December 30, 2015

Anthony Anglorus' The Prince of Prigs - Guest Post


Anyone who believes that they are too knowledgeable to learn more and improve is both a fool and a failure-in-waiting. There is always something you can improve. In my case, whilst I was ploughing through and writing, I was also posting regularly on critique sites and listening to what others had to say.

Yes, there were a few times that I rejected suggestions - but usually, that would be because I had also received suggestions from others which I preferred. However, using a critique site to improve your work is the first tip I would offer. Your family and friends are simply not able to view your work objectively. Nor can you.

Another important point arose fairly early on; how many words should I write? All the advice seemed to point to 70,000 words, and I stuck to this target. Subsequently, I have learned that once a book passes 80,000 words, this creates a manufacturing problem which escalates the cost. As all publishers are looking solely at the question of whether they can make money from your book, something which makes it more expensive to produce is obviously highly disadvantageous.

My next valuable tip came during the submissions process. One agent rejected my work with a comment, which was “I don’t like books in first person; they limit the breadth of the storyline too much.” It hurt, but she was right; writing in first person forces you to keep the focus totally on one character and what he knows and learns. You can’t build any sort of conspiracy, can’t explain the motivation of others. Third person gives you the flexibility to build a complex tale.

Whilst writing “The Prince of Prigs”, I hit a problem; I have no experience or knowledge of battle, and did not feel competent to write about it. Yet my story had brought me to the cusp of my hero joining an army in Ireland - a country I have never really visited. For seven long months, the story sat growing electronic dust until one day, I met author Ben Kane during his epic walk along Hadrian’s wall with a couple of other authors. “Well,” he said in that appealing Irish brogue of his, “I was a vet before turning to writing, and I’ve never been to war. It never stopped me writing about it, you should just go with it. I got away with it, why shouldn’t you?”

I did go with it, but I put it off until later, deciding first to insert more about what was happening in England at the time. Then I thought it would be good to insert another highwayman, one of his contemporaries. Finally, I wove in a friendship with a leading member of the parliamentarians. Now I was ready to write about war - but wait, I’d almost used up my allocation of words! But then I spotted that if I got him to do that, then he would hate him and seek revenge. Then he could take his revenge that way but him could do that if that man spotted he. So I was able to follow my instincts and avoid writing about war.

Finally, some advice directly from me myself personally. After a lot of rejections, it became clear that the selected opening events were not sufficiently tickling anyone’s fancy. So I made the radical decision to ignore all advice and swap two events. I was opposed on this, but stuck to my guns. Once it was cleaned up, I submitted it to two small publishers. Both liked the opening. Both asked for the full document. One offered me a contract, which I liked and so had to tell the other publisher that the book was no longer available.

I know that this last advice completely contradicts everything else. But in essence, what it says is that in the final resort, your heart knows best.

The Prince of Prigs by Anthony Anglorus

Publication Date: July 6, 2015 
Bygone Era Books 
Formats: eBook and Paperback 
Genre: Historical Fiction 

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The union of England and Scotland under one crown is not even a half century old, and the Parliamentarians already threaten the very fabric of the nation. These are the adventures of highwayman Capt. James Hind who, in Robin Hood fashion, steals from the Roundheads to help fund the royalist cause. When Cromwell comes to power, James, the Prince of Prigs, must be careful whom among his treacherous “friends” he trusts.



"Any who view historical fiction as dry or plodding should pick up The Prince of Prigs: it wraps courtroom drama, social issues, flamboyant personalities and British politics under one cover and represents a rollicking good read even for audiences who normally eschew the genre. As for those who know how compelling it can be - The Prince of Prigs is ample evidence of the powers of historical fiction." - D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
03_Anthony Anglorus 1

About the Author

After a lifetime of balancing books, Anthony turned his hand to writing them in 2009. His first book, The Other Robin Hood, is available as an ebook. An Englishman still living in England, he married a Russian doctor in 1999 and will be moving to rural France after reaching retirement age — but the writing will continue. He is already working on the sequel to The Prince of Prigs, tentatively titled Dark Days, Dark Deeds.


