


After I finished graduate school, I snagged a frontline job at Western Airlines that did not even require a college degree. But I was drawn to the travel benefits; traveling the world is my passion. I met my husband at Western. In 1987, Western merged with Delta Air Lines, and I eventually ended up working at the headquarters in Atlanta, via a six-year stint in Seattle.


At the Delta headquarters, I did a lot of corporate writing: customer correspondence, internal communications, project management, and mainly, training documents for airport customer service personnel. I took an early retirement package in 2008 but went back four times after that to work as a contractor in various capacities involving writing.


Now that I'm really retired, I write a personal finance blog, Countdown to Financial Fitness, https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/ and do volunteer work. My husband and I completed the Master Gardener course in 2014 and we both help with projects for the Fayette County Master Gardener Extension office. I've also been very involved with the Fayette Humane Society for the past decade, and I've served on their Board of Directors since 2011.


And of course, we still love to travel.




What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?




Going Home by Sharo MarchiselloLive Well Grow Wealth by Sharon Marchisello

             "Going Home: A Novel"                                      " Live Well, Grow Wealth"






Going Home – Sunbury Press 2014 – murder mystery (Adult fans of whodunnits and women's fiction.)



Live Well, Grow Wealth – personal finance (Young people just starting out, or anyone who wants to get back on track financially.)



What prompted you to write what you did? [or Where do you get your writing inspiration?] What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


"Going Home" was inspired by my mother's battle with Alzheimer's disease, which prompted me to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or crime suspect who could not rely on her memory. The story opens when the protagonist (baby boomer Michelle DePalma) goes to check on her elderly mother, Lola Hanson, and finds her hovering over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver. Lola is unable to give a straight answer about what happened. Since she was alone in the house where the crime apparently happened, she becomes a suspect. Michelle is forced to remain in the hometown where she grew up and step in as caregiver, while trying to prove her mother's innocence.


Fortunately, the events in my novel are fictional, but Lola's behaviors and many of the conversations between Michelle and Lola are based on my interactions with my own mother.


I'm amazed at how many readers tell me they can relate to Lola's character because they've known or lost someone to Alzheimer's disease. I guess the takeaway is that they're not alone, and, as a society, we need to keep striving for a cure for this horrible disease that robs people of their personalities.


My writing about personal finance, "Live Well, Grow Wealth",  came from my own experience of living frugally, saving and investing, and retiring early. I thought my financial habits were commonplace, but after talking to so many people my age earning similar salaries who were struggling to make ends meet, I decided I might have some advice worth sharing.




Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?



I write a blog about personal finance called, Countdown to Financial Fitness, https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/. I occasionally write short stories. My most recent one, "The Wrong Coffee Shop" was published in 2018, in an anthology by Darkhouse Books, Shhhh… Murder! https://www.amazon.com/Shhhh-Murder


I've also done a number of visitor blog posts/author interviews, and I write book reviews for Killer Nashville online magazine.




What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?



The hardest thing for me is avoiding distractions, particularly email and the internet. I tend to procrastinate and knock out other tasks instead of focusing on my writing.

The easiest part is when it's flowing, and I'm entertaining myself. And it seems like editing a completed draft is easier than forging ahead on a blank page.




What’s next for you after [Your Book]?



My next, not-yet-published novel is called Secrets of the Galapagos. It's a psychological suspense story about a young woman who goes on a luxury cruise of the Galapagos with her grandmother and encounters murder, mayhem, and a scam involving a famous giant tortoise. The setting was inspired by my own trip to the Galapagos in 2014.





What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?



I used to be terrified of speaking in front of a group. Even going to a meeting and having to introduce myself was intimidating. When I worked at Delta, I joined a company Toastmasters Club that met once a week at lunchtime. Toastmasters is an international organization that helps people build speaking skills in a supportive environment. I plodded diligently through the program and eventually earned my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), the organization's highest recognition. I still don't consider myself a good speaker, but at least I am competent now.




How can we follow or contact you?












Where can readers buy your books?



Sunbury Press: "Going Home"


Sharon Marchisello.com


And ask your local bookstore and/or library to order them!




Awards / Recognition


Every year for the Alzheimer's Walk, I sell copies of Going Home at fundraisers and donate all the proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association. My team, Bernie's Babes, has been the top fundraiser every year. (Bernie, who has Alzheimer's, is the husband of one of our team members.)




Book Fans:


Until September/October, this will be the last in the series of guest blog author interviews. I will writing monthly updates as to the progress of my forth coming novel, "The Emperor's Hand", and various notes on Roman history, books, etc. 




Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!






9:13 pm pdt          Comments

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Guest Blog-Tory Gates



Guest Author Interview - Tory Gates


I am happy to have Tory Gates as my guest today. Thank you, Tory, for joining me on my website.





 Tory Gates Photo

                            Tory Gates



Tory, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?



I’m a broadcaster with approximately 35 years’ experience. I’ve been just about everything you can be in this business, outside ownership! I have dee-jayed practically every radio format, been a producer, a journalist, a news anchor, a talk show host, you name it.


Currently, I am a jobber for various companies in the mid-state of Pennsylvania. I also host a show for indie authors, “The Brown Posey Press Show” for the Bookspeak Network, and you can hear those programs on the Blog Talk Radio Network.


In addition, I’m known as DJ`Riff, host of The Music Club, a blues program on the London-based Radio-Airwaves Station.




What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?



Tory Gates Searching

         "Searching for Roy Buchanan"


"The Sweet Dreams Series Begins...


Aki Sato is not your typical teenager. She has weathered the loss of her parents and joined her brothers, Kenji and Hiro in a struggle to keep the family business, and themselves, together.


Aki has also inherited the Amida Syndrome, the power of time travel. Without her mother to guide her, Aki has no experience in its use, nor can she defend against the terrifying nightmares that haunt her.


A chance breakdown leads the siblings to Kazu, an eccentric retired blues musician. In a series of misadventures, Aki must guide her brothers through time, space, and the world of the blues. In time, Aki not only discovers her own voice, but the power of music.


  The journey through time and life is just getting started in “Searching for Roy Buchanan.”


  This one came out 2-21-19!




 Live from the Cafe

           "Live from the Cafe"



“What did you dream today?”



"Harlandsville, Quebec—look up the definition of small town in a dictionary, and you’ll  find its picture.

A one-stoplight village, Harlandsville doesn’t have a lot to offer, or so it seems. Old homes, an abandoned mill, a gas station, one Chinese takeout joint, and a former pub turned into a coffee shop. For the latter, one learns never to judge a book by its cover.


One step through the doors of Le Cafe, and you enter a world where the coffee is brewed one pot at a time through a strange machine, the pastries are homemade, and the music is a roadmap of Canada’s history.


Presided over by Luc, the son of one of Harlandsville’s most loved residents and his partner Emily, the cafe is home to natives and visitors alike. Where the coffee is strong, the spirit of friendship stronger, and occasional strange (and famous?) characters show up to hang out, and play music.


Small-town life, love, change, prejudice, pasts and futures are examined and experienced. The heartbeat of Harlandsville is right here. You never know who’ll show up, or what will happen next, Live from the Cafe…"




A Moment in the Sun

        "A Moment in the Sun"


"Sixteen-year-old Rei Murata appears to have everything: good looks, brains, artistic skill and admiring friends. But Rei is a survivor—of loss, neglect and of self-isolation. Locked away from a world where she felt unwanted, Rei was one of the millions known as the hikikomori.


A chance meeting leads Rei to discover the online world of the Dwellers. Astonished to find her former classmate Sho among their number, Rei is determined to rescue him. Rei learns she must come to terms with her past before she can face her future. For her peers, the barriers of class and society must fall, so they too can move forward.


No one is ever lost, Rei believes. She hopes to lead Sho, and the rest to their moment in the sun."



A Moment...2016, all of the above on Brown Posey Press (div. of Sunbury Press Books).



Parasite Girls

              "Parasite Girls"



"Burned out from years on the road and a devastating last assignment, American photojournalist Aidan Connor finds himself in Tokyo, on the doorstep of a woman from his college days, Mima.


Aidan reconnects with his quirky artist friend, and soon becomes involved in Mima and her friends’ battle with their respective pasts and social injustice.


The “Parasite Single” is a label for young women in Japan, who are accused of sponging off their families well into adulthood. Aidan is reminded that everyone has a story to tell, and there are reasons for all things.


Mima struggles with loss and destructive behavior that dates back to her high school years. Her best friend Sora battles mental illness; and then there is Eko, the poster child for the term itself.


Aidan is forced to confront his own issues, and as he remakes himself he is reminded that true friendship, trust and commitment to one another cross all borders and time."



This was my first self-published in 2013.





What prompted you to write what you did? [or Where do you get your writing inspiration?] What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


Writing is something that’s always been a part of me. As a child, I recall making up stories, I suppose to get attention and to entertain others. My early attempts at writing were pretty lame, mostly due to lack of exercise, and not really knowing what I wanted to do. That came hand in hand with broadcasting, as I found myself writing copy of all kinds.


