As many of my readers already know, I was a founding member of the “The H-Team” a collaborative group of award-winning and bestselling historical writers who produce novels jointly.

If you haven’t sampled the H-Team’s high-concept novels of the ancient world, NOW is the perfect moment. We are happy to present, for a limited time, a special BUNDLE of all our existing work at a VERY SPECIAL price…

SONGS OF BLOOD AND GOLD brings to life to the glory of the ancient world in three novels spanning golden Greece to blood-soaked Rome:

A DAY OF FIRE
(Authored by: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter)
Pompeii: a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of Rome’s glory. When Vesuvius erupts in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town struggles to flee the mountain’s wrath: soldiers and politicians, villains and heroes, young and old. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

sophie 2A YEAR OF RAVENS
(Authored by: Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, SJA Turney, Russell Whitfield)
Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica leads her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume warriors and peacemakers, slaves and queens, Roman and Celt. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?

A SONG OF WAR
(Authored by: Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, Russell Whitfield)
Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, a haven destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other planes–the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: heroes and cowards, seers and kings, innocent and guilty. But who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the dawn of a new age?

I know, I know, after reading the above you’ve GOT to have this bundle. Never fear! The buy links are right here:

Amazon
Kobo
B&N

Season 3 of the CW’s Reign is a wrap, and fans are in mourning—and not just over the death of . . . no wait, no spoilers in case some of you have DVRed the Season Finale but not watched it yet. No what’s really got fans crying are the ugly rumors that Summer 2017 is the earliest Reign will return. What will we all do for our 16th century French/Scottish fix in the intervening months?

Never fear, mes amiesAn evening with the feisty-yet-tragic Mary Queen of Scots, or the cunning Catherine de Médicis is only a bookstore (or library) visit away.

I’ve combed through my personal shelves and reached out to some book blogger friends to compile this list of TEN BOOKS TO ENTERTAIN AND ENRAPTURE REIGN FANS while the show is on hiatus (and I want you all to remember I scooped Buzzfeed Books on this one). These books will take you to the intrigue-filled French and Scottish courts, and satiate your cravings for things royal:

#1 Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot: It is my blog, so I get to lead with my book but that’s not naughty because the critics agree the book is oh so nice—

“Brilliant.  This is what I call a ‘WOW’ book.”  “I have re-read this book not once but TWICE, it’s that good!!!”~Book Lovers’ Paradise

This novel of Valois family dysfunction, political treachery, forbidden love and bloodiest massacre in French history has been called, “A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery.” (~Kirkus Reviews). It was selected as one of Goodreads “Best Books of the Month: December 2015” (the month it released), and also as a B&NReads, December’s Top Pick in Fiction.

More importantly for Reign fans, Amazon reviews suggest Médicis Daughter “would be a great gift for any … fan of the show Reign.”

Médicis Daughter takes readers into the post-Francis Valois landscape (which is precisely where Season 3 left us hanging). With King Charles IX on the throne and Catherine de Médicis pulling the strings and plotting the plots (some things never change), you KNOW there will be plenty of dark and dirty. Viewed through the eyes of the youngest Valois Princess, Marguerite, the court comes alive. As Erin at Flashlight Commentary (see her book recommendation at #7 below) says: “Atmospherically, the novel swept me off my feet. Perinot’s depiction of the French court was beautifully drawn and I was wholly captivated by both the political and social interaction that unfolded among its players.” [Erin’s full review is here].

♥Recommended for Reign fans who enjoy the lush, dark side of the Valois court—the poisonings, the sexual decadence, the back-room deals—and also those who rooted for Princess Claude to outmaneuver her domineering mother.♥

#2 The Serpent and the Moon by HRH Princess Michael of Kent: Instead of heading forward, travel backward to the pre-Reign Valois world with this fascinating volume of popular history. This book relates the true story of the battle between Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitier for the heart of, and influence over King Henri II of France.

There are so many fascinating-but-at-the-same-time-creepy details here for Reign fans to enjoy. From the moment 14-year-old Catherine arrives as a bride to discover her handsome young husband already in the thrall of a woman who was present at his birth (I told you it was creepy), through the humiliating and disgusting remedies by which she attempted to combat a decade of childlessness, up to Catherine’s vengeful taking of Château Chenonceau from Diane after Henri’s death (and the evidence of the black arts that Diane found when she took possession of the Chateau she was given in exchange) this book will illuminate Catherine to her fans and foes alike.

Need a tempting detail? How about this: Catherine summoned an Italian carpenter to the Place of Saint-Germain where her bedroom was immediately above that of her husband’s mistress. She had two holes made in the floor of her room and then watched Diane and Henri in bed, sobbing later to friends that “her husband had ‘never used her so well.’”