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December 09, 2015

Spotlight on Anna Belfrage's In the Shadow of the Storm

In the Shadow of the Storm (The King’s Greatest Enemy, Book One)by Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Silverwood Books
Genre: Historical Fiction

Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Sir Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Sir Roger for his life and all his worldly good, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Sir Roger thinks she is. So when Sir Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be.

England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress, favouring first one, then the other.

Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and the baron, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.

Kit de Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped?

Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Sir Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can.

In the Shadow of the Storm is the first in Anna Belfrage’s new series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his baron, his king, and his wife.

About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.
Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.
The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, will be published in the autumn of 2015.

Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

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December 08, 2015

Maureen Willett's Near the Wild - Excerpt

Somewhere in the haze of trying to reach the elusive man with black hair and blue-green eyes, I heard a distant sound. At first, it seemed to be just a part of my nonsensical dreams, but the sound got louder until it crept into my consciousness. I sat up and blinked the sleep from my eyes, wondering what was happening. Everyone was racing toward the stairs like stampeding cattle. I shook my head to get the fog out, and threw off the covers. I had to be there to catch the first glimpse with everyone else. I grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around my cotton nightgown, throwing modesty and propriety aside.

I ran to the upper deck in anticipation and searched for a spot to look over the rail. There were too many people and no room. I looked around for a MacKeighry, but they had all been swallowed by the frenetic crowd at the rails. I spotted an empty barrel by one of the mastheads, so I climbed on top of it to peer over heads, not caring that my blanket had fallen somewhere on deck. No one cared. I was not the only half-clad person caught up in the excitement.

What was before me was greatly unexpected. The land stretched out farther than the eye could see, but it held an odd, brownish hue. I sighed in disappointment. There were no emerald fields, as I had been accustomed to at home. I had never seen such dull landscape. Even the ancient town where we embarked on the ship in France had been prettier than this. Everyone onboard shouted and applauded, happy to be in this vast, new country, but I didn’t join in the revelry. This new land, no matter how promising, meant the end of my relationship with Finn, and, therefore, the end of all happiness.

As we made our way into the New Orleans harbor, there were tall weeds along the marshy land, and a boy ran along on shore, waving to our ship. I’d never seen a person with such exotic skin. It was the color of milk chocolate, and his eyes were big, brown saucers. His white smile showed missing teeth. Behind him was a dilapidated house that was probably once magnificent but now was overgrown with weeds and thick vines. Half of it had been burned. Faint whispers of a way of life before the Civil War came through with the breeze, but they were nothing more than old, unspoken secrets of days gone. The thick air felt almost menacing. There was something else in the air, too. This place was filled with mystery, and I was intrigued, in spite of longing for Ireland and Finn.

As the Belle Asisse got closer to the harbor, the water became murky brown from the runoff of the bustling harbor. And the buildings got bigger, although they appeared to be thrown together with a piece of plywood and some bricks. Everywhere people, mostly men, ran around, carrying various goods to load ships. The site swirled before my eyes. I started to fall off the barrel. Then everything went black.


All I could see through the fog in my head was a pair of seawater-colored eyes. They seemed to be watching over me. I wanted to reach up to the face that held those eyes, but I didn’t have the strength. It would be such comfort to feel his cheek upon mine. Noises all around scratched at my brain. Every time the blackness threatened to engulf me, he’d shake me until my head cleared somewhat. It was infuriating! All I wanted was the deep, endless sleep, but he wouldn’t let it happen.

“Please, leave me alone,” I cried, but my voice didn’t come out correctly, and no one heard me.


There was light overhead, a blinding, scorching light. My head felt heavy and achy.

I didn’t know how long I had been delirious, although later I’d hear that it had been a few days. Just when I felt too weak, and the darkness came close to overtaking me, I awoke. The buzzing of a fly near my ear helped me focus on something tangible while I looked around at my new surroundings. I swatted the fly away, then sat up and blinked.

The bright sunlight shined through white sheets draped over a few carefully placed logs of wood. They were actually big twigs, I realized as I looked around the makeshift tent. I was on a cot, dressed in my linen nightgown with only a sheet to cover me. Sweat dripped down the back of my neck. I tried to swallow but had no luck with a throat so dry. I carefully put my feet on the ground.