My stories are all a bit different, but have some common threads. Parasite Girls and A Moment in the Sun were written, partly after reading stories about folks in Japanese society who struggled. My interest in the country and its history and culture led me to try to write from a different perspective.


Live from the Cafe was sort of me going home to Vermont. I lived near the Canadian border, and the setting, while in Quebec, pulled portions of my hometown and parts of the province. I was inspired by the pre-cable TV, and radio from both sides of the border. That, and the idea of small town life that I only remember a little of came out of me.




Searching... is my latest, but it is the first book I wrote when I seriously embraced my writing in 2007. It went through as many changes as I did over the years, but the wait was worth it. It grew up along with me.




Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?


I confess to being a rather intermittent blogger! But you can find everything here on my website:


Tory Gates Media 



What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?



The ideas are the easiest, but you learn which ones to discard if they don’t stick around. An idea for me has to “cook” upstairs in my brain for a few months (even a couple of years!) before I can tell if it really is something I want to follow.


The most difficult parts are 1) preparing the battle plan. For me, I have to be fully prepared to write. I must have a character sketch for each person in the story, no matter how insignificant. Those come from a lot of examination, thinking and “interviews” with them. 2) the timeline. I do a full Chapter 1 to Chapter Whatever as a synopsis, only then can I write the first draft. Once I start that, there’s no stopping.



What’s next for you?



I’ll be promoting Searching for Roy Buchanan this year, while working on the sequel. That was written in quick succession after the first, but is going to need updating and a lot of changes. I also have other books that are a little more commercially-oriented, which I’d like to have an agent look at (HINT, HINT!).




What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?




Writing for me is not something I do to make money or get famous; if that happens, so it does. But for me, it’s an exercise of imagination, of my intelligence, and it’s also great (and cheap) therapy. I wasn’t able to write about myself for a long time, then began to scratch that surface of me a little bit in these.


If anything, I want to write stories you will remember, maybe read again, and recommend to others. I hope they entertain you at the least. At the most, I hope they will inspire you, even heal if that is your need.


Moreover, I just try to write good stories.




How can we follow or contact you?


Tory Gates Author: Follow Tory's publications on the following Web and Social Sites.


Facebook: Tory Gates






Where can readers buy your books?



Amazon: Tory Gates 


Awards / Recognition


A Moment in the Sun: Red City Review Awards, 1st Place, Young Adult Division, 2017; also Finalist for Dante Rossetti Award for Young Adult Fiction, Chanticleer Reviews, 2017.


Live from the Cafe: Finalist, Red City Review Awards, Young Adult Division, 2018.


Facebook: Tory Gates Books


Photo Credit


Pic is me, “holding up the bridge” over the Susquehanna,


Harrisburg, 5-1-18...photo credits go to photographer: Alice Potteiger.




Next month, I will be interviewing Author Sharon Marchisello.


Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!







11:52 am pdt          Comments

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Guest Author Interview - Meghan Holloway




Meghan Holloway

Guest Author Meghan Holloway



I am happy to have Meghan Holloway as my guest today. Thank you, Meghan, for joining me on my website. 


Meghan, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?


Thank you so much for having me, Jess.  I found my first Nancy Drew mystery in a sun-dappled attic at the age of eight and subsequently fell in love with the grip and tautness of a well-told mystery. I flew an airplane before I learned how to drive a car, did my undergrad work in Creative Writing in the sweltering south, and finished a Masters of Library and Information Science in the blustery north. I spent a summer and fall in Maine picking peaches and apples, traveled the world for a few years, and did a stint fighting crime in the records section of a police department.​​ I now live in the foothills of the Appalachians with Aidan, my standard poodle, and spend my days as a scientist with the requisite glasses but minus the lab coat.


What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


I write suspense thrillers, both contemporary and historical. My upcoming May release, "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", is a historical thriller set in WWII in the wake of the liberation of Paris in 1944. I am thrilled to share this story with everyone. The protagonist is an ordinary man drawn into extraordinary circumstances, and I think the tale will appeal to a wide audience, to fans of historical dramas, literary fiction, war and military fiction, and mystery thrillers.


"Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city's liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

         Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son's trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

         The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son's wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it's too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive."


What prompted you to write what you did? Where do you get your writing inspiration? What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


I have always been fascinated by the WWII era, and one of my goals as a writer has been to write a novel set during the war. Frankly, I did not expect to write the novel so early in my author career, but a friend challenged me to write a piece of flash fiction set in the war. That piece of micro-fiction grew into a novel that I cannot wait to share with you.