♥This is a book for Reign fans who miss the old Henri-Catherine-Diane love/power triangle days. And for those who don’t want to read about “what’s next” in Mary’s story for fear of spoiling the plots in Season 4.♥

 BOOKS REIGN FANS

#3 Courtesan by Diane Haeger:  Another excellent choice for Reign fans who want to harken back to the days of Catherine versus Diane, this historical novel was recommended by Esther of Drink Read Love (want to get savvy reviews coupled with wine pairings? This is a blog for you).  Esther calls Courtesan a “tapestry” weaving “the story of the passionate—if somewhat scandalous—romance between Diane de Poitiers and King Henri II of France” while managing to portray “the complexities of the situations which she [Diane], Catherine de Medici, and Prince-turned-King Henri find themselves pushed into.” You can read Esther’s full review of Courtesan—which begins with Henri III’s father Francis I still on the throne—here.

♥Recommended for fans of Reign wanting to go back a generation and see Henri, Catherine and Diane when they were as young (and crazy in love) as Frary were when Reign started.♥

#4 The Raven’s Heart, by Jesse Blackadder: This recommendation is courtesy of Erin at Oh, For the Hook of a Book (awesome book blog with well-considered reviews and lots of special features) who says of the novel, “It was such a phenomenal read. . . a book that will haunt my soul for a longtime.”  And it is seconded by Meg of Bookish Affair (brilliant book blog, follow it if you read historical fiction or historical non-fiction avidly) who “thought the author did a great job of bringing Mary to life.”

Set immediately after the widowed Queen Mary’s returns to Scotland, The Raven’s Heart covers her tumultuous struggle to wrest back control of her throne. While the novel’s main character is actually a young woman sent to Court to befriend the Queen and try to win back her family lands, Erin at Oh, For . . . says the author “painted a . . . personal picture of Mary, Queen of Scots. . . a woman in a man’s world who needed to be extra strong to gain respect . . . .” Erin further felt that Blackadder effectively portrayed the gentle side of Mary, making it easy for readers to see how “she managed to make everyone around her love her” and to inspire loyalty.

Read Erin’s full review here. And find Meg’s full review here.

♥Loyal fans of Mary on Reign pick this one up.♥

Catherine REAL and REIGN#5 The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner: This book includes “the most dramatic events of Catherine’s adult life including the 1572 Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Protestant Huguenots, vividly and chillingly depicted” (~Historical Novel.info). My book-blogger friend Meg at A Bookish Affair notes that, “Gortner is able to humanize the Queen as a person who had seen a lot of trauma in her life” and concludes that Confessions is “perfect for any history lover who wants to see Catherine de Medici in a new light.”  Publishers Weekly called Gortner’s novel, “”A remarkably thoughtful interpretation of an unapologetically ruthless queen,” and I must say I quite agree.

You can read Meg’s full review here.

♥Unapologetic Catherine admirers, this book is for you!♥

#6 Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle (part of her Thornleigh Saga): Do you enjoy a thriller element with your history? Have you been engrossed by the Mary vs. Elizabeth of England plotline in Reign? Then try this book. My friend Nancy Bilyeau (whose own series about Tudor-era England—beginning with The Crown–I adore) called Kyle’s book, “a fast-paced and exciting historical novel that plunges readers into the deadly rivalry of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots just as the beautiful three-time-married monarch had fled Scotland for her cousin’s kingdom.” If Nancy says it “captures the high-stakes politics of the Tudor court, depicting its most famous personages with both accuracy and imagination,” I guarantee you it does.

♥Recommended for Reign fans who can’t get enough of the Mary vs. Elizabeth battle.♥

#7 A Time For The Death Of A King by Ann Dukthas: Another book-blogger recommendation, this one special for this occasion from Erin of Flashlight Commentary, whose blog I read regularly for her articulate reviews. Dukhas’ YA novel is “one of those books I [Erin] intend to give my kids” (that’s a compelling recommendation). A true mystery investigation that sets out to settle the question of whether Mary Queen of Scots was a murderess, complicit in the death of her second husband, Lord Darnley, “readers will not be disappointed by the swift and lean narrative and the solutions to the historical puzzle Dukthas draws.” [Booklist] Erin loved the time-traveling detective at the center of this mystery, Nicholas Segalla, and“admire[d] how the author’s manipulation of the material deepened the mystery surrounding Darnley’s death while introducing young readers to the powerful legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots.”

♥This book is for the mystery readers among Reign fans, and for those who are ready for the next, Scottish, chapter of Mary’s life.♥

#8 Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles by Margaret George:  I love me some Margaret George (in fact, I am eagerly awaiting her next novel due in 2017)! And I am not alone.  Margaret is an iconic figure in historical fiction circles (deservedly so), and more than two decades ago she wove this marvelous fictionalized account of Mary Queen of Scots life basically from womb to tomb. Meg of A Bookish Affair calls George’s novel, “an epic story with thrilling detail!” Kirkus Reviews had this to say of the book, “George has created a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm, and terrible judgment . . . . a readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen.” Sounds like OUR Mary, doesn’t it Reign-royals?!