“Maeve, darling,” Ma said as she came into the tent. She grabbed me just as I was about to fall on my face. “You’re awake! Oh, thank the Lord!” She hugged me for a moment and then helped me back to the cot.

“What happened?” I managed to ask between cracked lips.

She put her hand to my forehead and smiled. “We’re not really sure. You suddenly fell ill, but you didn’t have a fever, so I had hope. You were in a deep sleep and didn’t want to come out of it. Perhaps a touch of influenza.” Her beautiful face turned to a worried frown. “But it doesn’t matter now. You’re awake.”

It hadn’t been the flu, but I didn’t want to tell Ma that. My body, and my spirit, had rebelled at this new life, this new set of rules restricting me from seeing Finn. Quite simply, my body had gone through withdrawal. Finn had once warned me that humans could inhale radiant dust by being around someone like him regularly, and that could lead to hallucinations and, even, madness. He’d also warned that I’d have to go through an illness to get over my physical addiction if we were ever parted. But I’d never believed him. Until now.

I wondered if waking up meant I wouldn’t miss him so much.

I looked around the small tent, seeing our things and travel cases piled high between blankets on the ground. I was on the only cot. “Are we in Kansas?”

“No, my dear. We’re still at the harbor, waiting to board a river boat to St. Louis.”

“We’re in America?”

“Yes,” Ma said with a smile. “We’ve had our papers signed and are official residents.”

“Where is he? I thought I saw him.”

Ma frowned again but then tried to cover it with a smile. “Your father isn’t here. He’s meeting us in St. Louis, where we’ll take the train to Kansas.”

I furrowed my brows. Finn had been at my side, pushing me to wake up and rejoin the world. “No, I wasn’t talking about Da. Where is Finn? I know he’s here.”

The smile faded from my mother’s face, and she put down my hand she had been holding. Her eyebrows went up in a determined arch. “He’d better not be, young lady! I will hear no more of your leprechaun. I’ve told you, he is not allowed to come with us to Kansas, and I will no longer indulge your relationship with him.”

“But. . .”

“No, Maeve. Do not speak to me of him again. Ever!” Ma stood and put both hands on her hips. “Enough. I’ve had enough of it!”

I took a deep breath and looked away, knowing her will was probably as strong as Finn’s. They both seemed to want the same thing, the end of our relationship, which meant the end of my world. There was no hope of an interesting life in this new land, not without him. Little did I know how wrong that assumption was. But at that moment, I felt retched.


Later that evening, after having a few hours to drink some broth, regain some of my strength, and get dressed, I ventured outside the tent. The air was cooler than it had been that afternoon but still thick with moisture. A constant hum of crickets and other creatures could be heard over the bustling community of immigrants. I didn’t want to think about what was creating such a noise in the swampland beyond the campfires, so instead I focused on the activity in front of me. Laughter, music, children shrieking with delight, and loud voices with all sorts of accents drifted toward me.

I strolled around the campsite, taking in the sights, wondering where all the MacKeighrys had gone. I almost stumbled over a woman so black she blended into the night sky. She sat on a rock, holding what looked to be homemade dolls.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said as I corrected my direction.

A deep chuckle came from her withered mouth. “Ooowee! No one has eva’ called me ‘ma’am’ before, Sugar Plum. At least no one of yo’ color.” She smiled up at me, showing off the whitest,

straightest teeth I had ever seen. Pieces of gray hair peeked out of the bandana wound around her head. “Do you want one of my dolls?”

She held it out to me to the point I had to look at it or be rude.

“No, thank you,” I said as I backed away, suddenly sensing something dark in the crudely constructed cloth and yarn doll.

“I can put a spell on the man o’ yo’ dreams with it. He’ll never cheat or leave you.”

“Yes, but can you make a magical being stay by my side forever?”

She put her head back and heartily laughed. “Oh no, child. Nothin’ can control something magical.”

I sighed as I walked away, hearing her laughter at my back. At least the people of this new land didn’t deny the existence of magic, I thought with a small measure of hope.

I started back toward the tent but then heard familiar voices raised in anger, so I turned toward that instead.

“No, it is absolutely out of the question,” I heard Ma say.

“I’m eighteen. I can do what I want. I’m not a child!” Gavin said much too quickly.

“Then stop acting like one,” Michael said, as he pointed his finger in Gavin’s face. Not something I would ever dare to do.

I could feel the anger in the air around them. They all turned as I arrived at where they stood, slightly away from the main campfire.

“Go away, Maeve. This isn’t your concern,” Michael said through clenched teeth.

“Get that finger out of my face, or I’ll break it,” Gavin said. His cold stare was convincing enough to make Michael put his hand down.

I searched Ma’s eyes for a reason for this rift, but she looked away as tears fell down her cheeks. “Gavin has decided to leave us.”

“What?” The astonishment came through in my voice. I noticed Michael’s hands open and close in a fist. I looked at Gavin, wondering what had happened. He had always been the rebel, but it had never gone this far before.

“Seems our brother here thinks life as a gambler in New Orleans will get him what he wants,” Michael said.

“It’s better than being a farmer. Besides, it’s my gambling wins that got everyone a passage on that river boat. You’d all be stuck in in this stinky campsite if it weren’t for me,” Gavin said, slapping his hands to his chest. “Once again, we have to pick up slack for Da’s shortcomings and

find money somehow. I’m tired of it! I’ve done my part for you all. Now, I’m gonna make it the way I want.”

“That’s not true! Da sent the money to get us to Kansas,” I exclaimed. Why would Gavin say such a thing? Da would never leave his family stranded in a strange country. But then the three of them turned and stared at me as if I were a child.

“As I said, Maeve, this is none of your concern,” Michael said with a nod toward our tent, dismissing me.

“No,” Ma said. “This is her concern as one of the older children. It’s time she knew the truth.”

I looked at my mother with confusion.

“Your father had only enough money for our steerage across the ocean.”

“But. . .” I couldn’t think of what to say. “You brought us all this way without knowing what would happen? How were you planning to get us all to Kansas?”

Ma bit her lip, and Michael’s head sunk a little bit.

“I knew I’d figure something out by the time we landed,” she said.

“Yeah, but you didn’t have to; I came to the rescue,” Gavin chimed in a factual manner. “Why do you think I played cards on the ship so much? And now, I’m buying my freedom with your passage up river. I’ll telegraph Da that you’re on your way, so he can meet you. Then I’m off the hook.” His words weren’t said in anger or desperation, which made them seem final.

Ma began to shake, and Michael just stood there nodding his head and looking into the distance.

“Gavin? What are you doing?” I asked, stepping closer to him. I seemed to be the only one able to form words at the moment. I couldn’t imagine life without him. We were only thirteen months apart and had spent our entire lives as co-conspirators.

“What I want to do, for the first time in my life. This land is full of promises. Anything is possible.” Gavin’s voice held persuasive excitement. “And I want more than being a farmer for the rest of my life. You could come with me, if you want to?”

“Come with you? Where?”

A flash of sadness crossed Gavin’s handsome face, but then it was gone. “I’ll see you at the boat landing in the morning,” he said to Ma. “Get to the pier for the River Queen by dawn. I’ve heard they’ve overbooked the boat, so anyone showing up late might not make it on. Get there early, and I’ll make sure you get private quarters. The captain owes me some money, so he promised me that.” He walked away and headed out of the campsite.

My mouth fell open. I couldn’t imagine the MacKeighry family without Gavin’s wit and quick thinking. While Michael was the older, more serious brother, Gavin was the one who managed to get

the impossible done, no matter how much scheming and manipulating he had to do. Da was a dreamer, so Michael and Gavin had been the caretakers of our large, and somewhat unusual, family. I looked at Michael and wondered how he’d ever manage without his second in command, and how I’d manage without my closest brother – the one who never judged me.

“We won’t speak of this again, especially around the boys,” Ma said. “If anyone asks, Gavin is staying behind to make sure our papers are in order and will be joining us later.”

Near the Wild by Maureen WillettPublication Date: June 15, 2015
eBook; 229 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

COWBOYS AND LEPRECHAUNS. Both occupy Maeve MacKeighry’s world in 1870, and she must decide which will win her heart. Leprechauns are feared, even in Ireland, but that doesn’t prevent Maeve from striking up a friendship with one who lives near her village. But once Maeve becomes a young woman, the local villagers start to gossip, especially since the MacKeighrys are known to practice magic in their home. It’s just for entertainment, but the town folk don’t see it that way. Rather than be outcasts, the MacKeighrys set off to America to homestead in Kansas, vowing to leave their magical ways and friends behind. Little do they know that Maeve’s friend follows and protects them on their journey.

The MacKeighrys encounter many adventures along the way to Kansas, only to find a simple sod house on their new farm at the end of the journey. The untamed land offers a fresh start for the family, as well as two very interesting men who both compete for Maeve’s attention. Pretty young women in a wild western town are a rarity. But can she forget her magical friend, and turn her attention to two of the most interesting men she has ever met? Perhaps cowboys and outlaws have a certain charm that a leprechaun doesn’t, after all.
Most of the novel takes place in Kansas in 1870 and is based on my family’s history. The idea of the MacKeighry’s sod house came from the home of my great grandfather. I was lucky enough to visit it as a teenager before the house was destroyed. One of the characters, Nikki Fuerst, is based on an ancestor, a prince from Austria who was disinherited for marrying a commoner and sent off to America. Stories I’ve been told my entire life about my family’s history and traditions, such as levitating tables, are included in Near The Wild.

About the Author
Maureen Willett is a writer of fiction that pushes the boundaries of established genres. Her stories mostly come from her own family legends that have been passed down through generations, but then she tops them off with a twist of faery dust and angel wings. But at the core of each story are great characters in very human conflicts that anyone will find compelling. Each novel is crafted as an experience that will take readers beyond their day-to-day lives, incorporating themes of time travel, reincarnation, and magic. She is a former journalist, public relations professional, and media marketing specialist. Maureen lives in Hawaii with her family and walks the white-sand beaches of Oahu each day to get her inspiration for writing.

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Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @maureenwillett

December 06, 2015

In honor of St. Nicholas Day - The Bishop's Wife by Robert Nathan {Giveaway}

Bishop HENRY BROUGHAM doesn't know how he will find a capable archdeacon to help raise money to build a "great" cathedral for his overcrowded parish. Though his beautiful wife JULIA fulfills her marital duties, their relationship has no passion. To fill the void, she heaps affectionate praise on their four-year old daughter JULIET, embarrassing the proper Bishop. Meanwhile, the Bishop prays for help, and it comes in the form of MICHAEL, a handsome goldenhaired angel, who takes the position of archdeacon. Michael exudes love which draws new and unexpected emotions from Julia. Michael's pure limitless capacity for love is stifled by his mortal duties of manipulating money from wealthy religious patrons, including MRS. LANYARDE and MR. COHEN. With the holidays approaching the Bishop senses the mutual attraction between Julia and Michael. His intuition is right as Julia almost succumbs to Michael before her sense of marital duty ultimately prevails. During a conversation with the scholarly PROFESSOR WUTHERIDGE, Michael learns that an angel can't fulfill "mortal love" as it is unrelated to the divine version. With that, he returns to Heaven after completing his fundraising mission. Julia, realizing she will never have a passionate relationship with the Bishop, decides to have another child with whom to share her love.

"Mr. Nathan's method of approach is the way of the goldfinch with the thistledown, or of the unconcerned robin guilelessly cocking his head before the peck. Moreover the words that he uses are as cobwebs that catch the dew of his thought delicately patterned filaments exactly adequate to the burden glistening upon them. In short, to say that 'The Bishop's Wife' has beauty, charm, wit, and wisdom is not to over praise the book."
--Grace Frank, Saturday Review of Literature

About Robert Nathan
Author of such revered books as PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, THE BISHOP’S WIFE, THE RIVER JOURNEY, and STONECLIFF, Robert Nathan was born in New York City in 1894 and was educated at private schools in the United States and Switzerland. While attending Harvard University where he was a classmate with E.E. Cummings, Nathan was an editor of the Harvard Monthly, in which his first stories and poems appeared. While at Cambridge, Nathan also found the time to become an accomplished cellist, a lightweight boxer, and Captain of the fencing team. After leaving college, Mr. Nathan devoted his time exclusively to writing until his passing in 1985. Early on, Nathan’s work strengthened his reputation with both the public and peers. F. Scott Fitzgerald once referred to Robert Nathan as his favorite writer. During this period, the legendary Louis B. Mayer contracted him to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. Nathan ultimately didn’t enjoy the experience, though the movie industry continually craved his work. Five of his novels have been made into films. The aforementioned “Portrait of Jennie” and “The Bishop’s Wife,” as well as “One More Spring,” “Wake Up and Dream” (from the novel “The Enchanted Voyage”) and “Color of Evening.” Robert Nathan was the author of over fifty volumes of novels, poetry, and plays, and from this body of distinguished work he acquired a reputation as a master of satiric fantasy unique in American Letters. In the twilight of his career he was known as “The Dean of Author’s,” since many prominent writers including Irving Stone and Irving Wallace sought out Nathan’s guidance. A member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters for fifty years, Mr. Nathan called both Cape Cod and California home. Happily, his last fifteen years were spent in the companionship of his wife, English born actress, Anna Lee.

Learn More About Robert Nathan 

Purchase the Book

5 complimentary copies of THE BISHOP’S WIFE to e-book winners. Please leave a comment for your chance to win and be sure to leave your email address. Last day to enter is Sunday, December 13 at 11:59pm CST. Good luck!

December 04, 2015

Stephanie Thornton's The Conqueror's Wife - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

Love in Ancient Greece

Let’s get one thing straight: The Greeks were the original, free-loving hippies of the ancient world.

Compare the likes of Sappho, Socrates, and Alexander the Great, to say, the Puritans who founded North America, and you couldn’t have two more disparate notions about who people can, and should, love.

To the ancient Greeks, with few exceptions, it didn’t matter much who you loved. And the Greeks had a few customs that by today’s Puritanical standards might seem akin to a late-night Borgia-era orgiastic revel.

First, there was pederasty, in which an older man taught a younger man about, well, the finer points of love. (You can use your imaginations.) It’s commonly assumed that Socrates himself took part in this custom, and the upper classes looked upon this as an accepted aspect of a young man’s education. (Something I doubt would fly in the modern school system.) After all, most aristocrats didn’t marry until they were older and women were secluded in the gynaceum, so pederasty was the Greek solution to a whole lot of lonely young men. And in Sparta, soldiers were also encouraged and perhaps expected to have relationships with each other in order to strengthen morale.

This, of course, leads to the finer points of homosexuality in ancient Greece. While younger men were expected to leave behind their first pederastic relationship in favor of marriage and procreation, it’s likely that some, including Alexander the Great with his childhood friend Hephaestion, forged lifelong bonds with their partner. Aristotle even went so far as to claim that those two men shared “one soul between two bodies.”

And lest we think that women were left out of the picture, we have the case of Sappho of Lesbos (from whence the terms sapphic and lesbian derive) who has left reams of stunning poetry about all manner of love, including that between women.

I have not had one word from her 
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept 
a great deal; she said to me, "This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly." 
I said, "Go, and be happy
but remember (you know
well) whom you leave shackled by love.”

And after all, it was Plato who claimed, “The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings.” So, love who you love, and know that no matter what, you’re in for a wild ride.

About the book
The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
NAL/Penguin Group LLC.
eBook, Paperback; 496 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

A novel from the acclaimed author of The Tiger Queens, for readers looking for “strong and determined female protagonists” (Historical Novel Society) and “a sprawling historical saga” (Renee Rosen)...

We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.

And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.

Instead he was a god.

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.

His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander's boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia's throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.

Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…

About the Author

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

"The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora," "Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt," and "The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan" are available now. "The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great" will hit the shelves in December 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule:
Hashtags: #TheConquerorsWifeBlogTour #AlexandertheGreat #Historical #HistFic #HFVBTBlogTour
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @penguinusa @StephMThornton

The giveaway is for one paperback copy, and open to US residents only. Comment below for your chance to win. Please leave your email address so I can contact the winner. (Any entry without email address will be disqualified). Giveaway ends Friday, December 18 at 11:59pm CST.

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