I grew up hearing my grandparents’ stories from the war. My great-uncle was a medic in the European theatre, and I made the mistake of asking him for his stories only once. His eyes welled with tears, and he stood up, walked out the front door, and disappeared for the rest of the day. My grandparents’ stories were of hardship and sacrifice and courage. My great-uncle’s silence told of the utter horror of the war—grim, countless tragedies that still resonated in the mind decades later. Those stories, and perhaps even more so my uncle’s silence, inspired me to explore that era in fiction.

But regardless of the era or setting in which I write, I am always exploring the human condition, the labyrinth of the mind, and the grittier side of our existence. "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH" is a tale of war and loss, but also one of family and hope. It is about the love we have for those closest to us, the ease with which we can wound the people we care for the most, and the lengths to which we will go to seek atonement.


Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them? Once More Unto The Breach



I do keep an occasional blog called A Necessary Fiction, and in the months leading up to the release date for "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", I will be writing articles for some different online media sources. The best place to find notifications of any new content I post on my blog or elsewhere is my Facebook and Twitter page.



What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


I think the most challenging part of writing is the business side of things. Being an author is very much a small business endeavor. The product is my book, but there is a lot of marketing involved in selling that product. I am an introvert by nature, as I think many writers are, and it is hard work putting yourself out there, building a following, and putting in the legwork to sell your product. Comparatively, the easiest part is the writing itself, particularly the editing process. Revising is my favorite part of the writing process. It is where the story becomes a novel. The most rewarding part is certainly the connection with readers that being an author facilitates. I have made so many friends through social media in the reading and writing community, and I am planning on attending some conferences in the next year to carry those friendships over face to face.


What’s next for you after "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH"?


My next novel is already written. I am finishing my personal edits on it before turning the manuscript in to my publisher. I cannot say much about this story yet, but it is entitled "HUNTING GROUND". I can tell you that it is a contemporary thriller set in a fictional town just outside of Yellowstone National Park, and it will be releasing in the spring of 2020 from Polis Books. It is a very different story from "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", but I am incredibly excited about this story and hope those who loved my WWII story will follow me into the realm of contemporary thrillers while I work on my next historical novel. I will be sharing more about this story in the latter part of the year.


What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?


I am particularly passionate about libraries and adult literacy programs. My grandmother was forced to leave school at the age of twelve, and though she never received any further formal education, a love of reading sustained her. The local library provided her with books that her family could not afford, and she always attributed a literacy course she took as an adult to opening the world of books to her even further. I think it is imperative that we support the libraries that provide so much support to society. 


How can we follow or contact you?


I would love for you to join me on social media. My website is www.meghanholloway.com, and you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under the handle @AMeghanHolloway.


Where can readers buy your books?


"ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH" is available for pre-order now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and The Book Depository in paperback with the e-book pre-orders coming soon.


Thank you again for the chance to talk about my writing and my upcoming book on your blog.


Next month, I will be interviewing Author, Tory Gates.


Until then, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




















9:26 pm pdt          Comments

Monday, February 18, 2019

Guest Blog: Lindsay Powell



Guest Author Interview: Lindsay Powell



I am happy to have Lindsay Powell as my guest today. Thank you for joining me on my website.




Guest Author Lindsay Powell

           Author Lindsay Powell




Lindsay, can you tell us about yourself and your background?


Thanks for your invitation, Jess. Starting at the very beginning, I was born in Cardiff, Wales and went to a high school in the city. I studied a range of subjects and found history, economics, Latin, French and German very much to my liking. From there I went to the University of Aston in Birmingham (England, not Alabama!) where I graduated in management and international marketing. Though working full-time in a busy commercial environment, and moving to the USA in 1997, I never lost my interest in ancient history.


As for writing, while I lived in the UK, I joined the world-famous re-enactment society, The Ermine Street Guard, and contributed several articles to its magazine, Exercitus. Only much later did I start writing in earnest, however.


What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


My genre is non-fiction – that is narrative, fact-based history and biography. I write for a reader who demands more than a superficial treatment of the subject, but who also wants all the details and nuance in a more readable format than found in academic or technical publications. In other words, my goal is to present a meticulously researched book written in an accessible style.


To date I have written seven books.