♥Recommended for those who cannot get enough Mary (at nearly 900 pages, this should satisfy your Mary cravings while still keeping you enthralled)♥Mary REAL and REIGN

#9 The Little Book of Mary Queen of Scots by Mickey Mayhew: This petite (less than 200 pages) volume of popular history is comprised largely of contemporary anecdotes about Mary, and excerpts from letters and rare primary sources.  But does discuss our culture’s fascination with the Scottish Queen, including Reign.  Historical novelist Philippa Gregory called it, “A bright and breezy account of the complex life of Mary Stuart.”

♥This book is for those who want a non-fiction look at Mary’s life and who don’t have the time to invest in a long read.♥

#10 The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer (from the Young Royals series). I am closing out my list with this YA novel that comes to me TWICE recommended—first by a big-time Reign fan of my acquaintance (she’s also a history devotee who is always stumping her fellow fans with her “royal pop quizzes”) and second by Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Currently the Amazon #10 Best Seller in Teen & Young Adult Renaissance Historical fiction, this novel follows the recently widowed Mary home to Scotland where she hopes that a new husband will not only help her to secure not only her own throne but allow her to take the crown of England from her cousin, Elizabeth. Too bad, as the back cover reveals, “the love and security she longs for elude her . . . [and she] finds herself embroiled in a murder scandal that could cost her the crown.” Or rather too bad for Mary but NOT for Reign fans because if that doesn’t sound like an episode of the show I don’t know what does!

♥Recommended for Reign watchers wanting “what happens next” for Mary on Scottish soil right now—not in summer of 2017♥

Well that’s it Reign fans and reader-friends . . . ten different ways to get your fix while waiting for the CW to run the next episode. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the recommendations, and to learning which are your favorites. And in the meantime remember, the Valois are just plain sexier than the Tudors 😉

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Last week I offered a peek between the covers of the upcoming “A Day of Fire” and challenged readers to match the stories therein with the authors contributing to the volume.  Today, I offer another set of illustrated quotes along with full disclosure of who wrote what.  Come along for a guided tour of the novel-in-six parts which releases three weeks from today:

It all begins with a son–Vicky Alvear Shecter’s story “The Son” to be exact, about a young man who is looking for love in the proverbial wrong places while also trying to hang on to the good opinion of his famous uncle, Admiral Pliny.  In bustling Pompeii he meets a whore named Prima–a woman readers will come to know better in Stephanie Dray’s tale.

While Caecilius is sneaking around the city on pleasure bent, Aemilia the heroine of my story–THE HEIRESS–is counting down the days to her wedding.  Betrothed to her father’s best friend she knows her duty, but also her heart which lies elsewhere in the keeping of a handsome young artist.

While Faustus prowls the Villa of the Mysteries looking for his Aemilia, author Ben Kane’s Lucius Satrius Rufus–title character in  THE SOLDIER–has a hangover and massive load of debt to manage.  Can a win by the gladiator he owns straighten things out?

Senator Marcus Norbanus in Kate Quinn’s THE SENATOR has his own problems–among them an aging body and a waning will to live. He is in Pompeii on official business when he has a run in with Caecilius’ whore Prima.

While he is recovering from his encounter with the jug, young mother-to-be Julilla, heroine of E. Knight’s THE MOTHER, is on her way by litter to her friend Aemilia’s house to help her dress for her wedding.  A journey she does not complete.

Who will survive and who perish? Readers will have to wait for Stephanie Dray’s THE WHORE to know for certain. There they will reconnect with Prima and spend time with her rosy, blonde and good-natured sister Capella a woman called to serve the Goddess Isis.

Intrigued? Mark your calendars for November 4th.  A DAY OF FIRE: A NOVEL OF POMPEII will be available in e-book and paperback.  Currently it can be pre-ordered in the e-book format.

Oct 072014

Today we are precisely FOUR WEEKS away from the Launch of “A Day of Fire,” the high-concept novel-in-six-parts that I’ve written with Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Eliza Knight and Vicky Alvear Shecter.  The novel is already available for pre-order at Amazon, but in honor of the countdown to release, I’d like to share some lovely illustrated quotes to give you a taste of the tales the volume contains.

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Visit “A Day of Fire’s” Facebook page to learn how you could win the book by correctly identifying which author wrote which quote.

I am getting all FIRED UP! The “A Day of Fire” cover is here, and my co-authors and I hope you’ll agree that it is hot, hot, HOT!

