Tag Archive | Ancient Rome

Cynthia Ripley Miller: On the Edge of Sunrise

Interview with Cynthia Ripley Miller

Susana: Tell us something about the time period you’ve chosen for your first novel.

Cynthia: The few years I taught history, and my travels abroad created my desire to choose a world somewhat familiar to me. I decided that ancient Rome would become my setting, but I wanted a turbulent and exciting time span that would cross cultures and usher in the Medieval Age. From a writer’s perspective, late Rome in the fifth century AD, and the Germanic barbarian Franks—who later became the French Merovingians—filled the niche for drama, intrigue and a fresh era. It beckoned me.

Susana: What inspired your title?

C.Ripley Miller copyCynthia: On the Edge of Sunrise earned its title through a meditative moment and the strength and transformation of the characters and their personal redemptions. My heroine, Arria, and hero, Garic, are nobility in their own culture. Arria’s a Roman senator’s daughter and Garic is a tribal counselor. Arria is raised unconventionally and carries the title of Roman Envoy. Garic mirrors this distinction as a highly regarded warrior, honored for his wisdom as First Counsel to his tribal chieftain. Their ‘love at first sight’ desires force them to cross cultural boundaries; however, both are torn by responsibility and duty to their countries and families. And against the odds, the hidden secret each carries with him.

Susana: What author or authors have inspired your writing?

Cynthia: As an undergraduate student of literature, I eagerly consumed classic fiction. Authors such as Hardy, Dickens, Tolstoy and Steinbeck awakened me to worlds and insights beyond my personal experience, but another side of me loved a historical novel with an adventurous plot. When I wrote, one might say I leaned toward the dark side—genre fiction. Anne Rice’s vampires brought historical settings to life and demonstrated a diversity of human traits despite their undead status. Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series captured my attention with her vibrant characters, Scottish history, and splash of fantasy. From these influences, I determined to write a historical and adventurous love story.

Susana: What flavor is your writing?

Cynthia: The combination of a chocolate energy bar with a pinch of cayenne might best describe my novel’s flavor. My story is fast-paced with more dialogue than narrative (although there is enough narrative for imagery and internal dialogue). I like action and conflict to keep the story fresh and some red-hot spice to make the plot tantalizing.

Susana: What is your favorite scene in On the Edge of Sunrise?

Cynthia: My favorite scene involves my heroine, Arria, being accompanied to Cambria, a Roman fort town, by the hero, Garic, a Frank warrior noble who has just saved her from a renegade group of barbarians. As they enter the city gates, they come upon a slave auction. Arria sees that in order to help save a mother and her child from slavery, she must buy them. Garic, encourages her and offers his help. The attraction between Arria and Garic has grown throughout the journey, and they share some tender moments. But just as they express their love, the commander of the Roman fort, Arria’s betrothed, interrupts them.

Susana: What books do you have in your TBR pile?

Cynthia: Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni and Roma by Steven Saylor.

Susana: What is something unusual that most people don’t know?

Cynthia: Many people don’t know that when I was in middle school I was ‘pen pals’ with Katie Kubrick, the director Stanley Kubrick’s daughter.

Susana: What are you working on now?

Cynthia: I’m working on book two in my Long-Hair Saga series, a romantic historical with strong elements of mystery and suspense.

About On the Edge of Sunrise

When love commands, destiny must obey. Against an epic background and torn between duty and passion, Arria Felix, a Roman senator’s daughter, must choose between Rome’s decadent world and her forbidden love—Garic, a Frank barbarian noble.

ontheedgehr copyThe year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.

A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own.

The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.

When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.

About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

Cynthia holds a master’s degree and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. She has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and writes a blog, Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus.

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago. On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Sagas; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing.

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Nhys Glover: The Gladiator’s Bride

SBB_TheGladiatorsBride_Banner copy

Nhys will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning. Comment to enter Susana’s November Giveaway (see photo at right).

About The Gladiator’s Bride

Crippled by shyness, shunned for being not-right-in-the-head, gifted artist and Roman noblewoman, Marcia Mica, has only two people in the world who truly love her – her teacher, Daedalus, and her childhood friend, Asterion, both slaves in her father’s household. But when forbidden love blooms between the unlikely friends, only disaster can come of it. That disaster leaves Marcia horribly scarred and Asterion sold into the arena as a gladiator.

Cover_TheGladiatorsBride copyYears later, Daedalus brings a broken Marcia to Britannia, and Sabrina, the healer who saved his life when he was a boy, works miracles on the scarred girl. However, not all scars are physical and those Sabrina has no ability to heal.

When Sabrina and Marcia are kidnapped by a Celtic leader bent on revenge, Asterion must depend on the dreams of a Celtic Seer to find the love of his life and help foil a revolt that threatens the fragile peace in Roman Britannia. But even if he and his friends succeed, can scars that are more than just physical ever really be healed and can those whose lives are owned by others ever truly be free to follow their hearts?

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Excerpt

Dath edged across the room towards Marcie. He hadn’t noticed the wall behind her until the bastard pointed it out. Now he saw that it was a monochrome painting: a reddish-brown scene that would have suited the Christians and their belief in Hell and Damnation. It was, he realised instantly, a picture of the night of the fire. There was Asterion, tied to the large cartwheel, his back scourged with cruel welts. There was the Master, his face a mask of such ugliness he could have made Medusa a perfect mate. And around them both were flames; a fire raging out of control, eating everything in its path.

