Saturday, February 15, 2014

Reblog: Commitment is the Cure–From “Aspiring” Writer to Professional Author

"It’s been amazing and terrifying to watch the changes in our industry just over the past six years. For generations, there was only a handful of items a writer needed to do. Write a book. Query. Get an agent. Land a deal. Hopefully continue writing more books. Though this was far simpler, there was a horrific failure rate and most writers never saw their works in print."

This post is an excellent read for those of us who are aspiring!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Daughters of the Nile review

on both Goodreads and Amazon
Daughters of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, # 3)Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An admission: I'm a dyed in the wool Egypt-o-phile and my interest in Augustan Rome isn't all that far behind. I read a lot of novels about those cultures/time periods. (I also read a lot of non-fiction in the same area.) Most of the novels aren't very good. They either totally blow the history, or they nail the history at the expense of the writing. There are a wretched few that blow the history and the writing.

Stephanie Dray's final volume in the trilogy about Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, is the happy exception. Even though the actual historical facts about Cleopatra Selene are somewhat sketchy, Dray beautifully brings to life a woman who stood in the shadows of some of history's greatest legends.

If you want a love story that encompasses a heroine's journey against the  vivid background of Imperial Rome (and an exotic Roman vassal state) and a heroine who wields heka (magic) with the skill of Hermione Granger with sometimes tragic consequences, this is the book (and trilogy) for you.

Unlike many trilogies with only have enough material for one book but stretched to three to satisfy some market niche, I found myself alternately not wanting this trilogy to end and being completely satisfied with how it did end.

This third book can probably stand alone. Having read the previous two books and knowing the bones of the historical story, however, I can't say that for certain. And really, why cheat yourself out of the experience of reading all three?

If I have any complaints, and I have very few, my main one was that at times Cleopatra Selene seemed a bit strident. Of course, that made for a nice character flaw.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The winner. . . .

Winning cover Queen of Heka
. . . by a hair.

Thanks to all of you for your input!

As many of you know, I asked people on my Queen of Heka page which cover they liked best for Queen of Heka. The results were pretty evenly distributed, but the cover on the right was the clear choice.

I am obviously torn between the two images or I wouldn't be asking. I like them equally and for different reasons.

I like the winning image because:

  • It is striking.
  • The focus is on Isis, and Queen of Heka is her autobiography.
  • It shows the vulnerability of Isis as a young girl/woman

I like the non-winning image because:

  • It's a classic depiction of Isis and Osiris.
  • It shows the great love she has for Osiris
  • It shows the fertility motif of the novel.
  • It's just plain pretty.

In case you don't remember the choices, here is the original image I posted:

Potential covers for Queen of Heka

The first image has been with me a long time, and I always think of it when I need inspiration for my novel. However, one of the reasons I have always doubted whether it was the right image was best said in one of comments:

 the left makes me think of those racy romance novels despite how it probably has more to do with the story

Yep. That's the problem. Or at least, it's the niggling doubt I have always had about the image.

The story of Isis and Osiris is one of civilization's great love stories. It fuels much of Queen of Heka's story line, but it is not the entire story. That is to say, the novel has romance, but it is not a Romance novel. (Not that I have anything against Romance novels; this just isn't one.)

One of the nicer results of posting the question, a free-lance graphics designer has offered to help me make the cover more professional looking. Thank you, Donna!

Once again, thanks to all of you. Stay tuned. . . .