Saturday, January 29, 2011

The House of the Vestals reopens in Rome!

The House of the Vestals reopened in Rome after extensive reservations. After twenty years the remains of what was once a fifty room palace (and home to my character Elissa Rubria) is once agai open to visitors. I look forward to returning to Italy and walking through the site on the north side of the Palatine Hill.

Yesterday I spent a few hours at the Metroplolitan Art Museum hanging out in the new Greek and Roman wing. It's absolutely gorgeous. Wander down a hallway filled with sculptures, study cases full of beautifully crafted bowls and stunning jewelry. The Met brings the ancients to life. Later, after lunch, my sister and I got lost in the maze of ancient Egypt--and spent time relaxing at the temple of Dendur (a complete temple in the heart of the museum) along with the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet.

Here's a photo of the House of the Vestals in Rome:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Syria Says Interviewed Me--OMG I must have been drinking!

OMG I must have had a glass of wine before I did this interview with Syria! The truth revealed: why I became a hippie. (A teeny-bopper, really--I was too young to be a real hippie. Real hippies didn't smoke grass they dug up at the playground and roll it in loose-leaf paper.) To find out how an English teacher pushed a seventh-grader into smoking pot, read this interview at Syria Says

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two Ends of the Pen Interviewed Me Today!

Deb Martin of Two Ends of the Pen interviewed me today. We talked about the first novel I ever wrote, Rosey's Dream. (I may publish it soon.) It's about a go-go dancer in New York, and yes, I did a lot of research--about a hundred years ago!

Please check out the interview. Two Ends of the Pen is a terrific site for readers and writers!

Controversy on Kindle Boards--Lee Goldberg on Indie Writers

Yesterday, Lee Goldberg, (author of the MONK series) decided to post on Kindle Boards. He carried over a debate from Joe Konrath's blog about indie publishing versus traditional publishing.

Kindle Boards is a very friendly forum, and I was interested in what he had to say--especially because it involved a disagreement with Joe.

Then his posts got pretty nasty. This is what he said about Indie Writers:

I have downloaded well over 100 samples of self-published work in the last few months...mostly in the detective/thriller/mystery and general fiction categories, with a few vampire/zombie/horror stuff thrown in for the hell of it. My God. Anybody who says 99% of it isn't unreadable, unpublishable swill hasn't sampled it. And I fear once people do, they will just write-off self-published work as a whole because so much of it is so bad (and so obviously self-published). And that hurts ALL of us. I don't have the answer to the problem...but I believe it is a real problem and that there will be blowback from readers as a result.

Not very supportive. And it angered many indie writers. I have no idea what he's downloaded, so I don't know if my work is included in his analysis. I hope not. I haven't read Goldberg's work, so I have no idea if I like his writing--consequently I don't know if his opinion about my writing would be of value to me. 

This is one of the posts I made on that thread:

I agree with those who've said that epublishing allows a writer to put out work before it may be ready. I thought my first novel (a novel I wrote years ago called Rosey's Dream), was ready for publication. Then I attended a writers' retreat and had my eyes opened. I listened, learned, hired a writing coach, did a rewrite with expert guidance, and learned a lot about writing a novel. I continue to learn by reading and writing.

My favorite authors include Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence, and I have to wonder if they would manage to get published today. Probably not. A lot of what gets published by traditional publishers is not great writing. Traditional publishers publish what they believe will sell--and these days that's often determined by their marketing departments. On top of that, writing is subjective. Even grammar and punctuation can be subjective--look at Faulkner.

Hopefully, as writers, we are constantly working to perfect our craft. Striving to advance as writers. But maybe not. Some extremely successful writers seem to go downhill, becoming lazy, telling the same story over-and-over--their writing becomes, not just formulaic, but boring. Bad. And yet it sells.

I like what's currently happening with epublishing, because it allows many voices to tell stories in many ways. I believe, as writers, it's our job to learn our craft, so we can tell our stories in a clear voice, a strong voice, a strange voice--OUR TRUE VOICE. Thank goodness all those voices can be different! There are only so many stories, but myriad ways to tell them. That's what makes writing (and reading) interesting--in my opinion.


Bestselling Kindle Author Scott Nicholson posted:

I don't know. Before I publish anything, I look around for some writer's ring to kiss, so maybe I get a little pat on the head and be told I may be okay if I just stick out in the fields tilling the soil, as long as the fruit is packed into the elevator and sent up to the top of the tower where the real writers dwell.

You do not need anyone's permission to write. You don't need anyone's permission to follow your dream. The only rule is there are no rules. The faster I broke my "traditional publisher" training and brainwashing, the faster I saw real success, to where for the first time in my life both my goals and dreams are within reach. No, not within reach--I hold them.

I am now a full-time, professional fiction writer, after 15 years of doing it the Old Way and always waiting for permission. What really irks some "established" writers, and it's not even superficial, is that other people can achieve the lofty position they once held along with a privileged few. Elitism is not very fetching. But I understand it. Five years ago, I'd have said the same thing.

Now, I see the power of living your dream rather than waiting for permission. The world is yours if you want it.

