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Free eBook!

…and Historan’s Notebook has moved! (a good news/good news situation)

For those of you who wondered what happened to me:

After ten years and eight books, I finally started to get professional about my online presence. I renovated my old website and migrated all my blog content from here to there a year ago. I’ve been very remiss in not posting that announcement here earlier, but I wanted to have my email list/followers sign up on the reno’ed site. THEN I needed to find a good email list management site. THEN I needed to master the new software. THEN I wanted to have a welcome gift for new followers. THEN I needed to write something for that. THEN…you get the picture…all this while I’m still writing my books.

But those are just excuses. Mea culpa.

If you follow this blog—THANK YOU—you should have gotten a recent email from me telling you what happened and offering you a free eBook as a gift—a longish short story titled Angel of the Marshes. It’s a prequel from my Theodosian Women series featuring the origin story of one of my favorite characters from my novel Twilight Empress. I hope you check it out and enjoy it! I will be keeping you updated about blog posts, news, announcements, etc. unless you unsubscribe—which you can do anytime. If you follow this blog and didn’t get an email from me, check your spam or promotions folder. If it’s there, please “whitelist” my email address so you get it in the future. If it’s not there, go to my site and sign up for the free eBook and future blog notices.

If you don’t follow this blog, you should know that I will not be updating it after today. All the content here, plus what I’ve published the last year can be found at my website (at https://faithljustice.com/). Please go there and browse around. If you would like to join my email list, you can sign up for your free eBook there.

If you stay with me, I promise not to clog your email box with constant advertising. I will send the occasional email with special announcements about new blog posts, freebies/giveaway contests, writing news, etc. I’m too busy writing my books to do more than a couple of emails a month, but if you find me annoying, you may unsubscribe at any time. Your privacy is important to me. I will never sell or share your email. I use MailerLite for my email list. You can check out their Privacy Policy.

My last Historian’s Notebook news update:

Free eBook: Angel of the Marshes

Sign up here.

What’s a poor boy to do?

Angelus, the young grandson of an ailing shepherdess, is the master of the marshes surrounding and protecting the Roman capital city of Ravenna from invaders. But can he navigate the treacherous swamps of Imperial Roman politics? The Emperor Honorius is in a murderous rage. He’s executed his chief advisor General Stilicho and repudiated his wife, Stilicho’s daughter. The ex-empress and Placidia, the emperor’s sister need to get out of town quickly and quietly before they are next on the hit list. Angelus is the boy for the job and he needs the money. But can he save the two Imperial Princesses from sink holes and imperial assassins and get back in time to help his sick grandmother?

Angel of the Marshes is set before the novel Twilight Empress which features Placidia’s story. If you like Angel, check out the novel. Angelus makes another appearance in Twilight Empress to help the Empress Placidia again traverse the swamps—this time to invade Ravenna and kick out a usurper. This is his backstory. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Thank you for your past support.

I hope you join me at my new site.

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Join me for reviews, quirky interviews, guest posts, and giveaways at the following blogs:

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 14
Feature at The Reading Queen

Friday, September 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 19
Review at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Wednesday, September 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review & Giveaway at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 4
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

Smashwords.com is holding its annual “Summer/Winter Sale”–a kind of “Christmas in July” event. Tons of authors participate each year by heavily discounting their ebooks (available in all formats). As usual, I’m offering all my shorter books for free–including my new illustrated middle-grade chapter book–and my novels for $1 or $2. Hours of great reading for less than a cup of coffee (actually all three novels for less than a Starbucks’ coffee)! If you haven’t checked out my writing, here’s your chance to do it for loose couch change. If you don’t like my stuff, I’m sure you’ll find something among the thousands of deals being offered–but only until July 31!

Here are the links to my books. All my books are available in all the usual places in paperback and ebooks. The three short story collections are also out as audio books. Read. Enjoy. Support your favorite authors with reviews. Thanks to all the dedicated readers out there!

Continue Reading »

Yesterday was my birthday and I learned something new. I usually love learning something new. Yesterday’s lesson—not so much. Have you heard of 4DX? Neither had I. Until yesterday.

But let me set this up. I have a few modest birthday traditions. I try not to work on my birthday. I like to dress up, get my hair done or try new makeup, and go out to a movie or Broadway show. I always enjoy a lovely dinner at a fancy restaurant. Since I left the corporate treadmill to write novels, it’s even more fun to skip the ponytail and sweatpants, dress up a little and get out in the world.