With a shudder, it suddenly dawned on him what she’d used as paint. The brownish-red colouring could only be one thing: Blood.

Had this animal not allowed her paints? Had she been forced to work using her own blood as the medium? Or had she intentionally chosen to work in blood because it captured her agony as nothing else could?

‘Blood?’ He hadn’t realised he’d spoken the word out loud until the merchant replied.

‘She did it in burned pieces of wood in my suite. So when I moved her in here I made sure she didn’t have access to anything she could disfigure my walls with. But she outsmarted me. Made brushes out of her own hair and cut her arm to get blood.’

About the Author

After a lifetime of teaching others to appreciate the written word, Aussie author Nhys Glover finally AuthorPic copydecided to make the most of the Indie Book Revolution to get her own written word out to the world. Now, with almost 100,000 of her ebooks downloaded internationally and a winner of 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for The Titan Drowns, Nhys finds her words, too, are being appreciated.

At home in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales of England, Nhys these days spends most of her time “living the dream” by looking out over the moors as she writes the kind of novels she loves to read: The ones that are a little bit steamy, a little bit different and wholly romantic.

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Book Video

Guest Author Eva Scott and The Last Gladiatrix

Today my guest is Eva Scott, who recently joined a Facebook group called History Lovers, which was originally formed by several of us who were teammates in Savvy Authors NANO Smackdown with Entangled Editors last fall. We’re all history lovers, of course, and we write historical romance, although with quite diverse settings. 

Welcome to Susana’s Parlour, Eva!

eva scottThanks, Susana. It’s great to be here! I’d like to begin by talking about the role of women in ancient Rome.

While my novel The Last Gladiatrix is set in Rome my heroine is not actually Roman.  Xanthe is a Sarmatian, the people who are thought to be the source of the Amazon legend.  Sarmatian women fought side by side with their men in times of war, being equally as skilled in archery as in cooking up a mean pot of lamb stew for afterwards.  Their lives revolved around horses and many Sarmatians were bow-legged as a result of the custom of putting children of both sexes on horseback before they could walk.  The Sarmatians were a nomadic people travelling with the seasons, tending their flocks of sheep and goat not unlike their ‘cousins’ the Scythians or the Alans.

Roman women, however, were not quite as free.  A Roman woman was controlled by her father even after she married.  Her father could order her divorce if he so choose—even if the couple in question didn’t agree!  Once her father died she didn’t automatically pass into the authority of her husband.  If her father appointed a tutor before his death then that man would become her legal guardian.   Yet there was a way out from under the yoke.  If a free-born woman had three legitimate children, and her father was dead, she was rewarded the right to legal and economic independence from her tutor.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom for Roman women.  In the ideal Roman family a husband and wife shared a partnership and made important decisions together.  Not unlike our family model of today.  And there is a lot of historical evidence for the important role mothers played in their son’s life—for better or for worse.  Women often manoeuvred for power in the back rooms and salons of Roman society.  A powerful man often had a strong, clever woman helping behind the scenes.  And the older a woman became the more weight her opinion carried and the more respect she earned. I don’t know about you but I do like the sound of that!

Gladiatrix_Final (427x640)About The Last Gladiatrix

Captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, Xanthe never expects to end up training for the Coliseum floor, but every night after the day’s march, she is put through her paces by a Roman solider who challenges her, tests her, and excites her.

Titus is drawn to Xanthe, her fire and her spirit, so he breaks one of his rules and brings notice on himself, offering to train her as a gladiatrix to spare her a courtesan’s role. But training her, working with her, soon becomes too much. Titus knows the penalty for taking property that does not belong to him, but how long can he resist?

Excerpt

The flash of her green eyes in the candlelight reminded Titus of the verdant wild forests of Northern Italy, which they had recently left. He rubbed a smear of dirt from her cheek with his thumb, and then taking her hand, he raised Xanthe up to stand. With deliberate, slow movements he unfastened her tunic, letting it fall from her shoulders to pool on the ground at her feet.

Xanthe made no move to stop him, their eyes locked, her fear and trust clear to see. He slid his fingers beneath the waist of her leggings and tugged them down over her hips, leaving her naked, standing there before him.

Titus took a sponge and dipped it into a bowl of warm water, letting it soak before applying it to Xanthe’s flesh. He washed her with firm yet gentle strokes, and as the water ran over her skin it dripped deliciously from her breasts. The centurion bent his head and licked at a droplet, pleased to feel her shudder in response. Her nipple hardened, inviting him to explore further. He needed no invitation. Xanthe had to summon all her self-discipline to stand still while Titus explored the curves of her body. His touch turned her core to molten fire; she could barely contain her need.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Gladiatrix-ebook/dp/B00BSKJF98/

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/products/tag/historical

About the Author

I live on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia with my fabulous husband and gorgeous little boy. When I’m not writing romance you can find me out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee.

http://www.evascottromance.com/

http://www.facebook.com/eva.scottromancewriter

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Romancing-The-Romans/476218929112324?ref=hl#!/pages/Romancing-The-Romans/476218929112324

http://www.twitter.com/EvaScottWriter