Scott Nicholson

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ancient Rome is still alive--a cool video about the Lod Mosaic

An amazing, completely intact, Roman mosaic floor was recently found in Israel. This video documents the renovation. I especially like the tiger. If you happen to be in the New York area, the entire floor is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through April 3rd. I'm excited to see it. I'll be in New York at the end of this month, and I plan to visit the Met to do more research for my new novel, Agathon's Daughter. I love hanging out in the new Greek and Roman Galleries. I love hanging out at the Met, period. It's almost like time-traveling.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A new short story on Bibliophilic Blather's Flash Fiction Friday

The challenge: write a short story using 500 words. My story Pamela is featured today on Bibliophilic Blather's Flash Fiction Friday. If you like dark, check it out.

Bibliophilic Blather is an excellent blog by Karen Wojcik Berner. I met Karen on Kindle Boards, and she's a great friend to writers--constantly offering support and editing tips. Here's her bio:

KAREN WOJCIK BERNER has been a writer/editor for 25 years, ten of which were spent in editing trade publications. A two-time Folio Magazine“Ozzie Award for Excellence in Magazine Editorial and Design” winner, her work also has appeared in The Chicago Tribune and countless regional newspapers. She has bachelor's degrees in English and communication arts and sciences. A Whisper to a Scream is her first novel.

Please check out Karen's blog, and her book.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An In-depth Interview with Laura Lond

Laura Lond posted an in-depth interview with me today. She asks a lot of questions about my writing Vestal Virgin and we discuss how I received the great blurbs from Terry Brooks and Tess Gerritsen. Please check it out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vestal Virgin feature on The Indie Spotlight

The Indie Spotlight is featuring Vestal Virgin today. The Indie Spotlight provides information for readers and writers--focusing on Independent Authors. The site is run by Gregory Banks and Edward C. Patterson. Please check it out!check it out!

Gregory Bernard Banks is a graphic designer, forum administrator, co-Webmaster for the Speculative Literature Foundation, author, and owns the small press WheelMan Press (, and the freelance graphic design company, BDDesign LLC ( He’s published short stories and poetry in many venues, been both a quarter- and semi-finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of  which have appeared in the top 100 rankings on’s Kindle store. His seventh book, Scairy Tales: 13 Tantalizing Tales of Terror, will be released February 12, 2010.

Edward C. Patterson has been writing novels, short fiction, poetry and drama his entire life, always seeking the emotional core of any story he tells. With his eighth novel, The Jade Owl, he combines an imaginative touch with his life long devotion to China and its history. He has earned an MA in Chinese History from Brooklyn College with further post graduate work at Columbia University. Born in 1947, a native of Brooklyn, NY, he has spent four decades as a soldier in the corporate world gaining insight into the human condition. He won the 2000 New Jersey Minority Achievement Award for his work in corporate diversity. Blending world travel experiences with a passion for story telling, his adventures continue as he works to permeate his reader’s souls from an indelible wellspring. His novel No Irish Need Apply was named Book of the Month for June 2009 by Booz Allen Hamilton’s Diversity Reading Organization. His Novel The Jade Owl was a finalist with an honarable mention for The 2009 Rainbow Awards. He is the founder of Operation eBook Drop. He has 14 published works.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dating My Vibrator named in top 20 Favorite Frugal Finds for 2010

Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) is named as one of the top twenty Favorite Frugal Finds on The Frugal eReader!

Check out this list of great finds for your eReader.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

L.C. Evans, Author of We Interrupt This Date, gave 5 stars to Vestal Virgin

What a great New Year's surprise: L.C. Evans, author of We Interrupt This Date gave Vestal Virgin a
5 Star Review

She says,

"...I read this book quickly, unable to put it down. I was caught up in the story and totally invested in the lives of the well-drawn characters. I loved Elissa and even Flavia, who behaved like a naive and spoiled child, won me over in the end."

I feel honored. L.C. Evans is fine writer. Red Adept recently gave We Interrupt This Date a 5 star review, not easy to come by. Here's what the famous reviewer said:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great!September 11, 2009
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: We Interrupt This Date (Kindle Edition)
Plot/Storyline: 5 Stars

Firmly entrenched in the Chick Lit genre, the plot of this book is highly entertaining, especially for the over thirty crowd. The storyline was humorous without stretching the envelope in a blatant attempt to be funny.

Although there is a romance involved, it is definitely not the center of the story, nor is it even the center of Susan's life. I love the way Susan's thoughts drifted to romance only when appropriate for them to do so.

Character Development: 4 3/4 Stars

Susan's character was wonderfully drawn. She was appealing and likable with an interesting personality.

Susan's love interest could have used a little more fleshing out. I would have liked to see a little more of him to get a handle on his motivations.

Writing Style: 5 Stars

Dialogue is a major strong suit of this author. Her descriptions were right on target, succinct, yet picturesque.

Editing/Formatting: 4 3/4 Stars

There were a few editing errors, but not enough to ruin the reading experience. There were large sections that were indented for no apparent reason causing quick page turns, but this was not rampant throughout, just occasional.

Rating: PG for Adult Situations

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