Thursday, December 1, 2016

Authors & Their Supporting Characters

Helen Hollick is Hosting a Fabulous 
Supporting Role Blog Hop 
December 6 through 17 

(Designed for us by Avalon♔Graphics LLC)  

I was given the honor of starting these Interviews on the 6th
(or being the first to jump into the dinghy to test if it leaks, if you will).

My character is - no, not Edward, as some of you who have read the Legends of the Winged Scarab might surmise - but Vergil, a pardoned pirate from Venezuela's infamous San Antonio prison on Isla Margarita.

Even though he only pops up in Book 4 (The Crystal Curse)
as a humble guard on the Bucanero II
(the refurbished "lost" real Russian ghost ship Lyubov Orlova),

and in Book 5 (The Nile Conspiracy),
on the confiscated and renamed Super Yacht Khamsin,

this dubious character begins to play a vital role in the lives
(or, shall I say, deaths) of many - some deserving, others innocent.

Here, he is taking aim at the construction site of the
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
 As they say, "Once a pirate, always a pirate."
(You can read more about his wily ways on the Excerpt tab.)

Every day from the 6th through the 17th,
meet a major supporting character
from the novels of award-winning authors

Hashtag #SupportingRole

Supporting Role Features will be on the above blog -
whereas the Links below go to authors' websites -  please, do visit them as well.

6th      Inge H Borg
7th      Matthew Harffy
8th     Alison Morton
9th     Regina Jeffers
10th   Anna Belfrage
11th    Christoph Fischer
12th   Pauline Barclay
13th   Antoine Vanner
14th   Annie Whitehead
15th   Derek Birks
16th   Carolyn Hughes
17th   Helen Hollick  (Our wonderful host for all these great features)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Review of 1066 Turned Upside Down

Alternative fiction stories by nine authors 

A Superb Collaboration 
This interesting alternative history of England’s tumultuous year 1066 is a collaboration of nine authors, each a successful writer of his/her own historical fiction novels:
     Joanna Courtney
     Helen Hollick
     Anna Belfrage
     Richard Dee
     G.K. Holloway
     Carol McGrath
     Alison Morton
     Eliza Redgold
     Annie Whitehead

     In 1066 Turned Upside Down, each writer envisions a fascinating “what if” version about that fateful year in England's history. And with each outcome, modern man would have inherited a much different world, in some instances giving rise to my notion of “too bad it didn’t happen that way.”
     I must confess to not knowing much about this time in England’s long history. However, having read James M. Hockey’s excellent “Edith Fair as a Swan: Tales of Bowdyn 3” (an excellent series, by the way), I was at least familiar with King Harold’s “common wife Edith.
     Because of this, and the excellent Foreword by C. C. Humphreys, I enjoyed the “what if” scenario in 1066 even more.

Check it out here:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Poetry Perfection

My Review of Jim Bennett's 
Cold Comes Through, 
Poetry Book 1

Writing—and reading—true poetry is often associated with admitting vulnerability. Reading it, you have to let it in. Writing it is a lot more arduous: You have to let it out. And letting it out, Jim Bennett does with Cold Comes Through, Book 1 of his five-volume poetry series.

Having read Bennett’s poetry series in reverse order, his first volume—I find—is the most melancholy as it deals with loss, grieving and remembrance. Death hovers nearby, cloaked in autumn leaves, or the heartbreaking throes of Alzheimer’s. But Bennett’s insight into human nature always treats the most dire of his themes with dignity and grace.

After finally reading Cold Comes Through, I know I shall do so again, as I will surely re-read the entire series from time to time. Poetry creates a cultured haven from the blustery world that trammels us daily. Jim Bennett’s poems are some of the best I have had the pleasure ever reading.
* * * * *
Jim Bennett's 5-Volume Poetry is available here:

Jim Bennett's Poetry Series is also available in Paperback on Lulu:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Review of Christoph Fischer's Ludwika

It took me a while to digest Christoph Fischer's Ludwika - and to give an "impersonal" review. But isn't why we read certain books to feel, to identify, to learn? And if it's a difficult subject handled well, to remember. 

For me, such is Ludwika, A Polish Woman's Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany. 

WWII and its Civilian Casualties 
Christoph Fischer's LUDWIKA brings back the plight of civilians swept up by WWII, centering on Ludwika's will and tenacity to survive, no matter what she must sacrifice. This book becomes even more personal for those who still remember – or at least, who recall survival stories of their European parents. Those who have never faced an invading army might not easily understand Ludwika’s “pliability,” her willingness to leave her young daughter back in Poland while submitting to a German officer’s romantic promises.
This is a heart-wrenching subject tackled by a talented writer.
I highly recommend Fischer’s novel.