I’ve also noticed that Monday birthdays are usually disastrous. I hate Monday birthdays. My thirtieth was a Monday and everything went wrong. I ended up passed out on the bed wearing tights, a hat and a tie and no memory of how I got there. 2016 is a leap year and my birthday should have been on a Monday, but skipped to Tuesday. I thought I was safe. Continue Reading »

Historian’s Notebook has moved. Details here.

gladiator mosaicIt’s a sunny day in Pompeii on April 8th in this first year of the reign of Imperator Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (AD 79). The crowds surge toward the amphitheater for the games given by D. Lucretius Stater Valens, a lifelong priest to the cult of the deified Nero Caesar Augustus. The placards pasted on the walls in the forum promise, “ten pairs of gladiators owned by his son D. Lucretius Valens and wild animal hunts, as permitted by law. The seats will be shaded with awnings.” Pompeii’s is the oldest stone amphitheater in the empire. For one hundred-fifty years it has proudly hosted games and religious festivals, but it’s looking dated next to the modern Flavian Amphitheater which will open next year in Rome. The frescoes of gladiatorial combat and beast hunts decorating the walls surrounding the sand are fading, but the patrons come for the blood sports, not the art.

The spectators pass into the open spaces surrounding the arena where merchants and food vendors hawk their wares. The scent of fresh bread, roasted meats, and sour wine waft through the crowd to mingle with the odor of sweat and hair pomade. People look at their wooden tickets and enter the appropriate gate to spread throughout the amphitheater: the front rows reserved for the leading citizens; the middle for the lesser knights and merchants; and the top for the poor, slaves, and women. Some resent the class divisions at the arena. At the chariot races in the hippodrome, it’s open seating (except for the emperor, of course!) and women mix with the men. Continue Reading »

Busting Gladiator Myths

Historian’s Notebook has moved. Details here.

Before I researched my newest novel, Sword of the Gladiatrix, I got most of my ideas and impressions of gladiators from the media: Russel Crowe in Gladiator and (for those of us of a certain age) Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. More recently Starz had a fantastic (in more ways than one) show that ran for three seasons titled Spartacus: War of the Damned. All of these shows perpetuate some myths that I hope to bust wide open in this post. They also got a couple of things right, which I’ll point out.

Myth #1: All gladiators were men.

female-gladiator-statue

Bronze statue of a gladiatrix

Most were, but not all. Here I’ll give Gladiator a weak thumbs up—they had women in chariots fighting against a group of men in a re-enactment of a classic battle in an arena scene, but other than that, women gladiators don’t show up in most visual media. It’s left to us lowly writers to correct the balance. If you look closely, women in the arena show up in art, literature, and law. Sword of the Gladiatrix was inspired by a particular stone carving of two female gladiators in the British Museum. More recently, archaeologists have uncovered a bronze statue of a gladiatrix holding a sica—a curved sword. Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio, Martial, and Juvenal all write about female gladiators—usually (except for Martial) with some element of dismay or sarcasm. An organizer in Ostia brags on his tombstone that he was the first person to put women in the arena as fighters. My favorite evidence is in the law: The first Roman Emperor Augustus forbade recruiting noble and free women as gladiators. Nearly two hundred years later, Emperor Septimus Severus banned single combat by women in the arena. If women weren’t being recruited and fighting, why have a ban? Human nature being what it is, these prohibitions probably made the fights all the more popular because they were illegal. I’m sure female gladiatorial contests continued for some time. Continue Reading »

Glad I ebook cover 2500x1652

Historian’s Notebook has moved. Details here.

Yes, really! Whenever I pitched Sword of the Gladiatrix as my “lesbian gladiator novel,” I encountered raised eyebrows and skeptical snorts. The first question everyone asked: “Were there really lesbian gladiators?” My answer: “Of course!” We know there were female gladiators fighting in arenas for several centuries. Some had to be lesbian.

What really surprised people was the fact of female gladiators. They rarely appear in popular culture. Despite the popularity of Xena Warrior Princess and the myths of the Amazons, female gladiators don’t come to mind in the media-soaked imaginings of brutal, bloody, gladiatorial games. Women warriors? Maybe. Women gladiators? No. Yet they are there in grave markers, classical literature, laws, and art. All you have to do is look. Continue Reading »