For Pen and Sword Books:


EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror of Germania, with a foreword by Graham Sumner

GERMANICUS: The Magnificent Life and Mysterious Death of Rome’s Most Popular General, with a foreword by Philip Matyszak

MARCUS AGRIPPA: Right-Hand Man of Caesar Augustus, with a foreword by Steven Saylor

AUGUSTUS AT WAR: The Struggle for the Pax Augusta, with a foreword by Karl Galinsky


For Osprey Publishing:


COMBAT: Roman Soldier versus Germanic Warrior, 1st Century AD, illustrated by Peter Dennis

CAMPAIGN: The Bar Kokhba War AD 132–136, the last Jewish revolt against Imperial Rome, illustrated by Peter Dennis


I have also self-published a collection of my blogs as ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas Are Really Ancient. (It was just as well I did: GoDaddy killed the blogging app I used to publish my articles and they have been offline ever since).


Additionally, I am news editor for both Ancient History and Ancient Warfare magazines, so my reports appear in every issue. Occasionally I also write longer pieces. I contributed an article on the Battle of Idistaviso for issue of AW XII-5, and one on Antinous in AH in issue 20.   



 All Things Under the SunEager for GloryGermanicusMarcus AgrippaAugustus at WarRoman v GermanBar Kokhba War


Lindsay Powell Books



Lindsay Powell Book Trailers



What prompted you to write what you did?


I wrote articles for Exercitus over several years on a variety of subjects – mutiny, record-keeping, religion, among others. It was fun researching the subjects and explaining my findings to fellow guard members – a community of well-informed, well-read people eager for new, fact-based insights – but crucially in an accessible style. Years later I began writing a novel set in the Alpine and German Wars of Nero Claudius Drusus. It was a struggle. There was no history book I could turn to that covered the period (15-9 BC) in the depth I needed to build the timeline, to flesh out the characters and their backstories. In doing the research I found I was laying the ground work for a non-fiction book. I approached several publishers and Pen and Sword offered me a contract. I got my lucky break and haven’t stopped since.



What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


For me the easiest, and most enjoyable part of the process is doing the research. I like becoming the ‘historical detective’, going in search of answers to questions, following the leads, meeting subject matter experts, making sense of the evidence and assembling it into a compelling narrative. The hardest part is knowing when to stop the research and get on with the writing – and then recognising when the project is complete.




Where do you get your writing inspiration?


For me it starts with the people I write about and the times they lived in. They are all fascinating individuals, many of whom have been largely overlooked by historians. Their stories are often unknown to the general reader. There is usually a deeper mystery in their lives, which I try to explain. In the case of Marcus Agrippa, I was drawn by the conundrum of why he sublimated his ambition and copious talents to serve his friend Augustus exclusively – even giving his sons up for adoption while he was still alive. Amazingly, there had not been a biography about him in English in 80 years, which was my opportunity! With Augustus at War I sought to understand how a man given to bouts of sickness during battle, and known to be a second-rate field commander, could beat his opponents and go on to double the size of the dominions of the Roman People. My insight was that modern historians have seriously underestimated Augustus as a military commander and manager of war; that too was my opportunity.




What message do you want readers to take away?


Real history is fun! Truth really is stranger than fiction. (OK, that’s two messages).




What’s next for you after?


Right now, I am writing a new book for Pen and Sword. It explores in much more detail the Bar Kokhba War of AD 132-136, which I first discussed in my short book for Osprey. The titanic struggle between Emperor Hadrian and rebel leader-cum messiah Shim’on ben Koseba is less well known than the Jewish War of AD 66-73. Yet it was, arguably, of greater consequence for both Romans and Jews. The causes of the conflict and the course of the war are utterly fascinating – and hotly debated by scholars. After that I am back with the Julio-Claudian family, writing a new biography of Tiberius Caesar – a man who history has cast as a villain, rightly or wrongly.



How can we follow or contact you?


My website is www.Lindsay-Powell.com. I use social media and can also be found on Twitter as @Lindsay_Powell and on Facebook.




Where can readers buy your books?


The publishers’ own websites sell my books, of course, but they can be ordered where all good books are sold – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’s, BookPeople, Foyles, Heffer’s, Powell’s and Waterstones to name a few.




Thank you very much, Lindsay.


You’re most welcome, Jess. And I wish you great success with your own writing.







Teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, OLLI NOVA: Meet the Caesars, Fall 2018.

(Last two attachments, Lindsay Powell Lecturing - Photo credits: John Theodore).





My March guest blogger will be Author, Meghan Holloway.



Until next time,  Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes




12:09 pm pst          Comments

Sunday, January 20, 2019

January Update




Guest Blog Interviews


During the past several months, I have conducted guest blog interviews with authors writing in a variety of genres. This has proven popular enough that I plan additional interviews, beginning February with guest author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell. His latest books include, Marcus Agrippa: Right Hand of Caesar Augustus and Augustus at War.




Current Blog Update


For the month of January, it is time to update my status.




The Emperor's Hand Roman London overview

                                          Roman London




The writing of The Emperor's Hand, a sequel to The Sign of the Eagle, has slowed to a snail's pace. I had to return to square one and re-start at the beginning. Although the first three chapters have remained basically the same, more detail was added. Chapters four and five were too plodding. Starting with chapter six, I have changed the basic theme, from murder mystery to rebellion and the abduction of the main character, Macha.


She 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. The story must worked out in greater detail.




Family Medical Problems


What has contributed to the slow progress of the novel has been a series of medical problems, beginning in October 2018, that have struck Liz and I, and have continued to the present time. Hopefully, the end of these problems are in sight. In October, Liz was thrown from her horse, Darby, and broke the Humerus bone in her upper left arm and damaged the rotator cuff. This required surgery and four days in the hospital. For six weeks, I did most of the house work and caring for the horses. Then in December, I was diagnose with pneumonia and was on back for nearly two weeks. I had completely from that when on Monday, January 14th, I had successful cataract surgery to the right eye. That will be followed, Monday, January 28th, with surgery to the left eye. I am already seeing better out of the right eye. I should see better out of the left eye when all is said and done. That will allow me to return to writing The Emperor's Hand, and continue with a new round of book signings this Spring.


Book Signing Update  B&N Northtown Mall Debbie  RomanBrittania2019.jpg      Milford House Logo

                                      B&N Northtown Mall Longtime Reader Debbie,                      The Sign of the Eagle...The Wolf of Brittania,                                   Milford House Publishing                                                            


During the past year, including Fall, 2018, I conducted several successful book signings. Because of Liz's injuries, I had to cancel three signings in October/November, but rescheduled them in December. Overall sales, for the month of December, were particularly successful. Four of my five novels were listed in the top twenty best-sellers for Sunbury Press' Milford House imprint. They were: #2. The Broken Lance; #3 The Sign of the Eagle; #4 The Wolf of Britannia, Part I and #13 The Wolf of Britannia, Part II.


See Book Signing page for the list of Spring 2019 signings.


Facts in Roman History


From time to time, in the future, I will present some interesting facts from Roman history and articles regarding modern day discoveries from the ancient world (this I have done on a fairly regular basis).


The Festival of Juno  Festival of Juno

                                               Festival of Juno




January 18th - The Ludi Palatini, & the Festival of Juno Lucina 


A woman's festival for Juno was held on this date on the Esquiline Hill for Juno Lucina. "Beneath the Esquiline hillside there was a grove, unaxed for years, named after great Juno "(Ovid, Fasti 2.435-436).  The hill had received its name from the many oaks planted on it by King Servius Tullius.


"There stood the grove of the Goddess, dark-shadowed, immemorial - one step inside and you know that some spirit resides within the place. There's a rough old altar, raised by divine hands, where worshippers mutter prayers over incense plumes. Through garland streets, with solemn chanting to the skirl of flutes, and the cheers of bystanders, comes the annual procession, leading snow-white heifers, sleek on Falerian pastures, and young calves, un-bellowing, with yet buds on their foreheads. Humble pigs from the sty come next to placate the God, and whethers with horns curved round their temples. Only the goat is banned, by Juno's command. When She fled from Jove's wedding bed, and sought shelter deep within this forest, the bleat of a goat gave Her away. So to this day little children cast sticks at the tattler, and whoever scores first, by Her law, wins a nanny goat as prize. Ahead of the Goddess walks youths and shy virgins, their hems sweeping the broad streets, the girls hair all entwined with gold and jewels, gilded shoes peering out from underneath embroidered mantles. Veiled, white-robed in Greek fashion, maidens bear the sacred vessels on their heads. The crowd falls into silent reverence as Juno Herself passes on a gilded float drawn by Her priestesses." ~ P. Ovidius Naso, 'Amores' 3.13.7-31


Caesar Augustus  CaesarAugustus.jpg




January 18th. On this day in 27 BC Octavian was granted the title "Augustus" which means "revered" in honor of the great peace and order he had established throughout the empire.




That's all for this month. Don't forget, I will be hosting a guest blog interview with author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell, in February. Until then, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!






9:15 pm pst          Comments

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