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six authors–Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Eliza Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter,and I–bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

For those who don’t already know I wrote “The Heiress” for this fantastic  “novel in six parts.” In my story, spirited Aemilia is horrified by her betrothal to her father’s friend, Sabinus, a staid man with an obsessive interest in mechanical engineering and geology. Indulging in a clandestine flirtation with a handsome young artist restoring frescoes at her family’s villa, Aemilia pays scant attention to her future husband, or his scientific prognostications of doom for the city of Pompeii. When Vesuvius begins to erupt, however, Aemilia sees Sabinus in a new light—but is it too late?

 “A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii” releases on November 4, 2014.  Can’t wait to have the book in your hot-little-hands? DON’T—make a date with destiny, and make sure you receive your copy immediately by pre-ordering “A Day of Fire.”

Or enter below to WIN a copy of “A Day of Fire”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jan 292014

On January 30th, from 12pm EST to 10pm EST, an impressive roster of historical fiction authors and bloggers are hosting a Facebook party in honor of historical fiction, the 2,023rd anniversary of the Ara Pacis, and the release of Stephanie Dray’s newest book, Daughters of the Nile: A novel of Cleopatra’s Daughter.

Readers can win free books, lunch at the next Historical Novel Society meeting, swag, gift cards, and other prizes from some of the hottest authors of the genre. Please join us, and RSVP!  I will be on hand at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time to chat with attendees.  Have something you’ve always wanted to ask me about The Sister Queens?  Interested in what I am working on now?  Tomorrow is your chance :)

March 6th is a good day for debuts.  One hundred and sixty years ago today (March 6, 1853)   La Traviata premiered at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.  One year ago today (March 6, 2012) my debut novel, The Sister Queens, hit shelves.  Auspicious.  And while I never expect to be as popular as Verdi, I’ve been overwhelmed by the generous responses of critics and the kind and often moving responses of readers.  Thanks all! 

Readers—Visit my Sister Queens Facebook page for instructions on how to get one of twenty signed bookplates (there are still a few left) for your copy of The Sister Queens.

Writer friends — The day after its premiere Giuseppe Verdi worried that La Traviata was a failure so EVERYBODY has artistic angst.  Have faith in your work and its ability to find an audience.

Finally, for those who haven’t tried The Sister Queens yet — I believe that Amazon still has the book on sale for $6 a copy (limit 2).  Wouldn’t now be an excellent time to add it to your TBR pile?

As I mentioned in my last post, the marvelous Genevieve Graham is running a “Books for Christmas” promotion all month to introduce you to ten author’s whose books would make brilliant holiday gifts.  She’s even offering you a chance to win their books to slip into the stockings of someone you love (or to install on your own bedside table as the case may be).

Today it’s my turn.  Since you’re here at my blog I presume you’ve already met me (*waves cheerfully*).  But if you haven’t read The Sister Queens yet here is your chance to have a sneak peek inside the book and meet Marguerite of Provence, Queen of France, on her WEDDING NIGHT!  In addition, there is a chance for you to win the entire book for yourself or—if you’ve already read it (bless you)—to give as a holiday gift to a historical fiction lover on your list.  When you arrive at Genevieve’s promotion page if I am not at the top of the post just scroll down — I am the December 7th feature.

Here’s an event that incorporates three of my favorite words – “free,” “books,” and “Christmas.”  Author Genevieve Graham (Under the Same Sky & Sound of the Heart) has put together a marvelous two week celebration of books as holiday gifts—everyday a different author will be featured with an excerpt from her/his work and A BOOK TO WIN!!!

That’s TEN free books to be won.  And on top of that, there are TWO triple-book grand prize packages on offer (entries for those opened today)!!!  So that’s TWELVE chances to win (talk about the Twelve Days of Christmas!)  Check out the author schedule below and check this link EVERYDAY for your chance to win another good book just in time for holiday gift-giving!

December 3rd — Joanna Bourne

December 4th — Pamela Callow

December 5th — MK McClintock

December 6th –Steve Vernon

December 7th – yours truly, Sophie Perinot

*** Weekend to do your shopping and wrapping (psst. . . buy books) ***

December 10th — Rona Altrows

December 11th — Kaki Warner

December 12th –Katherine S.Crawford

December 13th — Nya Rawlyns

December 14th Victoria Vane

PRIZE PACKAGES (entry period opened today): GRAND PRIZE #1 – Kaki Warner’s “Runaway Bride” series (3 books); GRAND PRIZE #2 – Pamela Callow’s “Kate Lange thriller series” (3 books)

Good luck all and never say I don’t share THE BEST giveaways and gift giving tips!

Books are what I AM dreaming of for Christmas! Shown here from left to right: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau on Kindle, Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn, Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, and The Sister Queens by yours truly.