Check out Christoph's informative website:

Friday, October 7, 2016

Out of Egypt – Something Horrifying

Lexa Cain (writing as L X Cain) first came to my attention through the beautiful masthead of her Egypt-inspired blog (do go and visit it here). We blogged back and forth, and subsequently it was an honor to receive her endorsement of my descriptions of the modern Egyptian (in Sirocco). She should know: Although born in the US, Lexa has been living in Egypt for many years now.
Today, it is my great pleasure to feature her latest novel released on October 4th:
The story actually has nothing to do with Ancient or present-day Egypt. This book falls truly into the Thriller/Mystery/Horror genres. Already, it ranks high on Amazon with numerous four- and five-star reviews with comments like, “Exceptional from beginning to end.” “I cringed, I gasped, I pondered, I theorized, I begged and pleaded, then finally the ride was over, and I wanted more.”

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable...

A perfect story for Halloween.
But be sure to lock your doors before you settle down to read.


L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives in Egypt on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers

Contact L.X. Cain at:

Friday, September 30, 2016

This Bad Boy Shows Up Everywhere

Edward, our charming conman,
plays an ever more intricate and dangerous role
in Books 2 through 5 of the
Legends of the Winged Scarab

In this quick read, however, he is still the charming con artist, albeit just as ruthless when it comes to squeezing money out of his besotted victims.

Edward plays an ever more intricate and dangerous role in Books 2 through 5 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab, while here he is still just a charming con artist.

SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea

An archaeological thriller 

SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea
Book 2 - Legends of the Winged Scarab

Haven't read Book 1 yet?
No problem (although you are missing a terrific saga about Ancient Egypt), Sirocco starts with the Arab Spring in 2012, building on the Golden Tablets hammered out in 3080 BC (in Khamsin).

So, for all practical purposes, Sirocco is the first of Khamsin's four sequels playing out its adventures in modern times.

In Book 3 (After the Cataclysm) the world turns post-apocalyptic following the long-foretold Yellowstone Supervolcano eruption.

Book 4 (The Crystal Curse) takes you deep into the Lost Labyrinth of Egypt (the existence of which is denied by the Egyptian Government).

Book 5 (The Nile Conspiracy) has our main protagonists involved in the very real threat to Egypt's water supply anticipated from the construction of an Ethiopian monster-dam along the Blue Nile.

(You can read Excerpts from all five books on my "Excerpts" page).

* * *
Buy from an Amazon near you:
B&N: SIROCCO-Barnes&Noble

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is it a Dream or Madness?

The brief deliciously delirious dream of a spinster - or is it?

She waits, hopes he will come for her -
as he does for all of us - eventually.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Christoph Fischer Releases New Murder Mystery

Award winning historical and crime fiction novelist

Christoph Fischer 

has written a light-hearted, cozy murder mystery.

Order your Copy of 
The Body in the Snow here:

Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbors or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens. 
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap. 
Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback?

Read the fascinating back story of
The Body In The Snow
a new Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery
which is set in Wales, on Christoph Fischer’s Website:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Found: King Nectanebo Shrine

Shrine Dedicated to King Nectanebo I 
Unearthed in Egypt 

An Egyptian and German archaeological team sifting through the ruins of a temple dedicated to the ancient King Nectanebo I has found building blocks and parts of the ceiling, which was decorated with stars. Authorities hope to rebuild and restore the shrine.

(Egyptian Ministry of Antquities photo)

The 30th Dynasty king, whose name is also spelled Nakhtanebu, lived in the fourth century BC. His house was the last native Egyptian royal line before Persians reconquered Egypt in 343 BC and overthrew Nectanebo’s grandson.

Shared by Mark Miller in Ancient-Origins 
Read the entire article here:

Friday, September 9, 2016

Herodotus on Burial in Egypt

Herodotus Wrote:
 * II:85. Their fashions of mourning and of burial are these: Whenever any household has lost a man who is of any regard amongst them, the whole number of women of that house forthwith plaster over their heads or even their faces with mud.

Then leaving the corpse within the house they go themselves to and fro about the city and beat themselves, with their garments bound up by a girdle and their breasts exposed, and with them go all the women who are related to the dead man, and on the other side the men beat themselves, they too having their garments bound up by a girdle; and when they have done this, they then convey the body to the embalming.

Book of the Dead

Read the entire article at Ancient Origins - and perhaps be glad you live in our times. Although women are known to still plaster their faces with mud; but for very different reasons - and usually at considerable cost.

*Herodotus, The Landmark Herodotus (Quercus Publishing Plc, 2008)
Published under Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Woven within the story of KHAMSIN, my readers seem to appreciate learning something new or refreshing their knowledge of fascinating ancient rites, such as mummification.
The questions is not just what drove the Ancient Egyptians to such lengths of wanting to preserve their dead? Rather, how did such a complex culture rise from the harsh sands of the desert? Most of what we know is still spotty, conjecture and theory.

I surely would love to know a lot more. Wouldn’t you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Herodotus On Cats in Egypt

Many quotes and translations attributed to this Greek historian (484 - 425 BC) have been preserved for us to contemplate (or smile over).

Here is one appropriate for this blog, I think: 

"In houses a cat has died by a natural death, all those who dwell in this house shave their eyebrows only, but those in whose houses a dog has died shave their whole body and also their head."

Read this interesting article here:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Move Over Nefertiti

Australian researchers have reconstructed the head of an 18 to 25-year-old Egyptian mummy. The woman lived in ancient Egypt at least 2,000 years ago.

Going by the name Meritamun, meaning the beloved of the god Amun, the mummified Egyptian head lives in the basement of the medical building at the University of Melbourne.

Read a fascinating article about this striking ancient beauty here:

How did they do this: Check out this 4-minute YouTube video from the University on CT-Scanning:

I can already sense the wheels of Historical Fiction authors starting to spin. What strange and wonderful tales will we be able to read about her?
In the meantime, it will be interesting to find out what science is going to tell us about the beautiful Meritamun.

Wait a minute! I write HF; I write about Egypt. Hm....

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Egyptian Law for Building Churches Angers Christians

Coptic Christians seek solace in their faith, 
while facing turmoil in Egypt.

(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

A general view of the Cave Cathedral or St. Sama'ans Church on the Mokattam Hills overlooking Cairo, Egypt.

After long hoping for an end to restrictions on the building of churches, many of Egypt's Christians are infuriated and feeling betrayed after lawmakers passed a law August 30, 2016, giving authorities broad powers to veto construction for vague reasons including worries over 'national security.'

                       (Photo: Reuters)

The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, a faith with ancient Christian roots in Egypt. This current holder of this position is Theodoros II or Tawadros II, who was selected as the 118th pope on November 4, 2012.

He is also Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Cathedral, and in the photo above leads the Coptic Christmas Eve Mass in Cairo January 6, 2014.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why Reader Reviews are Important

Did you know August 2016 is Write-An-Amazon-Review Month? No? I didn't either until I read Helen Hollick’s latest blog post on the subject.

This staunch supporter of Indie Writers and successful author in her own right puts it very succinctly why reviews are so important to us authors; so I won’t repeat what she said.

Rather, I urge you to read her excellent post here:

And now, I better go and read another great Indie book out there so I can put my “review where my mouth is.”

Especially, since I "bragged" about my summer reading list on the B.R.A.G. blog. 

Most of the books on my reading-wish list have either been chosen to be on the Historical Novel Society's winner list (an association where Helen is a founding member), or were selected as B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees for excellence in writing. 

So, whenever you see this medallion on a cover, you can be assured that it has passed the most rigorous selection.

Thus, while enjoying a great read, I thought I might as well glean some pointers from the best.

And now, don't forget to write that review. Time (and August) is running out. And know, the diplomatically critical ones are often the most helpful to an author...just don't go overboard if you find some negatives to report; writers are people too.

But we all appreciate your time and effort in Writing that Review on Amazon (or any of the other retailers from where you may be purchasing your reading).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Review of Regina Jeffers' ANGEL COMES TO DEVIL'S KEEP

Manners, Mayhem, Murder – and Love

...all in the rarefied setting of the British Regency Period.

There are two things I don’t like in a “review.” Spilling the plot so as to become a spoiler; and “I usually don’t read this genre.”
Well, as for the latter, I don’t. Yet, thanks to the author’s deftness in staying “in style” and her flawless writing, I began to enjoy the unraveling story to the point where I was reading instead of doing some previously planned chores.
Having grown up in a somewhat formal European environment, I found it easy to slip into the speech pattern of the British aristocracy with its often painfully reticent demeanor. Trust me, the veiled tongue lashings nevertheless carried a deliciously sharp sting.
It was refreshing to have mayhem and murder heaped upon one without the now sadly so prevalent usage of foul language, nor were there any explicit sex scenes to groan over; however, flowing from the masterful pen of Ms. Jeffers, it all stayed intricately suspenseful and—indeed—exquisitely titillating.
I know how much research it takes to write proficiently about a certain period. Everything has to be correct: mannerisms, speech and clothing, everyday life, titles, social expectations and restrictions as well as locations. As Ms. Jeffers has written many novels in the Regency Romance genre, I suspect by now it may well be second nature to her – and it shows.

No matter what the obstacles, the desires, the ambitions, in the end it all came down to what hasn’t changed over time: The Quest for Love. Indeed, I shut off my Kindle with a satisfied sigh: Well done, Ms. Jeffers. Your readers will be happy with this one.

You can buy your copy at these sites: